Tag Archives: Privacy

Games on two levels

The BBC set us in the light of games being played, they are played n two levels, the first one is seen (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53888148) where we see ‘‘Creepy men’ message women on Scrabble Go app’, now in itself it does not raise flags, these things happen, but we see a lot more when we consider “When enabled, players will only receive chat notifications and messages from players they already know and are connected with as a Facebook friend, favourite, or via their synced contacts”, did you pick up on that little part? ‘or via their synced contacts’ is a dangerous step, some people want to play scrabble and not having to deal with the BS, so why did the game not include a mute ALL speech from the very beginning? I will hazard a guess that synching your contacts will be pleasing to the makers of the scrabble game for a few reasons, but that question is not coming from the BBC is it? And “it had also received two about the previous EA app during the first half of 2020” is perhaps a little giveaway. It is all about our contacts. Basic personal security does not see to be the stage gamers are considering when they are offered free games. So even as the BBC ends with “Lisa Forte, from Red Goat Cyber-security, said: “As individuals, we really need to start treating unsolicited online contact with people we don’t know as suspicious until it’s proven otherwise”” and in all this the questions on gathered data is not coning from the BBC, so I am asking it. ‘What data is gathered and who profits?’ It is an essential question, but it is not asked, is it? I see this as a failure to protect consumers and as such there is a failure from government and media to take it into account. The government has a pass. It is not their responsibility to protect people who blatantly install stuff at their own leisure, but in the same side, we see that Apple and Google could be held to account to make sure that NO and I mean NO data is to be gathered via apps in their store, is that the case, or is it not? It is not the app maker that worries me, it is the hacker who uses the app to gather data for their personal needs, that is the larger setting and if the uses would be kind enough to wake up and smell the data they are giving up we might have the start of something sane. Yet the larger issue still plays, the stage of muting ALL from the start would have solved the issue, so why is it not in the app? The story gives out that this is not possible, why is that?

The second level is a little more serious (or so I hope), it is seen in ‘Danish military intelligence head Lars Findsen suspended’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53889612), well on one side, I was looking for a new job, so I’ll take his, but my Danish is really bad, my Swedish is fine though. But back to the reality, when we see “the Defence Intelligence Service is accused of failing to investigate allegations of espionage in the armed services. It has also been accused of obtaining and passing on information about Danish citizens”, we see the repetition of a two edged sword, the first story implies that the people (including the Danish) have no problem handing over their security and data to any app designer, so when we realise that, what are we doing inspecting the actions of Danish Intelligence? It sounds nice that they have an Intelligence Watchdog, but with data being handed over left, right and centre, the setting is a larger stage and we need to see that we are measuring events to two different standards and we need to wake up because this has been going on for years now and we need to wake up. Oh and by the way, why was Danish Intelligence doing what it was doing? Perhaps it was to keep the Danish people safe (an assumed  speculation), all this whilst I am decently certain that the apps do not have anyones safety in mind, if so the chat would have a mute button from the very beginning, not on the required need to synch contacts. 

 

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Click bitches

Yup, that is what they are making us out to be. We can offer the thought that Facebook and Twitter are not aware what is happening, but the reality is that they do not care. It is the price of a free service. I knew that from the start, nothing comes for free, but the choice of advertisement that Twitter and Facebook Arte giving us is becoming a larger issue, in addition I received some news that some people were allegedly approached to get scammed, this happens, but one person gave me that from 2-3 times a year that there has been an attempt to scam through his phone once a day for the last three days, the scales have been altered and in all this we need to set a much larger stage. And as some advertisement is aimed to turn us into click bitches to go from picture (with a dozen advertisements) to another picture we have no way of knowing as to what the role behind it is, perhaps it is $25 on the house from +6797234009, perhaps it is allegedly winning GBP 6,500,000 from www.m65s.net with the helpline info@mobcollas.com, or even it is facing jurisprudential fines from 18000243109. The numbers start adding up and Australian law is seemingly clueless on what to do, because it is not their prerogative, merely stating the face of the Sydney Morning Herald and Rupert Murdoch through the stated news ‘Google clashes with Australia watchdog over proposed law to force it to pay for news’, so how about changing the setting to avoid more issues by also stating that newspapers and media are not allowed on social media? Would that level the playing field? When we do that, we see that ALL the remaining news on social media is fake, is that a solution? Does it fall back to the ‘News Media Bargaining Code’?, I do not belief that to be the case, I think that there are two issues and I think that they influence one another. The ACCC gives us “The Government asked that a draft mandatory code be released for public consultation before the end of July 2020, with a final code to be settled soon thereafter.” It is perhaps the first time that a law was drafted up so quickly, and in that view when we see “The development of a code of conduct is part of the Government’s response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry final report to promote competition, enhance consumer protection and support a sustainable Australian media landscape in the digital age”, in all this the lacking ‘enhance consumer protection’ is very much out in the open and it is failing more and more.

So when we look at ‘Protecting yourself from scams’ on the ACCC website, and the ACCC Scam watch had NOTHING on the dangers of advertisements handing over details for scamming, in the same way there is a chance that data is being gathered by games, so how far is that investigation going? It seems that some are waiting for us to become click bitches and as we consider Click Fraud with the underlying quote “Click fraud is a type of fraud that occurs on the Internet in pay-per-click online advertising. In this type of advertising, the owners of websites that post the ads are paid an amount of money determined by how many visitors to the sites click on the ads”, as such, how much investigation did the ACCC do into the danger to the consumers before running to help the media? 

