"Oh Lord" after VW its Porsche

2015-11-04 Thread Heiko

"Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
My friends all drive Porsches, now they must make amends."

Janis Joplin (modified)


You must see this Porsche Cayenne commercial from 2007: 
https://vimeo.com/1713136




http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/nov/02/vw-emissions-scandal-widens-to-include-porsche-claims-epa


VW emissions scandal widens to include Porsche claims
US Environmental Protection Agency claims carmaker installed defeat 
devices in vehicles with three-litre engines between 2014 and 2016


The Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal has deepened after US 
authorities accused the carmaker of installing defeat devices into 
luxury sports cars including Porsches.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which uncovered the initial 
emissions rigging at VW, claims the carmaker installed defeat devices in 
VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles with three-litre engines in models with 
dates ranging from 2014 to 2016.


This marks the first time that Porsche, which is owned by VW, has been 
dragged into the scandal. It is troubling for the new chief executive of 
VW, Matthias Müller, because he ran Porsche before becoming boss of the 
group.


The EPA has made the allegations after conducting further tests on 
diesel vehicles in the US since VW admitted in September it had used 
defeat devices to cheat emissions tests.


The new allegations include the 2015 Porsche Cayenne as well as the 2014 
VW Touareg and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5. In 
total, it involves 10,000 vehicles in the US.


In a statement VW denied it had fitted any devices on the vehicles. The 
statement said: “Volkswagen AG wishes to emphasise that no software has 
been installed in the 3-liter V6 diesel power units to alter emissions 
characteristics in a forbidden manner. Volkswagen will cooperate fully 
with the EPA clarify this matter in its entirety.”


VW has already admitted fitting a defeat device to 11m vehicles 
worldwide, but this related to cars with smaller engines and did not 
include any Porsche cars or sports utility vehicles (SUVs).


Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the office for EPA’s 
enforcement and compliance assurance, said: “VW has once again failed 
its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all 
Americans. All companies should be playing by the same rules. EPA, with 
our state, and federal partners, will continue to investigate these 
serious matters, to secure the benefits of the Clean Air Act, ensure a 
level playing field for responsible businesses, and to ensure consumers 
get the environmental performance they expect.”


The EPA has issued a second notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air 
Act to VW as a result of its findings. VW faces fines of up to $37,500 
per vehicle, which means an extra $375m (£243m) could be added to its 
penalities if it is found guilty. The company already faces a potential 
$18bn fine for the initial recall by the EPA in September of 482,000 VW 
and Audi cars.


Richard Corey, executive officer of the California Air Resources Board, 
said: “On 25 September, the California Air Resources Board sent letters 
to all manufacturers letting them know we would be screening vehicles 
for potential defeat devices. Since then ARB, EPA and Environment Canada 
have continued test programmes on additional diesel-powered passenger 
cars and SUVs. These tests have raised serious concerns about the 
presence of defeat devices on additional VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles.


“Today we are requiring VW Group to address these issues. This is a very 
serious public health matter. ARB and EPA will continue to conduct a 
rigorous investigation that includes testing more vehicles until all of 
the facts are out in the open.”


The carmaker has put aside €6.7bn (£4.4bn) to meet the costs of 
recalling the 11m vehicles, but also faces the threat of fines and legal 
action from shareholders and customers.


The company has hired the accountancy firm Deloitte and the law firm 
Jones Day to investigate who fitted the device into its vehicles. It is 
understood that the carmaker believes a group of between 10 and 20 
employees were at the heart of the scandal.


Martin Winterkorn stepped down as chief executive of VW as a result of 
the scandal. His replacement, Müller, last week vowed to be “ruthless in 
punishing those involved”, adding: “We are leaving no stone unturned to 
find out what exactly happened and to make sure nothing like this ever 
happens again.”



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Re: VW

2015-10-12 Thread incumbent
   On Sep 25, 2015, at 2:01 PM, t byfield <[1]tbyfi...@panix.com> wrote:

So, right there, VW diesel owners have a pretty ironclad case for what
boils down to speculative financial compensation: the difference
between what the cars 'would have been worth' if this flaw hadn't been
exposed and what they *are* worth -- which is zero, if only because no
one in their right mind would buy one (and in many cases reale may now
be forbidden by law).

   I wouldn't say that. For whatever reason I haven't heard or read
   anything about the actual impact to the driver in terms of what the
   performance will be like if they do repair/replace in-field.

   I've heard people say it was to make VW cars drive better and perform
   better but nobody ever seems to quantify that. Is it simply a net loss
   of bhp? Torque? Idle hesitation? What's the problem with these cars if
   they are in compliance with regulations?

   And how has this not turned into a grassfire that sucks up all VW
   brands? Audi has TDI engines too. Porsche might offer a diesel turbo
   Cayenne? Seat surely has a few diesels potentially impacted?

   I think it's likely every car manufacturer is engaged in similar
   behavior. If it's handled like the corruption and dishonesty in the
   financial sector I'm sure we'll all be just fine.


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Re: VW

2015-10-03 Thread Clemens Apprich

> Am 27.09.15 um 23:09 schrieb Florian Cramer:
> 
>   There are other aspects in German media theory, cultural studies and
>   humanities academia that I find by far more objectionable. For example,
>   how the more or less biggest names of German media theory and cultural
>   studies - Friedrich Kittler, Peter Sloterdijk, Horst Bredekamp, Hans
>   Belting - got in bed with Germany's yellow press tycoon Hubert Burda
>   (owner of Hubert Burda Media, publisher of among others "Bunte",
>   "Focus", "Super-Illu", the German "Playboy" and minority shareholder of
>   German tv station RTL2) for Burda's conferences and publications on the
>   "iconic turn", as documented on the website
>   http://www.iconicturn.de . (The website itself 
> is run by the Hubert
>   Burda Foundation.) For those who can read German:
>   http://www.welt.de/print/die_welt/kultur/article10863152/Bilder-rasc 
> 
>   heln-nicht.html . Quick translation of the second paragraph:ย
>   "Bazon Brock isn't Hubert Burda's only dialogue partner and
>   intellectual friend. Peter Sloterdijk, Friedrich Kittler, Horst
>   Bredekamp, Wolfgang Ullrich, Hans Belting are also part of the circle;
>   top-notch art historians and cultural analysts, and reliable
>   contributors to academic criticism. In Karlsruhe, where Burda's book
>   was presented, they all sat in a half circle, an honorable club of men.
>   It was quite touching how politely they all demonstrated their respect
>   for the author. Wolfgang Ullrich, wonderfully insubordinate younger
>   generation art historian, called his colleague, the Ph.D. art historian
>   Hubert Burda, an 'embedded scientist' who had managed to infiltrate the
>   business world for espionage work. Horst Bredekamp, wonderfully
>   down-to-the-earth mid-career art historian, showed a reproduction of a
>   'Hรถrzu' (German 'TV Guide') double page to praise its structured view
>   on the world of television.“ย

