Crap about tech

News Corp technology journalist, Jennifer Dudley Nicholson, had a list of seven things that “big tech” needs to do to “regain our trust” in the Daily Telegraph yesterday.

  1. Don’t be evil anymore (and start by being upfront)
  2. Stop tracking us when we ask you to stop tracking us
  3. Act like a publisher (because you are one)
  4. For the love of all that is good, shut down terrorist content
  5. Let elections happen offline
  6. Shut down anti-vax rabbit holes
  7. Save our grammar

So at face value that list appears all very good and innocuous etc. but not so much when you dig deeper.

  1. Don’t be evil anymore.

What do we read?

… Facebook then revealed plans to put connected cameras in our lounge rooms and launch its own cryptocurrency even though most people wouldn’t trust it with spare change. Here’s my advice: stop and take stock. If it feels creepy, stop doing it, and actually tell users what information you’re exploiting/selling/collecting about them. They’ll appreciate it more than finding out you’ve accidentally hijacked democracy.

Cameras in people’s lounge rooms and Libra are completely separate issues.  Issuing a cryptocurrency is not creepy.  Facebook etc. are NOT accidentally hijacking democracy.  They are not doing it on purpose either.

2.  Stop tracking us when we ask you to stop tracking us

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched court action against Google this year, alleging Aussies turned off ‘location history’ in their Android phones but still felt Google’s breath on their necks unless they also disabled the lesser known ‘web and activity’ setting. 

I would be very surprised if the ACCC were able to produce a credible witness in court  who felt Google’s breath on their necks – as opposed to this being a theoretical possibility that bureaucrats are pursuing. This case will probably be brought in Victoria where the need the need for actual credible witnesses is old hat.

3. Act like a publisher

This is the News Corp line – attempting to extort advertising revenue out of the tech companies.

But what do we read?

These companies should be held responsible for harmful, hateful, damaging, and deliberately misleading information on their own web servers, particularly when they don’t provide the means for users to adequately censor or turn off comments on inflammatory issues.

Hmmmmm. It seems to me that the people who post “harmful, hateful, damaging, and deliberately misleading information” on your social media feeds are, um, actually your friends and relatives. Use the block and mute functions freely and generously.

4. For the love of all that is good shut down terrorist content

Make up your mind. If the tech companies are publishers then terrorist content is news. I saw the 9-11 terrorist attack live on national television.

In any event, the tech companies do work hard to take down stuff. So this is a cheap shot criticism.

5. Let elections happen offline

Whahahahahahaha. Oh dear. Media company complaining about someone else trying to influence elections and politics.

But …

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg once dismissed online political interference as “a pretty crazy idea”. His comment has not aged well. It’s now widely accepted that Russia changed the outcome of America’s last presidential election.

Widely accepted by whom? That is just fake news.  Fake. News.

Internet giants should not profit from deliberately misleading election ads and propaganda engineers should not be allowed to decide another government.

The only people I’m aware of having “deliberately misleading election ads” are the Labor Party at the 2016 election.

6. Shut down anti-vax rabbit holes

Censorship is an ugly thing. Even when the people who you want to censor are very wrong.

7. Save our grammar.

Yes. Twitter should have an edit button. But I doubt that would improve grammar and spelling online.

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41 Responses to Crap about tech

  1. C.L.

    Let elections happen offline

    LOL.
    They are terrified of politics exercised outside of controlled (read, left-wing) environments.

  2. Snoopy

    Ending the shadow banning of users who don’t toe the progressive line would help regain trust. Don’t like their posts Zuck? Be up front and give them the arse.

  3. Act like a publisher (because you are one)

    Not act, make them publishers by law.

  4. Howard Hill

    Just the enemy of the people trying to remain relevant and take back the narrative.
    They can’t stand that they’ve been found out to be the wannabe, totalitarians that they are and are showing their last death throws. The quicker they die the better off we’ll all be.