The dangers to the consumers is larger than Hacking, Identity theft, Phishing and Remote access scams and seemingly too many people are unaware, perhaps they have been turned into click bitches. 

 

 

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The time is now

Yesterday, an article in the BBC made me aware of a few items. Now, I was aware to a larger degree of most items, yet I kept it in the second drawer of the third desk of my brain, it was something I took for accepted and then shrug it off, so what changed? Nothing actually changed, but the article seems good enough to take a few items on view.

The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51115315) gives us “Google has announced a timeline for implementing new privacy standards that will limit third-party use of a digital tool known as cookies“, now this is nothing new, it was always going to happen, yet we also see: “analysts say the move gives Google more control over the digital ad market where it is already a major player.  To make advertising more personal web browsers collect small bits of information that allow them to create a profile of the users likes and online habits“, the question becomes, is that actually true? And when we see “This presents a core problem from a competition perspective. It is yet another example of Google diminishing ad rivals’ access to data for the stated purpose of protecting users’ privacy“, a quote from Dina Srinivasan, a lawyer focused on competition issues is not really that truthful, is it? Apple made a similar move in 2017 and when we go back in time, we see Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. Most will have forgotten Netscape who became defunct in 2003, and basically stopped making a blip 2 years before that. We seemingly forgot about the exploitative market that Microsoft had in those days with Internet Explorer and all the crap it added to our HTML files (as did Word when we saved as an HTML file), in those days data in files was still an issue because there was a limit to what we could safe when we were not rich. Chrome was the first to keep our files clean, or at least lacking a lot of rubbish. Netscape was however on a different route, an employee of Netscape Communications, which was developing an e-commerce application for MCI. MCI did not want its servers to have to retain partial transaction states which was a killer for storage, as such they asked the people at Netscape to find a way to store partial options and methods of transactions where it mattered the most, at the side of the buyer, Cookies provided a solution to the problem of reliably implementing a virtual shopping cart, Google found a new way of using that idea and used cookies in the far reaching solution it currently has, they innovated, others merely took on board someone else’s solution and not they are all crying foul. Perhaps when these people had taken the time to innovate, they would have the choice, and the option of two years seems decent, so when I read “advertisers had hoped to have more time before it was implemented” is as I personally see a larger BS issue on timeframes and exploitation, if advertisers are in the now, they would be all about advanced implementation, yet they like their bonus and they seemingly do not like to spend money on investments to counter the timeline (an assumption from my side). 

Google’s director of Chrome engineering, Justin Schuh gives us “Users are demanding greater privacy – including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used – and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands“, which seems slightly too political to my liking, but there we have it. Business Day gives us “But GDPR also made life harder for a cohort of second-tier adtech players trying to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. The regulation’s provision to prevent data being shared wantonly with third parties seemed to give the tech giants an opportunity to tighten their control over user data” where we see that this was one of the foundations that led to the end of SizMek, some state that it was DSP Rocket Fuel that ended the heartbeat of SizMek, yet everyone ignores a simple truth, ‘an overcrowded ad tech market with independent vendors with an inability to face serious cost pressures to their pricing structures‘, they all arrogantly believed that THEIR solution was the real one and they all basically read cookies like the ones Google had distributed. You can all claim to have the magic potion that Asterix drinks, but when the truth comes out that he drinks Darjeeling tea from India, the playing field gets overcrowded and when the customer figures out what they get priced for the end is pretty much around the corner of the next door you face.

So as we are told “third-party ad sellers will need to go through Google to get information about internet users. But critics say that is an advantage that makes the market less fair and safe“, in my view my question becomes: ‘Which critics, names please!‘, the problem is that third party ad sellers have no rights, none at all, the rights should be with the owner of the computer, Google (Apple also) are setting (not by their own accord) that stage, Microsoft is using their Azure Cloud to counter the Cookie option on PC and Microsoft Console, but the hard sight is already there, the people who are unable, unwilling and cannot afford to set the stage still want their freebee and they are now starting to complain as they are made aware that their time has ended, even though this was the direction we saw in US politics and EU politics well over three years ago. The EU had their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and everyone shrugged their shoulders stating that it would not happen that fast, yet that was three years ago and now the time has been set back to merely two years to go and the ad sellers are feeling the pinch of the cost they will actually face. Moreover, they are seeing the red lights of career ends. The Verge gave us “an industry that’s used to collecting and sharing data with little to no restriction, that means rewriting the rules of how ads are targeted online“, they gave us that on May 25th 2018, so 1.5 years ago, why is this now a problem? The people wanted this, ad soon it will be here, Google has not been sitting still updating their systems accordingly, and as such we see that the flaccid and non-concerned rest is now looking at a deadline a mere two years away. When we look to the larger field we see Criteo, LiveRamp, Trade Desk, Rubicon, and Telaria, all losing value as ad-tech providers, yet the opposite could also be true when they offer to the customer a value, a value where most ad-tech companies never bothered going. Yet the power of any ad-tech was never the cookie, that was for the most merely the revenue. They had 5 years to consider the power of ad-tech and they didn’t. The power of this is basically engagement. Facebook showed this year after year and now it is out on the larger field, those who engage will survive, the rest will end up on a dog eat dog football field and a few will survive but only as long as they push to the next hurdle and make it, if not they will end up on the obituary page (just like Netscape, however Netscape ended there for other reasons). 

