Friends, you're going to wish you were still making the scene with a magazine after reading this sentence: Google's web trackers are all up in your fap time and there's pretty much nothing (except maybe using a more secure browser like Firefox, read up on cybersecurity tips from the EFF, refusing to sign into a Google account and never going online without the protection of a VPN) that anyone can do about it.

From The Verge:

Visitors to porn sites have a “fundamentally misleading sense of privacy,” warn the authors of a new study that examines how tracking software made by tech companies like Google and Facebook is deployed on adult websites.

The authors of the study analyzed 22,484 porn sites and found that 93 percent of them leak data to third parties, including when accessed via a browser’s “incognito” mode. This data presents a “unique and elevated risk,” warn the authors, as 45 percent of porn site URLs indicate the nature of the content, potentially revealing someone’s sexual preferences.

According to the study, trackers baked up by Google and its creepy always-watching-you subsidiaries were found on over 74% of the porn sites that researchers checked out... for purely scientific reasons, of course. And the fun doesn't stop there! Facebook's trackers appeared on 10% of the websites and, for the discerning surveillance aficionado, 24% of the sites the researchers checked in on were being stalked by Oracle. According to The Verge, "...the type of data collected by trackers varies... Sometimes this information seems anonymous, like the type of web browser you’re using, or your operating system, or screen resolution. But this data can be correlated to create a unique profile for an individual, a process known as “fingerprinting.” Other times the information being collected is more obviously revealing like a user’s the IP address or their phone’s mobile identification number.

It's enough to give someone performance anxiety.

[Source: This article was published in boingboing.net By SEAMUS BELLAMY - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jay Harris]

Categorized in Search Engine
GOOGLE has a funny way of telling you that it knows you’re up to no good.

It has swapped its smiley face for a winking face when you spend too much time browsing in Incognito mode — a tool favoured by smut lovers across the world.

The Sun reports going incognito leaves no trace on your web history so you can watch naughty videos without anyone else ever knowing.

But people who use the browser too much will notice a winking smiley in the corner of the screen.

If you open more than 100 tabs at a time it also should appear.

Google Chrome will put a winking smiley in the corner of the screen for heavy porn users
Google Chrome will put a winking smiley in the corner of the screen for heavy porn usersSource:Supplied

Chrome’s new message only appears on the Android version of the app, so if you’re browsing on iOS, you’re safe from judgment — for now.

We recently revealed how you can find the secret retro games hidden in the Google Chrome browser, including fan-favourites such as Pacman and Breakout.

You can also access a secret, unofficial version of Google Search — but be prepared for some surprising results.

Mystery Search is the hilarious alternate search engine that shows the results for the previous person’s search.

Author : Margi Murphy

Source : news.com.au

Categorized in Search Engine

In Papua New Guinea, the Post-Courier featured a front-page story with the headline “PNG tops world in ‘porn’ search” on January 17. In previous years, there have also been similar stories asserting that PNG beats all other countries when it comes to internet searches for pornography.

For any nation, this accolade would be unwelcome. As PNG prides itself on being a Christian country with strong traditional cultures and values, coupled with tough laws banning importation of pornographic magazines and movies, the headline has produced consternation.

The ruling political party in PNG has released a statement and the competing newspaper has also published a response. Both reactions argue that the Post-Courier’s front page story is inaccurate.

The front-page article included the assertion that 100 percent of all internet searches in Western Highlands Province are for the term ‘porn’. Clearly, not every internet search in that province includes this term.

So, what is going on? My blog will examine the source of the newspaper story and assess its credibility. It will also discuss internet access trends in PNG.

The source of the media reports is Google Trends. This is an interactive website run by Google, probably the world’s most popular internet search engine, which presents information about the searches that are conducted through Google.

For instance, a user can type in the word “car” and see information about how popular the search term is over time and also where it is popular, comparing regions, countries and cities.