    If you don’t like what big Tech companies are doing, don’t use them, simples!

  5. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Sinclair: it is not unreasonable for a consumer to expect that their tracking ends when the indicated option is applied. It’s also reasonable that the law be applied evenly: if you are publisher of this blog then you are liable for defamation published on it. Facebook etc should be equally liable for what they publish. AS for the Russians and US elections, it’s a bit wild to claim that no one thinks it happened. The evidence is that the FBI, CIA and NSA all think it did.

  6. Tom

    AS for the Russians and US elections, it’s a bit wild to claim that no one thinks it happened. The evidence is that the FBI, CIA and NSA all think it did.

    You idiot. The actual attempt by Russian trolls via social media to influence the 2016 US presidential election was amateurish and ineffective.

    What has been revealed is that the FBI and CIA actively colluded with the Democratic Party and the news media to retail a fake Russian smear campaign against candidate Trump via the “Steele dossier”.

    It turns out the Russian “interference” was projection by the guilty parties to the conspiracy — and their useful idiots in Australia like the Cat’s elderly white skippy.

  7. Tim Neilson

    These companies should be held responsible for harmful, hateful, damaging, and deliberately misleading information on their own web servers,

    Not necessarily. It depends on what they’re actually doing…

    In any event, the tech companies do work hard to take down stuff.

    They sure do. They pick and choose, they block, they shadow ban, and they do so on grounds that go way beyond any requirements of the laws relating to incitement of crime or defamation or any other legal requirement.

    Which is fine – they’re private businesses.

    But the more they pick and choose what not to allow, the stronger the case becomes for holding them liable for what they do allow.

  8. Major Elvis Newton

    Never mind grammar, trending on Twitter today: “ClimateEmegency”
    ISYK

  9. NuThink

    AS for the Russians and US elections, it’s a bit wild to claim that no one thinks it happened. The evidence is that the FBI, CIA and NSA all think it did.

    Is this the type of influence the Russians had over the US, or is this the US interfering in Russia’s internal affairs?

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6560199/putin-thanks-trump-for-terror-tip-off/?cs=14232

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken with US President Donald Trump to thank him for information that Putin said helped Russia foil terrorist attacks over the New Year’s holiday, the Kremlin says.

    Putin thanked Trump “for information transmitted through the special services that helped prevent the completion of terrorist acts in Russia,” the Kremlin said in a brief statement posted on its website on Sunday.

    BTW it is the second time that Putin has thanked Trump in the last year or so.
    Would Hillary have told the Russians – maybe for a fat fee? Or more Uranium sales. I think that if Putin had interfered it was just to prevent Bill C making money from talking waffle in Russia. Or would Putin rather have had Hillary with benefits in the WH? if so, their so called influence in the US backfired.

    Also, media, tell us the truth and not the fake truth about so called human caused climate change.

  10. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Tom: it would appear that the head of the FBI is also an idiot (though I do not detect any attempt in the Republican-dominated Senate to call him on it:

    Russians still trying to meddle in U.S. elections, FBI chief says
    AFP-JIJI

    JUL 24, 2019

    WASHINGTON – FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Tuesday that Russia continues to threaten U.S. elections, 16 months before the next presidential polls.

    “The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    “My view is until they stop they haven’t been deterred enough.”

  11. a happy little debunker

    Hate how Tech has become a byword for the applications rather than the hardware.
    #won’tcodebutcanfixmyownputer

  12. Every country tries to meddle in any other countries elections, if the result is important to them. Do you think no EU country tried to meddle in the UK elections?

  13. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Well, I am bemused too! Since when do we all love Putin?????

  14. Well, I am bemused too! Since when do we all love Putin?????

    I’ll take Putin any day over Clinton (or any of the other Dems), Corbyn, Merkel and her EU blood suckers, Turnbull/any Labor or Green.

