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Business Communication LAW Technology

This is a coup! How does Europe get the right to tell the internet what to do?

As the world watches him flip flop over major topics like migrant families and trade war threats, I have to grant Donald Trump a point.  Take all the nasty stuff he said about China on the campaign trail (before he started sucking up to Asian dictators) and apply it to the European Union.  Obviously GDPR has not yet played on Fox news and he hasn’t figured out what the European Commission just pulled off.  It unilaterally forced a ridiculous and extremely vague legal requirement on the entire planet!

“A Data protection officer (DPO)—a person with expert knowledge of data protection law and practices, must be appointed to assist the controller or processor to monitor internal compliance with this regulation.”  Wait a minute.  Just because a European citizen might click on my website, I have to hire some expert?  And worse still, I am not allowed to ban Europeans from visiting my website or to show them a different version?  Protectors of the internet should not be cheering GDPR, we should all be fighting it!  This is a coup, or #thisisacoup if you want to make it a trending hashtag.  You should want to if you care about the internet.

We have done our best to keep the internet free.  We fight for net neutrality.  And we are going to let some Euro-bureaucrats force vague and already technologically irrelevant regulation on the entire planet?  GDPR is not about tech, your IT people can’t make you compatible.  Neither is it a marketing issue.  GDPR isn’t even a legal issue.  How many lawyers do you know that understand databases or UI?  GDPR is 100% political.  Our national governments weren’t even asked, it is regulation instead of a directive.   European citizens didn’t even get the chance to see it ratified in national assemblies.  And – sorry to see this in writing – I am rather hoping Donald Trump notices some report on Fox news and helps us out this time around.

This is a coup.

Categories
Business LAW

GDPR is so stupid it is scary

I can picture the scene.  Some EU bureaucrat, on his low tech EU email client, had to go through the EU complicated way of reporting yet another viagra spam email.  “This has to stop!” he righteously  complained loudly to other EU bureaucrats twiddling their thumbs.  “I cannot receive that email I need from Nigeria because the damn system keeps thinking it is a fake prince sending it!”  The rest of us don’t know why they didn’t just use Gmail instead.    We hardly remember what spam is here in the rest of the world, because Google’s AI deals with it so effectively before it ever gets near us.

But the EU bureaucrat did what EU bureaucrats do.  He made a committee that started a process which made national committees which authorized funds to research a topic which needed researchers to hire more bureaucrats to end up with a massive nonsensical blurb which they eventually got other EU bureaucrats to vote for and announced to the world in what is easily the grandest proof of how far behind reality they all are.

GDPR is so broad in its scope it is legally practically trash.  The more you read “experts” analyze it, the worse it gets.  Since when can a legal requirement from one group of countries force the entire planet to do something?  If I, a euroloving citizen, travel to a remote tropical island with 50 inhabitants and one computer and the hotel there asks for my data without doing all the GDPR it needs in IT infrastructure and communicating, can I then sue them?  It seems I can.

For anyone with the slightest experience in IT and database infrastructure, the more you look at GDPR, the more you despair.    Because unlike the counter productive cookie banner which simply wastes a little time, GDPR was implemented using what looks like knowledge of current IT practices.  Some of those well paid committees and their well paid experts actually did some work this time and hashed together a semblance of what they think a modern IT infrastructure should look like.  Which is even more problematic.

This is a big planet and a “legal entity” is an extremely fluid notion.  You are reading a personal blog where I publicly air all sorts of complaints about things I see and don’t like.  Do I have to prove I don’t make money out of this blog?  What if you are subconsciously impressed enough to hire me as a consultant as a result of all this wisdom?  Sure there are enormous companies with legal departments and big IT clans.  Even those however have very different approaches to how they are organized both in terms of the role of marketing departments and in terms of IT philosophies.  And of course probably 99% of “legal entities” on Earth have no IT department and no marketing department.  Or if they do it is one person struggling to get the basics done.

I am really curious to see the first case of someone being charged under GDPR.  What sort of “experts” will be called upon and what sort of “standard” they will retrospectively demand.  “Sure, you used double opt in for the past ten years, but look, here on page 2536 of GDPR, clause 7d stipulates that….”  And then you will counter with by analyzing entries in your database from eight years ago.  And then some sort of IT wizard judge will be able to come to a conclusion?

