Tag Archives: Mark Zuckerberg

As the party ended

Consider a firm, it has 1.4 million employees and 4672 stores in the US. So basically this employer is employing 0.43% of the entire population that makes it an extremely large player. Now, I have been critical of this player in the past on several occasions. A player this big tends to maximise profit at the expense of whatever gets in the way. It is for all extent and purpose, the American way. So what happens when places do not make the cut? What happens when the plug is pulled? Don’t get me wrong, I will not oppose the right of this player to do that, pulling the plug is a business decision, and for the most a valid one. So when I read: ‘What happened when Walmart left‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/09/what-happened-when-walmart-left), we need to ask several questions. The quote “But for the people of McDowell County – proud country folk labouring under the burdens of high unemployment, low income and endemic ill health – even such a fleeting visit to this rural backwater by the world’s largest retailer had a profound impact. Both in the arrival, and in the hasty leaving“, as well as ““All Walmart was interested in was how many millions of dollars they made, they weren’t interested in helping the community,” says McDowell County commissioner Gordon Lambert. “When they didn’t make the profit they wanted, they left.”” Here we see corporate America in action, yet in all this, should we blame Walmart? Personally I say ‘No!’, you see, this is not about what is right, it is what is correct and legal and the US government allowed and pushed for this path for the longest of times. It legally does not matter how rich the owners are, even as I have objected to the level of exploitation, my objection were based on social correctness, legally nothing wrong was done. You see, the first step to blame, if blaming is the proper word would be Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia, Terence Richard McAuliffe is an American Democrat, politician and former businessman. As for the other areas, we have Joe Manchin (D) and Shelley Moore Capito (R) in the Senate, as well as Evan Jenkins (R), David McKinley (R) and Alex Mooney (R) in the House of Representatives. The question is what did they do? What options did they have for those suddenly out of work? You might think that they have nothing to do with this, yet when ONE employer has given 0.43% of the entire population a job, closing 154 stores in 2016-2017, that implies that thousands of jobs are lost, not all of them with the option to be retrenched, so at that point the House of Representatives would have needed to take a long hard look at the alternatives in stopping the creation of ghost towns and derelict business properties. We might not consider the impact or the legality, yet what would have been possible to limit the damage to some extent? There might have been a few options, yet in that certain legalities should be changing in that regard and as such the political side in all this, seems to have been largely too quiet.

The article by Ed Pilkington in McDowell County, West Virginia shows the devastating impact. Some might find it a little too emotional, yet what other side is there? If the political side remains absent, what stories of opportunity are possible? Another quote is ““The Walton family are billionaires,” she said (also no exaggeration – their collective worth is put at about $150bn). “They developed a system that just made us worse off, and then they took even that away from us.”” is not invalid, yet that shows that there is a clear political failure. We can argue the legislative side, yet as the laws are not broken, the US political branch has a clear requirement so alter certain views. It is an essential change towards any employer that has such a powerful grasp on any geographical infrastructure as the one that a player like Walmart has. We see the news on a nearly daily basis that there is a pressing need for Gag orders on search warrants, yet there is no protection on the risk of thousands of people becoming homeless. As given, there is a growing concern that the US is moving towards a phase where the ‘rights to life‘ is being removed from people. I discussed part of this in ‘Confirmation on Arrival‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/07/04/confirmation-on-arrival/), in this “We went from governments, to organisations, we left fair opportunity behind and moved to ‘those who have and those who have not‘, and they are soon to be replaced for the ‘enablers and obstructers‘ and those who are the latter would fall into the shadows and face away.“, when we look at West Virginia, the bulk of these people went from enablers (or those who had), into those who don’t have any longer and are seen as ‘obstructers’ of profit requirements, and now? It seems that the political branch is failing these people as are the better part of the administrative side where those without a job and options fall. The issue is that under the minimalized options that Walmart was allowed to ‘hide’ behind, we see thousands of people who had no option to build any reserves, so as such their plight is even more drastic and diminishing increasingly so.

Yet, is that at present a political issue?

I think it should be, as the administrations catered to the need of maximised profit and took away levels of rational accountability, the large players could walk away. So should Walmart not be allowed to walk away? No, that would be equally wrong, yet for any company to have such a large stake in any location to this extent, means that the political players should have played for a different scenario, where the leaving party would be required to give extended severance packages for a much longer time. In addition, an alternative would be that the county would in fact confiscate all equipment from those local Walmart stores, allowing for the start-up of butchers, grocers and other shops. Small community shops that would give to some extent a longer lasting time and perhaps keep some economy going in McDowell County. Let’s face it, Walmart would have written off this stuff for the longest times. In addition, not allowing for some cheap lease option means that the shops have an actual local commitment. It might not have saved too much, but some saving could have been an option. Even as Walmart walked away because of profitability from their spreadsheet, small local businesses might still have thrived, which meant that McDowell County could see a larger prevention into becoming a ghost town. There is no guarantee here, yet in all this, how would the pressure be on places like Asheville, Hickory and Morganton and as certain start-up phases are instigated, would that also benefit those places? More important, could the negative drag be minimised in this way? Consider the quotes we see in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, where earlier this year we see ‘Education, technology focus of Gov. McAuliffe’s visit to SWCC‘ (at http://www.bdtonline.com/news/education-technology-focus-of-gov-mcauliffe-s-visit-to-swcc/article_9a6356be-3f60-11e7-9b53-5bcd6e225a58.html), now consider the impact merely an hour away where thousands of jobs are lost. What would be the education impact, both in retaining students as well as gaining new ones? These are the real life local challenges and a strong political support system is essential in preventing such infrastructure disasters. If the impact of Walmart was so big, why allow this place to be lost, even if that means getting independent providers to retaining business? If one Walmart is a grocer, baker, butcher, electronic store, a gun shop, a furniture store, a liquor store, a sports store, a clothing store and with their large infrastructure making some profit, there is no way that small 1-2 family stores could not take over the bulk of business needed and not make a profit. What level of non-Walmart retrenching was in place? Was there any in place?

So as I go back to the article with “It was a big thing for people round here when Walmart pulled out. People didn’t know what to do. Young people started leaving because there’s nothing for them here. It’s like we exist, but we’re not existing.”“, in addition there is “She remembers the excitement when the supercentre opened. “People welcomed it with open arms, we needed the jobs,” she said“, the question is not merely the jobs, it is about the consumption and the people buying. So what if that one large box becomes a large box with 20 small stores? The building is there, the power connections are there. Could it be retrenched as a small mall? The statistics shows the decline from 100,000 to 20,000 a coal fell away, yet 20,000 people still need goods, they need clothes and food, in the end it might be cheaper for the government to consider side steps instead of letting it fall away, and in all this Walmart loses a vote of rights to property. They walked away did they not? It is a written off place and even as their accountants cannot resell or write off, they would have to accept the losses, and they walked out. There might not be a legislative option, yet there should be one, this is why the governor was my numero uno person to point at. He is el-Jefe (Just Everyone’s Friendly Executive) of Virginia and solution driver (or should be). If we can turn this around (extremely speculative), there would finally be a starting point to turn the US economy around. When the presented vulture economy is reduced to a community economy there would be a starting wave of growth. Now, do not expect this to be the actual solution, yet any waves that limits reduction can also be seen as initial growth. It is from those moves that visionaries are grown that will change that wave into actual forms of visionary retail. This has been proven again and again as places like JC Penney started in 1902. That is well over a century ago. I cannot predict what will come next, because the world will be changing in large ways over the coming 10 years, yet as I see it, the larger vultures like Walmart and Target are either transforming or on their way out, mostly they are on their way out as they are trying to consolidate maximised profit, when that happens we see truly see new places grow that are all about personalised customer interactions, and this will start with small stores. This is not about data, this is about interactions and that has forever started with a family business. You see, from the early days we saw that, for every one Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates there were 10 George Dayton’s. This is where the new economy will come from, not from the large iterative players, but from the small innovators. They will not merely build new business; they will keep places like McDowell, VA on the map. It is a first clear requirement for infrastructures not to lose the plot, of where they are on the map (You are here —> X), yes ‘X’ will mark the spot for the new player, and as new options are rising from the ashes, there will be economic movement, small art first, but that is how any train starts, it starts slow! This is in opposition to all those large US players who seem to live of the virtual possibility that they are all AAR Standard S-4200 trains that hold the acceleration of a formula one car. When you realise how short term, stupid, that train of thought is (pun intended), you get to see the first realisation that is drowning the US economy. For the reality is that those who not truly create are merely in the process of instigating decline.

