Back in 2017, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) approved the most controversial standard in its long history: Encrypted Media Extensions, or EME, which enabled Netflix and other big media companies to use DRM despite changes to browsers extensions that eliminated the kinds of deep hooks that DRM requires.
At the time, the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned that, by approving its first non-unanimous standard, the W3C would give control over browser design to the big browser companies, and two years later, that warning has fully proven out.
First, Google – whose proprietary technology must be licensed in most cases if you want to make a new browser – stopped permitting open source browsers to use its DRM technology, effectively requiring all new browsers to be proprietary.
Now, Microsoft and Apple – the remaining two vendors who can also supply the proprietary components that Google won’t license – have effectively stopped answering the phone when small browser creators call. Microsoft might let you license its tools if you pay them $10,000 to submit an application and then $0.35 for every browser you ship.
Samuel Maddock has been trying to create a rival “indie” browser, and has been to each of the EME DRM vendors and has been sent away by all of them.
The W3C’s mission is to create an Open Web Platform“ so that “everyone has the right to implement a software component of the Web without requiring any approvals or waiving license fees.” When EME was approved, we warned that they were effectively ending the Open Web era by putting every future browser developer at the mercy of three giant incumbent browser developers.
And here we are.
Next up: watch for lurking software bugs in EME that compromise user security and privacy to go unreported while they are exploited by criminals and spies. DRM laws like Section 1201 of the DMCA allow software vendors to threaten whistleblowers who disclose bugs without permission with both civil and criminal liability, and the W3C specifically turned down every single proposal to make its members promise not to abuse this power – even when those members signalled that they viewed the power to decide who could criticize their products as a feature of the EME process, and not a bug.
The web is not merely reduced to five giant sites, each filled from screenshots from the other four, it’s also a near-monoculture of browsers, almost all of them controlled by tech giants who have been complicit in both commercial and state surveillance, including surveillance by the world’s most notorious torturing and murdering autocracies.
The W3C’s decision to hand these monopolists perpetual Internet Domination Licenses was the gravest mistake in its history, just when we needed its principled leadership the most. We are living in the aftermath of that decision today and things will get worse long before they get better.
Meanwhile, the W3C’s own page on EME is completely silent on the most controversial standarization process in the organization’s history.
No one in America explains the importance of good network policy than Susan Crawford (previously), a one-woman good sense factory when it comes to Network Neutrality, municipal fiber, and reining in the excesses of the goddamned ISP industry. Her latest book is Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution―and Why America Might Miss It, a timely and urgent look at how America is sacrificing its digital future, productivity, connectivity, social mobility, entrepreneurial growth, education, and every other public good, thanks to rapacious telcos, scumbag lobbyists, and negligent, cash-hungry politicians. Crawford and her publisher, Yale University Press, were kind enough to give us an excerpt (below) so you can get a sense of why you should be reading this.
Fiber optic, as a category, is both old and new. The cables running under the oceans and among the major cities of the world began to be upgraded to fiber thirty years ago. And once a fiber optic cable is in the ground, it lasts for forty or fifty years; it is essentially future proof, because its information-carrying capacity can be almost infinitely upgraded without digging up the cable, merely by swapping out the electronics that encode and power the pulses of light that travel within its walls. Most people in non-fiber countries (including the United States) can’t even buy what in fibered countries counts as a standard, modern internet connection. About 11 million American households, out of 126 million total, are connected to last-mile fiber, and that service is usually available only at very high prices from a single unregulated provider. Meanwhile, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore have virtually 100 percent fiber adoption at low prices, and often scores of competitors.
This is a big problem.
Here’s why: Those hair-thin fiber strands, capable of carrying billions of phone calls simultaneously, plus advanced wireless communications that depend on that fiber extending into the last mile, will make possible virtually unlimited, cheap communications capacity wherever you are—which in turn will give rise to new businesses, new transport capabilities, new ways of managing our use of energy, new forms of education and health care, new ways of earning a living, and new forms of human connectedness. For these things to happen, both fiber and advanced wireless technologies need to be widely and competitively available. Without these basic pieces of open infrastructure in place, your country will be missing out on the future being lived and built elsewhere.
