Tag Archives: Social Media

Privacy v parents

Todays event is giving an interesting application of the law. The issue is actually a lot harder and the impact on Facebook could be severe in the near future. The title ‘Parents lose appeal over access to dead girl’s Facebook account‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/31/parents-lose-appeal-access-dead-girl-facebook-account-berlin) is something that will be discussed for some time to come. You see, the issue is not as simple as some are trying to make it out to be and your own point of view regarding the matter will influence your viewpoint too. So let’s get started.

The subtitle gets to one side of the matter: ‘Berlin court rules parents of 15-year-old, who want to know if she was being bullied, cannot see her chat history‘. Here we see the approach of privacy, the 15-year-old can release this to the parents, but guess what, the 15-year-old girl is dead, deceased, no longer able to make active decisions. We can see “the parents of the teenager, who died in 2012 after falling in front of an underground train, had no claim to access her details or chat history.” Yup that’s a period at the end! You see, is this about privacy of the individual, or is this a minor? The interesting side here, especially when considering the so called united EU nations, the age of consent differs and in Germany the age of consent is 14. I am taking this number as we read in German law (in most nations) the term ‘capacity for sexual self-determination‘, it is the ‘self-determination‘ that matters. The application of Jus Cogens is a cardinal principle in international law. Here we see the ‘the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference‘, the application of consent is not exactly the same, but more important shows the clear age definition, and in addition the impact of being ‘an adult’. As such, the adult 15-year-old has the outspoken right to privacy and a parent cannot overrule it. Here is also the issue about digital inheritance. Can death overrule your right to privacy? Let’s take a really rude example, can any perv freely distribute the consensual porn pics of your mum? Where is the right of self determination, the right of privacy (as she never released these photos in life, can the end of that change this?), what if she sets that out in her will for those digital libraries to be released? It is a very slippery slope when we see interference and censoring here beyond the normal scope of the law. and Digital inheritance is not part of the normal scope of the law. The German court took another point of view. They went with “The court said it had made the ruling according to the telecommunications secrecy law which precludes heirs from viewing the communications of a deceased relative with a third party“, is that not an interesting point of view? It is basically another handle on privacy, yet what if that part is defined in her will (if she had one). Technologically speaking, the fact that the parents could not unlock the phone, or try to access her accounts via another path is also a question that is in my mind. I find it pretty normal that a parent wants to learn whether their child was bullied to death. Is it not interesting that the Deutsche Polizei is not all over that? The next part is actually the most disturbing part: “The girl had reportedly given her mother the login details to her account when she was 14 but the company, having been informed of the girl’s death by one of her Facebook friends, froze or “memorialised” her account. The move meant that photos and posts the girl had shared remained visible, and friends could pay tribute to her, but it was no longer possible to log in to the account“. the ‘having been informed of the girl’s death by one of her Facebook friends‘. How was this verified? You see, we see enormous delays on inappropriate and extremist materials, yet death of a social poster seems to have been almost instantaneous. A slight assumption (and exaggeration) on my side, as there is no clear timeline here.

It is the next part that puts Facebook in a proper bad light, one that their marketing division will require months to address, in addition, how many parents will make a move to deny or demand that non-adults between 14 and age of consent will end up having to remove their accounts? The parents can simply state: ‘No Facebook, or you have to pay for your mobile yourself‘, that should change the issue right proper and quick. You see the quote “Facebook has refused to say who applied for the account to be frozen, also citing data protection. The person who lodged the request would have had to provide Facebook with proof that the girl had died

