Tag Archives: Twitter

A windmill concussion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Media, Politics, Science

Explicitly exposed

There is an issue pushing to the forefront. In the upcoming elections, certain parties are playing a different game. The article ‘Facebook and YouTube face tough new laws on extremist and explicit video‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/24/facebook-youtube-tough-new-laws-extremist-explicit-video-europe) is showing a story that is not just incomplete, it is not telling us about certain dangers we all face and it is not coming from extremists. You might have missed it all and that is fine, but you need to be aware of the mess that some parties are increasing. The quote: “European Union ministers approved proposals from the European Commission on Tuesday“, now the article gives us that the rules are not yet public, because they are still talking about it, which is fine. Let those people get their act together before presenting it, I have no issue with that. It is the ‘trialogue’ part in the article that beckons view. The negotiators from the EC, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union are in the midst of this and we will at some point hear what is agreed upon. What I find utterly boggling is how the people were left in the dark regarding Article 50 for years (during the Grexit era) and we now see an overreaction regarding “forcing them to remove hate speech and sexually explicit videos or face steep fines“, now, I have no issue (within legal limits) on fines for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Yet what those players are not realising and not considering is that THEY themselves wanted the smartphone era, they wanted connectivity, they USED those options to get new taxation, new revenues and new technological iterations, yet they are in denial of the opposite side of the scales and there has never been a balance in any place of used technology where it applied. Yet they knew better! I know for a fact (from mere history books), that porn was not part of the first photograph ever taken, it was definitely part of the first 50 photographs taken in history. With movie the same way. There is Etruscan erotic art 900 BC and the clock goes back a lot further, so we knew that it would happen. Now for the most, it gets stopped, yet at times the filters fail. This is because there is a global wave, you see, the statistics gives us that in the recent past there was a total upload of 60 hours of movies EVERY MINUTE. That is just YouTube, there is no way to see how much the other channels in different formats operate at present. What these overreacting individuals seen to be oblivious about is the stuff that they find ‘objectionable’. They will happily steer away from every bogus sales and scam video uploaded as those do not show breasts, penises, vagina’s or suicide bombers. Video’s on how to get wealth with so much certainty. On how the next hype whilst getting your neighbours involved is not a Ponzi scheme. The list goes on, but they will not act there. Or how the people are fooled by ‘YouTube Marketing Training Scams‘. No, they do not care about the thousands that get fooled by slick pitches that could have fooled many in the actual industry. No, the tits are out and we see how the outrage is in a state of overreaction. You see, when these ‘commissions’ start getting traction, the players will suddenly find that these large corporations will insist on other solutions, and the commission will not be able to do that. Because on that point, privacy will actually stop. Now, when it comes to stopping some of the video low lives that exploit the people for personal greed, I will be in full support. Yet these European nations will then learn that they were alas unable to prosecute those people. The mere levels of hypocrisy here is just too sickening for words.

Now, we have two issues. Yes, we do want to stop extremist video’s and I feel 100% certain that Google wants that too. Yet video is about content and identifying an extremist video is a lot harder than one thinks. censoring 60 hours of movies every minute is just nearly impossible. If it is set to priority it will just be another way to stop net neutrality, because the advertisers would want to get checked first. Meaning that an engine of free speech will be taken away from the people. The question that everyone is skating around is the number of explicit video’s produced and where from, as well as the original and numbers of extremist video’s. Now consider the element of Extremism. What if it is an imam giving a Muslim lecture? How could we see that it was extremist in nature? There are so many outlets and methods of communicating these dangers that the setting is (as I personally see it) not about fines, or about stopping any of this. It is about setting a stage to gain control of a media, where the some and the fat cats want control. And in this specific setting Google and Facebook are not the fat cats on the menu. So who are these ‘ménage-a-trialogue’ people facilitating to? You see, when you realise the 60 hours of video a minute, the three examples given in the article are less than 0.000,000,23% of all uploads and that is merely for one day of uploads. This is as useless as trying to get gun control in the US, guns do not kill people, people kill people. So as the criminal offenders film their events and as we can see that it is statistically impossible to prevent this from happening, why are the three parties having large lunches, uncanny levels of expenditure and levels of remunerations that go beyond most incomes, why is this happening?

I believe that this is merely to set levels of control, levels that do not benefit anyone at all, perhaps the church, which would start an entirely different debate. We are already moving towards a new technological setting of non-repudiation online, but the levels of settings, whilst we also know that hackers can get online ending up leaving the blame with some innocent granny who has internet is just not the way to go. The articles do show my side as partial evidence in the final paragraph. As we see: “The proposals, which fall under the digital single market legislation, also include a quota of 30% of European films and TV shows on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Video, up from the 20% originally proposed by the EC“, so if this is about bandwidth and streaming, we now see a different picture. One, why the hell do I get to pay for some Netflix need, one that I do not want in the first place. And with “Member states will also be able to require video-sharing platforms to contribute financially to the production of European works in the country where they are established and also where they target audiences” we see that video sharing now comes at a price of funding other matters? How will that work? 50,000 students (likely that times 500), all creating their video channel, in a field of their passion, hoping to get discovered and actually make their passion a reality on real life on TV for all their audience to see on the large TV. So as they do this, why is there a need of funding?

Also, when we realise that this is already in play, why would Google need to give 20 hours a minute of streaming time to European films? Will that be free of charge? I am going with ‘NO’ as the answer from the movie creators, so this will be about money, about surcharging that will push the non-viability of net neutrality because it is now about limiting bandwidth with a value to the mandatory availability of other materials.

So as these players are explicitly exposed, their ‘balls to the wall’ so to say, we should request the names of the members of this obscene ‘ménage-a-trialogue’, so that we can get some art going. Perhaps we can get Lars von Trier to make some new work called ‘Nymphomaniac Politicologica’, or perhaps ‘For a few Terabytes more‘ with music from Ennio Morricone. You see, in a few second I added hours of European promiscuous non-explicit art of a European nature. I am willing to bet the house that these people would prefer to remain in the shadows, because that is seen when we consider the quote “discussions between negotiators” in a time when all those imaginative attaining politicians, this is a setting between negotiators? Who missed that part of the article?

