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Enabling crime

Thursday saw the light of an unsettling situation, unsettling to some that is. You see the article ‘UK police to lose phone and web data search authorisation powers‘ is very one sided. At https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/30/police-to-lose-phone-and-web-data-search-authorisation-powers we see “Senior police officers are to lose the power to self-authorise access to personal phone and web browsing records” and as it ends with “an attempt to comply with a European court ruling on Britain’s mass surveillance powers“, this merely fuels my setting for Brexit. Yet it is not that simple. As people are shouting, screaming and considering how they are allowed, in rights of, and needing privacy. I stopped caring and worrying. When you consider the following parts:

SS7 hack explained (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/19/ss7-hack-explained-mobile-phone-vulnerability-snooping-texts-calls), in 2016.

Here we see “Hackers can read text messages, listen to phone calls and track mobile phone users’ locations with just the knowledge of their phone number using ‘a vulnerability’ in the worldwide mobile phone network infrastructure“. We hear that something was done. It is given with “Since the exposure of security holes within the SS7 system, certain bodies, including the mobile phone operators’ trade association, the GSMA, have set up a series of services that monitor the networks, looking for intrusions or abuse of the signalling system“. So guess what! It was not or ever solved. It is merely monitored, the moment that this monitoring number is tweaked; organised crime has full access to you. This is only the first piece of evidence that European Laws have been enabling criminals and organised crime.

And with the quote “Reportedly, recent security testing of SS7 by an operator in Luxembourg took Norway’s largest network operator offline for over three hours due to an “unexpected external SS7 event”.” we see clear evidence that the criminals are winning. I wonder if those extremely high paid judges are considering that. Because their claim “mass harvesting of personal communications data could only be considered lawful if accompanied by strong safeguards including judicial or independent authorisation and only with the objective of fighting serious crime including terrorism” has no hold on criminals as they are in it for the money, not terrorism.

So even as the Guardian trivialises the danger in the correct way with “given the billions of mobile phone users across the globe, is small”, yet these criminals are learning and learning really fast. The contact book shows them who is connected to important people (for example @RBS.co.uk or @natixis.fr), that list goes on for a while as the contacts are lining up, the tally shows that the value of that person goes up by a lot. And let’s not forget, this level of data mining can be done with most ordinary computers. So as they are seeking data, downloading dumps for later, 99% gets washed and 1% is kept on the computer. I reckon that 99% gets burned on discs for later use and verification. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai gave warning in an article on May 4th 2016 (at https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mg7bd4/how-a-hacker-can-take-over-your-life-by-hijacking-your-phone-number), here we see “In 2014, UK authorities warned that criminals were taking over victim’s cell phone numbers and using them to get into the victim’s bank accounts. Now, a social engineering expert is warning that taking control of someone’s phone number is easier than previously thought, thanks to a code normally made of three letters and six numbers called the Porting Authorisation Code, or PAC“, the consequence is given with “De Vere was simply testing this on numbers he owned, but if he had been a criminal taking over other people’s phone numbers, he could have done real damage. Once in control of the numbers, he said, he could’ve use it to approve bank transactions with SMS notifications, bypass two-factor authentication on online accounts such as Gmail, and do other types of fraud” and that was three years ago. So how many operators have increased their levels of security? When I designed the initial solution towards the UK NHS issues, the largest issue I had was to contemplate a new level of non-repudiation, that person and only that person could have requested the medication for a patient. It is that part that gave me an insight on just how casual the online banking security is and this has seemingly been the case for over three years now.

I do believe that security is on the mind of every bank, yet absolute security is an illusion so they resorted to the bank vault principle. They started to design time based security. When you know that burning a bank vault takes 12 hours, you merely need to walk past it every hour to keep it secure. Even with sensors and other things, bank robberies never stopped, they merely became very rare, or better stated extremely rare being successful. In this online efforts are pushed, yet the same issue stays. Now it can be attempted every Nano second by billions, the banks consider that and see the effort as working because only a few ever get through. Yet the end is not near. As given by CNBC (at https://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/01/consumers-lost-more-than-16b-to-fraud-and-identity-theft-last-year.html). Here we see “15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft or fraud last year, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research. That’s up 16 percent from 2015“, so even as the bank is not all in this, we see in equal measure “Card-not-present fraud — transactions made online or via phone where the cardholder does not need to present the physical card to complete the purchase — jumped the most, increasing 40 percent compared to 2015“, so this implies that 40% more successful actions. This gives us “In all, thieves stole $16 billion, the report found — nearly $1 billion more than in 2015“. That is just the acts of cyber criminals out for cash. The more organised peers are collecting data for other needs. Inside trading data, options to make large cash drops from intelligence, that is the game that does not bring $16 billion, that is the stuff that brings 1000% more, yes, ten times more than current. The issue of non-repudiation could solve part of that, but the banks suddenly become all about ‘customer care’ and not being a hassle. Because their flood comes from casual use with no extra effort required. Their existence is set on that and ‘non-repudiation’ is a more toxic thought for their KPI’s and bonus needs. Even the trivial: “thanks to fraud protections governing credit and debit cards. The mean cost to the consumer was just $48, down from $56, according to the report“, you see it is not the $48 that matters, it will be the fact that your data is out there that matters, when that is flagged the highly priced job you want will be forever out of your reach, because your data is out there and now we see “We warned the government from the start that the authoritarian surveillance powers in the Investigatory Powers Act were unlawful. It should be a source of deep embarrassment that, less than a year after it passed, ministers have had to launch a public consultation asking for help to make it comply with people’s basic rights.“, from an ideological point of view I would side with Silkie Carlo, Liberty’s senior advocacy officer, yet the other side in me stops this, because if the cyber world is a prison, than you gave the prisoners the keys, you made the prison staff vacate the building and these advocates are stating that they prisoners are still in that prison and the doors are watched. But these prisoners can casually go past every wall, tunnel and high rope out of the building never needing the front door and everyone is now in the dark on what is actually happening in that prison, we did not merely lost oversight, we lost sight and visibility of what is going on and that is also the most dangerous of situations, that is when the people forget that by blocking the government and openly giving this all to criminals they are merely shooting themselves in the foot, demanding that the NHS pay for all the needs, medication and staffing to keep them ‘active’, so as the ‘snooper laws’ are altered, the people are forgetting one part that the article is hiding from them. You see, there is a truth in “Restricting the use of communications data to investigations of serious crime but using an offence carrying a six-month prison sentence rather than the usual three-year threshold so that offences such as stalking and grooming are not excluded“, even as that is true, those facilitating for these criminals because they sold other items like routers and computers, those people are out of the race, they are safe and that changes things because finding those stalkers, paedophiles and groomers just became a lot harder, it will take longer to find them and collect enough evidence to make a case against them. At that point remember that the altered snooping laws just gave those roaches 3 times the span to do damage and do 300% more damage to the number of victims.

Yet that casual usage also comes with other prices. As reported in CNBC we see Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse stating: “Third-party budgeting apps, like Prosper Daily and Mint, also flag unusual spending and suspicious charges. Keep tabs on your credit report for new inquiries or accounts opened in your name, said Stephens. Free sites such as CreditKarma and CreditSesame offer free monitoring, and you can also pull reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. Pay attention to any changes in your credit score, too. “A significant shift in your credit score might be a heads up that there’s something wrong with your credit report,” he said“. So now we have to keep tabs on things we never needed to keep tabs on before, how is that any better? It might not be an issue for 80% of the people, but the 20% that ends up getting hit will be in deeper water, deeper than ever before.

That is a part we do not see and matters will get worse with the upholding of this European ideological agenda bullet point. It was a nice to have in an economy of plenty, but those times are forever over and the rule of land and law seems to be shifting, the question becomes in what direction do you want to see it shift into a direction where every household will be required to have some kind of cyber insurance? How much will that set you back? And when you decide not to take it, what will the cost be when you lose a lot more than the inventory of your house because you were on Barbados or St. John’s? It gets even worse, when one of your litter (I think you call them children) decides to Facebook their friends showing off their new fashion or cool item conquest. What happens when the insurance does not cover the house damage because everyone apparently knew you were out of the country?