First glance

At first glance, the site appears to suggest that 100 percent of all searches conducted using Google in the United Kingdom feature the word “car”. But this is not possible. There’s no way that all of the people in Wales, Scotland and other parts of the United Kingdom only ever use Google when they want to find out information about different kinds of motor vehicles.

Instead, the way it works is that the figures represent rankings, not percentages. The Post-Courier’s story was misleading in that it included percentage symbols alongside bar graphs. As Google Trends explains: “100 is the location with the most popularity as a fraction of total searches in that location”.

In other words, the United Kingdom had more searches during the time period for the word “car” compared to other countries, as a percentage of the total number of searches, which would also have included many other words, including “weather”, “news”, “school”, “restaurant”, “bank” and more.

Another example is the term “Highlands”. When inserted into Google Trends, bar graphs appear showing 75 for PNG. Again, this does not mean that 75 percent of the Google searches conducted by people in PNG are for this word.

Instead, it means that compared to other countries – where, for example, the term “mountains” might be more commonly used – the term “Highlands” is searched for fairly frequently in PNG.

Now, turning to the term “porn”, when looking at trends over the past five years, PNG is not listed in the top 25 countries. In fact, when the author visited the Google Trends website shortly after the Post-Courier story was published, it proved difficult to replicate the Post-Courier’s results.

I changed the time period to the past 12 months and the results revealed that once again PNG did not feature in the top 25 nations. I generated similar results for other time periods, as is shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Country rankings: Google Trends enquiries on 26 January 2017 using the term ‘porn’

Difficult to check

It’s important to note that the Post-Courier’s findings were not easy to duplicate and that in fact PNG does not feature in the top 25 listing for most time periods. Google Trends results are constantly being updated in real time and therefore it is very difficult to check or verify the Post-Courier’s story.

In addition, the tool only presents the top 25 countries – therefore it is not possible to determine a country’s actual ranking if it does not appear in the top 25.

It’s also helpful to point out that the size of a country’s population does not impact upon the ranking, as the ranking refers to the frequency of use of a word, for instance “porn”, as compared to all other words inserted into Google in that place, including “school”, “highway”, “buai”, “election”, “Highlands”, “Australia”, etc.

In other words, the word “Highlands” is used in PNG more often as a percentage of all searches, compared to the word “mountains”. It’s also worth noting that some users may have blocked their location, meaning that Google cannot tell where they are based, and this would of course make any data regarding locations of searches somewhat inaccurate.

Western Highlanders might also be curious to know how their province rates. While the Post-Courier showed a graph suggesting that the Western Highlands is the province with the most searches for the term “porn” versus other words used, compared to other provinces of PNG, the results are inconsistent.

As is shown in Table 2, Western Highlands Province (WHP) moves around the rankings a great deal, depending on the time period in question. For instance, in the past 7 days, WHP didn’t feature at all in the top ten provinces, whereas it’s in the top position when looking at the last 5 years.

When focusing on other provinces, their positions also move around a great deal. In short, the author feels that the rankings vary so much when comparing provinces in PNG as to be meaningless.

Table 2: Western Highlands Province (WHP): Google Trends enquiries on 26 January 2017 using the term ‘porn’

Table 2: Western Highlands Province: Google Trends enquiries on 26 January 2017 using the term 'porn'Note: Google Trends results are only showing for the first four provinces in the “past 30 days” time period, for the first eight provinces in the ‘past 4 hours’ category and for the first five provinces in the “past hour” time period.

Significant improvement

In the last couple of years there has been a significant improvement in the accessibility of the internet in PNG, due to mobile network upgrades and expansions, as well as availability of cheap smartphone handsets.

While most people in PNG still do not have access to electricity, many do now live within mobile network coverage. The majority of this coverage is second generation (2G) which is suitable only for voice calls and text messaging.

But around urban centres, both Digicel and bmobile Vodafone now offer third generation (3G) service, which can be used to surf the internet, correspond through email and use social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

In Port Moresby and Lae, Digicel offers 4G service. Telikom PNG is in the process of launching a new, digital mobile phone service which will aim to compete with the other players.

