Internet

Internet & Web

Your internet data is rotting

Free storage is a great offer, but sometimes you only get what you pay for. The internet is neither secure nor permanent. It never promised to be, and users should not assume that it will become so. Parts are rotting and corroding and collapsing as I type this. Just hope and plan to not be resting on that platform when it falls.
From Your internet data is rotting
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Inside Wayback Machine, the internet’s time capsule

“On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change,” he wrote. “It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours… need to design for change. For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible.” According to anonymous sources, the Wayback Machine has since become more selective about accepting omission requests. In a “post-fact” era, where fake news is rampant and basic truths are openly and brazenly disputed, the Wayback Machine is working to preserve a verifiable, unedited record of history — without obstruction. “If we allow those who control the present to control the past then they control the future,” Kahle told Recode. “Whole newspapers go away. Countries blink on and off. If we want to know what happened 10 years ago, 20 years ago, [the internet] is often the only record.”
From Inside Wayback Machine, the internet’s time capsule
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What Public Libraries Will Lose Without Net Neutrality

Via the Verge, New York Public Library’s CEO and president Anthony Marx and associate director of information policy Greg Cram discuss the issue, explaining exactly which library resources an open internet protects, who would be hurt the most by net neutrality’s rollback, and why handing the internet to ISPs could threaten the basic foundation of American democracy.

The rollback of net neutrality opens the possibility for ISPs to start to play with how we pay for the internet, but because [it hasn’t] been rolled back yet, we don’t have evidence that they will in fact do those things. It’s a little speculative at this point. I think everyone is speculating a little bit in this. But the indications we got from the ISPs are that there will be paid prioritization and for us, there are specific things that would likely end up in the slow lane.

The most important part of Facebook's disinformation strategy is what it leaves out

But what we’re left with is the real prospect of foreign powers manipulating public discourse, and no clear way to fix it. As with false reporting, Facebook has laid out a plan for more aggressive action against fake accounts, but it’s running up against more serious limits. Even more than false information, disinformation campaigns happen largely outside of Facebook’s control. What should be a reassuring document ends up as an admission of defeat. This is what Facebook can do to fight the problem -- and what it can’t do. The bigger message may be that if we want to protect public discourse, we’ll need more than algorithms.
From The most important part of Facebook's disinformation strategy is what it leaves out - The Verge
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That Wasn’t Mark Twain: How a Misquotation Is Born

“When I started off, it was mysterious exactly where these misquotations were coming from, and it was interesting that sometimes you could find these clues that pointed to how they may have originated,” said Mr. O’Toole, an alias for Gregory F. Sullivan, a former teacher and researcher in the Johns Hopkins computer science department who now spends his time writing.
From That Wasn’t Mark Twain: How a Misquotation Is Born - The New York Times
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Cliff Stoll discusses the Internet 20 years ago

What did he get right? What did he get wrong?

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European court says linking to illegal content is copyright infringement

In a decision that is already controversial, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled in favor of copyright owners and against hyperlinks. The CJEU decision, though qualified, raises the strong possibility that publishers linking to infringing third party sites will also be liable for infringement.
From European court says linking to illegal content is copyright infringement
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The lost infrastructure of social media

More than a decade ago, the earliest era of blogging provided a set of separate but related technologies that helped the nascent form thrive. Today, most have faded away and been forgotten, but new incarnations of these features could still be valuable.
From The lost infrastructure of social media. — Medium
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The rise and fall of the Gopher protocol

McCahill told Berners-Lee that he would need to look at the Web more closely. But it wasn’t much to look at when McCahill went back to Minnesota and examined it. There were no graphics yet. It was still only running on NeXT computers. “I wasn’t feeling it,” McCahill says. I told him, ‘Tim, I don’t think so.’ Of course, I look back and say, ‘I might have been wrong.’ ”
From The rise and fall of the Gopher protocol | MinnPost
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The End of Books - NY Times Books Section - 1992

Hypertext is truly a new and unique environment. Artists who work there must be read there. And they will probably be judged there as well: criticism, like fiction, is moving off the page and on line, and it is itself susceptible to continuous changes of mind and text. Fluidity, contingency, indeterminacy, plurality, discontinuity are the hypertext buzzwords of the day, and they seem to be fast becoming principles, in the same way that relativity not so long ago displaced the falling apple.
From The End of Books

Archiveteam: saving our digital heritage.

