Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Feb 2024)

Limitations of RSS according to Spotify

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed with questions like will Gaia X survive? What will happen to Firefox? Will our coffee to go habits end us all?

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with even rolling stone magazine covering the decentralised and federated webfully private internet search may happen sooner than expected and Mozilla’s clever demonstration called platform tilt.


The dark dark hole which is pig butchering

Ian thinks: You may have heard of “Pig Butchering” in relation to romance/crypto scams. In this  pretty dark episode of Darknet diaries which deals with violence, scams and death. You realised how deep and dark the scams go.

AI ethics and bias is popping up everywhere

Ian thinks: I have noticed a general exhaustion/ignorance to the problem of bias in AI. This short video from Channel 4 is a timely reminder of how it manifests and for us all to take some responsibility.

Post office scandal, the computer says No

Ian thinks: The post office scandal is simply awful all over. People have lost the faith of their communities, family and even lost their lives. All due to a not fit for purpose computer system (Fujitsu’s Horizon). What makes things worst is all the people who sided with the computer system over the huge evidence of the post office masters/mistresses. Also interesting it took a TV show to push the whole scandal into the public conscious.

AI hype distraction?

Ian thinks: I liked this for many reasons but the distraction technique used by many people who con others is somewhat clear to see across a lot of the AI stories I see. I did wonder if I was the only one?

Surveillance capitalism and open standards don’t mix?

Ian thinks: The podcast industry is feeling the pinch due to advertisers wanting to know more about the listener. Spotify’s has always offered a closed platform and rejected RSS for this reason. However, Apple will start supporting the open Podcast namespace around transcripts.

Why privacy matters

Ian thinks: I recently shared this video with a few people who have started drinking the cool-aid about privacy is over. Its something of a timely reminder at the top of the year, of the importance of privacy for everyone.

The hype machine

Ian thinks: I recently read the hype machine by Sinan Aral. I expected most of the points but I did find the influence on society points, stronger than I imagined. The depth of the arguments are worthy of reading and of course acting on.

The AI hardware devices got interesting

Ian thinks: There is renew interest in new/alternative user interfaces and although AI is all the rage, our smartphones are fighting back (as the video shows). When I think about this all, I can’t help but wonder about the infrastructure. Leaning on Human Data Interaction guidelines, many of them mask the data from the human.

The word of 2023, Enshittification

Ian thinks: Congrats to Cory on a word which sums up so much about the current internet business model but also doing something about it. I remember Cory being quite critical of surveillance capitalism and emphasising the problem of monopolies, lack of agency and interoperability.

Worth noting Cory’s sequel to Red Team Bluesthe Bezzle is available.


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Jan 2024)

Six mascots are sitting around a tree, but this one is shaped with colored nodes like the Fediverse logo. They represents a sample of Free/Libre software that can interchange communication via the activityPub protocol, shaping the Fediverse. It's a photo of a drawing done on paper with pencil and with a bit of watercolor while traveling in family. With mascot of Mastodon, Pleroma-tan of Pleroma, Ai of Misskey Lemmy Sepia of sloth mascot by Anna Abramek for Fediverse logo, License CC-BY-SA 4.0

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed with potential planned obsolescence of trains by the maker, the promise of Matter a bit of let down for now and the first but not last devastation of a country due to climate collapse.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with Meta’s threads testing fediverse interoperability, roof tops being taken seriously as a source for renewable power and planned obsolescence on public transport.


Beeper interoperability exposes Apple’s closed ecosystem

Its easily overlooked by most Apple users but there is a bigger story raised by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Cory Doctorow. Apple’s reply must have the EU stretching for their law books? Here is the latest update on everything.

Parents sharing data without knowledge

Ian thinks: This short video from one of the Netherlands public broadcasters, highlights the big problem parents and new children have when it comes to social media and the internet. The punch line weighs heavy in minds afterwards.

Surveillance in the ebooks you are reading?

Ian thinks: Although this is mainly focused on the American market, its concerning and a sign of the commercialisation of everything possible. I naively thought the well established laws around libraries would apply but obviously not. Maybe they should!

University monetising their students now up to 11

Ian thinks: Following on from the previous link, reading the experience of students again in the states is simply terrifying from a privacy point of view. Like schools, a number of companies have come in at such a low price to collect as much data as possible in return for little. I don’t even think some of the universities are fully aware of the bigger problem?  The case for University is eroding away every day, sadly.

Do we digitally own anything at all?

Ian thinks: There has been a number of news stories about the hostile problem of online streaming and subscription of digital goods. I found Wendy’s related post honest and realistic.

The driving licence line up

Ian thinks: The Omni-Surveillance society wants more data, and all those driving licences are a rich store of data. Will this bill go through? I’m unsure but honestly I’m conscious of how far you can get with “think about the children”.

What the platforms do so badly, local community

Ian thinks: In this TEDx talk, Shani outlines what she did for her local area to encourage people to build a community. Its a wonderful talk and points to just enough internet rather than centring it. Just wonderful.

Proton’s CEO grilled for 2 hours and comes out fresh as a daisy

Ian thinks: Andy Yen, answers question for 2 hours and some of them are cutting and tricky. I know its a long time for most people but you really get a sense of Proton’s future and their part in the public service internet. Well worth turning on and mainly listening to.

Match group will own love now and into the future?

Ian thinks: Most people care less about online dating and don’t see the connection with the public service internet. However this video demonstrates the almost complete monopoly of the Match group, buying new platforms as they pop their heads up. This is critical with a pandemic of loneliness across the developed world.

Just one more… final victory for free, libre and open source

Ian thinks: Podcasting is going through a rough time with advertising recently. FLOSS weekly is another one ending. However its a great final episode and all 761 episodes makes a great archive documenting the many projects and achievements from the FLOSS community over the last 17 years.


Find the archive here