Saturday, May 31, 2014

Google privacy law ‘means total rethink of basic freedoms’

Exclusive: Old rules of the internet no longer apply, warns Oxford philosopher charged with advising search engine giant on European Court’s landmark right-to-be-forgotten ruling
Hundreds of millions of people across Europe will be forced to change completely the way they use the internet, according to one of Google’s key advisers.
The era of freely available information is now over in Europe, warns Professor Luciano Floridi, who has been appointed by the £225bn search engine firm to find out how it should comply with a landmark ruling that allows people to ask for personal information to be taken down.
His warning comes as The Independent reveals that 12,000 requests were made on Friday, around 20 a minute, from people across Europe demanding to have their personal details removed from Google. More than 1,500 of these are believed to have come from people in the UK who were looking to take advantage of a service launched by Google to make it easier for people to apply for personal data to be removed.
The move follows a European court’s ruling earlier this month that gave people the “right to be forgotten”; convicted criminals are among those trying to hide links to stories from online search engines. An ex-MP who is seeking re-election is another of the thousands who have approached Google.
In an exclusive interview, Dr Floridi, who is professor of philosophy and the ethics of information at Oxford University, said that the ruling has “raised the bar so high that the old rules of the internet no longer apply”.
The court’s judgment found that 500 million internet users across Europe had the right to request that Google remove from its search results information that they believed to be damaging or a breach of privacy. However, he warned it would have a perverse effect as it could place even more power into the hands of Google.
“People would be screaming if a powerful company suddenly decided what information could be seen by what people, when and where,” he said. “That is the consequence of this decision. A private company now has to decide what is in the public interest.”
He also said the main beneficiaries of the judgment were “reputation management companies”. He said: “They now have the power to ask for embarrassing information about their clients to be removed. If I was the chief executive of a reputation management agency, I would be laughing.”He concluded: “Everything is up for debate.”
Speaking from his office at the Oxford Internet Institute, Professor Floridi said the judgment by the European Court of Justice was so revolutionary it would have the same effect on the digital world as Dick Fosbury had on the sport of athletics.
In 1968, the American high-jumper won a gold medal at the 1968 Olympic Games with the “Fosbury flop” – where he stunned the world by catapulting himself head-first over the bar. The new technique was adopted by all high jumpers.
Professor Floridi said: “That was completely counter-intuitive but was also a moment of genius. We need something like that for the internet.”
The Italian philosopher recognised the internet caused unacceptable intrusions into people’s privacy and that the status quo could not continue. However, he said: “I have spent too much time in the UK not to come down on the side of freedom of expression, the right to know.”
As Google announced its new service on Friday, its chief executive Larry Page warned the ruling risked strengthening corrupt and repressive regimes in their attempts to restrict “public interest” information from their citizens. Since the ruling was handed down earlier this month, Google has received “a few thousand” requests from people seeking to remove personal information, but this surged yesterday with the introduction of the new form that makes the process simpler.
More than half of the UK requests to have information removed have come from convicted criminals. Google is expecting the number of inquiries to soar following the announcement of its “right to be forgotten” service.
Dominic Raab, the Conservative MP who campaigns on civil liberties issues, is very concerned about the ruling. He said: “This is the worst kind of arbitrary judicial legislation from the European court. It threatens the censorship of legal and legitimate publicly available information on utterly opaque grounds. But, worse still, it forces internet search engines to police what should and shouldn’t be wiped from public view without any clear criteria – let alone ones determined by democratically elected lawmakers.”
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is known to have strong views on the ruling, calling it “astonishing”. He  said it was “one of the most wide-sweeping internet censorship rulings that I’ve ever seen”. He later tweeted: “When will a European court demand that Wikipedia censor an article with truthful information because an individual doesn’t like it?”
However, David Smith, deputy Information Commissioner and director of data protection, said: “This is a judgment that we welcome. It sets out a framework to hold data controllers operating online search engines to account for the personal data they process. It also backs our view that search engines are subject to data protection law, clarifying an area that was previously uncertain.
“We recognise that there will be difficult judgements to make on whether links should be removed. We’ll be focusing on concerns linked to clear evidence of damage and distress to individuals.”
Netflix by Tom Harper , Jonathan Owen Friday 30 May 2014

