(Reblogged from navigatethestream)


(Sorry this is going to be a long post, i would put it on read more however it is becoming risky to go to other peoples blogs so I have just left it)

I have collected as many blogs as possible that I/other people have proven to be blogs linked to the FBI/moneypak virus. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU FOLLOW OR ATTEMPT TO VISIT THEIR BLOG. I recommend noting down these names and blocking them all.

If you click on one of these blogs you are at a high risk of being redirected to a page claiming to be the FBI (or other police agencies specific to your country) explaining to you that your computer has been detained for one of the following reasons: 

  • viewing/downloading prohibited pornographic material
  • pirating copyrighted material
  • spreading viruses and being part of online scams

The ransom ware website explains that the only way to escape these charges is by paying a specific sum of money (from 100-500 dollars) through moneypak.

Obviously this website is fake, however it can be scary, especially when it doesn’t let you leave the webpage. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU PAY THE WEBPAGE. Paying them will not free your browser.

Depending on your laptop, this ransom ware can range from being annoying to being pretty dangerous! 

If you are a mac user you shouldn’t worry to much. Avoid these pages as much as you can, but if you do find yourself facing this nuisance just force quit and reset your browser. This should rid you of the problem (however I recommend using a virus protector to do a scan of your computer just in case)

On Windows and other computers it is more dangerous as the ransom ware can effect your computer outside of just the browser. It has even been known to turn on webcams!

If you find that your windows computer has been infected visit these webpages on a different device (or check the page now and write down the instructions just in case)

Now a few ways that you can identify whether a blog that has followed/reblogged you is a virus.

  • Blogs with these icons are viruses (or are blogs pretending to be viruses to scare you, i recommend not following them either, they sound like meanies).
  • If the url looks like a keysmash (random collection of letters and numbers) chances are it is a virus blog
  • If you hover over the blogs name and recent post are these or similar it is probably a virus blog.

Note that not all virus blogs have these characteristics. Some do not have an icon or appear to be completely safe. You can even catch this virus off of friends’ blogs thats html has been infected. It is a good idea to check your blogs html for suspicious activity and coding.

If any of these blogs follow you, block them immediately and contact Tumblr.

How to stay safe:

  • update/acquire some virus protection software
  • Avoid visiting other users blogs, even ones that have been safe in the past until this virus dies down.
  • Avoid clicking on blogs that have reblogged/liked your posts until this virus dies down.
  • Avoid following back until this virus dies down.

It is also a good idea that while this is going on, even if you don’t think your computer has been infected, to avoid online shopping or websites where personal information such as your credit card details/address/important passwords is needed if possible, or use another device to complete these tasks, just in case the virus is using key logging (the virus has done so in the past)

Don’t worry too much about this virus/malware/ransom ware/whatever you want to call it. As long as you exercise reasonable caution you should be safe :) If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask me!

Long post over

(Reblogged from tashabilities)

Digital Dreams and Digital Nightmares: Sexting, Cyberbullying and Sleeping with Your Cell Phone


by Megan Ryland


[Image: A white hand reaches out of a blank computer monitor towards the viewer. The monitor is superimposed on a bright background with binary code, lens flares and motherboards.]

[Content warning: bullying, misogyny, suicide, child abuse]

The Internet can get a little too real at times and maybe we would like to step away, but it can be surprisingly difficult to extract ourselves even - or especially - when things go sideways. 80% of North Americans have Internet in their homes and 56% of Americans have smartphones so the Internet isn’t ever far away. I remember talking to a classmate who complained about wrist cramps because she kept falling asleep holding her cell phone and it stayed locked in her grip all night. These devices can be life lines to close friends or the wider public space, but they can also become a constant presence that is hard to tear ourselves away from. I’m such a compulsive email-checker that I was hesitant to get mobile data for Internet use on my phone because of how constantly I thought I’d use it! Making this technology a legitimate part of my life means that the Internet is a space that I can’t abandon with ease. In some ways, escaping the Internet would be the same as if I just stopped hanging out with my friends at school or attending meetings at work. This constant, lived connection can present a serious challenge when virtual space becomes dangerous.