That is less and less of a speculation, with “Posting pictures of your holiday on social media could leave you open to being burgled – and have an insurance claim invalidated” is becoming a reality. You see, the insurance companies will phrase it as ‘contents insurance limits the number of consecutive days your home can be unoccupied without invalidating your cover‘, apparently it is already in place in some places. This is an issue that has seen the limelight well over 2 years now, and many also state ‘expect you to take ‘reasonable care’ when it comes to security‘, the ambiguity of that goes beyond close windows and locks, it actually includes you bragging on Instagram that you got lucky and ended up blissfully satisfied 2,000 miles from home.

All these issues are now coming more and more to the surface and you do not get to blame the police for that, you yourself voted to give away the keys and limit the options the police had to stop cyber-crimes. It was all connected, you were merely unwilling to see that floodlight and very soon you will see the impact around you. In a world that is mere and more depending on a credit score, on online savvy actions and on knowing who you divulge information to, you decided to give it all to the criminals out there whilst stopping the police all in the same action. So in all this we watch whilst we blame the police and enable cybercrime with our thumbs as we dabble statements through a non-upgraded smartphone. That too is important, because by the end of this year (more likely Q1 2018) over 15% of the current smartphones in use (android phones) will have a phone that will no longer be patched or updated, meaning that at that point we are all open to new forms of attacks, bigger and to a much larger audience. You can read more about that in Tom’s guide (at https://www.tomsguide.com/us/old-phones-unsafe,news-24846.html). Yet, do not worry, the police will be there.

Oh, they won’t be, you stopped that from happening too. Well, good luck to you!

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Another opinion

Today is about something I read yesterday. It was an opinion piece in the Guardian. The title ‘How to stop Google and Facebook from becoming even more powerful‘ sounds all nice and sexy, but is that what we want? The subtitle ‘Banning these tech giants from buying any more companies would prevent them from entrenching their monopoly position – and help protect our freedom‘ is nothing that I am taking too seriously. The ‘freedom’ of people is too often being hindered by other means. The fact that IBM and Microsoft have had such places of power for decades shows me to be right to a larger extent. Freedom is a dangerous ploy to use to get things your way, but the players (not merely the writers of the opinion piece) have played this game before and they played it well. He has played the fear mongering card often and he knows how to play it. When it came to the new tax reform bill we hear “Kennedy believes reducing taxes on businesses could allow them the funding to hire more people and raise wages“, yet in equal measure it does not stop companies to pour it all into the bonus of the members of those boards of directors. So getting back to the Guardian, it is the part “a fundamental problem that Facebook and Google cannot solve on their own; these institutions are designed to gather vast amounts of information about every American, but they are not built to manage that information in the interest of those individuals or the public as a whole, such as by preventing Russian hackers from targeting propaganda at specific voters“, he mixes up a few elements and hopes that fear and anti-communism does the rest. When we see ‘not built to manage that information‘, we are forgetting the fact that they do not need to do this to the degree he proclaims, because if that is so, Facebook could have just given the data dump to the NSA, couldn’t they? The systems are more and more automated and the people decide what to like and what or who to follow. You see, Facebook has become more and more granular into finding populations on whom to advertise to, who to address and who to invite towards the groups that some seek. It was their version to counter Google AdWords, a freedom of speech that is protected in the USA in the first amendment and as such free speech goes overboard (like on steroids). The US did this to set up the failed dominos against Brexit, they went so far that the former President of the United States was stupid enough to speak out the political issues of another nation, whilst everyone knew that this was largely about corporate greed, the benefit of large corporations, their status quo now endangered in Europe. So how long until that same freedom is used by everyone else to push whatever agenda they had? That is the danger (or is that the consequence of free speech), because those liberals wanted to take accountability out of the equation, the people became entangled into a stream of feeble minded needs and rights in moving towards the waterfalls of too much data and information, call it death by spam drowning us in every device we have. It gets worse as we can often no longer tell between real information and sponsored words, they all use the same template and they all use Facebook to get their view across, merely because it is the largest player.

In this we get to the next part, because the story gets a nice twist, one that can be used against the corporations and against the US. You see with “how to ensure Google, Facebook and the other giant platform monopolists truly serve the political and commercial interests of the American people“, in this we see the countering by 96% of the population of this planet, because the US is only 4% in all this (this planets population that is) and as such any move could be used as evidence to remove all tax breaks from those corporations outside of America because discriminating for one nations will take them away from global consideration for all others. That was a stupid move in all this by those working for John Kennedy. As I see it there should never be a political interest, because you will always oppose 50% of that one consideration. The laws of no accountability took care of that part. There can be no political interest; there can merely be the option and opportunity to facilitate to any and all political needs and political information, in this digital age is there another way? Perhaps there is one but I am pretty sure that I cannot think of any that stops others in one way or another, which is the foundation of discrimination. So, by giving all the players in this a chance to show their case, and getting their interests across, we cater to some level of fairness. In this, there is no actual fairness and no real political catering, there will be merely political discrimination in one form or another and such forms of discrimination will merely hinder a much larger group of people to find the facts and to decide for themselves where they stand. This is the entrenched future of non-accountable free speech, and as for the commercial interest of the American people? In my view that is a group that is even more hollow than any other group. The commercial interest of the American people changes with almost every voice you hear. The bulk not in greed, but in support to feed and give their family a future, but they do not get to have a real voice. The voices that decide on it are merely greed driven and it is about their personal greed, not that of their nation. So by catering to ‘the commercial interests of the American people‘ they are merely catering to greed, unchecked, unregulated and outside of many legal settings that limits greed. That makes the entire opinion piece interesting because the piece in my mind seems to oppose what is good for the people. Now, we can argue that Google is slightly greedy by the prices they set with their Pixel 2, yet they are still decently cheaper than both Samsung and Apple, for what the people get they get it for hundreds of dollars cheaper than the new Apple X, so it seems that Google is catering to the American people by offering a top range device for a lot less than its competitor. How is that a bad business model? As it comes to data, the people of the world have been offered most of all of it at no charge, for 2 decades the people were able to search what we needed to find, in opposition, we see Bing (by Microsoft) to offer some limited version of this. A version made by someone who was better off being brain-dead at birth. By catering to the people by filtering through assumption we never get what we needed. So as I see it, the continuation of Google is a lot more essential than American politicians are comfortable with. For Facebook there is another part that the piece illuminates. The view of “For one thing, there is no doubt these corporations qualify for antitrust regulation. Facebook, for instance, has 77% of mobile social networking traffic in the United States, with just over half of all American adults using Facebook every day” is part of it. Now I get it that these people are merely looking at the American side. Yet Facebook has a lot more. When we accept: “Facebook has more than a billion active users: The platform has 1.71 billion monthly active users and 1.13 billion daily active users, on average. Facebook boasts 1.57 billion mobile monthly active users and 1.03 million mobile daily active users, on average” we see that the American population is below 15% of all Facebook users. America has become part of a global community and that is scaring the politicians in America a lot more than anything else. You see the people are starting to learn on how they were sold some cheap package and their quality of life has gone out the window.
Now everyone is out in arms and as Google and Facebook are largely truly independent the politicians and certain ‘captains of industry‘ can’t push for their personal needs. Now they are trying to take off the gloves and see if they can punch their way upwards. Their desperation shows even better with “Nearly all new online advertising spending goes to just Facebook and Google, and those two companies refer over half of all traffic to news websites“. You see until the early 2000’s the advertisement space was a joke, a few people has ludicrous prices and the papers lived of advertisements. People were often unable to promote their business because the prices were ridiculous, hundreds of dollars for a small image and a few words. Hoping someone would read it. Google decided that they could do better and they decided to make something affordable, suddenly everyone could afford to show their place and/or product for mere dollars, not for hundreds of dollars to a specific larger audience than ever before. In less than 8 years the print advertisement has become almost a wash, the advertisers are targeting THEIR audience and those others, who wanted to milk their systems for the maximum time are now out of a job, out of a business because they were all about the Status Quo. So now we see the writers of this opinion piece “Barry Lynn is the Executive Director of the Open Markets Institute. Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Open Markets Institute” advocating opposition to a world they and their peers created. You see the corporate world is a lot larger than these two players. Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Verizon and Cardinal Health. None of them are mentioned. This gives a more and more critical view that these two players are trying to get global visibility because their tune is getting old and tired in the US, or is that New America as they call it? And none are mentioning General Electric in all this. There are true boogeymen in America who are wrestling in on the American Quality of Life; the weird this is that is the one element that Google and Facebook are not inhibiting. So if it is truly about growing America, would having a go at the other players be more important? Well we can argue against that with the quote “Seven years ago, Google paid $700m for a company called ITA that provides software for the travel industry. The Department of Justice approved the deal on the condition that Google keep access to the software open to other businesses for at least 5 years. This year, Google closed that access“, so as I read it, the industry had 5 years to make something equal or better to the ITA software. So where is that software now? We have seen for decades that software can be vultured on for a lot less, but that always comes with an end date. So as there is no alternative, no new software those people will just have to go to Google. This is a simple world. You either have the product we need, or we get it somewhere else. Yet in the end you still need to bring a product to the table. We saw this as WordPerfect was pushed out of the world and MS Word remained. It was done to Lotus by Excel and the least said about the predecessors of PowerPoint the Better (although some were impressively cool and better than what we have now). Even in Databases, Access was the most inferior product. Now who remembers dBase, SuperBase or FoxBase? So this is not the first time it happens, so why cry now? In my view it is not about the people writing it, it is about the businesses who are now being pushed out of the market because the Status Quo days are over and the people want to know what is actually happening and they are more likely to hear that from Google and Facebook that they will from Bing and friends. Now I agree that there are issues on several levels and improvements are needed, but we know that this is work in progress. In my view it started a long time ago. When we allowed the glossy news from certain publishers go forth with innuendo and advertisements go through, whilst not having to pay GST (read: VAT) on their product, they saw a nice little loophole to gain a lot more. This is how some people like Rupert Murdoch really made a bundle. Newspapers, magazines and other printed issues. Now it is going Digital at 0.1% of the cost, so the numbers of players in this field are growing almost exponentially and fake news is becoming a problem. Not just for the people bringing the news, but in equal measure any support player connected to it and it is the first and most visible play on ‘free speech’ going over the edge. All because no one in America wanted to entertain the actual need for accountability.

