Economic Scene: The Facebook Fallacy: Privacy Is Up to You

The Facebook Fallacy: Privacy Is Up to You Photo Tourists at Facebook’s headquarters on April 10, the day its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, testified at a Senate hearing. Researchers say his pledge to give users more say over the use of their data is undercut by a phenomenon known as the “control paradox.” Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times Was Mark Zuckerberg pulling their leg?
As Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive parried questions from members of Congress about how the social network would protect its users’ privacy, he returned time and again to what probably sounded like an unimpeachable proposition.
By providing its users with greater and more transparent controls over the personal data they share and how it is used for targeted advertising, he insisted, Facebook could empower them to make their own call and decide how much privacy they were willing to put on the block.
He must be kidding.
As Mr. Zuckerberg surely knows, providing a greater sense of control over thei..

UK breaks coal free energy record again but renewables still need more support

Fossil fuels benefit from high hidden subsidies. A change in approach is needed to curb them
Today is the fourth the UK has entered with not a watt of electricity generated by coal.
It’s the longest such streak since the 1880s and comes only days after the last modern era record of 55 hours was set.
That represents good news for those of us who have children and would rather like there to be a planet for them to live on when we’re gone.
Read more National Grid profit warning after £140m hit from extreme weather Wind power provides 44% extra energy to National Grid National Grid ends gas supply warning. Long term we need to use less Coal generated power is dirty power, and not just through the carbon that gets pumped into the atmosphere when it burns.
The fact that the UK is increasingly able to call upon cleaner alternatives for its requirements, to the extent that records are being regularly broken, is a welcome development.
The trouble is one of those alternatives is gas..

Government has no choice but to outsource public services, says NAO boss

“There are a lot of areas where government does not have capacity to anything but outsource,” Sir Amyas Morse said
The government has no choice but to outsource services because, after decades of doing so, it no longer has the capacity to carry out work in-house, the head of the public spending watchdog told MPs.
“I think there are a lot of areas where the government does not have the capacity to do anything but outsource,” Sir Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office said.
He added that in many areas, the government didn't even have the resources to act as a prime contractor who runs a project while subcontracting work out.
Read more Carillion collapse contributed to 21% drop in Santander UK profits “The government is not set up to deliver all of these contracts itself, and that's been the case for a number of years,” Sir Amyas told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
He added that he was not saying that this was a fault, ..

TSB IT chaos: Challenger bank has fallen prey to some familiar old problems

Thousands customers have struggled to access their accounts and process transactions. The bank's communication with them has been poor
With customers screaming about a deafening silence from TSB towers in the wake of the IT chaos that has afflicted the challenger bank, chief executive Paul Pester finally emerged with a veritable blizzard of tweets and media appearances.
TSB’s surprisingly torpid feed had been silent since Thursday, when it warned customers that online banking services would be unavailable over the weekend as a result of a systems upgrade.
It woke up when the CEO said he was “deeply sorry” for a rapidly lengthening list of problems caused by it. There was the promise of compensation for those left out of pocket but also a warning that the bank would have to go offline again as part of its attempt to address the issues it has thrown up.
Read more TSB boss apologises for IT issues as bank faces regulators' scrutiny TSB apology after customers complain of ..

Ulster Bank provides emergency cash to customers whose money has disappeared due to 'human error'

The issue is expected to be resolved overnight, the bank said
Ulster Bank customers who have been left unable to access their funds due to “human error” will be provided with emergency cash, the lender said on Tuesday afternoon.
A spokesperson for Ulster Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland’s Irish operation, said a payment file did not process on Monday night, meaning that “some transactions applied to some customers accounts since 20 April are temporarily not showing”.
Read more Royal Bank of Scotland's journey from Fred Goodwin to back in black “We investigated this issue as a matter of urgency and have already taken the necessary corrective action which will see recovery actions overnight. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and no customer will be left out of pocket as a result of this issue. Emergency cash is available for impacted customers,” the spokesperson added.
The error has not affected all customers, and has only had an impact on accounts in the Republic of Ir..

Government won't block £8bn takeover of GKN by Melrose, business secretary announces

New assurances from Melrose are not enough, says shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey
The Government will not intervene in Melrose’s £8bn takeover of engineering giant GKN, the business secretary announced on Tuesday.
Greg Clarke told the House of Commons that he would not block the deal on national security grounds.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was among those to have raised security concerns about the deal because GKN works on a number of vital defence contracts.
Read more Melrose bosses take home annual pay of £42m each ahead of GKN takeover Mr Clarke said Melrose had agreed a number of new undertakings with the Ministry of Defence, in addition to those he secured last month.
Melrose’s strategy is to buy up firms which it believes are underperforming and then sell them on for a profit within three to five years, often after offloading parts of the business.
Melrose has now pledged to inform the MoD if it intends to dispose of a part of GKN which might have n..