Selbstverständlichkeiten

Things that go without saying.

The supreme court in Karlsruhe [Bundesgerichtshof] said companies may not make ads praising themselves for doing things they’re required to do by law.

A lower court had decided the ads were okay because the “money-back guarantee,” which German law required of these companies anyway, wasn’t particularly emphasized in the ads in question. The Bundesgerichtshof disagreed. It doesn’t take much emphasis to mislead consumers, said the Bundesgerichtshof.

(ZELBST fair SHTENNED lichh kite en.)

Schwag

Germans might not have a word for the mountains of branded free stuff given away at giant, nebulously defined charity events.

Near-equivalents:

Beute, pirate treasure.

Kostenlose Scheiße, free stuff.

Werbeartikel, promotional merchandise.

Streuartikel, “scatter merchandise,” chaff items, inexpensive branded things made for distribution as free gifts. German Wikipedia authors wrote, “The efficacy of this form of marketing, in other words the number of new business deals made in the wake of one of these campaigns, is often estimated as quite low.”

Oscars-Geschenktüten, Oscars™ goodie bags, which have been described in German media.

Schimpfwort-Erkennungsscheisssoftware

Swearword recognition software.

The U.S.’s putatively public putatively ad-free National Public Radio is using voice recognition software to target its marketing, including after news items.

In addition to passively collecting information on the news listeners, allowing the public broadcaster and its partners to send related or unrelated ads to individual consumers, mobile phones and radios in certain U.S. and Japanese cars will now extend and prolong the ads if they hear certain exclamations, exhortations, ejaculations and/or requests for more information.

(SHIMPF vort   air KEN noongs shice soft vair.)

Bildungsbroker-Blödsinn

Education broker balderdash.

A British charity called the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas.com) which “controls admissions to U.K. universities,” charging fees of ~£23 per student to help >700,000 students sign up for university courses in the U.K. each year, has been selling marketers the data of those students and the data of ~15,000 of their parents and the data of younger children aged 13 to 16 who sign up for courses via another program they offer.

The charity has a “commercial arm” that apparently made £12 million in 2013 from selling the students’ information, to customers such as mobile phone companies, a large software company and a beverages company. The charity’s spokesperson told reporters they are “strictly legal,” selling children’s data within the requirements of British law.

The level of civilization this implies is lower than expected.

Achtung: an analyst said the sort of “carefully selected third parties” checkbox Ucas used “is usually preceded by a triple negative question so you don’t know if ticking the box gets you more mail or less.” In the case of Ucas, students didn’t dare opt out of sharing their contact data for fear of not receiving college offers.

(BILL doongz broke ah   BLID zinn.)

Gitarrengeplätscher und Wackelkamera

“Rippling guitar music and shaky cameras,” a critique of one party’s advisors’ decisions for their Bundestag campaign ads this year. First their attempt to make a celebrity “personality” more important than a party’s program, and now that: sentimental background music and silly shots to obscure the lack of content.

(Git ARR en geh PLETSCH ah   oont   VOCK ell com eh RAH.)

Schwachstellen in Sicherheitsprodukte einbauen

“Building in vulnerabilities in security products,” one of several methods the N.S.A. and G.C.H.Q. used to unlock encryption methods previously thought secure, according to the Guardian.co.uk, NYTimes.com and ProPublica.org. When the Canadian company BlackBerry updated its encryption in 2009, for example, the N.S.A. cracked it in mere months, according to a Spiegel.de article headlined “Champagne!

These two large agencies and their partners in e.g. the Five Eyes alliance have also been benefiting from encryption cracking via supercomputers, targeted hacking committees, strange U.S. letters and court orders that forbid the ordered from ever mentioning the order, an N.S.A. Computer Solutions Center that “provided security testing” for tech products, subversion of international security standards used by developers but especially persuasion of tech companies, whose names remain most secret.

Tagesschau.de reported on 06 Sep 2013 that the “Bankenverband“—the name indicates an association of banks but the reporter did not define it more specifically—announced that N.S.A. employees and contractors can only view Germans’ online banking but cannot transfer money out of (“plunder”) their accounts. German consumers will not be reassured by this.

Brazil’s TV Globo on 08 Sep 2013 added to the list of snooped targets the international S.W.I.F.T. bank transfer network, the closed computer networks of “airlines, foreign governments, power companies and financial institutions” and the state-owned Brazilian oil company Petrobras, increasing fears of industrial espionage by the U.S.A. and its allies.

The Guardian.co.uk article on the targeted placement of back doors into encryption software was very angry about how vulnerable to criminals this makes everyone (called “the consumer and other adversaries” in one Snowden trove document). Weakening software causes people to commit crimes who wouldn’t normally have done so.

(Sh VOCHH shtell en   in   ZICHH ah heights prod OOK teh   EYE n bough en.)

Datenschutzsiegel

“Data protection seal of approval.” A 2008 book on data protection in Germany proposed creating independent auditing agencies who would inspect public and private organizations. If the organizations met standards for data protection, transparency, data security, etc., they would be issued the auditors’ “quality seal” which they could use in their marketing materials as a reputation booster. The auditors would be motivated to keep their own reputation high by not being pushovers, presumably. Multiple reliable auditors could watch each other. Set up well and done honestly, these inspections could ultimately enhance efforts at leak control by keeping whistleblowing from being the only way visible to try to fix the most broken organizations. When these inspectors published what criteria they used to calculate their ratings, smaller organizations down to families and individuals could learn tips about improving their own data protection.

Judging by online search results, squabbling about which data protection inspection seals are worthy may have already begun. There appears to be understandable concern that a company that produces consumer credit scores, which many Germans view with suspicion, also dipped its toe in the data protection certification business. Possible other models suggested for such an independent inspection system included the feared TÜV inspections and Biosiegel (“certified organic.” Bio means organic in German. Öko means treehugger.). An early boost was provided when a German state created demand for the certificate by requiring independent data-protection certification for products, programs and services used by state offices.

(DOT en shoots ZEEG ell.)

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