* Posts by Headley_Grange

332 posts • joined 24 Feb 2010


Apple reseller Solutions Inc pulls down shutters, calls in administrators

Headley_Grange Silver badge

Re: Not a surprise.


Whatever is involved in a battery replacement is irrelevant in this case. The point is that they couldn't give me a quote. If they knew what they were doing, and even if Apple made them supply free unicorns to Tim Cook's children every battery change, they should have been able to give me a quote, shouldn't they? Either:

- they didn't know how to do the battery replacement but were willing to have a go at it and charge me time booked (assuming they didn't knacker my Mac), or

- they knew it would be so expensive that I'd walk but if they could con me into leaving the Mac without knowing the price I'd have to pay it to get my Mac back, or

- the Apple website made a mistake and sent me to a service centre which was not authorized to do battery replacements but the bloke didn't tell me this and thought he could wing it somehow and get me to pay.

I can't think of any other reasons for them not telling me the price and any one of the reasons above was good enough for me to resolve never to go there again.

(I didn't downvote you).

Headley_Grange Silver badge

Re: Not a surprise.

It wasn't a repair - it was a battery replacement. I booked the appointment with Solutions through the Apple website because Solutions were an authorized service centre.

As for not being able to give a price: if it was because they don't know what's involved in changing a battery then they shouldn't be quoting in the first place.

Headley_Grange Silver badge

Not a surprise.

A while ago I went to my local Solutions shop to get a battery change in a MBA. I seem to remember that the cost in the Apple shop would have been about £130. The Solutions shop quoted me the Apple price plus labour. I asked how much the labour charge would be and they wouldn't tell me. I acted slightly astonished (because I was) and suggested they give me a not-to-be-exceeded quote; they refused. I asked to see the manager and found out I was already talking to him. What was even odder was the fact that he was surprised when I put the MBA back in bag and left the shop.

So I went home, booked it in at Apple and dropped it off on the way to a client meeting a couple of days later and picked it up the same evening on the way home.

I don't mind a local business making a decent living but to leave my MBA hostage with a place that wouldn't even give me a max labour cost is a strange way to think that you can make a living, and, apparently, you can't.

Oracle sued for $4.5m after ERP system delivery date 'moved from 2015 to 2016, then 2017, then... er, never'

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I'm no lover of Oracle but I have been involved in a few ERP projects (one of them SAP). They all followed the same three-act story arc:

Act 1. ERP vendor works with customer to understand the business and provide quote for bespoke ERP solution customized to fit their processes.

Act 2. Company sees quote, chokes, buys the vanilla off-the-shelf ERP system.

Act 3. Company spends next 2 years frigging its internal processes to fit the new ERP until the hero emerges; his name is Excel.

I suspect there's more to this story than meets the eye.

Europe-style 5G standards testing? Consistent definitions? Who the fsck wants that, asks US mobe industry

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Who cares?

From a user PoV surely the thing that matters is real-life data rates. I don't care how many gs it is - all I care about is how long google maps or a web page takes to load. I get 5/5 bars of 4g in central London but in some places it takes so long to load a web page that it's not worth bothering with.

Banking in 2019: Sure, we'd recommend TSB's online, mobe banking say cowed customers

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Re: Flawed Survey ?

If I expect Co.X to provide shit service and it does, how should I answer the

"How well did xxx's service meet your expections"


Some survey companies shouldn't be allowed to run surveys.

Cover your NASes: QNAP acknowledges mystery malware but there's no patch yet

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Older Devices

My TS410 is about 8 years old and they are still pushing updates even though it dropped off the supported devices list a couple of years ago.

I just checked the hosts file and it looks OK, but I'm one of those scaredy cats that won't open it up to the outside world - mainly because I don't think I know what I'm doing.

Headley_Grange Silver badge

Re: New year?

"and only go near QNAP admin once in a blue moon." - and when they do they remember that the reason they keep away from it is that it's a lumbering mess.

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019

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Re: Yay landfill!

Does anyone still use them?

