Tag Archives: Telegraph

The pigs you feed with

There is a notion that is adamant in politics, it is the stage that whatever you do next, will whitewash you from actions you might have taken in the past, it is interesting to see the actions of a politician and now that he had moved on, the stench of a previous post still lingers. That is the consideration that David Javid, the chancellor of the exchequer had to face when trying to shake hands with Hugh Grant.

I found his response to the event “I recognised him and put my hand out and said, ‘Lovely to meet you’, and you know what he does? He refuses to shake my hand“. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/oct/31/hugh-grant-defends-himself-after-being-called-incredibly-rude-by-sajid-javid) actually has the nicest ring around it with this piece. So David, it is not the spin you give it with “I wonder if people like Hugh Grant think they are part of the elite and they look down on working class people no matter what station they reach in life” it is the consideration you created towards those victims as a cultural secretary. It is clear that David is not alone in the Hacked OFF accusations. with “Grant attacked the Daily Mail and Telegraph newspapers for failing to include his version of events in their news stories covering Javid’s accusation” we see a larger failing, it is the failing of politicians that refuse to see the light that the emanate and the light that they emanate when they take a political position, it will haunt them an at some point it will be the undoing of them.

And there is more of course, the tidbit “after his suspicions were raised that widespread phone hacking by British tabloids was conducted with the consent of the Tory government”, As a conservative, I take great pride in the fact that we need to stand by our actions, even the bad ones, the bad ones show us what acts of stupidity were the ones that will hold us back and the fact that the press can hack whatever they feel like to get the daily circulation up. There is a price that needs to get paid and the press and anyone stupid enough to hide behind ‘the people have a right to know’ claim to do whatever you please needs to be stopped, I had hoped that both sides of the isle had an illuminated showing of souls, but alas it was not meant to be, in light of all that Leveson illuminated and was sold short by the larger papers as well as the political parties need to learn the hard way, I feel strong in that regard and even as this means that we tighten our wrists to beams where we do not know how deep in the water they end up in, the knowledge that we set the waterline in a humane way that way is the only way to guarantee that these follies will never be allowed ever again.

Javid’s spin cycle goes nowhere when we consider “Hugh would like to point out that the victims in question were not celebrities. They were people with personal family tragedies who had been abused by sections of the press” as well as “the victims of press abuse [who] reported back that his attitude in the meeting was ‘borderline contemptuous’”, which in some way has the benefit of David having to deal with past exclamation and past rhetoric in another way as well. The highlight would have been if “I recognised him and put my hand out and said, ‘Lovely to meet you’, and you know what he does? He refuses to shake my hand” had somehow be changed into: “I recognised him and I remembered the treatment I gave him and the victims, I quickly turned to my left further and gave appraise to whomever I remembered from last week’s meeting and let him or her shine a little”, of course the second version would have created a nice ‘non-story’ item and that would have been fine, at the most the personal assistant to the chancellor of whatever borough would have gotten a little limelight, now he gets to deal with the contemptuous feelings of anyone that will talk to the press on how they were treated, so hacked off wins, the victims win and David Javid loses a little more with every statement they made.

Isn’t it great to know what you are doing?

I think it is, I think it is great all the time, but that is just me

 

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Exploitation by the numbers

Yes, the BBC had the right idea when they gave us: ‘Bianca Devins: The teenager whose murder was exploited for clicks‘ three hours ago (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49002486). The story is about a girl named Bianca Devins. So when we get: “she wrote on a gaming platform about how excited she was to be travelling the 250 miles from upstate New York to a concert in Queens. But before she could return home on Sunday morning, Bianca was dead” we see a story dipped in sadness. We see the quote: “But in the hours after his arrest, it emerged he had shared graphic photographs of the murder online. In the days since, her story has spread across the world – as have the violent images of her death. Her murder, which played out so publicly, is the latest case to place scrutiny on how social media companies police extreme content” we have seen this before, we wonder how and we wonder if it matters. We sometimes here the term ‘lives matter’ but is that really the case? Even as we accept that this was the lone act of a lone man when we get: “the suspect shared an even more graphic photograph of Bianca’s body on Discord – a popular messaging platform for gamers. This image showed the extent of injuries to Bianca’s throat and made clear her wounds had been fatal“, exploitation for clicks is not new, we have seen it for almost 200 days whilst we got exposed to this level of exploitation through the cadaver of Jamal Khashoggi, even the UN got in on it. All whilst there is no actual evidence, speculation, postulation and exploitation. I will give exemption to the Washington Post and his family, they are the two exemptions. To see just that impact we need to look at the numbers.

Yet the numbers are no longer clear, it seems that Google is actively hiding certain events actions and numbers. When I did a thorough search on December 18th, I got a result that added up to a lot “we merely get 57,000,000 search results, most of them misinformation, repeated unsubstantiated rumours and debatable facts that are anything but confirmed facts” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/12/18/how-americans-lose-wars/), now that number is a mere 13,600,000. And that is seeking all. The exploiters have removed the pages, so not to impair their click manifesto, not to remain visible with all the click options out there, but they are there and as Google is extremely dependent on these clicks, they will facilitate to the largest degree possible, it merely means that we are not given the actual goods, not even close and the exploitation goes on. It’s nice that Kelly-Leigh Cooper chose a subject no one knows, yet this method of visibility has been used for a much longer time than you think.

The party-lines are all about ‘filtering’, or ‘this is what our customers want’, or my favourite ‘have you checked ALL your settings?’ The issue gets diluted; it gets smeared over issues and optional things that are being worked on. Exploitation for clicks became a reality the moment people were offered to earn money through their webpages, and everyone wanted more and everyone wanted the maximum of what was possible, yet now that need for greed is transformed into need to be illuminated, maximum visibility through minimum effort, and for too long social media pushed for this to maximise their return on investment. Now that the fence is gone, we see that the facilitators no longer have a hold on anything and even as everyone points at 4Chan, social media players like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all using it to maximise exposure of self. LinkedIn gets a partial pardon as it is limiting itself to business parts for the most and whatever exploitation we see is small and tends to be focussed from merely a few and those are often stopped by LinkedIn to the larger extent, the 2 billion on Facebook are mostly not. There it is often about extreme materials filtered and censored, or largely filtered to whatever censor has its hat primed (a personal observation).

Yet it is not the censoring, it is the focus and exploitation that is a case for worry. For Kelly-Leigh Cooper the focus is what happened to Bianca Devins and it seems an extreme case, yet it is not a new issue. Collective Hub gave rise in 2015 (at https://collectivehub.com/2015/08/21st-century-shaming/) to ‘21ST Century Shaming‘, and there we see: “Cyber-bullying and online shaming seem more commonplace than ever before and Monica highlighted some recent occurrences, like the leaked nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence; the Sony hacking scandal; and the death of Tyler Clemente, who committed suicide after his college roommate secretly filmed him with another man“, it seems that the linked “where the online humiliation of individuals results in more clicks, which means more money for the media outlet” is casually overlooked by everyone. We see how politicians are trying to bash Facebook, yet the headline from the Daily Telegraph: ‘Brit Ayia Napa rape victim tells how she ‘fainted’ after 12 Israelis ‘attacked her one-by-one for an hour’‘ gets 41,900 results in Google, they all need clicks, they all want maximised exposure and the people involved do not care how they get it, it all impacts advertisement and circulation.

