Links for 2014-03-12

  • Sacked Google worker says staff ratings fixed to fit template

    Allegations of fixing to fit the stack-ranking curve: ‘someone at Google always had to get a low score “of 2.9”, so the unit could match the bell curve. She said senior staff “calibrated” the ratings supplied by line managers to ensure conformity with the template and these calibrations could reduce a line manager’s assessment of an employee, in effect giving them the poisoned score of less than three.’

    (tags: stack-ranking google ireland employment work bell-curve statistics eric-schmidt)

  • Corporate Tax 2014: Irish Government’s “flawed premise” on Apple’s avoidance

    According to our calculation about €40bn or over 40% of Irish services exports of €90bn in 2012 and related national output, resulted from global tax avoidance schemes. It is true that Ireland gains little from tax cheating but at some point, the US tax system will be reformed and a territorial system where companies are only liable in the US on US profits, would only be viable if there was a disincentive to shift profits to non-tax or low tax countries. The risk for Ireland is that a minimum foreign tax would be introduced that would be greater than the Irish headline rate of 12.5%. It’s also likely that US investment in Ireland would not have been jeopardized if Irish politicians had not been so eager as supplicants to doff the cap. Nevertheless today it would be taboo to admit the reality of participation in massive tax avoidance and the Captain Renaults of Merrion Street will continue with their version of the Dance of the Seven Veils.

    (tags: apple tax double-irish tax-avoidance google investment itax tax-evasion ireland)

  • An online Magna Carta: Berners-Lee calls for bill of rights for web

    TimBL backing the “web we want” campaign — https://webwewant.org/

    (tags: freedom gchq nsa censorship internet privacy web-we-want human-rights timbl tim-berners-lee)

  • How the search for flight AF447 used Bayesian inference

    Via jgc, the search for the downed Air France flight was optimized using this technique: ‘Metron’s approach to this search planning problem is rooted in classical Bayesian inference, which allows organization of available data with associated uncertainties and computation of the Probability Distribution Function (PDF) for target location given these data. In following this approach, the first step was to gather the available information about the location of the impact site of the aircraft. This information was sometimes contradictory and filled with ambiguities and uncertainties. Using a Bayesian approach we organized this material into consistent scenarios, quantified the uncertainties with probability distributions, weighted the relative likelihood of each scenario, and performed a simulation to produce a prior PDF for the location of the wreck.’

    (tags: metron bayes bayesian-inference machine-learning statistics via:jgc air-france disasters probability inference searching)

  • How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware – The Intercept

    The implants being deployed were once reserved for a few hundred hard-to-reach targets, whose communications could not be monitored through traditional wiretaps. But the documents analyzed by The Intercept show how the NSA has aggressively accelerated its hacking initiatives in the past decade by computerizing some processes previously handled by humans. The automated system – codenamed TURBINE – is designed to “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually.” In a top-secret presentation, dated August 2009, the NSA describes a pre-programmed part of the covert infrastructure called the “Expert System,” which is designed to operate “like the brain.”
    Great. Automated malware deployment to millions of random victims. See also the “I hunt sysadmins” section further down…

    (tags: malware gchq nsa oversight infection expert-systems turbine false-positives the-intercept surveillance)

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