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Technology 23 March 2020

The Week in Internet News: Online Story Time in the Age of Social Distance

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Connecting online: Many libraries and authors are offering online reading sessions during recommended social distancing due to the spreading coronavirus, says Timeout.com. The article offers a list of online reading activities.

WiFi on the bus: The Charleston County School District is deploying WiFi enabled buses across its school district to bring Internet service to students stuck at home because of coronavirus-related school closings, Live5news.com reports. The WiFi on the buses has a range of up to 150 feet.

Addressing access: Other organizations are taking several steps to help students and other people who don’t have Internet access while away from school or work. Several Internet service providers are providing free WiFi service for several weeks, Boston.com reports. Boston Public Schools are also offering computers and Internet access to students. In addition, several Internet and cable companies are promising to not cut off access for unpaid bills, BangorDailyNews.com reports.

Fake virus news: Twitter will be removing harmful news related to the coronavirus outbreak, TheGuardian.com reports. Among the tweets it will remove: Denial of health authority recommendations “with the intent to influence people into acting against recommended guidance,” like encouraging people not to socially distance themselves. Also, descriptions of harmful treatments such as “drinking bleach will cure Covid-19.” There are many other examples.

Internet police activated: In response to the virus pandemic, China is rounding up online commentators who have been critical of the government there, the New York Times reports. “Officers arrive with an unexpected rap at the door of online critics. They drag off offenders for hours of interrogation. They force their targets to sign loyalty pledges and recant remarks deemed politically unacceptable, even if those words were made in the relative privacy of a group chat.”

A pandemic of malware: Cybercriminals have been using coronavirus-themed emails and software to “trick people into downloading malware and other malicious programs designed to steal information,” TechRepublic reports. Researchers from cybersecurity company Lookout have discovered mobile surveillance malware imitating a coronavirus app with connections to 30 other apps that integrate a commercialized off-the-shelf spyware kit.

How do we ensure confidentiality when working remotely? Encryption.

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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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