Tag Archives: Hacked off

Just like everyone else

For the longest of times, I have worshiped Google. I have always been pro Google, and having worked in their offices for a year, being exposed to the options within Google is just overwhelming (and the food is pretty much the best in the world). So what happens when you are shown that Google is basically just like all the other large corporations? What when you wake up to an early e-mail where google advises you on the new Google Home Hub and the Google Pixels 3 (which is appealing even if it is at the price of your soul), yet 150 minutes later, you are shown by the Wall Street Journal that Google is just like every other corporation at present, how would you feel?

I can tell you that an ice bucket of water over your head at that point would have seemed a soft caress in contrast to the rude awakening I was made privy to.

To get the better view, we need to go back to May 2108, where we were treated to: “Google Australia’s boss Jason Pellegrino, who spoke on a CEO panel at Sydney’s CeBIT tech conference today, told the audience there had to be a “utility exchange” for the data a business obtains, adding if there is no trust, it can prove detrimental“, as well as ““That was about a leaky bucket. That data was going to places that consumers didn’t expect, didn’t agree with and got not value out of themselves. “None of these data buckets should be leaky. However, it’s started a discussion about what’s in the bucket itself. The data that’s there has been used to deliver a great service – no one has been sitting there saying Netflix ‘I can’t believe the data that you’re sharing’ – because they are delivering a wonderful service.”“. So as we were given on Monday ‘Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public‘ with the two quotes: “Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage, according to people briefed on the incident and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal“, as well as “A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, according to the documents and people briefed on the incident“, so basically Jason Pellegrino (not the exquisite Italian sparkling water) was basically calling the kettle black, whilst we can agree at this point that he had no business opening his mouth in the first place in light of 3 years of hidden software screw ups. It seems to me that both are in equal hot waters. Even if we water it down (not using sparking Pellegrino) into a setting that Cambridge Analytica was doing it on purpose and that the implied setting by Alphabet Inc. is that their software engineers basically did not know what they were doing (to some extent). We can call a fair dinkum, but something this hidden for three years. What optional issues can we expect from the Google Pixel 3, with Android version 3.14159265418 (Android Pie), as well as the Google Home Hub where the consumer is optionally revealing all their daily needs (including the speculatively implied and roughly estimated 54,233 daily attempts to watch Pornhub) with or without the optional keywords Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande, Shania Twain, Selena Gomez, Kirsten Dunst and Taylor Swift. Yes, that is the data those marketeers are willing to pay handsomely for, not to mention those unnamed parties speculatively involved in election persuasion consultancy projects.

It gets even more interesting that the Home Hub could potentially reveal when a person is at home or not (like on vacation), because there is no one who would want that data, right? Last week we would not have given it a second thought, yet with the revelations in the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-exposed-user-data-feared-repercussions-of-disclosing-to-public-1539017194) we now have a much larger issue. It was fun to see the review on the Verge where we see this puppy in action (the Google Home Hub) where the operator asks for the overview of the Pixel 2, whilst pre-orders of the Pixel 3 are happening all over the world, another fallen blobby in all this.

So as we see the turmoil that one of the world’s biggest tech giants will face over the last quarter of the year, we need to realise that you should never meet your idol whilst he is still alive. I reckon that Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will be able to hold his cool for the smallest amount when he meets me, but that is presently not a given.

So as well are treated to “The closure of Google+ is part of a broader review of privacy practices by Google that has determined the company needs tighter controls on several major products, the people said. In its announcement Monday, the company said it is curtailing the access it gives outside developers to user data on Android smartphones and Gmail” we need to wonder what is next for the social media people. I actually preferred Google+ as it was less junk driven then Facebook. And it also gave me the timeline as a first instead of the populist drive, which still annoys me in Facebook. So even as some at Google as trying to wane us to slumber, the cold reality is : ‘the company has no evidence that any outside developers misused the data but acknowledges it has no way of knowing for sure‘. That is the immediate setting in this, we no longer know who has our details and we might never know how we were optionally specifically phished and targeted as per 2015, is that not a nice new reality to face?

So as we need to realise “The company will stop letting most outside developers gain access to SMS messaging data, call log data and some forms of contact data on Android phones“, we might think it is no big deal, but this has the data potential to be a lot larger than any nightmare scenario that the UK ‘Hacked Off‘ ever envisioned in their nightmare settings that the press would have been up to, when people with less scruples (not by much though) have been given optional access to and let’s not forget, the criminals tend to be more creative then the law enforcers ever have been (or some of the intelligence services for that matter).

So even as we accept that the Google plus issue is a dwarf compared to the Facebook scandal, it still optionally victimised the setting through: “It found 496,951 users who had shared private profile data with a friend could have had that data accessed by an outside developer, the person said. Some of the individuals whose data was exposed to potential misuse included paying users of G Suite, a set of productivity tools including Google Docs and Drive, the person said. G Suite customers include businesses, schools and governments“.

I am not alone in this, a few hours ago, the New York Times are giving us: ‘How Will Google Play Its New Product Announcements on the Back of a Data Scandal?‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/09/business/dealbook/google-data-products.html). It is not merely that part, we need to consider that at present only Apple has a seemingly clean slate and they can use this to their advantage. It is in the end watered down by the NY Times through “They’re all part of Google’s strategy to highlight the company’s services via hardware (rather than necessarily become best-sellers in their own right)“, they are all still ruled by software and the cold setting here is that it is their software that was incompletely tested and prodded by those who should have done so. I refuse to merely blame a programmer here, it is a much larger problem!

The failing here can be seen in places like Ubisoft, EA Games, Bethesda, Microsoft and several other large developers. The non-stop trivialisation of proper testing and proper timelines to test settings is at the back of all this. It is not merely a lacking QA, it is a non believe in the power of testers and longer conversations in their insights that is here as well. Issues seen in FIFA 19, several shortcomings in NHL 19, AC Odyssey bugs reported mere hours ago and the less said regarding the Microsoft Surface Go the better and the list goes on. These issues shows that Google is part of the entire problem, the quality testing and scrutiny is seemingly not done (or not done to the extent needed), and with the Google Pixel 3 just around the corner, with a lessened confidence level at present, would you at that point trust the Google Pixel 3XL 128GB at $1500, or will you play it cautiously and select the less powerful, but still a large step forward when selecting the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset at $600, in this day and age, can we feel comfortable with spending an optional $900 too much? I will admit that there are a few alternatives at that price, not merely Huawei, but the list of quality choices is very small.

The revelation that the Wall Street Journal exposed us to on Monday is probably the most inconvenient that Google has faced in a long time. Even before we see whatever Google has to promote in the near future on 5G capabilities and enabling technologies, they now have a visible problem to address. It is not merely a dent in their armour, it now shows us a Google that was optionally never the knight in shining armour it has largely been seen as, which is a much larger problem for Google then they are willing to admit to any day soon.

