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A windmill concussion

That was the first thought I had whilst looking at the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/01/eu-facebook-google-youtube-twitter-extremist-content) where Andrus Ansip was staring back at me. So the EU is giving Facebook and Google three months to tackle extremist content. In what relation is that going to be a workable idea? You see, there are dozens of ways to hide and wrongfully classify video and images. To give you an idea of what Mr Ansip is missing, let me give you a few details.

300 hours of video is uploaded every minute.
5 billion videos watched per day.
YouTube gets over 30 million visits a day.

500+ terabytes of data added each day.
300 million photos per day
2.5 billion pieces of content added each day

This is merely the action of 2 companies. We have not even looked at Snapchat, Twitter, Google+, Qzone, Instagram, LinkedIn, Netlog and several others. The ones I mentioned have over 100,000,000 registered users and there are plenty more of that size. The largest issue is not the mere size, it is that in Common Law any part of Defamation and the defence of dissemination becomes a player in all this, in Australia it is covered in section 32 of the Defamation Act 2005, the UK, the US and pretty much every Common Law nation has its own version of it, so the EU is merely setting the trend of all the social media hubs to move out of the EU and into the UK, which is good for the UK. The European courts cannot just blanket approve this, because it is in its core an attack on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of expression. I agree that this is just insane, but that is how they had set it up for their liberal non-accountable friends and now that it works against them, they want to push the responsibility onto others? Seems a bit weird does it not? So when we see “Digital commissioner Andrus Ansip said: “While several platforms have been removing more illegal content than ever before … we still need to react faster against terrorist propaganda and other illegal content which is a serious threat to our citizens’ security, safety and fundamental rights.”“, my question becomes whether the man has any clue what he is doing. Whilst the EC is hiding behind their own propaganda with “European governments have said that extremist content on the web has influenced lone-wolf attackers who have killed people in several European cities after being radicalised“, it pretty much ignored the reality of it all. When we look to the new-tech (at https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/18/15330042/tumblr-cabana-video-chat-app-announced-launches-ios), where a solution like Cabana allows for video and instructions whilst screen does not show an image of the watchers, but a piece of carton with texts like “مجنون”, “الجن”, “عسل”, “نهر”, “جمل” and “تاجر”. How long until the threshold of ‘extreme video‘ is triggered? How long until the system figures out that the meeting ended 3 weeks ago and that the video had encryption?

It seems to me that Andrus Ansip is on a fool’s errant. An engineering graduate that went into politics and now he is in a place where he is aware but not clued in to the extent he needs to be (OK that was a cruel comparison by me). In addition, I seriously doubt that he has the largest clue on the level of data parsing that such systems require to be, not merely to parse the data but systems like that will raise false flags, even at 0.01% false flags, that means sifting through 50Mb of data sifted through EVERY DAY. And that is not taking into account, framed Gifs, instead of video of JPG, or text, languages and interpreting text as extreme, so there will be language barriers as well. So in all this even with AI and machine learning, you would need to get the links. It becomes even more complex when Facebook or YouTube start receiving 4chan Video URL’s. So when I see “and other internet companies three months to show that they are removing extremist content more rapidly“, I see the first piece of clear evidence that the European Commission has lost control, they have no way of getting some of this done and they have no option to proceed. They have gone into blame mode with the ultimatum: ‘Do this or else‘. They are now going through the issues that the UK faced in the 60’s with Pirate radio. I remember listening to Radio Caroline in the evening, and there were so many more stations. In that regard, the movie The Boat That Rocked is one that Andrus Ansip should watch. He is the Sir Alistair Dormandy, a strict government minister who endeavours to shut down pirate radio stations in all this. A role nicely played by Kenneth Brannagh I might add. The movie shows just how useless the current exercise is. Now, I am all for finding solutions against extremist video, but when you consider that a small player like Heavy.com had an extreme video online for well over a year (I had the link in a previous article), whilst having no more than a few hundred video’s a week and we see this demand. How ludicrous is the exercise we see now?