Earlier in the week, I talked about the Internet as a safe(r) space, but it isn’t enough for me to highlight only the benefits of having a new public place. I think it is also important to spend time acknowledging that we can make these spaces uniquely dangerous, particularly when we mislead someone to believe they have entered a safe space to express themselves. I’ve already addressed online harassment more generally, but I think cyberbullying has slightly different traits to examine, although there is obviously overlap and one person can practice both. However, these are personal definitions, rather than general or legal ones, so your mileage may vary.

I see online harassment as something done in a public way, often by strangers, and it is more likely a performance for an audience. For example, Anita Sarkeesian describes how her harassers coordinated with one another and created publically viewable, hateful images of her. Harassment may take place first in public comment forums like websites or Twitter, although it can quickly stray into one-on-one virtual and physical spaces, especially if harassers engage in the ever-popular release of private information.

In contrast, I think of cyberbullying as a more intimate or personal act that is often preceded by developing a relationship, maybe as a friend, ally, classmate or coworker. This strategy offers the ‘side benefit’ of getting the abuser close to their target for more accurately placed poison arrows. It is often more “up close and personal.” A cyberbully may extend into public forums and even recruit harassers and other bullies, but there is still the sense of someone shoving you in a locker. They want to personally contain and control you, so they don’t want you to necessarily shut up and go away (as many harassers did with Anita); they may actually want to stick around and keep in touch constantly. Approximately 1 in 3 teenagers online are experiencing cyberbullying, but few will share this with parents and even fewer will report it to the police.

The constant virtual presence of the bully is a new aspect of cyberbullying compared to physically present bullies, and this can add a whole new layer of misery to the situation. Instead of simply replaying someone’s cruel words in your own head, someone might actually just keep sending you the same message via email or text or YouTube over and over. You can be inundated with toxic messages very easily and if the online world was previously your ‘safe space’ then it is difficult to avoid a hailstorm of hate; you don’t want to be bullied and exiled from the Internet.

Another change is the ease of documenting private conversations and photos (like personal confessions or explicit photos) as evidence to hold against someone, and the accompanying exploitation of trust when these private conversations are used against someone. Blackmail has been around for generations, but the Internet is giving us new ways to treat each other poorly. The cyberbullying that results from using someone’s vulnerable moments against them is a new take on an old pastime.  

The impact of this new aspect has been felt unevenly. Although all genders engage in sexting, the punishment for the discovery of some people’s explicit photos has received much more negative attention than others. I have yet to see a news story about a straight boy’s inappropriate “dick pics” that isn’t complicated by other factors (infidelity, high profile, age difference) but I have heard a number of tragic stories about women, trans* people, and queer folks whose photos or online conversation have been used against them. These photos don’t need to be extremely explicit or belong to celebrities to make the news; it is enough to be caught in the act of expressing sexuality or a ‘deviant’ identity.

The first example that jumps to mind is Amanda Todd. Amanda was a Canadian teenager who documented the story of her online harassment, bullying, stalking, exploitation and blackmail over many years in a YouTube video in 2012. After explicit photos were obtained by a man who wanted to exploit her, Amanda Todd seemed trapped by the worst aspects of the Internet:

  • 1. Once something is online, it is permanent and public. It is almost impossible to get something back.

  • 2. People are able to access you 24/7 and there are few steps you can take to escape them (or their comments), sometimes even if you retreat from online space

Amanda Todd shared a semi-nude photo in 7th grade and she continued to receive on- and offline abuse as a result even three years later; the single event snowballed far bigger and faster than I think most people could have guessed. Many people have shared explicit photos in all sorts of ways (4% of teens will admit to sexting) without this kind of outcome, and they’ll continue to do so, but the risks are real for those who find themselves in a digital nightmare. Unfortunately, Amanda Todd committed suicide in 2012 after events felt too overwhelming to be overcome. Her story is told elsewhere online (by herself and by others) and, in my opinion, it is difficult to hear what happened to her, so I encourage you to seek out details on your own. However, I think remembering Amanda Todd also requires remembering the high stakes of Internet abuse. How real and intense what we call cyberbullying is. Amanda’s story received a great deal of attention (although not in time to intervene), but she is just one example of the many people who have found virtual space to be a danger to their physical and mental health.

