Gentlemachines
Follow
Find
2.3K views | +4 today
Scooped by Artur Alves
onto Gentlemachines
Scoop.it!

GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications

GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Exclusive: British spy agency collects and stores vast quantities of global email messages, Facebook posts, internet histories and calls, and shares them with NSA, latest documents from Edward Snowden reveal...
Artur Alves's insight:

"The sheer scale of the agency's ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate.

One key innovation has been GCHQ's ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. That operation, codenamed Tempora, has been running for some 18 months.

GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects."

more...
No comment yet.
Gentlemachines
What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
Curated by Artur Alves
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

The rise of the surveillance state - Peter Vlemmix - PANOPTICON (documentary)

A free documentary about the rise of the surveillance state by Peter Vlemmix.

Control on our daily lives increases and privacy is disappearing. How is this exactly happening and in which way will it effect all our lives?

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

The Test We Can—and Should—Run on Facebook

The Test We Can—and Should—Run on Facebook | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
How to reclaim power in the era of perpetual experiment engines
Artur Alves's insight:
The Facebook social contagion study outrage has finally taken the ethics debate to social scientists' use of their data. What exactly is at stake when you manipulate data streams without consent and knowledge? Do you really need to apply manipulation methods to 700k people? What insights and/ or new information is to be acquired by such methods? And finally, why was this study not subjected to more stringent reviews?
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

What tech offices tell us about the future work – Kate Losse – Aeon

What tech offices tell us about the future work – Kate Losse – Aeon | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Twitter has log cabins and Facebook has graffiti — what do the offices of tech giants tell us about the future of work?
Artur Alves's insight:

«What connects Facebook’s incongruous graffiti and Twitter’s incongruous log cabins is their expense. Both represent a complete renovation of the space, making graffiti and log cabins (not in themselves luxurious) seem like high-end amenities. The homesteader who originally lived in Twitter’s log cabin lived a much more rugged life than the office worker, and this contrast is part of the log cabin’s frisson in the office. Likewise the men’s clothing shops in fashionable areas of San Francisco such as Hayes Valley and the Mission that sell multiple styles of artisanal leather boots and allow the tech worker to model himself on a rugged 19th-century labourer. The rough-hewn, old-fashioned look of Twitter’s cabins is repeated in all the reclaimed wood that has crept into the high-tech workspace in recent years. Any splinters you get from these textures is a small price to pay for the tactile, pre-modern feeling of a place that is otherwise devoted to the collection of ethereal data. It is this very need to represent high-tech luxury at the same time as invoking its opposite that drives the modern baroque of early 21st-century tech offices.«

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

The 5 Biggest Cybersecurity Myths, Debunked | Opinion | WIRED

The 5 Biggest Cybersecurity Myths, Debunked | Opinion | WIRED | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
While the Internet has given us the ability to run down the answer to almost any question, cybersecurity is a realm where past myth and future hype often weave together, obscuring what actually has happened and where we really are now. If we ever want to get anything effective done in securing the online world, we have to demystify it first.
Artur Alves's insight:

Myth #1: Cybersecurity Is Unlike Any Challenge We Have Faced

Myth #2: Every Day We Face “Millions of Cyber Attacks”

Myth #3 This Is a Technology Problem

Myth #4: The Best (Cyber) Defense Is a Good (Cyber) Offense

Myth #5: “Hackers” Are the Biggest Threat to the Internet Today

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

The lost promise of the Internet: Meet the man who almost invented cyberspace

The lost promise of the Internet: Meet the man who almost invented cyberspace | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In 1934, a little-known Belgian thinker published plans for a global network that could have changed everything
Artur Alves's insight:

«In 1934, a little-known Belgian bibliographer named Paul Otlet published his plans for the Mundaneum, a global network that would allow anyone in the world to tap into a vast repository of published information with a device that could send and receive text, display photographs, transcribe speech and auto-translate between languages. Otlet even imagined social networking-like features that would allow anyone to “participate, applaud, give ovations, sing in the chorus.”«

