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Corey Parker

Corey Parker

Google is veering towards a more focused approach on local languages in India, where it sees more users coming in

In a bid to make search more accessible for Indians, Google is veering towards a more focused approach on local languages, where it sees a bulk of its new users coming from in the future. While 150 million of the 350 million Internet users now are using local languages, this number is expected to become a majority when the number of Indians online goes up to 650 million in 2020.

Shashidhar Thakur, VP Engineering at Google Search, says investments in voice search, Indic keyboards and auto-complete have started helping Indians find what they want in the comfort of their native language. So even with the existing language users, Google has seen “10x growth in local language queries over the past 1.5 years”. 

 

 

While voice search helps cater to even those who are illiterate, the Indic keyboard — now available in 11 Indian languages — helps users type in their own language on their mobile phones. Auto-complete in local languages helps them find the query faster, even before they type the whole phrase.

And Google has been looking at all aspects that keep a new user from using its search. So, Thakur says, they are ensuring the cost of search also goes down for the Indian user by making search pages and even publisher pages lighter, loading faster and consuming lesser data. Google’s data suggests that 40 per cent of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. This is why Google has been pushing AMP or accelerated mobile pages that load 4x faster, in less than a second, and consume 10x less data.

Plus, there is tabbed search — available in Hindi now — where results in the local language are offered as a second tab in search. “We are also making sure the user gets locally relevant content,” Thakur adds.

New technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are helping the search giant make this huge shift. “The amount of leapfrogging we have done in search over the past few years has been possible because of advancements in artificial intelligence. Similarly, machine translations from one language to another would not have been possible without machine learning,” Thakur explains. “It is safe to say these technologies will play an increasing role in search in the future.”

Thakur says the algorithms are very much localised, based on the language and Google learnt that with German and Chinese years ago. “Most definitely, the algorithms have to learn the specifics of a given language.”

But fixing search is just one bit of the problem, especially since the local language Internet is still very small — less than 0.1 per cent of sites are in local languages. So Google is using its Newslab to help local language publishers understand the medium better and create more engaging stories for the internet user.

“Google is already offering a lot of bite-sized information on the search page itself with links to publisher pages in case anyone wants to read in depth,” says Thakur, adding they both purchase data as in the case of cricket scores and pull snippets out of a publisher page with attribution.

Author : Nandagopal Rajan

Source : http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/google-search-starts-thinking-local-with-voice-search-indic-keyboard-and-auto-complete/

When Gabriel Weinberg became sick of Google search results and being tracked everywhere he went online, he took action. The developer created add-ons to limit his personal information being collected, and this small list evolved into the increasingly popular anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo.

Almost seven years after founding the company, DuckDuckGo has become a staple search engine for the privacy-conscious. In January, Weinberg and his now 35-person strong team, announced DuckDuckGo had provided answers to more than ten billion search queries. These numbers are nowhere near those celebrated by Google, Bing, or Yahoo; Google alone has 3.5 billion searches a day, but the 38-year-old has ambitions to grow beyond search. "We've had a very narrow focus for the life of the company because it has been hard to get the product to where it needs to be," Weinberg told WIRED.

 

"We're thinking of what else we can do to expand the proposition and give people more of a holistic privacy solution. We haven't made any total move but it's where we're heading; we're thinking more generally how can we do more to protect your privacy when you're browsing around the web."

DuckDuckGo was founded by internet entrepreneur Gabriel Weinberg in 2008 as a privacy-focussed alternative to Google

DuckDuckGo was founded by internet entrepreneur Gabriel Weinberg in 2008 as a privacy-focussed alternative to Google

Weinberg didn't elaborate on any specific products or services, but said it "probably won't" be email. The development may, instead, be closer to a web browsingexperience. "Like when you click off the search engine and you're taken to somewhere else on the web," he explained. "If we can make that experience more private for you, that's what we're thinking of".

 

The rise of DuckDuck go has been slow, or "steady", as Weinberg describes it. He admits one of the dominant challenges for the firm is marketing itself in a populist way. In 2011, Weinberg purchased a billboard for $7,000 (£5,600)pointing out the company, unlike Google, does not track those who use its search functions.

