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Inside Bitcoins

Electronic money is not a new idea. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Jimmy Carter 35 years ago (1978). Other forms of electronic money include payment processors, direct deposit, and digital currencies such as Bitcoin. What distinguishes Bitcoin from other electronic money is that it is a cryptocurrency... Will Bitcoin replace the dollar, euro, yen, franc, kroner, et al? Possible, but most authorities seem to be saying it is doubtful. more»

Evolution and the Internet

Evolution isn't just about biology. Our focus on biology is part of the world-wide challenge in getting people to understand how systems evolve. Think of the resistance Galileo faced when he said that the universe didn't, literally, revolve round us. One reason people have difficulty accepting undirected evolution is that educators don't give people a good sense of why things "work". It's a difficult problem because we tend to look for a "reason" for why things are the way they are... more»

Google's Project Shield May Actually Be A Double-Edged Sword

Google has received a lot of press regarding their Project Shield announcement at the Google Ideas Summit. The effort is being applauded as a milestone in social consciousness. While on the surface the endeavor appears admirable, the long-term impact of the service may manifest more than Google had hoped for. Project Shield is an invite-only service that combines Google's DDoS mitigation technology and Page Speed service... more»

Is 47 USC 230(c) an Immunity or an Affirmative Defense (Does it Matter?)

Procedure matters. It matters whether a defendant can dispose of a litigation right out of the gate, or whether the defendant must suffer the slings and arrows of discovery, motions, and trial before presenting a successful defense. Procedurally, once a litigation has been initiated, defendant has a chance to say, "hey, wait a minute, there isn't actually a cause of action here." It's like someone suing me for being tall. Well, yeah, but there is no recognized cause of action against being tall. more»

The Boundary Between Sec. 230 Immunity and Liability: Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings

Out in the wilderness of cyberspace is a boundary, marking the limits of Sec. 230 immunity. On the one side roams interactive services hosting third party content immune from liability for that third party content. On the other sides is the frontier, where interactive content hosts and creators meet, merge, and become one. Here host and author blend, collaborating to give rise to new creations. more»

How the NSA is Threatening the Future of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Others

When I read government arguments in defense of the NSA, an oft-repeated line was: We're not targeting Americans. We're targeting foreigners. Foreigners. I really dislike that word. And I'm sure companies like Apple, Google and Facebook do as well. Why? more»

Where Are the World's Most Popular Websites Hosted?

As I do every day, I was perusing Twitter and came across a link for a Business Insider piece on the world's most popular websites by country. Two researchers used web traffic data from Alexa to visually display each country's most visited website. It's an interesting read... But I couldn't help but wonder what the most popular website based in each country was. So, I put the Dyn research team to work and they came up with a comprehensive list. more»

Filtering the Internet Is Still a Bad Idea: DCA, ABC, and Steroid Searches

A few days ago, ABC News ran an "investigative" piece called "Group Probes Ease and Danger of Buying Steroids Online." ABC describes the "group" at issue as "an online watchdog," the Digital Citizens Alliance. That group determined that some of the millions of available YouTube videos encourage steroid use and that YouTube (which is owned by Google) places ads next to steroid-related videos and search results. They argue that Google and YouTube should be held legally responsible for any illegal content linked or posted. more»

NJ Content Liability Law Ruled Inconsistent with Sec. 230 (just like in Washington and Tennesse)

Back in a time before most members of Congress or prosecutors knew that there was an Internet, there was Prodigy. Prodigy, as part of its service, ran family-friendly chat rooms that it moderated in an effort to keep kids protected from unfortunate content. In a different Prodigy chat room, some unknown third party said something apparently bad about an investment firm Stratton-Oakmont. Stratton-Oakmont didn't like that very much, and sued. more»

Diagnosing Load Test Errors - Where to Start for Holiday Success

Picture this: you just completed hours of internal Web services preparations with your system administrative team prior to the holidays. You discovered possible points of failure and made appropriate modifications with the expectation of a perfect load test. You take a few minutes to relax, refill the coffee mug sitting in front of you, and connect to the conference bridge where real-time discussion about the load test will occur. Things go well for the first 20 minutes of the test... Then it happens: one of the simulated users logs an error stating that it has timed out. more»