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last 7 days

22 Feb

According to PhishLabs’ recently released ‘Phishing Trends & Intelligence Report’, the number of phishing sites increased with 23% in 2016. More than 51% of all phishing sites in 2016 were hosted on domain names registered under .com. After .com, the most common top-level domains (TLDs) found in phishing sites were .br, .net, .org, .ru, .uk, .au, .info, .in, and .pl. While new generic TLDs (gTLDs) were associated with only 2% of phishing domains in 2016, the volume of attacks hosted on new gTLDs grew by more than 1000%, suggesting that these domains are becoming a more popular option for phishers. This is likely due to the cheap cost of some new gTLDs and the ability to create phishing sites that appear more legitimate. The most common new gTLDs used to host phishing content last year were .top, .xyz, .online, .club, .website, .link, .space, .site, .win, and .support.

Earlier this month, the Open Fog Consortium released the OpenFog Reference Architecture, a ‘universal technical framework designed to enable the data-intensive requirements of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. The framework is intended  to serve as a start point towards the creation of industry standards for fog computing - defined as ‘an emerging architecture for computing, storage, control and networking that distributes these services closer to end users along the cloud-to-things continuum’. The architecture contains a medium- to high-level view of system architectures for fog nodes (smart, connected devices) and networks, deployment and hierarchy models, and use cases. It is based on eight core technical principles representing the key attributes that a system needs to encompass to be defined as ‘OpenFog’: security, scalability, openness, autonomy, RAS (reliability, availability, and serviceability), agility, hierarchy, and programmability.

18 Feb

A UK government programme led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, will train at least 5700 teenagers in the country in cybersecurity skills by 2021 in order to boost Britain's defences against online attacks. The government has decided to do so after warnings of future skills shortage and concerns about security of the country's economy and infrastructure. Officials say the new Cyber Schools Programme aims to support and encourage pupils to develop some of the key skills they would need to work in cyber security and help defend the nation's businesses against online threats. Ministers are making up to £20 million available for extracurricular sessions which will see expert instructors drafted in to teach, test and train teenagers selected for the initiative. A "cyber curriculum" will be drawn up to mix classroom and online teaching with real-world challenges and hands-on work experience.

17 Feb

In a letter discussing the future of Facebook, the social media platform's CEO Mark Zuckerberg sketched a plan to let artificial intelligence software review content posted on the social network. Zuckerberg writes that the algorithms of the software will be able to identify 'terrorism, violence, bullying and even prevent suicide'. Although artificial intelligence might already be able to handle some of these cases in 2017, 'others will not be possible for many years'. The plan will also allow users to filter their own content, within the scope of the law; 'where is your line on nudity? On violence? On graphic content? On profanity? What you decide will be your personal settings' and 'For those who don't make a decision, the default will be whatever the majority of people in your region selected, like a referendum'. 

16 Feb

The European Parliament (EP) debated and adopted a report outlining recommendations for the European Commission for the introduction of civil law rules on robotics. The initial report – elaborated by the Committee on Legal Affairs – was rather complex, but the EP plenary rejected many of the controversial proposals. Among these was a proposal to introduce a universal basic income aimed to compensate individuals for disruptions brought on the labour market by robots and other artificial intelligence systems. Many MEPs chose to focus on liability issues, and the approved report contains recommendations on the establishment of a ‘compulsory insurance scheme where relevant and necessary for specific categories of robots’, as well as on the creation, on long term, of a specific legal statute for the most sophisticated autonomous robots.

last 30 days

15 Feb

CNN is broadcasting on YouTube after Venezuela shuts off CNN in Spanish after report on fraudulent passports. The ban comes as President Nicolas Maduro said he wants CNN 'out of the country'. Government media dominate the news, and CNN was qualified as 'fake news', starting with a previous report on CNN that Maduro claimed  the news channel 'manipulated information about a student’s complaint regarding the lack of food at school', meddling in what is an internal Venezuelan topic.