Despite difficulties in getting the firm widely known, DuckDuckGo has seen a number of mainstream successes: Apple included it as a default search option with iOS 8 in Safari in September 2014, Mozilla followed suit, including DuckDuckGo in Firefox in November of the same year. It also exists on Tor.

For now, Weinberg says development will continue on the core search features of DuckDuckGo. Like Google, the service tries to provide instant answers to your questions. If you're looking for a local cinema the firms will try to show the number and opening times; if you're searching for who was the UK prime minister in 1973 they will try to tell you.

"When you're looking for more things like breaking news or a phone number for a restaurant, especially internationally, we're making that experience better for users," he continued.

The entrepreneur expects the popularity of anonymous search to continue to grow and says he is worried about online surveillance laws around the world, including the UK's Investigatory Powers Act. Unsurprisingly, for the creator of a privacy-enhancing website, he says laws around the world are "unsettling".

"For the majority of people, I think they're just looking for simple ways to be tracked less online".

Author : MATT BURGESS

Source : http://www.wired.co.uk/article/duckduckgo-what-is-it-how-does-it-work

Indian police have busted an internet scam in which around 650,000 people lost a combined 3700 crores rupees ($549 million) after sending money to a company that promised they would earn cash by clicking on web links, police said on Friday.

Police, who described the pyramid-style scheme as one of India’s biggest ever, said they had arrested three ringleaders on the outskirts of New Delhi, the capital, and seized more than 500 crore rupees ($74 million) from bank accounts.

“They learned that if you give some money back to members, the investments would go up exponentially,” Amit Pathak, head of a police cyber crime unit in India’s populous northern state of Uttar Pradesh, told Reuters.

 

The men ran a series of websites that promised would-be subscribers a chance to earn five rupees ($0.07) each time they clicked or liked web links sent to their mobile phones, police said.

The unsuspecting investors each paid thousands of rupees into the company’s bank accounts to join the scheme, but the web links they received were fake.

The company running the alleged scam had operated for years, but earned almost all the money over a few months from last August, after it began to distribute some of the proceeds, using the beneficiaries to draw in more investors.

Police said the ringleaders had not yet appointed lawyers as the chargesheet was still being prepared.

When police raided the company’s head office in the city of Noida they found 250 passports of employees and members who had been rewarded with a holiday to Australia.

The scammers planned to film the holiday and then post it online as promotional material to lure more subscribers.

The alleged mastermind spent some of the proceeds on houses, cars and celebrity parties. Pathak said it would take time to trace most of the money, and several bank employees were believed to be involved.

“It’s a very big task for us. We have brought in the income-tax department, and other government agencies, to trace the money,” Pathak said.

Cyber crime in India, home to the world’s second largest number of internet users, jumped 350 percent in the three years to 2014 as criminals exploited booming smartphone use, a study by auditing services firm PwC and industry lobby group Assocham showed last year.

Source : http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/indian-police-have-busted-3700-crore-pyramid-scheme-style-internet-scam-360854.html?utm_source=rhs_most_commented

Saturday, 04 February 2017 15:56

10 Types of Internet Trolls You'll Meet Online

An Internet troll is a member of an online social community who deliberately tries to disrupt, attack, offend or generally cause trouble within the community by posting certain comments, photos, videos, GIFs or some other form of online content.

You can find trolls all over the Internet -- on message boards, in your YouTube video comments, on Facebook, on dating sites, in blog comment sections and everywhere else that has an open area where people can freely post to express their thoughts and opinions. Controlling them can be difficult when there are a lot of community members, but the most common ways to get rid of them include either banning/blocking individual user accounts (and sometimes IP addresses altogether) or closing off comment sections entirely from a blog post, video page or topic thread.

 

Regardless of where you'll find Internet trolls lurking, they all tend to disrupt communities in very similar (and often predictable) ways. This isn't by any means a complete list of all the different types of trolls out there, but they're most certainly some of the most common types you'll often come across in active online communities.

