Archive for August 2017

Your Latest IT News Update

90% Of Businesses Open Doors To Hackers By Not Patching

The latest Fortinet Global Threat Landscape Report has found that not only are 9 out of 10 businesses being hacked through un-patched vulnerabilities, but that many of these vulnerabilities are 3 or more years old, and have patches available for them.

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Autonomous Lorries To Be Tested On UK Roads

The government has announced that ‘platoons’ (mini-convoys) of self-driving, partially autonomous lorries will be tested on UK roads before the end of 2018.

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Digital Life After Death

Advances in technology have meant that a whole new industry is emerging around helping us to leave extensive digital records of our lives to our descendants, and perhaps even a digital avatar self that can continue living online.

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Post-Brexit Data Protection & Data Exchange With EU

The UK government has published one of what is likely to be a series of policy papers that outline the government’s vision of what the exchange protection of personal data between the UK and the EU will look like, post-Brexit.

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Access To Machine Learning Tools Through Your Browser

Google has announced that we will be all be able to have access to (and to interact with) a powerful machine learning tools library via its browser, without the need for adding special coding, installations or a backend.

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Tech Tip: Easier On The Eyes With ‘Dark’ Theme

Looking at bright window backdrops and bright white backgrounds when you open folders can be tough on the eyes. Windows 10 offers your eyes some relief with ‘Dark’ theme. Here’s how it works. To switch to black folder backdrops which are easier on the eyes:

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Tech Tip: Easier On The Eyes With ‘Dark’ Theme

Looking at bright window backdrops and bright white backgrounds when you open folders can be tough on the eyes. Windows 10 offers your eyes some relief with ‘Dark’ theme. Here’s how it works.

To switch to black folder backdrops which are easier on the eyes:

  • Click on Settings
  • Go to Personalisation and Colours
  • Look for the Light/Dark option near the bottom
  • Select the Dark theme

Access To Machine Learning Tools Through Your Browser

Google has announced that we will be all be able to have access to (and to interact with) a powerful machine learning tools library via its browser, without the need for adding special coding, installations or a backend.

Part of The PAIR Initiative

As a result of Google’s PAIR initiative to study and redesign human interactions with Machine Learning (ML), Google has announced that its open source WebGL-accelerated JavaScript library for ML called deeplearn.js 0.1.0 is being made available through a simple browser.

Why?

Google’s stated reasons for the introduction of browser-based access to ML tools are that it will promote general visibility of and engagement with ML, it will give developers an easy access route to powerful new tools, and it will help drive collaboration on ML learning projects and challenges with the open source community. This could, of course, benefit both developers and Google.

DeepMind

Back in March this year, Google researchers announced that its AI company DeepMind had developed a program that could learn one task after another, using skills it acquired on the way. The ability of DeepMind AI to mirror the learning brain, working out which connections in its neural network had been the most important for the tasks it has learned so far, before moving onto another task, were an important step forward in ML.

The fact that Google is offering everyone the chance to access tools that harness this power through a simple browser represents a new and exciting opportunity.

What Can It Do?

ML is a flexible tool that can be applied to all manner of problems. Examples of some areas where it has been used include interactive explanations, rapid prototyping and visualization, offline computation, object recognition, and language translation.

Demos

The Deeplearn.js homepage https://pair-code.github.io/deeplearnjs/ shows a number of demos (on supported devices) to illustrate the kind of thing that deeplearn.js can do. These include enabling you to use your webcam to play with an image classifier that uses your webcam in real-time and watch the network’s internal representations of what it sees. You can also generate abstract art videos at a very smooth 60 frames per second.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

This move by Google means that you and your business now have easy access (just through a browser) to some of the very latest ML tools. In the past, access to these kinds of tools and resources was restricted only to those with the (often expensive and complicated) computational resources, and the technical expertise to work with commonly available ML libraries. This initiative by Google is therefore offering businesses a real opportunity to learn about and use ML in a way that could solve long-standing business problems, and create the kind of innovations that could lead to new business opportunities, greater competitiveness, and competitive advantages.

While it is likely to be more complicated than it sounds to implement, the point is that the business benefits to Machine Learning are now within the grasp of SME’s, in a similar way to how Google Analytics gave them hitherto unimagined insights into their Web marketing a decade ago.