Google Takes Steps to Comply With ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Ruling

Olivier Hoslet/European Pressphoto AgencyEuropeans now need to see how the plan “will work in practice,” said Viviane Reding, the European justice commissioner.
Updated, 7:50 p.m. | Google’s privacy battle in Europe, between the “right to be forgotten” and the “right to know,” has only just begun.
On Friday, the company announced a basic framework to comply with a landmark ruling by Europe’s top court that requires Google and other search providers to consider individuals’ requests to remove links that they say violate their privacy.
The framework included a new online form for making such requests, which prompted strong interest in its first day. More than 12,000 people asked Google to remove links, according to a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
But it remains to be seen how Google will determine which links violate a person’s privacy and which links should remain available to the public. The decisions are likely to be complex, and the requests are expected to cover a wide range. In the past, some Europeans looking to erase their online histories had criminal records, while some wanted to remove outdated or erroneous information.
“It creates an unworkable situation,” said Fred H. Cate, a professor at Indiana University who specializes in privacy. Companies “now have to have some process for determining when and under what conditions to remove links to material that any European finds objectionable,” he said.
Google is trying to walk a fine line. While it is aiming to comply with the high court ruling, it is also looking to limit the impact on its global operations. Company executives have argued that the ruling will curtail the free flow of information online and could inhibit innovation.
To foster discussion on the issue, Google is creating an advisory panel of privacy experts, regulators, academics and company executives, including the Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who has been a vocal opponent of Europe’s legal decision. The committee will offer recommendations by the end of the year about how the “right to be forgotten” ruling could affect the company’s presentation of search results to its users worldwide.
“After this ruling, it’s clear that we need to think deeply about the realities of the Internet age and we must find new, innovative ways to improve privacy protections for society as a whole,” José-Luis Piñar, a former Spanish regulator who will be on the committee, said in a statement.
Two weeks ago, the European Court of Justice enshrined the “right to be forgotten” on the Continent, where privacy has long been a paramount issue. Since then, Google, which holds a roughly 90 percent market share across the region, has been trying to respond.
So far, Google has only outlined the basics. Its new privacy committee has not met to discuss the ruling, and more experts will be added to the group, according to the company.
Still, European lawmakers welcomed Google’s announcement, saying it showed that large technology companies could comply with the region’s rules. Google had argued since the case was filed in Spain in 2010 that it would be difficult to administer the wave of potential requests for removing links.
“We will now need to look into how the announced tool will work in practice,” said Viviane Reding, the European justice commissioner. “The move demonstrates that fears of practical impossibility raised before were unfounded.”
Through Google’s new online form, Europeans will be able to list web links that they want removed. Along with photo identification, individuals must also explain why those search results are irrelevant, outdated or otherwise inappropriate.
If Google approves the request, the company will remove the web link within the 28-nation European Union plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. So it would affect the German domain,, for example, but the link would still be available in the United States at
“Google is now more responsible than it thought it was,” said Peter Hustinx, the European data protection supervisor. “If you are a regular citizen, this ruling gives you a way to voice your concerns.”
While Google has limited the requests to Europeans, legal experts said that non-Europeans could still ask for links to be removed, if they could prove that their online data fell under the region’s strict privacy laws. A person in Brazil, for example, could request that a link to an Internet posting be removed if the source was hosted on a server in Ireland. If such a request was successful, the suspect link would not appear on Google’s European sites but would be available everywhere else.
Analysts said it might be unwieldy to remove links from only some web portals and might lead to different levels of quality for search results, depending on where users were. “Limiting the jurisdiction to European citizens could prove difficult,” said Richard Cumbley, a data protection partner at the law firm Linklaters in London. “We could see a Balkanization of search results.”
The company will manually review submissions to decide if each link has broken any individual’s right to privacy. Google said its decisions would be based on whether the information was perceived to be out of date or if links to people’s past activities were of public interest because they were related to financial fraud, malpractice or criminal convictions.
If the privacy request led to further questions — or a user disagreed with Google’s initial judgment — the case would be transferred to the requester’s local European data regulator for a final decision.
“The court’s ruling requires Google to make difficult judgments about an individual’s right to be forgotten and the public’s right to know,” the company said in a statement.
The New York Times By MARK SCOTT  May 30, 2014 6:30 am

