Since its founding in 1989, the World Wide Web has touched the lives of billions of people around the world and fundamentally changed how we connect with others, the nature of our work, how we discover and share news and new ideas, how we entertain ourselves and how communities form and function.
The timeline below is the beginning of an effort to capture both the major milestones and small moments that have shaped the Web since 1989.
Internet Monitor is delighted to announce the publication of Internet Monitor 2013: Reflections on the Digital World, our first-ever annual report. The report—a collection of essays from roughly two dozen experts around the world, including Ron Deibert, Malavika Jayaram, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Molly Sauter, Bruce Schneier, Ashkan Soltani, and Zeynep Tufekci, among others—highlights key events and recent trends in the digital space
The full report and individual chapters are available for download from the Internet Monitor website.
About Internet Monitor
Internet Monitor, based at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, is a research project to evaluate, describe, and summarize the means, mechanisms, and extent of Internet content controls and Internet activity around the world. The project compiles and curates data from multiple sources, including primary data collected by the Berkman Center and our partners, as well as relevant secondary data. Internet Monitor will create a freely available online fact base that will give policy makers, digital activists, and user communities an authoritative, independent, and multi-faceted set of quantitative data on the state of the global Internet. The project also produces annual reports that compile this information and provides expert analysis on the state of the global Internet.
EFF’s 2013 Holiday Wishlist
As we did last year and the year before, EFF welcomes the winter season with a new wishlist of some things we’d love to have happen for the holidays—for us and for all Internet users. These are some of the actions we’d most like to see from companies, governments, organizations, and individuals in the new year.
- Citizens, organizations, privacy officials, and governments should unite around the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance and add their voices to declare that mass surveillance violates international human rights.
- The U.S. Congress should create a new Church Committee to find out what intelligence agencies are actually doing; since mass surveillance is a global problem, we also need parliamentary commissions of inquiry around the world to look into the same question.
- Congress should pass meaningful reform to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
- The Department of Justice should notify everyone who’s been convicted of a crime using evidence derived—directly or indirectly—from warrantless surveillance programs (not just a cherry-picked handful of defendants).
- All communications companies should publish transparency reports showing the scope and nature of government requests for user information. The Internet industry, led by Google, has made this a standard for corporate transparency, but telecom companies are still totally missing in action.
- All Internet sites should adopt cryptographic best practices for every connection, every time, including PFS, STARTTLS, HSTS, and encrypted traffic between data centers.
- In 2014, every certificate authority and web browser should commit to adopt Google’s Certificate Transparency system to detect and stop the issuance of fake certificates that facilitate spying on web users.
- Companies that sell books, movies, music, or other digital media should commit to the principle that if you bought it, you own it. That means no DRM and no sneaky license agreements.
- Every wireless device should let you change its MAC address (a hardware serial number), and no new technology standards should be designed to transmit any persistent hardware serial numbers over the air or on a network. (If your device keeps sending the same hardware serial number, like wifi devices and cell phones, among others, whoever’s at the other end or listening in can recognize you and track your location. Businesses and governments are already taking advantage of this to build massive databases of our devices.)
- Web sites should publish historical versions of their terms of service and privacy policies, with their effective dates, to help users understand what’s changed over time. At a bare minimum, companies like Facebook should stop blocking the Internet Archive from creating and displaying a historical record of their policies.
- Governments should come clean about how they’ve weakened computer and communications security, clean up the damage, and stop doing it.
- Companies entering the secure communications space (as well as those that have been there a while!) should explain exactly how secure they are and why. They should get public technical audits by experts and clearly explain how they handle classic, fundamental security challenges. They should clearly and publicly explain whether and to what extent they could be compelled to record or turn over user data or to help break users’ security (including by disclosing cryptographic keys or passwords, by issuing false digital certificates, or by modifying their software).
- The surveillance industry should take responsibility for ensuring that it’s not assisting mass surveillance and other human rights violations.
Technology makes it easier than ever to play fast and loose with the truth—but easier than ever to get caught.
There is much to love about the Internet. But there is much, as well, to dislike — and/or to be annoyed by, and/or to resent, and/or to mistrust. In late June, the Q&A community Mancx decided to put numbers to those Internet-borne vexations. The firm conducted a survey of 1,900 American adults — adults who self-identified, it’s worth noting, as people who specifically search for information on the Internet. A group full of shoppers and cat-picture-seekers might have yielded different results.
Per Mancx’s numbers, however, the Internet as an information source leaves a lot to be desired. A whopping 98 percent of respondents don’t fully trust the information available on it. Which is a good thing, overall — skepticism! — except that 94 percent of respondents also noted the many negative effects that the Internet’s bad intel can have.