1-The insult troll

The insult troll is a pure hater, plain and simple. And they don't even really have to have a reason to hate or insult someone. These types of trolls will often pick on everyone and anyone -- calling them names, accusing them of certain things, doing anything they can to get a negative emotional response from them -- just because they can. In many cases, this type of trolling can become so severe that it can lead to or be considered a serious form of cyberbullying.

2-The persistent debate troll

This type of troll loves a good argument. They can take a great, thoroughly researched and fact-based piece of content, and come at it from all opposing discussion angles to challenge its message. They believe they're right, and everyone else is wrong. You'll often also find them leaving long threads or arguments with other commenters in community comment sections, and they're always determined to have the last word -- continuing to comment until that other user gives up. 

3-The grammar and spellcheck troll

You know this type of troll. They're the people who always have to tell other users that they have misspelled words and grammar mistakes. Even when they do it by simply commenting with the corrected word behind an asterisk symbol, it's pretty much never a welcomed comment to any discussion. Some of them even use a commenter's spelling and grammar mistakes as an excuse to insult them.

4-The forever offended troll

When controversial topics are discussed online, they're bound to offend someone. That's normal. But then there are the types of trolls who can take a piece of content -- often times it's a joke, a parody or something sarcastic -- and turn on the digital waterworks. They're experts at taking humorous pieces of content and turning them into an argument by playing the victim. People really do get upset by some of the strangest things said and done online.

5-The show-off, know-it-all or blabbermouth troll

A close relative to the persistent debate troll, the show-off or blabbermouth troll is a person who doesn't necessarily like to participate in arguments but does love to share his opinion in extreme detail, even spreading rumors and secrets in some cases. Think of that one family member or friend you know who just loves to hear his own voice. That's the Internet equivalent of the show-off or know-it-all or blabbermouth troll. They love to have long discussions and write lots of paragraphs about whatever they know, whether anyone reads it or not. 

 

6-The profanity and all-caps troll

Unlike some of the more intelligent trolls like the debate troll, the grammar troll and the blabbermouth troll, the profanity and all-caps troll is the guy who has nothing really of value to add to the discussion, spewing only F-bombs and other curse words with his caps lock button left on. In many cases, these types of trolls are just bored kids looking for something to do without needing to put too much thought or effort into anything. On the other side of the screen, they're often harmless.

7-The one word only troll

There's always that one contributor to a Facebook status update, a forum thread, and Instagram photo, a Tumblr post or any other form of social posting who just says "lol" or "what" or "k" or "yes" or "no." They're certainly far from the worst type of troll you meet online, but when a serious or detailed topic is being discussed, their one-word replies are just a nuisance to all who are trying add value and follow the discussion.

8-The exaggeration troll

Exaggeration trolls can sometimes be a combination of know-it-alls, the offended and even debate trolls. They know how to take any topic or problem and completely blow it out of proportion. Some of them actually try to do it to be funny, and sometimes they succeed, while others do it just to be annoying. They rarely ever contribute any real value to a discussion and often bring up problems and issues that may arguably be unrelated to what's being discussed.

9-The off topic troll

It's pretty hard not to hate that guy who posts something completely off topic in any type of social community discussion. It can be even worse when that person succeeds in shifting the topic and everyone ends up talking about whatever irrelevant thing that he posted. You see it all the time online -- in the comments of Facebook posts, in threaded YouTube comments, on Twitter and literally anywhere there're active discussions happening.  

10-The greedy spammer troll

Last but not least, there's the dreaded spammer troll. This it the troll who truly could not care less about your post or discussion and is only posting to benefit himself. He wants you to check out his page, buy from his link, use his coupon code or download his free ebook. These trolls also include all those users you see littering discussions on Twitter and Instagram and every other social network with "follow me!!!" posts. 

Author : Elise Moreau

Source : https://www.lifewire.com/types-of-internet-trolls-3485894

Search engines digest and rank websites differently each year. Thanks to machine learning, Google algorithms are becoming more intelligent, humanlike, and will soon surpass human intelligence in more than one way.

Google is also gaining greater access to big data through the search results, Google Analytic accounts, and Androids. Google can now easily reformulate its ranking factors in order to monitor even the most subtle signs of user satisfaction.

