Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Fail it until you nail it

Another day another moment I roll my eyes. You see the Guardian came with an interesting article, interesting and kind of useless (OK, useless is a bit of a stretch). Let’s explain that part. The title is interesting enough. When we see ‘World’s biggest tech companies get failing grade on data-privacy rights‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/03/data-protection-failure-google-facebook-ranking-digital-rights), many of us, me included get to be a little curious.

The first part is shown here: “Given a percentage grade on privacy, freedom of expression and their commitment to those value based on an exhaustive analysis of their user agreements, no single company scored an aggregate grade above 65%“, the quote by Rebecca MacKinnon might sound nice, but she should know better in more than one way.

In the first, some of these companies are so global that many rights tend to be an upper level aggregation of the nation with the least rights. If America wasn’t so Prudishly Hypocritical a lot less would be ‘censored’. In addition, a global internet sounds nice, but it is crossing borders with national legislation, the internet does not get to have rights above national legislation, even in nations that are as liberal as it gets, issues will rise and the largest tech companies are trying to surf those waves as Rebecca MacKinnon very well knows. I am even more worried when a company like Vodafone (aka Vodafail in Australia) scores better than Twitter.

As for the grades, the beginning of the methodology (at https://rankingdigitalrights.org/project-documents/2015-indicators/#TOTAL) rears its ugly head in an interesting way when we look at question C3.

Here we see:

C3. Internal implementation

Does the company have mechanisms in place to implement its commitment to freedom of expression and privacy?

Checklist elements (select all that apply):

The company provides employee training on freedom of expression and privacy issues.

The company maintains an employee whistle-blower program.

 

The items here are the fun part:

The company provides employee training on freedom of expression and privacy issues.

Let’s take a look at some of these ‘great’ techies. Orange, Vodafone and Axiata. All telecom companies. In order of mention: ???,92000,20000. So let’s say 125,000 staff members, so should employee training on freedom of expression be available to all? In Addition, Orange merged in several nations. These mergers include France Télécom and T-Mobile UK, whilst in addition Orange is being phased out by its parent company EE Ltd. (aka Everything Everywhere). And for the whistle-blower part. How often was this a ‘hidden’ option to commit gross and unacceptable industrial espionage? As a Journalist it might sound like a sexy article, but did she for one moment realise that tech corporations need to hold onto their IP on several levels? Her book might be regarded as ‘amazing’ (Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom), yet when I read:  “Though the technology used for coordinating and organizing may be politically neutral, the context in which it is deployed is rarely so. Governments everywhere—whether they do business in the home government of companies or in the host government of markets—are demanding that Internet and telecommunications companies take sides, or at least stand back and avert their eyes while the government does what it needs to do, leaving the user or customer none the wiser.”, I worry!

Americans seldom comprehend that the right to be an utter idiot is not a god given right. In some places you get to be held accountable. I will go one step further, most of these self-proclaimed freedom fighters have excelled, through their train of thought, in protecting criminals and organised crime, which is some feather to put in your resume!

In addition, as people are crying for a free internet they also hold others accountable for their own stupidity.

Let’s show this with an example. If we change all global policies so that as per January 1st any hacked account who did not have a proper password will not be refunded, so the issue “Most banks will refund you your lost money after you sign some forms saying that you had nothing to do with the theft” will now include that not having proper quality passwords in place will be regarded as ‘assisted theft’. So you get no refund! I reckon it will take less than 1 day for the entire internet to go crazy regarding the injustice of that ruling. This is the issue, Rebecca MacKinnon doesn’t want a free internet; she wants an unaccountable internet. In her ‘netizenship’ she wants a free internet to hold governments to account, but in her virtual nation she has done nothing to hold those netizens accountable for Cyber bullying, harassment and assault on one’s devices. In that world there is no ‘Netfray’ (a made up crime definition), which might be freely seen as per adjusted version of the Crimes Act 1900 section 93C(2) “Netfray, a person who uses or threatens unlawful cyber violence towards another and whose conduct is such as would cause a person of reasonable user skills present at the scene to fear for his or her personal data and internet safety is guilty of netfray and liable to imprisonment for 10 years“.