This is merely another opinion in all this and you will need to decide for yourself if my view is valid or not. And before you lash out against Google and Facebook (something I have done in the past and will do so again in the future), consider, did they cost you money, did they ask you to pay or did they give you options at $0? Now we know they get their money in other ways, but it has not cost us anything. So why cry? It seems to me that the Open Markets Institute has its own agenda, I am merely wondering if it was about open markets or about markets for friends who are losing their markets because they were unwilling to move forward. It is merely a view I am considering. It is up to you to decide what you think is actually going in. And when you pay $650 (+$299 for Apple care in addition) more for your new iPhone , $650 (or $949) more than its competitor, what that because it was really that much better, was it because of some proclaimed open market or was it because of something else?

It’s your opinion (read: your point of view) and you get to decide!

 

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ULE can kill any e-firm

Yes, there is an issue, yet is it a real one? The LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-snap-earns-20170810-htmlstory.html) gives us ‘Snap shares plummet after Los Angeles tech company misses expectations‘. Now, there has in my view always been an issue with “frustrated financial analysts and investors by adding new features for advertisers too slowly“. You see, there are two issues right there. In my personal view, I have always sided with the ‘premium‘ edition of pretty much any app when the price is right, to avoid advertisements and I will dump any app the moment that there is a replacement app offering such an option. So with ‘new features for advertisersI will instantly snap to another app at the drop of a hat, any hat. You only need to Google: ‘Snapchat’ to see the impact, anger and frustration the users offer (loudly). So when I see “Snap hasn’t delivered promising results in its first two earnings reports” I am not at all surprised. In my view what was a great idea was suddenly bombastic and radioactive. So when the option “and Snap [at 173 million daily active users] can’t add 8 to 10 million” it is not a surprise, it is not even a mystery. With the response “That is why the shares are down — and they should be!” from Laura Martin, managing director of equity research at Needham & Co, I merely have the thought that this lady does not comprehend user base needs and desires. In this for Snap to offer a +$5 option and not have any kind of pop up, ideas and advertisements, any of them disabled separately would have been a much better option. For the record, the app by Jack Underwood named ‘Today Calender Pro‘ at $5.99 took 8 minutes to contemplate. So as hatred of advertisement goes, I am surprised that the equity research firms are not more up to date as to the needs and desires of the users. In addition, we can argue all kinds of directions, yet when we consider the Wiki statement “the idea was to create a selfie app (application) which allowed users to share images that were explicitly short-lived and self-deleting“, in an age where trust of stored images is at an all-time low, there will be debates and there is more than one user with the thought ‘what if’. In addition, there is the consideration on the need (read: reasoning) to short term viewing and deletion of images to some degree. So as we see Snapchat as a possible opponent to Instagram, where would you put your money? Now that Instagram is linked to Facebook, we need to reconsider where we put our efforts as a user. We might want to go with: ‘there is an app need for everyone‘, yet when the novelty warez off (pun intended), we need to consider the users that go with ‘One size fits all‘, that is where the first issue of Snap now lies, as the people are reconsidering their place in photo sharing. Some people who go with short term deleted options are optionally not part of a social sharing media type. They will also need ‘their’ solution, there is no denying it, but overall that need will diminish faster soon enough. In addition there is the need for the user to be ‘entertained‘, which means other options, more options and diversity. In this Snap might be seen as too much of a niche.

Does that inhibit the drop in value?

Partially yes, but in this the response “surprised that Snap added only 7 million users during the second quarter” is actually a lot less surprising. As we now see places that are setting the stage for increasing ‘engagement’ (at https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2017/08/10/7-tips-increase-engagement-instagram/#.tnw_DmOvDLuY), we see the evolving side of Instagram, whilst Snap strays and is getting left behind. In this, 3 of those engagement ideas are actually right up the alley of Snapchat and as such the evolving need of Snap and their app needs to be reckoned with. In addition, the numbers in the LA Times article shows that there are other situations, in all the loss of expected gains, which is actually not the largest issue, it is the actual loss and that it is off by $76 million which is a much larger issue. So as I personally see it, the need to adhere to ‘new features for advertisers‘ dwarves to the need to ‘switch off advertisement features for users‘ If that opts the setting of $5 for a potential 150 million users getting to a ‘plus’ or ‘pro’ edition would be an awesome alternative, because every day that this is not considered implies that Snap Inc. Is giving the market to whoever is giving the users some Snapchat++ option. The market is there for the person stepping in and as far as the news goes, Snap is doing something, but not stepping in and as such is losing the market and whatever market share they had, in addition, the aggressive growth of Instagram does not help Snap that much either.

There is additional information in the LA Times, when we consider “Of the daily users Snap gained during the April-through-June period, 4 million came from North America, 2 million from Europe and the rest from elsewhere in the world. Snapchat had 148 million users this time last year“, It is when we start looking at Omnicore, is when we get some interesting results (at https://www.omnicoreagency.com/snapchat-statistics/), the two that caught my attention are ‘71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old‘ and ‘Roughly 70% of Snapchat users are female‘ that is an impressive part, so when you toss away the advertisements, how can you cater to these two groups? The mere fact that you have 100 million users in either part is a lot more interesting; it is the market share worth enabling and growing upon. With ‘More than 25% of UK Smartphone users are on Snapchat, in Norway the number goes up to 50%‘ we see an even more interesting part. A part that could (if investigated properly), could see the need of the reference to the three engagement parts I hinted at earlier. So when you consider the options, is Snap even aware to the better part of their numbers of the needs of their users? That is seen even in more optional ways when you consider two of the fun facts given in this article, which was from January 2017. the first being ‘More than 400 million Snapchat stories are created per day‘ which means that there is a huge following and in equal measure more than one story a day per user is created. The second is ‘It would take you 10 years to view all the photos shared on Snapchat in the last hour‘, so there is a given one sided engagement, the question is can this be evolved to a much stronger engagement number that is two sided or more? The answer to that is basically a lot more appealing that the ‘optional’ requested growth of those 2 million users. It is the answer to making Snap the stellar grower Snap would like it to be. In all this the fact that close to 50% of the users is younger than 35 should be a clear path into engagement and facilitation. It is merely up to Snap to pick up the pieces and see where growth can be found, once they are there the ‘anticipation‘ of these analysts might get crushed in favour of Snap in more ways than one.

So where should Snap begin?

I always go with comprehension, know your user base and see what they need, no matter how that impacts other predictions or needs. If growth is the key need, than adhering to the users is the only way to exceed expectations of whoever seems to be wielding the stick of the analysts’ predictions. As I see it, they need to get there before Instagram and Snapchat++ give light to make Snapchat a mere memory, because there is no coming back from that, no matter how stellar the improvement becomes, for that places the User Level Expectations where it is not desired, with the other application that listened or offered the gimmick of the week.

