Jack Ma's disappearing act fuels speculation about billionaire's whereabouts

Found on Reuters on Wednesday, 06 January 2021
Browse Politics

China’s highest-profile entrepreneur has not appeared in a public setting since a late October forum in Shanghai where he blasted China’s regulatory system in a speech that put him on a collision course with officials, resulting in the suspension of a $37 billion IPO of Alibaba’s Ant Group fintech arm.

In China, you don't speak up against the party, no matter how rich you are.

Brazil Bolsonaro: Facebook told to block accounts of president's supporters

Found on BBC News on Saturday, 01 August 2020
Browse Politics

Facebook has complied with an order by Brazil's Supreme Court to block the accounts of a dozen top allies of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

On Friday Brazil's Supreme Court fined Facebook 1.92m reais ($368,000; £280,000) for refusing to block worldwide access to the accounts - it had only agreed to block access to accounts that could accessed from Brazil - and a further 100,000 reais for each day it failed to comply.

So Brazil can decide for the rest of the world what to block? Let's wait until Iran or North Korea hops onto that train too.

Iowa caucus debacle is one of the most stunning tech failures ever

Found on CNBC on Friday, 07 February 2020
Browse Politics

Iowa officials counting the results coming in Monday from the caucusing app reported irregularities that required them to switch from the app to counting votes manually. Party officials said the "underlying data" put into the app was fine, but it is unclear as of yet how they know this or even what they consider "underlying data."

The Iowa Democrats were using an application made by a partisan progressive start-up named Shadow Inc., managed by a nonprofit investment company called Acronym. In a statement, Acronym distanced itself from Shadow.

They had an app that they knew was problematic. They used it anyway without properly testing their back-up plans, each stage of which have proved to take longer than usual.

Using an untested app from a startup that calls itself Shadow, managed by Acronym. Just how stupid have those in charge been?

Biden Suggests Coal Miners Learn to Code To Be Prepared for 'Jobs of the Future'

Found on Newsweek on Sunday, 05 January 2020
Browse Politics

The former vice president told an audience in Derry, New Hampshire, that coal miners could easily transition into programming jobs. "Anybody who can go down 300 to 3,000 feet in a mine, sure in hell can learn to program as well, but we don't think of it that way," he said.

"My liberal friends were saying, 'You can't expect them to be able to do that,'" Biden told his New Hampshire audience. "Gimme a break! Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program for God's sake."

This statement is so idiotic you're almost at a loss of words. With the same reasoning, they could learn to be doctors too; but would Biden allow one of them to do an operation on him? Probably not. He clearly has no idea what he is talking about and does not even in the slightest grasps the processes behind it. However, he could set an example and learn to program and deliver his amazing software to prove it is really all that simple. Or, more likely, he just fails to understand that data mining is not similar to coal mining.

DC Comics Comes Under Fire for Deleting Batman Poster That Sparked Chinese Backlash

Found on Variety on Monday, 02 December 2019
Browse Politics

The artwork depicts Batman throwing a Molotov cocktail against a backdrop of hot-pink words spelling out the new comic book’s tagline, “the future is young.” It was posted on DC Comics’ Twitter and Instagram accounts; both platforms are blocked in mainland China.

In the meantime, DC Comics’ Instagram has been flooded with criticism from people who support the Hong Kong protests or are angry that the company appears to have given in to Chinese political pressure.

“So now Batman loves money more than justice?” asked one commenter.

So now DC Comics joins the hall of shame along with Apple and Blizzard by bending over for China.

Axel Springer unit, others say Google still playing unfairly, want EU to act

Found on Reuters on Sunday, 01 December 2019
Browse Politics

The joint call by the group ratchets up pressure on European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to take further action against Google, the world’s most popular internet search engine, two years after she ordered it to stop favoring its own price comparison shopping service (CSS).

“We are approaching you (Vestager) because companies like ours are endangered by Google, which is artfully avoiding compliance with the law,” the companies wrote.

Sometimes you can just lean back and relax, knowing that there won't be any real loss no matter who wins.

Blizzard Sponsor Bailed After ‘Free Hong Kong’ Gamer Ban

Found on Daily Beast on Thursday, 31 October 2019
Browse Politics

After gaming giant Activision Blizzard banned a pro gamer who expressed support for Hong Kong protesters, the company has taken heat on all sides. Players boycotted Blizzard games. Employees walked out of work. Lawmakers lambasted the company for caving to pressure from China.

Two days after the company announced that it would ban Hong Kong-based professional Hearthstone player Chung Ng Wai, Mitsubishi Motors Taiwan ended its sponsorship of Blizzard’s esports events, according to Erica Rasch, a spokesperson for Mitsubishi.

According to Blizzard’s most recent earnings report, the company made 12 percent of its quarterly revenue in the Asia Pacific market.

For 12 percent (and the Asia Pacific market includes more than China) Blizzard has no problem to restrict free speech. Even worse, Blizzard really thinks people will believe that this has nothing to do with chinese politics.

How Amazon.com moved into the business of U.S. elections

Found on Reuters on Monday, 21 October 2019
Browse Politics

More than 40 states now use one or more of Amazon’s election offerings, according to a presentation given by an Amazon executive this year and seen by Reuters.

While it does not handle voting on election day, AWS - along with a broad network of partners - now runs state and county election websites, stores voter registration rolls and ballot data, facilitates overseas voting by military personnel and helps provide live election-night results, according to company documents and interviews.

More data for profiling.

Political ads can lie if they want, Facebook confirms

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 10 October 2019
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Faced with a stark real-world test, though, Facebook appears once again to be erring on the side of letting misinformation circulate far and wide if a politician promotes it.

"If the claim is made directly by a politician on their Page, in an ad or on their website, it is considered direct speech and ineligible for our third-party fact checking program," the company added.

While the guideline used to say that ads "must not contain deceptive, false, or misleading content," the rule now prohibits ads "that include claims debunked by third-party fact checkers" or, in some circumstances, by third-party organizations "with particular expertise" in the matter.

Politicians lie, Facebook loves money. Naturally those two go along well.

Report reveals no-deal Brexit impact – here's what you need to know

Found on New Scientist on Thursday, 12 September 2019
Browse Politics

Yesterday the UK government was forced to release a report describing the possible impact of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal at the end of October, which is looking increasingly possible. The plans had been codenamed Operation Yellowhammer.

Now it’s clear that civil servants, who are supposed to be impartial, expect there to be at least some harmful consequences of leaving the European Union without a deal. They predict that from day one the lorry flow rate through the Channel could roughly halve, for up to three months, with “significant disruption” for another three months.

In the past three years since the referendum nothing has been achieved. That was more than enough time to either make a deal, or prepare for a no-deal scenario, but nothing really happened. Except "we don't want that" replies to everything. So it's time for a hard cut, because then decisions have to be made.