Yet it is not all gloom and doom. The quote ““We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European films, protect children and tackle hate speech in a better way,” said Andrus Ansip, EC vice-president for the digital single market” is not one of negativity. Yet as the watching video’s options is set on a shifting scale. New connection methods, new stream utilising options and new ways to offer other materials is in the corner of innovation, keeping that door open is the only way that innovation hits us. The one element in all this is the data provider, that was the simplest of issues to figure out. The issue is however seen, not in Google or Facebook et al, it is seen in the facilitation of the data stream itself, the ISP and they know they cannot get to the stream provider as that person is in it for the money and that provider has local government protection. KPN in the Netherlands, BT in the United Kingdom, Telia in Sweden, Mobile providers all over the European states and so on. The moment they go anywhere near this is when they get cut from everything and the censor marketing police will shout fire, rape, help, whatever they will shout to get the limelight. In all this Netflix might need more bandwidth and better deals, so they will happily facilitate this path. I am merely wondering why Andrus Ansip is happy to facilitate his voice for all this. You see it is not up to YouTube to promote European films, it is up to the film maker to creatively facilitate marketing for their movie. So, perhaps it is less about the DataStream, perhaps it is in equal measure getting proper television to look beyond the Marvel movies. When I was a lot less old than today, I would watch Simon van Collum (Netherlands), Jo Röpcke (Belgium) and Barry Norman (United Kingdom). I would dream of becoming like them, making a living talking about movies. Alas, I never had that option and I happily reviewed Video Games for a decade. These people were giants and they fell away whilst no one filled those shoes. So for the internet to pick that up is a little bit a stretch. And as YouTube is probably one of the most innovative services of this century, we could start asking a few more questions regarding the push that we see here. So as we see the one element in this that can be answered immediately, we see “tackle hate speech in a better way“, which can be solved on the spot. Because my response here is a non-diplomatic: “Clean up the Criminal Justice mess you currently have, and properly identify and prosecute those shits!“. You see? The issue is now solved, yet it is not, because European law is an utter mess and as Strasbourg will do too little to tackle the option as it is too restrictive on free speech, we see that the European Commission is stopping their own European commission to achieve anything ground breaking. In all this, as I personally see it, for those who need it there is a fictive solution in retrenching net neutrality that is no longer neutral and the European Commission Gravy train could run for years on this element alone. So as we see this level of facilitation, the term ménage-a-trialogue is a lot closer to the truth than some consider it to be. And as long as those balls to the wall don’t make it to YouTube, we will see no result that is a solution or fair, European would merely be receiving a lot more Netflix, but at what price?


Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Politics, Science

Hospitality starts with hospital

There is no way around it, United Airlines has found a new way to get mentioned on every social media at the same time. The article (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/united-airlines-passenger-beaten-flight-chicago-airport-apologise-newunitedairlinesmottos-trump-a7678296.html) gives us a first view on how the people are perceiving United Airlines. The headline ‘United Airlines hasn’t even bothered apologising to the passenger beaten on its flight‘ gives us the goods. The article goes into a few elements, although I am not entirely in agreement with: “this blood-soaked guy who simply wanted to go home and get to work the next day could have been any one of us“, I will at least admit that it is not entirely incorrect.

My issue is not initially with the act as such, it is with the utter stupidity of removing someone who had boarded without a proper reason. Consider that people check into flights, they get their luggage through, get past all the check and end up with a boarding pass. At that precise moment, that seat is taken! So basically up to an hour before the flight, this issue could and should have been clear, and this level of stupidity has consequences. Market watch reported ‘United’s stock falls 1.1%, wipes out $255 million off the airline’s market cap‘, which seems a little much so that one additional staff member could get on that flight. The quote “If you’ve flown anywhere in the last 10 years, you’ve definitely been on an overbooked plane. You might have even been offered a few hundred quid to skip your flight in order to make room for travelling airline staff” gives a fair view of what happens at time. In my case it was a first class passenger who had to get on the flight I was one and we were offered 600 euro’s and a free upgrade to get the next flight. I was not in the market, but someone took this offer. That is the easy option for the airline. In this case there was no option and someone got dragged off. As I would see it, a logistical screw up that gave a market dive of $255 million and that is not all. There is a solid chance that this doctor can sue the airline and the security detail that dragged him off costing the airline several million more. You see this is not a case of wrongful acting by the passenger. The passenger had checked in, went through all the screenings that happen and passed all the requirements. The passenger was given a boarding pass and was allowed to board the plane, it is at this point that the airline is screwed (as I personally see it). At this point it becomes an institutional failure of an airline to properly conduct its business. The excuse of a press conference where we see CEO Oscar Munoz calling the incident a ‘system failure’ and says staff could have solved it with ‘common sense’ is not a clear answer. The additional statement “proper tools, policies, procedures that allow them to use common sense” sounds like a joke to me. Common sense should be on the forefront of all this. The mere logistical part that the boarding procedure was not tattooed on the supervisors’ brainstem is not a medical requirement, but it might have saved them a quarter of a billion write down. I will give him that he took the blame towards himself, but in the end this failure went past the head of the hospitality crew, the pilot and captain of the flight and the security detail. Three levels that did not ask the questions that should have been asked before this disaster took shape. The fact that this was because of a needed seat for a staff member makes the disaster complete and a lot bigger too.

Now, there was also a mention that ‘aviation experts have said the company acted legally‘, is that so? You see, the contract of carriage of United Airlines: “If a flight is oversold, no one may be denied boarding against his/her will until UA or other carrier personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservations willingly in exchange for compensation as determined by UA. If there are not enough volunteers, other Passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority“, here is the kicker: ‘may be denied boarding involuntarily‘, this was not the case, the man had already boarded and had boarded validly with a valid boarding pass. This is the part that will get United Airlines in hot water!

The other part that I do not get is the issue for one steward(ess), what was the beef here? There are close to 50 flights a day going from Chicago to St. Louis, so unless it was about a directly connecting flight, or better stated, even then, there would have been logistical solutions available. All this (I admit speculated) seems to reflect the opposite of what Oscar Munoz claims, mainly that the bulk of staff and support groups in Chicago airport were pretty much all devoid of common sense. So, from that point of view, no policy or protocol would have saved United Airlines the disaster it was heading to at full speed.

The part I disagree with in the article is that this is not about a Trump America, this is not about “This sort of stuff is becoming so commonplace that it’s difficult to feign surprise or disgust anymore. It’s become completely entangled in America’s psyche, and no one seems to care“, this was a collective act of utter stupidity, not a common sensing brain cell around to stop this from escalating. I would argue that this is linked to “A profit-driven airline company wanted to make room for employees, and so private security staff were more or less given the green light to beat somebody up to make it happen“, yet in this I am not sure if the second part on the private security side would be correct, yet as they dragged the valid passenger off the plane, questions will need to be asked with their superiors and the clarity of what had transpired will need to be scrutinised, because they too will feel the blows of what happened, I feel certain that the United Airlines legal team will be looking under every pebble to see where the costs, losses and blame could be placed.

The interesting side is that this is not the first time, the same week saw an issue with the president of an investment firm flying back from Hawaii, as well as an issue with two teenage female passengers wearing leggings, yet in that case there are a few issues that give optional valid defence of United Airlines as these were ‘pass travellers‘, where the passengers have to comply with company policy as they are in fact free staff flights.

There is no denying that the United Airlines will suffer a while longer as the social media is pushing and pulling the quotes in all directions to let viral reign continue, which is equally not fair on United Airlines, yet that is the world we live in nowadays. The fact that we now see surging stories of UA overbooked flights, with people getting send-off going all the way back to 2015. Then it was Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller who lost his seat. These stories seem a waste of time and I would agree immediately, yet the effect is that for the next few months, people will initially book with whomever has a flight not named United Airlines, which stops the overbooking danger, yet in equal measure it will drive forecasting down by a fair bit, so this disaster could cost United Airlines a lot more than the quarter of a billion cap loss. How much is not clear and I reckon no speculation will be on the mark, no matter how good you know this industry. Whenever social media goes viral on several paths, all bets are off, United Airlines is experiencing this effect in person.