So if there has been an actual lodging, and if that was a school ‘friend‘ we can also speculate in equal ways that it is not impossible that Facebook gave active assistance to a murderer. It is interesting how Facebook skated away from that danger, so with the anti-social-media wave at present, there is a decent chance that Facebook just made matters worse for themselves and for other social media providers. The second blunder we see from the Facebook teams is “They argue that the conversations would have taken place on the understanding that their content remained private“, which is only a correct stance to have when it does not involve criminal activities and cyber bullying is actually a crime. H.R. 1966 (111th congress), gives us “Chapter 41 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:“, and the added part that matters gives us:
Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behaviour, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both“, so by facilitating this, Facebook has already created an issue in the US, yet it is not in Germany. In EU, only Spain became evolved enough to include cyberbullying in their penal code. Which is interesting as the Facebook actions would differ per nations, which could also now imply that facilitation for cyber bullies is an actual possibility in Europe. From these points alone, we could state that Facebook did not act illegal, or legally wrong, they were however extremely silly in pushing the buttons in court to the extent they did. Björn Retzlaff, the judge who ruled in Berlin did so on the sound foundations as stated in the telecommunications secrecy law, which has elements for phone, email and internet chats. There is a shallow path the judge walked on and it is not shallow by the actions, but shallow by the defining laws that herald the right of privacy above the need to consider the prosecution of criminals. It is a shallow and slippery path to be on and Facebook might have been better off by assigning a specialist team to that request to at least consider the test whether a criminal path had been or had not been walked. By freezing the account, the parents were left in an empty space that large corporations are now slamming shut like the jail cell that could contain the possible murderer. You see, it is more than just privacy versus inheritance. When we start seeing the Facebook accounts and the ‘owner’ of the account has mental health issues, Facebook will find itself in even more deep water. In addition, the legal issues that we see with Doli incapax and Parens patriae. In addition, consider the application of the Hart–Scott–Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, as we see it in 15 U.S.C. § 18a. Now consider the application on it when we go towards “Title III of the Act[8] allows attorney generals of states to sue companies in federal court for monetary damages under antitrust laws. as parens patriae, on behalf of their citizens“. Now, you might think that this is a joke. But it is not. As we see Vlogging and Youtube Channels set to higher and higher values under commercialisation, the incomes and rewards really go through the roof, some Vloggers are now getting amounts that a decent amount of CEO’s would go crazy for. What happens when Facebook suddenly interferes with that? and this is not a local thing, this issue could go global, which is an additional issue Facebook can face. Especially as the timeline for freezing is not known, additional questions are here. We can debate the legality of the parents having the account access, especially as you are not supposed to share login details, but in the larger side of things that one item seems small and could have prevented a few things for Facebook.

the weak response from Facebook: “At the same time we are sympathetic towards the family and respect their wish. We are making every effort to find a solution which helps the family at the same time as protecting the privacy of third parties who are also affected by this.“, it is weak, because the part ‘Facebook has refused to say who applied for the account to be frozen‘, that answer alone could solve a few issues. The most adamant of issues being ‘was there intent to avoid criminal prosecution‘. I got there in the easiest way. If the freezer account is also the account linked to the same IP address of the bully, we have the problem in the open (bad for Facebook).

There are other issues, yet there are too many instances of ridiculous statements from tabloids, yet I have to say that in this instance the Daily Mail used a lewd call link to what is actually a really good article (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4531934/Facebook-lets-teenagers-porn.html). The quote “Facebook has pledged to hire more staff, but politicians and charities said stricter guidelines were needed“, so how charities enter the equation? In addition to a reference to politicians, where I would prefer to see their names. As the past have shown that some of these complaining politicians seem to be ‘talked to’ to by members of the clergy who could be looking for sextertainment in the choir section a few hours later. The reference could be found in John 12, Mark 9 and Luke 11 (source: Jimmy Carr). The question is not just how many more staff members to hire and where to place them, there is an increasing need for non-repudiation. If you are adult enough to slag-bitch-harass a young girl to death, you get to be sentenced as an adult in court. The issue is that the law (on a global scale) have failed victims for the longest time. One of the clearest cases of failure was in Canada, where in November 2011, Rehtaeh Parsons committed suicide after she was gang raped (17 months earlier) and subsequent of the Sexual assault was non stop bullied via social media. The Milton-Pepler paper, which might be laughingly be regarded as an ‘inquiry‘ stated: “One conclusion of the report was that Nova Soctian schools “need to do a better job preventing harassment and sexual aggression”“, I would state that “the Cole Harbour District High School had failed their student in distress and in clear danger, under psychic assault has failed their student in need 100%. By not taking the dangers serious and by not properly acting in regards to the need of criminal prosecution, in addition, according to sources, the RCMP did equally not act to the degree they should have and it was only 3 years later that the first boy involved was conditionally discharged with a one-year probation“. It is the mere existence of these failures that require different steps. The acts are growing more and more, more often than not to create their fame or infamy through recognition on social media. Censoring has not been a viable solution for a few years. It is not just the Canadian Parsons case, it is the fact that for every case that does make it to the light of the beholders, there are hundreds of cases that do not even make it to the visibility of the media or courts. As there are now years of events on a global scale, the need of acceptance that accountholders need to be hold accountable for these transgressions become even more important. When their mobile and mobile number gets barred from social media channels for life, people tend to take better care of the words spoken. Ask yourself, how many people leave their car keys on the bar? How many walk out leaving their doors open (OK, that actually happens on a daily basis in Canada), yet the message should be clear, we need alteration of the rules, not of the freedom of speech, but of the accountability of the media you engage with (both press and people). We will always understand that when you are young, you will state things on the wrong moment, events happen, no one will deny it, yet as we see a growing number of events of clear bullying and cyber harassment a new line can be drawn. One that could lower the events. In equal measure there is an increasing chance that those people will seek other venues to propel their vitriolic thoughts, and it will never go away completely, but as the curve goes down, the resources in use could be used to seek new paths in confronting those transgressors, and perhaps find new ways to protect the victims as well.