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

The world wide web may be fracturing into a bunch of regional internets

The world wide web may be fracturing into a bunch of regional internets | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The World Wide Web celebrated its 25th birthday recently. Today the global network serves almost 3 billion people, and hundreds of thousands more join each day. If the Internet were a country, its economy would be among the five largest in the world. In 2011, according to the World Economic Forum, growth in the digital economy created six million...
Artur Alves's insight:

«Laura DeNardis, of American University, speculates that if the Internet becomes subject to direct governmental regulation, a cascade of destabilizing consequences could follow. In a complex gambit arranged by a consortium of European telecommunications providers, a bloc of African states tried in 2012 to use the ITU’s machinery to enact a new payment model dubbed “sending party pays.” In essence, the regulation would have required any content providers that transmit data between countries to pay an additional fee for the use of the service network in the destination country—a tax on international data transmission little different from a tariff wall on foreign goods. “If adopted, the proposal would have completely undermined the economic model of the Internet,” writes Vint Cerf, a senior executive at Google, in a paper he co-authored with two colleagues. The measure was never brought to a vote. But as the idea of a more heavily regulated Internet gains legitimacy, and as national governments and regional or international bodies begin to govern the Web, efforts to bend regulation to the advantage of business interests are sure to multiply. «

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Cory Doctorow - How Amazon is holding Hachette hostage

Cory Doctorow - How Amazon is holding Hachette hostage | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
By allowing Amazon to put a lock on its products, Hachette has allowed Amazon to usurp its relationship
with its customers. By Cory Doctorow
Artur Alves's insight:

«For some three weeks now, books from the Hachette publishing group – one of the "big five" publishers who dominate the globe – have been largely unavailable through Amazon.com. Amazon has taken away the pre-order buttons on forthcoming Hachette titles, and current Hachette titles are either not for sale (Amazon helpfully recommends used copies from its reseller network, as well as similar books from competing publishers), or are listed as being out of stock for the next several weeks.

The action was precipitated by the failure of Amazon and Hachette to come to terms on their next ebook sales-deal. Amazon is far and away the most successful ebook retailer in the world, and Hachette, like all the major publishers, depends on ebook revenue as a key piece of its bottom line. As the dispute drags on, it's becoming clear that Hachette needs Amazon more than Amazon needs Hachette.

(...)

Hachette, more than any other publisher in the industry, has had a single minded insistence on DRM since the earliest days. It's likely that every Hachette ebook ever sold has been locked with some company's proprietary DRM, and therein lies the rub.

(...)

It is an own-goal masterstroke. It is precisely because Hachette has been so successful in selling its ebooks through Amazon that it can't afford to walk away from the retailer. By allowing Amazon to put a lock on its products whose key only Amazon possessed, Hachette has allowed Amazon to utterly usurp its relationship with its customers. The law of DRM means that neither the writer who created a book, nor the publisher who invested in it, gets to control its digital destiny: the lion's share of copyright control goes to the ebook retailer whose sole contribution to the book was running it through a formatting script that locked it up with Amazon's DRM.

«

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Internet Governance is Our Shared Responsibility by Vinton G. Cerf, Patrick S. Ryan, Max Senges - SSRN

Internet Governance is Our Shared Responsibility by Vinton G. Cerf, Patrick S. Ryan, Max Senges - SSRN | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
This essay looks at the the different roles that multistakeholder institutions play in the Internet governance ecosystem. We propose a model for thinking of Int
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Artur Alves from Peer2Politics
Scoop.it!

Visions of a Techno-Leviathan: The Politics of the Bitcoin Blockchain - ISN

Visions of a Techno-Leviathan: The Politics of the Bitcoin Blockchain - ISN | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

Will Bitcoin lead to a digital cryptocurrency economy that is free from the influence of banks and, most importantly, aggressive governments? Brett Scott doesn’t think so. Yes, it may offer some protection from state power, but it hardly guarantees added ‘empowerment’ or even ‘escape’.


