Right to be forgotten

The EU has finally formally ruled that people have a right to be forgotten. In this latest judgement, which is also very relevant to my lost libel cases, the court ruled that search engines, and so with also other internet service providers have to filter out irrelevant, old and no longer valid content.

This should then also apply to so-called history sites, that just list any content they come across that is not protected from search bots. For example if someone has control over a domain and restricts search bots, the content will not be available on history sites but if one loses control over a domain than all content will suddenly become listed on such sites.

In my own case unintentionally a private thought got published 12 years ago and is still on line on an Internet history site, despite having asked it to be removed. Justice Eady took it as invitation to use it in my cases against me, despite the context being incorrect and despite me having asked for it to be removed. the English court ruled that everything that a person ever publishes intentionally or unintentionally, for example when tipsy or drunk, can right-fully stay in the public domain and published.

People only read the headlines but do not click through to read the whole story.

I think this story from Brazil is proof that people do not click through to read whole stories but only look at headlines and first sentences. It is given considerable weight in English law that readers are expected to read the whole story but every judge in the High Court refused my argument that people just do not have enough time to read everything they are confronted with and only look at headlines. The head line and first sentences provide a lasting memory in the minds of most readers and Internet visitors today.

I still notice today that when I search for my own name, very old stories come up tops,which are long out of date and have nothing to do with recent developments.

Brazil has opted out of Google News altogether when they noticed their sites actually got less traffic.

Privacy not cast in stone

I think it is quite interesting that an American judge ordered twitter to hand over tweeds from the Occupy movement. I quote from the BBC article here: “”If you post a tweet, just like if you scream it out the window, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy,” Judge Matthew Sciarrino wrote in his decision.”

I think what has to be understood also is the time in which something happened on the Internet or when any type of software was used to communicate something. Our understanding of communication constantly changes because we only just learn about the media used.

Years ago people did not know what impact the Internet could or would have. You could not possibly know that as soon as you put something on a computer or Internet server that others could see it and copy it. Today we know that.

I think there is a real danger that courts apply today’s knowledge on yesterday conscience. Yesterday we did not know what we know today and we cannot turn back time ever.

E-commerce hits again

It’s the same story that a large Internet company seeks a solution by relying on the E-Commerce regulations that allow any company that is not editor (just one example) of a web site to spread other people’s gloom as they do not know what they do, so they say.

Seriously that is their excuse, that they make a platform available for others to advertise their wares. That problem affects e-Bay auctions and now Google who has been seen to advertise illegal Olympic tickers re-sellers.

Where do they start to act responsibly is when they are actually asked to remove illegal stuff but they never try to avoid illegal content in the first place because their softwares are not set to screen what others put up.

Internet sites have become more sophisticated, if they are hooked up to all sorts of data bases they could screen if someone for example breaches another’s copyright by simply not allowing certain key words without that extra permissive tick.

The fact is that you simply cannot automate everything.

Hacking made possible by corruption

I wrote about this previously, saying that if those who are the best in computing would be in work, there would be no hacking.I do not defend the hackers but its obvious they could not get jobs that’s why they are hacking in the first place. Why could they not get jobs if they are so good at their field? Most likely because employers chose computer programmers according to whose kid they are or who the parents are or where they live rather than how good they are at computing. It’s a who you know industry.

There are sustained hacking attacks on established websites, even those who provide the most important government backed web sites. They got to be pretty good those hackers as they have not been found out yet.

It is hardly possible for somebody who is good at something to let their talent lay to waste just because they cannot find a job doing it. Of course they will try and disheveled those who denied them a job in the first place and that is the government and the established industries. It does not make their services any better if they keep on employing inferior web designers who allow their sites to be hacked by those who know the job.

If those hackers were in charge of websites, the likelihood of those sites being hacked is extremely remote as they know all the tricks.

There are many with superior technology skills in the Far East and if you look up on your firewall you will see the origin of hackers as often being Chinese. Yet hacking is not restricted to far away places. Computing knowledge is one of the most learned skills today and the arsenal of technical wizards is huge. I think employers should try harder to find the best for the jobs rather than employ the wrong people to do websites.

Just to mention nobody ever managed to hack my website when I had my own. This one is only a borrowed one from WordPress and I have no desire to conceal any content from people.

World War II was partly lost by the Germans because their technology was busted by those who were better at it and cracked the codes, this type of scenario now seems to get repeated by the hackers who beat the ….out of the establishment but really the establishment needs to make sure to employ those who are good at what they do. It is a big problem nowadays that the ruling classes always want to make sure that their children get the best jobs, that is happening throughout. Real talent gets sidelined for the lower jobs and that produces a lesser quality at the top and hence we see the state the economy is in today.

