US Internet Company Refused To Participate In NSA Surveillance, Documents Reveal

Zack Whittaker reports via ZDNet: A U.S. company refused to comply with a top-secret order that compelled it to facilitate government surveillance, according to newly declassified documents. According to the document, the unnamed company’s refusal to participate in the surveillance program was tied to an apparent expansion of the foreign surveillance law, details of which were redacted by the government prior to its release, as it likely remains classified. It’s thought to be only the second instance of an American company refusing to comply with a government surveillance order. The first was Yahoo in 2008. It was threatened with hefty daily fines if it didn’t hand over customer data to the National Security Agency. The law is widely known in national security circles as forming the legal basis authorizing the so-called PRISM surveillance program, which reportedly taps data from nine tech titans including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and others. It also permits “upstream” collection from the internet fiber backbones of the internet. Any guesses as to which company it may be? The company was not named in the 2014-dated document, but it’s thought to be an internet provider or a tech company.

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Internet Trolls Hack Popular YouTube Channel WatchMojo

An anonymous reader writes: WatchMojo, one of the most popular channels of YouTube with over 12 million subscribers, has been hacked. Subscribers of one of YouTube’s most popular channels, WatchMojo, were greeted with an unusual surprise on Wednesday evening, as a couple of hackers, known only as Obnoxious and Pein, hacked the lineup of the channel’s videos. The two hackers then proceeded to rename almost all of WatchMojo’s videos with the title “HACKED BY OBNOXIOUS AND PEIN twitter.com/poodlecorp.” Since the channel was compromised, the hackers have uploaded two new videos, “Top 5 Facts About the Yakuza,” and a video about Neanderthal myths. Apart from these, however, the hackers have not touched anything else on the channel. Though, most of WatchMojo’s videos still remain hacked as of writing. The popular channel announced that it is fully aware of the hack. WatchMojo further stated that it has already contacted YouTube about the incident and that it is already starting to fix the changes to its videos.

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RIP Prince, A Legendary Musician With A Complicated Internet History

alphadogg writes: Reflecting on the popular musician’s uneasy relationship with the Internet and social media upon the 57-year-old surprising death. In 2010, Prince “famously shuttered his LotusFlow3r.com website,” proclaiming that “The Internet is completely over… All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.” In 2014, The Guardian ran a story titled “Prince quits the Internet,” after the singer deleted his social media accounts. He filed a lawsuit against his fans, which was later dropped, for sharing bootlegged copies of his music online. He even banned fans from taking smartphone photos at his concerts in 2013. Prince did seem to open up to the Internet to some degree in the past couple years. Prince’s HTNRUN album was posted on Jay Z’s Tidal music site last year. Bob Brown from Networkworld writes, “News of Prince’s death Thursday briefly crashed the TMZ news site. From there, fans flocked to the Internet and social media to mourn this music star who did his darnedest to stay off the grid.” RIP Prince.

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Comcast Failed To Install Internet, Then Demanded $60,000 In Fees

Earthquake Retrofit writes: A Silicon Valley startup called SmartCar in Mountain View, California signed up for Comcast Internet service. After hearing Comcast excuses for months, company owner Katta finally got fed up and decided that he would find a new office building once his 12-month lease expires on April 20 of this year. Katta told Comcast he wanted to ‘cancel’ his nonexistent service and get a refund for a $ 2,100 deposit he had paid. Instead, Comcast told him he’d have to pay more than $ 60,000 to get out of his contract with the company. Comcast eventually waived the fee—but only after being contacted by Ars Technica about the case.

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How Do You Prosecute An Internet Troll?

On May 3, 2015, two men dressed in body armor and armed with assault rifles approached the Culwell Event Center in the Dallas suburb of Garland, Texas where 200 people had gathered for a Prophet Muhammed Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest. A month later, Australi Witness posted a statement, claiming credit. But who was he?
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Vice: Internet Freedom Is Actively Dissolving In America

An anonymous reader points out Vice’s rather dark view of the state of Internet freedom, the author of which posits that “one fact about the internet is quickly becoming clear this year: Americans’ freedom to access the open internet is rapidly dissolving.” As evidence, the writer points out negative trends in broadband adoption, legal moves to weaken encryption, industry consolidation that means fewer competitors in some areas, increasing use of data caps, and increasing reliance by many (especially poorer) Americans on mobile phones as their only internet-connected devices. (On the other hand, it’s worth pointing out that there are now free encryption-centric apps for voice and text communication that give ordinary people privacy options, and both unlocked phones and inexpensive data plans are far closer to the American norm than they were a few years ago.)

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Does the Internet Spur Social Change, Or Lazy Activism?

An anonymous reader writes: If you participate in social media, you’ve probably noticed the flood of posts that happen any time a social issue becomes prominent in the news. Whether it’s sharing a supportive picture, changing their profile, or signing a petition, users flock to these causes. But are they really doing anything useful? An article from USC Dornsife debates whether this form of “lazy activism” is actually effective in pushing social change. It’s been long established that people are surrounded by a “filter bubble” online, where they’re only exposed to viewpoints they already agree with. There’s also the question of whether liking something on Facebook makes you less likely to contribute to a cause in more substantive ways. On the other hand, this type of internet activism does do what social networks are designed for: building a community. Strangers with the same views can more easily organize into groups, and groups of a certain size are heard by lawmakers, regardless of their origin. Plus, engaging in small, low-risk activism does make people more likely to engage in further activism with more impact. The real question we need to answer is whether the smaller and more ephemeral groups are doing more good than harm. For now, it’s clear that protesting face-to-face is far more effective than gathering in a chat room — but at the same time, hacktivism is growing in popularity as well. It may eventually have a similar effect to sit-ins and picket lines as our culture moves more and more online.

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