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News 31.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 31.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@hoskelsa
News 31.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@aymelinevalade
News 31.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@polinailieva

NEXT WEEK, A law takes effect that will change the internet forever—and make it much more difficult to be a tech giant. On November 1, the European Union’s Digital Markets Act comes into force, starting the clock on a process expected to force Amazon, Google, and Meta to make their platforms more open and interoperable in 2023. That could bring major changes to what people can do with their devices and apps, in a new reminder that Europe has regulated tech companies much more actively than the US.

“We expect the consequences to be significant,” says Gerard de Graaf, a veteran EU official who helped pass the DMA early this year. Last month, he became director of a new EU office in San Francisco, established in part to explain the law’s consequences to Big Tech companies. De Graaf says they will be forced to break open their walled gardens.

“If you have an iPhone, you should be able to download apps not just from the App Store but from other app stores or from the internet,” de Graaf says, in a conference room with emerald green accents at the Irish consulate in San Francisco, where the EU’s office is initially located. The DMA requires dominant platforms to let in smaller competitors, and could also compel Meta’s WhatsApp to receive messages from competing apps like Signal or Telegram, or prevent Amazon, Apple, and Google from preferencing their own apps and services.

Although the DMA takes force next week, tech platforms don’t have to comply immediately. The EU first must decide which companies are large and entrenched enough to be classified as “gatekeepers” subject to the toughest rules. De Graaf expects that about a dozen companies will be in that group, to be announced in the spring. Those gatekeepers will then have six months to come into compliance.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

News 31.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 31.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Bono was 14 when his grandfather died. His family was at the cemetery burying him when his mother, Iris, fainted. His father, Bob, and older brother, Norman, took her to the hospital to have her checked out, and Bono went over to his grandmother’s house, where the family was gathering.

A little while later, one of his uncles burst in, wailing: “Iris is dying. Iris is dying. She’s had a stroke.”

It was at that instant, Bono says, that his home disappeared. A hole opened up within him. Bono is now 62 and reflecting on how many rock stars lost their mother at a crucial age: John Lennon, Johnny Rotten, Bob Geldof, Paul McCartney—the list of the abandoned goes on and on. Their mothers’ deaths left them with this bottomless craving. “People who need to be loved at scale, with 20,000 people screaming your name every night, are generally to be avoided,” Bono says with a laugh. “My kind of people.”

His mother lingered on for a few more days after the stroke. Bono and his brother were ushered into her hospital room, and they held her hands while the machine keeping her alive was flicked off.

Then Bono, his father, and his brother returned home and almost never spoke of her again. They barely even thought of her, at least for years. “It’s not just she’s dead; we disappeared her,” Bono says.

His father sunk into his opera. He would stand in front of their stereo, surrounded by the strains of La Traviata, lost to the rest of the world. Bono would watch him, unable to get to him. “He doesn’t notice that I’m in the room looking at him,” Bono writes in Surrender, his entrancing new memoir.

They no longer had a home, just a house. Bono blamed his father for his mother’s death. “I didn’t kill her; you killed her, by ignoring her. You won’t ignore me,” is how Bono puts it in the book. The three men who used to scream at the TV now scream at each other. Their passions are operatic. Bono’s living off cans of meat and beans and these little pellets of mush that turn into a kind of mashed potato when boiled. During these years he is drowning, clutching at anything to survive. His self-confidence drains away. He starts struggling in school. He wants to feel special, but there’s no evidence that he is. He desperately yearns to have his father pay attention to him. He finds he can win that attention only when they argue and when they play chess together. He can’t get his father’s attention unless he beats him at something.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

The past few months have been rough for the United Kingdom. Energy prices are soaring. National inflation has breached double digits. The longest-serving British monarch has died. The shortest-serving prime minister has quit.

You probably knew all of that already. British news is covered amply (some might say too amply) in American media. Behind the lurid headlines, however, is a deeper story of decades-long economic dysfunction that holds lessons for the future.

In the American imagination, the U.K. is not only our political parent but also our cultural co-partner, a wealthy nation that gave us modern capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. But strictly by the numbers, Britain is pretty poor for a rich place. U.K. living standards and wages have fallen significantly behind those of Western Europe. By some measures, in fact, real wages in the U.K. are lower than they were 15 years ago, and will likely be even lower next year.

This calamity was decades in the making. After World War II, Britain’s economy grew slower than those of much of continental Europe. By the 1970s, the Brits were having a national debate about why they were falling behind and how the former empire had become a relatively insular and sleepy economy. Under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, markets were deregulated, unions were smashed, and the financial sector emerged as a jewel of the British economy. Thatcher’s injection of neoliberalism had many complicated knock-on effects, but from the 1990s into the 2000s, the British economy roared ahead, with London’s financial boom leading the way. Britain, which got rich as the world’s factory in the 19th century, had become the world’s banker by the 21st.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 31.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 31.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

DIGITAL DISINFORMATION IS now a well-documented problem, but extensive documentation could actually be the downfall of the counter-disinformation movement. Data means nothing if you don’t do anything effective with it.

The situation becomes even worse as people tie themselves into knots deciding whether something is fake news or misinformation or disinformation or malinformation or conspiracy theory or trolling. “Disinformation” is sufficient to capture the whole landscape, and some of the other labels were invented by social media companies as a smokescreen to make their inaction seem less egregious.