Whatever is happening now, is as that German couple feels, that the law has been screwing them over massively and in their case there were other legal issues and those will remain; yet as those events are countered one by one, the amount of extraordinary cases with legal uniqueness will also diminish, making the field cleaner and much more clear.

Have a great day and consider to be nice to one another.



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Opposed to Fry

The Guardian placed an interesting piece regarding Stephen Fry. This is a good thing, it is always nice to see the point of view of a truly intelligent person, even if I do not entirely agree. This is what happens in an intelligent world, one gives a good point of view and the second person opposes it, or agrees with it. In a true interactive dialogue, the problems of the world could be solved in such manner, which is why it tends to be really sad when politicians avoid that approach slightly too often. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/28/stephen-fry-facebook-and-other-platforms-should-be-classed-as-publishers) gives a few nice gems to start with: “Stephen Fry has called for Facebook and other “aggregating news agencies” to be reclassified as publishers in order to stop fake news and online abuse spreading by making social media subject to the same legal responsibilities as traditional news websites“, this is a good start, but here is also the foundation of my disagreement.

You see ‘Facebook and other “aggregating news agencies”‘ gives us a point, in my view Facebook is not an aggregating news agency. It is a social media outlet and as such, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, Reuters, CNN and a whole host of other providers push their articles to Facebook, often just a small eye catcher with a link to their web page. People can use ‘like‘ and ‘follow‘ and as such the news appears on their time line. This is mere facilitation. Do not get me wrong, Stephen Fry makes good points. In my opposition I would state that it makes more sense to go after the tabloids. Until they clean up their act with the innuendo and their not ‘fake’ but ‘intentional misrepresented‘ news, news that is miscommunicated in such ways to create emotional waves. They need to lose their 0% VAT option, that should be reserved for ACTUAL NEWSPAPERS. You see, these tabloids also use the social media as a projecting outlet. In all this Facebook merely facilitates. The second quote is “Fry accused social media platforms of refusing to “take responsibility for those dangerous, defamatory, inflammatory and fake items whose effects will have legal consequences for traditional printed or broadcast media, but which they can escape”“, I find it a lot harder to disagree with, although, when was the last time tabloids were actually truly fined to a realistic amount, an amount where the fine is set to the revenue of a week of published papers? You see when you have 2 billion users, you will get waves of fake news, or false information. There are no numbers, but consider that with 2 billion users, you are looking at 250 million to 1 billion added events per day, how can this be policed? Now, algorithms to police the use of certain words and that could help to some degree, yet the abusers of the social media system are getting clued in too. So they are getting good at avoiding triggering the software by avoiding words that flags them. In addition, when it is done via fake accounts, how can anything be stopped?

Fry makes a good case, yet I think he is not seeing the scope and amount of data involved. In addition, we see “At the moment, they are evading responsibility for their content as they can claim to be platforms, rather than publishers. Given that they are now a major source of news for 80% of the population, that is clearly an absurd anomaly“, he is completely correct, yet the users of Facebook have the option to not watch it or to not accept it on their timeline. Doesn’t that make it a choice of freedom for the users of Facebook? I have in the past needed to block content from a ‘so called‘ friend, merely because of the amount of BS he was forwarding. It was fixed with a mere click of the button. This is not an opposition towards the point Stephen Fry is making, but an answer on how some people could deal with it. In this equation we have the number of people on Facebook, there is a variable that takes into account the amount of BS we get from tabloids, and you better believe that they are active, via ‘stories’ and via advertisement. The advanced options of granularity that Facebook advertisements offers is the reason why those tabloids want to be there and the tabloid group outside of the UK is massively larger than the disgusting size of the UK tabloids is and they are all offering their links on a global scale.

Can Facebook be held to account? Well, to a certain level they can, you see, the actual propagator of events needs a Facebook account. When information is limited to an audience, the impact is lessened. So as Facebook users can no longer send information to friends of friends, only to friends, we have lost an iteration, this could be the difference between 500 people getting the news (fake or real) or the impact that this news goes to 250,000 people, when the addition is that newsmakers can no longer forward it over timelines, but only to the one subscribed timeline, we will soon see a shift on the wave of messages. In addition, not only is the damage contained (to some degree), but as forwarding any post becomes an instance, there would be a much smaller list to police and the users forwarding the post would no longer be the facilitator, they would become the publisher. Facebook is kinda ‘off the hook’, but the user is not, they could to some degree be held to account for certain actions. It makes the events a lot more manageable. In addition, it could limit impact of events.