The rulers have to stop being self-serving and start to think on the survival of the species instead of  just their own self-serving policies.

Of course if the hacker attacks are led from some enemy country then it could be seen as an act of war but if its some kids from our own shores then it is just sheer frustration of not being recognised as having a talent that goes to waste because somebody less good was given the jobs.

Often enough the hackers from our own countries are genuinely concerned and want to lay open weaknesses in security.

The problem with our privately financed education is that any parent who spent thousands on a child’s education thinks they are entitled to the top jobs, goes without saying.

There is no longer a desire to do talent finding. Sometimes the biggest talents can have communication disabilities or are not quite as clever as expected in their interview techniques. So employers are looking for talents with the wrong methods. They should search for talents instead of waiting for the best communicators to come forward.

It is very easy to manipulate the recruitment process and employers tend to give jobs to those who are the best able to manipulate the recruitment process but that doesn’t necessarily mean those people are best at the jobs they are asked to do.

Of course if you were an employer, wouldn’t you want to give the job to the son of Tony Blair (only an example)  if he applied, rather than to the shy autistic person who is excellent at programming but not so great personality wise?

One other possible link is bribery within the industry see link here.

But hackers are now becoming an increasingly independent powerful entity and plan to launch their own satellite. It looks like the Internet becomes its own entity and it is governed by the Hackers council. Well, where there is corruption there usually appears an anti-dote, serves them right. Wonder whether any entrepreneurs want to invest into hacking, which seems to be the future investment.

Censorship on freedom of information

A juror was stopped from using openly available information when she sat on a jury. I think it practically involves censorship of media use because all the lady did was look up a name on the internet. It is a censorship that a juror now cannot look up the name of the defendant on the Internet whilst the jury listened to the case just because the jury are not allowed to know about the previous Defendant’s conduct, previous convictions.

There it is quite clear that the law is behind the reality of today’s technology. That law was made when we did not have openly available information for anybody and it now shows that today’s legal proceedings have left the real world and still live somewhere in the last century.

It is frightening that a Juror should not be allowed to use the Internet to look up a person’s name. Just imagine they deal with a name in a trial, a name that is quite common and at the same time want to look up about another person with a similar or same name and all that information comes up. Then the whole jury will be discharged.

It is just not practicable what is expected of people in justice today because it is just too old-fashioned.

Just look at all the paperwork that trials these days generate. Crates and Crates of paper,thousands of pages in multiple bundles. That is so completely unnecessary and environmentally unfriendly. All those documents could be computerised and projected from laptops onto screens. Only essential original documents should be kept in the true form for inspection.

The law should be changed in any case so that jurors will get to know the whole history of a defendant prior to deliberations because it is totally unfair that it is kept secret what a person’s previous conduct was. It is just as if a person is stripped of their history and looked at as if the past had not happened. That is just not how it happens in real life. Everywhere you look, you have to present your whole history, nobody anywhere these days is just judged as if their past  did not exist.

ISP cannot be forced to filter content

I am astounded that people even asked an ISP to filter content because I think it is technically impossible. The only way this could be done if broad sections of the Internet are censored. The way it works is that Internet publishers run completely independent services and that the ISP has not gotten access to their web content and no right to mingle in it. Each Internet publisher can however upload to their own server filter software and most scripts these days come with an option to filter out certain words or phrases. That is up or down to each individual webmaster and not the ISP.

It is inconceivable how any court initially could find that a local rights holder could force ISP to filter out content. It is against the E-Commerce directive and all commercial principles as well. I can only assume that the judge in Belgium did not understand how the Internet works. But it is nothing new that local judges have not gotten a clue how to approach the issue generally.  This BBC article explains the history of the case.

What happens in Internet hosting is that a web master rents out some space from an ISP and uses variations of Internet space on their server or the web master can hire a completely independent rack, that runs on its own accord and merely sits in the ISP premises usually.

Web pages run on scripts written in various languages, like Perl, and those scripts, if they are run via browser software, have options to filter for key words. Those filter functions can be used by anybody, that may be eBay or any smaller web site. If they do not use it, then they chose not to use it. Any web master can tip in any words or phrases they want to block a user from using. If a user then wants to start a page, using a certain title or word or phrase or make a comment on a forum for instance, or start an auction page with a title that is not allowed, then the server will block this request but only if the individual web master asked it to do so. That can never be run centrally by the ISP but is down to the web master to do.