Via jean lievens
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Latest OpenSSL bug ‘may be more dangerous than Heartbleed’

Latest OpenSSL bug ‘may be more dangerous than Heartbleed’ | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Researcher claims that newly uncovered weakness could be used to directly spy on people's communications. By Tom Brewster
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Anyone can learn to be a polymath – Robert Twigger – Aeon

Anyone can learn to be a polymath – Robert Twigger – Aeon | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Our age reveres the narrow specialist but humans are natural polymaths, at our best when we turn our minds to many things
Artur Alves's insight:
" Science, for example, likes to project itself as clean, logical, rational and unemotional. In fact, it’s pretty haphazard, driven by funding and ego, reliant on inspired intuition by its top-flight practitioners. Above all it is polymathic. New ideas frequently come from the cross-fertilisation of two separate fields. Francis Crick, who intuited the structure of DNA, was originally a physicist; he claimed this background gave him the confidence to solve problems that biologists thought were insoluble."
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

NASA OKs Citizen Science Attempt to Rescue a Vintage Spacecraft | Science | WIRED

NASA OKs Citizen Science Attempt to Rescue a Vintage Spacecraft | Science | WIRED | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
A hardy little spacecraft is about to come home after an incredibly long journey and an unexpected mission that it had not been built for. As it flies by Earth next month, scientists will have a brief window to attempt to communicate with the vintage NASA craft and put it back to work on its original mission. Because of a tight budget, NASA was unable to muster the resources to make this revival happen. So, a group of citizen scientists stepped forward to take on the challenge.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

The Connection Between The Copyright Industry And The NSA | TorrentFreak

The Connection Between The Copyright Industry And The NSA | TorrentFreak | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
There is a direct connection between copyright monopoly enforcement and mass surveillance, and between mass surveillance and lack of free speech. If you want to keep free speech, the copyright monopoly must be reduced sharply.
Artur Alves's insight:
"(...) copyright monopoly cannot be enforced without mass surveillance. There is no way to tell a private conversation in a digital environment from a monopolized audio file being transferred, not without actually looking at what’s being transferred. At that point, the secrecy of correspondence has been broken and mass surveillance introduced. The copyright industry has been continuously and relentlessly pushing for more mass surveillance, including surveillance of citizens who aren’t under any suspicion (“mass surveillance”) for this reason. They defended the now-illegal Data Retention Directive, which logs everybody’s communications and location all the time (specifically including yours), as well as similar initiatives."
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Energy: Consider the global impacts of oil pipelines

Energy: Consider the global impacts of oil pipelines | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Debates over oil-sands infrastructure obscure a broken policy process that overlooks broad climate, energy and environment issues
Artur Alves's insight:
« [D] rama over the pipelines obscures a larger problem — a broken policy process. Both Canada and the United States treat oil-sands production, transportation, climate and environmental policies as separate issues, assessing each new proposal in isolation. A more coherent approach, one that evaluates all oil-sands projects in the context of broader, integrated energy and climate strategies, is sorely needed. Although Keystone XL and Northern Gateway are among the first major North American projects to highlight flaws in oil-sands policies, more than a dozen other projects are on the drawing board. Meanwhile, the US government is considering its first oil-sands leases on federal lands, as bitumen mining expands on state land in Utah’s Uinta Basin. As scientists spanning diverse disciplines, we urge North American leaders to take a step back: no new oil-sands projects should move forward unless developments are consistent with national and international commitments to reducing carbon pollution. Anything less demonstrates flawed policies and failed leadership. With such high stakes, our nations and the world cannot afford a series of ad hoc, fragmented decisions»
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Steven Pinker Uses Theories from Evolutionary Biology to Explain Why Academic Writing is So Bad