So here we see the optional solution to some degree. It must be clear that it is to some extent, because it merely drops the impact, it does not take it away. Stephen follows it all up by also making reference to the British Airways IT fiasco. We now see “Fry cautioned that the world’s reliance on digital systems would also inevitably prompt a cataclysmic cyber-attack and bring on a “digital winter for humankind”“, there is certainly a danger and an issue here. The question becomes which issue is in play? As we see Reuters giving us: ““Many of our IT systems are back up today,” BA Chairman and Chief Executive Alex Cruz said in a video posted on Twitter“, we need to realise that even as Terminal 5 was designed to deal with 35 million passengers, in 2015, the numbers give us ‘Terminal 5 handled 33.1 million passengers on 215,716 flights‘, this gets us the average of 91,000 passengers a day, for 590 flights. So there would be an issue for 3-4 days I reckon. That is just the one day impact. The issue that plays and the caution of Stephen Fry is that as we are unaware of why and how it happened, there is no guarantee that it will not happen again. One of the Guardian articles gives us: “The glitch is believed to have been caused by a power supply issue and there is no evidence of a cyber-attack, the airline said. It has denied a claim by the GMB union that BA’s decision to outsource hundreds of IT jobs to India last year was behind the problems“, which has two parts one is the power supply issue, which is a bit of an issue, the second one is outsourcing. The first one is weird, that is, until we know where that power issue was. If there is a server farm, the server farm would be an issue. At this point, the backup systems should have been working, which should if properly set up be in a secondary location. power issues there too? There are several points where the issue could impact, yet with proper setup and tested solutions, the impact should not have been to the degree it was. That is, unless this was done by the same team who ‘tried’ to give the NHS a new system about 5 years ago, if so then all bets are off. The outsourcing sounds nice when you are a union, but that would merely impact the customer service as I personally see it, so until I see specific evidence of that, I will call it a bogus claim by GMB.

The Stephen Fry issue was neither, he merely stated ‘digital winter for humankind‘, which is an actual danger we are facing more and more. You can judge that for yourself and test it. You merely have to switch off mobile data and Wi-Fi from your mobile for 24 hours. 99.992% will not be able to do that, we are that relying on getting fed digital information. We will offer a host of excuses; like ‘I need to be reachable‘ or ‘people need me non-stop‘. I see it as all bogus mentions of the fact that we are digitally too dependent. If you give these people the additional limitation of ONLY using the e-mail and office programs, the chaos is nearly complete. We are all 100% digitally dependent. That means that any damage to such an infrastructure will bring us distress. We then see “An extinction-level event … will obliterate our title deeds, eliminate our personal records, annul our bank accounts and life savings” which is only part of the quote, but this part has already been arranged for the people of the world, it is called Wall Street (remember 2004 and 2008).

The final part to address is the part we see combined in the article. “Fry also addressed the rise of big data, which has seen private companies competing for and using the personal data of millions for corporate gain, the gig economy of Uber and Deliveroo; the inability of governments worldwide to keep up with technological progress; and live-streaming services like Facebook Live allowing people to broadcast acts of violence and self-harm“, the three elements are:

  1. Rise of big data
  2. Keeping up with technological progress
  3. Live streaming towards violence and self-harm

There is no issue with the rise of big data, well, there is but the people are in denial. They are all about government and the optional alleged abuse of that data, whilst they give the green light to places like Facebook and other instances to do just that, and now they get to sell aggregated data. Yet, when we use a certain data property, where every person is 1, like a social security number or a insurance policy number, when every aggregated fact is founded on a population of 1, how aggregated are you then?

We know that governments are not technologically up to date. You see, the cost to get that done is just too high. In addition, governments and other large non-commercial organisations tend to not push or pursue policies too high, which is why the NHS had its Ransomware issues. We see Labour and socialistic parties on how it all needs to be about people programs, whilst they all know perfectly well that without proper infrastructure there would be nothing left to work with, they just don’t care! They need their image of creating jobs, whilst spending all the cash they have and pushing the government into the deepest debt to keep whatever lame promise they make and the next person gets to deal with the mess they leave behind. The lack of long term foresight is also the Achilles of IT, any IT structure needs a foresight of what is to be done next, by living in a fantasy ‘at the present’ setting, is why some politicians go into denial and in that case IT systems will falter over time and no one is set into the field of ‘let’s get this working properly’, the NHS is the clearest example, but not the only one, or the last one to buckle.

The live stream is the larger issue that has no real solution, that is until the numbers are dealt with. As larger facilitators get a handle of what is pushed online, resources open up to resolve certain issues. There will forever be a risk that certain live streams get through, yet the chances might be limited over time. In that, until the laws change, there remains a problem. Part of it is the law itself. The fact that a rape was streamed live, in it watchers saw Raymond Gates, who was accused in the attack and charged with kidnapping, rape, sexual battery and pandering sexual matter involving a minor. That person ended up with 9 years in jail, whilst he ‘enjoyed’ media limelight attention for many months. Marina Lonina, the person who filmed it all got ‘caught up in the likes’. The New York Times stated: “The defendants each face more than 40 years in prison if convicted“, yet in the end, yet the girl filming it got 9 months, the man doing the act got 9 years (source: CBC). So as we see, it seems that the act of live streaming is rewarded with an optional implied sentence reduction of 39 years and 3 months. So if the governments want to make change, I would suggest that they clean up their justice departments and get some proper convictions in place that will deter such live stream actions. In addition, if Marina Lonina would have been convicted with at least the 8 years in addition, so that she and the actual penetrator served the same amount, there might be a chance that live streaming of self harm will fall. There is no evidence that it will, but you get to solve the matter in small steps. Take away the ‘benefits’ of being merely the camera man or girl, the amount of events might drop too.

