* Posts by ratfox

3499 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Google bows to Dutch

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What is "personal data"?

Everybody speaks of personal data, but I haven't found a single, useful, definition. I suspect Google and the regulators might not be using the same.

US plans intervention in EU vs Facebook case caused by NSA snooping

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Re: The jist of this U.S. government intervention will be...

To the best of my knowledge, the US government doesn't really have a say on how much is invested by US companies in Ireland. It could of course create laws against doing so, but that would probably break every treaty in the book.

It's nice that governments are finally getting involved. It's a bit silly that companies (which are not all the size of Facebook) have to bear the brunt of what is essentially a political dispute.

Google doesn’t care who makes Android phones. Or who it pisses off

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Sounds risky

Google is already in the crosshairs of the EU antitrust commissioner for Android — and that's with Android being open source. If they make Android proprietary, they might just as well spare the lawyers and just send a cheque for $Billions fine to the EU.

Google snubs 'dark money' questions at AGM. Shareholder power? Yeah, right

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You were warned

To be fair, the Google founders have said openly from the beginning that they would always keep control of the company. I remember around the time of the IPO a finance guy unhappy about this and saying that Google stock would get punished by the market. They seem to have been doing fine.

Bin Apple's $500m patent judgment, US DoJ tells Supreme Court

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I actually agree with the opinion; it's just surprising that the US government would side with a foreign company against an American one. You have to wonder what's their motivation.

Get ready for Google's proprietary Android. It's coming – analyst

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Brexit: UK gov would probably lay out tax plans in post-'leave' vote emergency budget

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Re: equivalent terms

I believe the UK is in a relatively good position in Europe, having low corporate tax rates to attract companies to London. I would guess they even congratulated themselves on that fact when the rules were drawn (though they probably didn't see coming the Facebooks and Apples choosing Ireland with an even lower tax rate).

All in all, my guess is that it would be a net loss to leave the EU, because London would lose a lot of business from companies currently selling in Europe, which wouldn't be recovered from companies in Europe selling to the UK.

Facebook: 'We don't listen'

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Not that Facebook is the only one to do this but:

We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission

Which most users accept without blinking (and not long ago couldn't even refuse if they wanted to use the app at all).

and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio. This might include recording a video or using an optional feature we introduced two years ago to include music or other audio in your status updates.

Note how these explanations, here and in T&C's, always say "This might include…"; they never contain an exhaustive list. Because that would mean they cannot add anything in the future without making an announcement about changing their T&C's, which they want to avoid because it just attracts attention to the matter, and gets them in trouble with regulators.

So they leave all options open. They say what they might do, they give examples, but they never say "we will not do this", because that's painting themselves in a corner.

For the record, I don't even think that Facebook is really listening. I'm just pointing out that their statement is completely vacuous, out of abundance of care.

Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

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I agree with the current assessment, but it's a much bolder statement to say it will always remain so. There was 14 years between the Apple Newton and the iPhone. The former was a dud, and the latter started the biggest IT revolution since the 80s.

So all in all, I understand that these companies are still working very hard on it.

Swiss effectively disappear Alps: World's largest tunnel opens

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We have already voted to build the next tunnel, this time for cars. It's sadly going to be way more expensive than other solutions reusing existing tunnels, but hey, the digging industry needs to make a living innit?

Leak: Euro Patent Office 'court of appeals' rails against King Battistelli

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Paris Hilton

So who has the power to fire this guy?

Google is the EU Remain campaign's secret weapon

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Re: Or less conspiracy based

"This post has been deleted by a moderator".

Ironic, really.

EU wants open science publication by 2020

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In some fields, it's almost de facto the case already. Everybody and their uncle put their article on arXiv.org before even sending it for review to a publication, and more often than not, the journal allows them to leave it there. In the first place, just the review process can take a year, and then another until the paper is actually published. Researchers generally want to make sure to put their name on the result as soon as possible before anybody else can.

Having open publications is really very important though. If the institution where you worked lacked the funds to subscribe to the top publications, it could be a real pain just to figure out what the most recent results in the field were. Even as the author, you could miss on the precious references to your paper if it wasn't accessible. I remember reading about a paper that might have been relevant to mine, but when I learnt I needed to pay 50 bucks for a copy, I simply didn't bother.

Are EU having a laugh? Europe passes hopeless cyber-commerce rules

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Worst, however, is the fact that the Commission has exempted digital goods from its digital single market, so companies will be able to continue to geo-block videos and other digital files.

Well duh. You thought that was going to change?

The Schmidt's hit by the fan: Alphabet investor sues Google bigwigs over EU antitrust ruckus

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Re: That's silly

I think the downvoters find that you are mixing stuff that are unrelated. This suit is specifically about antitrust. Google is not going to use the "everybody else does it" defense, because they're the only ones in position to do it — that's the whole point.

You're also somehow accusing Google of money laundering, and I have no clue where you got that from.

I also want to call out the claim that Google is taking £150 a year out of the pockets of "every wage earner" in the UK, first because that's how much Google made in the country over ten years, but also because it's ridiculous to assume that without Google, this money would somehow have made its way into the pockets of people instead of another advertising company.