  15. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    I have remarked before on the tendency in this forum for people to adopt 1950s communist rhetoric. I have not expected to find someone who actually admires a former KGB kleptocrat and gangster. Truly, bemused!

  16. who actually admires

    Where did I say I admire him? I would simply prefer him to the other parasites, kleptocrats, gangsters and demagogues I mentioned.

  17. Iampeter

    It seems to me that the people who post “harmful, hateful, damaging, and deliberately misleading information” on your social media feeds are, um, actually your friends and relatives. Use the block and mute functions freely and generously.

    Also these are the individuals who are actually liable for what they post.
    Not the tech companies who are neither publishers nor should be sued for things they aren’t liable for.

    Sad that conservatives are the leftists that have led this gibberish, intellectually dishonest and statist assault on tech.

    LOL.
    They are terrified of politics exercised outside of controlled (read, left-wing) environments.

    LOL. You realize you’re describing yourself and most of today’s conservatives? Certainly most Cat posters who agree with regulating tech.
    Except unlike those you call “left-wing” you need to have this pointed out. What do you call leftists who don’t even realize they are leftists?

    I’m not saying this to just attack, but to point out how truly incoherent your position is.

  18. Facebook always promised to be free under its own volition

    Facebook isn’t free, because you are the product, to be on-sold.

  19. Leo G

    Facebook isn’t free, because you are the product, to be on-sold.

    Accordingly Facebook users must be bound by a signed contract to work without pay for Facebook and to allow Facebook to sell access to their labour to third parties.
    Is there an explicit bonded servitude clause in the Facebook user agreement?

  20. Tim Neilson

    Certainly most Cat posters who agree with regulating tech.

    What “regulating” are people on this site proposing?

  21. Fencesitter
    #3278509, posted on January 2, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    I understood what you said and agree with you. I was pointing out that The Users/Facebook have ostensibly entered into a legal contract because all the elements of a legal contract apply:

    Agreement
    Consideration
    Intention
    Capacity
    Genuine consent
    Legality

    https://www.facebook.com/terms.php

  22. pbw

    From Howard,

    If you don’t like what big Tech companies are doing, don’t use them, simples!

    Why didn’t I think of that?

  23. Overburdened

    The whole IT thing is a house of cards.

    Turn your charger off, run out of battery and explain how you are still involved.

    Have something happen to the cables or lose base load power.

  24. Gerry

    Journalists don’t get it …..a huge number of Australians distrust a huge number of journalists …they can publish manifestos and demands all they like – it means nothing until they can be trusted

  25. Issuing a cryptocurrency is not creepy. Facebook etc. are NOT accidentally hijacking democracy. They are not doing it on purpose either.

    1. Libra is not only creepy, it is social credit BS writ large. It is not real crypto. ETH, LTC, BTC are still king.

    2. How is something not an accident but not intentional – other than being reckless, which is also arguably accidental or with intent to maintain a proper lookout without care as to the result?

  26. FaceBook is certainly less than ethical if not engaging in outright fraud, furthermore the idea that their product lemmings signed a legit. contract is highly dubious.

  27. Mother Lode

    It turns out the Russian “interference” was projection by the guilty parties to the conspiracy — and their useful idiots in Australia like the Cat’s elderly white skippy.

    ‘Russian Collusion’ was just the name of the operation to overturn the democratic result of the American election on fabricated grounds.

  28. Poor opld white trash is the last person in Australia with Foxtel who watches CNN, namely Little Brian Stelter.

    He probably also watches Rachet Madcow on MSNBC.

    Sad.

    Very, very sad!

  29. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Sadly it seems the drunk from the Tiles is also a Putin stooge.

  30. Yes, we’re all Putin stooges. That’s exactly right.

    Either you’re a world class troll and very funny, or a blithering idiot who needs more clonazepam, white trash.

  31. The Beer Whisperer

    FFS, Russia changing the US election is like me pissing into the ocean and claiming I’ve raised global sea levels.

