It was the biggest bout of 2016 in the digital economy: MakeMyTrip (India) versus Union of India & Ors on September 1 in Delhi High Court. The largest travel website in India had filed a writ petition against the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI).

In January 2016, the tax authority arrested a MakeMyTrip (MMT) employee after searches at its Gurgaon premises.

The alleged offence — revenue loss to the government because hotels listed on MMT had not paid service tax. Just six months before this, MMT had been warding off price competition from Ibibo Group, backed by South African conglomerate Naspers; Oyo Rooms, backed by Japan’s Softbank; venture capital-backed Yatra and older nemesis, ClearTrip

Then, suddenly, there was solidarity among travel aggregators, which the high court noted. "There is a common pattern emerging in both cases (MMT and Ibibo) and… the scope of powers of DGCEI requires to be examined." 

Every hotel aggregator was claiming it had more than 25,000 hotels listed on its website (Yatra claimed 36,000). There had been DGCEI searches at the Gurgaon offices of Ibibo and Yatra on January 13 and at ClearTrip’s in Mumbai.

Each company responded with writ petitions claiming the authority’s overreach. One secret all tax advisors know is that the government loves ecommerce to bits. 

At no expense to the government, companies battle each other to build better technology platforms, bringing the informal sector—hotels, taxis, restaurants, single screen cinema halls, shopkeepers—to the digital economy. This helps the government form a money trail that didn’t exist.

Predictably, thus, DGCEI lost the high court case. But it was able to counter MMT’s claim of agreements with more than 30,000 hotels. DGCEI said the website possessed PAN details of only 3,922 hotels, "of which 1,728 were not even registered with service tax authorities."


Though its effort to make MMT liable for listed hotels’ tax losses was wrong, as the court ruled, DGCEI had managed to trace a money trail to less than 2,000 hotels in the informal economy using just one travel website.

The DGCEI offensive was a surprise for online travel aggregators (OTA) in India, which regrouped against the government— and won.

When MMT chairman Deep Kalra spoke with ET recently, he reflected on that phase. "Had we (OTAs) had an association at that time, we could have taken an even stronger stand. When a serious issue hits you, an association can help a company because it has that credibility."

Lack of such a body or think-tank is ailing India’s consumer internet industry, which is estimated by RedSeer Consulting to have brought $45 billion worth of goods and services online last year. (More than 30 per cent of this is because of Indian Railways’ online bookings and the OTAs.)

More remarkably, in a departure from China, the local landscape has both size (331 million internet users) and diversity for customers. This means myriad types of companies and ideologies.

While Google and Facebook dominate their mainstay search and social network business, Google browser Chrome is battling Alibaba-owned UCWeb from China for the Indian smartphone user.

Can internet industry based in metros and diversified across sectors find a cohesive voice?

In etail, Amazon vs Flipkart isn’t the two-horse race it’s often billed as. Even Snapdeal, ShopClues and Paytm users shop online and Alibaba has just launched operations. Since 2010, less than $20 billion has gone into creating online category battles involving more than 3,000 startups.

Even as foreign investors such as Sequoia, Accel, Tiger Global, Alibaba and Softbank increased their India exposure like never before, the industry that was born competed aggressively to build technology and bring informal sectors online.


"Entrepreneurs are yet to come together. They have fallen short in finding that unified purpose," said a venture capital investor in Bengaluru, who requested anonymity.

There were murmurs of Flipkart cofounder Sachin Bansal starting a separate ecommerce body last year but not much has come of it. The think tank vacuum is as conspicuous as the local market is globalised.

Even as late as in 2013, the industry counted on Google’s Rajan Anandan to bring legitimacy to fashion portals from India, such as Myntra. It didn’t matter that Anandan was born in Sri Lanka, or that he is managing director of America-bred Google’s South East Asia and India operations.

For fashion and apparel companies and sellers, a Google guy’s endorsement at Myntra conferences brought credibility to a nascent sector, also because he was then chairing industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

It still isn’t rare for the affable Anandan to be a keynote speaker at developers and software-as-a-service conferences in India, as he was part of the September 2015 launch of ed-tech portal Udacity’s launch in India.

He has invested in almost 50 startups in this region, a testament to how Anandan —and, by extension, Google—is culturally entrenched in India. But fissures are beginning to show. Is Anandan a messiah or mercenary? "Google makes money out of the digital economy which Rajan champions," noted the Bengaluru VC investor quoted earlier.

His larger point was, "We need that one guy who people value and respect as an independent voice, who connects and has the concern and a sense of mission-mode to emerge as a leader for the industry."

Can internet industry based in metros and diversified across sectors find a cohesive voice?

Considering the scale, velocity and size of the industry, the time and effort required is huge. "That person has not emerged," said the investor. It has to be a full-time pursuit, as in the case of the late Dewang Mehta for Nasscom (IT industry), Tarun Das (Confederation of Indian Industry) and, more recently, Sharad Sharma at iSPIRT (software product industry). In Delhi’s lobbying circles, the internet industry is seen as a spoilt brat.


Sample a couple of perceptions — the money is drying but entrepreneurs’ capabilities haven’t gone up dramatically. Second, this is a two-sided market where buyers and sellers are getting subsidised for market share. 

"They (Ecommerce companies) should all sit in a room — if one company decides to stop such subsidies, others need to agree as an ‘association,’ that they won’t allow contrary practices because they are anti-competitive. Right now, ‘Indian vs American’ or ‘Chinese vs Indian’ is an outcome of lack of unity, which no current industry association can fix," an industry observer in Delhi explained. 

The view from Bengaluru is a study in contrast. It is put down to a divide between the cities. "It’s almost like you have to be in Delhi to be influential, which means a significant amount of entrepreneurs’ time has to be spent in the National Capital to be influential," the VC investor said.

In 2014, Nasscom carved out the Internet, Mobile and Ecommerce Council (NIMEC), chaired by veteran Sanjeev Bikhchandani, who founded online classifieds company Info Edge, best known for jobs website Naukri.com. 

NIMEC is co-chaired by Kunal Bahl, cofounder of Snapdeal. There are also nine members and two special invitees (chief executives of Yepme and Zomato). Of the nine, five are CEOs of companies headquartered in Delhi (MMT, Paytm, PolicyBazaar, Jaypore and Google India). 

In all, nine of the 13 companies in the council representation are headquartered in Delhi. The rest are Latif Nathani of eBay (Mumbai), Murugavel Janakiraman of Matrimony.com (Chennai) while Bhavish Aggarwal of Ola Cabs and Amit Agarwal of Amazon sit in Bengaluru. If the industry representation is by category, there are four online retail companies and then a spate of aggregators (classifieds, travel, food tech, payments and so on).

But NIMEC is not a true mirror of the representation or influence of Bengalurubased companies, where most of the capital has been infused. Bengaluru as a market too has a record of high volume of users and fast uptake of internet services. 

This reflects in employment generated by Bengaluru companies, notably Flipkart. Bikhchandani countered this, saying the current 11 members do not restrict the agenda.

"All discussions are with the larger set of companies that is directly affected," he said by email. For instance, there have been goods and services tax (GST) discussions with every ecommerce member of Nasscom, including Flipkart. Payment inputs have been taken from Visa, Mastercard and Flipkart, among others who are not council members. 

There have been policy discussions on connectivity with Nasscom members who are not on the council, even emerging but key internet businesses from Bengaluru like UrbanClap (local home services) and Practo (healthcare appointments). 

"This is a diverse industry," said Bikhchandani."Ecommerce spans sectors — transport, travel, retail, pharma or payments — with different needs and focus areas. Even in the same sub-sector, we have had differences (say in etail) but finally, they come together to a common set of recommendations." 

Bikhchandani cited the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Press Note 3, which spelt out guidelines for FDI in ecommerce. Similarly, Nasscom inputs went to the recent Ratan Watal Committee to review the digital payments framework. 