The consequences of an electronic misstep or moment of vulnerability are unequal and they stick around. Addressing this problem is difficult, however. Youth anti-cyberbullying campaigns are stuck in a tough spot, because we haven’t cracked the code of how to stop bullies and we simply cannot control the flow of information on the Internet, but something clearly has to be done to limit the impact of cyberbullying. A lot of bullying and cyberbullying advice gives me heartburn because it has a victim blaming slant in its constant advice to control the target of abuse, rather than the abuser. This list from Cyberbullying.us includes practical tips like keeping your password to yourself and setting tight privacy controls on websites, but isn’t enough to just “protect yourself.” It isn’t fair to ask youth or adults to distrust every online interaction and act as if people are constantly trying to exploit you. We shouldn’t set up a system where living in fear is the only ‘safe’ strategy. This is especially true when that system is rigged to allot safety unequally, even if participants are engaging in the same behaviour.

Teaching youth and adults to take all kinds of bullying seriously and find it unacceptable seems like the most comprehensive strategy available right now. In fact, sometimes I wonder about ‘reclaiming’ the term bully as a more negative label; it would be a sort of reverse strategy from the positive reclamation of words like “queer.” We are potentially dismissive of bullies because bullying seems like a children’s activity or a phase that you grow out of (or live through), but many people can attest to the fact that young bullies in the playground may turn into older bullies too. More to the point, labelling someone as a bully doesn’t seem to hold the weight of calling someone a harasser, stalker, or abuser, although a bully may take on the habits of any of these labels. Perhaps this should change. When we’re talking about bullying, the social taboo needs to be stronger. If we address bullying online (and off) with the level of intensity that we devote to other negative social practices, I think we could re-calibrate the measurement for what is unacceptable behaviour. This perspective can support work to step in when you see bullying, to change norms, to teach kids, to build anti-bullying programs, to develop awareness campaigns, and to create laws and procedures for dealing with bullies. The message is simple: Bullying is not acceptable and it needn’t just be endured.

Essentially, by being clear about what bullying is, does and who can do it, we could answer cyberbullying with more than just “Oh, ignore them” or “Just step away from your computer!” Part of this strategy acknowledges that asking people to “suck it up” or leave public spaces is not enough and doesn’t take seriously a) the impact of bullying on its targets and b) the importance of the Internet as a public space. We’d never tell someone to stop going to class because there’s a bully. It’s a silly suggestion. Cyberbullying is real and it can make online spaces toxic, but the solution isn’t to log off and withdraw. As potential participants and bystanders, it is part of our responsibility as virtual citizens to create communities where cyberbullying is not welcome or tolerated. There’s no room for bullies on my Internet.                                                                

(Reblogged from thebodyisnotanapology)
(Reblogged from thebigblackwolfe)

It’s Better Together: Community Online


by Megan Ryland

The Internet is a new sort of community centre. Your parents may not take you there on Saturday mornings or after school to keep you busy, but it is certainly a public gathering place. It is a shared space and you meet people most often by sharing something or someone - a mutual friend, a location, a hobby, or an interest. Sometimes communities spring up in message boards about the latest gardening techniques, reviews of rare anthologies, or favourite sports teams, but they can just as easily centre around current events, LGBT support, or immigration reform.

Taking the example closest to hand, The Body is Not an Apology itself is a movement and community that has grown online in the last few years from a single Facebook post to a movement that boasts a Tumblr/webinar/Facebook/offline support group combo. Currently 26,438 people like us on Facebook and about 2500 people follow us on Tumblr. Comments on Facebook posts and re-blogging of Tumblr posts prove that this community is interactive and engaged, not a passive audience that receives whatever is produced. We have a thoughtful, insightful community that is adding depth and richness to the content presented. Without the Internet, we would not have this meeting space and would not be able to reach out in the many ways that we do. The ability to enable community and spread a message is astounding.

With social media, new platforms for connection are popping up almost constantly. For example, Twitter has supported new links between communities that are often established offline as well, but may be far flung or having their voices silenced. The establishment of a Black Twitter community has been a particularly strong example of community forming through the Twitter platform and making itself heard. Because Twitter offers a public forum for free, it has incredible potential for amplifying the voices that are typically silenced or softened by the mainstream media, especially when a community is able to act in concert, as when hashtags become popular (“trend”). I’m hardly qualified to speak to the meaning or impact of Black Twitter, but I think it has to be mentioned as a prime example of how a valuable and dynamic virtual community can be formulated, even in 140 characters or less.