That part we will not see!

This is what makes that report an issue. Tech companies need to protect themselves non-stop. So, even as we agree that the cyber joke (aka Ashley Madison) is one side, the other side is Sony, which has a massively higher level of protection. In the latter case it is still speculations from many sides (including one from me), but a real timeline, and an account of events that could be decently precise was never revealed. Now I would expect that both sides of the fence prefers to keep it a secret, but in my view that hack was never clearly solved.

In that environment Rebecca MacKinnon wants an open internet, who is she kidding?

Back to that report, because the mentioned items are connected to what comes next!

F11. Identity policy (Internet companies)

Does the company require users to verify their identity with government-issued identification, or with other forms of identification connected to their offline identity?

More important, the part that follows: “This indicator is only applicable to Internet companies. We expect companies to disclose whether they might ask users to verify their identities using government-issued ID or other forms of identification that could be connected to their offline identity. Evaluation: This indicator has two possible answers. A company will receive full credit if its answer is “No,” and a company will receive no credit if its answer is “Yes.”

So as hackers use dummy accounts, trolls use fake id’s and Identity thieves use your id to have ‘fun’ and profit from what is not theirs, finding ways to stop them loses you a credit. There are places where a person’s ID is not the issue, but in this day and age those places are quickly diminishing. If you doubt this (always an option) then perhaps you remember Caroline Criado-Perez, who did something truly British by petitioning for Jane Austen to be face of the Bank of England £10 note.

By the way, the amount of death threats she got, how many of those people got arrested, how many of those got convicted? Yes, an open internet would stop all that! (That’s my sarcasm for voicing ‘no it will not’).

Another issue with her quotes is seen here: “Part of the problem is that this is a new world with the internet, and we are so dependent on these companies that we really need them to get it right. And they have a lot of work to do.”, so how about hammering on proper legislation and better issues on prosecuting some of those offenders? When the internet gets cleaned up, a lot more leeway could be given to something like the internet. In this a nice example is given by herself as she answered a question on movie piracy (September 2012), “the fact they are kids and they’re doing stuff and they don’t even realize it is illegal, or it is not that big deal“, it is only part of the answer, but she makes a decent case, yet the issue here is that it is a BIG deal, these ‘kids’ are causing harm to the rightful revenue of the maker of that movie, so you want an open internet, but the transgressions there are far too often trivialised and for the most they end up not getting prosecuted, you want accountability on one side, but not on your side, that is too uneven a scale and for the most many nations have not caught up with the quality IP laws they need to protect their innovators.

Now, it is not all bad, reading the linked ‘2015 Indicators’ of the Ranking Digital Rights is actually a lot more interesting than the article. A few of the questions were an amazing topic for discussion by themselves and the people behind them had done an interesting job, yet overall how can you compare Malayan company Axiata against Vodafone, or Orange for that matter? Axiata which was only recently rebranded (2009), whilst Vodafone has had a global one-sided (and to some extent one-sided failure) in the industry. A brand that has its fingers in the national pies of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Places where you either adhere to the law or you get shut down. So how can they receive a fair weighted grade? If not than the article and the exercise are almost moot. Almost because there is one part of the article I wholeheartedly agree with: “MacKinnon said remained optimistic the industry would improve its privacy efforts over time. “This is the test you take at the beginning of the class where everybody fails, and then you get to work, and then everybody’s going to improve,” she said