Steven Pinker Uses Theories from Evolutionary Biology to Explain Why Academic Writing is So Bad | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
There are many theories as to why this is so.
Artur Alves's insight:
« For Pinker, the tendency of academics to use “passives, abstractions, and ‘zombie nouns’” stems not primarily from “nefarious motives” or the desire to “sound sophisticated and recherché and try to bamboozle their readers with high-falutin’ verbiage.” He doesn’t deny that this takes place on occasion, but contra George Orwell’s claim in “Politics and the English Language” that bad writing generally hopes to disguise bad political and economic motives, Pinker defers to evolutionary biology, and refers to “mental habits” and the “mismatch between ordinary thinking and speaking and what we have to do as academics.” He goes on to explain, in some fairly academic terms, his theory of how our primate mind, which did not evolve to think thoughts about sociology or literary criticism, struggles to schematize “learned abstractions” that are not a part of everyday experience. It’s a plausible theory that doesn’t rule out other reasonable alternatives (like the perfectly straightforward claim that clear, concise writing poses a formidable challenge for academics as much as anyone else.) «
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

The embedded power of algorithms | openDemocracy

The embedded power of algorithms | openDemocracy | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
David Beer on Facebook's "experiment" and what it reveals about the power of algorithms to shape our lives and perception.
Artur Alves's insight:
« Rather than being an exception, the Facebook news feed revelations might actually be understood as just one revealing example of the embedded part that algorithms now play in our lives. The power of algorithms is to be found in the way that they sort, filter and manipulate the things that we encounter. This is not new. This is part of an established set of media infrastructures in which we now live – the power of which has been escalating over recent years with the incorporation of mobile devices into our bodily practices, with new types of mediated consumption, streaming, and the general rise of data accumulation and extraction. If we pause to reflect, we can begin to imagine the scale of influence that algorithms are now capable of having upon our lives. Algorithms define what is visible to us. The result is that they have the power to shape our tastes, to reconfigure our interests and to potentially define how we understand and engage with the world around us. (...) But what emerges from the Facebook news feed story is the critical point that these algorithmic media forms are not neutral. That is to say, it is not just when they are explicitly being used to manipulate emotions that they have consequences. These algorithms are always filtering and sorting, and as such, they are making decisions about what is visible. These are active systems that shape our encounters and our everyday experiences. In many instances they are largely invisible within the technical structures of which they are a part. Each of these algorithmic processes might look inconsequential: a recommendation of a TV show here, or a suggestion of who to follow there. But taken collectively, we can see their potential power. «
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

What will happen when the wealthy can live until 120 and the poor die at 60? – Linda Marsa

What will happen when the wealthy can live until 120 and the poor die at 60? – Linda Marsa | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Costly new longevity drugs could help the wealthy live 120 years or more – but will everyone else die young?
Artur Alves's insight:

Life extension and trans-humanism need a proper democratic debate, or they will boost the already widening income gap into an even sharper life expectancy (and quality) gulf.

 

«The life expectancy gap between the affluent and the poor and working class in the US, for instance, now clocks in at 12.2 years. College-educated white men can expect to live to age 80, while counterparts without a high-school diploma die by age 67. White women with a college degree have a life expectancy of nearly 84, compared with uneducated women, who live to 73.

 

(...)

 

Extensive research on centenarians reaching age 100 and beyond show it’s not healthier habits or positive attitudes that contribute to longevity, but largely genes. Now scientists are busily sifting through millions of DNA markers to spot the constellation of longevity genes carried in every cell of these centenarians’ bodies. The hope here is to concoct an anti-ageing pill by synthesising what these genes make.«

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Facebook’s Unethical Experiment Manipulated Users’ Emotions

Facebook’s Unethical Experiment Manipulated Users’ Emotions | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

Facebook has been experimenting on us. A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that Facebook intentionally manipulated the news feeds of almost 700,000 users in order to study “emotional contagion through social networks.”  The study raises a number of ethics and privacy issues, since no authorization or warning was issued for the experiment.