Post-Brexit Data Protection & Data Exchange With EU

The UK government has published one of what is likely to be a series of policy papers that outline the government’s vision of what the exchange protection of personal data between the UK and the EU will look like, post-Brexit.

Clarification

Policy documents that clarify this issue were needed because the proposed new Data Protection Bill published earlier this year didn’t tackle the sharing of information. How data is handled and shared if an important part of the UK and EU economies.

Important And Valuable

The UK economy relies heavily on the service sector, where data is very valuable. Also, 40% of the largest digital companies in the EU were founded in the UK, and 75% of all the UK’s cross-border data flows are with EU countries.

Crucially, the region’s data economy has been forecast to be worth €643bn by 2020.

This means that exactly how data is shared between the UK and the EU is a vital consideration from both a business and a security perspective, and the UK government doesn’t want to lose access to these high-value resources.

What About GDPR?

The Data Protection Bill (which repeals and replaces the DPA 1998) has been introduced to bring the UK’s laws in line with the EU’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is due to come into force next year. Both will give people more say over what companies can do with their data, with GDPR intended to bring data protection laws into line across the EU for all companies and organisations that store and use data about EU citizens.

With this new policy paper, the UK government therefore appears to be saying that it is prepared to recognise and comply with the EU’s new data protection standards (even though the UK is exiting the EU) in exchange for the kind of relationship that is as close as possible to the what the UK would ideally desire.

What Kind Of Model?

The new policy document from the UK is seeking a “special partnership” for exchanging and protecting data with the EU that builds on the existing adequacy model and:

  • Keeps a free flow of personal data between the UK and the EU
  • Offers sufficient stability and confidence for businesses, public authorities
    and individuals
  • Provides for ongoing regulatory cooperation between the EU and the UK on current
    and future data protection issues
  • Continues to protect the privacy of individuals
  • Respects UK sovereignty, including the UK’s ability to protect the security of its citizens, and its ability to maintain and develop its position as a leader in data protection
  • Doesn’t impose unnecessary additional costs to business
  • Is based on objective consideration of evidence.

Criticism

Critics of the policy document have pointed out that the EU will, of course, look more favourably on laws that are closely aligned with its own when it comes to data-sharing. Also, some critics have said that the UK’s new policy document lacks detail, and makes no mention of the Investigatory Powers Act (or Snooper’s Charter), and how that could affect data protection and sharing.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

In reality, any agreement is likely to mean a transactional mutual recognition of data protection laws, followed by an adequacy decision from the European Commission when the UK leaves the EU. It is important, therefore, from economic and legal perspectives that the UK and EU data protection and sharing laws are closely aligned. It may be easier, more likely, and less time-consuming for the UK to shape it’s laws more towards the EU than the other way around.

However, ever since the news of the impending introduction of GDPR, UK businesses have struggled to get to get to grips with it, and its implications for their businesses. A further revision of UK law in the form of the recent Data Protection Bill, and the prospect of possible new revisions in how data is shared and protected with the EU could cause more uncertainty and confusion among UK businesses that could leave them open to the legal risks of non-compliance, and the wider risks of possible data breaches.

Some commentators think that a revision of the Investigatory Powers Act will also be necessary because some member states may refuse to transfer personal data to the UK if it stays as it is. This issue could have implications for the UK economy if it is not resolved quickly.

90% Of Businesses Open Doors To Hackers By Not Patching

The government has announced that ‘platoons’ (mini-convoys) of self-driving, partially autonomous lorries will be tested on UK roads before the end of 2018.

Platoons

The so-called ‘platoons’ will take the form of several lorries driving closely together in a line in the inside lane, with the lead lorry wirelessly controlling the acceleration and braking for all the lorries, and with the following lorries responding to the changes in speed.

Human Driver Still Present

For the tests which have been promised since 2014 and will be carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), a human driver will be in the cab of the lead lorry, and will be able to take control if things don’t go entirely to plan.

Why?

The key reasons for using autonomous platoons of lorries on UK motorways are:

  • Saving fuel costs. The tight formation of the lorries in the platoon should mean that the lead lorry pushes the airflow up and over the whole group, thus reducing drag / air resistance and making cost savings on fuel.
  • The environmental benefits of burning less diesel (less harmful emissions).
  • Reducing congestion on UK roads.
  • Cost savings on drivers’ wage bills.