"The internet industry has strong internal competition. However, cohesive voices do emerge," said Bikhchandani, adding that both Nasscom and IAMAI are effective industry bodies. Another Nasscom official noted that perceptions vary across generations, with two stark extremes.

"Bikhchandani, now in his 50s, has been through a number of phases, including a job and the early days of the internet. On the other hand, you have very, very young startups–take the other extreme of a Rahul Yadav, who co-founded Housing.com right after IIT and is the bad boy of the startup world," he explained.

There are far lower levels of patience among founders of new age internet companies. IAMAI and Nasscom measure themselves by government action on their policy recommendations — with, say, Telecom Regulatory Association of India (Trai) and DIPP — not high-decibel statements to the media.

"We are business associations in the vein of CII, Ficci or Assocham," said Subho Ray, IAMAI president since 2006. "But yes, a think tank is required to focus on the impact of internet . As business associations, we may lack the correct representation when it comes to assessing technology impact." 

A think tank will call on industry players to go beyond their companies and individual interests and drive neutral policy. Lack of such a think tank is showing in how ‘additional factor of authentication,’ an RBI stipulation of payment gateway for internet companies, is applied for local companies and global competitors who have payment gateways outside India. 

"The reality in aspects like two-factor authentication, which is a massive issue in digital payments, is that companies are actually disadvantaged," MMT’s Kalra told ET, calling for a level playing field.

The software product industry has a think tank in iSPIRT, run by Sharad Sharma. The digital industry is still looking for that voice, even as public sector behemoths like State Bank of India challenge Paytm’s credentials because it is seen to be less of an Indian company owing to its Chinese investors. 

As OTAs have discovered, in a diverse and even divided field, it takes a government hand to push the internet industry toward unity.

Author: Kunal Talgeri
Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/can-internet-industry-based-in-metros-and-diversified-across-sectors-find-a-cohesive-voice/articleshow/56302210.cms

Categorized in Internet Technology

THE Internet has become such an integral part of life that it’s hard to imagine how we all got by without it not so many years ago.

It has changed the operations of industry, the way we conduct our daily lives, our social and family relationships and the delivery of public services. In a sense, it has redefined who we are.

Now that the digital revolution has become so entrenched, where does it go from here?

Special segment

For one thing, the Internet has broken down into special interest segments with new players entering all the time. That trend is certain to continue. Concurrently, the giants of the Internet are flexing their muscles in more directions to safeguard their market domination.

While the growth of China’s web users has been moderating, the numbers of smartphone users have been rising steadily. That creates new opportunities for a wide range of relatively small but viral mobile Internet services, such as live-streaming and audio streaming.

The state-backed China Internet Network Information Center said Internet penetration rate was 51.7 percent at the end of last June, up 1.4 percentage points from the start of last year. Mobile Internet users accounted for 92.5 percent of the online population, up 2.4 percentage points in the six months.

Brand producers and online retailers are using Internet tools like live-streaming to reach young adults or target audiences like gamers, travelers or fashion lovers.


Credit Suisse estimates that China’s live streaming market size in 2016 exceeded 25 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion), nearly double a year earlier. Annual growth this year is expected to moderate to about 5 percent, for a market valued at 33 billion yuan.

Ma Yuan, head of BOCOM International’s Internet research center, wrote in a research note that the demographic dividend that once propelled China’s Internet industry is already fading, while new growth potential will come from more segmented areas.

“Investors should pay more attention to cross-segment innovations, such as payment systems, online education and financial services, “ she noted.

An increasing number of companies are expected to adopt new technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality to enhance interaction for online users.

Internet giants are continuously trying to make inroads into rival turf. Alibaba’s online retail site Tmall is moving into the online grocery sector, while its payment affiliate Alipay is seeking to add more interactive elements to take it beyond just being a digital wallet.

In late December, Alipay unveiled an augmented reality feature in its smartphone application, allowing use of physical objects as landmarks to send or receive digital “red packets.”

WeChat’s payment service, on the other hand, is quickly catching up with Alipay in terms of daily volumes. According to Bocom International’s research, Alipay’s overall mobile payment size was 3.3 times that of WeChat’s in 2015. The gap narrowed to twofold in 2016 and is expected to be 1.9 times this year.

Video blogging

Wu Xiaobo, a writer and producer in the business and economics realm, predicted video blogging would re-emerge as a hot-button item this year and live-streaming services would become a mainstream function adopted by almost every online player.


“The younger generation of online users spends much more time watching videos than previous generations,” he said. “Not only entertainment shows, but also educational and information-based video bloggers will emerge.”

Wu told the recent Tencent Tengyun Think Tank forum that Internet infrastructure, including payment systems and audio and video streaming, is now fully developed and users are more willing to pay for such digital content than they were in the past.

His own online video channel on iQiyi.com has a collective viewership of more than 100 million since mid-2014, and his for-fee audio programs spanning nearly 300 episodes have been played more than four million times on the Shanghai-based online audio streaming application Ximalaya FM.

Sandy Chen, a senior director at Kantar TNS China, said more independent social networking services targeting specific online user groups will emerge.

“Internet services are moving very fast, and a lot of investment is still willing to go into sub-divisions of e-commerce or social networking areas as long as these services have a unique selling point,” she told Shanghai Daily.

Real money

Indeed, there’s some real money to be made from Internet services nowadays.

Online subscriptions for paid audio-programs reached 50 million yuan during a campaign last month by Ximalaya FM.

And there’s no sign of a let-up in consumer enthusiasm toward online shopping. During Alibaba’s annual 24-hour shopping spree on “Singles Day” in November, sales soared 32 percent from a year earlier to a jaw-dropping 120.7 billion yuan.

China is expected to unveil a new e-commerce law early this year. It’s currently under review by the National People’s Congress. Industry insiders predict that individual online sellers may be subject to tax regulations and business licensing requirement may be instituted.

China’s online retail sales in the first eleven months of 2016 surged 26 percent from a year earlier to nearly 3.75 trillion yuan, outpacing the 10.4 percent growth in total retail sales.

The booming sector also comes with a host of problems and loopholes that make supervision and regulation relatively difficult. For example, some online vendors have faked transaction records or strong-armed consumers to write good reviews about their products.

According to the 13th Five Year Plan for national informatization released by the State Council last week, China aims to expand e-commerce transactions to more than 38 trillion yuan, up from 21.8 trillion in 2015 and online retail sales is expected to maintain an average 20.8 percent annual growth through 2020.

Cao Lei, director of the China E-Commerce Research Center, has called for a preferential tax rate for individual online sellers in order to protect smaller players.

“But business license registration for online vendors could help e-commerce platforms and government agencies better regulate the industry and make transaction data more transparent,” he said.

The retail industry as a whole has its fingers crossed that sales will continue to climb amid a backdrop of moderate GDP growth.

In the first 11 months of 2016, retail sales of consumer goods rose 10.4 percent from a year ago to 30 trillion yuan, with online sales comprising 12.5 percent.

Chu Dong, deputy secretary-general of the China Chain Store and Franchise Association, said both online and offline retailers should place more emphasis on better serving consumers in terms of product innovation and distribution. Brand retailers and manufacturers should link up more closely.

Industry watchers are also expecting online and offline retailers to build more integrated inventory management systems as purchasing lines through both channels begin to blur.

Author: Ding Yining
Source: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/business/benchmark/Internet-becomes-abusiness-kaleidoscope/shdaily.shtml

Categorized in Business Research

Nothing may have had as bad of a year as the Internet.

The Internet has been hit with an onslaught of criticism and suffered several setbacks in 2016: from relinquishment of American control over web address management, introduced surveillance measures in the United Kingdom, social media backlash for users’ hate speech and terrorist affiliations, to censorship and fake news.