There are other options, e.g. a web master gets an e-mail each time a user starts a new interactive page or other activity on the site and then can edit or refuse the entry.

But the fact that it took the EU court 7 years to sort this out, shows that judges in general have problems getting to grip with this issue.

During my own case before Queen’s Bench I noticed that the judge Mr Justice Stadlen never gotten to grip with the matter in hand and took ages to wrongly interpret insufficient facts. The applicant, Mr Hilton did not provide all the evidence required to sort the issue out and the judgement is really wonky.  I do not squabble with the overall outcome on the issue but the reasons how the judge came to the conclusion is wrong, Master Rose was correct but neither the Master nor the judge mentioned that Mr Hilton was actually never a web master but a user of the service. Unfortunately the EU court refused my latest application within record time, suspiciously quickly I may add, when it normally takes years now to get an application assessed. It was just a one-judge politically convenient decision. I don’t think the UK could digest a loss in Europe against a single women, a German immigrant at that, without even as much as a lawyer. The criminal comments on Mr Gray’s blog about the still existing Word War II mentality proof it.

Sadly now the European Court of Human Rights doesn’t care about the law itself any longer but only accept cases that are correctly filed. If the case is not correctly filed and the applicant would win on the merits, the EU court will simply dismiss the application. But the incorrectly filed excuse is readily used to spare a country embarrassment if the EU so desires.

A good point for Tobin Tax

I have a secret weakness for Bill Gates, probably because he invented the very machine I sit on a lot of hours, the computer. He made some very good points in this interview for a Tobin or Robin Hood Tax.

He says that instability in poor countries badly affects our own economies. Not least to the fact that if troubles brew abroad, we have to step in and help repair the damage.

From that point of view, the suggestions that it is best to integrate poor countries into the world economy makes lots of sense but it has one glitch, in that it requires that all countries become part of the same financial rules and therefore the current banking system. This would stop people from developing their own independent economies an also social systems.

Isn’t this attempt to integrate all nations into the world economy exactly the sticking point and the reason why rulers declared independence to get away from what they call economic exploitation of the West?

I think we do have a duty to share our knowledge. For example tell those likely to be affected what earth warming will do to their geography and offer solutions but not to enforce them. But in the end, we will be asked to donate and help out when things turn out worst and whether people wanted integration or not initially they will want help if they need it.

The better developed nations do have a duty of care towards the impoverished nations without getting a right to exploit raw resources and/or labour.

We have seen how international business exploits the rain forest by chopping down too much trees, how forest regions in south-west Africa have been bought for a fraction of their worth from unsuspecting tribal elders.

If we have a duty of care towards the world’s both financially and knowledge poor then we must have a duty to actively support a civilised lifestyle in those nations too.

I do not think it is possible for us to support breaches of human rights to allow ethnic living away from western influence when we have the communications highways to tell us immediately if crimes on humanity have been committed. Populations should lose their right for self-governance if they breach a code of conduct that would be seen as acceptable by the majority of earth citizens.

Yet the biggest question arising out of the dilemma is the unreasonable exploitation of earth resources for technologies that might cause lasting environmental damage, which is something we are unable to appreciate unless it is too late.

Under-developed countries that swim against the stream often do not engage in excessive environmentally damaging practises, and often are portrait negatively in the world-wide publicity machinery.

The danger we produce is that we steer the world’s population into selective reproduction cycles and dictate to people how many children they can have and how they have to raise them, when we with this directly influence the natural evolutionary developments.

It has already been touched upon that people get can much older than they do now but that the strains that allow old age have been bred out of human DNA but that it existed in the past. If that is so, that whole health trends can be created by allowing or disallowing population groups to breed, we might create an undesirable side-effect of civilising a world that becomes unable to develop a type of human that can withstand and get stronger naturally.

Are rules there to be broken?

In this BBC article we see the latest revelations about Gordon Brown amidst reports of Murdoch buying back shares of his company, the value of which has plunged dramatically over the phone hacking scandal.  But is this just the beginning of the end of privacy and Data Protection?

Lets not forget all electronically collected data are kept on some type of server, most of which are Internet hosted.

When I was a web master, one sunny day I found I suddenly had access to a Council’s website because the server had dropped its protective shell, due to some software I had uploaded onto it. Rather than look into that council’s website, I duly reported it to the hosting service who thanked me for that.

