Technology

A Mass Shooting of, and for, the Internet

Before entering a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, the site of one of the deadliest mass murders in the country’s history, the accused gunman paused to endorse a YouTube star in a video that appeared to capture the shooting. Kevin Roose The New York Times “Remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie,” he said. To an untrained eye, this would have seemed like a bizarre detour. But the people watching the video stream recognized it as something entirely different: a meme. Like ... Read More »

How technology is disrupting the legal sector – to its benefit

Innovative law firms using artificial intelligence to save on cost, time and lawyers Sandra O’Connell The Irish Times The legal sector, like financial services and the media, is undergoing digital disruption. The difference is that law firms are initiating this disruption themselves. In October 2018, A&L Goodbody was named the most innovative law firm in Ireland at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards. The award recognised the firm’s use of technology in providing innovative client solutions – including its use ... Read More »

Howard govt feared slow Y2K bug preparations, cabinet documents reveal

Predictions of a chaotic IT collapse brought on by the Y2K bug had the Howard government fearing Australia was unready for the worst, previously classified documents reveal. Doug Dingwall Brisbane Times As the year 2000 approached, the federal government in 1997 took seriously the warnings that the new millennium’s arrival could play havoc with electricity, hospitals and traffic lights. The “millennium bug”, cast by some as a looming apocalypse, brought on hundreds of billions in estimated spending worldwide to avoid catastrophe. ... Read More »

IT contractors shown the door en masse at Home Affairs

Hundreds of IT contractors were shown the door at the Department of Home Affairs in Canberra this week due to budget pressures, with industry experts fearing a flood of workers will push down incomes across the sector. Sally Whyte The Canberra Times It’s understood that anywhere between 170 and 300 contractors, working on various information technology contracts across the department, were told this week that they were no longer required, with their work to be finishing up in the next ... Read More »

Khashoggi murder: how states are increasingly repressing dissidents beyond their borders

Authoritarian states have long tried to suppress dissidents who oppose the regime But in the age of globalisation, they are increasingly able to mobilise beyond their territorial borders and target political opponents overseas. Aurhors: The Conversation The brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a former Saudi regime insider who became a critic in self exile of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is an extreme example of this new reality. Although the precise details of Khashoggi’s murder have yet to be proved, his grim fate – he ... Read More »

What Is Digital Peace — And What Does It Mean for Democracy?

Microsoft’s Digital Peace Now campaign calls on world leaders to end cyber warfare. Today is Election Day in the US. Global Citizen Across the country voters are heading to the polls to make their voices heard in this year’s midterm elections. But in the lead up to today, there has been considerable concern among voters about how digital attacks could affect or undermine the voting process and people’s trust in their democracies. As dozens of countries around the world also look ... Read More »

Apple, Google, Facebook line up to pay homage to EU privacy rules

Tech executives and global regulators promise to boost privacy rights. But not everything is what it seems. Mark Scott Politico Top executives from Facebook, Google and Apple heaped praise on Europe’s revamped data protection standards Wednesday, just as these companies face ever tighter scrutiny over privacy and the prospect of similar restrictions in the… Apple’s Tim Cook — the only U.S. CEO to appear in person — spoke in the strongest terms, calling for a federal U.S. privacy law to match ... Read More »

Want to know your rights but only have 60 seconds?

London barrister hopes to educate people about the law with bitesize Youtube videos Owen Bowcott The Guardian Christian Weaver likes to keep it concise. His video series ‘TheLawin60Seconds’ is pioneering legal advice for an age of supposedly limited attention spans. The 24-year-old lawyer has begun teaching people about their rights in online talks to camera that aim to simplify the complexity of legislation into a few basic principles. He may not be the first person to deliver consumer-friendly lectures over the… Weaver’s first ... Read More »

What would happen if we banned emails at the weekends

Maybe we all need ‘the right to disconnect’ Chris Stokel-Walker BBC For the average working person, there’s no greater feeling than powering down your computer and kissing goodbye to your avalanche of work emails for the day. If we’re lucky enough to disconnect from the job on evenings and weekends, we’re overjoyed to leave work email and the stress that comes with it in the office. But experts say we’re increasingly failing to do so, instead bringing the burden home ... Read More »

Children mining cobalt in slave-like conditions as global demand for battery material surges

If you have not spared a thought for cobalt since high school science, then it might be time. It is having a boom, and the modern world is increasingly reliant on it — using it to stabilise batteries in phones, computers and electric cars; in fact, it is probably in the device you are using right now. The Signal – By Angela Lavoipierre, Stephen Smiley and Lin Evlin ABC But there is a catch. Cobalt is mined in a string of ... Read More »

Why Vietnam is quitting Facebook

Activists, dissidents and writers are gravitating to other social media platforms as Facebook appears to acquiesce to government censorship demands David Hutt Asia Times When logging onto Minds, an open-source social media platform, it is hard to miss the huge number of posts written in Vietnamese. Of the platform’s over one million users, about 10% hail from Vietnam, according to recent media reports. What’s more, roughly 100,000 of those Vietnamese users signed up in the period of just one week, ... Read More »

In praise of doing nothing

In the 1950s, scholars worried that, thanks to technological innovations, Americans wouldn’t know what to do with all of their leisure time. Simon Gottschalk The Conversation Yet today, as sociologist Juliet Schor notes, Americans are overworked, putting in more hours than at any time since the Depression and more than in any other in Western society. It’s probably not unrelated to the fact that instant and constant access has become de rigueur, and our devices constantly expose us to a ... Read More »

This isn’t Helter Skelter: Why the internet alone can’t be blamed for radicalisation

The internet’s precise role in the process of radicalisation remains vexing. You can lead a person to a bomb-making manual, but you can’t make them use it. Radicalisation is a social process. Authors: The Conversation It refers to a means by which an individual or group embraces an extreme ideology and rejects or undermines the “status quo”. This process can then lead to an increased willingness to condone or use violence. “Safety” in the digital era The internet allows previously ... Read More »

Hitman threats and high-quality drugs: Journalist reveals dark web investigation

Investigative journalist Eileen Ormsby has spent the past five years wading through the deep, dark depths of the internet’s “evil twin”. Amy Mitchell-Whittington Brisbane Times The 48-year-old has chatted to hackers and was the target of a hitman and will later this month share her experiences in Brisbane at the launch of her latest book The Darkest Web. She said the idea of exploring the dark web came to her after researching Silk Road, an online black market platform used to ... Read More »

Cambridge Analytica: Warrant sought to inspect company

The UK’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says she will seek a warrant to look at the databases and servers used by British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. BBC The firm is accused of using the personal data of 50 million Facebook members, amassed via a personality quiz app created by an academic. Former employee Christopher Wylie claims the company used the data to influence the US presidential election. The firm denies the allegations. Ms Denham had demanded access to Cambridge ... Read More »

German court backs city bans on diesel cars

A top German court ruled on Feb. 27 in favor of allowing major cities to ban the most heavily polluting diesel cars, a move set to hit the value of 12 million vehicles in Europe’s largest car market and probably force carmakers to pay for costly modifications. LEIPZIG – Reuters Hurriyet There has been a global backlash against diesel-engine cars since Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating U.S. exhaust tests, meant to limit emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxide ... Read More »