The Weekly Standard's Matt Labash on meme culture
While I think he misses some of the wonder in the emergent order that are Internet memes, and I can’t believe he didn’t mention 4chan, this dispatch from ROFLcon is definitely worth a read, especially for the Tumblr set.
Family advocates worry as Facebook looks to allow access for children
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the social media giant is testing features that would allow young children to access the site. The children’s accounts may be linked to their parents, so that the parents can control whom their children friend and which applications they use.
Privacy advocates are having a cow. What do you think? Should kids under 13 have legal access to Facebook?
How Cyberpunk Killed Cybersecurity
Adam Elkus and Alex Olesker:
Now Rey has the cultural implications of digital dualism down cold. What are the policy implications? The first is the inability to see the very real similarities between all things “cyber” and everything else. Most petty crimes are never solved, so why should we be surprised that cybercrimes go mostly unpunished? Is there a very big difference between someone stealing your bike from the local DC bikeshare because they had figured out a vulnerability that not even the lock manufacturer suspected and a zero-day exploit? And when it comes down to who should have organizational responsibility for law enforcement or military aspects of cyber conflict, the myth of cyberspace as a corporeal thing that we enter into via digital, disembodied avatars has immense consequences.
Free Wi-Fi, but Speed Costs
As devices demanding Wi-Fi proliferate, airports and hotels are also turning to tiered pricing models: offering limited Internet access free and a faster premium service to customers willing to pay.
Someone call the cops. That’s discrimination.
Preventing a Cybercrime Wave
Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, in the NYT:
The alarm bells sound regularly: cybergeddon; the next Pearl Harbor; one of the greatest existential threats facing the United States. With increasing frequency, these are the grave terms officials invoke about the menace of cybercrime — and they’re not understating the threat.
Also from the NYT, check out this archive of the 100+ stories they ran on “the Y2K Problem.”
One thing Mr. Bharara is right about, though, is the need for breach disclosure laws.
How Apple and Congress Limit iPhone Users' Freedom
Tim Lee in response to my post on the EFF’s attack on Apple:
[Consumers are] being deprived of the freedom to purchase legal jailbreaking tools. In 1998, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes it a felony to distribute products “primarily designed” for circumventing copy-protection schemes like the one on the iPhone. Breaking the law “willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage” can get you a half-million dollar fine and five years in prison. …
When Apple decided to lock down the iPhone, it was effectively invoking the force of criminal law against jailbreaking. That seems like a restriction on users’ freedom to me even if, like me and Jerry, you view freedom in terms of negative rights.
I agree with Tim that the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision is a misguided encroachment on personal liberty. But it’s Congress, not Apple, that is to blame. As far as I know, Apple didn’t lobby for the law, and iIt’s not their fault that locking down a phone can create criminal liabilities. But even if Apple willfully avails itself of the law, the solution is not to force Apple to be open through regulation, but instead to repeal the anti-circumvention law. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Apple isn’t depriving anyone of liberty; the government is.
Evernote releases new version with multiple windows in full-screen
In my continuing merry-go-round between Evernote, Yojimbo and DevonThink, Evernote has regained pole position, at least as the everything bucket. This new version has some great improvements, but it’s more fun to criticize:
When you’re in full screen mode on OS X Lion, you can now double click on as many notes as you like and view each in its own window, all while Evernote remains in full screen in the background.
That is the complete opposite of what a full-screen mode is supposed to be about. The point is to have a single, modal view. Anyhow, it really bugs me that I can’t use Evernote in full-screen without having windows pop-up.
Anonymous And The War Over The Internet
"You’ve heard Anons say before that this is a war," he said. "A full scale information war. That’s not mere propaganda, many regard that as a perfectly accurate description. And the stake at play is, simply, ‘Who will control access to information? Everyone or a small subset?’"
In case it wasn’t clear, he then labeled that subset: “The government.”
First in a two-part series tracing the development of Anonymous by Skaki Knafo at HuffPo.
DDoS Attacks Increased by 2000% in Past 3 Years, Asia Generating Over Half of Recent Attacks
What’s amazing about this is not the increase, but how resilient the Internet is and how well it adapts.
How Thick Is Your Bubble?
In case you haven’t seen it, here is a quiz that goes along with Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. His thesis is that the elite that influences the course of the country is out of touch with the mainstream middle class more than ever given that they live in coastal Arugula-lined bubbles. (The obvious question is: So what? I guess I’ll have to read the book to see if he sheds light on that.)
The quiz purports to tell you how elite or not you are by asking questions about NASCAR and what beer you drink. I scored a 4 out of 20, which means my bubble is pretty thick. How about taking the quiz and reblogging this with your score?
What Europe’s ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Has in Common with SOPA
Me at TIME.com: “In George Orwell’s 1984, the Ministry of Truth employs a “memory hole” to eliminate inconvenient facts. If a previously published photo or record later proves to be embarrassing for the government, it is thrown down the hole. The facts are erased from the face of the earth and the world is led to believe that something that happened never actually happened. The European Commission last week sought to give citizens their own personal memory holes.”
Why We Won’t See Many Protests like the SOPA Blackout
Me at TIME.com: “The SOPA blackout protest last week was an unprecedented event. Its massive success — with dozens of members of Congress switching their stance in one day under the withering intensity of thousands of phone calls — surprised even the activists who spurred the protest. So does this mean that we are entering the much-heralded era of Internet-powered citizen democracy?”
At the Top of Congress’ New Year Agenda? Regulate the Net
This week in TIME I recap the latest on SOPA and PIPA and look at what’s ahead once Congress reconvenes. I also address the argument that the piracy bills don’t amount to censorship since they’re aimed at unprotected speech.
Hackers Blow Up Illinois Water Utility…or Not
Over at TIME.com, I write about the “Russian hackers are in our water plants” min-panic that erupted last week. Turns out it was a false alarm, but that didn’t stop the rhetoric from going on overdrive. Check out this story from Nov. 21, one day before DHS and the FBI announced there was no attack, which said that a variant of Stuxnet had been used to attack the Illinois water plant and “caused the destruction of a water pump”. My takeaways from this incident:
First, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on sketchy first reports of cyberattacks. Bad reporting tends to take on a life of its own. Two years ago, an electrical blackout in Brazil was similarly blamed on hackers, but the cause turned out to be nothing more than sooty insulators. That hasn’t stopped pundits, defense contractors and politicians from citing the debunked incident as evidence that we need comprehensive legislation to regulate Internet security.
Second, although Bellovin was mistaken in believing the initial reports, he’s right that such an attack is possible. The discussion should be about the possible magnitude of attacks and what can be done to prevent them. Although the rhetorical engines of those who want new cyber-legislation were spinning into overdrive before the facts abruptly shut them down, this incident, if it had been a cyberattack, would not have shown a dire need for new rules. Instead, it showed that the damage was not catastrophic and that the water utility worked well with federal authorities under existing law.
Read the whole thing at TIME.com.