All these changes have meant that a growing number of people in PNG are accessing the internet for the first time. In particular, the number of Facebook users based in PNG continues to rise. Interest in and use of Facebook is fuelled by mobile phone companies offering special promotions through which Facebook use is either free or very cheap.

Nonetheless, many people in PNG still use basic handsets and rarely access the internet, if ever.

In short, this context means that many of the internet users in PNG have only had internet access for a year or two. As people in PNG are among the latest in the world to gain access to the internet, they may be unaware of the range of activities or kinds of searches that they could undertake through this medium.

Alarmist reports not helpful
Publication of alarmist, misleading reports suggesting that online porn consumption is sky-high in PNG is not going to help to strengthen understanding about the medium or how to use it.

Having examined the recent Post-Courier article and the Google Trends website, it’s now clear that the Post-Courier article was incorrect and that PNG does not necessarily rank highly for internet porn searches.

The assertion in the newspaper’s sub-heading that “almost all Papua New Guineans look up the word ‘porn’” is not supported by the evidence. It also seems plain that any comparison of provinces within PNG is unhelpful.

Even if patterns could be determined in the Google Trends material, given limited internet access and use by most people across PNG, it would be unwise to draw conclusions regarding how provinces compare to one another.

Further research will be required to unpack whether Google Trends does convey some useful data. Academic research would also be valuable in order to learn about the internet use of groups of people in PNG.

Amanda H A Watson is a lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), based in Port Moresby under the UPNG-ANU partnership. She is also a visiting fellow with the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program at the Australian National University (ANU). This article was first published on the Development Policy Centre’s blog DevPolicy and is republished here with permission.

Source : http://asiapacificreport.nz/2017/01/31/amanda-watson-does-png-rank-highly-for-internet-porn-searches/

Categorized in Online Research

Computer Weekly’s journey through 50 years of innovation in technology continues with a look back at the history of internet and the huge changes it has brought to society

Previously, we have explored a century and a half of British innovation in networking, and learned how one company – going by various names before eventually settling on BT – sat at the core of the first telegraph networks that connected Britain to the world, just as it sits at the core of the modern fibre network that accomplishes the exact same task.

But what we have not yet examined is the story behind how that network is used, as the basis for an invention that in human history is probably comparable to agriculture, the wheel or writing: the internet.

In the popular imagination, the internet ‘began’ in 1991, and CERN scientist Tim Berners-Lee takes the credit. This could not really be much further from the truth; Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, which is actually the space on the internet where documents formatted in hypertext mark-up language (HTML), known more popularly as web pages or sites, reside and are accessed. This is very important, and without it, modern life as we know it would be unimaginable – but it is not really the internet.

The roots of the internet actually go back to a few years before Computer Weekly, and one of the foundations of the internet lies in the UK, at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington, south-west London, where scientist Donald Davies independently hit on one of the core concepts establishing the internet in the early 1960s.

Davies – who back in the 1940s was said to have found a number of errors in Alan Turing’s work, much to Turing’s irritation – based his work on the idea that computer network traffic was chatty, marked by long silences followed by sudden bursts of data, as opposed to the always-on nature of telephone traffic.

It was Davies who coined the term packet switching for the concept of dividing this data into little packets that could be send independently, and not even necessarily over the same path, to their destination. His work at the NPL, along with that of other pioneering computer scientists such as Len Kleinrock and Paul Baran, fed directly into the creation of the US military-owned Arpanet at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (Arpa).

One idea, many internets

Cisco fellow and engineering and network scientist Fred Baker takes up the story to walk us through the net’s early days in the 1970s, when a number of research scientists worked on competing protocols, giving rise to something of a problem.

“A whole bunch of work went on in that context developing the concepts and decided what in the world this internet thing actually was,” says Baker. “Guys like [3Com founder] Bob Metcalfe worked on similar concepts at Xerox and came up with Ethernet, for example.”

