Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Friday News: Google’s ‘right to be forgotten,’ Amazon v. the FTC,...

For Google, the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Is an Unforgettable Fiasco – An interesting — and troubling — piece on the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” ruling that contemplates the absolute mess this decision may have on the world’s largest search engine. Part of this emanates from the difficult and difficultly close relationship between public interest news and commentary and what some perceive to be defamatory. But the ruling has also exposed the way in which search results may not be so unbiased and objectively organized as Google would like everyone to believe.

In some ways, Google is just following the EU’s dictates. The company fought the EU on the right-to-be-forgotten issue, but now it has no choice but to implement the ruling, which the court says applies “where the information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive.” By that standard, these takedowns would seem to overstep the letter of a decision ostensibly intended to protect the reputation of individuals, not censor news. But the issue for Google isn’t just freedom of speech or freedom of the press. The “right to be forgotten” decision is calling unwanted attention to the easy-to-forget fact that–one way or another—fallible human hands are always guiding Google’s seemingly perfect search machine. –Wired

Amazon Resisting FTC on Policy Change for In-App Purchases – All of the controversy over Hachette and Amazon has overshadowed other news, in particular this issue regarding unauthorized in-app purchases children make on mobile devices. The FTC wants Amazon to comply with certain guidelines regarding these purchases, which amount to big money, especially when parents don’t submit a request for a refund. Apple is paying a hefty fine for their perceived deficiencies in this regard, and now the FTC is threatening Amazon with a lawsuit, which the company is reportedly brushing off with a statement to the effect that they will see the government in court.

App stores, such as those operated by Amazon, Apple and Google Inc., are key weapons for the technology firms as they battle for customers. The app stores maintain credit-card and other user information, leading to concerns that the companies aren’t doing enough to prevent unauthorized uses, particularly by children.

In-app purchases include things like additional game levels, new characters, songs and outfits for game characters. They are typically between $1 and $5, but can run much higher; app store owners typically keep 30% of the fee. –Wall Street Journal

The novel is dead (this time it’s for real) – As much as I agree with Will Self that close reading seems to be challenged, especially in our increasingly online culture, I just cannot swallow this diatribe against digital media disguised as a self-evident treatise on the death of paper books and, by extension, the importance of the literary novel as critical part of popular culture. Clearly there’s a lot of anxiety around this issue (witness the anger directed at Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and all the debates about whether the novel is literary fiction or not), but I tend to believe in the pendulum theory of historical evolution, and I suspect things will swing the other way, sooner rather than later. Or not, and we’re all doomed. DOOMED, I TELL YOU!

The seeming realists among the Gutenbergers say such things as: well, clearly, books are going to become a minority technology, but the beau livre will survive. The populist Gutenbergers prate on about how digital texts linked to social media will allow readers to take part in a public conversation. What none of the Gutenbergers are able to countenance, because it is quite literally – for once the intensifier is justified – out of their minds, is that the advent of digital media is not simply destructive of the codex, but of the Gutenberg mind itself. There is one question alone that you must ask yourself in order to establish whether the serious novel will still retain cultural primacy and centrality in another 20 years. This is the question: if you accept that by then the vast majority of text will be read in digital form on devices linked to the web, do you also believe that those readers will voluntarily choose to disable that connectivity? If your answer to this is no, then the death of the novel is sealed out of your own mouth. –The Guardian Books

Asymmetric Man-Thongs Are The Most Insane Thing A Man Can Wear This Summer – I so wanted to find a better source for this story, but unfortunately, BuzzFeed has the most, uh, generous coverage of the so-called asymmetric man thong. I’ve been waiting to run this story, and I’m hoping that between the US holiday and the general proximity to the weekend that this NSFW post will provide a bit of a diversion from all the serious news we’ve had to deal with this week. –BuzzFeed

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

10 Comments

  1. library addict
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 05:00:46

    Not that all newspapers or magazines get the facts right, but if those types of results are not going to turn up because someone wants to be forgotten why wouldn’t criminals ask for the links to those pesky allegations and convictions be removed? I’m sure those “we do background checks” type flighty business will grow by leaps and bounds to take up the slack. /sarcasm

    I have the one-click thing at Amazon turned off because it’s so easy to accidentally purchase something, especially on the phone. And there’s only so many times they will credit you for clicking on the wrong button.

