As many of you likely know, thousands of Iranians have been holding anti-government protests over the past week. We won’t be getting into the why’s or discussing Iranian politics in our post today, but we will be touching base on the Iranian government’s decision to block access to many social media apps as well as VPN access in order to quash protests.
We have decided to offer free accounts to people in Iran in order to help them communicate during this time.
Some words from Eric Jung, FoxyProxy founder:
“We hope protesters from all backgrounds can unite and create real change in this regime of repression. We offer free accounts to all Iranians in order to bypass the censorship imposed by their government during this time leading up to revolution. Blocking social media and communications only infuriates citizenry, and we hope it backfires.”
Because the Iranian government has blocked VPN access, SSL Proxy servers are needed to get around this censorship. Happily, all FoxyProxy accounts come with VPN + SSL, HTTP, and SOCKS proxy server accounts.
Chrome and Firefox users can contact support to help get our SSL proxy servers working, as there is a trick to getting our SSL proxy server to work with Chrome and Firefox, as we are still using unsigned SSL certificates (that is something we are slowly changing and the rollout should be complete within a month). We will soon be putting an article on our help page to help you through it.
WE REALLY DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT AN AI TAKEOVER ANYTIME SOON
While it’s a staple of sci-fi stories, an AI uprising isn’t something that you shouldn’t be losing sleep over, for a number of reasons. Things like Siri, Alexa, and Hello Google (which really needs a better name. We suggest Kevin.) may give the illusion of conversation and intelligence, but there’s really nothing there but algorithms and bad jokes written by someone else. That hard to define spark of Consciousness is still absent in any AI we currently possess. (FOR NOW…)
Will The Machines take over and enslave humankind, leading to Terminator or Dune-like futures? Eventually, maybe, but not any time soon. Much has been written about both sides of the argument, by people much more skilled than your blogess at writing. If this is legitimately an avenue which your mind enjoys wondering down, it’s certainly worth spending some time reading up on. Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking warn us about the dangers of AI, while other sources such as LiveScience and Tech.co assure us we have nothing to worry about for a while.
LET’S LAUGH AT ROBOTS
In an effort to calm any fears, let’s just take a few minutes to remind ourselves that AI and Robots are still pretty stupid, in so far as being ready to take over the world.
This past week, a chapter of Harry Potter written by a predictive text keyboard program splashed across the internet, inspiring this very post. It’s peppered with gems like:
“He saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione’s family. Ron’s Ron shirt was just as bad as Ron himself.
‘If you two can’t clump happily, I’m going to get aggressive,’ confessed the reasonable Hermione.”
“They looked at the door, screaming about how closed it was and asking it to be replaced with a small orb. The password was ‘BEEF WOMEN,’ Hermione cried.”
Another constant favorite is the failures of the Boston Dynamics family of occasionally terrifying murder-bots.
And here’s a compilation of robots taking a fall at a robotics challenge.
So, sleep tight, and anytime you start to worry, Youtube is ready with endless Robot Fail compilations for your delight.
The Internet of Things (an actual term used to refer to the ever growing list of internet connected gadgets populating our homes) seems like a good idea. I, your blogess, love the idea of walking into a room and commanding it to tend to my environmental needs, like Picard dictating his favored ambient temperature, light level, and music selection all at once before ordering a nice mug of Earl Grey (hot).
We just aren’t there yet, as much as I wish we were. It seems that daily, we see another story about ‘Smart’ devices recording, watching, listening in. Here’s a short list of Smart Things which have betrayed their users:
We’d like to welcome to our team Bartas, who will be taking on the roles of technical support analyst and programmer. We thought this would be a great time to start doing some staff profiles so that you, our beloved customers, can get to know the people behind the proxies.
We asked Bartas a few questions as the inaugural profile. Here’s what he had to say!
Where are you from, and what’s the best thing about your home town?
Well, I grew up in a small mountain town in Colorado. The best thing about that town is it’s smallness and cuteness. It had all these nice little shops and there were only a few thousand people living there. There was this true small town feeling. I also remember spending all day jumping from rock to rock in the river that runs through the middle of the town on a hot summer day. And in the winter during the ski season, you could hear the “booms” of the dynamite the avalanche control crews used on unstable snow pack way up above the treeline.
What drew you to FoxyProxy? Were you a user prior to joining the team?
I remember using the original FoxyProxy extension for Firefox a long time ago. What drew me to FoxyProxy was speaking with Eric, the founder and CEO of FoxyProxy, and realizing that we were on the same page on many issues such as privacy in computing as well as a commitment to excellent customer service.
How long have you been interested in computer programming?
You’re something of a baker, according to your bio. Do you have any feelings on The Great British Bake Off’s ‘Brexit’ from the BBC? (I also love baking, and this broke my heart.)
You know, I love baking, but I have to say I haven’t seen The Great British Bake Off. But now it’s on my list of shows to watch.
What’s an interesting hobby you have that people might not expect from you?
A few months back I heard about the health benefits of broccoli sprouts. I just started, but they are already germinating and soon I won’t have to pay five dollars for a handful of sprouts from the store!
Have you got any pets?
My one pet is a snuggly Australian Cattle Dog/American Bulldog. He’s really sweet, inquisitive, and loyal.
Star Trek or Star Wars, and why?
First of all as a disclaimer, I have only seen a few movies from each universe, not to mention the other media both universes have produced. Based purely on feel and my uneducated judgement on the subject, I’ll have to go with Star Trek. (this is the correct answer. – ed.)