In the past, we could see the universally applicable ranking factors that referred to all kinds of websites, and these factors indeed were crucial for formulating the final ranking positions. We could also read plenty of articles about Google’s ranking factors: 30 Most Important Google Ranking Factors A Beginner Should Know, or 6 Current Google Ranking Factors You Should Keep Up With. However, ranking factors were never officially revealed by the Googlers, and Google search experts only vaguely mentioned some of them. Now there are no universally applicable ranking factors.

 

SEO has been taken to the next level

Each business niche today has its individual standards of a high-quality site, and different requirements need to be met to boost visibility. We can observe various SEO best practices among the different industries, and the best part is, sometimes it’s not a matter of industry but a specific query.

For example, a local business needs a well-optimized Google My Business listing, local citations, plenty of positive local reviews, consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone), a geotag to show a business’s exact location with directions, business-related rich snippets, well optimized title tags, descriptions for local keywords, etc.

On the other hand, an e-commerce business that operates globally needs optimizations on a different scale. Global companies need diligent – human – translations, a user-friendly website structure for each location and straightforward navi. They also need to host site versions on a local IP, link to local content relevant to the specific country, build links from local resources and connect with local search engines – Baidu if China, Yandex if Russia, etc.

Most of the known (revealed) ranking factors, which can be found in Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List, for instance, are still up to date; but their level of importance has already changed or is currently changing.

Some ranking factors, like technical standards, make up the necessary foundation and help your website achieve at least some traction, but they won’t guarantee top rankings anymore.

Other factors, like links, still carry the most weight, but according to this Searchmetrics’ white paper, the importance of backlinks is on the decline. A website ranking won’t be determined primarily by backlinks. Links are still considered an important factor, but they’re not the leading one.

The correlations for backlinks remain high, but their importance for a page’s ranking will continue to decline. – Searchmetrics

Google increasingly relies on user intention, content relevancy and behavioral factors – such as how a user interacts with a page – to rank its search results. The search engine is slowly and consequently rolling out the “customer-first” approach.

Google is trying to make its algorithms a mirror image of the heart, mind, soul, and needs of a customer.

Moreover, real-time indexing intended for the ‘search live coverage carousel’ is predicted to be an important part of the SEO future. It lets publishers surface breaking news more quickly than is currently possible with standard crawling. Also, Google Penguin is real-time. In the past, Penguin was updated periodically, so sites had to wait for the next update to get recrawled and reindexed again to recover finally. Now Penguin’s data is refreshed quickly, and changes are visible faster. It aims to make search results capable of adjusting to the freshly published assets and their enhancements fast.

 

Content marketing and SEO goals are aligned, and these two specializations are meshing with each other. What can we state for sure? Let’s dive into the deets and specify the top search ranking factors for Google.

1. Content Relevancy

A customer’s journey starts with performing the search, and since the web is noisy with information, ranking high is seriously tricky. It’s not possible to write a mediocre, 500-word article wrapped around a high volume keyword, and expect that it will stand out.

Today’s content strategy should be directed strictly at your marketing personas and delivering accurate content forms and types that meet search intentions. It’s also essential to provide users with the best resource available for a given topic, also known as 10 x content.

You should look at the content writing process holistically by choosing a search term that includes a complete subject area and adjust it to the user intent effectively. Tailor content to your buyer personas, and remember to come up with comprehensive and engaging writing to inspire and educate.

This is a strategy that will win you brand advocates and regular readers who will eagerly await your next release. And having (many) devoted users eventually, translates to ranking high in search results for many related keywords.

*Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. Google does rank some resources higher even though they don’t have the most relevant content. This is because Google also counts in a brand factor that enables some brands to preserve a more trustworthy and recognizable image than others.

2. User Signals

The approach to content is changing as well. More value is put on user signals determined by the click-through rate, bounce rate and time on site. User behavior can tell a lot about your content.

Click-through rate refers to the average percentage of users that click on a specific result on a search page. This indicates how a particular result compares to other records.