The disinformers themselves certainly don’t care what their work is called. Crucially, their audiences don’t sit there categorizing it either, and the effect on audiences is what matters. It’s difficult to care about semantics when people die because they didn’t take a vaccine or storm a pizza parlor because they believe the Democrats are hiding children there.

Counter-disinformation efforts are often too far removed from the everyday reality of those affected, which is to say everyone online. Those of us working in the field document disinformation so that policymakers take note and, if we’re lucky, pass laws. We archive so that prosecutors take on the (thankfully increasing) legal cases that are starting to crop up. We report so that social media companies are pressured to change their policies. This process of meticulous documentation and advocacy may be best described as the scientific method, and it has been hugely effective in countering state-sponsored influence operations at a grand scale, as we at Centre for Information Resilience have been able to do through our Eyes on Russia project.

But in the online battleground for attention, this approach does not work on its own. The best-in-class purveyors of disinformation create a simulacrum of reality, where they are able to convince an audience that someone—something—else is the problem. Campaigns can exploit a kernel of truth to further the creator’s goals (be they political, financial, or personal), while others are nothing short of digital Dadaism.

QAnon is perhaps the poster child for this, though there are millions more examples, ranging from largely harmless to world-shattering. Some of the biggest conspiracies in recent years: Bill Gates is microchipping people with vaccines to depopulate the earth. The Democrats run a satanic pedophile ring. Ukraine’s Jewish president is actually a Nazi. The people who crafted these stories, and who designed the content that reached millions and continues to spread to this day, are creators par excellence. These narratives are all patently nonsense, and while they can be disproved, any efforts to do so apparently confirm their validity to target audiences. We have to respect the skill of the deceiver, the art of their deceit.

These creators understand that we are a species of storytellers, not rational actors. To speak to our irrationality, and tell these stories, they adopt an approach that has been tried and tested throughout history.

Like all good artists, disinformers either ignore the rules or actively subvert them, smashing past any considerations their counterparts in counter-disinformation have to abide by, from the philosophical (free will, deception, impersonation) to the technical (GDPR, social media guidelines, fair use software policies). The scientific model is right for so much, but not for this, at least not on its own. It’s not that the field is uneven, it’s just not the same field.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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News 31.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Six years after Margaret Thatcher became prime minister, I got a job as a writer at a strangely dysfunctional government department called the Central Office Of Information. Even though I lived in a squat, had the socialist historian EP Thompson’s Protest and Survive on my bookshelf and had been an organiser for a miners’ support group during the 1984 strike – when we put up some of the miners’ families during visits to London for marches, they found our earnest wholegrain lifestyle utterly ridiculous – I thought it was OK to join the COI for a number of reasons. Dylan Thomas and Somerset Maugham had worked for it during the war, for a start, and I considered myself to be a “writer”, too, even though the only thing I’d had published was a 20,000-word guidebook to Edinburgh under the imposed pseudonym of Elspeth Mackintosh (my own surname too clearly Cornish for a book on Scotland).

But the main reason I joined was that I discovered during the application process that the department’s role was to issue information that was not beholden to any political party. The COI was not Margaret Thatcher’s loudhailer, my new bosses told me; she had to use the Conservative party’s own funds for that. Our job was to describe clearly and objectively to the British people what it was that the government was doing. I liked that. I’d read George Orwell’s 1946 essay Politics and the English Language and I was filled with notions around the democratisation of language. Having spent the past three years writing blurbs for a small publisher (the books were westerns: “Peace wouldn’t reign in Vulture valley until six gunshots rang in the air!”), I was intrigued by the idea of cold truth set out in type. I thought I could learn my trade, and I was right about that at least. Also, I thought, Thatcher would soon be replaced by a Labour government and everything would be rosy.

By the time I left, seven years later, the COI was no longer the sole arbiter of what was and what wasn’t “objective information”. During the years they employed me, Thatcher had eroded this notion so effectively that we COI writers had little or no authority left. Advertising and public relations and lobbying agencies now clustered around Number 10 like flies over treacle, and the idea of truth had evaporated. Something got lost in those years. It is difficult to imagine the administrations of Tony Blair, David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss without the preparatory demolition of the foundations that Thatcher carried out. Never again would our governments allow us the dignity of knowing the facts and drawing our own conclusions from them.


‘Oh dear. We weren’t expecting you. I don’t think there’s a desk.” These were the first words my new boss spoke to me when I pitched up at the publications department of the Central Office of Information in November 1986. He was a kindly, slightly mournful man who wore good suits and maintained a fine beard. The office was in Lincoln House just south of the Thames: a scruffy, grey, uncared-for building with smelly loos and peeling grey linoleum floors.

There were three separate teams of writers in the publications division of the COI, and I was one of a new intake of three, each of us allocated to one team. I was the only one to survive. The first, quite a cool and snarky dude who’d just come back from Switzerland, resigned within a month, horrified by absolutely everything. The second, a smart and ambitious young woman, left a few months later with a huge sigh of relief, finding her way back to what she thought of as real life in Soho’s ad land. Only I stayed.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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