Donald, now President Trump, stated: ‘let’s make America great again‘. In that I agree that it would be possible, yet only if certain ‘truths’ are not just adhered to, but actively supported through government. It might not save places like McDowell, VA, yet it is possible to reduce its decline and give time for the local community to see where growth could be created. It could be the starting template for other communities to follow. You see one Walmart is merely a store, a community is an optional force of nature and when fighting nature you always lose! In history the Dutch are the only ones ever to win a fight against nature and the fight they won was not getting drowned. Those dikes are merely holding back water, yet as the lowest point in the Netherlands is 23 feet BELOW sea-level and when you also consider that 21% of that nation is below sea-level and 50% is merely 3 feet above sea-level, it is one hell of a fight they did win. In the end it was one person, Cornelis Lely (1854-1929) who created the concept in 1891 that would change the war against the sea forever, merely one visionary creator!

So as the party for some of these places have ended, it will be up to the governors of their states to see what changes can be set to alter the future of these areas by first diminishing the recline and allow for time to give birth to the next visionary. They might not just save the state; they could captain a new direction for a nation that is in dire need of a few actual visionaries.


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Technological delusions

We all have a side we hide, it does not matter how you live and how outspoken you are. It is a truth that we have seen in movies, TV Series and other media. In this I like the outspoken truth of the series House the best: ‘Everybody lies!‘ This is not some extreme form of expressionism; it is the truth in many ways. Whether we are in denial or whether we outspokenly remain silent on the matter, we lie!

Now do not think of this in a too negative a light, marketing is all about lying and they call it specific presentation. Whether this is the launch of the Samsung S8, the upcoming Xbox Scorpio, the iPhone 7, there is misrepresentation which shows itself as non-mentioned facts for now.

Is a known fact, remaining unmentioned a lie?

That is no just at the heart of the matter, it is what makes it worse than it already is. An example is seen in software corporations that state ‘We do not expect any issues with the software upgrade’. Is it a lie? Consider that any change will introduce new unknown factors, so as such, is the person not speaking a party line that is wishful thinking, and as such is it a lie?

You might at this point wonder where this is going, so here we get to “Facebook told advertisers it can identify teens feeling ‘insecure’ and ‘worthless’” (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/01/facebook-advertising-data-insecure-teens), when you consider that a person (especially a teen) needs psychological assessment to ascertain whether insecurity comes from mere angst or whether there are underlying issues, we need to become very careful when anyone offers an algorithm to ascertain that. Big data is nowhere near any level of certainty in this matter. You see, with data and especially with big data the decades old expression ‘Garbage in, Garbage out‘ applies and the ability to sift through these mountains of data per person requires a level of scrutiny that software cannot provide and more important, that data becomes useless if there is no ‘beyond the data box view’. This is not some cheap Mark Zuckerberg app called ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ which is basically to the better degree harmless entertainment. This is to set a psychological classification on a group of people who tends to be least secure of themselves in their entire lifespan. In all this the quote “Facebook, which has faced severe criticism in the past over research in which it sought to alter the emotions of users, without their consent, provided somewhat contradictory statements in response to the story in the wake of its publication on Sunday” makes it even a worse joke. Consider in addition the dangers that Facebook no opens with “In its original statement to the Australian, Facebook apologized and said it had “opened an investigation to understand the process failure and improve our oversight”“, which is a joke when you consider that the researchers must have had access to data that only the deepest insiders on DBA cloud levels could have had. To get anything that is even close to the minimum level of reliability the researchers did not just have access to the data, they required assistance from the database system engineers to get anything useful out of that collected mountain of data and that is per person. So, basically I cannot get a job because Australia is in a wave of intentional age discrimination and Facebook casually assists in a system that “can monitor posts and photos in real time to determine when young people feel “stressed”, “defeated”, “overwhelmed”, “anxious”, “nervous”, “stupid”, “silly”, “useless” and a “failure”“, which impacts the job market even further, yet requires accurate parsed data going back many months.

Consider the reality here. to get a Facebook account, you need to be over 13, which means that 3 years of a teenager history is not available. In addition, these kids go through puberty between 10-17 (depending on gender and additional factors), so not only do you need the track of a person, you need to know how a person is socially (not socially networked) is connected to peers, parents and siblings. That data is not available. Now consider that interactions and events that are geographically locked are also an influence. I am not talking about an extreme example like the Columbine disaster, the mere effect of a traffic accident that can start more than angst and in that data will always be missing and more dangerously, data can be wrongly categorised which could result in red flags of psychosomatic interactions, that whilst the person was never there. How many pictures are there in your social media account, which were accidentally wrongly tagged? All basic elements that will give a shift in any assessment that will lead the algorithm down the wrong track. So when we read: “a Facebook Australia executive dismissed the report and criticized the reporter who broke the story, saying the article was “written by a journalist who writes inflammatory articles … every Monday”“, we need to ask a few additional questions. The dangers of social media data that I have been warning about for at least 3 years is now showing us additional dangers of software misrepresenting social media data and could have dire imprints on the actions of anyone using social media and the repercussions of their future down the track. The quote “Facebook declined to rule out whether similar research on the emotional vulnerability of teenagers had been conducted for advertises in markets outside of Australia” could imply that the teenagers that are already getting shot at American High Schools and colleges will soon have additional worries as they approach their exams with all levels of angst. So when we consider on how ‘Facebook has detailed information on mood shifts based on “internal Facebook data” that is not available to the public’ the social media users will have to worry on what data they have and more important has Facebook been collecting and matching other outside data sources to get anywhere near the minimum dataset to get even the smallest of insight.

As I stated before: ‘garbage in, garbage out’, in that I can add that in the past some lovely lady asked me on Facebook if I wanted to fuck her. I know she would never offer it to begin with, so the reliable issue was that someone has quickly grabbed her phone and he offered in her place that her vagina was open for #censored activity#. So at that point, how could Facebook see her as stupid or silly, or even worse: a nymphomaniac? The article has more than a few issues, but in that they should be placed at the doors of Facebook, because with the revelation of data abuse we clearly see announced, there is a growing danger with the Facebook classification system, whether actual, factual or psychological.

Sam Levin at the Guardian is asking the right questions, yet I think that this is not going far enough. I think that the events when we include the ’emotional contagion’ issues that happened some time ago. The fact that is ignored that all this was only possible to the slightest degree by seeding the database with data collections and hidden markers that facilitated the creation of mental properties to collect. A data system cannot facilitate for this without adding hundreds of elements that were never visible and I am not merely talking about the date and time of posting. It required levels of geographical location and social background data that is not part of the Facebook social media system. I wonder if the Guardian article will renew the questions on both European and Commonwealth levels as this American company seems to be swimming in a sea that might ignore this, but it can only do that as long as we are unaware. In this I reckon that it becomes imperative that the Australian political engine makes official enquiries with the two top Australian executives, David Fernandez and Andy Sinn. In this we get one additional part that is very much a danger, if we accept the quote: “The presentation, which the Australian has not published, was reportedly written for one of Australia’s top banks and stated that the company has a database of its young users – 1.9 million high schoolers, 1.5 million tertiary students and 3 million young workers“, which now implies that banks are setting a person’s psychological profile into classifications. This is not merely discriminatory, it implies that we could all end up being seen as bankable or not, so in that it goes beyond mere insurances and credit ratings, the dangers of our freedom of speech and expression will now result in a possible credit rating and job eligibility. How is that fair on any 15 to 19 year old person trying to get anywhere in this world?