When you start to look deeper, exploitation by the numbers seem to have less acceptable methods than we see used by drug dealers on a school yard, we merely have become too complacent to care. It is not until we are hit to a much larger degree that we see actions.

In 2010 Cnet gave us the 5 dangers of Facebook:

  1. Your information is being shared with third parties
  2. Privacy settings revert to a less safe default mode after each redesign
  3. Facebook ads may contain malware
  4. Your real friends unknowingly make you vulnerable
  5. Scammers are creating fake profiles

In all this we have seen the impacts, yet we have ignored a lot of it and it gets to be worse when we see a Telegraph article (at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/05/ex-google-facebook-staff-warn-social-media-dangers/) where we see the following quotes:

“The thoughts of two billion people every day are steered by 50 people in Mountain View,” said Tristan Harris, referring to the Californian headquarters of Google.

“But these companies are also caught in a zero-sum race for our finite attention, which they need to make money.

“Constantly forced to outperform their competitors, they must use increasingly persuasive techniques to keep us glued.

The Truth about Tech campaign was about tackling the “manipulation and exploitation” of some social media companies.

These quotes are often intertwined, attention brings funds, so does manipulation and exploitation, they are linked and shown as issues that are unstoppable, yet the effort to do something about it is lacking, there is circumstantial evidence that goes back to 2010 and so far almost nothing was done, again we see evidence now in the form of the death of a journalist no one cares about (Jamal Khashoggi) and the media themselves all want to ignore it because he was a journalist, yet the speculation (not evidence) that they propagated shows that he was not their concern, propagation and clicks were. The moment you realise that part of the equation is the moment you realise that the system is flawed and broken, and whilst the media is all about showing the flaws, the defects are not tended to, making matters worse for a long time to come.

By the numbers, we are not in a good frame of mind, as I stated before, there were 57,000,000 search results (in less than 60 days) proving me right.

 

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Media rigging

We have had issues, massive issues for the longest of times. Now we can focus on the blatant transgressors, we can focus on the exclusion examples of good journalism like the guardian, the Independent, the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Times and the Financial Times (the Australian and non-Australian editions), yet the founding flaw is actually larger.

You see, journalism has become an issue in itself. Whatever people and participators thought it was in the 70’s is no longer the case. Perhaps it never was. In my view, journalism is no longer merely about ‘exposing’, it is about partially revealing, whilst mediating the needs of the shareholder, the stake holders and the advertisers making it a very different issue. It is there where I did not just have my issue with Microsoft, in that same setting the hands of Sony are equally tainted. They are the two visible ones; but that list is distinguished and very long. So as we see overcompensation we see it on both sides of the equation, not giving it a level of equilibrium, but an exaggerated level of grossly unsettling.

In this we have two articles. The first is directly linked to what I have been writing about so let’s start with that. The Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/04/16/thousands-of-android-apps-may-be-illegally-tracking-children-study-finds) gives us ‘Thousands of Android apps may be illegally tracking children, study finds’. Now, I am not convinced that this is all limited to Android, but that is a personal feeling that has not been met with in-depth investigation, so I could most certainly be wrong on that count. What is the issue is seen with “Seven researchers analyzed nearly 6,000 apps for children and found that the majority of them may be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Thousands of the tested apps collected the personal data of children under age 13 without a parent’s permission, the study found“,as this had been going on for years and i reported on it years ago, I am not at all surprised, yet the way that this now reaches the limelight is an issue to some degree. I am unaware what Serge Egelman has been doing with their life, but “The rampant potential violations that we have uncovered points out basic enforcement work that needs to be done” was not a consideration in 2010, or 2009, so why is it an issue now? Is it because Osama Bin Laden is dead now (intentionally utterly unrelated)? There has been a freedom of actions, a blatant setting of non-investigation for close to a decade and even as it is now more and more clear that the issue was never ‘not there’. In February 2016 we saw (unfortunately through the Telegraph) “The security flaw in Fisher-Price’s Smart Toy Bear meant access to a child’s name, date of birth and gender could have been easily accessed. The researchers at Rapid7, a Boston-based security company that spotted the defect, said the toy could also be hijacked to give a malicious actor control over account data and in-built functions“, so this is not new. The fact that it was the Telegraph who brought it does not make it false. And yes, I did bite my tongue to prevent the addition of ‘in this case‘ to the previous line. In addition we see (at http://www.dickinson-wright.com/news-alerts/legal-and-privacy-issues-with-connected-toys) that law firm Dickinson Wright has been on the ball since 2015, so how come that the media is lagging to such an extent? Like me, they saw the rain come and in their case it is profitable to be aware of the issues. So with “Since 2015 the technology and legal implications regarding these types of toys has only grown as the market now includes smart toys, such as Talk-to-Me Mikey, SmartToy Monkey, and Kidizoon Smartwatch DX; connected toys, such as SelfieMic and Grush; and other connected smart toys such as Cognitoys’ DINO, and My Friend Cayla“, they again show to be ahead of the curve and most of the media lagging to a much larger degree. Did you think that this was going to go away by keeping quiet? I think that the answer is clearly shown in the Post article. The most powerful statement is seen with “The researchers note that Google has worked to enforce COPPA by requiring child app developers to certify that they comply with the law. “However, as our results show, there appears to not be any (or only limited) enforcement,” the researchers said. They added that it would not be difficult for Google to augment their research to detect the apps and the developers that may be violating child privacy laws“, in this we see two parts, and the first is that the call of data value tends to nullify ethics to a much larger degree. The second is that I do not disagree with ‘it would not be difficult for Google to augment their research‘, I merely think that the people have not given Google the rights to police systems. Can we hold Microsoft responsible for every NBA gave that collects the abilities of users on that game? Should Microsoft police Electronic Arts, or 2K for that matter? The ability does not imply ‘to have the right’. Although it is a hard stance to make, we cannot go from the fact that all software developers are guilty by default, it is counterproductive. Yet in that same light, those transgressors should face multi-million dollar fines to say the least.

The final quote is a good one, but also a loaded one. With “Critics of Google’s app platform say the company and other players in the digital-advertising business, such as Facebook, have profited greatly from advances in data-tracking technology, even as regulators have failed to keep up with the resulting privacy intrusions” there is a hidden truth that also applies to Facebook. You see, they merely facilitate to give the advertiser the best value of their advertisement (like AdWords), yet the agency of advertiser only benefits from using the system. Their ad does get exposed to the best possible audience, yet the results they get back in AdWords is totally devoid of any personal data. So the advertiser sees Gender, age group location and other data, but nothing that personally identifies a person. In addition, if the ad is shown to an anonymous browser, there will be no data at all for that case.