Too many are hiding behind hype terms like AI and machine learning, yet the realisation that non repudiation and authentication was required on many more levels where data is involved in all this, is a failing on several levels, predominantly the developers one and it is there that Google will possibly face a very hard time to come.

#Halfwaytotheweekendnow

 

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Delusional

This time the story has a twist, it has sides that some considered and many ignored. This all started when the Guardian started a new story this morning. The title ‘From Snowden to Panama, all hail the power of the press‘, written by Simon Jenkins (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/commentisfree/2016/apr/06/simon-jenkins-power-of-press-panama-papers-investigative-journalists). Even though it is ‘merely’ on the ‘comment is free’ part of the Guardian, this article deserves a separate bit of attention. You see, the start set me off, but it was the content that truly leaves food for thought and it should worry you all!

The title is the first part. You see, I always considered Snowden to be a joke, a scenario (explanation will follow), in addition, the Panama papers are showing a side that should worry a lot of players in this game of what I consider to be misinformation. The interesting part is that these two examples are both relying on data, one from the inside and one (Mossack Fonseca should hope so) from the outside.

Then the writer gives us the following: “Fifa corruption, Snowden and surveillance, Rotherham child abuse, drugged athletes, Stephen Lawrence, WikiLeaks, MPs’ expenses, phone hacking, HSBC, cash for questions, cricket fixing, extraordinary rendition, Olympic bribery, Slater Walker share fixing, DC-10 crashes, thalidomide, corruption at the Met: if power had had its way, none of these stories would have come to light“, now for some cold realities. If there is one voice that requires heralding, than it is the journalist Andrew Jennings. He was the one who truly looked into FIFA, with FIFA’s Dirty Secrets (first aired on 29th November 2010), this was basically one man. The press at large didn’t do that much. They ‘reported’ on certain matters, but the visibility it should have gotten was below minimum. The Guardian in May 2011 gave us in “Lord Triesman accuses Fifa executives of ‘unethical behaviour'” the mere quote “In retrospect that was not the right view to take and I accept that” seems to push for sympathy. The only part I see is that the press at large ignored seriously investigating FIFA. When it finally did happen, it was a decade too late. When we see the phone hacking reference, we must realise two elements “investigations conducted from 2005 to 2007 appeared to show that the paper’s phone hacking activities were limited to celebrities, politicians and members of the British Royal Family” is the first and the second “the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of deceased British soldiers, and victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings had also been hacked“. It was public outcry that led to the official investigations, not the press. The Leveson inquiry that started through the announcement of David Cameron on July 6th 2011 would show a few sides. One of them that the Press Complaints Commission was merely a joke and a bad one at that. It also started Hacked Off, a group investigating the misdeeds of the press. The Leveson inquiry resulted in an advice for a royal charter, something that was massively feared and objected to. We would see responses like “state restriction on press freedom“, yet freedom does not mean unaccountable, which is what the press, for reasons of ambiguity and circulation requires.

The royal charter was from the very first moment bitterly contested by the press, with many of the largest newspapers instead backing Ipso, which by many non-journalists is regarded as a mere joke.

There is little to say about the rest of the initial list, but it is not the last stated about the article. You see, now the light grows on the Panama Papers with “A cloud of stinking dust rises as another wall in the edifice of unaccountability crashes to the ground. No thanks are due to any government or police force, to any minister or regulator“, this statement might sound true, but is it? Let’s look at the list:

  1. Any government. So, what about Panama? That place has its own government!
  2. Police force, they were never part of anything, remember the initial part, Mossack Fonseca has not broken any laws, so how does the police fit here?
  3. Any minister, which is the first real name, hidden in a field of useless names. You see, how are laws made? (at http://www.parliament.uk/education/about-your-parliament/how-laws-are-made/), that has been the issue from day one for decades, there was a need to truly overhaul taxation laws in pretty much every Commonwealth nation, when was this done? When did the press at large keep a watchful eye on those making laws? Which members of government, which MP, which Lord has attempted to overhaul tax havens and taxation laws? Which bills were created for that? All answers not forthcoming, the press tends to sleep through those moments as they are often regarded as not sexy enough for circulation.
  4. Any regulator. They overlook that things are properly done according to law. As no law was broken, they tend to be useless here.

So the list we see leaves us with one group to blame (because no crime has been reported 3 become non-players), a group that gets blamed all the time, so people do not take heed. What is brilliant is what Simon Jenkins does next. He basically validates all I wrote here (and I have written it before). He writes “Sometimes it relies on a solitary reporter, such Andrew Jennings initially on Olympic and Fifa corruption“, he is correct, especially when he writes “If indeed “everyone in the know knew” that Fifa was corrupt, sportsmen took drugs and contests were fixed, why did it need American attorneys to make arrests, spurred to action by the British press?“, that is a question that has an easy answer as I see it. You see, it is money! In that same light the press has become extremely cautious to (pardon my French) ‘piss off the shareholders and advertisers‘. When it is a player like FIFA, a player with billions, the nervous cat (aka the editor) might not take a step until the transgressor confesses on national news from a public place (like that will ever happen).

So why do I have an issue?

You see, the title has the gem no one talks about.

I have written about Snowden many times, so you can Google that part, but the Panama Papers are new and here to we see a certain lack, one that was equally present with the Snowden claims.

For this we need to take a small step into Logic. You see Mossack Fonseca is not a simple place, I reckon that those working there are amongst the brightest on the planet. Even when Wall Street collapsed and whilst others were looking at Enron. This player with 300,000 companies was making its own waves. Namely waves of continued wealth. Consider those accounts and as these clients are all well above millionaires, consider a fictive amount that they’d pay $10,000 for the privilege of not paying more than 1% taxation. That means that we have a bare minimum of $3 billion in clean revenue and that is the smallest possible number. If they were paid 0.1% of the saved taxation, we get to a number of more than twenty times the amount, not bad for a company with 500 people over 42 nations. We all want a share of that pie and that is exactly what is happening right now (as I see it).

Do you think that you can just walk into systems that secure an annual revenue of billions? You think that hacking is a new invention? No, these people will pay top dollar for 24 hours a day monitoring of every byte they have. This is the puzzling part that every press agency seems to have overlooked (read: ignored). Those files and the massive size of it would have set above average alerts all over the place and this place is anything but absolute top tiered secure. You see, the second part in all this is that new progressive form of entertaining person. In America they refer to him as President of the United States. You see the title ‘Obama calls for international tax reform amid Panama Papers revelations‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/05/justice-department-panama-papers-mossack-fonseca-us-investigation) reads like a mere joke for the following reasons:

– As ‘lame duck’ president you Mr President are on the way out, the elections are already underway and in November a new person comes into the White House, whatever claims you make now, they will never become a reality!

– Let’s take a little gander back to July 2013, where your administration, perhaps even the head honcho of that oval office (read: you) REFUSED to back international taxation laws that would allow tougher calls on digital companies like Google, Amazon and Apple. The quote “Senior officials in Washington have made it known they will not stand for rule changes that narrowly target the activities of some of the nation’s fastest growing multinationals“, which amount to the US needs that money and taxation in other nations is not an option at present.