The problem is not merely the online extremist materials, it is also the setting of when exactly it becomes ‘extremist‘, as well as realising that when it is a link that goes to a ‘dedicated’ chat group the lone wolves avoid all scrutiny and nothing is found until it is much too late, yet the politicians are hiding behind this puppet presentation, because that is what they tend to do.

So when we look at “It also urged the predominantly US-dominated technology sector to adopt a more proactive approach, with automated systems to detect and remove illegal content, something Facebook and Google have been pushing as the most effective way of dealing with the issue. However, the European Digital Rights group described the Commission’s approach as putting internet giants in charge of censoring Europe, saying that only legislation would ensure democratic scrutiny and judicial review“, we see dangers. That is because, ‘automated systems aren’t‘, ‘censoring can’t‘ and ‘democratic scrutiny won’t‘; three basic elemental issues we are confronted with for most of our teenage life and after that too. So there are already three foundational issues with a system that has to deal with more stored data than we have seen in a history spanning 20 years of spam, yet here we see the complication that we need to find the needle in a field full of haystacks and we have no idea which stack to look in, whether the needle is a metal one and how large it is. Anyone coming to you with: ‘a simple automated system is the solution’ has no idea on what a solution is, has no idea how to automate it and has never seen the scope of data in the matter, so good luck with that approach!

So when we are confronted with “The UK government recently unveiled its own AI-powered system for tackling the spread of extremist propaganda online, which it said would be offered to smaller firms that have seen an increase in terrorist use as they seek to avoid action by the biggest US firms“, I see another matter. You see, the issues and options I gave earlier are already circumventing to the larger degree “The technology could stop the majority of Isis videos from reaching the internet by analysing the audio and images of a video file during the uploading process, and rejecting extremist content“, what is stated (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/13/home-office-unveils-ai-program-to-tackle-isis-online-propaganda), until that upload solution is pushed to 100% of all firms, so good luck with that. In equal measure we see “The AI technology has been trained by analysing more than 1,000 Isis videos, automatically detecting 94% of propaganda with a 99.99% success rate” and here I wonder that if ISIS changes its format, and the way it gives the information (another reference to the Heavy.com video), will the solution still work or will the makers need to upgrade their video solution.

They are meaningless whilst chasing our tails in this and even as I agree that a solution is required, we see the internet as an open system where everyone is watching the front door, but when one person enters the building through the window, the solution stops working. So what happens when someone starts making a new codec encoder that has two movies? Remember the old ‘gimmicky‘ multi angle DVD’s? Was that option provided for? how about video in video (picture in picture variant), the problem there is that with new programming frameworks it becomes easier to set the stage into multi-tier productions, not merely encoding, but a two stage decoder where only the receiver can see the message. So the setting of “extremist content on the web has influenced lone-wolf attackers who have killed people in several European cities after being radicalised” is unlikely to be stopped, moreover, there is every chance that they never became a blip on the radar. In that same setting when we see “If the platform were to process 1m randomly selected videos, only 50 would require additional human review“, from the Daily statistics we get that 300 hours of video is uploaded every minute, so in that regard, we get a total of 26 million hours of video to parse, so if every movie was 2 minutes, we get to parse 21 million videos every day and that means over 1000 movies require vetting every day, from merely one provider. Now that seems like an optional solution, yet what if the signal changes? What if the vetting is a much larger problem? Don’t forget it is not merely extremist videos that get flagged, but copyrighted materials too. When we see that the average video length was 4 minutes and 20 seconds, whilst the range is between 42 seconds and 9:15, how will the numbers shift? This is a daily issue and the numbers are rising, as well as the providers and let’s not forget that this is ONE supplier only. That is the data we are confronted with, so there are a whole lot of issues that are not covered at all. So the two articles read like the political engines are playing possum with reality. And all this is even before the consideration that a hostile player could make internet servers available for extremists, the dark web that is not patrolled at all (read: almost impossible to do so) as well as lazy IT people who did not properly configure their servers and an extremist sympathiser has set up a secondary non indexed domain to upload files. All solutions where the so called anti-ISIS AI has been circumvented, and that is merely the tip of the iceberg.