To finish this off, we also see another side of social media. It is Fox News who reports (at http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/04/12/twitter-accused-deleting-tweets-slamming-united-airlines.html) the issue that allegedly, Twitter has been deleting tweets on United. The quote: “One user, @Jay_Beecher, says that a number of his United-related tweets were deleted, including one poking fun at the airline over the now-notorious incident. “Within seconds of tweeting I noticed that my tweet had disappeared,” he told Fox News. “After rewriting the same tweet numerous more times, I began to suspect that Twitter was censoring/automatically deleting any slightly critical tweets which contained an @United tag.”” gives us that at times Twitter seems to be doing whatever seems to please those with a vested interest. This is now also becoming an issue on cases where Twitter did not intervene, giving additional strength that Twitter has certain options, yet refuses to use them. This is not even close to the end for Unites Airlines as we see: “The airline kicked off the #UnitedJourney campaign last week in an attempt to get passengers to share their travel photos. Instead, the hashtag is being used to slam the airline and share memes related to Sunday’s now-notorious incident.

There is currently no end to this viral motion as we still see the News act on events nearly a week old, with the latest news merely three hours ago, as such it seems clear that Mr Munoz has his work cut out for him. The rehashed news regarding “United customer Geoff Fearns, who told Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus on Tuesday that United threatened to put him in handcuffs last week if he didn’t surrender his first-class seat to a “higher priority” passenger” gives rise on more issues, the most prominent being the one where United Airlines needs to seriously redefine what a high priority passenger is, especially when such a person makes ‘demands‘ on his last minute booking, whilst seemingly not being able to time manage his travel needs. It is my personal view that any company that facilitates to the arrogant and possibly loud mouthed will see their value decrease in ways that was not even close to the value of the ticket sold. It is a lesson they might learn from, but as this situation is created in America, I highly doubt it.


Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media

What we waste away

This is an issue that bugged me for a little while. Even though it started small, the near exponential growth of waste is now looking towards me, looking at me as I look into an abyss of squandered opportunity. You see, this is in part the Monday morning quarterback speaking, whilst in that same view I should hold a mirror to my own choices. Just like you should do.

The idea for this article started small, it started when I realised that Huawei was willing to sacrifice its Australian market share by tweaking the skewing profits they have. They are now making short-sighted decisions and as they do that, they stand to lose close to 10% of the Australian market share. So why waste that? Let’s not forget that before the P7 Huawei was almost synonymous with ‘whazzat?’ and now after the P7, which was and still is awesome, after a less appreciated P8, Huawei is close to being a global household name. Now with the Nexus being a little outdated (Nexus 6P), the 9P could have been ready to gain a decent market share, hurting both the iPhone to a lesser degree and the Samsung phones to a larger degrees. So what does Huawei do? They decide to not release the 64 GB in Australia. Now until recently, we could have expected that, yet when you consider the exponential demand for mobile games that Pokémon GO is pushing, the fact that we now see ‘Apple plans to invest in augmented reality following success of Pokémon Go‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/26/apple-earnings-pokemon-go-augmented-reality-steve-cook), whilst the players are not thinking their decisions through could be regarded as a larger (read: massive) act of wasting away opportunity.

So why is this a waste?

Until Pokémon GO, the need for storage had not been visible to the degree we thought we needed. Even I did not see this coming and I have been connected to games and gaming in excess of 30 years. Forbes (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/bensin/2016/07/25/these-photos-show-how-crazy-the-pokemon-go-craze-is-in-hong-kong) gives us a clear view with the quote “special phone plans from local companies offering unlimited data usage just for the game“, which shows the amount of users, but not the need for storage. The fact that millions of people are now getting dozens of screenshots every day (more than before) of every Pokémon they caught and even more interesting where it was caught. Of course the average teenager is also feeding the image streams on how they caught a Diglett on their boxer short, so the wildfire of images is growing. All these images require storage and this is only the first game, within a year I expect close to a dozen games with features requiring storage, because there will always be copycats. So do you really think your 32 GB phone will suffice? I think not, with all the other needs your mobile life has, buying any phone less than 64 GB from this point onwards is a massive flaw. It is short-sighted, even if you are not a gamer, this market is erupting into new fields and the chance that this will not affect you is near impossible. So as the difference should be no more than $100, sticking with the 32 GB is in my view for the nuts and fruits, the fibre based mobile user needs 64 GB, yes there is in some cases a 128 GB, yet this is except for the very few really overkill, you need to be a seriously intense user of large files to really need something this big, but by 2019, who can tell?

In my view, you need to consider a mobile phone for the next 2 years. 32 GB will not cut it, especially as Android OS is also growing and will require more space.

Now it is time to take a look at the Apple side, the Guardian gives us “The comments came during an earnings call to discuss the results of the company’s third financial quarter, the three months ending 30th June, in which the company earned $42.4bn in revenue, a 15% decline from the same period last year“, so as Tim Cook is making claims towards Augmented Reality (AR) he seems to have forgotten that Nintendo, with their 3DS got to that point 5 years ago. So, not only did he miss that entire cycle, we can conclude that 3 iterations of new Apple products were not near ready either, so he is running behind the ball, whilst someone saw the AR on the 3DS and game it a little more thought. As we see how Microsoft has been bungling some of their projects, in all of those steps Apple wasn’t just absent, they had no clue where the gaming world was, so as they are trying to pick up the pass, we see the lack of innovation and shear absence regarding the creativity of options that Apple happily avoided. Now as some ask questions we see a sudden mention of AR whilst none of the hardware is ready to facilitate innovation for this track.

As I stated that all (including me) missed the hype this caused and yes, it is a hype but one that is creating a beachhead, not one that is fading away. So Nintendo has options and opportunity here. Beyond the IP needs that are now rearing its ugly head, we need to realise that Apple is now moving to the shallow end of the pool. They moved from innovator to facilitator and until they change the mindset on what a gamer wants and what a game needs to be Apple is now the one barking up the wrong tree. In that regard evidence of their hardware is simple enough. Only the iPhone 6 started to have 2GB or RAM. The issue is that games tend to be memory hungry and no matter how good the swap architecture, the fact that you need it will drag gaming speed and swapping speed down, which makes for a bad solution. The fact that Huawei is skewing profitability by limiting storage is less on an impact, but knowing full well the impact on mobile gamers, the fact that Huawei has not adjusted it view means that they will not be able to keep up. That last one is a little incomplete for Australia, because it is one of the few places where the mobile phone providers do not offer a 64 GB edition, whilst the models do exist. Here we get that Kogan.com is the only open provider offering 64 GB phones, in the non-open field it is only Telstra that offered it (their iPhone 6S), the rest is now trailing storage land with a dangerous backlash that could come their way.

So how important is storage? It might not be that big on one side, until you run out. Ask yourself, when was the last time you deleted pictures, removed MP3 tracks and removed APPS you never use? The moment you run out of memory and as you suddenly see that you do not have enough storage you will freak out like the short-sighted PC users who used to think that 20 GB was enough for their PC. Most of those people ran out of resources less than a year after getting their PC, when they did not know how to clean up their PC they started everyone except themselves. That is what you now face with your upcoming needed Mobile, because that moment with your kids, or your partner who just made that one gesture just as a bus passes by and the water pool near her feet became the inverted waterfall covering her, that moment when you miss it will introduce you to the term ‘frustration’, which is the moment as you realise that storage was everything at some points.