The last part is shown when we consider the congressional paper ‘Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion‘ called R40623, here we see on page 4 “These tax havens tend to be concentrated in certain areas, including the Caribbean and West Indies and Europe, locations close to large developed countries. There are 50 altogether“, which is wrong, for the simple reason that there are at least 51. America decided not to list the USA, which is shown by Bloomberg (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-27/the-world-s-favorite-new-tax-haven-is-the-united-states), where we see “helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota“, did you see that one little reference, ‘from’, this is what Mossack Fonseca faces, a move from one place into the USA. Interesting that he who is on the way out seems to skip his own garden when it comes to tax havens. Could the USA be that bankrupt? Or is this another move to force any wealth away from supporting Brexit? You cannot deny the timing that this comes to light just when Greece will be unable to meet another payment, meaning that new arrangements are necessarily. And the Bloomberg article was published months ago!

What is a given is that hacking into Mossack Fonseca should have been nearly impossible, unless you have government assets to use, which we all know is not really an option. In the end I cannot prove how the data got out and Mossack Fonseca will never answer that with clarity, consider that even on a fast internet, it would take 326 hours to download the data that some claim they have from Mossack Fonseca. So either there was another medium, or there are other players in town. These simple elements were easily found, and how long until someone in the office realises that one data job is taking a really long time?

This is why the entire Panama Paper Trail smells and the press at large seems to be avoiding the questions, in this we will soon see the Guardian replace ‘According to Snowden’ replace with ‘According to the Panama Papers we have’ as a new false seal of reliability, so that more ‘dramatic’ revelations can find their way to a page one issue.

How Delusional is that?

That question is equally important, because even though I relied on quotes sources and logic, is my version so much better and so much more reliable? I am not willing to believe myself regarding some of the issues illuminated, so why would you? I personally believe that you can find these same facts easily enough. The levels of logic I employed can be equalled easily enough by an intelligent person, so why did the press not see them and why are they not asking the hard questions?

Is that fair enough?

I leave it with you to consider the facts I presented.

 

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Hunting for a fee

It has been a mere week since we saw the message from some ‘experts’ on the daughter of David Beckham. What I would call a beyond acceptable choice on the media and its non-stop pursuit of what we consider to be values. It does so whilst doing whatever it can to get ratings, to grow circulation. A tsunami of what we call ‘the Glossy invasion‘.

Yesterday we saw (at http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/14/opinions/arbiter-royal-photos/index.html), with the title ‘Can UK royals win battle against paparazzi?‘ In my view there will be no battle, as we see the quote “While aides were quick to praise the British media for not printing illicit photos, they issued their strongest warning yet to those who choose to forgo decent editorial practices” as well as “Many would argue that all children, not just those who are royal, should be allowed to play free from the prying eye of a photographer intent on financial gain, sequestered in the boot of his car and equipped with a long lens“. It comes with the final mention “how do you mandate a global press“. Which in my view is very easy, you wage war, plain and simple!

For the larger extent the media has shown themselves to be little more than the mere equivalent of a prostitute with the moral compass that is significantly worse than that of a crack dealer.

But is this the extent of it? Are we overreacting? Let’s face it, pictures are taken every day, we photograph celebrities every day (when we can), but to what extent will we ignore a person’s right to privacy? Many like me, we will bump into the odd celebrity at times, hoping to get a picture or a selfie, many will oblige, take the time and effort.  Yet not all are in that mindset, especially when they feel unready to face the scrutiny of the lens. Some will try this at red carpet events when the stars are all ready to be photographed. So those moments are often easy moments to get the star we would like to snap for that Kodak moment. The Paparazzi is another matter entirely. They have always been in the news and when it comes to Royal families, these people tend to go completely overboard. I still personally feel that Lady Diana Spencer was murdered by the paparazzi. Now we see that her grandchildren are increasingly in danger by perhaps even those very same paparazzi.

So is this real danger or alleged danger?

This is a question that is more than just a mere legality, history has shown that extremists will take any chance to propel their own agenda at the expense of anyone else. Which means that for these extremists, the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be regarded as legitimate targets and as such the paparazzi could be intended or not aiding said extremists. In my personal view the quote “London’s Metropolitan Police soon after released a statement saying protection officers had to make split-second decisions, and photographers using covert tactics ran the risk of being mistaken for someone intent on doing harm” (source ABC at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-15/royals-increasingly-dangerous-tactics-photograph-prince-george/6699632) is something to ponder. In my view (again a personal one) shooting one of these paparazzi’s ‘accidently’ might not be the worst idea, it seems that when these individuals realise that whatever they do comes at a cost of life, their moral compass tends to reset towards what keeps them alive.

Yet this is only the introduction to an article that graced the Independent on Saturday (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/prince-george-and-the-paparazzi-deferring-to-the-long-arm-of-buckingham-palace-10457349.html). Here we see the quote in the subtitle: ‘the former boss of Hacked Off, a critic of press intrusion, says this time the royals are expecting too much protection‘. Is that so?

Consider this quote: “along with the carefully posed images of George holding his baby sister, Princess Charlotte. The “bad” photos, to be clear, might look cute but they’re not, since they were taken by unauthorised photographers. These pictures are so bad, in fact, that the police have warned anyone taking them that they risk being shot. Has everyone taken leave of their senses?

I am not sure whether they have!

You see, I personally have the skill to take someone’s head of at three times the distance of what my large lens can do (the 200mm I could afford), so when a paparazzi holding a shoulder mount for their camera, could at 300-600 meters easily be mistaken for a rifle, the Leupold VX-3L 6.5-20x56mm is the size of a Canon lens, so I feel quite outspoken that the police has not taken leave of their senses!

Yet my view in all this is not even that side, it is not the ‘morality’ of the paparazzi, even though they rank up there with ice pushers on a schoolyard. This is not about them trying to get the shots of an adult, this is about children, royalty or not! That part does not matter. Just as another article that saw us in defense of David Beckham’s little princess, is setting us off in equal measure here.

This is not merely about a child with a dummy. This is about what was behind that. Let me re-iterate that. Several sources state “The comfort from sucking on a pacifier provide security and comfort can reduce the amount of stress a baby experiences“. I am not stating that I know why the Beckham’s were in that article, the entire dummy (read pacifier) could be about his little girl not feeling well, yet I feel certain that the paparazzi are leaving their own mark of stress with these children. We all have a direct need to keep children safe, those who cause a child to be in distress can find themselves suddenly surrounded by people wanting to do those transgressors harm and on our scale in general, a paparazzi does not really score that high and after what happened to the grandmother of Prince George and Princess Charlotte we see even less reasons to go soft on those paparazzi.

