People make the weirdest claims

Facebook’s controversial encryption plans ‘won’t give users real privacy’, MPs have been told as they were warned it will ‘cripple’ child abuse blocking software.

A leading expert has said the company’s proposals to encrypt its Messenger service will still hand it a ‘trove of information’ on users.

The comments come as Facebook has justified its contentious plans, which mean even it won’t be able to see what its users are uploading to the platform, on the grounds it will enhance people’s privacy.

The social media giant is facing mounting criticism over encryption plans that will make it harder to detect terrorist activity and child abuse material,

So the authorities won’t be able to track your blow stuff up and kiddie fiddling ways. And yet this is not an increase in privacy?

Sure, it may not be the type of privacy we’re delighted in on national security grounds but it is privacy. For it is important to ask, well, privacy from whom?

From a PR email

Many people dream of having a consistent, lucrative passive income. I mean, who doesn’t want a little more money, right? Cash back apps, coupons, credit card rewards, these all offer a little bit of $$$, but times are changing. Monetizing your personal data could well become the most lucrative source of passive income for people.

XXX is on a mission to help people take back control of their data while making money from it.

It isn’t going to work, is it?

Two reasons.

1) The data’s not worth much. A few dollars per month per person. Because that’s the revenue that Fbook and Google get, a few dollars per month per person.

2) The individual data is worth even less than this. Because it’s the database that’s worth money. Therefore considerable amounts of the revenue flow to the people who collate, not the owners of each individual datum.

I like this as a piece of policy analysis

Let’s talk about social media functionality and how its current, virulently diseased business model might be amputated.

It’s simply implicit that social media can do good work if cut free of the abusive, predatory, American firms who use it as the lure for an adtech economy unmoored from real value or social purpose.

Social media as currently construed is terrible in truly nonlinear ways, acting as both metaphor and amplifier for the worst of late capitalism.

Just as TMFTF doesn’t have much to say about how hard-right, populist authoritarianism is deliberately wrecking intra-national capacity for the regional and global coordination needed to address climate crisis, it doesn’t seem to get how the vicious circle of hard right plus social media is hollowing out the capacity of states to fulfil the social contract that makes democracy possible.

That’s why we need to destroy Big Tech, not just because doing so might provide an (anti)-business model for emergent forms of technology-amplified cooperation. US social media companies’ business model is directly preventing people from understanding the climate crisis, and from forming the coalitions needed to work on it. It’s destroying the necessary structures of feeling and political institutions we need to get civilization through the eye of the needle that is this century. That is the problem statement. Understanding what we’re up against provides the necessary urgency and will to act radically to destroy how we currently ‘Internet’.

I know tech policy pretty well,
This work is urgent. Tech policy, like everything else, needs to serve and enable our direct responses to climate crisis. Time and again, the toxic predation of winner-takes-all monopolies, founded and run by tech bros, enable, amplify and are fundamentally conjoined with individual acts of male predation and abuse. Code is law, and that code is misogyny. We won’t get the non-patriarchal responses that TMFTF rightly describes as essential, if we permit another decade of violent regression on gender. All the people that would have the ideas, develop the projects and form the networks that our species needs are being driven out, now. We don’t have decades more of human potential to burn.

Umm, yeah.


Sorry, but social media is more damaging than TV – whatever the research may say
Lax regulation of social platforms has allowed many to become a digital Wild West of racism, sexual harassment, and pornography

So, human beings aren’t quite as polite as some thought. And?

This isn’t the platforms at fault, it’s the folks.

They’re going to jail

So devastating that the database was subpoenaed by a grand jury digging into fraud claims against Holmes and Balwani. But when investigators turned to take a copy of the database, guess what?

From the filing: “On or about August 31, 2018 – three months after a federal grand jury issued a subpoena requesting a working copy of this database – the LIS was destroyed. The government has never been provided with the complete records contained in the LIS, nor been given the tools, which were available within the database, to search for such critical evidence as all Theranos blood tests with validation errors. The data disappeared.”

Definitely, jail.

This Google Black Scientist Outrage!

Dr. Gebru is a pathbreaking scientist doing some of the most important work to ensure just and accountable AI and to create a welcoming and diverse AI research field.