 

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Das altes Deutschland

Yesterday, the Guardian gave us an article that is a dangerous one. The Guardian did nothing wrong, they are reporting the news, yet this news is reporting on a change. Now, the foundation of the change is good, you see, the title does not bear this out. With ‘Germany approves plans to fine social media firms up to €50m‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jun/30/germany-approves-plans-to-fine-social-media-firms-up-to-50m), we get to see another issue. It is shown in “The measure requires social media platforms to remove obviously illegal hate speech and other postings within 24 hours after receiving a notification or complaint, and to block other offensive content within seven days“, this is the beginning of a new age of censoring and it is dangerous. The terms ‘and other postings‘ as well as ‘a notification or complaint‘ are central in the chaos that might unfurl. So the people who gave us Kristalnacht, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime are now pushing this against social media.

Now, lets be clear, removing hate speech is fine. No one would oppose that. It is the ‘and other postings‘ where things get tricky opening up levels of ambiguity that we have never seen before. In addition, what validates ‘a notification or complaint‘? Heiko Maas, the German Justice minister is a little more clear when we see: “Freedom of speech ends where the criminal law begins” when we consider that the number of hate crimes in Germany increased by more than 300% in the last two years, we see why this step is becoming essential. Yet, now we get to the situation that Germany has laws that are a lot tougher than most other European nations and as such how will they implement this on a global system? Well, we could state that Germany has an official language called German, so if it is not in German on Twitter, would Germany be powerless at that point? Can Germany force direction of social media on other nations? These mere two small footnotes give rise to the problems of the implementation that Germany is about to make. Heiko Maas seems to smile for the camera in the article, yet will he be laughing when he is powerless to do anything voiced in Dutch, Flemish, Swedish or Spanish?

The second quote is “Aside from the hefty fine for companies, the law also provides for fines of up to €5m for the person each company designates to deal with the complaints procedure if it doesn’t meet requirements“, so what are the requirements? We can all agree on the repetitive mention of ‘obviously illegal hate speech’, we can all agree. Yet consider the following ‘mentions’

  • All gays are softies.
  • All lesbians wear comfortable shoes.
  • All Blacks suck at rugby (it’s an Australian thing).
  • The only good communist is a dead one.
  • Bundeskanzler Siegfried von Schweinestein hat entschieden, dass das Schweineknistern in München aufgrund der Hautknappheit in den Verbrennungseinheiten des Krankenhauses nicht verkauft werden kann.

So which of these are obvious mentions of hate speech? Where will the borders be drawn? The problem is not the need to deal with obvious hate speech, it is how the systems that were never designed for that reason be policed and monitored? You see, it is not the social media that is at fault, it is national legislation that failed the victims, so now, like an army of hungry swamp rats, the politicians will now push the onus onto the social media. It is a flawed approach to a non-working solution. So we have a flawed solution (as per day -1), there is no view on the procedures that are required to be in place and the issue will push into all directions no one wants to go in on the best of days soon thereafter. In all this another voice gives us ““Jews are exposed to anti-Semitic hatred in social networks on a daily basis,” the Central Council of Jews said. “Since all voluntary agreements with platform operators produced almost no result, this law is the logical consequence to effectively limit hate speech.”“. OK yet, this is as I personally see it still a failure of legislation and public prosecutions. You see, the biggest issue is that security on social media is laughable at the best of times, so we cannot even learn who the ACTUAL poster is. So on one evening I get nude pictures from Jennifer Lawrence with the request if I wanna stay the night. The next morning sitting in a lounge on LAX, I learn that her mobile was hacked (that did not really happen to me, but you get the idea). Non-repudiation is not there so prosecution is next to impossible. This is the failure that the EU is looking at and someone got the Germans to pick up the baton and run like a guppy towards a hook line and sinker that are merely a mirage. So I get it, we need to stop hate crimes, yet until AMERICAN legislation changes and makes Facebook, Twitter and others give over ALL ACCOUNT DETAILS to the prosecuting instances, there will be no resolve and the members of the EU, they all know that because they are supposed to be more intelligence than me (me with 3 University degrees). Oh and the next quote is funny when we read: “The nationalist Alternative for Germany party, which has frequently been accused of whipping up sentiments against immigrants and minorities, said it is considering challenging the law in Germany’s highest court“, so is there a link to ‘whipping up sentiments‘ and ‘challenging the law in Germany’s highest court‘, or are they seeing from the very beginning that this is a lot more than just a slippery slope. Any case opposed, any issue that goes to court will lock judges and court rooms for months, even years. Perhaps Heiko Maas would like to consider small legal phrases like ‘evidence’, ‘facilitation’ and ‘literary meaning’. The last one is also important. Because, as given in the example earlier, ‘All Blacks‘ is the New Zealand national Rugby team. You see ‘Fick I‘ could be German for ‘Fuck me‘, yet in Swedish it means ‘Got in‘, so what happens when the perpetrators start getting a little savvy and use languages in a phonetic way to spread hate speech? Perhaps you have heard of this product, for people who unlike me do not speak half a dozen languages. They get to use Google Translate, so are we still in any level of delusion that there is an easy solution to this underestimated problem? There is not, because the US does not want certain legal changes, they are abusing the system as much as anyone and they need the data to flow. They need social media to propel forward so that the largest players in the US can remain in denial of other issues hitting their shores. An emotional population is an exploitable and manipulative one. Many (also in the EU) know that and as such there is no resolve. In addition, the US will not like large fines to go to the EU, because as I see it, they are too bankrupt to afford to lose too much cash into any other directions.

And Free speech?

Well, that is just it, there will be an impact on Free speech, yet personally when it comes to hate crime, hate crime is no speech, it is not even free speech, it is intentional abuse and as such there is no real place of that in this day and age. Many agree and see that there is no real way to solve it or to dissolve it. Hate speech comes from fear, from inequality and from hardship. The EU forgot about that as it was facilitating to large corporations and gravy trains. The people have not had a decent quality of life for well over a decade and it is starting to show and it is starting to show in an increased amount of places to more and more people. Frustration, irritation, aggravation, hate speech, and hate crime. It is a slippery slope, yet the one part we see is that basically the data intelligence of origin of hate speech is also the first marker in hopefully finding a solution and more hopeful in preventing hate speech to erupt into hate crimes. For some extreme groups this can never be prevented so the intelligence should be used to see where it is coming from so that the extreme values can be dealt with. Yet in all this, in a decade of events, the politicians have no solutions, because they never set any budget for it. As their credit cards are now maximum withdraws (France, Germany and Italy), they are now faced with the situation that there is nothing left to work with on prevention. That is the hardest sell of all, they no longer have the level of funds needed to combat this all, as there is no real economy. It will return, but no one can tell anyone when and those who speculate on ‘next year’ have been wishful thinking the wrong numbers for half a decade. It was their choice of non-free speech and allowed for speculated non anticipation to grease the cogs of the gravy train and facilitate to large corporations. So what is this actually about? They know that their case is shallow as I see it.

As I see it, it is becoming a pattern, the Apple, Google and now social media are getting pushed. The EU is seeing that they are in deep water and they need to push others to start investing into Europe, Greece is not the only one in deep water, Greece is merely the most visible one. Now we see the three elemental players in this field that have actual wealth and actual levels of power. This is how I saw the Google push since the moment that ridiculous fine was brought to light. It is not merely about ‘wealth distribution‘ it is about ‘technology distribution‘ as well. As large European players sat on their hands waiting for the money to come in so that they could be with other alternative ‘bedroom’ consorts, the water tap started to give less and less, technology passed them by. Translators found that 50% of the work was gone because Google Translate can get a lot done, Market research is fusing more and more and as all the small players are gone, they realise that there are no alternatives for a lot of them. now as data streams into the two larger players Azure and Google clouds, the others are now in a stage of being fearful, the largest technology pillar has only a few large players and none of them are European, this is already a worry and even as Europe still has large pharmaceuticals, yet what happens in the next decade, or better what happens 2029 as large batches of patents will be at the end and generic medication gets a free hand in tripling their market share?

