The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Group behind Facebook's Libra coin push meet in Geneva

RTL – AFP, 14 November 2019

Facebook had hoped backers of its Libra project would swell from an initial 28 to
"well over 100", but instead, several initial supporters have abandoned a
scheme which regulators say threatens the global financial system / © AFP/File

The Libra Association, created by Facebook to launch its new cryptocurrency, kicked off its first council meeting in Geneva on Monday, despite defections by previous supporters like Visa and Mastercard.

The meeting also comes as the planned Libra global currency faces swelling criticism from regulators, and reported warnings from the G7 group of nations that it poses a threat to the global financial system.

Following Monday's meeting, the non-profit association was due to announce its founding membership and provide more details on how it plans to proceed.

Last month, it voiced hope that the number of companies backing it when it opened for business would swell from an initial 28 to "well over 100" companies.

But instead the list has shrunk, after more of its initial backers abandoned the alliance amid swelling criticism from regulators around the world on the planned Libra global currency.

Credit card giants Visa and Mastercard, online marketplace eBay and digital payments firm Stripe each announced Friday they had changed their minds about being founding members of the association, following a similar recent announcement by digital payments firm PayPal.

Libra Association confirmed Friday that the companies would no longer be founding members, but said that it would continue building an alliance of businesses, social-good organisations, and others to implement the cryptocurrency.

Threat to financial stability?

The membership departures came after US senators sent letters to several financial firms noting that they could face "a high level of scrutiny from regulators" if they participated in the new currency plan.

French economy and finance minister Bruno Le Maire has warned that under current circumstances, Libra posed a threat to the "monetary sovereignty" of governments and could not be authorised in Europe.

Facebook executives have, however, claimed the new digital coin could help lower costs for global money transfers and help those without access to the banking system.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify at an October 23 hearing in the US House of Representatives on the Libra plan.

But in a fresh blow, a draft G7 report has outlined nine major risks posed by such digital currencies, according to the BBC.

The report, due to be presented to finance ministers at IMF's annual meeting this week, did not single out Libra but referred to "global stablecoins" with the potential to "scale rapidly" as posing a range of potential problems.

Stablecoins are seen as more steady than cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, since they are pegged to traditional currencies such as the US dollar or the euro.

But the G7 draft report reportedly cautioned that such currencies could pose problems for policymakers setting interest rates, and could threaten financial stability if users suddenly suffer "loss of confidence" in the digital currency.

Randal Quarles, the head of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which oversees regulation among G20 economies, also sent a letter to G20 finance ministers Sunday warning that "global stablecoins could pose a host of challenges to the regulatory community."

This, he wrote, was "not least because they have the potential to become systemically important, including through the substitution of domestic currencies."

"Stablecoin projects of potentially global reach and magnitude must meet the highest regulatory standards and be subject to prudential supervision and oversight," he insisted.



Monday, October 14, 2019

China's blacklisted AI firms: what you should know

Yahoo  - AFP, Eva Xiao and Danni Zhu, October 13, 2019

China's AI technology companies are rising stars -- here people have their faces
scanned at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai (AFP Photo/
HECTOR RETAMAL)

Beijing (AFP) - The Chinese high-tech companies blacklisted by Washington over alleged ties to rights abuses are rising stars in China's ambitious drive to overtake the United States in the technology sector.

They make surveillance cameras, facial recognition software and other technology that has become ubiquitous in Xinjiang, the heavily policed northwestern region where an estimated one million mostly Muslim minorities, like ethnic Uighurs, are held in internment camps.

The eight firms were added on Monday to a list of 28 entities that US companies are barred from selling components to without government approval.

Here is a look at the companies targeted:

Hikvision

One of the world's largest suppliers of surveillance equipment, Hikvision is the poster child of Chinese tech firms benefiting from Xinjiang's booming security apparatus.

In 2017, it won at least five security-related contracts totalling 1.85 billion yuan ($260 million) in Xinjiang -- including a "social prevention and control system" featuring tens of thousands of cameras.

But the company also has a global presence, with nearly 30 percent of its revenue last year coming from outside China.

Hikvision has said the US listing lacks "factual basis", and downplayed its impact in a conference call aimed at investors and media on Wednesday.