In my view, the courts seem to have gone overboard to protect the media in the past. When we look at Von Hannover v Germany [2004], we saw that even though an injunction was granted, we see that ‘allowances’ are made for public figures. We tend to get the following “a public figure does not necessarily enjoy the same respect for their private life as others, as matters of public concern might justify the publication of information about that person that might otherwise interfere with the right to privacy“, yet in this light, clear consideration must be given to children, especially those under 17 to be regarded out of bounds. If we can accept that Harper Seven Beckham is showing possible signs of stress, stress that could very well be brought through unbalanced and unwanted exposure to the media and strangers, the law will require additional tightening, especially in regards to the right of privacy and additional optional prosecution to those invading that privacy.

In the case of the very long lens that case is much harder to make as the perpetrator is nowhere near the victim, yet in that same case, in the case of Prince George and Princess Charlotte, the possible interpreted danger to their lives by the people assigned to protect these royal members, to them the option arrives that any threat to the royal family must be met with deadly determination if need be.

As such, responding to the allegations in the independent, no one took leave of their senses. Some took leave of common sense for money and that tends to come with a consequence. Yet the article in the Independent is quite good, it asks valid questions. When we see “People are allowed to take pictures in a public place as long as their behaviour doesn’t amount to stalking, in which case it could have been dealt with under the Protection from Harassment Act“, this is a valid point. But in this case there are two additional elements. The paparazzi could easily be mistaken for a Predatory stalkers, an individual spying on a victim in order to prepare and plan an attack, which led me to the extremist link. A side that the writer of the article should have mentioned more prominently. In addition, this is not against adults, this is against children, a group that deserve additional layers of protection, no matter how public a figure their parent is, or both of them are. A situation that applies to both the Duke and duchess of Cambridge as well as the Beckham’s. The Independent does raise parts again when they state “The couple may fear a terrorist attack, but that’s a reason for reviewing overall security, including the wisdom of allowing George to play in a public park“, which again is a fair enough statement. Yet in equal measure is that until that fear is reasonable, having children to be a child everywhere is a given right to the child and as such we, not the child will have to make allowances, including an extended right to privacy and security. A side Niraj Tanna seemed to ignore for what is likely to be founded on income, not any greater good.

So does Joan Smith, former executive director of ‘Hacked Off’ have a case here? She brings it well enough, but in my view, elements are missing. No matter whose children they are, children are entitled to extensive layers of protection, especially against paparazzi and outside (read non family based pressures). Even if these hunters take their respectable distance, the pictures will haunt them forever, they will become the object of extreme obsession to some, which tends to go wrong at some point.

In light of consenting to photography, the ‘non-consenting child’ seems to be the factor that many seem to ignore. Media law is due a massive update on a global scale, we have catered to what people regard as ‘freedom of the press’ for far too long, a press that seems to take a wide berth around PriceWaterhouse Coopers and Tesco issues (the PwC side of it), or the SFO matters connected to all this. Now, we can understand that that issue is not something that is of interest for the Glossy magazines, but the media is for the most not some little magazine. They are conglomerates. Companies like Bauer Media and VNU can invoke pressures that can paralyse governments. They control dozens of magazines that can change public opinion in a heartbeat. They only way to deal with this is to adapt laws that give added protection to media exploitation of children, whether they come from public figures or not. In addition it is interesting to raise the case of Paparazzo Richard Fedyck from April this year. The quote “The Vancouver celebrity photographer faces charges of assault with a weapon, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and criminal harassment. He made his first court appearance after arriving hours in advance in a bid to avoid cameras and media” gives us the clear view that the paparazzi tends to be camera shy. It is equally hilarious that we get “his defence lawyer Jonathan Waddington immediately asked for a ban on publication of the court proceedings”. Irony is such a lovely dish at times (at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/paparazzo-in-ryan-reynolds-hit-and-run-case-makes-court-appearance-1.3053082). So it seems that privacy is treasured by paparazzi when they are the focal point of issues.

It is high time that some legal media matters change as soon as possible, especially where it concerns children.

 

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That what is ignored!

I feel a little on edge at present. You see, there are certain things that are just not done. The entire case that is set against Prince Andrew is such an event. I dealt with several issues in my blog called ‘As we judge morality‘ a little over two weeks ago.

Yet as some of these ‘claims’ are set in print again and again, especially the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, should we consider prosecuting Paul Michael Dacre (Daily Mail) and Ian MacGregor (the Telegraph) for libel?

Here is my reasoning, as I went through the Defamation Act 2013:

In section 4 (Publication on matter of public interest), we see in subsection 1:
It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that
(a) the statement complained of was, or formed part of, a statement on a matter of public interest; and
(b) the defendant reasonably believed that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest.

So far so good, we can all agree that published statements of members of the Royal family are indeed public interest. However, is it at (b) where we see ‘reasonably believed‘, as I stated in the previous article ‘As we judge morality‘, I came to serious doubts to some regard of these events as I looked into the PDF of what I believe to be the original affidavit from the Palm beach Police Department. In that regard, none of the papers had picked up the pace and the fact that it took me less than 10 minutes to find then Detective Joe Recarey. None of the papers seem to be clued in at all. Even the Guardian, who remained devoid of innuendo (at http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/23/prince-andrew-lawyers-sex-questions-court), did work on this story and as such Alan Rushbridger, as editor of the Guardian should consider the choices he made, especially the choice he did made by not doing them (which is his prerogative of course).

Now I get back to the previously mentioned section 4. Is it that far a jump that to use the defence regarding ‘publication on matter of public interest‘ that the journalistic party has a responsibility to decently investigate the claims it is printing? So now we get to the Joe Racarey part, by NOT properly investigating the claims, can we now get to the part that these negations nullify the defence in section 4 that the press might seem to rely on? This now means that there is a possible case of libel that the press could have to answer to? That negation is found in the part ‘reasonably believed‘, as there was no proper investigation, there can be no reasonable belief as I see it. So now, the press would need to rely on the defences as seen in sections 2 and 3.

Section 2 is about ‘substantially true’, most important is subsection 3, where we see ‘If one or more of the imputations is not shown to be substantially true, the defence under this section does not fail if, having regard to the imputations which are shown to be substantially true, the imputations which are not shown to be substantially true do not seriously harm the claimant’s reputation

So, the defence holds, but only if those that were not substantially true did not harm the claimant’s reputation. I reckon that the accusation in itself is already showing to be damaging beyond belief, which takes care of section 2 and section 3 is about ‘honest opinion’, this is not an opinion piece, this is about an allegation that will be considered a serious crime if proven correctly. So as I personally see it, there is no defence left for defamation should such charges be brought against certain tabloids.

Let’s look at the following quotes: ““I had sex with him three times, including one orgy,” Roberts claims in her affidavit” from the Guardian. Now this is pure reporting, I still believe that in the light of a few articles, the Guardian should have gone a lot further digging before getting on the ‘gossip’ gravy train (even though we clearly accept that reporting is not regarded as gossip), the reasoning of the person making the claim needs to be above a certain level, that part is still not proven. My issue is not with the Guardian in this case, although showing support for the Royal family by digging a little better would not have been the worst idea.

