Connexion: French MPs back social media age restrictions for teenagers
Washington Post: Governments shut down the internet more often than ever, report says. “Authorities in 35 countries instituted internet shutdowns at least 187 times, according to the New York-based digital rights watchdog Access Now. Nearly half of these shutdowns occurred in India, and if that nation is excluded, 2022 saw the most number of shutdowns globally since the group began monitoring disruptions in 2016.”
CNN: Disconnected: My year without the Internet. “We are using the Internet wrong. Smartphones turn people into horrible listeners. And cat videos aren’t as riveting as we think they are. These are just some of the revelations writer Paul Miller had during a year of self-imposed exile from the Internet.”
Engadget: Google Fiber launches 5Gbps service for $125 per month. “Google Fiber is launching the 5Gbps internet plan it began testing in October. The service will initially cover four cities, but Google says the $125-per-month service will expand to other areas later this year.”
Foreign Policy: Turkey Tests Elon Musk’s Grasp of Twitter. “Ankara has never shied away from muzzling critics and the media, and analysts are concerned that the recent blocking of Twitter is a sign of government steps to silence political discourse ahead of highly anticipated elections scheduled for May—and that Twitter may be holding the leash.”
Associated Press: Ethiopia’s social media blocked amid church split tensions. “Widespread tensions caused by a rift within Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christian church have resulted in the suspension of access to social media platforms including TikTok, Facebook and Telegram.”
Ars Technica: Starlink, Verizon, and T-Mobile made shaky claims on FCC coverage map. “Multiple Internet service providers have submitted false availability data to the federal government for a map that will be used to determine which parts of the US get access to a $42.45 billion broadband fund. We wrote about Comcast’s false coverage claims last week, and this article will detail false or at least questionable coverage claims from SpaceX’s Starlink division and the wireless home Internet divisions at Verizon and T-Mobile.”
Mashable: Snowflake helped Tor users thwart Russian censorship. Now the VPN is branching out as Snowstorm.. “For years, Tor has been a thorn in the side of censorious rulers looking to stop its citizens from freely accessing the internet, but the Russian and Iranian governments have learned its weaknesses and succeeded in blocking direct access to the Tor network at certain times. But unlike other services blocked by these governments, Tor has been deployed alongside the traffic-channeling tool Snowflake, enabling its network to function amid efforts at censorship.”
CNN: SpaceX admits blocking Ukrainian troops from using satellite technology. “The president of SpaceX revealed the company has taken active steps to prevent Ukrainian forces from using the critical Starlink satellite technology with Ukrainian drones that are a key component of their fight against Russia.”
Poynter: Mongolia moves to seize power to shut down internet, control social media. “The Mongolian parliament passed a multipronged law last week that would ban users from posting information about any public official without express government consent. Any information shared in an online group of more than three will be subject to inspection, and the minister of internal affairs can shut off the internet.”
Ohio State News: Why technology alone can’t solve the digital divide. “For some communities, the digital divide remains even after they have access to computers and fast internet, new research shows. A study of the Bhutanese refugee community in Columbus found that even though more than 95% of the population had access to the internet, very few were using it to connect with local resources and online news. And the study, which was done during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders in Ohio, found that nearly three-quarters of respondents never used the internet for telehealth services.”
Ars Technica: Comcast agents mistakenly reject some poor people who qualify for free Internet. “People with low incomes can get free Internet service through Comcast and a government program, but signing up is sometimes harder than it should be because of confusion within Comcast’s customer service department.”
KXAN: Texas bill would ban social media for those under 18. “If passed, any Texan under the age of 18 would not be authorized to hold a social media account. Further, social media companies would have to verify the age of the account holder, which would require the account holder to prove their age with their driver’s license. The bill doesn’t specify if an account holder can use an alternate form of I.D. if they don’t have a driver’s license.”
State of Mississippi: BEAM to Create Mississippi Broadband Map, Needs Feedback from the Public. “The Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) launched a new website to record internet speeds and gather information about internet usage and availability. This information will allow BEAM to create a unique and updated Mississippi Broadband Map that is critical for expanding broadband infrastructure in the state.”
CNET: Internet Outages Could Spread as Temperatures Rise. Here’s What Big Tech Is Doing. “Early in September, when temperatures spiked to 116 degrees Fahrenheit and broke a 100-year record in Sacramento, California, the government told people to stay indoors as much as possible and to stay cool. That’s when people turning to Twitter to vent their grievances, but it turns out that their social media access could have melted down along with everything else. The extreme heat led to a shutdown of Twitter’s entire data center region, CNN reported.”
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