Citizen Quartz

18 Feb 19
Stuck-in-Active: Journal of an IT-Network Administrator

Let’s talk about Payment Card Security. I am especially going to harp on all those gas stations that have their chip readers duct taped or marked with post it notes written by some retard with a crayon that says “no chip, swipe here…”  More like, “wipe your ass here with our poor security practices.” So […]

17 Feb 19
Gronda Morin

By now, most ‘Never Trumpers’ who keep up with current political news have figured out that the republican President Donald Trump will do just about anything to cater to his base of voters which are a minority of US voters but they represent a significant portion of the president’s Republican Party. They still continue to […]

17 Feb 19
Quartz
A facial recognition company contracted by Chinese police has been monitoring the GPS coordinates of almost 2.6 million people in the locked-down region of Xinjiang, according to ZDNet. The area of northwestern China, home to 12 million Uyghur and other indigenous Muslims, has become one of the most heavily policed areas in the world, in what China says is a fight against Islamic radicalization and Uyghur separatist movements. More than a million Muslims have been detained in camps in the region over the past two years. In the capital city of Urumqi, checkpoints and facial scanners are ubiquitous at transit hubs as well as hotels, gas stations, and banks (paywall). People entering the city of Kashgar are subject to police inspections and luggage X-rays. In another city, kitchen knives are embedded with QR codes that link to buyers’ ID card information. The GPS data, collected by the security firm SenseNets, was publicly accessible for months before security researcher Victor Gevers discovered it. Names, ID numbers, addresses, photos, employer details, and other personal data were attached to logs of location information. SenseNets has also provided facial-recognition surveillance for police in in other provinces. China’s law enforcement is not alone in employing facial recognition technology. Systems have also been tested in the US, UK, and India despite warnings from experts that the technology is prone to errors. An ACLU study last year in the US found that a system used by police confused photos of 28 members of Congress with publicly available mug shots.
17 Feb 19
Quartz
Patrick Shanahan, the acting US Secretary of Defense, said hours after Donald Trump’s emergency declaration that he could refuse to direct billions of dollars in Pentagon funds Trump is relying on to build a wall on the US’s southern border. “Very deliberately we have not made any decisions,” about how the defense department will respond to Trump’s declaration, Shanahan told reporters as he returned from a trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. “There’s been no determinations by me” that a wall is necessary, he said, while making it very clear that he believes he has the authority to determine how any military funds will be spent and military personnel deployed. Trump said Feb. 15 that he planned to use $6 billion in Pentagon funds, targeted for military construction and counter-drug activities, to build the wall. “All of this money has been assigned for other purposes, so it really then comes to what…are you going to trade off, because when you say tradeoff, it really is a tradeoff,” Shanahan said in the press conference. His response is part of a coordinated effort by the Pentagon to push back on Trump on the issue. The Department of Defense “is authorized to determine whether border barriers are necessary to support the use of the armed forces in this emergency and whether to redirect funds for unobligated military construction funds to support that,” the Pentagon said in a statement after Trump’s announcement. On Jan. 29, Pentagon officials testified to Congress that they didn’t see the situation on the southern border as an emergency. Asked Feb. 16 whether he, personally, had the “discretion” to determine how much money went to the wall or if he was required to acquiesce to the White House’s demands, Shanahan told reporters “No, I’m not required to do anything.” He hasn’t spoken to the president this weekend, he said. Shanahan said he asked the “Northern Command,” the Pentagon division responsible for US homeland security,  to work with the Joint Staff on a “mission analysis of the border” a few weeks ago. He said he asked them: “Based on the influx of either drugs or people, how would you assign DOD personnel, guard or reserve, to support the Department of Homeland Security broadly.” He will review that analysis this week, he said. Shanahan highlighted the press interaction in a tweet, calling it a “great conversation,” a rare positive sentiment about the media from a Trump administration official: Great conversation with our traveling press last night, closing out a week-long trip & sharing insights from Afghanistan, Iraq, NATO, D-ISIS ministerial & Munich Security Conference. DoD’s global team is energized & aligned. pic.twitter.com/8TnscB7AFl — Acting SecDef Pat Shanahan (@DepSecDef) February 17, 2019 The emergency declaration faces challenges in court from the ACLU and Public Citizen, an advocacy group. Both houses of Congress are also planning resolutions to stop it, Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican, said Feb. 17.
17 Feb 19
Quartz
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and arguably its largest economy, is in electoral crisis following the 11th hour decision by the electoral commission to postpone polls due over the weekend. It’s a good time to celebrate democracy – but also to ponder what has become of the country since it wrestled independence from colonial Britain in 1960. To do this, I find it helpful to consider what some of Nigeria’s most celebrated cultural icons, among them musician, commentator and activist, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti – about whose political messaging I have written—the novelist Chinua Achebe and writer and activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, might say about their country if they were alive today. Arguably, Nigeria has come a long way in the past few decades. There have been important, positive developments in the economy and, crucially for a nation of nearly 200 million people telecommunications. Yet it’s still racked by corruption, dreadful health and education systems, and deep immorality among some who style themselves as custodians of religion and politics. These issues have long haunted the nation, and its cultural icons like Achebe, Fela and Saro-Wiwa were among those who highlighted Nigeria’s failings in their work. Failure of leadership Chinua Achebe. Probably Africa’s most acclaimed novelist, Achebe, articulated Nigeria’s woes in his book, The Trouble with Nigeria. In his judgement: “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.” Few Nigerians would disagree. The country is prolific at producing leaders with questionable cognitive competence whose warped wisdom compels them to doggedly advance backwards. And who could forget Ken Saro-Wiwa? He was an author, television producer and environmental activist, who led a campaign against the multinational petroleum industry in his home