With the Daily Mail it is a different kind of fish. We get a photo with quote “‘On chummy terms’: The Duke of York takes a stroll with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein in New York” (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2597308/The-bombshell-court-document-claims-Prince-Andrew-knew-billionaire-friends-abuse-age-girls.html), yet they are adamant of not mentioning when the photo was taken. You see, an actual journalist would mention when it was taken, not imply all with an added picture. In their defence, they also wrote “There is, however, no suggestion that the Duke was involved in any form of sexual exploitation” in that same article. The quote “Miss Roberts alleges she and the royal had sex when she was aged around 17, still a minor under US law in some states” (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2921490/Prince-Andrew-appears-public-Davos-time-emerged-called-swear-oath-innocent-sex-claims.html) gives us more. Yes, it is ‘alleges’, yet not unlike the Guardian they could have done their homework a little better before adding the articles as they had been added. It is my personal view (so feel free to consider that choice, not to just add articles as is, especially when the allegations involve members of the Royal family. I am not stating not to print them; I am stating that a high(er) level of investigative quality would have gone a long way towards giving the audience the quality article that they are entitled to.

The Telegraph has not faltered in remaining massively below expectations either. “It was his ongoing friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier, that saw him forced to step down as the UK’s trade envoy in 2011” (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/11364822/Judith-Woods-Prince-Andrew-was-pitch-perfect-for-a-change.html). Whenever there is any mention we see the following by-line ‘Prince Andrew Duke of York’s reputation has already been tainted by his association with the disgraced American financier‘, with each time EXACTLY the same photograph in several papers, all devoid of the mention WHEN that photograph was taken. How tabloids are willing to misinform you for the mere need of circulation!

So what should be done?

Well, I am all about the freedom of the press, but not when it comes to non-accountability. Here is also the problem; the press is in this case as they report on events, not accountable and there would be no case, but in my view, should there be a case? Let us not forget that the circumstances as given in more than one regard. Not that this was reported on, but that the press did not take extra efforts to investigate what could have been investigated. The earlier mentioned detective is only one of several options. When a royal is on some trip, his calendar tends to be filled and usual in company of others. There is no denying he had met Virginia Roberts, but were they ever actually in private areas? Now, the yes and no of that is of course what one person or what the other person states, my issue has a few other directions.

The first part is seen in the Daily Mail (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2896075/Prince-Andrew-flies-skiing-holiday-tell-Queen-s-innocent-underage-sex-allegations-does-immunity-deal-government.html), you see the quote “But today Mr Roberts retracted his claim. In a statement sent to MailOnline, he said: ‘I want to clear up that many years ago Virginia stated to me she was to meet the Queen’s son Prince Andrew and not the Queen herself. I’m sorry for any misunderstanding.’” Can anyone explain to me how a father (or mother for that matter) would allow their child to travel unaccompanied? No matter if that person would have been her Majesty the Queen herself, you do not let your child travel alone! If someone was there in any position as chaperone, then there should be a record of this. In addition, so much travel as a minor, on what passport? Where an on what dates did this person pass through customs with a passport?

Last there is the following statement “Epstein, a long-term friend of Andrew, was jailed for 13 months in 2008 for soliciting girls for under-age prostitution. The pair remained friends and were seen together in 2011 after Epstein’s release”. You see, this is stated in more than one form in several places, but was Epstein a long-term friend? Most of us want to be friendly with billionaires, but that does not make such a connection one of friends. When searching through boatload of pages, that part has not been illuminated for one iota (I admit that I might have missed it), but the fact that no one is clearly telling us about that ‘so-called’ friendship is decently worrying. Then we get the ‘seen together in 2011’, there could be several valid reasons. Yes, it is not ideal, but let us not forget the fact that Epstein remains a billionaire! We can speculate all we want, but why did they meet? Was this ever clearly reported on? Was Prince Andrew asked? Epstein has been investing in many philanthropically flavoured endeavours, so the chance that Epstein meets with people of fame and/or royalty is a lot more likely.  Should this make us uneasy? Absolutely, but can it be avoided? Not sure! By the way, they do not look too chummy in the photograph!

However, going back over the previous part, there is actually in the Daily Mail (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2905218/Prince-Andrew-admits-s-foolish-friendship-paedophile-billionaire-Jeffrey-Epstein.html), the following “The Duke had previously said he had made an ‘error of judgement’ when he was snapped strolling through New York’s Central Park in 2011 with Epstein following his release from jail”, yet there is no mention why they met (still it is not a good situation to be in), also there was “expressing his regret for the ill-advised friendship”, which gives us enough that the previous statement is seemingly all correct. Still the issue remains, as I see it, that the papers should have done a lot more by giving clarity to the events.

Yet when we look at CNN (at http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/05/europe/prince-andrew-sex-abuse-allegations/), we see that the CNN article has a massive amount of information regarding the accusations and how Alan Dershowitz responded to them. The fact that we get the quote: “Dershowitz offered to waive the statute of limitations and “any immunity.”” Gives added light to the case. If this is proven, not only could her claim be regarded as useless, valueless and foundation less. There would be in addition severe consequences for her legal team. Alan Dershowitz has decided to counter claim those events by having the attorneys for Virginia Roberts to be removed from the role of attorneys. If that is maintained we get the new part, how to deal with the press.

Now we get to the part that has been an issue all along. You see, the press have gotten away with way too much for a long time. As such, if the clear evidence is set against Virginia Roberts, it will be our turn!

You see, I still have an issue with the press to a certain extent, they have played too many games and they still regard them as captains of the fate of others for the ever growing need of more revenue. When proven that the Duke of York was indeed innocent we can change the future, we can finally hold the press to values. It is my belief that once the Duke is proven to be innocent, the people in the UK will possibly unite for a referendum DEMANDING that the full Leveson report is implemented. No space for journalists crying like little bitches on how the freedom of the press is such a valued commodity. As I see it, they threw away the concept quality reporting some time ago. With the Leveson report fully implemented, the press will have no option but to actually create quality journalism, or be held accountable for 8 figure penalties for every transgression made. It will be a brand new day! I wonder if Hugh Grant considered this (perhaps he did) and it could be a new round for that what was ‘hacked off’.

I believe that the people have had enough of a certain journalistically based approach to what is true, good and ethical. The people to a larger extent still have not forgiven the loss of Lady Diana Spencer due to paparazzi (some still consider her to have been murdered through the acts of paparazzi). If these hurtful events against Prince Andrew turn out to be false, I feel certain that enough people can be rallied to force a referendum on implementing the full Leveson report. Let us not forget the headline ‘MH370 suicide mission’, whilst no evidence was ever recovered proving that headline. In the end Epstein might face additional scrutiny, whether they proceed whilst successfully avoiding a situation of double jeopardy remains an issue. Yet, in all this, Virginia Roberts will have as new problem, if Alan Dershowitz can actually bring evidence to make his case, the life of Virginia Roberts will end, because being a victim is one thing, failing prove it and then having to live through evidence proving the opposite is true, will give additional worry to the press in several forms.