It is not a mere ‘Amen to that’ ending, there are several serious issues that come to light, especially when you consider players like Apple and Microsoft. In case of Apple (with whom I still have some beef), is the fact that from 1995 onwards I have had a few of their devices, the Performa 630, the MacBook Pro and the G5, all between 2100 and 3000, all affordable and all on the ‘above average’ end of the range when they were released. The iPad 1 (I still have it) at a price that is still good, because that that same price you now get the latest version with 128GB; in an open non-accountable internet that is no longer an option, the billions poured into a design will find itself cheaply reengineered making new innovations no longer an option. Microsoft has a similar part, the Xbox One now at almost 50% of what the initial Xbox360 costs and close to equal in price with the very first Xbox. Even though this sounds good, these firms have had their shares of ‘errors’ to deal with, but overall those consumers (for the most) have never received a sour deal, this is only possible with quality protection in place, protection that MacKinnon is not considering to the extent she should, in her view of ‘netizens and the open internet’ she should get an equal fail grade, both sides need to work on whatever future comes our way, McKinnon know this too!

You do not get to graduate Harvard and run CNN in Beijing and Tokyo without a clear realisation that national borders are a lot more than a mere line on a map, which is what she almost implies, almost!

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Politics, Science

In all fairness

I feel that, at times, there is a duty to speak out for the other side. Not because I like it, or because it is essential, but because it is right to do so. Now, let me be clear, I have spoken out against Rupert Murdoch and his phone issues for some time, yet when I saw this article in regards to page 3 (at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/nov/05/sun-page-3-advert-banned-sexist), I felt it was essential to stand up in favour of page 3. So what is the big deal? I remember seeing page 3 when I was young, innocent and thought that page 3 offered newsworthy information. You find me any boy between 15-18 who thinks that it was not news worthy, then there is a 1% chance he is gay, which is fair enough and 99% chance that this boy is lying (just to coin an option).

That is pretty much the gest of it, but what is in play? The issue is not with the page 3 girl immediately, but with the text behind it “Promotion offered subscribers who recruited 10 or more players to their fantasy football league the chance to win a date with a Page 3 girl“. Is that not great?

No, it is stated “More than 1,000 complaints were received by the advertising regulator about the email promotion“, how lame is that, which I admit is my view of it.

Consider “10 lucky readers can win the ultimate Valentine’s Date with Hawkins herself“, it was a chance to win a date with Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins. So how many letters were sent there? There was an equal complaint of zero to win a date with Brad Pitt through some gossip girls column, whilst he was already married to Angelina Jolie. Then there is the option to Win a date with FHM cover star Georgia Salpa! The list goes on, Ed Sheeran, Cody Simpson, Melanie Iglesias, none of these drew the complaints, but the Page 3 girl did. This is of course the additional weirdness, it was not Mellisa Clarke, Lucy Collett or Lacey Banghard (all former page 3 girls), but the term ‘page 3 girl‘, the label that grew the Sun, that is the part that seems to be under attack. Lucy Colette is now regarded by FHM magazine to be one of its 100 Sexiest Women in the World, so no sexism there? Some of these models have been active for PETA, some have backed a major breast cancer awareness campaign for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and this list goes on. There is no denying that most men watch page 3 to stare at ‘the twins’, yet these women, many of them used this platform to launch awareness and activities on social levels that have lasted for years.

So, can we all agree that these are either these 1000 complaints come from men who are either jealous or moms who consider their 18 year old on a date with a page 3 girl too offensive? I know that neither is likely the case, but in my view this complaint was hypocrite at best and if we want to have a go at Rupert Murdoch then that is just fine with me, but choose something that should be attacked (like phone hacking). Not some date with a woman, likely to be in a place where she will remain all dressed (many restaurants in London tend to frown on their topless clientele, even when those clients are male).