I do. When I head off into the hills for a few days walking and wild camping my primary navigation is map and compass but I stick my GPS in the rucksack just in case of cloud, white-out or navigational incompetence. No need to worry about keeping it charged cos it keeps charge for ages and I carry spare batteries (AA). No need to worry about enough signal to get a map. No need for a subscription for decent outdoor maps. It's water resistant, drop proof and I can work it with thick gloves on and see it in bright sunshine or pitch blackness. It carries a full set of 1/25000 UK maps and the compass always points north - unlike my iPhone's which points in random directions.

My phone is OK for finding the pub in a strange city and working out which bus to get, but I wouldn't want to have to rely on it to get off a Scottish mountain when the clag comes down.

Most munificent Apple killed itself with kindness. Oh. Really?

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Re: New Stuff

@jetset - re-onger battery life plus smaller form factor: that's not what I meant. They could add 1cm (or more) to the thickness of the iPhone SE and it would still fit in my buttoned denim jacket pocket. Plenty of room for loads more battery and a memory card.

Headley_Grange Silver badge

Re: Rock and a hard place

@Ledswinger - you almost got an upvote until you mentioned leasing (i relented and gave you the vote anyway).

If I'd got my first iPhone 3s on a lease deal I'd now be carrying round a massive iphone 8 with no headphone socket, no lightning connector and loads of other innovations that I don't want.

Also, once locked even harder into the Apple (or Google) garden the company loses much of the need for genuine innovation because people can't be arsed to switch.

Apple made a massive leap when it invented the iPhone, then it made another one with the MacBook Air and Apple and the markets are expecting the same profits today but on the back of incremental, not fundamental, innovation. In reality all any of the phone companies are doing is going down the Gillette route and producing the biannual equivalent of the (n+1) bladed razor and dressing it up as the next big thing; there certainly seems to be a version of Moore's law for how many cameras a phone will have.

I have a SW engineer friend who worked at Nokia new product development when the iPhone first came out. The iPhone was unforeseen, unexpected, unbelievable and terrifying. The whole organization recognized immediately that this was the new world and phone he was working on was canned virtually overnight. That's what the next thing will look like - not an extra camera or a missing button or wireless something or other.

Headley_Grange Silver badge

New Stuff

Andy97 - good point and it made me think. I use an iPhone SE and I've got 2 spare SEs and 2 spare 6's. I'll buy a new phone (of any kind, although moving out of Apple would be a pain) when the ones I've got are no longer fit for purpose or someone comes up with a new phone that does something I want which my current phone doesn't do. Things I don't want? Bigger phone, thinner phone, phone without headphone socket, better screen resolution, more screen colours, better camera, more than one camera, wrap round screen, ability to pay for things by tapping, face recognition unlock .....to name just a few.

Things I would be interested in? Longer battery life, more rugged device, better security, small enough to fit in shirt pocket, removeable storage, removeable battery, USB connectivity, ..... to name just a few.

From a marketing point of view I'm not core demographic for Apple because all I really want is a telephone, music player, PDA, email and occasional internet. But from a "how much money is the idiot willing to pay for stuff" I am a target and they're not going to get their hands on my hard-earned unless they offer me something that I value.

The risk for me is that Apple realize that the people with money aren't just going to buy new stuff because it's new as long as the old stuff just keeps working. As a result they might just start making the old stuff obsolete through SW upgrades.

(Typed on a mid-2012 MBA that's still good enough for my needs)

Jeep hacking lawsuit shifts into gear for trial after US Supremes refuse to hit the brakes

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Re: @Headley_Grange -- Safety Standards

@Someone Else - that might be the case in the USA, but in the UK, ATC provision is privately run and operates in a competitive market. ATC providers (NATS, SERCO and ANS at the moment) compete for work and they can make profits. They have to have CAA safety approval to operate.

Headley_Grange Silver badge

Safety Standards

Serious question - don't they have to design and qualify to recognized safety standards - e.g SIL, or an automotive equivalent of SW01? A hazard analysis would quickly come up with "software bug gives hackers wireless access to safety critical systems" with the resultant high level requirements, for example to isolate all safety-critical elements from the wireless system (other, better options might be available), which the manufacturer would have to prove by testing and maintain when updating.