Much of the world gets this. China is installing twenty thousand last-mile fiber optic connections every single day. In June 2017, the South China Morning Post reported “China set to build the planet’s largest 5G mobile network for US $180b.” Listen to that: the “planet’s largest.”
Fiber plus advanced wireless capability is as central to the next phase of human existence as electricity was a hundred years ago. Just as countries that quickly ensured cheap access to electricity revolutionized their economies and provided dramatically improved quality of life for their citizens, countries that figure out how to get fiber to everyone will have ever-increasing advantages over those that do it slowly.
Take the 2018 Olympics in South Korea: Korea Telecom was smart to focus on sports—and the Olympics in particular—in demonstrating its prowess. Sports grab humans in real-time emotional ways, and the Olympics mark the global pinnacle of inspiring athletic achievement. KT got the world’s attention in 2018.
But KT’s display of its 5G fireworks is far more significant than any Olympic event could possibly be. Korea is going through a phase change in digital communications that has implications for almost every occupation and source of economic power of which we’re aware today.
In the crowded city of Seoul, for example, I met many twentysomethings who did not distinguish between online life and “real” life; for them, these are simply layers of life as a whole. This generation is so accustomed to cheap, unlimited connectivity everywhere that they have forgotten its existence—just as people in other countries forget the existence of electricity until it is suddenly not there. South Koreans are impatient. For them, going to almost any city in the United States is a little like going off the grid.
In Seoul, I met Yeon Sung Choi, a professional e-sports player who is as famous in his sport as Lionel Messi, the best goal-scorer in the world, is in soccer. Yeon Sung, who now works as a coach for the SK Telecom T1 Starcraft II team (telecommunications companies are major investors in the e-sports industry in Korea), told me he’d lived through the transformation of Korea that took place following the installation of high-capacity networks that permitted any number of people to play games simultaneously. At age twenty, he realized he could beat just about anyone. The essential factor in connectivity, he says, is latency, or response time; any delay makes it very difficult to play. Some players say latency starts to become obvious when there is a gap of 150 milliseconds or even less between pressing a button and a visual response. Fiber connections generally have lower latency than cable or copper wires. “In Korea the response time is really short,” he said, laughing. He sees a bright future for the gaming industry in Korea, but there is much more than gaming. The same technology will revolutionize business, medicine, education, manufacturing, energy use, and real-time translation functions between spoken languages.
Fiber is also revolutionizing cities themselves. Because the city of Seoul years ago installed fiber optic last-mile connections throughout the city and its subway system, it can provide free Wi-Fi, which means the private sector can experiment with Internet of Things (IoT) services that will improve its citizens’ lives. On the same trip that had me clambering around the empty ice arena in Pyeongchang, I visited the city’s IoT testbed office. Taejin Kim, director of the testbed, told me that the city is testing its ability to provide personalized services to elders, to provide data from road surfaces and public transit so that navigation systems function well, and in general to “solve urban problems, wherever they are.” The conference room next to the mayor’s office houses an enormous dashboard that, fed by public data, allows the mayor to see the site of an accident or fire, talk in real time to public officials at the site, visually understand traffic congestion, and manage the city’s budget. Because fiber is everywhere, this enormous amount of data can be shipped whenever and wherever it is needed.
The next wave of applications making use of fiber and advanced wireless services is likely to be in health care, education, or other fundamental areas than has been seen so far in Korea and Japan. I am confident that innovative American businesses will come up with services that use much more significant amounts of bandwidth when there is a critical mass of users with capacity. If and when the United States becomes a last-mile fiber sandbox for this inventiveness, the huge market here will drive those developments. We will also support our commitment to genuine liberal democracy: the rising tide of cheap, ubiquitous, unlimited connectivity needs to reach everyone in order for the country as a whole to thrive.
Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—And Why America Might Miss It [Susan Crawford/Yale University Press]
yall look at this shit ad*be is tryna pull now on ppl who have outdated software:
(note for context: i’m all for piracy, but in this case my copy of CS6 was downloaded years ago when they were giving it away to students. i got it totally legally.)
so here is what NOT to do if you’re a loyal fan of adobe who has the cash to shell out for a newer and shittier version of the product you already paid for.
1) DON’T use your search bar to find and open the Run app
2) DON’T type in services.msc
3) DON’T find Adobe Genuine Software Integrity Services and right-click to get a dropdown menu, and don’t select ‘properties’
4) if you happen to click properties, DON’T use the startup type dropdown to locate the option to disable the program. be sure you DON’T click apply to finalize that change.
5) DO NOT do the same thing in order to also disable Adobe Genuine Software Monitor
if you do all of these things, this WILL disable adobe’s ability to monitor the software, and you will be forced to continue using the same older software that you already paid for instead of having to sign up for a newer, shittier version and pay more for it. so if you have lots of cash to spare and are cool with putting it the pockets of racketeering capitalists, definitely don’t do any of these things.
however, you SHOULD reblog this to spread the word, as we certainly want to make sure lots of people know what NOT to do :)
I’M SORRY MA'AM. I KNOW YOU’RE UPSET.
Pretend to be upset.
OP how could you
I hope none of my friends who use Adobe programs find this, follow your detailed instructions, and spread the word. That would be devastating!
Next month, I’m giving a keynote talk at The Future of the Future: The Ethics and Implications of AI, an event at UC Irvine that features Bruce Sterling, Rose Eveleth, David Kaye, and many others!
Preparatory to that event, I wrote an op-ed for the LA Review of Books on AI and its intrinsic conservativism, building on Molly Sauter’s excellent 2017 piece for Real Life.
Sauter’s insight in that essay: machine learning is fundamentally conservative, and it hates change. If you start a text message to your partner with “Hey darling,” the next time you start typing a message to them, “Hey” will beget an autosuggestion of “darling” as the next word, even if this time you are announcing a break-up. If you type a word or phrase you’ve never typed before, autosuggest will prompt you with the statistically most common next phrase from all users (I made a small internet storm in July 2018 when I documented autocomplete’s suggestion in my message to the family babysitter, which paired “Can you sit” with “on my face and”).
This conservativeness permeates every system of algorithmic inference: search for a refrigerator or a pair of shoes and they will follow you around the web as machine learning systems “re-target” you while you move from place to place, even after you’ve bought the fridge or the shoes. Spend some time researching white nationalism or flat earth conspiracies and all your YouTube recommendations will try to reinforce your “interest.” Follow a person on Twitter and you will be inundated with similar people to follow. Machine learning can produce very good accounts of correlation (“this person has that person’s address in their address-book and most of the time that means these people are friends”) but not causation (which is why Facebook constantly suggests that survivors of stalking follow their tormentors who, naturally, have their targets’ addresses in their address books).
Our Conservative AI Overlords Want Everything to Stay the Same [Cory Doctorow/LA Review of Books]
My latest Locus Magazine column is “Disruption for Thee, But Not for Me,” and it analyzes how Big Tech has been able to “disrupt” incumbent industries, but has repurposed obscure technology regulations to prevent anyone from meting out the same treatment to their new digital monopolies.
I cite the example of Uber and Lyft, which have gutted the (often corrupt and rentier-riddled) taxi industry, but which can’t be similarly cannibalized my driver co-ops without risking legal retaliation through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
For ppl who need the source here’s a guardian article
When I worked at Amazon a microwave fell from five layers up in the racking and broke the arm of an order picker.