Safety Concerns

The announcement of the trials has been met with some obvious safety concerns, such questions about what would happen if other drivers were somehow able to get in between the lorries in the platoon, or if drivers were blocked from leaving or joining the motorway by a wall of lorries.

The TRL has reportedly offered reassurance by saying that the driver in the leading lorry will be able to break up the platoon to let drivers join or leave the motorway, and that the lorries will be close enough together not to enable other drivers to slot in between them. It has also been suggested that a warning method /sign will be developed to warn other drivers that they are approaching a platoon / convoy of lorries.

Criticism

Critics have pointed out that, although tests of platooning lorries have brought cost savings in countries with much longer highways where many sections are deserted, the congestion of UK motorways, and the stop / start traffic movements could make it uneconomical and impractical, as well as potentially dangerous.

Not The First Time

This is certainly not the first time that autonomous / driverless vehicles have been planned, tested or used on UK roads. At the end of last year for example, the Council in Milton Keynes hosted a trial of an autonomous pod-style vehicles designed to take passengers from the railway station and other transport hubs to city centre. Also, in April this year, the ‘DRIVEN’ consortium begin an information-gathering trial of autonomous vehicles with the intention of testing manned but autonomous vehicles on roads and motorways between London and Oxford.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Autonomous vehicles and vehicles with autonomous elements are, therefore, already being tested and used in commercial environments and as part of the transport system, and the idea of lorry platoons is just another step in the same direction.

It is still early days for autonomous vehicles which means that there are still many untapped opportunities to use autonomous vehicles commercially, and there are of course many challenges and issues to consider around safety, insurance, regulations and reliability.

At the moment, autonomous vehicles are likely to be adopted more quickly on closed sites but operators who decide to adapt such sites to work for autonomy could expect significant improvements in productivity and safety.

Having an emerging industry such as autonomous vehicles, with all its talent, technology and development centres here in the UK, also represents a huge opportunity for UK businesses as potential suppliers, beneficiaries of the technologies and products, and spin-off market opportunities. It also represents an opportunity for UK insurers.

Whereas the UK has a skills gap in many areas of the technology market, with the right amount of support and backing from the government and other investors, the testing, developing, and production of autonomous vehicles and the necessary technologies could be one area where home-grown talent is tempted to stay in what could become a world-centre of excellence for autonomous vehicle / AI technology.

Digital Life After Death

Advances in technology have meant that a whole new industry is emerging around helping us to leave extensive digital records of our lives to our descendants, and perhaps even a digital avatar self that can continue living online.

Not Much Of Ourselves

The challenge for many people up until now, unless they have kept diaries / blogs, written extensively about themselves, or kept film / video / photo records, is that they have not been able to leave much of themselves for their descendants to keep, learn about, and provide a more tangible and present link with the family’s past.

It is also the case that many of the things people leave behind after death have more to do with the banality of some aspects of their life rather than the interesting parts of their personality, knowledge and wisdom.

A Digital You

Some companies are now meeting the need to leave the legacy of ourselves by using technology to give customers the chance to leave digital records of themselves for loved ones, grand-children and future family members.

For example, Start-up Eternime, founded by MIT fellow Marius Ursache, is able to make a digital avatar ‘copy’ of customers by using algorithms to scrape all of their social media posts and interactions, thereby learning how to replicate a person’s memories and mannerisms. This data, combined with photos and AI means that Eternime can create a digital version of a person that can interact with loved ones online after the real person has died.

DeadSocial.org is an example of a company that provides online resources to help the general public think about, address and start sorting out their digital legacy, and allows them to record social media messages that can be scheduled for posting after their death.

Planning

Technology is also helping people with the more simple act of practical planning for things e.g. from making digital records of the planning of their own funeral or wake to more extensive end-of-life plans.

SafeBeyond, for example, enables customers to record video and audio messages as a kind of time capsule that can be accessed posthumously by their family and friends.

Technology Changing Funeral Industry

The UK funeral industry is also experiencing changes as a result of technology. Funeralbooker, for example, acts as a price comparison site and marketplace that enables people to compare the prices of funerals across the UK. Also, according to Funeralbooker, it provides independent funeral directors with a collective presence online that can help them to counter the spending power of the large chains. Digital will-making services are also now becoming more popular.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

This story illustrates how technology is now having an impact on, and creating new opportunities and threats within all industries, as well as opening up new and exciting industry segments. As modern customers become used to running and planning all aspects of their life using (increasingly mobile) technology, digital planning services of all kinds will become more popular.

