Tag Archives: Jennifer Lawrence

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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Enabling cybercrime!

Yes, we are all in the unintentional habit to enable cybercrime. Yet what complications do we face when the one enabling it is not you, me or Joe Worker, but Microsoft or Apple? Where do we stand when we are confronted by companies, so driven by what I consider the useless drive of greed through Marketing, whilst ignoring the technical support department? Do not claim that it does not happen, because I have been witness to such events (though not personally at Microsoft or Apple).

It did not just start with the affair of the 101 nude celebrities, yet it is at the core of the visibility that it drives. It is not with the push by so many to get forced towards Google Search and Facebook Messenger, but that is definitely the debatable event pushing the worry, fear and quite honestly the total distrust of greed and marketability that is overtaking what some seem to laughingly refer to as ‘technological improvements‘.

In this age, we see a growing drive for ease and ‘comfort’, yet a lot seems to be enabling cybercrime and exploitation.

We got the ‘Fear Google‘ event and the expose with a non-dressed Jennifer Lawrence has been cancelled (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/jennifer-lawrence-and-kate-upton-nude-photos-exhibition-cancelled-after-artist-finally-concedes-the-images-were-stolen-property-9723751.html).

Perhaps I am too much of a cynic, but the text “Though not, says the artist behind it, due to legal reasons. But instead because he’s had a moral change of heart“, how about the truth (as I consider it to be), ‘the pressure of Jennifer Lawrence has given my expose ALL the publications I needed‘. Seems to be more honest, also, the fact that her lawyer Lawrence Shire, especially if he is the Shire related to Grubman Shire, might have taken away whatever courage he thought he had to continue. I leave it up to the reader to form their own mind.

Yet this is not about that, but it could be.

Consider the following issue, which I witnessed myself today. The setting is simple. She uses her smartphone and for the most never ever uses Skype. Yet, she has a Skype account on her notebook. She needed Skype on her mobile, which was easy enough, yet after installing it, we have lost 4 hours and half a dozen attempts to reset her password.

Skype1

 

 

 

 

 

  1. We enter Skype.
  2. Password lost, which means another browser.
  3. We enter mail details.
  4. We use the received code to enter a new password
  5. We go to Skype, yet the linked identity does not work.
  6. We start again from step 2.

As you can see in the diagram, for some reason, the Skype name and the android Skype are not updated or linked. Even as a technologist it took me a while to see through this and Microsoft is not much help either. If we consider I had dozens of attempts without any repercussions, how long until someone starts trying to get into someone that actually matters?

The issue I showed two days ago (at http://thenextweb.com/apple/2014/09/01/this-could-be-the-apple-icloud-flaw-that-led-to-celebrity-photos-being-leaked/) gave some indications of what is going on. Now we see another level on Skype that calls certain matters into question, more important that the Skype android cannot get updated for some reason, so there is even more going on now, especially as the issues surrounding android Skype seem to have been around since 2012.

This is not the only issues that are out on the works; it seems that Microsoft OneDrive has similar issues of security. There we see that you cannot limit the one drive to be ONLY accessible by certain devices, with cyber-crime on the rise to this degree, we see another mass collecting point, where the people behind it seem to be dancing to the music of Marketing and the mere simplistic need of the matter, as a technologist would mention it is not there. It is likely the same kind of answer I heard in the past “We will get to that in the next edition” or “Let’s get this ‘solution to’ (read revenue from) the customer first“, solutions where the technologist is not at the centre of it all.

Only AFTER some got to admire the Jennifer Lawrence’s chest section do we now see the headline “Apple Says It Will Add New iCloud Security Measures After Celebrity Hack” (at http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/apple-says-it-will-add-new-security-measures-after-celebrity-hack/), so is this Marketing waking up, or was IT slamming their fist on the table? Either way, those pushing people and business alike to cloudy places of automatic public revelations should now seriously wake up and smell the intrusion on their networks.