This is the crux, page 3 is a gimmick it is advertisement, one that has been there for decades. On one side from the newspaper to the topic of sex sells and on the side of the model, to get perhaps a chance to get into modelling, to make some money, whilst they know that a photo, is merely a photo, and these women might sunbath topless and that will not bring them money and still they are likely to get photographed. There is nothing apprehensible about this. The woman does not have to pose and this extra option for a woman, perhaps a model to go out on a nice date with a guy and all is paid for from the credit card of Rupert Murdoch, possibly in a location neither could afford is just an extra bonus. Now let’s look at the other side, were these women truly demeaned, or are they strong independent women setting themselves up for another round of them marketing themselves. You see, these women are basically doing the same thing Brad Pitt and Jennifer Hawkins were doing, just because these two are making millions, no one is complaining. How hypocrite can people get?

This all takes another turn as the Advertising Standards Agency upholds the entire issue. The wordplay, which is what we are used seeing from the Murdoch machine is the same as ever, half-baked innuendo, but no added fire. The text of the ASA that “the offer of a date was sexist, demeaning, offensive and objectified women“, means that they must now ban ANY date option from so many magazines. I wonder how Rupert Murdoch will strike back, because he will in some way. So why is this, a big deal? Well, it isn’t a big deal, but it does show an amount of double standards, which I personally find offensive.

You see, there is another side to all this, as we see some actions which I consider to be lame and counterproductive, because they also defuse the actual need for action as we see the aggravated harassment of Caroline Criado-Perez, as she was able to get Jane Austen on a 10 pound note, that was important, to fight for the safety of Anita Sarkeesian as she is threatened for her right to freedom of speech, this is a massive issue. Yet the issue of some people winning a date with a woman who posed topless by her own free will is just a little too stretched. What makes a date with one of these models more objectifying then a date with former Miss Universe? It does not and I think that the women are not objectified, which makes me wonder who the 1000 complaints were from.

Let’s take one final look at the one part the ASA had upheld: ““In the context of the ad, we considered that to offer a date with a woman as a reward for success in the game was demeaning to women and objectified those offered as prizes.”“, is that so? I am not debating whether it is or it is not, but how come we see no persecution (or is it prosecution) for FHM and other magazines offering the main prize to be a date, simply because no complaints were filed?

It seems to me that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has its work cut out for them, if we consider the 2010 ‘Cosmopolitan Win A Date with Bryann F and Fabio Ide‘, and if we consider the ASA advertising codes on consistency, then quoting the ASA “Consistency is a principle of good regulation; it helps to create clarity which leads to good practice amongst businesses. Something that is good both for industry and consumers. It also helps us to do our job better and concentrate our focus on where it is most needed. That’s why we strive to ensure that the advertising standards set by CAP and the rulings reached by the ASA have proper regard to consistency“, under that guise it will be up to them to ‘outlaw‘ any magazine to offer a date as a prize, I just wonder how the Justin Bieber fans will react when their possible dream date is off the table, not to mention all the other people who allow themselves to be the date for fattening the wallets of good causes and charities, I think that this entire page 3 issue was overexposed and many others might not like the consequence of the result.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Law, Media

Evolving our lives!

This article is not for the faint of heart. This is not for the people who think that life is all sunny and joy. So if you are any of these people, then read not on and return when my next story comes online.

You see, in my mental world I am about to pick up an axe, I sneak upon the man who has no idea what is about to happen. I sneak, slowly into the den, the door was open this warm September and he likely hoped for the breeze to cool him down. Suddenly he feel one hot gush of water over his chest, he looks down, it is not water. It is the hot blood gushing from his skull, the blood that rains is his, he cannot shout out, blood is everywhere, he falls on the rug with a ‘thump’, he is no more! I hear the voice from the kitchen ‘what was that dear! Are you alright?‘ I hear the footsteps, she is not walking fast. I move to the left into the shadows, I see her silhouette, she seems to see the blood and that what was left of her husband. I had already placed the hunting knife in my left hand; it slices through her throat in less than a second. She goes down on her knees, looking at me, not having any idea why she is getting hurt. She had died before her head hit the ground.