    Does News Corpse only use SJW graduates around New year’s Day?

  32. Iampeter

    Iampeter do you think it’s ok for a business to engage in fraud?

    No it’s not OK. It’s also not OK to engage in non-sequiturs.

    Certainly most Cat posters who agree with regulating tech.
    What “regulating” are people on this site proposing?

    You know, things like the ability to sue tech companies for things they aren’t liable for, common carrier laws, etc.
    The worst thing about the conservative left is your own obliviousness to what you’re saying.

  33. Anthony

    Fencesitter
    #3278422, posted on January 2, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    How do catallaxians know anti-vaxers are wrong?

    Well some of us have worked as vaccine scientists.

    If yes, then you must know (or at least genuinely believe) that being around sick people is not particularly (if at all) dangerous.

    Ever hear about Hospital Acquired Infections? Plenty of patients contract antibiotic resistant infections undergoing procedures in hospitals. So yes, you should be wary of getting sick when you visit a health professional and take precautions like washing your hands.

    As for vaccine preventable diseases like measles, because it is so contagious, we have been concerned (for many years) about how easily it can spread in hospital and GP waiting areas – a quick Google search will show this isn’t a new concern.

    The reason people don’t take anti vaxxers seriously, is how poor their arguments are and how quickly they can be demolished.

  34. Tim Neilson

    You know, things like the ability to sue tech companies for things they aren’t liable for, common carrier laws, etc.

    Poor old zero IQ Iamashiteater, beclowning himself hopelessly yet again.

    No-one is arguing for tech co’s to be “regulated” by being made liable for anything.
    People have argued that tech co’s should simply be in the same position as everyone else – i.e. not have their own special bespoke exemption from defamation liability.
    If in fact they aren’t liable, so be it.

    But the vociferous defence the tech co’s make of their bespoke exemptions suggests that they don’t believe they wouldn’t be liable.
    [As usual, the challenge is there Iamashiteater – tell us whether s.230 in the USA and the subordinate distributor exemption in Australia are redundant – and explain your superior insights over everyone who put them into the law – or not redundant, i.e. retract your stupidity.]

    But of course they can always rely on the zero IQ useful idiot supporters of big government crony capitalist statist interventionism, like Iamashiteater, to fight relentlessly to maintain big government statist suppression of individual rights.

  35. Iampeter

    People have argued that tech co’s should simply be in the same position as everyone else – i.e. not have their own special bespoke exemption from defamation liability.

    And as was explained, tech companies already are in the same position as everyone and are not protected from anything. You should not be able to sue them for things they aren’t liable for, just like everyone else.
    You’re arguing against this, which is exactly what I was saying. I also said you’re confused about your own position. Which you’ve also proved here.

    Thank you for explaining so precisely the invalidity of my argument.

    You’re welcome.

  36. Anthony

    Fencesitter
    #3279363, posted on January 3, 2020 at 11:18 am

    There is no such thing as a vaccine “scientist”. Vaccines are a cult. There is literally nothing about them that is “scientific”.

    I was for several years. There are entire labs, even companies full of them. Smart people, our fellow Australians, working hard to improve public health.

    We would analyse the pathogen or camcer cell, make the epitopes we wanted and vaccinate mice or human blood. Then we would infect or give cancer to the mouse or cell culture. The control mice would grow a cancer or infection. The vaccinated test cells or mice would mount an immune response and clear the cancer or infection. Because we had made specific epitopes we could test how our tests eliminated the pathogen/cancer, say an increase in CD8 T cells or IgG antibodies. Obviously, we could block the mechanism if we wanted to confirm it. So yeah, firsthand experience. At later stages, vaccinated people volunteer for infections, though I’ve never done that research.

    Regretably, you turned my points into reductio ad absurdum strawmen. You can make better arguments.

    I’m always happy to talk science outside the Cat.