"Currently, the majority of US components can all be directly replaced or replaced with new designs," said board secretary Huang Fanghong.

"If it's necessary, we will design our own chips."

Hikvision is one of the world's largest suppliers of surveillance equipment
(AFP Photo/FRED DUFOUR)

Megvii

An AI company backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, Megvii's facial recognition technology is used across a broad range of applications in China, from "smile to pay" mobile payments to identifying individuals for law enforcement.

The firm plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong but one of its joint sponsors, Goldman Sachs, said it was "evaluating" its role in the wake of the blacklisting.

Megvii said the US move "reflects a misunderstanding of our company".

Only one percent of its 2018 revenue was from projects in Xinjiang, and no revenue was generated from the region in the first six months of 2019, it added.

In April, the New York Times reported that several Chinese AI firms, including Megvii, Yitu, and SenseTime, were behind software used to racially profile and track Uighurs.

According to media reports, former US vice president and presidential candidate Joe Biden's son Hunter, who has been accused by President Donald Trump of corruption, is a director at BHR Partners, a fund that invested in Megvii.

SenseTime

SenseTime is backed by an illustrious list of investors, including SoftBank, Alibaba, and US chipmaker Qualcomm.

Founded by MIT alumnus Tang Xiao'ou –- a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong -- the AI company develops facial and image recognition applications, such as crowd monitoring and identity verification for lending apps.

The firm has a research lab in Silicon Valley and is partnering with universities around the world, including MIT, on AI research.

In an emailed statement, MIT said it would "review all existing relationships" with organisations added to Washington's entity list, and "modify any interactions, as necessary".

According to Dahua's 2018 financial report, about 36 percent of the 
Shenzhen-listed company's revenue came from abroad (AFP Photo/STR)

SenseTime said it was "deeply disappointed" by the blacklisting and would "work closely with all relevant authorities to fully understand and resolve the situation".

Dahua

Dahua Technology is another leading video surveillance equipment provider with an increasing footprint overseas and has projects in Brazil, Italy, and other countries.

According to its 2018 financial report, about 36 percent of the Shenzhen-listed company's revenue came from abroad.

In August, the US also formally banned Dahua and Hikvision, along with telecom giant Huawei and other firms, from obtaining government contracts.

Meiya Pico

Meiya Pico, a digital forensics company, drew scrutiny from rights groups after security researchers said the firm was behind "MFSocket" -- an app that enables police to extract contacts, messages, and other personal data from smartphones.

Yitu

Yitu Technology has developed apps for facial and speech recognition, such as identity authentication at banks, cancer screening, and monitoring transport hubs to assist law enforcement.

iFlytek

Shenzhen-listed AI firm iFlytek is one of the top speech recognition companies in China.

In 2017, Human Rights Watch said iFlytek was working with China's public security ministry to collect "voice pattern" samples and develop a surveillance system that could identify targeted voices in phone conversations.

Yixin

Yixin Science and Technology Co. Ltd is a Beijing-based security firm that sells video surveillance, facial recognition, and counter-terrorism products.

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the company provided wireless surveillance systems at bus stops to monitor for terrorist attacks.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Five Dutch companies club together to fund university AI researchers

DutchNews, October 10, 2019


Five of the Netherlands’ biggest companies have clubbed together to pay for new professors in Artificial Intelligence, following reports earlier this year that universities are going to limit the number of places because of staff shortages. 

Ahold Delhaize, Philips, KLM, ING and Dutch railway group NS will pay towards the salaries of at least 25 new academics as part of a project dubbed ‘Kickstart AI’. 

By placing the professors partly on corporate payrolls, their salaries can be increased to encourage more to come forward, the Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday. 

The tenures will run for at least five years, and possibly as much as 10, the paper said. Several universities have already begun recruitment drives. 

‘The Netherlands has always been a technology pioneer… but without a national AI strategy, the serious shortage of AI talent will remain one of the biggest obstacles to reach the technology’s full potential,’ said Amsterdam university professor Maarten de Rijke said in a press statement. ‘This initiative underscores the urgency of speeding up AI education and keeping talent.’ 

The initiative is costing tends of millions of euros, Philips chief innovation officer Jeroen Tas told the paper. 

The initiative also includes a competition to find new applications for AI and a campaign to boost public acceptance of AI-related technologies.