In final part, it is the excuse by Facebook on making this a mere ‘process failure‘, if there are enough pieces of evidence (and that seems to be the case), it is a complete ‘institutional failure‘ and in that the Guardian/Australian article might just be the beginning of a real ugly side of social media that will hit the mainstream media on a global scale soon enough.

So how vulnerable are you and is exploitation of that side of you acceptable to you?


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The Dangerous Zuckerberg Classification

Even as Microsoft seems to be quiet and in denial of what is uploaded without consent, we have a second issue that is floating to the surface of our life. Now, first of all, this link is not what we should consider a news site. What came from Forward.com is also known as The Jewish Daily Forward, published by Samuel Norich and has Jane Eisner as the editor. Its origins goes back to 1897, so it has been around for a while. They are not some new wannabe-on-the-block. It is an American newspaper published in New York City for a Jewish-American audience, and there are plenty of those around, so this is a valid niche publication. Yet no more than a day ago, it did something dangerous, perhaps unintentional and perhaps it is a sign of the times, but it remains a dangerous path to take.

This path all started when Mark Zuckerberg had an idea. He created this place called Facebook, you might have heard of it. Within there we get to ‘like’ things. Now, we can do this to complement the poster, we can do this because the subject interests us, or when we use the machine correctly, Facebook would send us more stuff from topics that we like. This already shows three different approaches to ‘like’ and when Forward starts the article with: “Canadian Mosque Shooter Suspect ‘Liked’ Israel Defense Forces, Marine LePen“, it basically shot itself in the foot.

This is part of the problems we are all facing, because the world is changing and it has shifted the values that we have given words over time and shifted them into concepts of what it might be. We see the same shift in the Business Intelligence industry as tools like SPSS (read: IBM Statistics) are no longer used to get the significant statistics needed and the ‘sellers’ of the story that the client wants told rely on tools like Q Software to tell the story that matches the need. The problem is that this story reflects what is offered and from that there is more than one identifier (weight being one) that the reflection is less accurate and often warped to fit the need of the receiver of these data files. Meaning that the actual meaning unlikely to be there, making a correct assessment not possible and any action based upon it, without scrutiny will come at a hefty price for the decision makers down the track.

So when we see “Canadian Mosque Shooter Suspect ‘Liked’ Israel Defense Forces, Marine LePen” we need to be cautious at best, at worst we are being told a fair bit of rubbish! Now we also get “Authorities claim that Alexander Bissonnette, a student at the city’s Laval University, perpetrated the attack, calling in from a bridge near the mosque to report himself“, which could be very true, but it also averts the first signs we see of ‘Lone Wolf‘, because a real lone wolf will go into the night if he or she is lucky without a trace and plans his/her next attack. This one attack person seems to be seeking the limelight as I personally see it. For what reason is at present unknown. Perhaps it is about fame, perhaps the evidence will find evidence of mental health issues. Time and the proper people will need to assess this. We see this in the picture of a tweet by @Rita_Katz when she states ‘making Jihadi ties unlikely‘, which could be true, however I got there via another route. What is interesting is that when we look at the Toronto Star we see “Rosalie Bussieres, 23, lives across the street. She told the Star her older brother was in school with Bissonnette. He was “very solitary” and “very antisocial,” said Bussieres. Bissonnette studied at the Université Laval, according to a statement released by the university late Monday. He was a student in the department of political science and anthropology, according to Jean-Claude Dufour, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences

This is interesting as those in political science tend to be decently social minded, so there is a lot more under the water than we think there is and the fact that Forward only gave us the likes, means that there is a part that they either ignored or overlooked. You see, what else did his Facebook account have to say?

The Toronto Star gives us a lot more “He was on both the Sainte-Foy and Université Laval chess club“, with Forward we got more on Rita Katz. “Rita Katz is the Executive Director and founder of the SITE Intelligence Group” is one, and the next part is the one we should consider: “the world’s leading non-governmental counterterrorism organization“, as well as “Ms. Katz has tracked and analyzed global terrorism and jihadi networks for nearly two decades, and is well-recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and reliable experts in the field“. Which makes me wonder why it is the Toronto Star who gives us the part I did not initially showed “with his twin brother, said Université Laval professor Jean Sévigny, who said he knew Bissonnette and his brother through the club“. So how come The Forward didn’t have the goods on that?

Yet they did give us “François Deschamps, member of Quebec’s Refugee Welcome Committee, told the La Presse newspaper that he recognized Bissonette because the man had often left hateful comments on the group’s page. “I flipped when I saw him,” he said. “We observe much of what the extreme right says and does. He’s made statements of that sort on our Facebook page. He also attacked women’s rights,” Deschamps recalled“. The full story is at http://forward.com/news/361614/canadian-mosque-shooter-suspect-liked-israel-defense-forces-marine-lepen/

So as we are invited to judge on likes, I see a hole of intelligence. How many friends? How many clubs? Was he linked to Chess groups? Was he linked to his Twin Brother, and was his twin brother on Facebook? There is no one mentioning whether the twin brother was reached and what he had to say (if he had been willing to talk), which he might not be willing to do and that is perfectly understandable. It is just such a weird experience to see a total lack of effort in that regard (especially by the press).

Forward is telling its readers a story, yet the Toronto Star (at https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/01/30/six-dead-two-arrested-after-shooting-at-quebec-city-mosque.html) seems to offer a lot more. In that view ABC news in Australia blunders (as I personally see it) even more when we see (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-31/quebec-city-mosque-shooting-lone-wolf-attack-student-charged/8225294), ‘Police charge ‘lone wolf’ student suspected of terrorist attack‘, so what evidence is there? What is the definition of a Lone Wolf? Perhaps we need to agree on the shifting sands and make sure it is sand and not quicksand. They both might contain the same 4 letters, but the experience will be mind-bogglingly different.

So as we now see that the US is using this attack to justify its actions, we need to take heed on the dangers we invite. The first is like the attack in Sydney, Australia at Martin Place, on December 15-16 2014. We again see a link to extremism that is incorrect and misleading. Yes, the act was extreme, but we have seen for decades on how mental health patients are very able to act in extreme ways. You only need to see the footage from Paris attacks to see how actions in places like Nairobi and Paris to clearly see that they are different from events in places like Martin Place and perhaps the Quebec Mosque.

We can argue on how correct the FBI setting is, yet it is an important one! “Terrorism is the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives“. So what were the social and political objectives of Alexander Bissonnette?

There is a lot we don’t know and won’t know. Yet at present Forward is presenting the dangers that social media rely on, they rely on quick and classifiable actions and label them in the most general way possible. The dangers that we see in the Zuckerberg classification is that it relies on the quick acceptance of the ‘audience’ yet in the same way the danger is that the ‘like’ itself becomes a problem. You see, too many elements are about specifics and as we see less and less, we see that people in general will start to rely on an aggregation of ‘reportable elements’, not even on an aggregation of facts.

Heavy.com, another place that is not really a news site gives us a whole range of additional ‘facts’. They refer to Reuters, who reported (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-mosque-shooting-idUSKBN15E04S), where we get “Initially, the mosque president said five people were killed and a witness said up to three gunmen had fired on about 40 people inside the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre. Police said only two people were involved in the attack“, in that part the Lone Wolf no longer applies and it is either ‘lone Wolves’ or something else. Forward however gave us “Police investigating the shooting at a Quebec mosque that killed six have narrowed down their list of suspects to one man” Yet 5 hours after the initial message Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-mosque-shooting-toll-idUSKBN15E0F6) gives us “Police declined to discuss possible motives for the shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. They consider this a lone wolf situation,” a Canadian source familiar with the situation said“, which is a statement that should be under some scrutiny to say the least.