region, the Nigerian delta, which gave rise to severe environmental damage. On 10 November 1995, he was executed by the military dictatorship of Sani Abacha, for his non-violent campaign. Greenpeace activists protesting at a Shell station in Zurich against the execution of nine minority rights activists including author Ken Saro-Wiwa in Nigeria. I had the privilege to call him a friend and mentor when he was a contributor to Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper where I cut my teeth as a journalist. He also wrote a book, Sozaboy, and wittingly subtitled it A Novel in Rotten English. To many Nigerians, their country is rotten. It’s like Saro-Wiwa’s unintelligible tale told in rotten vernacular by a homeless prodigal son of unknown parentage, in a moment of insobriety in an unspecified city. What would Fela say? But, let’s face it, the trouble with Nigeria also lies with her citizens. The late Afrobeat king, Fela Kuti, described them as “Follow Follow” people. I articulated his wise thoughts in a chapter in Music and Messaging in the African Political Arena, a recent academic book, where I wrote this: Fela lived and died a committed political iconoclast and constant irritant to the political leadership in Nigeria… (but) Fela was not all about challenging political leadership. He also admonished his compatriots and Africans in general for being unassertive in the face of rampant systemic corruption, and not questioning their leaders’ flagrant ineptitude and bad governance. In the lyrics of some of his songs, especially Mr Follow Follow, Zombie, Original Suffer Head, Authority Stealing, Shuffering and Shmiling, Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense, Vagabonds in Power and Sorrow, Tears and Blood, Fela was critical of Nigerians who simply look on as their leaders squander their nation’s fortunes. https://youtu.be/0nklCXMEj8k Fela died in 1997. But his analysis and characterization of Follow Follow Nigerians remain pertinent. These are citizens who cast their votes for discredited politicians and routinely return them to power. The same citizens will never support the new breed of non-billionaire leaders with the potential to wheel Nigeria out of the political and economic intensive care unit. And even in the face of old breed leaders subverting the country with corruption, nepotism and inept leadership, the same citizens opt to remain docile. They swallow their hopelessness with spiritual equanimity. But, it’s also true that Nigeria still has men and women of vision who are imbued with the fortitude, tenacity and assertiveness to redeem their country from the “Vagabonds in Power”, as Fela labelled Nigeria’s leaders of his era. The political messages in Fela’s songs and lyrics are constant reminders about Nigeria’s corrupt and lacklustre leadership. He was unequivocal that Nigerians could not realistically outsource the solution to their problems to the heavens. This, while they’re haplessly “Shufering and Shmiling” in some expectation of divine intervention to free them from their predicament and misery. Nigeria, as Fela saw his country, should not be governed by political Zombie leaders forever. That was why he recommended that it was up to her citizens to rise and “do something about this nonsense.” Uche Onyebadi, Chair of the Journalism Department, Texas Christian University This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Sign up to the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief here for news and analysis on African business, tech and innovation in your inbox
16 Feb 19
Quartz
Traffic in Addis Ababa has returned to normal, presidential motorcades no longer clog the routes between the Ethiopian capital’s many hotels and the African Union headquarters. The 32nd AU summit has ended, and now the work begins as delegates return home. The AU was founded as the Organisation of African Unity, more than five decades ago by post-colonial states who wanted to protect their sovereignty, while building a unified Africa. Now, those very founding principles prevent it from pushing the continent into the 21st century. In the Nelson Mandela hall at the AU’s dome-shaped headquarters, Paul Kagame clanged a ceremonial bell to halt the high-level networking on the assembly floor, and proceed with the open meeting. Kagame served as chair of the AU for 2018, and handed over to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Like the bell, this role has always been rather ceremonial, but Kagame managed to inject his own leadership style into it. The Rwandan president commissioned a report (pdf) into institutional reform—a topic often spoken about but improperly followed through. [pullquote]“Honesty requires us to acknowledge that the root problem is not primarily technical, but rather the result of a deeper deficiency.”[/pullquote]“Honesty requires us to acknowledge that the root problem is not primarily technical, but rather the result of a deeper deficiency,” Kagame’s report found. “Reform does not start with the Commission. It starts and ends with the leaders who must set the right expectations and tempo.” Yet, like Addis Ababa’s traffic during the the summit, the AU efficacy is jammed by the personalities and politics of its member states. The AU has a clear vision for progress, and has taken no less than 1,500 decisions, yet “still has some way to go in demonstrating its real value for African citizens,” according to Kagame’s report. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, president of Egypt (L), Moussa Faki Mahamat (C), chair of the African Union Commission (AUC) and Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame (R) at the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Feb.10, 2019. Outside the AU compound, as on the rest of the continent, life continued. Most of the sessions were closed, which is supposedly where the awkward debates and concrete decisions occur. One can only imagine that leaders’ call each other out on their domestic hypocrisy and suppression but since the AU hardly calls out its leaders publicly, we’ll never know. Once the summit ends, there is nothing forcing countries to ratify the decisions “Member states are sovereign in their decisions and we as an organization, we cannot impose on member states,” said AU legal counsel ambassador Namira Ngem. Ngem’s office launched a project to accelerate the ratification and domestication of AU treaties, but first it will test why implementation hasn’t taken place as part of a pilot project in Senegal, Burkina-Faso, Kenya, Mozambique, Tunisia and Sao tome & Principe. The Egyptian diplomat says that while funding is a key obstacle, political will is a greater issue. Even if countries are sanctioned for non-compliance, the very decision to sanction is politically charged Ngem tells Quartz. Political alliances influence negotiations and could influence which NGOs the AU can work with in specific countries. [pullquote]It doesn’t help that 97% of the AU’s programs are donor-funded, which in turn influences how programs are implemented.