Tag Archives: Westminster

Hammering Facebook

The Guardian has another story, which was updated a mere 6 hours ago. To be honest, I am a little ticked off. I get that the Guardian is giving us this and it makes perfect sense, it is news. Yet when I see ‘Fake news inquiry: Facebook questioned by MPs from around the world – as it happened‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/live/2018/nov/27/fake-news-inquiry-facebook-to-face-mps-from-around-the-world-mark-zuckerberg-live-updates), whilst in the same setting we see newspapers ‘hiding’ behind ‘from an unnamed source’, when we get blasted by well over 64 million results in Google Search on the death of a journalist that close to nobody gives a hoot about, the entire ‘fake news‘ seems to be nothing more than a targeted sham to me. Not the element of fake news, I get that, but some of the players are a little too hypocrite to my liking.

So let’s take a look at a few of these issues we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/27/facebook-fake-news-inquiry-the-countries-demanding-answers).

Ireland: “The Irish government is reviewing proposed legislation to promote online safety amid an outcry that tech companies are unable or unwilling to tackle harmful content. The move jars with Dublin’s normally effusive support for tech companies with an Irish base. Facebook has its European headquarters in Dublin and falls under the remit of Irish data protection authorities“. The first thing to do is look at the definition. The European commission gives us: “Harmful content, is authorized material subject to distribution restrictions (adults only, for example) or material which some users may find offensive even if, on the grounds of freedom of speech, there are no restrictions on publication.” First of all, the Pornhub site is freely available to every man, woman and child. In addition there is a porn version of YouTube that is also freely available, from that we can see that Ireland has a lot of other worries and these two are not available through Facebook. When we look at Ireland we see a nation that given in to big business through tax laws at the drop of any hat and they have harmful content issues? In addition the Times gave us on November 6th: “Google and Facebook will call on the government today to define exactly what kind of content a proposed digital safety commissioner would have the power to remove online.” It becomes a lot more entertaining when we see in Fine Gael last week: “Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton will travel to Westminster next Tuesday (November 27th) for a meeting of the International Grand Committee on Communications”, as well as ““Social media companies cannot hide from the genuine concerns of national parliaments from around the globe, it is imperative they engage with us in a meaningful way. “This document sets out a blueprint for how that can be done.” It is entertaining as she seemingly has a document whilst this entire setting has been going on for years (even before Cambridge Analytics). That entire meeting is in my personal opinion as hollow as it sounds. All trying to look important, yet where is that so called document from Hildegarde Naughton? It does not seem to be on the HN site (at http://www.hildegarde.ie), so where is it? When we are told: ‘This document builds upon the work done by the Oireachtas Communications Committee‘, we should be able to read and scrutinise it. You see, the Irish Law Reform Commission has a 2016 document (at https://www.lawreform.ie/_fileupload/Reports/Full%20Colour%20Cover%20Report%20on%20Harmful%20Communications%20and%20Digital%20Safety.pdf), it is merely that or a continuance of that? And this document is important, especially on page 165 where we see: “The definition of “communication” implements the recommendation in paragraph 2.53 that the proposed legislation on harmful communications should apply to all forms of communication, whether offline or online, analogue or digital, and therefore the definition includes communication by speech, by letter, by camera, by telephone (including SMS text message), by smart phone, by any digital or online communication (including the internet, a search engine, a social media platform, a social media site or the world wide web), or by any other telecommunications system.

This now implies that art is now no longer merely in the eyes of the beholder, basically if any art is regarded as harmful content, is comes under scrutiny (read: censoring) A massive part from Facebook is relying on art to propagate via digital medium, digital art is still in its infancy and it seems that this offends Ireland in the broader view it has, it is in that view that my message to Hildegarde Naughton is seen (at https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/priest-who-sexually-assaulted-girl-6-during-first-confession-avoids-jail-due-to-old-age-and-health-problems-36840577.html). When we contemplate that when you have health issues and you are old, it seems fine to rape a six year old. It is all in the nuance, is it not? So, what will you do when you consider this Grigor Malinov painting to be harmful content? Add a Jade Swim bikini with a brush and a fashionable colour? In light of what certain people get away with, the entire harmful content is not a joke, yet hammer Facebook with it, whilst there are other players openly in the field is too weird as I personally see it.

Then we get a Turkish advertisement variant with ‘MPs do not intend to publish Six4Three documents today, Collins says‘, either you have the documents and you inform the public, or you go home and polish your silverware! You scream fake news and leave the audience in innuendo and what I personally perceive as intentional miscommunication, and haven’t we seen enough of that?