If I design a widget that's going to be installed in an air traffic control system in Europe then I have to demonstrate compliance to SW01 and have it signed off, ultimately, by the CAA before it can go into service. Is it just that the auto industry hasn't caught up and the regulators focus on indicator visibility and airbags?

China's loose Chang'e: Probe lands on far side of the Moon in science first, says state media

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Free Postage

I expect that eBay and Amazon sellers will be drop-shipping from there by the end of the year.

Microsoft, you shouldn't have: Festive Windows 10 Insiders build about as exciting as new socks

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Could be worse - you could have Finder.

After all that! Ofcom proposes BT as only broadband universal services provider for whole of UK (except Hull)

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Re: So ....

@Danny - you're right, but the most annoying thing is that nothing's joined up. About 5 years ago they replaced the gas main on my estate - every road/pavement dug up, old pipes pulled out and new ones put in. Conduit could have been run alongside, and some pits added, for bugger all additional cost compared to the cost of doing it from scratch. Excuses about liability and responsibility are just that - excuses and ultimately it's the Gov and the local councils who don't appear to have the incentive or imagination to make stuff like this happen.

1,700 lucky Brit kids to visit Apple Stores for 'Year of Engineering'

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Cynicism aside....

...it can't be a bad thing. If it kicks off an interest in tech in a few kids and (more importantly in my experience) a few teachers and gives the latter some resources to encourage and support STEM then I think it should be welcomed - or at least given the benefit of the doubt. Worst case - the kids get a day off school, and in my day that would have been enough motive alone to welcome our fruit-based overlords.

A 5G day may come when the courage of cable and DSL fails ... but it is not this day

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Re: Points to consider

I see 5 bars of 4g when I'm out and about but it can still take minutes to download a page of Google map because I'm sharing the bandwidth with so many other users. Will this 5g be different? Does it restrict the number of users so they can all achieve decent bandwidth, or will I still be lost because the bloke at the next table is watching Netflix?

Court doc typo 'reveals' Julian Assange may have been charged in US

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Re: No surprise


But it's a good sieve, a great sieve. It's the best sieve ever and much better than Obama's sieve.

Samsung unveils next-generation 8nm Exynos silicon

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Is it thinner? Can I fold it?

YouTube supremo says vid-streaming-slash-piracy giant can't afford EU's copyright overhaul

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Re: So what?


It's not like the shops have made it easy or convenient to buy stuff

Shoplifting - search for stuff in shop, put it in pocket, move on.

Shopping - search for stuff in shop, queue to pay, find wallet, put credit card in machine, tap PIN, wait for receipt, pay credit card bill, etc.

Sorry, but this shoplifting mess is all on the shops' shoulders.

Premiere Pro bug ate my videos! Bloke sues Adobe after greedy 'clean cache' wipes files

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Re: Premiere Pro bug ate my video files...

R11 - good job it's freeware. You wouldn't want to pay for something that, legally, doesn't really have to work.

Headley_Grange Silver badge

Re: Biz math

AC - My set up is almost same as yours - Time Machine/AR Sync to multiple USB drives/ NAS for DVDs and duplication (not backup) of some important stuff. My lessons learned...

Not all NAS play nicely with Mac OS - I've got an old Buffalo which is a pain. They blame Apple, Apple don't care (Apple changed secure file access protocols in a rev. of MacOS). Net result is that Finder doesn't play nicely with my Buffalo NAS; e.g. it won't connect to password protected shares. There are ways round it - but it's a pain. I think Buffalo might have fixed this in their newer products, but their attitude when this became a problem for the model I had was that they were not going to fix it because it was not their problem - I'd only had the NAS a month and I was pissed off. I don't care who was right - QNAP pushed a FW fix almost immediately and Buffalo have been on my Do-Not-Buy list since then.

My other NAS (QNAP - old 4 bay) was initially set up as a time machine and worked fine. But all too frequently I got the "Your backup is corrupt and needs to start again". I don't know whose fault this is but I gave up using the NAS as a time machine and bought an Apple one because running a full backup every few weeks was not practical.