This might blow over for some, but for the press this case could soon be the stuff of nightmares, it could have been avoided by properly digging deeper into the story, which is what a journalist was supposed to do to begin with.

 

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Sacking the editor?

That is the question that is currently on my mind. What to do about Martin Ivens, should he be sacked, should he be allowed vindication, should he be prosecuted? You see, it is time that the editors are held responsible for what they do, that they are being held up into the light for what was said, exploited and then forgotten, just so that these people can prostitute events for circulation. What do you think?

Why Martin Ivens? That is of course the question that needs answering. It all started with the news on March 19th when I wrote ‘Any sport implies corruption! In this I looked at the events when the Guardian (one of several papers) reported on allegations against Qatar. As stated before it is about evidence and ‘more likely than not’, I also personally speculated on the chance that it was more likely that several advertisement players wanted change as Qatar was just inconvenient. And let’s face it, the press catering to advertisement dollars is not that far-fetched, if you doubt that, then consider the Sony events from November 2013.

The big issue becomes July 28th when we see the issues explode a little further when even Reuters stated “Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper reported that some of the “millions of documents” it had seen linked payments by former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam to officials to win backing for Qatar’s World Cup bid“, so here we have it. I think that if Martin Ivens wants to keep his job, he needs to publish these ‘millions of documents‘, if he cannot, or does not, then we should consider prosecuting Martin Ivens for slander and he should be held accountable for serious breaches of journalistic integrity, which should be done by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), but in light of what we have seen, they will not be up to the task, unwilling to do anything and in the end, they will become the joke that Hacked-off proclaimed them to be from day one.

Yet, can we attack Martin Ivens like that? Yes, we can! However, Martin Ivens has every right to vindicate himself by publishing the data (millions of records) that they saw. What are the chances that we get just a lame excuse? Time will tell, but as we have looked at the events in the last two years, it is extremely unlikely that anyone will be held to account.

But should it be Martin Ivens? If we see the CNN article that I used in the July article, we see “Sarah Baxter, deputy editor of the Sunday Times, told CNN in an interview. Qatar commits to labour reforms the impact of changing World Cup dates ‘We’ve seen millions of documents that prove without a shadow of doubt that corruption was involved. There is clear evidence linking payments to people who have influence over the decision of who hosted the World Cup’“, in my mind it should be both, but in the end, as Martin Ivens did not go against this, it seems to make him an accessory to the event, guilty by omission. In the end this all might remain academic if IPSO does not act, because a complaint needs to be filed, yet consider how soccer is dragged through the mud here, without the evidence that the Sunday Times claims to have, the scope of events regarding FIFA will change to the larger degree.

This is however not the end, there are additional issues with the investigation as we saw delay upon delay and now the ‘verdict’ also calls issues into question. A more reliable source (at http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/30044791), asks some of these question: “But Garcia’s statement, issued less than four hours after the report was published, has reopened the debate about the validity of the bidding process for both the 2018 and 2022 competitions“, a second statement “‘Fifa has no choice but to publish Michael Garcia’s report in full if it expects anyone to believe their claims that there has been no cover-up over allegations of corruption in the World Cup bidding process,’ said British MP Clive Efford, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Sport.

That part is spot on in my mind, let’s not forget that in my mind, the jobs of both Martin Ivens and Sarah Baxter are on the line as I see it, especially in a time when the bulk of all journalism is regarded by many to have no integrity left.

The final statement that opens the barn is: “In view of the fact Michael Garcia has now stated he is not happy with the findings and is to appeal, I await with interest to see what further disclosures will be made,” said Boyce“, which beckons a few more issues. Why report on something that is not satisfactory? What findings? Which evidence? It seems interesting that the 430 page report is set into a 42 page summary, when we see the Guardian we see the implied event that someone else wrote the summary. Why? Why did both reports not come from Michael Garcia (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/nov/13/farce-fifa-michael-garcia-erroneous-ethics-report), why do we see the following quote “Garcia’s dramatic intervention came just hours after Eckert had confirmed the Guardian’s revelation that Russia and Qatar would be cleared of substantive wrongdoing and would not be stripped of the tournaments despite a whirlwind of speculation“, so are some people now spinning in regards to possible advertisers missing out on big business dollars for media? Because, as I see it, the issues remains, was all this about inconvenience or actual corruption, and if the second, why does the summary not bear out the full report if corruption has been proven? Yet overall there are valid questions too, when I see the quote “Russian bid executives claimed that all their emails were wiped from their rented computers. Alexei Sorokin, who runs Russia’s 2018 organising committee, denied a deliberate cover-up“, I do wonder how such incompetence is even allowed in such a prestigious environment. Where were the back-ups? Would the achievement of success not warrant back-ups for a job well done and these documents would have been kept as evidence that a job was well done? Would these documents not show the value of Alexei Sorokin to his government?

So even as the guilt is not proven, the ‘claim‘ of ‘millions of documents‘ still requires scrutiny, because if this is not adhered to, we are confronted with more than one level of corruption, possible corruption of ethics by the press, possible corruption of standards by FIFA and possible corruption from bidders unproven due to incompetence.

I hope that the true investigators will speak out on evidence, for the simple consequence of inaction could be the beginning of a wave of mistrust into sports. The one place where acts of corruption could have a long term effect, who wants to watch a sport series, where a foundation of trust can no longer be relied upon, if that happens what would we end up watching?

 

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The Toothless tiger

It is roughly 1,544,400 minutes since we saw this message “The newspaper and magazine industry today takes the first steps towards setting up the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the new regulator for the press called for by Lord Justice Leveson” (at http://www.newspapersoc.org.uk/08/jul/13/independent-press-standards-organisation, in July 2013).

So when I saw the words ‘press’, ‘regulator’ and ‘sham’ together in one sentence (at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/sep/07/victims-press-regulator-ipso-leveson ) I was not that overly surprised. Let’s not forget that the implied innuendo in regards to the press cleaning up its act was never a reality.

You see, after all that visibility, on March 25th we see the report from the Daily Telegraph with the headline “Flight MHG370 ‘suicide mission’“, was anyone even surprised that the press regards themselves ‘beyond the law’?

Yet, if we are to properly assess the situation, we must therefore also allow matters of defence. So what is the issue that bites us so much? The letters from the 30 victims of press intrusion stated to Sir Alan Moses the following (as stated in the article of the Guardian):

By rejecting the majority of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations, the paymasters and controllers of Ipso are rejecting due process

In its current form, Ipso retains no credibility with us or with the wider British public.

It furthermore states: “it was not truly independent, breaches of the industry code of practice would go unreported and unpunished, and there would be no effective and transparent investigation of serious or systematic wrongdoing“.

Now, after what happened in the hacking scandal, I am all for bashing the press, but let us all be honest, if we are to convict a group, let us do it for valid and preferably legal reasons.

About these pictures!