Rights of persons with disabilities are high on the radar in the USA, as questions were raised about the new US Department of Education secretary, Betsy DeVos's, whose priorities were examined (Is Betsy DeVos against enforcing disability rights laws — or does she not understand them?). In addition, 'Disabled, Shunned and Silenced in Trump's America' gives a poignant, personal reaction to discovering that the Disabilities section of the US White House website had been removed. At the same time, a Federal complaint alleges school district website 'inaccessible' on the west coast of the USA, alleging that the Palo Alto school district's 'recently redesigned website are [sic] not accessible to people with vision impairments and other disabilities'. Another article, Dear anti-Trump protesters: don’t forget those of us with disabilities highlights the particular difficulties persons with disabilities face when trying make their voices heard.

Speaking at a conference in San Francisco this week, IBM Resilient Chief Technology Officer Bruce Schneier called for the creation of a new government agency to focus on regulating the Internet of Things (IoT), especially from a security point of view. As reported by TechTarget, Schneier pointed out that cybersecurity risks associated with the IoT require governmental intervention, as ‘the market is not going to fix this because neither the buyer nor the seller cares’. He also mentioned that governments are going to get involved in addressing IoT threats regardless of actions taken by the private sector, and this will start in courts of law. According to Schneier, ‘our choice is smarter government involvement or stupider government involvement. And we have to start thinking about this now, otherwise it will be imposed on us’. Schneier’s proposal follows previous calls for governmental intervention to improve IoT security.

14 Feb

Chinese authorities have approved four new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to start operating in the country: .ink,  .中文网 (‘web site’), .在线 (‘online’), .集团 (‘group’), and .我爱你 (‘I love you’). This follows two similar decisions issued in December 2016, concerning .vip, .club, .xyz, .site, and .shop. According to Chinese regulations, domain names in gTLDs can be registered in China, but they can only be activated or hosted in the country following an approval from the relevant authorities.

According to a recently-released report – The Internet of Evil Things – there is an increasing concern among information security professionals about the expanded attack surface and the risks the increasing number of connected devices in the workplace have introduced. The report, based on a survey of more than 800 IT professionals, shows that, while the information security community is well aware of the vulnerabilities and risks that connected devices present, awareness is not leading to the actions and investments that will mitigate risks and ensure the promise of a safe connected world. Some of the main device threat concerns for 2017 identified by survey respondents include: misconfigured healthcare, security, and IoT devices will provide another route for ransomware and malware to cause harm and affect organisations; unresolved vulnerabilities or the misconfiguration of popular connected devices, spurred by the vulnerabilities being publicised by botnets, in the hands of rogue actors, will compromise the security of organisations; mobile phones will be the attack vector of the future.

Microsoft president and CLO Brad Smith has called for a Digital Geneva Convention, outlining six rules to be included, calling the current situation 'a growing problem in need of new solutions'. He called on both governments and the private sector to do more in the area of cybersecurity, and suggested that a trusted and neutral 'Digital Switzerland' could assist in this endeavour. This came alongside his presentation at the RSA conference in San Francisco on 14 February. In a similar, but unrelated post, Scott Shackelford, Associate Professor of Business Law and Ethics, Indiana University, asks Should cybersecurity be a human right? Both posts emphasise the involvement of International and Digital Geneva as a centre for UN efforts to ensure global cybersecurity.

According to TechCrunch, Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Agency plans to introduce flying drone taxi services as of July this year. The passenger service will make use of autonomous electric drones that can carry one passenger for a distance of 31 miles on one change. The drones are to be remotely monitored and piloted from a centralised command center.

A Brazilian labour court in Minas Gerais state ruled that a Uber driver is an employee of the company and is entitled to workers’ benefits. The judge also ordered Uber to pay one driver around $10,000 in compensation for overtime, night shifts, holidays, and expenses such as gasoline and water. The company reacted saying that it would appeal the decision, citing a contradictory ruling issued by another labour court in the same Brazilian state few weeks before.

13 Feb

The Swedish Court of Patent and Market Appeals ordered an Internet service provider (ISP) to block access to The Pirate Bay and Swefilmer (a Swedish streaming portal), following EU laws and similar judgments in France, Finland, Australia and Belgium. While the ruling marks an important success for the creative industry's fights against torrent sites, Swedish ISPs have expressed concerns, as their obligation to monitor and evaluate digital content could constitute 'a dangerous path to go down on'.

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, said he is 'particularly concerned at the tightening of the space for free speech at a time where its promotion and protection should be of the utmost importance', referring the ongoing cut in Internet services to English-speaking sections of Cameroon. While he continues to monitor the situation, he has urged the government of Cameroon to restore Internet services immediately, to comply with international law and human rights.