They were an agency temp so Amazon called the agency to let him go and have another temp sent *before* they called an ambulance, when he tried to put in sick days they turned around and told him “Sorry you’d already been let go before the accident was logged anywhere”
I will kill every ceo
I will help
Please also read this Atlantic article (in partnership with Reveal) about the complete disregard for worker safety inside Amazon warehouses
When people choose not to buy via Amazon, it’s for reasons like this
The increasingly popular social media application TikTok has a concerning relationship with the Chinese state. That link became ever the more concerning today, when reports began circulating of a brand new partnership between the company that owns TikTok, ByteDance, and the government of China.
ByteDance owns the video-sharing app TikTok, and has established a joint venture with a Chinese state media group, official registration documents show.
“The joint venture will focus on partnership in the digital rights of short videos,” a ByteDance spokeswoman told Reuters in response to inquiries about the deal:
A family in DeSoto County, Mississippi, bought a Ring security camera so they could keep an eye on their three young girls in their bedroom. Four days later, they learned that a hacker had broken into the camera and subjected their children to continuous bedroom surveillance, taunting the children through the camera’s built-in speaker.
Ring blamed the break-in on the failure of the family to turn on two-factor authentication, using a weak password, and failing to change passwords (these are all good ideas, except for frequently changing passwords, which just leads to weaker password quality – but they’re also things that almost no one does).
Motherboard identified several crime-forums where hackers were trading automated tools to break into Ring cameras, using credential-stuffing attacks (previously), which involve trying a succession of leaked username/password combos until you find one that has been recycled on the service you’re trying to break into. These tools sell for as little as $6.
Other Ring camera owners have faced similar privacy invasions, including a family in Florida that was subjected to a string of racial abuse through their cameras’ speakers.
Using good passwords and 2FA is good advice, but better advice is to never put networked cameras or microphones in your home, ever.
so, i’ve been gaming a lot of ps4 recently and i’m noticing that the games that do have inclusive characters have a lot of crappy colorism. right now, i’m playing man of medan (an anthology) and I’m only on the first level, so idk if i’m just speaking too soon, but there are about 4 black characters the situation. the three black characters who aren’t antagonists are light-skinned. the one other black character is sort of like a kidnapper/thief and he’s the darkest of all three of them. he’s even made to look really scary.
I’m also playing telltale’s the walking dead the final season. from the very beginning, i knew they had problems with colorism. the main character, clem, is black and from the very start, she’s made to look racially ambiguous. both of her parents are also black, but she has a very light-skinned mom. just as colorism has taught us, the only ones allowed to be darker-skinned are all of the black men in the game. one other darker-skinned girl i’ve seen was christa, but i’m not sure if christa was supposed to be a non-black poc or what. she was just dark-skinned. either way, she never reappears. and there’s that one girl in season 3, but i’m not sure if she was supposed to be black either.
all of the other darker-skinned black women introduced have all been demonized. there was the one dark-skinned girl who tried to rob clementine and she accidentally kills one of clementine’s friends. either way she doesn’t last a second and shes killed. then were was Tavia, who was from the DLC. The story is set in a way to mislead us into thinking she has good intentions, when in reality she shows up in the sequel and turns out to be very, very bad. in fact, she helps enslave people. then there are other black girls who show up…but they don’t look black at all. they’re all light-skinned or white-passing. in the third one, there a woman named rebecca who’s very light-skinned but her husband is dark. then in the fourth one, we have rebecca’s son, AJ who has grown a couple of years. AJ took after his dad, so he reads as black, has a cute little fro and everything. then there are three other black characters, all guys. one of them has a sister who’s been missing and when we finally see her…she looks straight up white as well. it’s all bothering me. in conclusion, the amount of dark-skinned black women in video games is very unfair and i’m just calling it as i see it. i might even writing a critical think piece on it. because every black woman i’ve end up seeing in video games must be light-skinned or white-passing. it’s like we associate light skin with beauty and feminity or something???