I wonder if that is why Google is so adamant about its stadia? It would get a massive tier of small time developers creating engagement content to be released on mobiles. That i me merely speculating. 

Still the words of Dina Srinivasan are not entirely without merit, she gives the Facebook issue (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/yale-law-grads-hipster-antitrust-argument-against-facebook-findsmainstream-support-11575987274), and she makes a good case, yet the history of certain players need to be taken into account. Even as she was her own misgivings about the evolution of the digital advertising market, history had been clear, some of them basically did not bother, they wanted it handed to them for free and in the beginning they got away with it. And she made a point with “How could a company with Facebook Inc.’s checkered privacy record have obtained so much of its users’ personal data?“, yet equally we need to weigh this with the words of U.S. Attorney General William Barr. He gives us “he is “open to that argument” that consumer harm can exist through the use of personal data, even if a service is free. “I am inclined to think there is no free lunch. Something that is free is actually getting paid for one way or the other”“, which is what I have been saying on my blog for around 4 years, so happy to see people wake up in January 2020. So when I see “Ms. Srinivasan would prefer that Facebook be forced to change certain business practices, including how it tracks users when they are off the company’s platforms“, I wonder when they give account to the small truth that Facebook is a free service for a reason and they are no longer alone in this, you are going after the large players when they are in the largest danger by losing slices of that revenue pie to contenders elsewhere in the world (EU and China). 

Whatever you want to do is fine, but realise that it will put a large group of people in the streets without a job, I am not against them losing their job, but that revenue and that data will also flow in other directions and that is the one part that all players (with political support) are trying to counter as much as possible. I wonder if they will succeed. The weird part is that if this group had been properly taxed 3 out of the 5 major issues would also fall away and in that view a workable solution could be pivoted to.

 

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Three privacies walked into a bar

It is not merely the beginning of a bad joke; it has become a distasteful one. Now, for the most I have never really been against social media like Facebook, as it was free and nothing comes for free. Yet in this, I have always advocated and expected certain levels of decency. The Guardian revealed two days ago that large levels of decency have been trampled on to a much larger degree than ever contemplated, and the people remain silent. The people are so uppity uppity on possible transgressions by governments seeking criminals and terrorists, yet they will allow for any transgression towards greed and exploitation, how can we accept any of it?

  1. Show us your tits

It is an old expression, and I heard it first somewhere in the early 80’s. It broadly represents: ‘What have you got to offer?‘ Mostly used by people with absolutely no adherence to either diplomacy or good manners (unless a guy makes the joke to a good male friend). It is the first part in the stage that the Guardian offers in an article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/dec/19/facebook-shared-user-data-private-messages-netflix-spotify-amazon-microsoft-sony) where we see not merely ‘bending’ the rules; it is the breaking of basic rights towards privacy that is now out in the open. Even as we accept to the smaller degree: “making user data available through loopholes to companies including Amazon, Microsoft and Sony“, can we even contemplate the impact that we would have to face through: “Facebook gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read and even delete users’ private messages“, the fact that these two were allowed to ‘delete’ messages is crossing a line the width of the grand canyon and the fact that those fruits and nuts on Capitol Hill (aka Senators and Congressmen) are clueless in their interviews, showing one stupidity tainted example after another and questions like ‘giving away rights to delete private messages‘ remained largely undisclosed shows just how useless the elected officials have become towards the larger fields of technology.

  1. Merely the tip, or can I shove my whole penis in there?

A small reference to the comedian Jimmy Carr, who once stated: “I can’t get a word in there, let alone my cock“, and that setting gives us the New York Times view of: “Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages” (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/technology/facebook-privacy.html#click=https://t.co/p565d1TX5L). As we contemplate: “Acknowledging that it had breached users’ trust, Facebook insisted that it had instituted stricter privacy protections long ago. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, assured lawmakers in April that people “have complete control” over everything they share on Facebook“, we see a much larger field opening up. We can think on one side that Mark Zuckerberg had become clueless on what is going on, or he remains intentionally silent on what he believes are personal rights of privacy, the mere realisation that Facebook acknowledges that not one user on Facebook has any rights to privacy is at the core of this stage. It goes further with: “the deals described in the documents benefited more than 150 companies — most of them tech businesses, including online retailers and entertainment sites, but also automakers and media organizations. Their applications sought the data of hundreds of millions of people a month, the records show. The deals, the oldest of which date to 2010, were all active in 2017. Some were still in effect this year” there is a clear transgression going on, and it is merely speculative on my side when we considered the impact of Bing and Microsoft. They have become so afraid of what Google has become that they are willing to stage new settings of alliances against whatever fictive war they face, the innovations that Google has brought and the innovations that Chinese player Huawei is bringing is scaring these large players beyond belief. If they cannot get up to their imaginative version what it means to be ‘on par’ they feel that they will be considered as derelict and considered as merely trivial in the 5G field. That is a much larger realisation and people need to be aware that as they contemplate of what it means to be a major player in the 5G field, the mere perception that they are not that, that they have lost the trust of the people is a much larger hurdle.