So here is my view and opposition of the parts Stephen Fry offered. He made good points and raising awareness of issues is always a good thing, especially if they are made by a person as renowned as Stephen Fry, but in all this dimensionality is still a factor. The response against issues (which I blogged earlier) on ‘tough new laws on extremist and explicit video‘, yet in all this, many transgressors will not get convicted and making it the problem of the facilitator, whilst the governments know that the law falls short is just blatantly stupid on the side of the governments. In the end, these people are not stupid, this track will continue for several years, whilst those politicians with: “the rules are not yet public and now enter what is known as “trialogue” – discussions between negotiators from the EC, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union“, gave rise to my ménage-a-trialogue label as this becomes a new EC gravy train which ends up coasting a boatload in lunches, meetings, hotels and flights whilst not resulting in any actual solution. Do you still think Brexit was a bad idea?

OK, my bad, this was not about Brexit, but the issue of laws and free speech have been on the agenda for the longest of times as ‘Strasbourg on March 24th, judges, journalists, lawyers and activists discussed the challenges facing the protection of free expression in Europe‘, there we saw that Helen Darbishire stressed on that event that “it is necessary that the judiciary in individual countries become more aware of European jurisprudence and standards“. If it is true that many countries are establishing regulations, transparency of public information is still far from being a reality. Yet when we consider that freedom of expression can be positive or negative and any hindrance of it goes via Strasbourg, the limitations faced cannot be pushed onto large corporations that facilitate. As the government leaves the field open to tabloids and even make them VAT exempt in the progress, a facilitator that comes with editors, writers and photographers, how can you push the blame onto a facilitation service that has been largely automated? And the worst of all, the governments pushing to place the blame in the other isle know this very well. As long as the debate goes on, they are ‘working on it‘ making the issue even worse.

So even as I oppose Stephen Fry to some extent, it was good and really interesting to read parts of his view (I was not at the event, so the Guardian might not have given me all he said), and as I read his view, I contemplated the views I had and tested them, that is what the views of an intelligent person does, they allow you to test these views against the views you have, which is awesome any given day of the week.


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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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Golden age of Journalism?

There is a speech on Sky News. In this video, we see John Ryley stating that the Golden Age is now. He talks about the pessimists, but is he correct? Well, in all honesty, he is not wrong. Yet, the dangers are not really shown in his speech. The statement for some journalists that ‘the golden age is now’ is indeed a statement that is laced with truth. As in the past journalists going into the news were hoping and praying for their ‘live’ moment, that golden age is indeed now, they can ALL be live in a matter of seconds. It is the quote he makes in the video (at http://news.sky.com/story/1280339/sky-news-head-golden-era-for-journalism ) it is at 1:43 where he mentions that all news is available on-demand, live all the time is also laced with a danger he does not mention ‘the key to exploiting these multiple opportunities‘ is the quote we see next. Here is the danger we need to understand. Yes, we have more news and as John Ryley states, there is a growing abundance of analytics, facts, snippets and other streamed information being added to our field of vision, yet what about the quality? In the past journalists grew into a job, now we see all graduates rush to get the headlines that get them the job to go forward. In this changing view, levels of quality are no longer pursued (just perused at best).

We have to accept that we do not get the best numbers at times. When something happens, we are often given a few facts linked to the events, yet, when we start adding analytics that are meant to be part of the same news cycle, how reliable are these numbers? I am not talking about business news here. In those cases the journalists have decades of numbers at their back and call. No, I am talking about dumping false data at the mere press of a finger. In that regard, I think Australia outdid itself when a girl in May 2009 gave false testimony on TV and gained the reputation of the ‘Chk Chk Boom’ girl. It is not the most extreme example, but it illustrates the dangers. There is no blame to the journalist, yet the impact was there, even though people laughed it off to some extent. Now consider that what is laughingly regarded by some as journalism. It was the Daily Telegraph quoting “Flight MH370 ‘suicide mission’” on page one, PAGE ONE no less! Now, almost three months later, there is still no sight of the plane and no actual evidence that there was a suicide mission. These two parts give the indication. No matter how much journalists are entering the Golden age of direct media opportunities, the growing need for ethics and quality checks in an age of immediate publication is growing at an almost exponential rate.