CTR_vs_Organic_Search_Position

WordStream

Although the top three results in the search statistically reap the most engagement, people usually read titles and descriptions before they click. So click-through rate also expresses how well-written your title tags and meta descriptions are.

Bounce rate confirms whether your content indeed provides the initially promised benefits (in the title and description) to a searcher who lands on your landing page.

 

If a page’s text is messy, the design is dated, the user experience is poor, the content isn’t readable, or the page happens to be something completely different than expected, users will inevitably go back to the search results, indicating that there was something wrong with the page. That’s a big fail. Bounce rate reflects single page session where a user leaves a page without any interaction. It also helps with evaluating URL relevance when it’s combined with other quality indicators.

The third measure, the length of time a user spends on a site, shows Google your ability to engage with your resources. Of course, the type of query and its intention is crucial for determining whether time on site is a relevant indicator.

The impact of CTR, bounce rate and time on site has significantly risen in the overall ranking since 2014, according to Searchmetrics.

3. Mobile friendliness

Mobile has a special place in Google’s heart – perhaps because there are reportedly more searches performed on mobile devices than on desktop. Investing in mobile is now imperative. According to Greg Stuart, CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association, most CMOs are embracing mobile, but “there is a knowing versus doing gap. They know they need to do it, but how do they do it?”

Mobile friendliness is a highly important ranking factor, so it’s about “time to take action and not just do mobile, but do mobile right.”

Mobile traffic is regularly growing. What’s more, Google recently announced that it’s been experimenting with mobile-first indexing. Although it’s still in the testing phase, this clearly indicates in what direction SEO is heading. Google is about to make the mobile version the main index for ranking websites. Check out this Mobile SEO advice by Barry Schwarz

This is the very last warning call to all those whose sites still perform poorly on mobile to fix this issue before their overall rankings start to decline in the SERPs. If your mobile version isn’t flawless, do something about it, or at least make the mobile experience up to par with the desktop standards.

If you aren’t sure whether your website meets the criteria for being mobile friendly, login to your Search Console account, and view the Mobile Usability section. Google reports any mobile related issues.

Key Takeaway

Google started to update its search algorithms more imperceptibly; the changes are getting more flexible. Review what you know about search ranking factors and put this SEO advice at the top of your 2017 priority list.

This piece is devoted to the top three ranking factors, but of course, there is always more to add. There are many different ranking signals to consider as well like user experience, social media, backlinks and technical issues. All ranking factors combined contribute to your final keywords positions; what is different is the effect each factor has on your rank.

Would you add anything more to this write-up? Let me know in the comments below.

Author : Kasia Perzyńska

Source : http://www.business2community.com/seo/googles-top-3-search-ranking-factors-today-nutshell-01756951#FI7dBSuABKI2j7er.97

Thursday, 02 February 2017 15:11

15 Things Mentally Strong People Do

It's easy to look at successful people and think they have it all figured out. They may seem like the A+ students of life. But what can we learn from them?

Successful people often have certain characteristics in common — things like how they don’t focus on their competition, or they surround themselves with positive people. Being successful is kind of like a system; once you know the program you can put it into practice and live to your fullest potential. We all want to be happy and healthy, but for many of us that means reaching a certain level of success as well.

What is success to you?

What makes you happy?

If you're working hard to make your dreams come true but you feel like you aren’t where you want to be, it could be time to regroup. Success is a journey, and the experience of getting to your goal is the real reward.

Several years ago I left a successful corporate job to follow my heart and become a writer. Starting a business from scratch with nothing more than a strong willed desire meant I had to detach from emotional habits and limiting beliefs. I needed to give myself a mental makeover and become mentally strong in order to become successful in my new career choice. And four years later, after putting my own success steps into action, my business is booming.

The pivotal moment for me was learning to see my “failures” as growth. The real success stories are those who rise when they fall. You can’t have success without failure and letting the failures guide you instead of take your down or give up will help you become tremendously successful.

To give your dreams a boost of confidence, I created a list of the 15 things mentally strong people do. Perhaps it can help you along your own path.

