Brit living in Belgium and earning an income from building interfaces. Interestes include science, science fiction, technology, and European news and politics
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Elon Musk’s plan to rate ‘truth’ trolled

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Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk has drawn the ire of journalists over his plan to launch a site called “Pravda” — “truth” in Russian — to keep tabs on the media.

The billionaire innovator, who has lashed out at the media over negative reports of his electric vehicles business, said he wants to create a service that would rate journalists and news outlets on the “core truth” of their coverage.

But “Pravda,” it turns out, is also the name of a gutsy newspaper, the Ukrayinska Pravda, whose pioneering journalists are often behind stories calling out the leaders of countries like Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and doggedly go about uncovering corruption.

Less than two years ago, one of Pravda’s reporters, Pavel Sheremet, was murdered in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, when a car bomb ripped though the Subaru XV he was driving. Its founder, Georgiy Gongadze, was also famously kidnapped and murdered in 2000, an event that helped fuel the country’s Orange revolution.

“Ukrainska Pravda is actually one of the best independent outlets in Ukraine. If anything you should be giving them a massive donation instead of trying to buy them out to further demonize the media,” Simon Ostrovsky, the investigations editor at Coda Story, tweeted at Musk in reaction to his plan to become a professional media critic.

Leonid Ragozin, an independent journalist based in Moscow, also trolled Musk on Friday, underlining Gongadze brutal murder for exposing corruption.

“The editor of this Ukrainian website was killed for exposing top-level corruption, his head found separately from his body. Journalists live in a different reality from that of rich ignoramuses who try to teach them how to write,” he wrote.

Undeterred, Musk tweeted Friday that he would buy “Pravduh.com” instead.

Musk’s tirade against the media came after Tesla became the subject of critical coverage. One such report was published by Reveal, a nonprofit news organization that published an investigative report raising concerns about the safety conditions of the company’s factories.

Another story in Consumer Reports found “flaws — big flaws — such as long stopping distances” when emergency braking tests were carried out.



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expatpaul
8 hours ago
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The moment when Elton Musk finally lost all sense of proportion.
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Those GDPR emails you got? All for nothing

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The good news: You can stop plowing through every GDPR-related email asking if you want to keep in touch. The bad news: You shouldn’t have received (most of) them in the first place.

As the EU’s new privacy rules kick in, experts are saying European consumers didn’t need to be on the receiving end of the avalanche of emails that landed in their inboxes this week.

A large number of companies — uncertain about the implications of the new rules — asked entire client and contact databases to reconfirm their (already given) consent, as part of their review over the past months of the personal data they hold on customers, employees or general internet users.

“If in the past you have given your consent to receive marketing emails of a company, then that consent is still valid,” said Frederik Borgesius, a privacy researcher at the Free University Brussels.

European data protection authorities, who met in Brussels Friday for a plenary meeting and will be in charge of enforcing the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, supported the analysis.

Companies don’t need consent to send marketing emails to existing customers.

“There is a lot of fuss about this … In a lot of cases they don’t need this consent,” said Willem Debeuckelaere, Belgian data protection chief and deputy chair of the newly created European Data Protection Board that will coordinate privacy enforcement across Europe.

Companies don’t need consent to send marketing emails to existing customers. Nor do they need consent to send non-marketing material, according to Debeuckelaere. The only situation in which a company needs to ask for additional consent is when it sends marketing emails to contacts that are not existing customers.

The exceptions to this rule are organizations holding large troves of email addresses but never asked recipients if they wanted to be included on email lists. Such “spammers” could face fines and enforcement action — but would have already been in breach of EU law (and specifically the e-Privacy Directive) before the new data protection rules kicked in.

Companies that did send out emails asking for renewed consent might find themselves in a tricky situation now, said Aaron Tantleff, privacy lawyer at Foley & Lardner.

“In most cases, the email request was unnecessary at best and a poor business decision at worst as they are finding that their marketing database is rapidly shrinking,” he said.

“Many of the companies that sent out the emails asking for consent are going to find that they are going to lose a sizable portion of their mailing list. While some respondents will affirmatively respond and provide consent, there are plenty of individuals who are saying no, with another sizable percentage of individuals not responding at all,” according to Tantleff.

Like many others, Tantleff said “even I got fed up when I receive 152 such consent emails in one day.”



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expatpaul
1 day ago
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Maya the Bee promotes cigarettes for children in Greenpeace campaign

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The environmental organisation Greenpeace has launched a new campaign in which the Studio 100 cartoon character Maya the Bee features in a parody commercial for children’s cigarettes.