Blame Canada

I can’t resist, whenever I see a Canadian flag, a Canuck or anything Canadian I think of that South Park song. It’s nothing negative, I think that Canada is awesome in hockey, it seems to have great people (several attended UTS with me) and it seems to have a healthy life. I’d take a job in Canada any day if possible (as well as the opportunity to watch Hockey almost every night), I might even be good enough to be a goalie for one of their NHL teams, even though I am nowhere near Martin Jones as a goalie (I merely wish I was). So Canada gives us: ‘Facebook inflated video viewing times for two years‘, I actually see an issue here, the Guardian gives us “only counting views lasting more than 3 seconds, the time a video must be seen to count as a view“, yet with YouTube the skip moment is 5 seconds an now as some people get 100% more ads with many of them not with the option to be skipped we see a shifted trend. This might be YouTube, yet there is no chance that this does not affect Facebook, giving rise that Canada has as optional a valid issue. Richard Allan (Facebook) gives us: ““it depends on the problem we’re trying to solve”“, something that might be valid, yet in the question by Charlie Angus we see: “Facebook has inflated video metrics, overstated for two years. “I would consider that corporate fraud, on a massive scale,” he says, “and the best fix is anti-trust. The simplest form of regulation would be to break facebook up, or treat it as a utility, so that we can all be sure that we’re counting metrics that are accurate or true.” I see his failure as a setting as there is a large intertwined part of Facebook, Vines, YouTube and a few other medium adding fuel to the video metrics, no matter if all hosted on Facebook. You would have to set the stage for all and to merely have Facebook here is a faulty stage, we get pushed into an assumption pool of no facts and biased metrics making matters merely worse. I feel certain that Charlie Angus should have and probably did know this making the issue a tainted one on more than one level.

Finally, let’s go out with a bang and add Latvia to the stage. When we get Latvia’s Inese Lībiņa-Egnere, we get the question: “how Facebook can help countries like Latvia, that face specific threats from Russia“. It took me around three minutes to stop laughing, I should be serious, but I cannot hold my straight face. You see, that is not the job of Facebook. I will go one step further, by stating: “Dear Inese, have you considered adding digital responsibility to both the Drošības policija and the Militārās izlūkošanas un drošības dienests?” There is an unconfirmed rumour that one of your routers is still set to ‘Passw0rd‘ and another one to ‘Cisco123‘, can you please confirm that? In light of the fact that ‘https://www.zs.mil.lv/lv/kontakti‘ directly links to Facebook pages, one might see how the Latvian military (as well as Latvian intelligence) could get phished in several ways, especially when there is the chance that some alleged under dressed biker chick would have been looking for ‘adventurous officers’. It gets to be even more fun when that alleged woman look a lot like a vogue model. You should introduce them to: (https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/fake-facebook-scams/), to have Common Cyber Sense is a government’s responsibility. Getting Facebook to do free consultancy via a hearing is just not Cricket.

I will end this with Brazil, I really liked his question: ‘He asks what Facebook is doing to prevent improper manipulation of its algorithms to prevent illegal manipulation of elections‘. It is a good and important question. I think the newspapers, especially the tech columns should spend space on this and let Facebook show them what is being done, what the impact is, how those metrics were generated and how its validity was checked. I think that the problem is a lot larger than we imagine. I would set a line towards American soft money. It has never been regulated and it still is not. We talk about fake news and political influence, whilst soft money is doing that in the US from the day after a president is elected all the way up to the next presidential election (or the senate, or congress). It is basically shouting at one, whilst the other element is ignored. The difference is that digital campaigns give anyone all the soft money they need, taking the rich out of the equation, the fact that I have not seen anything towards these lines gives a larger implied weight on all media. All those newspapers with ‘from an unnamed source‘ and that is where the blockage begins. There is a setting that it is not the ability or Russia, but the failing of others not correctly countering digital media that is the problem and that was never a Facebook problem, it merely shows the incompetence of others and in an age of advanced nepotism it is a much harder pill to swallow.

In all this, I never claimed that Facebook is innocent, merely that there is a lack of the proper questions making it to the table and even as a few nations were addressed, the issue is a lot larger and needs addressing, preferably before the 5G tap opens which allows the digital media providers to deliver 500% more than it is delivering now.

I wonder how many players have considered the impact of that game changer.

 

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Where the Wild Geese go!

It is so nice to read about how the EU migration is a fact that is here to stay. The subtitle containing ‘56% support in Britain for remaining in union‘ gives a pause for thought, yet what pause should there be and who should be pausing (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/23/juncker-tells-cameron-cant-destroy-eu-migration-rules)?

