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Coss last won the day on March 18

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About Coss

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  1. (or as someone said recently, "easy, they're all coin operated", meaning, they only work if you give them money) https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/03/17/492557/how-to-make-big-tech-do-the-right-thing# Tech industry veteran Paul Brislen says big tech firms are complicit in weaponising hate speech online. He details how New Zealand can force them to abandon their ‘passively incompetent’ way of dealing with it. I know where the Christchurch gunman was radicalised. I go there every day. I see the tsunami wave of lies and paranoia engulf any who come near it and sweep away all but the last vestiges of decency among the people who visit. I see anger, I see hatred, I see death threats, I see rape threats, I see bile and invectives and trauma. Social media is complicit in the murders that took place in Christchurch this week, in a city that’s already seen far too much grief, in a country totally unprepared for such actions. That’s not what we do here, we said. This isn’t us. But all too often it is and the very people who you meet every day on the street, in the café and online in social media forums of all kinds and who believe this white supremacy, isolationist rhetoric are as much a part of the fabric of New Zealand as the people who are appalled by this senseless slaughter. What has changed is they’ve found an outlet, and a community of sorts online. Social media is largely about finding your tribe, finding your people. For the quirky, for the oddballs, this has been a godsend. I might be the only person in New Zealand who wants to discuss Welsh folklore and its implications for Arthurian legend and for Brexit, but I bet you I can find a forum where that’s all we talk about. Social media at its best is a fantastic way to find people like you and to engage with them. It’s family and it’s tremendously powerful. The flip side is, of course, that social media also allows the angry, the disenfranchised, the misinformed to band together to support themselves in their views. We’ve seen this in New Zealand with issues like the moon landing (hoax!) cellphone towers (radiation!), smart electricity meters (they’re tracking your movements!), and yes, white supremacy. It’s easy enough to find a group that supports your particular world view and says welcome, come on in, we believe you, they are out to get you. That then is the crux of the social media dilemma. Tremendous reach, the ability to bring people together, the fabulous platform that allows content of all kinds to be shared. It’s the ultimate democratic instrument but sadly it also enables the crackpots, to conspiracy theorists, the white supremacists and the Nazis to band together, to plot and to share and to crow about their victories. Lack of responsibility From a technical point of view there are two issues – the first is the posting of the initial video or content and the second is the sharing and re-sharing of that content. Facebook Live is Facebook’s video publishing service that allows users to upload video to all viewers as it happens and consequently it has been home to dozens of murders posted live to the internet. The real problem is the lack of responsibility social media platforms take when it comes to the content they proffer up and their willingness to turn a blind eye to content that is objectionable and yet makes them some money. Sure, Facebook takes down the videos afterwards but it’s not able to pre-vet the content because of course it’s screened live, as it was by the Christchurch murderer. The second and bigger problem is that the internet is (to borrow a phrase) a giant copying machine. Everything is copied repeatedly and shared widely and trying to stop something from spreading (“going viral”) is seen as something of a nightmare. However, in the perverse world of the internet, technically it’s pretty trivial to do. Whenever a video is uploaded to a service (YouTube, Facebook, Paul’s Video Sharing Service, whatever) the video can be tagged with a certain identifying code (called a “hash”) so the service can track the video as it’s shared around the world. When word comes down that the video is illegal, it can be found and removed relatively quickly. Facebook and YouTube do this today – although typically it’s done for copyright reasons, not because of hate speech, criminal activity or objectionable material, but there’s no reason why these companies couldn’t make this a requirement of publication on their platforms. That would solve the issue of how broadly the footage could be shared. But this