Dear Florian, if this is your biggest concern, than you should at least mention 
that a large section of so called „critical net cultures“ in Europe has been 
close to Burda Foundation since a long time: 
http://www.akademie3000.de/content/mitglieder/start.htm 
. Now to pick at 
individual persons, who are considered to be German media theory (btw, an 
ascription mainly coming from the US/Canadian-discourse) is, begging your 
pardon, rather poor. Don’t get me wrong, I am the last who wants to defend the 
Bazon Brocks (a media theorist, really?) out there, and the first who is eager 
to dismantle the technicist argumentation of media theory in Germany, but I 
don’t think quoting an article by „Die Welt“ (!) really does the job. Instead 
we should use our brains and bring forward arguments.

@Centre for Digital Culture, Leuphana University: as one of the addressed, let 
me say that the Digital Cultures Research Lab (DCRL), which is the only (!) 
entity within the Centre for Digital Cultures at Leuphana University that is 
funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (through a program called 
„Niedersaechsisches Vorab“), has in the last two years tried hard to actually 
break with the tradition of „German Media Theory“ (and especially a male-white 
European/US-discourse, also to be found here on nettime) by bringing in fellows 
from different fields and also from different regions of the world (e.g. Kavita 
Philip, Orit Halpern, and currently Lawrence Liang; none of those really under 
the suspicion to have been close to German Media Theory). So in line with 
Andreas point, I would suggest that you first inform yourself about the actual 
funding structure and also a bit about the work done with that money (e.g. an 
international conference called „Terms of Media“ you have been part of).

Sorry, if this email comes off a bit harsh, but knowing most of the people and 
the hard work they are providing to make this transdisciplinary and 
transregional space possible, makes me a bit thin-skinned towards rather 
obscure allegations.

Clemens


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Re: VW

2015-10-03 Thread Florian Cramer
 Dear Florian, if this is your biggest concern, than you should at
 least mention that a large section of so called âcritical net
 culturesâ in Europe has been close to Burda Foundation since a long
 time: [1]http://www.akademie3000.de/content/mitglieder/start.htm
 <[2]http://www.akademie3000.de/content/mitglieder/start.htm>. Now to
 pick at individual persons, who are considered to be German media
 theory (btw, an ascription mainly coming from the
 US/Canadian-discourse) is, begging your pardon, rather poor.

   No, it is not poor at all if these are the particular people who have
   collaborated with Hubert Burda on a book and gave his writing their
   academic blessings. That's quite some different from just taking
   funding from a private foundation.
   Â

 @Centre for Digital Culture, Leuphana University: as one of the
 addressed, let me say that the Digital Cultures Research Lab (DCRL),
 which is the only (!) entity within the Centre for Digital Cultures
 at Leuphana University that is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation
 (through a program called âNiedersaechsisches Vorabâ),

   If you carefully read my points here on Nettime, then it shouldn't have
   escaped you that I defended this funding (against Ted) and actually
   consider it a good case of repurposing company profits for public
   research and education.
   Florian



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Re: VW

2015-10-03 Thread t byfield

On 3 Oct 2015, at 15:07, Florian Cramer wrote:


If you carefully read my points here on Nettime, then it shouldn't
have escaped you that I defended this funding (against Ted) and
actually consider it a good case of repurposing company profits for
public research and education.


No, I didn't say anything like that and wouldn't have. One of my 
favorite hobbyhorses is the problematic state of higher ed in the US, 
which is mostly a byproduct of the privatization of educational finance. 
The implied alternative of that privatization is public funding -- but 
even that will depends, at some point, on private economic activity. I 
don't know enough about the VW / Lower Saxony model to say much about 
it, but it's probably better than the dominant model we have in the US.


More generally, mechanistic ideas about how 'money buys influence' do 
too much violence to the mercurial and sometimes paradoxical ways 
influence can work. And in ~European contexts -- and German culture in 
particular, given its complicated play of historical dis/continuities 
over the twentieth century -- they're especially ill-suited. And, of 
course, there are times when a bit of quiet from Germanic media 
theorists might be seen as a feature not a bug, sort of like adblock. ;^)


Cheers,
T


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Re: VW

2015-10-03 Thread Clemens Apprich
   Am 03.10.2015 um 21:07 schrieb Florian Cramer :

If you carefully read my points here on Nettime, then it shouldn't have
escaped you that I defended this funding (against Ted) and actually
consider it a good case of repurposing company profits for public
research and education.

   I was under a wrong impression then - as were other people I talked
   to.

   My apologies for that!

   Clemens


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Re: VW

2015-10-03 Thread Heiko Recktenwald
Am 25/09/15 um 21:01 schrieb t byfield:

> A few thoughts about the VW scandal
>
> The VW scandal may not seem very nettimish, but I'll argue that it is.
> This'll take a while, because it is, as they say now, #epic. If you're
> interested, read on.

I completely agree but for a completely different reason. Maybe the
German media theorists should look closer:

> In a nutshell, over a period of at least a decade, VW systematically
> set about designing, testing, implementing, maintaining, and upgrading
> an undisclosed system that enabled its diesel cars to deceive
> environmental regulators. The core of this system was software that
> enabled a car to 'know' when it was being tested for emissions and to
> dramatically reduce its emissions. VW claimed that it possessed some
> magical technology that allowed its diesels to achieve high mileage
> and low emissions without the need for a urea-based additive -- a
> liquid that, like gasoline or engine oil, requires its own special
> tank. Compared to diesels made by other manufacturers, VW's cars were
> cheaper and less of hassle to operate and maintain, and their resale
> value remained much higher.

