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Russia says it successfully tested a countrywide internet alternative

By: Jak Connor | Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 26, 2019 @ 2:16 CST

The internet seems to be breaking up, in terms of countries separating themselves from global internet infrastructure.

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Russia seems to be the next country that will join China and Iran in censoring any content that is present on their network. This censoring task will become much easier as Russia is moving towards having their own countrywide internet, or at least that is what Russia's Ministry of Communications announced.

According to an article from the BBC, Russia says it successfully tested its own internet connection, and users on the network barely experienced any changes. Russia will also be moving towards monitoring any content on its new internet, much like China's Great Firewall or Iran's state-owned Telecommunication Company.

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Chinese government begins stranglehold on its internet with algorithms

By: Jak Connor | Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 23, 2019 @ 0:28 CST

This comes as no surprise. China has released a new set of internet laws that will dictate what content companies are allowed to publish online.

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According to these new laws, internet companies will have to manage whatever content is published online within a strict set of guidelines. These guidelines include a big push for algorithms to be manipulated to show "positive" ideas and not "bad" material. The new rules also prohibit any form of content that "endangers national security, leaks state secrets, subverts state power [and] undermines national unity."

The Chinese government will be implementing these rules as of March 1st, while at the same time begin cracking down on the management of accounts and online "rumors". Essentially, these new algorithm changes are targeted as removing as much freedom of information from the public's grasp. With algorithms in place that stop the public from finding any information contrary to government opinion, the people will be living within an echo chamber of moderated government information.

Non-profit .org domain has been sold, price caps taken away

By: Anthony Garreffa | Internet & Websites | Posted: Nov 25, 2019 @ 19:11 CST

In a very surprising move, the Internet Society (ISOC) has announced it has sold the rights to the .org registry to Ethos Capital, for an unknown amount of money. The deal for the .org domain will be complete in Q1 2020, a few months from now.

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There are over 10 million websites using the .org suffix, something that has become synonymous with non-profit organizations. The changes to this with ISOC selling it was an instant WTF moment around the world, with no warning signs or rumors before it happened -- it just happened. The Public Interest Registry (PIR) confirmed it will drop the non-profit status from the .org domain (something it has had since 2003).

It gets worse -- with ICANN (they oversee ALL of the domains on the internet, including the .org domains) have agreed to remove price caps for .org domain names. Until now, these were cheap and very important for non-profit organizations -- from non-profit, to lots-of-profit in 2020 and beyond, it seems.

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Iran government switched off its internet in reply to fuel protesters

By: Jak Connor | Internet & Websites | Posted: Nov 18, 2019 @ 2:33 CST

Iran is currently under protest as thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest the fuel price jump.

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Iranian people have taken to the streets to express their concern over the fuel price jump that saw the prices of fuel rise over 50%. In response to the wide-spread disapproval of the fuel price hike, the Iranian government has decided to switch off internet access in the country in an effort to block communication between protesters. The blocking of the internet also makes it extremely hard for journalists to share news regarding the size of the protests.

At the moment, there are only small pockets of internet connection available, and people within these pockets are managing to get the word out about the recent events occurring at ground zero. While that might sound like there is still internet available, it cannot be stressed enough how rare the connection is. The Iranian government hasn't officially acknowledged that it has shut off internet access.

New quantum data protocol takes big steps towards a 'Quantum Internet'

By: Jak Connor | Internet & Websites | Posted: Nov 11, 2019 @ 2:04 CST

Everyday efforts are being made towards the creation of 'quantum internet', and now a new network protocol has been developed that bring us even closer to its fruition.

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UAB researchers have managed to face one of the many problems that are present when designing a quantum internet connection - optimising automated information treatment protocols to work with quantum data sets. The researchers have created an optimal procedure that has the ability of being able to identify quantum data sets. This is done through a quantum network protocol that can identify common underlying probability distributions and organise them into recognisable patterns.

An example of a classical computer doing this is a simple street microphone test that has multiple sounds occurring at the same time. The computer recognises patterns and is able to differentiate the sounds of a conversation, traffic, and cars. What the researchers at UAB were able to do is compare the performance of a classic computer and its protocols, versus quantum protocols. The findings were that quantum protocols clearly outperform classic protocols, this was especially present in large data sets.