All this links to an event one year ago, which was covered in the Tech Times, where we see ‘Sheryl Sandberg Sees Facebook Likes As Powerful Weapon Against ISIS, Other Extremists‘ with the quote “Rather than scream and protest, they got 100,000 people to Like the page, who did not Like the page and put messages of tolerance on the page, so when you got to the page, it changed the content and what was a page filled with hatred and intolerance was then tolerance and messages of hope“. This is now a linked issue. You see the part ‘they got 100,000 people to Like the page, who did not Like the page‘, this implies that data was intervened with, so if that is happening, how reliable was the ‘like’ part in Forward.com?

The fact that papers all over the place are trying to ‘cash’ in on this by adding a page with ‘the latest facts‘ or ‘what we know at present‘, like The Globe and Mail, whilst showing an avalanche of news on the matter. Actually, the page The Globe and Mail brought was pretty good. It is Heavy.com who does something similar, yet at that point they move into the ‘5 things you need to know‘ mode and give us a stream of links. Links to classmates and how they thought. Yet, are these facts correct and complete? Heavy links to the Globe and Mail, and in addition gives us the part we needed to hear: “He also likes U.S. Senator John McCain, a moderate Republican who has opposed Trump on some issues, President George W. Bush, the Canadian New Democratic Party and late Canadian politician Jack Layton, who was a leader of the left-wing NDP, so the likes do not shed much light on Bissonnette’s beliefs“, Forward.com, and as such linked SITE Intelligence Group had nothing on any of that in the article. So anyone relying on Forward is now missing out of essential facts. In equal measure, the fact that many of these items are not voiced by other papers make the statements of Heavy.com equally an issue until confirmed.

And finally there is the impact of how the like was obtained. Plenty of sources started with a few ‘like to win’ campaigns. How many people have clicked on a like and forgot about doing so? Yet in this light, the ‘like’ is implied to have a much larger impact, much larger than the user considers or even comprehends. The places using those likes for telling a story have left that concept behind, giving us unclean and incorrect data, which now implies that any conclusion based on it is pretty much useless.

Be aware, I am not stating, or accusing these posters of fake news, yet there is the option that some will see it as such. As I stated at the beginning regarding Forward.com, their origin goes back to 1897, which means that they have been around for some time. So why were so many facts missed and why did Forward link this suspect to both the Israel Defense Forces and Marine LePen, especially in light of what others reported?

What is not related to the Facebook side is the news that the initial news of two shooters (up to three) is now reduced to just the one. When a witness states up to three, there is a clarity to assume (to some degree) that there was more than one shooter (which is a speculation from my side). So what happened to the second one? Just be aware that there might just have been one shooter, yet the documentation we are seeing implies more than one.

So how is this a Zuckerberg thing?

Well, apart from him inventing Facebook and bringing about the evolution of Social media, his ‘like’ is almost like his ‘poke’, they are Social media tools, yet the value the users tend to give it is different, it is even debatable whether the users at large could ever agree on the usage of it, making it a transient value. A shifted number whilst the contemplators cannot agree how the value is to be used, so the usage of ‘like’ in the way it was used in by the press becomes a debate as well. Because what we like implies where we are. That is not a given, even better it is incomplete. You see, you can state your like, but as you cannot state a dislike, we end up having no real comparison. It is the old debate of Yes and No dichotomies, if you did not say ‘yes’, there is no validity that you stated ‘no’, because it might have been overlooked, or it was the fourth option in a list of three. There is a decent abundance of reasons to take that point of view.


Let me show this in another way. The Fox poll of the Refugee Ban (see image). We see the full story at http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/01/29/poll-nearly-half-america-voters-support-trumps-immigration-order, but what we do not see are the specifics on what would have given this value. You see, we do not know the number of responses, where it was done and when it was done. It is at https://poll.qu.edu/ that we learn parts of the facts, “From January 5 – 9, Quinnipiac University surveyed 899 voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points“, can anyone explain to me how Fox was so stupid to use a base of 899 to set a national value? Doesn’t the United States have around 320 million people? And as we realise that there 50 states, how can 18 people be significant on a view in state, and this is before we consider whether the use of gender was normalised, because men and women tend to feel different on emotional issues and is there is one element in abundance on issues concerning refugees it will be emotion.


So in all this, we see recurring waves of generalisation and trivialisation. Mark Zuckerberg is not to blame, but he is a factor. In addition there is an overwhelming lack in educating its customer base (by both Fox and Facebook), so we need to consider the dangers and well as the irrelevance of these ‘revelations‘. It is in this scope and in the application as seen used where classification becomes dangerous and a danger, because how will the people around a person react when they see that this person likes something people find offensive (and that is when we keep it to simple things like actors, actresses and politicians)? This will impact on the like as there will be peer pressure, so how can this Zuckerberg element be undermined? That is the actual question!

Is it as simple as condemning the press for using the fact? Is it as simple as giving out complete information? The Zuckerberg Classifications are here to stay, there is nothing against it and the fact that they are is in no way negative, but the usage of it leaves a lot to be desired and as such it is a misleading one, other than ‘this person clicked on the like button of this page, for reasons unknown’, giving it any more value is as meaningless as setting the national acceptance of a refugee ban based on 899 unquantifiable votes which represents at best 0.00028% of the United States population. If any vote was incorrectly vetted, the number will go down fast making the poll even more useless.


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The Zuckergate Censorberg Act

Yesterday an interesting issue got to the FrontPage of the Norwegian Aftenposten (at http://www.aftenposten.no/kultur/Aftenposten-redaktor-om-snuoperasjonen–En-fornuftig-avgjorelse-av-Facebook-604237b.html) and for those who are slightly Norwegian linguistically challenged, there is an English version at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/08/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-napalm-girl-photo-vietnam-war.

It is something we have seen before. Although from a technical point of view, the editing (read: initial flag) is likely to have been done electronically, the added blame we see when we get to the quote “Egeland was subsequently suspended from Facebook. When Aftenposten reported on the suspension – using the same photograph in its article, which was then shared on the publication’s Facebook page – the newspaper received a message from Facebook asking it to “either remove or pixelize” the photograph” shows that this is an entirely different matter. This is now a censoring engine that is out of control. The specification ‘either remove or pixelize’ does not cut it, especially when it concerns a historical photo that was given a Pulitzer.