This all links to several issues that I wrote about in the past few days, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton might be the most famous ones, but they are by no means to most important ones (I feel for these victims, but reality shows us bigger problems). Yes, there is an issue that links to Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian. If we go by the words of Reddit, we should use the quote “The site, which had an online forum named ‘The Fappening’, was one of the main places the hacked nudes were being posted and the website has now banned the page, six days after the photographs of the Hunger Games star first surfaced. It is thought the main reason bosses have finally pulled down the forum is NOT because of the J-Law snaps, but because photographs of Olympian McKayla Maroney which were also posted on the site are believed to show her underage.” which came from the Mirror. These places have been hiding behind the ‘innocent disseminator‘ flag for far too long. Their income is real and based upon bandwidth. If we want change, then perhaps forcing a tax bracket on bandwidth, especially with a bankrupt America, might be a novel way for debtors to get their coin back. Yet this is not about that. The fact that Jennifer Lawrence is now partially safe is only because another victim was a minor when the pictures were taken. This makes for a massively inhumane disaster and one that also affects the press. It is interesting that when we look at the name McKayla Maroney we see two events, both the hacked ‘under-dressed’ images as well as the Gamergate reference to Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian.

Vox Media stood alone

It is Vox (at http://www.vox.com) who seems to be on top of it, so we see one place, which might be regarded as ‘trivial’ by some covers the real issues that many ‘major’ papers have been ignoring all over the US and in places far beyond the US. You can read their words in depth at http://www.vox.com/2014/9/6/6111065/gamergate-explained-everybody-fighting. It is well worth reading; however, there are a few parts I do not agree with. Let’s go over those, for they are all linked.

Here is the first part: “If it was just to bring attention to Quinn’s personal life, that’s, as stated, already happened. And if it was to create better ethical disclosures in online journalism, that’s happening, too. The Escapist is drafting new guidelines, while Kotaku is now forbidding its writers from financially supporting independent designers on Patreon, a popular method for backing independent artists, unless the site’s writers need to donate to Patreon for coverage purposes (since many developers release material first to their Patreon backers). And Vox sister site Polygon requires disclosures of this sort of support“.

I do not agree for the following reasons:

  1. If we look at the press at large, Quinn’s plight is less than a hot drop on a plate. “Jennifer Lawrence”, “Nude” and “shoot” gives us 41 MILLION hits when we use all the keywords. “Zoe Quinn” gives us 70,000 hits with less than a dozen reputable sources (including Vox Media). So, I think we can safely say that visibility is not even close to being a factor there.
  2. Better ethical disclosures in online journalism? Sorry, but are they for real? Most of these writers have never seen a class in ethics, it is also likely that some of them cannot ever write ‘ethics’ correctly. That being said, many of them write for mere passion on games, their transgression of alleged ‘corruption’ usually goes no further then receiving the free game. How corrupt is that? In all this, my issue with Gamespot has almost forever been with the open sponsor Ubi-Soft. They are not hiding it, so that is good, but I seem to colour my faith to any Ubi-soft review. Overall the writers and makers like Carolyn Petit, Jess McDonell, Danny O’Dwyer, Justin Haywald, Chris Watters, Cam Robinson and Kevin VanOrd do an interesting job. Depending on their ‘preference’ of gaming we tend to favour a certain person, whilst not ‘liking’ another one. The sad news that some of these writers are leaving as Gamespot is changing should be sad news to all gamers.

Scoops

This all goes towards “forbidding its writers from financially supporting independent designers on Patreon“, why? Is the likely fact that reviewers would have the inside track on a game and by personally backing a developer they will have a scoop? Is that not what pretty much every newspaper does? If not, how about cancelling ALL advertisements from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Adobe? How long until they are missing out on scoops? I think support should not hidden, but if I was still in the business I would be funding No Man’s Sky or Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar (I have been a lifelong Ultima fan), if it gives me a scoop days in advance of others, than so much the better. The question becomes is this truly about implied corruption or about mainstreaming a 100 billion dollar plus business? You see, the gaming groups was for a long time ignored (especially in the time I was involved)

True Scenario: “I went to the ‘Efficiency Beurs’ (a Dutch IT/Technology trade show) in the RAI in Amsterdam in the early 90’s (1991/1994), I forgot the exact time. Anyway, I was already deep into the gaming world and sound would be the next big issue. PS speakers were no good, Adlib was an option, SoundBlaster was the new kid and those with real money (read wealthy parents) there was the Roland card, which costed a fortune. This is the age when the PC was a wild market, CBM-64 and Atari were on a high and the PC was relying on blips and bleeps. So, I walk to the IBM representative and asked him on the new PS/2 PC’s and whether the soundcards in the growing gaming market was a field that IBM was looking at, as well as, whether IBM had considered adding a sound card to the PC-Private projects (which was a tax deductable PC scheme in the Netherlands). I was ‘walked off’ the stand with the response that IBM was for ‘professional’ use only. This same IBM is now advertising ‘Smarter Serious Games’ (at http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/gaming/)“.

So, these ‘losers’ (just to coin a phrase), who would not consider this industry for a long time are now trying to leech of a 100 billion dollar industry by ‘Simming’ (Sims joke) it on, so nice of IBM to join the party almost two decades late (they did however join the party decently before 2013). So now we get this escalation on several fields and interestingly enough all at the same time. Several approaches of wild growth is seen, personally I reckon this all truly took off in high gear in September 2013 when one game made one billion in only three days and passed the 2 billion mark this June making a videogame more successful then the most successful Hollywood production in history. Now nearly everyone wants to jump on board and it also seems to allow for a ‘wild growth’ of certain ‘elements’. IBM is not a party to this (they move in different circles), yet, those growing wildly on our shores hoping for their billion are learning hard and fast that gamers can easily spot the quality from the chaff and as such we see escalations. Whether we take Forbes article (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/03/21/gaming-the-system-how-a-gaming-journalist-lost-his-job-over-a-negative-review/) for granted or not, it seems that the name Sony and the possibility of pulling away advertisements apply in several corners (like the PS4 release and Terms of Service issues). So, to avoid ‘ethical’ issues, it seems to me that newspapers at large just ignored the plight of over 60 million customers and any link to ‘changes to the terms of service’. So how does this all link to ‘corruption’?

That is the part that seems to elude many, it is not ‘just’ about corruption, it is about alleged corruption with the writers (emphasis on alleged), implied corruption with their bosses in what they publish but more importantly what they DO NOT publish. The last part is on streamlining it all. If anything, GTA-V shows us that a billion plus revenue takes more than just a good game, it is about marketing and advertising, which shows now exactly the issue on visibility.