I dunno really. It’s a commercial company. You know, profit matters. Perhaps working on how to make AI work would be more useful?

BTW, her earlier work on how facial recognition systems near entirely fail with black female faces – a couple of commercial systems had failure rates of 45% and the like on even guessing gender – is exactly that. Research that leads to making AI work better. Because going and telling the engineers “This is pretty shit performance, ya’ know?” is indeed making it work better.

Fighting to make it all just and welcoming isn’t quite the same thing.

So who knows who is running this Plod scheme?

Members of the public will soon be able to directly upload to the police – for the first time – doorbell video footage of crimes, according to police chiefs.

Olivia Pinkney, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for local policing, said forces were aiming to have a standard online platform by next year that would allow crime victims to submit video when they reported an incident.

The move aims to capitalise on the explosion in video technology ranging from door bell cameras and dash cams in cars to CCTV and mobile phone images to enable the public to report crimes from thefts and burglaries to dangerous driving and anti-social behaviour.

Ms Pinkney said a pilot by her force with traffic offences drew 250 submissions from the public, of which a third resulted in police action.

It’s amazing what people on this blog know at times.

I’ve a piece of software lying around which would be a useful backbone for this system. Developed for the US military it was. The aim and idea being collection and monitoring of exactly this sort of input. It actually works right now too.

So, who should I go talk to?

Indeed, quite so John

And then there was the shift in judicial thinking about antitrust triggered in the late 1970s by the prominent legal thinker Robert Bork and promulgated by the economics and law faculties of the University of Chicago. The essence of this new philosophy was that the size and dominance of corporations were only a problem if they resulted in consumer harm, inevitably measured by prices. And if the products were “free” (Google, Facebook and Twitter, say), where was the consumer harm?

Guess which argument John Naughton doesn’t try to refute in his piece here?


Carissa Véliz is associate professor in philosophy at the Institute for Ethics in AI, a fellow at Hertford College, University of Oxford, and the author of Privacy Is Power (Bantam Press, 2020)

So, we know she’s going to say something stupid but what’s it going to be?

The United Kingdom is at a crossroads. On the verge of Brexit, it has to decide where it stands in relation to privacy: will it loosen data protection regulation, moving more towards China’s model, or will it guarantee its citizens’ right to privacy, moving more towards a Californian approach and securing a data adequacy agreement with the EU? It would be a mistake to choose the former.

The Irish data commissioner has just declared that the American system of data regulation is not compatible with the EU one…..

This cannot, possibly, be right

The complaint will focus on how Google has used its dominant position in online search to harm consumers and crush upstart rivals. It processes 90 per cent of global search requests

There are languages and countries that Google doesn’t operate in, aren’t there? Like China maybe?

About time to tell ’em to bugger off

“Elevating free expression is a good thing, but it should apply to everyone,” the report says. “The prioritisation of free expression over all other values, such as equality and non-discrimination, is deeply troubling to the auditors.”

Free expression is great, say the auditors of Facebook policies, except when the expressions freed disagree with us.

Interesting question

Do Google or Apple get to tell a democratically elected government or its public health institutions what they may or may not have on an app?

Answer: Yes.

That is, Apple and Google have worked together to produce an app to facilitate contact tracing. Here’s what it does. This is what you can do with it.

Want to do more? Do it differently? Then write your own app then matey.

In the long run, however, this poses a far more fundamental question: how much can the decisions of sovereign democratic countries be overruled by technology companies?

It’s all just code. Write your own.

How super

More than half of online grooming offences recorded under a law that made it illegal to send sexual messages to children were committed on Facebook-owned apps, figures reveal.

The data, obtained by the NSPCC under freedom of information laws, show 10,019 offences of sexual communication with a child were recorded since the legislation was introduced in April 2017.

And the percentage of all online communications carried out on Facebook owned services and apps is what?

Is Facebook doing better or worse than everyone else?

Oh, tee hee

Twitter’s anti-porn filters have blocked Dominic Cummings’ name despite Boris Johnson’s chief adviser dominating British political news for almost a week, the Guardian can reveal.

As a result of the filtering, trending topics over the past five days have instead included a variety of misspellings of his name, including #cummnings, #dominiccummigs and #sackcummimgs, as well as his first name on its own, the hashtag #sackdom, and the place names Durham, County Durham and Barnard Castle.