Charlize Theron Compares Media Coverage to Being Raped

Gwyneth Paltrow held the title of "Worst Metaphor" for just one day ... because during a recent interview ... Charlize Theron compared media coverage of her personal life to rape.

Theron was sitting down with Sky News, voluntarily, when the reporter mentioned the results of a Google search on her name.

Charlize said she tries to avoid Googling herself because "when you start living in that world, and doing that, you start feeling raped."

TMZ BY STAFF 5/30/2014 6:52 AM PDT

Cold in July

Director: Jim Mickle
Writers: Nick Damici (screenplay), Joe R. Lansdale (novel)
When a protective father meets a murderous ex-con, both need to deviate from the path they are on as they soon find themselves entangled in a downwards spiral of lies and violence while having to confront their own inner psyche.

INTERVIEW: Jamie Lynn Spears talks journey from teen mom to country singer

Listen Here, Y'all
When you hear the name Jamie Lynn Spears, you might think of her big sis, Britney. Or perhaps you recall the then-teen starring on saccharine Nickelodeon shows like Zoey 101. But we reckon that'll change when Spears' debut EP, The Journey, drops on May 27. The sweet-as-pie star fills us in (and totally makes fans of us).
Photo credit: Erick Anderson/Crowd Surf
Spears' long-awaited five-song set has all the makings of a hit country effort and should, rightly so, establish the 23-year-old as one of the genre's most promising new stars. One thing's certain: The EP has been streaming on Spotify all week, and we sure can't get enough.
For Spears — who stepped out of the spotlight six years ago to raise her daughter, Maddie — it's been a long time coming.
"It's nerve-wracking to put your story out there and be vulnerable," the humble singer shared with us. "But it's also kind of a relief, because I feel like my fans have really stood behind me. They've waited so long — they've really given me the chance to dig in and work on the project for the past few years, so mainly I'm excited to get this out there to fans to share it with them."
And if you're of the notion that Spears is simply a pop star parading around in cowboy boots, chew on this: The twangy crooner has some serious Southern roots. A native of Kentwood, Louisiana, she grew up under the music tutelage of her dad, Jamie, listening to country icons, such as Alan Jackson.
Speaking of whom, Spears has already opened for the "Chattahoochee" singer, something she describes as "one of those experiences I'll remember forever."
She elaborated, "Growing up, [Jackson] was one of my dad's favorites, so when I was able to open up for him and just even be on the same stage, it was kind of a moment where I just felt like if anything else doesn't happen, the fact that I'm able to do this… it was a really big moment for me and for my dad."
Opening for Jackson — and breaking into country music in general — is a privilege the pretty singer doesn't take lightly. Her opening single, "How Could I Want More," was written by Spears along with acclaimed Nashville songwriter, Rivers Rutherford, who's collaborated with the likes of superstars Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and more.
It also happens to be her favorite song from the EP. "Right now in my life, I think 'How Could I Want More,' is really where I'm at personally and professionally," she mused, adding, "even though I love 'em all."
While the lyrical quality of the EP may surprise some, it likely won't shock anyone in Nashville. In addition to Rutherford, Spears co-wrote songs with Chris Tompkins, Liz Rose, Lisa Carver and Luke Laird. She gives much of the credit for her musical growth to the Nashville songwriting community.
"I think that going into it, I was really nervous," she said. "But it was just really cool to get in there. They helped me be brave, and they helped me tell my story. To have them really support me and give me the confidence and help me really learn who I am as a writer… I feel like I owe most everything to that community."
So far, reception from the country world has been "really good." The first single has been received favorably by both critics and fans, and the EP has been talked up by plenty of entertainment aficionados, including Taste of Country, E!, CMT and Entertainment Tonight.
Still, unlike the version of herself in 2002 who told Oprah, "My advice to Britney is to just scoot over 'cause I'm coming through and I'm going to be the star pretty soon," Spears today struggles with insecurity.
"I wish I had the confidence I have in that Oprah video, but I don't have half of that now. I think when you are young and naive, well, really you just don't know better. But as of now, I think you have to get confidence from the right things and the right place and learn your value outside of anything else," she said.
We can see how Spears can feel overwhelmed at times. With a burgeoning new country music career, she's trying to strike the ideal balance as a mom, newlywed (she married James Watson in March) and artist.
"I think that's been the biggest thing and the hardest thing — trying to figure out how to balance it all," she revealed. "Being a mom is first and foremost the most important thing, so I have to make the schedule to where I can fulfill all my duties as a mother and as an artist. But I guess I think that's the hardest part — you know, finding ways to try to be your best at everything without leaving anything half done," she said, sounding far more poised and mature than you might expect for a woman her age.
"As long as you really believe in what you're doing and you have the right people around you, I think that you just have to have confidence in that. Sometimes when you don't have confidence in yourself, having confidence in the direction you're going and knowing you're doing something to be proud of… I think that's what really gives you confidence."
Part of Spears' group of "right people," of course, includes her super-famous sister, Britney. But don't hold your breath for a duet just yet.
"My biggest thing with collaborations is you don't just look around and go, 'Oh, I want to collaborate.' If there's a song that makes sense for a collaboration, that's possible," she explained. "But right now, I'm just beginning to tell my story."
To pre-order The Journey on iTunes, click here. To keep up with Jamie Lynn, follow her on Twitter @JamieLynnSpears, Facebook and Instagram.
SHEKNOWS Entertainment by Julie Sprankles May 23, 2014 5:00 AM Posted in Entertainment / Music