[/pullquote]Still, the day-to-day operations of the AU are run by the commission and its roughly 1,500 staffers, and reflects the AU’s lack of focus. The AU has eight directorates within the commission, 31 departments and offices, 11 organs, 31 specialized technical agencies and about 20 high-level committees. Kagame’s report found that managers did not have enough oversight and that recruitment was flawed. Never mind that the commission was rocked by a sexual harassment scandal last year. Efforts to streamline the organization have also been hampered by its own bureaucracy. Take NEPAD, the New Partnership for African Development, the AU’s development agency found in 2001. It has 40 different programs, was incorporated into the commission as a technical body, but NEPAD still finds itself duplicating some of the commission’s programs or competing for funding. The report also found African Peer Review Mechanism, established to allows member states to keep members accountable, was not yet fulfilling its mandate. At the same time, the Pan-African Parliament is practically toothless because only a handful of states have ratified it. The report on reform calls for clarity on the role of both organs to make them more effective. It’s worth noting that both of these organs were championed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki. It shows how particular leaders have large but limited influenced over how the AU is run. Even the report on institutional reform, and the resulting push, is due to Kagame’s zeal, yet even that required 10 high-level meetings on one year. Sisi is unlikely to have the same energy to reform the institution.  It doesn’t help that 97% of the AU’s programs are donor-funded, which in turn influences how programmes are implemented. To its credit though, the AU has rationalized and reduced its 2019 budget and raised $89 million for its peace fund from member states, chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat announced in his speech at the summit. He also promised that the AU would strengthen its ability to sanction members that don’t pay their contributions. Still, the AU’s real problem is political.  https://www.theatlas.com/charts/SJoH_BEBN While the leadership of the AU may be hampered by strongman politics, there are “good people” within in the commission who can effect change, says Liesl Louw-Vaudran, a consultant with the Institute of Security Studies. Take the African Risk Capacity, chaired by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister and former managing director of the World Bank and staffed by former private sector players. The organ uses pooled financing models and early warning systems to help countries predict natural disaster and reduce their reliance on international aid. While there are pockets of progress, reform must take place beyond the walls of the AU headquarters. “It has to be political because every time we hit against a brick wall and that’s political will to implement the decisions of the AU,” says Louw-Vaudran.
16 Feb 19
Quartz
This story has been updated. On a day they expected to be voting for the president, frustrated Nigerians are having to change their plans. Hours before voting was due to begin today, the country’s electoral commission, INEC, announced its decision to delay the polls by a week. Given the timing of the announcement (around 2.30 am local time), millions of eligible voters—especially those without access to the internet and social media—only found out when they woke up this morning (Feb. 16). There have been reports of some people getting in line early to vote only to be told the election had been canceled. The presidential and national assembly elections will now be held a week later on Saturday Feb. 23. State governorship and legislative elections have also been postponed to Mar. 9, they were originally slated for Mar. 2. For its part, INEC has not revealed the financial cost of a delay and has blamed the delay on logistical difficulties even though it has had four years to prepare and is backed with a $522 million budget.  But for ordinary citizens, the impact of a one-week delay will likely be disruptive and in some cases, very costly. As Nigerians can only vote in polling units where they were initially registered, elections in Nigeria usually involve making painstaking and expensive travel plans. People who have moved homes, changed jobs or left the country have to go back to their old polling units to vote. There have already been reports of Nigerians flying in from Europe, the US and Asia, likely on tight itineraries, just to vote. Within the country, traveling to different states and regions to vote has become common. An INEC officer speaks to Ad-hoc staff at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office, after the postponement of the presidential election, in Abuja Nigeria Feb. 16, 2019. Schools have also planned their operations around INEC’s earlier schedule with students sent home. Nigeria’s struggling economy will also be impacted with several businesses shuttering operations in anticipation of the elections. A postponement now means doing it all over again. The delay will impact turnout among Nigeria’s 84 million registered voters “in a big way,” says Stanley Azuakola, director at Civic Monitor, a social enterprise. Come next week, many voters will likely be unable—or unwilling—to redo travel plans allowing them to vote. That poses a major problem in a country that has recently struggled with voter turnout: after a six-week delay before the 2015 presidential elections, only 33.5% of eligible voters eventually cast a ballot at the polls. The postponement of the election has been met with anger and frustration among Nigerians especially as INEC’s late announcement suggests a lack of consideration for its impact on citizens. Indeed, in the commission’s official statement announcing its “difficult decision,” there was no apology or acknowledgment of the impact the delay could have on voters and the country especially after the commission repeatedly claimed there would be no possible delay right up the 12 hours before its announcement. In fact, INEC’s decision endangered the lives of thousands of young Nigerians it had signed up as ad-hoc staff for the elections. Across the country, these young Nigerians were left “unprotected, without security and welfare” through the night at polling units, Favour, a INEC ad-hoc staff working in Lagos tells Quartz. It’s also unclear how the postponement will affect international election observation missions already in the country. The United Nations, ECOWAS, the European Union as well as the United States’ International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) all have election observers already on ground. In a joint statement, IRI and NDI say INEC “underestimated the challenges associated with the administration of the elections” but also noted a delay is better than possibly disenfranchising voters due to logistics problems. The possibility of having fewer observers when the elections are eventually held will “affect the credibility of the polls,” Azuakola says. “We have seen over time how important these observers are. The most objective viewpoints about the elections comes from them once voting starts.” Sign up to the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief here for news and analysis on African business, tech and innovation in your inbox
16 Feb 19
Viviana MacKade