Party 1, Jean-Claude Juncker on free movement of people and how this is not to be destroyed! Well, Mr Junker, that sounds like a nice option, but when the population of Poland, Bulgaria and Romania moves into the UK, the UK ends up having a massive problem, which is what it boils down to. When we see “three million people from Bulgaria and Romania living in other European Union member states“, we do have an issue to deal with. Then we see the quote “more than 60 MPs are backing a campaign to extend the restrictions for a further five years, saying the British economy has not sufficiently recovered from the 2008 recession to cope with the change and that it will put pressure on public services and reduce job opportunities for British workers” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-25549715), these two facts seem to be ignored by many parties. We see some papers on the let them in side and some opposing that view, yet none of them give us a clear number of who is coming from where and how many from all over are arriving in the UK. Let’s not forget that London is still the place to be (I know, because I still miss it). What the Guardian article only casually reports is the fact that the 56% comes from an Ipsos Mori poll. Now for the good stuff, this comes from 1002 respondents, whilst the UK counts 64 million. So which person signed off on that little part? Perhaps some should consider that anything like this requires a few thousand responses, like, more then at least 5000, not 1002!

Party 2, Alisdair McIntosh, director of Business for New Europe. Many seem to see the benefit of staying within the EU, well nobody is debating that, but you see, Mr McIntosh is speaking for ‘his’ lobby and those people need a level of non-accountability, people in movement are in many ways interesting for exploitation, this has been seen in the Netherlands where immigrants hoping for a new future, willing to work hard are exploited in most inhumane ways. In addition there are also the views on how the influx of immigrants also came with a large influx of smaller crimes (theft and pick-pocketing). The good and the bad is a given fact, yet business is above such accountability, not stating that they are accountable! So yes, Alisdair McIntosh likes the borders to remain open.

Party 3, José Manuel Barroso stated “What I can tell you is that any kind of arbitrary cap seems to be not in conformity with Europeans laws. For us it is very important – the principle of non-discrimination“, but is that really correct? (at http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/oct/19/jose-manuel-barroso-david-cameron-eu-migration), “the number of Portuguese looking to settle in Britain was up by almost ten thousand people last year, climbing to 30,120 official arrivals who were recorded at British national insurance offices“, which comes form http://theportugalnews.com/news/portuguese-workers-flood-britain/30837. So as we see, the Portuguese unemployment rates are going down, but how many from leaving Portugal and where else are they going to? So, we see that José Manuel Barroso has two hats on, one is still all about Portugal, which we cannot fault him for, but the information is unclear as many ‘hide’ behind percentages, when we see the mentioning of numbers the face changes, like 560 Britons willing to stay in the EU, but what do the other 63,999,440 want? You see, 1002 weighted is in no way a real usable number, not when it is compared to the size of a nation.

These clear thoughts give us two dangers

  1. What is ACTUALLY the best for the United Kingdom?
  2. These simple realities only enable the growth of UKIP (which is not really good for the UK).

Some numbers consider the NHS the most important issue, yet consider what the influx does to an already stumbling NHS, when this falls over, there will not be any support remaining, with all the consequences of those trying to stay healthy when the doctor is not available and those who need help will only get it for a fee, which gives us a clear view on the dangers for the future. David Cameron needs to stop the massive influx that the current infrastructure is less and less able to deal with.

A weakness that gets pressed forward by the UKIP engine, which seems to be driving the people in an incorrect direction. In the end, I feel that there is no way that UKIP is a force for good, but the other parties have been stumbling all over the field trying to statistically trivialise and ignore the issues as reports are posted left right and centre. I truly hope that Scotland was not an empty lesson for the parties at large.

If we are not careful about the game some play and many observe, we will see that soon after the stumbling becomes irrecoverable we will see the people leave for other shores, then what will happen? Because when the system collapses we will soon see that the ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ was not just an imagination, consider the cost of living in India and what will happen when a million retirees take their money and move to sunny shores with living expenses at 18% of what it is now. So, what else are some ignoring? Let’s not forget that these people will also cause the brain drain that will hamper growth down the track. Those who ‘rely’ on cheap youthful labour will soon learn that there is a downside to that. In addition, a million retirees spending THEIR money out of the UK is also a coffer drain the treasurer has not fully considered, or the consequence of such a shift.

Well, personally I see an issue that some seem to ignore, but it is the most dangerous one that many face. You see, several politicians, especially in the labour side, will get these scientists to make economic predictions, after which the analysts will get a go to agree with. Yet, all is not clear here, the politician (the absolute worst of referees) will decide, what information the two parties will receive and as such we get skewed results, moreover, there will not be an open debate and we see reusing of certain ‘weighted’ metrics, which will make too many people walk too close to the edge and as such the damage will be done and the politician will start to emotionally scream and hover BEHIND the ‘miscommunication’ sign. The approach of ‘if the result does not fit, change the initial question‘. There is only one problem, the damage will be lasting and debilitating and whilst Mr Politician has a nice dry income with zero risk to him/her self.

