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02 Mar 2012 11:22


World: Pakistan’s building a controversial wall around its internet access

  • $10 million to build a “great firewall” around Pakistan’s interweb source
  • » And they’re being open about it: Unlike China and other countries that have national internet censorship policies, Pakistan is discussing the issue openly, going so far as to take proposals to build a wall and putting ads in the country’s newspapers. It’s drawn a lot of controversy, however, partly as a result of the ads. “The authorities here are big fans of China and how it filters the Internet,” said Sana Saleem of the activist group Bolo Bhi. “They overlook the fact that China is an autocratic regime and we are a democracy.”

13 Jul 2011 22:18


World: How heavily does the Chinese government censor the Internet?

  • 1.3 million websites shut down by the Chinese gov’t last year source
  • » This means there were 41% fewer websites accessible to China’s residents at the end of last year, compared to a year earlier. And the statistic comes directly from the Chinese government itself (well, a government-run think tank, at least), so it’s probably not an overstatement.

27 Jun 2011 14:27


Tech, World: Fun fact: Chinese Twitter clone nearly as big as Twitter itself

  • 57% the share of China’s microbloggers that use Sina Weibo — a Chinese Twitter clone; that’s roughly 140 million users (compared to Twitter’s roughly 200 million worldwide)
  • 87% the share of China’s total microblogging activity that goes through Sina Weibo; not bad for a former Yahoo-like portal site that’s stretching its wings source
  • » This is pretty huge. China has more internet users than any other country, and Sina is dominating their microblogging market. They’re trying to make themselves more than just China’s Twitter, though; they want to add more Facebook-like features as well. But that won’t be easy. Competition is fierce, because no single social media site dominates and the company faces strong competition from RenRen and Tencent. On top of that, though, Sina has to police its users and censor them if they’re talking against the government — something Twitter doesn’t have to do. Regardless, this sort of outside-in social media cloning is pretty fascinating to us.

14 Jun 2011 14:50


Tech, U.S.: Hackers break into, nothing of value is lost

  • A certain hacker group that’s been making headlines lately hacked the Senate’s website. However, they stole nothing of value — they only obtained information about to go on the site itself. The firewall protecting the Senate’s important documents kept them away from the data that could have been potentially harmful if released. Investigators traced the weakness in the system back to one senator’s office, but the senator hasn’t been named. In a press release about the incident, the hackers made it sound like this wouldn’t be the last time they targeted a government site, either. One thing is for sure — the White House should really look into cyber security if some amateur hackers are breaking into government websites this regularly. source

02 Jun 2011 14:18


Tech: Tennessee lawmakers pass stupid anti-password-sharing law

  • Share your password on Netflix? If you live in Tennessee, you should stop. They just passed a law that makes it illegal to share your password to sites like Netflix and Rhapsody — even with permission. They’re the first state to do this. While you don’t have to worry about sharing within the same house, you might have to worry if you have a son or daughter in college, because they just might be sharing your password with everyone on their floor in their dorm. This is because the language of the law is super-vague and punishes mostly innocuous uses of password-sharing. And the punishments are steep too — up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for $500 or less of “theft,” which the law treats as a misdemeanor. The recording industry, as you might guess, is behind this stupid law — and they hope other states will follow suit after this. source

02 Jun 2011 13:57


Tech: Meme theft drama: The Oatmeal takes on FunnyJunk

  • In one of the great battles of Memedom, this one might be remembered as the “War of Attribution.” What happens when a guy who draws a ton of memeworthy comics goes up against a site that aggregates comics just like his without any attribution whatsoever? Drama. That’s what happened when the guy behind The Oatmeal merely asked for a little credit for his work from the site FunnyJunk — after they stole all his content.
  • Many lulz, no attribution Matthew Inman, the creator of the famous webcomic The Oatmeal has a huge issue with Users of that site have been taking his comics, removing all forms of attribution, and posting them on the ad-laden site. He’s tried unsuccessfully to get them removed, but they keep showing up. “I realize that trying to police copyright infringement on the internet is like strolling into the Vietnamese jungle circa 1964 and politely asking everyone to use squirt guns,” Inman wrote, but he feels he needs to protect his rights.
  • Reasonable vs. immature All sorts of problems arose came from Inman just asking for FJ to link to his site — not exactly a huge thing — and the whole mess turned into a giant dramabomb that spread beyond The Oatmeal and FunnyJunk and hit Reddit and Facebook. It’s an interesting copyright battle that takes on some of the touches of YouTube vs. Viacom, except with more uses of anti-gay slurs and meme-talk. Honestly … we’re with Inman. And the guy who runs FunnyJunk is kind of an immature baby who tried to turn his entire userbase on Inman. source

01 Jun 2011 15:04


Tech: Google still revolutionizing internet search — +1 at a time.

  • It’s the new “like.” Google is expanding its rollout of a way to make searching more effective — the +1 button. Basically, it allows you to recommend search results to your friends and complete strangers in the event they search for the same thing you do. Google seems to think that they can even make searching for things on the web social. Realistically, it should help you sift through the thousands of search results to quickly find the one that’ll help the most. Keep an eye out for it, because a bunch of big sites are going to start using it. source

28 May 2011 14:02


World: Hosni Mubarak has to pay huge fine for Egypt Internet shutdown

  • $90 million the amount Hosni Mubarak and other Egyptian leaders were fined for their role in shutting down Internet and mobile phone service for five days
  • $34 million the size of the fine Mubarak has to pay personally, an amount that has to be paid immediately to the country’s national treasury source
  • » A fine still owed, appeal or not? The fine, which the judge ordered must be paid now, still must be paid even if Mubarak and the other defendants appeal the decision. Legal analyst Aly Hassan puts it as such: “The court ordered an immediate payment and the fine may be increased by the state if the damages increase during the year as compensation for lost revenue.” When Egypt’s Internet went down in January, it was an unprecedented event on the world stage — never before had anyone thought that a political leader had the power to shut the whole thing down.

16 May 2011 23:09


Tech: New bill would make it a felony to upload copyrighted content to YouTube

  • Wait, wait! Before you upload that episode of “Lil’ Bush” to YouTube, stop and ask yourself: Would I like to be a felon? Because if a new bill sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) passes, you could be. Under current law, streaming copyrighted content is considered an unauthorized public performance, which isn’t a felony. The new law would change this classification, meaning that the seemingly-benevolent act of sharing “Freddie Got Fingered” with the world could land you in prison for five years. The law wouldn’t apply to viewers of illegal streaming, only providers, but still. Five years? source

12 May 2011 15:35


Tech: Facebook and Google: A story of jealousy, bad PR and bad stories

  • Google You know, the giant company that seems to have their nose in everything nowadays. Could their success possibly be making Facebook jealous?
  • Facebook It seems like it. A PR agency working for someone tried to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers and bloggers. (Some may have taken the bait.) source