So I have an issue with the messaging and the issues presented by those who think they have a solution and those who will callously blame the disseminators in all this, whilst the connected players know that this was never a realistic exercise in any part of this, merely the need and the desire to monitor it all and the articles given show that they are clueless (to some extent), which is news we never wanted ISIS to know in the first place. In that regard, when we see news that is a year old, where ISIS was mentioned that they use Twitter to recruit, merely through messaging and monitoring, we see another part where these systems have failed, because a question like that could be framed in many ways. It is almost the setting where the creative mind can ask more questions than any AI can comprehend, that first realisation is important to realise how empty the entire setting of these ‘solutions’ are, In my personal view is that Andrus Ansip has a job that has become nothing more than a temporary castle in the sand before it is washed away by the tide. It is unlikely that this is his choice or desire, but that is how it has become, and there is supporting evidence. Take a look at the Washington Post article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/09/25/absolutely-everything-you-need-to-know-to-understand-4chan-the-internets-own-bogeyman/?utm_term=.35c366cd91eb), where we see “participants can say and do virtually anything they want with only the most remote threat of accountability“, more important, monitoring that part is not impossible yet would require large resources, 4chan is equally a worry to some extend and what happens when ISIS merely downloads a 4chat or 4chan skeleton and places it on the dark web? There is close to no options to ever find them at that point, two simple acts to circumvent the entire circus, a part that Andrus Ansip should have (and he might have) informed the EC commissioners on, so we see the waste of large amounts of money and in the end there will be nothing to show for. Is that what we want to happen to keep ourselves safe? So when the ISIS person needs nothing but a mobile phone and a TOR browser how will we find them and stop the content? Well, there is a two letter word for that. NO! It ain’t happening baby, a mere realisation that can be comprehended by most people in the smallest amount of time.

By the way, when 5G hits us in less than 18 months, with the speeds, the bandwidth and the upload options as well as additional new forms if media, which optionally means new automated forms of Social Media, how much redesign will be required? In my personal book this reads like: “the chance that Europe will be introduced to a huge invoice for the useless application of a non-working solution, twice!” How you feel about that part?

In my view it is not about stopping the upload, it is about getting clever on how the information reaches those who desire, want and optionally need the information. We need to get a grip on that reality and see how we can get there, because the current method is not working. In that regard we can take a grip towards history, where in the Netherlands Aage Meinesz used a thermal lance to go through the concrete next to the vault door, he did that in the early 70’s. So when we see the solutions we saw earlier, we need to remember that this solution only works until 10 seconds after someone else realises that there was a way to ignore the need of an upload, or realise that the system is assuming certain parts. You only need to look through Fatal Vision Alcohol goggles once, to realise that it does not only distort view, it could potentially be used to counter a distorted view, I wonder how those AI solutions comprehend that and consider that with every iteration accuracy decreases, human intervention increases and less gets achieved, some older gimmicks in photography relied on such paths to entice the watchers (like the old Betty Page books with red and green glasses). I could go on for hours, and with every other part more and more flaws are found. In all this it is equally a worry to push this onto those tech companies. It is the old premise of being prepared for that what you do not know, that what you cannot see and that what is not there. The demand of the conundrum, one that Military Intelligence was faced with for over 30 years and the solution needs to be presented in three months.

The request has to be adhered to in three months, it is ludicrous and unrealistic, whilst in addition the demands shows a level of discrimination as there is a massive size of social media enablers that are not involved; there are creators of technology providers that are not accountable to any level. For example Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and IBM (as they are not internet companies), yet some of them proclaim their Deep Blue, Azure and whatever other massive data mining solution provider in a box for ‘everyone’, so where are they in all this? When we consider those parts, how empty is the “face legislation forcing them to do so” threat?