“Everyone was trying to come up with a network architecture that would allow them to lock in their customers, so that, for example, if you wanted a Xerox workstation, you needed a Xerox network.

“This was actually kind of amusing to watch, because whenever anybody came up with a good solution to a problem, suddenly everyone else would need to solve it, too. It was just a whole teetering, tottering mass of features.”

Although Arpanet was switched on in 1969 – famously falling over midway through transmission of its first-ever message – Vinton Cerf, another of the fathers of the internet, holds that the internet itself really only got its start in 1983, when his work on the transmission control protocol (TCP), which he first showed to the world in 1973, came to fruition.

TCP was developed jointly by Cerf and colleague Robert Kahn in an attempt to solve exactly the problem described by Baker, that there was no common language and too many communications protocols, which meant there was no easy way for different networks to talk to each other.

Internet protocol

Further down the line, Cerf split TCP in two parts, one of which was named internet protocol (IP) in order to facilitate the transmission of real-time data, and it was the joint TCP/IP standard that was eventually to become the base on which the 400-odd Arpanet hosts would be migrated. This switchover occurred on 1 January 1983.

When the day came, it is fair to say the main emotion was relief, especially among those system administrators racing against the clock,” Cerf wrote in a 2013 blog post marking the 30th anniversary of the TCP/IP switchover.

“There were no grand celebrations – I can’t even find a photograph. The only visible mementos were the ‘I survived the TCP/IP switchover’ pins proudly worn by those who went through the ordeal.”

With the expansion of access to Arpanet heralded in 1981 when the US National Science Foundation (NSF) began to establish dedicated links for academic computer sciences departments, the future of what was to become the internet was assured.

Al Gore

By 1986, at which point Cisco’s Baker was lead engineer on experiments exploring satellite Ethernet switching at the University of Delaware, a new player had emerged: Al Gore was inspired to develop the concept of the information superhighway by his father, Al Gore Sr, who as a US senator in the 1950s was instrumental in the development of the interstate highway system.

Gore, who is often unfairly mocked for saying he ‘invented’ the internet, something he never claimed, had the political nous and clout to bring together these disparate university and research networks onto what was, by now, called NSFNET. By 1988, says Baker, more than 170 universities were connected to it and it experienced its first episode of “congestive collapse”.

The transition from Arpanet and NSFNET to the internet as we know it cannot truly be accurately dated, because essentially, both of them were the internet. However, over the course of the late 1980s, the increasing dominance of NSFNET, and the beginnings of commercial usage as it started to expand outside of academia, saw it come to dominate and supercede the Arpanet. If one must settle on a final date, it was probably in early 1990, when Arpanet was switched off, and Vinton Cerf wrote its eulogy.

“It was the first, and being first, was best,

But now we lay it down to ever rest.

Now pause with me a moment, shed some tears.

For auld lang syne, for love, for years and years

Of faithful service, duty done, I weep.

Lay down thy packet, now, o friend and sleep.”

British innovation

But the Americans didn’t have the development of the internet all their own way. Back in Britain, and back in the 1970s, Post Office engineer Sam Fedida developed a video text system that in many ways predicted exactly what the internet would become.

The system, called Prestel, consisted of a TV set connected to a dedicated terminal that received information over a copper phone line. Sounds rather familiar.

Prestel also enabled users to access Telecom Gold, an early BT-backed email service, to which Prince Philip was an early subscriber. In 1985, his emails were famously hacked by two technology journalists, Robert Schifreen and Stephen Gold.

However, as there was no actual law against hacking at that time, the two men were charged under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act of 1981 with forgery that deceived a ‘non-human target’. The conviction was later quashed by the Court of Appeal on the grounds that the ‘false instrument’ crucial to Schifreen’s conviction had technically been made by a computer, and not Schifreen himself.

Ultimately, this led to the Computer Misuse Act of 1990. Schifreen, incidentally, still works as an IT writer, as well as running an IT security business and lecturing in cyber security.

