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Category Archives: E-Mail

Commentary – Google and Amazon make us worse people

CNET – “Let me show you a magic trick. Make a choice — any choice. You’re already online, so maybe you want to read the news, check your email, surf your newsfeed, buy some food or any other number of things. Now for the trick, I’m going to tell you the companies that facilitated whatever choice you just made. It was almost certainly Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Facebook. OK, not much of a trick. After all, everyone knows these five tech giants control vast swaths of the internet, directly or indirectly — Amazon alone, for instance, facilitates nearly 40% of online commerce in the US and holds a whopping 23 million IP addresses thanks to its subsidiary Amazon Web Services. That online control has material ramifications. Last week, leaders of companies like Sonos and Popsockets took shots at Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook in a House antitrust hearing, arguing that the tech giants exert unfair control over their respective markets — shutting out competitors, squashing startups and exploiting smaller companies to maintain their immense power and profit. Ah, monopoly: It’s a tale as old as, well, the board game, at least. But the problem goes deeper than the economy. These massive companies might actually be making us worse people. They’re narrowing our choices online, intentionally corralling us toward behavior that benefits them. Rather than outright coercing us, though, these companies use a handful of key motivators — convenience chief among them, not to mention the “approval, attention, retweets, shares and likes” of social media — to condition us to behave in certain ways. But that conditioning has an unexpected outcome: As we practice decision-making driven more by impulse and economic self-interest than by any more deeply held values, we erode our conscience over time. In short, we’re becoming worse human beings…”

The browser wars are back but it’s different this time

The Verge – It’s about privacy, not marketshare: “…First: there are new browser technologies and limits coming that could radically change how ads work and could make it easier for you to protect your privacy no matter what browser you use. Since this is the web, it’ll take time, but everybody seems committed. Second: the… Continue Reading

Election Hacks

Rolling Stone – Hackers Are Coming for the 2020 Election — And We’re Not Ready: “..Four years ago, for an embarrassingly modest price, Russia pulled off one of the more audacious acts of election interference in modern history. The Internet Research Agency, the team of Kremlin-backed online propagandists, spent $15 million to $20 million and… Continue Reading

Profs say teaching students how to email them properly is gift that keeps on giving

Journal of Higher Ed: “Somewhere between birth and college, students hopefully have learned how to compose concise, grammatically correct and contextually appropriate emails. Often they haven’t. So, to head off 3 a.m. need-your-help-now emails from Jake No Last Name, many professors explicitly teach students how to email them at the start of the academic year.… Continue Reading

Robert Mueller’s Secret Memos Part 3

Jason Leopold via BuzzFeedNews – The Documents The Justice Department Didn’t Want Congress To See – “BuzzFeed News sued the US government for the right to see all the work that Robert Mueller’s team kept secret. Today we are publishing the third installment of the FBI’s summaries of interviews with key witnesses…BuzzFeed News has obtained some… Continue Reading

The Old Internet Died And We Watched And Did Nothing

BuzzFeedNews: “…The internet of the 2010s will be defined by social media’s role in the 2016 election, the rise of extremism, and the fallout from privacy scandals like Cambridge Analytica. But there’s another, more minor theme to the decade: the gradual dismantling and dissolution of an older internet culture. This purge comes in two forms:… Continue Reading

An investigation into the smartphone tracking industry from Times Opinion

The New York Times – Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy – By Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel, December 19, 2019. “Every minute of every day, everywhere on the planet, dozens of companies — largely unregulated, little scrutinized — are logging the movements of tens of millions of people with mobile phones and… Continue Reading

WaPo – House vote on two articles creates indelible mark on Trump’s presidency

After 11 hours of fierce argument, lawmakers voted almost entirely along party lines to impeach the president on charges that he abused his office and obstructed Congress Pelosi does not rule out not sending impeachment articles to Senate The New York Times – President Trump is the third president in history to be charged with… Continue Reading

The Decade Tech Lost Its Way

The New York Times – The Decade Tech Lost Its Way – An oral history of the 2010s – “When the decade began, tech meant promise — cars that could drive themselves, social networks that could take down dictators. It connected us in ways we could barely imagine. But somewhere along the way, the flaws of technology… Continue Reading

You can and should be using spaces in your passwords

Business Insider – [h/t Pete Weiss] The most effective way to protect yourself against hackers is to build good password habits, experts say. Cybersecurity experts shared straightforward tips with Business Insider that can make it exponentially harder for hackers to break into your account. There’s no reason that your password should be a single word… Continue Reading