Yet these were not the only parts, just the directly visible ones.

There are more options and several are being missed out on. I am currently sitting on a billion in revenue, yet until the right person comes along. I can’t afford to move towards it without leaving it open for others to pick it up. I just need to get lucky. In that same way, some game developers are sitting on optional IP, some are now finding its way towards us in other ways, some through redesign, some through the mini console gadgets, yet they are coming. Is it enough? That depends on your point of view. For those coming with the mini console, it is a way to cash in on old IP in an easy way, a way where the seasoned gamer will get joy from. Just remember that this $99 solution, with the original games which would have come at a price of almost $1900 when the games were initially released, yet I digress.

You see, the need for gaming is still growing and it is moving away from consoles and moving towards the mobile realm of gaming needs. AR is only one field and it is not the only field. Ubisoft had initially created a small wave with a brotherhood app, one that interacted with the console/PC games and soon thereafter stuffed it up with the AC Unity versions by not proper testing and considering options. Yes, that Ubisoft! Still, they are not done! Consider the options they still have. For one, they have the IP of Just Dance. How long until they get the idea to push songs to the mobile and kids in schools and colleges start holding a little Just dance marathon? Sydney of all places is one place where a dance app could make it big not just in the parks, but on the streets too and summer is coming!

How long until that Just Dance would evolve to work in selfie video mode, so that you can get a rating? This would require storage and some of these speculated options could be just around the corner. Even though Ubisoft dropped the ball initially, they are leading the way of combining gaming with mobile gaming. So there are more options that AR games, even if everyone is running that direction (which is not a bad idea), it will require an open mind to find something that could create the interest that the tsunami of Pokémon GO gamers crave. I will let the developers work that out.

The final part can be seen outside of the economic requirements of technology. It is found in the overly eager acceptance of ‘speculative estimation’. It is not based upon what could be, it is not set on the prediction of what already exists, it is seen in the quote “Shares plunge 10% as revenue falls short of analysts’ estimates amid modest gain of 3 million users“. In this case it is Twitter, you know that great tool. A connectivity tool that link you to existing interests, both professional, personal as recreational. No matter that it is limited to 144 characters, it enables you to get the information you care about. An invention that is profound and its value drops as revenue falls short of what a limited group of people expects it to make. So as we see a solution that is making “Twitter forecast current quarter revenue of $590-$610m“, we get the cold shower because some people claim that it is “well below the average analyst estimate of $678.18m“, so we have half a billion profit and someone says it is not enough. This is the waste, reduction in value, reduction of what those who do not create anything is just not good enough. Yet, this picture that the Guardian initially paints is not accurate either. We see should consider this when we take into account Revenue and Profit, no matter what the profit was, it did beat the expectations of some, making me wonder why analysts cannot get their act together.

Some of those are pretty much the same types who would increase the value of Nintendo by 10 billion, even as Nintendo themselves did not make Pokémon GO. Those same category of people who seem to expertly know that Twitter is supposed to have up to $70M more in revenue, did not realise that “Tokyo Stock Exchange has plummeted 17% in one day, apparently due to investors belatedly discovering that the company doesn’t actually make Pokémon Go, the latest mobile gaming phenomenon“, even as we all knew from day one that Niantec is an American development company in San Francisco, they were not making any mention when Nintendo stock went through the roof. So is this just plain playing the field or just short-sightedness? Even as shares went up 13 cents per share (up 3 cents), they had no good news on Twitter. It seems to me that there is a massive waste coming from analysts predicting values, setting targets that are a little too weird even as Twitter had achieved 20% revenue gain, it still missed targets (according to analysts). The pressure on false targets and fake values is dragging down people and it is dragging down quality of life for those who still made well over half a billion dollars. How is that not a waste?

It seems to me that we need to make large changes, not just on the way we think, but on the way we accept certain values. How is pushing by externals in any way acceptable? Let’s consider the following parts. These analysts we all about predicting the ‘opportunities’ for Greece in the era 2009-2012, even as we saw misrepresentation in more than one way. How did that work out for the Greeks? Brexit was never going to happen, they did not catch on to that part until the day of the election, how again did Wall Street overreact? Now consider the following definitions: ‘Slavery existed before written history, it continues through such practices as debt bondage & serfdom‘. Now consider debt bondage, where we see ‘a person’s pledge of their labour or services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation‘, our debts, our essential need to work, the pledge of labour as analysts seem to chasten Twitter (and many other companies). Serfdom is another issue. It is not the same as it was. As the description might be seen as: ‘Serfs who occupied a plot of land were required to work for the lord of the manor who owned that land, and in return were entitled to protection, justice and the right to exploit certain fields within the manor to maintain their own subsistence‘, many might deny that this still exists, yet in an age with high levels of unemployment we seem to push out own boundaries to do whatever it takes to keep levels of ‘protection‘ (read: not being unemployed) and ‘rights to exploit your position‘ (read: additional work requirements), even as we might disagree with parts of this (which is fair enough) the similarities are close to undeniable. In all this we see an iteration of analysts changing predicted needs, raising expectations, after which their errors are released through waves of managed ‘bad news’. Now, this might be just my speculative error of insight. Yet the evidence is all around you. In that regard, many analysts also get it wrong the other way. When we see Facebook exceeding ‘expectations’ by 59%, can we at that point agree that the analysts making the predictions have no real clue? In this age where we can all miss a trend, the fact that we see a 60% miss is not as much as a miss, as it is a massive inability to read your market, which is how I would see it (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/27/facebook-ad-sales-growth-quarterly-results).

You are now wondering how the latter part connects to the initial part. As I personally see it, we are receiving more and more hindrance from places that make one claim, yet in reality they are mere facilitators towards profitability to ‘satisfy’ the greed of ‘investors’ on the terms of analysts. I have nothing against profit and profitability. No company forsaking its ROI will live for long, yet when we see a company surpassing the 600 million revenue and they are turning a profit, everyone seems to have this surrealistic love affair with ‘Number of Users’. This gets us to what is behind the screens, you see, when we see the blind focus on number of users, is it about the product you have, or the data you collect? Those who are still about mere virtual profit through acquisition of personal data, those who proclaim comprehension, those are the same people who were unable to comprehend the value that products like Minecraft and Pokémon GO. Even if I got one wrong, I did not get both wrong, in that same light I can see that No Mans Sky will raise the bar for gaming and even as some proclaim the word ‘disappointment’ with the initial Alpha release of ‘We Happy Few’, I believe that this game can be a lot of fun and can end up being a decent game with a 90% score. Now, it is important to mention that this view was from a reviewer with a good reputation, it is a good review and as such it should not be ignored, yet in all this, it is still an Alpha version and as such there is plenty of space for improvement. This is possible, because the initial engine does look good.

