Bad Legislation in Albany Causes Cyberbullying Law to Violate First Amendment

Categories: Courts, Internet

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In 2010, Marquan Mackey-Meggs, a 15-year-old student at Cohoes High School in Albany County, started a Facebook group called "Cohoes Flame."

On the page, according to court documents, he posted "photographs of high-school classmates and other adolescents, with detailed descriptions of their alleged sexual practices and predilections, sexual partners and other types of personal information."

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Scott Stringer Releases Report Showing Embarrassingly Slow Internet in New York's Public Schools

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Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released a report yesterday claiming that 75 percent of New York City's public schools have Internet connections that operate at 10 megabits or less. Schools' broadband speeds must be 100 times that by 2020, according to the Obama administration's National Broadband Plan. Of the schools with the slowest speeds, the majority are clustered in, you guessed it, some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.

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New York Gets Its Own Domain: Dot NYC

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The future. It's here.
In the context of Christine Quinn's State of the City address delivered in 2009 at the height of the economic downturn, her promise to get New York City its own Internet domain registration name was a trifle. After all, she was pitching a recovery plan to salvage each of the city's major agencies.

While a good deal of her promises have been left unkept, the City Council has made good on one. Yesterday the International Consortium for Assigned Names and Numbers, the New World Order-y international body that administers web address allotments, approved the city's application for the dot-nyc top-level domain name.

"New York won't just be the greatest city in the world--we'll also be the greatest city on the Internet," says Quinn, as she snapped on some goggles and flew off in a DeLorean.

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Union Square is Getting a Massive Wi-Fi Expansion in June

Categories: Internet

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The good people at the Union Square Partnership are bringing Wi-Fi to the masses. Well, at least they're expanding Union Square's Wi-Fi, which currently only serves a meager 250 people. By mid-June, though, 3,000 people in and around Union Square Park will be able to hook up to the Internet for free.

According to Jennifer Falk, executive director at the Union Square Partnership, increased use of iPhones and the like put pressure on the network they set up in 2008. So, USP contracted with Sky-Packets, which partners with the Bryant Park Restoration Group, to revamp the system. Sponsored by Beth Israel Medical Center, USP will be adding new technology to two existing antennae at the north and south ends of the park, as well as adding a third antenna at 18th and Broadway.

"This will be a 1,001 percent increase over the old system," Falk said.

People eating at outdoor cafes around the square should be able to log onto "USP Park Wifi," too. The only downside we can think of is faster video upload times for Union Square's notorious peeper population. Dammit.

[@sydbrownstone][sbrownstone@villagevoice.com]

What is .art? Financiers and Artists Vie for the Power to Define the Domain Name

Categories: Art, Internet

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Art or commerce? Somebody may be the judge.
The Internet is about to radically change, and hardly anyone knows it.

Think about it like a phone system: The Internet operates on just a handful of top-level domains (TLDs) -- like .com and .org -- that function like area codes. Right now, the internet needs more of them. And pretty soon it's going to thousands of them: .law, .house, .gay, .soccer, pretty much anything you can think of. But that's not the radical part. See, unlike area codes, TLDs need someone to run them -- and the saga of .art is a microcosm of what that might mean for the artistic community, and for the Internet itself.

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The Best Passages From This Weekend's Reddit AMA With a NYC Cabbie

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The Ask Me Anything forum on Reddit allows users of the insanely popular (and insanely addicting) aggregation site to propose inquiries of all shapes and sizes to the character in interest. It's a Q&A for the masses and, seriously, the "anything" is highly stressed.

By now, we're sure you've heard of it. Why? Because the President has done one. And so has a participant on MTV's deceased wonder "Pimp My Ride." Pretty much everyone currently significant in pop culture has signed on for the ride.

But, last weekend, the AMA was localized for our viewing pleasure. On Friday, the Reddit community welcomed a 26-year-old cabbie from the Big Apple with open arms. The twentysomething gave this description about himself:

I'm not the typical New York City cab driver. I'm younger and I was born and raised in the USA. I went to prep school and four year university. I have been moonlighting, sometimes heavily, for 3 years. I'm working full time now until the end of the summer when I'm quitting for good. I work the night shift.

Transportation truths we've all been thinking about definitely ensued. Here's a few that every New Yorker should read:

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Challenges to Internet Freedoms Remain With Anniversary of SOPA Defeat in the Books

Categories: Internet, SOPA

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A year ago Sunday, Congress shelved the Stop Online Privacy Act and the Protect IP Act after millions of concerned Internet users expressed outrage over a bill they believed threatened the freedom of the Internet.