The Obama administration let a contract with an American corporation expire at the very end of September, so that a central portion of Internet governance control could be handed over to an international bureaucracy.

Now countries like China, which have vastly different perspectives on freedom of speech than America, will have a say in how Internet addresses will be managed.

In October, a large portion of websites were shutdown for the majority of the Northeast in America. Now that power has been shared with other countries, such attacks could be harder to overcome and thus could become a severe and regular problem for America’s internet infrastructure, which is absolutely critical for a number of things like the country’s electoral process, national security and commerce.

The U.K. passed a surveillance bill in November that significantly expands the government’s spying powers, namely over the Internet. The Investigatory Powers Bill is considered so expansive, it’s informally called the “snoopers’ charter.” The European Union’s top court ruled the measure was illegal because it calls for the “general and indiscriminate” retention of people’s online web traffic, but it remains to be seen if the ruling will ultimately matter.


“The U.K.’s new Investigatory Powers bill sets a chilling precedent for surveillance and online free speech in the West,” Ryan Hagemann, technology and civil liberties policy analyst at the Niskanen Center, told the The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Americans should definitely be concerned about the expansion of surveillance authorities in Europe, especially with the rising tide of ethno-nationalism and right-wing populism throughout much of the continent.”

Tech platforms like YouTube and Twitter have engaged in censorship by removing accounts such as ones associated with the alt-right — going against the companies’ usual mindset of being absolutely for free speech.

In fact, there are a number of instances of Silicon Valley burying conservative news, from Facebook’s trending list, to Google’s search engine.

These same tech companies have been sued over the past year by a number of people, including the family members of the victims of the Orlando Night Club shootingthe Paris attacks, and Palestinian bombings. The plaintiffs in these cases argue that tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are complicit with terrorists because such evildoers use the platforms they offer, thus providing “material support.”

Several legal experts and lawyers told The Daily Caller News Foundation that such legal actions are unsubstantiated and misguided because of multipleexplicit laws already on the books.


“Those lawsuits are going nowhere. Service providers can’t be held liable just for providing accounts to bad speakers who would use the accounts to convey bad messages. See, e.g., Fields v. Twitter,” Eugene Volokh, professor at the UCLA School of Law, told TheDCNF.

Yet, several parties are still suing these tech companies, potentially harming the sanctity of freedom of speech on the Internet.

Along with first amendment concerns, there were heated battles between law enforcement and tech companies over encryption, which touches upon the Fourth and Fifth Amendment, amongst other principles.

The FBI demanded that Apple unlock the iPhone 5c of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two San Bernardino shooters. A federal court at the time agreed and ordered that Apple do so, which CEO Tim Cook said would require creating a new technological tool.

Cook called it “unprecedented” and “chilling” since “building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a back door. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

Cook states that if it had created such a tool, encryption, the process of encoding data so only the authorized parties can see it, would have been compromised, thus significantly harming people’s online privacy.

And there’s the fake news dilemma, where people are worried that uncorroborated stories are becoming too available for people to see on the Internet. People have called on Facebook to fix the problem since it’s a social media platform where news is disseminated.

Mark Zuckerberg named Snopes, a media outlet, as one of the entities that will help them in labeling stories as “fake news.” This will likely lead to subjective censorship of conservative viewpoints, since Snopes almost exclusively employs people who are left-leaning.

So while the bleakness for the Internet in 2016 was fairly apparent, what does 2017 have in store?

While Hagemann says its always difficult to make predictions, he thinks because of “the battles over encryption here in the U.S., the passage of the Investigatory Powers bill in the U.K., and the year-end focus on fake news, the Internet isn’t the electronic frontier it used to be.”

“The reality of politics and policy have crept into cyberspace. I think 2017 will be the year the last vestiges of cyberfrontier life finally wither away,” Hagemann explained.

So as the Internet becomes increasingly pervasive in society, so too will the questioning of its role.

“In the end, the Internet is just a reflection of the real world, warts and all. In the short run, I’m sure we’ll continue dealing with issues like fake news, terrorist recruitment through social media, and concerns over government surveillance. In the long run, however, I’m definitely optimistic for the future of humanity, in both the real world and the world of atoms,” Hagemann concluded.

Author: Eric Lieberman
Source: http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/01/2016s-assault-on-the-internet-was-brutal-will-2017-be-worse

Categorized in Internet Technology

Many of you after reading the title will be like “Okay Google is number 1”. Well yes it is and will be the top search engine for many more years to come. So why this post of best search engines in the world?? Well as a blogger and an SEO Analyst its always important to keep track of the things around you, specially the things which have a direct impact on you and your work.

I would also like to include stats from one of my website for which I even haven’t even done Google Webmasters !! But know what !! I am making 1000$ every month from that site and all of the traffic is organic !! Not from Google but from 2-3 other search engines.

Now don’t ask me why not Google !!!  I will still answer it.


  • Because the Competition on Google is really high and it’s not easy !!
  • The search engines I am working on are getting equally good searches for the same keywords.
  • And yes Google is not everything for me.

So… Should I begin with the list ??

Before that I would also would like to give you all a small homework. Once you read this post, do a research on the ranking factors of the different search engines. Yes, some of them will be just based on Google’s factors but I can assure you that few of them are completely different in their working.

Why Should we Know about Google Alternatives ?

“Don’t do Evil” – Google

But !!! Yeah it can be seen that Google has very well started doing many activities that are quite unwell for website owners.

They added various new features to search which resulted in a huge decline in traffic of numerous websites. The introduction of “Google Knowledge Graph“ is something that many of the webmasters are angry at.

And as it looks, Google is trying to give answers to all user queries in the knowledge graph itself which ultimately leads to lesser number of clicks from search. Here’s an example:

Google knowledge graph

There are many more reasons that explains this anger of webmasters and online business owners.

Best Search Engines List: Top 10

Again let me tell you that apart from Google, other search-engines also provide millions of queries to users daily. So there are plenty of search engines out there which can serve you both as a user or as a webmaster ( in terms of generating traffic+revenue)

Here’s the list of best and most popular search engines (as of 2016).

1. Google

To be honest, Google search engine is the best and the most advanced search engine. Over 70% of online searches are done via Google which clearly shows its dominance in the industry.

google search engine

It has many advanced options and features that helps users to get their desired result at the earliest. Features like calculator, calendar, flight tracking, currency convertors, stock market numbers, Sporting schedules etc on the result page itself gives users the best searching experience.

2. Youtube

Believe it or not,  Youtube is the second largest search engine !! Well yes I have listed it here, Youtube gets searches more than the combined of Bing, Yahoo and AOL.

youtube search engine

As per the report on socially stacked, YouTube processes over 3 billion queries a month which is more than Yahoo, Bing, ask and Aol combined.

By this one thing is clear, Engaging and visual content will always be the top preference of internet users worldwide.  So if you are planning to start a blog on something, pause for a moment and think of starting a youtube channel. Do think of it. 

3. Bing

Although Google rules the industry of online searches, Bing still has a good hold in the market. Around 10-15% of searches from United States are performed on BING search Engine.

bing search engine

Talking about Bing’s homepage, it changes daily with super high quality pictures. Also like Google, Bing also started giving direct results to multiple type of queries like calculations, conversions, tracking, sporting etc.

4. Yahoo

A portion of online users still prefer using yahoo for their daily search queries. One important reason for this is due to the homepage of Yahoo which itself is a complete news website with daily news, updates and happenings being displayed. This is why many users still use Yahoo !!

yahoo search engine

Another impressive offer by yahoo is its Yahoo answers which provides users answers to all their questions. However since the launch of Quora, there has been a big decline in activity at yahoo answers.

