The suddenly vast scale of Pokemon Go adoption is matched by the game’s aggressive use of personal information. Unlike, say, Twitter, Facebook, or Netflix, the app requires uninterrupted use of your location and camera — a “trove of sensitive user data,” as one privacy watchdog put it in a concerned letter to federal regulators.All the more alarming, then, that Pokemon Go is run by a man whose team literally drove one of the greatest privacy debacles of the internet era, in which Google vehicles, in the course of photographing neighborhoods for the Street View feature of the company’s online maps, secretly copied digital traffic from home networks, scooping up passwords, email messages, medical records, financial information, and audio and video files.
Yahoo’s valuation grew to $128bn in spring 2000 because of investors’ faith that human curation could beat search engines — people browsing on slow dial-up lines needed a human interface. But technology triumphed over humanity. The internet was more powerful than they imagined and all that was left for Yahoo was likeability.
“Con el Internet de las cosas los dispositivos conectados pueden ser programados para hacer cosas malas sin que nos demos cuenta” ha alertado el actual vicepresidente de Google, quien además ha transmitido su preocupación por el estado de la neutralidad de red y sus planes de conectar un red interplanetaria que mejore las comunicaciones en la Tierra.
Encryption is finally mainstream.Government officials and technologists have been debating since the early 1990s whether to limit the strength of encryption to help the law-enforcement and intelligence communities monitor suspects’ communications. But until early 2016, this was a mostly esoteric fight, relegated to academic conferences, security agencies’ C-suites, and the back rooms of Capitol Hill.Everything changed in mid-February, when President Barack Obama’s Justice Department, investigating the terrorists who carried out the San Bernardino, California, shooting, asked a federal judge to force Apple to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation unlock one attacker’s iPhone.What followed was an unexpectedly rancorous and unprecedentedly public fight over how far the government should go to pierce and degrade commercial security technology in its quest to protect Americans from terrorism.
Bill Gates’s Internet Explorer killed off Netscape… but it rose again in the form of Firefox, and has now had the last laugh
So Microsoft has decided to “retire” Internet Explorer, its web browser. So what? For most internet users the news probably ranked somewhere near the latest information about bond yields on Romanian debt. But for old timers like this columnist, it draws a line under an interesting chapter in the modern history of the computer industry.
El programa que universalizó el retoque cumple 25 años. Perdida su función documental, las imágenes se han tornado en simulacro
Leonard Kleinrock gana el Premio Fundación BBVA Fronteras del Conocimiento
El lado oscuro de Internet. No es metáfora periodística, sino cómo define uno de los padres de la red, el ingeniero estadounidense Leonard Kleinroc, la cara más amarga de la globalización digital que vivimos. El ataque de ayer a las redes sociales del Comando Central de Estados Unidos o la ciberguerra entre Estados Unidos y Corea del Norte son dos de los últimos ejemplos de una tendencia creciente: “Muestran ese lado oscuro de Internet que ha emergido últimamente y que crecerá en el futuro”.
La felicidad por haber ganado hoy el Premio Fundación BBVA Fronteras del Conocimiento —que considera “un galardón a todos los pioneros que contribuyeron a la creación de Internet”— no es óbice para que hable sobre los nubarrones en la era digital sin tapujos. Especialmente en si esa esfera privada que creemos tener existe ya: “En su mayor parte, nuestra privacidad se ha terminado y es casi imposible recuperarla”, sentencia Kleinroc. Es más, cree que los culpables en realidad somos todos: “La dimos voluntariamente, al menos en pequeñas fracciones, a lo largo del camino”. Kleinroc cree además que la gente es “inconsciente de hasta que punto organizaciones y grupos de individuos explotan sus datos para sus intereses”.
In a rare dual interview, Larry Page and Sergey Brin reveal that a young Google could have sold out to Excite, and explain how computers will enable us all to work less
When Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, sat down for a rare frank and open chat with the veteran technology venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, they admitted, among other things, that Google is interested in healthcare but scared of its intense regulation.
Page and Brin displayed their quite different personalities: Brin the maverick and head of Google X – who attempted to kite-board his way to the interview – and Page the business-focused executive now CEO.
The dynamic duo have been together for 16 years, and described their relationship as a bit like an old married couple. “You don’t get agitated about one little thing or another,” said Brin. “We work through it.”
Google almost sold to Excite
Before the company had really started becoming the dominant search engine and the portal to the web, Google almost sold itself to a search engine company called Excite.
“We had developed this technology we called PageRank – sadly, not BrinRank,” said Brin. “By itself, it wasn’t really a complete search engine. What we had just searched titles of webpages and ranked them quite well.”
“We showed it to a bunch of the existing search companies back then. Some of you might remember them – Infoseek, Excite, Lycos. And probably, the greatest interest came from Excite,” said Brin explaining that, “in the end, I don’t think the management team there was quite as excited about it – no pun intended.”
While Page explained that the search companies at the time didn’t “believe in search” the way Google did, Brin also put it down to Excite’s company ethos and the way it treated the company’s founders.
“Do you remember the founders’ dungeon?” asked Brin. “Here’s these offices, so we go downstairs, and they locked away this one founder. I don’t remember which one it was. He’s in a little closet downstairs.
“I don’t know how long I would’ve stayed, to be honest.”
Spread betting, because not everything has to pay off
Google has often been accused of having too many irons in the fire. On the outside it is seen as a bit scattershot, its products covering everything from communications and search to health, robots, internet balloons and self-driving cars.
