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Technology 4 March 2019

The Week in Internet News: Many Ugandans Quit Internet Services After Tax on Social Media

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Taxing the Internet: A social media tax in Uganda has prompted many users to quit those same sites, The Guardian reports. The tax, intended to raise government revenues and discourage “idle talk,” amounts to 200 Ugandan shillings, or about U.S. 5 cents, per day. More than one million people have quit taxed mobile apps, the story says.

Tough measures: A large majority of Europeans support a proposal to require social media companies to direct all users who have seen take news toward fact-checks, Time.com says. A recent poll suggest that more than 86 percent of European residents surveyed support the Correct the Record proposal from advocacy group Avaaz.

Blockchain goes to pot: Blockchain technology can help marijuana dispensaries enforce daily legal limits on individual purchases, Forbes reports. Blockchain could help dispensaries keep track of attempts at smurfing, the practice of purchasing more than the daily legal limit by going to different dispensaries, and looping, purchasing more than the limit by returning later to the same seller, the story says.

Blockchain vs. censorship: A follow-up to a trend we noted earlier this year: China’s residents are turning to blockchain technologies to fight government censorship, The Conversation reports. Some users are beginning to post blocked news, including a report on sexual misconduct at a university, on the Ethereum blockchain. In the latest use of blockchain to avoid censorship, a group of Chinese people used blockchain to preserve an investigative story on inferior vaccines being given to babies.

Cleaning house: A U.S. cyberattack on an alleged Russian “troll farm” last November resulted in a destroyed RAID controller and two wiped hard drives, ZDNet says. The damage was recently confirmed by a Russia news agency. The attack happened the day before the U.S. midterm elections.

Expanding the mission: Tucows, the Canadian domain name registrar, is urging ICANN to take a bigger role in fighting cybercrime, ITworld Canada reports. ICANN could help coordinate international efforts against cybercrime, Tucows CEO Elliot Noss says.

Encryption is under threat around the world. It’s up to all of us to take action to protect encryption, protect our data, and protect one another.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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