As to the shareholder lawsuit, Google came very close to striking a deal with the EU, brokered by Eric Schmidt with the previous commissioner, which was scuppered at the last minute by political pressure. I think it was reasonable for Google to think that they would get away with what they are doing, since they almost did. From that point, I don't think that the shareholder lawsuit is justified, since Google really did take the decisions that seemed best at the time. It's blaming them because their foresight was not as good as your hindsight.

Then again, lawsuits don't have to make sense in the US.

French authorities raid Google's Paris HQ over tax allegations

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Re: Huh??

I suppose the point is to prevent the employees from shredding or burning incriminating evidence. Or more likely in this case, deleting files.

Google probably keeps all its documents in the cloud, but who knows? Maybe The French police will come up with a smoking gun.

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Re: Google doesn't have sales in France

Presumably the French authorities disagree (hence the raid at dawn).

That doesn't make sense. Google is doing this selling from Ireland publicly and openly. If the French thought that this was illegal, they could just fine them, and use Google's own declarations as proof.

A raid at dawn is only useful if you think they are hiding something. The only logical assumption is that the French think that Google is lying, and is actually secretly selling stuff from their French office. They're hoping to find proof of contract negotiations, or something like that.

Or possibly, it's just an intimidation tactic.

Got a Fitbit? Thought you were achieving your goals? Better read this

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I assume that Fitbit is intelligent enough to have included disclaimers in their T&Cs...

Chrome OS to get Android apps via the magic of containers

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the platform is now outselling Macs in the US

Let's see those numbers. I am aware that not everybody can afford a Mac, but I would still have bet that Macs are more mainstream than Chromebooks.

Or maybe it's all those schools that are ordering a Chromebook for every child, because it's cheaper and the kids don't realistically need more until high school.

Mads Torgersen and Dustin Campbell on the future of C#

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Programming Peter Principle

Every programming language that is working well gets burdened with new features and frameworks until it sucks.

Another version is that programmers have a tendency to write code that is just complicated enough that it still runs, but is unmaintainable.

Apple's iOS updates brick iPads

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Apple doesn't have a bug bounty program?

Must be because their programs don't have bugs!

…Even with the icon, I feel I'm overdoing it here. Meh.

PLA sysadmin gets six months house arrest for yanking US Army docs

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Six months only? House arrest, no jail?

I'm genuinely surprised. It must have been very unimportant classified material.

Lyft, Uber throw Texas-sized tantrum over Austin driver law

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Did Uber just openly declare how a town can get rid of them?

New fingerprinting regulations coming up in 3, 2, 1...

Facebook image-tagging to be tested in Californian court

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Unfortunately, you need to use random names for this to work. It's too easy to just filter out Boaty McBoatface.

Experian Audience Engine knows almost as much about you as Google

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Re: "you are bombarded with motorbike insurance advertising on every platform you go to"

If advertisers are legit enough to be buying this info from Experian, they're legit enough to play by the rules.

Are you suggesting you are fine with companies aggregating your private info as long as they sell it to whoever is willing to pay?

Revealed: The revolving door between Google and the US govt – in pictures

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Re: former Google staff occupy key posts in areas essential to Google’s

In itself, he number of people jumping from one to the other is not very meaningful. I understand that there are thousands of employees who have left Google for Facebook, and Facebook for Google. Google and Facebook are still at each other's throats, and I doubt that anybody suspects the allegiance of people who switch.

Even when people in high position switch, it doesn't always turn the way you'd expect. Tom Wheeler used to be a cable company CEO, he switched to head of the FCC, and he is a goddamn pain for the cable companies today. In fact, he is acting exactly as if he was working for Google; go figure.

But Obama was always friendly with Google. If I remember correctly, they were doing analytics work for him on his campaign trail. I guess we only need to wait for Obama to get a seat on Google's board.

The case for ethical ad-blocking

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Re: @ tannin

No one has any idea how much advertising actually pays.

Google does! For them, it pays a lot. And note that Google does not get paid for just showing ads; the user actually had to click on them. Which must means there is somewhere a whole lot of users who like ads and click on them.

I don't know who they are either.

Another failed merger, Carly? Ted Cruz to bring in ex-HP boss Fiorina as running mate

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Brick tied to another brick?

That'll float!

US government tells Apple it has security problems that Apple fixed last year

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Re: Basic maths...

20% is a rather high percentage to decide not to support. I think Microsoft people would love to be able to give that kind of answer.

Ding-dong, reality calling: iPhone slump is not Apple's doom

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Re: Revenues

As for myself, I'd settle for earning this over 50'000 years, in yearly installments.

Tokyo rebrands 2020 Olympics

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Whichever they choose will certainly be better than the Lisa Simpson one.

Amazon attempts rule fudge to take exclusive control of new dot-words

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It looks like this!

Edward Snowden sues Norway to prevent extradition

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I assume Snowden is treating the waters to check if he could leave Russia for good. I doubt it would be worth the effort just to pick up a prize in person.

