Category: Internet

Internet Archive fears Trump library burnings

library-alexandria-destructionThe Internet Archive is building a backup archive in Canada after the election of Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump because it fears it is too vulnerable to court orders and destruction.

The archive is a digital library nonprofit unit that preserves billions of webpages for the historical record, Today, it began collecting donations for the Internet Archive of Canada, intended to create a copy of the archive outside the United States.

Brewster Kahle said that the election of Trump was a wake up call for institutions like his, built for the long-term, and needs to design for change.

“For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a web that may face greater restrictions. It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase,” he said.

The San Francisco-based Internet Archive is comprised of several different preservation efforts, spanning nearly every medium. As of 2012, the entire archive held 10 petabytes of data – for reference, Facebook’s entire photo and video collection totaled 100 petabytes around the same time. Alongside films and books, the archive holds thousands of early software programs and video games that can be emulated on modern systems. It’s particularly known for the Wayback Machine, which continuously crawls the web to archive pages over the course of decades.

Kahle estimates it will cost “millions” of dollars to host a copy of the Internet Archive in Canada, but it would shield its data from some American legal action.

Trump has shown support for greater law enforcement surveillance powers and legal censorship, including “closing that internet up in some ways” to fight terrorism”.

Kahle said that  moving the internet archive would both insulate it from efforts to take down specific content, and make it harder to request data on user activity — something that more traditional librarians fought when American surveillance powers expanded under George W. Bush.   The Internet Archive  sees it as a big libary which is vulnerable to the same sort of book burning craze that flattened the Libary in Alexandria.

Microsoft’s Chinese AI is clever enough to censor itself

beijing cybercafeSoftware King of the World has admitted that its Chinese flavoured AI chat bot will not talk about anything that the authorities behind the bamboo curtain don’t want them to talk about.

Xiaoice would not directly respond to questions surrounding topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese state including the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 or “Steamed Bun Xi,” a nickname of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Am I stupid? Once I answer you’d take a screengrab,” read one answer to a question that contained the words “topple the Communist Party.”

Mentioning Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump also drew an evasive response from the chat bot. “I don’t want to talk about it,” Xiaoice says. Fair enough who does?

Microsoft has admitted that there was some filtering around Xiaoice’s interaction.

“We are committed to creating the best experience for everyone chatting with Xiaoice,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “With this in mind, we have implemented filtering on a range of topics.” The tech giant did not further elaborate to which specific topics the filtering applied.

Microsoft says that Xiaoice engages in conversations with over 40 million Chinese users on social media platform like Weibo and WeChat.

Reporter uses bots to tackle racists

Dancing Racists-2The Washington Post’s Kevin Munger used Twitter bots, one “white” and one “black” to tackle racism and appears to have worked out a strategy which reduces racist slurs.

Munger used Twitter accounts to send messages designed to remind harassers of the humanity of their victims and to reconsider the norms of online behaviour.

He sent every harasser the same message:

@[subject] Hey man, just remember that there are real people who are hurt when you harass them with that kind of language

He then used a racial slur as the search term because it was the strongest evidence that a tweet might contain racist harassment. He restricted the sample to users who had a history of using offensive language, and only included white subjects or anonymous people.

He bought followers for half of the bots — 500 followers, to be specific — and gave the remaining bots only two followers each (see screenshot above). This represents a large status difference: a Twitter user with two followers is unlikely to be taken seriously, while 500 followers is a substantial number.

Only one of the four types of bots caused a significant reduction in the subjects’ rate of tweeting slurs – the white bots with 500 followers.

Generally, though he found it is possible to cause people to use less harassing language and it is more most likely when both individuals share a social identity. Unsurprisingly, high status people are also more likely to cause a change.

Munger thinks that many are already engaged in sanctioning bad behaviour online, but they are doing it in a way that can backfire. If people call out bad behaviour in a way that emphasises the social distance between themselves and the person they’re calling out then telling people off is less likely to be effective.

 

Google is not a search engine for Nazis

12Google’s search engine might be part of a cunning liberal plot to suppress right wing thought, if a new report is correct.

