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Tag Archives: Internet

Chart: Where’s the Best Internet in Europe

Source : Statista

Video: Most Popular Websites Since 1993

《中国互联网发展报告(2022)》显示:2021年中国互联网行业增长势头强劲

  9月14日,中国互联网协会副理事长兼副秘书长何桂立正式发布《中国互联网发展报告(2022)》(以下简称“《报告》”)。

  《报告》显示,2021年我国互联网行业增长势头强劲,新型基础设施建设成效显著,关键核心技术不断创新,信息技术融合应用加速落地,网络安全保障能力持续提升,国际交流合作不断拓展,网络治理体系建设获得丰硕成果。具体来看,2021我国互联网行业呈现以下几点发展特征,一是以网络强国战略思想为指引,基础设施迈上新台阶。截至2021年底,我国累计建成并开通5G基站142.5万个,建成全球最大5G网络;我国IPv6地址资源总量位居全球第一;算力规模排名全球第二。二是以科技自立自强为引领,技术领域取得新进展。2021年,人工智能、云计算、大数据、区块链、量子信息等新兴技术跻身全球第一梯队;我国信息领域PCT国际专利申请数量超过3万件,全球占比超过三分之一。三是以人民为中心的思想为指导,融合应用赋能新发展,2021年,我国“5G+工业互联网”在建项目超过1800个,覆盖钢铁、电力等20多个国民经济重点行业;我国数字经济规模增至45.5万亿元,总量稳居世界第二;我国电子政务在线服务指数全球排名提升至第9位。四是以维护国家网络空间安全为抓手,网络安全迎来新机遇。2021年,我国网络安全产业总体稳中向好,网络安全服务市场快速拓展,产业规模约为2002.5亿元,增速约为15.8%。五是以创造互信共治的数字世界为动力,网络治理取得新成效。六是以构建网络空间命运共同体为共识,国际合作开创新局面。

  总体来看,2021年,我国互联网行业蓬勃发展,持续创新和规范运营正在成为行业发展追求的目标,中国互联网朝着健康、规范、可持续的方向发展。

  《中国互联网发展报告》是由中国互联网协会组织编撰的中国互联网领域大型编年体研究报告,是中国互联网行业发展忠实的记录者和见证者。《报告》自2003年开始每年出版一卷,目前已连续20年。中国互联网协会持续跟进我国互联网发展历程,总结现状、深化研究、探索规律,旨在为中国互联网发展描绘全新场景,为政府部门、行业机构、业界专家了解和掌握中国互联网发展情况提供全面参考,共同把握数字化发展机遇,推进网络强国建设。


Source : 新华网

Chart: Market Share of Internet Browser

Source : Chartr

China’s Internet Watchdog Tightens Mobile App Rules for National Security, Requires Promotion of ‘Core Socialist Values’

Iris Deng wrote . . . . . . . . .

China’s internet watchdog has updated its rules regulating mobile app development with stricter requirements for content and data protections, a move that could deal a fresh blow to the country’s developer community after more than 2 million apps disappeared from the market in a three-year span.

The Cybersecurity Administration of China (CAC) on Tuesday published the revised version of the Provisions on the Administration of Mobile Internet Applications Information Services, which will take effect on August 1, doubling the document’s length over the previous version published in 2016.

The CAC said the new rules will promote the “healthy development” of the industry. “With the rapid development and wider use of mobile apps, new situations and problems continued to emerge, which requires [the rules] to be revised and improved to adapt to new developments,” the agency said.

Included in the new rules is a requirement for app providers and distributors to promote “core socialist values” and adhere to the “correct” direction of politics, public opinions and values. App developers are responsible for content showcased in the app, and should not produce or circulate illegal information.

A combination of fierce competition and China’s crackdown on content and data irregularities has contributed to a steep fall in the number of apps available in Chinese app stores in recent years. The total number of apps available in April 2020 was 2.31 million, half of the 4.49 million available at the end of 2018, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

However, China still has a vibrant community of app developers, which Apple CEO Tim Cook recently praised for their contribution to its global ecosystem. The country’s 5 million app developers “have always been at the cutting edge”, he told a Chinese media outlet at the Worldwide Developers Conference last week.