My point and the US code and the needs of the environement is not what
VW did in the lab, but what it did later. It did what it did in the lab
and later It turned those filters off.

The US authorities did change parameters in the lab and found that
cheating device. Lets call it a bug and the manager who did it a hacker.
Things like this happen. My problem is that morals -- because I dont see
any fraud -- shall decide the nature of the device.

The US code says: Dont turn those filters off.

Details at www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-06/documents/defeat.pdf

The authorities say that they dont know anything of what cars are doing
on the road and the nature of the regulation software is the regulation
of filters.

Wrong?

IMHO there is a lot of confusion and legaly there may be nothing.

The problem is the nature of regulation. There have been cases of
cheating devices in the 90. See how those cases were solved in that
text. There must be some cooperation. This is the way regulation works.
We had holy rules but they were worth nothing. Everybody knew it and
nobody did care. You cannot change this overnight however nobel your
case may be.

All other questions depend on it. You had a wonderfull characterisation
of current Germany. Thanks you VW for the VW-library. Maybe "Das
Skandal" should be less dramatized too.

Please correct typos etc, thanks and

best, H.


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Re: VW

2015-10-02 Thread t byfield
Jaromil, I agree with much of what you say, so I'll try to find a 
focused place where a response might actually get somewhere.


On 2 Oct 2015, at 10:31, Jaromil wrote:

Relying on open-source metaphor-mantras ('Would you buy a car with 
the

hood welded shut?') to analyze peculiar dynamics of the car industry


this is NOT a peculiar dynamic of the car industry. This is how the 
current
necrotizing capitalist regime of patents works in every sector of 
industrial
production, thriving wherever no open source business model is 
embraced, let
alone the free software ethic. There are different degrees of 
responsibility

 <...>

This 'curatorial' approach to quoting turned what I said into its 
opposite, the better to rail against. Here's what I actually wrote:


Jaromil, I think it's a bit premature to counter claims that this is 
'just about Volkswagen,' because no one said anything like that. 
Obviously there are many ways in which this is symptomatic of broader 
structures. But Lehman Brothers and Fukushima were symptomatic as 
well, and would you really argue that 'there was nothing to be learned 
there' either? *And* hold hold up Android's OEMs cheating on 
benchmarks as a more illuminating example? I don't think so. Relying 
on open-source metaphor-mantras ('Would you buy a car with the hood 
welded shut?') to analyze peculiar dynamics of the car industry is 
like relying on Godwin's Law to understand neo-nazis. :^)


My point isn't that VW -- or Fukushima or Lehman Brothers (or 
Hackingteam or Greece) -- is sui generis, and that we should flit from 
one spectacle to another without connecting the dots. On the contrary, 
they're all *symptomatic* of structural problems; and they're also (not 
'but...instead of') edge cases that we, and various publics, can learn 
from. Unless you're hoping for some apocalyptic total transformation 
from the 'necrotizing capitalist regime of patents works in every sector 
of industrial production' to a garden of open-source delights, progress 
will be happenstance and incremental. As you yourself point out:


wake up to these news: there is an actual dark market for software 
like the one VW used to counterfeit their autos 
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/volkswagen-wasnt-the-only-company-rigging-emission-levels-says-expert-a6668611.html


If the VW fiasco (which, like 'Greece,' is far from over) ends up 
shedding more light on the complicity at the heart of environmental 
regulatory regimes, so much the better. But my first mail on the subject 
was aimed at pointing out the *many* ways in which the fiasco might 
unfold. If you think that waving aside the knock-on effects in every 
context except for IP fights is the best strategy, then do that. I don't 
think it is. And while I can't speak for Florian, I think he was 
pointing out different ways in which VW and the issues *as reported* 
(not as they 'are' according to a reductive and universalizing 
ideological conflict) are embedded in larger social and political orders 
-- which move at different speeds. VW's place in the particular postwar 
order of Saxony unfolds according to one logic, and the ways in which 
trade secrecy obfuscate systemic problems unfold according to another. 
Their coincidence -- when a break in the smooth functioning of trade 
secrecy invites us to think about political orders at different scales 
-- is akin to what Mako called 'revealing errors.' Thinking about them 
isn't opposed to what you're advocating.


 <...>

for software, sure, and there could be various degrees of attention on
different parts of software, as Florian mentions, sure, but then with 
open
access at least we'd have infinite possibilities for researchers to 
choose
their independent code analysis MA project, etc. etc. instead of 
isolated
scandals popping up here and there. We need to switch to such a 
condition as
tech is becoming more pervasive and entrenched with life-critical 
functions,
there is no way out of this and I hope we can thrive in the open 
system picture
that John gives us with a numerous enough population, rather than 
after a total

desaster.


Again, I agree with much of what you say, but it's also pretty much the 
same message that we hear when crypto advocates tell us to 'trust the 
math' and hobble along on antiquated proposals that everyone should 
review the source code themselves. I don't 'trust the math' because the 
math has to be implemented in concrete contexts -- and there are 
countless ways in which those implementations can introduce subtle 
biases and weaknesses. The power to do that, to analyze it, and to the 
review the source code, may be here but it's unevenly distributed. 
People with a disproportionate share of those power can wear whatever 
color hat they want -- black, white, gray, transparent, whatever. But as 
the Hackingteam fiasco you mention shows, the shared 'interests' of the 
people wearing those hats draws many of them together; and their m

Re: VW

2015-10-02 Thread Jaromil
dear Ted,

On Sun, 27 Sep 2015, t byfield wrote:

> On 27 Sep 2015, at 5:02, Jaromil wrote:
> 
> >to debate this thing as if it would be just about Volkswagen is so
> >naive! srsly. There is nothing to be learned there.
> 
> Jaromil, I think it's a bit premature to counter claims that this is
> 'just about Volkswagen,' because no one said anything like that.
> Obviously there are many ways in which this is symptomatic of broader
> structures. But Lehman Brothers and Fukushima were symptomatic as
> well, and would you really argue that 'there was nothing to be learned
> there' either? *And* hold hold up Android's OEMs cheating on
> benchmarks as a more illuminating example? I don't think so.

