Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Read more me_internet.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

google news logoFor its updated news application, Google is claiming it is using artificial intelligence as part of an effort to weed out disinformation and feed users with viewpoints beyond their own filter bubble.Google chief Sundar Pichai, who unveiled the updated Google News earlier this month, said the app now surfaces the news you care about from trusted sources while still giving you a full range of perspectives on events. It marks Google’s latest effort to be at the centre of online news and includes a new push to help publishers get paid subscribers through the tech giant’s platform.

In reality Google has just banned news from the likes of the Daily Mail whilst all the ‘trusted sources’ are just the likes of the politically correct papers such as the Guardian and Independent.

According to product chief Trystan Upstill, the news app uses the best of artificial intelligence to find the best of human intelligence – the great reporting done by journalists around the globe. While the app will enable users to get personalised news, it will also include top stories for all readers, aiming to break the so-called filter bubble of information designed to reinforce people’s biases.

Nicholas Diakopoulos, a Northwestern University professor specialising in computational and data journalism, said the impact of Google’s changes remain to be seen. Diakopoulos said algorithmic and personalised news can be positive for engagement but may only benefit a handful of news organisations.  His research found that Google concentrates its attention on a relatively small number of publishers, it’s quite concentrated. Google’s effort to identify and prioritise trusted news sources may also be problematic, according to Diakopoulos. Maybe it’s good for the big guys, or the (publishers) who have figured out how to game the algorithm, he said. But what about the local news sites, what about the new news sites that don’t have a long track record?

I tried it out and no matter how many times I asked it not to provide stories about the royal wedding and the cup final, it just served up more of the same. And indeed as Diakopoulos said, all it wants to do is push news stories from the politically correct papers, most notably the Guardian. I can’t see it proving very popular. I’d rather have an app that feeds me what I actually like, not what I should like.

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telegram logoA demonstration in Moscow against the Russian government’s effort to block the messaging app Telegram quickly morphed on Monday into a protest against President Vladimir Putin, with thousands of participants chanting against the Kremlin’s increasingly restrictive censorship regime.The key demand of the rally, with the hashtag #DigitalResistance, was that the Russian internet remain free from government censorship.

One speaker, Sergei Smirnov, editor in chief of Mediazona, an online news service , asked the crowd. Is he to blame for blocking Telegram?  The crowd responded with a resounding Yes!

Telegram is just the first step, Smirnov continued. If they block Telegram, it will be worse later. They will block everything. They want to block our future and the future of our children.

Russian authorities blocked Telegram after not being provided with decryption keys. The censors also briefly blocked thousands other websites sharing hosting facilities with Telegram in the hop of pressurising the hosts into taking down Telegram.

The censorship effort has provoked anger and frustration far beyond the habitual supporters of the political opposition, especially in the business sector, where the collateral damage continues to hurt the bottom line. There has been a flood of complaints on Twitter and elsewhere that the government broke the internet.

Read more meiwf.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

iwf 2017 The Internet Watch Foundation released its Annual Report covering 2017 on April 18, 2018 The The IWF searches for and removes online child sexual abuse imagery and the report shows that more of this disturbing material is being found than ever before.Whilst the IWF concentrates on its commendable work against child abuse images it does have a wider remit to censor adult content deemed to be criminally obscene, and also to censor cartoons and other non-photographic imagery sexually depicting under 18s.

However in this annual report the IWF has announced that it no longer has any remit over adult porn. It writes:

6.4 Wider remit work

5,439 reports of alleged criminally obscene adult content were made to us. Almost all were not hosted in the UK, so they were not in our remit.

3,471 reports of alleged non-photographic images of child sexual abuse were made to us. None of these images were hosted in the UK, so they were not within our remit.

One URL depicted criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK received from a public source.

On 1 August 2017, criminally obscene adult content hosted within the UK was removed from IWF’s remit.

Presumably that role now belongs to the new internet porn censors at the BBFC. Anyway it is surely good for the IWF to rid itself of that toxic task, so it can concentrate on its good work that is supported by more or less everyone.

Read more gcnews.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

rsph logoA survey commissioned by the Royal Society for Public Health has claimed that four in five people want social media firms to be regulated to ensure they do more to protect kids’ mental health. Presumably the questions were somewhat designed to favour the wished of the campaigners.Some 45% say the sites should be self-regulated with a code of conduct but 36% want rules enforced by Government.

The Royal Society for Public Health, which surveyed 2,000 adults, warned social media can cause significant problems if left unchecked.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has previously claimed that social media could pose as great a threat to children’s health as smoking and obesity. And he has accused them of developing seductive products aimed at ever younger children.

The survey comes as MPs and Peers today launch an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) that will probe the effect of social media on young people’ mental health. It will hear evidence over the coming year from users, experts and industry, with the aim of drawing up practical solutions, including a proposed industry Code of Conduct. Labour MP Chris Elmore, who will chair the APPG.

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Old BaileyA businessman fighting for the right to be forgotten has won a UK High Court action against Google.The unnamed businessman who won his case was convicted 10 years ago of conspiring to intercept communications. He spent six months in jail. He as ked Google to delete online details of his conviction from Google Search but his request was turned down.