Related Article:


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Innovative Iraqis dodge net blackout to illuminate protest violence

Yahoo – AFP, Maya Gebeily, October 5, 2019

Protesters have used mobile phones to film against a backdrop of tear gas volleys
and live rounds during demonstrations that have gripped Iraq since Tuesday (AFP
Photo/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)

Baghdad (AFP) - With secret satellites, pricey messages abroad and clandestine file transfers, young Iraqis are circumventing an internet blackout aimed at stifling several days of bloody protests in the capital and beyond.

Authorities restricted access to Facebook and Whatsapp after anti-government demonstrations began on Tuesday, before ordering a total network shutdown on Wednesday.

The termination of Wifi, 3G and 4G access left protestors with just regular phone calls and mobile messages -- a few notable exceptions aside.

Ahmad, 29, works at an internet service provider that helped implement the government's shutdown, but still has internet access at its headquarters.

"I go to the protests in the morning and shoot video on my phone, then use the internet at work to upload them to Facebook or send them to media outside Iraq," he said, using a fake name for fear of retribution or legal action by the government.

Protesters say the internet outage is an attempt to suppress reports of security forces using indiscriminate force including tear gas, live rounds and water cannons.

Ahmad showed AFP footage he planned to send to international media later that evening -- shots could be heard fired across a mostly-empty street in Baghdad as he and fellow protesters took cover behind a concrete barrier.

"Friends are even giving me the footage they shoot on flash drives so everyone outside Iraq can see what's happening here," he said.

Iraqi protesters take cover in Baghdad's central Khellani Square, while using their 
mobile phones - devices that have been key to citizen efforts to record alleged heavy 
handed tactics by security forces (AFP Photo/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)

Before Tuesday, many Iraqis had taken to Facebook and Instagram to call for initial protests against a range of grievances: unemployment, mass government corruption, nepotism, poor public services, and more.

Images of young men and women marching towards the emblematic Tahrir Square flooded social media the first day, using the hashtag #save_Iraqi_people.

When restrictions on Facebook began, Iraqis acted quickly; many downloaded virtual private network (VPN) applications.

Others even began surreptitiously posting the details of the next protests in the comments section of Cinemana, a popular streaming service in Iraq.

But those avenues were shut off by the systemic shutdown.

Those that could afford to therefore erected costly satellites on their rooftops to get a window into the outside world.

'Follow the gunfire'

Nearly 100 people have died in the demonstrations since Tuesday, most of them protesters but also personnel from the security forces, according to authorities.

"They’re trying to fight us not just with arms, but with this blackout," said 31-year-old protester Osama Mohammad.

"We used to check the different neighbourhoods' Facebook pages to know where to go for protests. Now we just follow the sound of gunfire," Mohammad told AFP.

Live rounds have allegedly repeatedly been fired during the protests, which have 
evolved into calls for fundamental government change (AFP Photo/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)

"If they cut off regular phone lines, we'll be completely blind," he noted.

For 25-year-old women's rights activist Rasha, taking to the streets carries too much risk, but she says she has found a different way to get involved.

Every day, her male friends text her dozens of updates from protest squares across the country, which she then texts and phones through to friends in the United Arab Emirates and Europe.

"I'm an intermediary. I can’t protest myself so this is the least I can do," she said, telling AFP the phone credit she buys has cost her around $100 (90 euros) per day for the last three days.

Rasha, who comes from Baghdad, is also saving videos and other unpublished material from one of the first protests that turned violent. She attended that initial demonstration.

"They think we'll forget they fired at us, they think people won't know. But I've got the videos and I'll publish everything I saw that day the minute the internet comes back," she said.

Jaafar Raad, an unemployed 29-year-old Iraqi who has frequently protested, is also storing dozens of images and videos to release once the blackout is lifted.

He even records voice notes from the protests themselves in applications like Whatsapp and Facebook, so that the audio messages will automatically send to friends abroad and international media outlets as soon as the internet returns.

"People must know what happened to us. This is so we can hold those behind the violence accountable," he told AFP.


Related Article:

“The End of History”, Seattle, Washington, Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll

“… The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification

Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.