Realistically, all phone messages, on phones are kept on some type of database that is accessible by all staff who work on it. Lawyers these days use mobile phone technology to track down a person onto whom they wish to serve court papers and once located approach the subject at that location to serve the papers, where do lawyers get access to that  information?

The more health records are kept online and on data bases the more accessible that data becomes by anybody being technically involved.

realistically speaking I think it is wrong to make Murdoch responsible for the new tech age because he is definitively just a scape goat for practises that are wide-spread and also used by the Intelligence services. It is quite natural that such methods are secretly shared.

What however the nature of publishing forces publishers to do , it forces publishers to publish stories for sale, to publish what is in the public interest and today more things are in the public interest because more things are known to us today than they were 200 years ago because we did not even know they existed. There is a considerable advance in science and technology.

I reckon the whole electronic data problem will flush itself down the pan when we get the earth warming and sun hot-spot problems, heating up servers so much that they won’t function any longer and electronic communications will get too hot to handle generally. But the data itself can always be saved onto disc or media to read later.

I think though that from anything I read these days, that hardly anybody still keeps the rules but that not all breaches are reported equally but only those of the ones that somebody wants to smear in public. That is the most annoying part about this, that no all breaches are equally investigated.

But where there is a breach who is to blame and one can hardly blame Murdoch for some corrupt police officers who took bribes. What we see is an attempt to curb the spread of a privately owned media empire in favour of state owned media like the BBC who is criticised for leaning towards Labour and making politically tinted news. I am quite surprised however that Cameron himself joins force with Labour to condemn Murdoch for wanting to purchase BSkyB when that is one of Cameron’s natural supporters. But then the way politicians are two-faced these days is sheer incredibly amazing.  Maybe that political liberalism is what costs Cameron’s party the membership that has dramatically dropped under his leadership.

why should a private company scandal be worst than a state scandal, you cannot get rid of the state but you can get rid of a private company and that is why the state always wins isn’t it? We see the discussion of private paper versus council paper here in Tower Hamlets where East End Life, the “good” council paper, drives the “bad” private paper out of business.

PS: latest Murdoch withdraws bid for full ownership of BSkyB

the Facebook mystery deepens

Frequently there are now more and more stories about Facebook on quite large Internet organisations’ website, like MSN and the BBC. It says about what to do and not to do. Recently a juror was given a 8 month jail sentence for contacting an accused and a drugs trial collapsed because of it. The prosecutor was hopping mad and steaming as it was an extremely expensive legal affair.

Generally one should not do on Facebook what one cannot do in real life. There is  no point in letting it all out, whatever that means.

But how to choose friends on Facebook is another story altogether. I read that a prison officer got sacked after he got friendly with an inmate over his Facebook account.

I can imagine that some of my friends might be in jail or hospital because they have lots of time to play those games, which is something a working person probably couldn’t do. But then if one befriends people over playing games, that is another purpose than actually exchanging social information. I am one of those people who approves any friend request without checking up because it is quite impossible to verify any information and unless someone contacts me with odd requests I do not think another moment about a friendship, however, if someone contacts me with things I find odd, I immediately cancel the friendship. There were quite a few friends I cancelled so far but just because they annoyed me. I simply would not have the time to check up on people who play the same games as I do and I presume nor do others.

Quite often I get friend requests simply because I actively play certain games like FarmVille, FrontierVille, MafiaWars and others playing those games need active playing friends because of the way those games are structured, they do need participation, sending of gifts, requests, servicing of game state etc. I think it would be discrimination to have to make a detailed check on people and say just to refuse a friend request for game playing just because a person is serving in a jail. I would not even ask that question nor is anybody required by law to do so or inform others of that status. However in personal life I would very much be interested to know who the people are I converse with in person especially when they come to Neighbourhoood Watch meetings.

I think it really depends on the depth of the friendship on Facebook, whether the social status of the friends is important or not. It does not make the slightest bit of difference to me whether the other person also playing Mafia Wars is the Commissioner of the Police or a criminal wasting away in Wandsworth jail; it does not make any difference to the game at all. I do not even look at other people’s photos or their other friends.

What is really important is always to stay polite and keep it at a level that is reasonable. There are certain times when it would be better to just have a closed account, if one wants to exchange family or private information, but that is another matter.

As for being friends with the boss on FaceBook, that is a bit like kids being friends with their parents, it doesn’t always work out, just that parents can’t sack a child but a boss can.  I think people always have to be aware that Facebook can be used by all sorts and one has to keep the tone of the membership one that is polite and does not overstep the light conversational tone at all times.

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