Several of these solutions are still not completely up and running, and the ‘patch’ like solutions in place now, are likely no more than a temporary option, whilst the cyber-criminal goes on exploiting other venues of weaknesses. Let’s not forget that the 101 celebrities list sounds nice, but there are globally at least 399 more women who are beautiful beyond believe, and those not into that kind of information are likely interested in the files of Sir Iain Robert Lobban (GCHQ), Andrew Parker (MI5), John Sawers (MI6). Guess what! They are likely to have very secure solutions in their possession, yet can the same be said for Ewen Stevenson (CFO-RBS) or Simon Henry (CFO Lloyds Banking group)? These people all use solutions for presentations, memo’s and other items. In some cases they need connections to keep up and running. How long until we see the power of Cyber criminals as they influence the market? It just takes one unconfirmed message to make a shift in any direction. If people are scared of what a Lone Wolf can do by blowing up things, think of the damage of disclosed financial events bring. We have seen the smallest of restraint in the press in the case of Jennifer Lawrence (but only by using a super computer and exposing the deeds of the members of the press to the Lyapunov stability algorithm), but is that enough?

There is a growing sense of fear and massive distrust. We have seen it start with Facebook Messenger on the mobile, we have seen some people whisk it all away, yet not unlike the laughable Sony Troll, as they mentioned the ridiculousness of the changed terms of service from Sony, we have seen too much blatant abuse from the greed driven data collectors and now, as trust is gone, more people are starting to wonder why their own local governments aren’t truly looking into it and they fear the same flaccid indecisiveness from them when the Financial sector left a large group of the population (not just in America) in utter destitution.

It goes beyond mere ethics; it is an absolute absence of dedication towards consumer protection for the prospering board of directors, which is at the essential fearing heart of many, both wealthy and utterly non wealthy alike.

This all is getting now more and more visibility as we see the growing amount of people in their ‘right to be forgotten‘, yet as we see at the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/10/google-europe-explain-right-forgotten-eric-schmidt-article-29) we see the following quote “Google is currently conducting a grand tour of Europe, with the ten members of its Advisory Council touring seven cities to gather evidence on the developments in the so-called “right to be forgotten” ruling“, in addition we see “The one thing that everyone agrees about this case is that the label it has been given – the “right to be forgotten” – is a very poor descriptor. More accurately, it is about the right to obscure or suppress personal information“, so is that it, or is there more? Well we can consider the part where the absence of any legal obligation on Google to reveal its processes, which renders Google judge, jury, and executioner. So in combination that it is not about forgetting (read deleting), but about obscuring (read less easy to find) will leave an open field for those with better data comprehension. A market where Google is trying to cash in, so instead of everyone finding it, only those paying for certain levels will more easily acquire information. That is not what ‘right to be forgotten‘ was about. Now again we see the press, yet in this case they are not really placed in any blame, however there is a (sizeable) missing level of clarity on what EXACTLY is requested from more than one side, the un-clarity leads to uncertainty with that leading to nothing getting done. So what is in play?

We know that Google’s fortunes are also linked to data, which means that any additional ‘forget me now’ request is impacting the business of Google, not the one, or the 5, but consider every postcode in the world and 5-10 requests from each of those to be forgotten, now it becomes a massive task, requiring thousands of people, working thousands of hours, paid from the at that point medium slim lined coffers of Google, whilst at the same time having to hold onto those records for later reasons, likely including journalistically and/or juridical. So as we look at all these escalations, then Skype, OneDrive and iCloud are not just three identities, they become three entities of threat of the collected data of all, the privacy of them and whether forgotten or not, they are aware of where they kept their information, passwords and snapshots.

The view of technology every person needs to start comprehending, because they all forgot that ease and comfort come at a price, they just did not consider the currency that was linked to that price. Some of this can be seen in the Lifehacker who in February 2013 (at http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/02/why-cloud-services-are-so-easy-to-hack/) write “In most cloud environments, there’s no concept of intrusion detection or prevention, and if they are there people don’t know how to use them“, in itself not that amazing a quote, even though it is a year old and in one year many people tend to not educate themselves that much because of the declining comfort levels. Yet at the end he states a more powerful issue: “This week, I’m in London for Data Centre World, paying particular attention to how to maximise efficiency and lower costs in the data centre“, which is at the heart of my issue. Often these factors involve automation and scripting, which when it comes to issues like speed and the prominence of reduced cost tends to leave security in the backdrop. So if you had any reason to fear any of these solutions, then consider one issue “If all your cloud data became public knowledge at 23:00 and in the 8 hours following you had ZERO control“. Would you be worried? If not then sleep on and sweet dreams, if the answer is ‘Yes’, then you need to take some serious time and get educated on the risks and the consequences. I cannot answer the question for you, but when was the last time you actually had such a conversation with your IT person, or with the sales engineer of the sales person who sold you the cloud solution?