The development of the cloud has meant that storage of data, information and content relating to our lives, combined with games technologies and AI have meant that hitherto sci-fi fantasies of creating digital versions of ourselves to ‘live-on’ have very quickly become a reality.

On a more basic level, as comparison sites spring up in more industries (often based mainly on price), as well as saving time and increasing transparency for customers, they also put pressure on companies to either find ways to reduce cost while maintaining quality, or to seek to strengthen their differentiating factors and / or seek new positioning for services.

Autonomous Lorries To Be Tested On UK Roads

The government has announced that ‘platoons’ (mini-convoys) of self-driving, partially autonomous lorries will be tested on UK roads before the end of 2018.

Platoons

The so-called ‘platoons’ will take the form of several lorries driving closely together in a line in the inside lane, with the lead lorry wirelessly controlling the acceleration and braking for all the lorries, and with the following lorries responding to the changes in speed.

Human Driver Still Present

For the tests which have been promised since 2014 and will be carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), a human driver will be in the cab of the lead lorry, and will be able to take control if things don’t go entirely to plan.

Why?

The key reasons for using autonomous platoons of lorries on UK motorways are:

  • Saving fuel costs. The tight formation of the lorries in the platoon should mean that the lead lorry pushes the airflow up and over the whole group, thus reducing drag / air resistance and making cost savings on fuel.
  • The environmental benefits of burning less diesel (less harmful emissions).
  • Reducing congestion on UK roads.
  • Cost savings on drivers’ wage bills.

Safety Concerns

The announcement of the trials has been met with some obvious safety concerns, such questions about what would happen if other drivers were somehow able to get in between the lorries in the platoon, or if drivers were blocked from leaving or joining the motorway by a wall of lorries.

The TRL has reportedly offered reassurance by saying that the driver in the leading lorry will be able to break up the platoon to let drivers join or leave the motorway, and that the lorries will be close enough together not to enable other drivers to slot in between them. It has also been suggested that a warning method /sign will be developed to warn other drivers that they are approaching a platoon / convoy of lorries.

Criticism

Critics have pointed out that, although tests of platooning lorries have brought cost savings in countries with much longer highways where many sections are deserted, the congestion of UK motorways, and the stop / start traffic movements could make it uneconomical and impractical, as well as potentially dangerous.

Not The First Time

This is certainly not the first time that autonomous / driverless vehicles have been planned, tested or used on UK roads. At the end of last year for example, the Council in Milton Keynes hosted a trial of an autonomous pod-style vehicles designed to take passengers from the railway station and other transport hubs to city centre. Also, in April this year, the ‘DRIVEN’ consortium begin an information-gathering trial of autonomous vehicles with the intention of testing manned but autonomous vehicles on roads and motorways between London and Oxford.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Autonomous vehicles and vehicles with autonomous elements are, therefore, already being tested and used in commercial environments and as part of the transport system, and the idea of lorry platoons is just another step in the same direction.

It is still early days for autonomous vehicles which means that there are still many untapped opportunities to use autonomous vehicles commercially, and there are of course many challenges and issues to consider around safety, insurance, regulations and reliability.

At the moment, autonomous vehicles are likely to be adopted more quickly on closed sites but operators who decide to adapt such sites to work for autonomy could expect significant improvements in productivity and safety.

Having an emerging industry such as autonomous vehicles, with all its talent, technology and development centres here in the UK, also represents a huge opportunity for UK businesses as potential suppliers, beneficiaries of the technologies and products, and spin-off market opportunities. It also represents an opportunity for UK insurers.

Whereas the UK has a skills gap in many areas of the technology market, with the right amount of support and backing from the government and other investors, the testing, developing, and production of autonomous vehicles and the necessary technologies could be one area where home-grown talent is tempted to stay in what could become a world-centre of excellence for autonomous vehicle / AI technology.

Your Latest IT News Update

Speech Recognition Now As Good As A Human

It has been reported that Microsoft’s speech recognition system has reached its lowest ever Word Error Rate (WER) of 5.1%, a rate that puts it on par with humans.

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Banned Neo-Nazi Website Causes Freedom of Speech Concerns

Google, GoDaddy, and Cloudflare’s decision to stop serving a neo-Nazi site has prompted a US-based digital rights group to express concerns about freedom of speech being compromised.