  37. Anthony

    Fencesitter, there are a handful of cancer vaccines that have been around for a decade. There are other vaccines, like BCG that were designed to target TB but work against bladder cancer. Also the HPV vaccine will reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

    If you get cancer in Australia, there is a modest chance you will get enrolled in a clinical trial testing cancer vaccines.

    How would a cell culture mount an immune response?

    The immune cells in a blood sample can respond to various antigens, even in a test tube. Reasonably straightforward if the donor has seen the pathogen before. This is also used in diagnostics.

    Honestly, I have never seem anyone deny the existence of vaccine scientists and their results. The cognitive dissonance to sustain this belief is massive. If vaccines don’t work, that idea is easily disprovable. We give numerous vaccines to poultry and livestock. Buy some and expose them to those pathogens, those animals would get sick pretty fast if you were right.

    The idea that many tens of thousands of people are simply fabricating their scientific results. That many further thousands of people are manufacturing amd selling vaccines that simply dont work. That untold numbers if doctors and nurses havent noticed the vaccines they administer don’t work. It requires you find an alternate explanation, that after vaccination campaigns, diseases are reduced, and when campaigns are abandoned like we have seen on Syria and Samoa, preventable death and disease follow. That this whole charade has been going on since 1796. You must believe that a large numbers of people are either incredibly stupid or downright evil, and have covered up this vast conspiracy for hundreds of years.

  38. Anthony

    Fencesitter you are a troll, and highly deluded. The misinformation you sprout is potentially deadly.

    It must be a lie because imunity is predicated on the idea that infections are acute. If infections are not acute then the entire concept of immunity is meaningless – because we never clear the infection in the first place, let alone learn how to clear it in the future.

    But infections are, according to the “angels amongst men” that you call vaccine scientists, suffered on a chronic basis (think HPV, Hep B, varicella etc). Therefore immunity is meaningless drivel. It isn’t just wrong, it is a category error.

    Most infections are acute, but they can be acute, chronic or anything in between. Your premise is flawed. From the pimple on your nose to upper respiratory tract infections like the common cold, flu or even pneumonia, many infections are acute. Numerous vaccines prevent acute infections: Diphtheria, Hib, influenza, MMR, Pneumococcal disease, Tentanus and Rotavirus. There are also vaccines which prevent both acute and chronic diseases like Whooping cough and Chickenpox/Shingles. HPV, Hep A and B vaccines prevent against chronic viral infections.

    So now the dancing (ie flat out lying) begins. The HPV vaccines are to prevent you from getting a cancer. They are a miserable failure. In fact, after a downward trend before the vaccine came out, cervical cancer rates (both in Australia and elsewhere) have actually risen since Gardasil and Cervarix came out!

    Yes. Risen.

    This is not just wrong, but dangerous misinformation – the newest vaccines can potentially reduce lifetime risk of cervical cancer by over 50%. If people believed the nonsense you are sprouting, many would die rather painful deaths.

    For young Australian women 15-24 in the 2011-2014 period, despite only having a 55% rate of at least one vaccination, cervical cancer fell by 29%. In Scotland where the first full dose vaccination rates are 90% for women now in their mid-20s, pre-cancerous lesions caused by HPV are down 88%. Cervical screening of this cohort of women showed detectable HPV infections at a rate of 4.5% compared to 30% in women now in their early 30s who just missed that program. In England genital warts caused by HPV have fallen 82% amongst the fully vaccinated population compared to their older peers.

    In Australia, cervical cancer incidence and mortality has been falling for several decades, whilst 5-year survival is going slightly upwards. This is due to better screening, better treatment (e.g. chemo) and the HPV vaccine.

    If an “immune response” can happen without any part of our immune “system” being available, then clearly everything we think we know about immunity and the immune “system” is a lie isn’t it? I can only speculate here but presumably what we are talking about is a chemical reaction.