Forbes gives us (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/06/26/how-technology-will-change-over-the-next-decade/#23427f3f3d84) a link here. There is the quote “What could a self-driving Salesforce look like? On the sales rep side, input of activity could happen automatically. The system may source and prioritize leads that have high likelihood of closing, automatically draft correspondence for these leads, and then reach out to them in the most appropriate channels (chat, email, etc). Then it’ll go back and forth with these leads to drive them down the funnel. A human may get involved when the machine is uncertain or when it’s time for the sales rep to take the potential customers out to dinner“, now consider the issues that Joanne Chen, Partner at Foundation Capital makes.

  • A data set that is truly unique. I believe unique data sets are increasingly rare.
  • The scale of data is proprietary. For example, LinkedIn has one of the largest resume books in the world. Is each profile individually unique? Not necessarily, but the scale is proprietary
  • The weight of data network relationships is proprietary, the links between the relations are everything.

Social media is on all three here, the LinkedIn example is pretty unique here, but 2 and 3 are showing you why the EU is going after Google, its PageRank is unique, when visionaries should have been active, they decided to fill their pockets as fast as they could. Now, after 20 years Google’s strategy is paying off, they are in charge and even as the patent will run out soon, it will be a trillion dollar company before that happens, which means that the EU has no chances of growing its economic industry to the degree it desperately needs. Three might merely be Facebook, but the Internet of things will be really about relationships and 5G is coming, it sets the EU back by a lot, whilst places like Facebook and Google will merely accelerate the business they have. The first one is indicative of the visibility that unique datasets are so rare; most of us will see the bulk of data as a repetition of products, X, Y and Z, or a combination thereof.

The solution I designed to solve the NHS issue is merely a solution to issues show in the mid 80’s, I merely recognised that in regards to the NHS, all horses are currently pointing in the wrong direction.

In all this, free speech and hate crimes are merely elements in a much larger pie. For sure, the hate speech needs to be resolved, yet the path the Germans are on seems to be merely presentational, a non-sensational way of trying to beat some people over the heads with the message: ‘do this or else‘, we have waited long enough. The ‘14 months of discussion with major social media companies had made no significant progress‘ is evidence of that.

Still on the larger perspective how much hate speech is there? Is the mention: ‘You a slag and a whore and I is going to get you‘ hate speech? Yes, likely, yet now the perspective as this is a 17 year old girl who lost her boyfriend to the other girl, is it still actual hate speech? As my degrees do not involve psychology, I will refrain from stating a sound ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in this case. So could Twitter of Facebook? Now consider that this happens to tens of thousands of girls (and boys) on a nearly daily basis. How will these procedures be implemented or enforced and more important, have we crossed the free speech line too far? I cannot say, because I feel uncertain and I know that people a lot more intelligent and expert in that field are exactly where I am as well. The algorithm that can spot this will be worth billions and as Google has a Google translate, they might have something in the works at some stage I reckon (speculative remark).

So as we see Germany in action over hate speech, we need to consider not that they are wrong, but we need to consider why they could not be right. The world is already ta little too complex on a national level, so considering this more global is almost a non-issue because it lacks certain levels of realistic application. It is not the 20 rules that apply; it will be drowned by the 25,000 exceptions to every rule. It is linguistically the issue of language one having 25,000 rules and 20 exceptions, whilst language 2 has 20 rules and 25,000 exceptions. The mere realisation of this with only 2 languages, whilst Europe has more than a dozen official languages, that is just the first stepping stone. Germany, and specifically Heiko Maas knew this from the very beginning.

 

 

 

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Privacy v parents

Todays event is giving an interesting application of the law. The issue is actually a lot harder and the impact on Facebook could be severe in the near future. The title ‘Parents lose appeal over access to dead girl’s Facebook account‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/31/parents-lose-appeal-access-dead-girl-facebook-account-berlin) is something that will be discussed for some time to come. You see, the issue is not as simple as some are trying to make it out to be and your own point of view regarding the matter will influence your viewpoint too. So let’s get started.

The subtitle gets to one side of the matter: ‘Berlin court rules parents of 15-year-old, who want to know if she was being bullied, cannot see her chat history‘. Here we see the approach of privacy, the 15-year-old can release this to the parents, but guess what, the 15-year-old girl is dead, deceased, no longer able to make active decisions. We can see “the parents of the teenager, who died in 2012 after falling in front of an underground train, had no claim to access her details or chat history.” Yup that’s a period at the end! You see, is this about privacy of the individual, or is this a minor? The interesting side here, especially when considering the so called united EU nations, the age of consent differs and in Germany the age of consent is 14. I am taking this number as we read in German law (in most nations) the term ‘capacity for sexual self-determination‘, it is the ‘self-determination‘ that matters. The application of Jus Cogens is a cardinal principle in international law. Here we see the ‘the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference‘, the application of consent is not exactly the same, but more important shows the clear age definition, and in addition the impact of being ‘an adult’. As such, the adult 15-year-old has the outspoken right to privacy and a parent cannot overrule it. Here is also the issue about digital inheritance. Can death overrule your right to privacy? Let’s take a really rude example, can any perv freely distribute the consensual porn pics of your mum? Where is the right of self determination, the right of privacy (as she never released these photos in life, can the end of that change this?), what if she sets that out in her will for those digital libraries to be released? It is a very slippery slope when we see interference and censoring here beyond the normal scope of the law. and Digital inheritance is not part of the normal scope of the law. The German court took another point of view. They went with “The court said it had made the ruling according to the telecommunications secrecy law which precludes heirs from viewing the communications of a deceased relative with a third party“, is that not an interesting point of view? It is basically another handle on privacy, yet what if that part is defined in her will (if she had one). Technologically speaking, the fact that the parents could not unlock the phone, or try to access her accounts via another path is also a question that is in my mind. I find it pretty normal that a parent wants to learn whether their child was bullied to death. Is it not interesting that the Deutsche Polizei is not all over that? The next part is actually the most disturbing part: “The girl had reportedly given her mother the login details to her account when she was 14 but the company, having been informed of the girl’s death by one of her Facebook friends, froze or “memorialised” her account. The move meant that photos and posts the girl had shared remained visible, and friends could pay tribute to her, but it was no longer possible to log in to the account“. the ‘having been informed of the girl’s death by one of her Facebook friends‘. How was this verified? You see, we see enormous delays on inappropriate and extremist materials, yet death of a social poster seems to have been almost instantaneous. A slight assumption (and exaggeration) on my side, as there is no clear timeline here.

It is the next part that puts Facebook in a proper bad light, one that their marketing division will require months to address, in addition, how many parents will make a move to deny or demand that non-adults between 14 and age of consent will end up having to remove their accounts? The parents can simply state: ‘No Facebook, or you have to pay for your mobile yourself‘, that should change the issue right proper and quick. You see the quote “Facebook has refused to say who applied for the account to be frozen, also citing data protection. The person who lodged the request would have had to provide Facebook with proof that the girl had died

So if there has been an actual lodging, and if that was a school ‘friend‘ we can also speculate in equal ways that it is not impossible that Facebook gave active assistance to a murderer. It is interesting how Facebook skated away from that danger, so with the anti-social-media wave at present, there is a decent chance that Facebook just made matters worse for themselves and for other social media providers. The second blunder we see from the Facebook teams is “They argue that the conversations would have taken place on the understanding that their content remained private“, which is only a correct stance to have when it does not involve criminal activities and cyber bullying is actually a crime. H.R. 1966 (111th congress), gives us “Chapter 41 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:“, and the added part that matters gives us:
(a) 
Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behaviour, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both“, so by facilitating this, Facebook has already created an issue in the US, yet it is not in Germany. In EU, only Spain became evolved enough to include cyberbullying in their penal code. Which is interesting as the Facebook actions would differ per nations, which could also now imply that facilitation for cyber bullies is an actual possibility in Europe. From these points alone, we could state that Facebook did not act illegal, or legally wrong, they were however extremely silly in pushing the buttons in court to the extent they did. Björn Retzlaff, the judge who ruled in Berlin did so on the sound foundations as stated in the telecommunications secrecy law, which has elements for phone, email and internet chats. There is a shallow path the judge walked on and it is not shallow by the actions, but shallow by the defining laws that herald the right of privacy above the need to consider the prosecution of criminals. It is a shallow and slippery path to be on and Facebook might have been better off by assigning a specialist team to that request to at least consider the test whether a criminal path had been or had not been walked. By freezing the account, the parents were left in an empty space that large corporations are now slamming shut like the jail cell that could contain the possible murderer. You see, it is more than just privacy versus inheritance. When we start seeing the Facebook accounts and the ‘owner’ of the account has mental health issues, Facebook will find itself in even more deep water. In addition, the legal issues that we see with Doli incapax and Parens patriae. In addition, consider the application of the Hart–Scott–Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, as we see it in 15 U.S.C. § 18a. Now consider the application on it when we go towards “Title III of the Act[8] allows attorney generals of states to sue companies in federal court for monetary damages under antitrust laws. as parens patriae, on behalf of their citizens“. Now, you might think that this is a joke. But it is not. As we see Vlogging and Youtube Channels set to higher and higher values under commercialisation, the incomes and rewards really go through the roof, some Vloggers are now getting amounts that a decent amount of CEO’s would go crazy for. What happens when Facebook suddenly interferes with that? and this is not a local thing, this issue could go global, which is an additional issue Facebook can face. Especially as the timeline for freezing is not known, additional questions are here. We can debate the legality of the parents having the account access, especially as you are not supposed to share login details, but in the larger side of things that one item seems small and could have prevented a few things for Facebook.