Look, it’s a weird time right now. The world is going through some stuff and no matter what area of the globe you occupy, chances are that things are happening which are making you say ‘This is weirder than usual.’
Speaking of the internet and how private we humans are while using it, Firefox just released a privacy focused browser for iOS users. It will probably come in handy for our friends in the UK, after their own government just quietly introduced some very heavy handed surveillance legislation.
The bottom line is, we’ve been here for 10 yearswith the goal of keeping information flowing over all parts of the world. We fight for Internet freedom. We advocate for privacy, free speech, free press, government transparency, sensible copyright and sensible DRM.
We have been getting a flood of complaints about accounts not working in the last 12 hours.
We hear you!
Our servers are actually up and have been up this whole time. Our suspicion is that there is another DDoS attack on the internet causing general internet problems, like that big one that happened recently. You may have read about the recent attacks in the last week since it affected millions of people. Here is one story about it
These problems affect some geographic areas but not others. They also affect some websites but not others.
That is not something we can control, but please know we are investigating the situation and looking for remediation.
There actually is no need to buy a license, and you won’t be asked to supply any personal information to the BBC. All you need to do when you see the dialog box (see the handy illustration below) is click ‘I have a TV license.’
Another concern has been whether the BBC can somehow how figure out that you’re using a proxy. Don’t worry, the answer is no!
Once you do that, you’ll be on your way to all the BBC programming you know and love, whether you’re breathlessly watching Paul and Mary judging bakes on The Great British Bake Off or catching up on Poldark’s bodice ripping adventures.
A bit of exciting news: we’ve added Costa Rica to our list of available countries!
Costa Rica is home to the most magical place on Earth. The Sloth Sanctuary.
Check out our servicesand choose something that’s right for you. We have paid proxy/VPN service that comes with our full customer support and service, and we also offer free downloads if you’re more the do it yourself type.
You business folks out there should also know that we offer custom plans for a whole range of corporate needs. There’s a reason we’ve been around for 10 years!
Check out some recent feedback from our customers:
‘Rarely these days do products live up to the hype. FoxyProxy not only lives up to the hype but exceeds it beyond all expectations. Runs solid, straight out of a very easy to install package (VPN)’ – via Facebook
‘It’s been 3 months, maybe more, My Android signs in to Foxyproxy in 2 seconds, much faster than in the past. Not only that, but it has a faster transfer speed. I like what you are doing, keep it up folks. You’ll soon rule the internet proxy service.’ – via Facebook
Gawking at Gawker
Some of you may have heard about the recent bankruptcy via lawsuit of Gawker media. Some of you may have even enjoyed it a little bit, because let’s be frank here…Gawker has made some very poor editorial and journalistic choices.
Very poor. One of those poor choices was to out PayPal founder Peter Thiel back in 2007. It’s never ok to out someone who doesn’t want to be outed, and that particular editorial decision came back to bite them in the ass recently when Thiel teamed up with Hulk Hogan who was suing Gawker Media for releasing a private sex tape.
Thiel financially backed Hoganin his lawsuit as retribution for the piece from Gawker outing him, with the intent of taking the company down. And it worked, as you know. So what does this mean for journalistic freedom when a man with a lot of money and a grudge can set out with the intent of silencing journalists (For all the bad pieces they ran, Gawker does employ actual journalists and has produced numerous pieces of merit)?
Here is a great piece on why we shouldn’t be celebrating the downfall of Gawker. From the article:
The Gawker story is just as much about press freedom and the emerging threat of millionaires and billionaires … who are financially capable of destroying journalists and publications for nothing more than shits and giggles.
In the end, Gawker was shuttered after having to approach a media giant for a financial lifeline. Granted, this really was just the final nail in the coffin, as this piece details that there were possibly many factors to why Univision chose to shutter Gawker.com while keeping the remaining Gawker Media properties running.
Only time will tell what this ruling and it’s fallout mean for the future of journalists who ruffle the feathers of the financially powerful, and that is a potentially dangerous road to go down.
If so, you and a few million of your friends have been having fun exploring, catching Pokémon, and battling it out with other enthusiasts in the augmented reality geocaching tiny monster hunting phenomenon.
Awesome! Kids and adults are running around and having fun. It’s something we need to see right now, collectively as humans, because unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that a lot of things out in the world seem a little bit awful right now.
However…because this is The Internet you should also know that nothing will remain innocent for long.
You’ve probably heard that the Pokémon Go app is pretty liberal with your privacypermissions. Some of these make sense, such as access to your camera and location services which are pretty necessary for the game to work.
Some folks have been raising alarm bells over the permissions for this game, understandably, and it’s enough to keep a lot of people from trying out the game.
Our absolute favorite on this front, however, goes to Gawker.
Pokémon Go is a Vast Government Fueled Psy-op Intelligence Gathering Conspiracy!
By now you know how much I, your blogess (is blogatrix better?) love a good conspiracy theory. And this one is a great one. Ashley Feinberg of Gawker Media does a really great and pretty thorough explanation of why Pokemon Go is actually a Government conspiracy.
To break it down, she essentially posits that the ties which the game’s creator has with government intelligence agencies will allow the government to gather data on everything from your movements to mapping the insides of buildings.
Does this sound far fetched? Some in China don’t think so. There are already rumors swirling that the game is a Trojan Horse of sorts, a plot by Japan and the US to pinpoint the locations of Chinese military bases.
It’s a good read, and well worth your time.
So what do you think, dear readers? Is it all a vast Government Conspiracy?