It becomes even more hilarious, when you consider the setting in full, so Andrus Ansip, the current European Commissioner for Digital Single Market is giving us this, whilst we see (at https://ec.europa.eu/commission/priorities/digital-single-market_en) that the European Commission for Digital single market has there on its page the priority for ‘Bringing down barriers to unlock online opportunities’, which they use to create barriers, preferably flexible barriers and in the end it is the creation on opportunities for a very small group of designers and whilst we see that ‘protect children and tackle hate speech‘ is the smallest part of one element in a setting with 7 additional setting on a much larger scale. It seems to me that in this case Andrus Ansip is trying to extent his reach by the size of a continent, it does not add up on several sides, especially when you consider that the documents setting in that commission has nothing past September 2017, which makes the entire setting of pushing social media tech groups as a wishful thinking one, and one that was never realistic to begin with, it’s like he merely chasing windmills, just like Don Quichotte.



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Das altes Deutschland

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

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

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

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

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

And Free speech?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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The cold light of logic

I have been jabbing my head whether I should write this. You see there is a witch-hunt going on and I honestly have an issue with witch-hunts. In my mind, a witch-hunt is never ever done under the light of reasoning. It is always done hiding behind and exploiting waves of emotions. All this started when a barrister called Charlotte Proudman decided to link to another barrister named Alexander Carter-Silk. The man accepted and wrote the quotes “Always interest to understant people’s skills and how we might work together“, he was delighted to connect, but the statement (given before the quote) that became the issue was “I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture”.

The wave of accusation that followed regarding ‘misogynistic behaviour’ regarding a Human Rights Barrister is now completely out of control. Anyone who has a chip to grind seems to go out on a free for all.

For my view? It is a stunning picture. I say that after have been a photographer for wel over 25 years. I started my photography passion in the late 70’s and seldom have I seen a photo of this level of quality. I’ll up the ante! I state here and now that you will not find 1000 photos of this quality in LinkedIn, a place with 300,000,000 registered members. I compared the photo of Charlotte Proudman to Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande (Nickelodeon actress), Taylor Swift and Zac Efron. They are not even close to the photo result of Charlotte Proudman. Now, as a photographer the first person I blame for that is the photographer.

After that I wonder whether Charlotte Proudman (in this specific case) is overreacting. Consider the emotion you feel when I state this! I am not claiming she is, I am wondering whether she is. That remains a valid question and if you cannot consider that, then you should not judge because whatever you think you are weighing, you are definitely weighing elements you are not honestly considering, which implies the act of misjudgment

The writer stated from the beginning “this is probably horrendously politically incorrect“, in all this he mentioned the picture, not the person.

And let’s be clear, When I digged a little and found the same picture in high resolution (from her website), which it is the same pic we saw in both LinkedIn and on her Twitter account. The photo is what I regard as pristine quality, now the question the follow are mere questions. I do not know the person, I never met her and I have no idea what she is like. Yet the image shows her skin to be perfect (was it photo shopped?), her eyes have a colouring and clarity I have seldom witnessed in person. I compared them to the close ups of the eyes of Ali Larter, Mila Jovovich and Claudia Schiffer. Not the colour of the eyes, but the super sharp colouring of the eyes. All these facts do not make for the mind of Charlotte Proudman, but take these elements and now consider a very professional photo of Charlotte Proudman. Her photo stands miles above the photos of women (men too) that make a living from their looks. In all the witch-hunting waves, no seemed to have taken a rational look at what was stated by a Human Rights Barrister.

Not some lawyer or Judge in the commercial field, nope a Human Rights Barrister!

Now, we can agree that the statement was unfortunate and it was most definitely not the best statement to make, but this barrister must have been blown away by the image that was linked to the connection, I was blown away and I have been a photographer for a long time.

There is another quote (at http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/sep/08/charlotte-proudman-alexander-carter-silk-linkedin-photo-comment-law-firms), it is “Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on LinkedIn, my comment was aimed at the professional quality of the presentation on LinkedIn, which was unfortunately misinterpreted“. I personally agree with that part.