I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when "everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy." For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?  ... “

Friday, October 4, 2019

Facebook suffers legal blow in EU court over hate speech

Yahoo – AFP, October 3, 2019

The EU's top court has ruled that national courts in Europe can order Facebook and other
online platforms to remove defamatory content worldwide (AFP Photo/DENIS CHARLET)
 

Luxembourg (AFP) - Facebook on Wednesday was dealt a major blow in the EU's top court, which ruled that national courts in Europe can order online platforms to remove defamatory content worldwide.

The decision will be seen as a victory for EU regulators, who are ambitious to see US tech giants meet tightened European standards over hate speech and offensive content.

Last week, the same court decided that Google was not legally compelled to apply the EU's strict "right to be forgotten" rules globally, in a victory for the search giant.

In a closely watched judgment, the European Court of Justice said EU law "does not preclude" courts from ordering "the removal of information or to block access worldwide," a statement said.

The latest case was brought originally to an Austrian court by Greens party politician Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, who requested the removal of Facebook posts that the judges found defamed her and could be seen by users of the social network around the world.

The complaint also concerned messages from fictitious accounts, which according to the Greens, had called Glawischnig-Piesczek a "corrupt" person and which the social network refused to delete.

A higher Austrian court referred the case to the EU's top court for an opinion and the judgment, which cannot be appealed, will now be used as a reference Europe-wide.

With the decision, Facebook and similar platforms such as Twitter, face a greater obligation to monitor their content and take down content found to be offensive or hateful, even from fake accounts.

Facebook slammed the EU court's decision, saying "it undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on speech on another country."

It also deplored the obligation to track down "equivalent" content that duplicates offensives or hateful language.

'Chilling effect'

"In order to get this right, national courts will have to set out very clear definitions on what 'identical' and 'equivalent' means in practice," a Facebook statement said

"We hope the courts take a proportionate and measured approach, to avoid having a chilling effect on freedom of expression," it said.

Glawischnig-Piesczek, the victim of the hate speech, hailed the decision as "a historic success for human rights against web giants".

"It in no way infringes freedom of opinion," Glawischnig-Piesczek told the Austrian news agency APA.

EU-wide rules on hate speech are limited.

So far, online giants including Google's Youtube, have agreed to voluntarily take down hateful or dangerous content, including those linked to terrorism, within 24 hours.

However, the EU is expected to propose tougher Europe-wide measures including fines if Facebook and others fail to comply with orders.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Russia rolls out the red carpet for Huawei over 5G

Yahoo – AFP, Andrea PALASCIANO, September 29, 2019

Russia's move with Huawei may be as much a show of solidarity with Beijing against the
US as it is a drive to bring ultra high-speed internet to Russia (AFP Photo/FRED DUFOUR)

Moscow (AFP) - While the US banned Huawei for alleged espionage and asked its allies to do the same, Moscow has rolled out the red carpet for the Chinese tech company, letting it develop 5G networks in Russia.

Analysts say the move is as much a show of solidarity with Beijing against the US as it is a drive to bring ultra high-speed internet to Russian tech users.

This month, Huawei opened its first 5G test zone in Moscow in partnership Russian operator MTS, with a view to rolling out the service to the rest of the capital.

Moscow authorities say the network will become part of the city's normal infrastructure within the next few years.

A pioneer in telecoms networks compared to many Western countries, Russia plans to deploy 5G in all of its main cities by 2024.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russia in June -- at the height of Washington's conflict with Huawei -- Russia's main operator MTS signed a contract with the Chinese company.

'We live well in Russia'

At the inauguration of the 5G zone in Moscow, the CEO of Russia's branch of Huawei Zhao Lei praised the company's activities in the country.

"We have been working in Russia for 22 years. Thanks to our partners, we live well here," he said.

Russia's move with Huawei may be as much a show of solidarity with Beijing 
against the US as it is a drive to bring ultra high-speed internet to Russia (AFP 
Photo/FRED DUFOUR)

He added that Huawei, considered a world leader in 5G technology, plans to "lead in the development of 6G" in the future.

Huawei is also the world's second-largest smartphone company. It did not respond to AFP's interview requests.

A source in Russia's 5G research community said Huawei is the biggest investor in the development of mobile technologies in Russia, with "the largest research laboratory of all operators" in Moscow.