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expatpaul
2 days ago
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"Children won’t understand it. The only thing that they will remember is that Maya is smoking”.

-- I have to admit that I'm with Studio 100 on this one.
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Court rules that Trump has broken Constitution with Twitter bans

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No, not the Russian investigation . No, not money from foreign governments. No, not firing of officials. Twitter.

Donald Trump has broken the United States Constitution, a New York district court ruled Wednesday, putting the president in legal hot water.…

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expatpaul
2 days ago
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Ha
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RT @mutablejoe: He's making a list He's checking it twice He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice Santa Claus is in contravention of arti…

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He's making a list
He's checking it twice
He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice
Santa Claus is in contravention of article 4 of the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679


Posted by mutablejoe on Sunday, May 20th, 2018 4:39pm
Retweeted by TwopTwips on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 11:04am


36506 likes, 15605 retweets
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expatpaul
3 days ago
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Ignore the hype over big tech. Its products are mostly useless | John Harris

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It’s years since Silicon Valley gave us a game-changer. Instead, from curing disease to colonies on Mars, we’re fed overblown promises

Back in 1999, Google hit 1bn searches a year. Wifi began to make an impact about two years later. Thanks to the pioneers of Facebook and Twitter, the age of mass social media dawned between 2004 and 2006 – and non-stop posting, messaging and following was soon enabled by the iPhone, launched in 2007. These things have changed the world and, in hindsight, the way they became ubiquitous had a powerful sense of inevitability. But the revolution they represented is old now, and nothing comparable has come along for more than a decade.

Despite this, a regular ritual of hype and hysteria is now built into the news cycle. Every now and again, at some huge auditorium, a senior staff member at one of the big firms based in northern California – ordinarily a man – will take the stage dressed in box-fresh casualwear, and inform the gathered multitudes of some hitherto unimagined leap forward, supposedly destined to transform millions of lives. (There will be whoops and gasps in response, and a splurge of media coverage – before, in the wider world, a palpable feeling of anticlimax sets in.)

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jepler
3 days ago
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Even the examples cited aren't really "game-changers" anyway. Google was not the first search engine, it just overshadows every other search engine that came before it due to luck (geeks ate up the very concept of pagerank). Facebook's roots (*depending what you think facebook *IS*, and/or what facebook of 2006 *WAS*) go all the way back to the dial-up BBS, just at a scale that nobody in 1985 with an acoustic modem would have believed. The iphone (2007) was just a Treo phone with a better screen and ruthless attention to battery life, oh and Steve Jobs's mojo that at the time was somehow rubbing off on everything his company put out.

Which really dovetails with what the article is saying, I think. Distrust that *anything* is "revolutionary", particularly when it's people with a financial interest who are saying it. Don't pay attention to the hype, as an individual considering whether to buy a good or use a service; or as an investor in these same companies and products at any level from "I'm kickstarting the first sock delivery service based on blockchain" on up. (oooh hey, "sockchain", I think I'm on to something)

In retrospect, only a very few things will feel like they lived up to their hype, but more than likely they'll be the ones who saw how to make incremental change that somehow felt like it was *more than* incremental change. And we'll all have different lists, too, until we're all turned into a homogeneous paste by rogue nanomachines or whatever fate awaits us as a species as long as we continue pursuing exponential increase in everything year after year.
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
pleppik
3 days ago
Execution is far more important than the idea. You’re right that Google was not the first search engine, but it worked so much better than its peers (remember Alta Vista?) that it was in a league of its own from day one. Remember that before Google, the conventional wisdom was that search was a zero-value dead end business. Same thing with the iPhone. Even though the Treo had most of the same checkbox features, the iPhone was so much better designed and executed that it was effectively an entirely different product category. I have an alternate formula for finding the Next Big Thing in tech: look for an area where there’s a devoted group of users who find so much value from something that they use it even though it sucks. Then find a way to make it not suck for the mainstream. Of course if it was really that easy then everyone would do it.
expatpaul
3 days ago
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"Now, when was the last time you came to book a haircut or restaurant table and concluded that the task was so onerous that you would ideally delegate it to a machine?"

This is a question that can be applied to a lot of the hype that comes out of Silicon Valley -- there are too many people spending too much time and money on solving problems no-one has.
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acdha
2 days ago
And ignoring how many irritations they’ll create but never fix because it won’t be flashy enough for a press conference
expatpaul
2 days ago
Too true. I have lost track of the amount of time I've spent irritably attempting to switch off intrusive features.
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