So yes, data-tracking gives the advantage, but the privacy intrusions were not instigated by either Google or Facebook and as far as I know AdWords does not allow for such intrusions, should I be wrong than I will correct this at the earliest opportunity. Yet in all this, whilst everyone is having a go at Facebook, the media is very much avoiding Cambridge Analytica (minus one whistle-blower), other than to include them in speculations like ‘Cambridge Analytica appears to have an open contract‘, ‘Was it Cambridge Analytica that carried the day for Kenyatta‘ and ‘could have been shared with Cambridge Analytica‘. It almost reads like ‘Daily Mail reporter Sarah Vine might possibly have a vagina‘, which brings us to the second part in all this.

Invisibly linked

For the first time (I think ever) did I feel for a reporter! It was not what she said or how she said it, it was ‘Daily Mail fires reporter who inadvertently published obscenity‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/apr/16/daily-mail-removes-obscene-language-attack-on-reality-tv-stars). Now it is important that we consider two parts. the first is the blatant abuse of ‘political correctness‘ which has been putting the people at large on their rear hooves for way too long, which might also be the reason why comedians like Jimmy Carr are rising in popularity in a way we have not seen since Aristophanes wrote The Frogs in 435BC. My issue starts with “Daily Mail Australia has fired a reporter who accidentally uploaded her own “musings” about reality television contestants being “vapid cunts” on to the news website on Sunday“, so the Daily Mail does not have a draft setting that needs to be approved by the editor, no, it gets uploaded directly and even as that might be commendable. The fact that we also see “Sources at the Daily Mail earlier said the young reporter was “mortified” by the mistake“, whilst the lovers of the TV-Series Newsroom saw a similar event happen in 2014, so the fact that reality catches up with comedy and TV-Series is not merely fun, the fact that this happened in the heralded ‘Newsroom‘ should be seen as a signal. As we see “The Daily Mail reporter was writing in a Google document because of problems with the content management system and she inadvertently cut and pasted a paragraph about Bachelor in Paradise contestant Florence Alexandra which she says was written for her own eyes only, Guardian Australia understands” it is not merely about the fact on who wrote it, the mere part that the content manager part was flawed, we also see “The reporter had filed no fewer than five stories on Sunday and four on Monday, which is a normal workload for a Daily Mail journalist. It is customary for Mail reporters to upload their own copy into the system unless the story is legally contentious“. So even as we accept that the pressure is on, the system was flawed and that there was a lot of truth in her writing, and all this about a Dutch model whose fame seems to be limited to being ‘not ugly‘. So as the Daily Mail was happy to get her bum-shot and label it ‘wardrobe malfunction’ (9th September 2017), whilst in addition there has been no other transgressions, she was quite literally thrown to the wolves and out of a job. So when we do see the term ‘vapid cunts‘ (with the clever application of ‘vapid’, did the editorial consider that the term might have meant ‘a bland covering of the green envious setting of finding love and overcoming rejection‘, which we get from ‘vapid=bland‘ and ‘vagina = a sheath formed round a stem by the base of a leaf‘.

You see, in the end, this is a paper covering a reality show, a fake event created to entice an audience from living a life and wasting an hour on seeing something fake whilst they could have sought it out for real. In all this the overworked journalist gets the axe. So even if I feel a little for the journalist in this case and whilst we see that the audience replied with ‘Refreshing honesty from the Daily Mail this morning‘, which should be a real signal for the editor in change, no he threw it all out to hopefully avoid whatever would come next.

You see, even if it is not now, there are enough issues around which means that Leveson 2 might be delayed, but will still most likely happen. So even as the Telegraph is already on the ‘would be a threat to a free press‘, whilst trying to drown the reader with ‘The first Leveson inquiry cost taxpayers £5.4 million, yet the legal bill for the newspaper industry to comply with the process was far more than that‘, some journalists were up to their old tricks even before the Leveson ink dried. So in this the moment that Leveson 2 does happen, their clean desks will not be because some journalists tried to keep it clean, it will be because they were told to leave. The fact that some see Leveson 2 in relation to ‘undermining high quality journalism‘ seems to forget that high quality journalism is a thing of the past. It perhaps ended long before John Simm decided to portray a journalist in the excellent ‘State of Play‘. In all this there will be a massive blowback for the media at large, the moment it does happen, I will have every intention to get part of it set as an investigation of news that would have been considered as ‘mishandled’. There is at large enough evidence that the Sony event of 2012, the Microsoft events of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, as well as IBM 2015 and 2017. There have been too many of events that were somehow ‘filtered’. In addition to that there are not merely the data breaches, the fact that there are strong indications that the media at times, merely reported through the act of copy and paste, whilst not looking deeper into the matter. Tesco, the North Korean Sony ‘Hack’ and a few other matters that should be dug into as there are enough indications that events had faltered and faltered might be seen as the most positive way to define an event that should be seen as utterly negative.

In my view, as some editors and shareholders will try to navigate the term journalist, I would be on the horse of removing that word altogether and have those papers be subject to the full 20% VAT. I wonder how they will suddenly offer to (again) monitor themselves. Like that was a raging success the first time around. It is as I see it the price of not being held to any standards, apart from the overreacting from two unintended words, which is in my view a massive overreaction on several levels. I wonder why that was and who made the call to the editor on that, because I don’t think it was merely an overreacting Dutch model. In that I am decently convinced that she has been called a hell of a lot worse, the side effect of trying to be a ‘social media selfie darling’. Yet that is merely my point of view and I have not always been correct.

 

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That what is ignored!

I feel a little on edge at present. You see, there are certain things that are just not done. The entire case that is set against Prince Andrew is such an event. I dealt with several issues in my blog called ‘As we judge morality‘ a little over two weeks ago.

Yet as some of these ‘claims’ are set in print again and again, especially the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, should we consider prosecuting Paul Michael Dacre (Daily Mail) and Ian MacGregor (the Telegraph) for libel?

Here is my reasoning, as I went through the Defamation Act 2013:

In section 4 (Publication on matter of public interest), we see in subsection 1:
It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that
(a) the statement complained of was, or formed part of, a statement on a matter of public interest; and
(b) the defendant reasonably believed that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest.

So far so good, we can all agree that published statements of members of the Royal family are indeed public interest. However, is it at (b) where we see ‘reasonably believed‘, as I stated in the previous article ‘As we judge morality‘, I came to serious doubts to some regard of these events as I looked into the PDF of what I believe to be the original affidavit from the Palm beach Police Department. In that regard, none of the papers had picked up the pace and the fact that it took me less than 10 minutes to find then Detective Joe Recarey. None of the papers seem to be clued in at all. Even the Guardian, who remained devoid of innuendo (at http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/23/prince-andrew-lawyers-sex-questions-court), did work on this story and as such Alan Rushbridger, as editor of the Guardian should consider the choices he made, especially the choice he did made by not doing them (which is his prerogative of course).