According to the Vedomosti business daily, Huawei currently employs 400 people in Moscow and 150 in Saint Petersburg in mobile research and development. It aims to employ 500 more people by the end of 2019 and 1,000 more over five years.

Experts said Russia's welcome of Huawei does not mean the Chinese company is alone in the race for developing 5G in Russia.

"Russian operators are all collaborating with multiple 5G equipment vendors, Huawei included. We do not see any clear 5G leaders in the network deployment in Russia," said Michela Landoni, an analyst at Fitch Solutions.

She said operators prefer this approach to avoid being "reliant on one specific vendor" and to protect themselves against cyber threats.

The Tele2 operator was the first to launch 5G in Russia with Sweden's Ericsson in August, on Moscow's main Tverskaya street.

Russia and China, analysts say, are trying to break away from the US 
monopoly over smartphone operating systems (AFP Photo/Christof STACHE)

'Economic front'

In the midst of a trade war and technological rivalry with China, the US has threatened to cut Huawei's access to the US components and services it needs, such as the Android operating system that the company uses on its phones.

Russia then promptly stepped in to offer its Aurora operating system to the Chinese group.

If Android remains Huawei's preferred choice, Landoni said Aurora could be a "short-term solution" for the group.

According to the analyst, Aurora could become a "stepping stone" in the development for Huawei's own OS.

According to Sylvain Chevallier, a partner at the technology consulting firm BearingPoint, the aim is "to create an economic front against the US."

Russia and China, he said, are trying to break away from the US monopoly over smartphone operating systems.

As for the espionage risks Washington has warned of, Russia is hardly worried.

While using foreign mobile equipment risks foreign government accessing data, for Russia there is "no big difference" if it is Huawei, Ericsson or another company, said Evgeny Khorov, the head of the Wireless Network Lab at Russia's Academy of Sciences.

"Many people use Android phones whose system is designed by Google. Does this mean that Google has access to all the data? Yes, of course," he said.

"So what's the difference between Huawei and Google in this case?"

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Google wins EU fight against worldwide 'right to be forgotten'

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine KURZAWA, 24 September 2019

Google hailed the ruling, saying it has worked Google has worked "to strike a
sensible balance between people’s rights of access to information and privacy"

Google is not required to apply an EU "right to be forgotten" to its search engine domains outside Europe, the EU's top court ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision.

The European Court of Justice handed victory to Google in the case, seen as crucial in determining whether EU online regulation should apply beyond Europe's borders or not.

The US internet giant had argued that the removal of search results required under EU law should not extend to its google.com domain or its other non-EU sites.

The court ruled that, while a search engine operator such as Google must carry out "de-referencing" of links as demanded by a regulator or court in an EU state to all European versions of its sites, that "right to be forgotten" did not need to go further.

"There is no obligation under EU law" for search engine operators such as Google "to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine," the court said.

But it did stress that de-referencing on EU sites must include measures to "seriously discourage" a European internet user being able to get around the "right to be forgotten" by accessing unrestricted results from a search engine on a non-EU domain.

That demands "geo-blocking", which Google says it already uses effectively in Europe.

Savvy internet users, however, can get around that measure with a VPN that masks the user's location, or by going to some non-Google search engines.

Google hails win

The EU court case, seen as pitting individuals' rights to privacy online against freedom of information, stemmed from a legal battle waged by France since 2014 to have Google apply the "right to be forgotten" to all its search domains.

If France had won, it could have deepened a rift between Europe and the United States, which is home to most of the internet's behemoths and whose President Donald Trump has railed against what he sees as EU meddling in US business.

In the end, though, the court found that EU law on the issue did not seek to have the "right to be forgotten" extend beyond its borders.

Google hailed Tuesday's decision by the EU court.

"It's good to see that the court agreed with our arguments," its lawyer, Peter Fleischer, said in a statement, adding that Google has worked "to strike a sensible balance between people's rights of access to information and privacy".

The US company and other stakeholders had warned that authoritarian countries outside Europe could abuse global de-referencing requests to cover up rights violations.

"It's a balanced decision. You can't impose extraterritorial effects when it comes to de-referencing a person," said Yann Padova, a data privacy lawyer with the Baker McKenzie firm in Paris who was not involved in arguing the case.

