Weekly Axis Of Easy #27
This week’s edition is longer than usual as all kinds of scary Orwellian stuff happened last week!
- FCC to kill “net neutrality”. Internet goes insane.
- Telus blocks access to union website (in 2005! *facepalm*)
- Uber caught paying hackers to cover-up 57 million record data breach
- Google admits tracking users’ location even when setting is disabled
- Apple drops VPN apps from store at request of Chinese government
- Google to “de-rank” articles by Russian websites
- Pakistan blocks social media sites in response to mass civil protests
Last week the FCC announced plans to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Act which means “no more net neutrality”. The internet promptly went berserk but we think this is largely overblown. That said, Techdirt is providing in-depth ongoing coverage about it, while Michael Geist provides a Canadian perspective.
Our take on it is here: Net Neutrality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Speaking of “net neutrality”, Canadian law in that respect (see Geist article above) hasn’t dissuaded Telus from cutting off subscriber access to a pro-union website. The company justifies this action in a bitter labour dispute after striking employees allegedly jammed the company’s phone lines and doxxed management. Welcome to conflict resolution in the internet age.
Correction: This happened in 2005! It has no relevance here, somehow this got into my weekly folder, I remember reading it, but I neglected to check the date. I usually do. Mea culpa to follow in next addition. Thanks to all who clued me in. #fail
Uber is in the news again in a not-so-great way after it came out that the company had covered up a data breach a year ago involving 57 million customer records. The company apparently paid off the hackers to sit on the breached data. Uber’s Chief Security Officer has lost his job over his role in the cover-up and making a $100,000 hush money payment to the attackers.
A report from Quartz Media reports that Google continues to track and phone home with Android users location data even if they have location services disabled. When pressed the company explained it helps speed up message delivery.
The Government of China has asked Apple to remove all VPN apps from the iTunes Store within China, as those apps enable users to circumvent “The Great Firewall of China”. Apple has complied with the request.
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google admitted in a talk at the Halifax International Security Forum that the search engine would “de-rank” Russian sites, specifically RT[dot]com and Sputnik. We touch on this in our take on net neutrality as we feel these are related issues.
In the wake of civil unrest and protests, the government of Pakistan has blocked social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. No doubt, if you asked the Pakistani government, they would say this measure is to “stop new and novel threats to the internet”.
Guerrilla Capitalism is now live! I recently sent out the first instalment, a high level overview examining whether it’s better to build a wannabe unicorn? Or a long-term viable business: See The Transition Overview: Building Companies That Matter.