Nice new use of Atlantis, with an interesting anti-hero. The book is Shadows of Atlantis: Awakening by Mara Powers, a Fantasy with romantic elements. Enter the legacy of the legend… Brigitte has been chosen to renew the treaty between Atlantis and the ancient bloodline of Lemuria. As an emissary of nature, her betrothal would ensure […]

15 Feb 19
UPROXX

The move is being called “extraconstitutional” and downright unprecedented by experts.

15 Feb 19
News Africa Now

1Ethio Telecom is the First of Four State-owned Firms to be Denationalized Founded in 2010, the company is the sole voice and data provider and caters to over 41 million customers. Government plans to sell a 30 to 40% stake to top-rated industry firms and will split the state-run company into two competing businesses to […]

15 Feb 19
Precisely Private

Updates to Good practices: • Expanded the Web security chapter. • Improved and expanded the Data breaches chapter. • Minor update to the Data protection and minimization chapter. Added to Videos: • Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad: How tech companies deceive you into giving up your data and privacy / TED • Fadi Chehadé and Bryn Freedman: […]

15 Feb 19
Quartz
Things have come to a pretty pass in the seven-month confrontation between Ugandan security agencies and the country’s biggest telecom company, MTN. At mid-night on Thursday (Feb.14), the MTN Uganda chief executive was deported from the country. Wim Vanhelleputte, a Belgian citizen, is the fourth company executive to be deported from the country in less than a month. On Jan. 20, the company’s chief marketing officer, Olivier Prentout, a French citizen, was arrested at Entebbe airport as he returned from a business trip abroad. He was subsequently deported to France. The following morning, Rwandan national Annie Bilenge Tabura, the general manager for sales and distribution, was arrested from at the MTN offices in Kampala and summarily deported. A police statement said the two had been engaged in “acts which compromise national security.” A day later, Elsa Mussolini, the head of the company’s mobile money business was deported as well. Prior to her deportation, she was summoned to Uganda Police’s special investigations department. The summons letter said she was under investigation in a case of “inciting violence.” Until his deportation order was signed, the MTN Uganda chief executive Vanhelleputte held permanent residence in Uganda (his wife is Ugandan). Uganda’s minister for foreign affairs removed that privilege by signing a letter which declared van Helleputte a “prohibited immigrant.” MTN Uganda said in a statement the company had not been notified of the grounds for its CEO’s deportation and was “working hard to establish the precise reasons.” However, the company’s clashes with security date back to July 2 when state operatives raided its data center, in Mutundwe, a Kampala surburb. In a letter written to the telecom regulator on July 3, MTN, whose parent company is headquartered in South Africa, complained of “illegal intrusion into the data center and the disconnection of the four information servers.” Ugandan press now reports the security agencies have since been investigating the company and its staff for espionage, tax evasion and money laundering. MTN’s operating license in Uganda expired in October last year. The renewal process has been protracted and contested. Initially, the Ugandan regulators wanted the company to pay $100 million for the license renewal. MTN countered with an offer of $28 million pointing out the new policy on broadband internet will require it to make heavy investments in the country in the next 10-year operating period. When the company and telecoms regulator settled on a $58 million renewal fee, Uganda president Museveni wrote an angry letter demanding an explanation from the regulator. The government has also demanded MTN lists on the Uganda Stock Exchange. This hasn’t happened. Tweeting about his meeting with the group’s CEO in Davos last month, Museveni repeated this expectation. Separately, in September 2018, the MTN mobile money business released an advert that quickly went viral after Ugandans drew parallels between the story of its central character “Bosco Katala” with president Yoweri Museveni’s. In the advert, Bosco, a country bumpkin makes it to the city but in amusing ways, retains many of his country ways – such as riding his bicycle inside a supermarket. President Museveni, 74, who captured power following a bush war 33-years ago, lives with full presidential pomp but will occasionally amuse Ugandans with eccentric acts like riding a bicycle before TV cameras or advising irrigation using plastic bottles. He noticed and disapproved of being called Bosco. In a national address around that time, he opened with, “I am not Bosco.” In the Ugandan security circles, the president’s hurt feelings are zealously defended. In January, a young man was arrested referring to the president as Bosco. The academic Stella Nyanzi, who called him “a pair of buttocks,” has since November been in jail (again) for another unflattering Facebook post about him. MTN’s reaction to the wave of deportation has been noticeably muted. In all its statements following the arrests and deportations, the company reiterates that it is “fully committed to respecting and operating within the laws of the country.” Within hours of the Vanhelleputte’s deportation, the company appointed its Chief Technology Officer, Gordian Kyomukama, a Ugandan, to act as the CEO. Sign up to the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief here for news and analysis on African business, tech and innovation in your inbox
15 Feb 19
thegaurangasopa