If GDPR was designed to curtail Google and Facebook it is the most ridiculous and destructive indirect way to do it.  The EU can slap penalties on these companies anytime it wants to anyway.  It doesn’t need to cripple everyone else in the meantime.  If anything, Googlem Facebook and other big U.S. platforms will come out stronger from all this as millions of small companies will prefer to use their cloud infrastructure rather than try and figure out how to be GDPR compatible.    If GDPR was made in order to promote specific types of marketing and penalise others it is high time Euro bureaucrats crawled out of their holes and visited the real world.  Marketing has moved a long way since those Viagra emails only you keep receiving. because your email infrastructure was built by a committee.

The EU put up a nonsensical, needless roadblock to doing business in Europe.   Legitimate Nigerian princes with large inheritances will simply do their business somewhere else.

 

Categories
Communication POLITICS

My prime minister and your president are a similar type of idiot-genius marketers

When Donald Trump became president I did a blog post about his similarities with the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras.  I was of course mainly impressed with their marketing capabilities.  The unorthodox way they gamed the political system to win.  Some time down the line, it gets even worse.  I am not sure if all populist leaders don’t have some secret forum where they exchange ideas.

For starters they don’t have a left or right, conservative or socialist direction.  They don’t care.  Whatever sounds good, whatever tweets best.  Tariffs where a “socialist” thing, now it’s a Trump thing in an almost nationalistic way.  In no case is it felt necessary to research something.  He will head to meet the leader of North Korea unprepared.  He might even fall asleep during the meeting like Tsipras seems to do in major international leader meetings.    They both have a unique way of projecting their reality, their complete and utter stupidity, their short term, childish “truth” as if it is the actual truth.  It is like watching a two year old lie about the broken vase he is holding.

Like a rather immature two year old they both change their minds erratically and avoid any specifics.  Forget a detailed memo explaining how a major change will happen, here are a couple of tweets I shot out last night.  Go figure.  They get swayed by whoever they last met or whatever they saw on television.  The gaping lack of basic understanding of how the world works poses absolutely no obstacle to them scheming on the grandest of levels.  Our prime minister even set up the Greek Space program recently.  Sure, it is probably just a way to line the pockets of his friends, but that is irrelevant to the fantasy world he is projecting.

Trump and Tsipras hold on to simple ideas.  Really simple ideas.   Imports are bad.  Let’s kill them.  If it gets the crowd cheering they will just default to the simple “truth” in a world where nothing is simple.  And no matter how ridiculously obvious it is that these people are bowing to whatever their friends ask for, those simple “truths” keep being repeated until they drown out everyone else.  Tsipras is co ruling with a party full of people that believe that we are being sprayed from the air to influence our decision making.  Trump takes advice from Navarro.  To say these are far out extreme conspiracy theorists is an understatement.  The simple, obvious, appealing “truth” is all they care about and they somehow manage to persuade a lot of people that is the whole story.

Their opponents are in disarray because by moving pseudo ideologically they have destroyed the structure of politics as everybody else knew it.  The ultimate market redefinition.  Like going into the hayday of a Pepsi-Coke war and getting everybody to stop drinking all together because liquids are unnatural and you can get all you need from cucumbers and watermelons.   Tsipras and Trump have a lot to teach us.   Get off your soap boxes and see how you can use their methodology in other markets.

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Of course we need to get them out of politics as soon as possible.

 

Categories
Business Technology

Facebook killed 14 people in May

That is what the headlines ought to be.  Not “A Facebook bug changed suggested sharing settings to ‘public’ for up to 14 million users“.  Think about it.  Assuming Facebook is telling the truth (and we have absolutely no way to know if it was 14 million, 140 million or all of Facebook affected) out of the 14 million there is an enormous probability that they affected users with serious legal, social or psychological problems.  Maybe a crazy ex wife, a stalker, a student or some other privacy problem which led a percentage of those affected to suicide.  In fact, based on the evidence accumulating scientifically, it is not entirely unfair to say that Facebook not only did it’s best to grab users with mental problems but also that it actively does its best to make those problems worse.