Obvious, but buy the fastest NAS you can afford in terms of read/write performance. Even then you'll get fed up of waiting for stuff to copy.

If you want to run your own server online then check what the software and support for dynamic DNS is like. I've never done it and have no desire to do it, mainly because I'm scared of opening my network to the world and don't understand enough about it to be sure I'm secure.

I don't use it for media streaming, surveillance, familiy sharing stuff. It's really just a big drive in the spare bedroom where I keep DVDs.

QNAP? I'm not affiliated. They're OK. Lot's of configuration/set up options. Help is mostly via forum, although there is some limited direct tech support I think (never used it). I've had mine about ten years. PSU died a couple of years ago but I bought one online easily enough. It's not noisy. It is bloody slow - but I didn't spec speed when I bought it. QNAP are still pushing firmware updates even though it's on their not-supported list. If you want to use it for surveillance then check camera licences - mine only comes with two free and then I have to pay for additional camera feeds (!). I'd probably buy another.

Lucky, lucky, Westminster residents: Who better to look after your housing benefits than Capita?

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Re: Doing fewer things better...

"This allows CAPITA to sell fuckin shitty products, with fuckin awful support for a fuckin lot of money."

What allows Capita (and many others of their ilk) to do what they do is the fact that the majority of taxpayers and consumers judge products and services on cost and convenience with decent pay and working conditions for the poor bloody workers a long way down the list.

Android fans get fat November security patch bundle – if the networks or mobe makers are kind enough to let 'em have it

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Re: Yep my android updates last night

Has Google also signed 90 day agreements with the hackers to lay off while the patches are done?

Hubble 'scope gyro drama: Hey, NASA, have you tried turning it off and on again? Oh, you did. And it worked? Cool

Headley_Grange Silver badge


Bob - I guess it depends what the dominant failure mode is. I assume space stuff is run-in before launch so they're not at the start of the bathtub, but if a component is more likely to fail when powering up then rotating is a bad strategy.

When I was at uni my housemate had a knackered Mini which was always a pain to start and once it got going he didn't like to turn it off - e.g. nipping into shops. He once left it running in the student car park for about half an hour because he'd left something in the lab and was on his own.

Your RSS is grass: Mozilla euthanizes feed reader, Atom code in Firefox browser, claims it's old and unloved

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Re: Goodnight, Firefox

Threlkeld - I use a FF add-on called "Brief". It's feature-lite and can be a bit buggy (needs removing and re-loading every few months for some reason), but it's the best RSS reader for Firefox that I've found. No good if you want something that synchs across devices.

Iron Mike Pence blasts Google for its censor-happy Dragonfly Chinese search engine

Headley_Grange Silver badge

End the China-fication of the west

1. "End the China-fication of the west"

2. "Kowtowing to Chinese Interests"


Microsoft: Like the Borg, we want to absorb all the world's biz computers

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Re: Testing

"And how exactly would the customers applications be tested to ensure that the patches work before they nuke the entire organisation ?"

All the customer's applications will have to be bought from Microsoft to ensure compatibility.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch: A tough and classy activity tracker

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Half a Review?

I think it would be helpful to review the other half of wearables - data and what I can do with it. For example, if I want to use the device for running, cycling or hill walking can I download the data as CSV/GPX/TCX or get it into Relive, Smashrun, Strava, etc., and is the resolution hobbled (like with Nike)? A pretty device that locks me into a useless walled-garden of analysis and presentation is pretty useless (to me).

Apple takes an axe to its App Affiliate Program

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Other opinons are available

I was working in a land far, far away when my out-of-warranty MBA died. I went to the local Apple shop and they fixed the Mac and replaced the PSU just in case it was the culprit. It cost me nothing and I was back working within the hour. That can hardly be described as "they toss a product at you and they're done". Try doing that with any other make of PC.

I've done my fair share of complaining about Apple, and reserve the right to continue to do so, but overall, for me, they're OK.

Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker

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Go To Besźel

You could go to Besźel or Ul Qoma and learn to unsee the street ads.