Jamie Lynn Spears Raps

Kill the Messenger

Director: Michael Cuesta
Writers: Peter Landesman (screenplay), Nick Schou (book)
A reporter becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA's role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb. Written by IMDb editor

The Book of Life

Director: Jorge R. Gutierrez
Writers: Jorge R. Gutierrez (screenplay), Douglas Langdale
From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes an animated comedy with a unique visual style. THE BOOK OF LIFE is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, THE BOOK OF LIFE encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future. Written by 20th Century Fox

Funny and Weird Clips (116)

Friday, May 30, 2014

‘Big Daddy’ Wayne grinds away at his comedy craft

Jeff "Big Daddy" Wayne is playing the Riviera Comedy Club alongside Jimmie “J.J.” Walker this week. (Courtesy)

These days Jeff Wayne is known on the comedy circuit as “Big Daddy,” but 50 years ago he was just another Kentucky kid kicking around the glare of Newport trying to decide his next move.

Those familiar with the history of the town know its notorious reputation and its connections to some of Las Vegas’ founding fathers. Whether it’s cards and dice or wine and women, Newport for generations pulsed with the scent of vice on Monmouth Street and attracted a steady stream of customers from just across the Ohio River and traditionally square Cincinnati.

At the time most young teen-age boys are still dreaming of playing big league ball, Wayne had visions of making people laugh. He took a shot at 14 and started on the long road to becoming “Big Daddy.”

Unlike the careers of the most famous headliners in comedy, getting laughs didn’t rocket Wayne to stardom. He’s not a household name. But he found work with encouragement from veterans Kelly Monteith and Tom Dreesen, and that put him on the road more than a long-haul trucker.

