Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Profits-Investment Disconnect

The Profits-Investment Disconnect - NYTimes.com: "Profits are very high, so why are companies concluding that they should return cash to stockholders rather than use it to expand their businesses?

After all, we normally think of high profits as a signal: a profitable business is one people should be trying to get into. But right now we see a combination of high profits and sluggish investment :  What’s going on? ... this kind of divergence — in which high profits don’t signal high returns to investment — is what you’d expect if a lot of those profits reflect monopoly power rather than returns on capital." 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Amazon’s Monopsony Is Not O.K. - Krugman

Amazon’s Monopsony Is Not O.K. - NYTimes.com: "The desirability of new technology, or even Amazon’s effective use of that technology, is not the issue. After all, John D. Rockefeller and his associates were pretty good at the oil business, too — but Standard Oil nonetheless had too much power, and public action to curb that power was essential.

And the same is true of Amazon today." 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 27 September 2014

No, I am not interested in joining your proprietary social network

No, I am not interested in joining your proprietary social network - mathew's web site: "What we need are social networks which are open, like e-mail and the web; where anyone who wants to can set up their own server (or pay someone else to do it) and join the conversation via a system they control. We need social systems which are decentralized, rather than centralized and corporate. Systems where at a minimum, there are multiple independent organizations running servers, and you can migrate if you decide you don’t like the one you’re relying on.

There’s a system which is built that way. It also has no ads, doesn’t require that you provide your “real” name or specify your gender, doesn’t aggregate your data for sale to corporations, and doesn’t run ads. It has per-post privacy settings, so you can share just with the people you trust. You can post pictures and comments, discuss things with friends in discussion threads, and do most of the other stuff you do on Facebook or Twitter." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 4 September 2014

UK Culture Secretary: Search Engines Must Magically Stop Piracy Or Else! |

UK Culture Secretary: Search Engines Must Magically Stop Piracy Or Else! | Techdirt:

"Now, copyright law absolutely does enable one particular business model, but to argue that there would be no industry, no producers, no session musicians, no publicity and no artwork without enforceable copyright is just silly. And easily disproved since (1) there was plenty of artwork and music before that (2) there are still plenty of people who produce music without relying on copyright as a business model and (3) "session musicians" tend not have a copyright in the music they play anyway. They get paid session wages. That's not about copyright.

 Note how he insists that the recording industry is not in it for the money, but for the "passion." He's pretty sure of this, even though copyright has nothing to do with passion, and everything to do with money." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 8 August 2014

How We’ll Know the Wikimedia Foundation is Serious About a Right to Remember

How We’ll Know the Wikimedia Foundation is Serious About a Right to Remember - Concurring Opinions: "If the Wikimedia Foundation is serious about advocating a right to remember, it will apply the right to the key internet companies organizing online life for us. I’m not saying “open up all the algorithms now”, I respect the commercial rationale for trade secrecy. But years or decades after the key decisions are made, the value of the algorithms fades. Data involved could be anonymized. And just as Asssange’s and Snowden’s revelations have been filtered through trusted intermediaries to protect vital interests, so too could an archive of Google or Facebook or Amazon ranking and rating decisions be limited to qualified researchers or journalists. Surely public knowledge about how exactly Google ranked and annotated Holocaust denial sites is at least as important as the right of a search engine to, say, distribute hacked medical records or credit card numbers." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 28 July 2014

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden Kept His Oath Better Than Anyone in the NSA

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden Kept His Oath Better Than Anyone in the NSA - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic: "people ask, is he a patriot or a traitor? That drives me nuts, the very thought that people could regard you as a traitor. The ignorance of the media and the congresspeople and the other interviewers who raised that question offends me as an American, that they think that it can be traitorous to tell the truth to your fellow countrymen. Here's the standard I would like to see set: "Snowden was the one person in the fucking NSA who did what he absolutely should have done."

How many people should've done what you did! I said this about Chelsea when that came out and I say it now.

We all took the same oath to protect and defend the Constitution. There are people who violate it all the time. There are people who are against it, like Cheney and some others. But when it comes to upholding that oath, no one in the U.S. military services including the commander in chief has fulfilled her oath to defend and support the Constitution like Chelsea Manning." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 3 July 2014

EU's Almunia says could probe Google's YouTube dominance

EU's Almunia says could probe Google's YouTube dominance | Reuters: ""We are receiving more complaints, for instance the way Google leverages the search engine," Almunia told a Chatham House conference.

"YouTube for instance, it's another kind of activity where Google can also leverage their market power in search engine, and maybe this will give way to another investigation," he said.

Almunia said one issue was whether to extend the ongoing case against Google following new complaints or to open a separate investigation." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 27 June 2014

GAC rejects multistakeholderism, tells ICANN to ignore the GNSO

GAC rejects multistakeholderism, tells ICANN to ignore the GNSO | DomainIncite - Domain Name News & Opinion: "The GAC seems to have screwed up, in other words, by not asking for all the protections it wanted three years ago.

And now it’s apparently demanding that its new, very late demands for protection get implemented by ICANN without a PDP and with no input from any other area of the ICANN community.

 The GAC spent a lot of time this week talking up the multistakeholder process, but now it seems prepared to throw the concept under a bus either in the name of expediency or to cover up the fact that it seriously dropped the ball.

