Controversial Reads 092521

Apple then made public what was private. The company, under CEO Tim Cook’s leadership, had actually been consulting the FBI on various methods for hacking the phone. In fact, the FBI had botched one of the suggested techniques after a mistake. The agency wasn’t willing to risk another gaffe.

Software locks, API restrictions, legal threats, forced downgrades and more – these are why Big Tech stays big.

Megan Borovicka joined Facebook in 2013 and then forgot she even had an account. But Facebook never forgot about her.

On May 27, 2020, in the French National Assembly, Cédric O, the French Secretary of State for Digital Economy, forcibly expressed his government’s frustration with Apple and Google in terms more appropriate to a cold war confrontation between superpowers.

Almost everything we do online today is designed to be addictive. The average American spent more than two hours a day on social media in 2020.

Gary Gensler, Joe Biden’s deeply establishmentarian SEC head, has dropped a bomb on the crypto community with his sudden attack on Coinbase, the leading crypto platform.

As the data these devices collect is sold and shared—and hacked—deciding what risks you’re comfortable with is a necessary part of making an informed choice. And those risks vary widely, in part because there’s no single, comprehensive federal law regulating how most companies collect, store, or share customer data.

There are more federal facial recognition technology (FRT) systems than there are federal agencies using them, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office.

Technologists and law enforcement have been arguing about cryptography policy for about 30 years now. People talk past each other, with each side concluding the other side are unreasonable jerks because of some fundamental incompatible assumptions between two conceptual worlds in collision.

The Phorpiex botnet has been operating for years now. It first focused on distributing old-school worms that spread via infected USB drives or through chats that relied on the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) protocol.

The recent IP address crisis involving Africa’s regional internet registry (Afrinic) and Cloud Innovation has shaken up the internet industry, also raising the long-standing question if RIR’s IP asset governance policies are sustainable for long-term network growth.

Privacy-preserving DNS protocols like DNS over HTTPS (DoH), DNS over TLS (DoT), and DNS over QUIC (DoQ) have been around since 2014 but they have only recently been brought to the attention of the general public following Firefox’s announcement to make DoH a default.

As the United States pulled its troops out of Afghanistan after a 20-year occupation, byproducts of the prolonged deployment took on new meaning and represented a new chapter of danger for the Afghan people.

In what appears to be a “throw spaghetti on the wall approach” to stopping antitrust reform targeting Big Tech, a few Members of Congress and a range of former military and intelligence officials wrote a letter asserting that these companies need to be protected for national security.

Yet his tone resonates with a growing unease within the US and elsewhere over the extraordinary rise of these technology giants, not just in monetary terms but in terms of their social power as well.

Commentators on the recent district court’s order for a preliminary injunction in Netchoice, LLC v. Ashley Brooke Moody et al. have focused on social media’s victory against the State of Florida, celebrating the court’s opinion that Google, YouTube, and Facebook are private companies beyond the reach of Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature’s newest rules restricting Silicon Valley’s ability to censor, deplatform and block users. These writers have neglected the tone of irresolution in this and similar cases decided in favor of Big Tech, however.

Apple has long been seen as a champion of security and privacy in a tech industry consumed with vacuuming up consumer data. Two recent events, however, have raised questions about whether the iPhone maker’s reputation is losing its luster.

Anyone who spends a decent amount of time online knows what happens when you shove a bunch of strangers into the same place. We replicate existing power dynamics, we form groups, we troll, we project our biases, we yell until only the most extreme voices are the ones that get heard.

Tech’s market concentration—summed up brilliantly by Tom Eastman, a New Zealand software developer, as the transformation of the Internet into “a group of five websites, each consisting of screenshots of text from the other four”—has aroused concern from regulators around the world.

At the center of debate regarding regulation of social media and the Internet is Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act of 1996. This law grants immunity to online platforms from civil liabilities based on third-party content.

Google has been so successful in its execution and protection of its brand that we culturally understand that to “Google” something is to conduct an internet search, despite the existence of alternative search engines.