Archive Team is a loose collective of rogue archivists, programmers, writers and loudmouths dedicated to saving our digital heritage. Since 2009 this variant force of nature has caught wind of shutdowns, shutoffs, mergers, and plain old deletions - and done our best to save the history before it's lost forever. Along the way, we've gotten attention, resistance, press and discussion, but most importantly, we've gotten the message out: IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. This website is intended to be an offloading point and information depot for a number of archiving projects, all related to saving websites or data that is in danger of being lost. Besides serving as a hub for team-based pulling down and mirroring of data, this site will provide advice on managing your own data and rescuing it from the brink of destruction.
From Archiveteam
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The Web’s Creator Looks to Reinvent It

Still, not all the major players agree on whether the web needs decentralizing. “The web is already decentralized,” Mr. Berners-Lee said. “The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging. We don’t have a technology problem, we have a social problem.” One that can, perhaps, be solved by more technology.
From The Web’s Creator Looks to Reinvent It - The New York Times
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The Web’s Creator Looks to Reinvent It

Still, not all the major players agree on whether the web needs decentralizing. “The web is already decentralized,” Mr. Berners-Lee said. “The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging. We don’t have a technology problem, we have a social problem.” One that can, perhaps, be solved by more technology.
From The Web’s Creator Looks to Reinvent It - The New York Times
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DPLA Launches Full Support for HTTPS

DPLA is pleased to announce that the entirety of our website, including our portal, exhibitions, Primary Source Sets, and our API, are now accessible using HTTPS by default. DPLA takes user privacy seriously, and the infrastructural changes that we have made to support HTTPS allows us to extend this dedication further and become signatories of the Library Digital Privacy Pledge of 2015-2016, developed by our colleagues at the Library Freedom Project. The changes we’ve made include the following: Providing HTTPS versions of all web services that our organization directly controls (including everything under the dp.la domain), for both human and machine consumption, Automatic redirection for all HTTP requests to HTTPS, and A caching thumbnail proxy for items provided by the DPLA API and frontend, which serves the images over HTTPS instead of providing them insecurely.
From Digital Public Library of America » Blog Archive » Open, Free, and Secure to All: DPLA Launches Full Support for HTTPS
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TLSWikipedia all-conquering

The all-conquering encyclopedia of the twenty-first century is, famously, the first such work to have been compiled entirely by uncredentialled volunteers. It is also the first reference work ever produced as a way of killing time during coffee breaks. Not the least of Wikipedia’s wonders is to have done away with the drudgery that used to be synonymous with the writing of reference works. An army of anonymous, tech-savvy people – mostly young, mostly men – have effortlessly assembled and organized a body of knowledge unparalleled in human history. “Effortlessly” in the literal sense of without significant effort: when you have 27,842,261 registered editors (not all of them active, it is true), plus an unknown number of anonymous contributors, the odd half-hour here and there soon adds up to a pretty big encyclopedia.
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How I used lies about a cartoon to prove history is meaningless on the internet

But like any worthwhile fiction writer, I believe my lies have highlighted an important modern truth: history is more mutable than it has ever been thanks to the explosion of information on the internet. We form rough consensuses based on vast amounts of conflicting data, but who really has the power to verify any of it? This is especially true when the stakes are low. A lot of people will put effort into dispelling rumors that the Moon landing was fake or that Hitler is still alive, sure, but who cares enough about something as meaningless and easy to ignore as Street Sharks to make sure all the information about it online is totally accurate? Some people do, which is why my lies were mostly removed, but that took years and they didn’t fully stamp out every online instance of Roxie or Meathook.
From How I used lies about a cartoon to prove history is meaningless on the internet | News | Geek.com
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The Open Data Delusion

These legal difficulties should not hide the fact that Open Data is ultimately powerful when it represents a conversation between data experts inside the system and data users who access that system. And to see the system become mature and produce better services, it needs to keep that conversation alive, learn from it, and use its lessons to change.
From The Open Data Delusion - Broken Toilets
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China’s scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works

Indeed, China’s Firewall is far more sophisticated and multi-tiered than a simple on-off switch: It is an attempt to bridge one of the country’s most fundamental contradictions — to have an economy intricately connected to the outside world but a political culture closed off from such “Western values” as free speech and democracy.
From China’s scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works. - The Washington Post
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How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet

...but censorship using the DMCA is common online. The act allows web hosts a certain amount of immunity from claims of copyright infringement through what is known as the “safe harbour” rules: in essence, a host isn’t responsible for hosting infringing material provided they didn’t know about it when it went up, and took it down as soon as they were told about it. In practice, however, this means that web hosts (and the term is broadly interpreted, meaning sites like YouTube, Twitter and Google count) are forced to develop a hair-trigger over claims of copyright infringement, assuming guilt and asking the accused to prove their innocence.
From Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet | Technology | The Guardian
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Rethinking Knowledge in the Internet Age

This would be a source of pure despair if the internet were not also enabling us to see that before it existed we never agreed about anything either. Before the net, what we read and saw was so tightly controlled by cartels of well-intentioned professionals that dissenting voices were barely heard. True, many of those dissenting voices were wrong and sometimes they were spouting lunacy, but we marginalized all but the one percent of the epistemically privileged. We achieved great science but at a high price throughout the rest of the cultural landscape, and sometimes within science, too. This fragmentation of knowledge is a fact that knowledge cannot overcome. How, then, do we best live with it? How do we flourish now that we can’t reason ourselves back together?
From Rethinking Knowledge in the Internet Age - Los Angeles Review of Books

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