12 Feb

Citing its 'reputation for poor fact checking and sensationalism', Wikipedia has banned the Daily Mail as a reference for articles in the online encyclopaedia. The Daily Mail has attacked this decision, as reported in the UK Huffington post article Daily Mail Hits Back At Wikipedia After It Bans Tabloid As Source, Calling It Unreliable. Forbes online commented on the implications of the ban, in What Wikipedia's Daily Mail 'Ban' Tells Us About The Future Of Online Censorship. Katherine Maher of Wikipedia explained the decision in an interview in the Guardian 'We always look for reliability': why Wikipedia's editors cut out the Daily Mail.

9 Feb

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is now able to proceed with the delegation of the .africa top-level domain (gTLD), after a decision of a California Superior Court. The court has denied DotConnectAfrica’s (DCA’s) second motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the delegation of .africa to ZA Central Registry. It has found that it appears the ‘Covenant Not to Sue’ found in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook is enforceable, and that ‘DCA's claims against ICANN for fraud and unfair business practices are likely to be barred. As a result, DCA cannot establish that it is likely to succeed on the merits’.

According to Domain Name Wire, the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice has opened an investigation on VeriSign concerning the .web generic top level domain (gTLD). The company received a Civil Investigative Demand in mid January and it was requested to provide information about its potential operations for .web. Verisign, also registry operator for .com, has paid $135 million to acquire .web, after concluding a deal with one of the companies which applied for the domain.

Mapping Countries That Censor the Internet from The Atlantic reviews a beta app for mobile phones that test connectivity (access) to Internet sites, with a web-connectivity test and 'a probe that checks for hardware that censors or alters traffic on a network'. OONI, Amnesty International and CitizenLab have collaborated on this or closely-related reports, including this interactive world map depicting censorship statistics.

Indian non-profit organisation Software Freedom Law Centre has launched, a website that keeps track of Internet shutdowns in India. Their data show 62 incidents of Internet shutdowns, 4 of which happened in January 2017. 

In a press conference held earlier this week, six Democratic members of the US Senate have expressed their support for strong net neutrality rules, and said that they would not allow action by the Federal Communications Commission or Congress that undermine those rules. The Senators underlined the fact that the existing FCC net neutrality rules are effective in protecting consumers and the open Internet, and that they oppose any regulatory or legislative efforts to repeal the rules, or any refusal to enforce them.

The Domain Name Association (DNA) – an Internet domain industry association – has published four voluntary practices for domain name registries and registrars, with the aim to ‘help the domain name system (DNS) remain healthy as it grows and evolves’. The practices – developed as part of DNA’s Healthy Domains Initiative and following a year-long consultation process with various parties – are focused on: addressing online security abuse (e.g., malware, phishing, pharming); enhancing child abuse mitigation systems; streamlining complaint handling from illegal or ‘rogue’ online pharmacies; and establishing a voluntary third party system for handling copyright infringement.

AT&T, IBM, Nokia, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec, and Trustsonic have formed the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance, with the aim to ‘help customers address Internet of Things (IoT) cybersecurity challenges, demystify IoT security, and share best practices’. Bringing together industry-leading security providers and IoT experts, the coalition will focus on research and raising awareness of ways to better secure the IoT ecosystem. The specific goals of the initiative are to: collaborate and research security challenges of IoT in areas such as connected cars, smart cities, healthcare; dissect and solve IoT security problems at every critical layer of security; make security easy to access across the ecosystem; and influence security standards and policies.

A recent overview of the status of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses space in 2016 – published by APNICs’ Chief Scientist Geoff Huston – shows that the number of individual allocations of IPv6 address space has risen by some 20% in 2016 (compared to 2015). The countries that received the largest number of IPv6 allocations in 2016 were Brazil, USA, China, Germany, Australia, UK, Netherlands, Russia, India, and Indonesia. Three of these countries – Russia, Italy, and China – have IPV6 deployments that are under 2% of their total Internet users population. Despite the growth, the overview notes that there has been no large, broad scale of deployment of IPv6 visible in the address statistics for 2016. This means that the Internet is highly reliant on Network Address Translation (NAT) mechanisms, which ‘points to some longer term elements of concern for the continued ability of the Internet to support further innovation and diversification in its portfolio of applications and services’.