Data is currency, when it is open knowledge for all; you end up only having goodwill and an empty hard drive, which is valued at the price of the empty hard drive.

 

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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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Values of insanity

I need to revisit my last article ‘Evolving our lives’, not the article itself, I thought it was a decent article and I stand by what I write. It is the massive absence of visibility that I see in the press that is so overwhelming, that it makes me wonder what on earth is going on.

You see, the fact that someone hacked the phone of Jennifer Lawrence is ‘great’ news. It had several pages of links of all shapes and sizes. I feel for Jennifer, I am happy that she is taking a stand and I hope her lawyer gets to take the hacker and his family to the cleaners for the next 5 generations.

The statement from her attorney Lawrence Shire is quite clear “This is obviously an outrageous violation of our client Kate Upton’s privacy. We intend to pursue anyone disseminating or duplicating these illegally obtained images to the fullest extent possible” (source: Perez Hilton at http://perezhilton.com/cocoperez/2014-09-02-kate-upton-leaked-nude-photos-addresses-statement).

My issue is not with Jenifer, as I stated I do feel for her. It is the LA Times (and many other US newspapers) that I am having an issue with. The LA Times who published only 10 hours ago: “After illegally obtained nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other actresses were made public Sunday, the FBI is on the case — and so is Lena Dunham“.

It is interesting that the FBI is all about the famous, yet, as it is portrayed Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian and a few others, who seem to be the object of extreme hatred and this visibility, remains mostly absent.

Now, I do not agree with some of the views Anita Sarkeesian had, especially in her video ‘Women as Background Decoration (Part 2)’, she is entitled to this view. She does bring in several cases a correct view, but again the fact that the view of the Darkness 2 is pretty much how the comic depiction is was not stated. Also is not stated that the prostitutes in Assassins Creed 2 and Assassins Creed 2 brotherhood were a weapon for Ezio Auditore to kill from hiding and to remain unseen. There is more than just a game here and courtesans were a reality in that era in Italy.

Consider the following historical fact “The Venetian authorities became concerned that it was impossible to distinguish between courtesans and respectable women. Rules drawn up in 1543 determined what the courtesans could wear” and “There was a red light district in Venice but there were also courtesans who were less obvious. They were educated prostitutes who were refined and well dressed and serviced the social elite“. This is how reality was. There is no real defence from me, for the most Anita Sarkeesian gives a truthful view, even though that view is not giving the whole picture. The same she does with watchdogs, where not just women, but also men are the target, yet her reasoning does hold water. In addition, the issues as shown in Far Cry 3 are not unknown (at http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21586575-laws-punish-domestic-violence-are-too-often-honoured-breach-everyday-aggression) the economist and many others show that there is an abundance of violence against women. This does not make it okay, but it is a reality we are all still fighting against. The economist states “it is a slow process“, I personally think is “a much too slow process“. There have been several views by many people that things have to change and I personally believe that Anita Sarkeesian should be allowed to voice these issues in safety and whilst not getting harassed.

My issues only partially against that view is that Bethesda (Fallout, Fallout New Vegas, Oblivion, Skyrim) and Lionhead studios (Fable series) and Electronic Arts (Mass Effect series) offer the option of creating a main female character, that part she left out. In addition, Female Shepard from the Mass Effect series is just as deadly as the male one. Yet, I admit these seem to be exceptions.

As Anita and Zoe are real people, why is their safety not more strongly advocated? Anita Sarkeesian’s dangers made the Washington post, yet it seems that these people (both Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn) seem to have escaped the view of the bulk of all American Newspapers. An Indie game developer stood up for her, his name is Phil Fish. When I looked for more info, I found this description on some Wiki page “Phil Fish (Powerword: Jacques Paul Philippe Poisson) is a shitty video game designer who received immense praise following his creation of a Super Paper Mario rip-off called “Fez”. A filthy hipster, Fish is widely reviled on the internet mostly because he’s a douche and a drama whore. He’s also French Canadian, which goes a long way towards explaining why he’s such a stuck-up narcissistic twat“. The hatred spilt all over several sites is unbelievable, now, perhaps the man has an ego issue, I do not know, because I do not know the man, yet his quote in support for Zoe Quinn drove a level of hatred that is beyond belief.

