Favorited EDPB Urgent Binding Decision on processing of personal data for behavioural advertising by Meta by EDPB

This is very good news. The European Data Protection Board, at the request of the Norwegian DPA, has issued a binding decision instructing the Irish DPA and banning the processing of personal data for behavioural targeting by Meta. Meta must cease processing data within two weeks. Norway already concluded a few years ago that adtech is mostly illegal, but European cases based on the 2018 GDPR moved through the system at a glacial pace, in part because of a co-opted and dysfunctional Irish Data Protection Board. Meta’s ‘pay for privacy‘ ploy is also torpedoed with this decision. This is grounds for celebration, even if this will likely lead to legal challenges first. And it is grounds for congratulations to NOYB and Max Schrems whose complaints filed the first minute the GDPR enforcement started in 2018 kicked of the process of which this is a result.

…take, within two weeks, final measures regarding Meta Ireland Limited (Meta IE) and to impose a ban on the processing of personal data for behavioural advertising on the legal bases of contract and legitimate interest across the entire European Economic Area (EEA).

European Data Protection Board

Bookmarked The 100 Year Plan (by Automattic/WordPress)

WordPress is offering a century of managed hosting for 38.000USD, I presume upfront.

In reply to I’d love to understand what prompted Automattic to offer a hosting plan for $38K. by Ben Werdmuller

I don’t think this is a serious proposition by Automattic / WordPress.

  1. Who is in a position to put 38.000USD on the table right now, that they can’t use more usefully elsewhere? (even if in terms of monthly rates it’s not a large sum)
  2. Who believes Automattic, or any company, is likely to be around anno 2123 (unless they pivot to brewing or banking)? Or that they or their successor will honor such century old commitments (State guaranteed Russian railway shares are now just over 100 years old)?

I think it’s a way of getting attention for the last part of Matt’s quote at the end:

I hope this plan gets people and other companies thinking about building for the long term.

Matt Mullenweg

That is a relevant thing to talk about. People’s digital estates after they pass are becoming more important. I know how much time it took me to deal with it after my parents died, even with their tiny digital footprint, and even when it wasn’t about digital preservation mostly. Building code, hardware and systems to last is a valuable topic.

However if I want to ensure my blog can still be read in 100 years there is an easy fix: I would submit it to the national library. I don’t think my blog is in the subset of sites the Dutch Royal Library already automatically tracks and archives, even though at 20+ years it’s one of the oldest still existing blogs (at the same url too). However I can register an ISBN number for my collected postings. Anything published in the Netherlands that has an ISBN number will be added to the national library’s collection and one can submit it digitally (preferably even).

I think I just saved myself 38.000 USD in exchange for betting the Royal Library will still exist in 2123! Its founding was in 1798, 225 years ago, so the Lindy effect suggests it’s likely a good bet to give it another century or two.

Bookmarked Wildlife surveys using ‘DNA vacuums’! by Dr. Christina Lynggaard

Environmental DNA sampling sounds very cool: capturing DNA from the air (or other environments), and not needing to sample DNA directly from organisms. Dr. Christina Lynggaard says in three days she captured DNA from the air from dozens of animals in a natural setting. Downloaded the cited paper to read (DOI). I wonder if something like this is within reach of citizen science group’s capabilities? Perhaps just the sampling, or maybe even the sequencing and determination?

This was our first exploration of airborne eDNA in a natural setting and we were especially surprised by the high number of bird taxa detected

Christina Lynggaard

Bookmarked Disinformation and its effects on social capital networks (Google Doc) by Dave Troy

This document by US journalist Dave Troy positions resistance against disinformation not as a matter of factchecking and technology but as one of reshaping social capital and cultural network topologies. I plan to read this, especially the premises part looks interesting. Some upfront associations are with Valdis Krebs’ work on the US democratic / conservative party divide where he visualised it based on cultural artefacts, i.e. books people bought (2003-2008), to show spheres and overlaps, and with the Finnish work on increasing civic skills which to me seems a mix of critical crap detection skills woven into a social/societal framework. Networks around a belief or a piece of disinformation for me also point back to what I mentioned earlier about generated (and thus fake) texts, how attempts to detect such fakes usually center on the artefact not on the richer tapestry of information connections (last 2 bullet points and final paragraph) around it (I called it provenance and entanglement as indicators of authenticity recently, entanglement being the multiple ways it is part of a wider network fabric). And there’s the more general notion of Connectivism where learning and knowledge are situated in networks too.

The related problems of disinformation, misinformation, and radicalization have been popularly misunderstood as technology or fact-checking problems, but this ignores the mechanism of action, which is the reconfiguration of social capital. By recasting these problems as one problem rooted in the reconfiguration of social capital and network topology, we can consider solutions that might maximize public health and favor democracy over fascism …

Dave Troy

Bookmarked a message on Mastodon by David Speier

David Speier is a freelance journalist who researches the German far right. In this thread on Mastodon he describes the work they’ve done to check statements from interviews with a former far right member, and to connect them to other source material (photos from events, other people, reports etc.). Of interest to me here is that they used Obsidian to map out people, groups, places, events and occurrences, to verify, to see overlaps and spot blind spots. Nice example of taking something that is inherently text and image based and use Obsidian to ferret out the connections and patterns. There are some topics that currently pop-up in my work in very different projects, and more purposefully teasing out the connections like in this example seems a useful notion.

In einer #Obsidian-Datenbank haben wir Kontaktpersonen, Gruppen, Orte und Ereignisse zusammengeführt. Mehr als 70 umfangreiche Belegdokumente untermauern die einzelnen Aussagen von „Michael“

David Speier

Bookmarked Will A.I. Become the New McKinsey? by Ted Chiang in the New Yorker

Ted Chiang realises that corporates are best positioned to leverage the affordances of algorithmic applications, and that that is where the risk of the ‘runaway AIs’ resides. I agree that they are best positioned, because corporations are AI’s non-digital twin, and have been recognised as such for a decade.

Brewster Kahle said (in 2014) that corporations should be seen as the 1st generation AIs, and Charlie Stross reinforced it (in 2017) by dubbing corporations ‘Slow AI’ as corporations are context blind, single purpose algorithms. That single purpose being shareholder value. Jeremy Lent (in 2017) made the same point when he dubbed corporations ‘socio-paths with global reach’ and said that the fear of runaway AI was focusing on the wrong thing because “humans have already created a force that is well on its way to devouring both humanity and the earth in just the way they fear. It’s called the Corporation“. Basically our AI overlords are already here: they likely employ you. Of course existing Slow AI is best positioned to adopt its faster young, digital algorithms. It as such can be seen as the first step of the feared iterative path of run-away AI.

The doomsday scenario is … A.I.-supercharged corporations destroying the environment and the working class in their pursuit of shareholder value.

Ted Chiang

I’ll repeat the image I used in my 2019 blogpost linked above:

Your Slow AI overlords looking down on you, photo Simone Brunozzi, CC-BY-SA