is a technical fix to a problem of video distribution. It doesn’t get to the heart of the matter and the reason why social media is complicit in these killings. The real problem is the lack of responsibility social media platforms take when it comes to the content they proffer up and their willingness to turn a blind eye to content that is objectionable and yet makes them some money. In the old days publishers paid content producers to create content. They would then share that content through the appropriate service. Newspapers published articles written by journalists. Film studios published movies created by the industry. Book publishers released books written by authors, and so on. That model has been swept away and instead publishers build platforms that allow anyone to publish anything they like. What to do about it? Until now we’ve been told New Zealand couldn’t possibly go it alone – couldn’t introduce laws that would stop Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, Apple and Google from doing whatever they like. But that simply isn’t true. The tide is turning against the power of the giants and this is a pivotal moment in that movement. Because these social media companies are complicit in the murders in Christchurch, and in the hate speech, the fake news, the rape threats, the tidal wave of abuse and hurt. They allow it, they often enable it and they pretend they have no mandate to manage it. Facebook won’t turn its back on the New Zealand market if we introduce a law that bans hate speech. Facebook cheerfully operates in Germany where it routinely makes sure it doesn’t violate Germany’s anti-Nazi memorabilia laws. Writing in The Washington Post after the killings, media commentator Margaret Sullivan described the social media companies as providing “passive incompetence” that enables this kind of activity. They have built the platforms that connect extremist groups together, given them the tools to organise and to share their messages and then stood back - abrogating all responsibility for anything that is said or done in these communities. From Facebook to 4Chan they hide behind the defence of “free speech”, defining it as they see fit to avoid responsibility. Yet when faced with pressure from copyright owners, these same companies move swiftly to institute rapid take-down notices, proactive monitoring of sites for music or video infringements and aggressively target those who breach the rules. Like all companies, social media giants are built around one thing: making money. Threaten that, and they’ll respond. So this then is how we change things. Through local regulations, through international agreements, through tougher penalties that actually make a difference because nothing else matters to these companies other than the bottom line. Facebook won’t turn its back on the New Zealand market if we introduce a law that bans hate speech. Facebook cheerfully operates in Germany where it routinely makes sure it doesn’t violate Germany’s anti-Nazi memorabilia laws. Google has found it in itself to operate within China’s strict policies prohibitions around Taiwan and democratic movements. Sure, those markets are huge but do you really think the social media giants will walk away from a well-educated, English speaking, mature online market? They will not. However you look at it, New Zealand has changed for ever on that sunny afternoon in March. All we can do now is try to define who will be and what we want our future to look like. And we can work damned hard to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. * Paul Brislen is a veteran technology journalist and PR man and a long-time consumer and user of social media. --- and if you've made it this far, my opinion : prosecute the Facebooks and Youtubes etc etc, as if they were newspapers, who had published such content.
  2. Thailand's king made an unexpected call for "security" and "happiness" on the eve of the first election since a 2014 army coup, but made no mention of a poll critics say has been engineered to keep the military in power. King Maha Vajiralongkorn did not refer to any of the sides in Sunday's election. However, his message less than 12 hours before voting booths were to open was a startling departure from the approach of his late father, who in his latter years kept a distance between the monarchy and politics. "The king is concerned about the country's security and the feelings and happiness of the people, so the king wants to send his moral support and a reminder for all to use it to bring about unity, security of the country and happiness of the people," said a palace statement late on Saturday... https://www.yahoo.com/news/election-observers-face-limitations-thai-poll-104011107.html
  3. Coss

