The Man Who Saved the Internet [Content Made Simple]

Issue #218: Creator marketplace on Instagram, extremists on Twitch, and more.

Daniel Kaminsky, Internet Security Savior, Dies at 42



His childhood paralleled the 1983 movie “War Games,” in which a teenager, played by Matthew Broderick, unwittingly accesses a U.S. military supercomputer. When Mr. Kaminsky was 11, his mother said, she received an angry phone call from someone who identified himself as a network administrator for the Western United States. The administrator said someone at her residence was “monkeying around in territories where he shouldn’t be monkeying around.”

Without her knowledge, Mr. Kaminsky had been examining military websites. The administrator vowed to “punish” him by cutting off the family’s internet access. Mrs. Maurer warned the administrator that if he made good on his threat, she would take out an advertisement in The San Francisco Chronicle denouncing the Pentagon’s security.

“I will take out an ad that says, ‘Your security is so crappy, even an 11-year-old can break it,’” Mrs. Maurer recalled telling the administrator, in an interview on Monday.

They settled on a compromise punishment: three days without internet.


This is one of the best obituaries I’ve ever read, no question. It’s fascinating because we really do have to thank Mr. Kaminsky for saving us all from apocalyptic data privacy failures, but it is just a fantastic piece of writing about a truly interesting and impactful life.


No pod this week.


Link #1: Internet industry braces for new privacy rules

Speaking of internet data privacy, here’s some reporting on changes afoot in that space.

The days of unwieldy internet user tracking by advertisers are coming to an end, sending the web's largest publishers scrambling.

Why it matters: The new online privacy changes are a massive pivot from the decades-long practice of selling hyper-targeted ads to users based on their web history. Many big web publishers rely on targeted ads to support their businesses.

Driving the news: Apple on Monday began rolling out its long-awaited app tracking transparency feature that asks Apple iOS users whether they would like to opt out of having their data tracked by third-party apps.

Link #2: Instagram is working on creator shops and a 'branded content marketplace' for influencers

I don’t trust Mark Zuckerberg or how he and his company plan to “help creators,” but I do think that a “creator middle class” is an inevitability. So it will be interesting to see how this works out.

Instagram is going all-in on creators. The company is working on a suite of new tools to help influencers make money off its platform, including creator shops, affiliate commerce and a “branded content marketplace.” Mark Zuckerberg announced the upcoming features during a live stream with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri.

Creator Shops would be an extension of the company’s existing shopping features, which allows businesses to sell products. “We see a lot of creators setting up shops too, and one part of being a content creator business model is you create great content, and then you can sell stuff, and so having creator shops is awesome,” Zuckerberg said.

Link #3: Extremists Find a Financial Lifeline on Twitch

Interesting exploration of how many right-wing extremists are thriving on Twitch.

Joan Donovan, a Harvard University researcher who studies disinformation and online extremism, said streamers who rely on their audience’s generosity to fund themselves felt pressured to continue raising the stakes.

“The incentive to lie, cheat, steal, hoax and scam is very high when the cash is easy to acquire,” she said.


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