Unfortunately for Prestel – although it found a ready and enthusiastic audience among travel agents, who used it as a booking system – it bombed among consumers, mostly, according to BT archivist David Hay, because it was overpriced and under-marketed. It was shut down in the 1990s. 

However, its influence was to rear its head again 10 years later, when Prestel became the subject of a court battle over the intellectual property (IP) rights to hyperlink technology.

“We still had the patent rights,” says BT’s Hay. “In 2000, the patent was still active and BT tried to claim IP rights to hyperlink technology in the US on the back of Prestel.

“In the event, it wasn’t successful, but had we won. In theory, we could have claimed a royalty every time a business or an ISP – not a consumer, because we always said we would never go after consumers – used a hyperlink, which would have made things a lot easier for BT.”

And, of course, as we have already touched upon, the internet was given a massive boost by the work conducted at CERN by Tim Berners-Lee when he created the World Wide Web, gave it to the world for free, and made the online world we know today possible.

We all know what that world looks like. Together, the internet and the World Wide Web have enabled a whole new economy and driven disruptive and innovative business models, caused an economic boom and an economic crash, and, from a social perspective, have brought together people from around the world in shared enthusiasms (and shared antagonisms), and even forged new marriages and families that would never have happened without them.Talking of marriage, there is another aspect of life that the internet has changed.

The internet is for porn

One often overlooked trend in the evolution of the internet has been the impact of the adult entertainment industry.

Sex and technology have long gone hand-in-hand. Almost as soon as the Victorians perfected the camera, people were taking their clothes off in front of its lens, and just as video recording medium Betamax failed in no small part because pornographers backed the rival VHS standard in the 1980s, so this powerful, lucrative industry helped dictate the evolution of the internet. After all, as the cast of hit Broadway musical Avenue Q sang: ‘The internet is for porn.’

Actually, the adult entertainment industry is an excellent gauge of just how far we have come. Consider the 1990s, when it allegedly took whole minutes to download one indecent image, and compare that to 2016, when anyone with a superfast broadband connection can stream high-definition pornographic video with no problem whatsoever, something that was barely imaginable in 2000, let alone 1966.

Creative destruction, and the future of the network

Adtran CTO Ronan Kelly sets out this trend in more family-friendly terms, describing the evolution of the internet as a process of “creative destruction”.

Just as faster internet brought easier access to pornography, forced much of Soho’s sex industry out of business, and helped kill off VHS tapes, so it played its part in the decimation of the music industry and the rise of services such as iTunes and Spotify, says Kelly.

Alternatively, consider its impact on the publishing industry. As the internet comes to dominate, we have seen a frantic search for new business models by the owners of venerable newspapers such as The Times and The Telegraph, the rise of clickbait ‘infotainment’ websites such as Buzzfeed, or even Computer Weekly’s transition to an online-only title back in 2011.

And so we come full circle. As mentioned above, the network has become an essential, pervasive element of all of our lives. It has, to paraphrase former Cisco chief executive John Chambers, become instrumental in how we live, learn, work and play.

Will this continue? Without a shadow of a doubt. The internet was transformed by the web, then later file-sharing, video and voice. The latest transformative trend, says Cisco’s Fred Baker, is the internet of things (IoT).

During the course of his career, Baker has seen the internet move from a niche element – he recalls describing his job in the 1980s as “teaching computers to talk to one another” in an attempt to demystify something most people found frankly baffling – to something with which we can all interact with ease. The internet is both pervasive, and very familiar to us all.

“If anything,” concludes Baker, “the internet will become like background noise.”

But as we know, familiarity has a tendency to breed contempt. The internet, and the networks from which it sprang, are a source of immense power in the world today. A force for good, indubitably, but capable of immense harm in the wrong hands. The internet needs careful stewardship, and protection from those who want to control it. We forget this at our peril.

Source:  http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/CW50-The-story-of-the-internet-and-how-it-changed-the-world

Categorized in Internet of Things

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