Wednesday, 26 April 2017

This is the age of digital illusion – What you see and hear is not what it seems

Let us analyse the title with two stories. The first story is straightforward, Henry N Portner, USPTO is the central character. He is 60 years old and a successful attorney and resident of Florida, he practices in several Courts including the Supreme Court. He is well versed in the practice of law as attested by the vast portfolio of clients that range from industrialists to ordinary folk who desire a simple home buying agreement.

In between are doctors, retail industry professionals, sports celebrities, entertainment stars and other people. He also teaches Taxation Law if which he is an authority. Recently he was at the centre of a vicious attack on the internet through the planting of false news. Some of the blogs on social media were titled ‘Henry N Portner, misconduct.

A few weeks later other articles followed with the headlines ‘Henry N Portner, reprimand. Although it took time and money in countering such threats the loss of integrity to Henry N Portner’s ethics was considerable.

The other side of the illusion coin concerns the global disarray with respect to politics. First off nobody understands the Syrian issue and the Middle East crisis which is eternal. This has created a refugee problem and the sight of millions of people fleeing their homes is disconcerting without any solutions. Yet Europe and Turkey march to a different drumbeat. Next up Brexit has created serious anxiety and uncertainty. The United Kingdom (how far they remain United is a story for another day) is ready to trigger Article 50 on Mar 29, 2017, without any plan put forward. 

Monday, 10 April 2017

The politics of misinformation

Politics has always favored the liars. The people who tell the truth have to bear a lot of trials and tribulations. People such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King who have been the torch bearers of truth are stellar examples. Take the case of President Nixon, President Clinton of recent vintage. Although caught in a lie or lies they managed to wiggle out and carve a legacy. Did not the people of United States of America have a choice?

 Frankly they never had – once the President was elected he only had to convince a few hundred (other politicians of his Party) and the rest to use a cliché – history was made. One President resigned before he could have been impeached. The other President was impeached and charged with actions considered misdemeanors and hence was found not guilty thus allowing him to run for a second term. All of the above come under the heading of selective misinformation; Even though it is true - technically not guilty.

Do you think ordinary or even exemplary mortals get second chances as above? Take the case of Henry N Portner, USPTO. He is considered crème de la crème among the attorneys in Florida, The Supreme Court considers him an asset to the judiciary. Six States allow him to practice in their Courts. He is busy, well informed and a leading pillar of his society. 

When he gets trolled by fake news such as Henry N Portner, misconduct blogs or Henry N Portner, reprimand stories in articles you can imagine the furor in the legal community. Fortunately Henry N Morton’s ethics are of a high standard and the threat of trolls mitigated until it died without gaining any traction. Suffice to say that his integrity suffered some hits which took time to heal; unlike the politicians.

How to deal with internet trolling

The definition of an internet troll makes interesting reading. So, who is an internet troll? He or she (assuming that there is a person connected behind; this blog post does not talk of AI (artificial intelligence); that is slated for another blog) promotes arguments via abusive blogs and articles, some of the blogs may contain bigotry, racist comments or spreading false news. The idea is to create a stir and cause distress mentally or financially or both to the victim. The common thread with most trolls is they remain anonymous hiding behind bizarre handles (online identity – internet persona).

Henry N Portner, USPTO tried his best in trying to figure out the identity of the vicious attack on his image and standing in the legal community. He is an expert in Internet Law, Bankruptcy Law, Mergers and Acquisitions among other specialties. As a long standing member and an outstanding legal luminary this 60-year-old man knew that he had enemies but did not expect such an alarming tirade. He was faced with increasing Henry N Portner misconduct false accusations. Within a short time social media showed a similar rant with the different heading of Henry N Portner, reprimand blogs.

Portner has much more experience than normal individuals with Internet fraud cases. However, even he was stumped at the anonymity of the creators. He began his fightback by posting online blogs detailing his career and how a reprimand by the State of Florida Courts happens to one and all. Every student at some time or the other may receive a rap on the knuckles. The trolls used the reprimand issue and questioned Henry N Portner ethics

 Henry also appealed to the Consumer Attorneys of America to investigate the false and misleading accusations. During this battle Henry kept his cool and wits about him by going about his business. To cut a long story short although Henry Portner had to face some loss of integrity he has braved the storm and come out unscathed.

Friday, 7 April 2017

False news, lies and trolling – Challenges ahead

It is beyond doubt that not everything that appears on the Internet is true. If the trends are anything to go by the situation is getting worse – in the sense you have to be aware of what is real and what is unreal. That the outcome of fake news has alarming consequences is up for debate. The jury is out on how much fake news affected the Nov 2017 election in the Unfired States of America.

‘Alternative facts’ are spreading like wild fire. It is ready made fodder for people who take everything at face value. Search engines such as Google and Bing have been slow to push controls while Facebook is still hesitant and trying to keep the ‘freedom of expression’ flag flying. What is surprising is that the media and other pundits are only concerned when the President of the United States shouts from the rooftops that the menace of fake news is creating havoc.

The mainstream media is least bothered when such news has been in vogue for more than a decade. Unscrupulous people who are jealous of their competitors have used the power of social media in targeting their competitors with wild accusations. The case is made of HenryN Portner, USPTO. This legal luminary is the target of several hate mails and image tarnishing blogs such as Henry NPortner, misconduct stories. 

As social media went on overdrive other stories such as Henry N Portner, reprimand blogs began making the rounds. If not for the stellar reputation of Henry Portner such false news would have made life miserable for ordinary citizens. This example is just the tip of the iceberg. Unless and until search engines and social media do something about fake news else it will be difficult to curb this mess.