Now I get back to the previously mentioned section 4. Is it that far a jump that to use the defence regarding ‘publication on matter of public interest‘ that the journalistic party has a responsibility to decently investigate the claims it is printing? So now we get to the Joe Racarey part, by NOT properly investigating the claims, can we now get to the part that these negations nullify the defence in section 4 that the press might seem to rely on? This now means that there is a possible case of libel that the press could have to answer to? That negation is found in the part ‘reasonably believed‘, as there was no proper investigation, there can be no reasonable belief as I see it. So now, the press would need to rely on the defences as seen in sections 2 and 3.

Section 2 is about ‘substantially true’, most important is subsection 3, where we see ‘If one or more of the imputations is not shown to be substantially true, the defence under this section does not fail if, having regard to the imputations which are shown to be substantially true, the imputations which are not shown to be substantially true do not seriously harm the claimant’s reputation

So, the defence holds, but only if those that were not substantially true did not harm the claimant’s reputation. I reckon that the accusation in itself is already showing to be damaging beyond belief, which takes care of section 2 and section 3 is about ‘honest opinion’, this is not an opinion piece, this is about an allegation that will be considered a serious crime if proven correctly. So as I personally see it, there is no defence left for defamation should such charges be brought against certain tabloids.

Let’s look at the following quotes: ““I had sex with him three times, including one orgy,” Roberts claims in her affidavit” from the Guardian. Now this is pure reporting, I still believe that in the light of a few articles, the Guardian should have gone a lot further digging before getting on the ‘gossip’ gravy train (even though we clearly accept that reporting is not regarded as gossip), the reasoning of the person making the claim needs to be above a certain level, that part is still not proven. My issue is not with the Guardian in this case, although showing support for the Royal family by digging a little better would not have been the worst idea.

With the Daily Mail it is a different kind of fish. We get a photo with quote “‘On chummy terms’: The Duke of York takes a stroll with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein in New York” (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2597308/The-bombshell-court-document-claims-Prince-Andrew-knew-billionaire-friends-abuse-age-girls.html), yet they are adamant of not mentioning when the photo was taken. You see, an actual journalist would mention when it was taken, not imply all with an added picture. In their defence, they also wrote “There is, however, no suggestion that the Duke was involved in any form of sexual exploitation” in that same article. The quote “Miss Roberts alleges she and the royal had sex when she was aged around 17, still a minor under US law in some states” (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2921490/Prince-Andrew-appears-public-Davos-time-emerged-called-swear-oath-innocent-sex-claims.html) gives us more. Yes, it is ‘alleges’, yet not unlike the Guardian they could have done their homework a little better before adding the articles as they had been added. It is my personal view (so feel free to consider that choice, not to just add articles as is, especially when the allegations involve members of the Royal family. I am not stating not to print them; I am stating that a high(er) level of investigative quality would have gone a long way towards giving the audience the quality article that they are entitled to.

The Telegraph has not faltered in remaining massively below expectations either. “It was his ongoing friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier, that saw him forced to step down as the UK’s trade envoy in 2011” (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/11364822/Judith-Woods-Prince-Andrew-was-pitch-perfect-for-a-change.html). Whenever there is any mention we see the following by-line ‘Prince Andrew Duke of York’s reputation has already been tainted by his association with the disgraced American financier‘, with each time EXACTLY the same photograph in several papers, all devoid of the mention WHEN that photograph was taken. How tabloids are willing to misinform you for the mere need of circulation!

So what should be done?

Well, I am all about the freedom of the press, but not when it comes to non-accountability. Here is also the problem; the press is in this case as they report on events, not accountable and there would be no case, but in my view, should there be a case? Let us not forget that the circumstances as given in more than one regard. Not that this was reported on, but that the press did not take extra efforts to investigate what could have been investigated. The earlier mentioned detective is only one of several options. When a royal is on some trip, his calendar tends to be filled and usual in company of others. There is no denying he had met Virginia Roberts, but were they ever actually in private areas? Now, the yes and no of that is of course what one person or what the other person states, my issue has a few other directions.

The first part is seen in the Daily Mail (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2896075/Prince-Andrew-flies-skiing-holiday-tell-Queen-s-innocent-underage-sex-allegations-does-immunity-deal-government.html), you see the quote “But today Mr Roberts retracted his claim. In a statement sent to MailOnline, he said: ‘I want to clear up that many years ago Virginia stated to me she was to meet the Queen’s son Prince Andrew and not the Queen herself. I’m sorry for any misunderstanding.’” Can anyone explain to me how a father (or mother for that matter) would allow their child to travel unaccompanied? No matter if that person would have been her Majesty the Queen herself, you do not let your child travel alone! If someone was there in any position as chaperone, then there should be a record of this. In addition, so much travel as a minor, on what passport? Where an on what dates did this person pass through customs with a passport?

Last there is the following statement “Epstein, a long-term friend of Andrew, was jailed for 13 months in 2008 for soliciting girls for under-age prostitution. The pair remained friends and were seen together in 2011 after Epstein’s release”. You see, this is stated in more than one form in several places, but was Epstein a long-term friend? Most of us want to be friendly with billionaires, but that does not make such a connection one of friends. When searching through boatload of pages, that part has not been illuminated for one iota (I admit that I might have missed it), but the fact that no one is clearly telling us about that ‘so-called’ friendship is decently worrying. Then we get the ‘seen together in 2011’, there could be several valid reasons. Yes, it is not ideal, but let us not forget the fact that Epstein remains a billionaire! We can speculate all we want, but why did they meet? Was this ever clearly reported on? Was Prince Andrew asked? Epstein has been investing in many philanthropically flavoured endeavours, so the chance that Epstein meets with people of fame and/or royalty is a lot more likely.  Should this make us uneasy? Absolutely, but can it be avoided? Not sure! By the way, they do not look too chummy in the photograph!

However, going back over the previous part, there is actually in the Daily Mail (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2905218/Prince-Andrew-admits-s-foolish-friendship-paedophile-billionaire-Jeffrey-Epstein.html), the following “The Duke had previously said he had made an ‘error of judgement’ when he was snapped strolling through New York’s Central Park in 2011 with Epstein following his release from jail”, yet there is no mention why they met (still it is not a good situation to be in), also there was “expressing his regret for the ill-advised friendship”, which gives us enough that the previous statement is seemingly all correct. Still the issue remains, as I see it, that the papers should have done a lot more by giving clarity to the events.