The most memorable of those expressions of outrage against SOPA came a year ago Friday when a number of the most prominent websites, including Wikipedia and Reddit, participated in an Internet Blackout--urging users to reach out to their congressmen and senators to kill the bill.

In light of the recent death of dedicated Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment a little more than a week ago, and the many threats to Internet freedom that still exist--techies, activists and users alike are guarded in their celebration of last year's victories.

"What we've heard after last year is that in this legislative calendar, nobody really plans to address copyright enforcement...Even a year after the SOPA protests, it's still considered toxic on The Hill," Parker Higgins, an activist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, tells the Voice. "That's a good thing, but we also know that won't last forever, and that it's not an absolute either."

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How Do We Remember Things That Happen In The Past Without 'Best Of...' Lists?

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Screenshot of Wikipedia Page for '2012'


The minute December 1st was upon us, the Internet and print media alike began to fill its shelves and papers with content-heavy, link-heavy and rank-heavy lists, all of which give the reader some sort of guidance as to what actually happened over the past 365 days. Of course, we here at the Voice were guilty of it, too: we put together 'Top 10 Films of 2012,' 'Our Favorite Books Of 2012,' and the like. And you should read every single one of them.


We love lists. They're easy to digest, they're manageable and they're great for small talk. This is because you almost always disagree with them, making great conversation at parties - over this past weekend, my friends and I discussed for hours how Rolling Stone's '50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs Of All Time' was invalid due to a lack of Big L. And this is because they're almost always written by an authoritarian writer, who hands you his or her opinions on what he or she thinks you should know about this Year In Culture. Authority leads to competition: If you haven't seen all of New York Times's film critic A.O. Scott's favorite movies this year, then we should probably/maybe stop talking.

Post-modernism aside, the headline of this piece is a very serious question. As the Internet expands like the universe, the lists are never-ending galaxies that exist for the sole reason of existing; this week, Vice Magazine put together 'The 25 Best Lists Of The Year.' Why? Because why not

Can you imagine December without them? What would we do? How would we understand what humanity accomplished (or really messed up) if we cannot number them 1 through 10? Better yet, and this is what's most important here, is there any way to remember things that happened in 2012 without 'Best Of' lists? 

The future seems bleak.


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Mandy Stadtmiller: Was It Wrong for Her To Dish About Dating Aaron Sorkin?

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This morning brings us "I INSPIRED A 'BAD' VERSION OF MYSELF ON AARON SORKIN'S 'THE NEWSROOM.'"

In that essay -- if you want to call something so rambling and self-indulgent an essay -- ex-New York Post gossip columnist/current XOJane Deputy Editor Mandy Stadtmiller describes how a handful of dates she went on with Sorkin wound up inspiring the Oscar-winning writer. The piece includes screenshots of e-mail convos between Stadtmiller and Sorkin, photos of birthday flowers he sent her at the Post (and the handwritten card that went with them), as well as quotes from their conversations.

Now, we really don't feel like picking apart Stadtmiller's piece line by line -- it was hard enough to read the first time, as it has the vibe of a Cat Marnell screed minus the uppers.

Here's what it did make us think about, though: Sure, Stadtmiller divulged a lot of personal shit about her interactions with Sorkin sans his permission(she claims he said 'OK,' see update) -- the piece is a classic example of the unstructured, hyper-confessional oversharing characteristic of so much internet-age writing.

But is oversharing like this necessarily a bad thing?

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The FBI Will Destroy Your Social Media (But Maybe For the Right Reasons)

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The Internet continues to face rough times, falling victim to the nationwide heat wave, the leap second and, now, the lifting of an FBI anti-virus program. Gotta love repetition.

At midnight, 64,000 computers in the United States and a quarter million worldwide might be forced off the Internet due to a stopgap provision provided by the federal police force that's on its last legs. The program was set up in November to allow the machines infected with the "doomsday virus" DNSChanger (or its more conspicuous title, Operation Ghost Click) to continue to be connected to the Web. 

This move came after the FBI realized that if it all eliminated the virus all together, those tens of thousands of computers would have immediately lost Internet connection. So, in order to prevent that, it set up a kind of safety net that would keep the malware at bay... for the time being.

But the FBI is not unleashing SkyNet for no reason (at least, we hope not), other than the fact that the court order it received to keep the servers running has expired. By ending the safety net, the federal police force hopes to step away from the computer protection industry and pass the torch over to the providers responsible for connecting uses to the Web. 

In other digital words, the FBI is putting the Internet up for security adoption.
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