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FTC fines AT&T $60 million, customers entitled to 'partial refunds'

By: Jak Connor | Internet & Websites | Posted: Nov 6, 2019 @ 2:02 CST

AT&T has been caught out slowing down internet speeds, and have agreed to pay $60 million in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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In a prepared statement by Andrew Smith, the director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection its detailed that AT&T misled internet customers by charging them for "unlimited" data plans, but inhibited overall download speeds. The settlement also details that any consumers who signed up for one of these plans before 2011 are entitled to "partial refunds".

Moving forward, the FTC has said that AT&T must disclose to customers any restrictions on speed, etc., "The disclosures need to be prominent, not buried in fine print or hidden behind hyperlinks." The FTC says that AT&T's speed restriction on "unlimited" plans are estimated to have affected more than 3.5 million customers as of 2014. "AT&T promised unlimited data -- without qualification -- and failed to deliver on that promise," said Smith.

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BBC sticks middle-finger up at censorship by creating Dark Web site

By: Jak Connor | Internet & Websites | Posted: Oct 25, 2019 @ 3:09 CDT

Now days, censorship is becoming more than abundant on the internet and while most websites or content creators are bending the knee to the rule makers, BBC has decided to take a different stance.

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In an effort to stand-up against the current and coming censorship laws, the BBC has announced that they have created a dark web mirror-site that can only be accessed by the Tor browser. According to the recent BBC post, users who decide to use this dark web variant will not have to worry about "government surveillance and censorship".

This is especially true for countries that have blocked BBC, "China, Iran and Vietnam are among those who have tried to block access to the BBC News website". BBC also details that for users to visit their website they must first download the Tor browser, and then place the following link their search engine. "bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion". It should be noted that this link won't work in common web browsers. If you are interested in a full explanation of what Tor is, check out BBC's full post here.

Don't worry, 8chan is nearly back online, could return as 8kun

By: Anthony Garreffa | Internet & Websites | Posted: Oct 7, 2019 @ 19:20 CDT

8chan was gone, but it looks like it is about to return and possibly be re-branded into 8kun -- according to the official Twitter account of 8chan. Check out this tweet, with the video having 277,000 views at the time of writing:

Nothing is official yet, but the video clearly displays '8kun' in different animations -- so we could expect 8kun.com or 8kun.org or 8kun.net to make an appearance, but if you visit 8kun.com you're greeted with an Apache 2 Test Page.

What is 'kun'? Well, it is one of the titles that are given to Japanese people to address each other, in the same wway 'san', 'chan', and 'sama' are used. Kun is the 'informal and mostly used for males, such as boys or juniors at work. It is used by superiors to inferiors, by males of the same age and status to each other, and in addressing male children. In business settings junior women may also be addressed as kun by superiors' according to this website.

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Discord are removing their Nitro Games catalogue on October 15th

By: Jak Connor | Internet & Websites | Posted: Sep 16, 2019 @ 4:11 CDT

Discord's Nitro subscription service has been live for over a year now and subscribers have had access to some free games in its library. Those games will now be ejected out of the service.

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Discord has taken to their blog to announce a new reinvigorated plan focussed around bringing better quality of service to Nitro subscribers. The post reads that Discord has noticed that most of the Nitro subscribers weren't actually playing the available games, so they have decided that they will remove them next month.

The blog post reads "We learned a lot from all of you over the last year. Through your valuable feedback, it became clear that while we and some of you love these games, the truth is the vast majority of Nitro subscribers didn't play them."

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Here's why YouTube leaves up some 'controversial or offensive' videos

By: Jak Connor | Internet & Websites | Posted: Aug 28, 2019 @ 4:03 CDT

While YouTube is certainly no stranger to controversy, the CEO of the platform, Susan Wojcicki has explained why sometimes the company allows for video's to stay online that are inherently offensive or controversial.

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In Wojcicki's quarterly letters, she explains that YouTube is in a continuous struggle with users' content being uploaded to the platform being labeled as 'controversial or even offensive'. She says that sometimes is good for the platform to leave some controversial content online, as it proves that YouTube is and open platform that wants to learn from a range of different perspectives.

Wojcicki says that YouTube's "commitment to openness is not easy" and that "hearing a broad range of perspectives ultimately makes us a stronger and more informed society." Despite the backlash on certain pieces of content being flagged for take down, Wojcicki says that these 'problematic' videos make up "a fraction of one percent" of the content uploaded to YouTube. Therefore, the vast majority of the content on the platform outweighs the potential harmful impact of these purportedly 'controversial' videos.

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