Jonathan Zittrain

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Mark Zuckerberg Can Still Fix This Mess

The news about Facebook is not getting better. The company has sharply increased the number of users whose data was improperly shared with an outside company connected to President Trump’s campaign, to possibly 87 million. Amid an outcry, Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, is expected to testify before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.

There is a dog-eared playbook for industry titans called before lawmakers: Apologize repeatedly, be humble, keep it boring. Mr. Zuckerberg can and should toss that playbook. He’s got $60 billion to his name, 99 percent of which he has said he will donate to charity. And he controls Facebook — is Facebook — in an unusual way: He controls 60 percent of its shareholder votes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tamara Shopsin, photograph by Alfred Brisbois

This month, Apple previewed some changes to its next generation of iPhones and iPads with the promise that “all the things you love to do are more expressive, more dynamic and more fun than ever.” That especially includes emojis, those little icons that, according to one study, 92 percent of the online population now make part of their everyday communication.

One change in particular, though, is not delighting everyone. Apple’s new suite of operating systems appears to replace its pistol emoji, which was an image of a six-shooter, with a squirt gun.

Apple hasn’t said why it would be making this change, but this summer, along with Microsoft, the company lobbied Unicode, the nonprofit consortium that decides which emojis should exist, against adding a separate rifle.…  Seguir leyendo »

The European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that Europeans have a limited “right to be forgotten” by search engines like Google. According to the ruling, an individual can compel Google to remove certain reputation-harming search results that are generated by Googling the individual’s name. The court is trying to address an important problem — namely, the Internet’s ability to preserve indefinitely all its information about you, no matter how unfortunate or misleading — but it has devised a poor solution.

The court’s decision is both too broad and curiously narrow. It is too broad in that it allows individuals to impede access to facts about themselves found in public documents.…  Seguir leyendo »

Earlier this month Google announced a new operating system called Chrome. It’s meant to transform personal computers and handheld devices into single-purpose windows to the Web. This is part of a larger trend: Chrome moves us further away from running code and storing our information on our own PCs toward doing everything online — also known as in “the cloud” — using whatever device is at hand.

Many people consider this development to be as sensible and inevitable as the move from answering machines to voicemail. With your stuff in the cloud, it’s not a catastrophe to lose your laptop, any more than losing your glasses would permanently destroy your vision.…  Seguir leyendo »