That would be quite funny.
As of December 8, Apple has been requiring developers submitting new apps and app updates to provide privacy label information that outlines the data that each app collects from users when it is installed.
Many app developers, such as Facebook, have complied and now include the privacy labels alongside their apps, but there’s one notable outlier – Google.
Throughout much of 2019, Internet tech giant Google has attempted to portray itself as a public champion of web privacy. Yet, behind the scenes, a very different view of Google is emerging. In August 2019, at approximately the same time that Google was rolling out its much-hyped “Privacy Sandbox” privacy framework, it was also working to block efforts of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards body to bolster the web privacy features of new technical specifications.
We’ve seen that several companies have abandoned their original dedication to the open source community by switching their core products from an open source license, one approved by the Open Source Initiative, to a “fauxpen” source license. The hallmark of a fauxpen source license is that those who made the switch claim that their product continues to remain “open” under the new license, but the new license actually has taken away user rights.
Despite the fact that the global startup economy is driving more innovation than ever, founders from Chile to India to Nigeria are compelled to incorporate their companies in Delaware, if they seek sizable capital for growth. Incorporating in Delaware may seem like a dramatic imposition on a startup’s identity — doing so is often to its legal and financial detriment —but most founders accept it as a necessary step to achieving international success. The Delaware path to incorporation has become so baked into the global technology market that, rather than try to supplant it, companies are building products to help navigate the state’s complicated corporate restructuring procedure, now virtually required of foreign companies by both local and American funders.
Recent events surrounding social media have made many people think about leaving the currently dominant platforms. If you are looking for alternatives, you’ll inevitably come across the term ‘Fediverse’. But what is the Fediverse and why should you use it?
In this first in a series of FAQs, I’ll try to answer questions that a total beginner might have. In later installments, I’ll answer more questions about the technical details and about Pleroma specifics.
I hope this will help you along on your way to the Fediverse!
Much has been written and broadcast about the recent actions from Google and Apple to remove the Parler app from their app stores. Apps get removed from these app stores all the time, but more than almost any past move by these companies, this one has brought the power Big Tech companies wield over everyone’s lives to the minds of every day people. Journalists have done a good job overall in presenting the challenges and concerns with this move, as well as addressing the censorship and anti-trust issues at play. If you want a good summary of the issues, I found Cory Doctorow’s post on the subject a great primer.
Under the law, which critics say stifles dissent, social media companies that do not appoint such representatives are liable for a series of penalties, including the latest move by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK).
The law allows authorities to remove content from platforms, rather than blocking access as they did in the past. It has caused concern as people turn more to online platforms after Ankara tightened its grip on mainstream media.
A culture that embraces surveillance and technosolutionism is one that has abandoned trust. If we value a humanistic approach to solving problems, one that nurtures trust not only in our institutions and communities but also in each other, an approach that draws on the strength of that trust to rebuild, then asking those “whys” is the first and most important step.
Reading people’s gemlogs, I get a sense of a smaller internet. I stumble across an article about Pacific Northwest seaweed, a list of types. Someone else writes her thoughts: “Really, prepare to question groupthink”. A history of adoptable cyberpets. It is addicting to read people’s neat summaries of interests, ascii art embellishments.
But something about it makes me sad.
There’s something called the Eternal September, about how – well, should I be pretending to tell you from the position of someone who’d know? It happened the month after I was born.
Every September before, college students with new network access would stream onto Usenet fora without ever having accustomed themselves to the etiquette. Things would get rowdy and stupid for a while. Then they would learn or get bored and things would quiet down again.
That September, though, was more than just college students – America Online offered Usenet access to all its members. Ever after, the numbers would be dominated by those who had no manners, who didn’t know there was culture to learn. September continued forever.
The German parliament on Thursday approved a reform of national competition law that would make Germany the first country in the world with preventative rules tailored to counter the market power of large digital platforms.
In moving forward quickly with the new constraints on Big Tech, Germany is increasing its leverage in the EU’s development of a similar bloc-wide reforms that could end up replacing the German framework — but Berlin’s approach also opens the door to legal challenges by the internet platforms.
The Web is a key space for civic debate and the current battleground for protecting freedom of expression.
And yet, since its development, the Web has steadily evolved into an ecosystem of large, corporate-controlled mega-platforms which intermediate speech online. In many ways this has been a positive development; these platforms improved usability and enabled billions of people to publish and discover content without having to become experts on the Web’s intricate protocols.
But in other ways this development is alarming. Just a few large platforms drive most traffic to online news sources in the U.S., and thus have enormous influence over what sources of information the public consumes on a daily basis. The existence of these consolidated points of control is troubling for many reasons. A small number of stakeholders end up having outsized influence over the content the public can create and consume. This leads to problems ranging from censorship at the behest of national governments to more subtle, perhaps even unintentional, bias in the curation of content users see based on opaque, unaudited curation algorithms. The platforms that host our networked public sphere and inform us about the world are unelected, unaccountable, and often impossible to audit or oversee.
At the same time, there is growing excitement around the area of decentralized systems, which have grown in prominence over the past decade thanks to the popularity of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a payment system that has no central points of control, and uses a novel peer-to-peer network protocol to agree on a distributed ledger of transactions, the blockchain. Bitcoin paints a picture of a world where untrusted networks of computers can coordinate to provide important infrastructure, like verifiable identity and distributed storage. Advocates of these decentralized systems propose related technology as the way forward to “re-decentralize” the Web, by shifting publishing and discovery out of the hands of a few corporations, and back into the hands of users. These types of code-based, structural interventions are appealing because in theory, they are less corruptible and resistant to corporate or political regulation. Surprisingly, low-level, decentralized systems don’t necessarily translate into decreased market consolidation around user-facing mega-platforms.
Lava lamps to generate random numbers. Cool!
The Pirate Bay retained its position as the world’s most popular torrent site at the start of 2021 but all is not well. While the site is up and accessible for most, the index is suffering significant technical problems that due to their confusing nature, have many users scratching their heads. Nevertheless, there are still options to coax it back to life.
We were promised the Internet would be better than democracy. But then it got privatized. Corporations own it. There is no online bill of rights. There is only the frenzy of the mob and fickle choices of a few billionaires.
Here technology itself will return to the forefront: if the priority for an increasing number of citizens, companies, and countries is to escape centralization, then the answer will not be competing centralized entities, but rather a return to open protocols.
This is the only way to match and perhaps surpass the R&D advantages enjoyed by centralized tech companies; open technologies can be worked on collectively, and forked individually, gaining both the benefits of scale and inevitability of sovereignty and self-determination.
So. What are you all doing about WhatsApp?