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Comment Re:Libel Fines (Score 1) 394

I'd definitely agree with that, however I don't think that is the case here. You still have a freedom to "print" whatever you want as long as it can be seen that you have gone to some lengths to prove it is true and retracted when it isn't. Plus you have to be able to show that you got the information in a legal way (with Whistleblower rights).

I'd argue that overly powerful media moguls pushing their political stance without regulation was less in the spirit of or advance the cause of democracy, wouldn't you say?

Comment Re:Libel Fines (Score 2) 394

A YouGov poll from the end of last year asked:

Q. Which of the following statements comes closer to your view on how you think newspapers in Britain should be regulated?

And 79% said that they would like "an independent body, established by law, which deals with complaints and decides what sanctions there should be if journalists break agreed codes of conduct" (ie what we've got).

Albeit this is a poll and not a democratic process, but the democratic process is there (people vote for a Government, the Government enacts runs independent reviews, the recommendations are enacted upon). The only way this process could have been undemocratic is if an unelected body (like The Press) decided that it should be that way (like they did before).

Comment Libel Fines (Score 3, Insightful) 394

Bloggers in the UK could face libel fines even if they are registered as Press. That's the whole point of the regulator - it is there to force a set of known penalties on a press organisation if they do anything libellous through a known set of processes. If you're outside the regulator the penalties are unknown and the process could be expensive. It's not really any different to the current situation if you are outside the regulator.

Personally I think it is a great day for democracy. The people wanted this. They voted in a Government that did an independent enquiry and then actioned those recommendations. You can't get much more democratic than that.


Submission + - Would you be willing to be tracked with a "digital (

whencanistop writes: ""Using new products from companies like BlueCava and Ringleader Digital, advertisers will be able to link and track individual consumers on their mobile phones, desktop PCs, tablet devices, games consoles, TVs — even their cars — and serve them ads based on activity across those devices. They will do so using a process often referred to as device fingerprinting, an emerging device identification technique which could eventually replace the cornerstone of online measurement and data collection, the cookie." according to Clickz. As I've been posting on my blog recently, this just goes to show that Government needs to regulate data use, not data collection."

Comment It's not a game changer (Score 2, Informative) 109

From TFA:

If you're a nosy marketer, it gets worse. We're moving from a browser-centric to an app-centric world. Every time you access the Internet through a particular app -- Facebook, Gowalla, Yelp, Foursquare, and so on -- you're surfing from within a walled garden. If you click on a link, all the marketer sees is a new visit. The referring URL is lost, and with it, the context of your visit.

This isn't true. All these sites do a 301 redirect (well certainly does) so you won't lose the referrer or the context. Really this doesn't do a lot for the analytics of a site, apart from it is going to help Twitter work out how many people have clicked on which type of link (and if you're logged, who you are). It's giving them some more ammunition for contextual advertising.

Comment Selling to third parties (Score 3, Interesting) 28

We often don't mind if a site uses it to target advertisements, but are less sanguine when it sells data to third parties.

Really this is the problem with the whole privacy thing that has caused so much issue in the past. The problem isn't that the company collects the data, it is that they then sell it to third parties to make a profit.

Similarly if you look at the in depth report that the WSJ published then the real issue isn't the use of cookies or even the collection of the behavioural data - it is that they have then sold out to third parties by either selling the data or allowing them to collect it in the first place (which they can then do whatever they want with).

Comment Re:Chocomize! (Score 4, Insightful) 101

To be fair, I think he is more ranting about the fact that he noticed that Chocomize was trending (for whatever reason) and he had to plough through hundreds of spam sites before finding the real reason that it was trending (the CNN article). Why are the spam sites there? Because the CNN article caused people to search for the term, pushed it up on Google trends, automated tools caused some sites to create new pages that Google then index higher. Google could fix this by improving their news algorithm.

Is it Chocomise in the UK, just out of interest?

Comment Re:Who owns the NY Post? (Score 1) 454

From TFA on The Times (that you may not have been able to see - or may be taken down in the near future because of the paywalls):

He [James Mudoch] said that the “chilling” expansionism of the BBC meant that commercial rivals and consumer choice were struggling. In particular the “expansion of state-sponsored journalism” in the form of BBC News online was “a threat to plurality and the independence of news provision, which are so important to our democracy”.