the weak response from Facebook: “At the same time we are sympathetic towards the family and respect their wish. We are making every effort to find a solution which helps the family at the same time as protecting the privacy of third parties who are also affected by this.“, it is weak, because the part ‘Facebook has refused to say who applied for the account to be frozen‘, that answer alone could solve a few issues. The most adamant of issues being ‘was there intent to avoid criminal prosecution‘. I got there in the easiest way. If the freezer account is also the account linked to the same IP address of the bully, we have the problem in the open (bad for Facebook).

There are other issues, yet there are too many instances of ridiculous statements from tabloids, yet I have to say that in this instance the Daily Mail used a lewd call link to what is actually a really good article (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4531934/Facebook-lets-teenagers-porn.html). The quote “Facebook has pledged to hire more staff, but politicians and charities said stricter guidelines were needed“, so how charities enter the equation? In addition to a reference to politicians, where I would prefer to see their names. As the past have shown that some of these complaining politicians seem to be ‘talked to’ to by members of the clergy who could be looking for sextertainment in the choir section a few hours later. The reference could be found in John 12, Mark 9 and Luke 11 (source: Jimmy Carr). The question is not just how many more staff members to hire and where to place them, there is an increasing need for non-repudiation. If you are adult enough to slag-bitch-harass a young girl to death, you get to be sentenced as an adult in court. The issue is that the law (on a global scale) have failed victims for the longest time. One of the clearest cases of failure was in Canada, where in November 2011, Rehtaeh Parsons committed suicide after she was gang raped (17 months earlier) and subsequent of the Sexual assault was non stop bullied via social media. The Milton-Pepler paper, which might be laughingly be regarded as an ‘inquiry‘ stated: “One conclusion of the report was that Nova Soctian schools “need to do a better job preventing harassment and sexual aggression”“, I would state that “the Cole Harbour District High School had failed their student in distress and in clear danger, under psychic assault has failed their student in need 100%. By not taking the dangers serious and by not properly acting in regards to the need of criminal prosecution, in addition, according to sources, the RCMP did equally not act to the degree they should have and it was only 3 years later that the first boy involved was conditionally discharged with a one-year probation“. It is the mere existence of these failures that require different steps. The acts are growing more and more, more often than not to create their fame or infamy through recognition on social media. Censoring has not been a viable solution for a few years. It is not just the Canadian Parsons case, it is the fact that for every case that does make it to the light of the beholders, there are hundreds of cases that do not even make it to the visibility of the media or courts. As there are now years of events on a global scale, the need of acceptance that accountholders need to be hold accountable for these transgressions become even more important. When their mobile and mobile number gets barred from social media channels for life, people tend to take better care of the words spoken. Ask yourself, how many people leave their car keys on the bar? How many walk out leaving their doors open (OK, that actually happens on a daily basis in Canada), yet the message should be clear, we need alteration of the rules, not of the freedom of speech, but of the accountability of the media you engage with (both press and people). We will always understand that when you are young, you will state things on the wrong moment, events happen, no one will deny it, yet as we see a growing number of events of clear bullying and cyber harassment a new line can be drawn. One that could lower the events. In equal measure there is an increasing chance that those people will seek other venues to propel their vitriolic thoughts, and it will never go away completely, but as the curve goes down, the resources in use could be used to seek new paths in confronting those transgressors, and perhaps find new ways to protect the victims as well.

Whatever is happening now, is as that German couple feels, that the law has been screwing them over massively and in their case there were other legal issues and those will remain; yet as those events are countered one by one, the amount of extraordinary cases with legal uniqueness will also diminish, making the field cleaner and much more clear.

Have a great day and consider to be nice to one another.

 

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Opposed to Fry

The Guardian placed an interesting piece regarding Stephen Fry. This is a good thing, it is always nice to see the point of view of a truly intelligent person, even if I do not entirely agree. This is what happens in an intelligent world, one gives a good point of view and the second person opposes it, or agrees with it. In a true interactive dialogue, the problems of the world could be solved in such manner, which is why it tends to be really sad when politicians avoid that approach slightly too often. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/28/stephen-fry-facebook-and-other-platforms-should-be-classed-as-publishers) gives a few nice gems to start with: “Stephen Fry has called for Facebook and other “aggregating news agencies” to be reclassified as publishers in order to stop fake news and online abuse spreading by making social media subject to the same legal responsibilities as traditional news websites“, this is a good start, but here is also the foundation of my disagreement.

You see ‘Facebook and other “aggregating news agencies”‘ gives us a point, in my view Facebook is not an aggregating news agency. It is a social media outlet and as such, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, Reuters, CNN and a whole host of other providers push their articles to Facebook, often just a small eye catcher with a link to their web page. People can use ‘like‘ and ‘follow‘ and as such the news appears on their time line. This is mere facilitation. Do not get me wrong, Stephen Fry makes good points. In my opposition I would state that it makes more sense to go after the tabloids. Until they clean up their act with the innuendo and their not ‘fake’ but ‘intentional misrepresented‘ news, news that is miscommunicated in such ways to create emotional waves. They need to lose their 0% VAT option, that should be reserved for ACTUAL NEWSPAPERS. You see, these tabloids also use the social media as a projecting outlet. In all this Facebook merely facilitates. The second quote is “Fry accused social media platforms of refusing to “take responsibility for those dangerous, defamatory, inflammatory and fake items whose effects will have legal consequences for traditional printed or broadcast media, but which they can escape”“, I find it a lot harder to disagree with, although, when was the last time tabloids were actually truly fined to a realistic amount, an amount where the fine is set to the revenue of a week of published papers? You see when you have 2 billion users, you will get waves of fake news, or false information. There are no numbers, but consider that with 2 billion users, you are looking at 250 million to 1 billion added events per day, how can this be policed? Now, algorithms to police the use of certain words and that could help to some degree, yet the abusers of the social media system are getting clued in too. So they are getting good at avoiding triggering the software by avoiding words that flags them. In addition, when it is done via fake accounts, how can anything be stopped?

Fry makes a good case, yet I think he is not seeing the scope and amount of data involved. In addition, we see “At the moment, they are evading responsibility for their content as they can claim to be platforms, rather than publishers. Given that they are now a major source of news for 80% of the population, that is clearly an absurd anomaly“, he is completely correct, yet the users of Facebook have the option to not watch it or to not accept it on their timeline. Doesn’t that make it a choice of freedom for the users of Facebook? I have in the past needed to block content from a ‘so called‘ friend, merely because of the amount of BS he was forwarding. It was fixed with a mere click of the button. This is not an opposition towards the point Stephen Fry is making, but an answer on how some people could deal with it. In this equation we have the number of people on Facebook, there is a variable that takes into account the amount of BS we get from tabloids, and you better believe that they are active, via ‘stories’ and via advertisement. The advanced options of granularity that Facebook advertisements offers is the reason why those tabloids want to be there and the tabloid group outside of the UK is massively larger than the disgusting size of the UK tabloids is and they are all offering their links on a global scale.