It is pretty safe to assume that Facebook didn’t release this information because of their new drive to honesty.  Even if it was only 14 million users affected (which I highly doubt), that is a lot of time wasting Facebook psychopaths online with the potential to uncover it.  Many of those are constantly checking other people’s feeds, gossiping and trying to find out whether their boyfriend saw that post about that other girl or not.  (And other such human micro drama.)  Facebook had to reveal the bug because a lot of people would have noticed and proved it’s existence.  A lot of the users it managed to make addicted during one of the many hours they spend aimlessly scrolling up and down their timelines and checking other people’s timelines.

Here’s one problem:  nobody can really check up on Facebook.  Here’s a worse problem: their infrastructure is terrible.  Here’s the real issue: Facebook remains the toy of an unbalanced teenage hacker at heart.

In many ways it is a self repairable problem.  Unlike other online tools, Facebook is a complete waste of time.  The company has specialized in providing inconsequential services.  It’s not helping you get to work.  It’s not giving you free document processing tools.  And it’s running out of ways to entice users to spend time on it’s useless, buggy, platform.

Categories
Business

The Cryptocurrency backstory is all wrong

If you ask Google how many UK pounds you get for 100 US dollars you will get the result immediately.  Ask it to convert 10 0xBitcoin to FlorinCoin and you get nothing.  In fact you can ask Google pretty much anything about cryptocurrencies and it behaves like some dumb search engine would 15 years ago.  Which is peculiar.  Highly peculiar.

So CoinMarketCap took over as “the Google of cryptocurrencies”.  It has a similarly minimal design approach and a similar inclusivity with no questions asked.  Rather dodgy new currencies appear regularly, much like Google doesn’t interfere with results a lot.

But all this just makes things worse.  I clicked on Trending “Gainers and Losers” and saw a big list of cryptocurrencies gaining more than 100% even and on the “losers” pretty small losses for a few cryptocurrencies.  Of course the whole thing is doing well.  There are many (big) winners and few (small) losers.  Which is peculiar.  Highly peculiar.  When the site changed the way it calculated market capitalization it wiped billions off the crypto market.  This is a very bad version of a Google type monopoly in a market with no need to create such a monopoly.  Heck, in true crypto approach, attention should be blockchained away from any single such website!

It is all about the story.  I raved about the NBA making fantastic stories about everything.  I then (previous post) stopped watching the NBA all together because they betrayed me.  They lost the key element of all such stories: justice.  With blatant bad officiating all their other stories make no sense.  I don’t care anymore if LeBron is a fantastic athlete.  If he knows the matches are rigged and doesn’t speak up (or quit) he is part of the problem.

In a similar vain cryptocurrencies have always been plagued by a bad reputation.  Drugs, illegal activities, blackmailing schemes and bad movie plots.  And unless it changes its approach, CoinMarketCap is part of that problem.

Categories
Business

Open Letter to NBA commisioner

You just lost a die hard NBA fan. I have written about it, I have blogged about it, heck I even did a podcast about it. “Why the NBA is what everyone should emulate” was the title and that is what I believed until tonight. To me the NBA was a model of how all sports, heck, all organisations should work. And today you ended that for me.

In all my years of following the league, I have never spoken out against officiating. I really believed that the NBA had checks and balances. It obviously doesn’t. Game 1 of the Finals was not a series of bad calls. It was the NBA bowing to Las Vegas. It was blatant, it was ugly, it was obvious and it was uncalled for.

There is an advertisement that plays often during time outs from a big U.S. company that “lost trust” and now is trying to get it back. Well, you had better start preparing a similar ad, because tonight you lost one of the NBA’s greatest fans.

P.S. I don’t support any particular team. I loved the NBA because my whole family loves (and plays) basketball.

UPDATE: To their credit, I received this response within less than 24 hours.

…and my response to that:

I am really impressed by the speed of your response and thank you very much for this.  However:

1. You simply sent my the referrees saying that they haven’t changed their mind!  That was not an answer.
2. My problem was not with that particular call but a SERIES of bad calls.  Things we ALL saw in slow motion from various angles.  LeBron NOT fouling and getting called for it when he stripped the ball cleanly and then being fouled (we all saw it) and no foul being given for example.
3. Full disclosure would be the full game report, not just OT of the last two minutes.  Full disclosure would be the discussion and video, what goes into the post game reports so that we all better understand the rules.
4. At this level, even one referee mistake can change a match.  The NBA should have the guts to reverse match results if (like Game 1) it was many many more than one referee mistakes.
You can do better.