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Analysis and Comment (28)

@N has spent months trying to get his username back from thieves. @N has spent months trying to get his username back from thieves. Twitter

Joyriders make a black market of prestige Twitter handles

Joyriding – stealing a car just for the fun of it – is a signature act of troublemaking teenagers seeking excitement and a chance to show off their bravado. But while car theft is among the most common…
‘Success Kid’ – with its various slogans – has been an enduring meme of recent years. ‘Success Kid’ – with its various slogans – has been an enduring meme of recent years. Know Your Meme

Explainer: what are memes?

Nothing defines our use of the internet as clearly as the concept of the meme (pronounced “meem”). Every day, millions of people laugh at LOLcats, dog shaming, and music videos without music, while others…
The dark web is under threat. The dark web is under threat. Fir0002

Anonymity will be the next victim of internet censorship

The worrying developments in UK internet freedom over the last year make predictions for 2014 gloomy to say the least. Censorship now affects us all, so we should be thinking about it. And it’s not politically…
Stars such as Paris Hilton are appropriated by those creating celebrity fake porn. Stars such as Paris Hilton are appropriated by those creating celebrity fake porn. Paul Buck/EPA

Celebrity fakes – where porn meets a sense of possession

You may or may not have heard about the online practice of celebrity fakes. Website after website, one can find images of the most famous in some of the most hardcore pornographic poses. One of those sites…
The vision of a fibre-to-the-home National Broadband Network continues for some. The vision of a fibre-to-the-home National Broadband Network continues for some. J e n s

NBN petition and the backlash: when does democracy speak?

Australian social media users and civil society groups are mobilising against Coalition communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull’s implication today that democracy has spoken through the election process…
A ‘badly worded sentence or two’ put shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull on the back foot yesterday. A ‘badly worded sentence or two’ put shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull on the back foot yesterday. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Opt-out, opt-in: the internet filter hokey pokey

As of last night both major Australian political parties can claim to have at one time backed and then rejected internet filters. Is this an epic win for netizens? Yes, for the battle against censorship…
What are the implications of the latest leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden? What are the implications of the latest leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden? Pigstick1

XKeyscore and NSA surveillance leaks – expert reaction

XKeyscore is an online surveillance tool run by America’s National Security Agency (NSA) that allows analysts to search contents of chats, emails and browsing histories without warrants, according to leaked…
Location-restricted services are becoming ever easier to access, wherever you live. Location-restricted services are becoming ever easier to access, wherever you live. Daniel Dionne

Explainer: what is geoblocking?

So you sit down in front of your computer to catch the latest episode of Doctor Who directly from BBC’s iPlayer, and you are greeted by an error message informing you that the program will play only in…
The blanket term “hack” can encompass a whole range of attacks – but what are they? The blanket term “hack” can encompass a whole range of attacks – but what are they? Anant N S

Explainer: what is hacking?

Last week, we woke to news that the largest cyber attack ever was underway in Europe, with reports of global internet speeds falling as a result of an assault on the anti-spamming company Spamhaus. In…
Hola! will increase Australia’s access to content, but is it legal? Hola! will increase Australia’s access to content, but is it legal? Movie reel image from from www.shutterstock.com

Say Hola! to the newest route around web censorship

The ongoing copyright arms race between content owners and internet users has taken a new turn. Israeli firm Hola! has recently launched a suite of products that are variously designed to bypass geoblocking…
Traditional barriers between writers and their audiences are breaking down. Traditional barriers between writers and their audiences are breaking down. SimplyStef

Read me, write me: the new media revolution is just beginning

Authors and readers, authority and audience – all are in a state of transition. Back in the 1960s, when computer programmers were still bending paperclips to punch holes in cards, and phone apps and blogging…
Telstra listened to customer complaints about data privacy, but they could have done more. Telstra listened to customer complaints about data privacy, but they could have done more. gailjadehamilton

Telstra’s revised cyber-safety service could (and should) be better

Telstra’s first attempt to introduce a cyber-safety service for mobile customers in June was a flop of significant proportions. Customers and concerned members of the public reacted strongly to the collection…
Academics freedom and university reputations are being tested online. Academics freedom and university reputations are being tested online. Academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Academics behaving badly? Universities and online reputations

Trying to control your reputation online is a bit like trying to clean up wee in a toddler pool. You are much more likely to get your hands dirty than achieve any kind of meaningful damage control. Many…
Saying “trolling is bad” does little to solve the problem. Saying “trolling is bad” does little to solve the problem. femenart.nl

Trollwatch: the internet needs ethical standards

Writing for Edge in 2007, Professor Martin Rees – then President of the Royal Society and ongoing Astronomer Royal – quipped: “The global village will have its village idiots.” Rees, of course, was referring…
The blogosphere is a sewer of frothing, often anonymous, swill. The blogosphere is a sewer of frothing, often anonymous, swill. Flickr/joeshoe

Hate mail and cyber trolls: the view from inside public health

The Charlotte Dawson troll saga shocked many Australians, with revelations of vile tweets, death threats and online intimidation. Nobody should have to endure this kind of abuse, but unfortunately it’s…
What’s being done about the latest spate of Anonymous attacks? What’s being done about the latest spate of Anonymous attacks? zigazou76

Anonymous' Operation Australia – can the federal police stop them?