The NY Times shows that part in their article with: “Mr. Zuckerberg was determined to weave Facebook’s services into other sites and platforms, believing it would stave off obsolescence and insulate Facebook from competition. Every corporate partner that integrated Facebook data into its online products helped drive the platform’s expansion, bringing in new users, spurring them to spend more time on Facebook and driving up advertising revenue. At the same time, Facebook got critical data back from its partners“. We could contemplate that this is optionally the Ponzi version of a data scheme, but it is as I personally see it more sinister than that. You see, the lower levels would never advance to a higher level and the data would merely flow up to the tip of the pyramid, leaving the rest as mere exploitable facilitators in all this.

  1. Supply Filofax’s to the Russians, it is very organised crime

There is one additional part in all this that could be the beginning of the end for Facebook, as the NY Times gives us: “Facebook, in turn, used contact lists from the partners, including Amazon, Yahoo and the Chinese company Huawei — which has been flagged as a security threat by American intelligence officials — to gain deeper insight into people’s relationships and suggest more connections, the records show“, we are introduced to a much larger issue. Not only has the US been unable to prove the lie (read: non-truth) that Huawei is a National Security danger. We see the makings of the fact that American Corporation (read: Facebook) has been handing over the data voluntarily. As a business solution, Huawei had been able to see where the interactions were the largest and also predict where hardware and software would make it a much better regarded update for consumers, the fact that this data became available gives the first rise (after shown levels of non-comprehension) that technology firms are replacing politicians, politics and policy making them useless as these technology firms have been setting the beat of who gets what data and at which price, yet the US government is not allowed access, not when it can be sold at $14.99 per kilobyte of raw data.

This remains an evolving field and it is not until we get to the part “Apple devices also had access to the contact numbers and calendar entries of people who had changed their account settings to disable all sharing, the records show. Apple officials said they were not aware that Facebook had granted its devices any special access. They added that any shared data remained on the devices and was not available to anyone other than the users“, so not only does the new iPad pro bend under the smallest pressure, which Apple claims is normal (something the consumer was not informed about), we see that the ignorance of their own technology is now a much larger issue all over the playing field. the mere fact that disabled sharing of data still allowed for sharing is an architectural failure of much larger proportions than ever contemplated. In all this data sharing in Huawei devices remains unproven and in all this it seems that Google is not the black sheep some proclaim it is, all whilst Facebook is showing to be without ethics, without regards and without morals, so at what point will we relabel Facebook to Faecesbook?

So as the article ends with: “How closely Facebook monitored its data partners is uncertain. Most of Facebook’s partners declined to discuss what kind of reviews or audits Facebook subjected them to. Two former Facebook partners, whose deals with the social network dated to 2010, said they could find no evidence that Facebook had ever audited them. One was BlackBerry. The other was Yandex” gives a much larger rise to the lack of privacy that up to two billion users have not had for the longest of times. We could argue that it is in the interest of Google, to fix Google+ and allow people to port away from Facebook. When we look at the two players, it seems that Google+ is not nearly as dangerous as Facebook is more and more showing to be. Even as we are considering that Washington DC is suing Facebook, the realisation we get from: “Washington DC has sued Facebook for allowing the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to gain access to the personal data of tens of millions of the site’s users without their permission“, when we set it against the stage that the guardian, the Times and the New York Times have shown the people. We merely have to print the log of all data shared and number all instances of data transgression will optionally show Facebook to be the most reckless and unethical corporation in the history of technology, that is quite the achievement, and it works for Microsoft as they might proclaim themselves to be saints in a tar pit.

When we consider the quote: “According to a letter that Facebook sent this fall to Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, PricewaterhouseCoopers reviewed at least some of Facebook’s data partnerships“, we see a massive failure by Facebook to police and protect the data of others, and as we already know, those who have the latest mobile phone, we need to realise that this is no longer a mobile phone, the latest phones and the ones for 5G are no longer merely mobile phones, they have become personal data servers and as we are seeing the impact where Facebook has made most of all that data shareable, with people you never agreed on having access, in how much anger will you be from January 1st 2019 and onwards? For me it works out nicely, it merely increases the value of my new IP, which is currently on the rise to a much larger degree than even I contemplated. 2019 might be finally be the year where my life turns largely to the better and at present I feel a lot safer handing that IP to Huawei than to anyone else, that is one reality that Washington DC has shown to the largest of degrees (Mountain View remains a strong contender for now).

The only part in all this is why large parts of all this was not shown clearly in the senate hearing of September 2018. Just contemplate this weekend, what else did that so called Senate hearing not figure out, and how unsafe would you like your personal data end up being in 2019?

 

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Fear is a tool

It started with a thought, one I have had for a little while and one that had been voiced in the past. Today, in the Guardian we see part of this in the article called ‘How we sold our souls – and more – to the internet giants‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/17/sold-our-souls-and-more-to-internet-giants-privacy-surveillance-bruce-schneier). I respectfully disagree with parts of this.

The first premise is the important one.

Did we sell our souls, or were governments on a global scale lacks and slow regarding the rights of privacy?

