Email discrimination is unethical

Many companies have been trying to disrupt email by making it proprietary. So far, they have failed. Email keeps being an open protocol. Hurray?

No hurray. Email is not distributed anymore. You just cannot create another first-class node of this network.

Email is now an oligopoly, a service gatekept by a few big companies which does not follow the principles of net neutrality.

I have been self-hosting my email since I got my first broadband connection at home in 1999. I absolutely loved having a personal web+email server at home, paid extra for a static IP and a real router so people could connect from the outside. I felt like a first-class citizen of the Internet and I learned so much.

Over time I realized that residential IP blocks were banned on most servers. I moved my email server to a VPS. No luck. I quickly understood that self-hosting email was a lost

— source | Carlos Fenollosa | Sep 04, 2022

[do not use big company email. always check and clean spam folder.]

Nullius in verba


Serfing the Net

We are living in an age of unprecedented creativity, they tell us. But there was a dark time not long ago, the story goes, when authors exercised dictatorial control over passive readers, movie studios foisted films on captive audiences, listeners were held hostage in their own homes by long-playing records, prime-time television only came on once a day, and professional journalists were gatekeepers to world events.

One version of this tale cites the remote control as the first significant tool of human liberation, enabling viewers to change channels at will without leaving the comfort of their sofas. The next great advance in the forward march of emancipation, I’ve heard people claim, was the joystick, which took the relationship between observer and screen to the next level. And then, unleashing a torrent of interactivity, came the personal computer and its descendants: cell phones, digital cameras, iPods, TiVo, etc. Hook these magical gadgets up to a broadband connection, and innovation abounds: We can copy and paste, comment and link, download and share. The network revolution, the story goes, has finally made culture a two-way street, liberating the masses from the grip of greedy entertainment industries and quaint notions of authorial control and originality. We are all “content generators” now, free to produce, consume, exchange and remix as we like, free of charge in every instance.

This stirring tale of empowerment is told both by big business evangelists and smash-the-state anarchists, an unlikely alliance that is brought together by a shared fascination

— source | Astra Taylor | Jan 2010

Nullius in verba

Protecting the Internet As We Know It

We’ve seen signs of a looming splinternet for years. And while Internet shutdowns and clashing country approaches to Internet regulation aren’t new, recent geopolitical events have led us closer than ever to a tipping point.

We must protect the Internet now, or there won’t be one to save in the future.

Here’s a quick reminder of what is a splinternet and why most people don’t want it: it’s the opposite of the Internet. A splinternet is the idea that the open, globally connected Internet we all use splits into a bunch of isolated networks controlled by governments and corporations.
How Would That Impact You?

The Internet’s simplicity makes our experiences online seamless. You don’t have to negotiate with gatekeepers before sending an email, shopping online, or collaborating on your

— source | Natalie Campbell | 18 May 2022

Nullius in verba

A cloud without Google and Microsoft for all italian schools

A bill just presented to the italian Senate proposes the establishment of one “single national interconnection network” called UNIRE (“to join”). The mission of this network would be to connect all italian schools with each other and to the Internet, with a private cloud, managed by the State.

This cloud would host platforms for digital teaching, alternatives to those of Google and Microsoft, maximizing data protection of underage students.

This post translates and comments the main points of an interview about UNIRE to the first signatory of the bill, senator Maria Laura Mantovani (Five Star Movement).

Objectives of both the Bill and UNIRE

The bill aims to implement the “School 4.0” intervention included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). More specifically, UNIRE would provide:

interconnection to all schools of all types and levels among themselves, with the regional school offices, with the Ministry of Education and globally to the Internet;
basic network services such as DNS, data storage services and cloud computing;

— source | 2021-03-23

Nullius in verba

Today’s Toxic, Concentrated Internet

At its inception, the internet was imagined as a decentralized, horizontal and open space that would foster freedom and equality. Today, it is a collection of walled gardens, a hierarchical ecosystem ruled by a few gatekeepers who leverage access to data, attention and infrastructural capability to enclose users and competitors in relations of dependency. The transition happened over the course of one, or at best two, decades.