“I started doing amateur shows around northern Kentucky and Cincinnati when I was 14,” he says. Now in the neighborhood of 60, he keeps a residence in Southern California but admits he travels so much he barely recognizes the place.

Still, it’s the life he chose, and he’s grateful for the work, which comes in varying sizes, shapes and locales. This week, for instance, Wayne is playing the Riviera Comedy Club alongside Jimmie “J.J.” Walker. Before our recent interview, he had played a cruise ship through the Caribbean and comedy clubs from Miami to Los Angeles. He works “clean” and “dirty” and rarely turns down an opportunity.

“You’ve gotta grab the jobs when you can grab them,” he says, adding that he’s done everything from opening for the Judds to playing nightclubs whose names have long since faded into obscurity.

During a routine stop at immigration following a recent gig on a Carnival Cruise ship, he was asked which island he had visited during his trip. He was stumped.

“I couldn’t remember,” Wayne says. “Traveling. That’s what you’ve got to do in this business to survive. ... Your life is about going to airports, getting on airplanes, doing radio shows and interviews. It isn’t just about getting onstage. You’ve got to be willing to do all these other things nobody wants to talk about. It certainly doesn’t sound glamorous. But in this business, the younger guys aren’t there to help us.” He laughs and adds, “They’re there to usurp us.”

He started working in Las Vegas in the 1980s with help from Cork Proctor at the Marina, Dunes, Golden Nugget and others. Former Riviera entertainment director-turned-movie star Steve Schirripa kept him busy, too.

The disappearance of so many of the places he once worked finds its way into Wayne’s Vegas material.

“Enjoy yourself,” he tells his audience. “I don’t know how much longer we have.”

If comedy superstardom has been elusive, Wayne remains undeterred. It’s one of the things I like about him. He’s a funny guy, but he’s also a tenacious one. He has shown a willingness to adapt to changing times and tastes.

Between gigs he polishes his one-man show titled “Big Daddy’s Barbecue: Grilling Good Food, Sex and Marriage,” which he hopes will one day catch on like the popular “Defending of the Caveman.”

And if it doesn’t?

Big Daddy will keep moving to the next show. He’ll keep his sense of humor and keep chasing his dream.


writes on topics from human interest to politics. His column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday in Nevada News. Visit the eForums to discuss local new... Email Follow on: John L. Smith  More Columns/Blogs

Earth to Echo

Director: Dave Green
Writers: Henry Gayden (screenplay), Henry Gayden (story)
After receiving a bizarre series of encrypted messages, a group of kids embark on an adventure with an alien who needs their help.