That is an important question as it is linked all over the place. We tend to look (as I have mentioned numerous times) regarding the information the intelligence community gets, but at the same time we allow ourselves to get mined and exploited by every social network available. A nice example that the article uses is the Hello Barbie. The Washington Post gave us loads of information in March (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/03/11/privacy-advocates-try-to-keep-creepy-eavesdropping-hello-barbie-from-hitting-shelves/), but it did not get the global visibility it required to have.

You see, there is nothing wrong with an interactive toy. I reckon that as programs became more and more interactive, then so would toys and the Hello Barbie doll is the premium evolution for children. The big issue is not the toy, but this simple line: “As the doll ‘listens’, audio recordings travel over the Web to a server where the snippets of speech are recognized and processed. That information is used to help form Hello Barbie’s responses” Why? Why use the web? Why not connect to a device that has the software installed? The answer is simple, this is only in one part about the doll, it is a lot more about collected data and data is value (their marketing department will come with some “it’s  all so much easier via the web answer”). Collecting the questions of children gives way to trendsetting and to marketable exploitation. Of course, in that light the adult edition, where the answer to every question becomes “not now darling, I have a headache” is likely only 6 months away.

You think I am kidding? Data is the core of value, marketability of data is the new ‘O’ for industrials. Knowing how to push the button by answering the not asked questions in advertisement is the rage, the El Dorado of the marketing industry. So when we see the quote at the end of the article “Mattel and ToyTalk, the San Francisco-based start-up that created the technology used in the doll, say the privacy and security of the technology have been their top priority“, we should state that if security and safety were such important parts, you would have kept these issues local and not via the web. As for security, if hackers can take down Sony, then Mattel might not be that much of a challenge and in that light, that collected data would be worth a fortune, so people will get that data one way or another.

Beyond the toy need of a child is the need for health. That part is dealt with in “Many medical devices are starting to be internet-enabled, collecting and reporting a variety of biometric data. There are – or will be soon – devices that continually measure our vital signs, moods and brain activity“, now we get to the juicy stuff! You see in the UK there is the Data Protection Act 1998. Yet here we see the following issue:

Section 36 gives us: ‘Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of Parts II and III’. So Barbie is already exempt in this case.

Even though section 2 gives us in section 11 ‘Right to prevent processing for purposes of direct marketing’, which is in part II, so Barbie is again exempt.

However, we do see protection under part one section 8. Here we see: ‘Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data’. Yet the danger here is that this regards ‘personal data‘, the definition under part one states: “personal data means data which relate to a living individual who can be identified”, which is not the part that is transferred, so it does not count. The personal data is what mommy, daddy or junior enter within a website or social media, outside of the UK (or Commonwealth), so that they can receive a much more personal ‘experience‘ with Miss Barbie. This is at the core of the problem, but it is only one factor. The same applies in 99% of the cases to healthcare and fitness equipment that connects through the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and the web link. All this gets collected. So when we wonder regarding the excuses on software on cheaper through the online experience, several parts give clear indication that this is about collecting data, because data is the new gold. How much do you think a health care provider is willing to pay, so that they have data that allows to cut off, or additionally charge the riskiest 10%? Even though those people are already paying premium, to have a check on the safest group and to flag the least safe group is worth a bundle. Anyone selling that data for less than a 9 figure number is getting royally screwed.

And it goes on beyond the mere computer and the internet. More precisely your smartphone. The apps you install track you here as well. They track your location and sometimes download your address book, calendar, bookmarks and search history. Not to mention a host of other parts. The most annoying part of it all is that you the user gets to pay for your bandwidth, so if your data gets downloaded, you are likely to see background usage of the data and the bandwidth used goes to your total usage.

The gem of the Guardian article is shown near the end “And it’s all possible because laws have failed to keep up with changes in business practices

This has been the number one issue for well over 4 years now and the lawmakers have basically been sitting on their hands, pretty much all over the commonwealth I might add, because data is money and those captains of industry require overhead (read data profits). It comes down to the same issue with the laughingly disturbing discussion on movie piracy. Telco’s rely on bandwidth, without that, there profits go down to the basement, in that same light their reliance on data seems to hinder governments to react in a timely manner. Research, investigations and commissions. We have seen data issues since before Edward Snowden. Yes, in all these years, how many successful alterations were made to the Data Protection Act 1998, via either legislation and/or the House of Lords? You do the math, yet the answer is simple. As I see it, look at your two hands and do not use the 10 fingers that is how often, a mere ZERO times! Just like the internet consumer change, the internet data change has seen just as many evolutions.

The worst is however yet to come!

You see, the newer mobile phones often have the capacity that surpasses many laptops and tablets. I witnessed just 4 days ago how a friend used his mobile as a SharePoint because he had to update his PS4. What He had not realised is that the PS4 also started to update his installed games. It took him less than two minutes to realise this and in that time his 2GB bandwidth was gone! Welcome to 4G bandwidth!