Fan- and creator-driven communities are another type of group facilitated by the Internet, as people are given a way to come together in their excitement. Fandom has become central to many adolescent experiences of the Internet, but it doesn’t stop when you turn 18. Just wander around Tumblr for a moment and you’ll see the enthusiasm I’m talking about. It may be easy to be dismissive of “squeeing fangirls,” but these are communities that spring up and come together to put on conferences, coordinate events, analyze pop culture and build friendships, all motivated by shared enthusiasm. Fandom can also inspire other collective action, like the Harry Potter Alliance, which is a non-profit organization that focuses its mission based on some of the messages from Harry Potter books. They have successfully rallied many members of the not-insignificant Harry Potter fandom to actively join their campaigns for equality, literacy and human rights. The fact that online communities can create offline action is a compelling sign of their “realness” (interactions moving from virtual to physical space) but it’s also simply a sign that these online communities matter to their participants.


[Image: White text on a red background with a yellow many-pointed star. Text reads: “DFTBA” and “Don’t forget to be awesome”]

Another great example of a virtual community that has drawn very committed participants is the Nerdfighter community, which led by John and Hank Green through the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers. Beginning as an online video project between brothers, it has blossomed into a group of self-identified nerds (many of whom are young people) who are enthusiastic about “decreasing world suck” and remind each other to “DFTBA” (Don’t forget to be awesome). To this end, they try to use YouTube as a fundraising platform for charities every December and recently collected over 700,000 dollars to go to 20 charities that were voted on by members of this virtual community. However, most of the time Nerdfighteria (as the community is known) tends to focus on celebrating books, music, science, thoughtful conversations, silliness and nerdiness. As even a minor participant, I have found that Nerdfighteria has provided me with a kind of community and role modelling that I don’t know how I would even begin to find offline. Years after the first Vlogbrothers video, Nerdfighteria continues to provide incredible support to many people who have found friendships, encouragement, information, guidance, hobbies, passions and even careers through their participation. Community is a resource and the spread of community gives people more resources - material, interpersonal, mental, emotional - than they would otherwise have.

Some online communities are founded simply to be a resource. Although any website can be used for positive or negative actions, Tumblr can be used to build online spaces that ask for people to join in your community when you most need it. These blogs can extend community resources simply by reblogging a call for help. For example, http://tswatch.tumblr.com is a blog that focuses on supporting those experiencing suicidal thoughts through the power of online community. The blog alerts people to those in crises and followers will attempt to intervene by getting in touch to provide peer support. The effort is premised on the conviction that people’s lives can changed by strangers on the Internet. Sometimes, you just need someone to be there, online, offline, anything. Virtual compassion still counts. It is still real.

It is these communities and the resulting strength, resources and relationships that make me insist that the Internet must be taken seriously. To devalue what is done in these spaces benefits no one, and certainly belittles the impact that a virtual network can have in someone’s life. Not everyone has a community centre to go to, but if you have access to the Internet, you might still be able to find public space where you can belong. When the stars align, the Internet acts as a new place to find each other and find ourselves together.


(Reblogged from thebodyisnotanapology)


Since we fixed our IT issues, our map and database is back in action. This is a map of the missing and murdered Indigenous women across the United States and Canada. Each red mark contains the name and details of the case. This was created by Indigenous women for Indigenous women because our governments and media erase the large scale violence against us. You can submit a report and view the site at: missingsisters.crowdmap.com

And for more information about the history of the project: Operation Thunderbird spreads its protective wings http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/krystalline-kraus/2013/02/activist-communique-operation-thunderbird-spreads-its-prote

(Reblogged from tashabilities)
(Reblogged from tashabilities)
(Reblogged from tashabilities)



Today, Security camera clips that make the news usually show bad things, but here, Coke decided to “look at the world a little differently” in this heartwarming viral video. People stealing kisses, harmless soldiers, music addicts, honest pickpockets and potato chip dealers. Love, Attacks of friendship, friendly gangs and kindness. Unexpected firemen, rebels with a cause and peaceful warriors. A lot of crazy people, and a few heroes. 