These elements are all linked, the link is imagination and creativity. Not the imagination of hope in the view of ‘I have the winning ticket‘, no it is in the path of ‘What can we do to make a change‘. It is about the imagination to employ creativity to achieve a result. In the first case it is for Huawei to adjust its incorrect (as I see it) stance of that what they make available and for which nation at the bequest of whatever Telco. This is a mere adjustment of policy, it comes with the smallest requirement of creativity and a decent comprehension of data.

The second case with Tim Cook, which requires both immense creativity and imagination (and a good development team). We can make whatever claim we want, but the reality is, is that too much value is given to reengineering, and way too little towards actual true innovation. Where is the creativity and insight that brought us the iPod, iPhone and iPad? Oh, right, I forgot, he died! Yet, should Tim Cook be any less than his predecessor? So why are they not looking at raising the bar and instigating a different mode of gaming? Perhaps the next hype is not gaming at all. I might not have the answer here, but the bringer of the next challenge that will create a real hype might know, for Apple the need of finding that person makes all the difference.

Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”. I wonder if that is still just the case. So far I have learned that “Any innovator will soon after their first big success become the pawn of the needs of Wall Street”. If you doubt that, then consider Adobe, Apple, Coca Cola, IBM, Microsoft, Nintendo and Twitter and let’s not forget that they all started through true innovation.


1 Comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, IT, Politics

Within the realm of privacy

We all have an inherent need for privacy, we want things to be at our leisure of contemplated sharing. Yet, what is privacy? On one side we want privacy, but the next moment ladies will share whether their carpet is a landing strip or a martini glass, I for one do not care. If they want to share certain parts that’s fine with me. I am not too much about sharing. On the other side, apart from a few MP3 files, there is nothing interesting on my mobile. I reckon that my mobile is one of the dullest ones around.

So when I initially heard about the FBI wanting to access the iPhone of Syed Farook, I shrugged my shoulders and went ‘whatever!’ meaning that I was not opposed and I did not care. It was the techdirt site that has an interesting fact from the court case.

Footnote 7, on page 18 details four possible ways that Apple and the FBI had previously discussed accessing the content on the device without having to undermine the basic security system of the iPhone, and one of them only failed because Farook’s employers reset the password after the attacks, in an attempt to get into the device“, so the boss went into ‘auto-moronic’ mode and did not check? He acted without knowing? So when we see “The ‘owner’ of course, being the San Bernardino Health Department, who employed Farook and gave him the phone. Basically, what this is saying is that if the password hadn’t been reset, it would have been possible to try to connect the phone to a ‘trusted’ network, and force an automatic backup to iCloud — which (as has been previously noted) was available to the FBI. But by ‘changing’ the password, apparently that option went away“, should we consider that his boss was stupid, or that his boss was scared he had done something wrong and this was his/her way of covering the mess up? (at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160219/17463033656/footnote-reveals-that-san-bernardino-health-dept-reset-syed-farooks-password-which-is-why-were-now-this-mess.shtml).

For the record, that was clear speculation on my side!

What happened was that Apple, the firm that initially ‘screwed over’ its customer base with error 53. A few days ago, the Guardian reported ‘Apple ordered to decrypt iPhone of San Bernardino shooter for FBI‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/17/apple-ordered-to-hack-iphone-of-san-bernardino-shooter-for-fbi). In there we see the important quote: “In 2014, Apple began making iPhones with additional encryption software that they said they could not unlock, even if faced with a court order. Apple said this was done in the name of consumer privacy and cybersecurity, but the company has been locked in a public feud with the FBI since“. I understand that there is a need for privacy. My issue is why THIS level of privacy is needed. One could speculate that this is to keep the financial adviser’s customer base happy. I reckon that those people look for other means the moment their actions could be monitored, or investigated afterwards. Again, speculation from my side.

You see, I do not comprehend why law abiding citizens are so in fear, of what the government finds out. Most people can’t stop selfie themselves, their fashion and body parts to social media on a global scale. They tend to Facebook all details, especially when they are far away from home to ‘all’ their friends, so that the department of discreet entry and removal operations can empty their homestead in the meantime. With so much sharing, what privacy do you think you still have?

So back to the Granny Smith of automation, the next article (again the Guardian) gives us ‘FBI escalates war with Apple: ‘marketing’ bigger concern than terror‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/19/fbi-apple-san-bernardino-shooter-court-order-iphone), here we see the subtitle ‘Court filing from Department of Justice says Apple is more concerned with ‘its marketing strategy’ than helping FBI unlock San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone‘, which is fair enough when we consider that a failed marketing equals an alleged death in those houses. The quote “Cook called for public debate and has been backed in his fight by some of tech’s biggest names, including Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai, WhatsApp and whistle-blower Edward Snowden“. I think that this is less about Americans and more about the 7 billion non-Americans that have this false fear of the CIA and the NSA. Yet in all this, the only true group to fear this is the 0.0001% of the population, I do not even register and in that regard most do not even register. Like the previous mass surveillance marketing ploy, simple fear mongering.

Now, let it be said that I have nothing against a person’s privacy and there is nothing wrong with wanting privacy, yet when we consider the 1.5 billion on Facebook, the 100 million on Instagram, the 307 million on Twitter and over 100 million users on Pinterest, we have well over 80% of the iPhone users on social media all sharing from mere events attended up to the grooming of the most private of parts, Which makes the shout for privacy a little too hilarious.

So how does this fit legally?

Well first there is the part that the DoJ is now relying on. It is the All Writs Act of 1789, which states “The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law“, which sounds rather nice,

Yet the fact that the DoJ needs to rely on an act that has, according to several press sources, only been used thrice is a little too novel.

When we consider that the ‘self-destruct’ was enable by Farook’s boss (making the device useless to thieves), only leaves the DoJ without options. What is interesting is when the last cloud backup has happened, had it happened at all? Too many question that are all in the realm of speculation and none of it gives way to legislation. The question becomes should it be? I am not opposing the FBI, CIA or NSA. Yet these alphabet groups do know that they are fishing in murky waters. You cannot expect a corporation to set a product meant for 1,000 million to have options for the internally build exemption of 5,000-7,000 users. The math just does not add up!

I was talking about the legality, so let’s continue there.

In McCabe v British American Tobacco Australia Services Ltd,’ and the appeal, British American Tobacco Australia Services Ltd v Cowell (Representing the Estate of McCabe (deceased)), exposed some of the difficulties that plaintiffs who sue large corporations may face in litigation involving access to documentation. The Victorian Court of Appeal reversed the first instance decision which had struck out the defence of a tobacco company (‘BAT’). The basis for the first instance decision was that BAT had systematically destroyed documents that might have been relevant to the plaintiff’s case. It important to state WHO destroyed documents. You see, in case of Farook it was the boss who ‘destroyed’ the options for information retrieval. The important issue is that INTENT becomes near impossible to prove. In addition that case gives us: “The High Court declined the opportunity to clarify the law in this important area by refusing leave to appeal. The effect of this case, absent statutory reform, is that corporations may destroy potential evidence provided that their actions do not constitute an attempt to pervert the course of justice or a contempt of court. These are notoriously difficult to establish” (source: Playing for keeps? Tobacco litigation, document retention, corporate culture and legal ethics by Matthew Harvey and Suzanne Lemire. The reason for going towards this case is that the entire approach to mobile architecture and auto-backup could instigate updates where the mirror is encrypted extern from Apple. Which means that any phone would have an XML set-up and data object, but the object would be irretrievable. The ‘responsibility’ for proper password maintenance would be kept with the ‘client’ or end user. Taking Apple out of the equation leaving the DoJ with the apple pie made from the famous Granny Smith (AKA Janet Abigail Doe).