He’ll lose an additional $10, so he did not think it was a biggie, but now consider how much data can be passed over to wherever the applications decides. So when we get these small messages, when we are lulled into a sense of ‘security’ consider where your data is and who else has access. That is at the heart of the matter, as well as the heart of the legislative failing. Who else has access! When data is stored at any third party provider, the app maker might guarantee that THEY will not allow access to the data, but that does not state that this is the case, you see, if they have the data parked in any other provider, what does the rules of those providers stipulate? Only they? Only the executing service agents? The world of data is quite literally the new Wild West of Business and IT, a reasonable untapped frontier and we all forgot that we think that data is there and only we can access our little field of data, whilst in reality and corporation with a tractor can get to any part of that data field. It is all nicely settled in the line “are exempt from the data protection principles”, so as we consider our data and why we are not keeping it local, consider one final ‘deletable’ part, which is also in the Guardian article “In 2009, Amazon automatically deleted some editions of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four from users’ Kindles because of a copyright issue. I know, you just couldn’t write this stuff anymore ironically“, yet even though the irony is out there, consider that your data is also on the cloud. So what happens when that gets deleted? Not by you or by the provider, but by a third party who got around it all? You might wonder why that is an issue, if you do then consider the final question in this dilemma: ‘Who is the owner of a deleted file?’

So here is the fear part:

Where is your data?
Who ‘owns’ it?
Who has access to it (besides you)?

These are one side of the fear equation, on the other side you have the data local storage, which you must personally manage, you must backup this data and you must keep track whether it is all backed up. Some users feel uncomfortable with that. A nice example can always be found when someone in your vicinity cries over a crashed mobile and all contacts lost (I saw that a few times happen to people I know in 2014).

One fear or another, they’re gonna getcha!

So you the user have gone with the flow and the privacy for billions is up for grabs because no one wondered, asked or pressured, now that part is almost indefinitely gone, only by adjusting the laws can we see a restoration of proper privacy of data and information, but those who rely on the value of data are extremely intent on not letting those changes happen. Consider this part from an earlier Guardian article “Facebook places tracking cookies on users’ computers if they visit any page on the facebook.com domain, including fan pages or other pages that do not require a Facebook account to visit“, do you think Google is any different? So as you are tracked and as data is combined from social media, from websites, devices and even toys. How much privacy do you think you are enjoying at present?

Now we get to a truly speculative part. Consider Google with its Nexus range. Now the new Nexus 6 looks nice (way out of my budget range), there is a 32GB and a 64GB version. No issues here! In all aspects a decent game changer for the Nexus fan. Now we get to the Nexus 9, the tablet. Before I give my view, let’s refer you to Forbes, here we see some interesting details (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2013/01/29/apples-128GB-ipad-just-gave-every-android-tablet-manufacturer-a-headache/), an important fact is that this is a January 2013 review, so more than two years old! In that regard the specs do not seem to have changed! So this ‘new’ tablet is only to be begotten in a 16GB or 32GB version. So it has a lot less storage than the Nexus 6 mobile phone. It has a few more weaknesses, but basically, as Apple already had a 128GB edition, Google remains at 25%. In my view this was intentional! The machine was released late November 2014. Why would they not have a version that is at least 64GB? My iPad 1 (yes version One) which I bought in 2011 already had 64GB). This is not a mere oversight from a bungling manager, as I see it this is an intentional drive to get people towards Google drive, with data stored in a place where some might have access (the non-user that is). Remember, this is pure speculation on my side! Google could have made a contender and is offering nothing more than a consolation price. Offering it at a very competitive price, but it comes with the foresight that people will be driven to the Google Drive, sooner rather than later!

Please feel free to reject this notion, but ask yourself, in the fight between IOS and Android, why would Google not offer a machine a lot more competitive? This is at the heart of the matter, this is as I see it the crux of it. There is of course a danger that we make ‘relationships’ between fiction and facts in events that are a figment of our imagination, but in the competitive industry that is called ‘mobile devices’ to remain behind to this extent to that degree calls for questions, does it not?

There is one part to add, the Guardian article was originally adapted (by the Guardian) from ‘Data and Goliath’ by Bruce Schneier, Bruce Schneier is a security technologist and CTO of Resilient Systems Inc. He can also be found tweeting his heart out as @schneierblog.

 

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Smear campaign vs Blame campaign

Another day, another NSA/GCHQ article! I must admit that the thread, not threat of privacy is getting a little too biased. I must admit that slapping the government comes over slightly cheap at this point (for the reason that too many articles out there are more and more based on speculation and less on actual facts). It is also the time I think that Mr John Naughton (the Guardian / Observer) should add a little more balance in his very valid opinions. As his profiles states “John Naughton is professor of the public understanding of technology at the Open University“. So the man knows his stuff (and reading his articles makes that clear), and let me be upfront that even though his pieces are definitely opinionated at times, he has not stated anything false or in error (as far as I can tell).

What does bother me to a little extent is that in his article “To the internet giants, you’re not a customer. You’re just another user” (at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jun/09/internet-giants-just-another-customer) he states when relating to Gmail and Yahoo mail “You do however ‘pay’ in a different currency, namely your personal data.

This is the issue I have as well. Especially when comparing to the article “The NSA/GCHQ metadata reassurances are breathtakingly cynical“, where he states “the metadata is what the spooks want for the simple reason that it’s machine-readable and therefore searchable” (at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jul/07/nsa-gchq-metadata-reassurances). This is correct, and it is preferred for automated systems, as it takes one person his/her entire career to get through 1 hour of non-spam e-mail for one area of London. So any chance of getting anything useful needs massive levels of automation. So it seems acceptable to be a marketing outlet (the consequence of a free service), yet the group trying to keep you alive gets tarred, feathered, drawn and quartered for doing their jobs.