Can Facebook be held to account? Well, to a certain level they can, you see, the actual propagator of events needs a Facebook account. When information is limited to an audience, the impact is lessened. So as Facebook users can no longer send information to friends of friends, only to friends, we have lost an iteration, this could be the difference between 500 people getting the news (fake or real) or the impact that this news goes to 250,000 people, when the addition is that newsmakers can no longer forward it over timelines, but only to the one subscribed timeline, we will soon see a shift on the wave of messages. In addition, not only is the damage contained (to some degree), but as forwarding any post becomes an instance, there would be a much smaller list to police and the users forwarding the post would no longer be the facilitator, they would become the publisher. Facebook is kinda ‘off the hook’, but the user is not, they could to some degree be held to account for certain actions. It makes the events a lot more manageable. In addition, it could limit impact of events.

So here we see the optional solution to some degree. It must be clear that it is to some extent, because it merely drops the impact, it does not take it away. Stephen follows it all up by also making reference to the British Airways IT fiasco. We now see “Fry cautioned that the world’s reliance on digital systems would also inevitably prompt a cataclysmic cyber-attack and bring on a “digital winter for humankind”“, there is certainly a danger and an issue here. The question becomes which issue is in play? As we see Reuters giving us: ““Many of our IT systems are back up today,” BA Chairman and Chief Executive Alex Cruz said in a video posted on Twitter“, we need to realise that even as Terminal 5 was designed to deal with 35 million passengers, in 2015, the numbers give us ‘Terminal 5 handled 33.1 million passengers on 215,716 flights‘, this gets us the average of 91,000 passengers a day, for 590 flights. So there would be an issue for 3-4 days I reckon. That is just the one day impact. The issue that plays and the caution of Stephen Fry is that as we are unaware of why and how it happened, there is no guarantee that it will not happen again. One of the Guardian articles gives us: “The glitch is believed to have been caused by a power supply issue and there is no evidence of a cyber-attack, the airline said. It has denied a claim by the GMB union that BA’s decision to outsource hundreds of IT jobs to India last year was behind the problems“, which has two parts one is the power supply issue, which is a bit of an issue, the second one is outsourcing. The first one is weird, that is, until we know where that power issue was. If there is a server farm, the server farm would be an issue. At this point, the backup systems should have been working, which should if properly set up be in a secondary location. power issues there too? There are several points where the issue could impact, yet with proper setup and tested solutions, the impact should not have been to the degree it was. That is, unless this was done by the same team who ‘tried’ to give the NHS a new system about 5 years ago, if so then all bets are off. The outsourcing sounds nice when you are a union, but that would merely impact the customer service as I personally see it, so until I see specific evidence of that, I will call it a bogus claim by GMB.

The Stephen Fry issue was neither, he merely stated ‘digital winter for humankind‘, which is an actual danger we are facing more and more. You can judge that for yourself and test it. You merely have to switch off mobile data and Wi-Fi from your mobile for 24 hours. 99.992% will not be able to do that, we are that relying on getting fed digital information. We will offer a host of excuses; like ‘I need to be reachable‘ or ‘people need me non-stop‘. I see it as all bogus mentions of the fact that we are digitally too dependent. If you give these people the additional limitation of ONLY using the e-mail and office programs, the chaos is nearly complete. We are all 100% digitally dependent. That means that any damage to such an infrastructure will bring us distress. We then see “An extinction-level event … will obliterate our title deeds, eliminate our personal records, annul our bank accounts and life savings” which is only part of the quote, but this part has already been arranged for the people of the world, it is called Wall Street (remember 2004 and 2008).

The final part to address is the part we see combined in the article. “Fry also addressed the rise of big data, which has seen private companies competing for and using the personal data of millions for corporate gain, the gig economy of Uber and Deliveroo; the inability of governments worldwide to keep up with technological progress; and live-streaming services like Facebook Live allowing people to broadcast acts of violence and self-harm“, the three elements are:

  1. Rise of big data
  2. Keeping up with technological progress
  3. Live streaming towards violence and self-harm

There is no issue with the rise of big data, well, there is but the people are in denial. They are all about government and the optional alleged abuse of that data, whilst they give the green light to places like Facebook and other instances to do just that, and now they get to sell aggregated data. Yet, when we use a certain data property, where every person is 1, like a social security number or a insurance policy number, when every aggregated fact is founded on a population of 1, how aggregated are you then?

We know that governments are not technologically up to date. You see, the cost to get that done is just too high. In addition, governments and other large non-commercial organisations tend to not push or pursue policies too high, which is why the NHS had its Ransomware issues. We see Labour and socialistic parties on how it all needs to be about people programs, whilst they all know perfectly well that without proper infrastructure there would be nothing left to work with, they just don’t care! They need their image of creating jobs, whilst spending all the cash they have and pushing the government into the deepest debt to keep whatever lame promise they make and the next person gets to deal with the mess they leave behind. The lack of long term foresight is also the Achilles of IT, any IT structure needs a foresight of what is to be done next, by living in a fantasy ‘at the present’ setting, is why some politicians go into denial and in that case IT systems will falter over time and no one is set into the field of ‘let’s get this working properly’, the NHS is the clearest example, but not the only one, or the last one to buckle.

The live stream is the larger issue that has no real solution, that is until the numbers are dealt with. As larger facilitators get a handle of what is pushed online, resources open up to resolve certain issues. There will forever be a risk that certain live streams get through, yet the chances might be limited over time. In that, until the laws change, there remains a problem. Part of it is the law itself. The fact that a rape was streamed live, in it watchers saw Raymond Gates, who was accused in the attack and charged with kidnapping, rape, sexual battery and pandering sexual matter involving a minor. That person ended up with 9 years in jail, whilst he ‘enjoyed’ media limelight attention for many months. Marina Lonina, the person who filmed it all got ‘caught up in the likes’. The New York Times stated: “The defendants each face more than 40 years in prison if convicted“, yet in the end, yet the girl filming it got 9 months, the man doing the act got 9 years (source: CBC). So as we see, it seems that the act of live streaming is rewarded with an optional implied sentence reduction of 39 years and 3 months. So if the governments want to make change, I would suggest that they clean up their justice departments and get some proper convictions in place that will deter such live stream actions. In addition, if Marina Lonina would have been convicted with at least the 8 years in addition, so that she and the actual penetrator served the same amount, there might be a chance that live streaming of self harm will fall. There is no evidence that it will, but you get to solve the matter in small steps. Take away the ‘benefits’ of being merely the camera man or girl, the amount of events might drop too.

So here is my view and opposition of the parts Stephen Fry offered. He made good points and raising awareness of issues is always a good thing, especially if they are made by a person as renowned as Stephen Fry, but in all this dimensionality is still a factor. The response against issues (which I blogged earlier) on ‘tough new laws on extremist and explicit video‘, yet in all this, many transgressors will not get convicted and making it the problem of the facilitator, whilst the governments know that the law falls short is just blatantly stupid on the side of the governments. In the end, these people are not stupid, this track will continue for several years, whilst those politicians with: “the rules are not yet public and now enter what is known as “trialogue” – discussions between negotiators from the EC, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union“, gave rise to my ménage-a-trialogue label as this becomes a new EC gravy train which ends up coasting a boatload in lunches, meetings, hotels and flights whilst not resulting in any actual solution. Do you still think Brexit was a bad idea?

OK, my bad, this was not about Brexit, but the issue of laws and free speech have been on the agenda for the longest of times as ‘Strasbourg on March 24th, judges, journalists, lawyers and activists discussed the challenges facing the protection of free expression in Europe‘, there we saw that Helen Darbishire stressed on that event that “it is necessary that the judiciary in individual countries become more aware of European jurisprudence and standards“. If it is true that many countries are establishing regulations, transparency of public information is still far from being a reality. Yet when we consider that freedom of expression can be positive or negative and any hindrance of it goes via Strasbourg, the limitations faced cannot be pushed onto large corporations that facilitate. As the government leaves the field open to tabloids and even make them VAT exempt in the progress, a facilitator that comes with editors, writers and photographers, how can you push the blame onto a facilitation service that has been largely automated? And the worst of all, the governments pushing to place the blame in the other isle know this very well. As long as the debate goes on, they are ‘working on it‘ making the issue even worse.

So even as I oppose Stephen Fry to some extent, it was good and really interesting to read parts of his view (I was not at the event, so the Guardian might not have given me all he said), and as I read his view, I contemplated the views I had and tested them, that is what the views of an intelligent person does, they allow you to test these views against the views you have, which is awesome any given day of the week.