I believe that in 2015 and on top of all the literature we have been imbued
there is no point for us to engage blaming VW as the evil manufacturer, or take
political correctsy postures about institutional funding one or the other
takes, FWIW.

do you think the VW is any different than the hackingteam affair? its not.

HT was allegedly buying and reselling scriptkiddoz 0days available for anyone
on the oh-so-sexy "dark-market" to spray holes in the mobile phones of their
classmates, until some sharks got their rich and berlusconi-looking friends to
VC boost them to-the-moon by putting such ridicolous digital hairballs in
quarantine before selling them for thousands of euros to the booming security
industry - which is by the vast majority populated by clueless and militarized
people in uniforms collecting certifications and verifications to hide their
idiocy behind a soon-to-be-academic title in every cyber-crime 5star catered
conference they go, because sure! these kids are s dangerous!

this is a sketch of how the industry works today. the automotive is not
different and as I said in my previous email on HT the problem is not
hackingteam per se, as much as now the problem is not VW per se.

wake up to these news: there is an actual dark market for software like the one
VW used to counterfeit their autos
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/volkswagen-wasnt-the-only-company-rigging-emission-levels-says-expert-a6668611.html

> Relying on open-source metaphor-mantras ('Would you buy a car with the
> hood welded shut?') to analyze peculiar dynamics of the car industry

this is NOT a peculiar dynamic of the car industry. This is how the current
necrotizing capitalist regime of patents works in every sector of industrial
production, thriving wherever no open source business model is embraced, let
alone the free software ethic. There are different degrees of responsibility
for software, sure, and there could be various degrees of attention on
different parts of software, as Florian mentions, sure, but then with open
access at least we'd have infinite possibilities for researchers to choose
their independent code analysis MA project, etc. etc. instead of isolated
scandals popping up here and there. We need to switch to such a condition as
tech is becoming more pervasive and entrenched with life-critical functions,
there is no way out of this and I hope we can thrive in the open system picture
that John gives us with a numerous enough population, rather than after a total
desaster.

anyway ok, today the trend is to blame german car manufacturers, to me sounds
just like that "blaming german people for the greek crisis" fart a month ago.


ciao

-- 
Denis Roio aka Jaromil   http://Dyne.org think  tank
  CTO and co-founder  free/open source developer
加密  6113 D89C A825 C5CE DD02 C872 73B3 5DA5 4ACB 7D10



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Re: [governance] VW

2015-09-28 Thread Michael Gurstein
  [Orig CCed to <governa...@lists.igcaucus.org> -- mod (tb)]

David,

Let's assume for the moment that we agree that the fundamental and overriding 
objective is the protection of the public interest in the operation and 
evolution of the Internet (and not for example as seems to be (or at least to 
have been) the case with some of our colleagues that the fundamental objective 
is the protection of the integrity of the Internet itself).

The questions then are several:
1. how is the public interest defined
2. who is to be involved in making those definitions
3. what procedures are to be followed in making and implementing those 
decisions
4. and so on.

Certainly the private sector and particularly the Internet giants have to have 
a significant role in advising on this process--as Jeremy pointed out--they 
have a lot of the knowledge and expertise and already are making a lot of the 
rules. But should they be involved in actually defining and making the rules?

However much Facebook or Google are attempting to in effect become the Internet 
-- they are not the Internet, they are private corporations seeking in various 
ways (sometimes ethical sometimes less so) to pursue their own private 
interests--and we would not expect anything else.  In fact under certain 
jurisdictions they are legally obliged to act in this way.

Why VW is pertinent is because it shows the depths to which a major corporation 
will go in pursuit of those interests.  Fortunately there is a legal regime 
which was meant to govern their actions and which they fraudulently flouted.  
Imagine if they had been in a position to legally and with an enthusiastic 
welcome participate in the definition and implementation of that legal regime 
(notably one of the reasons that their actions were undetected for so long is 
because following the logic of governance in the age of neo-liberalism, funds 
for enforcement were cut back in the various jurisdictions and the companies 
were given the responsibility of "self-enforcement"!). 

Do you really believe that these companies would somehow end up pursuing the 
public interest rather than their own private interests and with their wealth 
and power (and capacity for political influence) not in the end "do whatever it 
takes" to skew the outcome in their favour and further closing the circle by 
structuring the rules and the structures of accountability to support their 
private interests.

I agree with you about the need for transparency and accountability for the TPP 
and TISA etc.etc. and quite honestly I think the active promotion of the 
multistakeholder model by the major proponents of these types of agreements is 
precisely because they recognize the difficulty they are having in pursuing 
these given Civil Society (and Labour and other) opposition they are concluding 
that where there is a multistakeholder approach with a coopted/compromised 
civil society is a part of the process, it is a lot easier to control and 
implement the outcome than it is by pursuing the current TPP and TISA model.

M

-Original Message-
From: David Cake [mailto:d...@difference.com.au] 
Sent: September 28, 2015 10:48 AM
To: governa...@lists.igcaucus.org; Michael Gurstein <gurst...@gmail.com>
Cc: t byfield <tbyfi...@panix.com>
Subject: Re: [governance]  VW


> On 28 Sep 2015, at 6:16 am, Michael Gurstein <gurst...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Ted and all,
> 
> Far be it from me to second guess the insight (or well-placed cynicism) of 
> Nettimer folks but dare I say that not all folks who should be, are quite as 
> perspicacious.
> 
> The flavour of the day in global governance circles--think managing the 
> Internet (ICANN etc.), the environment, "sustainable development" and on and 
> on is what is being called "multistakeholderism" i.e. where governments, the 
> private sector, civil society and all get together and "find consensus" 
> solutions on to how to manage the world for the rest of us.

