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‘Right to be forgotten’: Google launches form to allow users delete their ‘inadequate’ data

RT -

Read more on the court decision to delete Google users’ data from searches

“Certain users can ask search engines to remove results for queries that include their name where those results are inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed,” says the form on a Web page that Google opened late on Thursday for European users.

Google says that when evaluating users’ request, the company checks “whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information.” The later includes information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.

“In implementing this decision, we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information,” says the form on the website.

To remove their name, the user also needs to “provide the URL for each link appearing in a Google search for his name” and explain why this data is irrelevant or outdated. An individual must also submit a digital copy of an ID to verify that impersonators aren’t using the form.

Meanwhile, the internet giant didn’t say when exactly it would remove links that meet the criteria for being taken down, adding only that it is "working to finalize the implementation of removal requests … as soon as possible.”

The decision to allow users to have their data be erased follows the May-13 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which said they have the right to make Google delete information about them from their search results.

According to Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, there were “many open questions” after the ruling which went too far in favor of privacy at the cost of the right to know.

“A simple way of understanding what happened here is that you have a collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know. From Google’s perspective that’s a balance,” said Schmidt. “Google believes, having looked at the decision which is binding, that the balance that was struck was wrong.”

Google is currently launching a special advisory committee of senior Google executives and independent experts to establish some guidelines around the right to be forgotten.

Among the members of the group will be Schmidt and David Drummond, the company's chief legal officer as well as Jimmy Wales, co-founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Luciano Floridi, Oxford Internet Institute ethics professor and Frank La Rue, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

"I'm delighted to join the international advisory committee established by Google to evaluate the ethical and legal challenges posed by the internet," Floridi said in a written statement to AFP. "It is an exciting initiative which will probably require some hard and rather philosophical thinking."

After the ruling, googling the same person in Europe and in other non –European other countries will differ as the internet giant will only delete the data of the users from 32 European countries (28 countries in the EU + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

The new Google service indicates Europe’s raising concern about the censorship affecting everything from elections to the safety of children. Some critics say that the information about pedophiles’ convictions may also be deleted.

According to Larry Page, the Google chief executive officer, the “right to be forgotten” ruling against Google in Europe may damage the next generation of internet start-ups and strengthen the hand of repressive governments, which want to limit online communications.

“…as a whole, as we regulate the internet, I think we’re not going to see the kind of innovation we’ve seen,” he added in an interview to Financial Times.

However, advocates of the court decision say that the ruling will help people to delete data about youthful indiscretions, financial mistakes and arrests that never resulted in convictions.

One year after Snowden drops NSA bomb, UK citizens demand more privacy

RT -

It has already been one year since NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden released what has been described as the most significant leak of classified US documents in history. One notable consequence of Snowden’s actions has revealed itself in the public realm, where internet users are demanding more effective safeguards on privacy.

In a survey conducted by Ipsos Mori, a leading UK research company, it was discovered that 85 percent believe it is "fairly important", "very important" or "essential" for the browsing records of internet users to remain private.

Meanwhile, 12 percent of those polled say privacy is not important, according to a survey commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.

Big Brother Watch, a public interest watchdog group, said the results of the poll suggest the British public has a low level of confidence in their representatives.

"This research clearly highlights that the British public has little faith that politicians are properly monitoring how the security services are using surveillance powers,” Emma Carr, acting director of Big Brother Watch, was quoted by the Guardian as saying. "The Deputy Prime Minister, the Shadow Home Secretary and the Home Affairs Committee have all recognized that our surveillance law needs reviewing and oversight needs to be much stronger.

Those who claim everything is fine are looking increasingly ridiculous," she added.

Last summer, Snowden handed over thousands of top-secret documents to Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with the Guardian newspaper, providing shocking details on America's National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s spy agency GCHQ.

The response to the leaks have attracted a diversity of passionate opinions, from those who say Snowden should be executed for treason, to others who hail him as an American hero.