I get the knife and the axe and roll them in linen. I grab the bottle from the bag and place the knife and the axe within the canvas bag with linen coating. I add ammonia to mask the scent of the blood, in case a police dog gets near. I look at my feet; they are covered in lamb coated overshoes. My overall is thin but sturdy. I take out the billy club. I slowly walk to the staircase; I hear the sounds of gunfire from a video game. I sneak up slowly and see that the door of the room is ajar. A boy sites with his back to me, it is time to put on my ski mask. I slowly sneak in and observe the equipment and I hit him hard to the side of the head and quickly turn the sound up by a lot. Not hard enough to kill him, that is not my goal. He is reeling at the edge of losing consciousness; I slap his face hard with an open hand. The leather glove makes the sound more intense. I pull him up and hit him in the gut with enough strength; he buckles over gasping for air. He looks up in sheer terror. I gag him with duct tape and cuff his wrists at the back, I drag him downstairs.

I place the cable ties on his thumbs and index fingers as close to the Opponens Pollicis as possible. He looks at the bodies of his parents, he is now truly afraid. I look at him and say “Zoe Quinn and Phil Fish did not care for your harassment!” I put the mask on his face; the nails will slowly but not fatally bite into his face. Last I tighten cable ties as much as possible. Within the hour, amputation will be the only option left to him. His life will never ever be about gaming of harassing again! I walk away with the bag in my hand, not giving the little troll a second look. Within the hour all evidence that I ever existed will be gone, so will I and he will only know fear until his dying day!

This is just a story! This is nothing more than a rant of frustration, dressed in the cloth of a short story, dealing with my frustration like Percy Bysshe Shelley, Stephen King or Virginia Woolf. Although I tend to take the high road, this time it is Slate who has the high moral ground (at http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2014/08/zoe_quinn_harassment_a_letter_to_a_young_male_gamer.html), it is an excellent article by David Auerbach about more than just a gaming scandal. I am all about gaming; I have always been all about gaming. The fact that more and more women are entering this field is filling me with joy. Yes, for now this market is all about the man, but consider that over time, we have seen women leading in artistic fields. We have given our souls to Diablo, Minecraft, Oblivion, Fallout and a league of other games. Would it not be great if we get another wave of amazing games? For now Tombraider has sold itself short. The game is nowhere near the first two which broke the mould of good gaming. We saw the rise and fall of Origin, Rare and several others, all bringing us great games. Now women come and I hope we see a host of amazing games to follow. So when I see such hate and harassment from men (99.4233% sure that the harassers are not women) it just pisses me off. The fact that these people are not hunted into extinction gets to me to some degree. I did not get the hate people showed because Caroline Criado-Perez successfully championed for Jane Austen to be the new figure on the ten pound note. For the same reason I do not get the fact that Zoe Quinn is persecuted either. The idea to bring the awareness of depression is a great idea; I wish I had thought of it. It had several review, our own Tim Biggs of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote “Tim Biggs, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, also stressed the lack of fun in the game, and went on to say that the game was ‘a testing and, at times, a boring experience to go through.’ However, he praised the game’s execution, and acknowledged its importance as a tool for raising awareness of depression and for helping its sufferers“.

OK, not the greatest review for a game, but who remembers Superman for the Nintendo 64? I still consider it the very worst game I ever beheld for reviewing!

So, why is there such an overwhelming hate for these women. This all was brought to light because someone speaking out for them (Phil Fish). I did not play his game either, but the movies and the views give an interesting and original game play. So, it does not look like anything Ubi-Soft releases, but consider that ‘their’ Prince of Persia released in the 80’s (Broderbund released it) had no great graphics either, now it is a billion dollar company, we all have to start small.

So what about Zoe Quinn?