> 
> Significant portions of Civil Society have bought into this approach 
> which is firmly premised on the notion that somehow the private sector 
> should be directly involved in making governance decisions because 
> well, they are so public spirited, or that they have the long term 
> interests of everyone at heart ("they are people too aren't they"), or 
> we can trust them much more than those perfidious folks in government, 
> or they are "accountable" to their shareholders and wouldn't do 
> anything completely untoward to risk shareholder value etc.etc. (you 
> know the drill???

Shocking though it is when policy is determined via open and 
transparent meetings of government, private sector, civil society, academia etc 
get together to work out policy, I still find it preferable to the de facto 
a

Re: VW

2015-09-28 Thread Andreas Broeckmann

Am 27.09.15 um 23:09 schrieb Florian Cramer:


WWII. As far as I know, all profits that the state of Lower Saxony
makes from its remaining 20% share go into the endowment. And, Leuphana
is a state university of Lower Saxony.


(marginalia)

folks, i think this is besides the point, but before assumptions about 
the amounts of funding by the VolkswagenStiftung to Leuphana and its 
Centre for Digital Cultures get completely out of hand, i suggest that 
whoever wants to make claims about that should first do the research, 
e.g. here:


https://www.volkswagenstiftung.de/en/funding/funding-statistics.html

... probably to find that less than 20% (just a guess) of the funding 
for the CDC in the last 3 years (it has not existed longer) came from 
VolkswagenStiftung (more from EU-EFRE, same from DFG; besides, formally, 
Leuphana is also not a state university but a foundation, but since it 
is basically treated like a public university, that's probably a 
legalistic detail).


the german mass media are playing the game of "who knew what when" this 
morning.


personally, i am looking at the case mostly from the perspective of my 
small collection of software-induced fuck-ups, accidents, frauds, etc., 
which begin to pile up into a relief picture of the vulnerability of 
both the technical and social (belief) systems that our glorious 
"digitised culture" is relying on.


regards,
-a


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Re: VW

2015-09-28 Thread Geert Lovink
   a fwd. from the rethink uva list (university of amsterdam) /geert

   From: "Engelen, Ewald" <e.r.enge...@uva.nl>

   Subject: Re: [Rethink UvA] We can't let VW get away with this

   Date: 28 September 2015 7:44:04 am GMT+2

   Volkswagen is also an aggressive tax evader, using Dutch shell
   companies (of course) to do so

   Volkswagen Financial Services it is called

   Here is the website

   http://www.vwfs.nl/content/sites/vwcorporate/vwfs_nl/en/home.html

   e


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Re: FW: VW

2015-09-28 Thread Armin Medosch
 Hi,

   Â well said:

 What VW tells us (and why "motivation" is worth looking at) is that
 when push comes to shove we really really need some structures of
 accountability that are responsive to "our", the public's needs and
 not the shareholders and that multistakeholderism as a system of
 governance is basically giving away the keys to the kingdom.

   which leads me to a slightly different topic, this fascination for
   "civil society" that has become so endemic, especially also with regard
   to the current refugee crisis. While the states are failing to organize
   this migration with some dignity, the heroism of civil society becomes
   fetishized. Although I would not regard myself as a statist, there is
   something suspicious in this construction. This article from Rastko
   Mocnik provides some perspective on the notion of civil socitey from a
   post-Yugoslav position

   
http://www.internationaleonline.org/research/real_democracy/6_the_vagaries_of_the_expression_civil_society_the_yugoslav_alternative

   last not least a short report from a small, unimportant country in the
   center of Europe:yesterday the post-Haider Freedom Party won 30+
   percent of the votes in Upper Austria, an economically strong region
   whose capital is Linz which hosts Ars Electronica. Now guess what, the
   F-Party celebrated its victory in the rooftop bar of Ars Electronica
   Center
   best
   Armin

   Â Â
   Â

 Mike
 -Original Message-
      From: nettime-l-boun...@mail.kein.org    Â
 [mailto:nettime-l-boun...@mail.kein.org] On Behalf Of t byfield
 Â  Â  Â Sent: September 27, 2015 12:08 PM
 Â  Â  Â To: nettim...@kein.org
 Â  Â  Â Subject: Re:  VW
 Â  Â  Â On 25 Sep 2015, at 20:59, Michael Gurstein wrote:
 Â  Â  Â > Thanks Ted, very useful.
 Â  Â  Â >
 Â  Â  Â > I guess what I'm curious about is the motivations, individual 
and/or
 Â  Â  Â > corporate thought processes/incentives etc. that underlie the 
initial
 Â  Â  Â > decision to go down this path and then the multitude of 
decisions at
 Â  Â  Â > various levels up and down the organization to continue on this 
path.
 Â  Â  Â <...>
 Â  Â  Â Michael, your line of questions seems to be a high priority for the
 Â  Â  Â media: today's NYT top story is "As Volkswagen Pushed to Be
 No. 1,      Ambitions Fueled a Scandal." Personally, I don't
 think there's been much      innovation in the motivation dept
 since, say, Sophocles, so the      human-interest angle isn't
 very interesting, IMO. If anything, it's the      primary
 mechanism in diverting attention from the real problem, namely,  Â
 Â  how to address malfeasance on this scale. Corporations are
 treated as      'people' when it comes to privatizing profit, but
 when it comes to      liabilities they're become treated as
 amorphous, networky constructs,      and punishing them becomes
 an exercise in trying to catch smoke with      your hands.
 Imagine for a moment that by some improbable chain of events    Â
 VW ended up facing a 'corporate death penalty,' there remain all
 kinds      of questions about what restrictions would be imposed
 on the most      culpable officers, how its assets would be
 disposed of, and what would      happen to its intellect
  ual property. (It'd be funny if the the VW logo      was
 banned, eh? I'm not suggesting anything like that could actuallyÂ
 Â  Â  happen, of course.) The peculiar details of this scandal could
 spark a      systemic crisis of a different kind, one that makes
 evading guilt more      difficult. The 'too complex for mere
 mortals' line won't work in this
 Â  Â  Â case: VWs have come a long way since the Deutsche
 Arbeitsfront or R.
 Â  Â  Â Crumb-like illustrated manuals about _How to Keep your
 Volkswagen      Alive_, but not so far that people will blindly
 accept that they can't      understand them. Popular
 understanding of negative externalities in      environmentalism
 is decades ahead of its equivalent in finance. And it    Â
 doesn't hurt that Germany, which has done so much to bend the EU to
 its      will, looks like it'll be the lender of last resort.
 Â  Â  Â  <...>

 <...>


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VW

2015-09-28 Thread patrice

"Bad employees come up with problems - or excuses; good employees come 
up with solutions"
(New Management mantra)

Mething Michael was right with asking the question about the internal 
workings that made the VW clusterf%$#&^*k 'happen'. And I also think it 
has to be analysed and answered before we move further - it's not the 
paramount issue, Jaromil and John are right about that, but tackling the 
issue is a prioritary, necessary condition to be able to go forward. The 
more so since the mechanism is not limited to the 'commercial' world, it 
is universal.