Yet when we look at CNN (at http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/05/europe/prince-andrew-sex-abuse-allegations/), we see that the CNN article has a massive amount of information regarding the accusations and how Alan Dershowitz responded to them. The fact that we get the quote: “Dershowitz offered to waive the statute of limitations and “any immunity.”” Gives added light to the case. If this is proven, not only could her claim be regarded as useless, valueless and foundation less. There would be in addition severe consequences for her legal team. Alan Dershowitz has decided to counter claim those events by having the attorneys for Virginia Roberts to be removed from the role of attorneys. If that is maintained we get the new part, how to deal with the press.

Now we get to the part that has been an issue all along. You see, the press have gotten away with way too much for a long time. As such, if the clear evidence is set against Virginia Roberts, it will be our turn!

You see, I still have an issue with the press to a certain extent, they have played too many games and they still regard them as captains of the fate of others for the ever growing need of more revenue. When proven that the Duke of York was indeed innocent we can change the future, we can finally hold the press to values. It is my belief that once the Duke is proven to be innocent, the people in the UK will possibly unite for a referendum DEMANDING that the full Leveson report is implemented. No space for journalists crying like little bitches on how the freedom of the press is such a valued commodity. As I see it, they threw away the concept quality reporting some time ago. With the Leveson report fully implemented, the press will have no option but to actually create quality journalism, or be held accountable for 8 figure penalties for every transgression made. It will be a brand new day! I wonder if Hugh Grant considered this (perhaps he did) and it could be a new round for that what was ‘hacked off’.

I believe that the people have had enough of a certain journalistically based approach to what is true, good and ethical. The people to a larger extent still have not forgiven the loss of Lady Diana Spencer due to paparazzi (some still consider her to have been murdered through the acts of paparazzi). If these hurtful events against Prince Andrew turn out to be false, I feel certain that enough people can be rallied to force a referendum on implementing the full Leveson report. Let us not forget the headline ‘MH370 suicide mission’, whilst no evidence was ever recovered proving that headline. In the end Epstein might face additional scrutiny, whether they proceed whilst successfully avoiding a situation of double jeopardy remains an issue. Yet, in all this, Virginia Roberts will have as new problem, if Alan Dershowitz can actually bring evidence to make his case, the life of Virginia Roberts will end, because being a victim is one thing, failing prove it and then having to live through evidence proving the opposite is true, will give additional worry to the press in several forms.

This might blow over for some, but for the press this case could soon be the stuff of nightmares, it could have been avoided by properly digging deeper into the story, which is what a journalist was supposed to do to begin with.

 

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Legally and Criminally Insane?

There is an issue that had been on my mind for a long time. First of all, I do not have a car. I had a motorcycle for a while, but not at present. I never cared for cars that much. When you live in the big city, a car tends to be an expensive asset and it rarely gives you additional time. I learned that if one manages their time correctly you get heaps done without a car. It does not always work that way, I can admit that and for almost half a century, I have only desperately needed a car around 10 times. So, for me, a car is really not that needed.

You might wonder where this is going!

I just read an article, basically the second driver in a series of thoughts (at http://news.sky.com/story/1286644/brakes-slammed-on-over-zealous-spy-cars). The first one is a number of articles all pointing back to speed cameras (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/10613388/Motorway-speed-cameras-to-be-rolled-out-to-stop-those-driving-faster-than-70mph.html) and a third topic in this matter can be found at http://www.mindfulmoney.co.uk/trending-news/parking-fines-by-councils-reach-nearly-255-million-in-2013-with-tables-of-the-top-finers-by-local-authority/.

So, why these issues? We have traffic laws (UK, Australia and heaps of other nations). They are not like the three rules I got explained for driving a car in Egypt (in 1982), where it seemed that:

1. If you did not honk your horn, you are at fault.
2. The heaviest car has right of way.
3. A non-Egyptian is always at fault.

They seem simple and pretty much fit the bill.

In most Commonwealth countries we have set rules on speeding and parking. So, I do not get the problem when people start bitching over speeding tickets. Was there a speed limit? There always is and there is always a reason why it did not apply to that person. I reckon 1 out of 250 will have the actual honest defence that they missed the speed limit sign, which gives us 249 people who should keep quiet and just pay up, or should they?

Now, I will admit that I am slightly on the fence towards the topic with the title “Brakes Slammed On ‘Over-Zealous Spy Cars’“. Is that really a wrong approach?

Even though the heart of the matter quoted “These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists, ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, that school children are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear“, which is fair enough. My issue is that these people parked illegally, so why is that an issue?

The quote “CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls” remains funny as most town halls will never ever make profit, even if we fine roughly 87.2254% of the London motorists, London would still come up short by a sizeable amount.

It is in the area of the parking fines article we see this quote “The capital is extremely congested so we’d expect to see a higher number of restrictions in place and penalties being issued. However, there is a fine line between fair and opportunistic that councils shouldn’t be tempted to cross.” Here I wonder how to react. You see, if the council revokes a driver’s licence after 3-4 fines for no less than one year, it seems to me that the congestion problem will solve itself overnight. I agree that these transgressions are not in the league of Manslaughter or Grievous bodily harm, but laws are laws and are traffic laws any less? (Well, less than murder, yes!) There will always be excuses and some will remain valid.
L or P plates correctly displayed at start of journey‘, which in all honesty could happen. There is ‘on medical grounds‘, where the driver was helping a victim into a hospital. There will always be a grey area that we in all honesty must deal with. These are the parking fines and there are a few more valid reasons, but some are just out there. I felt a lot less lenient when it comes to speeding. You see, there is always that joker who thinks he is in control and when speeding goes wrong, he refuses to die for the sake of it, but will have killed someone else. When we read that: “X (name removed) was jailed for eight months for causing death by careless driving“, I wonder why that person is not spending life in jail for murder. the quote “Believing they were walking ‘deliberately slowly’, she engaged the clutch and revved the engine of her Honda Civic to scare them off the road while her car was still moving at around the 30mph speed limit” gives additional feelings of anger. These pedestrians were at a pedestrian crossing? 8 months jail and a two year ban is all she had to do, which in my book seems just wrong.

It is the quote “We are opposed to speed cameras in general. The evidence of their success in promoting safety is not good and in reality what is happening now is that the police are using speed cameras to fund their other activities through speed awareness courses.” by Roger Lawson, a spokesman for the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) that gives additional concern. Perhaps these measures do not go far enough?

It is currently stated that if you are caught speeding then you will be handed an absolute minimum punishment of three penalty points and a fine of £100. How about making that four penalty points and a fine of £200? Also during special times, like Easter, Christmas and so on, the demerits double, making the driver extra careful. Next we see that ‘if you accrue 12 points on your licence within a three-year period‘, should then in honesty become ‘if you accrue 24 points on your licence within a two-year period‘ the driving ban should be no less than 24 months, no matter how essential your driving license is. If someone states that this is too draconian, then I personally agree as well, but many acts do not change the mind of the driver now, so why not give them something to fear. It seems that public transportation frightens them a lot.

What do we get from this?

