eXtensions - Friday 15 January 2021
Friday Notes: Diversity, Dissent, Censorship and Monopoly; M1 Switch Comments
By Graham K. Rogers
That some black people and other minorities do succeed is an indication of the struggles that they had in order to win, and their incredible extra talent to do this. It is similar for women who are often paid less than men for doing the same jobs and succeed despite the obstacles in their way and the treatment they receive. And before anyone comments about the respective sizes of the images, Apple images are usually landscape and those on the Lewis Hamilton site, portrait. To comply with copyright, editing is not allowed, so I fix the height to keep the images in line. That I am having to make this point is an indication of how sensitive some can be.
Seagate Barracuda SSD
TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor) makes a lot of the chips for Apple and Qualcomm. Unlike Intel, it has a 5nm process and is expected to report good profits this month, before Apple's own figures are released. As part of its development process TSMC has begun the construction of a new factory in Arizona. It is reported (Joe Wituscheck, iMore) that up to $28 billion is to be invested.
The Parler CEO had to backtrack on a claim that many were competing for their business after the Amazon announcement and in a video interview admitted that this was wrong and says no one wants to host website after being dropped by Amazon. He added that their attorneys have dropped them as a client, which perhaps says even more (Matthew Keys Tweet).
It is not simply about free speech although that must be considered in the overall equation. There have been several threats which lead the authorities to believe there is a high potential for further violence, with 16 and 20 January both being mentioned. 20 January is the date for the presidential inauguration and that may be a flashpoint for those who are convinced that Biden was not legitimately elected.
The Twitter CEO later suggested that the decision to block Trump was made for the right reasons: inflammatory content. He also concedes that the decision was not an easy one (Mike Masnick, TechDirt). Note that Joe Biden now has a new Twitter account: @PresElectBiden. There is also @JoeBiden and (maybe) @Potus. A report from Steven Musil (CNET) also has a number of other accounts that can be used.
Despite the horror and stupidity, I prefer to see people like Trump on Twitter. Twitter did stop threads that had "hang Mike Pence" as subject matter. That foments violence. As distasteful as their ideas and comments might be, with these people visible, at least I was aware of what was being said. It was my choice if I wanted to block them, but that was rare. Jonathon Pie, in one of his faux-angry YouTube videos expresses similar thoughts: better to see the devil than have him creep up on you. Talking of YouTube, that has put a ban (at the moment one week) on Trump.
I really do not know whether these actions are right or wrong. There have clearly been some messages on a number of the services that have promoted violence. This is why I looked at, then ran from Parler a few months ago: there was nothing on there that was of any interest to me at all. The argument over censorship currently comes down to the difference between Public and Private ownership. Private services have a duty to shareholders, and may also exercise their rights under Terms & Conditions (you should read these - most people do not and have no idea what they have agreed to). This is where Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple hold the reins.
Many are now also saying that despite this non-public ownership, these services are now so big, and so many rely on them for essential communications, that the owners ought not to have the right to censor or terminate. That is a far wider debate.
I just signed up for Signal. Apparently so did many others. It is reported that the growth of this and Telegram has been surprising, while What'sApp has shown reduced growth (Barbara Ortutay, Irish Independent). This is not a surprise. I would just as soon not use WhatsApp, Instagram or Facebook and if I were able to find suitable alternatives I would use them. My problem here is that family, friends, colleagues and students use Facebook and it is a useful means of communication.
With the friction that services like Facebook were already causing in Washington and Brussels, coupled with the online censorship that has been exercised by Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and others, the possibility of forced changes has evolved from "possible" to "probable". At least, these monopoly tie-ins will be broken up, with Facebook being split from Instagram and What'sApp, with a good chance other limits will be placed upon the company or on specified individuals. While wealth has been in control for a long time, Congress is so angry now that it will exercise its power and force change.
Another area which will be affected is that of trademarks. Like the Apple symbol, they declare who (and what) a company is and are fiercely protected. The UK Intellectual Property Office (patents) has just sent out a note to those interested:
Due to technical reasons, we are now asking you to submit any saved trade mark applications by Wednesday 27 January 2021 to avoid losing your progress. We are making changes to the trade mark application form (eTM3) on 28 January that will result in any saved trade mark applications being lost.
All areas of intellectual property are affected including patents, trademarks and copyright. I bet no one realised that was something else affected by the seamless changes that were promised.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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