Nobody can deny that its heart is in the right place, but is abandoning support for multistakeholderism really the best way to go about getting what it wants, at a time when everyone is claiming governments won’t control the newly liberated ICANN?" 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 1 May 2014

What happens next: European Commission & Google’s commitments

Breaking news: European Commission will accept Google’s commitments | Chillin'Competition: "What happens now is that the Commission will send complainants a letter (pursuant to Article 7(1) of Regulation 773/2004 informing them that the Commission has obtained what it considers adequate commitments and that in its view there are no longer grounds to pursue the case. They will then have a chance to complain again. The Commission will then adopt a number of decisions: one under Art. 9 of Regulation 1/2003 in order to make those commitments binding, and a number of decisions rejecting all complaints received. I suppose that Google’s very active and well funded rivals will want to appeal those decisions before the General Court (with, I believe, arguable chances of success after the Court’s recent ruling in Microsoft/Skype, which was extremely favorable to Google for reasons that I might explain in a later post). This is, by the way, the outcome we always predicted." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 28 April 2014

Netmundial moves Net governance beyond WSIS

Netmundial moves Net governance beyond WSIS | IGP Blog: "We are now in a post-WSIS world, an Internet governance arena that explicitly endorses a form of multistakeholder governance in which non state actors have rough parity with state actors. Indeed, while some civil society actors were disappointed with and somewhat petulant about last minute language modifications related to issues like net neutrality, intermediary liability and surveillance, these criticisms missed the point. The essential debate we were having was not about specific policy issues (which anyway are mostly handled at the national level) but about the overall approach to global Internet governance, the nature of the ‘ecosystem’ itself." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Kroes: thoughts on NETmundial and the Future of Internet Governance

My thoughts on NETmundial and the Future of Internet Governance - European Commission: "I found some of the language related to human rights unnecessarily weak. I refer in particular to the passage "Internet governance should be open, participatory, Multistakeholder, technology-neutral, sensitive to human rights". We have an obligation to respect and promote human rights, not merely be "sensitive" to them, and this should be clearly reflected throughout the outcome document. This includes, among a number of important issues, the protection of privacy and personal data protection, which should have a prominent role in the outcome document.

Secondly, self-regulation and self-organisation of different stakeholders are certainly to be preserved and promoted. However, this cannot be to the detriment of basic democratic principles. It is not sufficient that the mechanisms through which "different stakeholder groups […] self-manage their processes [are] based on publicly known mechanisms", if this results in the explicit or implicit exclusion of persons in a manner that would contradict democratic processes." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Web We Want | Celebrating the free, open, universal Web

Web We Want | Celebrating the free, open, universal Web: "Web We Want campaign is calling on people around the world to stand up for their right to a free, open and truly global Internet. The first step: Drafting an Internet Users Bill of Rights for every country, proposing it to governments and kickstarting the change we need. There are three ways to get started:

  • Add your name to the Web We Want mailing list to the right. We’ll keep you informed as our campaign begins to gather momentum.
  • Start a national dialogue about the Web that your country wants. 
  • Draft an Internet Users Bill of Rights for your country, for your region or for all. 

From national regulations to an international convention, we can work together to propose the best legislation to protect our rights.
Right now the U.N. is requesting an investigation into global online surveillance. As more and more people awaken to the threats against our basic rights online, we must start a debate — everywhere — about the Web we want." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 24 January 2014

Bad science: No, Facebook won’t lose 80% of its users by 2017

What the articles about this non-reviewed article do not state, is what to a lawyer might be the obvious. This is perfect ammunition for Facebook to deflect any antitrust investigation into its social networking domination - we're a virus with a cure, nothing to see here, we're not Google or MSFT. Priceless propaganda reinforcing the 'MySpace decay' mythology that Facebook encourages:
"Facebook and Myspace are vastly different contagions. For both networks, young people were the first to get the disease. But they were also the first to develop an immunity; even Facebook admits it’s beginning to lose its appeal with teenagers. Myspace, however, never evolved past the stage of infecting the young, whereas Facebook worked hard to bring on new demographics, from young professionals to senior citizens. And it’s still hungry for more, now targeting emerging markets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Facebook also benefited from the explosion of mobile devices in a way Myspace never could. By the time the iPhone 3G was released, Facebook had already overtaken Myspace in traffic. To use the authors’ terminology, the rise of mobile phones created a “new vector” for Facebook to spread. As of last Summer, 78 percent of its daily users were on mobile.
Finally, the authors based their projections in part on Google Trends. The study notes that Google searches for “Facebook” peaked back in December 2012 and have been falling ever since. But as the Guardian’s Juliette Garside says in her write-up, Facebook’s Google search slippage is likely due to an increase in users who access the site through its mobile app as opposed to typing “Facebook” into the Google search bar.
Despite the study’s flaws, it does pose interesting ways to think about how social networks grow and recede."
UPDATE: Facebook researchers have replied light-heartedly - but a more serious commentator Jesse Czelusta notes: "Perhaps the biggest hole in the Princeton "study" is the model itself--in the system of differential equations, 1) the "recovered" population can never be re-infected and 2) the larger the "recovered" population, the more rapid the decline in the "infection" rate. Strikes me as highly unrealistic. Not to mention that the paper pays no attention to network externalities, which are the real reasons Facebook is Facebook and MySpace is MySpace, and this is likely to remain the case until we run out of air in 2060. "