Wired: Facebook Opens Its Private Servers To Scientists Studying Fake News. “For years, accessing Facebook’s private data came with a whopper of a caveat: Whatever findings your research turned up had to be preapproved by the company—before you made it public. But Social Science One, acting as an intermediary, removes that condition. The organization has insight into what kind of data Facebook has available and what kind of data researchers need. Now it’s bridging the gap: Starting today, researchers from around the world can apply for funding and data access that Social Science One will approve—not Facebook. If researchers want to search for something in the platform’s data that could make it look bad—or if they actually find something—Facebook won’t be able to pump the brakes.”
Vanity Fair: “I Was Devastated”: Tim Berners-Lee, The Man Who Created The World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets. “Berners-Lee, who never directly profited off his invention, has also spent most of his life trying to guard it. While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences, Berners-Lee has spent the past three decades thinking about little else. From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation.”
The Boston Diaries: There was a time when search engines were a thing. And it seems they still are. “I was poking around in the deeper parts of my harddrive when I came across the source code for Geofind, a metasearch engine I wrote back in the late 90s. A ‘metasearch engine’ is a website that searches not the Internet, but instead passes the search query to other search engines. Back in the 90s, search engines weren’t quite as good as they are now (although some might contend that they aren’t as good as they were a decade ago), but there were a fair number of them, and the thought at the time was, ‘hey, if we query a bunch of search engines at the same time, maybe one of them will have useful results.’ In fact, quite a number of them. Unlike the … um … two? (Google and Bing). maybe, three? (if you count DuckDuckGo, which I only know about because of the circles I travel in on the Intarwebs) which exist today.” Wow, he doesn’t even look for Ask Jeeves, Northern Light, WWWWorm, Electric Monk, etc. but check out his list and get ready for the nostalgia.
Boing Boing: China has perfected the internet control playbook and now it’s exporting it to the world . “After decades of back-and-forth over internet freedom, China has figured out a method for allowing people to use the internet for social and business purposes, but not for political reform — a combination of huge boiler-rooms full of censors, centralization of internet services under tight government control, and control over standards to ensure that surveillance and censorship are always possible. At the same time, China’s increasing wealth, combined with other large powers’ increased austerity and withdrawal from foreign aid, has enabled it to create large and growing spheres of influence over other states in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, and these trading partners look to China for examples of how to create their own internet policies.”
New York Times Magazine: Want to Understand What Ails the Modern Internet? Look at eBay. “There was a time when eBay was practically synonymous with buying and selling things online. Now it’s surprisingly easy to forget that it exists, until you need to buy something you can’t find anywhere else or clear some space in the attic. Or until someone like Elon Musk, made fabulously wealthy when PayPal was acquired by eBay in 2002, muscles his way back into your consciousness by, for example, launching rockets into space or burrowing tunnels under major American cities. Where did he come from, exactly? As with a surprising number of tech heavyweights, the answer is complicated, but it runs through eBay.”
VentureBeat: Oracle’s Internet Intelligence Map presents a real-time view of online threats. “Distributed denial of service attacks. Malware. State-imposed internet blackouts. It’s hard to keep abreast of every bad actor and natural disaster impacting the internet, but Oracle is making it a bit easier with the launch of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s Internet Intelligence Map, a real-time graphical representation of service interruptions and emerging threats.”
TechCrunch: The messy, musical process behind the web’s new security standard . “The web is a big place, and changing the way it works isn’t a simple process. But it has to happen somehow or we’d all still be using Mosaic and transmitting our private data in cleartext. A new security standard called TLS 1.3 is the latest big change to how our browsers communicate, but the process by which it was created is a little weirder and less structured than you might think.”