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Tougher Sentences For Online Abusers

The UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has said that the Crown Prosecution Service will treat online hate crime as seriously as offences carried out face to face, and will seek tougher penalties and sentences for online abuse on social media platforms.

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68% of UK Firms Not Trained Against Cyber Attacks

The annual Cyber Governance Health Check has shown that 68% of the UK’s top business board members have received no training in how to respond to a cyber attack.

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Less Than 10% Completing Computing A-levels Are Female

According to statistics on A-level results released recently, only 9.8% of those completing A-level computing courses are female.

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Closing Time For Lovefilm’s Postal DVD Service

Lovefilm has announced that it will be ceasing its postal DVD rental service on 31st October this year, as the format is being superseded by streaming services.

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Tech Tip: Two Handy Right-Clicks

There are two handy right mouse click tips on Windows 10 that can help you save time and personalize your desktop.

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Speech Recognition Now As Good As A Human

It has been reported that Microsoft’s speech recognition system has reached its lowest ever Word Error Rate (WER) of 5.1%, a rate that puts it on par with humans.

What Speech Recognition System?

For the last 25 years, reaching human parity with a speech recognition system has been a goal of Microsoft, and the company has, therefore, committed to investing in long-term research associated with it. The research, investment, and the resulting system (which includes an AI element) have fed into products and services like Cortana, Presentation Translator, and Microsoft Cognitive Services.

The 5.1% Error Rate

Last September, Microsoft’s speech engine is reported to have registered a 6.3% word WER , but Microsoft was able to bring it down to 5.9%. Further recent work on the engine lowered that rate 5.1%, which is the human word error rate.

Microsoft’s system is benchmarked against the Switchboard corpus, which is a dataset of recorded telephone conversations that speech research technologists have been using for more than 20 years to measure the capability of transcription systems.

Human parity of the kind that Microsoft has now achieved has obviously been a goal of the company’s research, and puts it well on the way to creating a system that can be an effective central component of many of its future products and services.

Why The Big Improvement?

Microsoft’s recent advances in AI techniques like neural-net based acoustic and language models, and innovations in enabling the system to take into account the context of the speech to make better guesses as to what unclear words are have led to the reduced error rate.

What’s Next?

Now that Microsoft has an advanced human speech recognition system, reports indicate that future work will focus on tackling the challenges posed by recognising accented speech, dialects, and conversations in noisy surroundings.

Getting a grip on accented speech and dialects could open the speech recognition system to more users globally, and recognising and capturing conversation in noisy environments could make the system more versatile and useful.

Another project in the works is improving the system’s ability to understand the meaning and intent of speech, which Microsoft sees as the next frontier for speech technology.

With all of these advances, and with more research in the pipeline, we can expect more improvements to be rolled out in the future updates of e.g. Cortana, Presentation Translator, and Microsoft Cognitive Services.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

AI and the use of speech recognition are now becoming familiar as a way in which we interact with entertainment devices e.g. Amazon Echo and Siri controlled systems like Apple’s new HomePod, and how we interact with our PCs and mobile devices e.g. with Cortana. They are also playing an important role in how we interact with, and how security can be improved with company services e.g. via bots and verification / authentication systems used by banks.

AI and machine learning offer companies the chance to develop innovative products and services that offer the kind of customized, personalized experiences are highly valued by modern consumers. The ability of devices and services to adapt intelligently and relate more closely than ever to our personal likes and needs saves us time, and increase our loyalty to those products and services.

AI developments have been such that back in April, an AI program learned how to ‘bluff’ and beat expert human competitors to the prize money in a series of exhibition poker matches, and this month an AI program cracked a (physical) combination safe in 30 minutes by reducing a possible million combinations to just one correct code. Also, Google’s AI company DeepMind and Oxford University has developed WLAS, a system that can lip read better than a trained professional, and Google has reportedly used AI machine learning technology on its Gmail service with a reported 99.9% blocking of all phishing attempts that it detected.

Not all share the view that the rapid development of AI and machine learning of this kind is a positive thing as Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently described AI as a “fundamental risk to the existence of civilisation”, and a report in March this year by PwC claimed that over 30% of UK jobs could be lost to automation (aided by AI developments) by the year 2030. Recently, concerns have also been raised about how AI could be used to create custom malware to defeat antivirus software by learning how to tweak malicious binaries.