All this comes to fruition when we take a look at the NHS issues. You only have to look at the BBC News and look for NHS articles on the site and you are treated to a myriad of voices all with their own street in the passing of the voice. If we go back to 2013, whether it is just NHS, code 111 or GP, there are all kinds of thoughts, each with their own percentage of validity, but in what regard?

When we look at the Article by Hugh Pym, where he talks about punch packing documents (at http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29731646), we see the following: “He is signalling a big shift in the way the NHS in England is managed and organised, in some ways the most radical since the service was born in 1948“, “There should, in his view, be no more top-down reorganisations, but instead the development of new models to suit local needs” and “For Westminster and the political parties, there is one key message – you have to find more money. Blanket demands for cash at a time of government austerity were never going to cut much ice. But Mr Stevens, with the support of the health regulator Monitor, has done some careful financial modelling“.

Of course it is about the money as the NHS costs more than just two bundles of cash, but when we consider terms like ‘careful financial monitoring‘ and ‘no more top-down reorganisations‘ we see a jump in the width with a financial picture that is nowhere close to be estimated. In addition, if we regard my article ‘Concerning the Commonwealth!‘ on June 19th 2014, where we see several options, take especially my quote ‘the Labour IT systems of the NHS have proven that ten billion pound invoice, and yet doing nothing is another non-option‘ to heart! So as we change an NHS model, how much more will it cost and how is IT not ready to deal with that part?

Yet, is Simon Stevens wrong? No! In the foundations of it all he is correct, the NHS needs a massive overhaul, but here we see that part of the politician, the economist and the analyst. It takes but a whiff of ‘miscommunication’ and the UK is down a few more billion, whilst it is dealing with 1000 billion pound overdraft. So, here we see the reason to change the NHS, but not in drastic ways, yet in ways where we see the successful dealings with basic errors which will cost the NHS hundreds of millions a year. the expression ‘he that cannot keep a penny shall never have many‘, comes to mind, we need to make massive changes, but we need to close holes too, If we can save first, we get change to implement iterated evolution, one that does not cost the taxpayer. The problem for Simon Stevens is that this is not sexy and that is not good for (his) image. This is why I have been in favour of a stronger evolution involving Indian generic medicines, it will not help GlaxoSmithKline and its 14 members of the board, but it will make a massive impact on the 12 billion pound bill the NHS is getting and the kickback that is called quality of life for tens of millions of patients. We can never get around loads of medications, but if we get a cheaper generic option for an increasing number of them, the NHS might end up with a much lower bill, yet that part is often not shown in clarity, I wonder why?

 

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View to the North

It is again the guardian that calls my attention to events happening (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/22/independent-scotland-startup-costs-200million). It is important to know that I have nothing against Scotland becoming independent. I think that the timing is not great as we are in a massive economic downturn, but the Scots will correctly ask when would be the right moment? Anyway, as this independence is becoming more and more of a reality, we all need to look at what happens after.

The Scots have a few advantages. As the Scots seem to be members of a conservative party with its motto “Let’s not trust a computer farther then we can throw it“, we are set with the positive part that not trusting computers is not at all bad (Yes, as an IT person I am stating this). The downside is that the average Scot can throw a log really far, so tossing a computer might not be such a challenge after all. The issue is in the headline of the article. “Independent Scotland’s start-up costs ‘could be as little as £200m’” and “Leading academic says that could cover duplicating core Westminster functions, but millions would be needed to build necessary IT systems“. I have an issue here. There is an underestimation of requirements here. Yes, overall the costs might seem low, but when Scotland realises that the costs go beyond initial costs and they get to deal with infrastructures, at this point the costs will not be contained that easily.

Why do I care?

Caring is not the best word here. I think that in this case it is more that I like to see goals succeed, even if I do not completely agree with them. Only a real loser is trying to do what they can to make others fail, making others fail is fair when you are at war and we are not at war with the Scots, or with Scotland. The fact that about 3-4 generations ago, my family was from Perthshire (as far as I could tell) does not work in either direction either.