About 10am this morning, Anonymous used Twitter to announce an attack on the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) website. Anonymous claimed the ASIO website would be unavailable for the…
Hacktivists are campaigning against the Australian government’s proposed changes to privacy laws. Hacktivists are campaigning against the Australian government’s proposed changes to privacy laws. Tina Mailhot-Roberge

Why is Anonymous hacking Australia?

A few days ago, Anonymous activists hacked into AAPT, stole 40GB of data including customer information and forced offline ten Australian government websites. Anonymous members stated in an online internet…
Memes will play an important role – and provide some fun – during the London Olympics. Memes will play an important role – and provide some fun – during the London Olympics. Facebook.com/TheOlympicMemes

Meme team: Olympic fandom meets the internet

London 2012 is already seeing fierce competition for meme supremacy. Memes, especially in the form of captioned images - or image macros - are an increasingly mainstream form by which people comment on…
Thinking you know every trick in the book doesn’t mean you really do. Thinking you know every trick in the book doesn’t mean you really do. Don Hawkins

SCAMwatch – a helping hand against online scammers

Crimes of confidence, known as scams, are on the rise. You probably know the basics. The way the most common type of scam works involves you being presented with an offer, product or service for which…
Treats are great to share, provided you have the owner’s permission. Treats are great to share, provided you have the owner’s permission. Kalexanderson

An invincible file-sharing platform? You can’t be serious

A new version of the peer-to-peer sharing application Tribler has created a buzz online following claims by the software’s lead developer that the app is impervious to attack. In a recent interview with…
What’s mine is yours (until they break down the doors). What’s mine is yours (until they break down the doors). ryancr

Megaupload martyrdom sparks crisis in the faith of file-sharing

Latest reports suggest all of the data on seized file storage website Megaupload – legal or illegal – could be erased as soon as Thursday. Clearly it’s not great news for the site’s founder Kim Dotcom…
Should the changing face of media be a source of despair or optimism? Should the changing face of media be a source of despair or optimism? Truthout.org

The future of news: crowdsourced and connected

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of newspapers are somewhat exaggerated. But traditional media is experiencing the “perfect storm” of declining circulations, collapsing advertising revenues…
What if there were an algorithm that could guarantee marketing success? What if there were an algorithm that could guarantee marketing success? Hanga Girl

How to make a YouTube viral video smash – the ingredients

Creating a 30 second YouTube movie that goes viral is the holy grail of marketing. So how is it done? Ensuring the success of a viral-produced movie is still largely hit-and-miss. Some of the more well-known…
Keep your friends close and your enemies, wherever possible, at bay. Keep your friends close and your enemies, wherever possible, at bay. Karat

Betrayed? LulzSec arrest over Sony hack reveals trust issues

On September 22, 23-year-old college student Cody Kretsinger was arrested by the FBI for his part in the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment by the high-profile hacking group LulzSec. The hack resulted…
Are reactions against the infamous hacking group a sign of generational conflict? Are reactions against the infamous hacking group a sign of generational conflict? JacobDavis

Are Anonymous hackers really on trial, or is FBI payback misdirected?

It’s a scene reminiscent of a thousand police dramas: the FBI arrived at the door of 20-year-old journalism student Mercedes Haefer, guns drawn, at 6am one morning last July. She was still in her pyjamas…
There is currently around US$63.6 million of Bitcoin in circulation. There is currently around US$63.6 million of Bitcoin in circulation. Craig A Rodway

Bitcoin: a pirate’s booty or the new global currency?

On July 19, Doctor Nefario, founder of the Global Bitcoin Stock Exchange, arrived at Seattle airport and was asked if he had enough money to cover his stay in the US. He replied that he did, but that it…
A battle is raging over search and serendipity online. A battle is raging over search and serendipity online. AndYaDontStop

Is StumbleUpon trumping Facebook in the internet attention wars?

The latest salvo in the internet attention wars has come in the form of figures from StatCounter. A relatively small content driving service called StumbleUpon drove more than 50% of all social media referral…