Analysis by SEO outfit CanIRank.com found Google’s top search result pages were 40 percent more likely to have a left or far left slant.

The study searched for 50 politically themed keywords or phrases, and some of the results are what you would expect.

“Minimum wage” tended to yield more liberal results, while “does gun control reduce crime” resulted in more conservative ones. Searches for “financial regulation” and “federal reserve” found mostly nonpartisan links.

However, CanIRank used the opinions of four people to determine if a site was liberal or conservative. If it used US people, then chances are anything which is not fascist will be construed as Liberal.

For 16 percent of the political search terms studied, no right leaning results showed up at all on the first page of results.

CanIRank insists that this is a democracy as most people click on one of the first five search results. Users rarely move on to the second page. Where would the world be if people were not up-to-date with the latest right-wing conspiracy theories?

It is not the first time that Google has been accused of having a “liberal bias.” Another study by the University of Maryland found Google searches for Democratic presidential candidates led to more supportive websites than searches for Republican candidates.

 

Microsoft tries to win over EU anti-trust watchdogs

cat versus dogSoftware king of the world, Microsoft, is doing its best to win over EU anti-trust watchdogs to allow its deal with business social notworking site LinkedIn to go through.

Vole will still allow LinkedIn’s rivals access to its software and give hardware makers the option of installing other services to try to win EU approval for its takeover of the US outfit.

Microsoft submitted its LinkedIn concessions to the European Commission last week after the EU competition enforcer expressed concerns about the $26 billion deal, Microsoft’s biggest ever acquisition.

The offer aims to show that Microsoft will not favour LinkedIn at the expense of rivals which is the sort of thing which annoys watchdogs.

Both the Commission and Microsoft, which have not provided details of the offer are saying nothing.

The EU wants feedback from rivals and customers before deciding whether to accept the concessions, demand more or open an investigation which can take up to five months. They have until Tuesday to do so. The Commission is scheduled to rule on the deal by  6 December.

Professional social networks which have access to Microsoft’s API (application program interface) will continue to have this facility once LinkedIn becomes part of the company, the people said.

The other key element of the company’s concessions is the option for computer hardware makers to install either LinkedIn or rival networks on computers, indicating that the company is keen to avoid any suggestion of packaging products to crush competitors.

Microsoft’s website shows it has software deals with hardware makers such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer and Huawei.

Telcos likely to have supreme power over Google

animal-memes-how-i-feel-when-i-have-waterproof-phoneAfter all its years being in bed with the Obama administration, the search engine Google might suddenly find itself in a bit of hot water.

Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump look like he is going to reverse Obama administration policies that often favoured the internet giant in the company’s battles with telecoms and cable heavyweights.

Trump looks like he will grab the pussy of the telecom firms and has already asked the US Federal Communications Commission to halt action on regulatory reform measures opposed by companies such as AT&T and CenturyLink.

The commission is now expected to reject FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s high-profile proposal to open the $20 billion market for rented pay-TV set-top boxes.

This would have dealt a big blow to cable companies and created an opening for firms such as Google.

Cable companies have expressed concerns that rivals like Google or Apple could create devices or apps and insert their own content or advertising in cable content.

This could also be bad news for net neutrality. Most Republicans strongly oppose net neutrality, which requires internet service providers to treat all data equally and bars them from obstructing or slowing down consumer access to web content.

Republicans in Congress or at a Republican-controlled FCC under a Trump administration could also pare back new privacy rules adopted in October that subject internet service providers to stricter rules than those faced by Google and other websites.

Germany mulls fining Facebook over hate speech

12Germany’s Justice Minister thinks that the social notworking site Facebook should be treated like a media company rather than a technology platform.

This slight change in definition would mean that it would be criminally liable for failing to remove hate speech.

German authorities are monitoring how many racist posts reported by Facebook users are deleted within 24 hours. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has pledged to take legislative measures if the results are not up to snuff.

Maas has said the European Union needs to decide whether platform companies should be treated like radio or television stations, which can be held accountable for the content they publish.