Artur Alves's insight:

Social scientists team up with Facebook, manipulate data feeds, and ignore ethical good practices in experiments with human subjects.

 

 

«Facebook has been experimenting on us. A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that Facebook intentionally manipulated the news feeds of almost 700,000 users in order to study “emotional contagion through social networks.”

The researchers, who are affiliated with Facebook, Cornell, and the University of California–San Francisco, tested whether reducing the number of positive messages people saw made those people less likely to post positive content themselves. The same went for negative messages: Would scrubbing posts with sad or angry words from someone’s Facebook feed make that person write fewer gloomy updates?

(...)

Here is the only mention of “informed consent” in the paper: The research “was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, to which all users agree prior to creating an account on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research.”

That is not how most social scientists define informed consent.

 

(...)

Over the course of the study, it appears, the social network made some of us happier or sadder than we would otherwise have been. Now it’s made all of us more mistrustful. «

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Wastewater well suspended after “frackquakes” rock Colorado

Wastewater well suspended after “frackquakes” rock Colorado | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Regulators are calling the move a "cautionary step"
Artur Alves's insight:

«

The (literally) earth-shattering implications of fracking have officially hit Colorado, where officials suspended a well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling after researchers linked it to seismic activity in the area.

A 3.4 magnitude earthquake rocked the typically “aseismic” Greeley on May 31, its epicenter about 2 miles from the wastewater injection site. But it was a second, 2.6 magnitude quake this past Monday, picked up by a team of researchers from the University of Colorado that had been monitoring the area, that convinced regulators to take action.

In a statement, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission explained that it ordered High Sierra Water Services, the well’s operator, to stop disposing wastewater for 20 days, “as a cautionary step.”

...

The U.S. has about 145,000 wells like the one suspended in Colorado; they’ve been linked to hundreds of quakes in Ohio. In April, Ohio suspended drilling at a number of wells after officials confirmed that there was a “probable connection” between earthquakes and fracking itself.

«

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Don’t Force Google to ‘Forget’, by Jonathan Zittrain

Don’t Force Google to ‘Forget’, by Jonathan Zittrain | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

THE European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that Europeans have a limited “right to be forgotten” by search engines like Google. According to the ruling, an individual can compel Google to remove certain reputation-harming search results that are generated by Googling the individual’s name.

Artur Alves's insight:

Jonathan Zittrain weighs in on the ECJ ruling about the "right to forget".

 

«The court’s decision is both too broad and curiously narrow. It is too broad in that it allows individuals to impede access to facts about themselves found in public documents. This is a form of censorship, one that would most likely be unconstitutional if attempted in the United States. Moreover, the test for removal that search engines are expected to use is so vague — search results are to be excluded if they are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” — that search engines are likely to err on the safe side and accede to most requests.

But the decision is oddly narrow in that it doesn’t require that unwanted information be removed from the web. The court doesn’t have a problem with web pages that mention the name of the plaintiff in this case (Mario Costeja González) and the thing he regrets (a property foreclosure); it has a problem only with search engines that list those pages — including this article and possibly the court’s own ruling — as results to a query on the basis of Mr. González’s name. So nothing is being “forgotten,” despite the court’s stated attempt to protect such a right.»

