YOUTUBE RED SUBSCRIPTIONS JUST MIGHT MEAN A BETTER YOUTUBE FOR EVERYONE – DAVEY ALBA. 11.14.15. 7:00 AM


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CHRISTIEHEMMKLOK/WIRED

When YouTube revealed YouTube Red, the long-awaited ad-free subscription version of its popular Internet video service, people were intrigued. They were also confused.

Viewers wondered whether they would be forced to pay to get access to their favorite videos. Video creators who had come to rely on revenue from YouTube advertising wondered whether they would make less money. And, well, there was the name.

YouTube, now a ten-year-old service, is a sprawling network of creators, advertisers, various middlemen, and 1 billion-plus viewers—a range of players both big and small, all with different motivations. And now that the initial excitement around the launch of YouTube Red has died down, all of them are trying to figure out where they stand on the world’s biggest video platform.

They have reason to be optimistic. If YouTube Red succeeds, it could mean a better YouTube for everyone. Creators could have more control over their content. The middlemen who support them could make more money. Viewers get to watch YouTube without ads. And, it turns out, getting rid of ads on YouTube in favor of $9.99-a-month subscriptions could wind up being better for YouTube itself.

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/11/youtube-reds-subscriptions-might-just-mean-a-better-youtube-for-everyone/#slide-2

Security News This Week: 9 Out of 10 Websites Leak Your Data to Third Parties – YAEL GRAUER. : 11.07.15. . 7:00 AM


This week, hackers won a million dollar bounty for discovering a long-sought iOS zero-day. Federal lawmakers introduced the Stingray Privacy Act, a new bill that would require state and local lawmakers to get a warrant before using the invasive surveillance devices. The world got its first look at the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. We found out the UK’s TalkTalk telecom hack may not be as bad as it looked. Android users can finally use Open Whisper Systems’ RedPhone app and TextSecure messaging app in one app, called Signal. And Crackas With Attitude, the teens who hacked CIA Director John Brennan, are back with a new hack.

But that’s not all. Each Saturday we round up the news stories that we didn’t break or cover in depth at WIRED, but which deserve your attention nonetheless. As always, click on the headlines to read the full story in each link posted. And stay safe out there!

Turns Out 90 Percent of the Internet’s Top Sites Leak Your Data to Third Parties

It’s no secret that websites typically send user data to third parties (typically without their knowledge or consent), but now new peer-reviewed research published by University of Pennsylvania privacy researcher and doctoral student Tim Libert shows that the scale of this is enormous—nine out of ten sites are leaking user data to an average of nine external domains. That means that a single site you visit will send your data to nine outside websites. Tim Libert cites Google as the worst culprit, but gives Twitter props for respecting browsers’ Do Not Track setting. He also points out that the NSA has leveraged commercial tracking tools in order to monitor users. For added privacy, using Tor is your best bet, Libert told Motherboard, so long as you don’t log into any accounts (Gmail, Facebook, etc.) while you’re on it.

The Pentagon Outsourced Its Coding to Russia (What Could Go Wrong?)

A four-year federal investigation revealed this week that the Pentagon has outsourced work writing software for sensitive US military communication systems to Russian programmers. Contractor John C. Kingsley discovered the Russian-contracted software had built-in holes that left the Pentagon’s communication system vulnerable to viruses. The two firms involved, Massachusetts-based NetCracker Technology Corporation and Virginia-based Computer Sciences Corporation (which had subcontracted the work), agreed to pay fines of $11.4 million and $1.35 million, respectively. Outsourcing work on classified systems to anyone who’s not a US citizen with approved security clearance violates federal regulations, as well as the company’s contract.

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/11/security-news-this-week-9-out-of-10-websites-leak-your-data-to-third-parties/

Digital Counterinsurgency – By Jared Cohen November/December 2015 Issue


The Islamic State, or ISIS, is the first terrorist group to hold both physical and digital territory: in addition to the swaths of land it controls in Iraq and Syria, it dominates pockets of the Internet with relative impunity. But it will hardly be the last. Although there are still some fringe terrorist groups in the western Sahel or other rural areas that do not supplement their violence digitally, it is only a matter of time before they also go online. In fact, the next prominent terrorist organization will be more likely to have extensive digital operations than control physical ground.Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at Oct 31, 2015 5.37

Although the military battle against ISIS is undeniably a top priority, the importance of the digital front should not be underestimated. The group has relied extensively on the Internet to market its poisonous ideology and recruit would-be terrorists. According to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, the territory controlled by ISIS now ranks as the place with the highest number of foreign fighters since Afghanistan in the 1980s, with recent estimates putting the total number of foreign recruits at around 20,000, nearly 4,000 of whom hail from Western countries. Many of these recruits made initial contact with ISIS and its ideology via the Internet. Other followers, meanwhile, are inspired by the group’s online propaganda to carry out terrorist attacks without traveling to the Middle East.

ISIS also relies on the digital sphere to wage psychological warfare, which directly contributes to its physical success. For example,

Everything you always wanted to know about Tor (Browser) but were afraid to ask


Why Anonymity Matters

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Overview

The Tor network is a group of volunteer-operated servers that allows people to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Tor’s users employ this network by connecting through a series of virtual tunnels rather than making a direct connection, thus allowing both organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy. Along the same line, Tor is an effective censorship circumvention tool, allowing its users to reach otherwise blocked destinations or content. Tor can also be used as a building block for software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features.

Individuals use Tor to keep websites from tracking them and their family members, or to connect to news sites, instant messaging services, or the like when these are blocked by their local Internet providers. Tor’s hidden services let users publish web sites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication: chat rooms and web forums for rape and abuse survivors, or people with illnesses.

Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they’re in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they’re working with that organization.