I am actually considering that there is more in play, you see, the Atlantic (at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/05/facebook-isnt-fair/482610/) said it in May when it published “Facebook Doesn’t Have to Be Fair. The company has no legal obligation to be balanced—and lawmakers know it“, which is the title and subtitle and as such, the story is told and politicians like John Thune experienced how a social network can drown out whatever it wants (within reason). So when you see something is trending on Facebook, you must comprehend that it is not an algorithm, but contracted people guide its creation and as quotes in the Atlantic “routinely suppressed conservative news“. Yet this goes further than just censorship and news. As the Editor of Aftenposten raises (and others with him), Mark Zuckerberg has now become the most powerful editor in the world. He now has nothing less than a sworn duty to uphold the freedom of speech to a certain degree, especially when relying on algorithms that are unlikely to cut the mustard on its current track. It now also opposes the part the Atlantic gave us with the subtitle “The company has no legal obligation to be balanced—and lawmakers know it” showing Sheryl Sandberg in a ‘who gives a fuck‘ pose. You see, at present Facebook has over 1.7 billion active users. What is interesting is that the acts that he has been found guilty of acts that negatively impacts well over 50% of his active user base. Norway might be small, but he is learning that it packs a punch, and when we add India to the mix, the percentage of alienated people by the censoring act of Facebook goes up by a lot. So even as there is the use of blanket rules, the application is now showing to be more and more offensive to too many users and as such this level of censorship could hurt the bottom dollar that every social media site has, which are the number of users. So as Mark Zuckerberg is trying to get appeal in Asia, he needs to realise that catering to one more nation could have drastic consequences to those he think he has. Now we understand that there needs to be some level of censorship, yet the correct application of it seems to go the wrong way. Of course this could still all go south and we would have get used to log in to 顔のブック, or 脸书. Even चेहरे की किताब is not out of the question. So is that what Zuckerberg needs? I know the US is scared shitless in many ways when that happens, so perhaps overseeing a massive change into the world of censoring is now an important issue. Espen Egil Hansen said it nearly all when he stated “a troubling inability to “distinguish between child pornography and famous war photographs”, as well as an unwillingness to “allow space for good judgement”” is at the heart of the matter. In that regard, the issue of “routinely suppressing conservative news” remains the issue. When you censor 50% of your second largest user base, it is no longer just a case of free speech or freedom of expression. It becomes an optional case of discrimination, which could have even further extending consequences. Even as we sit now, there are lawsuits in play, the one from Pamela Geller, a person that only seems to be taken serious by Breitbart News is perhaps the most striking of all. Pamela (At http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/07/13/pamela-geller-suing-facebook/) with the quote “My page “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s In the Quran” was taken down from Facebook because it was “hate speech.” Hate speech? Really? The page ran the actual Quranic texts and teachings that called for hatred and incitement of violence against the Jews.” is a dangerous one. It is dangerous because it is in the same place as the Vietnam photo. The fact that this is a published religious book makes it important and the fact that the book is quoted makes it accurate. The blaze (at http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/01/05/an-israeli-group-created-fake-anti-israel-and-anti-palestinian-facebook-pages-guess-which-one-got-taken-down/) goes one step further and conducted an experiment. The resulting quote is “The day the complaint was filed, the page inciting against Arabs was shut down. The group received a Hebrew language message from Facebook that read, according to a translation via Shurat HaDin, “We reviewed the page you reported for containing credible threat of violence and found it violates our community standards”, the page inciting against Jews was left active.” This indicates that Facebook has a series of issues. One cannot help but wonder whether this issue is merely bias or the economic print the Muslim world has when measured against a group of 8 million Israeli’s or perhaps just the population of 16 million Jews globally. With the Aftenposten event, Facebook seems to have painted itself into a corner, and if correct several lawsuits that could soon force Facebook to have a rigorous evaluation and reorganisation of several of its internal and external departments.

Because if Content is the cornerstone of Social media, the need to keep a clear view of freedom of expression and freedom of speech becomes even more important. In a product that seeks the need for growth that should have been obviously clear.

There is however a side that is not addressed by any. You might get the idea when you see the Guardian quote “News organizations are uncomfortably reliant on Facebook to reach an online audience. According to a 2016 study by Pew Research Center, 44% of US adults get their news on Facebook. Facebook’s popularity means that its algorithms can exert enormous power over public opinion“, the fact that Facebook might soon be hiding behind the ‘algorithms‘ as we see Facebook go forward on a defence relying on their version of the DEFAMATION ACT. In this example I will use the DEFAMATION ACT 2005 (Australian Law), where we see in Article 32

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

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a person is a “subordinate distributor” of defamatory matter if the person:

(a) was not the first or primary distributor of the matter, and
(b) was not the author or originator of the matter, and
(c) did not have any capacity to exercise editorial control over the content of the matter (or over the publication of the matter) before it was first published.

By relying on Algorithms, Facebook could now possible skate the issue, yet this can only happen if certain elements fall away, in addition, the algorithm will now become part of the case and debate muddying the waters further still.

Hanson does hit the nail on the head when it comes to the issues he raises like “geographically differentiated guidelines and rules for publication”, “distinguish[ing] between editors and other Facebook users,” and a “comprehensive review of the way you operate”. He is not wrong, yet I have to raise the following

In the first, when you decide to rely on “geographically differentiated guidelines and rules for publication”, you also include the rules of who you publish to. This is the first danger for Facebook, their granularity could fall away to some extent and Facebook advertising is all about global granularity. It is a path he would be very unwilling to skate. Open and global are his ticket to some of the largest companies. When this comes into play, smaller players like Coca Cola and Mars could soon find the beauty of moving some of their advertisements funds away from Facebook and towards Google AdWords. I am decently certain that Google will not be opposing that view any day soon.

In the second “distinguish[ing] between editors and other Facebook users” is only part of the path, you see when we start classifying the user, Facebook could start having to classify a little too much, making any distinguishing of such kind additional worries in regards to discrimination. Twitter faced that mess recently when a certain picture from one Newspaper was allowed and another one was not. That and the fact that a woman named Molly Wood (her actual name) was not allowed to use her name as her Facebook name, which is a matter for another day.

In the third the issue “comprehensive review of the way you operate” which is very much in play. The cases that Facebook has faced regarding content and privacy are merely the tip of the iceberg. We can all agree that when it is about sex crimes people tend to notice it, I am speculating for the most because of the word ‘sex’. So when I saw that there is a June reference (at http://www.mrctv.org/blog/facebook-censuring-international-stories-about-rapes-muslim-refugees), when Facebook removed a video from Ingrid Carlqvist for the Gatestone Institute, where she reports that there has been a 1,500% increase in rapes in Sweden, I was wondering why this had not found the front page of EVERY newspaper in every nations where there is free speech. The Gatestone Institute is a not-for-profit international policy think tank run by former UN Ambassador John Bolton, so not some kind of radicalised front.

In that regard is any kind of censoring even acceptable?

This case is more apt than you think when you consider the quote we see, even as I cannot give weight to the publishing site. We see “Facebook may have been incited to censor this story by a new European Union push in cooperation with Facebook, Twitter, and Google to report incidents of racism or xenophobia to the authorities for criminal prosecution” with the by-line “In order to prevent the spread of illegal hate speech, it is essential to ensure that relevant national laws transposing the Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia are fully enforced by Member States in the online as well as the in the offline environment. While the effective application of provisions criminalising hate speech is dependent on a robust system of enforcement of criminal law sanctions against the individual perpetrators of hate speech, this work must be complemented with actions geared at ensuring that illegal hate speech online is expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame. To be considered valid in this respect, a notification should not be insufficiently precise or inadequately substantiated“, which was followed by “No matter why Facebook decided to remove Ingrid Carlqvist’s personal page, it doesn’t lessen the fact that this is another example of their political censorship, and their desire to place political correctness over freedom of the press and freedom of expression

Now this part has value and weight for the following reason: When we consider the earlier move by Facebook to relay on algorithms, the European Commission (at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1937_en.htm) gives us: ‘is expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame‘, which could imply that an algorithm will not be regarded as one of the online intermediaries, which means that the human element remains and that Facebook cannot rely on the innocent dissemination part of the Defamation Act, meaning that they could end up being in hot water in several countries soon enough.

As parting words, let Facebook take heed of the words of Steven Spielberg: “There is a fine line between censorship and good taste and moral responsibility“.

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Prosecuting Facebook

As I was trying to complete a few legislative issues regarding Greece, I noticed that another part had been neglected for too long, so I decided to cut Greece in half (at least the story) and now take a look at the situation where Facebook might find itself getting prosecuted in the near future in more than one way.

This story started in the Netherlands. The story (at http://www.meuknieuws.nl/wraakpornofilmpje/) ‘Facebook loses lawsuit revenge porn movie Chantal‘. So what happened?

There is a girl named Chantal (now 21), who at one point gave oral sex to her boyfriend, and it got filmed (never a good idea). On January 22nd, through a fake account this movie was spread through Facebook, after which her life turned into a hell. Even though Facebook removed the movie, the damage was done and the movie got spread into all directions. Soon thereafter the fake account vanished. This is the act of revenge porn.

The case got a twist when all the data was removed after two weeks, the data was permanently deleted. Additional information in Dutch can be found here (at http://www.ad.nl/ad/nl/34821/Rivierenland/article/detail/4072928/2015/06/12/Facebook-gegevens-account-gewist.dhtml). The data was (according to Facebook) wiped. The Judge has ruled that Facebook must show diligence and present evidence that all options have been searched to find any data pertaining the crime. The judge also stated that if need be a third party has to be assigned to find and trace the information. Now we have two issues. One is to find the data of Chantal, the second is that the acts undertaken by Facebook could imply that Facebook could also be prosecuted at present.