This takes the entire cyber conversation towards Spoliated Evidence, where we see “a party is faced with the fact that certain key evidence has been destroyed, altered, or simply lost“, destroyed implies intent, but proving that is next to impossible (which got us the tobacco case. Altered is basically what the DoJ faces as the boss decided to reset the password, again malicious intent becomes next to impossible to prove, whilst lost is not in play in this case but could clearly complicate the issue if that was the case, as the DoJ would have no implied evidence at all.

This entire endeavour goes even further south when we consider Federal Insurance Co. v. Allister, 622 So. 2d 1348, 1351 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993), where the Fourth District decided to set forth five factors to consider before imposing sanctions for spoliation of evidence. They were:

  • whether there is prejudice;
  • whether the prejudice can be cured;
  • the practical importance of the evidence;
  • the good faith or bad faith surrounding the loss of evidence;
  • Possible abuse if the evidence is not excluded.

As bad faith is now linked to the degree of wilfulness, we get back to intent. If mere ‘negligent loss’ does not cut the cake and the cake cannot be devoured without the essential evidence, the entire issue goes nowhere really fast. Basically, it boils down to the boss of Farook having one set of glasses on with the limiting mindset of cost if his mobile was ‘abused in usage’, leaving Apple in the clear shrugging their shoulders going ‘not my problem now’, whilst in all this we are left with no evidence linking to intent or malice. That small scope that was available will in all expectations to be diminished further. It basically solves all of Apple’s problems.

In the need for privacy we have gone from exceptionally rare to just hilariously ridiculous. The Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/20/apple-fbi-iphone-explainer-san-bernardino) shows in equal measure another side. Which comes from Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon. Here we read “Some are calling for the United States to weaken Americans’ cybersecurity by undermining strong encryption with backdoors for the government,” he wrote on Medium on Friday afternoon. “But security experts have shown again and again that weakening encryption will make it easier for foreign hackers, criminals and spies to break into Americans’ bank accounts, health records and phones, without preventing terrorists from ‘going dark’“, as such correctly implying that the medication will end up being a lot worse than the disease they face. In addition to that, should Farook have relied on another path, for example receive orders and message a ‘guild’ within a Facebook RPG game, the wasted time on the iPhone becomes nothing more than an iconic episode of the Comedy Capers. With these games receiving billions of messages a day, parsing though 1 of a dozen games would take years. The fact that none of this required any encrypted android or IOS system, just a mere desktop like millions of students use makes for the case against the Alphabet teams. When looking at Extremetech, we see a quote that is important in all this, the quote: “how terrorist organization uses social media to spread its message and radicalize curious readers. GWU’s research found that while ISIS uses a wide range of services, including Facebook, Google Plus, Kik, WhatsApp, and Tumblr, Twitter is the social media site of choice. Twitter already patrols and bans the accounts of ISIS supporters“, it casually forgets the 3-4 dozen accounts that do not raise any flags, the accounts that ACTUALLY bring details of the attacks to the transgressors.




Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Politics

A digital deception?

There is an interesting weekend going on. First we see people waking up to the Microsoft premise that free is apparently never free, in addition, we now see more and more noises regarding Net Neutrality. We will get back to Microsoft soon enough, because there is more to Net Neutrality than meets the eye. First let’s take a look at the definition of Net Neutrality. Wiki tells us “Net neutrality (also network neutrality, Internet neutrality, or net equality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication”, now this sounds interesting, but the reality is not that easy as I see it. For example, consider Oracle Forms, who needs the reserved bandwidth, if we cannot deliver, that solution would become an issue to implement. Oracle Forms is not the only one, many other situations exist where priority is essential. Video conferences is one of several. The idea came from Tim Wu, he is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. His paper Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination. The paper can be downloaded at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=388863.

As any academic work, it is quality stuff, yet, do I agree? I have an issue with the following parts:

On page 1 “Critics, meanwhile, have taken open-access regulation as unnecessary and likely to slow the pace of broadband deployment“, America is about to encounter the point where ALL the TCP/IP addresses have been taken, no more addresses, which means that IPv6 will soon be the only option remaining. You see IPv4 provides roughly 4.3 billion addresses. Companies, people, devices all requiring an IP address (mucho plural), well at some point the end is reached and that point is now, but that is not the entire point of my objections, because “likely to slow the pace of broadband deployment” is about need. I do not see how broadband deployment is hindered by the current system (other than running out of addresses). We have seen an almost exponential growth in getting online. Ever since the broadband has been an option, we have seen spectacular growth. First through normal internet connections, then via cable providers, now in addition we have mobiles with 4G and WiMax providers.

The second quote is “That deviation is favouritism of data applications, as a class, over latency-sensitive applications involving voice or video“. Which might be fair, but for the most, this has apart from specific application NEVER been a true issue. YouTube caches, so I personally have never truly seen an issue, not in over 15 years. Voice is a different situation, is this about VOIP? On one side, in an academic paper we need to keep an open mind, which makes it a good statement, but when we regard government pushed policy “open access alone can be an insufficient remedy for many of the likely instances of network discrimination“, the use of the word ‘likely’ seems a little unacceptable.

The next issue is found on page 158 of the paper “Have broadband operators tended to favour certain uses of the Internet?” To what extent? The goal of this section is to answer these questions, to the extent possible, for broadband networks during the year 2002, so we get answers based on a situation that is 13 years old, so this is BEFORE true smartphones, before quality 3G and whilst 100Mb broadband was rare. 1000Mb is now in some places regarded as slow, we get internet information faster on our mobiles now, than on broadband in those days, overall the growth of speed has been near unparalleled since the beginning of the internet and I am just looking at the last 5 years. The more I read of this 39 page paper, the less this makes sense in the current environment. Not the thoughts by themselves, the thoughts made perfect sense (to a certain degree) in those days. Yet, the ISP’s and Cable providers evolved almost exponential in their offerings. For the same price I now get a little over 10 times the amount I had before. I now end up with 500% download space of what I need (and I have one of the cheapest offers), so far I have not seen any limitation on what I require, so is this a pure American issue? That could be the case, but those pushing Net Neutrality better realise that moving business from US to Canada is not that far-fetched an option, I personally see these events as the FCC seems shooting itself in the foot.

Yet are my thoughts correct? (Always a good question to ask)

Let’s take a look at the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2015/07/24/republicans-are-trying-to-defund-net-neutrality-will-it-work/), ‘Republicans are trying to defund net neutrality. Will it work?‘ The quote “This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that contains an amendment singling out the FCC and net neutrality. Notably, the rider would prohibit the FCC from using its most powerful regulatory tool to police Internet providers — Title II of the Communications Act” is at the centre. Yet, what the Washington Post shows is nothing more than a political side.