“He should be prosecuted for treason,” former CIA director James Woolsey commented in December. “If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead."

Earlier this year, MI5 director general Andrew Parker warned that giving away information on the inside work of GCHQ was a "gift to terrorists."

On the other side of the debate, Snowden supporters say the leaks revealed an abuse of powers inside the American and British intelligence agencies and prompted an overdue discussion on their activities.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, called Snowden “in short, a hero” during a TED conference in Vancouver, where Snowden appeared as a guest via video connection.

The survey involved 1,958 Britons aged 15 and over, and was conducted between 25 April and 3 May.

Raspberry Pi projects at the Maker Faire Bay Area

Raspberry Pi -

Recently a number of us were lucky enough to fly over to the Bay Area Maker Faire to represent Raspberry Pi at the event. For those who haven’t managed to make it to one before, these are festivals on a grand scale of all things craft, electronics, tech, and general making with the Bay Area Maker Faire being one of the largest. It had quadcopter fighting, a fire breathing metal octopus (yes, really), cupcake cars, robotics and cool projects from every corner of the maker community. Clive, Carrie Anne, myself, and the folks from Pimoroni spent a lot of time at the stand talking to Raspberry Pi fans one on one though in this post we’re highlighting some of the awesome Pi-based projects we managed to see on our visit. Our stand proved very popular not least because of the super fashionable Raspberry Pi branded tote bags and tradable resource cards we brought along to give out.

The calm before the storm

For a taste of what a Maker Faire is like, look no further than Carrie Anne’s montage for Geek Gurl Diaries:

One of my personal favourite projects was Mugbot, a social robotics creation from Seita Koike at Tokyo City University. It’s amazing how emotive this little fellow can be with just a few servos and some LEDs to express itself. It quite convincingly pulls off sad, happy, and angry among other emotions.

The translucent body represents imperfection as a humanoid

Another exciting project was the Argus geodesic 3D scanner by Shannon Hoover. This is a dome which features 35 Raspberry Pi, using a Raspberry Pi and a Pi camera on each hub along with a custom board for LED lighting. Argus is used to take a picture of someone from all angles which can then be stitched into a full 3D model. You can see it in action in Carrie Anne’s montage. Right now the metal bars need to be bent, though the project creator is looking at using custom hubs (either 3d printed or eventually injection moulded) so that standard low cost metal tubes can be used.

1 of 28 images taken simultaneously by Argus

Although Raspberry Pi was created with educational goals, it always pleases us to see it used as a prototyping platform or embedded in commercial products. One such project was Cultivar, which uses a Raspberry Pi, a high quality moisture sensor (capacitive as opposed to resistive), a USB WiFi dongle, a solenoid, and a whole bunch of neat software to enable your to observe and automate plant irrigation through a pretty web UI. The project aims to offer intelligent algorithms for water control to, for instance, give different amounts of water at different stages in the plant’s lifecycle while also taking environmental conditions into account.

Cultivar’s spindly spider-like legs may be problematic for arachnophobes

We were pleased to see such a large number of young makers at the event (in fact, there was a whole hall dedicated just to Young Makers and their projects). We met some inspiring young people there – I’m tempted to pick up electric guitar playing just so I can use QV’s modular guitar design. Julian, Zach, Will, Cameran, Arjun, Mark and Dylan from Pleasanton, California told me all about their ‘Robot Pi’ project which consists of a Raspberry Pi-powered robot, the maze they had constructed, and a Python-based web server which allows you to control the robot through the maze and view the maze from the perspective of the robot’s camera. In the picture below the robot is tethered to its remote, though this is just as the team found there was too much interference in this electrically noisy environment. The Robot Pi team are a bunch of friends who wanted to pursue electronics in their free time, and were able to put on their stand thanks to a successful crowdfunding effort.