After China tightened regulations on cybersecurity and data handling practices last year, the new rules for app developers further highlights cybersecurity and user privacy protection. The CAC document stipulates that app developers not “endanger national security and public interest” when processing data. Security flaws and loopholes must also be reported and amended soon after they are spotted.

App providers are required to be “fair” in their handling of user data, without forcing users to agree to data processing activities or refusing to provide service to those who disagree. All new technologies, applications and functions that can influence public opinion or “mobilise society” must go through a security review process.

The legal basis for the revised regulation include three new laws that went into effect last year: the Personal Information Protection Law, Data Security Law, and the revised Minor Protection Law.

In January, the CAC also announced a new rule that requires companies operating internet platforms with the data of more than 1 million users to undergo a security review before listing on a stock exchange overseas. Another law that went into effect in March tightened control of algorithms used by Big Tech firms to recommend new content.


Source : Yahoo!

Chart: The Internet Crime Business is Booming

Source : Statista

When the Internet Knows Where You Live

Cai Yineng wrote . . . . . . . . .

On April 28, Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter, announced that it would begin displaying users’ IP address locations on their profile pages and on all replies posted to the site. The company framed the feature as a necessary measure for “maintaining a healthy and orderly environment for discussion.”

According to Weibo’s official community account, the new location feature is simply another tool in the site’s battle against misinformation: a way to stop users pretending they are eyewitnesses or participants in major events. A March post announcing the update made specific mention of both the war between Russia and Ukraine and the recent spate of domestic COVID-19 outbreaks as examples of the kind of controversial topics the feature will address.

Displaying users’ locations or IP addresses isn’t unprecedented. Early forums on the Chinese mainland displayed users’ IP addresses, as does PTT, a popular forum in Taiwan that spawned the catchphrase “search your IP” — a reference to the ease with which posts coming from government buildings, public relations agencies, or overseas users could be identified.

But such practices are a distant memory to most internet users on the Chinese mainland. Since the decline of forums and the Facebook-like Renren, newer apps like Weibo, WeChat, and Douyin —the Chinese version of TikTok — have redefined users’ relationship with personal privacy. Although Chinese platforms now generally require users to provide identifying information such as a phone number when registering, the information they display on their profiles is left to users’ discretion, and anonymity has become the default.

This is true even of public figures. Weibo’s own CEO, Wang Gaofei, posts under the handle “Between Coming and Going,” and his profile identifies him only as a “mobile internet analyst.” This can have unexpected consequences: In 2015, Wang expressed surprise when his account was penalized for a violation of the site’s community policy violation by a Weibo moderator who was likely unaware of his identity.

Weibo’s tolerance for anonymity, combined with the site’s relatively open structure, helped turn it into a lively public square in which its 600 million users felt relatively free to exchange ideas and engage in bold discussions on social issues. It’s also exacerbated some of the problems of the Web 2.0 era. The platform has struggled to cope with a rise in abusive posts, trolling, and hate speech. Distrust and hostility have taken over the site.

Rather than view this as a trade-off for the benefits of anonymity, or as a natural consequence of the way social media brings people from across the political spectrum together, some users see a conspiracy. The accounts that disagree with them are not doing so out of deeply held principles or beliefs, but because they are bots or agents of shadowy political forces. These accusations have become more common in recent years, propelled by the rising tide of populism. The pandemic, which might have united humanity in a common cause, only made matters worse, as unsubstantiated theories about the virus’s origin and the safety of various vaccines spread like wildfire online.

This has produced a worldview in which enemies lurk behind every social media handle. During the recent COVID-19 lockdowns, for instance, popular bloggers and even some scholars have routinely accused social media platforms like Weibo of being compromised by foreign forces seeking to undermine China and its pandemic prevention strategy.

It’s therefore not surprising that some users applauded Weibo’s new rule. A few of the above-mentioned bloggers seized on the location tags to “prove” that people who disagreed with them were doing so from outside China.