    I don’t want to be doomed – lol. Publishing has been going out of business since before digital books even started. Wake me when it really happens.

    As for the C strings, be warned those images cannot be unseen. I need to go and watch a Disney movie now or visit LOLcats. Eek!!!

    ReplyReply

  2. Windsprite
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 06:54:14

    It actually does make sense to want to be forgotten, but it is useless anyway, because you only get forgotten on Google.de, .it, .fr, .eu and so on but not in Google.com an since most people still use the last anyway you never really get forgotten anyway. I think it’s not okay, when somebody else puts a picture of someone nude on the internet anonymously and the person on the picture has no way to remove it because it will probably stay online forever.

    Real Books never die.

    I think InApp purchases aren’t bad, but there should be a way for people who are not interested in them to turn them off.

    Since men started to think, therer were always people who said, that we all are doomed. So, yes, it may be wise to say: “As my Grandpa always said: We’re all doomed!”

    ReplyReply

  3. SAO
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 07:21:17

    Wow! The power of wifi! It somehow interferes with reading or thinking critically. Who knew?

    ReplyReply

  4. Lynnd
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 08:04:32

    I wonder if they had the same doomsday talk when the codex replaced the scroll. I’m pretty sure that the world was supposed to end when the paperback was first introduced. Surprisingly readers are still here and there are probably more “literary” novels published now than ever before.

    ReplyReply

  5. hapax
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 10:41:08

    The C-thongs remind me of the kotekas (or “penis sheaths”) worn by men in some Papuan tribes. (I didn’t provide a link because I can’t find any safe-for-work images, but y’all can Google it.)

    It’s interesting that they are the only item of clothing that such men wear, but if one should slip off accidentally, the man will become hideously embarrassed and turn around until he is once again “decently” covered.

    In other words, “modesty” is entirely a social construction.

    ReplyReply

  6. Lindsay
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 14:40:17

    I always wonder what the doomsayers want as a reaction to their articles — do they want the world to suddenly say “Oh you know you’re RIGHT, the way you prefer things is absolutely the only possible way, we are throwing out all our technology right now!”?

    I don’t generally leave the wi-fi on my e-reader because it drains the battery, but whoops, I’m not reading “Serious” novels anyhow I’m sure, by their standards.

    ReplyReply

  7. Heather Greye
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 14:52:08

    So, the man thong…

    It looks like the brand name on those is JOK (I tried not to look too closely). It seems to me that could either be pronounced jock or joke. I think it’d be hilarious if it was joke…and it was all a prank!

    ReplyReply

  8. Cynthia Sax
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 17:09:48

    Re: The Novel Is Dead

    “The literary novel as an art work and a narrative art form central to our culture is indeed dying before our eyes. Let me refine my terms: I do not mean narrative prose fiction tout court is dying – the kidult boywizardsroman and the soft sadomasochistic porn fantasy are clearly in rude good health.”

    Wow. This is pretty da*n arrogant.
    I use imagery and symbolism in my soft sadomasochistic porn fantasies.
    Thank you very much.
    The highly educated professional women reading these so-called porn fantasies demand it.

    BTW… flinging around fifty cent words hoping to embarrass less well read readers is a sign of POOR writing (and bad manners). Writing is communication. Good communication is beautiful yet always simple. Take the thesaurus out of your a$$ and write for modern readers.

    ReplyReply

  9. Cynthia Sax
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 17:17:57

    I probably shouldn’t post when I’m hopped up on Nutella. (sheepish grin)

    ReplyReply

  10. cleo
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 19:55:49

    @Cynthia Sax – “Take the thesaurus out of your a$$ and write for modern readers.”

    This made me lol. By all means, keep posting while under the influence.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

%d bloggers like this: