Quite a Recipe: Zuck-ini with a Bulky Stuffed Sausage

September 28, 2022

Ah, the Zuckbook or the Meta-thing. I can never remember the nomenclature. I thought about the estimable company after I read “Meta Defends Safe Instagram Posts Seen by Molly Russell.” I suppose I should provide a bit of color about Ms. Russell. She was the British school girl who used the digital Zuck-ini’s Instagram recipe for happiness, success, and positive vibes.

However, in Ms. Russell’s case, her journey to community appears to have gone off the rails. Ms. Russell was 14 when she died by suicide. The Meta-thing’s spokesperson for the legal action sparked by Ms. Russell’s demise said:

Ms Lagone told the inquest at North London Coroner’s Court she thought it was “safe for people to be able to express themselves” – but conceded two of the posts shown to the court would have violated Instagram’s policies and offered an apology about some of the content. Responding to questioning, she said: “We are sorry that Molly viewed content that violated our policies and we don’t want that on the platform.”

Move fast and break things was I believe a phrase associated with the Zuck-ini’s garden of delights. In Ms. Russell’s case the broken thing was Ms. Russell’s family. That “sorry” strikes me as meaningful, maybe heart felt. On the other hand, it might be corporate blather.

Macworld does not address Ms. Russell’s death. However, the article “Despite Apple’s Best Efforts, Meta and Google Are Still Out of Control.” The write up explains that Apple is doing something to slow the stampeding stallions at the Meta-thing and Googzilla.

I noted this passage:

There is a great potential for this [data gathered by certain US high-technology companies] information to be misused and if we in the United States had any sort of functional government, it would have made these sales illegal by now.

My question: What about the combination of a young person’s absorbing content and the systems and methods to display “related” content to a susceptible individual. Might that one-two punch have downsides?

Yep. Is there a fix? Sure, after two decades of inattention, let’s just apply a quick fix or formulate a silver bullet.

But the ultimate is, of course, is to say, “Sorry.” I definitely want to see the Zuck-ini stuffed. Absent a hot iron poker, an Italian sausage will do.

Stephen E Arnold, September 28, 2022

Greetings, Zuck: Fancy a Chat about Cambridge Analytica?

September 27, 2022

The right to be forgotten does not apply to the Cambridge Analytic matter. “MPs Formally Request Zuckerberg Answer Questions” reports:

Mark Zuckerberg has been sent a formal request to appear before MPs and answer questions regarding a growing scandal about user data.

Will the Zucker cooperate? I circled this passage:

Mr Collins [Damian Collins MP, the chair of the culture committee] wrote that the DCMS committee “has repeatedly asked Facebook about how companies acquire and hold on to user data from their site, and in particular about whether data had been taken without their consent. “Your officials’ answers have consistently understated this risk, and have been misleading to the Committee,” Mr Collins informed Mr Zuckerberg. “It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process.”

I drew a yellow underline around several words and phrases:

  • Repeatedly asked
  • Data taken
  • Without their [Facebook users I presume] consent
  • Understated this risk

No bit time semantic sentiment analysis is required to get the idea that Mr. Collins is not going to give the Zucker a like.

But the best phrase in the article is Mr. Damien’s analysis of how the Zuckbook implements its operations. Here’s the phrase:

Catastrophic failure of process

Will the Zucker show up? Nah, that’s where Nick Clegg. Is it true that Mr. Clegg enjoys slippery eel, olive oil, and salted butter tea sandwiches? The MPs may not enjoy these, however. Mr. Damien will want bloody red meat carved from the cows in line for slaughter. But that’s just my opinion, just my opinion.

Zuck tartare, anyone?

Stephen E Arnold, September 27, 2022

Twitter and Software Robots: Elon, How a-Bot That Study from Israel?

September 22, 2022

How many bots or software robots does it take to boost a concept? Apply either the Diddle Coefficient or the Finagle Constant to get the necessary result. Okay, just joking. I read “A New Israeli Study of Twitter’s Fake Users Suggests Elon Musk Might Be Right.” The write up reports:

A new study conducted by CHEQ, an Israel-based cybersecurity firm, estimates at least 12 percent of Twitter users are likely fake…. Twitter claims fake accounts and bots comprise less than 5 percent of its roughly 200 million daily active users.

Plus, get this:

Fake users are particularly prevalent in Twitter’s overseas markets, the larger study found.

Interesting. The write up describes the study which could be:

  1. A way to get Mr. Musk’s attention for a business purpose
  2. A way for the Israeli company releasing these Musk-supporting data to get some PR traction
  3. Data which helps make clear what type of information can be gleaned from online ad clicks.

In my opinion, I pick item number 2. A research report is a much better way to promote Israeli business than the methods used by the NSO Group. (Just kidding, of course.)

Stephen E Arnold, September 22, 2022

How Quickly Will Rights Enforcement Operations Apply Copyright Violation Claims to AI/ML Generated Images?

September 20, 2022

My view is that the outfits which use a business model to obtain payment for images without going through an authorized middleman or middlethem (?) are beavering away at this moment. How do “enforcement operations” work? Easy. There is old and new code available to generate a “digital fingerprint” for an image. You can see how these systems work. Just snag an image from Bing, Google, or some other picture finding service. Save it to you local drive. Then navigate — let’s use the Google, shall we? — to Google Images and search by image. Plug in the location on your storage device and the system will return matches. TinEye works too. What you see are matches generated when the “fingerprint” of the image you upload matches a fingerprint in the system’s “memory.” When an entity like a SPAC thinking Getty Images, PicRights, or similar outfit (these folks have conferences to discuss methods!) spots a “match,” the legal eagles take flight. One example of such a legal entity making sure the ultimate owner of the image and the middlethem gets paid, is — I think — something called “Higbee.” I remember the “bee” because the named reminded me of Eleanor Rigby. (The mind is mysterious, right?) The offender such as a church, a wounded veteran group, or a clueless blogger about cookies is notified of an “infringement.” The idea is that the ultimate owner gets money because why not? The middlethem gets money too. I think the legal eagle involved gets money because lawyers…

I read “AI Art Is Here and the World Is Already Different. How We Work — Even Think — Changes When We Can Instantly Command Convincing Images into Existence” takes a stab at explaining what the impact of AI/ML generated art will be. The write up nicks the topic, but it does not buy the pen and nib into the heart of the copyright opportunity.

Here’s a passage I noted from the cited article:

In contrast with the glib intra-VC debate about avoiding human enslavement by a future superintelligence, discussions about image-generation technology have been driven by users and artists and focus on labor, intellectual property, AI bias, and the ethics of artistic borrowing and reproduction.

Close but not a light saber cutting to the heart of what’s coming.

There is a long and growing list of things people can command into existence with their phones, through contested processes kept hidden from view, at a bargain price: trivia, meals, cars, labor. The new AI companies ask, Why not art?

Wrong question!

My hunch is that the copyright enforcement outfits will gather images, find a way to assign rights, and then sue the users of these images because the users did not know that the images were part of the enforcers furniture of a lawsuit.

Fair? Soft fraud? Something else?

The cited article does not consider these questions. Perhaps someone with a bit more savvy and a reasonably calibrated moral and ethical compass should?

Stephen E Arnold, September 20, 2022

Google and Legal Friction

September 15, 2022

The question is, “How long can Google’s legal eagles drag out a court decision.” The answer is revealed in part in “Google Mostly Loses Appeal Over EU’s $4B Android Antitrust Fine.” The write up states:

The Alphabet-owned Google challenged the 2018 fine, but on Wednesday [September 14, 2022] the European Court of Justice’s General Court mostly confirmed the decision to penalize the company more than 4 billion euros ($3.99 billion).

That works out to roughly three years and six months. If I did not return a library book before its expiration date when I was in grade school, I had to pay the fine when I did return the book. If I lost the darned book, I had to wash cars to pay the fine and the cost of the book before I could check out another book. Obviously I was not the Google nor did I have a flock of legal eagles to explain:

  • Why the fine is unreasonable under the current applicable laws, rules, and regulations
  • Why a 10 year old is or should be exempt from said laws, rules, and regulations
  • A calculation demonstrating that the fine and/or penalty is without foundation, irrational, and against the best interests of other 10 year old readers or young people in general
  • An action which puts in jeopardy the benefits of a 10 year old who could grow up to be a responsible, fair minded, and informed subject matter expert.

To be sure, these are compelling arguments, but the librarian at the Prospect Branch Library demonstrated an inherent inability to understand the profound trust and ultimate correctness of my arguments.