Soon, however, it became clear that location info was not a panacea — not least because the managing of major accounts is often a transnational affair. Users were puzzled to find that Boris Johnson was posting from the southern province of Guangdong, while Russian figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Anna Shcherbakova’s account was located in the United States. A number of China’s most prominent nationalist bloggers suddenly had to explain why they were posting from overseas.

Weibo quickly clarified the rule, stating that verified accounts would be allowed to hide their IP addresses, provided the person or organization behind them has publicly identified themselves. But that only reignited the controversy over the privileges enjoyed by verified users.

On a more fundamental level, it’s naive to think that social trust can be rebuilt via a technological patch. Social media has no doubt helped amplify extreme voices, but just as scholars pinpoint the 2008 financial crisis as a watershed moment in the rise of populism in America and across the West, Chinese internet watchers must grapple with the role regional and international inequalities in education, job opportunities, and digital literacy have played in the deterioration of the country’s online spaces. Stigmas, discrimination, and inferiority or superiority complexes, many of them regionally based, are as much problems online as they are offline.

If anything, the IP location policy may make matters worse. Although international users are identified only by country, domestic users are tagged by province. Users can no longer escape regional stereotypes online. Post from Shanghai, and other users will write you off as wealthy and out of touch; post from the central province of Henan, and you’ll be mocked as a thieving bumpkin.

The situation isn’t better for international users, including the hundreds of thousands of Chinese students and millions of Chinese workers living abroad. Since it’s impossible to tell an overseas student from a foreign agent through their IP location alone, anyone posting from abroad may find themselves attacked and harassed for harboring ulterior motives.

Indeed, for all the company’s efforts to regulate certain discussions, Weibo has largely taken a laissez-faire attitude toward hate speech and harassment. In 2020, Luo Xiang, an outspoken law professor and popular vlogger, quit the site after a vicious troll campaign. More recently, a Shanghai resident jumped to her death after receiving a wave of messages accusing her of not giving a sufficiently generous tip to a delivery driver. During the Wuhan lockdown in 2020, a handful of anonymous but influential bloggers harassed the relatives of COVID-19 victims. Although they were suspended, the punishment lasted just 15 days and they were allowed to keep their verified badges.

Part of the problem is that it’s in Weibo’s interest to play with fire. The site profits from engagement with controversial content, whether that’s sexist comments by high profile figures or COVID-19 conspiracy theories. A 2020 data analysis by The Paper, Sixth Tone’s sister publication, found that the most visible figure on Weibo’s heavily promoted “trending” chart was Donald Trump.

Since Weibo introduced the new feature in March, other major Chinese social media apps, including ByteDance’s Jinri Toutiao news service and Tencent’s WeChat, have started testing geolocation features of their own. The moves come months after the powerful Cyberspace Administration of China published a draft regulation that would require all social media platforms to display users’ IP locations in their profiles. If that draft becomes law, Chinese social media may become a more transparent, yet also more polarized space — a development that ironically might benefit the platforms most of all.

If Weibo and other social media apps really cared about transparency and accountability as much as they say do, they’d apply the same standards to their own community policies, recommendation algorithms, and financial arrangements with advertisers. As for our own identities, beliefs, and experiences, they are far too complex to be boiled down into a single geographic tag. No one should be judged on where they come from, much less where they post from. Underlying the new feature is an essentialist worldview that sees everyone through the lens of “us versus them.” In the process, it denies us the very thing that makes us human: agency.


Source : Sixth Tone

The Surprising Link Between COVID-19 Deaths and … Internet Access

Keren Landman wrote . . . . . . . . .

Two years into the pandemic, researchers are still trying to understand what makes some people more likely than others to die from Covid-19. Although we know some of the risk factors — like age and underlying disease — others are less obvious. Identifying them could ease our current pain, protect communities from future epidemics, and point us toward some of the societal fractures we should most urgently try to mend.

One of the more surprising answers to this question is one that appears to have a relatively straightforward solution: internet access.

This March, researchers at the University of Chicago published a study in the journal JAMA Network Open that showed one of the factors most consistently associated with a high risk of death due to Covid-19 in the US was the lack of internet access, whether broadband, dial-up, or cellular. This was regardless of other demographic risk factors like socioeconomic status, education, age, disability, rent burden, health insurance coverage, or immigration status.