 

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Explicitly exposed

There is an issue pushing to the forefront. In the upcoming elections, certain parties are playing a different game. The article ‘Facebook and YouTube face tough new laws on extremist and explicit video‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/24/facebook-youtube-tough-new-laws-extremist-explicit-video-europe) is showing a story that is not just incomplete, it is not telling us about certain dangers we all face and it is not coming from extremists. You might have missed it all and that is fine, but you need to be aware of the mess that some parties are increasing. The quote: “European Union ministers approved proposals from the European Commission on Tuesday“, now the article gives us that the rules are not yet public, because they are still talking about it, which is fine. Let those people get their act together before presenting it, I have no issue with that. It is the ‘trialogue’ part in the article that beckons view. The negotiators from the EC, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union are in the midst of this and we will at some point hear what is agreed upon. What I find utterly boggling is how the people were left in the dark regarding Article 50 for years (during the Grexit era) and we now see an overreaction regarding “forcing them to remove hate speech and sexually explicit videos or face steep fines“, now, I have no issue (within legal limits) on fines for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Yet what those players are not realising and not considering is that THEY themselves wanted the smartphone era, they wanted connectivity, they USED those options to get new taxation, new revenues and new technological iterations, yet they are in denial of the opposite side of the scales and there has never been a balance in any place of used technology where it applied. Yet they knew better! I know for a fact (from mere history books), that porn was not part of the first photograph ever taken, it was definitely part of the first 50 photographs taken in history. With movie the same way. There is Etruscan erotic art 900 BC and the clock goes back a lot further, so we knew that it would happen. Now for the most, it gets stopped, yet at times the filters fail. This is because there is a global wave, you see, the statistics gives us that in the recent past there was a total upload of 60 hours of movies EVERY MINUTE. That is just YouTube, there is no way to see how much the other channels in different formats operate at present. What these overreacting individuals seen to be oblivious about is the stuff that they find ‘objectionable’. They will happily steer away from every bogus sales and scam video uploaded as those do not show breasts, penises, vagina’s or suicide bombers. Video’s on how to get wealth with so much certainty. On how the next hype whilst getting your neighbours involved is not a Ponzi scheme. The list goes on, but they will not act there. Or how the people are fooled by ‘YouTube Marketing Training Scams‘. No, they do not care about the thousands that get fooled by slick pitches that could have fooled many in the actual industry. No, the tits are out and we see how the outrage is in a state of overreaction. You see, when these ‘commissions’ start getting traction, the players will suddenly find that these large corporations will insist on other solutions, and the commission will not be able to do that. Because on that point, privacy will actually stop. Now, when it comes to stopping some of the video low lives that exploit the people for personal greed, I will be in full support. Yet these European nations will then learn that they were alas unable to prosecute those people. The mere levels of hypocrisy here is just too sickening for words.

Now, we have two issues. Yes, we do want to stop extremist video’s and I feel 100% certain that Google wants that too. Yet video is about content and identifying an extremist video is a lot harder than one thinks. censoring 60 hours of movies every minute is just nearly impossible. If it is set to priority it will just be another way to stop net neutrality, because the advertisers would want to get checked first. Meaning that an engine of free speech will be taken away from the people. The question that everyone is skating around is the number of explicit video’s produced and where from, as well as the original and numbers of extremist video’s. Now consider the element of Extremism. What if it is an imam giving a Muslim lecture? How could we see that it was extremist in nature? There are so many outlets and methods of communicating these dangers that the setting is (as I personally see it) not about fines, or about stopping any of this. It is about setting a stage to gain control of a media, where the some and the fat cats want control. And in this specific setting Google and Facebook are not the fat cats on the menu. So who are these ‘ménage-a-trialogue’ people facilitating to? You see, when you realise the 60 hours of video a minute, the three examples given in the article are less than 0.000,000,23% of all uploads and that is merely for one day of uploads. This is as useless as trying to get gun control in the US, guns do not kill people, people kill people. So as the criminal offenders film their events and as we can see that it is statistically impossible to prevent this from happening, why are the three parties having large lunches, uncanny levels of expenditure and levels of remunerations that go beyond most incomes, why is this happening?

I believe that this is merely to set levels of control, levels that do not benefit anyone at all, perhaps the church, which would start an entirely different debate. We are already moving towards a new technological setting of non-repudiation online, but the levels of settings, whilst we also know that hackers can get online ending up leaving the blame with some innocent granny who has internet is just not the way to go. The articles do show my side as partial evidence in the final paragraph. As we see: “The proposals, which fall under the digital single market legislation, also include a quota of 30% of European films and TV shows on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Video, up from the 20% originally proposed by the EC“, so if this is about bandwidth and streaming, we now see a different picture. One, why the hell do I get to pay for some Netflix need, one that I do not want in the first place. And with “Member states will also be able to require video-sharing platforms to contribute financially to the production of European works in the country where they are established and also where they target audiences” we see that video sharing now comes at a price of funding other matters? How will that work? 50,000 students (likely that times 500), all creating their video channel, in a field of their passion, hoping to get discovered and actually make their passion a reality on real life on TV for all their audience to see on the large TV. So as they do this, why is there a need of funding?

Also, when we realise that this is already in play, why would Google need to give 20 hours a minute of streaming time to European films? Will that be free of charge? I am going with ‘NO’ as the answer from the movie creators, so this will be about money, about surcharging that will push the non-viability of net neutrality because it is now about limiting bandwidth with a value to the mandatory availability of other materials.

So as these players are explicitly exposed, their ‘balls to the wall’ so to say, we should request the names of the members of this obscene ‘ménage-a-trialogue’, so that we can get some art going. Perhaps we can get Lars von Trier to make some new work called ‘Nymphomaniac Politicologica’, or perhaps ‘For a few Terabytes more‘ with music from Ennio Morricone. You see, in a few second I added hours of European promiscuous non-explicit art of a European nature. I am willing to bet the house that these people would prefer to remain in the shadows, because that is seen when we consider the quote “discussions between negotiators” in a time when all those imaginative attaining politicians, this is a setting between negotiators? Who missed that part of the article?

Yet it is not all gloom and doom. The quote ““We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European films, protect children and tackle hate speech in a better way,” said Andrus Ansip, EC vice-president for the digital single market” is not one of negativity. Yet as the watching video’s options is set on a shifting scale. New connection methods, new stream utilising options and new ways to offer other materials is in the corner of innovation, keeping that door open is the only way that innovation hits us. The one element in all this is the data provider, that was the simplest of issues to figure out. The issue is however seen, not in Google or Facebook et al, it is seen in the facilitation of the data stream itself, the ISP and they know they cannot get to the stream provider as that person is in it for the money and that provider has local government protection. KPN in the Netherlands, BT in the United Kingdom, Telia in Sweden, Mobile providers all over the European states and so on. The moment they go anywhere near this is when they get cut from everything and the censor marketing police will shout fire, rape, help, whatever they will shout to get the limelight. In all this Netflix might need more bandwidth and better deals, so they will happily facilitate this path. I am merely wondering why Andrus Ansip is happy to facilitate his voice for all this. You see it is not up to YouTube to promote European films, it is up to the film maker to creatively facilitate marketing for their movie. So, perhaps it is less about the DataStream, perhaps it is in equal measure getting proper television to look beyond the Marvel movies. When I was a lot less old than today, I would watch Simon van Collum (Netherlands), Jo Röpcke (Belgium) and Barry Norman (United Kingdom). I would dream of becoming like them, making a living talking about movies. Alas, I never had that option and I happily reviewed Video Games for a decade. These people were giants and they fell away whilst no one filled those shoes. So for the internet to pick that up is a little bit a stretch. And as YouTube is probably one of the most innovative services of this century, we could start asking a few more questions regarding the push that we see here. So as we see the one element in this that can be answered immediately, we see “tackle hate speech in a better way“, which can be solved on the spot. Because my response here is a non-diplomatic: “Clean up the Criminal Justice mess you currently have, and properly identify and prosecute those shits!“. You see? The issue is now solved, yet it is not, because European law is an utter mess and as Strasbourg will do too little to tackle the option as it is too restrictive on free speech, we see that the European Commission is stopping their own European commission to achieve anything ground breaking. In all this, as I personally see it, for those who need it there is a fictive solution in retrenching net neutrality that is no longer neutral and the European Commission Gravy train could run for years on this element alone. So as we see this level of facilitation, the term ménage-a-trialogue is a lot closer to the truth than some consider it to be. And as long as those balls to the wall don’t make it to YouTube, we will see no result that is a solution or fair, European would merely be receiving a lot more Netflix, but at what price?

 

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