Well, if we go through Common Law (Australia/UK) we see that in Australia the Crimes Act section 254 states:

Destruction of evidence

A person who knows that a document or other thing of any kind is, or is reasonably likely to be, required in evidence in a legal proceeding; and either

destroys or renders it illegible, undecipherable or incapable of identification; or expressly, tacitly or impliedly authorises or permits another person to destroy or conceal it or render it illegible, undecipherable or incapable of identification and that other person does so; and with the intention of preventing it from being used in evidence in a legal proceeding is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum) or a level 6 fine or both. There could even be complications as the lady was less than 18 years old giving the case additional uneasy sides.

Ouch Mr Zuckerberg!

In addition, hiding in the US on this is not much help either, this is seen in California Penal code 135 (thanks to the site of Attorney Seppi Esfandi), the penal code states:

California Penal Code 135[1] makes it illegal to destroy or conceal any evidence, written or physical, that you know is relevant to either a criminal investigation or court case. The two elements of the crime are:

That you destroyed or concealed evidence that you knew was going to be used as part of the investigation.
That you destroyed or concealed the evidence wilfully.

Interestingly, he also states a few common legal defences. The first one is the application of the word ‘knowingly’, which already makes it hard for the Dutch party to progress, the second one if destruction was not successful, so if the information is found after the fact it becomes not an issue, because penal code 135 does not have any ‘attempting to commit a crime’ issues. They can only be processed if the deletion was a complete success.

So, in all fairness, my first message to Mr Zuckerberg is to call Seppi Esfandi for advice as the man has 13 years of experience regarding penal code 135.

Why is this still an issue?

Well consider the following sources: ‘Facebook keeps track of every message you type – even ones you don’t post’ (at http://bgr.com/2013/12/13/facebook-user-tracking-deleted-posts/), where we see the quote “Facebook isn’t keeping a database on all these non-posts’ contents, mind you — it’s simply keeping a record of all the data surrounding self-censored posts such as what time it was almost posted and whether it was set to be posted on a friend’s page or on the user’s own page. Kramer and Das say that Facebook wants to understand all the reasons that people decide against posting because the company “loses value from the lack of content generation” every time a would-be post gets the axe” This is a core need in social media data mining, with the specific quote “Facebook wants to understand all the reasons that people decide against posting” which implies that a post would also have records created with a league of meta data.

Then there is this quote ““So Facebook considers your thoughtful discretion about what to post as bad, because it withholds value from Facebook and from other users,” she writes. “Facebook monitors those unposted thoughts to better understand them, in order to build a system that minimizes this deliberate behaviour”“, which we got from http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/12/facebook_self_censorship_what_happens_to_the_posts_you_don_t_publish.html. So in anyone deleted the post, there would have been a record.

This is part one!

Now for the next part. This part is seen in ‘Turns out ‘delete’ doesn’t quite mean the same thing to Facebook as it does to you‘ (at http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/deleting-facebook-posts-fail/). Here we see the quote “New evidence suggests that Facebook might not really be deleting the posts you think you’re getting rid of. In fact, sometimes these deleted Facebook posts are reappearing“. So if that is the case, than we have two tiered evidence. If these messages are remaining, it implies that there was a record, which also means that if the movie and its metadata has been deleted permanently, Facebook could be facing California Penal Code 135, as well as the issue in several nations where such events have been happening, the only part Facebook could truly hope for is that it is all settled in the US, as it becomes a 6 months versus a 5 year stretch in Hotel Iron Bar.

Even if the case cannot stick, Facebook will now feel the marketing pressure and condemnation that it unknowingly assisted in the transgressors of revenge porn to remain non-prosecutable. So even as US legislation is still trying to make heads and tails of the act from Rep. Jackie Speier, the fact that it is law in some nations cannot be ignored by a global company like Facebook, in addition, the fact that all traces are claimed to have been wiped is further cause for concern.

The question now becomes: is Facebook in danger of getting prosecuted?

That question becomes even harder to answer when we go back to the Digital Trends article where we see: “We reached out to Facebook about the issue, whose representative only pointed out Facebook’s Terms and Conditions page, and highlighted the fact that that when you actually delete content on Facebook, it only goes away if it’s permanently deleted – which is tricky. The problem with permanently deleting anything on Facebook is the fact that nothing is actually seemingly deleted. Just simply “deleting” content stores the content to a backup Facebook drive temporarily. As Facebook puts it: “Some of this information is permanently deleted from our servers; however, some things can only be deleted when you permanently delete your account“.

That was exactly what happened, yet can there be verification on whether the user deleted it, or whether Facebook removed the user? That part is not clearly given (as far as I could tell). Yet, the issue of truly delete photos/videos on Facebook was never truly achieved until 2012, which means that the video in question was no longer there, yet the fact that no separate log of uploads was maintained in some way remains an interesting mystery, especially in the light of this legal case. In addition, some logging of the original account should also have been kept, again, interesting that this was not done. In an age where 4 Terabyte can be bought for a mere $250 dollars adds to the confusion of why not keeping this logging data, especially as mined data is the bread and butter of Facebook!

This case calls for several questions, the Lady named Chantal might never get a clear answer, yet that should not prevent legislation from taking a long hard look at social media, especially in the age of lone wolf terrorism, because next time it might not be a lady in ‘Bee Jay’ mode, it could be an extremist showing the combination of 4 chemical compounds, which according to Matthew Meselson, a Harvard biochemist is extremely easy, the fact that this could kill a boatload of people makes the dangers of social media a lot more intense, when that media starts to wipe overwrite, not delete) data of inconvenience, the world could find out the hard way on just how dangerous social media could be.

Revenge Porn has been deemed criminal in several states, although they are usually treated as misdemeanors (until the bill by Rep. Jackie Speier gets passed), the case in the Netherlands gives us an uncomfortable truth and that truth is that Facebook seems to be lacking in keeping some victims safe, because the logged logging data could have achieved that very thing.

To state it clear in the end, Facebook is very likely not guilty. I will not state innocent, because certain data, even for mere mining statistics could have remained with Facebook, whilst not breaching any privacy, enough data to give assistance to digital forensics to aid Chantal in her plight.

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To be deleted!

I stumbled upon an article by Kevin McKenna that was an interesting read. It was published last Sunday (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/05/google-right-to-be-forgotten-kevin-mckennas-own-confessions). The headline caught me at first stating “Don’t hide your dark side from Google. Much better to tell all“, which works out really well for Google, but what about the person? In his ‘journey’ as a starting Facebook user, this quote seems the strongest “And I realise with mounting horror that this is how real people with normal lives interact with each other and that it is I who am out of step once more. So I fear I may soon have to conclude my Facebook experiment before I alienate that dwindling band of those who still regard me with some fondness“, but as I see it, the article never ever goes anywhere near the issue why people want things to go away. The reference “we discovered that prominent people are beginning to deploy some arcane European privacy legislation to force Google to ‘forget’ about their historical misdemeanours“, sounds funny enough, but is that it? The following reference “American financier Stan O’Neal who helped drive his bank to ruination in 2007 were ‘deleted’“.

This sounds all fun, but is Google paying Kevin for this article? You see, Mr McKenna does not get within one mile of the actual issues, the dangers that Social media brought upon us all (many were likely never a consideration when Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea to begin with).

We get the following from Forbes “But there’s another good reason for checking out a candidate’s Facebook page before inviting them in for an interview: it may be a fairly accurate reflection of how good they’ll be at the job” (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/03/05/facebook-can-tell-you-if-a-person-is-worth-hiring/). Here is the kicker: the workplace is riddled with people not really that great in sizing other people up, a fair chunk of them in HR and upper management. I have been around for a long time, and these people look at ‘presentation’. I have met my share of managers with ‘fuck all’ (pardon my French) idea of what actually needs to be done, like most sales people they will have a nice PowerPoint, and when reality hits, they will dump it on the people who will end up doing the actual job, which often enough is not them. In addition, we see recruiters who have no idea how to be a recruiter. I used to have one that never had anything for me and actually send ME the resume of others asking if I had a job for them. Really? These people will seek you out on Facebook and judge you for what YOUR FRIENDS will post on your page?