The study authors estimated that for every additional 1 percent of residents in a county who have internet access, between 2.4 and six deaths per 100,000 people could be prevented, depending on the makeup of the region.

The findings held more surprises. The trend held true not just in rural areas with sparse internet access, but also in urban areas, where most homes can be wired for broadband internet. That is, people who could get internet access in cities but either don’t or can’t are also at increased risk of dying from Covid-19.

“We believe this finding suggests that more awareness is needed,” the study authors wrote in the paper. “Populations with limited internet access remain understudied and are often excluded in pandemic research.”

Still, questions remain. Why does internet access seem to be protective? And would increasing it yield meaningful improvements in public health?

The answers to those questions matter because while the American marketplace has generally treated internet access as a luxury, the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that the ability to get online might be a matter of life or death.

America’s internet inequality, explained

Internet access has been inequitable for almost as long as there’s been an internet.

In 2000, when the Pew Research Center first began gathering data on Americans’ internet use, its researchers found large gaps: older Americans, low-income people, minorities, people with less education, and those who live in rural areas were less likely to be online.

While some of those gaps have since narrowed, most of them stubbornly remain. More than a quarter of Americans still don’t have home broadband internet, and the proportion without access is twice as high for those without any college education and those who earn less than $30,000 a year. Only 63 percent of rural homes have broadband access, as do about half of those living on tribal lands — even if they have a computer.

These inequities were not created by chance. In the US, private internet service providers developed the infrastructure for broadband internet access where it was profitable. As a consequence, many of the country’s most marginalized communities have the fewest, most expensive, and lowest-quality choices when it comes to an internet service provider.

As those access gaps persisted over the years, more and more health services came online. That left those without access unable to use telemedicine, or even easily look up information about health conditions. Over the last few years, researchers have started to see internet access, and in particular high-speed broadband, as a critical component of health — something vital for connecting people not only with health care, but also with food, housing, education, and income, all of which are considered social determinants of health.

Then, as Covid-19 pushed routine health care provider visits into the telehealth space, people without internet access — many of them already medically underserved — found health care even harder to access. Home broadband drew a sharper line than ever before between haves and have-nots; access to internet bandwidth suddenly determined access to educational instruction, economic stability, food pantry sign-ups, vaccine availability and safety information, human contact, and so many other resources.

Before the pandemic, broadband internet access was only occasionally described as a social determinant of health, but over the past two years, its centrality has crystallized. “Broadband internet access acts as a gateway to information and services,” said Natalie Benda, a health care informatics researcher who co-authored an editorial on the subject in the American Journal of Public Health.

Having broadband internet access means having access to education and financial stability, which on their own contribute to our well-being. The connections are so strong, Benda said, that the Federal Communications Commission is now framing broadband internet access as a “super” determinant of health.

There’s a huge amount of observational data showing broadband internet access tracks with other factors that predict health, like income, race, and education. However, there is almost no experimental data linking internet access with health outcomes themselves.

The pandemic provided an opportunity to accelerate our understanding of just how internet access is related to health because it exacerbated many of the existing inequalities underlying health disparities.

Linking internet access to Covid-19 mortality

Prior to the pandemic, the investigators might not have thought to include internet access as a variable, said Qinyun Lin, one of the study’s co-authors. However, another study had linked home broadband internet to Chicago-area Covid-19 mortality; that finding, combined with the team’s own pandemic experiences of retreating to life online, led them to consider internet access as essential in the Covid-19 context. The authors drew on census data on households without access to any form of internet, whether broadband, dial-up, satellite, or cellular. (Note: The study does not directly compare the impact of having broadband versus dial-up or any other category.)

In Lin’s study, internet access was the only factor associated with higher mortality rates in rural, urban, and suburban areas (the study also included measures of socioeconomic status, education, age, and other demographic risk factors). The effect was strong: In rural areas, a 1 percent decrease in a county’s internet access was associated with 2.4 deaths per 100,000 people. But the effect was even stronger in urban areas, where the same difference in access was associated with nearly six deaths per 100,000 people.