Some Things just aren't meant to be (on Internet of Things networks). But we can work around that

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Re: I had to laugh

My mum doesn't know what Window, Finder and Return mean when I give phone support, so I'm looking forward to the call when I help her set up her subnets. She'll want to know how often they need washing.

Wouldn't it be better to have a recognized standard for IoT security, support and supportabilty with a CE/Kite mark? Sure, it would mean that cheap products with no support wouldn't be available, but the upside is that cheap products with no support wouldn't be available.

Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

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Forking Batteries More Like

Google leveraged its platform dominance in Android to promote its own services and apps, at the expense of f***ing battery life in my experience.

Wearable hybrids prove the bloated smartwatch is one of Silly Valley's biggest mistakes

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The Number of the Beast

My watch must have been massively over-specced because it's still working to spec. after 50-odd years of almost constant use.

East Midlands network-sniffer wails: Openreach, fix my outage-ridden line

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Re: Exactly the same situation

When I had a line problem BT sent the bloke out with the sniffer who found the break and drew a rectangle for the digging contractors. A week later, after nothing had happened, I complained. The next day another bloke with a sniffer came out and found the same break and drew another rectangle, which overlapped the first one, so it sort of looked like a shadow of it. Next day the diggers arrived and it took them ages to dig a the 8-sided shape which was the aggregate of the two overlapping rectangles. I kept making them tea, just so I could go out and watch the progress.

When Google's robots give your business the death sentence – who you gonna call?

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Re: Laws

If a company signs a contract that allows the cloud provider to change the rules/terms without agreement on both sides and suitable consideration then they are bloody fools.

Headley_Grange Silver badge


OK - cloud service are not my area of expertise, so downvote at your leisure but....

If a company is buying goods or services which are critical to the operation then surely it reads the contract and makes sure its fit for purpose at all levels; price, spec, maintenance, support, edge cases, etc. I bet Google didn't do anything that wasn't in the contract.

As an example - we once had to get dual, diverse data lines from BT. They were safety related and it was important that they didn't come together anywhere other than at each end and therefore be as immune as reasonably possible to the man-with-a-digger single point failure.

We gave BT a spec. and we got a proposal and contract from BT. Engineering read it, the lawyers read it, the safety consultant read and we all agreed that it was OK. Then, to make sure, we had a meeting with BT to be absolutely sure they understood what this meant. They hadn't. They did after we explained it and they upped the price a bit - but we were happy.

I'm guessing that one of the problems with some cloud services is that the contract is pretty one-sided and not for negotiation, but in that case - if it doesn't meet *all* the requirements - you walk away and present the boss with a cost/benefit comparison of cloud vs self hosting, don't you?

UK.gov IT projects that are failing: Verify. Border control. 4G for blue-light services. We can go on

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Re: Sounds Familiar

@Yank - I think you're right. Technical development is tough enough for companies that specialize in it. Most big companies who do it overspend on big infrastructure or platform developments. Imagine trying to manage it in an organization which doesn't understand the basic process, is owned by politicians who, by and large, have no technical education and is run by civil servants who have no technical education and whose career development is based on keeping your head down, not making mistakes and supporting (covering for) a boss (minister) who might have absolutely no qualifications or experience of the department s/he is responsible for. Indeed, the minister might never have had a proper job in their life.

Given the role of tech and IT in every day life I'd expect a government to have a whole department that specializes in it, with real, permanent career opps for tech pros who could develop the capabilities and relationships required to work in an environment where not just the management, but the whole philosophy of the organization can change every 5 years. They've tried to do it with DE&S (the defence procurement agency) - which sort of works but, in my experience is still hampered by politics and they are driven by cost, not value.

'Coding' cockup blamed for NHS cough-up of confidential info against patients' wishes

Headley_Grange Silver badge

Thanks, Doc. I didn't realize that the act had individual responsibility - that's a good thing. I don't think that there's jail time, though.

