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Screenshot of CompuCafe Helsinki video, uploaded to Vimeo by Larri Helminen.

1995 video promo for internet cafe puts Finland on the hi-tech map

Screenshot of CompuCafe Helsinki video, uploaded to Vimeo by Larri Helminen.
Recently, the online elite was amazed by a Finnish Internet Café video promo from 1995, which really should open our eyes for how quickly the world has changed. Back then, computers were clunky, fast internet connections were extremely expensive and there was no Wi-Fi.

Since we can assume the charmingly corny video probably didn’t serve its purpose back in the day, as an insert on MTV, we really think you should give the thing four minutes of your time.

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Donald Trump’s face is being added to ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ cartoons and it’s comic genius

What do a ranting cartoon 6-year-old and Donald Trump have in common?

According to the creative redditors over at /r/DonaldandHobbes, plenty! The premise is simple: they find original Calvin and Hobbes strips in which Calvin goes off on one of his famous power-hungry tangents, and superimpose Trump’s head. The cut and paste jobs might not be seamless, but the dialogue is a disturbingly good fit — the childish imaginings of Calvin as said by Trump could easily be mistaken for the real thing.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites, so scroll down and have a laugh. Just keep in mind this bit of advice from the subreddit moderators: “Have fun and try not to think worse of Calvin. He’s only six. Trump’s going on 70 and still hasn’t grown up.”

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Video: How Edward Snowden and The Yes Men trolled music fans at Roskilde Festival

Edward Snowden and The Yes Men at Roskilde 2016

The Danish Roskilde music festival recently got into a slight controversy over signs warning festival goers about a new policy: complete surveillance of all phone and internet traffic. But it turns out that the festival, which took place over the course of June 24 to July first this year, actually trolled its visitors, hard. With the help of none other than culture jamming and hoaxing group The Yes Men and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

A feedback booth with a comedian posing as a poorly-informed PR representative of the festival was also present, to counter backlash on social media. But the actual intention of the signs and the faux policy was to lure festival goers to a certain stage at a certain time, with “anger marketing”.

What attendants got to experience was a remotely held speech by whistleblower USA Edward Snowden, an excellent speaker on topics like civil rights, privacy and mass surveillance. The massive Roskilde Festival has now released a summary of the events in a Youtube video, which also includes the confounded faces of festival goers encountering an actor who looks like Snowden.

 

It’s not about Snowden, the person

Regardless of what you think about the optics of Snowden ending up in Russia in the aftermath of his data leak in 2013 and subsequent escape from the USA, we recommend listening to what he has to say. Also worth looking into is the fact that he has no chance of a fair trial in the USA, despite his information having pushed the IT industry towards a path where privacy rights at least are a part of the conversation.

Anyone can figure out that Russian intelligence probably debriefed Snowden upon his arrival in Russia, but the former cybersecurity specialist and NSA contractor’s data leaks have indeed done a lot to raise an unprecedented awareness over information security related topics.

Most of Snowdens revelations are things that have been suspected by information security professionals for years, but were shrugged off as paranoia by the general public and decision makers in business and politics alike.

Most notably, Snowden’s leaks reveal how numerous Western countries, like the United Kingdom and Sweden collaborate with the USA to build a global mass surveillance apparatus that can harvest unfathomable amounts of information from the internet.

Slide from the PRISM presentation leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013.

A slide from a presentation leaked by Edward Snowden, where the NSA brags about infiltrating US tech companies. The likely meaning of the PRISM program is the surveillance agencies being able to eavesdrop of some data inside the networks of tech giants, rather than having gained direct access to every server these enormous companies own. Some companies have taken action to prevent misuse like this.

 

How the Snowden Leaks have helped you

The Snowden leaks included information on how Western intelligence agancies collected information from large companies like Google, by eavesdropping on private fiber optic cables. Companies like Google have since actively starting encrypting more traffic, even within their own networks, making customer data more difficult to misuse. Products like Facebook-owned WhatsApp have recently implemented really good encryption for mobile messenger apps, helping to protect the contents of chat conversations between normal, law abiding citizens.

It is no news that surveillance can used to undermine democracy and processes of social progress, as is made apparent by Snowden’s mention of how of authorities hawkishly followed every move of Dr. Martin Luther King during his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement.




With today’s technology, the internet’s weakness for surveillance grants private corporations and governments alike access to information about us all, to an extent that the Soviet KGB, Romanian Securitate or East-German DDR could only have dreamt about. This is not disinformation or a dishonest spin, but a crucial breach of Rechtsstaat principles that help sustain democracy. Also, mass surveillance does little to stop terrorism.

It’s true that Russia presumably is using Snowden’s exile in propaganda and information warfare to create uncertainty and distrust towards Western governments. Making the West look like hypocrites on human rights is always convenient for the Russian state and many other authoritarian regimes. It makes it easier to defend their own practices of restricting internet use and complete digital surveillance, which occurs without any of the thinning legal buffers we still can enjoy in many Western countries.