Mr McKenna has spent absolutely no words in that regard. To those youthful young undergrad recipients, Facebook could at this point be nothing less than a career death sentence; even if those around them know that those people will work their asses off getting it all done. That part is never on Facebook and they lost out on a job. Better stated: that corporation lost out on a person who would have been one of the best Returns On Investment EVER!

CNet adds a little more (at http://www.cnet.com/au/news/facebookers-beware-that-silly-update-can-cost-you-a-job/), here we see the headline “Study shows that companies have rejected 1 in 10 people between ages 16 and 34 because of something the person shared on social media“. CNet has graphics too, so check it out. It goes in the same direction as Forbes, but there is one quote that I have heard about, but never experienced, or met anyone who directly experienced it “In January, six states officially made it illegal for employers to ask their workers for passwords to their social media accounts“.

These people should reply with the fact that many agreements state the following “You must not reveal your password and must take reasonable steps to keep your password confidential and secure“, the very fact that personal privacy is transgressed to this degree is questionable, or is it?

In USA Today (and many other papers) we see the statement “Burglars use social media to target homes” (at http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/komando/2014/01/03/social-media-identity-theft-home-videos/4248601/). It is not a new ploy, it has been around a little longer than that, but what is new is the linked approach that is slowly becoming visible.

Although at present, no ACTUAL events are currently documented, other than from the less reputable journalistic sources (Daily Mail and the Telegraph). There is more and more talk on how social media will influence your insurance claims. If you tweet your events, as might your children whilst on Vacation in a place ‘far away’, your local homestead might be missing several pricey items when you get home. Burglars keep their eyes on those who boast travel. It only takes one jealous school ‘friend’ for the parents to miss out on TV, Jewellery, computers and so forth. There is more and more talks on how insurance policies might not cover it in the near future and that mandatory alarm systems as well as spectacular premium rises are linked to these events.

So there is a massive need from many people to be forgotten all over the place!

A more long term consequence tells us (at http://healthissocial.com/healthcare-social-media-ethics/the-healthcare-insurance-impact-of-your-social-media-graph/), that social media goes so much further than that. As a data miner I have always seen this, but many are only now seeing the dangers. This article voices is perfectly by stating the following two thoughts:

What if health insurance companies realized that with whom you associate may correlate to your health and thus risk?” and “What if your online behaviour indicated (directly or indirectly) your health behaviour – either psychiatric or otherwise?“, so not only could your health care cost spike, in some cases you might not be able to get coverage as you are considered too much of a risk factor. So a person’s unadulterated need, to speak out ‘Suicidal and standing on the edge‘, might in light of their upcoming ‘healthcare premium to be’, seriously consider taking that one final step at that point.

There is one quote I saw that covers the dangers of Social Media that we should all mind “Behind every successful student , there is a deactivated Facebook account“. The issue for us all is that there is genuine truth in that statement (or status). Not because of what the student does, but because of what others do with the data and with the image incorrectly reflected. In one account I took a look at his page had references to ‘Hash Brownies’ and ‘Funky mushrooms on his bacon and egg roll this morning’. The man is a Vegan with an utter dislike for chocolate (I tend to get his chockies around Easter). So, will he see his premium rise by insurances in the future? Because SOMEONE said so?

So Mr McKenna, The ‘right to be forgotten on Google’ is not a strange concept at all, in this day and age it might be the next essential thing if we are to move forward in an affordable way.Because at this point, there is every indication that our cost of living could quite soon be linked to social media data. The worst thing is that mined data just is, and what is taken for ‘granted’ often never is, that is the one part that no cleaning pass in data mining can provide for, whoever claims it can, is in my view clearly lying.


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Is gender equality too futuristic?

This is not an article for many. Some will be livid, some will be outraged and many will be angry. Yet, will my view be wrong? This is at the centre of what some call the future of women in high positions.

If I compare it to Law School, then we have our share of women, most of them highly intelligent, many of them no less to Law savants. The last one might be regarded as a cheated achievement, as they usually come from parents with law education or even law practices. They do have a benefit, but to make it in Law, you cannot get by on daddy’s (or mommy’s) tailcoats. You are either truly good, or you won’t pass past your first case. For me in most cases, it almost feels like cheating, as I would be a 1st generation law graduate. I had to do it alone, no daddy to help me (thank god that the alcoholic is dead). So, there is no anger or envy towards these male of female co-students. As we see how these women are now growing the ranks of the senior, partner positions and the silks of the bench, we see how women are not just up and coming, they are growing the waves of the future benches of the courts. This is not a negative issue for me. As the women had grown in the legal profession from the 80’s onwards, they are now becoming the future of the high courts. In that regard I recall my first year mentor. She was not just bright, she was part of a team that wiped the floor (OK, the proper term is victorious) against the Oxford Law team. even though India won, the fact that both groups outdid Oxford should give you a clear view on how good you need to be. If we see the perception of many students, the regarded rankings like Oxford, Harvard and Yale (as we see Ivy League schools), then the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) did a mighty fine job.

How is all this connected?

I am getting to this. It is first important you see the views I have and the way I got to my view.

So what started all this? Well, yesterday the following tweet passed my screen:
UK Prime Minister @Number10gov Mar 8
Tomorrow is International #WomensDay – see how UK govt is supporting & celebrating this year’s #InspiringChange theme http://ow.ly/ulkZ4

It came right after a tweet By Neelie Kroes (@NeelieKroesEU)

Her headline on Twitter is “I am Vice President of the @EU_Commission leading @DigitalAgendaEU and #ConnectedContinent plans. I am fighting like hell for a EU you can believe in. Global (based in Brussels) – bit.ly/KroesNeelie

I remember her as a politician (when I was living in the Netherlands). I never saw eye to eye with her views, but I do no hold that against her. What is important is that she is extremely intelligent. I reckon that if Albert Einstein would have been around when she turned 21, his words would have been “Whoa girl, you’ve got skills!” Let’s, be certain about the fact that he would refer to her political skills, not her skills in physics. Basically, she is one clever lady is the view of many.

My issue is all about the International Woman’s day as some ‘portray’ their support of it! I am not against it in any way, but let us take a look at the other side of this.

This we see at http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/adfa-skype-scandal-cadets-sentenced-avoid-jail-20131023-2w0hz.html, where we see the quote “The woman told the court last week that she had been bullied and ostracised across the ADF after details of the Skype affair became public. She said she was offered little support, and was referred to as “that Skype slut” by her peers. The victim said the incident destroyed her life and forced her to leave her dream job in the military.

The two men got a 12 month good behaviour order. The interesting part is that the media seemingly buried it after August 19th 2013. Interesting how little exposure these issues get. I found two more items as they were places after the August date, yet this one (at http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-11-09/adfa-cadet-daniel-mcdonald-sacked-over-skype-sex-scandal/1217280) seems to add one more item. The quote “Today, Defence released a statement saying McDonald had been told it intended to sack him in mid-September and after giving him an opportunity to respond, his services were terminated as of last night

So how should that be read? He was offered to walk or get booted?