It’s CNN that gives us part of the goods (at http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/12/technology/net-neutrality/), they ask a few questions and give us answers. That is what matters. So let’s take a look.

Isn’t that what exists today? For the most part. In reality, the world won’t look much different on Friday. Netflix won’t suddenly stream any faster for you. AT&T (T, Tech30) and Comcast (CMCSA) won’t abruptly stop laying down high-speed fiber cables and investing in their networks as retaliation“, after which CNN brings a quote that is surprising “And Comcast can’t slow down file-sharing websites, like it did to BitTorrent a few years ago“, which is more than interesting. Because, for the commerce of the USA file sharing is not a good thing, even though downloading movies is copyright infringement, pursuing these events is a near impossible task, especially when those servers are outside of the USA.

Who supports net neutrality? Now this is the number one question. “AOL (AOL, Tech30), Facebook (FB, Tech30), Netflix (NFLX, Tech30), Twitter (TWTR, Tech30), Vimeo and every other major Internet company are in favour of the FCC’s new rules. They create the content you read and watch online, and they don’t want to face discrimination by network owners who can threaten to charge higher fees or slow them down“. This statement is pretty far out there when you are not an American. In America, when you see places like Comcast, you pay for 75Mbs, 150Mbs and prices go up fast. So from this point is there reasoning for Net Neutrality? I still do not agree, but before going into this we need to look at Sprint, they offer unlimited high speeds with a sharable 10Gb for $100. This is less than 40% of the bandwidth I had 6 years ago at half this price. San Francisco gave me decent prices that are in alignment with what we see in Europe. Again, will Net Neutrality solve this?

Now let’s take a look at those supporters, Facebook and Twitter are data collectors, Twitter is the smaller and Facebook in the larger extent. Netflix customers require download power a lot more than Net Neutrality. The same can be said for Vimeo, AOL and Google+ for that matter. They all are vying for a customer base and when a person gets 10 GB at $100, whilst Europe and Australia enjoy prices like $70 for 200 GB you can see the issue at play. I am wondering whether this is about Net Neutrality or is there an issue with cartelisation in the US? We are so used to see that things are cheaper in the US, the fact that the US is leaps behind when it comes to the internet. That does not address the Net Neutrality. In my view it leaves us with more questions. The fact that prices are so high makes me wonder why a place like the US is not more competitive in that regard. But this article is not about that. It seems that Netflix needs download power to survive, and that is lacking in the US. In addition, it seems that the providers are extremely ‘protective’ on pricing, when investigating prices, TWC gave me “You are visiting our website from an area we don’t currently service“, which I got whilst entering a Chicago Address. So in all this, there is a multitude of issues, which have less to do with Net Neutrality and more about the stranglehold on pricing some seem to keep in the US.

Now am I upset? Well that is not really the question is it? I am like many others a capitalist (to some degree), yet that part has always been drenched in reason. As the information is reaching me, reason is not really a part that the internet providers seem to employ in the US. Especially as they offer internet at 33% of the speed and at 20 times the price. So it seems to me that Net Neutrality, even though in this light might have some effect to some of the solutions depending on the internet, yet the overwhelming thought from me is that as the FCC pushes Net Neutrality, we will also see a shift of the business world seeking an alternative.

When we see an argument that “Comcast could slow down BitTorrent traffic (it did)“, yet when we consider an article by Jacqui Cheng from the 24th July 2010, we see ‘Only 0.3% of files on BitTorrent confirmed to be legal‘, this was from a study that involved 1000 downloads, so 997 were infringing in one way or another, so why is it an issue to slow down BitTorrent?

A final issue should be given to Wired Magazine, who (at http://www.wired.com/2014/01/three-dangers-net-neutrality-nobodys-really-talking/) gives us several views in the article ‘Three Dangers of Losing Net Neutrality That Nobody’s Talking About

The first comes from American Library Association head Barbara Stripling “we’re in danger of prioritizing high-quality internet access for entertainment over education“, is this about the costs of a broadband plan? I have seen how this is not cheap, even as the article is only a year old. She also states “Ultimately, “pay to play” only benefits the privileged“, which I can agree with, it will be about usage and bandwidth, Net Neutrality will not up the game for them, it is about pricing and in some cases the prices are overwhelmingly ridiculous.

The second issue is ‘we continue to give more control over the internet to the government‘, which seems to be the case, but why is it done? Draining additional resources, forcing costs that should not be with the government. The quote here is “What’s worse is that we won’t see it coming, because the FCC’s power will creep in incrementally, on a case-by-case basis — a death by a thousand cuts“. Why is the FCC even bothering with this? Regarding the extent of what I saw as it applies to the US, this is becoming an increasing case of ‘Unjust Enrichment‘. Yet, the legal scope is not entirely ready to deal with this from an internet point of view. The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled in Schroeder v. Buchholz, 2001 ND 36, 622 N.W.2d 202 that five elements must be established to prove unjust enrichment.

They were:

  • An enrichment (Telco’s making excessive profits)
  • An impoverishment (Consumers are charged above their affordable income).
  • A connection between enrichment and the impoverishment
  • Absence of a justification for the enrichment and impoverishment
  • An absence of a remedy provided by the law (clearly in absentia)

It will be hard to prove this part, you see, it is not just about enrichment and impoverishment. The internet world is moving population classes into the haves and the have not, which is a different standard, yet the foundation might apply in finding the remedy for internet pricing, especially when we realise that one in 10 that would end up spending a little over 10% of income to allow for internet (based on the Chicago example), is this an excessive cost? That would be for a court to decide and that decision would not be the same state by state. Yet as that becomes a solution, the Net Neutrality need would diminish.

In the end, I am not convinced that the issues are about ‘neutrality‘, but it is about current technology and about fairness and affordability of the internet, especially when we consider that every child today needs to learn to proper use the internet from a young age, only to keep even with the other players, once the US falls deeper into the pay to play trench, we will see the growth of additional classes of segregation, those who are technically viable users and those who are not. That last one must be avoided at all costs, an issue Net Neutrality as I personally see it will not answer.


Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, IT, Law, Politics, Science

