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The problem with live streaming
17th March 2019 Bad Week

Social media companies have been criticised for the live feed of the appalling terrorist attack in Christchurch New Zealand at the weekend.

There have been calls by many, including Labour deputy leader Tom Watson for regulation.

But what could be done?

What could be done to tame livestreaming in situations like this?

Clearly, the trouble with live streaming is that you don't know what it is until it streams.

You can clean up the copies of the videos in the aftermath. It was a good few hours until the video of the carnage was removed from facebook. That lack of speed is a problem.

The problem here is that it is easy for people to copy and post the video themselves. There are algorithms that can check for duplicate videos, but those copied videos can be disguised but still be the same videos (have you ever seen a smaller screen inside the video screen with a video in it? Tricks like this make finding duplicates difficult.)

And a video that says it is the video may not even be the video. Many times people post what appear to be genuine videos but are in fact links to another site which claims to host the actual video.

One idea (assuming this isn't being done now) might be to enforce a GPS location of the video source. That information could provide the authorities with a quick reference to see where the video source is coming from.

It would be theoretically possible to have a form of pre approval of the livestream, or perhaps only allow certain people to post livestreams. But part of the enjoyment of livestreaming for the vast majority of law abiding streamers is the immediacy and possibly the spontaneity of the stream.

Really the only thing that can be done is to get a system that can remove the videos afterwards. There probably has to be a quite large team of people doing this, alongside the algorithms, and these teams would probably be sitting around not doing very much most of the time and then working intensively when events like Christchurch occurs.

It's a difficult problem to solve.

The Disappearance of Madeline McCann A new Netflix series
17th March 2019

So the cadaver sniffing dogs were all rubbish, and the DNA evidence in the back of the McCann's rental car was not conclusive. I feel awful, I thought they were guilty.

Sorry Kate.

Sorry Gerry.

They refused to have anything to do with this documentary.

They probably thought this series was another stitch up.

It isn't.

It does look at the conspiracy arguments in quite some detail. It is all part of the media story. And it's an important part because by the end it adds to your respect for what they have been through, even though there are some niggling questions like could they actually see their apartment where the children were sleeping from the Tapas bar where they were eating with their friends, and was the window shutter capable of being opened from the outside from which Maddy had to have been taken?

This is an 8 hour documentary. By the end of the series it is clear to see how badly treated the McCanns have been.

The Portuguese authorities come across badly. It seems a little strange to even have their number put up (along with a UK number) as a number to call if you have any information, which is done in every episode.

One of the revelations of the series is we meet the financial backer behind the McCanns, Brian Kennedy and his son. The son is one of the guys helping track down the various sightings of Madeline across the world. We watch as they go to South America looking for a girl who looks like Maddy. They find her. It's not her. It's all desperately sad.

Kennedy is the one paying Clarence Mitchell as the McCann's spokesman. Mitchell has been doing interviews in which he criticises the series for rehashing the conspiracy arguments.

There is a truly scary moment in a later episode. An incident around the time Maddy went missing in Praia de Luz. A woman answered the door and spoke to a man who seemed to be talking to her, but looking at her 3 year old daughter playing behind her. She said goodbye to him. Then, later, she was upstairs and came down to find him inside the house talking to the child. He ran off when he saw her. The hairs on the back of my neck are standing up even writing this now.

There is no end to this nightmare for the McCanns. But what chance is there that Maddy is even alive? One day we might find out. There are three examples of children going missing and being found much later in their lives outlined in the documentary.

If you are, like I was (I feel ashamed to say), weary of the constant streams of money the police seem to be getting to search for Maddy, there is more to it. Investigators seem to be having some success in finding child trafficking and porn gangs and bringing them to justice all because of this, what is still one of the most high profile cases of a missing child in the world today.

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16th December 2018
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15th December 2018
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25th November 2018: Pilot
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In an event seen by millions, the New York Times incorrectly reports that Conor McGregor's face was 'bloodied'. #FakeNews