Hachette and Amazon Dig In for a Long Fight Over Contract Terms

Amazon, whose headquarters are in Seattle, said in a statement on Tuesday night that it didn't expect its dispute with the publisher Hachette to be resolved any time soon. Credit Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times
Amazon and Hachette took their cases to the public on Wednesday as a dispute over contract terms became clashing visions about the distribution of information in the digital age.
On one side is a publisher whose roots stretch back to 1837. On the other is a technology company that has single-handedly upended just about every part of the relationship between readers and their books.
The publishing community, which is assembling in New York this week for the annual bookselling show, is watching in uneasy fascination. Publishers know that whatever terms Hachette ends up with, they will all get.
“The issues at play are a matter of life and death for Hachette,” said Jeremy Greenfield, editorial director of Digital Book World. “This is about controlling the future of book publishing.”
Amazon wants to do away with gatekeepers. It promises a world where books are cheap, where anyone can publish anything, where there are no editors or distributors saying this is not what is selling now, go away.
An Amazon warehouse in England. Amazon said that customers who wanted Hachette books immediately could go elsewhere. Credit Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Hachette is holding fast to the traditional publishing system that underpins modern culture. It was a world where publishers bankrolled writers in return for a large cut of the proceeds, where editors improved prose and sharpened arguments, and where books were selected and presented rather than simply released. They cost more, too.
“Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good,” Hachette said in a statement. “They are not.”
There are many considerations here besides money, the publisher said, noting that authors are engaging “in a complex and difficult mission to communicate with readers.” It added, “In addition to royalties, they are concerned with audience, career, culture, education, art, entertainment and connection.”
The only thing the publisher and the retailer agree on is that there is no deal in sight, and 5,000 Hachette books are caught in the middle. Amazon said that if customers ordered them, it would ship them — eventually.
“We are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon,” Amazon said in its statement.
Hachette said any resolution would have to “value appropriately” the publisher’s role in editing, marketing and distributing books.
In Amazon’s mission to remove all barriers between readers and writers, the biggest obstacle is the New York publishers, which for the most part still publish the writers whom people want to read. But Amazon controls the Kindle e-reader platform and sees no reason a publisher like Hachette should receive so much of the revenue from a digital book. That was where the negotiations failed.
 The eventual winner is hard to forecast. Amazon faces criticism across the Internet, so much so that it complained in its statement about the voluminous coverage expressing “a relatively narrow point of view.”
Amazon promoted instead a small publisher’s blog that offered a “wider” — as in, pro-Amazon — perspective.
Authors published by the traditional houses, including Hachette, argue that their livelihood is at stake, and that the world where Amazon is the only gatekeeper would be a deeply problematic one. There have been vows of boycotts.
But Amazon is content to play the long game, as usual, and seems confident that Hachette authors will ultimately grow restive and blame the publisher. The publisher’s oldest line is Little, Brown, which has published books like Edward Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” and David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.”
One thing is clear: The publishing business, once a profession for gentlemen, now resembles “The Sopranos” — which Amazon just paid handsomely for the rights to stream.
The origins of the current confrontation go back at least four years. When Amazon felt threatened then by publishers demanding a different pricing system for e-books, it had two responses: It removed the “buy” buttons from one publisher, and sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission with accusations of illegal behavior. The buttons were soon restored, but the publishers were hit by a government antitrust suit whose consequences are still being felt.
Now the situation is reversed, with Amazon in the dominant position. Is there a role for regulators this time around? According to a leading antitrust lawyer, there might be.
“This situation is rife with antitrust risk” for Amazon, said William MacLeod, chairman of the antitrust and competition practice group at the Washington firm Kelley Drye.
“Under U.S. law, even a monopolist can refuse to deal or can charge what the market will bear," said Mr. MacLeod, the former director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But if the activity has the potential to create or entrench market power, a company’s exclusionary conduct or imposition of onerous terms could indeed run afoul of the law.”
Amazon declined to comment on Wednesday on antitrust topics. While it issued its statement defending itself, it also tried to take a nothing-to-see-here approach. “This business interruption affects a small percentage of Amazon’s demand-weighted units,” it pointed out. (Demand-weighted means the things that people are actually buying.)
If customers really wanted any of those 5,000 Hachette books immediately, Amazon said, they could go “to one of our competitors.” It was an extraordinary declaration from a company that has striven to be the “everything” store, merchandising an ever-increasing pile of goods in ever-increasing ways.
The retailer has had great success in reworking the publishing industry, partly because it has focused so relentlessly on customers that they always knew they were getting a better deal. Thanks to Wall Street’s unwavering support, Amazon could afford to sell books for what it paid for them — something no physical bookseller could do.
It also paid higher royalty rates on e-books it published itself than the traditional publishers did on their e-books. All those editors and other legacy overhead needed their cut.
But even those who believed Amazon was ushering in a utopia of publishing were jolted a few months ago when it abruptly chopped the royalty rates on self-published audiobooks.
“I’m shocked that Amazon would do anything to fuel the speculation that once they grow big enough, authors will suffer,” wrote Hugh Howey, an author who is usually a champion of Amazon’s way of doing things.
A version of this article appears in print on May 29, 2014, on page B3 of the New York edition with the headline: Hachette and Amazon Dig In for a Long Fight Over Contract Terms. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe
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