RobotPi navigates its maze

Another young maker project we really enjoyed was the Cootie Catcher Choir by Zander Roe and Brian Roe pictured below. Carrie Anne interviewed Zander about his work, who explained to us how he uses an Adafruit 16-channel servo driver breakout board to drive the servos connected to gears at the back of the cootie catcher wall. It may not be clear from the pictures, but it works by pressing a button on the project’s web interface to cause one of the mouths to open and emit a note of a certain pitch.

Cootie Catcher Choir by Zander Roe

We were excited to see so many awesome projects using the Raspberry Pi in some way at the Maker Faire and really enjoyed speaking to all the makers about their work. I know there are many, many more we either didn’t see or didn’t manage to write about. If you know of any, please leave a note in the comments.

Transform your Raspberry Pi

Bitcoin in the Beltway Conference to Make Waves in Washington D.C.

Bitcoin Magazine -

May 2014
Contact: M.K. Lords
Email: mksilent.h@gmail.com
Website: bitcoinnotbombs.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bitcoin in the Beltway Conference to Make Waves in Washington D.C.

(Washington, D.C.) This year has seen a rise in the amount of Bitcoin conferences, but one in particular is priding itself on featuring the most radical movers and shakers in the Bitcoin community while also putting charity center stage. Boasting such rebels as Defense Distributed’s Cody Wilson, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, Antiwar.com’s Angela Keaton, and Blockchain’s Andreas Antonopoulos, Bitcoin in the Beltway will be highlighting the most disruptive elements of blockchain technology in the heart of government regulation—Washington D.C.

Jason King, founder of Sean’s Outpost Homeless Outreach, came up with the idea of the conference. Sean’s Outpost has been one of the most inspiring bitcoin charities, delivering 60,000 meals to the homeless in the Pensacola area in one year. The co-chair of Bitcoin in the Beltway is Elizabeth Ploshay of the Bitcoin Foundation, who is also known for her great work with bitcoin charity projects. A keynote panel comprised of Jason King, Davi Barker, Andreas Antonopoulos, and M.K. Lords will be discussing the broken nonprofit system and how blockchain technology can provide better solutions.

“I come from a technology background out of the start-up technology world, and there’s a concept of methodology there that a small team of highly trained, efficient people can knock an incumbent off of their seat by being more focused and result oriented, so we’re trying to apply that same thing to philanthropy and nonprofits.”—Jason King of Sean’s Outpost in a Bitcoin Not Bombs interview.

Music will be another feature of the conference. Bitcoin in the Beltway will feature the talented Tatiana Moroz, creator of the infectious Bitcoin Jingle, DJ/hacker extraordinaire YT Cracker, and Zhou Tonged, also known as the bitcoin world’s Weird Al Yankovich.

The conference will take place June 20-22nd at The Marriott Renaissance DC Downtown. Tickets can be purchased at bitcoinbeltway.com and 10% of proceeds go to Sean’s Outpost Homeless Outreach. You don’t want to miss this revolutionary event built around the most exciting technology since the internet.

The post Bitcoin in the Beltway Conference to Make Waves in Washington D.C. appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Time is Running Out for Mark Williams Prediction of a $10 Bitcoin

Bitcoin Magazine -

If there is a villain to bitcoin, Mark Williams would likely be named. He infamously made the prediction, in December 2013, when he declared bitcoin was not an innovation but a “smoke and mirrors deception”. At the time, bitcoin was still trading near $1,000.00. He went on to predict that by mid-year 2014 the price of bitcoin would pop by 99% and be trading for less than $10.00. Bitcoin chaos ensued on the bitcoin forums.

The attention he suddenly received brought more attention from mainline news agencies.  He didn’t seem to be promoting his new book: Longwood Covered Courts and The Rise of American Tennis. It strangely enough wasn’t found listed on the New York Times best seller section or Amazon.com, but if one was fascinated by the subject of covered tennis courts there may be a copy of it to be found here.