Hopefully you are right and there won't be anything that The Times can break that can't be reproduced on the BBC. I can't believe people are going to sign up and pay for The Times just for their commentaries - they're not that good. They'll have to come up with something else.

Comment Re:Who owns the NY Post? (Score 1) 454

Well, apart from the fact that my post was a bit of a dig at the fact that we seem to upmod only large websites, you are right. James Murdoch has been very ouspoken about the BBC, so you might start finding in the future that stories broken in the mass media aren't immediately published on the BBC (if he gets his way).

The BBC Perspective
The Times perspective (for as long as it remains up on the site), just for both sides of the argument.

Comment Who owns the NY Post? (Score 2, Interesting) 454

Not that I don't agree with the article, but it is worth pointing out for full disclosure that the New York Post is owned by News Corporation as is The Times and The Sunday Times.

It'll make it interesting when Slashdot has to start putting up stories from niche websites instead of mainstream if they all go behind paywalls.

Submission + - de-indexed from Google (

whencanistop writes: I'm sure I'm not the first to point this out — but The Times recently announced that it was going to put itself behind a pay wall (for when The Times does go behind a pay wall and you can't see that article, here is a link to The Guardian's article on it). Now Google has apparently decided that it is going to remove The Times from its search index (just in case they get put back) so that users will not be able to find it by natural search (it still seems to appear in Google News). Interestingly this doesn't appear to have been done by The Times as there is nothing in its robots.txt that states that this should be disallowed. To prove how annoying this actually is, I had to go back to my blog to find a link to that article stating what The Times is doing because I couldn't find it in Google. It's also worth pointing out that in, if you search for "The Times" you now get pointed to the new domain and not the old one.

Comment Re:Tragic would be an apt way to describe it (Score 1) 384

A “copyright infringement report” is a report that— (a) states that there appears to have been an infringement of the owner’s copyright; (b) includes a description of the apparent infringement; (c) includes evidence of the apparent infringement that shows the subscriber’s IP address and the time at which the evidence was gathered; and (d) complies with any other requirement of the initial obligations code.

I think the section that says they need to provide evidence of the infringement will mean that your average ISP will throw out any report. Remember that the ISPs are commercial organisations who make money based on subscribers to their service, not from downloads and the last thing want to be doing is cutting off half their customer base because some infringement lawyer is bombarding them with notices.

If you want to think about it in another way, if someone thought you'd stolen a car, the police would laugh in their face if they pitched up and accused 400 people of being in the vicinity at the time. Even if they could pin point you specifically unless they could prove with evidence that it was you, the police would never make an arrest.

(Un)fortunately I suspect the people they will catch will be the ones who are doing the equivalent of standing over the dead body, bloody knife in their hand, 13 witnesses and shouting "I'm glad I killed the bastard."

Comment Re:Tragic would be an apt way to describe it (Score 3, Informative) 384

Essentially, from what I read (correct me if something changed in the final bill), a copyright holder can accuse you of pirating anything without evidence, and your provider must throttle/disconnect you. If you want to counter, you have to take me to court, at your cost, with real evidence that you didn't.

I'm not convinced this is true. My understanding of it was that they would have to catch you actually doing it (although I'm sure you could claim entrapment on that) and give you a warning through your ISP. Then they would be able to tell your ISP to cut your internet connection off if they caught you doing it again.

Not that I want to get into a debate about whether it should or shouldn't be illegal or not. Given that it is, this seems to be a fairly sensible way of policing it. It may appear that they are being heavy handed with the threats (to satisfy those who think it is a problem), they can also get away with minimal policing and catching the biggest offenders.

Citation: Section 124A, section 3c of the bill

Comment Facebook's privacy policy (Score 5, Informative) 317

Facebook's privacy policy says:

“Everyone” Privacy Setting. Information set to “everyone” is publicly available information, may be accessed by everyone on the Internet (including people not logged into Facebook), is subject to indexing by third party search engines, may be associated with you outside of Facebook (such as when you visit other sites on the internet), and may be imported and exported by us and others without privacy limitations. The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” You can review and change the default settings in your privacy settings. If you delete “everyone” content that you posted on Facebook, we will remove it from your Facebook profile, but have no control over its use outside of Facebook.

I'd also like to point out in their terms:

When you publish content or information using the "everyone" setting, it means that everyone, including people off of Facebook, will have access to that information and we may not have control over what they do with it.

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