The filter also affects suggested hashtags, meaning users who tried to type #dominiccummings were instead presented with one of the misspelled variations to auto-complete, helping them trend instead.

This sort of accidental filtering has gained a name in computer science: the Scunthorpe problem, so-called because of the Lincolnshire town’s regular issues with such censorship.

Bizarrely, the shortened hashtag #cumgate has also trended, since the first word of the sentence is not included in Twitter’s filter list,

Might be a bit of time before AIs actually rule the world….

This isn’t cyberscamming

Instead of discovering information about Harry and Meghan’s charitable aims, they were diverted to a YouTube video for the song Gold Digger by the American rapper Kanye West.

The royal couple, it appeared, were the latest to fall victim to hackers known as “cybersquatters”, who, after learning about their plans, had quickly bought up the website www.archewellfoundation.com.

That’s a rather fun joke.

A source close to the Sussexes pointed out that the new Archewell venture is “not a foundation” and subsequently, will not be called the “Archewell Foundation”. They added that the couple could not buy “every formation” of possible websites. It means that the couple may have fallen victim to another scam that involves the registration of slightly different domain names that rely on people entering a typo or getting the website name slightly wrong.

Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at ESET, an internet security company, said: “A typical trait of cybercriminals

It’s not a scam nor a criminal activity. If you pretend to be the real thing then of course that’s passing off. But just picking up the traffic of people who mispsell something isn’t either a scam nor crime.

Aha, Aha, Ahhahahahahahahahaha

The Swiss government has ordered an inquiry into a global encryption company based in Zug following revelations it was owned and controlled for decades by US and German intelligence.

Encryption weaknesses added to products sold by Crypto AG allowed the CIA and its German counterpart, the BND, to eavesdrop on adversaries and allies alike while earning million of dollars from the sales, according the Washington Post and the German public broadcaster ZDF, based on the agencies’ internal histories of the intelligence operation.

“It was the intelligence coup of the century,” the CIA report concluded. “Foreign governments were paying good money to the US and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries.”

Gurgle, snort…….

Presumably this joke has already been made

France will go ahead with its controversial new tax on the profits of large technology firms such as Google and Facebook despite US threats to retaliate, as the government vows that it is just the start of a crucial rethink of the regulation of tech monopolies.

Cédric O, the French junior minister for digital affairs, told the Guardian that Emmanuel Macron’s drive to make companies including Amazon and Apple pay more and fairer tax would go ahead, despite US warnings that it could open up a new front in the international trade war.

The novel was about being submissive Cedric, not dominant. Still, we can still mutter something about cocksuckers when we’ve a junior French minister insisting the entire world must bow to his demands….

Need some advice about Macbook Pros

So, grandchild thinking that she must have a Macbook Pro.

There’s not the money around to buy something new.

So, how far back and lower performance can we go?

As far as I understand it she needs – she’s doing dance just to give the academic background – to be able to play videos that show new dance steps and so on. And to be able to tape her own and then upload them.

I’ve asked, no, she doesn’t need to be able to do whizzy graphics. It’s video reality, show them, watch videos of reality.

Now, my understanding of Apple sware is that if the OS will run then anything that runs on that OS will work. It’s not like Windows where things only work grudgingly if they’ve not got 10 GB of RAM to play in.

So, she’s an iPad and a iPhone, so she can record stuff. And so what is the entry level of Macbook Pro that goes with that? Amazon.co. uk has old (ie, 2012) boxes at £250. Then there’s a box with 1 TB hard drive, OS looks 2 steps behind today’s (Sierra maybe?). But only 4 GB RAM. Is that enough? Or is it necessary to step up to £500?

This might be wrong but my impression is that Apple’s boxes get whizzier screens, more fun keyboards etc, but the basic operating functions of video, record, play, haven’t changed much.

So, is this so?

Anyone actually know all of this?

Err, no Admiral

[2] Why does New Jersey have the most toxic waste dumps and California the most lawyers? California got first choice.

It’s because New Jersey got first choice.

Otherwise the piece is a very good explanation of olds*.

*Stuff that isn’t news via Sir Pterry.