When not predicting bitcoin’s ill fate, his day job is teaching economy classes at Boston University where his former students gave him mixed reviews. This being the case, many in the bitcoin world have wondered, “What is in it for Mark Williams”? Some have theorized he was simply riding the popularity of bitcoin’s rise and found his dissenting words brought him sudden attention. Perhaps it was simply at this point in his career he longed to be… relevant.

For the few people in the world who are paying attention to bitcoin, many remain sidelined. They watch the battle of ideas and likely remain largely confused. Mr. Williams found himself providing quotes affirming many reporters’ confirmation bias against bitcoin. Financial experts were likely embarrassed to miss the call on bitcoin which they commonly referred to as the next beanie babies, or tulip bulbs but may go down as the biggest investment story of their lifetime. Rightfully, their clients and viewers may some day wonder…”How in the world did you miss that“?  When the time comes for contract renewals and reviews they now have somebody in their back pockets to point their fingers at.  Perhaps he’s been their naive “patsy” all along.

Exaggerations

Mr. Williams became a great example of a bitcoin antagonist. In front of cameras and reporters his exaggerated warnings about bitcoin were repeated and echoed by several news sources. His comments found their way into minds of investors who watch the financial news programs and read the websites. They listened to Mr. Williams’ radical rants about bitcoin being an Existential Threat to humanity. That particular phrase is usually reserved for nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.  His penchant for exaggeration didn’t stop there. In the Committee on Small Business hearing, he gave testimony that bitcoin’s price increase of 9,000% was never seen on this planet – or any planet. Quick, somebody get Carl Sagan on the line.

Some things he got wrong:
  1. He told only half the truth: He stated facts about merchants not being able to accept it because it was too volatile.

Retailers typically work on tight margins and the immense volatility of the e-currency could eliminate all their profit or even result in losses. In this bitcoin world of uncertainty and risk, commerce would ultimately decline and stone-age bartering would increase. “Naturally, as bitcoin price swings increased, the number of businesses willing to accept e-currency risk would decline

He doesn’t admit that merchants sign up with payment processors like Coinbase and BitPay who convert the bitcoin to dollars immediately. He only admitted to these services in a Committee on Small Business hearing under further followup questioning later on.

  1. He stated that a computer program running a steady currency supply was “farcical”.

To assume currency can be computer generated, run in a decentralized manner and outside of the central banking system and controls is farcical and economically dangerous.

Many believe It was thinking like this that lead to the financial meltdown in 2007/2008. The advice from several financial experts stated that there was too much money in the system trying to find a home. (Literally and figuratively). Nobel Peace Prizewinner for economics Milton Friedman himself recommended using a currency system only needing a computer to control currency with mathematics. This would largely eliminate the need for a Federal Reserve. Not surprisingly, somebody working for the Fed would find this idea threatening to their “gravy train”, and therefore must be dismissed.

  1. He actually defends the current banking system of money transfer between banks that take three to five business days. He told the International Business Times:

“When we think about where eBay is right now, the backbone of PayPal is the ACH system, which is tried, true, and stable. When we compare that to bitcoin, it [bitcoin] isn’t stable.”

We see that banks are now rethinking the system of transfer that is still in use with technology dating from the 1970s – long before the internet. Perhaps the new payment train has already left the station with Williams still standing on the old banking rails.

4.      He claims that 90% of bitcoin is hoarded. Although how he could possibly know dead bitcoin from those available for sale is still a mystery. He later admits we don’t even know who owns them. The bitcoin referenced could easily be “legally dead” on a long buried hard drive. There have been no reports of him with shovel-in-hand trying to recover them.

5.    In his version of the world, central banks always know best. He’s a product of standard Keynesian economic thinking. This theory provides excuses for unlimited budget deficits and no debt ceilings. They essentially have no problem if debt is never to be repaid, or the debt becomes worthless through inflation.

For currency to be adopted as a medium of exchange there has to be trust in the ability to honor the underlying obligation and the ability for central banking policy to control inflation.