In her own statement “The eroticisation of women’s physical appearance“, so in that light how should we see the LinkedIn photo from a Caroline Pemberton? She is a TV presenter, a producer and her photo shows the image of an experienced model. We could go on with models like Nikki Prat and Sue Di Chio, The quality of the photo of Charlotte Proudman beats them all with miles to spare. No one took a good look at the picture and they all hid behind the emotions of text. By the way, the pictures of men (even those dependent on looks) are massively worse. Russel Crowe, Zac Efron, Richard Branson even Barack Obama. Now, I cannot vouch whether those profiles are real, yet with 8 million followers at least one real profile will be amongst them.

In all this there is a reality. “‘I am on Linked-in for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men“, as she herself states. There is 0% doubt that this does not happen, yet in all this, I have some serious doubts whether Mr Carter-Silk had any intention of being that kind of a person (I never met him, so I cannot vouch for that part), yet in all my years on LinkedIn those in heavy professional walks of life, most of them rely on LinkedIn and pardon the ‘unacademic’ phrase, those who rely on that part of life: “we tend to not shit where we eat”.

Meaning that people like both Alexander Carter-Silk and Charlotte Proudman both see LinkedIn as the professional portal it is. The massive witch-hunt wave I am watching unfold now seems to be about people and their own political agendas. When we see quotes like “Feminist barrister Charlotte Proudman explains why she is NOT for ‘equality’ & how Feminism is NOT about ‘equality’” (from @FeminismIsLies), we must acknowledge that the spinning is starting. In final thoughts, I must give mention to Sam Thomas (@iamsamthomas) with “Spot of advice, gents: “I appreciate this is probably horrendously politically incorrect” is never a promising opener“, he is absolutely correct! In equal measure mention must be given to Sarah Butcher (@MadameButcher) who stated “What to do when someone tells you your LinkedIn photo is ‘the most stunning they’ve ever seen“.

Both sides made mistakes one side for stating amazement the other, not for speaking up (which one should always do), but by speaking up against the one person who more likely than not had no misogynistic or sexist objective in mind. I have been wrong in the past, I will be wrong in the future, but here, I get to rely on 35 years of experience in photography and it is unlikely that I could have made that shot (but then, I was never graduated with a degree in photography.

Delta Python Lobster

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Double standards, no resolve (part 2)

Part two is not about Greece or the Greeks, it is about what has been behind several parts for a long time now. Yet, the visibility of certain events is now forcing another large change to the surface. First let us look at the events as we see them in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jan/25/wikileaks-google-staff-emails-us-government).

The title ‘WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government‘ calls for a few thoughts, but I think you should consider a few quotes and then reconsider how you feel. The first one is “Google revealed to WikiLeaks on Christmas Eve – a traditionally quiet news period – that it had responded to a Justice Department order to hand over a catch-all dragnet of digital data including all emails and IP addresses relating to the three staffers“. The second one is “Harrison, who also heads the Courage Foundation, told the Guardian she was distressed by the thought of government officials gaining access to her private emails” and then we get “The investigation followed WikiLeaks’ publication, initially in participation with international news organisations including the Guardian, of hundreds of thousands of US secrets that had been passed to the organisation by the army private Chelsea Manning“. So this was specific! Let us not forget that this person (Manning) should be regarded as guilty of treason! This is nothing less than an intelligence analyst going beyond rogue! Manning was a simple E-1 private with no comprehension of the complexity of wars, especially the war the US found itself in, a theatre that is hard to grasp for some of the brightest generals (you know these highly educated, passed their middle age point individuals with a few decades of military experience, in the US seen wearing stars on their shoulders). No, Manning decided on the safety of hundreds if not thousands of lives. In addition US diplomatic efforts were thrown out of the window, setting economic options back for up to a decade, if not longer.

So when we see the response by investigative editor Sarah Harrison “Knowing that the FBI read the words I wrote to console my mother over a death in the family makes me feel sick“, seems a little hollow. For one the FBI does not care about her mommy, two, what did you expect to happen when you access unauthorised data to the size, scope and extent as Manning had transmitted?

