You are viewing articles in the series on digital citizenship, the way we live in a technology-saturated world, in order from beginning to end. You can also view all articles.

What is Trust?

by Benjamin Hollon
6 minute read

Life is full of questions: Who should we trust? Why is there so much untrustworthy information available? How far should trust extend?

This year, I want to do something different; I’ll be closely looking at how technology has shaped our lives and what you—yes, you—can do to be more in control of your digital environment.

Understanding technology begins with understanding how trust works—at least, how it should.

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Here's Why Web Privacy Matters

by Benjamin Hollon
8 minute read

Websites can collect a massive amount of data about you. Most people, though, respond to this fact with some variant of “I don’t have anything to hide.”

Keeping your data safe online doesn’t mean you’re hiding; let’s explore some perfectly legitimate reasons to keep your data away from websites.

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How to Choose a Web Browser

by Benjamin Hollon
9 minute read

Here’s an intriguing fact: though Google Chrome is the dominant web browser, with 63.84% of the global market share, most devices don’t have it preinstalled.

This means a large majority of web users intentionally go out of their way to download Google Chrome rather than use the default browser handed to them by their Operating Systems.

My question, then, is this: why Chrome?

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reCAPTCHA is Dead

by Benjamin Hollon
6 minute read

The comments on this blog used to get quite a bit of spam. I tried to clean it out manually, but it eventually became enough of a hassle that I gave in and added Google reCAPTCHA to the comment form and contact page.

The spam stopped. I was forced to admit that, for all my dislike of reCAPTCHA and the extra hassle it required, it did its job pretty well.

I was wrong.

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The Learning Machine

by Benjamin Hollon
8 minute read

Multiple times in my series on digital citizenship, I’ve referred to “Machine Learning models.” I want to unpack what they are and why they affect the ways we behave online.

I’ve written about this topic before, but I’d like to start by summarizing what Machine Learning is anyway, perhaps from a different perspective than that article did.

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An Introduction to Passwords

by Benjamin Hollon
10 minute read

How long is the average password you use? Eight characters? Ten? Are you one of those rare few who fit my recommended minimum of twelve?

Chances are, your passwords aren’t secure enough. A saying I’ve seen often in cybersecurity articles is this: “The only secure password is the one you can’t remember.” This seems paradoxical, but there’s solid reasoning behind it, which we’ll discuss.

So, let’s look at passwords. What makes a strong password? How do hackers get passwords? How can you make your passwords more secure?

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Passwords and Biometric Authentication

by Benjamin Hollon
4 minute read

Most modern devices include some form of biometric authentication: fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, or the like. Some passwordless way that it can tell who you are.

The device will also (almost always) have a passcode of some sort in case the biometric authentication isn’t working. Many people’s response is to put some simple passcode so that it’s easy to allow someone else to access the device.

This strategy is severely flawed.

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