5. Ask.com

Originally named as Ask Jeeves, ask.com is still very much the first choice for a lot of users in the USA. It accounts for 3% of the total search market. The quality of search results are still not well enough to satisfy the user.

ask.com search engine

It’s more of a question answer based engine where users themselves can answer the questions asked by others.


6. Baidu

Google is still not the dominant force in China as Baidu rules the search industry with over 70% market share. Baidu is ranked 4th in Alexa worldwide and is the number1 1 site in China.

baidu search engine

Moreover as per the reports from China internet watch website, Baidu is ranked 2nd in the total net search ad revenue beating Microsoft and Yahoo with a revenue of 7.18 Billion in 2015.


7. Aol

A US based company with a search engine market share of 0.15% according to netmarketshare. Here’s a look AOL.com homepage.

aol search engine

8. Yandex

We have seen a Chinese search engine (Baidu), now this is a Russian founded search engine. Yandex has become quite popular search engine in Russia and in many parts of Europe. It has a 55-65% market share in the Russian Search market.

Yandex search engine

9. DuckDuckGo

I really love this one !! Well many reasons, firstly it has a very clean interface !! Something which Google is not very good at.


Moreover DuckDuckgo never tracks you or your activities !! yes surf anonymously !!  Moreover you don’t have to move onto other pages, duckduckgo offers infinite scrolling in a very user friendly manner.

duckduckgo search engine

10. WayBack Machine

This again is not really a search engine, it’s rather an engine that allows you to look over the history of any page on the internet. It claims to contain the history of over 480 billion pages on the internet.

I have added this into the list because as a SEO person this site is something we all visit to learn about the history of pages.

Here’s how it shows for iftiSEO.com

wayback machine

Moreover for your future reference, it also allows you to save your page at any particular instant of time.

11. Lycos

One of the oldest search engines which was founded in 1994 and was quite common in the past. It currently has only 0.01% desktop search engine market share.

Here’s a snap from the search engine:

lycos search engine

Other Search Engines List

So we have already shared 11 search engines above, but it still doesn’t cover a lot of engine. Here are few more search engines that you must be knowing about.

So I have added plenty of top, best and popular search engines of 2016. But I guess you still will be using the same Google  Right !! Do comment on any more search engines that you wish to get added in this list.

Author : Iftekhar Ahmed

Source : http://www.iftiseo.com/2016/02/top-search-engines-list.html

Categorized in Search Engine

Sadly, it was a good year for misogyny, Editorial Dec. 28

Unfortunately misogyny is not limited to politics. As Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu said, it exists in public spheres and online. The anonymity of the Internet encourages misogynists to spew out hatred unchecked and with greater ferocity. However, the minister should enforce the law when threats of violence or death are aimed at elected politicians.

Politics has become a war zone where women are the enemy to those who desire power. If Justin Trudeau is sincere about equality, he needs to speak to and end the vitriol.

There are many good men out there, who are equally disgusted by the maltreatment and violence towards women. If only they would speak up. It’s time.

Author : Diane Sullivan

Source :  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2017/01/01/internet-anonymity-fueling-misogyny.html

Categorized in Online Research

The meme that 2016 has been the “worst year ever” has certainly had a lot of material to work with in these last days before 2017 arrives.

But while many have found Internet culture in 2016 to be irredeemable, this past year wasn’t all bad on the Internet for us as individuals. So I asked some of my colleagues to send me stories about where, personally, they found the good on the Internet this year, for one last look at some of its small bright spots, before we get on with the task of finding 2017 to be even worse.

Self-care lists

In the midst of a 2016 that bombarded us with wave after wave of hate and fear, Tumblr’s self-care master lists were my refuge. Even just seeing the tips in numbered order , helpfully suggesting different self-soothers, felt calming in its own way. “Put on comfy clothes.” “Drink some water.” “Play with a pet.” “My personal favorite: this master list of master lists . Even if you can’t change the world, a bath bomb can. Or more accurately, maybe someone nice on Tumblr can, gently reminding you to indulge in some bath bombs. “You deserve it” — sometimes I wish I could wrap those three words around me forever. — Julia Carpenter 

The country of New Zealand 

Somehow, among all the churning badness of Twitter culture, I managed to make a friend on the platform. That friend is a dairy farmer in New Zealand, whom I had to contact in February to confirm that he did, in fact, send a picture of his dog to someone to have it rated on a scale of 1-10 (it’s a long story; digital culture is a weird beat). He replied with a beautifully-told email in response to what was, essentially, a random reporter asking him for a couple of fact confirmations.


See all those likes and retweets? Those came mostly from New Zealanders, because what followed was a long-lasting absorption into “New Zealand Twitter,” which has been mostly delightful. For months, Twitter’s algorithm decided (correctly) that those tweets were ones I’d like to see again:

Making a friend on the Internet isn’t a monumental achievement, but for me, in this year where we’ve learned a lot about the real-life consequences of the worst parts of Internet culture, it helped to remind me of what I used to like so much about being online in the first place. — Abby Ohlheiser


Most days, scrolling through my Facebook news feed can feel like an assault on my peace of mind. As has been well-documented this election cycle, Facebook has become deeply partisan, emotional and vitriolic — and yet every day, I return. Yes, it’s partially because it’s my job to be on Facebook. But I’ve also discovered the most wonderful community on Facebook in the form of a public group somewhat inelegantly named “Goldendoodle’s friend and family!!” or GFAF, as I’ll call it.

GFAF is composed of nearly 6,000 goldendoodle owners and lovers who literally post pictures of their dogs cuddling with teddy bears, riding in the passenger seat of cars, or running around the house fresh from a bath. Members also exchange food recommendations, behavioral challenges and tips for combing through doodles’ matted hair.

For the uninitiated, goldendoodle owners are a bit … obsessive. But you can’t blame them. Goldendoodles, a designer dog mix of a poodle and a golden retriever, are truly the most perfect form of animal. They possess the poodle’s intelligence and the retriever’s allegiance. Their eyes are deeply emotive, and they look like giant teddy bears. Also, they’re hypoallergenic.

Doodle owners know this, and in GFAF, they’ve found their people. It’s a full-throated and elated celebration of these dogs who are just so darn cute. GFAF members live all over the country and undoubtedly hold myriad political beliefs, but in this group, they can all agree on this one thing. It’s a welcome break from the rest of the Internet — even for those of us without goldendoodles. — Alex Laughlin


Ron Lehker, the 90-year-old Redditor

Nearly every day this year, a now 91-year-old man living in Washington, D.C., has slowly climbed the stairs to his third floor attic, set his cane aside, and sat down in front of Reddit.com. Ron Lehker’s grandson first got him hooked in January. He posted a photo of his white-haired, blue-eyed grandfather on the “Ask Me Anything” thread.  “I Am 90 Years Old — An officer during WWII, a retired educator, and more engaged with society today than I’ve ever been before. AMA!” More than a thousand questions flooded in.

Hi! If you would want everyone to know one thing, what would it be?

How much porn do you watch?

Would you say your love for your new partner is the “same” as the love you had for your wife of 43 years?

Ron carefully reads each inquiry, then leans back in his chair and thinks deeply about what his 91 years have taught him.

“OMG! I love the new social media,” he wrote to the person who asked about his love for his wife. “Such a fascinating way to connect, yet so sterile in its ability for us to get acquainted …”

It’s been nearly a year since people started asking questions, and Ron’s AMAs are buried deep in the mountain of nonsense on Reddit. But all that matters to him is that every person who reached out to him gets a response, even if no one else reads it. Ron provides wisdom on love and loss, religion and politics, living and dying.

He is the Internet in its purest and best form: connecting people who need each other, even if they’ll never meet. — Jessica Contrera


Group chats

2016 has been a pretty weird year for anyone who likes to spend time online. This year, however, I’m thankful for a corner of the Internet in which I’ve found solace: group chats.

