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Happy birthday, Internet! Here are your lamest lifetime moments

Susie Ochs, Mark Sullivan | Oct. 30, 2013
Yes, the Internet has brought us closer together, but sometimes it's felt like surfing in a sea of dumb.

"[T]hey want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's, it's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled; and if they're filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line—it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."

Stevens had been a strong supporter of the interests of big cable and phone company ISPs, which wanted (and still want) the right to charge Internet companies like Google and Netflix megabucks for the privilege of having their packets of data delivered on a fast, reserved lane of the Internet, uh, tube. Meanwhile, packets from smaller, emerging Internet companies—which, of course, Google and Netflix once were—would be pushed into the congested, "best-effort" lanes. You can hear the audio from Stevens' comments here.

I got Rickrolled
For some of us, it came in an email purporting to be about a piece of bad (or juicy) news, along with an innocent-looking yet tantalizing link. Of course, we clicked through to see the full story, and the next thing we knew, our senses were being molested by a face and voice from the 1980s we had every right to expect we would never encounter again. It was Rick Astley lip-synching his way through the MTV-ready video of his 1987 hit single "Never Gonna Give You Up," an instant reminder of everything that was egregious about the 1980s. We had been Rickrolled. "Rickrolling" started in early 2007 on the 4chan imageboard, and a year later it went viral like viral had never been seen before. In early April 2008, SurveyUSA estimated that at least 18 million Americans had been "Rickrolled."

Is the Internet trustworthy?
By the mid-2000s, most consumers had grown accustomed to the practice of sending credit card information online. We sent our credit card data into the ether with the confidence born of childlike faith that banks, retailers, and other recipient companies would take good care of it. That faith was seriously challenged on January 20, 2009, when news outlets reported the biggest breach of online data in the history of the Internet.

Heartland Payment Systems, a credit card processing service, announced on that day that data from as many as 100 million credit cards stored on its servers had been compromised during 2008. The five hackers from Russia and Ukraine who pulled the heist turned out to be part of a worldwide network of hackers. In the Heartland case, they planted malicious code in company's networks to secure access to data for the better part of a year. Heartland ended up paying more than $110 million in settlements with credit card companies, banks, and consumers.

 

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