This all gets another flavour when we consider certain parts of the Leveson report. “A free press, free of the censorship and restrictions imposed by the powerful, … serves the public interest by its investigative and communicative role. Both roles are necessary.” (at volume,page1:64). Yes, I am all for freedom of the press, but not for freedom of non-accountability. In case of the ‘Chk Chk Boom’ girl, the press was not guilty, they were talking to a ‘witness’ and that got reported, in case of the Daily Mail, serious questions about the journalist could be made (as well as its chief editor). Here we see the danger, we cannot avoid issue one in a time pressed event, yet when the journalist shapes the story, by intentionally adding non verified data, we get issue number two and here we see, what in my mind adds up to intentional inflicted harm (to the family of victims) for the greater ‘need’ of some headline, which then results in tiers of damage control and carefully ‘phrased’ denials. None of those events could or would be regarded as journalism. John Ryley does not dig into that danger (as far as I know).


The last danger is the one John Ryley was not going to talk about (assumption on my side) and as I see it, he should not have to. Yet, the dangers that his Golden age of Journalism brings is the added hype of trial by social media. When given form, events will more and more shout out for witch-hunts via social media. This is not started or at times intentionally instigated by the journalists, which must be stated quite clearly, yet the dangers we all face as someone emotionally responds to any news event is always there. Yet the dangers that any news that spreads online will be accompanied by the dangers of social media “hang ’em high judges” should not be underestimated, giving the increased need for quality checks and verification in an age when doing just that out-dates the news instantly. There is no real good solution here and it must be said that a journalist cannot be blamed for any social media prosecution hype, yet, when proven that the news that sparked the witch-hunt was irresponsible, (like the MH370 story by the Daily Telegraph), should the journalist bringing the story be held accountable for the consequences? In that case I say ‘Yes!’. So, even though if we are to believe that journalism is entering a Golden Age, we must also look at the consequences of their acts and hold journalists accountable for some of their actions as such.

A view, I have had for a long time, but was raised by Sir Christopher Meyer on the 19th of February 2009 (long before I started my accountability act crusade).it can be found on the Leveson report (4:1539) “I am afraid that we also require some reassurance about the credentials of those carrying out the inquiry. In addition to the inaccuracies … the report does not appear to have been written by anyone with much understanding of self-regulation or the relationship between the PCC and the law. More fundamentally, we have to ask ourselves whether this enterprise is being undertaken in good faith…” (from pp1-5, Stephen Abell, http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Exhibit-SA-T1125.pdf).

I will add one more part to this all. I wrote a blog on March 19th called ‘Any sport implies corruption!‘. Yesterday’s news (at http://news.sky.com/story/1280406/qatar-corruption-claims-coca-cola-concerned), directly links to this. My issue is that the quote “Mr Quincey’s comments are significant because Coca-Cola is one of Fifa’s leading sponsors along with Adidas, Budweiser, Sony and Visa and, as such, a major provider of revenues to the organisation, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Fifa’s coffers.” is not entirely complete as I see it. Moreover, there are still serious issues with the claims of corruption to begin with.

The end of that quote “contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Fifa’s coffers” should in my view be changed into ‘contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Fifa’s coffers for as long as it favours the business views and other financial obligations these large companies have set in motion.

My reasoning here is that Qatar was selected, and it was not long until the intense heat that the players faced would become a visible issue. The best source of quality information in this case is the Washington Post (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/dcunited/fifa-prosecutor-probe-already-had-qatar-evidence/2014/06/11/ffcef57a-f199-11e3-b140-bd7309109588_story.html).

I actually do not know whether the Qatar bribery issues are real. It seems that FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia is on top of this, yet the Sky News quote ‘Yet this inflamed the situation and led to calls on Tuesday from a succession of European football chiefs for Mr Blatter to step down‘, is adding to the fire and I wonder what actually is in play. We know that the Qatar World cup would, due to a date shift have consequences. This can be best seen in the BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/24401699), The quote “However, that could lead to a potential clash with other big sporting events, notably the Winter Olympics and American football’s Super Bowl, as well as domestic football leagues and the Champions League“, which makes me wonder whether these ‘secret’ documents are about the sport, or about the advertisers. When we consider the list of ‘sponsors’ that Sky News mentioned, namely Coca-Cola, Adidas, Budweiser, Sony and Visa we see a different picture, is it about corruption or about the fear that these big corporations are confronted with up to 40% of diminished advertisement power? I do believe that Qatar will do whatever it can to not overlap the winter Olympics, yet the fact that there will be an overlap with US sports and likely the European soccer season is almost unavoidable. If we are fair then we accept this, especially as this is such a rare event. The rest should be ignored, for the simple reason that this is about the sport, not about the ‘comfort‘ of those sponsors who basically tend to be at EVERY event.