I think Harrison is overreacting, if we accept chapter 13 in the Art of war, both the spy and the receiver of information should have been put to death. Is it not a good thing that it was merely investigated by the FBI?

Yet, there is a side that many are ignoring; many do so in an unintentional way, mainly because it tends to not hit us in any way. For that we need to take a step back to Forbes 2013 (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2013/08/06/excuse-me-apple-google-starbucks-h-p-irs-wants-to-tax-stateless-income/), here we see the following parts: “U.S. companies are said to have more than $1.5 trillion sitting offshore. Most claim that they must keep the money there to avoid the taxes they would face by bringing it back to the U.S.“, “the money at stake is enormous. Plus, the companies involved have treasure troves of cash for many war chests. Big and protracted battles seem inevitable. Still, some big companies may be in for battles that are even larger than they think. They may even need to think different” and “The OECD plan claims that companies like Apple and Google avoid billions in taxes. The G20 is made up of 19 leading world economies plus the European Union. It too has voiced support for a fundamental reassessment of the rules on taxing multinationals“. These thoughts all sound nice, but there is an additional element to all this. You see, as I stated more than once, currency is slowly on the way out (loosely approached). The nations that are left with manageable debt are now slowly but surely diminishing to zero. Greece may be the first one, but at minus 18 trillion, the US is the clearest one to end up with nothing, especially as those large US firms have become stateless. You see, now we get to the good part, the new currency will be IP, but here is the kicker, most (including me) seemed to forget that IP is more than Patents and Trade Marks, it includes data! Now we get to the nice stuff, you see, Google adhered to a situation, Twitter and a few others did not, or at least in a delayed way, but the new currency will include massive amounts of data and many players are now catching on that data is at the core a stateless, virtual and duplicable currency. No matter how Sony called its hack attack, does it now look a little clearer that those having a copy of that data are preparing for more than just a data dump? This is what McKinsey & Company had to say in August 2014 “Indeed, the analytics performed by actuaries are critically important to an insurer’s continued existence and profitability“, as well as “While the impetus to invest in analytics has never been greater for insurance companies, the challenges of capturing business value should not be underestimated. Technology, as everyone knows, changes much faster than people. The key for insurers is to motivate their highly skilled experts to adopt the newest tools and use them with creativity, confidence, and consistency” and finally there is “The proliferation of third-party data sources is reducing insurers’ dependence on internal data. Digital “data exhaust” from social media and multimedia, smartphones, computers, and other consumer and industrial devices—used within privacy guidelines and assuring anonymity—has become a rich source for behavioural insights for insurance companies, as it has for virtually all businesses. Recently, the release of previously unavailable or inaccessible public-sector data has greatly expanded potential sources of third-party data“. Yes, it sounds nice that there is public-sector data, but the one part no mentioned is how the analytics is not driven by those, but ascertained through private-sector data fields. You see the data that Sony had on its employees and on the actions of 70 million customers is a lot more insightful when you link it to medical records. Consider how much profit a company gets if it could ascertain more precisely the risk 7 million of its own customers are. If the connection of medical (obesity) and the gamer data of one person results in a $12 per month surcharge, what happens when we see the US having an obesity rating of around 32%? Now we have 70 million accounts and their gaming behaviour. So if we do the following math 32% of 70 million (falsely assuming that they were all American gamers), then we now get the number of people confronted with a $144 a year additive. So in one swoop, this data set gives way to an additional $3.2 billion for insurance fees. Data is going to be that simply applied sooner than you think. With the cloud being forever virtual (as one would think), people forget that a personal space is linked to a real location (wherever that drive is), but what when the data set is beyond massively huge? What if it is spread over several locations? How do we think then? You see Stateless data is not a new concept, but until recently it was never a realistic concept. It is interesting how tax dodging makes engineers a lot more creative.

At the foundation of all this is not the Wikileaks part, that part just illuminates the nutty side of data. Consider the amounts you as the reader had shared in the last 72 hours via Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Instagram and such. You freely distributed that, you gave up your privacy rights for whatever you openly published. Now consider that whatever you shared got collected. Several people were on vacation (so someone knows that their house is empty and possible unguarded), some revealed that they were sick (health data) and some revealed other details like parties attended and such.

