News recently broke that the Metropolitan Police have set up a specialist task force to deal with online trolling. Whilst we can all applaud the positive step that this is, it’s important to ask the question: will this actually help?
The team has only 5 members, and with trolling a bigger issue than it ever has been, will they be able to even make a dent in the number of online hate crimes? What’s m part of the problem of online trolls: unmasking them.
There are a plethora of ways to disguise your identity. New laws have been passed to make it much easier to prosecute trolls, but none of the measures taken so far can solve the most significant problem. The advent of HTTPS has made it impossible to tell what people are doing when they go to a certain website, even though it’s undoubtedly a good thing.
On top of this, VPNs and proxy servers have rendered simply telling which websites somebody is connecting to an impossibility. Even on a basic level, any troll with even a little bit of sense would conduct their activities under a pseudonym.
This anonymity is essentially the root of the trolling problem – there are no consequences for saying the sort of shit that trolls say when nobody can tell who you are.
However, it’s important to note that decreasing privacy on the internet is no solution to the issue of online hate crime whatsoever. In fact, reducing privacy could mean that many legitimate uses of online security such as instant messaging and online banking become even more appealing to hackers and criminals than they already are.
In my personal opinion, the solution to the trolling problem is to trick trolls into voluntarily handing over their personal information. It’s true that this is much easier said than done, but the group Dark Justice has had success using a similar approach on paedophiles, which has so far resulted in 34 convictions.
Whilst trolls are probably not as gullible as paedophiles, they operate in similar underground networks and the weakest link in any online security today is the user; modern encryption techniques such as SHA-256 are so powerful that a brute-force attack on the information would take so long as to be utterly impractical (thousands of years).
In some cases, the difficulty posed by strong encryption could be sidestepped by working with the platforms used for trolling, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, often even these websites know nothing about their users.
Anti-trolling measures imposed by the sites are rarely effective either – Facebook’s rule against pseudonyms has served only to anger those in the LGBT community and, ironically, victims of trolling. Nobody at Facebook seemed to realise that no right-minded troll would use an obviously fake name.
Essentially, it’s pretty easy to see that the response to online trolling has been too little, too late. It seems as if those in authority don’t really understand the issue at hand, although I doubt I could do a much better job.
So the name of the eighth instalment in the Star Wars franchise has been revealed as The Last Jedi. Let's make some way-too-early story predictions...
It's common fact that there isn't a gender gap in gaming, as an Entertainment Software Association report claims about half of the players are women. But what exactly are they playing? Well, Quantic Foundry conducted a study showing what genres have a female monopoly.
Nissan has announced they will be the first car manufacturer to put autonomous cars on public roads in Europe – being cleared by UK Government to begin trials in Britain.
It’s rare that a gadget makes you smile - like, really smile with a simple intention of bringing joy to one’s life. Parihug, an internet-connected teddy bear that let’s you hug a loved one from across the globe, is one of those rare times.
HTC announced some new upgrades for their Vive VR platform - including a new motion tracker, wireless adaptor and improved audio. But is this new hardware any good? I went to their private event at CES 2017 and found out...
Another year, another tonne of TV announcements at CES 2017 - but what were the best screens out there in Vegas? I found out and wrote a feature for BBC's Science Focus Magazine!
Everybody hates Blue Monday - the gloomiest day of the year according to research. Well, let's cheer things up with the chance to win a Monster Superstar Hotshot: one of the best bluetooth speakers I've ever tested. To enter, just subscribe to New Rising Media's mailing list.
We all love to take pictures of the starry skies at night. But to achieve the same incredible astronomy photography seen on desktop wallpapers and magazines, it takes some incredibly expensive and cumbersome equipment. That is until now, as the Tiny1 reproduces incredible space pictures with the form factor of a smartphone.
Ever wished you could just shut out the times when your friends decide to watch terrible shows on the TV? Well, with Holosonics Audio Spotlight speakers, now you can - built to project sounds like a beam of light to the person sitting right in front of it.
Way back in October, I wrote a somewhat controversial piece about why the Nintendo Switch is set up for failure - highlighting some key problems the company should avoid if they want to stand a chance against Sony and Microsoft. Did they listen? Let's take a look at what they announced in Tokyo.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.