The objective of the research paper is to critically analyses on macroeconomic performances in India with reference to skill India, start-up India and other international trends. The authors do a theoretical study of information available on this subject and analyses the data present to be able to identify what impact these policies have made on the Indian economy and their effect on the economic trends. The authors have also analysed how the trade war between USA and China affects entrepreneurship and international trade in India as India is a large consumer of both products from USA and China. The paper also analyses the performance of the policies on ground level, by use of interviews with general public and interviews with educated dignitaries to gain a perspective. The trade war will not bring as much benefits as it is expected mainly because the Chinese manufacturers can dump their products in India leaving Indian manufacturers on the back foot. Also, the lower rupee value does not necessarily help in the increase of exports.

15 Feb 19
Quartz
1. Fall in love with the internet. Receive a free CD-ROM in the mail. Install drivers. Run installer. Launch three-lettered desktop program that will etch deeper into your memory than your own initials. Create an electronic address that is some combination of a nickname, lucky number, song reference, and play on words. Hear that dial-up scratch of deep space and a billion eager souls. Connect. Create a profile. Under “Marital Status,” say you’re married to some celebrity you’re obviously not married to. Change the color of the font to neon green and the background to midnight blue. Talk to girls you would never talk to in school about tetherball and your life dreams and how annoying your older brothers are. Waiting for them to respond produces more anxiety than you’ve ever felt in your life. When they do, you get a shot of dopamine straight from your lizard brain. Walk by these girls in school and feel electricity in the air. Learn a new language faster than you ever will in school. lol and brb and g2g. Join chat rooms and lie about your age, sex, and location. Be whoever you want to be. One condition: you can only connect to the internet from a desktop computer, and your family has one computer for everyone. Fight your brothers for time on the internet. Your friends try to send embarrassing messages from your address, like “I like you.” Pull the literal plug from the wall to intercept these messages. But sometimes only pretend to pull the plug so your friend can successfully send these messages, because secretly, you want them to. Play Doom. Play Worms. Play Counterstrike. Play Chat Roulette. Sprint off the school bus to worship before the altar of the web. Become a back-of-a-head to your parents. Wait for fresh content. eBaum’s World on Fridays. Wimp’s daily five. Watching these videos is like swapping eyeballs with anyone on the planet. People are amazing, you realize, and stupid too. Torrent a movie that’s still in theaters. How is this even possible, you wonder. Watch it. Watch porn. Tell your friends that you found something incredible and that you’ve fallen in love with the internet. 2. See something scary on the internet. Not something scary like a scary movie. Scary like war crime scary. Like Unit 731 scary. Remember the world is a scary place and so the internet will have scary corners too. But that’s why the internet stirs so much wonder—you can experience everything, good and evil. For some reason, the most gruesome websites have the most innocent names. Milk and cookies. Steak and cheese. Take turns with your friends stunning one another with horrific images, a kind of post-traumatic one-upmanship. I’ve seen things, man. No, I’ve seen things. This is the dotcommer’s rite of passage. Watch pain olympics and other ungodly things. Put on a thousand-yard stare and righteously explain where you have just come back from: the bottom of the internet. Have a friend that you know not to trust whenever they say, “Let me show you something.” Look up the meaning of NSFW. Realize that what you thought was the bottom was just a rest stop on the way to a much deeper and darker web. Realize there’s a difference between the World Wide Web and the internet, and that the web is just a small, public space in the much vaster, darker cosmos of the internet. Stay away from the bottom of the internet. 3. “Like” people on the internet. Get “liked” back. Let the internet feed you faces. You like faces. A face is worth a thousand words. Start seeing the faces of everyone you know on the internet. Classmates and distant relatives and even your teachers. Fortunately, someone takes over the job of scrubbing the internet so you don’t see anything scary in your feed. See the faces of everyone you don’t know, too. Your girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends. You don’t even have to look them up. Their faces just appear. The place where all the faces are kept is called a book, but it’s more like a firehose, pointed directly at your face. The book feeds you so many faces. The internet starts feeling shallower than it used to. You don’t talk to strangers anymore about why lefty’s are better and what you’ll do during your first 100 days as president. You just surf faces. There’s a new widget now that lets you click a button and “Like” something. You can like comments, new connections, and faces too. When people don’t like your face, it hurts your feelings. So do what you have to to get your likes. To feel beautiful. Start spending serious time curating your pictures, because your pictures are your life. Remember, you’re just a back-of-a-head. You start photographing differently, knowing the internet will feed these photos to the world. Everyone masters the art of getting likes and no one talks about how they feel and some will go so far as to say this little button ruined the internet. 