Bookmarked Fake news has a long history. Beware the state being keeper of ‘the truth’ | Kenan Malik by Kenan Malik (the Guardian)
Tempting as it is to legislate against manipulated ‘facts’, it both misguided and dangerous
It would seem that many states are trying to clamp down on the problem of ‘fake News’. Kenan Malik explains that not only is this not a new problem, but the solution does not involve the state, rather it involves trust:

There is another change, too. In the past, those with power manipulated facts so as to present lies as truth. Today, lies are often accepted as truth because the very notion of truth is fragmenting. “Truth” often has little more meaning than: “This is what I believe” or: “This is what I think should be true”. On issues from Brexit to same-sex marriage, all sides cling to their view as the truth, refusing to engage with “alternate” views. As Donald Trump has so ably demonstrated, the cry of “fake news” has become a way of dismissing inconvenient truths. And from China to the Philippines, repressive regimes use the charge of “fake news” to impose censorship and crush dissent.

This is why Mike Caulfield’s work is so important. Rather than pushing solutions onto citizens, we need to build the capacity of people to dig further.

Listened Post-work: the radical idea of a world without jobs – podcast by Andy Beckett from the Guardian
Work has ruled our lives for centuries, and it does so today more than ever. But a new generation of thinkers insists there is an alternative
This long read provides a dive into the world of work and what it might mean to live in a ‘post-work’ world.

Post-work is about the future, but it is also bursting with the past’s lost possibilities.

Read the text version here.

Bookmarked The punk rock internet – how DIY ​​rebels ​are working to ​replace the tech giants by John Harris (the Guardian)
Around the world, a handful of visionaries are plotting an alternative ​online ​future​.​ ​Is it really possible to remake the internet in a way that’s egalitarian, decentralised and free of snooping​?​
John Harris speaks with a number of people about alternatives to today’s dependence on super nodes and silos. Aral Balkan and Laura Kalbag talk about their concept of a indienet where users control their data:

Using the blueprint of Heartbeat, they want to create a new kind of internet they call the indienet – in which people control their data, are not tracked and each own an equal space online. This would be a radical alternative to what we have now: giant “supernodes” that have made a few men in northern California unimaginable amounts of money thanks to the ocean of lucrative personal information billions of people hand over in exchange for their services.

While David Irvine discusses the idea of a distributed SAFE network built on blockchain technology:

The acronym SAFE stands for “Safe Access for Everyone”. In this model, rather than being stored on distant servers, people’s data – files, documents, social-media interactions – will be broken into fragments, encrypted and scattered around other people’s computers and smartphones, meaning that hacking and data theft will become impossible. Thanks to a system of self-authentication in which a Safe user’s encrypted information would only be put back together and unlocked on their own devices, there will be no centrally held passwords.

No one will leave data trails, so there will be nothing for big online companies to harvest. The financial lubricant, Irvine says, will be a cryptocurrency called Safecoin: users will pay to store data on the network, and also be rewarded for storing other people’s (encrypted) information on their devices. Software developers, meanwhile, will be rewarded with Safecoin according to the popularity of their apps. There is a community of around 7,000 interested people already working on services that will work on the Safe network, including alternatives to platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

It is interesting to consider these ideas alongside that of the #IndieWeb community. I think both are aspiring to create a demonstrably better web. It will be interesting to see where all of this goes.

Bookmarked Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies – what digital money really means for our future by Alex Hern (the Guardian)
Digital currencies such as bitcoin have caused a financial frenzy. Alex Hern explains what they are – and whether this is the end of ‘real’ money
Alex Hern continues his exploration of Bitcoin in this thorough overview. One quote that really stood out was this:

If you trust the financial system to store your funds, or Dropbox to store your files, or YouTube to host your videos, then you don’t need to use less efficient decentralised versions of those services. But if you are planning to commit financial crime, store illegal downloads, or host pirated videos a decentralised version of those services becomes much more appealing. That’s why bitcoin, for instance, has become the currency of choice for online drug dealers and cybercriminals demanding ransoms to restore hacked data.

Listened Digital dystopia: democracy in the internet age – podcast by Jordan Erica Webber from the Guardian
Jordan Erica Webber looks at how our data is being used to push political ideologies
Jordan Erica Webber takes a look at democracy in the digital age, an era in which social media platforms have enabled a new form of political advertising and data companies can provide those who wish to sway elections and referendums with the ability to micro-target individual voters’ private Facebook feeds. Whether this is right or wrong, is everyone forced down this path? I am reminded again of Weapons of Math Destruction
Listened Digital dystopia: tech slavery and the death of privacy – podcast by Jordan Erica Webber from the Guardian
Jordan Erica Webber explores whether our privacy has been compromised by the tech giants whose business models depend on harvesting and monetising our data. We speak to cyborg rights activist Aral Balkan; the executive director of UK charity Privacy International Gus Hosein; and to Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine and author of The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.
In the first episode of our four-part miniseries, Jordan Erica Webber asks whether our digital selves are owned by tech firms in a new form of slavery? One of the interesting points made was that in the past, people were often private in public spaces, whereas today things have been reversed, where we are public in private places.