Leila has two identities, but Facebook is only supposed to know about one of them.
Leila is a sex worker. She goes to great lengths to keep separate identities for ordinary life and for sex work, to avoid stigma, arrest,
professional blowback, or clients who might be stalkers (or worse).
Her "real identity"--the public one, who lives in California, uses an academic email address, and posts about politics--joined Facebook in 2011. Her
sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name. Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook's "People You May Know" recommendations, Leila (a name
I'm using using in place of either of the names she uses) was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.
Despite the fact that she'd only given Facebook information from her vanilla identity, the company had somehow
discerned her real-world connection to these people--and, even more horrifyingly, her account was potentially being presented to them as a friend suggestion too, outing her regular identity to them.
Because Facebook insists on
concealing the methods and data it uses to link one user to another, Leila is not able to find out how the network exposed her or take steps to prevent it from happening again.
Vogue fashion magazine has been reporting on the dangers of social media posts that contain images which included alcohol brands. Vogue magazine writes:
Tourists might not realize as they make their guidebook-mandated
pilgrimage to nightlife hotspots like Khao San Road, is that despite the country's many Full Moon parties and bar girls, alcohol advertising is illegal. And posting a photo on social media of your beer by the beach could count as advertising.
Recently police have begun to strictly enforce 2008's Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which bans displaying the names or logos of products in order to induce people to drink such alcoholic beverages, either directly or indirectly.
Last month, police announced their intention to more closely patrol social media and charge those found breaking the law. That means even if your favorite actress wasn't being paid for her endorsement and really was just sharing a
photo with a drink by the pool or on a night out, she could find herself facing a 50,000 baht (about $1,500 USD) fine for indirectly inducing drinking.
Earlier this month, eight local celebrities were fined for posting selfies
with alcoholic drinks on social media, with Thai Asia Pacific Brewery and Boon Rawd Brewery Co. (the producer of Singha beer) also implicated in the case. But police aren't just monitoring the accounts of the rich and famous -- at the beginning of
August, three bar girls found themselves arrested after making a Facebook Live video inviting people to come enjoy a beer promotion.
The UK Labour Party is behind in the polls but is catching up a little with some popular policy changes outlined in the party's manifesto.
One of these, may be of particular interest to Brits with a Thai connection. Labour would scrap the
controversial income threshold that separates families and stops thousands of British citizens bringing their foreign husbands and wives to the UK.
The party's manifesto says it does not believe that family life should be protected only for the
wealthy and that it would replace the threshold with an obligation to survive without recourse to public funds.
Immigration rules currently require British citizens to earn more than £18,600 before their foreign partner can join them on a spouse
visa. Critics say the policy discriminates against working class people on lower incomes. The income threshold is even higher for couples with children who are not British citizens, rising to £22,400 for a couple with a first child and then an additional
£2,400 for each additional child.
The rule was introduced by the 2010 Coalition government when Theresa May was Home Secretary. Britons have previously told The Independent that they have been forced to move abroad to be with their partners
because of the new rule. In February the Supreme Court upheld the Government's policy after a legal challenge against it. Seven judges agreeing that the minimum income requirement was acceptable in principle -- though criticising the lack of safeguards
for the welfare of children.
The UK has seen a rising tide of lifestyle regulations in recent years. Its smoking ban, introduced in 2007, allows fewer exemptions than that of almost any other country and was extended to cars carrying passengers under the age of 18 in 2015 (2016
in Scotland). In 2008, Britain became the first EU country to mandate graphic warnings on cigarettes and cigarette vending machines were banned in 2011. A full retail display ban followed in 2015. In May 2016, the UK and France became the first European
countries to ban branding on tobacco products ('plain packaging') in May 2016.
The UK has some particularly punitive sin taxes. It has the highest taxes on cigarettes and wine in the EU and the second highest taxes on beer. There
are relatively few legal limits on where alcohol can be advertised but there are strict guidelines on content. Off trade alcohol discount deals such as buy-one-get-one-free are banned in Scotland.
Anti-smoking policies are now
being rolled out to food and soft drinks. A ban on 'junk food' advertising to children was extended to digital media in December 2016 and a UK-wide tax on sugary drinks is expected to be implemented in 2018. There is a ban on sugary drinks in Scottish
hospitals and both the Scottish and Welsh governments support minimum pricing for alcohol. Britain's Nanny State Index score for food and soft drinks arguably makes the country seem more liberal than it is because it does not include the food
reformulation scheme which has led to chocolate bars shrinking and food products becoming less tasty as Public Health England pushes food manufacturers towards reducing sugar, salt and fat content. Although this scheme is technically voluntary, it is
backed up with the threat of legislation.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told Congress this week that the Department of Homeland Security is exploring the possibility of asking visa applicants not only for an accounting of what they do online, but for full access to their online
accounts. In a hearing in the House of Representatives, Kelly said:
We want to say for instance, What sites do you visit? And give us your passwords. So that we can see what they do on the internet. And this might
be a week, might be a month. They may wait some time for us to vet. If they don't want to give us that information then they don't come. We may look at their204we want to get on their social media with passwords. What do you do? What do you say? If they
don't want to cooperate, then they don't come in.
TechCrunch' s Devin Coldewey pointed out, asking people to surrender passwords would raise "obvious" privacy and security problems. But beyond privacy and security,
the proposed probing of online accounts204including social media and other communications platforms204would, if implemented, be a major threat to free expression.