1. They know when to move on.

2. They use their fear to motivate action.

3. The know failure is part of success.

4. They train their brains to see the good in everything.

5. They're tenacious with their goals.

6. They start before they're ready or confident.

 

7. They don’t take anything personally.

8. They believe in themselves.

9. They don’t try to fit in.

10. They allow themselves to be a beginner.

11. They don't do things they don't want to do.

12. They celebrate the success and happiness of others.

13. They don’t need a reason to help people.

14. They are unapologetic about their unique selves.

15. They accept what they can’t change.

If you want more inspiration on how to make your own success list grab this FREE love your life to the fullest guide.

 

Author : Shannon Kaiser

Source : http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13073/15-things-mentally-strong-people-do.html

Earlier this month we told you all about the hackers that were working hard to make the already great NES Classic even better. Using mod tools to tweak the files installed on the Classic’s built-in storage, users are able to more than double the number of games installed on the retro system. Now, the modding tools have gotten a big update and it’s now possible to installed a crazy huge number of games — as in, the entire North American retail library of over 700 titles.

The go-to tool for NES Classic hacking is called Hakchi, and while the original release and subsequent 2.0 update helped popularize Classic modding, the newly launched Hakchi 2.11 is so, so much more powerful. Developed by emulation guru Cluster from the GBATemp forums, the new version of the software creates a folder system on the Classic to support a much, much larger number of games than before and turning the system into a true emulation powerhouse.

What’s even more impressive, the new mod is capable of running games from within zipped files, which saves a lot of space and allows for even more titles to be packed onto the system’s relatively modest ~300MB storage capacity.

The early errors associated with Hakchi — including the software’s pesky habit of throwing false positives on PC virus scanning — have been ironed out. The vast majority of users report a relatively seamless uploading procedure and flawless emulation of the games they’ve uploaded. That said, there are always a few titles that don’t play well with emulators, and some notable games like Battletoads require additional tweaking. Thankfully, the emulation community is extremely active and you can stay updated on patches for problem games on the Hakchi thread.

 

Author : Mike Wehner

Source : https://www.yahoo.com/news/nes-classic-hack-gets-even-better-now-install-001232485.html

The internet is much more than just the publicly available, Google-able web services most online users frequent – and that’s good for free expression. Companies frequently create private networks to enable employees to use secure corporate servers, for example. And free software allows individuals to create what are called “peer-to-peer” networks, connecting directly from one machine to another.

Unable to be indexed by current search engines, and therefore less visible to the general public, subnetworks like these are often called “darknets,” or collective as the singular “darknet.” These networks typically use software, such as Tor, that anonymizes the machines connecting to them, and encrypts the data traveling through their connections.

 

Some of what’s on the darknet is alarming. A 2015 story from Fox News reads:

“Perusing the darknet offers a jarring jaunt through jaw-dropping depravity: Galleries of child pornography, videos of humans having sex with animals, offers for sale of illegal drugs, weapons, stolen credit card numbers and fake identifications for sale. Even human organs reportedly from Chinese execution victims are up for sale on the darknet.”

But that’s not the whole story – nor the whole content and context of the darknet. Portraying the darknet as primarily, or even solely, for criminals ignores the societal forces that push people toward these anonymous networks. Our research into the content and activity of one major darknet, called Freenet, indicates that darknets should be understood not as a crime-ridden “Wild West,” but rather as “wilderness,” spaces that by design are meant to remain unsullied by the civilizing institutions – law enforcement, governments and corporations – that have come to dominate the internet.

There is definitely illegal activity on the darknet, as there is on the open internet. However, many of the people using the darknet have a diverse range of motives and activities, linked by a common desire to reclaim what they see as major benefits of technology: privacy and free speech.

Describing Freenet

Our research explored Freenet, an anonymous peer-to-peer network accessed via a freely downloadable application. In this type of network, there are no centralized servers storing information or transferring data. Rather, each computer that joins the network takes on some of the tasks of sharing information.

When a user installs Freenet, her computer establishes a connection to a small group of existing Freenet users. Each of these is connected in turn to other Freenet users’ computers. Through these connections, the entire contents of the network are available to any user. This design allows Freenet to be decentralized, anonymous and resistant to surveillance and censorship.