Even officials at the Federal Reserve realize the situation they’ve created is a ticking time bomb.  We’ve seen this before…see socialism and the economic theory used by list of currencies that ended in hyperinflation and ruined currency systems.

He does not admit that most of the world remains unbanked and has been completely left out of the system. To these people, their countries’ central banks have already failed them. We can now see that other central banks have begun to shift their attitudes without first consulting with him. They don’t appear to share Williams view of impending doom. His screams of “The Sky Is Falling!” seem to be met with ambivalence from those same central bankers he appears to believe he is protecting.  Cue the crickets.

Bitcoin community responds.

Many bitcoin fans have been waiting for the day to arrive for Williams to “eat crow” and admit he was wrong.  Williams is now being referred to by some in the bitcoin community by the nickname “Professor Bitcorn”. A dedicated website was created and includes a real-time countdown for the expected final hour of his prediction (ending on July 1). The name “Bitcorn” that is referenced came from his miss-spoken word for bitcoin used in the hearing. Many bitcoiners have made unanswered wagers for Williams to put his money where his mouth is. If he was confident enough to meet these challenges and happened to be right, he might have some serious money on his hands.

South Carolina Representative Mulvaney puts it in perspective.

The silliness of his manic bitcoin predictions and declarations that bitcoin was in a massive bubble was summed up nicely by Representative Mulvaney at the Small Merchant hearing.  He simply asked point blank: “So What”?  (56:20 minute mark). To his point, who cares?  He echoed what a lot of people were thinking; “Why was he raising such a fuss” ? Coinbase admitted their internet merchant penetration was still less than 1% of all internet merchants  doing business. It also was just a blip on the screen for brick and mortar locations. Who exactly was Williams intending to help?

Williams stated that it would make a big difference for the 47 people who presumably owned 29% of all bitcoin. Forty.   Seven.  People.  These were the same people he had just moments earlier emphatically accused of being “hoarders”. These were people that, if they still owned the private keys to access the bitcoin, bought or mined them for pennies or less. He also was rising to the defense of the people who owned the top 1,000 wallets containing the most bitcoin. His version of the Existential Threat of Earth had now boiled down to 1,000 people. These are people who likely heard the mantra to not invest into bitcoin more than they could afford to lose. They presumably knew the high risk for the possible high reward.  It wasn’t immediately clear why he wasn’t making the same kind of effort for the victims of the estimated 190 billion in credit card fraud being conducted each year.

The fading relevance of Mark Williams.

The days are winding to a close for his prediction that we only note in this article because of the breathless headlines it took on six months ago. He has become quieter regarding bitcoin lately and the requests for his opinions seem to be fading. The world has seemingly moved on and ignored his dire predictions as new investments and start up businesses are buzzing with excitement and new jobs. Even his beloved Federal Reserve is recognizing the potential boom in global commerce. That must have stung.  The results of his efforts being relevant in the world of digital currencies appears to be fading.  History doesn’t look to be in his favor.

Williams may soon be joining the assembly of short-sided critics who scoffed at the Wright Brothers flying machine. Ben Franklin, Tomas Edison, and Einstein each had their cynics and disbelievers as well. Who were these skeptics?  They are the forgotten, left in the dustbins of history and long since forgotten. The reward for being a critic or pessimists of grand ideas is negligible. Even if their prognostics are right it’s unlikely that anybody will be writing songs about them. His legacy might only be “road kill” as the bitcoin freight train races forward to its destiny and stops for no one.

It may soon be time to start a new timer countdown in honor of Mark T. Williams. This time we may appropriately set it for 15 minutes. That will be countdown of his last 15 minutes of fame believed by many as the time allotment of fame each of us are allowed in this world. Meanwhile, the creative geniuses that are now diligently creating bitcoin’s future will not slow down to reflect. They’ve got a new world in their imaginations for which they must prepare for us.

The post Time is Running Out for Mark Williams Prediction of a $10 Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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