That joke called the First Amendment

Well, the quick way is to wait on a bridge, but the reality of that approach is likely to be less successful! This all starts with an article in the LA Times today (at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-james-woods-twitter-lawsuit-20150730-htmlstory.html). The object of trolling is James Wood, the actor. He has had many successes and in most of those moves he plays the badass opponent you don’t want to cross, not even when you have the Rock at your side. I had to take a little look at what I first saw that included him. Raid on Entebbe was the first movie, yet I did not realise it at that moment as it was a ‘Charles Bronson movie’ (the mind of a teenager tends to be super focussed). So James as the Captain with the glasses was not the focus of the viewer (me). I started to watch movies because James Woods was in them around the time ‘Best Seller’ was released. He had already drawn attention through Videodrome, Against all odds and Cat’s Eye. All this matters, because the way we perceive an actor (especially outside of America) is when we watch his work, not the gossip page, not some glossy magazine where dubious statements drenched in non-liability grammar. It is possible that the generation after me will form an opinion of him from his starring role as Hades in Hercules (you get the concept). So did he have issues? I am pretty sure that he has issues, which does not mean he dove into the narcotics, which several actors from the 80’s did. The fact that glossy magazines got away accusing people of murder ‘due to unnamed sources’ adds to the stress here. But what is the case? Actor James Woods filed a $10-million lawsuit this week against an anonymous Twitter user, alleging defamation and invasion of privacy. In my view there are two options, either that person is an American, or not. If not it basically becomes an FBI case (I will get back to this). Leila Knox, an attorney with the San Rafael-based First Amendment Coalition gives us some of the goods. As she states “You have to go straight after the individual”. Which is all fine and good, yet since its official adoption of December 15th 1791, the text: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances“, has become a bit of a joke. There is no doubt in my mind that the originators had the best intentions in mind, yet for no less than 30 years the 1st amendment can be regarded as an international joke. (I will get back to this too). The next part in the article is “The next step is to subpoena the ISP, which must alert the user that he or she is being sued and that there is a request for the user’s identity to be revealed“, not just that, but the ISP can actually start a case of defence for the troll and file for quashing the subpoena. Mark Lemley, director of Stanford Law School gives us in addition the following: ““The hardest part is proving that the statements were made with bad intent” and were not accidental, said Lemley, who spoke in general and not in reference to the Woods case. “It also depends on how careful the poster has been to cover their tracks.”” in this we see the first issue and as to answering this, I will also get back on the two previous points. You see, I am all for ‘freedom of speech’, yet in that light, this freedom also needs to show a form of accountability. When we see that there is a need ‘to cover their tracks’, whilst there is supposedly freedom of speech, you know that something is wrong. So the fact becomes, should the ISP be allowed to act in the way it can? I agree that to some extent it should be protective, but when a person is hiding behind anonymity so that this person can lash out, I have to see the situation that the victim of this lashing has a right to face his/her accuser. Is that not a direct right too? In the second, when we consider the 1st amendment in another way we get the following: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances“, let’s take this one step at a time. ‘Or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press‘ I believe in the spirit of this, but are we not allowed to know the speaker? You see in those days, freedom of speech was done in writing or in words. In words meant that the person did this in view of others. That means that this person was a known person, even if that person was a stranger and was viewed for speaking his/her mind. The aggrieved person could face the speaker and defend the presentation. When in writing it was harder but overall we would know who spoke, because the true speaker would sign their view, if this person did not, than it was either a question the writer would ask people to answer for themselves or it could be rejected all together. The press has become an even more debatable joke. The Daily Mail for example with “source close to the family” (MH370 disaster), this is not the only case, what is also important is that we saw an issue in 2014 the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) decided to investigate a case whilst using only 1 of 83 plaintiffs. These are UK cases, and they are aligned to this issue. You see, when we look at The Atlantic, we see an issue in the article ‘Why Newspapers Often Don’t Call Out Politicians for Lying’, it states that it is a complicated controversy, which on the surface it is not. You see a statement is either true or false. Now, we must allow for a view that is regarded as ‘the eye of the beholder’, which is fair enough. A Republican will see matters differently from a Democrat and if that person explains his/her view that should not matter and the truth is still told. So the issue now becomes is it the truth or is it flaccid? That issue comes to mind when we consider the quote “diminish their perceived objectivity, especially among unsophisticated news consumers“, from there we get ‘there is no truth, there is just a flaccid context because the reader could be regarded as stupid’, that would make you feel loads better wouldn’t it? So we now have a little bit of an issue, in one part the press needs to get a lot more leeway, so that it can bearing a point of view across, which is still informing the public, yet, we cannot allow for the press to continue to the extent it had for too long a time. In all this the 1st amendment is as I regard it a joke in today’s society, yet altering it is equally dangerous, because I believe in an accounted freedom of speech. In that view, the anonymous person is not a person perse, this person is a mere fabrication of nothing. Now, this is a dangerous statement from my side and I realise that. There is a clear need for anonymity, especially as there is a need to truly protect a person from prosecution, but such a person does not go out and states “James Woods is a cocaine addict”, which more than malicious. You see, as we regard a person with issues on alcohol and narcotics, the view of him is altered. In his case it will affect his ability to gain jobs. In a world where he relies on public opinion (even more than a politician), there is the need to make sure that people cannot make claims against others unless they can back this up. As far as I have been able to tell, James Woods has never been in court for any criminal transgression, and he seems to keep a decently healthy lifestyle, the fact that he has been in two relationships with women 40 years younger than him seems to vouch for that part. In all this I still have a partial issue with the quote by Leila Knox. She speaks the truth, but is she correct? The quote “One has the right to go out and speak and not be identified”, is truthful, but was it speaking? Basically James Woods fell under psychic assault, moreover, the assault can be regarded as intentional malicious assault. It is malicious as there is no evidence and no publications that James Woods has been addicted to drugs. the fact that this could be the statement of a person who does not know James Woods, making the claim malicious, an intentional act to do harm, at which point the victim (James Woods) has every right to face his accuser (Abe List), so now we get to the point how to solve this. Now for the case, there is little chance of James Woods to get a decent chance of confronting his attacker. The law seems too flaccid to do anything and in defence of the FBI, if they have to track down every defamation case they will never get to do the things they need to actually get done. You see, I am over some of these trolls, as we see how they just attack for the mere fun of it. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some anonymous hackers group that could give aid to these victims, a group that would retweet the accusation, but now with the added identity and address of that person, would that not be great? An approach that is enlightening and dangerous at the same time, because at times there are people who must be able to rely on anonymity, those people who do not attack, but speak out for their own hardship, they need protection, I do not deny it, making the first amendment a dangerous thing, because the more it protects the oppressors, the less it regards the victims, which was never the intent of the first amendment. So has the first amendment truly become a joke? The fact that people hide behind it whilst the location of the transgressor (read troll) is not a given is one side to this statement, the fact that the press can insinuate with impunity for mere profit is another part. Twitter seems to do whatever it can, to remain the ‘innocent disseminator’. When we look at this we legally get “The defence of innocent dissemination is intended to protect people such as newsagents, booksellers, librarians and internet service providers (ISP) who unwittingly publish defamatory matter without negligence on their part“, which is Australian Law, but the US has something very similar. And in all this, Twitter for the most has left interactions to almost zero, which gives strength to their ‘innocent dissemination’ even though the Troll has been removed, it is relatively easy to create a new profile, so that the troll can strike again. I think that on a case to case basis Twitter needs to re-evaluate its choices. It is not impossible that Twitter becomes another reddit through the bashing by trolls, which means that Twitter people will seek another venue at some point. For now Twitter is highly accepted in the business community. If that changes and trolls take over, the loss of accounts could spell long term hardship for Twitter, taking into account how quickly social media evolves, hanging onto the community as they have, Twitter did a fine choice in remaining the innocent disseminator. Yet the future is slightly altered. I personally believe that losing thousands of accounts due to a few trolls is a bad choice, not intensely protecting them would also send a stronger message to the people at large. So when in the speculated scenario where the people in a street learn that someone’s 15 year old kid has been trolling the hell out of some could be a revelation, especially for the troll. If a troll is nothing more than a cyber-bully, why do we give them protection? Aren’t we supposed to be united against bullies?

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Politics