Headley_Grange Silver badge

In my experience with company ERP systems, the one bit of them (sometimes the only bit) that you can usually guarantee works is the fiscal bit of the finance module. The rest of the ERP - inventory management, order processing, customer/supplier data, CRM, etc. - is usually somewhere on the spectrum of "not used" thru "we manage most of it in Excel" to "sort of working but you need Ellen to tweak it at month end".

The main reason for this is that no one is going to go to jail if Tesco gets 100 pallettes of baked beans instead of 10, but people can go to jail for getting the fiscal bit wrong, so they get it right, they spec it right, they test it right and they hand-crank the first few cycles in parallel, just to make sure, because no one likes using hairy soap.

Maybe if data leaks were treated like H&S, where corporate and individual criminal responsibility is assigned and poor performance can result in losing your house and going to jail, then we'd see companies take it seriously.

The downside might be that it could become expensive to process personal data - but I wouldn't necessarily see that as a problem.

Drug cops stopped techie's upgrade to question him for hours. About everything

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Re: best collective noun...

A thicket of project managers.

Google leaps on the platform formerly known as Firefox with $22m splurge for KaiOS

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@Wolfetone - me too, but now I don't think I'll bother. Why do they have to fuck everything up.

Labour MP pushing to slip 6-hour limit to kill illegal online content into counter-terror bill

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Re: Who decides what is illegal?

Graham - the analogy with the hotel is interesting, and made me think.

If Google were like the hotel then it wouldn't know anything about it's customers other than name, length of stay and whether they'd stayed before - and in that case I'd agree with your analogy. Google would be a channel, just like the hotel, the Royal Mail and the local bus.

If the hotel were like Facebook then it would know lots about the customer - voting and sexual preferences, shopping likes, friend, acquaintances, and would have a history of messages, friends, etc., etc., and it *would* have cameras in every room, and also on the streets around the hotel, and in the local buses and taxis. It would know where you'd been, who you'd talked to, what you've just bought and where you're going tomorrow. If it wanted, the hotel could guess to a high level of certainty whether its customers were up to nefarious deeds or not before they even set foot in the room

OK - so that's egging the cake a bit, but Google/Facebook/etc. are not passive channels in the way that a hotel, Royal Mail and the local bus service are. They can, and do, read, analyse, synthesize and profit from the information which users post on their platforms. In my opinion (others are available) it is this agency which differentiates them from the notice board in the window of the local newsagent and with agency comes responsibility.

BTW - I'm disinterested in whether we should have an x-hour takedown law. My interest in the debate is simply that I don't believe Google et al should be above the law. I agree that bad law would be a bad thing, but the argument that it would be too difficult for the Googles to police needs to be tested a little more than simply believing it - and they haven't walked away from other countries who have implemented takedown limits.

Headley_Grange Silver badge

Re: It is impossible.

The problem isn't that it's difficult - it's that Google (and others, but take that as read from here on) don't want to do it, because it will reduce clicks and dwell time.

If the HSE come calling to talk to me about why those people fell off the roof I can't say "sorry, mate, I'm too busy to do risk assessments and buy PPE - do you know how hard it is to do that stuff when I've got to do the monthly management powerpoint". Why should Google be able to do the equivalent? If their business model and practices aren't compatible with the laws of the country then either they change, or fuck off.

When Germany changed the law, backed up with fines of up to €50M for not taking content down in 24 hours, Facebook managed to do the "impossible" with about 1200 mods and some trauma counsellors.

Headley_Grange Silver badge

It is impossible.

Christoph - it's not impossible. In fact, you've solved it for them: just go and employ about 100'000 mods plus a bit of infrastructure. That sounds very possible for an organization like Google whose turnover is about 90% of the value of NHS annual funding but has less than a tenth of the headcount. If it makes a dent in Google's meagre profits then they might have to change their business model by, say, charging people to post and charging them for hosting. That might also have the benefit of reducing some of the dross and the number of reviewers required.

It's not impossible - it's difficult, expensive and, perhaps, a tad inconvenient, but it's not impossible.

No other industry gets the right to say "We'll choose which laws we obey based on how much it's going to cost us to implement them." Why should Google, FB, etc.?


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