Sunday, February 18, 2018

Data And Betrayal

Take international, data-related tit-for-tat.

Microsoft allegedly argues that, if the Supreme Court of the United States (S.C.O.T.U.S.) decides that the US Department of Justice (D.O.J.) can --unilaterally-- use a search warrant to seize emails that are stored on foreign servers that are outside the USA, will that mean that foreign governments--any foreign governments, including China, Russia, North Korea-- can unilaterally seize emails stored on US servers inside the USA?

For more information, read "Do search warrants have extraterritorial effect", penned by legal blogger Andrew Smith for Corker Binning of the UK.

If copyleftists are to be believed, everything one writes is "data" or "information"... and (snort) "information wants to be free".  Unfortunately, as in George Orwell's "Animal Farm" all (metaphorical) animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

Some information is expected to be free when you give it up, but not so much if you want it back.

The brilliant and businesslike Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes a wide ranging cautionary tale of promises made and apparently broken, of confidentiality and access to ones own analyzed data.

There's a moral: keep your business secrets secret.

Talking of giving away "data", or having it taken from one without one's consent, this writer is reminded of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. How many mothers, I wonder, who wish to harvest their cord blood for freezing, discover that the hospital appropriates (without permission) a quantity of cord blood for their own research and rations the amount that the patient may have... of her own cord blood?

Does anyone else wonder about the information one freely gives, or even pays to give to or 23-and-me?  Could one's spit come back to bite one? If the government secretly does the same with the DNA held by the spit-analyzing services as it does with the location data held by smart phone companies, well, what a brave new world we live in. 

From Germany, business writers Hans-Edzard Busemann and Nadine Schimrozik discuss a Berlin regional court's opinion of some Facebook tricky settings and use of personal data.

There's a lot of "permissionless innovation" about, and an assumption by the Big Data guys that everyone knows -- just because they live and breathe-- what Big Data is doing (an unreasonable assumption, if you ask me), and that it is perfectly fine to assume that everyone is okay with their data being exploited unless they proactively opt out.  So certain permissions are pre-checked in "Settings", and a user (or a non-user) has to find those settings and actively change them. Who has time?

It is all too easy for advertisers to stalk us, spy on us, and harass us, and even to force us to pay (if one has a pay-per-minute telephone plan... or if one buys ones own paper and toner for ones faxes) to receive their pitches. I'm not okay with that.

On the other side of the coin, Facebook may not be all that friendly to those who advertise, either.

Michael Alvear (an interesting man who claims that he got bored stiff writing a sex advice column) looks into
"Facebook's Epic Fail" as a source of a good return on investment for writers to advertise.

Maybe, if an author is paying $0.40 per click, and the royalty he receives on an book sale is $0.40 or less,
it's not a business model that will work for most.... but one should read Alvear's advice in full.

Facebook is also in the Lexology news for illegality in its "mean clicques groups". One would think that there would be nothing wrong with forming an intimate group to revile ones lower ranking co-workers, right? Wrong.

Legal blogger David J. Pryzbylski, writing for Barnes and Thornburg LLP gives the legal lowdown on a team of local lovelies who set up a supposedly secret and exclusive Facebook group, and excluded some of their team members, thereby violating the National Labor Relations Act.

Should one infer that the teamsters did not know what the Germans know about Facebook's default settings?

On a final note... a musical one, and nothing (much) to do with Facebook or privacy... but pertaining to betrayal and restoring fairness, if you will: please support The Classics Act.

Musicians and their heirs have been cheated out of royalties for years, simply because of a loophole in the law that allowed big business to not pay royalties to the copyright owners of music released before 1972.
How is it fair that the creators of a musical work from 1971 get nothing from Sirius and its like, while creators of a similar musical work released in 1973 get paid?

There's a petition.
If you live in the USA, and provide your zip code etc it will go to your Congressmen and Congresswomen.

Thank you.
All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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