Well, the accusation is that she slept with a reporter to get a better review, but that is not entirely correct either. She got harassed shortly after the release and before her ‘ex-boyfriend’ made his claims. So what is it about this particular group of losers who feel so threatened about women in the gaming industry? They must be losers, because if they were not, then they would have their own brands of success, but that seems not to be the case. I think that if anonymous is the idealist it claims to be, then they would stand up for these women and publish the names and addresses of all of these bullies, you see, trolling is all fine, as long as we all know who you are, they become liable. It should stop two issues with one group all at once. But are the allegations true? Actually, does that matter? Perhaps a journalist got ‘lucky’, perhaps not. The real question is, is it a good game?

Yet, the issue does matter, you see, her ex, who is ‘hiding’ on his blog and accuses her of acts. Hiding the fact that the relationship was a bust and she did not stand still, she created something! Motherboard quotes “he accuses Quinn of sleeping with various prominent figures in the video game industry, including a writer at Kotaku“, so basically she knew a few guys, is that criminal? the information motherboard gave (at http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/zoe-quinn-slut-shaming-the-feminist-conspiracy-and-depression-quest) “Gamers have been complaining about corruption in video game journalism for years now” is not new, look at Gamespot and the massive amount of additional visibility that Ubi-Soft enjoys as a sponsor should raise more than just a few flags. But how far does this corruption go? And it is alleged corruption, the question remains, is it really corruption? I started reviewing games in 1988. I got the games, I wrote the articles and I got paid for the published articles. In addition I got to keep the games. I had to pay for the consoles myself (except for 2) and the chief editor kept the Atari Lynx for himself, an act which was slightly irritating, but not the greatest of issues. I went to the ECTS (the UK edition of the E3) a few times, which I paid for myself and deducted it from my taxes. So where is the corruption? I gave an honest review of the game and sometimes if the game was bad I did not bother writing a review for the simple reason that I only got up to 5 pages per issue, why spend it on a bad game, whilst a good game is so much more fun to review. I also tried to steer away from the ‘big titles’ at times; I did not jump onto Command & Conquer in 1995, like everyone else but choose Wing Commander 4, Tekken 2 and Rayman instead. My ex hated Rayman (the end of level laughter), I never regretted my decision. Everyone wrote about Command & Conquer, I showed them different games. The question still remains, why hate Quinn?

Is it because her ex-boyfriend turned out to be a loser? let’s be clear about this, if he was in a relationship and she did cheat on him, he should be angry and walk away, I do not care, it is her life and her choice and if so he is free to walk away and perhaps be angry for a little while, yet he is the only one with the smallest degree to be angry, the other hundreds have absolutely no valid cause for such trolling and harassing behaviour. Consider that we start trolling all the cheaters, the man too! Spam mail would drop to 0%, there would be no bandwidth left for spam mails, which might be a new novel idea to get rid of spam messages.

This is all so stupid, because in the end, the real gamers want to know if the game is any good. In her case, does it matter? Her game was to bring forward awareness of depression, if that works, what could be better? Even if the game is not the greatest one, it is likely to be a whole lot better than Superman on the Nintendo 64. In the end, I hope groups like Anonymous actually do something to help these victims instead of some political agenda, I wonder how ‘loud’ the troll feels when everyone in the street knows their name and where they live, more even if their mommies and daddies realise what losers they are. It is an interesting form of justice!

To some degree I miss reviewing games, I have seen so many classics be born and evolve. I saw underdogs like Broderbund rise and fall, I’ve seen how new generations love the originality of Loderunner, as much as I did when it got released on the CBM-64 and I saw the giant Elite, move from system to system, only to see the concept evolve into Privateer. Later we see part of the original game on tables and PDA’s, now Elite is back in a state of the art version that is to be released this year, still showing the original logo that was on the box of the CBM-64. Yet, the sandbox part, the travels and another side of the foundations of Elite will be seen in 2015, as we explore the galaxy in ‘No Man’s Sky’, in ways the original designer could never imagine (he only had 48Kb to write the program). As my life is drawing closer to an end, I see that timeless games will continue, bringing joy to a new generation and to generations after that, after I am gone. If the world for us as gamers is to move forward then this cannot be only about the man, women should pick up this torch and bring new options and new levels of gaming. In the end it will be a win-win for all gamers.