The investigators weren’t surprised to find that low internet access was associated with high death rates, said study coordinator and co-author Susan Paykin. But they were surprised by how strong the association was, and surprised by its presence in both rural and urban areas.

None of the other demographic variables the team examined — including socioeconomic status — were significant across all three types of communities, said Paykin. There’s a lot of attention and research put into broadband gaps in rural areas, “but I think that misses a lot of what’s clearly going on in suburban and urban communities,” she said. That means lack of internet access isn’t just a rural infrastructure problem. It’s likely a problem of affordability in cities as well.

Questions remain about the why of it all

Internet access doesn’t boost your immune system or filter your air — so what’s the mechanism explaining the robust relationship between low digital connectivity and high Covid-19 death rates?

The absence of internet access in a household can signify a variety of other factors that are known to increase the risk of dying from Covid-19: old age, housing problems, or difficulty accessing quality health care. But Lin’s study accounted for these characteristics in the analysis, suggesting the lack of internet access was the real source of risk.

Lin hypothesizes that it’s all about lacking information. “If they have limited access to the internet, they rely more on their personal network or their local network to get Covid-19-related information,” she said. That may lead to being influenced by low-quality information sowing distrust in vaccines, for example. But her study wasn’t designed to show why Covid-19 deaths were more common in counties where internet access was more scarce, she says, and more research is needed to answer this question.

New funding for broadband expansion will solve some access problems but not the root cause of them

The good news here is that internet access is a problem the US government has actually allocated money to solve.

In November, Congress passed an infrastructure bill that included $65 billion in funding for broadband internet expansion. Two-thirds of the funding will support the creation of infrastructure, largely in rural parts of each state, and an additional large chunk will pay for $30 monthly subsidies to help low-income households pay for internet access.

Smaller amounts have been earmarked for programs to teach new users the tech skills they need to use the internet, programs to expand access in tribal communities, and other initiatives.

That means a lot of the new money “gets funneled toward rural areas without access to what we consider basic broadband today,” said Ry Marcattilio-McCracken, a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative.

In many ways, that’s a good thing: Because rural communities have not been profitable areas of development for the telecommunications monopolies that serve them, infrastructure to support rural access to even the lowest-speed broadband internet has been woefully underdeveloped.

But the bill doesn’t do as much to address disparities in areas that have good infrastructure but low affordability, said Marcattilio-McCracken. Residents of many cities cannot afford an $80 monthly bill for broadband internet, even with the $30 subsidies the new funding would provide. And because the bill disincentivizes competition, urban residents will not have new internet service providers to choose from any time soon.

One of the most promising solutions to urban internet insecurity — and one the Biden administration initially wrote into the bill — is the creation of cooperative community networks. These municipally run internet service providers are able to provide higher download speeds, lower prices, and better service to city residents — plus, they are relatively uncomplicated to set up, and as easy to sign up for as, say, city-run electrical utilities, Marcattilio-McCracken said.

They do require startup funding, he said, but ultimately, these providers prioritize access over profit. “They’ve got a whole different set of motives in building an operating infrastructure, and it means building more resilient communities,” Marcattilio-McCracken said.

“Broadband internet access should be a public utility,” Benda said, especially considering the research linking access to health. It’s a need, not a privilege; that means making it as accessible and adjustable as water or electricity use, she said.

Will expanding access improve health? It’s an experiment worth conducting.

Researchers know the lack of internet access is associated with poor health outcomes, but one thing still remains to be seen: Does expanding access work as an intervention to improve health?

In the coming years, the expansion of broadband will at least provide a natural experiment to test this question. Regardless, the pandemic has shown that increasing access is essential for so many reasons.

Improving internet access now would have positive effects that last beyond the pandemic, Paykin said. Telehealth and online learning for children and adults are likely here to stay. “This almost surely won’t be our last pandemic,” she said, nor our last public health emergency. Whatever challenges may come, increased broadband internet access seems likely to help people through them.


Source : Vox

Chart: Where Governments Have the Tightest Grip on the Internet

Source : Statista

Infographic: The 20 Internet Giants That Rule the Web

See large image . . . . . .

Source : Visual Capitalist