Daily Archives: March 8, 2017

Big data’s power is terrifying. That could be good news for democracy

By George Monbiot – Our capacity to resist manipulation is limited. Even the crudest forms of subliminal advertising swerve past our capacity for reason and make critical thinking impossible. The simplest language shifts can trip us up.

Already big money exercises illegitimate power over political systems, making a mockery of democracy: the battering ram of campaign finance, which gives billionaires and corporations a huge political advantage over ordinary citizens; the dark money network (a web of lobby groups, funded by billionaires, that disguise themselves as thinktanks); astroturf campaigning (employing people to masquerade as grassroots movements); and botswarming (creating fake online accounts to give the impression that large numbers of people support a political position).

All these are current threats to political freedom. Election authorities such as the Electoral Commission in the UK have signally failed to control these abuses, or even, in most cases, to acknowledge them.

That’s the bad news.

But digital technologies could also be a powerful force for positive change. Political systems, particularly in the Anglophone nations, have scarcely changed since the fastest means of delivering information was the horse. They remain remote, centralised and paternalist.

The great potential for participation and deeper democratic engagement is almost untapped. Because the rest of us have not been invited to occupy them, it is easy for billionaires to seize and enclose the political cyber-commons. more> https://goo.gl/0PGihC

Apple vs Qualcomm. It Is More Than Money


By Gabe Moretti – I t would be impossible to grow an industry without standards that make it possible for various portion of the industry to cooperate and allow tools and methods to work together. To this end that are organizations that develop, distribute, and manage such standards. The IEEE is the one most familiar in the US.

Qualcomm and Apple are both members of ETSI, an SSO based in Sofia Antipolis, France, which includes more than 800 members from countries across five continents. ETSI produces globally accepted standards for the telecommunications industry. For example, ETSI created or helped to create numerous telecommunication standards, including the 2G/GSM, 3G/UMTS, and4G/LTE cellular communication standards.

Developing a standard requires the contribution of Intellectual Property (IP) by entities, usually corporate entities, universities, or other research organizations. Offering IP without restrictions would, almost always, hurt the offering entity financially, so a legal tool that protects it has been developed. For patents that companies have declared “essential” to the standard, patent law is reinforced by contractual obligations to license such patents on Fair, Reasonable, And non-Discriminatory commitments. The legal wording of the tool is called a FRAND (or RAND) commitment. The entire issue revolves around the definition of the term “Reasonable.”

The first thing to be realized is that this claim is about how to share revenue, not about standard making processes. Apple wants a larger share of revenue from the sale of its product, while Qualcomm wants to protect what it gets right now by re-defining how royalties are computed. Yet, there are other issues raised that may impact the electronics industry and EDA vendors.

Should royalties be fixed at a certain amount regardless of the sale price of the unit that use the licensed IP? Or, as Qualcomm contends, should royalties be a percentage of the price charged to the customer? more> https://goo.gl/rcESby

The Republican Health-Care Bill Is Not Designed to Actually Work

By Jonathan Bernstein – In other words, it’s not exactly designed to pass and become a law that actually works.

Speaker Paul Ryan might get the necessary 218 Republicans to close their eyes, hold hands, and jump over a cliff in order to get the bill to the Senate. It’s still unlikely that the bill will pass in the Senate, where Republicans have a much slimmer majority. And that majority includes some senators who simply won’t vote for significant cuts in Medicaid, since that would mean stripping health care away from people (voters!) who currently have it.

Indeed, the bill is hardly certain to pass the House, where many Republicans want (among other things) much deeper Medicaid cuts.

So, as Ezra Klein asks, what’s the point? What’s the problem the bill is supposed to solve? more> https://goo.gl/uDcmwc

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