Thursday, December 22, 2022

Social Media Dragons Seen as Mostly Good for Democracy Across Many Nations, But U.S. is a Major Outlier

'When a clown moves into a palace, he doesn't become a king. The palace becomes a circus.' -Powerful proverb

In all the four Nordic countries - Sweden, Norway, Finland & Denmark - ALL tax returns are public forever. In Norway, they are even available on the web. Therefore these four countries have the least corruption in the world. What do you choose? Openness or corruption?

Taxes and sunlight

 From the Twitter Files: Twitter, The FBI Subsidiary Matt Taibbi 

FBI paid Twitter $3.5M ‘to do its bidding’: Taxpayers’ money was used for ‘processing requests’ from the bureau amid Hunter Biden censorship scandal – as anger grows over secret state censorship of the American people Daily Mail


Twitter Aided the Pentagon in its Covert Online Propaganda Campaign Lee Fang, Intercept

House committee votes to release Trump’s tax returns to the public Guardian


Read how much Trump paid — or didn’t pay — in taxes each year CNBC


The Prosecution of Trump Runs Into Some Serious First Amendment Troubles Atlantic


A Case of Hope Over Experience: The J6 Referral Falls Short of a Credible Criminal CaseJonathan Turley


House GOP bloc threatens to ‘thwart’ legislative priorities of GOP senators who vote for omnibusThe Hill

Iran and Russia were too distracted to meddle in midterm elections, US general says CNN 

Foreign Information Manipulation Interference and Cybersecurity – Threat Landscape

“The EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) have joined forces to study and analyse the threat landscape concerning Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI) and disinformation. A dedicated analytical framework is put forward, consistent with the ENISA Threat Landscape (ETL) methodology, with the aim of analysing both FIMI and cybersecurity aspects of disinformation. The concept of Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI) has been proposed by the EEAS, as a response to the call of the European Democracy Action Plan for a further refinement of the definitions around disinformation. 

Although disinformation is a prominent part of FIMI, FIMI puts emphasis on manipulative behaviour, as opposed to the truthfulness of the content being delivered. Several strategic documents, such as the Strategic Compass for Security and Defence and the July 2022 Council Conclusions on FIMI, refer to the importance of countering FIMI as well as hybrid and cyber threats.”

  • The report, published December 8, 2022 – is available here

Social Media Seen as Mostly Good for Democracy Across Many Nations, But U.S. is a Major Outlier

“As people across the globe have increasingly turned to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other platforms to get their news and express their opinions, the sphere of social media has become a new public space for discussing – and often arguing bitterly – about political and social issues. And in the mind of many analysts, social media is one of the major reasons for the declining health of democracy in nations around the world. However, as a new Pew Research Center survey of 19 advanced economies shows, ordinary citizens see social media as both a constructive and destructive component of political life, and overall most believe it has actually had a positive impact on democracy. 
Across the countries polled, a median of 57% say social media has been more of a good thing for their democracy, with 35% saying it is has been a bad thing. There are substantial cross-national differences on this question, however, and the United States is a clear outlier: Just 34% of U.S. adults think social media has been good for democracy, while 64% say it has had a bad impact. In fact, the U.S. is an outlier on a number of measures, with larger shares of Americans seeing social media as divisive…”

 – The stable in stablecoins – Garth BaughmanFrancesca Carapella, Jacob Gerszten, and David Mills: “Stablecoins have garnered much attention as a key part of the emerging decentralized finance (or “DeFi”) ecosystem, and as a potential way to pay for goods and services.

How-To-Geek: “If you’ve been looking into the different ways to browse anonymously, two terms will come up regularly: VPNs and Tor. However, when you compare these two, you’ll quickly see that they have very different use cases. To figure out when you should use Tor rather than a VPN, let’s first go over how they both work.
VPNs are privacy tools that allow you to connect to servers owned and operated by your provider. Doing so encrypts your connection in a so-called VPN tunnel and also lets you assume the location of that server. Spoofing your location in this way gives you greater flexibility when accessing sites all over the web: you can unblock Netflix regions other than your own, circumvent internet censorship imposed by countries like China or Russia, or even just access internet banking while on holiday. It does all this while also securing your connection. 
Tor is a little different. Instead of being a standalone tool that encrypts your whole connection, it’s a browser that reroutes your traffic. However, it doesn’t do this through VPN servers, but instead through what are called nodes. Nodes can be any internet-connected device—laptops, smartphones, even IoT devices qualify—and are points within the networks  where traffic is routed through…”

MakeUseOf: “Google Forms is the internet’s favorite free form builder, and rightly so. You can do so much with it. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only form builder you should consider. A few new form builders are making the process more user-friendly in different ways, like Tally, which works like a Doc, or NueForm, which makes it easier to create “slide forms” that show one question at a time. 
Plus, Google Forms restricts you to the world of Google apps, while HeyForm connects with various other apps. And then there’s Formester and FormJelly, who want to make it easy for beginners to make a form in no time…”

Too unique: Sarsha Simone.

Too unique: Sarsha Simone.

What refreshing honesty to hear judges Ricky Martin and tell contestant Sarsha Simone (The Voice, Nine, 20/5), that she was too unique for the show, and offer her a recording studio opportunity outside the confines of the forthcoming two-way battles. Their candour leaves no doubt that The Voice is a karaoke competition, not designed to uncover any original new talent.
Helen Tsoutsouvas, Balwyn North