When we look at long term playing we have seen the big titles, and we all have other thoughts on what makes the great game, but there is also unison, it seems that the bulk all loves Diablo, even since the original release in 1996, it still keeps us busy. Would it not be great if we see new and more surprising games from female developers? Let’s not forget that one of the most famous developers in the early years for gamers was Roberta Williams, co-founder of Sierra-on-line. The bringer of King’s Quest, as early as 1984, a woman was in our gaming midst and she was as good as any of the male developers, letting these trolls win means that we gamers of all genders are missing out, do not let it come to that!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, IT, Law, Media, Politics

Censoring – Censor out?

It is 18:11 and my assignments are done. I get one day of rest until the next batch off assignments start to twitch at the corner of my desk. No rest for the weary, so off to the Guardian I went a moment ago only to see an interesting article by James Ball. It is about Twitter. The headline ‘Twitter: from free speech champion to selective censor?‘ pretty much states it all (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/aug/21/twitter-free-speech-champion-selective-censor).

It starts with a quote that sounds good, but is actually a statement of quicksand “The social network’s decision to remove all links to the horrific footage showing the apparent beheading of the photojournalist James Foley is one that most of its users, reasonably, support“.
I actually do not support it, but I understand the action. Why not?

Well, this is all about emotion, which is fair enough, but Twitter had given themselves a precedent of censoring. Now, let us be honest, I have nothing against the censoring, but they created a position for themselves that will drain resources in many way.

Why? What about the next beheading or execution that comes next? Other video smut we can all do without. Where will it stop and how can it be managed?

James Ball actually words an interesting view I had not considered when he states “the New York Post and New York Daily News’ decision to use graphic stills from the footage as their front-page splashes. Here begin the problems for Twitter: the network decided not to ban or suspend either outlet for sharing the images – despite banning other users for doing the same“, which constitutes discrimination. So, as I stated, Twitter entered a pool of quicksand and it will get them deeper into trouble sooner then they realise. That is shown with the quote “Twitter is absolved of legal responsibility for most of the content of tweets. But by making what is in essence an editorial decision not to host a certain type of content, Twitter is rapidly blurring that line“.

So under Common Law, Twitter got themselves in quicksand and hot water all at the same time (aren’t they the efficient Eager Beavers?).

If I go by the NSW Defamation Act 2005, we see a nice escalation in section 32, where it states:

Section 32   Defence of innocent dissemination

(1)  It is a defence to the publication of defamatory matter if the defendant proves that:
(a)  the defendant published the matter merely in the capacity, or as an employee or agent, of a subordinate distributor, and
(b)  the defendant neither knew, nor ought reasonably to have known, that the matter was defamatory, and
(c)  the defendant’s lack of knowledge was not due to any negligence on the part of the defendant.

(2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), a person is a subordinate distributor of defamatory matter if the person:
(a)  was not the first or primary distributor of the matter, and
(b)  was not the author or originator of the matter, and
(c)  did not have any capacity to exercise editorial control over the content of the matter (or over the publication of the matter) before it was first published.

Until now, they had gotten a clean pass and would remain to have one until they made the change they did. Because whomever starts any defamation case, will have cause to show the beheading censoring instance of James Foley and by Twitter acting, they gave away the defence: ‘did not have any capacity to exercise editorial control over the content of the matter‘, because they just did that exact thing, which now gives them cause to see Defence of innocent dissemination melt away like snow in the sunshine.

