Saturday, July 01, 2017
A Way to Own Your Social-Media Data - The New York Times - An interesting idea for copyright in the internet idea.
"What many users do not fully appreciate is that they do pay for these services, in the form of very valuable information. And those who appreciate this cost have no choice: There is no major search engine that does not store our past searches or collect information on our activities, and there is no significant social media platform that does not retain our preferences. That is the cost of using these technologies. Lack of competition also means lack of choice, which is ultimately lack of freedom. But what can be done?
For a 21st-century problem, we suggest a 21st-century solution: a reallocation of property rights via legislation to provide more incentives to compete. In fact, the idea is not new. Patent law, for example, attributes the right to an invention to the company a scientist works for, to motivate companies to invest in research and development. Similarly, in the mobile industry, most countries have established that a cellphone number belongs to a customer, not the mobile phone provider. This redefinition of property rights (in jargon called “number portability”) makes it easier to switch carriers, fostering competition by other carriers and reducing prices for consumers.
The same is possible in the social network space. It is sufficient to reassign to each customer the ownership of all the digital connections that she creates — what is known as a “social graph.” If we owned our own social graph, we could sign into a Facebook competitor — call it MyBook — and, through that network, instantly reroute all our Facebook friends’ messages to MyBook, as we reroute a phone call.
If I can reach my Facebook friends through a different social network and vice versa, I am more likely to try new social networks. Knowing they can attract existing Facebook customers, new social networks will emerge, restoring the benefit of competition.
Today Facebook provides developers with application-program interfaces that give them access to its customers’ social graph, Facebook Connect and Graph A.P.I. Facebook controls these gates, retaining the right to cut off any developer who poses a competitive threat. Anticipating this outcome, very few developers invest seriously in creating alternatives, eliminating even the threat of competition.
By guaranteeing access to new customers’ data and contacts, a Social Graph Portability Act would reduce the network externality dimension of the existing digital platforms and ensure the benefits of competition.
Google and Facebook will no doubt display their enormous lobbying power to kill this idea in its infancy. But they would do so at their own risk. If their monopoly is not curbed by competition, it will eventually be curbed by regulation, and experience suggests that will be worse, not only for consumers, but also for Google and Facebook themselves."
A Way to Own Your Social-Media Data - The New York Times
Friday, June 30, 2017
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Siri and other voice assistants have a long way to go, research shows - CNET. (I don't use it on my MACs at all. I use "OK Google, phone and "Home" and "Alexa" (From the Amazon Echo).
"Now a new study from Adobe, released Thursday, provides some insights into how much folks use voice assistants and how much they like -- and dislike -- them.
In all, 37 percent of people surveyed for the study described interactions with voice assistants as either 'not good' or 'terrible.' The same percentage of people rated voice assistants positively, and the rest described them as 'okay.' Hardly a ringing endorsement.
A big reason for these less-than-stellar numbers is Apple's Siri, an underachiever that's single-handedly dragging down consumer expectations for voice assistants, said Adobe Digital Insights analyst Tamara Gaffney. The study backs up this claim: Adobe's review of billions of mentions on social media finds the fewest positive comments for Siri among all available voice assistants. An April study from digital marketer Stone Temple also showed poor results from Siri.
Enlarge Image Adobe in June surveyed 397 people on their interactions with voice assistants. Here are the results. Adobe 'I've personally found Siri to be crap,' Gaffney said.
Apple representatives did"
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
I believe the Canadian Court went to far and is abridging free speech.
"Google must remove some search results worldwide, Canada's supreme court said Wednesday, in a ruling critics say could threaten free expression on the internet.
The case involved a Canadian manufacturer of network gear that won an injunction against another company it said was illegally selling the gear online.
The supreme court upheld a lower-court judge's ruling that blocking search results for pirated gear only on Google's Canada site, Google.ca, would do little to prevent potential customers from finding the gear.
Customers outside Canada would still see the gear in search results on their country's version of Google. Canadian customers could simply use one of Google's many other search sites worldwide to locate the products.
"The Internet has no borders -- its natural habitat is global," the supreme court wrote. "If the injunction were restricted to Canada alone or to google.ca, the remedy would be deprived of its intended ability to prevent irreparable harm."
Critics, however, including Google, say the case threatens freedom of expression. Canadian group OpenMedia, which focuses on internet rights and filed a brief during the legal proceedings, said in a blog post Wednesday that the supreme court ruling could bring different country's laws into conflict.
"There is great risk that governments and commercial entities will see this ruling as justifying censorship requests that could result in perfectly legal and legitimate content disappearing off the web because of a court order in the opposite corner of the globe," the group wrote.
The supreme court, though, says free speech and pirated goods don't necessarily go well together.
"This is not an order to remove speech that, on its face, engages freedom of expression values," the court said in its ruling. "It is an order to de-index websites that are in violation of several court orders. We have not, to date, accepted that freedom of expression requires the facilitation of the unlawful sale of goods."
The court said further that if Google has evidence that complying with the injunction would violate another country's laws, including speech laws, it can apply to the lower court to amend the injunction.
Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the supreme court ruling."
Google must yank search results globally, says Canada court
"A quickly spreading ransomware attack is hitting countries across the world including France, Russia, Spain, Ukraine and the United States, just weeks after a ransomware attack known as WannaCry.
What We Know
• Several private companies have confirmed that they were hit by the attack, including the American pharmaceutical giant Merck, the Danish shipping company AP Moller-Maersk, the British advertising firm WPP, the French multinational Saint-Gobain and the Russian steel, mining and oil companies Evraz and Rosneft.
• Photographs and videos of computers affected by the attack show a message of red text on a black screen. The message read: “Oops, your important files have been encrypted. If you see this text then your files are no longer accessible because they have been encrypted. Perhaps you are busy looking to recover your files but don’t waste your time.”
• Kaspersky Lab, a cybersecurity firm based in Moscow, reported that about 2,000 computer systems had been affected by the new ransomware.
Continue reading the main story
• Cybersecurity researchers first called the new ransomware attack Petya, as it bore similarities to a ransomware strain known by that name, which was first reported by Kasperksy in March 2016. But Kaspersky later said that its investigation into the new attack found that it was a type of ransomware that had never been seen before.
• ESET, a Slovakia-based cybersecurity company, said the first known infection occurred early on June 27, through a Ukrainian software company called MeDoc. MeDoc denied that its program was the initial infection point. In a Facebook post, the firm wrote, “At the time of updating the program, the system could not be infected with the virus directly from the update file,” though an earlier message confirmed that its systems had been compromised.
• Symantec, a Silicon Valley cybersecurity firm, confirmed that the ransomware was infecting computers through at least one exploit, or vulnerability to computer systems, known as Eternal Blue.
• Eternal Blue was leaked online last April by a mysterious group of hackers known as the Shadow Brokers, who have previously released hacking tools used by the National Security Agency. That vulnerability was used in May to spread the WannaCry ransomware, which affected hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries.
• ESET and several other cybersecurity companies have identified at least one other exploit used in the attack known as PsExec, which takes advantage of a single computer that has not been updated with the latest software in a network to spread infections by looking for — and using — administrative credentials. By using PsExec, the ransomware continued spreading across systems that had been updated, or patched, after the WannaCry outbreak last month."
Global Cyberattack: What We Know and Don’t Know - The New York Times