I am at times slightly amazed that these security measures are such an issue for the UK population. Let us not forget that the UK had decades of issues as they needed to overcome the ‘difference of opinion’ the UK government had with the IRA. As such they have had plenty of reasons to be cautious, compared the limited amount of events the US went through.

I still remember the 1993 bombing of Liverpool street station. I also remember attending the ECTS (Electronic Consumer Trade Show) 5 months later and that area was still an indescribable mess. So the UK population clearly know the dangers of terrorism.

So is this truly about privacy or fear? Not the fear of being attacked, but the fear others have if someone read the messages they send/receive (and I am not even talking about the actual criminal ones that get mailed).

Consider that there is another attack (anywhere in London) and it was not stopped, because privacy laws stopped the intelligence community. Then what? How long until the press, who is all so up in arms on privacy comes with the text ‘why did the Intelligence community not do more?‘ whilst at the same time making people expectant that in Facebook, Google+, Gmail and Yahoo mail your data can be sold on, your details on parade like a debutante to all eligible data sources who would want to have a go at you. Seems a little short sighted doesn’t it?

I am all for privacy, I truly am! However, data being private does not mean that I am not willing to assist the government in keeping the nation safe. And the argument that ‘I’ was not guilty, so there was no reason, does not hold water here. Knowing who is innocent (read safe) is as important as those who raise flags. A raised XML flag does not make you guilty, 5 raised flags do not make you guilty. Especially when this is about automatic parsing of information (read Meta data). When we look at on how these service giants deal with privacy is actually less important than the fact that their international size allows these people to avoid taxes a lot better than Ebenezer Scrooge ever could. So people are up in arms on what governments know, yet these fat cat collecting corporations paying 0.1% tax in this day and age of economic hardship is an acceptable act? I wonder whether people have their priorities straight.

In that regard it is also interesting to read the Benjamin Franklin Quote “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither“. So many are often so easy to hide behind this quote, when siting issues on privacy, yet in those days of Franklin, they thought of war as a gentleman’s game. You know the time of clean Red uniforms. Stand up straight! Moobs forward! Aim! Fire!
Those people, if they ever saw the Vietnam War in their dreams, would wake up screaming.

In this same way we should regard data collecting a la von Clausewitz “Many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain” in that light, the survivor had superior information, which means it is another form of war altogether. Our protectors must get it right all the time; a terrorist, only needs to succeed once. The quote and the premise is the issue we face today and history never properly prepared us for what we now face. I think that under these conditions I prefer the quote “War is such a dangerous business that mistakes that come from kindness are the very worst.” This one is true and also most appropriate. If Privacy is seen as a human right (which it is) and it is a driving force in humanity, then we could see the danger that our Humanity gives strength to the Terrorist (this is of course false), however, in the light of fighting terrorism it does hold a truthful foundation. This brings me to an interesting question I recently saw! “What if the right to privacy depends upon the existence of surveillance and an acknowledgement that some of it, at least, is legitimate?” This is not my question, this was voiced in a discussion paper called “Navigating the Data verse privacy, Technology, Human Rights“, which was published by the International council on Human Rights Policy and can be found at (http://www.ichrp.org/files/reports/64/132_report_en.pdf). It is well worth reading.

The question in my mind is that if we see the news as valid. Is the press on a smear campaign against the Governments? Even though I singled out John Naughton, does not mean that I call him that. His work is amongst the most interesting to read and his writing is pretty compelling, and even though I feel I cannot agree with him at times, he puts down his points clearly and precise. The reason I cannot agree is again the fact that we are expected to be marketed by those offering ‘free’ services, but must oppose those who are out to keep us safe. It seems a very topsy turvy approach from us on keeping ourselves safe.

That makes me think, this could actually be a new Gilbert and Sullivan (read with the tune of ‘A wandering minstrel’ from the Mikado)

A surfing seeker I…
A man of links and searchings
of Mails, Pics and Profiles,
and selling you on my Facebook,
my friend list is so long,
through every like and linking,
and to your e-mail sending
I mine all data for cash!
I mine all data for cash!

So are we giving up essential liberties? I feel we do not, data mining is today’s efficient way of approaching the ‘right’ population, yet this is also a danger! Not of freedom, but of choice. As these companies focus on the options that embrace the bulk of people, the outside innovation will reach us less and less likely. Is that not giving up liberties? As we become part of mass media only, the small innovator will no longer reach us? Who thought of that part of the equation? Actually, John Noughton did raise it in some way in his article “Technology is a double-edged sword” in December 2012. Even though he focusses on Evangelists and Luddites, the outcome is similar. We can look at a coin from either side, but one coin is only complete with both sides.

Consider that the police and intelligence communities are the ‘other’ side (the evangelists), then most people (the Luddites) have a point no less fair, but we must accept that if the people get their way, once things go wrong we have no right to invoke a blame campaign, for the simple reason that with the freedom of choice comes the responsibility of consequence.

A combination of views often forgotten!