So here we see the direct consequence of what John Ryley calls the golden Age of Journalism. When we look at these headlines “Qatar DID buy the World Cup, email reveals” (The Daily Mail), we have to wonder how much danger people will be placed in when social media turns an irresponsible article into a witch-hunt. If the golden age of Journalism is now, then so is its accountability, which is at the heart of the published Leveson report. Consider the Leveson header ‘The importance of a free press: free communication‘, is that the case here? I wonder how much pressure certain articles are receiving from advertisers/sponsors. The concluded report will give us reason to lash out, so until that happens (in roughly a month) we will have to wait when I write my follow up.



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Internet Privacy?

There was an interesting article in the Guardian yesterday that caught my attention today. It is an article by Haroon Siddique. It deals with the view voiced by High Court Judge Navi Pillay (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/26/un-navi-pillay-internet-privacy).

I am not opposing her view, yet there are a few sides that the article was not touching on. The first quote is “Pillay has been asked by the UN to prepare a report on protection of the right to privacy” Now, I am not opposing privacy, yet it must be clear that there must be a clear separation between privacy and anonymity.

The enormous growth in trolling, online bullying and identity theft also come with a new set of responsibilities. Even though privacy might be a valid side, the anonymity that people abuse (many millions on a daily basis) must also be dealt with. In addition, there are still issues with the ‘issues’ that had been claimed by Snowden. I see the press advocating his ‘truths’ on several fields, yet the actual evidence is not shown. Let me be clear, there is no issue with the claim of mass surveillance, which has been established via several sources. The issue is that a percentage of his claims do not seem to have been scrutinized to the extent that it should have been. It is my personal view that the Guardian (and others) have been placed several articles, yet beyond “according to the documents leaked by Snowden” there has been no concrete and visible validation of the shown facts.

The next part is the quote “to protest against the routine interception of data by governments around the world” the fact that Facebook and Co are routinely doing the same to sell it on to marketeers is not a worry for anyone. There is actually more to this, today the article shown (at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/dec/27/snapchat-may-be-exposed-hackers) shows an additional side to the dangers of mass media from social media.

SnapChat has a feature where it will grab all the numbers from your address book, upload them to their server” and these issues are not dealt with? The second part can be a huge issue involving a possible start of identity theft and other forms of abuse, but they all seem to scream for ice cream! Like a horror movie they all focus on the sound, but no one seems to be looking at the actual picture. People are ‘duped’ by the millions to just go with the next hype, but it seems that no one (especially in media and social media oversight) is looking at the quality of the next hype.

It becomes even more disturbing when we see the next part “The group says they approached SnapChat almost four months ago to flag the vulnerability, but never received a response, so they decided to release the full details of their findings on Christmas Day.

So this has been going on for months?

So many people are screaming for ‘privacy’ and the fear that the government can see things. Yet, these same dopey’s (to coin a phrase) are not up in arms about commercial exploitation?
They do not seem to care that the damage from that part will be so much higher. It boils down to the fact that the people are worried about the government paper cut, whilst hype dependent social media tools like SnapChat seem to be dumping their customers on a guillotine, go figure!

The bigger issue is that other ‘hypes’ had been hit as well in the past. So, it seems that when it is free, data protection does not seem to be an issue to many people. Concluding from this there are two sides and it is not about the choice of the individual. On the one side people condone their exploitation, which means they have no need for privacy and on the other side; they seem very concerned with what the government sees. This in my view is not fear of privacy either, it is just imagined fear. In the second degree we see yet another side; there we see employers browsing through all kinds of social media before hiring a person (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/04/16/how-social-media-can-help-or-hurt-your-job-search/), which means that you could possibly lose your chance on that job depending on what they see.

So what privacy are people actually expecting on the internet?



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They’re consoles, but not as we know them!

Have you been looking forward to the Hype start of the PlayStation 4 yesterday? I was not. I did not waste time waiting for some stream to start with all the other people who were waiting to be the first to know. Millions of viewers and all were watching the same stream at the same time. I was not. Don’t get me wrong. I love games as much, if not more than the average player. But to quote Mr William Shatner in a very appropriate manner: ‘Get a life!’

So, when I looked at some of the details after the first wave, I had an option to sift through the information, and a few very scary thoughts were starting to form. The steps taken are very very appropriate (from the viewpoint by Sony), yet, we are about to get an entirely new wave of revenue driven groups, and before too long, it will cost you!
This might even more then you bargained for and there might be little to no chance to avoid it with all impending consequences. What am I talking about? Let me explain!

First the mundane stuff:

It is mentioned to have eight cores and an enhanced PC GPU. This system will work at speeds approaching 2 Teraflops. There is a lot more, but the issue is set in the next part I mention: “PS4 to include cloud and game live-streaming functionality; focus on social networking; global Gaikai network rollout.” (Source: Gamespot).