Let’s get back to the issues involving women.

There is an anti-women group in gaming wave going on that seems to be utterly unparalleled and is far beyond any normal dimensions. I have no idea how repugnant something called ‘the Daily Caller‘ is. Yet consider the issue. A model named Kate Upton, her phone was hacked and we see this “So What Does Rep. Fred Upton Think About Kate Upton’s Hacked Nude Photos?“, which intros as: “Michigan U.S. Congressman Fred Upton is staying personally silent on the weekend hacking and posting of nude pictures belonging to his niece, model and actress Kate Upton“, so the man is her uncle and he is asked to give his view on his naked niece? How sick is this reporter? This was not some photo-shoot in Playboy and Penthouse, no this was the violation of her privacy and many are making ‘light reporting’ of it all. This is a side that Anita Sarkeesian seemed to have missed in her article, it is not just the gaming image but the press is to some extent glorifying this! Is it such a wild assumption that this is bringing a new low level of cyber-paparazzi? I wonder how much money lawyer Lawrence Shire could get and how much publications will bring in revenue on this matter. This is not about objectifying women, this all reads as a chauvinist tactic ‘to keep women in their place‘, which, if true is a crime as heinous as the acts Pol Pot’s killing of well over a million people. Does anyone remember the Killing Fields or did you all forget that massacre?

The victims are given this response “After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions“, so if there is a targeted attack, where did it come from? We get back to the basic need of a secure internet. The system has been built on such levels of ‘convenience’ for speed, that the entire issue of security seems to have been ignored to some degree (a targeted attack that becomes a successful transgression is one that requires investigation). You see, if we accept that any system can be transgressed upon, that it stands to reason that a clear market for the wealthier client is required. Consider the news that the US president was not allowed to have an iPhone and we read “explaining why he is sometimes seen with a bulky super secure Blackberry“, why are the personal assistants of both Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton not looking into that field? Yet, are these not new values of insanity?

Why should any woman need these additional levels of protection from criminals like these? It all goes back to the issue of non-accountability. People can do whatever they like and no one will be there to stop them. If we see the years of publications and the years of recorded issues on Domestic violence, we see an utterly flaccid legal system with too little actual results. The internet is just a new iteration of inaction.

Yes, the FBI is looking into this, yet how long until these women see results? How long until Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian can go home in relative safety for using their right to free speech? How long until the international press will take these issues and goes for real coverage of the issue, and not in some feigned opposition view as we saw in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/01/how-to-attack-a-woman-who-works-in-video-games) with text like “So, for those out there who have decided to join in and harass a woman developer or critic out of the games business, this is how you do it“.

Did the Guardian print the following in their papers: “If you want to take a good honest look at the breasts of Jennifer Lawrence and perhaps more, this is how you hack the phone“? Oddly, that is not what was printed, so why these two values? Yes, I know that the piece of Zoe Quinn was in sarcasm against the harasser, but I think it missed the point, especially as there is an abundance of non-journalistic sources burning her, whilst only the Guardian gave her any (but debatable) visibility. Is this the realistic view of Anita Sarkeesian view that women are objectified, yet now in a very real way?

Moving forward

I hope that Lawrence Shire might be willing to place a few calls and get a group of real journalists into the plight of both Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn, possible with Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton standing next to them. You see, I think that this is all linked to a much bigger problem, if the threat to both Quinn and Sarkeesian is unreal, then people have a right to know, but if the threat is real then ignoring the threat is no less criminal then what the hackers are trying to publish. All this whilst the media is just printing the names that will improve their circulation, so in their view, the lives of Quinn and Sarkeesian have no value and are ignored.

I will accept that a Hollywood star is news, however, within the last 15 minutes as I was writing this last night speculations regarding Jennifer Lawrence grew by 12 pages, not one fact on either Quinn or Sarkeesian by any reputable source was added. This is not life in the fast lane, this is ‘garbage in the junk lane‘ and too many who should be vocal, remain silent.

The responses

Emma Watson’s response on Twitter is perhaps the clearest “Even worse than seeing women’s privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy“. Yet, I am personally not certain whether she is correct; when the by-line from the Independent ends with ‘Poor Jay Law!‘ which was read by another woman in a tone of ‘ah well’ we can safely state that the matter is a whole lot worse. The tweet from Ricky Gervais, although badly received is deeper than some realise “Celebrities, make it harder for people to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on your computer“, which might read as “When you are famous, you have no inherent rights of ANY kind, which means that either you pose naked for the press at large or someone will get those shots for them“.