Groups such as Indymedia recommend Tor for safeguarding their members’ online privacy and security. Activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recommend Tor as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online. Corporations use Tor as a safe way to conduct competitive analysis, and to protect sensitive procurement patterns from eavesdroppers. They also use it to replace traditional VPNs, which reveal the exact amount and timing of communication. Which locations have employees working late? Which locations have employees consulting job-hunting websites? Which research divisions are communicating with the company’s patent lawyers?

A branch of the U.S. Navy uses Tor for open source intelligence gathering, and one of its teams used Tor while deployed in the Middle East recently. Law enforcement uses Tor for visiting or surveilling web sites without leaving government IP addresses in their web logs, and for security during sting operations.

The variety of people who use Tor is actually part of what makes it so secure. Tor hides you among the other users on the network, so the more populous and diverse the user base for Tor is, the more your anonymity will be protected.

Article continues:

https://www.torproject.org/index.html.en

Get Used to Amazon Being a Profitable Company – DAVEY ALBA. 10.22.15 6:36 PM


You may need to change the way you think about Amazon. It’s no longer just an e-commerce giant. It’s the world’s largest retailer. Period. And at the same time, it runs the world’s most successful cloud computing business.

On Thursday, Amazon posted its third quarter earnings report, and for the second quarter in a row, the Seattle company—know for shunning profits in favor of growth—is profitable. Both its Amazon Web Services cloud business and its North American retail sales were strong performers for the company.

But AWS was the real winner. The cloud business’s operating income in the third quarter ($521 million), was almost as much as Amazon’s whole North America e-commerce business ($528 million). Amazon says its operating margins were 3 percent and 25 percent for its North America e-commerce business and AWS, respectively. All of which just means: Its cloud business is still killing it. And it adds, in a big way, to Amazon’s new profitability.

The growth numbers are also impressive, to be sure: AWS third quarter revenue grew 78 percent year over year—specifically, generating $2.1 billion in revenue versus $1.17 billion in Q3 2014—which is only slightly slower than the 82 percent growth that Amazon saw in the second quarter.

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/10/get-used-to-amazon-being-a-profitable-company/

 

6 Experts on How Silicon Valley Can Solve Online Harassment – LAURA HUDSON 10.22.15. 10.25 AM


From left, Nadia Kayyali, Chinyere Tutashinda, Adria Richards, moderator Laura Hudson, Anil Dash, and Del Harvey (not pictured, Anita Sarkeesian).  CHRISTIE HEMM KLOK

From left, Nadia Kayyali, Chinyere Tutashinda, Adria Richards, moderator Laura Hudson, Anil Dash, and Del Harvey (not pictured, Anita Sarkeesian). CHRISTIE HEMM KLOK

Silicon Valley is all about using tech to come up with solutions to gnarly problems. Yet the ugly reality of online harassment has remained intractable. The Internet, which has so amplified the voices of women, minorities, and LGBT folk, is still very much a free-fire zone for those who would shame, silence, or abuse them. A 2014 study by the Pew Research Center found that 25 percent of 18- to 24-year-old women have been the target of online sexual harassment. Last year the issue erupted in the mainstream media with Gamergate. The online movement targeted a female game developer, making accusations about her sexual life and publishing her address and phone number, prompting her to move out of her home. In September, WIRED convened a roundtable of people deeply involved in the issue to discuss what it would take to produce lasting change.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and space constraints.

wired: Defining harassment can be really complicated. Del, you’ve said before that’s a challenge for you and Twitter.

 

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/10/how-silicon-valley-can-solve-online-diversity-and-harassment/

A DEA Agent Who Helped Take Down Silk Road Is Going to Prison for Unbelievable Corruption


Ventura/Shutterstock

A corrupt former drug enforcement agent who played a central role in taking down the popular online drug bazaar Silk Road will serve six and a half years in prison for corruption, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Carl Mark Force IV pleaded guilty to extortion, money laundering, and obstruction of justice this past summer, after working for two years as an undercover agent foran interagency team tasked with identifying the owner of Silk Road. Force, who spent 15 years with the Drug Enforcement Administration, used his position in the investigation to swindle his way to a payout of more $700,000 in Bitcoin and a Hollywood contract. (Another member of the investigative team, ex-Secret Service Agent Shaun Bridges, also pleaded guilty over the summer to pocketing $820,000 from the accounts of Silk Road users.) Force has also been ordered to pay $340,000 in restitution.

In case you haven’t been following the Silk Road case, here’s a primer:

What exactly was Silk Road, again? Silk Road was a darknet marketplace that connected buyers and sellers dealing in a vast array of narcotics, false documents, weapons, and other contraband. “The idea was to create a website where people could buy anything anonymously, with no trail whatsoever that could lead back to them,” creator Ross Ulbricht wrote in his journal. Users paid in Bitcoin—around $1.2 billion worth—and could only access the site using an anonymous internet browser called Tor. Ulbricht ran Silk Road using the moniker “Dread Pirate Roberts” from January 2011 until 2013, when he was caught red-handed at his laptop by a law enforcement sting in a San Francisco coffee shop.

Depending on whom you ask, the site was either a radical experiment in libertarian principles or “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal market on the Internet,” as the criminal complaint against Force put it.

Ulbricht, who earned a commission on each transaction, was found guilty of drug trafficking, money laundering, and hacking, and he was sentenced to life in prison during the summer. At the sentencing hearing, the federal judge didn’t hide her intention to make an example of Ulbricht: “What you did was unprecedented, and in breaking that ground as the first person you sit here as the defendant now today having to pay the consequences for that.” Ulbricht’s family, defense counsel, and supporters have mounted a public campaign to protest what they call a “draconian sentence.”

 

Articles continues:

http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/10/silk-road-investigator-sentencing-corruption-force