Freenet’s software requires users to donate a portion of their local hard drive space to store Freenet material. That information is automatically encrypted, so the computer’s owner does not know what files are stored or the contents of those files. Files shared on the network are stored on numerous computers, ensuring they will be accessible even if some people turn off their machines.

Joining the network

As researchers, we played the role of a novice Freenet user. The network allows many different types of interaction, including social networking sites and even the ability to build direct relationships with other users. But our goal was to understand what the network had to offer to a new user just beginning to explore the system.

 

There are several Freenet sites that have used web crawlers to index the network, offering a sort of directory of what is available. We visited one of these sites to download their list. From the 4,286 total sites in the index we chose, we selected a random sample of 427 sites to visit and study more closely. The sites with these indexes are a part of the Freenet network, and therefore can be accessed only by users who have downloaded the software. Standard search engines cannot be used to find sites on Freenet.

An introductory page on Freenet. Roderick Graham and Brian Pitman, CC BY-ND

Finding a ‘hacker ethic’

What we found indicated that Freenet is dominated by what scholars call a “hacker ethic.” This term encompasses a group of progressive and libertarian beliefs often espoused by hackers, which are primarily concerned with these ideals:

  • Access to information should be free;
  • Technology can, and should, improve people’s lives;
  • Bureaucracy and authority are not to be trusted;
  • A resistance to conventional and mainstream lifestyles

Some of that may be because using darknet technology often requires additional technical understanding. In addition, people with technical skills may be more likely to want to find, use and even create services that have technological protections against surveillance.

Our reading of hacking literature suggests to us that the philosophical and ideological beliefs driving darknet users are not well-known. But without this context, what we observed on Freenet would be hard to make sense of.

There were Freenet sites for sharing music, e-books and video. Many sites were focused around personal self-expression, like regular internet blogs. Others were dedicated to promoting a particular ideology. For example, socialist and libertarian content was common. Still other sites shared information from whistle-blowers or government documents, including a copy of the Wikileaks website’s data, complete with its “Afghan War Diary” of classified documents about the United States military invasion of Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

 

With the hacker ethic as a guide, we can understand that most of this content is from individuals who have a deep mistrust of authority, reject gross materialism and conformity, and wish to live their digital lives free of surveillance.

What about crime?

There is criminal activity on Freenet. About a quarter of the sites we observed either delivered or linked to child pornography. This is alarming, but must be seen in the proper context. Legal and ethical limits on researchers make it very hard to measure the magnitude of pornographic activity online, and specifically child pornography.

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Once we came upon a site that purported to have child pornography, we left the site immediately without investigating further. For example, we did not seek to determine whether there was just one image or an entire library or marketplace selling pornographic content. This was a good idea from the perspectives of both law and ethics, but did not allow us to gather any real data about how much pornography was actually present.

Other research suggests that the presence of child pornography is not a darknet or Freenet problem, but an internet problem. Work from the the Association for Sites Advocating Child Protection points to pervasive sharing of child pornography well beyond just Freenet or even the wider set of darknets. Evaluating the darknet should not stop just at the presence of illegal material, but should extend to its full content and context.

A pie chart shows the share of Freenet sites devoted to particular types of content. Roderick Graham and Brian Pitman, CC BY-ND

With this new information, we can look more accurately at the darknet. It contains many distinct spaces catering to a wide range of activities, from meritorious to abhorrent. In this sense, the darknet is no more dangerous than the rest of the internet.

And darknet services do provide anonymity, privacy, freedom of expression and security, even in the face of a growing surveillance state.

Author : Roderick S Graham & Brian Pitman

Source : http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/is-darknet-more-dangerous-than-rest-of-the-internet-117013100232_1.html

Of course you know about Google, Yahoo, Bing and AOL, but have you heard of the DuckDuckGo search engine? Well, it’s an internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding the “filter bubble” of personalized search results.