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Tesla Motors opens up its electric car patents

Tesla Motors opens up its electric car patents | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.
Artur Alves's insight:
Tesla opened its patents.. CEO Elon Musk says « At Tesla, however, we felt compelled to create patents out of concern that the big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm Tesla. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The unfortunate reality is the opposite: electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn’t burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales.«
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Why online tracking is getting creepier

Why online tracking is getting creepier | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Online marketers are increasingly trying to track users offline as well.
Artur Alves's insight:
« Companies that match users' online and offline identities generally emphasize that the data is still anonymous because users' actual names aren't included in the cookie. But critics worry about the implications of allowing data brokers to profile every person who is connected to the Internet. In May, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report that found that data brokers collected information on sensitive categories such as whether an individual is pregnant, has a "diabetes interest," is interested in a "Bible Lifestyle," or is "likely to seek a [credit-card] chargeback." Previously, data brokers primarily sold this data to marketers who sent direct mail —aka "junk mail"—to your home. Now, they have found a new market: online marketing that can be targeted as precisely as junk mail.«
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

Turing test beaten for first time by virtual 13-year-old boy

Turing test beaten for first time by virtual 13-year-old boy | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
'Eugene Goostman' fools 33% of interrogators into thinking it is human, in what is seen as a milestone in artificial intelligence
Artur Alves's insight:

This is not the first time a program has claimed to be able to pass the  Turing test. While 33% of the members of the jury panel believed that they were conversing with a human being, let us not forget that usually an even higher number of judges believe they are talking with a computer when, in fact, their interlocutor is a human being.

 

«A "super computer" has duped humans into thinking it was a 13-year-old boy to become the first machine to pass the Turing test, experts have said. Five machines were tested at the Royal Society in central London to see if they could fool people into thinking they were humans during text-based conversations.

The test was devised in 1950 by computer science pioneer and second world war codebreaker Alan Turing, who said that if a machine was indistinguishable from a human, then it was "thinking".

No computer had ever previously passed the Turing test, which requires 30% of human interrogators to be duped during a series of five-minute keyboard conversations, organisers from the University of Reading said.

But "Eugene Goostman", a computer programme developed to simulate a 13-year-old boy, managed to convince 33% of the judges that it was human, the university said.«

more...
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

This ice sheet will unleash a global Superstorm Sandy that never ends

This ice sheet will unleash a global Superstorm Sandy that never ends | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Glaciologist Richard Alley explains that losing West Antarctica would produce 10 feet of sea level rise in coming centuries. That's comparable to the flooding from Sandy—but permanent.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Artur Alves
Scoop.it!

The ‘Balkanisation’ of Russia’s internet | openDemocracy

The ‘Balkanisation’ of Russia’s internet  | openDemocracy | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

For the last few years, the Russian government has been developing an arsenal of regulatory tools devised for Russia’s online space. Starting with a series of laws aimed at child protection and combating piracy, it has recently moved on to blocking online access to alleged extremist content. This has been broadly seen by commentators as another attempt to impose control over an online space, which had developed fairly organically for two decades (on 7 April 2014, the RuNet celebrated its 20th birthday).

Artur Alves's insight:

Part of a series of articles on the state of the internet in Russia

 

"This trend of ever increasing regulation testifies to the ongoing construction of the ‘digital sovereignty’ architecture started several years ago, and much precipitated by the opposition riots in 2011, when the distributed and demonstrable power of online participation in the protests, for the first time posed a palpable threat to the dominance of the official narrative promoted by mainstream media. The justification for these measures, which look like a gradual enclosure of Russia’s ‘internet segment,’ is predominantly national security considerations. 

Historically, privacy concerns have been secondary to civil liberty.

While the recent post-Snowden debate in the West has revolved around the balance between privacy and security, in Russia, the internet debate is primarily about balancing security with freedom of speech and access to information. The debate takes place mostly on social media platforms and blogging resources – the very online public sphere which is increasingly monitored by the state to identify any signs of a tangible threat to the stability of the system. The mix of reactionary and pre-emptive measures is intended to rule out such a possibility by minimising the debate or rather localising it. The case of VKontakte, the most popular social media platform in Russia whose founder and CEO Pavel Durov was gradually squeezed out of ownership – and the country – for what is seen as a reluctance to comply with law enforcement authorities’ requests to disclose user data, during the Russian protests of 2011, and the recent Ukrainian riots, is illustrative of this process."

more...
No comment yet.