I had to pay up and pronto.

For the Google, transgress and kick the deadline for ponying up the cash three years in the future.

Now that’s being Google. Isn’t that swell?

Stephen E Arnold, September 15, 2022

The UK and EU Demonstrate an Inability to Be Googley

September 15, 2022

In the grand scheme of operating a revolving door, the Google is probably going to adjudicate and apologize / explain. I call this “explagize,” an art form perfected at the GOOG. But what’s a revolving door? Visualize a busy pre-Covid building in midtown Manhattan. To enter, one pushes a panel of glass and the force spins a wagon wheel of similar doors. Now imagine that one pays every time one goes around. That’s how the Google online ad business works? Banner adds, pay. Pay to play, pay. Pay for AdWords, caching. Want analytics about those ads? Pay. The conceptual revolving door, however, does not allow the humanoid to escape either without fear of missing out on a sale or allowing a competitor to get clicks and leads and sales.

The BBC article “Google Faces €25bn Legal Action in UK and the EU” states:

The European Commission and its UK equivalent are investigating whether Google’s dominance in the ad tech business gives it an unfair advantage over rivals and advertisers.

This is old news, right? What’s different is this statement:

Damien Geradin, of the Belgian law firm Geradin Partners – which is involved in the Dutch case – said, “Publishers, including local and national news media, who play a vital role in our society, have long been harmed by Google’s anti-competitive conduct. “It is time that Google owns up to its responsibilities and pays back the damages it has caused to this important industry. “That is why today we are announcing these actions across two jurisdictions to obtain compensation for EU and UK publishers.”

Do you think “pay back” means a painful procedure capped with a big number fine? I do.

What’s not being considered, in my opinion, are these factors:

  • The barristers, avocets, and legal eagles trying to wrest big bucks from Googzilla are unlikely to find the alleged monopolist eager to retain their firms’ services or look favorably on hiring the progeny of these high fliers
  • Will the UK and EU spark counter measures; for example, prices may rise and some ad services not offered to outfits in the UK and EU?
  • Will the UK and EU grasp the fact that ad options may not be able to fill any gap or service pull out from the Google?
  • The high value data which Google allegedly has and under some circumstances makes available to government authorities may go missing because Google either suffered a machine failure or curtailed investment in infrastructure so that the data are disappeared.

More than money? Yep. Consequences after decades of hand waving and chicken salad fines may cause some governments to realize that their power, influence, and degrees of freedom are constrained by a certain firm’s walled garden.

The money for the fine? Too little and too late as I try to make sense of the situation. The spinning revolving door can be difficult to escape and trying may cause dizziness, injury, or company death. Yikes.

Stephen E Arnold, September 15, 2022

Meta and Kids: Approach Costs $400 Million and Counting

September 15, 2022

I read that the lovable Facebook Instagram WhatsApp outfit has been fined $400 million. What is the charge? I know it seems like duplication, but the Metaverse believer has been struggling IRL (in real life). The issue is the firm’s “handling of children’s privacy settings on Instagram.”

Meta Faces $402 Million EU Fine over Instagram’s Privacy Settings for Children” reports:

The fine stems from the photo sharing app’s privacy settings on accounts run by children.

Meta will loose a flock of solicitors before writing a check.

My thought is that some GenZ person should write a version of Ulysses. Instead of a geezer wandering around, the protagonist could be Mr. Zuckerberg. Imagine the literary references possible. The charming Donatien Alphonse François and the detail oriented Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, among others could populate the new work. Dump James Joyce’s lame allusions and get with the program.

It is possible that the new Ulysses could span several 1,000 page volumes, include hyperlinks to Instagram videos, links to Facebook pages about dance classes and playground equipment, and recycle some really delightful WhatsApp messages.

I find legal disputes semi interesting. Those involving US big technology firms with ideals about creating a really really better world can be a tad tedious tedious.

The information about financial damages is, on the other hand, amusing to a company which probably spends more on off site meetings in a single month. Why not slap a couple more zeros on that fine?

Stephen E Arnold, September 15, 2022

Zuck Play: Joe Rogan In, Judge Chhabria Out

September 1, 2022

I read “Facebook to Settle Cambridge Analytica Suit, Save Zuckerberg From Testifying.” The title caught my attention for two reasons.