A Look at the DuckDuckGo Search Engine

The “filter bubble” is a term coined by internet activist Eli Pariser to refer to the selective information that search engines present to users based on variances such as location, past click behavior and search history. That means that different results are shown to different people. Not everyone who searches for a particular topic sees the same results. While this might be beneficial at certain times, the filter bubble also can isolate and deter you from seeing the entire picture.  DuckDuckGo doesn’t have a filter bubble. And the ability to switch which local region you’re searching in gives you more options and ultimately, a truer search.

 

While its main draw is lack of a filter bubble, DuckDuckGo has another killer feature you may not have heard of – !bangs. By simply appending “!g” or “!google” in the search box you will be taken immediately to the Google search engine. If you type !stackoverflow, !wikipedia or a large number of other similarly well-known web destinations, the DuckDuckGo will bring up these respective websites too. This is pretty clever stuff!

The search engine also doesn’t follow you around with ads.

The anonymous DuckDuckGo search engine provides small businesses with a safe way to search the web along some useful features.

Here’s a scenario; you search for restaurants and go through a few. The next time you want to search for something, the search engine will show you targeted restaurant ads. This could be useful for a variety of reasons, but it is typically a monetization strategy. However, DuckDuckGo keeps a clean, clutter-free interface at all times. “We don’t store your search history,” says the company on their main search page. “We therefore have nothing to sell to advertisers that track you across the internet.”

The downside with this search engine, however, is that it’s not as intuitive as Google when it comes to news. The search engine doesn’t seem to have a section that’s specifically dedicated to News.

Overall, DuckDuckGo is definitely one of the more private search engines around. Its clean design, lack of filter bubble and ibangs makes it a useful research tool if — you need to get out of your bubble and explore some new things on the web..

Author : Antony Maina

Source : https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/01/duckduckgo-search-engine.html

Tuesday, 31 January 2017 15:52

Knowing When To Shut Up

I have been to several seminars on how to use social media. Most of them have stressed how important it is for farmers and those of us in agriculture to have a social media account and to share about agriculture as much as we can.  We need a loud voice for agriculture to counter the environmental and animal rights wackos that fill social media channels with lies and science fiction.

But, this past week, I heard a presentation that took a different approach — one that to me makes a lot of sense.

Leah Beyer, digital communications Manager with Elanco Animal Health presented a program called “Knowing When To Shut Up.”  Her presentation demonstrated that sometimes in our effort to make our agricultural voice heard we do more harm than good.

 

For example, when some fast food firm announces it is going GMO free, we respond with condemnation and threats of boycotts.  When PETA puts out an undercover video, we go crazy and share it all over the place saying how this is not what farms are like. Yet, by doing this, we are playing into the hands of the nutcases by helping to spread their message and giving credibility to their claims.

Beyer says sometimes it is better to say nothing. Or, if you are going to say something, don’t argue the point just simply stress the positive aspects of agriculture and food production. She stressed keeping an issue in perspective. Just because we in agriculture are upset by something, it does not mean the public is even paying attention.  Dozens of ag bloggers might be reacting to something the “food babe” says does not mean it is being seen by those outside of farming or activist communities.

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She used the example of how on the same day PETA released an undercover video about a hog farm, a child fell into the gorilla pen at a zoo in Ohio and the gorilla was shot dead. Social media was filled for days and weeks with outrage over the gorilla, while the PETA video went unnoticed.

Beyer also cautioned about the use of the share button. If you share something, even if you say bad things about it, you are still helping to increase the number of people who see the original message who otherwise may not see it at all. She also discouraged passing along links to fake news. When these links get shared, it increases their popularity with search engines like Google.  This ranks them higher in searches and gives them the appearance of legitimacy, and they are then more likely to get picked up by real news organizations. She recommends you copy the text, but don’t share the hyperlink.

Social media is great tool for helping to educate the public about agriculture, but perhaps we need to be a bit more strategic in how we use it. Over 60% of Americans have a Facebook page, so posting positive thoughts, comments, or stories about agriculture, food production, or farm life is a good idea. However, we need to learn the art of keeping our digital mouths shut at the right time.

Author : Gary Truitt

Source : https://www.hoosieragtoday.com/knowing-when-to-shut-up/

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