An article about corporate responsibility in Quartz Media, In the fight against government-ordered Internet blackouts, where are Africa’s mobile providers? uses the example of Cameroon's English-speaking region Internet blockage to ask about the role that mobile providers play and should play in these situations, especially given the high prevalence of mobile use in Africa. The article states 'There should be more to being a telco license holder than just expanding service delivery and faster internet speeds.' and then asks 'Will Africa’s mobile service providers be willing to take up the corporate social responsibility they have to the customers they serve?' This question can be asked in a global context as well, as mobile Internet is also affected, as seen in the case of Nagaland, where mobile services (both SMS and internet/data) remain suspended since January 30.

8 Feb

The European Parliament has reached an agreement, which will soon allow Europeans to fully use their online subscriptions to digital content when travelling within the EU. The agreement is related to EU's plan to modernise its copyright rules, which was proposed in the European Commission's Digital Single Market strategy.

An article in TechTimes details new steps that Twitter is taking to counter online abuse on the Internet, specifically on Twitter. The article explains work to prevent known abusers from opening new accounts; implementing safe search possibilities that will remove tweets with potentially sensitive content or blocked accounts; and collapsing low-quality or abusive tweets. Twitter explains its ongoing concern for safety, while another TechTimes article points out some the difficulties involved, including possible implications for freedom of expression.

An article in GreenBiz reports on the situation for women's opportunities in the ICT sector, first with a background from a BSR report 'Building Effective Women’s Economic Empowerment Strategies', and then highlighting both challenges women face and advantages the ICT sector offers to professional women. While recognising the truism that more work needs to be done, the article points out that 'ICT platforms can support employee engagement through interactive training programs and services related to gender equality or discrimination', the articles and information presented also emphasise that this support to women's engagement is good for business as well as for the women, citing projects around the world, including Samasource, which has employed more than 8,000 people in Haiti, India, Kenya and Uganda, and  The Women and the Web Alliance which hopes to bring  600,000 young women online in Nigeria and Kenya in the next three years.

7 Feb

According to GSMA and Machina Research, Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) connections are set to exceed 2G, 3G, and 4G and become the leading technology for the Internet of Things (IoT), with 1.4 billion connections by 2022. As described by GSMA, ‘LPWA networks are an emerging, high-growth area of the IoT, designed to support machine-to-machine applications that have low data rates, require long battery lives, and operate unattended for long periods of time, often in remote locations. They will be used for a wide variety of applications such as industrial asset tracking, safety monitoring, water and gas metering, smart grids, city parking, vending machines and city lighting’.

UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on ICT and international security should pause the development of new norms and confidence building measures related to state behavour in cyberspace, and should instead focus on ensuring that the states implement the already defined ones, the US delegate to the UN GGE and deputy coordinator for cyber issues in the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Affairs at the US Department of State stated at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace event. Markoff also evaluated the US-Russia cyber-relations as a bright spot, and commented that Russia has not breached the agreed GGE norms in case of alleged cyber-attack against power grid in Ukraine since the norms apply in peacetime, rather than during the conflicts.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued a report on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). This technology is used in creation of most digital and crypto currencies online (such as Bitcoin), also in finance world in order to reduce the costs and increase the efficiency. ESMA’s view is that the current EU regulatory framework does not represent an obstacle to the use of DLT in the short term.

Also ESMA’s position is that regulatory action is premature at this stage, considering that the technology is still at an early stage. ESMA called for the industries to work together towards solution for possible challenges (such as privacy and interoperability).

Read the full report

6 Feb

Facebook and Google are cooperating with French news organisations (including Agence France-Presse and Le Monde) to minimise the risk of fake news affecting France's upcoming presidential election. The collaboration plans to launch new fact-checking tools. Facebook will rely on users to flag fake news and have it subsequently fact-checked by the partner organisations. Content that is then deemed to be fake will be tagged with an icon the demonstrate that the message is contested. Facebook is taking similar steps in Germany.