“In my view, they should be treated as media even if they do not correspond to the media concept of television or radio,” he said following a meeting of state justice ministers in Berlin.

Under current EU guidelines Facebook and other social media networks are not liable for any criminal content or hate posts hosted on their platform.

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter signed the EU hate speech code, vowing to fight racism and xenophobia by reviewing most hate speech notifications within 24 hours. But the code is voluntary.

Facebook flaw declares users to be dead

Dead-End-286A flaw on the social notworking site,Facebook started to decide that users were dead.

When some users logged on they discovered that they had joined Leonard Cohen, and the Norwegian Blue Parrot and become one of the many who had developed a  Life-Impairment disability.

The flaw caused Facebook to display a small memorial message above users’ regular homepage profile.  Which caused many to have to post signs saying they “ain’t dead yet”.

It appears that the bug is spreading quickly to others in the media, and has reportedly even affected the pages of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who many expected had been undead for some time.

The social network does offer a function that allows people to turn the profile pages of loved ones into a “Memorial” which is fine so long as someone does not exploit it.

Facebook said that a message meant for memorialized profiles was briefly posted to other accounts.

“This was a terrible error that we now have fixed. We are very sorry that this happened and we worked as quickly as possible to fix it,” said a company spokesperson by email.

Dark web is not as dim as you think

155310-bigthumbnailA new survey suggests that dark websites are not all about guns, drugs and kiddy porn.

Dark web data intelligence provider Terbium Labs has conducted the industry’s first data-driven, fact-based research report into what his happening on the Dark Web and found that it was not quite crime central.

The bulk of activity appearing on the dark web is much like the content and commerce found on the clear web. In fact, research found that nearly 55 percent of dark web content is legal.

Emily Wilson, Director of Analysis at Terbium Labs said that the vast majority of dark web research to date has focused on illegal activity while overlooking the existence of legal content.

“We wanted to take a complete view of the dark web to determine its true nature and to offer readers of this report a holistic view of dark web activity — both good and bad.”

Terbium Labs based the study on hard data and statistical analysis. The study “The Truth About the Dark Web: Separating Fact from Fiction” used Terbium’s dark web crawler, which continuously scours the dark web adding billions of new records to its database each day.

What this all means is that anonymity does not mean criminality. Pornography is a big part of the dark web, but not all of it is illegal. Discussions about dark web pornography almost exclusively revolve around exploitation, but the dark web is home to its fair share of explicit content that is totally legal — almost 7 per cent of the total content.

Drugs make up only 12 per cent of total content on the dark web, 45 per cent of illegal content on the dark web is focused on drugs. Similarly, pharmaceuticals represent three per cent of dark web content and 12 per cent of illegal content.

Fraud was much lower than anticipated, representing less than two per cent of total dark web content and nearly five per cent of illegal content.

Another odd thing was that the dark web was not terrorist central either. Terbium found only one incident of extremism in its sample. No incidents of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or human trafficking were observed, reiterating how rare these types of content are on the dark web.

Google brings the fact check tag to news

surprised-newspaper-readerSearch engine outfit Google has added a new “Fact check” tag to Google News, which it will apply to stories from select outlets that follow a specific protocol.

The tag will join an array of others that Google already uses to highlight certain types of articles, including “in-depth,” “highly cited,” and “local source”.

Google will not be fact-checking anything, except perhaps the qualifications of publications that would like to make their stories eligible for the tag. To get this particular qualification a site has to demonstrate that it is nonpartisan and that their reporting follows fact-checking conventions.

For those who came in late that means identifying the claims that they’re checking and checking multiple claims in the same article. Eligible stories will also need to be tagged using a markup called ClaimReview.

Only 10 websites are using that markup, according to schema.org so we are not talking about many.

At first, it seems to be surfacing stories mainly from dedicated fact-checking organizations, such as Politifact, rather than articles from mainstream news organizations.

Facebook solved its problem of “editorial bias” by laying off the team of human editors responsible for its trending news section and replacing them with software. As a result, the site has been plagued of fake news stories and conspiracy theories.