As James Ball points out, the issue that I had taken offense to last year were the threats against Caroline Criado-Perez, who thought it would be a great idea if Jane Austen became the new face of the 10 pound note. I personally thought it was a brilliant idea. Some small minded people did not and as such, she got a dose of abuse and threats that were completely beyond belief. It is only one of many cases of bullying, trolling and harassment via Twitter. The quote we see in the Guardian is: “Twitter’s strongest, perhaps only, justification for its sluggish and minimal response was that it could only act through its harassment channels, and could not become a curator or editor of content on its site“, which in itself is perfectly acceptable, yet now, they have given that option away by acting and soon, Twitter might be confronted with other abuse and threat victims and as such their goose gets to be decently cooked (and broiled).

So, either Twitter takes a step back, which would be fair enough, or it becomes a policing entity, which might not be the worst, yet the issues from this choice will haunt them for a long time to come. That in itself seems unfair, but just moving to the plate (not arguing how justified it is), will leave them with bruises and scars. I get the issue that it is a consequence of choice, which I do not attack, but how consistent can they actually do this and more important, what issues will they open when they censored something that was lost in translation, how will they fix those mistakes at that point?

I think that they should state that the beheading intervention was a once off and not interfere again. Not because I want it, but because Twitter seems safer by remaining on the side of innocent dissemination, a side that they might not be regarded as ever again (speaking juridical), simply because the action has already taken place.

So is the censor in for censoring?

That is a question that only Twitter can answer, yet the emotional decision to intervene in this case was morally right, emotionally correct and decently good, this jurisprudential mouse will however end up having a slightly too long tail, I wonder whether Twitter considered that option, especially in regards to victims like Caroline Criado-Perez who did not get the intervening attention they rightfully deserved.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media

Equality should not be a concept

Today my inspiration comes from Sky News and the social media. The issue at play is one I took offense to two days ago. I learned that a Miss Perez had started something that led to the new 10 pound note to be dedicated to Jane Austen. A brilliant step! I had not thought of it. I have the books, I have seen movies from her books and a movie on the life of Jane Austen. She is and should be regarded as the good side of England. Even as a spokesperson for the British Empire she would be a good choice. So, my first thought was to say ‘Well done Miss Perez!’

So when I learned that she was harassed by THOUSANDS of trolls and abusers on twitter, I took offense and I wrote her a congratulatory message. I do not care for some excuses that the socialite media figures take on that these people are doing it out of boredom. It is abuse plain and simple; there is no excuse in my view.

I am a little on the fence when we go out of our ways to blame twitter in this matter. Yes, we should be able to report abuse and spam and with ease. I do however stand behind the person who stated (sorry, forgot to write down the name) that Twitter is a tool; you cannot hold them accountable for abuse of it. To some extent I agree with that view. When a person’s skull gets bashed by a criminal with a wrench, you do not sue the company making the wrench. People kill people, plain and simple.

So women like Lucy-Anne Holmes should have all options and freedom to advocate their cause. Most people (especially male teenagers in the UK) would feel less happy, when ‘aspiring’ models promote themselves on page 3 of the Sun are removed, but equally fair is that others are not drawn to this and will not cry if that space is changed for other information. It was her right to speak out and she did. We might not agree, we are justified to speak out against her viewpoint, but we are not allowed, or should be allowed to threaten her in any way. Let’s face it, she is not the head of <some major social media company> selling our private details. Interesting how no one cares about that!

I cannot even fathom the abuse and threats some use in regards to people speaking their mind or standing up to something they believe in. I do however feel strongly about freedom of speech and they have a right to speak their belief, even if it is not a view I hold. I will even make a stronger case. I reckon that in support to Miss Perez, I would vote that a woman should be depicted on 2 of the 4 notes at any given time. If we truly believe that we are in an age of equality, then should that not be visible in all fields, including monetary? And in this case, in my humble opinion, the picture of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth does not count towards this number. The question then becomes ‘are there famous women?’

Yes there are! (And plenty of them too) Even beyond the art of writing there are scientists like Elsie Widdowson and Kathleen Lonsdale. We could start an argument on the undervalued acts by Rosalind Franklin as well.

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Politics