The judge, Mr Justice Mark Warby, ruled in his favour on Friday.

But he rejected a separate but similar claim made by another businessman who had committed a more serious crime. The other businessman, who lost his case, was convicted more than 10 years ago of conspiring to account falsely. He spent four years in jail.

Google said it would accept the rulings.

We work hard to comply with the right to be forgotten, but we take great care not to remove search results that are in the public interest, it said in a statement:

We are pleased that the Court recognised our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgements they have made in this case.’

Explaining the decisions made on Friday, the judge said one of the men had continued to mislead the public while the other had shown remorse.

But how is Google the right organisation to arbitrate on matters of justice where it is required to examine the level of remorse shown by those requesting censorship?

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Image: Facepalm , Brandon Grasley, CC-BYThe EU is mooting a new copyright regime for the largest market in the world, and the Commissioners who are drafting the new rules are completely captured by the entertainment industry, to the extent that they have ignored their own experts and produced a farcical Big Content wishlist that includes the most extensive internet censorship regime the world has ever seen, perpetual monopolies for the biggest players, and a ban on European creators using Creative Commons licenses to share their works.

Under the new rules, anyone who allows the public to post material will have to maintain vast databases of copyrighted works claimed by rightsholders , and any public communications that matches anything in these databases has to be blocked. These databases have been tried on much more modest scales — Youtube’s Content ID is a prominent example — and they’re a mess. Because rightsholders are free to upload anything and claim ownership of it, Content ID is a font of garbagey, sloppy, fraudulent copyright abuse: five different companies claim to own the rights to white noise ; Samsung claims to own any drawing of its phones ; Nintendo claims it owns gamers’ animated mashups ; Sony claims it owns stock footage it stole from a filmmaker whose work it had censored; the biggest music companies in the world all claim to own the rights to “Silent Night” , a rogues’ gallery of sleazy copyfraudsters claim to own NASA’s spacecraft landing footage — all in all, these systems benefit the large and the unethical at the cost of small and nimble.

That’s just for starters.

Since these filter systems are incredibly expensive to create and operate, anyone who wants to get into business competing with the companies that grew large without having to create systems like these will have to source hundreds of millions in capital before they can even enter the market. Youtube 2018 can easily afford Content ID; Youtube 2005 would have been bankrupted if they’d had to build it.

And then there’s the matter of banning Creative Commons licenses.

In order to bail out the largest newspapers in the EU, the Commission is proposing a Link Tax — a fee that search engines and sites like Boing Boing will have to pay just for the right to link to news stories on the web. This idea has been tried before in Spain and Germany and the newspapers who’d called for it quickly admitted it wasn’t working and stopped using it.

But the new, worse-than-ever Link Tax contains a new wrinkle: rightsholders will not be able to waive the right to be compensated under the Link Tax. That means that European creators — who’ve released hundreds of millions of works under Creative Commons licenses that allow for free sharing without fee or permission — will no longer be able to choose the terms of a Creative Commons license; the inalienable, unwaivable right to collect rent any time someone links to your creations will invalidate the core clause in these licenses.

Europeans can write to their MEPs and the European Commission using this joint Action Centre ; please act before it’s too late.

The European Copyright Directive was enacted in 2001 and is now woefully out of date. Thanks in large part to the work of Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, many good ideas for updating European copyright law were put forward in a report of the European Parliament in July 2015. The European Commission threw out most of these ideas, and instead released a legislative proposal in October 2016 that focused on giving new powers to publishers. That proposal was referred to several of the committees of the European Parliament, with the Parliament’s Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee taking the lead.

As the final text must also be accepted by the Council of the European Union (which can be considered as the second part of the EU’s bicameral legislature), the Council Presidency has recently been weighing in with its own “compromise” proposals (although this is something of a misnomer, as they do little to improve the Commission’s original text, and in some respects make it worse). Not to be outdone, German MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Axel Voss last month introduced a new set of his own proposals [PDF] for “compromise,” which are somehow worse still. Since Voss leads the JURI committee, this is a big problem.

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California state sealThere is no shortage of hostility towards Facebook at the moment, as a result of recent revelations about their exploitation of user data and dissemination of supposed ‘fake news’.And the Californian Government has taken this to a whole new level and come up with a tradition approach to demand that all online news in the state is censored by government approved ‘fact checkers’.

California State Senator Richard Pan introduced the bill SB1424 Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan. that requires any online communication to be run through government-approved censors fact-checkers.

This bill would require any person who operates a social media Internet Web site with a physical presence in California to develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Web site. The bill would require the plan to include, among other things, a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false information.

Although the bill initially suggests that this would apply only social media companies, the definitions confirm that it would apply to all internet communications from individuals, and companies large and small. The scope is defined in the bill:

As used in this section, social media means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.

conservativedailynews.com notes:

The bill stands little chance of passing and, if it did, would face serious challenges in court as an infringement of The First Amendment, but it is astonishing that a legislator would even consider such a thing in America.