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The darknet is not a hellhole, it’s an answer to internet privacy

On the back of scandals such as those that engulfed the NSA and Cambridge Analytica, online privacy and data protection have become major political concerns. Many of us worry that private companies and governments know more about us than our closest friends and relatives. One alternative is to switch to the darknet, which offers anonymity […]

How Virtual Reality is giving the world’s roller coasters a new twist

Roller coasters have been a popular attraction at theme and amusement parks around the world for more than a century. Whether it’s at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, in the US or the now-defunct Ratanga Junction in Cape Town, South Africa, these behemoths have a way of drawing the crowds. The now-defunct Cobra, […]

Facebook is all for community, but what kind of community is it building?

There are many of us who stand for bringing people together and connecting the world. I hope we have the focus to take the long view and build the new social infrastructure to create the world we want for generations to come. – Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook Post Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg […]

How new fathers use social media to make sense of their roles

A lawyer in Bermuda became internet-famous for dancing ballet alongside his two-year-old daughter, comforting her stage fright by being there and doing the dance moves right with her. He knew the part because he had practiced ballet with his children before – and said it was just a normal part of fathering daughters. That […]

The rise of cyberlockers: how online piracy is fighting back

Illegal downloading is on its way out. A new report released by polling firm YouGov has found that only 10% of people in the UK now use illegal downloads to access music, down from 18% in 2013. And the recently released Global online piracy study from the University of Amsterdam argued that entertainment streaming […]

Turning your health data into a “wellness score” might not be good for you

Cameras watch us almost everywhere we go. We know the internet tracks our searches and purchases, and our smartphones can be used to monitor our activities too. As sociologist David Lyon points out, “this is a culture of surveillance.” In this watched world, our data is compiled into products to […]

How the internet is changing the way we grieve

People don’t die in the same way that they used to. In the past, a relative, friend, partner would pass away, and in time, all that would be left would be memories and a collection of photographs. These days the dead are now forever present online and digital encounters with someone who […]

How the latest tech and some healthy activism can curb fake news

The term “fake news” has become ubiquitous over the past two years. The Cambridge English dictionary defines it as “false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke”. As part of a global push to curb […]

What is a blockchain token?

People are just becoming acquainted with the idea of digital money in the form of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, where transactions are recorded on a secure distributed database called a blockchain. And now along comes a new concept: the blockchain-based token, which I’ve been following as a blockchain researcher and teacher of courses about […]

From cobalt to tungsten: how electric cars and smartphones are sparking a new kind of gold rush

What’s in your stuff? Most of us give no thought to the materials that make modern life possible. Yet technologies such as smartphones, electric vehicles, large screen TVs and green energy generation depend on a range of chemical elements that most people have never heard of. Until the late 20th […]

Digital nomads: what it’s really like to work while travelling the world

The phrase digital nomad summons the trope of joyful millennials who escape the daily grind to travel the world, working with laptops on far flung beaches. Bullish statistics are regularly regurgitated: “There will be one billion digital nomads by 2035,” the headlines declare. As an anthropologist, I started researching digital nomadism in 2015. It took […]

What if the companies that profit from your data had to pay you?

When it comes to digital privacy, there are plenty of organisations making money out of using your data – Google and Facebook are just two examples. But what if you were the one making the money? What if those organisations profiting from your data had to pay you a share […]

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