That is indeed the question. It seems that a total disregard for parking and speeding rules is getting out of hand, and whilst it seems unfair to some, this is also a possible way to stop congestion. It also stops a little pollution, so we do get a double whammy on this front.

This all gets me to Law and Morality by John Gardner (at http://users.ox.ac.uk/~lawf0081/pdfs/lawmoralityedited.pdf). It should seem clear that my approach is ‘aim to serve the common good (Finnis 1980: 276)‘ and ‘aim to justify coercion (Dworkin 1986: 93)‘. There is no denial that this is about coercing the driver to abide by the rules. We should at that point also consider how unjust the laws of traffic are (if that is the raised issue). But is it?

How often could you not park because someone had taken the spot that was rightfully yours? How often have you or someone you directly known to be in almost direct danger because of someone speeding? When a population above a certain level states yes to both (as it currently seemed to be the case), should these laws not change to something more draconian?

Is it not so, that in my imaginary change, we are changing the premise that we all have a right to drive a car, into the premise that driving a car is becoming a privilege for those abiding by the set rules? Is this not deprivation of freedom? We are to some extent already imposing those rules to pilots, considering the lack of accidents there, should we not take the same approach with car drivers? Should we not pass a certain parameter to be considered a driver? We demand skills to many environments that are a lot less hazardous, so why not car drivers? You see, as I see it, the car industry had forever been an open field as it was so lucrative to sell to so many people. Now, with the saturation we see, cars are almost too available and gas prices go through the roof. What if it becomes a privilege? What if the car driving population goes down by 20%? Cars might not become cheaper, but gas certainly will as there is a 20% less need. Public transportation will suddenly get a massive boost and the chance that all this reflects on higher safety standards and less need for emergency aid is also a good thing. We will always need emergency services, but consider that they will have on the emergency services. Here is where I got surprised. When we consider the numbers (at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB13040/acci-emer-focu-on-2013-rep-V2.pdf), we see that in the UK the response for ‘Road traffic accidents accounted for 1.4 per cent of type 1 department attendances in 2012/13‘. That was a number I did not expect to see, so am I looking in the wrong direction? When we look at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/255125/road-accidents-and-safety-quarterly-estimates-q2-2013.pdf, we see a rolling statistic of 1785 killed and 23,530 regarded as killed or seriously injured, which makes the Accident and Emergency (A&E) data in England a slight question. Especially as we regard page 17 of that PDF and the spread of the traffic cases on page 22. Well, No! The numbers make perfect sense; it just shows that the 23,000 are well spread over the timeline; it is just that these 23,000 are in the end only 1.4%. Yes, in case you wonder, I did notice they are not all from the same frame, but we see only a few percent change over these time frames, so that overall the picture is still usable for the most, just that the relief for Accident & Emergency would be minimal (alas). I had hoped that the traffic changes would lessen their work a lot more.

So, am I just trying to add morality to a traffic case? Gardner explains that at times morality needs law, just as law is in need of morality at times. So we are still with the question, is adding draconian measures to traffic laws morally considerable, or will the act result in a lack of morality for the law? That issue is brought to light when Gardner gets to item 4. “Does law have an inner morality?” There we have a nice consideration. Is morality not a setting of norms, hence in reflection is it not a form of discrimination? I am doing that by discriminating against the transgressors, but am I doing this in an unbalanced way? If we accept that morality is seen as a system of values and principles of conduct, and the bulk of people break speed limits, is the morality of speeding not one that should change? If almost all break the speed limit, is the law not unjust to being with and as such is this law, draconian or not a transgression of accepted morality and therefor a law that should not exist?

The facts now fit the statement that Roger Lawson gave us, is this about funding, or about safety? That is not easily answered and without knowing the true and complete course of the 1785 killed. How many got killed through speeding? If we accept that the UK has roughly 34.8 million cars in use, should 0.00525% decide the consequence of the rest? When we look at the deaths, that is what we see; we get 0.0676% if we include the wounded. So, when looking at this, no matter how we twist or turn the data, well over 99% suffers because of a few. There is no question that none of this changes for the victims of these events, but it shines a harsh light on certain aspects of traffic safety and the approach it has. Should the laws change however? There is growing evidence at this point that my Draconian approach is just not the way to go, it shows an increasing tendency to be unjust. We can all agree that unjust laws should not be followed. But in the second degree, are the current laws too harsh?

Here we have several other factors to consider. If congestion is the cause of many evil, then my draconian approach survives the test as it solves part of the problem, yet will it solve the situation? There is no real way to tell. We should however question whether we want to take away the car as a basic freedom, because that is what a car embodies and revoking freedoms is as we can all agree highly immoral.

It seems like we took an opposition approach and through this we learned that people like Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin have a clear case. The same could be said for Roger Lawson, which takes us to the question whether the UK should consider losing the speed limits all together. Would you believe that someone made that case? Norfolk Police Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett did this and makes a good argument for it, which gives wonder on what to do next? He stated “If we are going to do anything about speed and villages we ought to take down all the signs and say all villages are 30mph [48km/h] and you drive on roads like they do in Germany and Italy, as road conditions say”. So if this works in Germany and Italy, why should the UK not go that same way? It cannot just be the weather as the weather in Germany can be even more treacherous as it is in the UK. Is it not also the case that the simpler any traffic issue is, the less confusion we are likely to face? The Egyptian example at the beginning is an extreme one, but does show the effectiveness of simplicity (except for rule three which can be scrapped in Common Law on grounds of discrimination).

Perhaps some changes the UK could get by learning from its neighbours, who knows, perhaps after this the French, Dutch and others will follow the Italians and we might get a reasonable equal traffic system (one can only hope). The end of the article comes down on Stephen Bett stating “UK motoring organisations have dismissed Bett’s comments, with the Guild of Experienced Motorists describing them as ‘just nonsense’“. But is that so? The numbers seem to be in his favour, the evidence of simplicity as generic evidence has been proven again and again, so is it all nonsense or is Stephen Bett onto something? Even though he stepped aside as PCC while an investigation is carried out into his expenses (since yesterday), the points he made should be seriously investigated, especially if proof can be given that simplicity drives down the number of accidents and transgressions, which is a win/win for all people.

So as I see it, the act to add Draconian laws seems almost criminally insane, which is actually what is happening in Spain, but we will get to that in due time when we see the results of Spain implementing such harsh rules.

 

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Tax evasion, copyrighted by Vodafone?

If we look at copyright in the UK, then according to the UK copyright service, which states that “In the case of business ideas, it is again the recorded work rather than an intangible idea that is protected. Copyright would apply to items such as written documents, artwork, etc. – i.e. a Business plan, promotional literature, website, logo, and such items could certainly be registered.”

From that point of view, the creative tax efforts by Vodafone could be seen as an original work of ‘art’ (by lack of a better word), yet are they alone and are they really the first?