"What would we say if China started demanding de-referencing of content accessible to French users?" he asked.

Closely watched case

Google's position was bolstered in January by a non-binding opinion from the EU court's top legal advisor, advocate general Maciej Szpunar, who recommended judges "should limit the scope of the de-referencing that search engine operators are required to carry out, to the EU".

The case had been closely watched, especially as Europe has also already emerged as a global rule-setter in terms of data protection on the internet.

A 2016 General Data Protection Regulation it enacted that covers all EU citizens and residents has forced many sites and companies around the globe to comply with its measures.

In terms of the "right to be forgotten" legal fight, France's data regulator, the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL), had argued that, for de-referencing to be effective, it must apply to all domains wherever they are.

In 2016, CNIL fined Google 100,000 euros ($110,000) for non-compliance. Google appealed to France's highest court, which in turn referred to the European Court of Justice, ending up with Tuesday's ruling.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Twitter closes thousands of fake news accounts worldwide

France24 –AFP, 20 September 2019


Washington (AFP) - Twitter said Friday it has closed down thousands of accounts across the world for spreading fake news as well as pro-government propaganda, including in places like the United Arab Emirates, China and Spain.

Accounts coming from China seeking to sow discord among protesters in Hong Kong were closed down, as were accounts amplifying a pro-Saudi message coming from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates directed at Qatar and Yemen, Twitter said.

Fake news accounts were also suspended in Spain and Ecuador.

The information release is part of the company's push to improve understanding of how its platform is used by state actors to manipulate public opinion.

Twitter said they had identified 4,302 accounts based in China "attempting to sow discord about the protest movement in Hong Kong."

This follows the identification in August of more than 200,000 fake accounts in China engaged in fueling public discord in Hong Kong.

The announcement follows Facebook's removing fake accounts based in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE last month for posting misinformation about regional hotspots including Libya, Sudan and Yemen.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Dutch Youtubers are fined $2,280 for Area 51 alien adventure

DutchNews, September 17, 2019

Photo: X51 via Wikimedia Commons 

Two young Dutchmen arrested in the US for trying to enter a military base part of Nevada known as Area 51, have been each fined $2,280 and ordered to stay away from the area for a year, website Nu.nl reported. 

The men, Ties Granzier aged 20 and Govert Sweep aged 21, both run YouTube channels and there was a drone, camera and laptops with them in the car they were driving. They were arrested a week ago, three miles inside the security zone, after telling police they had seen the signs but wanted to look at the site anyway. 

Area 51, around 120 miles north of Las Vegas, is home to a heavily guarded US military base. According to UFO conspiracy theorists, it is also home to the remains from a flying saucer that supposedly crashed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

PayPal cautious about future of Libra cryptocurrency

Yahoo – AFP, September 14, 2019

PayPal is part of the nonprofit Libra Association, which will oversee the
blockchain-based coin, maintaining a real-world asset reserve to keep its
value stable (AFP Photo/Handout)

San Francisco (AFP) - PayPal is cautious about the future of Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra, which is slated to debut with the pioneering digital payments firm as part of its oversight association.

International outcry is mounting over Libra -- with central banks, governments and regulators railing against Facebook's upstart cryptocurrency and questions over how it would be regulated.

The social media giant unveiled plans in June for Libra -- which will roll out in 2020 -- to be backed by a basket of currency assets to avoid the wild swings of Bitcoin and other virtual units.

"It's a non-binding commitment," PayPal investor relations vice president Gabrielle Rabinovitch said Thursday of the California-based company signing on to the Libra Association.

"And obviously, I think there's a lot of work to happen before we get to that point where it becomes something more than just a very exciting idea."

The nonprofit Libra Association, based in Geneva, will oversee the blockchain-based coin, maintaining a real-world asset reserve to keep its value stable.

Facebook envisioned Libra as a new global cryptocurrency, pledging to deliver a stable virtual money that lives on smartphones and could bring over a billion "unbanked" people into the financial system.

Hundreds of billions of dollars are transferred annually between migrants and loved ones in their home countries, and PayPal is a player in that sector.

"The goals and ambitions of Libra are very consistent with PayPal's overall ambitions in terms of serving the underserved; democratizing access to capital," Rabinovitch said.

"So we very much believe in the potential of Libra."