Besides the above, another concept to keep in mind is "plausible 
deniability". It is what the now ousted president of VW invoked "I am 
responsible, but I didn't know" - bit strange for someone having 
asserted before he knew every screw of a Beetle, but that's not really 
the point. The point is that subalterns are expressivily prevented, 
forbidden, to tell superiors about problems and risks which might slow 
or even halt 'advances' (be it in the form of profits, political gains, 
academic credits etc etc etc). Incidentally this also (partially) 
explains the quandary whistleblowers find themselves in.

And there is nothing recognizablym, demonstrably, - within the system - 
evil about it. As they say at M$ "it's not a bug, it's a feature".

Modern Management and its governmental equivalent 'New Public 
Administration" function, like the rest of the neo-liberal system, on 
the principle of externalising the burden and the liabilities downwards 
the pyramid and internalising all benefits and credits upward. Of course 
that is in itself nothing new (it is known in French as "faire payer les 
lampistes"), but it has reached a rare degree of sophistication in our 
times, in parallel with the ever growing technological complexity. Its 
most disturbing aspect is that it has been mentally internalised by all 
parties in a form of particularly perverse TINA, blanking out 
everybody's conscience, and even consciousness, from the top to the 
bottom of the pyramid.

The bad news is that this situation is not amenable to improvement. Any 
attempt at it turns out into fighting the symptoms, not the causes (VW's 
new directorate's statements are surrealistic manifestations of this 
approach) and even more probably into what was (un)funnilly called in 
the former DDR "verschlimbesseren" (betterworsening?).


Cheers from p+2D!
(Meanwhile in Athenes ... ;-(


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Re: VW

2015-09-27 Thread t byfield

On 25 Sep 2015, at 20:59, Michael Gurstein wrote:


Thanks Ted, very useful.

I guess what I'm curious about is the motivations, individual and/or
corporate thought processes/incentives etc. that underlie the initial
decision to go down this path and then the multitude of decisions at 
various

levels up and down the organization to continue on this path.

<...>

Michael, your line of questions seems to be a high priority for the 
media: today's NYT top story is "As Volkswagen Pushed to Be No. 1, 
Ambitions Fueled a Scandal." Personally, I don't think there's been much 
innovation in the motivation dept since, say, Sophocles, so the 
human-interest angle isn't very interesting, IMO. If anything, it's the 
primary mechanism in diverting attention from the real problem, namely, 
how to address malfeasance on this scale. Corporations are treated as 
'people' when it comes to privatizing profit, but when it comes to 
liabilities they're become treated as amorphous, networky constructs, 
and punishing them becomes an exercise in trying to catch smoke with 
your hands. Imagine for a moment that by some improbable chain of events 
VW ended up facing a 'corporate death penalty,' there remain all kinds 
of questions about what restrictions would be imposed on the most 
culpable officers, how its assets would be disposed of, and what would 
happen to its intellectual property. (It'd be funny if the the VW logo 
was banned, eh? I'm not suggesting anything like that could actually 
happen, of course.) The peculiar details of this scandal could spark a 
systemic crisis of a different kind, one that makes evading guilt more 
difficult. The 'too complex for mere mortals' line won't work in this 
case: VWs have come a long way since the Deutsche Arbeitsfront or R. 
Crumb-like illustrated manuals about _How to Keep your Volkswagen 
Alive_, but not so far that people will blindly accept that they can't 
understand them. Popular understanding of negative externalities in 
environmentalism is decades ahead of its equivalent in finance. And it 
doesn't hurt that Germany, which has done so much to bend the EU to its 
will, looks like it'll be the lender of last resort.


On 26 Sep 2015, at 10:22, Florian Cramer wrote:


 The implication for "our" field are much more immediate than one would
 expect, given that the Centre of Digital Cultures of Leuphana
 University Lüneburg has been funded from a grant by Volkswagen
 Stiftung (Volkswagen Endowment) a few years ago. Look at who's working
 there - a who's who of European media studies including many Nettimers:
 http://cdc.leuphana.com/people/


It'll be very interesting indeed to hear what the stars of ~German media 
theory have to say about this. Maybe about as much as most US academics 
have to say about their role in imposing indentured servitude on 
subsequent generations...


On 27 Sep 2015, at 5:02, Jaromil wrote:


to debate this thing as if it would be just about Volkswagen is so
naive! srsly. There is nothing to be learned there.