“I would always have this debate with Steve Jobs. He’d be like, ‘You guys are doing too much stuff.’ And I’d be like, ‘Yeah that’s true.’ And he was right, in some sense,” explained Page. “I think it sounds stupid if you have this big company, and you can only do five things.”
“We try to invest, at least, in the places where we see a good fit to our company. But that could be many, many bets, and only a few of them need to pay off,” explained Brin.
Head of Google X – Google’s semi-secret facility dedicated to making major technological advancements – Brin sees his role as making the “big bets” hoping that some of them pay off separate from Google’s core search and advertising business.
Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know the apparatus of repression has been covertly attached to the democratic state. However, our struggle to retain privacy is far from hopeless
In the third chapter of his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon gave two reasons why the slavery into which the Romans had tumbled under Augustus and his successors left them more wretched than any previous human slavery. In the first place, Gibbon said, the Romans had carried with them into slavery the culture of a free people: their language and their conception of themselves as human beings presupposed freedom. And thus, says Gibbon, for a long time the Romans preserved the sentiments – or at least the ideas – of a freeborn people. In the second place, the empire of the Romans filled all the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world was a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. As Gibbon wrote, to resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly.
The power of that Roman empire rested in its leaders’ control of communications. The Mediterranean was their lake. Across their European empire, from Scotland to Syria, they pushed roads that 15 centuries later were still primary arteries of European transportation. Down those roads the emperor marched his armies. Up those roads he gathered his intelligence. The emperors invented the posts to move couriers and messages at the fastest possible speed.
Using that infrastructure, with respect to everything that involved the administration of power, the emperor made himself the best-informed person in the history of the world.
That power eradicated human freedom. “Remember,” said Cicero to Marcellus in exile, “wherever you are, you are equally within the power of the conqueror.”
The empire of the United States after the second world war also depended upon control of communications. This was more evident when, a mere 20 years later, the United States was locked in a confrontation of nuclear annihilation with the Soviet Union. In a war of submarines hidden in the dark below the continents, capable of eradicating human civilisation in less than an hour, the rule of engagement was “launch on warning”. Thus the United States valued control of communications as highly as the Emperor Augustus. Its listeners too aspired to know everything.
We all know that the United States has for decades spent as much on its military might as all other powers in the world combined. Americans are now realising what it means that we applied to the stealing of signals and the breaking of codes a similar proportion of our resources in relation to the rest of the world.
The US system of listening comprises a military command controlling a large civilian workforce. That structure presupposes the foreign intelligence nature of listening activities. Military control was a symbol and guarantee of the nature of the activity being pursued. Wide-scale domestic surveillance under military command would have violated the fundamental principle of civilian control.
Instead what it had was a foreign intelligence service responsible to the president as military commander-in-chief. The chain of military command absolutely ensured respect for the fundamental principle “no listening here”. The boundary between home and away distinguished the permissible from the unconstitutional.
The distinction between home and away was at least technically credible, given the reality of 20th-century communications media, which were hierarchically organised and very often state-controlled.
When the US government chose to listen to other governments abroad – to their militaries, to their diplomatic communications, to their policymakers where possible – they were listening in a world of defined targets. The basic principle was: hack, tap, steal. We listened, we hacked in, we traded, we stole.
In the beginning we listened to militaries and their governments. Later we monitored the flow of international trade as far as it engaged American national security interests.
Ya se el grafeno, la impresión 3D, el gas de esquistoo el bitcoin, cualquier descubrimiento nuevo e importante pasa a llamarse revolución. Pero ¿qué pasa con el derecho a dudar, criticar o simplemente rechazar una tecnología?
Si hay una idea asociada con la tecnología que hay que desterrar es que estamos presenciando o que presenciaremos una revolución.
Ya se trate del grafeno, la impresión en 3D, la biología sintética, el gas de esquisto, los grandes datos (big data) o el bitcoin, cualquier descubrimiento, técnica o invento nuevo e importante invoca la palabra con “R”. Es el caballito de batalla de los proveedores del bombo tecnológico.
La idea de una revolución no solamente se utiliza para impulsar una tecnología en particular. Por ejemplo, en respuesta al cambio climático,políticos como Nicolás Sternpromueven una nueva revolución industrial con bajas emisiones de carbono.
Pero qué tecnologías se usarán y, fundamentalmente, cómo serán los procesos de toma de decisiones que las rodean, parece en gran medida irrelevante. El punto es que en una revolución está la salvación.
Protrusión, fracking, boda roja, secuestro virtual, monje shaolín, twerking, bitcoin, phablet…. Repaso a las palabras que se incorporan a nuestro vocabulario en el año que termina
Hace unos meses, casi nadie sabía qué era una protrusión, muy pocos habían oído hablar del fracking, una boda roja remitía al enlace entre dos comunistas, el secuestro virtual sonaba a broma y no existía eltwerking. En 2013 han entrado en tromba en nuestras vidas términos tecnológicos como bitcoin y phablet y se han asentado otros comofracking y crowdfunding. Hemos aprendido qué es un shutdown y entendido que Haiyan no es un nombre agradable. Hacemos un repaso a las palabras que se incorporan a nuestro vocabulario en el año que termina.
Moneda virtual que ni se ve ni se toca pero que se revaloriza más que el oro (de 10 euros a 500 solo en este año). Se extiende por internet y también en las tiendas físicas. Su nombre es lógico: bit (binary digit, un dígito del sistema de numeración binario) más coin (moneda, en castellano). Creada en 2008, nadie tiene poder ni control sobre ella, ni gobiernos, ni bancos centrales ni su mismo creador. La gente compra y vende con bitcoins por internet al margen de Haciendas.