Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA And PIPA

Tags: politics, piracy, copyright, sopa, pipa

I haven't posted in a long time but really feel I need to weigh in briefly about SOPA and PIPA.  These two bills mean well as they are aiming to endonline piracy and protect intellectual propery, two things we should all be behind.  Unfortunately, the bills - if passed into law - would threaten the internet in a variety of ways while doing little to actually stop piracy and copyright/ip infringement.

I'm no lawyer and this topic has been covered by so many websites and organizations that I think the best thing to do is point you to the best article I've found on the issue.  The article was written by the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and pretty clearly illustrates the dangers SOPA and PIPA would bring to the internet we know and love today.

Again, let me stress that I am very much against online piracy and absolutely think we need to find ways of preventing people from stealing digital goods, but SOPA and PIPA are not the way to do it. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Being Hacked Sucks

Tags: hacking, wordpress

So starting today, all Squirrelinabox websites that were previously using Wordpress and being hosted at Dreamhost are now moved to my own dedicated server using a custom built content management system that I built from the ground up.  Why?  Because being hacked sucks.

Those that follow any of my blogs, such as Office Humor Blog and Falling Skies Fansite have probably noticed a lack of posts during the last few months.  While some of that is because I've been incredibly busy working on new projects (namely some Windows Phone 7 apps) a big reason I've stopped posting is because pretty much all my blogs that were using Wordpress were being consistently hacked.  For quite some time, the hackers were dropping hidden web pages and html links that were likely an attempt to leverage my websites' "link juice" to try and improve their rankings.  Even worse, most of those pages and links were for things like porn, viagra, illegal software, etc.  which likely hurt my site's rankings in search engines for the keywords they were designed for.

For awhile I did what I could to keep logging in and removing the pages and the links about once a week.  Since I had almost a dozen different sites, this process took quite awhile.  The breaking point came when the hackers (probably different ones) decided that seceretly hiding pages and links wasn't good enough as they started taking down the sites completely and replacing them with web pages that explained that the sites were hacked and gone.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Should The President Be Able To Shut Off The Internet?

Tags: politics

A few weeks ago, details surfaced of a new bill that could hand the president of the United States the power to basically disconnect computers from the internet for emergency reasons.

While the bill isn't quite completed and the details remain vague, many Web outlets have been in an uproar - fearing the expansion of governmental control of the internet. Unlike most other bloggers and internet news reporters, I'm actually quite comfortable with the president having emergency power over the internet. Sure, such power could be abused and there's always the "slippery slope" argument, but people need to realize the president already has similar power in other areas of our life and that power is there for a reason.

Before I go one, let me assure you that I am generally for a smaller government that has less power and control. My feelings are that the government should exist soley to protect us and to keep things running smoothly while interfering as little as possible. With that said, I don't mind the president having the ability to turn off parts of the internet if it's deemed an emergency and a security risk.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Astroturfing - Legal But Incredibly Immoral

Tags: astroturfing

It's tough finding an audience for a new product or service on the internet - especially with the sheer amount of noise found on the Web these days. For some, the daunting task of launching something new online means hiring a PR firm to handle the marketing side of things. While most PR firms are ethical in their practices, some have taken the "easy route" when it comes to online marketing. One of the shadier tactics that's starting to rear its ugly head more and more is something called astroturfing.

Astroturfing is basically the process of getting some people together to advocate whatever you are pushing (such as a product, a message, or a candidate for office). While the concept is not new and has been used before the internet came along, the simple fact is that creating fake reviews, testimonials, and word of mouth online is cheaper and easier than it has ever been before. Take for example Reverb Communications, a company that appears to be heavily into the astroturfing game.
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Monday, September 1, 2008

Fake Profiles Wrap-Up

Tags: fake profiles

Well, the time has come to wrap up my series on fake profiles. I could go on and on about the various ways shady individuals use fake profiles to exploit unsuspecting Web-goers, but I believe I've covered the big problem areas by tackling MySpace and other social networks, online dating websites, and Craigslist scams.

You may not think fake profiles on the Web are a big deal, but recent news shows otherwise with a Craiglist fake profiler being sued and the case where faking MySpace information may become a federal crime. As long as there's money in creating fake profiles online, there will be seedy people there to do it.

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