Facial recognition trial in London results in zero arrests, Metropolitan Police confirm

Found on Independent on Saturday, 07 July 2018
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Scotland Yard had hailed the pilot in Stratford, which The Independent revealed to be one of several planned across London this year, as a method of identifying wanted violent criminals and cracking down on attacks.

Opponents argue that the software currently being used by British police forces is “staggeringly inaccurate” and has a chilling effect on society, while supporters see it as a powerful public protection tool with the ability to help track terrorists, wanted criminals and vulnerable people.

Let's not forgot that London is the most observed place, with cameras everywhere. If there are good chances for finding a needle in a haystack, it should be there.

YouTuber in row over copyright infringement of his own song

Found on BBC News on Friday, 06 July 2018
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Paul had been contacted by YouTube to advise him that one of his videos had been flagged for copyright infringement, but in his own words, "this was a little different".

The copyright he had apparently infringed upon was his own.

Paul had been accused of plagiarising his own music - and worse, all the money that video was earning would now be directed towards the person who copied his content.

At the heart of the controversy is YouTube's Content ID system - the automatic process which decides whether a video contains copyright infringement.

The entire copyright system is a total mess anyway and it needs a complete rewrite, but without the lobbying agenda of those industries who keep pushing for longer and longer copyright durations.

EU Explores Making GDPR Apply To EU Government Bodies... But With Much Lower Fines

Found on Techdirt on Tuesday, 12 June 2018
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The EU forced everyone else to comply by May of this year. But gave itself extra time -- time in which it is not complying with the rules and brushing it off as no big deal, while simultaneously telling everyone else that it's easy to comply.

Under the GDPR, companies can be fined 20 million euros or 4% of revenue, whichever is higher, meaning that any smaller company can be put out of business, but the plan for the EU itself is for fines to top out at €50,000 per mistake, with a cap of €500,000 per year.

Yet the politicians are wondering why more and more people dislike, or flat out hate, the EU and why nationalism is on the rise.

German court snubs ICANN's bid to compel registrar to slurp up data

Found on The Register on Thursday, 31 May 2018
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Global domain name system overlord ICANN’s latest attempt to deal with compliance with European data protection law has been dealt a blow after a German court rejected its request to force a registrar to keep gathering people’s information.

The court said that although it was clear that having more data makes identifying and contacting the people behind a domain more reliable, ICANN had not demonstrated that storing this other data was indispensable for its purposes.

That result was just too obvious.

Doctor slammed by med board for selling $5 homeopathic sound waves for Ebola

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 26 May 2018
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The California medical board is threatening to revoke the license of Dr. William Edwin Gray III for selling homeopathic sound files over the Internet that he claims—without evidence or reason—can cure a variety of ailments, including life-threatening infections such as Ebola, SARS, swine flu, malaria, typhoid, and cholera.

Gray claims that sound waves can carry “the energetic signal in homeopathic remedies” to treat patients. He claims to be able to collect that energy by placing vials of homeopathic remedies (like water) in electrified wire coils and recording any emitted sounds. With this method, he produced 263 “eRemedies,” which are 13-second recordings (conveniently available as either .wav or .MP3 files) said to sound like hissing.

That makes you wonder how he got his license in the first place. He does not appear to know much about medicine, or technology for that matter; otherwise he would know that encoding to MP3 actually makes subtle changes to the sound. Not that it would work with WAV anyway. It also makes you wonder what type of people fall for such an obvious scam.

Cash payment crackdown to counter tax evasion and black economy

Found on The Guardian on Friday, 11 May 2018
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The Turnbull government has turned its attention to the “black economy” in an attempt to raise billions of extra dollars and intends to limit cash payments for purchase goods and services to $10,000.

As part of the cash-in-hand crackdown the government will introduce an economy-wide cash payment limit of $10,000 to reduce money laundering and tax evasion, to apply from 1 July 2019.

That won't do anything to stop tax evasion or black economy. Tax evasion is done professionally on a much bigger scale (hello Apple, Amazon and Google) while black economy just works because of person-to-person payments. All it does is pave the way for the complete elimination of cash; and with cash gone, banks and governments get a much tighter grip on citizens.

YouTube recruiter sues Google for allegedly refusing to hire white and Asian men

Found on The Verge on Sunday, 04 March 2018
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Wilberg claims that Google implemented “clear and irrefutable policies” meant to exclude white and Asian men in an attempt to increase the company’s overall diversity. He also claims that Google retaliated against him for opposing these policies, eventually firing him in November 2017.

In one hiring round, the team was allegedly instructed to cancel all software engineering interviews with non-diverse applicants below a certain experience level, and to “purge entirely any applications by non-diverse employees from the hiring pipeline.”

So Google tries not to look racist by being racist?

Cloudflare Terminates Service to Sci-Hub Domain Names

Found on Torrentfreak on Monday, 05 February 2018
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While Sci-Hub is praised by thousands of researchers and academics around the world, copyright holders are doing everything in their power to wipe the site from the web.

According to Sci-Hub’s operator, losing access to Cloudflare is not “critical,” but it may “cause a short pause in website operation.”

Knowledge needs to be free.

Linking Is Not Copyright Infringement, Boing Boing Tells Court

Found on Torrentfreak on Friday, 19 January 2018
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With help from the EFF, Boing Boing argues that its article linking to an archive of hundreds of centerfold playmates is clearly fair use. Or else it will be "the end of the web as we know it," the blog warns.

“We’re asking the court to dismiss this deeply flawed lawsuit. Journalists, scientists, researchers, and everyday people on the web have the right to link to material, even copyrighted material, without having to worry about getting sued.”

Links are the basis of the Internet; if you are not happy with what they are pointing at, talk to the one hosting the target, not to whoever is just linking to it.

2018 Is the Last Year of America's Public Domain Drought

Found on Motherboard on Tuesday, 02 January 2018
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American copyrights now stretch for 95 years. Since 1998, we've been frozen with a public domain that only applies to works from before 1923 (and government works).

“Until 1978, the maximum copyright term was 56 years from the date of publication—an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years,” she wrote. “In 1998, Congress added 20 years to the copyright term, extending it to the author’s lifetime plus 70 years, or 95 years after publication for corporate 'works made for hire.'”

Expect heavy lobbying work to make sure that copyright will be extended once again to "protect the creators" who are long dead so those who never created anything can profit from the rights they are holding onto.