[AxisOfEasy] Patriot Act Author Now Runs Facebook’s Legal Operations

Weekly Axis Of Easy #95

Last Week’s Quote was  “”Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.” By H. L. Mencken, nobody got it.

This Week’s Quote: “The Cosmos is about the smallest hole that a man can hide his head in” by…. ?

THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted in the comments below:

The Prize: First person to post, gets their next domain or hosting renewal on us.

In This Issue:
  • Ditch Google and help the environment
  • At Amazon, the machines fire the employees 
  • Scientists pull speech directly out of human brain
  • Canada’s privacy commissioner sues F-book
  • Patriot Act author now works for F-book 
  • Nginx now the most used web server in the world
  • Godaddy cleans up phishing subdomains in hacked accounts
  • Tell me your #1 pet peeve about our control panel 

Ditch Google and help the environment

I switched to DuckDuckGo as my default search engine across all my devices over a year ago. No tracking, unbiased results, less ad retargeting. Recently I came across another search engine alternative to Google, one that uses its revenue to fund tree planting projects around the world. Ecosia has actually been around since 2009, but only recently have I started noticing traffic coming into easyDNS and some of my other sites from it.

It’s using Microsoft’s Bing ad platform to power its ads (so does DuckDuckGo, last time I checked), and according to its FAQ it only takes on average about 45 searches to fund the planting of one tree. Lower than I would have guessed.

At Amazon, the machines fire the employees 

In what can be called Taylorism gone to the extreme, this Verge report details the mechanistic, clockwork regime Amazon warehouse workers are expected to adhere to, and the productivity levels they must maintain in order to keep their jobs. The pace is so frenetic that some employees routinely skip bathroom breaks simply to maintain their level of output.

If employees incur excessive “TOT” (Time-Off-Task), then the automated system issues a series of warnings culminating in the termination of an employee.

Scientists pull speech directly out of human brain

It’s called a breakthrough innovation that can revolutionize life for people with debilitating medical conditions, albeit a long way off from practical usage. But scientists have figured out a way to “generate entire spoken sentences based on an individuals brain activity”. 

Just imagine the day when everybody has an app on their iPhone that can simply pull what you’re really thinking about something right out of your brain – and then Tweet it. It’ll be awesome.

Canada’s privacy commissioner sues F-book

Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien is going to federal court to force F-book to comply with Canada’s privacy laws. The commission found that the laws were violated when F-book failed to obtain proper consent from Canadians before allowing third-party apps to access their data.

Unlike the EU or the US which can impose hefty fines on the company, the privacy commissioner can’t, and will ask the court to force compliance. That’s a process that can take over a year and could potentially cost F-book fines in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Canada’s reputation for weak-kneed meekness remains intact. F-book may have to dip into the coffee cash jar to pay those fines.

(In all fairness to F-book, if you can believe I’m actually saying it, the privacy commissioners’ insistence that F-book didn’t obtain proper consent before sharing data is in the same ballpark as last week’s piece about the concern around consent required in order for data to transit across national borders. It could pave the way for some incredibly unwieldy data privacy regulations.) 

Patriot Act author now works for F-book 

Speaking of privacy, remember that time when the US passed the Patriot Act which criminalized privacy and legalized ubiquitous government surveillance? Last week F-book hired its principal architect, Jennifer Newstead, as their general counsel, overseeing its global legal functions.

Newstead is a Trump appointee who previously served in the DoJ under Bush the 2nd. She is credited with writing the 2001 Patriot Act which effectively ended US citizens’ rights under the 1st and 4th Constitutional Amendments (1st is the one about free speech, 4th is the one about unreasonable search and seizure, just in case there are any legislators reading who are wondering what the hell I’m talking about).

F-book’s Sheryl Sandberg says that “Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission”. She’s probably right about that.

Nginx now the most used web server in the world

It was a good run, from somewhere around the mid-90’s (1996) when it supplanted NCSA’s https web server (I remember installing those,) Apache had been the number 1 web server deployed across the internet until 2016, when it was edged out by, believe it or not, Microsoft’s IIS. But all of that is old-news now, as the latest Netcraft survey for April 2019 shows that nginx has now taken the top spot.

Created in 2002 by Russian software engineer Igor Sysoev, the Nginx company was acquired by F5 for $670M. We used to use nginx on our easyPress platform and it was quite good, but for various reasons we’re back on Apache now (which reminds me, big news coming on easyPress within the next few weeks.)

Godaddy cleans up phishing subdomains in hacked accounts

The world’s largest domain registrar, Godaddy, has forced password resets on approximately 15,000 user accounts and cleaned up phishing subdomains that were piggy backing on real user legit domains. The move came after a 2-year investigation by Palo Alto Networks’ security researcher Jeff White. Godaddy suspects that user accounts were compromised via spearphishing or credential stuffing attacks, whereupon the hackers would gain access to accounts, and then add subdomains to pre-existing domains and set up various dodgy websites.

Don’t let it happen to you: enable all the security features on your account, including:

  • 2-factor authentication
  • Account ACLs
  • Event notifications

Read about the security settings available on your account here.

Read:  https://unit42.paloaltonetworks.com/takedowns-and-adventures-in-deceptive-affiliate-marketing/

Tell me your #1 pet peeve about our control panel 

We’re discussing next steps for upgrading the control panel that you use for managing your domains and we thought it may be helpful simply ask you all: what is your #1 top criticism of the user control panel? I’ll leave it there, open-ended, just hit “reply” and let me know (usually I make it a habit to reply to everybody who emails me, but if this unleashes a deluge, sorry if I can’t get back to you all individually).

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Follow us on Twitter

Like us on F-book

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(Or on Mastodon )

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