This is not an isolated case for the military on a global scale. The header ‘Conflicting accounts open U.S. Army general’s sex crimes trial‘ (at http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/07/uk-usa-courtmartial-sinclair-idUKBREA260OK20140307) gives a clear view that we are not anywhere near ready for an International Woman’s day. As we see these transgressions go on and on. In addition, as we see the media staying as blasé and diminishing the exposure of such events, then you tell me how fair it all is. When we see a celebrity drink too much, EVERYONE shows it off to the maximum of the gettable coinage possible, which includes the Washington Post, the Guardian, USA Today, the Huffington Post, Reuters and such large ones. When we see the General being accused of these acts, the amount of newspapers that make it to Google page 1-3 is pretty laughable (even though the big ones mentioned earlier are also there). Why the military? Well, it is pretty much the last bastion of testosterone. When women get an accepted place without the psychic and physical assault dangers, then we are truly entering a new area. If you want to disagree with my view here, which would be fine, then compare the hits you get when you compare the allegations between Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair (US Army) and PR guru Max Clifford (UK publicist), so even though the UK is only 20% of the US, Mr Clifford gets 500% more hits on Google. As this goes into the millions I decided not to look at all of them, but is there any value to the conclusion that a PR guy is bigger coverage, or that the media does not ‘regard’ the alleged transgressions as such important news. The General did plead guilty to having an extramarital affair with the captain.

So why do I have this issue? As mentioned before I illustrated the evolution of Law staffing. A Dutch research showed only a few days ago, that the incomes are changing. Within the younger population, income between the younger populations of gender has changed. The women are now ending up with a better pay package. This is in my view clear evidence that not only is there more equality; the game is changing in a better respect for all. If both sides of the gender path will get the same chance to get the high coin, then we are entering a competitive field where the victor takes the spoils, no matter what gender the victor is, it ups the game and all will become better competitors because of it.

Yet, if we see the article CNN placed last year (at http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/15/opinion/chemaly-tech-leaves-out-women/) we see a clearer view on why I think that there should be an International Woman’s day, but at present there is no reason to party on that event. I must state that I do not completely agree with Soraya Chemaly on her article ‘In tech world, women ignored‘. The reason for this is because as I got my training and degree in IT, the amount of women I saw was a massive minority. When I got into the data game in the 90’s, the women represented a presence of a mere 5% would have been overstating their presence. If getting to the top takes 12-15 years, then it will be at least another decade until we see a visible level of female presence in the tech world. There is however another side to this. When we consider tech PR companies like ‘Panache PR‘, we would see that the founder Cathy Campos is regarded as a global authority in the gaming industry. I met her in the days of Robert Maxwell, as she was the visible side of the marketing of Mirrorsoft (1989) and her drive to market the visibility of games by the visionary Peter Molyneux were ground breaking. She is not just accepted by all, I reckon the newbies in this field will consider an internship with someone like Cathy as the start of a possible golden future.

One of the statements I do not agree with is “The tech industry has a well-documented pipeline problem, one largely the result of gender stereotypes that reach into the educational system” Really? When I was into gaming, meeting any woman who was into games was regarded as a joke, both genders thought of games and gaming as uncool, nerdy and not worth the effort. That view only seriously started to change around the time the Xbox 360 was announced to become the hot potato of the future. So, basically, in that tech field women are less than one console generation old. When we look back to the early years we see the names like Roberta Williams (Kings Quest and a few others), Jane Jensen who worked with Roberta Williams on KQ6. Dona Bailey, who is an Atari Legend as she was one of the founders of Centipede, which is still regarded as one of the better arcade games of all times. Lastly there is Graner Ray who worked on Ultima VII (my favourite RPG series). She entered this field late in the Ultima series, but giving it artistically a unique view. So, when we consider these 4 women to be at the foundations of gaming, is it a wonder that the female population in this tech field is still small? Nowadays, we see a much stronger female representation in the gaming field, and many of them are outstanding in their own rights.

This is why I do not completely agree (not opposing either) the view we see at http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/7/5408194/how-smarter-schools-can-help-break-the-game-development-boys-club. I personally have never cared about who wrote the game, only that it was a good game. Consider that Kings Quest was one of the first PC games I loved. It was made by a woman and that never mattered.

So is it about the game or the developer? This is why I opposed the quote from Soraya Chemaly “Controlling women’s access makes men keepers of speech, keeps sexist status quo“. No! The gamer wants a good game, value for money, so anyone can get into this field with a good product. I reckon that especially in places like India, women could grow into this field as they offer originality in gaming through iTunes (iPad) or Google play (android). I reckon that 6 successful new female developers are all it takes to prove my hypotheses in this case. As additional female developers enter the field from MIT game lab and UTS (and other universities of course) we will see a clear shift. I do have a few questions to my own train of thought, which was caused by the quote I read (at http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/7/5408194/how-smarter-schools-can-help-break-the-game-development-boys-club) “Indie developer Mike Bithell tells us the lack of women in development ‘monumentally embarrassing’ for the games industry“. It raises my concerns on how wrong I might be, but is that because of the games developed, or by the games that get funding? You see, I focused on the gaming side, because that side I know from various sides. As I see women in Law proceed to the high places, I feel that my views remain correct. The ones who now will get the high posts are the ones I study with at University and they are truly good at what they do. That view is to some extend reaffirmed by the NY times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/opinion/great-expectations-for-female-lawyers.html). The quote “Of course, the attrition rate is high for men, too — but not nearly as high; in American law firms, the overwhelming majority of partners are men” shows that even though the men are in a massive majority, these are the partners that came from law school 12 years earlier. It took a while for new generations to get into these seats and as such the women we study with are likely to be the majority of high law ranks as they continue their law careers over the next 10-15 years.

When we get back to gaming we could see a correlation with the evolution of high placed women in gaming. If we accept the quote in the previous link affirms my position “Women make up only 11 percent of the total of those pursuing a career in the games industry as of 2005“. So, women do not select this track, which means that it will take some take until the top of gaming has an equal female representation. Yet, is there unfairness in this? When we see a current coverage of only 11%? So as time progresses we see 1 in 20 making it to the top, not because there is inequality, but because only 5%, which is half of the coverage proves to be that good and the math is on my side as I see it. That same math which predicts that over the next 10 years the women in high law positions will likely double, that same curve will apply to the gaming industry as women pursue in several fields they will take the lead as times passes. The issue that many ignore is that this evolution has been just a little over 2 generations and as we see the gender changes in fields, the growth of women in the area of visionary and evolutionary powers, moved to equality to encompass middle managers, which now leads to upper management, this is not a bad record.

As for International Woman’s Day, I am not against it, or against the visibility. The issue is that the field remains unequal, especially when the media is handing us a ‘stacked’ deck. How eager they are to steer away from certain trials, whilst in most of these cases they just spout the same ‘average leveled‘ information. The stacked deck is not in the direction that the BBC shows (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-18187449). As I stated my view, that over time the percentages have shifted and they are shifting even more, but consider the issues as we saw it in regards to Jimmy Saville, not just what he did, but as alleged how those around him are stated to have reacted and how the matter was dealt with for several decades, that part seems to be ignored to a larger extent. Even now as we see the events unfold, we see the Saville jokes, we see the investigation, but the ‘support system‘ around Saville, as he got away with the amount of events does not get the media scrutiny it is supposed to be getting. So, this is not just about the women in general, but the ‘old boy’ groups as they remained around for too long a time. This is the case that many articles made, but I personally see this as the ‘wrong side’. I would much rather see how we see that now in Law, and how women in new fields, like Technology, Gaming and other new areas can more easily inhabit these areas and they could be ruled by the best in the field, no matter what gender. That is the side that does not get enough visibility. It should and the media should use moments like International Woman’s Day to show what is possible, because if it is about inspiration, it should be about where opportunity lies, not just where some ‘stated’ view on the places where the uphill battle remains. This does not mean that I am now opposing my own words, but that it takes time to get women in these top positions, which they achieved within 2 generations (banking examples: CEO Westpac and Christine Lagarde, IMF). When we look at a new field like gaming, which is only now entering its second generation, women are on an equal field, as there is little to no historical entry to content with.

In the end a true visionary will always be successful and get funding, simply because being the first implies that this person is the best and new fields are always ruled by the visionary (closely followed by the evolutionary visionary). Consider this last point; would it have made any difference to the success of Facebook whether it was Mark or Marcia Zuckerberg who invented it?
I feel certain that this would not have made any difference to the global change it brought.

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