Yes, there is so much frustration in voices of people all around me as I hear them complain about the too fast rising cost of living. The fact that I saw an article last week in a newspaper stating that the minimum income for getting a mortgage in London now exceeds a million pounds, which I reckon is some new record to fight. So as many, who dream of a place around Swiss Cottage or Bond street (to keep the Lord’s Cricket grounds within walking distance), we see that this new price tag makes London an affordable place, mainly for Bankers and dealers in amphetamine based chemicals and that is pretty much it. So when these realities hit us and we see that a deal is struck with Vodafone for hundreds of millions of revenue (for the goal of non-taxability) made by what was described as an empty office in Ireland, waves of anger hit many people. This could be seen as a sign that the rich will get richer, at the expense of everyone else.

But is that the actual truth? It seems more a sign of the time than anything else. Vodafone is in pretty good company. They are actually one of the smaller players when we consider grocery shop sized companies like Google and Amazon. It gets to be a lot more hilarious listening to MP Margaret Hodge complaining about it to Google (in May 2013), whilst she is directly connected through family to Stemcor who is having the very same artistic approach to the payment of taxation (or lack thereof). The Telegraph in November 2012 reported that Stemcor, which reported revenue around 2.1 billion with a reported profit of 65 million paid a mere 163,000 pounds in taxation.

Whoever came up with that idea was worth his weight in gold and gemstones in the eye of these corporations.

It does not end there and it goes far beyond the borders of the UK. Consider the following. A software company has an item prices at ‘X’ and then adds consultancy valued at ‘Y’ and the total being ‘Z’ is charged.

So let us take a basic approach. The customer wants the package which requires software and a consultant and is willing to pay 100, consultancy is set at the basic price of 80, which means if the disc could be valued at 20, the price is met, and as such the customer is a new and happy customer. Yet, the books would reveal that even though 100 is truly placed in the books (as a package deal), the disc value is now set at 70 and the consultants at 30, 100 remains the fixed set price. It is interesting that the 70 is set towards the foreign owner of the program and a value of 30 remains behind. Of course the consultant was more (a lot more) expensive, and as this is all within one corporation the consultant will get his monthly income. Yet, was there a case of tax evasion?

It becomes an interesting debate, more important, it becomes the environment of global corporations and even more interesting is where the revenue and taxable revenue should be placed. I would share the view that this is more than a sign of the times; it is now fast becoming THE sign of the future.

In the age of technology today, many government types (PM, MP’s and exchequers alike) might look at certain developments of ‘new technology’ moves, as corporations go to the cloud and digital distribution, yet there seems an apparent lack of ‘comprehension’ is not the right word, perhaps it is ‘realisation’ that all these revenues would no longer be taxable and Microsoft is not even close to being a frontrunner. At present Adobe is far in the lead there. Consider all these advertising and publications houses, they are in abundance in the UK and those houses have moved to some extent, or are largely moving to the Adobe creative cloud, software, that is no longer sold in the UK, costs that are paid for in the UK and are therefore tax deductable revenue, which is shrinking the UK government revenue pie chart by a lot, especially as revenue from the other side of that equation is no longer in the UK for any level of taxation.

Whether we realise it or not, the old tax deduction scheme was designed on some level of equilibrium. We had tax deductions on one side, because we bought certain items like hardware and software. Hardware is now no longer the expensive post it used to be and the software part that is still steep in some cases is no longer bought, it is leased. As such the equilibrium is gone and a nation cannot continue on one side to hand out deductions as the other side of the scale no longer exists. This gives us two dangers. The first is that certain parts would lose deductibility as the other side stops existing; this should be seen in the light that the cost of business is going up, whilst revenues will not get better. This approach is set by the bulk of cloud providing ‘solutions’ and that group is growing really fast. If the UK government (not just them) loses out on taxable revenues exceeding 15 billion pounds on software alone, where will they get the money from? When we consider the trillion pound debt, then we should worry about such changes and it is not just the UK who is facing them. These companies as mentioned before are doing this on a global scale, which means that Europe is getting hit hard all over the place and it is not unlikely that as cloud servers are placed all over the planet these companies will move into new group that could be labelled as ‘the global non-taxable core of corporations’.

In the past I proclaimed strongly that when we saw the information about Microsoft with their Xbox One approach and the cloud was not about gamers. Gamers do not warrant the implementations of over 300,000 servers. Yet, add the earlier mentioned events to the equation and we end up with a global customer base of software and as Microsoft stated it themselves, an entertainment provider of TV, Movies and Software, all in the cloud! As we see the situation now, likely less than one tenth of a percent might end up being taxable. In that same light should you wonder why NTT DoCoMo was so happy to get into the Indian market, then here is the evidence. Out of a very rough estimation (by me) of a total value of entertainment products that is cloud distributable which exceeds 350 billion (business and entertainment products), consider that these products would in future yield less than 0.5 billion in tax revenue on a global scale. This means that national infrastructures on a global scale are about to get hit really hard (unlikely before 2014). So as NTT DoCoMo starts streaming 4G based entertainment solutions, a massive amount of taxable revenue would no longer end up being taxable at all. So long Tax department of India!

It was exactly for these reasons that I advocated an approach where taxability of services are charged on the consumers side, to avoid the pitfall many governments are about to get faced with. That approach would end the dangers of Google, Amazon, Vodafone et al to walk away with a ‘non-taxability’ based commission solution.

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Spin dryers by Microsoft

Some might have heard the news and some might not. Microsoft will be launching their new console by the end of this year. Sony will come with one too, but about that more at a later time.

So, I did watch the presentation, and it is not unlike an American based company to take on so much more than they are likely to chew when they go up against a population of gamers. This has been proven in several occasions and as such this moment was no different.

The new system is called Xbox One (sounds like a Star Wars episode copy).

This system is supposed to be the new revelations that evangelical gamers will pray too. Yet, this is no longer a gaming console. They now call it an all in one entertainment system.

It is a fair step to extend boundaries. Any business minded person will do that whenever possible. Yet, at this time, with the current available information, many wonder why things were not thought through on many levels is slightly baffling.

Even though Microsoft is releasing information on many planes, I would be in remiss if I did not mention that Gamespot (www.gamespot.com) is a massive centre player when it comes to console information, so they are an important source of information for all readers.

There is one part where Microsoft is right, and it is only fair I mention it. Microsoft’s Don Mattrick stated “If you’re backwards compatible, you’re really backwards.” I grant him that one. Even if I was opposed in the past, in combination with statements made from those who made the ‘promise’ at that point (a promise both Microsoft and Sony royally broke). Where we saw the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to be required to be backwards compatible to PlayStation 2 and Xbox, is just not realistic to expect at this time. So, as such, I will agree on that, even if several gamers might not agree with me.