The other quote is “the final tally would be decided in a ‘poker game’ of post-referendum negotiations, according to the leading economics professor who last month criticised the UK government for inflating his figures on the subject“. Since when would anyone decide certain matters in a poker game, is also beyond me. Becoming independent is either tactical or on principle and one should not gamble on the Achilles heel that the people could create in this manner. In that same matter I am not sure if I can agree with the setting that this professor sets. The reference is towards Professor Patrick Dunleavy at the London School of Economics. A person who very likely knows more than 10 times more about economics then I ever will, even if I started to study economics full time at this point.

As stated, I have issues. Scotland will need an infrastructure, services and other matters. Several Scotland, as part of the UK already has and I think they should just be given them, yet Scotland will now need a proper economical system and set up. A national bank, a defence structure and these things all cost money, often a lot more than most imagine. There is however the ‘other’ side. The quote “In May, the Treasury published a detailed analysis of the financial risks of independence which claimed that a previous report by Dunleavy put Scotland’s start-up costs as high as £2.5bn” feels equally overstated. In my view the truth is in the middle and leaning to the cheaper side. In my untrained mind the costs are well over 500 million, but remain steadily under 700 million. This all makes me wonder why the numbers of the treasury are so far off as well (remember, me is a non-economic).

It is this quote that gives a few insides into the views that are shaping within me “In a leaked Scottish cabinet memo, the finance secretary, John Swinney, estimated the costs of a new Scottish tax authority alone at £650m. The Institute of Chartered Accounts Scotland had put those costs at £750m, while other experts suggested a new welfare system would cost £560m“. Is this about independence, or is this about certain people getting ‘their’ greedy fingers in the Haggis called ‘the Scottish economy‘. This is the part I do partially get. We all seem to forget that Scotland represents an economic power in the books of someone, when that falls away into independence, some people will not feel too comfortable and they are all looking for keeping themselves involved.

My question becomes, what can be done and does not cost?

In the age of computers and millisecond decision, I at this time remember my old dentist. He was a Dutch dentist called ‘van Charante’. In the age of computers, this man had the most advanced filing system I ever saw. He had used folders and colour indicators that opening his drawer showed a multidimensional top line table in colours. He saw in seconds something half a dozen tables produced in any analytical system would not tell him in 5-10 minutes. I had heard some IT wannabe’s wanted to convert him. I do not think anyone ever succeeded there. Perhaps that is the direction Scotland should face. It might not be done within the 200 million imagined, but perhaps they could steer well clear of the 2.5 billion someone speculated.

What if the Scottish system reverted to the old systems, not just becoming one Scotland, but in many cases reverting to the 33 counties? Thirty-three areas of ‘almost’ self-management, with a few exceptions, like one police system. They would get a buddy system where the area does what it needs to do and the neighbours come to aid when needed (emergency services). In that case Orkney and Shetland would feel a little isolated, but that might be business as usual for them. The question will remain how to IT some of this, but a system consisting of 33 self-regulating satellites are likely to be more effective, then systems like taxation, healthcare and welfare trying to become three Scottish national systems. If my train of thoughts are correct, then once this is approach is solved, the Scottish system could be an actual WORKING template to fix the failed IT NHS system that has currently costed the UK 10 billion and counting and still not working that well.

Yes, in all this I left out Scottish defence. By the way, has anyone seen what they do with logs and hammers? You really want to run up their hills whilst they smile at you and throw you a gauntlet or two? I for one ain’t that stupid to begin with, but that might be just me.

A final quote from the Guardian is “The debate with Darling, which broadcasters say privately has been tacitly agreed for some time, is now expected to take place sometime after the Commonwealth Games, which end on 3 August. It would potentially be a defining moment of the campaign“, no matter what will be discussed on that day, the truth remains that with two approaches being so far apart, both sides have unresolved issues, without a proper light on both sides these talks will not be the marker of any beginning independence, it could end up being an acceptance on how far views leading to independence are still apart.

So, is my view the correct one? I honestly cannot tell, but I am in all honesty looking for solutions, like any puzzle, an independence remains a logistical conundrum with plenty of loose ends, solving the puzzle is at times the best challenge that can be faced. Getting others to see the puzzle the way I did is the next challenge and implementing that puzzle is another challenge still. Three links in a chain that leads to a solution. Micromanaging these events like the BBC did with their 5 questions (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26836126) seems a little too trivial an approach. Yes, these questions will need a solution and it will be up to Scotland to find them. I reckon the views we seen in regards to the disagreements between Theresa May, the current Home secretary and the European Court of Human Rights shows that the UK has its own puzzles to figure out and they have been at it a lot longer than Scotland.

May we all be one Commonwealth, supporting each other, fighting for each other and at times disagreeing with one another, especially when Scotland is playing England, at that time the disagreements must be loud, jolly and with a few better Scottish players on the Rugby field.

Go Wallabies! 😉

 

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