I love this so much

Our whole world is surveiled

(Reblogged from that-misery-chick)

Virtual Reality and Living Online


by Megan Ryland


[Photo: Older, white[?] hands type on a silver Mac laptop]

When people tell me that the Internet doesn’t matter or isn’t real, I just want to ask, “Have you ever been there?” For many people, “virtual” reality is as real as it gets.

There is no solid line between the virtual and the so-called “real” world. I don’t turn into pixels when I sign on to the Internet. My personhood, personality, body and feelings remain just as real when they’re expressed in text or built online, unless I’m purposefully building a farce. Who I am and how I experience virtual space is still tied up with the facts of my physicality and offline limitations, although it offers a new set of tools to navigate space and establish identity.

I have the privilege and tendency to spend much of my life in front of a computer screen and, as a result, I live out a lot of my life online. The Internet is not just a series of wires and electrical signals to me (or a “series of tubes”). It’s one of my favourite places to be. Online space often offers opportunities to develop myself, learn things, make friends and achieve goals - just like offline spaces only without the trouble of actually leaving my house! (My desire to complete as much of life in my pajamas as possible isn’t the pinnacle accomplishment of the Internet, but it’s up there.) This kind of accessibility can open up virtual doors for people with limited mobility, disabilities, geographic isolation, or caregiving responsibilities that keep them at home. For me, it makes it possible talk to family, friends, co-workers and strangers across Canada as easily as if they were across from me.

Some negative aspects of human experience also translate online, from discrimination and oppression to harassment and stalking. The Internet is not a utopia made out of binary code - a self-evident statement if you’ve ever read the comments section on virtually anything - but we often take the barbs of the Internet even less seriously than we do the benefits. However, as we’ll be exploring later this week, the discomfort, disappointment, anger or fear that people experience online can be just as real as it is offline. Again, we remain people, not pixels.

If life happens online, so must love. I officially met my partner in a cafeteria, but really (if we’re honest) we met online. Past a shared lunch, our relationship first took shape over Facebook chat and instant messages and texts. Just words on screens, but the emotion carried in that text translated. We felt closer. And closer. While we hung out offline too, some big conversations between us happened online. Were they any less real because they weren’t face to face? Do all those long distance “I love you”s count for only 50% of the spoken version? How about 75%? It’s a ridiculous question. Most people now know someone who is dating online and approximately 1 in 10 Americans have tried online dating. Virtual sparks feel pretty damn real.

Often, I find that online relationships of any degree may develop intimacy faster than in-person meetings simply because you don’t have be to be so afraid of losing face. Being honest is easier with just that little bit of distance, and the lack of tone and facial expressions can force you to make explicit things that might have only been implied in person (at least if you’d like to be understood). In my experience (and your mileage may vary), there is a complex “realness” to speaking online that can be hard to replicate: who are you when you aren’t restricted by time, space, location or physicality? Online, you can be anyone. What then?

That’s where this gets interesting for me. In a virtual conversation, who do you become? And what does your body mean in a digital world? Online more than anywhere else, we can self define. To me, this is a place of radical openness. Possibilities are endless. People can wave their own little freak flag if they so choose, and they are likely to find others who hail from that same forgotten country. (Of course, this personal understanding of virtual space makes me flabbergasted by those who choose negative, hurtful or malicious online expressions or personae; more on this later in the week).

Multiple identities are also possible across different websites and platforms, giving us space to try things out and express different aspects of ourselves. This is part of the similar process of multiple identities or performances offline; your work identity may differ from your conduct with your family and be different again from how you present to potential romantic partners. Is one facet of yourself more true than the others? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Personally, I don’t mind accepting that code switching happens. They can all be true. Online, you may have different usernames or approaches in different spaces, but if you’ve met up with a friend you only knew online, you may be familiar with the surprising ease of transitioning into your offline identity - but it’s really not such a surprise at all, considering the fact that it was still you the whole time, virtual or not.

This week, I want to take a closer look at virtual space, virtual bodies and virtual communities, and how real they are to the participants. As we talk about bodies and radical love, I don’t want to leave out talking about the very space we’re having those conversations: the Internet. Everyone will have their own relationship to the advantages and pitfalls of the Internet, especially if they face issues of access - whether that’s for reasons of cost, ability, language or education - but I hope this week will act as a reason to think about why you’re here online with us. Thanks for coming. Pull up blog and stay awhile.

(Reblogged from thebodyisnotanapology)