    There are white blood cells in blood human – these are the immune cells. You can separate them out via density gradient (Ficoll spin without breaking in a centrifuge). The fact is these cells have reasonably unique cell surface markers. CD3, CD4, CD8 for T cells, CD14/16 for macrophages, CD19/20 for B cells and so on. The fact is people born without these cells suffer impaired immunity. If you irradiate a person’s bone marrow so these cells are no longer produced you get reduced immunity. If you give people drugs that impair the biochemical pathways of these cells, they will suffer reduced immunity. If you forget to deplete T cells from an allogenic organ or tissue transplant, likely those donor T cells will cause GvHD and attack the recipient’s tissue. If your own tissues are being attacked by self-reactive antibodies (such as in MS) you can periodically kill off memory B cells with anti-CD20 antibodies to reduce those auto-antibodies. If you kill off too many B cells, or just don’t produce enough antibodies, you will be given IVIg – if you don’t get this your risk of infection is noticeably increased. Lastly, you can even take the T cells out of a person, prime them, or genetically modify them against a disease and then re-inject them into a patient with therapeutic effects. Most recently we are doing this with a therapy called CAR-T cells and are having fantastic effects against blood cancers.

    And I already told you what the true explanation for the supposed reduction in disease following vaccines was. The diseases were renamed. This is easy to see and corroborate in fact. For example, you could look at total rates of congenital defects since the rubella vaccine.

    Rates of congenital abnormalities have been grinding lower for decades. In some part this is likely due to the effects of economic growth. We can afford better nutrients during pregnancy, like folate to prevent spina bifida. Or afford better screening to detect say, chromosomal abnormalities. Likely, there may be some increases as average childbearing age increases. However, this has nothing to do with rubella vaccinations. What is the link between what is in a rubella vaccine and congenital defects? You have no proposed mechanism and no evidence of anything. Just your imagination.

    Did you know that rates of liver cancer have tripled since the Hep B vaccine? Well they have. Tripled.

    Hep B causes a variety of liver problems including general malaise, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The increase in liver cancer in Australia is likely due to the universal vaccine program only being implemented in the year 2000. There are other causative factors like excessive alcohol consumption, diabetes, bad luck in the genetic lottery, or as you noted other hepatitis viruses. In Taiwan, where there were high (IIRC ~10% of children) with Hep B, the rates of hepatocellular carcinoma fell by 50% following the introduction of universal vaccination in the mid 1980s. Regardless, the Hep B vaccination is safe and highly effective and wherever it is introduced, rates of Hep B fall dramatically and will consequently reduce the burden of all the other diseases caused by chronic hepatitis. As for liver cancer, likely the rates of hepatocelluar carcinoma will be lower for those Australians born from 2000 onwards, but we will not know for another 15-20 years.

    total rates of paralysis

    Paralysis is caused by many things, not just Polio. Very few people are being treated for paralytic polio (in iron lungs etc) because people are not getting Polio because they are vaccinated.

    According to the FDA there is just one vaccine that has been approved for use in treating (prostate) cancer. So I was wrong. I said there were none. There is actually the grand total of one.

    Also another in Russia, and the BCG vaccine can be effective against early stage bladder cancer though was not developed as a cancer vaccine. Again, there are several non-commercially available vaccines. Also, counterpoint: if we scientists were just fabricating our data, we would have likely fabricated more than a mere handful of products.

    You have provided no actual evidence for your suppositions. Any salient opposing fact you dismiss as a lie, not with rational facts or arguments. You have cited a few offhand correlations, not a shred of cause and effect. The statistics you have provided are massively wrong. You claim to have complex epidemiological evidence but refuse to provide it because we wouldn’t believe it – nah that’s BS, you simply don’t have it, or are too lazy to type it out.

    Your idea, distilled: is that the immune system doesn’t really exist and vaccines don’t work. For this to be possible the whole world is involved in a conspiracy bigger than even George Orwell could have imagined. The fact is, we humans invent things, including vaccines out of self interest and desire for survival.

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