Jaromil, I think it's a bit premature to counter claims that this is 
'just about Volkswagen,' because no one said anything like that. 
Obviously there are many ways in which this is symptomatic of broader 
structures. But Lehman Brothers and Fukushima were symptomatic as well, 
and would you really argue that 'there was nothing to be learned there' 
either? *And* hold hold up Android's OEMs cheating on benchmarks as a 
more illuminating example? I don't think so. Relying on open-source 
metaphor-mantras ('Would you buy a car with the hood welded shut?') to 
analyze peculiar dynamics of the car industry is like relying on 
Godwin's Law to understand neo-nazis. :^)


As to whether there's anything to be learned about the car industry, a 
friend sent me this offlist (forwarded with permission):


Just wanted to say that many many auto dealerships within much of the 
USA -- and I certainly don't know if this is the case in Europe or the 
northern coastal (blue state or /we/ US) -- are strange franchise ops 
in which a single owner has bought into multiple auto brands -- eg 
[where I live] the VW dealer is also the Audi, Infiniti, Maserati, 
Acura, Jaguar, Fiat dealer. While the bylaws of these franchises 
typically require separate showrooms they do not always require 
separate facilities for other operations. So, for example, the service 
department, where one expects hypothetical but impossible repairs to 
"ramdoubler" VW emissions tech would occur might be shared by multiple 
auto brands. Some of those might be tiered brands fabricated by the 
same financial interests (e.g. VW and Audi) but that will not always 
be true. As such, we will not have the results of the capitalist 
competition we may expect -- that is if VW and competing brands are 
collocated and share infrastructure and personnel in terms of auto 
dealerships, the falling VW dominos will knock over the dominos of 
other automobile sellers and

FW: VW

2015-09-27 Thread Michael Gurstein
Ted and all,

Far be it from me to second guess the insight (or well-placed cynicism) of 
Nettimer folks but dare I say that not all folks who should be, are quite as 
perspicacious.

The flavour of the day in global governance circles--think managing the 
Internet (ICANN etc.), the environment, "sustainable development" and on and on 
is what is being called "multistakeholderism" i.e. where governments, the 
private sector, civil society and all get together and "find consensus" 
solutions on to how to manage the world for the rest of us.  

Significant portions of Civil Society have bought into this approach which is 
firmly premised on the notion that somehow the private sector should be 
directly involved in making governance decisions because well, they are so 
public spirited, or that they have the long term interests of everyone at heart 
("they are people too aren't they"), or we can trust them much more than those 
perfidious folks in government, or they are "accountable" to their shareholders 
and wouldn't do anything completely untoward to risk shareholder value etc.etc. 
(you know the drill...

But if VW can and will commit fraud and what is in effect a crime against 
humanity for short term financial (and/or ego) gains then what might one expect 
from lesser lights with perhaps less to lose and who aren't so deeply enmeshed 
in what should have been (and what purportedly was) a deep web (errr network) 
of accountability, responsibility, enforced integrity etc. (as per your 
comments...

What VW tells us (and why "motivation" is worth looking at) is that when push 
comes to shove we really really need some structures of accountability that are 
responsive to "our", the public's needs and not the shareholders and that 
multistakeholderism as a system of governance is basically giving away the keys 
to the kingdom.

Mike 

-Original Message-

 From: nettime-l-boun...@mail.kein.org  
[mailto:nettime-l-boun...@mail.kein.org] On Behalf Of t byfield
 Sent: September 27, 2015 12:08 PM
 To: nettim...@kein.org
 Subject: Re:  VW

 On 25 Sep 2015, at 20:59, Michael Gurstein wrote:

 > Thanks Ted, very useful.
 >
 > I guess what I'm curious about is the motivations, individual and/or 
 > corporate thought processes/incentives etc. that underlie the initial 
 > decision to go down this path and then the multitude of decisions at 
 > various levels up and down the organization to continue on this path.
 <...>

 Michael, your line of questions seems to be a high priority for the
 media: today's NYT top story is "As Volkswagen Pushed to Be No. 1,  
Ambitions Fueled a Scandal." Personally, I don't think there's been much  
innovation in the motivation dept since, say, Sophocles, so the  
human-interest angle isn't very interesting, IMO. If anything, it's the  
primary mechanism in diverting attention from the real problem, namely,  
how to address malfeasance on this scale. Corporations are treated as  
'people' when it comes to privatizing profit, but when it comes to  
liabilities they're become treated as amorphous, networky constructs,  and 
punishing them becomes an exercise in trying to catch smoke with  your 
hands. Imagine for a moment that by some improbable chain of events  VW 
ended up facing a 'corporate death penalty,' there remain all kinds  of 
questions about what restrictions would be imposed on the most  culpable 
officers, how its assets would be disposed of, and what would  happen to 
its intellect
 ual property. (It'd be funny if the the VW logo  was banned, eh? I'm not 
suggesting anything like that could actually  happen, of course.) The 
peculiar details of this scandal could spark a  systemic crisis of a 
different kind, one that makes evading guilt more  difficult. The 'too 
complex for mere mortals' line won't work in this
 case: VWs have come a long way since the Deutsche Arbeitsfront or R. 
 Crumb-like illustrated manuals about _How to Keep your Volkswagen  
Alive_, but not so far that people will blindly accept that they can't  
understand them. Popular understanding of negative externalities in  
environmentalism is decades ahead of its equivalent in finance. And it  
doesn't hurt that Germany, which has done so much to bend the EU to its  
will, looks like it'll be the lender of last resort.
  <...>


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Re: VW

2015-09-27 Thread John Hopkins

This is the way the industry always works when closed-source. This event
should remind everyone (and especially consumer associations) how
important is to have the industry release its software open-source, down
to the firmware and hardware. This must be an imperative especially for


But of course this will *never* happen -- the nature of corporate/competitive 
capitalism is drenched in secrecy, stealth, corruption, collusion, profiteering, 
graft, etc ... To suppose that this nature will change seems a ... pipe dream. 
To counter the Machiavellian, I-and-I becomes one. Open and Closed systems exist 
as ways of seeing/modeling reality and are each mutally exclusive worldviews. To 
hold one negates the other despite the apparent reality that the cosmos is 
indeed an Open System -- and perhaps Open Systems 'win' in the end ... but not 
now, not yet. When the last corporatized human lays down to die, and the lamb 
lies with the lion, maybe then ...


At any rate, no such imperative (the word itself sourced in imperial edict!) 
will come unless accompanied by imperatives erasing human rights within the 
techno-social system, that is the nature of imperatives.


jh

PS - I wonder if there is a precedent for the students and faculty @ Luneburg to 
push for divestment from their cash cow? True and empowered learning has always 
been at odds with state-sanctioned and corporate-supported institution.



--
++
Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
grounded on a granite batholith
twitter: @neoscenes
http://tech-no-mad.net/blog/
++


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Re: VW

2015-09-27 Thread Florian Cramer
 It'll be very interesting indeed to hear what the stars of ~German
 media theory have to say about this. Maybe about as much as most US
 academics have to say about their role in imposing indentured
 servitude on subsequent generations...