Which gives us the unjust consideration “Breasts and genitals are coin, coin is essential, you are only temporary!” Whether Ricky Gervais was actively trying to state this, or “The only safe nude of you is no nude of you!” is up to Ricky Gervais, but I hope that my way of stating this all shows that the dangers women at large face (famous and non-famous alike) seems to be escalating. The view that “Domestic or partner violence is a global concern. Worldwide 30% of partnered women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime” is not a figment of anyone’s imagination, yet the fact that women overwhelmingly do not report these issues and only a fraction of the reported issues are successfully prosecuted remains a fact. This all links to all the issues we saw earlier.

There is an implied inherent air of ignoring, not prosecuting and persecuting these offences, yet overall these issues are more and more visible. I do personally disagree with my previous statement, yet consider the amount of registered domestic violence occurrences and how many of them were successfully prosecuted? Here I do not blame the police; it seems to me that at times their hands are tied even more than those of the victim. Consider the quote from the less likely reporting instance (the Daily Mail). “Domestic abuse prosecutions more than doubled from 35,000 in 2005 to 74,000 in 2010, and the conviction rate increased from 46 per cent to 72 per cent“, yet as we have seen from several sources like the CPS we see: “Nearly 1 million women experience at least one incident of domestic abuse each year (2009/10 British Crime Survey data: http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs10/hosb1210.pdf as reported in latest cross-government VAWG strategy http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/crime/call-end-violence-women-girls/vawg-paper?view=Binary)“, so in 2010 we still see that less than 10% makes it to court, for whatever reason, so that 72% is not a victory it is nothing less than a joke on a massive failure in my view.

That what follows!

For some reason the NSA has an abundance of data, yet women remain in fear of life, we see that consultants and federal agents are looking into the mailbox and pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, yet no progress has been made. You see, something does not add up, when you target 101 celebrities, it means that you are trying to invade 101 secured accounts, now, it might be possible to get ‘easy’ access to some of them, but 101 targets gives the FBI a place to hunt, this is another question that boggles me and I do have a postgraduate degree in this area. Yes, I know that there is plenty of technology around, but in all these issues, traffic needs to occur and specific points were accessed. How did Perez Hilton get her pictures so fast? Was his ‘apology’ sincere? Was he used or was he the go between so that the global press knows that they are truly out there and for sale?

I do not have the answers, yet, here we see again a press driven value of insanity and let us be honest, at present there is no end in sight and too many women are currently in the firing line, not a firing line of Misogyny, but one of Inaestimabilis (non-English for worthlessness), which is a much more dangerous notion, because hatred can be fought, yet if a population at large deem a group to be without value, then we as humanity will have truly become a failure.

Should you consider me wrong (which is forever a valid consideration) then answer the following questions for yourself:

  1. In the US the following numbers were published by the Huffington post: “Number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq: 6,614: Number of women, in the same period, killed as the result of domestic violence in the US: 11,766“, now make a 1% list, so make a list naming 66 dead soldiers and naming 117 women killed through domestic violence. How long did it take to make either list?
  2. The following two facts come from Steve Stewart, Prosecuting Attorney, Clark County, Indiana. Namely “Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (“Violence Against Women, A Majority Staff Report,” Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 102nd Congress, October 1992, p.3.)” and “There are 1,500 shelters for battered women in the United States. There are 3,800 animal shelters. (Schneider, 1990)” Now, these numbers are a little old, but even then a dog was more than twice as likely to receive safety and treatment than an abused woman.

Where to go next? Well, that is as ever a good question and I am honestly not certain. In my view, placing these issues in the light and coverage by all papers it needs to have is an absolute first. I also think that the US Congress needs to think this through to a larger extent, they should consider that as UK and Australian law is a little better in protecting privacy they should consider the consequence of these women, packing up for a large part of the year and move to Sydney Australia (or London). These places have the same exotic shopping places and they are more likely to enjoy privacy away from the US, how would congress react when the Hollywood top feels safer outside the US and ends up spending their millions outside of the US? I wonder if Governor Jerry Brown truly considered the dangers that the lacking and hacking safety of women will bring him (and the state of California).

 

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