Cyberculture roundup: Pew report on Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online, Location-Based Services… FBI Admits It Controlled Tor Servers Behind Mass Malware Attack..

Can Twitter Go Public and Still Be a Champion of Free Speech?

With Twitter set to make its debut on American stock exchanges, a critical question looms: Can toppling dictators also be good business?

Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online

A new survey finds that most internet users would like to be anonymous online, but many think it is not possible to be completely anonymous online. Some of the key findings:

  • 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints?ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email.

  • 55% of internet users have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government.

The representative survey of 792 internet users also finds that notable numbers of internet users say they have experienced problems because others stole their personal information or otherwise took advantage of their visibility online.

?Users clearly want the option of being anonymous online and increasingly worry that this is not possible,? said Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center?s Internet Project and an author of a report on the survey findings. ?Their concerns apply to an entire ecosystem of surveillance. In fact, they are more intent on trying to mask their personal information from hackers, advertisers, friends and family members than they are trying to avoid observation by the government.

Report: Location-Based Services

The role of location in digital life is changing as growing numbers of internet users are adding a new layer of location information to their posts, and a majority of smartphone owners use their phones? location-based services.

A new survey by the Pew Research Center?s Internet Project sheds light on three major aspects of how location figures in digital life:

  • Many people use their smartphones to navigate the world: 74% of adult smartphone owners ages 18 and older say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location.

  • There is notable growth in the number of social media users who are now setting their accounts to include location in their posts: Among adult social media users ages 18 and older, 30% say that at least one of their accounts is currently set up to include their location in their posts.

  • There is a modest drop in the number of smartphone owners who use ?check in? location services: Some 12% of adult smartphone owners say they use a geosocial service to ?check in? to certain locations or share their location with friends, down from 18% in early 2012.

NASA Perfects the Social Media LandingIf you didn?t believe  every organization has a place play within the social media landscape, NASA is a post-child for a ?brand? that established a strong niche.

NASA, a storied organization which you might think requires no further exposure, is now active on Instagram, adding to an already full digital stable.

IETF proposal to Prism-proof the Internet

A new draft proposal at the Internet Engineering Task Force by Phillip Hallam-Baker sets out a work program to harden the Internet against Prism-style surveillance. It’s a long but fascinating read, and it’s been nicely summarized by ParityNews’s Ravi Mandalia, who highlights the proposal’s emphasis on Perfect Forward Secrecy and strong crypto by default. Last week, I posted John Gilmore’s firsthand account of NSA sabotage of a IETF standard; it will be interesting to see how the NSA engages with this process.

Google’s Eric Schmidt says government spying is ‘the nature of our society ? Amanda Holpuch ? 9/13/13 9:54 AM ? Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, reiterated the tech industry’s call for greater transparency from the US government over surveillance on Friday, but declined to ‘pass judgment’ on American spying operations. Speaking in New York, at

FBI Admits It Controlled Tor Servers Behind Mass Malware Attack

It wasn’t ever seriously in doubt, but the FBI yesterday acknowledged that it secretly took control of Freedom Hosting last July, days before the servers of the largest provider of ultra-anonymous hosting were found to be serving custom malware designed to identify visitors.

Facebook and Twitter Are Converging

The two largest social networks are becoming more similar, as they borrow each other?s features, and search for profit.

Cryptographers Have an Ethics Problem

Mathematicians and computer scientists are involved in enabling wide intrusions on individual privacy.

Feynman lectures as HTML

Here’s an HTML-ified version of the Feynman Lectures on Physics, volume one, courtesy of the good folks at CalTech. We discussed these lectures when I reviewed Feynman, a biography in graphic novel form; they’re justly considered to be one of the great works of physics instruction.

What Is Web Hosting, Exactly? Everything You Wanted To Know

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