Monthly Archives: February 2019

Facebook labelled ‘digital gangsters’ by report on fake new

David Pegg – The Guardian Feb 18, 2019

Facebook deliberately broke privacy and competition law and should urgently be subject to statutory regulation, according to a devastating parliamentary report denouncing the company and its executives as “digital gangsters”.

The final report of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee’s 18-month investigation into disinformation and fake news accused Facebook of purposefully obstructing its inquiry and failing to tackle attempts by Russia to manipulate elections.

“Democracy is at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalised ‘dark adverts’ from unidentifiable sources, delivered through the major social media platforms we use every day,” warned the committee’s chairman, Damian Collins.

The report:

  • Accuses Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, of contempt for parliament in refusing three separate demands for him to give evidence, instead sending junior employees unable to answer the committee’s questions.
  • Warns British electoral law is unfit for purpose and vulnerable to interference by hostile foreign actors, including agents of the Russian government attempting to discredit democracy.
  • Calls on the British government to establish an independent investigation into “foreign influence, disinformation, funding, voter manipulation and the sharing of data” in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the 2016 EU referendum and the 2017 general election.

Labour moved quickly to endorse the committee’s findings, with the party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, announcing: “Labour agrees with the committee’s ultimate conclusion – the era of self-regulation for tech companies must end immediately.

“We need new independent regulation with a tough powers and sanctions regime to curb the worst excesses of surveillance capitalism and the forces trying to use technology to subvert our democracy.”

The culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, who is to meet Zuckerberg this week to discuss harms resulting from social media, will likely come under pressure to raise the committee’s concerns with the Facebook chief executive directly.

Launched in 2017 as concern grew about the influence of false information and its ability to spread unscrutinised on social media, the inquiry was turbocharged in March the following year, with the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal.

The Observer revealed the company had secretly acquired data harvested from millions of Facebook users’ profiles and was selling its insights to political clients to allow them to more effectively manipulate potential voters. The company has since collapsed into administration.

The committee argues that, had Facebook abided by the terms of an agreement struck with US regulators in 2011 to limit developers’ access to user data, the scandal would not have occurred. “The Cambridge Analytica scandal was facilitated by Facebook’s policies,” it concludes.

The 108-page report makes excoriating reading for the social media giant, which is accused of continuing to prioritise shareholders’ profits over users’ privacy rights.

“Facebook continues to choose profit over data security, taking risks in order to prioritise their aim of making money from user data,” the report states, accusing the company of covering up leaks of user data. “It seems clear to us that Facebook acts only when serious breaches become public.”

Zuckerberg is also personally criticised by the committee in scathing terms, with his claim that Facebook has never sold user data dismissed by the report as “simply untrue”.

“Mark Zuckerberg continually fails to show the levels of leadership and personal responsibility that should be expected from someone who sits at the top of one of the world’s biggest companies,” Collins added in a statement.

Watson agreed. “Few individuals have shown contempt for our parliamentary democracy in the way Mark Zuckerberg has,” he said. “If one thing is uniting politicians of all colours during this difficult time for our country, it is our determination to bring him and his company into line.”

The report warns Facebook is using its market dominance to crush rivals, shutting them out of its systems to prevent them from competing with Facebook or its subsidiaries.

The committee also released new internal Facebook documents obtained from the company’s legal dispute with the company Six4Three, which it said “highlights the link between friends’ data and the financial value of the developers’ relationship with Facebook”.

“Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law,” the report warns.

In a distinctly measured response, Facebook said it was “pleased to have made a significant contribution” to the committee’s investigation. “We are open to meaningful regulation and support the committee’s recommendation for electoral law reform,” said Karim Palant, the company’s UK public policy manager.

“We have already made substantial changes so that every political ad on Facebook has to be authorised, state who is paying for it and then is stored in a searchable archive for seven years.

Palant said Facebook supported privacy legislation, and that “while we still have more to do, we are not the same company we were a year ago”. He said Facebook had increased its team working on abusive content to 30,000 people and invested in machine learning and artificial intelligence to tackle the problem.

The DCMS report calls for sites such as Facebook to be brought under regulatory control, arguing “social media companies cannot hide behind the claim of being merely a ‘platform’ and maintain that they have no responsibility themselves in regulating the content of their sites”.

It proposes comprehensive new regulations, including a mandatory code of ethics and an independent regulator empowered to bring legal proceedings against social media companies and force them to hand over user data.

It cites the example of Germany, which passed a law in January 2018 forcing tech companies to remove hate speech within 24 hours or face a €20m (£17.5m) fine. As a result, it claims, one in six of Facebook’s moderators work in Germany.

It also warns electoral law is out of date and vulnerable to manipulation by hostile forces, with urgent need of updating. “We need reform so that the same principles of transparency of political communications apply online, just as they do in the real world,” Collins said.

Source      

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=183870

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China Plans To Build Space Solar Station

Sun Earth

Chinese scientists have revealed plans to build and launch in orbit a space solar station that could capture the Sun’s rays 24/7, Chinese media report.

China has already started to build an early experimental space power plant in the city of Chongqing, The Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing an article in China’s Science and Technology Daily.

The space solar station, planned to orbit the Earth at 36,000 kilometers (22,370 miles) could provide “an inexhaustible source of clean energy for humans,” according to Pang Zhihao, a researcher at the China Academy of Space Technology Corporation.

Such solar power technology could supply reliable energy 99 percent of the time and have six times the intensity of the solar farms that work on the earth, the scientist says.

China will start by launching small solar stations between 2021 and 2025, while a possible next step would be a Megawatt-level station planned to be built in 2030.

The energy from the space solar station would be converted into a microwave or laser beam that would be sent to the earth.

However, the project has two major hurdles to overcome in order to become a practical solution. One is the weight of a space solar station, expected to be more than two times the weight of the International Space Station. The other is the safety impact of laser or microwave beams sent to the earth.

Related: 2 Reasons Why Big Oil Isn’t Rushing Into Renewables

China is not the only country studying the potential of harnessing the power of the Sun in space.

Caltech for example has its Space Solar Power Project, which has researched the use of ultralight, foldable, 2D integrated elements, Caltech has developed a prototype which collects sunlight, converts it to RF electrical power, then wirelessly transmit that power in a steerable beam.

According to Caltech’s research, “Collecting solar power in space and transmitting the energy wirelessly to Earth through microwaves enables terrestrial power availability unaffected by weather or time of day. Solar power could be continuously available anywhere on earth.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Solar-Energy/China-Plans-To-Build-Space-Solar-Station.html

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The End Of Travel As We Know It Has ARRIVED!…PROOF Included!

 

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