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@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…

The spectacle of play

This month I am trekking around Europe with my partner, and I had the good fortune to be in London on the night of the fifth Wild Rumpus event. In a gallery space in central London on a Saturday night…
‘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. 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. 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. 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. 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? 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. 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? 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? Movie reel image from from

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. 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. 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. Academic image from

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.

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. 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…
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.

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…

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