Friday roundup: A week in tech

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The man who gifted us the ghoulish nightmare which is the internet has announced his latest plans: a new, much better internet.

Tim Berners-Lee, for it is he, is determined to remodel the swelling catastrophe he created, and wants to give the world’s billions of internet users (or ‘victims’ as they are increasingly known) control over their own data – rather than obediently handing it all to the big tech thugs that now run everything.

Mr Berners-Lee says his new platform, Solid, can give users ownership of their digital materials, deciding which apps can access what, while improving privacy and so on. And that sounds like a very good thing to me.

It’s probably best to hear what the man himself has to say. In a blog post, he wrote: ‘…for all the good we’ve achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas. Today, I believe we’ve reached a critical tipping point, and that powerful change for the better is possible — and necessary.’

Give this man a promotion. Read his blog piece – it’s great.

And his words were well-timed: the day before, shambolic, data-voracious horror-show Facebook admitted it’d managed to foul up for the 1000thtime, with the details of 50 million users accessed during a data breach.

Another day, another bungled mess. Here’s to Internet Part 2!

***

From one great, ethical, forward-thinking mind to…the polar opposite.

Deceit specialist Alex Jones is suing PayPal after the firm blocked his abysmal conspiracy-splattered website, InfoWars.

Mr Jones alleges that PayPal’s ban is ‘viewpoint discrimination’, and is part of a wider Silicon Valley plot to proscribe so-called ‘conservative views’ – though I’m sure the company should be able to successfully argue it merely doesn’t want to be associated with t**ts.

After all, when the firm stopped processing payments for InfoWars earlier this year it justified the move by pointing out that the outfit was in breach of its terms covering the promotion of hate and violence. And that’s InfoWars’ is all about, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, Mr Jones himself is also being sued by some of the parents of children murdered in the Sandy Hook school massacre, an event Mr Jones insists was faked – a mad claim that has led to horrific levels of harassment aimed at the victims’ families.

Another day, another disgusting mess. Here’s to Internet Part 2!

***

If you like using the internet to search for Kim Kardashian news, I’m very sorry to hear that.

Actually, there’s more. If you like using the internet to search for Kim Kardashian news, you should be careful – for the woman is apparently the most dangerous person to look for on the internet.

According to cybersecurity specialist McAfee, search results containing Mrs Kardashian’s name (Kim Kardashian) link to more sites riddled with malicious nastiness than any other (even more than Boris Johnson, amazingly).

Last year’s top spot for sites-containing-a-celebrity-name-that-have-malware-on-them went to Craig David – so, it seems there’s a link between online peril and mediocrity.

And the bland theme continues: other famous people whose names pose a threat in search results include Adele, Kourtney Kardashian, Caroline Flack and Simon Bates (I made the last one up).

Rai Samani, McAfee’s chief scientist, said: ‘There’s endless opportunities to pick and choose which entertainment options we prefer to enjoy from a variety of connected devices. With Kim Kardashian’s influence and business ventures, people will go to extreme lengths to be a little more like Kim.’

So, take care when you’re searching for your favourite famous faces over the weekend. Or go out instead.

Friday roundup: A week in tech

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