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Category Archives: Internet

Are VPNs really protecting your privacy and security?

An Analysis of the Privacy and Security Risks of Android VPN Permission-enabled Apps. MC 2016, November 14-16, 2016, Santa Monica, CA. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2987443.2987471.

“Millions of users worldwide resort to mobile VPN clients to either circumvent censorship or to access geo-blocked con- tent, and more generally for privacy and security purposes. In practice, however, users have little if any guarantees about the corresponding security and privacy settings, and perhaps no practical knowledge about the entities accessing their mobile traffic. In this paper we provide a first comprehensive analysis of 283 Android apps that use the Android VPN permission, which we extracted from a corpus of more than 1.4 million apps on the Google Play store. We perform a number of passive and active measurements designed to investigate a wide range of security and privacy features and to study the behavior of each VPN-based app. Our analysis includes investigation of possible malware presence, third-party library embedding, and traffic manipulation, as well as gauging user perception of the security and privacy of such apps. Our experiments reveal several instances of VPN apps that expose users to serious privacy and security vulnerabilities, such as use of insecure VPN tunneling protocols, as well as IPv6 and DNS traffic leakage. We also report on a number of apps actively performing TLS interception. Of particular concern are instances of apps that inject JavaScript programs for tracking, advertising, and for redirecting e-commerce traffic to external partners.”

Related – via NPR – “In the first major review of VPN providers, researchers from across the globe tested nearly 300 free VPN apps on Google Play. What they found was alarming. Nearly 40 percent injected malware or malvertising. And nearly 20 percent of the apps didn’t even encrypt user traffic. This month, the Center for Democracy & Technology filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging the VPN Hotspot Shield collects data and intercepts traffic. If true, that would be a direct violation of claims by the company’s policy to “never log or store user data.”

Report – Paper Remains Preferred Technology for Productive Learning

Paper and Packaging Board: “…Paper plays an important role in productive learning, which happens to be the theme of our annual Paper and Productive Learning: The Third Annual Back-to-School Report. By productive learning, we mean the ability to take in and understand new information. The human brain’s preference for the spatial and tactile makes paper… Continue Reading

NYT – Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web

The web is not as open as it once was, with nation-states exerting their power over the internet: “…Facebook encapsulates the reasons for the internet’s fragmentation — and increasingly, its consequences. The company has become so far-reaching that more than two billion people — about a quarter of the world’s population — now use Facebook… Continue Reading

The history, achievements and future work of Internet Wayback Machine

“We may be years away from the invention of the first functional time machine, but thanks to this awesome San Francisco-based non-profit digital library we can have “universal access to all knowledge.” Sounds great, right? The Internet archive was founded in 1996 with the mission: “We are building a public library that can serve anyone… Continue Reading

News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2017

Pew – “As of August 2017, two-thirds (67%) of Americans report that they get at least some of their news on social media – with two-in-ten doing so often, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center. This is a modest increase since early 2016, when (during the height of the presidential primaries) 62%… Continue Reading

Pew – 6 in 10 young adults in U.S. primarily use online streaming to watch TV

“The rise of online streaming services such as Netflix and HBO Go has dramatically altered the media habits of Americans, especially young adults. About six-in-ten of those ages 18 to 29 (61%) say the primary way they watch television now is with streaming services on the internet, compared with 31% who say they mostly watch… Continue Reading

NYT – How the Kremlin built one of the most powerful information weapons of the 21st century

RT, Sputnik and Russia’s New Theory of War How the Kremlin built one of the most powerful information weapons of the 21st century — and why it may be impossible to stop. Jim Rutenberg. September 13, 2017. “…After RT [Russia’s state-financed international cable network] and Sputnik gave platforms to politicians behind the British vote to… Continue Reading

Poynter – The most useful apps, tools and sites we used during Hurricane Irma

Please read and share these resources – we will continue to need them – via Ren LaForme:  “I’m writing to you from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I am “hunkered down” (may we never hear that phrase again) as Hurricane Irma’s remnants blow over. Watching Irma take aim at Florida, evacuating and worrying about friends who decided… Continue Reading

TIME – Firsts – Women Who Are Changing the World

TIME – “What a jagged image we use for women who achieve greatly, defining accomplishment in terms of the barrier rather than the triumph. There she is up where the air is thin, where men still outnumber women, but where the altitude is awesome. Our goal with Firsts is for every woman and girl to… Continue Reading

Implementation of facial recognition technology widens across the world

The Economist: “…Technology is rapidly catching up with the human ability to read faces. In America facial recognition is used by churches to track worshippers’ attendance; in Britain, by retailers to spot past shoplifters. This year Welsh police used it to arrest a suspect outside a football game. In China it verifies the identities of… Continue Reading

Transformer: A Novel Neural Network Architecture for Language Understanding

Transformer: A Novel Neural Network Architecture for Language Understanding Posted by Jakob Uszkoreit, Software Engineer, Natural Language: “Understanding Neural networks, in particular recurrent neural networks (RNNs), are now at the core of the leading approaches to language understanding tasks such as language modeling, machine translation and question answering. In Attention Is All You Need we introduce… Continue Reading

The State of the Web – A guide to impactful performance improvements

Karolina Szczur – via Medium: “The Internet is growing exponentially, and so is the Web platform we create. Often though we fail to reflect on the greater picture of connectivity and contexts the audience of our work might find themselves in. Even a short glance at the state of the World Wide Web shows that… Continue Reading