Am I just spouting out some facts? Perhaps, however, consider that managing multi core processor systems are a lot harder than most people realise. However, inserting code that accesses non-used, or less used processors is hard, but when active, they can remain undetected for a long time. Now add the thought that such malignant code is added through the DLC that is added to the game and we have a silent data screamer. This is the other less known side of anti-viral solutions. Data viruses are almost impossible to track, unless you track EVERY process, which slows down any system scanned.

Its opponent, the new XBox720 is still a question mark. There are loads of rumours, however, no real facts. It is however very likely that the Social Networking issue will be included. This is going to be the real problem.
This step was unavoidable.
Let’s face it, Facebook changed the world forever! However, if we take into account the shadier side of social networking (aka cyber criminals) then you might begin to realise that your goose could be cooked. We are not talking about an account that gets hacked. No, that would be too simple. For this part, we need to take an additional look back towards last October where insurers were mentioning that mentioning absences on social media might have consequences.
In December 2012 the insurance council of Australia made this quote: “The insurance industry is urging holidaymakers to keep their travel plans off social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to reduce the risk of burglary over Christmas”. This is actually late in the game as the British Insurance Age wrote this in June of 2012: “Social media-savvy young people could represent an emerging market for on-line risk insurance cover, according to research conducted by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)” So, here we can pretty much replace the words ‘emerging market’ for ‘additional costs’.

There has been the odd wild story on how a person tagged in a photo on Facebook through their smart-phone was enough for burglars to know that a house was empty. Now we add Social media to a gaming console? I could go for the kids and computers next, however, the bulk of gamers on systems like that are likely to be adults. Being adults does not mean that they are in ample supply of Common Cyber Sense. Let’s face it; loads of advanced users tend to lack such skills. In addition, we will now have to contend with consoles in need of Anti-Viral Software (to thwart Social media Cybercrime) and a league of other issues.
Let’s mention the issues that Sony had in the past with their hacked databases. Should we wait for the first time loads of credit cards go into some auto-donation mode? (With cybercriminals as the designated benefactor). I am not kidding! Yes, you will hear on the amount of safety Sony has, and the people will be perfectly safe. Spokespeople and Marketing spins will all make the case that we are all perfectly safe. So, let me remind you, or if you did not know inform you that in April 2011 the information of 77 million account holders were stolen from the Sony network. On May 4th of that year Sony confirmed that personal identifiable information was stolen.
Now they want to add their console to social media?
How long until the insurance company wants additional policies? How long until the insurance company decides that ‘it’ is not covered? Who will pay then? Sony? Or will they say “Oops! We so Sorry!” and leave you hanging with the consequences of the event.
I am not having a go at Sony here (even though it sounds like it).
There are several factors that should be seen as hazardous to the gaming health if those new console owners continue in an on-line/cloud gaming experience. First of all, cyber laws are shaky on several levels, especially when foreign criminals are involved (finding them is often a near impossibility). There is evidence on several levels that most of us are not ready for this level of integrated social media. Not because we do not want to, but because our systems can be invaded on many levels at several points. This is the consequence of evolution and people going to the edge of new technologies. At some point it becomes a clear that adding more and more is becoming counter-productive.
Then there is the part of additional revenue. Sony and Microsoft want all these sides to social media, for the simple reason that all that information is worth a massive amount of money. ‘free’ data, all there waiting to get scooped up by the container load. Would we get paid for this? Very likely not! How long until a non-adult gets to click ‘yes’ on an option so he/she gets it for free? Who is then liable when things go wrong? (When they go wrong, not if they go wrong!).
These are all the dangers of social media on the internet. Then finally there is their mention of Cloud gaming. Another new Hype that will be added for gamers. Yet, there are several levels of dangers. This is not just something I am claiming. Several exports on this field from data providers to the technology providers at Cisco make mention of this. They are warning us on levels of dangers when it comes to Cloud issues. So, the cloud, especially with data at rest will need several levels of monitoring and all this takes resources. So, how will we be charged for those? You can bet your house on the dangers that ‘free’ options there will come at a much higher price down the road and not unlike Facebook, should you stop gaming, then what will happen to the data?
The weird part is that most of these issues belong in medium to large sized companies with able IT coverage. Not in the average household where the IT expert is 11 and has a Nintendo 3DS!
Should you consider this and wonder how much time you have. Well, this console is to be released in 2013 and disaster could strike in 10 months, 10 days and 10 hours from now. Questions need to be asked, and those who protect the gamers (read citizens with a console) need to realise now that ALL data can be gotten to by cyber criminals, and in many commonwealth nations the law and the law enforcers are not up to scrap within that timeframe.
My biggest issue?
A device meant for entertainment is thrust into a grey area of legislation for the benefit of massive amounts of revenue. The moment our personal data goes somewhere else, those who enabled this in the first place will likely pass the buck to an area of non-accountability.


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