To be clear, there is nothing new about group chats. I discovered them like I discover most popular things: late and then aggressively. There’s a good chance you’ve been in a group chat if you’ve ever used GroupMe, WeChat, Gchat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik or Instagram DMs. They’re actually hard to avoid.

The particular chat that rekindled my love with the Internet happens to be a Facebook Messenger chat with some friends from college.

Some of them still live in our college town, others have moved, and it spans a couple of graduating classes. While we were all friends in college, we weren’t any sort of tightknit group at the time. The chat itself started sometime last February as a forum to discuss Kanye West’s then-new album “The Life of Pablo,” and, well, we never stopped. We still discuss music, but the conversations have meandered into television, sports, employment, unemployment, “graduate school?” and the general aspirations and fears of 20-somethings on the precipice of “real” adulthood. We roast each other. We coach each other up before job interviews. We have inside jokes. We go into the settings and change each other’s display names (in November, they were all Thanksgiving related; this month, they’re all Christmas puns). Mostly, it’s very friendly, and we’re all pretty positive and supportive with each other.


People’s online personas don’t always match with who they are in real life. I’m a reserved person IRL, and I tend to steer toward the more performative, less personal social networks like Instagram and Twitter. It’s been nice to have a closed-off platform, with people I trust, where I can relax and be the big ol’ goofus I am. There’s an element of trust in a closed group, and it’s a stark contrast from virtually every other second I spend on the Internet. — Ric Sanchez

The Teens 

Source: GiphyThe teens never asked for much.

And yet, they are benevolent bunch, giving us so much when we’ve given them so little in return. Considering what we have gifted them — melting polar ice caps that threaten our way of life and a national debt well into the trillions — you’d think the teens wouldn’t be so generous. But it is their altruism, as evidenced by their ceaseless production of the purest memes, that I am most thankful for this year.

Whether I’m scrolling through my Instagram Explore tab or checking Tumblr, I know the boundless creativity of the teens will always greet me, pulling me out of whatever spiraling sense of despair I’ve found myself in. Be it their PSAT memes , their enthusiastic support of their peers , their ability to create a cultural phenomenon out of a frog on a unicycle that once appeared in a physics textbook or their array of viral challenges , the teens are creating some of the most wholesome content on the Internet.

I — we — need the teens now more than ever. In a country plagued by increasing divisiveness and less-than-wholesome political discourse, I fear that the only people capable of bringing us together are the teens and their memes. — Tanya Sichynsky

Author: Abby Ohlheiser
Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/these-were-our-bright-spots-on-the-internet-in-2016/ar-BBxLMmV

Categorized in Internet Technology

When some future Mars colonist is able to open his browser and watch a cat in a shark suit chasing a duck while riding a  roomba, they will have Vint Cerf to thank.

In his role as Google's chief internet evangelist, Cerf has spent much of his time thinking about the future of the computer networks that connect us all. And he should know. Along with Bob Kahn, he was responsible for developing the internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, that underlies the workings of the net. Not content with just being a founding father of the internet on this planet, Cerf has spent years taking the world wide web out of this world.

Working with NASA and JPL, Cerf has helped develop a new set of protocols that can stand up to the unique environment of space, where orbital mechanics and the speed of light make traditional networking extremely difficult. Though this space-based network is still in its early stages and has few nodes, he said that we are now at "the front end of what could be an evolving and expanding interplanetary backbone."

Wired.com talked to Cerf about the interplanetary internet's role in space exploration, the frustrations of network management on the final frontier, and the future headline he never wants to see.

Wired: Though it's been around a while, the concept of an interplanetary internet is probably new to a lot of people.How exactly do you build a space network?Vint Cerf: Right, it's actually not new at all -- this project started in 1998. And it got started because 1997 was very nearly the 25th anniversary of the design of the internet. Bob Kahn and I did that work in 1973. So back in 1997, I asked myself what should I be doing that will be needed 25 years from then. And, after consultation with colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, we concluded that we needed much richer networking than was then available to NASA and other space faring agencies.


Up until that time and generally speaking, up until now, the entire communications capabilities for space exploration had been point-to-point radio links. So we began looking at the possibilities of TCIP/IP as a protocol for interplanetary communication. We figure it worked on Earth and it ought to work on Mars. The real question was, "Would it work between the planets?"

Up until that time and generally speaking, up until now, the entire communications capabilities for space exploration had been point-to-point radio links. So we began looking at the possibilities of TCIP/IP as a protocol for interplanetary communication. We figure it worked on Earth and it ought to work on Mars. The real question was, "Would it work between the planets?"

And the answer turned out to be, "No."

The reason for this is two-fold: First of all, the speed of light is slow relative to distances in the solar system. A one-way radio signal from Earth to Mars takes between three and half and 20 minutes. So round trip time is of course double that. And then there's the other problem: planetary rotation. If you're communicating with something on the surface of the planet, it goes out of communication as the planet rotates. It breaks the available communications and you have to wait until the planet rotates back around again. So what we have is variable delay and disruption, and TCP does not do terribly well in those kinds of situations.

One of the things that the TCP/IP protocols assume is that there isn't enough memory in each of the routers to hold anything. So if a packet shows up and it's destined for a place for which you have an available path, but there isn't enough room, then typically the packet is discarded.

We developed a new suite of protocols that we called the Bundle protocols, which are kind of like internet packets in the sense that they're chunks of information. They can be quite big and they basically get sent like bundles of information. We do what's called storing forward, which is the way all packet switching works. It's just in this case the interplanetary protocol has the capacity to store quite a bit, and usually for quite a long time before we can get rid of it based on connectivity to the next hop.

What are the challenges with working and making a communications network in space as opposed to a ground-based internet?Among the hard things, first of all, is that we couldn't use the domain name system in its current form. I can give you a quick illustration why that's the case: Imagine for a moment you're on Mars, and somebody is trying to open up an HTTP web connection to Earth. They've given you a URL that contains a domain name in it, but before you can open up a TCP connection you need to have an IP address.


So you will have to do a domain name lookup, which can translate the domain name you're trying to lookup into an IP address. Now remember you're on Mars and the domain name you're trying to look up is on Earth. So you send out a DNS lookup. But it may take anywhere from 40 minutes to an unknown amount of time -- depending on what kind of packet loss you have, whether there's a period of disruption based on planetary rotation, all that kind of stuff -- before you get an answer back. And then it may be the wrong answer, because by the time it gets back maybe the node has moved and now it has a different IP address. And from there it just gets worse and worse. If you're sitting around Jupiter, and trying to do a lookup, many hours go by and then it's just impossible.

One of the things we wanted to avoid was the possibility of a headline that says: '15-Year-Old Takes Over Mars Net.'

So we had to break it into a two-phase lookup and use what's called delayed binding. First you figure out which planet you're going to, then you route the traffic to that planet, and only then you do a local lookup, possibly using the domain name.

The other thing is when you are trying to manage a network with this physical scope and all the uncertainty delays, the things we typically do for network management don't work very well. There's a protocol called SNMP, the simple network management protocol, and it is based on the idea that you can send a packet out and get an answer back in a few milliseconds, or a few hundreds of milliseconds. If you're familiar with the word ping, you'll know what I mean, because you ping something and expect to get an answer back fairly quickly. If you don't get it back in a minute or two, you begin to conclude that there is something wrong and the thing isn't available. But in space, it takes a long time for the signal to even get to the destination let alone get an answer back. So network management turns out to be a lot harder in this environment.

Then the other thing we had to worry about was security. The reason for that should be obvious -- one of the things we wanted to avoid was the possibility of a headline that says: "15-Year-Old Takes Over Mars Net." Against that possibility we put quite a bit of security into the system, including strong authentication, three way handshakes, cryptographic keys, and things of that sort in order to reduce the likelihood that someone would abuse access to the space network.


