John Naughton: Can democracies stand up to Facebook? Ireland may have the answer | John Naughton

Governments struggle to tackle the might of the tech giants when it comes to protecting users’ data

Last month, the Irish data protection commissioner (DPC) sent Facebook a preliminary order ordering it to stop sending the data of its European users to the US. This was a big deal, because in order to comply with the ruling, Facebook would have to embark on a comprehensive re-engineering of its European operations, or to shut down those operations entirely, at least for a time.

Such a shutdown would of course be traumatic for the poor souls who are addicted to Facebook and Instagram, but it would be even worse for the company – for two reasons. The first is that it makes more money from European users’ data – an average of $13.21 (£10.19) per user in 2019 – than from any other territory except the US (where it earns $41.41 per user); the second is that failure to comply could land it with a fine of up to 4% of its global revenue, which in Facebook’s case would come to about $3bn. Given the scale of its revenues, that’s not a showstopper, but it would nevertheless be annoying.

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Oceanator – Things I Never Said and More

This is another artist that was brought to my attention by a particularly excellent edition of the GIITTV Show Me Magic podcast. Oceanator is Elise Okusami who is New York based and this his her debut LP of top notch rock n’ roll with brilliant guitar sounds along with some Top Pop moments with  retro synth sounds. Her voice is generally quite restrained, but when she does let rip it is impressive.

As with Girl Friday she has released an album that does not include any tracks from her non LP releases, but unlike Girl Friday the LP does not improve on her two EP’s, but then those EPs are excellent. So below is the LP from Bandcamp but on Spotify I have made a 21 track playlist that kicks off with her second EP and has two live versions of tracks from her Audiotree live release that indicate what a powerful performer she must be live.

Boris Johnson is right – we’re all wrong for failing to predict the government’s knee-jerk coronavirus rules

At last, the advice from the prime minister is clear. In his big speech on Tuesday, he announced: “It’s YOUR fault it’s going wrong again. When we said ‘GO TO PUBS,’ we didn’t mean you should go to pubs, you idiots. And when we said, ‘You ABSOLUTELY MUST go back to work, we’re not funding you any more while you loaf around getting furloughed, you fat, lazy, bastards,’ we didn’t mean you should go back to work.”

Read in the Independent


ALA.NI is a London born Paris based singer-songwriter and this is her second LP . She was first brought to my attention by NPR Music last summer and has been compared to Billie Holiday and Judy Garland, but this acapella based LP is seemingly less nostalgic and is an instant boat floater that will surprise and confound.

Like a Thames whale, getting to Westminster has left Boris Johnson stranded | Marina Hyde

He thought making it upriver would fulfil his dream – instead it’s turned into a cruel form of humiliation

How poignant to read at the weekend that Boris Johnson, the latest Thames whale, “is more determined than ever not to be a one-term prime minister”. Well if that’s all that’s bothering him, let us offer words of reassurance. Specifically: don’t worry. There’s no way you’re going to be a one-term prime minister.

Making it to next summer would be an achievable target weight, at which point a shockingly youthful portrait of Johnson will be added to the Downing Street stairway, while the full attic version we can now see can be returned to the wild to … write lucrative newspaper columns about what the next government should be doing? We’ll come to the emerging holes in that plan later.

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John Naughton: The Social Dilemma: a wake-up call for a world drunk on dopamine?

The new Netflix docudrama is a valiant if flawed attempt to address our complacency about surveillance capitalism

Spool forward a couple of centuries. A small group of social historians drawn from the survivors of climate catastrophe are picking through the documentary records of what we are currently pleased to call our civilisation, and they come across a couple of old movies. When they’ve managed to find a device on which they can view them, it dawns on them that these two films might provide an insight into a great puzzle: how and why did the prosperous, apparently peaceful societies of the early 21st century implode?

The two movies are The Social Network, which tells the story of how a po-faced Harvard dropout named Mark Zuckerberg created a powerful and highly profitable company; and The Social Dilemma, which is about how the business model of this company – as ruthlessly deployed by its po-faced founder – turned out to be an existential threat to the democracy that 21st-century humans once enjoyed.

Having plundered the natural world, capitalism has now turned to extracting and exploiting what’s inside our heads

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