Now the empty house is the most direct one, but not the most important one. Consider the times you updated your status that you were at home with the flu, or something else. Under normal conditions you just had a sickie, or perhaps another way. Now consider that someone now automatically collects the times you were sick, how does that affect your premium? How will your health cycle be analysed if you are shown to have attended 15-30, or even 50-100 parties a year? How long until this shows as detrimental on your health chart? Weirdly enough not having that does not lower your premium, but there is every evidence that doing it will increase your premium.

Do you think that this is over the top?

Then see the following (at http://www.qbe.com.au/Personal/Home/Managing-Your-Risk/Insurance.html). Here we see “Importantly, reducing the likelihood of making a claim helps protect your No Claim Bonus, helping to keep the cost of your insurance premium down“, which has been a truth for a long time. Yet when we consider the mention ‘Don’t alert people you are going away (including on social networking sites)‘. How long until someone combines the two? At reputation.com we see the following “Life insurance companies are increasingly turning to the Internet to determine a potential customer’s risk“, so if you like extreme sports, you might pay for that passion in other ways too. In addition, the one most disturbing was “Donating to charitable causes is a noble gesture, but if you show too great an interest in any particular medical-focused cause, say breast cancer research or prostate cancer awareness, it might indicate to insurance companies that you’re at a higher risk for certain illnesses“, that gives a possible (implied, but not proven), connection that your social responsibility comes at an insurance price. Did you consider that? And this is not starting this year, or next year. Some of these events started no later than 2010.

This all was nothing but to pave the way for that what comes next. You see, there are several sides to Google and Facebook. They are all about bandwidth and several nations are now seeing that even though Facebook is too large, there is a clear path that data is currency, so how long until we see a growth of radicalisation through localisation? This is not radicalisation in the violent way, but in the opposite way. You should see radicalisation of data, attained by washing all the data markers in local server environments. You can’t wash all the markers, but you can make access to it a lot less available. This is the fear Google (possibly Facebook too) has had for some time. As these privacy acts, that data acts and data collection rights of the US grew in a need for compliance, people become falsely fearful of what is dangerous and what is not. The US government ascertaining whether you are a terrorist is not a danger. An insurance company upping your fees by $150 through collected data is a direct danger (to your cost of living). Now we see the link as it gets us to the first story that included Greece.

There will soon be a higher need for localised connected providers. Localised forms of Hushmail (www.hushmail.com), where the people get encrypted mail accounts that can be accessed online, through the web. How long until mobile users will select encrypted android apps, that do not connect to Google, but to local Hushmail providers. We still have the internet, but it will now go through national portals. The fact that Sony happened was only a matter of time. The fact that people now want that there data comes with actual privacy is a growing wave. The Wikileaks issue was the most visible and the most harmless one (for us citizens at least). The world is changing a lot faster than last year and many are now getting clued in that the things of value have not been guarded in the right way.

We will soon see new options on cheaper internet, cheaper mobiles and on package deals, this is what was skated around when this so called IP hearing was going on. Yet, when we look at an earlier statement by Mr Turnbull, in regards to IP, who said at the time. “It is very, very, very difficult if not impossible for someone that is just selling connectivity, just providing bandwidth to then be monitoring what people are doing“.

This is at the heart of the problem, they live of bandwidth, because bandwidth implies data, and the more used, the more data collected, which leads to the better their lives are. This is why they do not want monitoring. I am fairly certain that as their bandwidth falls away, as people move to localised solutions, which remain at the core local, these providers will ‘suddenly’ opt in a ‘possible’ solution. Only at the end of the tether will an industrial give in. Oddly enough, with fear of privacy and the dangers of insurance exploitation on the rise that tether will end up a sudden two inches shorter and now those providers will have to share that what they never had to share before.

Greece has changed the way they play the game; now perhaps we can change the game that is played and make a first monumental change for all!


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