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Technology 18 March 2019

The Week in Internet News: Four Visions of the Internet

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Competing visions: The World Economic Forum’s blog looks at four competing visions of the Internet that it sees emerging. These include Silicon Valley’s open Internet, Beijing’s paternal Internet, Brussels’ bourgeois Internet, and Washington’s commercial Internet. Will one vision win out?

Searching for fakes: WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Facebook, is testing reverse image search in its efforts to battle fake news, TheNextWeb reports.  The chat app may use Google APIs to compare the targeted image with similar pictures as a way to filter out doctored images.

Working against itself: An Artificial Intelligence that can right fake news articles may also be useful for spotting them, the MIT Technology Review says. Recently, OpenAI withheld the release of its new language model on fears that it could be used to spread misinformation, but researchers say the tool may be useful for the opposite effect.

Privacy laundering: take a hard look at Facebook’s recent announcement that it was moving to end-to-end encryption. The social media giant won’t fix its privacy problems with the move, however, the article says. “Facebook’s business model is the quintessential example of ‘surveillance capitalism,’ with user data serving as the main product that Facebook sells to its advertisers.”

WWW warning: As the World Wide Web turns 30 years old, its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, is raising concerns about digital harassment, an “outraged and polarized” online discourse, and “state-sponsored hacking and attacks,” Quartz notes. Berners-Lee is calling on public officials to defend the open Internet.

Paid for surfing? The blockchain revolution will enable Internet users to make their data more private and demand that companies pay for access to it, MarketWatch suggests. While the article says companies like Facebook and Google are moving toward a model where they pay users for use of their data, we’ll believe it when we see it.

A bad anniversary: An Internet shutdown in the central African country Chad is now about a year old, Business Insider’s Pulse notes. Access to large social media platforms in Chad is only possible through the use of VPNs.

What does the Internet’s future look like? How will consolidation impact its technical evolution and use? Explore this question in the Global Internet Report: Consolidation in the Internet Economy.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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