    What Film (Movie) Have You Just Watched?

    Triple Frontier (2019) Loyalties are tested when five former special forces operatives reunite to steal a drug lord's fortune, unleashing a chain of unintended consequences. The first hour of this two hour movie, is pretty much as you'd expect from Hollywood, with stars of this stature, all - "we are 'merica! we can go and shoot all the bad guys!", then just after the half way mark, it gets interesting. I won't spoil the movie, it's a good movie and well worth a watch.
  4. Coss

    Usa Thread

  5. Coss

    Usa Thread

    Here we go... Here we go... Here we go... 😀
  6. Coss

    Russia Thread

    Russia moves 20 hypersonic missiles to testing site, signalling another milestone for the weapons program. Nearly 20 Russian missiles that the U.S. is currently unable to defend against were recently moved to a military testing site, signaling another milestone for the Kremlin’s hypersonic weapons program, according to people who have direct knowledge of American intelligence reports. “This shows they have the ambition to develop these weapons and that they have prioritized this particular program. The Russians have basically determined that they are comfortable with the design and will now focus on fine-tuning the weapon through testing,” one person, who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity, said. The air-to-ground hypersonic missile dubbed “Kinzhal,” which means “dagger” in Russian, has been tested at least three times. In July, the Kremlin successfully tested the weapon against a target nearly 500 miles away. What’s more, in another U.S. intelligence report, according to a source, the hypersonic missile was mounted and launched 12 times from a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet. Additionally, work is underway to mount the weapon on a strategic bomber. The weapon is slated to join the Kremlin’s arsenal as early as 2020.... https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/21/russia-moves-20-hypersonic-missiles-to-testing-site-signaling-another-milestone.html
  7. Voters in Thailand are set to choose their next government on Sunday after five years of living under military rule. The March 24 vote comes after the ruling junta repeatedly postponed general elections after it overthrew an elected government in 2014. Thais have reacted enthusiastically to the long-awaited vote: Around 87 percent of the 2.6 million people registered for early voting cast their ballots in the last few weeks, according to various reports. Several political analysts predicted that total voter turnout could exceed 80 percent to reach an all-time high in Thailand. But a change in the country’s constitution and electoral rules that favor pro-military political parties mean Thailand still has a long way to go to shed the influence of its powerful army, analysts said. “The rules have been written to maintain military supervision over Thai politics,” Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political science professor at Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, told CNBC’s Sri Jegarajah on Friday. Even then, the outcome of the election is unpredictable and could reignite tensions between supporters of the different political fractions in Thailand, added Pongsudhirak. Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy is no stranger to military takeovers and another coup cannot be ruled out if violence and protests break out once again after the vote, the professor said... https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/22/thailand-votes-in-general-election-after-five-years-of-military-rule.html
  8. Coss

    New Zealand Thread

    Yes, true, but just the one, loner, incel. The rest of the Aussies are still cool!
  9. Coss

    Thai post

    In the past, I've tried to avoid using post, to or from Thailand (and Laos as it goes through Thailand's post system), I've had packages opened and stolen from. But in this instance, the sender sent the package before I could intervene. Clothing and a small amulet. Whoo hoo!, what's the odds that the package arrives, with only the clothing stolen and the amulet in situ?
  10. Coss

    Thai post

    In the continuing lottery that is Thai post, I am waiting for an item that was posted in LOS some 7 weeks ago, so I thought I'd use Mr Google, to see if any issues were evident with the key words "Thai, Post, Delay" And I found this: "The following items are prohibited and will be destroyed by Thai Authorities: E-cigarettes Personal massagers TV streaming boxes (e.g. Chromecast, Apple TV etc)" Really? In a world of terrorism, human trafficking and drugs, they will seek out and destroy E-cigs, Dildos and Apple TVs?
  11. Coss

    New Zealand Thread

    I had dinner with some people who hail from middle eastern parts yesterday, and they were as shocked as the rest of us are. These folk are such kind people, that they volunteer at the local community centre, to help in any way that they can. The father is taking weekly bible classes, because his intellectual curiosity is piqued and he wants to learn about Christianity so that he understands it better. They describe themselves as modern Muslims, their daughter is a doctor and a friend.
  12. Coss

    New Zealand Thread

    Remembering in this instance, that the Haka is a sign of respect, and solidarity, for the victims, and their families.
  13. Coss

    New Zealand Thread

    Kong, out of respect to your declining faculties: I won't take the hill-billy/scouser bait, and instead reflect on the tragedy, that occurred yesterday, noting that such occurrences, are a travesty, where-ever they occur. I can tell you and any who are interested, that the entire country of NZ is in a state of shock. Yesterday afternoon I was at a gathering of family and friends including both Kiwis and Aussies, and to a child, we are united in our abhorrence of these killings. I'll post a few links below, for those that wish to know more, from media closer to the event, than the international variety. I can tell you, that being a fist pumping, gun rights, steroid swilling, gym addict, confederate flag draped, Trump admirer(read at link), is going to be a lot less popular in the coming days, down here in these parts. --- All about his Gun Club The Aussies are with us What is a Brenton Tarrant?
  14. Coss

    New Zealand Thread

    Deaths now 49