That’s a reason in itself to stop Western intelligence agencies from undermining civilization.

 

How you can help

Members of the public can help themselves and less fortunate individuals in oppressive countries to get some online privacy by using and supporting systems like The Tor Project. Albeit being far from perfect, the open source Tor software is, within its limits, the far most efficient tool to remain anonymous online, if used properly.

No commercial vendor of for example, VPN services, can obfuscate the origin of traffic like Tor can. Users need to understand the limitations of what Tor can do for them, including but not limited to sticking to the officially supported Tor Browser, keeping it updated and not revealing information related to their regular identities while using Tor.

How Tor Works

At Ink Tank Media, we have chosen to help by hosting a Tor Relay server that participates in obfuscating the origin of traffic from users of free privacy tools like the Tor Browser.

This is a confusing field to navigate for anyone in media and advertising. The online advertising many online media companies rely on, also collects a massive amount of information! We couldn’t really run this site without ads and trackers, yet, it’s plain as day to us that the world needs to find a balance in how personal data is used.

From time to time, we work with Darknet researcher Antti Järventaus, who focuses on understanding and making some sense of some of the hard questions involved with providing anonymity to anyone who needs it.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more mind-blowing coolness.




14 English-language Finnish blogs every Finland-lover should follow

15 English-language Finnish blogs every Finland-lover should follow

Image: Timo Newton-Syms

Finland can sometimes be a difficult place to get to grips with, especially if you don’t speak or read either of the official languages, Finnish and Swedish. So, to help Finns, immigrants and foreign Finophiles alike get a new perspective on this Nordic wonderland, we’ve gathered a list of blogs written in eloquent English about a wide range of subjects related to life here.

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16 incredibly useful websites that could change your life in 2016

Useful websites for New Years

Are you ready to make 2016 your best year ever? These useful websites will help you reach your goals.

A new year, a new start! Making New Years resolutions is easy–the hard part is sticking with them. We’ve put together a list of our picks for the most useful websites that will get you one step closer to your goals and help you fulfil your resolutions. Whether you want to learn a new skill, start eating better, or simplify your life, one of these useful websites is sure to help you make 2016 your best year yet.

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Meet the Finnish woman who graduated by hanging out on Reddit for a year

RedditGirl

RedditGirlA 26-year-old Finnish woman, Salla Koivu, has taken hanging out on Reddit to a whole new level of dedication. And in the process gained her Master’s degree. Salla, a Helsinki native and a graduate from Aalto University School of Business decided the best way to complete her thesis on Why do people share online? was to hang out on Reddit for an entire year. Eager to find our more about this genius plan to legitimately mess around on the internet, we hooked up with her to find out what inspired her to go undercover and what she discovered about one of our all time favourite websites.

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13 websites that will make you a better writer

Ernest Hemingway quote

 

Aspiring writers often look to Hemingway for inspiration, and he’s given us plenty of good advice. But let’s face it — his advice above, while a beautiful notion, is not exactly practical. Most of us can use a little extra help with getting creative and staying focused.

Creative writers can find tons of writing advice on the internet — read more, write more, drink more — we’ve heard it all before. Happily, we can also find resources that are designed to help both amateur and professionals writers alike. Whether you need a random generator to develop your characters, an app that helps you stay on task, or a few creative exercises to pass the time with, there’s something out there that can help you get creative, overcome writer’s block, and hone your skills. Here’s our list of 13 online tools, applications, and websites that will make you a better writer.

For an extra boost of inspiration before you get started on your next masterpiece, take a look at a few words of wisdom about writing from some of our favorite American authors.

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Come alive! 15 things that look like other things

Eggplant that looks like a face.

Have you ever spotted a dog in the clouds, or a smiling face in your breakfast toast? For a split second, you might think you’re losing your mind. But rest assured, seeing faces and living beings in inanimate objects is actually a very common phenomenon called pareidolia, in which the mind attempts to organize chaos by finding meaningful patterns. Some theories suggest that pareidolia is a pre-wired ability that helped our ancestors to survive and others suggest that it’s simply a result of the way our brains handle the constant barrage of information. In any case, it’s a very cool illusion that results in photos that we love to look at. Check out these top-notch examples of things that look like other things and discover whether you can see anything odd.

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10 years on: The best YouTube channels you can watch today

Watching video on the Internet used to be terrible (remember RealPlayer?). But then YouTube came along in 2005 and was quickly gobbled up by Google in 2006. As of now, ten years on, YouTube has become part of a sort of backbone of the Internet. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not just for cat videos.

Some of YouTube’s early existence was plagued with controversy over its use as the place to go for random uploads of Other People’s Content. But the site is obviously focused on being a publishing platform for anyone. Today we want to honor some of the most interesting, hard working video producers out there.

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