All posts by Bob Leggitt

The Truth About “Link Tax” and “Censorship Machines”

Link Tax My Arse

We’re here again. The censorship card is at the top of the deck, as the internet’s freedom to steal content faces one of its stiffest challenges yet. Just from the collection of manipulative voices spouting highly-charged phrases like “link tax” and “censorship machines”, we know there’s a copyright-related bill in motion. That bill, is the revised European Union Copyright Directive, and the reaction it’s whipped up is almost surreal in its level of distortion.

Whilst I’m discussing the new Directive in this post, I really want to send out a general counter-protest against the cyber giants’ relentless playing of a censorship card, every time the internet’s freedom to steal comes under threat. It happened with SOPA, it happened with Net Neutrality. And it’ll keep happening as long as we’re stupid enough to accept that policing Silicon Valley’s behaviour somehow equates to censorship. Continue reading The Truth About “Link Tax” and “Censorship Machines”

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Why Deleting Your Social Media May Worsen Your Privacy

Delete Social Media

Deleting a social media account, or the content within it, has become a hot privacy topic in recent times. As more and more stories surface about the extent to which cyber giants collect and use our personal information, we’ve let the shock push us towards reflex action. How dare they quietly store private call logs and precise location info from our mobile phones, we think. How dare they record every move we make with a mouse, and tail us around the web logging our various site visits.

As we finally wake up to the reality that the whole internet is one big piece of spyware, the easiest solution is to blame Facebook, then promptly delete Facebook. Because that’s what certain influencers and high profile blogs are telling us to do. Continue reading Why Deleting Your Social Media May Worsen Your Privacy

How To Opt Out Of WordPress.com’s Internal Analytics Tracking

WordPress internal analytics opt-out

Don’t you just love the way GDPR has forced the data mining giants of cyberspace to begrudgingly provide us with more detailed privacy disclosures and a little “Get Lost Peeping Tom!” button? A handy means for us to reclaim at least some of our privacy and limit the amount of our personal data the companies can collect or preseve?

Of course, most businesses are only telling us as much as the law says they have to tell us, and plenty of information about newer tracking technologies is flying under the radar. But GDPR’s tighter data regulation is a step in the right direction, and the general fuss it’s created has prompted a lot of us to pay more attention to web tracking. We’re better understanding our rights as site users and visitors, as well as our responsibilities as site administrators. Continue reading How To Opt Out Of WordPress.com’s Internal Analytics Tracking

Google’s Twitter Connectivity Snapshot

Google Twitter Snapshot

Have you ever found it a bit irksome trying to work out what the deal is with a newly discovered Twitter user? Okay, so you can see their bio, and their most recent tweets, but this may not tell you much about the actual people with whom they’re associated.

One of the most interesting Twitter tricks I’ve found in some time is what I’m calling the Google Twitter Connectivity Snapshot. The idea works courtesy of Google’s Advanced Search, and can provide a quick insight into a Twitter user’s sphere of activity. True, you can read the user’s bio and look at the tweets or retweets on their profile page, but that often gives quite a self-conscious sense of who the person is. Sometimes, it’s more revealing to see what kind of people connect with them, and take a peep at some of the connections. Continue reading Google’s Twitter Connectivity Snapshot

The Cyber Witch Hunt

Cyber Witch Hunt 1

They’re now so common that most of us have witnessed at least one as a live event during our cyberspace travels. We look on in borderline disbelief as a mind-boggling array of angry souls pile in to essentially re-word the same acidic criticism, punctuated only by the odd tirade of abuse, and a passing troll chipping in with a timely popcorn-chomping GIF.

The target, meanwhile, stands alone, quite possibly driven offline. What we’re seeing, is the cyber witch hunt – an ugly manifestation of sustained online gang pursuit and attack. The core characteristic is a sense of gross imbalance, in which just one person – metaphorically “the witch” – is persistently targeted by a growing mob. Continue reading The Cyber Witch Hunt

Has Scareware Gone Mainstream?

Mobile phone message prompt

If you’re an averagely engaged Internet user, the number of times you’ll have been asked for your phone number in the name of security has probably run beyond count. And yet some of the online providers who ask for this additional data, have been hacked. Continue reading Has Scareware Gone Mainstream?