4. Hold the internet in your hand. Rewire your brain. A man in a black turtleneck keeps saying three words over and over. An iPod. A phone. An internet communicator. But he’s just talking about one, epoch-making device. Finally, you are unshackled from your family desktop. Carry your mailbox in your pocket. Carry the Library of Babel in your pocket. Carry more computing power in your pocket than the Apollo spacecraft that landed on the moon. Go mobile. Using the internet on the go is just about the most magical thing you’ve ever experienced. Everything gets so much easier, so smart. You don’t need printers anymore. You carry boarding passes on your phone. You pay down credit cards on your phone. You can pinpoint yourself on a map. You can take a picture of your smoothie, upload it, and share it with friends, on the spot. Thank god for this internet in a box, this smartphone. You reckon that mobile internet has to be a categorically good thing for the world. Like the printing press. Like the railroad. This exploding net of satellites, cables, servers, modems, and repeaters is nothing short of a Cambrian explosion. Watch communication distribute. Watch the crowd source information—the crowd which can think faster and more accurately than any one human, the crowd which is an incredible asset in times of both danger and celebration. Watch the crowd use this hackery thing called hashtags to track the advance of wildfires. Watch the crowd reproduce the Mona Lisa one pixel at a time from all points of the compass. Watch smartphones save people who got hurt and are all alone in the middle of nowhere. Watch smartphones save children from traffickers. Watch smartphones save people from the rubble of earthquakes. Watch dogs dial 9–1–1 for their smartphone owners. Watch smartphones take bullets. There are so many miracles to watch on the internet that you find yourself watching them at the bus stop and in the elevator and in the coffee shop and before you fall asleep. Feel your brain rewire—from so much watching, swiping, tapping, liking. Feel awake 24/7, but half-awake. Your sleep is taking a toll. Feel like a back-of-a-head. Behold the app-ification of everything, which only makes you watch, swipe, tap, and like even more. And sleep less. Pointless apps. An Is it dark out? app. A hold the button for as long as you can app. A put your mouth on the corner of your phone and tilt your head back so it looks like you’re downing a beer app. Wonder where all these addictive micro-technologies came from. Do some research. Find out they didn’t all trickle down from the military like microwave ovens or digital cameras, but from casinos too. Read more and more about casinos and the design of modern slot machines and think, wait a second, I might have a little slot machine in my pocket. Read about slot machine addicts who play slots around the clock to escape the screaming reality that they’ve wasted all their time and money playing slots. This is called escape backwards. Realize you’ve been escaping backwards ever since you touched the internet. Realize your smartphone is not a phone. The phone part is just a tack-on now. This thing is 1% phone, 99% variable reward supercomputer. The phone-phone was just a boringly banana shaped thing, so utilitarian it was invisible. People just wanted the voice on the other end. But the smartphone has a legion of product designers behind it whose business KPI is users’ time-on-device. And so you just want the device, itself. The feeling, the hit. You start suspecting that the smartphone is a Trojan Horse for some cultural phenomenon that no one really grasps yet, and that perhaps even the next generation won’t grasp. Feel your attention rot away. Your ethics too. Find out all your digital assistants are female by default because product designers have done research studies that prove users are more comfortable telling a woman what to do. The life curation from Step 3 is now on overdrive. The like-ification plus the mobilization plus the app-ification plus the slot machine-ification plus the optimization plus the brand-ification of everything rolls up into digital platforms that force you to question your fundamental worth as a human being. Are you likeable. Are you dateable. Are you swipe rightable. Are you at least fuckable. Even people who are broken inside take care to look beautiful and bright on the internet so people click the little button. Think okay okay okay. You have to get back in the driver’s seat. This is not the internet’s fault—the internet is just a bunch of protocols. This is the fault of profit-mongering tech executives and their developers and product designers and marketers who are so heads-down to meet their business KPIs they’ve lost sight of the big picture. Think about that Heidegger class you took in college and the question concerning technology and what was that question again? You won’t break up with the internet, though. You’re not some Neo-Luddite. The internet is saving lives, remember. Also, just try to live without it for a day. You can’t. But you’re going to at least break the dopamine loops that have you escaping backwards into a likeable, swipeable nothingman. You read a 75-minute article about reconfiguring your iPhone and share it with everyone you know and love like it’s penicillin. Good god, you can’t share it enough. It should be required reading for children in elementary school. You still love the internet deep down. You just hate the way it has been mobilized, weaponized. 5. Find out web search is fishy. Understand that whoever controls the search engines controls the internet. Watch one search engine rule them all. The engine’s ranking algorithm is more secret than the Coca Cola formula. No one but the engineers who work on it know exactly how it works. The search engine is your reality interface—remember, you worship before the altar of the web and you’re just a back-of-a-head. But you don’t know how the reality is made. Conduct experiments to uncover how the algorithm works. Play a game called Googlebombing. Get one of your cocky friends to rank first for the search query “talentless hack.” Googlebombing is thrilling but disconcerting. You have the power to distort reality. Watch the search engine monopoly make whimsical changes to their secret ranking algorithm. Watch people and places disappear from the first page of the internet, which for all intents and purposes is the internet, because everyone surfs faster now. Find out that different countries get different search results. Wonder why the card catalog for the world isn’t uniform. Find out that the search engine monopoly has also used their algorithm to analyze drone footage for the Department of Defense. Read James Grimmelman’s “The Google Dilemma.” Realize their dilemma is your dilemma. Realize that whoever controls the search engine controls you. 6. Find out Facebook is sketchy. Find out that underneath the Like-industrial complex, something much sketchier is going on. Facebook is using you as a lab rat. They are tinkering with your news feed to find out how you react to positive and negative content. Only after the story breaks are you able to understand why you had that one bad day last week. It gets hard going about your days knowing someone might be running experiments on you. But Facebook publicly apologizes, and you accept their apology. Find out Facebook is using you as a commodity. They