Because it has to communicate across such vast distances, it seems like the interplanetary internet must be huge.Well, in purely physical terms -- that is, in terms of distance -- it's a pretty large network. But the number of nodes is pretty modest. At the moment, the elements participating in it are devices in planet Earth, including the Deep Space Network, which is operated at JPL. That consists of three 70-metre dishes plus a smattering of 35-metre dishes that can reach out into the solar system with point-to-point radio links. Those are part of the TDRSS

[tee-driss] system, which is used for a lot of near-Earth communications by NASA. The ISS also has several nodes on board capable of using this particular set of protocols.

Two orbiters around Mars are running the prototype versions of this software, and virtually all the information that's coming back from Mars is coming back via these store-forward relays.

The Spirit and Opportunity rovers on the planet and the Curiosity rover are using these protocols. And then there's the Phoenix lander, which descended to the north pole of Mars in 2008. It also was using these protocols until the Martian winter shut it down.

And finally, there's a spacecraft in orbit around the sun, which is actually quite far away, called EPOXI [the spacecraft was 32 million kilometres from Earth when it tested the interplanetary protocols]. It has been used to rendezvous with two comets in the last decade to determine their mineral makeup.

But what we hope will happen over time -- assuming these protocols are adopted by the Consultative Committee on Space Data Systems, which standardises space communication protocols -- then every spacefaring nation launching either robotic or manned missions has the option of using these protocols. And that means that all the spacecraft that have been outfitted with those protocols could be used during the primary mission, and could then be repurposed to become relays in a stored forward network. I fully expect to see these protocols used for both manned and robotic exploration in the future.


What are the next steps to expand this?We want to complete the standardisation with the rest of the spacefaring community. Also, not all pieces are fully validated yet, including our strong authentication system. Then second, we need to know how well we can do flow control in this very, very peculiar and potentially disrupted environment.

Third, we need to verify that we can do serious real-time things including chat, video and voice. We will need to learn how to go from what appears to be an interactive real-time chat, like one over the phone, to probably an email-like exchange, where you might have voice and video attached but it's not immediately interactive.

Delivering the bundle is very much like delivering a piece of email. If there's a problem with email it usually gets retransmitted, and after a while you time out. The bundle protocol has similar characteristics, so you anticipate that you have variable delay that could be very long. Sometimes if you've tried many times and don't get a response, you have to assume the destination is not available.

We often talk about how the things we invent for space are being used here on Earth. Are there things about the interplanetary internet that could potentially be used on the ground?Absolutely. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded tests with the US Marine Corps on tactical military communication using these highly resilient and disruption-tolerant protocols. We had successful tests that showed in a typical hostile communication environment that we were able to put three to five times more data through this disrupted system than we could with traditional TCP/IP.

Part of the reason is that we assume we can store traffic in the network. When there's high activity, we don't have to retransmit from end to end, we can just retransmit from one of the intermediate points in the system. This use of memory in the network turns out to be quite effective. And of course we can afford to do that because memory has gotten so inexpensive.

The European Commission has also sponsored a really interesting project using the DTM protocols in northern Sweden. In an area called Lapland, there's a group called the Saami reindeer herders.

They've been herding reindeer for 8,000 years up there. And the European Commission sponsored a research project managed by the Lulea University of Technology in northern Sweden to put these protocols on board all-terrain vehicles in laptops. This way, you could run a Wi-Fi service in villages in Northern Sweden and drop messages off and pick them up according to the protocols. As you move around, you were basically a data mule carrying information from one village to another.

There was also an experiment called Mocup that involved remote controlling a robot on Earth from the space station.These protocols were used, right?Yes, we used the DTN protocols for that. We were all really excited for that because, although the protocols were originally designed to deal with very long and uncertain delay, when there is high quality connectivity, we can use it for real-time communication. And that's exactly what they did with the little German rover.

I think in general communication will benefit from this. Putting these protocols in mobile phones, for instance, would create a more powerful and resilient communications platform than what we typically have today

So if I have poor reception on my cell phone at my house, I could still call my parents?Well, actually what might happen is that you could store what you said and they would eventually get it. But it wouldn't be real time. If the disruption lasts for an appreciable length of time, it would arrive later. But at least the information would eventually get there.

Source: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/vint-cerf-interplanetary-internet

Categorized in Others


Journey with us to a state where an unaccountable panel of censors vets 95 per cent of citizens' domestic internet connections. The content coming into each home is checked against a mysterious blacklist by a group overseen by nobody, which keeps secret the list of censored URLs not just from citizens, but from internet service providers themselves. And until recently, few in that country even knew the body existed. Are we in China? Iran?

Saudi Arabia? No - the United Kingdom, in 2009. This month, we ask:

Who watches the Internet Watch Foundation?

It was on December 5, 2008 that the foundation decided that the Wikipedia entry for The Scorpions' 1976 album Virgin Killer was illegal under British law. The album-sleeve artwork, showing a photo of a naked ten-year-old girl with a smashed-glass effect masking her genitalia, had been reported to the IWF via its public-reporting system the day before. It was deemed to fall under the classification of "Child Abuse Imagery" (CAI). And because the IWF blacklists such material, and works with ISPs to stop people accessing it, an estimated 95 per cent of residential web users were not only unable to access the band's Wikipedia entry, but also unable to edit the site at all.

When Wired began investigating the foundation last December, our interest clearly lay not in advocating the use or distribution of child pornography. We simply wanted to know only what the Wikimedia Foundation, the owners of the Wikipedia, itself sought to know. "The major focus of our response was to publicise the fact of the block, with an emphasis on its arbitrariness and on the IWF's lack of accountability," says Wikimedia's general counsel Mike Godwin (incidentally famed for Godwin's Law, which he coined in 1990 and which states that "as a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1".) "When we first protested the block, their response was, 'We've now conducted an appeals process on your behalf and you've lost the appeal.' When I asked who exactly represented the Wikimedia Foundation's side in that appeals process, they were silent. It was only after the fact of their blacklist and its effect on UK citizens were publicised that the IWF appears to have felt compelled to relent. "If we had not been able to publicise what the IWF had done, I don't doubt that the block would be in place today."


As it happened, the IWF reversed its decision a few days later, issuing a statement to the effect that, while it still considered the image to be technically illegal, it had evaluated the specific "contextual issues" of this landmark case and taken into account the fact that it was not hosted on a UK server. The incident marked a major step: the IWF had for once been held up to wider scrutiny.

Concern about the IWF has been voiced by critics such as John Ozimek - political journalist and author of New Labour, New Puritanism - and translated into a more explicit concern: that its lack of accountability could be used as a method of sneaking state censorship through the back door. The relationship between the IWF and Home Office is particularly worthy of scrutiny, as Ozimek explains: "Neither has shown much interest in civil liberties. Few people who know about the net know much about the IWF, and those that do know it mostly only as a heroic body fighting child porn.

It has thus been preserved from having to answer awkward questions about its legal qualifications for carrying out its role, its lack of public accountability and its failure to apply due process." "I think that so long as censorship decisions are being made by an unaccountable private entity," says Godwin, "the freedom of United Kingdom citizens is at risk."So how did we get here? In August 1996 - appalled by the distribution of child-abuse imagery on several newsgroups - Metropolitan Police chief inspector Stephen French sent an open letter to every ISP in the UK. "We are looking to you," French wrote, "to monitor your newsgroups, identifying and taking necessary action against those found to contain such material." It finished with a statement that was a game-changer: "We trust that with your co-operation and self-regulation it will not be necessary for us to move to an enforcement policy." In other words: you deal with this, or we'll deal with you. "There had been a failure to get industry consensus to act on the issue up to that point," remembers Keith Mitchell, who - as the head of Linx, the London Internet Exchange - was brought in to discuss the issue by the Department of Trade and Industry, alongside several major ISPs and representatives from the Internet Services Providers' Association (Ispa). Together they drew up a memorandum of understanding, a model for what would soon be relabelled the Internet Watch Foundation.


