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China holds drill to shut down 'harmful' websites

China has carried out an internet drill to practise closing down websites the authorities consider to be harmful. State run media said Thursday’s exercise was also aimed at forcing internet data centres to hand over contact details of website owners. China already operates a strict internet censorship regime. Analysts say it appears to be tightening controls ahead of an important political meeting later this year. Beijing also recently began cracking down on VPNs (virtual private networks) which allow internet users to circumvent censorship and surveillance. Thursday’s exercise involved officers from…

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Noted: The Latest in Web Design? Retro Websites Inspired by the ’90s

To navigate the website for Arcade Fire’s coming album, “Everything Now,” users need to click through a cluttered cascade of Windows 98-style pop-ups. Balenciaga’s new website looks as stripped down as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, with plain black boxes and no-frills Arial font. And the D.I.Y.-looking home page for Solange resembles the desktop of a candy-colored iMac, complete with QuickTime windows and rows of blue folders. Web designs have come a long way in 20 years, but some are taking a step back to evoke a sort of hipster nostalgia…

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UK plans age verification for porn websites from 2018

People in the UK will have to prove they are 18 before being allowed to access pornography websites from next year, the government is to announce. Websites will be legally required to install age verification controls by April 2018 as part of a move to make the internet safer for children. Users may be asked to provide credit card details, as gambling websites do. Companies breaking the rules set out in the Digital Economy Act face being blocked by their internet provider. Under the plans, firms supplying payment and other…

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Technology 

News and sports websites 'vulnerable to attack'

News and sports websites have some of the lowest levels of security adoption, a study has suggested. A team of cyber-security experts looked at the security protocols used by the top 500 sites in various industries and online sectors. They found that fewer than 10% of news and sports websites used basic security protocols such as HTTPS and TLS. Even those that do are not always using the “latest or strongest protocols”, one of the study’s authors said. “As time goes by, all encryption gets weaker because people find ways…

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