First, Mr. Zuckerberg, the affable wizard of Meta stuff, appeared on the Joe Rogan Podcast. On that podcast, he talked about many things. Since I don’t pay for podcasts, I have only second hand information. For me, the key point was he talked.


Joe Rogan stickers are available by clicking the tasteful image in this blog post. Beyond Search does not have a deal with either Mr. Rogan or Amazon. (I have very good reasons for this posture.)

Second, Mr. Zuckerberg did not talk to the legal eagles associated with the Cambridge Analytica matter in the Northern District of California court. To avoid having to talk, Mr. Zuckerberg’s estimable outfit paid money to the United Kingdom (500,000 pounds or about $560,000) and an unknown amount to the Northern District of California court.


I assume this image is the property of Meta and Facebook.

I wonder why.

Mr. Rogan’s background shares one thing with the Zuck: DNF or did not finish college. Mr. Rogan’s occupation according to the rock-solid Wikipedia is “Podcaster, color commentator, comedian, actor, and television presenter.”

The Honorable Vince Chhabria has an okay background too; to wit: A law degree from UC Berkeley,  law clerk for Justice Stephen G Breyer, work at a so so law firm called Covington & Burling, and some work as the Deputy City Attorney for Government Litigation as the Co Chief of Appellate Litigation.

On the surface, it seems that the Zuck feels more comfortable with a color commentator than a college graduate who probably is not too good at martial arts, kite sailing, and social media.

My take: Mr. Meta is looking for an audience which may be slightly less skeptical of the wondrous “bring us together” methods of the social media quasi-monopolies.

That’s just a guess. Podcasting is probably less challenging to a Silicon Valley luminary than talking to some wonk who reads books, depositions, and legal documents. I wonder if the bright star of Meta picked up some of Mr. Rogan’s merchandise. I am thinking maybe these two trend setters swapped tchotchkes.

Stephen E Arnold, September 1, 2022

Copyright Trolls Await a Claim Paradise

August 29, 2022

Smart software can create content. In fact, the process can be automated, allow a semi-useless humanoid to provide a few inputs, and release a stream of synthetic content. (Remember, please, that these content outputs are weaponized to promote a specific idea, product, or belief.) Smart video tools will allow machines to create a video from a single image. If you are not familiar with this remarkable innovation in weaponized information, consider the import of Googley “transframing.” You can read about this contribution to society at this link.

I am not interested in exploring the technology of these systems. AI/ML (artificial intelligence and machine learning) stress my mental jargon filter. I want to focus on those unappreciated guardians of intellectual property: The entities and law firms enforcing assorted claims regarding images, text, and videos used without paying a royalty or getting legal permission to reuse an original creation.

The idea is simple: Smart software outputs a content object. The object is claimed by an organization eager to protect applicable copyright rules and regulations. The content object is marked with a © and maybe some paperwork will be filed. But why bother?

Now use some old fashioned hashing method to identify use of the content object, send a notice of © violation, demand payment, threaten legal action, and sit quietly like a “pigeon” in London for the cash to roll in.

A few people have a partial understanding of what the AI/ML generated content objects will create. For a glimpse of these insights, navigate to HackerNews and this threat; for example:

The future will include humans claiming AI art as their own, possibly touched up a bit, and AIs claiming human art as their own.

The legal eagles are drooling. And the trolls? Quivering with excitement. Paradise ahead!

Stephen E Arnold, August 29, 2022

Google: Oh, Oh, Another Example of a Government Not Being Googley

August 12, 2022

I read “Google LLC to Pay $60 Million for Misleading Representations.” The write up reports, if the information is spot on:

The Federal Court [of Australia] has ordered Google LLC to pay $60 million in penalties for making misleading representations to consumers about the collection and use of their personal location data on Android phones between January 2017 and December 2018, following court action by the ACCC. The Court previously found that Google LLC and Google Australia Pty Ltd (together, Google) had breached the Australian Consumer Law by representing to some Android users that the setting titled “Location History” was the only Google account setting that affected whether Google collected, kept and used personally identifiable data about their location. In fact, another Google account setting titled “Web & App Activity” also enabled Google to collect, store and use personally identifiable location data when it was turned on, and that setting was turned on by default.

What did this decision tell me? The Australian Court is not Googley. Ah, lawyers.

Stephen E Arnold, August , 2022

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