The document was called the R3 Agreement. The three Rs were: "rating", the development of labelling to address the issue of "harmful and offensive" content; "reporting", a notice-and-take-down procedure to all ISPs hosting CAI in the UK; and "responsibility", the promotion of education about such issues.

The categories still remain cornerstones of the expanded remit of today's IWF, which was (and is) self regulating. Trusting in this, the government left the ISPs to deal with the matter. "The IWF was originally very much seen as a positive measure to avoid a problem for the UK internet industry, rather than a coercive measure," explains Mitchell. "At first, the Home Office just seemed to be glad this problem was being taken care of for them. In terms of its original mission, I think that the IWF has done an excellent job of keeping CAI off UK-based servers."

In 1998, the government carried out an independent review on how the IWF was working. The Home Office called in consultants Denton Hall and KMPG, notes were duly taken, and a "revamped" IWF was launched in 2000. "The IWF had reached a point at which it needed to be seen to be more independent of the industry," explains Roger Darlington, former head of research at the Communication Workers Union, who was brought in as an IWF independent chair. "They weren't terribly clear how it was going to work," he remembers. "I said, 'Look, we should publish all our board papers and all our board minutes.'

That caused a number of people to swallow hard. But we did it."

Keith Mitchell regards this as the point at which things began to change for the worse. "Since Tony Blair got in," he says, "there has been visible mission creep. Various additions to the IWF's remit have occurred, increasingly without consideration of their technical effectiveness or practicality. Most notable has been the introduction of a blacklist."


Introduced in 2004, the blacklist is the IWF's method of ensuring that members block user access to CAI hosted outside the UK. This confidential list of URLs is sent in encrypted format to the ISPs, which are subject to similarly secret terms of agreement regarding their employees' access to the list. Lilian Edwards, professor of internet law at Sheffield University and author of Law And The Internet, feels that such guarded conduct suggests that more may be going on behind closed doors. "The government now potentially possesses the power to exclude any kind of online content from the UK, without the notice of either the public or the courts," she says. "Perhaps even more worryingly, any ISP that takes the IWF blacklist can also add whatever URLs they please to it, again without public scrutiny." Or even anyone necessarily noticing. It's like knowing that Google Safe Search is on, but not being able to change your settings.

Of course, blacklists are not infallible. The website Wikileaks recently obtained a copy of the list kept by the foundation's Danish equivalent - also unsupervised by government . It shows a number of erroneous blocks, such as the URL of a Dutch haulier , as well as legitimate adult domains.

For an organisation so often accused of being secretive, the IWF headquarters, in a converted townhouse on a leafy and innocuous Cambridgeshire housing estate, does not do much to dispel the image. At first glance the place resembles a large suburban home.

Inside, a spacious, bright reception leads to an equally airy office area and conference rooms. The sense of openness extends only so far, however. The IWF let us know beforehand that it refused to allow any photography on site.

As a charity, the IWF must publish accounts - most recently for the year ending March 2008. The largest single donor was the European Union. It gave the organisation £320,837 in 2007 and £146,929 in 2008. The largest revenue stream, however, was "subscription fee income". This was £623,542 in 2006, £700,533 a year later and £754,742 in 2008.

Who pays the "subscription fee"? The major ISPs and a clutch of big-name brands such as Royal Mail and Google. The IWF's website solicits such payments, explaining that "being a member of the IWF offers many benefits including practical evidence of Corporate Social Responsibility - enhanced company reputation for consumers and improved brand perception and recognition in the online and digital industries". All yours for £20,000 per annum - if you're a "main ISP". Smaller fish are advised to pay between £5,000 and £20,000, and "very small" firms are steered towards "£500 to £5,000". Sponsors, which "support us with goods and services to help us pursue our objectives", include Microsoft. Additional money comes from what the IWF calls "CAI income". This is revenue from licensing the list of prohibited URLs to private net-security outfits. It totalled £5,183 in 2007, but had jumped to £40,734 a year later. In 2006, the IWF also received £14,502 from the Home Office.


The Charity Commission accounts state that the IWF has 13 employees and no volunteers - unusual for a charity. Its staff costs were £520,847 in 2008, with one person earning more than £50,000.

But back to that £14,502 from government. We asked the IWF what the Home Office money was for, but Peter Robbins, the chief executive, would only say it was for "a project". "You don't need to know."

Sarah Robertson, IWF's head of communications, has dealt before with concerns about the IWF's links to the Home Office. She's quick to dismiss the notion that the blacklist is any way influenced by the government. "Supposedly, the IWF compiles the list, passes it on to the Home Office twice a day, the Home Office adds whatever they want to it, the IWF doesn't look at it, then it goes out...

Hmm." She smiles. "They don't. I don't see why they would. It's a voluntary initiative. The government has expressed an expectation, but they haven't legislated. The industry was already doing it.

Because they wanted to protect their customers."

Robertson lays out the process behind the blacklist. Updated twice a day, the URLs on the list are those reported to the IWF by concerned members of the public via the organisation's hotline and website. Relevant IWF staff - police-trained internet content analysts - then draw on their legal training to determine whether the content is "potentially illegal". "We use the term 'potentially illegal'," Robertson explains, "because we are not a court. It's assessed according to UK law. I read certain articles that talk about the IWF's 'arbitrary scale'. It's the law." The law she refers to is the Protection of Children Act 1978 (as amended by, among others, the Sexual Offences Act 2003), which makes it "an offence to take, make, permit to be taken, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute, and advertise indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children under the age of 18".

Robertson insists that the Home Officen has never expressed a desire to get involved in the foundation's day-to-day proceedings, before elaborating on its independent nature. "We are inspected, not by the Home Office, but they expect us to subject ourselves to inspections. They ask us to subject ourselves to external scrutiny, despite the reams and reams of articles I've been reading about how we're 'shadowy' and 'unelected'. "Obviously we're not elected," she continues. "But we try to be as transparent as we possibly, possibly can. We're also audited externally by independent experts in law enforcement, forensics, technological security and HR issues."

This is true: the last independent audit of the IWF was in May 2008, and the organisation allegedly passed with flying colours. We have to say "allegedly", however, because the audit itself hasn't been published - and despite requests from Wired, the IWF intends to keep it confidential. The blacklist also remains undisclosed. "Obviously the list is never going to be given out," says Robertson. "No one gets it [unencrypted]. We don't allow a list of abusive images to be released to the public. What we can say is that details of every URL on it are shared with the police." She is unwilling to elaborate on other details: "I'm sure you'll understand that we can't give full details of how the list is provided. Sadly there are a lot of people out there who would take delight in getting it."

Robertson maintains that she can understand the concerns from certain quarters. "We do engage the civil-liberties groups; they help me understand their point of view, and I find it all very interesting."

Although the IWF has publicly said it " learnt lessons" from the Wikipedia-Virgin Killer fracas, its blacklist strategy is not changing. "As for the design of the list, there were meetings when we started with engineers from all the companies and everyone involved, very technical people - all of whom decided that [the status quo was] the simplest and easiest-to-implement way... People say, 'Why don't you just block the image?' You can't. When you've got a thousand different URLs on your list, you can't have different rules for each."

It is not a prerequisite for IWF members to implement the blacklist - it is simply there, should they want it. The IWF maintains that it strives to ensure cost is not a barrier to implementation by smaller ISPs. The IWF is also not the one carrying out the blocking - that is left to the actual ISPs. "We just provide a list of URLs," Robertson insists. Of course, the list is blind, and an ISP blocks all of it or none of it.