I am not alone with these views; some of them were discussed by Ashton Liu in her blog at http://rpgfanashton.tumblr.com/. She has an interesting view I had not considered. She writers “It has been no secret to the gaming community that many video game news sites have been employing increasingly extremist and reprehensible tactics to gain site hits and forward their ideology“. In that regard she seems on top of it all, I saw the harassment of Quinn and Sarkeesian as idiots who should go the way of the Dodo yesterday, if at all possible. Yet in her view, we are dealing with more than just blatant ‘ranters’, it is entirely possible that there is a corporate push behind it all. If we consider the actions by Sony and the market they need to ‘rule’ is that such a far-fetched statement? If people are willing to sell their souls for a niche market, what is Sony willing to do to remain the number one on the market, especially if you can motivate non-journalists (read non-accountable people) to speak out loudly?

What makes a Journalist?

It is a side, that until the article of Ashton Liu I had ignored. Ashton is like me, an ideologist, we seem to share a passion for RPG games and we are willing to put some time into sending the message of the Role Playing Game, hoping to introduce it to others. Yet, part of the view she offers seems incorrect, is this all about true gaming journalists? Many of them are not journalists at all, they do not have a degree in journalism, so let’s all agree that unless the person has a degree in Journalism that this person is just a games reviewer (I myself am a games reviewer), I have degrees in Law and IT, but not in Journalism, which makes me a non-journalist!

This is where the issues become (slightly) clear. Many are not journalists at all, so journalists are compared to ranters and outspoken ideologists, whilst not getting painted on grounds of evidence, which is almost slander (I said almost). We are all in need of more clarity, clarity I am asking for, whilst trying to remain clear, clarity Ashton is trying to give the readers and there are the additional thousands online, ranting all over the place. So what is a reader to believe?

Corporations

Perhaps that is the part we all forgot about? We seem to ignore the corporate site. Is that the background of those who remained with Gamespot? Is CBS changing the gaming area by starting to cut away the ‘non-professional’ staff? I do not know, I am asking this. I have no issue with any writer at Gamespot (even if they cater to games I never play), their passion has for a long time been without question, yet, if this streamlining requires the presence of education, not just knowledge, then those without Journalistic skills to be ‘relocated’ and not all end up within the CBS structure.

So as Ashton made the statement I disagreed with “These journalists behave terribly and browbeat anyone whose opinions don’t fall lock step with their own“, the question “which are the real journalists” come to mind. This is where we return to Leveson, the issues that IPSO is accused of and how this relates to Journalism.

IPSO is regarded as a toothless tiger (perhaps correctly so), yet as papers are more and more online and as we see more and more ‘contributions’ from critics and reviewers, we will see that their painting of a group ‘as ignored’ as stated by the phone hacking scandal victims, we see a corporate move by many newspapers that employ reviewers and critics who are likely non-members of the official Journalistic core, but in the online mash no one can really tell anymore. This is at the heart of several issues, next to the editors relying on people whose family name tends to be “well-placed sources within”; I wish I had a relative like that.

This all gets me to the only part of the Vox article that I have an issue with. It is not really an issue, it is more a disagreement. They stated “Because what #GamerGate is all about isn’t who is or isn’t a gamer, or what role the press should play. It’s about what games should be and who they should be for. And that’s worth a real discussion, not just a hash tag“. I think that anyone enjoying a game is in the smallest extent a gamer, and as his or her passion grows, so will the Gamer part of that person. I think it is MASSIVELY important the part the press plays and to some extent they need to be judged on what they publish and to some extent even more on what they ignore, not unlikely for favours from the advertisers. You see, what happens when it is no longer them, but also the stakeholders? Consider the stakeholders for projects of Ubi-Soft and Electronic Arts. The moment they start ruffling feathers on ‘their’ dividend and the press ‘obliges’ that is the true moment when we will no longer see whatever ails a gaming community. When it goes through a journalist we do end up with the smallest protection, but ‘small’ beats ‘none’ every time.

It is ‘what games are and who they are for‘ is as I agree an important discussion, yet the implied evidence at present gives little support that that true vision will come from #Gamergate, because anyone willing to develop a game, no matter what gender, what topic and what ethnicity of graphics we are presented with should be a reason for bias and/or discrimination. These are parts #Gamersgate seems to be ignoring.

Streamlining is also all about who owns the IP, that is the one part they all seem to ignore, if the future is about IP (Intellectual Property), then it is the novel idea that has the future of gaming fortune, which is all about streamlining in the eyes of EA, Ubi-soft and Sony (to name a few big companies in this field), you see, who owns the IP will continue and not unlike the flaccid economists of Wall Street, larger companies have been all about continuing a brand and less about the new idea, which makes indie developers the future (consider the massive success of Mojang with Minecraft), that is the streamline part all ignored. This is why I think it is important to protect them! This is seen in the slightly dangerous statement by Vox Media in the article as they state “Some argue that the focus on harassment distracts from the real issue, which is that indie game developers and the online gaming press have gotten too cozy“, is that true, or are the larger players realising that they passed the buck for too long and driving a wedge between the press and the Indie developer is essential to their survival as they try to ‘rekindle’ the press and push indie developers towards the ‘cheap’ deals where they can take over the IP. That part is at large ignored by most. If we look at 2014 we see a massive host of new versions of the same brand, whilst none of the truly new games are coming out in 2014. Splatoon, ignored by many is the new kid and so far it seems that it might largely drive sales for Nintendo. You see these larger houses have forgotten to cater to THEIR audience (not just bring a cool presentation about something not due for 15 months) and as such are under scrutiny facing an endangered future. When we see a headline like this ‘Battlefield 4 – It’s so bad, its actually funny!‘, they know that they are in trouble, no matter how much you pay marketing to focus on the small stuff and micro transactions, which some call ‘Blood Money‘. In my view this is partially the result of letting ‘Excel users’ anywhere near the gaming market and when these investments do not pan out panic will be the natural consequence.

Back to IPSO

Yet, this also reflects on IPSO, because is the story ignored not as irresponsible as calling a tragedy a suicide mission? I wonder if the two elements would have been anywhere near as extreme if IPSO had not been toothless. I cannot state this for America, but I am certain that many gaming issues would have been a lot more visible, which might have reduced the risk and abuse of both Quinn and Sarkeesian. If you do not believe the press to have any influence, then consider the Art ‘expose’ called “Fear Google“, which is exactly the method of News the Sun used to rely on for at least one page (a page 3 joke only the British understand), or as we could call it, how Rupert Murdoch got through his early years. So here we see the beginning of the future, as Jennifer will end up getting shown to the world in states of non-dressing, her stolen pictures are less likely to be stopped as they are not getting sold, even if sold, the chance of enough people getting convicted becomes a serious question.

We can safely say that there is a group of toothless tigers, law partially became toothless as it catered to business enterprise and as we see more and more ‘free’ services we see an abundance of innocent dissemination that no one seems to be able to stop, ‘oh yes’, for some reason many were ‘suddenly’, within hours, able to stop the film where a Journalist ‘suddenly’ lost his head. It seems that ‘sudden’ acts are at times possible, so why this entire system is not better regulated is to be perfectly honest beyond me, but you better realise that someone is making loads of money, not just the hacker (read: thief) that got a hold of the pictures.

 

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