Why did the power of digital platform companies such as Google/Alphabet, Facebook/Meta, Amazon, and Apple emerge and grow so quickly without a regulatory response? An important reason is that the intellectual and material toolbox available to Western lawyers, policymakers, and thinkers is grossly inadequate to diagnosing and addressing harm and power formation in the information capitalist era. Harm itself often appears elusive, impervious to theorizing, and controversial. A question that arises, then, is why our modes of thinking and governing markets are so poorly equipped to address the felt erosion of basic human and collective needs in an increasingly digitalized society. Why have consumerism, addiction, polarization, and mistrust in institutions become pervasive and untamable parts of life in the 21st century? How have these problems become parts of

— source | Elettra Bietti | Jan 28, 2022

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The internet is tricking our brains

Every now and then, Adrian Ward likes to test himself against the internet’s most-used search engine.

“There are times when I have the impulse to Google something, and I don’t,” said Ward, who studies psychology as an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Because,” he said, “I want to see if I can drag that up from memory.”

It’s a challenge that’s familiar to anyone with a smartphone in their pocket who can’t quite remember the year that a favorite album came out or the name of an actor in an old movie. Take out the phone? Or rack the brain?

But that choice is more than a way to test our recollection of trivia. People who lean on a search engine such as Google may get the right

— source | David Ingram | Dec. 9, 2021

Nullius in verba

Google AMP Can Go To Hell

Let’s talk about Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP for short. AMP is a Google pet project that purports to be “an open-source initiative aiming to make the web better for all”. While there is a lot of emphasis on the official AMP site about its open source nature, the fact is that over 90% of contributions to this project come from Google employees, and it was initiated by Google. So let’s be real: AMP is a Google project.

Google is also the reason AMP sees any kind of adoption at all. Basically, Google has forced websites – specifically news publishers – to create AMP versions of their articles. For publishers, AMP is not optional; without AMP, a publisher’s articles will be extremely unlikely to appear in the Top Stories carousel on mobile search in Google.

And due to the popularity of mobile search compared to desktop search, visibility in Google’s mobile search results is a must for publishers that want to survive in this era of

— source | 5 Sep 2018

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DuckDuckGo’s HQ is Smaller Than My Apartment

When I was perusing DuckDuckGo’s corporate website for their explanation of a tracker that they use which my Web browsers block, I found their corporate headquarters address.

The tracker is called Improving DuckDuckGo, and of course they always have explanations for everything they do that’s creepy, and they get caught lying all of the time. And of course, Techrights has pointed out things like this before.

The most concerning facts are that they’re US-based (a Five Eyes country with no decent privacy laws at the state or federal levels), and can be compelled to track you by law enforcement, and that they host on Microsoft Azure and also scrape Bing for your search results. Thus, Microsoft would see your IP address on both transactions and can log your activities on DuckDuckGo quite easily, using nothing else, unless you’re on some sort of a VPN that millions of people use (like I am).

But I googled (to get a Street View image) their address, 20 Paoli Pike Paoli, PA 19301, and it’s basically a small building that they share with a dentist’s office.

— source | Ryan | 10.15.21

Nullius in verba

EFF Pushes for Users to Install DuckDuckGo Software After Being Paid to Kill HTTPS Everywhere

I’ve been writing lately about how DuckDuckGo is shady and their business is questionable.

It seems that some donations went the EFF’s way and now they plan on killing off HTTP Everywhere permanently.

$25,000 a year buys them the Tor Project and $150,000 keeps the EFF in their back pocket. But where does the money for this come from, and what does DuckDuckGo get from it?

No company gives out millions of dollars a year and expects to get back nothing.

Is it just DuckDuckGo’s own advertising paying for this?

DuckDuckGo pretends they’re a startup, but that’s not true. They admit that they have been profitable since 2014, have over 105 million searches a day sometimes, and are growing rapidly.

— source | Ryan | 10.16.21

Nullius in verba

Truth about ProtonMail

1. Protonmail Behaves like a CIA/NSA “Honeypot”
2. Protonmail Does Not Provide “End to End Encryption”
3. Protonmail’s Was Created Under CIA/NSA Oversight
4. Protonmail is Part Owned by CRV and the Swiss Government
5. CRV, In-Q-Tel & the CIA
6. Protonmail Follows CIA Email format & Metadata Requirements
7. Swiss MLAT Law Could Give the NSA Full Access
8. Protonmail Uses Radware for DNS/DDOS Protection
9. Protonmail Developers Do Not Use Protonmail
10. Protonmail engages in illegal cyberwarfare
11. Protonmail has a history of Dishonesty

— source | Feb 18, 2021

Nullius in verba