News We Are Reading at the Office for Friday, April 7

This week’s Internet health news recap includes a tongue-lashing from Sir Tim, cyborgs in Sweden, Internet access for vulnerable populations in California, a new open source social network named after a prehistoric elephant and loads about online privacy. Read up, get informed, pass it on.

Internet Health

CBC Radio: Internet health as a social issue
Mozilla’s Mark Surman says the health of the internet should be a mainstream social issue just like the environment or education.

Shark & Minnow Open Swim Podcast: Google Controversy, American Girl, Market Research & Internet Health – Episode 3
Open Swim is a podcast that explores emerging trends in business, marketing, design and culture. In this episode they take a explore a number of topics, including Internet health.

Web Literacy

Poynter: Can trust in the news be repaired? Facebook, Craig Newmark, Mozilla and others are spending $14 million to try
A global coalition of tech leaders, academic institutions, nonprofits and funders, including Facebook, Mozilla and Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark, on Monday announced a $14 million initiative to combat declining trust in the news media and advance news literacy.

Online Privacy + Security

NY Mag, Select All: It’s Time for a Grassroots Movement for Better Online Privacy
It is, admittedly, easy to let this issue slide as a minor one compared to the many others facing Americans today. But the internet is now essential to many of your day-to-day functions — not just how you talk with friends, but where you shop, manage your finances, search for a job, and find out what’s happening in the world. It can seem weird, in a moment when toxicity online feels like it’s at an all-time high, to think of the internet as something worth fighting for, but it is. It’s time to protect it.

The Washington Post: The U.S. government has withdrawn its request ordering Twitter to identify a Trump critic
The legal battle between Twitter and the U.S. government ended Friday as the Department of Homeland Security withdrew its demand that the tech company release information to identify an account holder whose tweets have been critical of President Trump.

The BBC: Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee slams UK and US net plans
The web’s creator has attacked any UK plans to weaken encryption and promised to battle any moves by the Trump administration to weaken net neutrality.

BuzzFeed: After Internet Privacy Vote, Some ISPs Pledge Not To Sell Browsing Histories
The Republican-controlled Congress just voted to repeal landmark privacy rules passed under Obama, but some ISPs see a strong commitment to privacy as their selling point.

Slate: Worried About Your Online Privacy? Mozilla’s Executive Director Has Tips for You.
For those of us who believe privacy is an essential part of a healthy internet, it’s been a bruising few weeks. Congress recently voted to overturn Federal Communications Commission rules that would have helped put people in control of how their internet service providers handle private data. As a result, Washington made the already-uncertain future of online privacy that much more bleak.

recode: At least three states are trying to replace the online privacy rules nixed by Trump
Lawmakers in at least three capitals — Maryland, Minnesota and Montana — are weighing new restrictions on the way internet providers and other companies can collect and share their customers’ sensitive data, including their web-browsing histories, with advertisers.

The New York Times: Google Training Ad Placement Computers to Be Offended
Over the years, Google trained computer systems to keep copyrighted content and pornography off its YouTube service. But after seeing ads from Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart appear next to racist, anti-Semitic or terrorist videos, its engineers realized their computer models had a blind spot: They did not understand context.

Associated Press via Yahoo Tech: Cyborgs at work: employees getting implanted with microchips

Digital Inclusion

CNN: California lawmakers want to mandate internet for kids in juvy
Internet access brings all sorts of benefits: Education, jobs, and connection to friends and family. But youth in the criminal justice and foster care systems often don’t have access to it. That’s why some lawmakers in California want to make it their right.

Back Channel: Voice Is the Next Big Platform, Unless You Have an Accent
It’s super funny that Alexa can’t understand my mom — until we need Alexa to use the web, drive a car, and do pretty much anything else.


The Verge: A beginner’s guide to Mastodon, the hot new open-source Twitter clone
Mastodon is a fast-growing Twitter-like social network that seeks to re-create the service’s best parts while eliminating its whale-sized problems. The distributed, open-source platform offers better tools for privacy and fighting harassment than Twitter does, but it also comes with a learning curve.

Internet star of the week

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