AI technology is finding its way into our daily lives to enhance and tie together existing products and services and new security technologies (biometrics) in new ways, and an essential element of communication, value addition, and convenience, must surely be an effective speech recognition system that is as close to our own as possible.

Banned Neo-Nazi Website Causes Freedom of Speech Concerns

Google, GoDaddy, and Cloudflare’s decision to stop serving a neo-Nazi site has prompted a US-based digital rights group to express concerns about freedom of speech being compromised.

Daily Stormer Kicked Out

After much public pressure, all three web companies pulled the rug from under The Daily Stormer, saying it violated their terms of service. The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi and white supremacist news and commentary website that has recently gained media attention after vilifying Heather Heyer, the 32-year old killed in the car attack in the Charlottesville violence.

GoDaddy were reportedly first to act by pulling DNS services for the neo-Nazis, followed by Google (Domains) when The Daily Stormer tried to move its site there, and finally, Cloudflare (which had initially provided the site’s DNS and a proxy service) followed suit when the neo-Nazi website implied that Cloudflare supported their cause and agreed with the content of their articles.

EEF Reacts

The decisions of these 3 web companies did not sit well with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which has reportedly stated that no-one, not even the government and private companies, should decide who can speak or not. The EFF has pointed out that internet companies control so much online that their decisions about this particular matter that will impact freedom of speech in future, and could have far-reaching effects.

Not Just Because They’re Nazis Says Cloudflare

Cloudfire’s CEO Matthew Prince explained on the company’s blog that the reason for expelling the site from their servers was not because of the Nazi views that it expressed, but because it had said that Cloudfire secretly agreed with its views (which Cloudfire has clearly stated that it does not).

Hiding In The Dark Web

With no company now wanting to host the site, and with hackers worldwide relishing the opportunity of launching all manner of attacks on the website, The Daily Stormer has had to retreat to the Dark Web.

What / Where Is The Dark Web?

The Dark Web refers to a collection of websites on private, encrypted networks built from connections between trusted peers using unconventional protocols. It is only accessible by means of special software, configurations or authorization. Most websites on the Dark Web hide their identity using something called the Tor encryption tool, and sites on the Dark Web cannot be found through search engines or by using traditional browsers. The Dark Web is just one part of a massive network not indexed by search engines like Google, known as the Deep Web.

Freedom of Speech For All

While the EEF has acknowledges that a stand against violence and aggression must be made, it has also pointed out that the methods used to silence neo-Nazis could, in theory, be used on anyone. For this reason, the EEF believes that the expulsion from the Internet by GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudfare could have a compromising effect on freedom of speech on the Web in future.

The EEF occupies a clear position to protect free speech, especially on the Internet, regardless whether they agree with what is being said, and with the principle that no one (including governments and private companies) should be able to decide on who can speak or not

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

While freedom of speech is important, in the business world, being publicly associated in any way with unpopular, racist, hate-promoting violent groups / organisations is very bad for business, and could become a PR disaster with long-lasting negative effects if not handled correctly. It is, therefore, not surprising that some big web players were able to make a very quick decision to distance themselves from The Daily Stormer, and their actions in this case could also be justified on moral and ethical grounds too.

This story also raises other important issues and angles including:

  • The initial request to Cloudfire to terminate The Daily Stormer’s service actually came from hackers who wanted Cloudfire’s online protection removed so that they could knock the site out e.g. with a DDoS attack. Hacking is now a powerful threat on the Internet for governments, companies, and all kinds of organizations. As well as being used for theft and fraud, it can also be used as a kind of direct action motivated by social justice issues. In this case, both the host companies, and the Daily Stormer could have had reason to fear the hackers.
  • As Cloudfire’s CEO pointed out, the decision to dump The Daily Stormer could have come at a price for his company (which has never made such an exception before), because it could make it harder for them (and other web companies) to argue against e.g. a government pressuring them into taking down a site they don’t like. This is a particularly pertinent point in a time where e.g. in the UK we have the Investigatory Powers Act and pressure from the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to gain more powers online for surveillance and gaining back doors into social media platforms.
  • For many free speech advocates, what happened to The Daily Stormer’s website could have far reaching effects because it has, in a way, breached a more or less united front by web companies against censorship, and could provide leverage to those seeking influence over the Internet.