are selling your private data—your personal info, your connections, your likes—to a political data firm that feeds you targeted content to steer your vote. You know the power of targeted content now because of their massive-scale contagion experiment. Wonder if you have real political agency or if you’re just a pawn, a purchased vote. Facebook publicly apologizes, but you’re less forgiving this time. Deactivate Facebook, but don’t delete it. You have so many memories there. Find out Facebook let Netflix and Spotify read your private messages. Find out Facebook uses your location data to send you more targeted ads. To steer your body. Look up Facebook’s patents. Find a technique for using passive imaging data to detect your emotions and deliver content. Find a method for generating emojis based on facial analysis. Find a system for tapping your phone and monitoring your TV habits. Facebook will never apologize for any of this. This is their business model, watching you and productizing you and selling you off. Living on the internet feels like living in an empire now — Mark Zuckerberg’s empire. Unfriend Facebook. Delete them once and for all. 7. Find out what Snowden found out. Find out that the book of faces, the one search engine to rule them all, and a handful of brand name internet companies have been participating in a large-scale NSA surveillance program. For years. You aren’t even surprised. You wonder why a no-name government contractor who had a cushy life in Hawaii gave everything up to blow the whistle. Sure, the NSA knows everything about you, but you have nothing to hide. Government surveillance is so commonplace it becomes a running joke. Find out employers and insurers are watching too. Follow these social media tips to keep your life insurance premiums down: Don’t post pics of yourself smoking Post photos of yourself running Visit a gym. Let your phone access your location. Actually quit smoking, start running, and visit a gym. Be a model citizen. Start hesitating while you surf the internet. Hesitate to search troublesome topics, to make risqué jokes to your friends. One last scrap of autonomy tells you that this everyday self-policing is a dangerous precedent. Remember the word “panopticon” from college. Flash back to Facebook’s massive-scale contagion experiment. Research some of the experiments that government agencies have run, like Tuskegee and MKUltra. You love your country, but these experiments are sketchy as hell. How can you be sure the internet isn’t a proving ground? Delete all social media. Download a VPN. Feel schizophrenic. Wonder if you’re a targeted individual. 8. Let the internet infect everything. Your shoes. Your doorbell. Your vacuum. Your fridge. Your mattress. Your toothbrush. Your mouth. This is not a drill. Follow @internetofshit. Crack up at all these “smart” things. Let paranoia replace your laughter. Realize that whatever isn’t just pointless is probably policing you and that the surveillance state from Step 7 has extended to every last nook and cranny of your life. Introducing Babeyes. Record memories from your baby’s point of view. Introducing InMan. The world first autonomous shower. Introducing Numi 2.0. The fully-immersive intelligent toilet. The internet wants to go with you everywhere now, but you just want some privacy. Get off the grid. Go back to the land. But realize these are knee-jerk reactions to the internet of shit, and you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water. Come crawling back. 9. Find out the internet is fake. Watch ads take over the internet. Watch ads flood your inbox. Watch ads for cosmetics and luxury cars punctuate world-class journalism about the global refugee crisis. Watch Pulitzer Prize-winning publications play the clickbait game. Watch your heroes sell out and submit to ad revenue. Watch your heroes pay to play. Feel their writing turn into content. Find out more than a hundred million Facebook accounts are fake. Watch your mom friend a stock photo of a man with no friends. Feel sad for mom who just wants to connect with someone but is connecting with bots. Find out about content farms. Find out about click farms. Find out just how much of the internet is fake. The metrics. The businesses. The content. The people. It’s all fake. It’s like Fight Club, except now you’re buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have to impress people that don’t actually exist. 9. Go back to the bottom of the internet. Find some feels. This is a rational response to a network that has been flattened by ads and drones and fakery. You were born to feel, not click. So go back. To the bottom. To the beginning. To unbranded imageboards that don’t care if you click. They’re just places for people to share their feelings. Find incredibly raw, human stories on the bottom of the internet. Stories about car accidents and lost love and found photos and family recipes. These stories take on a strange, poetic form that is unique to the internet. All these feels, you realize, would have been impossible without the internet. Fall back in love with the internet. Watch these anonymous, unmoderated forums get inundated with gore porn and Neo-Nazi propaganda. Finding feels is now like finding a needle in a haystack, which only makes the feels more powerful when you find them. But you start to burn out like the internet scrubbers in Step 2, because you’ve seen too much. I told you to stay away from the bottom of the internet. Corporations try to feed you feels on the surface of the internet. They almost work. The one search engine to rule them all runs a Super Bowl ad that reminds you what it was like to touch the internet for the first time. You just want to go back, but you can’t. You know too much. 10. Find out how fragile the internet is. Watch families freeze because their “smart” thermostat failed. Watch smart bikes fail. Watch smart cars fail. Watch Syria lose its internet. Watch Assad blame the rebels. Watch the rebels blame Assad. Watch the whistle blower from Step 7 blame the NSA. Watch Russia switch Ukraine off. Watch a 75-year-old Georgian woman switch Armenia off with her shovel. Read David Gilbertson’s “I’m harvesting credit card numbers and passwords from your site. Here’s how.” Read it with your jaw on the floor. Read about the woman who succumbed to absolute paranoia because anonymous users were weaponizing her digital life against her. Read about the billion-dollar bank job and the hackers who planted malware in our global banking system. Read about a server farm on the ocean floor. Think good, that’s safer, cheaper. Remember that the farm is still owned by one single, massive corporation. Watch one engineer execute a command and interrupt the Cloud. Feel nothing. You’ve heard these scare tactics a million times before. Feel one thing you’ve created disappear from the internet and decide enough. 