Yesterday in the Guardian George Monbiot offered the best summary of the upcoming UK election so far.

For me the highlight was this paragraph,

I [GM] would love to elect a government led by someone both competent and humane, but this option will not be on the ballot paper. The choice today is between brutal efficiency in pursuit of a disastrous agenda, and gentle inefficiency in pursuit of a better world. I [GM] know which I favour

I know that we are early in the campaign and I have already blogged about it twice but I though that warranted an extra post.

Don’t forget make sure your registered to vote!

Make sure your registered to vote

If your in the UK and you are allowed to make sure you are registered to vote.

Be certain your vote counts!

YouTube has been in the news this past week for two different issues related to its censorship decisions. Firstly the serving of paid for ads alongside material of an extremist persuasion Telegraph article. Secondly the possibly over zealous censorship with the restricted mode version of YouTube ABC News article. I am going to choose not to address these two issues directly and rather elect to consider the problematic situation YouTube finds it self in.

YouTube as a business model relies on large amounts of unpaid content which it sells advertising besides. As a business it is entirely based on scale, huge amounts of scale. Approximately 300 hours of content are uploaded every minute. This quantity creates a mammoth human task of censorship which is argued would be finically impossible to undertake.

This scale issue was arguable the winning feature of YouTube in the online video wars. It was ‘disruptive’ to allow anyone to create content and then distribute it on their behalf while monatizing it but claiming no responsibility.

This disruptive business model has always caused problems. Initially this was a problem of copyright infringing material rather than potentially objectionable but non copyright infringing material that has become the focus of recent disputes.

YouTube and other online platforms continue to offer apologies and excuses thats these ‘errors’ based on the inaccuracies of their current systems. Often such excuses are accompanied by promises of a future with more robust automatic censorship systems. Systems that will prevent these incorrect censorship occurrences from happening again.

However I suspect that such a future is actually impossible to create. No censorship system can ever be accurate. Old media understood this problem and taught the audience to understand the challenge it faced. Individual media outlets had their own defined standards and editors ultimately took responsibility for material published, perhaps even to the point of resignation.

YouTube is not old media is has established another practice, one which the audience most now learn to understand. One which requires the user to understand the lack of editorial relationship inherent to YouTube, the lack of meaningful advertiser content creator relationship and the fact that while it is not the wild, wild west its pretty close.

So on the basis that YouTube will never be able to categories, appropriately censor or filter its content here are my personal rules for YouTubing.

  • Most of YouTube is opinions, opinions are not facts and sometimes the only value is in telling you what something thinks about something.
  • YouTube creators may or may not have product endorsements that they may or may not be telling you about.
  • The suggested videos are unlikely to offer a balance opinion
  • The advertiser has nothing to do with the video and yes ads are annoying
  • YouTube videos get taken down, channels disappear its horrible for research
  • Some YouTube videos are objectionable but freedom of speech and exchange of ideas is more important than my opinion about a video

The SNPs call for another independence referendum was always going to be inevitable following the result of the EU referendum. In the first independence referendum, the argument was propagated that leaving the UK would cause Scotland to also leave the EU. Consequently as the UK government, campaigning to maintain the union, used this argument, it is hardly surprising that the SNP now seek another referendum.

While the UK government may wish to postpone a referendum beyond Brexit I suspect that this will prove impossible. Consequently the fight to maintain the UK as part of IndyRef2 will become the defining of the new post Brexit UK. That is how the next Scottish independence referendum has to be fought. This is therefore an opportunity for the UK government to propose a new frame work for the UK, an exciting vision for what the UK will be post brexit.

Winning a NO again in a second Scottish referendum would allow the UK government to push forward with Brexit knowing that the most hostile region to Brexit has been persuade. A partial mandate for the new look, post brexit UK.

Losing the referendum sees the SNP removed from Westminster which hands the current government a more robust majority which may be of use to complete the brexit process.

Indyref2 was always inevitable, it being called now can be a great opportunity for the entire UK.

Early thoughts on the framework that leaves spooks driving the car.

With the recent WikiLeaks publication of Vault7 we, as the public, have again achieved a glimpse of the ambitions and capabilities of the security services, to keep us safe. If the future of mass automation and the self driving car is to be soon realised how does this future technology integrate with the ambitions of those who seek to keep us safe?

Unless a wild west like experience is to be embraced, law makers will soon need to consider the appropriate regulatory framework of future automated systems. Part of this regulatory framework perhaps will be the fundamental design of software automation systems, architectures and topology that are declared as safe and fit for use. The establishment of these frameworks will provide the fundamental under pinnings of society in the future and will need to be informed by a vast number of multi role stake holders.

Consider for moment the security services within this framework, the automated vehicle poses both a substantial risk and enticing opportunity.

I will choose not to detail the possibilities but opportunities and risks manifest simultaneously as a consequence of the same entry vectors. Essentially it is a matter of appropriate use vs misuse of features. Many suggest that this square can be rounded through the use of stringent security, combined with controlled and intentionally designed back door points of access. However, such an compromise illustrates a decision process that leads to a framework with inherent vulnerabilities.

The near future into which these automated vehicles enter is one likely to be populated by a variety of actors who will seek to exploit such systems for there own nefarious purposes. Consequently, the regulatory framework required will need to be robust enough to secure these system in a hostile space.

Therefore a fundamental requirement of the automated vehicles of the future, regardless of any consequential impediment to other desirable features, must be an impossible to compromise and hack platform. This should be the starting point of the regulatory framework.