Chinese company Alibaba is considering providing free Internet in India and is currently in negotiations with telecom operators and Wi-Fi providers in the country. According to a company’s official, cited by Business Insider, Alibaba is trying ‘to offer lower cost data to users and better connectivity, even free of cost connectivity’, and is looking at specific regions, as ‘in India not every state is suffering from connectivity problem so we will focus more on providing this kind of services to states that are suffering more and also we will have comprehensive analysis on already existing consumers who will actually need this kind of service’. It remains to be seen what kind of Internet services the company will provide and whether there will be any implications for the principle of net neutrality, which India has been strongly advocating for (through, for example, banning Facebook’s Free Basics services).

4 Feb

Latin used to be the language of scholars, allowing them to share and discuss their discoveries. Other languages (such as German, for the sciences) are sometimes identified with a particular subject area. English as a lingua franca for scholars has definite advantages, but the need for language diversity is discussed in The giant shoulders of English: The advantages of having a scholarly lingua franca should not obscure the disadvantages, which points out that 'Monolingual ghettos are bad for science' as important work may be overlooked because it is not published in English. While the article does not address Internet multilingualism, the implications are obvious.

The US Federal Communications Commission has issued an order that ‘sets aside and rescinds’ a report on zero-rating practices that the Commission released in January 2017. The report concluded that zero rating services offered by AT&T and Verizon presented risks to consumers and competition. The newly issued order notes that the inquiry which lead to the January report is closed, and that guidance, determinations, and conclusions of the report ‘will have no legal or other effete or meaning going forward’. The concerned companies have also been informed about the closing of the inquiry.

A working paper recently published for peer review by a team of researchers from Stanford University looks into the issue of fairness in the content of decisions make by artificial intelligence algorithms. The paper, which studies algorithms used to decide whether defendants awaiting trial are too dangerous to be released back in the community, shows how even a ‘fair’ algorithm can be manipulated into favouring whites over black people by a malicious designer adding digital noise to the input data of the favoured group. The researcher therefore suggest the use of  ‘optimal unconstrained algorithms’, which require ‘applying a single, uniform threshold to all defendants. The unconstrained algorithm thus maximizes public safety while also satisfying one important understanding of equality: that all individuals are held to the same standard, irrespective of race.’

3 Feb

Benoit Hamon, French Socialist Party’s candidate for the upcoming French presidential elections, is proposing the introduction of taxes for robots as a way to compensate human works whose jobs become obsolete because of technological advancements. In explaining his proposal, Hamon notes that ‘When a worker is replaced by a machine, the wealth created benefits the shareholders. I propose, therefore, to tax this wealth—by applying the social contributions on the whole of the added value and not just on the work’ (Motherboad translation). The proposal comes in the context of an ongoing debate on the introduction of a ‘universal basic income’, an idea discussed in countries such as India, Scotland, and Finland, among others.

Tallinn Manual 2.0, the updated and expanded second edition of "Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare", has been published by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) and the Cambridge University Press. Tallinn Manual, a NATO-funded research authored by independent group of international law experts and academics, is the comprehensive analysis of how existing international law applies to cyberspace. According to CCDCOE, the second edition brings the understanding that "cyber events do not occur in a legal vacuum and states both have rights and bear obligations under international law" and "covers a full spectrum of international law applicable to cyber operations ranging from peacetime legal regimes to the law of armed conflict, covering a wide array of international law principles and regimes that regulate events in cyberspace". The copy of the Tallinn Manual 2.0 can be ordered here.

2 Feb

Uber has announced that it would suspend its services in Taiwan starting 10 February, following disputes with Taiwanese authorities. Uber has been operating in Taiwan as an Internet-based platform, and not a provider of transportation services, determining authorities to consider the business illegal, and to impose fines on the company. While Uber continues to argue that it is not a transportation company, its decision to suspend the services is likely to last until authorities ‘find a solution’, according to Reuters.

CNets' Tech Enabled series 'Tech  enabled: Engineering independence skill and success -- for all',  has published two new articles: Disability activists, amplified: Social media gets the job done, which emphasises that having a disability doesn't have to silence your voice, and Facebook AI paints better word pictures for the blind, which explains Facebook's new technology which uses verbs, not just nouns, in photo captions that voice applications can read to the visually impaired. The first article notes 'What gets lost at times: the less conventional innovation happening on the periphery of the tech world. These are advances that may only help a small number of people, but they're the kinds of breakthroughs that can change lives.' The first article in the series A quadriplegic's challenge: Make me a touch-free phone details the process of building a better mobile phone, from the idea and request to hardware, software, and improvements, in an impressive example of innovation to improve access for persons with disabilities.