The Home Office declined an invitation to take part in an interview, and rejected our Freedom of Information requests. We asked for details of the relationship between the Home Office and the IWF, and in particular about the latter's discussions with Home Office minister Vernon Coaker. Our request was refused under the clause in the FOI Act that allows ministers to withhold information if they consider the disclosure might inhibit "the free and frank provision of advice and the free and frank exchange of views for the purpose of deliberation". It added: "We have decided that it is not in the public interest at this time to disclose this information." (You can read our entire correspondence with the Home Office at tinyurl.com/d67uzn.) It did issue this statement: "Over 95 per cent of consumer broadband connections are covered by blocking of child sexual-abuse websites.

The UK has taken a collective approach to addressing this issue and has had considerable success in ensuring that the sites on the IWF list are blocked. We will continue to consider what further action or measures might be needed."

What about the world outside CAI? Although the IWF is not solely responsible for blocking pornographic images of children, the other areas it deals with - incitement to racial hatred, criminally obscene content - are not subject to the blacklist. Robertson told us that there was no racial-hatred material hosted in the UK last year, and the number of cases of criminally obscene content per annum can be "counted on one hand".

Earlier this year legislation was passed that outlawed "extreme pornography", thereby adding the category to the IWF's watchlist of illegal material. And catching the eye of Parliament of late have been " anorexia promoting" websites. Mark Hunter MP in particular has been anxious to raise the issue.

Lilian Edwards, meanwhile, proposes a new direction for the IWF, which indicates an active preference for governmental administration and which would be more accountable under UK law and less susceptible to whispered doomsday scenarios. "It is high time that the IWF was reconstituted as a public body," she says. "Having the cooperation of the ISP industry does not give them the authority or the safeguards of a public or judicial body. Books get censored by independent and public courts. Why don't websites?"

John Ozimek has further concerns. "There is an interesting line of thought running around the security world that suggests that this is counterproductive. The majority of [CAI] material is not 'out there' on the web any more. It's available via P2P. The more pressure there is on net-based porn, the more networks move to circumvent government measures." So blocking may not be the best solution.

In January 2009 - shortly after the dust had settled on the Wikipedia case - the IWF found itself under scrutiny once more when a blacklisted image on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine resulted in some UK internet users being unable to access the entire site. Later resolved and explained as a "technical error", the incident threw more meat to those who had already decided that the IWF was becoming increasingly maverick. "As an industry," Keith Mitchell elaborates, "we have done a lot, but the internet illegal economy, including spammers, botnets and those who host child porn, will not go away... It would be good to see some enforcement action rather than misguided censorship attempts, which damage freedoms for the majority of law-abiding internet users."

Among all parties, there is one agreement: the fight against CAI is an invaluable one. The killer questions revolve around the power behind that fight - can a non-governmental body be trusted with unprecedented censorship muscle? - and whether, by concentrating on URLs rather than file-sharing, that body is even fighting any longer in the right arena.

Source: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/the-hidden-censors-of-the-internet


Categorized in Internet Privacy

With all the fake news, toxic speech, and online scams out there, you might be feeling like now is a good time to scale back your online footprint.

There's a new tool that promises to help you do just that — by essentially deleting yourself from the internet.

CBC Radio technology columnist Dan Misener explains how it works.

What is this new online tool?

Think of this as a kind of cleanse for your online life.

It's called Deseat.me, and it does one thing and one thing only — it displays a list of all the online services you've ever signed up for.

So if you had a MySpace account in the early 2000s, it'll probably show up in Deseat. If you created an avatar in Second Life, it's likely to show up as well. And of course, so will things like your Facebook or Twitter accounts.

To use Deseat.me, you first log in using a Google account. Then, once it knows your email address, it can find any accounts that have been linked in any way to that Google account.

Now, it will ask for some things which may sound creepy — it will not only ask to view your email address, but also to view your email messages and settings. Based on my experience, Deseat.me scans through your email archives to find sign-up confirmation messages from various services.

The creators of Deseat.me told the Telegraph they take user privacy seriously, and that the program runs on the user's computer, rather than Deseat.me's servers. They also say they're not storing any of your info, but you'd need to take them at their word on that.

It uses Google's OAuth security protocol — but if you're not comfortable allowing Deseat.me access to your email archives, I wouldn't authorize it.

In my case, it found 216 different accounts, most of which I had entirely forgotten about. For instance, I have an account with the now-defunct social network called Pownce, and an account on something called Microsoft HealthVault that I signed up for in 2007.

So once you have this list of online services and accounts, Deseat.me will — wherever possible — show you a direct link to remove those accounts.

Why is keeping unused accounts risky?

There are a number of reasons, according to Anatoliy Gruzd, a professor at Ryerson University and the Canada research chair in social media data stewardship.

He said we've seen many recent examples of online services being hacked — and there are some dangerous ways hackers can use the information they gather.

More than 412 million adult-website credentials hacked
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"For example, they can start contacting your old friends or old contacts on those services on your behalf, pretending to be you," Gruzd said.

He also pointed out online services are constantly being bought and sold. So if you have an old, unused account on a website that has been sold to a new owner, you might not ever know who owns your personal data — or how it will be used.

How else can I shut down my accounts?

Some apps and services allow you to sign up without creating a new login. Instead, you can sign in using your existing Facebook, Twitter or Google account. This is what's called "social login." You've probably seen this if a website or app has invited you to "Log in with Facebook."

The good news is that each of those sites — Google, Facebook and Twitter — can show you a list of third-party sites and services you've authorized to use your account. These lists are all in different places, depending on the social network — you can find Google's here, Facebook's here and Twitter's here.

When I checked mine, I found dozens of services I no longer use — services I tried once then forgot about.

Another really great resource is a site called JustDelete.me. It's a huge list of online services and direct links to the page you need to visit to shut down your account. What's more, each service has been rated on a scale from "easy" to "impossible" in terms of how difficult it is to close your account — because not every service makes it easy to leave.

Why is it often difficult to close an account?

Gruzd said that's because the personal information you share with them has real value in the marketplace.

"You can sell data. There's a big data market out there with data resellers — a huge advertising market as well," he said.

  • 45% of Canadians willing to sell their digital data

"I think as internet users, we need to demand more transparency from online services [about] how our data is being used and what are our options in terms of completely deleting those accounts."

The old saying is true — if you're not paying for something, you're not the customer: you're the product and are being sold. Or more specifically, your personal data is the product being sold.

What should I do before shutting an account?

Large-scale hacks and data breaches are on the rise, so it's worth spending the time to remove possible attack vectors.

But before you shut down an account, it's worth looking for an export or backup option, so you can save a copy of your personal data before you shut down the account.

And be aware that even if you're successful in deactivating your account, that doesn't necessarily mean the site or service removed all of your information. Depending on the privacy policy and terms of service, your information may be saved in a database indefinitely, and there may not be much you can do about it.

So it's a good idea to spend a few minutes looking at the third-party apps you've authorized through Twitter, Facebook or Google and close down the ones you're not using anymore.

It's good practice from both a security and a privacy perspective, since these accounts are a liability — and might be a interesting cyber-trip down memory lane.

Author: Dan Misener
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/deseat-me-deletes-unused-accounts-1.3872537

Categorized in Online Research

According to analysts of service "Yandex", in 2016 Russian citizens in the five times increased buying activity on the web in intimate trade. More on 53% increased the demand for children's products.

It is worth noting that the intimate nature of the goods before the New Year are bought actively, than, for example, it was in November (+ 30%). The report said that in general on the eve of the New Year holidays the number of online shopping is traditionally grown. In addition, there is increased activity of Russians in online stores and compared to last year. In particular, the New Year's Eve Russian web users have made 71% of purchases of shoes and clothing more than in the same period in 2015.


In addition, it is reported that Russian residents to spend more money on food. growth in demand is also recorded (12%) on the train tickets sold online.

Source:  http://vistanews.ru/computers/internet/101724 

Categorized in Search Engine

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