Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Internet

The Wayback Machine is Deleting Evidence of Malware Sold to Stalkers

Motherboard: This story is part of When Spies Come Home, a Motherboard series about powerful surveillance software ordinary people use to spy on their loved ones. “The Internet Archive’s goal, according to its website, is “universal access to all knowledge.” As part of that mission, the non-profit runs the Wayback Machine, an online tool that anyone can use to digitally preserve a snapshot of a website. It provides an important public service, in that if a company tries to quietly change its policy, or perhaps a government tries to scrub a position from its website, the Wayback Machine can provide robust proof of the switch. But the Internet Archive has been purging its banks of content related to a company which marketed powerful malware for abusive partners to spy on their spouses. The news highlights the broader issue of the fragility of online archives, including those preserving information in the public interest. “Journalists and human rights defenders often rely on archiving services such as the Wayback Machine as tools to preserve evidence that might be key to demand accountability,” Claudio Guarnieri, a technologist at human rights charity Amnesty International, told Motherboard in an online chat. The company in question is FlexiSpy, a Thailand-based firm which offers desktop and mobile malware. The spyware can intercept phone calls, remotely turn on a device’s microphone and camera, steal emails and social media messages, as well as track a target’s GPS location. Previously, pages from FlexiSpy’s website saved to the Wayback Machine showed a customer survey, with over 50 percent of respondents saying they were interested in a spy phone product because they believe their partner may be cheating. That particular graphic was mentioned in a recent New York Times piece on the consumer spyware market…”

Women, Gender, Sexuality, and Computing History

David Brock, Computer History Museum: “The experience of women, and the issues of gender and sexuality, are vitally important to our understanding of the story of computing, and hence our contemporary world, for many reasons. Perhaps most straightforwardly, women have been ubiquitous throughout the history of computing as makers and users of it. As Eileen… Continue Reading

60 Minutes – How Did Google Get So Big?

60 Minutes reports on the power of Google, a company whose critics say has stifled competition – “This past week the Federal Trade Commission was asked to investigate the data collected by Google on its Android operating system, which powers most of the world’s smartphones. It was a tiny blip in the news cycle but another… Continue Reading

Meet the new boss same as the old boss only with more data

Via Dave Pell NextDraft: We Got Fooled Again – “In the early days of the internet, we rooted for web upstarts to disintermediate and disrupt the world’s biggest companies that we felt had conspired against consumers in an increasingly centralized system. Well, here comes the new boss. Same as the old boss (except the new… Continue Reading

UK – Internet Safety Strategy green paper

“The Internet Safety Strategy looks at how we can ensure Britain is the safest place in the world to be online. The Strategy considers the responsibilities of companies to their users, the use of technical solutions to prevent online harms and government’s role in supporting users. The consultation covered various aspects of online safety including:… Continue Reading

3 new tools to study and counter online disinformation

Indiana University Bloomington: “Researchers at CNetS, IUNI, and the Indiana University Observatory on Social Media have launched upgrades to two tools playing a major role in countering the spread of misinformation online: Hoaxy and Botometer.  A third tool Fakey — an educational game designed to make people smarter news consumers — also launches with the upgrades. Hoaxy is a search engine that… Continue Reading

20 years of the Laws of Cyberspace

20 years of the Laws of Cyberspace – Harvard’s Berkman Klein event celebrates how Lawrence Lessig’s groundbreaking paper provided structure to the Center’s field of study. What if an architecture emerges that permits constant monitoring; an architecture that facilitates the constant tracking of behavior and movement. What if an architecture emerged that would costlessly collect… Continue Reading

TV Academy launches new free searchable website of historic interviews

“The Television Academy Foundation has launched its new website for The Interviews: An Oral History of Television, (TelevisionAcademy.com/Interviews), featuring never-before-seen interviews with many of television’s most beloved stars, show creators and behind-the-scenes innovators.It is the world’s largest such collection available online. For more than 20 years the Foundation has been recording and preserving the first-person… Continue Reading

Study – Google and Internet Archive Are Top Choices for ISIS Propaganda

Fortune: “While the Islamic State has been largely wiped off the physical battlefield, the terrorist group continues to maintain a steady presence on popular websites despite an increased push by tech companies to purge them. On Tuesday, the cybersecurity firm Flashpoint released a new report that lists the most popular sources of ISIS propaganda over… Continue Reading

Facebook’s fake news algorithm seems to be working

The Outline: “Facebook’s January 12 announcement that it would begin to deprioritize news in users’ News Feed left publishers shaking in their boots. “[B]y making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” admitted Mark Zuckerberg, much to the horror of every major media outlet,… Continue Reading

Ireland’s Open Data Portal

Ireland launches the third version of their national data portal DATA.GOV.IE – Promoting innovation and transparency through the publication of Irish Public Sector data in open, free and reusable formats. “A new and improved version of the national Open Data portal, data.gov.ie was recently launched. It is the third iteration of the portal now using… Continue Reading

NBC – Google sells the future, powered by your personal data

NBC News: Personal data collection practices are in the hot seat. So why isn’t Google, which collects more data than Facebook, feeling the heat? The more Google products you use, the more Google can gather about you. Whether it’s Gmail, the Android smartphone operating system, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Maps, and, of course, Google Search… Continue Reading