WhatsApp has faced an increase in spam since April 2016 following the introduction of end-to-end encryption . The company therefore developed behavioural filters that analyse user metadata and mark potential spam. The company’s new anti-spam policy contributed in lowering the volume of spam by 75 %, informs TechCrunch. Although the bulk analysis of metadata brings some controversy, this example of a good success rate could encourage other communication platforms in the deployment of end-to-end encryption. 

1 Feb

The recent Cisco 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report suggests that spam accounted for 65 percent of the total email volume in 2016. A review of statistical data from the last ten years shows that 2016 spam volume is close to the record levels seen in 2010. The volume is growing due to an increasing number of spam-sending botnets. According to Cisco threat researchers, about 8-10 percent the spam observed in 2016 could be classified as malicious. 

The continuing government Internet ban in English-speaking areas of Cameroon is paralysing banks and affecting the economy. The ban was implemented in an attempt to quash opposition, but the lack of Internet has affected business and other areas, as well as media and journalism, with journalists resorting to sending reports by SMS. As collateral effects, ATM services have been suspended, and even civil servants' pay has been interrupted, in spite of last year's United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that proclaimed uncensored Internet access as a basic human right.

The Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR) has recently published its DomainWire Global TLD Stat Report for the fourth quarter of 2016. The report, which covers the global status and registration trends in all top-level domains (TLDs, with focus on the European ccTLD market), shows that Europeans prefer country code top-level domain (ccTLDs) when it comes to registering domain names. The average market share of ccTLDs in European countries is at around 60%, with the highest growth being registered by .se (Sweden), .cy (Cyprus), .pt (Portugal), .am (Armenia), and .fi (Finland).  When it comes to new gTLDs, the average market share in European countries has increased from 1.3% to 3.3% over 2016, with new gTLD growth remaining relatively slow in Europe.

According to Annalisa Merelli in Quartz Media, within hours of Obama taking power in the USA, the White House website listed 20 priority issues. Since the Trump inauguration, the US White House website shows a list of six. Notably missing is information on persons with disabilities, civil rights, the LGBT community, and climate change. Although previously implemented, there is no longer a version with access for persons with disabilities, or a Spanish language version. In addition, the website disabilities issue page itself has been removed. This page on disability issues, while no longer linked from the White House website, can be seen in the archived copy, for reference.  

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has presented the 2017-18 Union Budget, which is characterised by a focus on digitisation, infrastructure, and rural India. A number of digital policy-related proposals can be highlighted:

  • An abolition of service tax on digital rail bookings in an effort to push digital payments
  • Connecting remote areas with fibre optic Internet across the country
  • Improving medicine, education, and skills in rural areas through the use of digital technology
  • A new digital pension distribution system, as well as 'smart cards' containing health information for senior citizens
  • The establishment of a dedicated Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) for the financial sector.
  • Digitising payments and promoting cashless transactions through a new app.
  • Online education platforms to help people develop skills and gain employment

26 Jan

Research (Diagram of a Darknet: Exploring the Characteristics of an Anonymous Space Online)  using the example of Freenet (an anonymous peer-to-peer network) analysed and reported in Far beyond crime-ridden depravity, darknets are key strongholds of freedom of expression online  shows that, although the darknet includes depravity, illegal, and terrible content, it is also important for online freedom of expression and privacy, according to authors Roderick S. Graham, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Brian Pitman, Instructor in Criminology and Sociology, Old Dominion University. They state that Freenet (with the implication that some other darknet sites may be similar) is based on a hacker ethic, and espouses ideals such as: 

  • 'Access to information should be free;
  • Technology can, and should, improve people’s lives;
  • Bureaucracy and authority are not to be trusted;
  • A resistance to conventional and mainstream lifestyles'.

They note that 'Other research suggests that the presence of child pornography is not a darknet or Freenet problem, but an internet problem', and that 'Evaluating the darknet should not stop just at the presence of illegal material, but should extend to its full content and context.'

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