Irish mum coughs to children's allowance fiddle

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Shall we call this a double Irish with an Australian sandwich?

FBI's Tor pedo torpedoes torpedoed by United States judge

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Foot fetishists are podophiles.

Not OK, Google! FTC urged to thrust antitrust probe into Android

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Consumer Watchdog...

I'm sorry, but is it really useful to repeat that Consumer Watchdog is complaining about Google? On one hand, they hardly do anything else. On the other hand, they have no authority or standing to tell the FTC to do whatever. They have no credibility. They're like your embarrassing uncle who writes every month an opinion piece on how great Donald Trump is.

Of course, these people are entitled to their opinion, and they are allowed to exercise their free speech rights. But it's hard to see the point to repeat it.

Sneaky Google KOs 'right to be forgotten' from search results

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Now it's the reverse

Right now, Bing only returns two results for rtbf "data processing business", at least for me. And both of them are on the Register. Google says it finds a thousand results… But there's actually only one page of them. Go figure.

Utah declares 'war on smut'

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I enjoy scenery porn myself.

Chinese crypto techie sentenced to death for leaking state secrets

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Fired for poor performance from a government job. Apparently it's possible, even in China!

Europe's digi-boss tells YouTube to cough up proper music royalties

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I don't know how much ad revenue Google redistributes to the copyright holders, but I think it's in the order of half? Sounds like if they paid as much as Spotify, they'd have to shut down the service.

That would certainly make the competitors happy; not sure about the artists. Seems like we're headed towards a repeat of the Spanish Google News story.

So you’d sod off to China to escape the EU, Google? Really?

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Android has an overwhelming market share; phone makers might well feel that they need Android. Google services are a bit lower, and there are makers doing without, with more or less success. Amazon has tried, and it's not actually thriving. Then there are Chinese no-name companies which might be flourishing for all we know.

Google's 'fair use' mass slurping of books can continue – US Supremes snub writers' pleas

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Twelve years after it started, there is no competitive market for digitized books, which may have given far superior offerings to the public

There is a competitive market. You have the choice between cheap and crap, or pricey and good quality (from Apple, Amazon, wherever it is). From what I understand, it is very easy to publish yourself.

The problem is the same with all the rest of the Internet, though. With so much free crap around, you have to offer really good quality to earn anything with it.

Maybe Apple will manage to expand its walled garden? It seems their users accept to pay for quality.

Facebook's big trouble in its little world domination plan: China

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There's another factor

China already has multiple entrenched social networks like Weibo, WeChat and others. Even if Facebook was allowed in China, I doubt they would be able to make a dent.

URL shorteners reveal your trip to strip club, dash to disease clinic – research

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Re: "The actual, long URLs are thus effectively public"


If the URL contains a string of 64 case-sensitive letters, you have over 10^109 combinations. Assuming 8 billions of people are each storing one million documents on the service, it means less than one in 10^93 URLs is valid. Assuming you try one billion URLs a second, it would take over 10^77 years to have a fifty-fifty chance of finding a valid URL. For a random document, mind you, not anything particular that you could actively look for.

I find it's pretty good security, actually. When you think of it, cryptography is also "security by obscurity" — in the sense that you "only" have to guess the private key, and you can decrypt the message.

Hey, Atlantis Computing. What the heck is this in your EULA?

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Re: There is precedent.

Do I read correctly that 1670.8 allows their Californian customers to sue them for $2,500? That could be a lucrative business…

Music's value gap? Follow the money trail back to Google

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If you want to use YouTube’s channel to market but prefer to use another advertising supplier to monetise your work more effectively: tough. You can’t. If you refuse to sign then Google won’t turn the Content ID filters on

I might be wrong, but I believe there is a third option: you can tell Google to turn ContentID on, and use it to remove any infringing video. And contrary to the boots story, this removes not only one video, but all videos infringing your work, and they won't be coming back.

Airbus boarded by 12 nation-state, crimeware 'breaches' every year

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Re: This story is so badly written and subbed it detracts from the content

Some examples:

"instead representing penetration beyond simple scanning trigger a response"

"one ransomware attacker compromised a staffer's machine which off site,"

EC cooking up rules change for aggressive tax avoiders

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Makes sense

I'm not sure where the threshold needs to be set; but it makes sense to have one rule for small companies who cannot afford to declare their income in each EU country separately, and the Apple et al. who already have a presence in each country anyway, and for whom separate income declarations are a rounding error in the budget.

There might be people who will complain that the rules should be the same for everybody on grounds of fairness. My opinion is that the goal of society is not in fact to achieve a perfect karmic balance of fairness, but to improve the common good. It is useful that small companies can sell all over Europe without worrying about tax issues. It is hardly useful that megacorporations can shop and bargain for the lowest tax treatment in the world.

Hey, tech industry, have you noticed Amazon in the rearview?

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Re: Not if the incompetence of their store is anything to go by.

The search on the Amazon store does suck, indeed. It's however fairly irrelevant in an article about AWS.

Must be one of these people saying "why would you rent computers from a book store??"

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