My first issue is with the hardware that is central to the new Xbox One. If this is supposed to be an all in one entertainment solution, always connected, always cloud ready for downloading of Movies, TV, Games and so on, then whomever lacked the synapses to decide on a 500 Gb drive had clearly been watching a little too many Xbox-Files (like the TV series from the 90’s with Box Mulder and Data Scully). Then 500 Gb would then have been mucho alien. Now, the difference between 500 Gb and 1 Tb is about $20, so when they state it cannot be upgraded, in a time when we are all overloaded with data, we should start asking serious questions. Their statement that we can add a USB3 drive just does not hold water. Consider that they called it an all-in-one entertainment system; consider that a Blue-Ray can contain up to 50 Gb and consider that the operating system and temporary files for this system takes up some space too. Then this system has space for 9 movies in high res (worst case scenario). Even less if we consider the need for our music on MP3, out private photo collection(s) and a few games, then this drive will be choc-a-block stuffed full really quickly.

In opposition, as a start, I might not object to a 500 Gb start. Yet, the non-upgrade limit means that we will need extra external drives; so in addition needing power, needing cables and one young player accidently yanking the wrong cable might make things go wrong fast. This is also the first of many points where your internet data plan will cut in (or cut out might be a better phrase). You see, data plans cost money, and considering the plans some are on now, then the added changes would also mean you might on average pay $30 a month extra to keep being online. So that goes towards $400 in extra costs each year (not including the annual fee for Xbox live). Mind you, this is the INCREASE, not the bare cost. In some cases some would go from $69 to $99 a month. That should go over well with the millions of students all over the globe who are already in dire need just to make ends meet. If you think that this is an exaggeration. Think again. The system that now boasts on 3D gaming possibilities will need data to get this all rolling out. So either you accept time for a dozen DVD’s to install, or you’ll have to get to the cloud. In addition, they might offer the ‘normal’ version on 1-2 DVD’s and the rest needs downloading. This is a bigger deal then you realise. For example, consider the option of starting World of Warcraft on the PC as a new gamer. It is really nice that they offer it for free to new gamers to try. I am honest; it is a really nice gesture. Yet the initial download is 22 Gb. For some that is almost half their monthly download allowance. The second part of their entertainment boast is that they will support 4K. 4K is a resolution for TV meaning 4000 pixels per line. In all fairness there was a mention that this is for photos and movies only, not for games, yet, the 4K trailer of Spiderman (trailer, not movie) was said to need almost 500 Gb. That much for a 3 minute trailer? Is anyone waking up considering the ridiculous limitation of a 500 Gb hard drive?

Realistically, we are not ready for 4K resolution, as this goes beyond the ability of Blu-Ray, which of course makes me wonder why the 4K mention was such an effort? 3D is more and more added to the consumer’s home, yet at this point, we see an unbalanced situation between the offered hypes and the offered hardware. Not a good thing Microsoft!

So let us take a gander in the second division of MS issues (This applies to Sony too by the way). This new-gaming wave seems to cross several borders. What is advertised as new gaming, what others call entertainment, what few see and should see as the end of privacy! Microsoft is now offering a solution that is always on, always connected and remembering and learning from you all the time. Most laws are not ready.

The one thing that we hold dear, that we protect, we seem to give away when playing a game.

The new systems are all about data collecting. They call it ‘trending’, it is in reality a ‘personalised’ form of mass-advertisement. The abundance of hype created whilst stating interaction through the cloud is in fact nothing less than a new form of data collection as Skype, TV, movies and your choice of gaming is at all times stored and saved on the cloud. A system that interacts as per now on multiple levels, unhindered by privacy laws as we surrender to that extra little ‘benefit’ where we forget that others get access too.

Their on-line system is now getting grown from the initial 15000 servers now that Xbox 360 uses, to 300,000 servers from the moment the next Xbox is launched. It is a 2,000% growth in data collection and over 200,000% storage capacity. If foundations of business are set to return-on-investment, then ask yourself why a gaming system requires that level of growth. Intellectual property that is no longer bought, but rented on a temporary basis as the cloud keeps what we buy, yet we will pay more per hour and hand over our identity in the process.

Most laws are not ready, with these new systems starting to get pushed out as per this year. Consider this; the presentation had a quote in relation to the collected information “Game developers can take advantage of our data centres“, is anyone else getting access?

As Justice continues a losing battle against cybercrime, corporate entertainment is about to hand the keys over to a group that can really use all that input. Should you consider that this would not happen, then remember how Sony lost the security of a few million accounts which included credit card information, affecting many in Australia. When this level of collection happens, when consumers connect devices, then consider the added interest cybercrime will get as many will want these amounts of data for several reasons and most laws are not ready.

In less than 6 months we will see a new age where many willingly, unaware of the consequences will give out their details, their personality and their identity to a data cloud where we can all be statistically weighted. The haves and have nots will see their private lives classified into moments of targeting, some of it likely questionable. The laws are not ready, the justice system is not ready and law enforcement is not even close to ready.

So we are faced with the cloud, space and privacy. Consider that the new console was announced to be cheaper than the 360 initially was. Consider that Microsoft is adding hundreds of thousands of servers. Then consider that thy need to make a profit. So how will this happen? More important what extra costs will you the consumer get when their marketing will start making statements like the one we heard when the 360 was about to be launched “Each console has a variety of games. Most games released on the original Xbox are backwards compatible and can be played directly on its successor, Xbox 360” This did not pan out so well. Sony was just as bad, if not worse as millions signed up for the PlayStation 3, selling (or trading in) their PlayStation 2, only to learn that this backward compatibility was not ever working correctly.

Now, as stated earlier, the new consoles will NOT be backward compatible, yet Marketing is making all kinds of statements again. The Telegraph reported in (Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/video-games/Xbox/10075540/Xbox-One-gamer-backlash-over-fee-for-pre-owned-titles.html) that gamers will see a fee coming their way when they are playing pre-owned titles. How fun is that? I admit, I am not yet aware what Sony does, yet this could tip the scales in a major way. I all honesty Microsoft Marketing did state that there will be pre-owned possibilities, yet they have not officially stated how this EXACTLY will play out, so we await clarity by Microsoft (be really really patient)

Personally I am on the fence in this regard. I never liked pre-owned games. And as such it never really hit me. When we look at off line gaming, my thoughts are that this is none of Microsoft’s business. If I give a game I am done with to a niece, a nephew, or even the neighbours so their kids can play a game without having to pay for it, then so what? I do agree with Microsoft that the one who buys the game gets access to on-line gaming. If someone else wants to go on-line, then they should by an access pass for the on-line part. They reserved the gaming server for me the buyer, the next person will need to pay for that service. So off line gaming, patching and so on, they should stay away from charging. That is my personal view.

So here we are, Microsoft marketing spinning their party lines fast enough to get your clothes dry, it does however gives more and more pause to the quality of gaming we have to look forward to. This is how I currently see the gamers market go backwards. A business approach to a consumer world, pushing through all kinds of idea’s the youthful player never signed up for.

So Microsoft calls it an entertainment system. Entertainment? For who?

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