11. Find out the web is not worldwide. Find out that whole galaxies of Twitter users have little to no contact with one another. Find out that if you go to prison, you forfeit your internet connection.Find out how many people have never even touched the internet. 3.4 billion. Remember that research paper that everybody references about random people helping random people find jobs in Boston. “The Strength of Weak Ties.” Wonder why the internet doesn’t harness weak ties, why it has locked you up in an echo chamber. Simply connect, the great books say. But you can’t. Wonder what went wrong with the internet. 12. Find out what happened to the internet’s backbone. Begin the deep dive of a lifetime into government documents, academic articles, subcommittee hearings, solicitations, and a maze of acronyms for people, places, policies, and protocols that you can never tell apart. ARPANET and NSFNET and AUP and NAPs and IXPs and ISPs and ICANN and FTC. Run into gated PDFs and 404 pages around every corner. Feel like you’re trying to dig up something that someone does not want you digging up. Find out that the internet has a backbone, a literal infrastructure for moving data. The internet’s backbone was built on the backbone of the telephone networks. Find out that once upon a time, the backbone of the internet belonged to the public. Find out about a backroom deal. Find out that years ago, while you were playing Doom and Worms and while your parents were celebrating the end of the Cold War, the National Science Foundation sold the internet’s backbone to an oligopoly of five companies, some of the same companies that owned the telephone networks. With no conditions. The companies could charge access, channel content, cut deals, and run the internet however they wanted. Recognize the names of these companies on your smartphone’s status bar, your modem, the panel antennas outside. Get that sinking Hitchcock feeling when the dolly moves in but the camera zooms out. It all makes sense. The internet was never really yours. 13. Settle for the internet of shit. Smile at Facebook’s comeback video. Laugh at FuckJerry’s fake content. Relax in your smart home with your smart fridge and your smart mattress. Accept that the internet of shit is our condition on earth and that you will be stuck in this abusive relationship for the rest of your natural life. For longer than that. Remember the in-home DNA testing kit you tried from the one search engine to rule them all. Think about your genetic data and how insurers of the future will leverage it against your children. Think about the domain where you host your indictments against the internet, and when it will expire. Think about the twin terror of permanence and oblivion. Silence the demons in your head with the sleepcasts on your smartphone. Stay awake scrolling through the variety of sleepcasts on your smartphone. Escape backwards. Acknowledge that it’d be a damn shame to extend this internet of shit into deep space. But you doubt that anyone could fix this mess mid-flight. It would take everyone on the planet. why the fuck doesn't it just close the door itself if it's so smart https://t.co/1HHqJhCtFH — Internet of Shit (@internetofshit) January 13, 2019 14. Find out the internet is going to rehab. Find out that someone is holding an intervention for the internet. Find out that thousands are. Find out an underground resistance has been gathering for decades. Come across a technical paper from a pseudonymous individual or set of individuals. Realize they’re talking about much more than electronic money. They’re talking about taking the backbone of the internet back. Watch the paper ignite a movement. Watch the paper ignite another paper. Watch people rise up under different banners. Crypto. Anarchy. Web3. Decentralization. DLTs. DAGs. Blockchains. Autonomous blockchains. Some say the internet will look and feel the same, it’ll just have better plumbing. Some say everything will be different. You hope it’s different, because you don’t trust anything about the internet anymore. It’s hard to tell who will heal the internet of shit and who will just perpetuate it. Watch teams prototype. Watch prophets preach. Watch pumpers dump. Watch bubbles pop. Watch devs ship. Watch maintainers maintain. Watch progress. Messy, circuitous, planetary progress. Watch from a distance. You want to believe in the movement but this might just be the internet getting your hopes up and breaking your heart all over again. Get frustrated with the pace of the movement. Wait for network upgrades. Wait for scaling. Wait for interoperability. Wait for mobile. Wait for usability. Keep waiting. Visit the blockchain graveyard. Where’s my new internet, you’re wondering. Recognize that these people are trying to fix the biggest machine in the history of humankind. Read a message from the future that calls into question the direction of the entire movement. Realize you have to make a choice. 15. Join the resistance. Join the resistance knowing that you can’t be certain whether you’re building Skynet or destroying it. Join the resistance knowing that the people who gave up the internet’s backbone thought they were saving the internet too. Join the resistance knowing that once you unleash strong crypto, it cannot be put back in the bottle. Join the resistance even though some will say it has already failed. Join because you believe there is no fate but what we make. Talk to someone about how the internet broke your heart. Share your pain with @internetofshit. Join the #FuckFuckJerry movement. Read the first wave of research about Facebook’s effect on our mental well-being. Propagate an #UnfriendFacebook movement. Bookmark Mozilla’s guide to creepy products. Download Brave browser. Submit a Freedom of Information Act request. Go on a journey to the center of the internet. Find out who controls the backbone. Pick a project that you believe is least likely to succumb to the internet of shit. Master Ethereum. Interoperate. Cherish weak ties. Build an internet backbone that’s for the people, by the people. Publish your internet grievances on IPFS, so no one can ever forget how bad things got. Realize it was dangerous to ever fall in love with the internet. You never knew it had so much baggage, baggage from before you were even born. Know that you deserve better. Know that we can do better. This article originally appeared on ConsenSys Media. Illustration by Austen Claire.