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Microsoft Mattrick was not alone

Anyone who has any view on the gaming world, then that person might have heard about the Xbox One and also heard the scary announcements that were made by Don Mattrick. Views that had to be altered only 2 days after the E3, the most important event in the Gaming industry. Do not think it is a small geeky thing. The E3 is massive. The gaming industry has grown in 15 years from ‘sizeable’ into a multi-billion dollar industry, so those who are there are there for plenty of reasons. The E3 is next to Comic-Con seen as the place to be to bump into Hollywood stars. Funny part is that they get to revere the geeky guys who come up with games like Mario, Metal Gear Solid as well as leagues of sport stars when they announce the EA sport line.

In this environment the Xbox One was launched, and the following revolt by gamers all over the planet gave Microsoft the scare of their lives. As a result Microsoft did a 180 degree on their policy, giving their new console the nickname Xbox 180. That was not the end. Even though things are announced to be back to what they were, their market share is not. It is not unlikely that Microsoft is now at risk of losing 30% of their market share and most of that to Sony. That, in a multi-billion dollar industry is a lot, it could be the biggest drop in market share a main player has ever experienced by its own plans.

So the following news I saw today that Don Mattrick is leaving Microsoft for Zynga (the people behind Farmville), as I read it, I saw many messages drop by. Some making fun of Don, some leaving a ‘happy you leaving’ message to Don. Gamers can be so emotional!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/07/01/report-microsofts-don-mattrick-to-leave-microsoft-considering-zynga-role/

The reality is that this is far from over. Do you think that this is over? Do you think one man like Don Mattrick actually sets the trend to a market THIS BIG and you think he is alone? No, he took one for ‘the team’, and it likely comes with one hell of a golden parachute. You see, the picture that seems to be intentionally missed is that data gathering is big business. I am not talking about what the NSA might be doing. This is about market research, customer metrics and product predictions. Gathering certain key factors makes all the difference. That is the multi-billion dollar industry that Gamers are not interested in, but one that Microsoft is adding and as such the Xbox One is not a gaming console, but a Home entertainment system. It will be offering TV, Movies and games. All that info will help them finding the holes in what we desire and cashing in on it. Information that is worth millions! Now this data would be grabbed on a scale of many million consumers and on a global scale. The value that it would represent is beyond what you can imagine.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/20/technology/microsoft-expands-gathering-and-use-of-data-from-web-products.html

So, I was not the first to state it, and I will not be the last. It is important that you realise that these claims do not come from some conspiracy theorist wannabee, but from Journalists working in some of the most renowned newspapers in the world.

So Don ‘you have to go on-line daily’ Mattrick is not alone in this game. To start this all with the Xbox one would have been only the start in achieving gathering on a much larger scale. That is how I see it, and that is also why interactivity with other devices was so important. The more interaction there is, the more complete the picture becomes. Smartglass is only one part of interaction, the fact that they are letting you interact with your home system with iPhone and iPad means that they would be getting even more of your available data.

Do not think I am just making this up. The privacy issues, as reported initially, were reported by IT experts in privacy in Germany and several other nations too, amongst them Peter Schaar who is in charge of Data protection and freedom of information in Germany. In the German magazine ‘der Spiegel’ he mentioned the dangers on privacy that the Xbox One could be. http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/games/ueberwachung-datenschuetzer-peter-schaar-kritisiert-microsofts-xbox-one-a-901893.html

Do not think that you are suddenly getting downloaded. No, that would be illegal! This will be a smooth transition over the next 2-3 years. By interacting you will get many cool little extra’s you normally would never have. Like movies behind the screens on your iPad (as they showed on CNet). Soon it will interact getting your mobile to Skype directly to TV, to switch information through your pictures and events. Before you know it, you will move all data to the cloud for ‘free’ backup services; you will only need to agree with the terms of service. That is when it will happen. A new form of business and it is enterprising on a new level. Where business sits in the centre of the web and we are all like a fly, just going into their web. We do this because of the benefits we are offered, like an exponential multimedia interacting form of Facebook. We by ourselves have no value, but their return comes a million fold as we all accept their terms and conditions as we are offered free extras.

Why is this situation so dangerous?

You see, initially we think that there is no difference, but consider that these numbers are all used to find the points of profit. Where we are subjected to what 98% likes. By that reckoning cult series that grew over time will now get cut suddenly or after a few seasons, as the results are not up to marketing standards. Consider that series like Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Veronica Mars, Jericho, Dollhouse, Heroes. These series got all cancelled on ratings. In the new set-up they could get cancelled in half the time. An interesting part is that the writers of Veronica Mars set up a kick-start event, and the funds for a third season were achieved in 10 hours and will launch early next year. So one in several series gets another shot after the ratings. What series will you lose because 98% prefers sports or Glee? You see artistic creativity is not about numbers. Remember, that because of fans the original Star Trek series got another season, now that series and what came after is now the biggest milk cow in the history of Paramount. There is no way that this could have been predicted.

We will miss out on series after series, limiting views and artistic growth, because it does not confirm to what people expected initially. It is not initially an issue for most, but these events will add up and we diminish ourselves accordingly. It is a danger I do not want to see, because those who will be given the power to decide will always act on greed. We have decades of evidence in that regard.

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