   The German state of Lower Saxony owns more than 20% of Volkswagen
   stock, a legacy from the Third Reich when the company was founded on
   Hitler's order and owned by the NSDAP's labor organization. The
   Volkswagen Endowment, whose sole purpose is the funding of academic
   research, was created with the money that Lower Saxony and the federal
   government of Germany made when 80% of the company went public after
   WWII. As far as I know, all profits that the state of Lower Saxony
   makes from its remaining 20% share go into the endowment. And, Leuphana
   is a state university of Lower Saxony. - Whatever one may object to
   these close ties between state and industry (described as "state
   monopoly capitalism" by some Marxists), it also has some social
   advantages when companies are partially owned by the public and their
   profits go into financing public research and tuition-less public
   education.

   There are other aspects in German media theory, cultural studies and
   humanities academia that I find by far more objectionable. For example,
   how the more or less biggest names of German media theory and cultural
   studies - Friedrich Kittler, Peter Sloterdijk, Horst Bredekamp, Hans
   Belting - got in bed with Germany's yellow press tycoon Hubert Burda
   (owner of Hubert Burda Media, publisher of among others "Bunte",
   "Focus", "Super-Illu", the German "Playboy" and minority shareholder of
   German tv station RTL2) for Burda's conferences and publications on the
   "iconic turn", as documented on the website
   http://www.iconicturn.de. (The website itself is run by the Hubert
   Burda Foundation.) For those who can read German:
   http://www.welt.de/print/die_welt/kultur/article10863152/Bilder-rasc
   heln-nicht.html . Quick translation of the second paragraph:Â
   "Bazon Brock isn't Hubert Burda's only dialogue partner and
   intellectual friend. Peter Sloterdijk, Friedrich Kittler, Horst
   Bredekamp, Wolfgang Ullrich, Hans Belting are also part of the circle;
   top-notch art historians and cultural analysts, and reliable
   contributors to academic criticism. In Karlsruhe, where Burda's book
   was presented, they all sat in a half circle, an honorable club of men.
   It was quite touching how politely they all demonstrated their respect
   for the author. Wolfgang Ullrich, wonderfully insubordinate younger
   generation art historian, called his colleague, the Ph.D. art historian
   Hubert Burda, an 'embedded scientist' who had managed to infiltrate the
   business world for espionage work. Horst Bredekamp, wonderfully
   down-to-the-earth mid-career art historian, showed a reproduction of a
   'Hörzu' (German 'TV Guide') double page to praise its structured view
   on the world of television."Â

   - Regarding jaromil's objection that firmware (especially of critical
   technical devices) should be Open Source: yes, but this won't be
   enough. Volkswagen could have released its firmware in 2005 as Free
   Software/Open Source with the manipulation code cleverly obfuscated,
   speculating on the fact that the release would have remained relatively
   low profile (as opposed to popular Open Source software like, for
   example, Apache or the Linux kernel, which passes hundreds of critical
   eyes every day). For sure, the odds of discovery would still have been
   better then. But what's really needed are mandatory independent code
   audits for firmware - similar to the approval procedures for medical
   drugs. If such policies were in place, they also would have huge
   implications for the so-called "Internet of Things".

   -F



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Re: VW

2015-09-26 Thread Michael Gurstein
Thanks Ted, very useful.

I guess what I'm curious about is the motivations, individual and/or
corporate thought processes/incentives etc. that underlie the initial
decision to go down this path and then the multitude of decisions at various
levels up and down the organization to continue on this path.

It seems to me that it is somehow the equivalent of those US politicians who
insist on sending porno pictures of themselves via unencrypted emails to
(supposedly) teenage girls. It is very hard to see the risk reward
calculations here making any sense given that the outcome of eventual likely
exposure is catastrophic and fatal (from a career/corporate perspective)
i.e. why on earth they would risk it given what would be at stake? 

Further to this what was their perception of the broad environment in which
they were perpetrating this fraud.  Did they not understand the (likely)
inevitability of exposure.  Were the short term rewards such as to overcome
any concern with the longer term penalties?  Were they sufficiently arrogant
to think that they were too clever/important to be exposed and if exposed
too important to be allowed, in the neo-liberal scheme of things, to be
compelled to bear the full and likely consequences of their actions?

In the case of the individuals electronically exposing themselves, the
matters could be perhaps explained by individual psychopathology but is this
an explanation that makes sense for the second largest auto-maker in the
world? In some ways this is even more egregious than the other automobile
scandals as revealed by Ralph Nader for example where faulty engineering and
internal corporate imperatives led to an on-going attempted cover-up. This
one was a deliberate conscious willed action to commit serious fraud by
presumably multiple individuals in a company which employs 600,000 people
and is one of the mainstays of the largest economy in Europe.

Some insight into what went on in the decision processes might be very
revealing about the nature of the global corporate climate is in these days
of corporate triumphalism and the ascendance of their political enablers.

Mike 


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Re: VW

2015-09-26 Thread Florian Cramer
 I'd be curious to hear from people who have a more proximate sense
 of how this is playing out in Germany, and how the government seems
 like it'll respond.

   The implication for "our" field are much more immediate than one would
   expect, given that the Centre of Digital Cultures of Leuphana
   University Lüneburg has been funded from a grant by Volkswagen
   Stiftung (Volkswagen Endowment) a few years ago. Look at who's working
   there - a who's who of European media studies including many Nettimers:
   http://cdc.leuphana.com/people/
   -F


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VW

2015-09-25 Thread t byfield

A few thoughts about the VW scandal

The VW scandal may not seem very nettimish, but I'll argue that it is. 
This'll take a while, because it is, as they say now, #epic. If you're 
interested, read on.


Cheers,
T


There are a few 'immaterial' sectors we're used to thinking of as 
somehow uniquely privileged -- say, finance, communications, and 
genetics. Against that speculative backdrop, an automotive scandal 
probably seems more past-oriented than future-oriented. Cars and trucks, 
after all, are firmly grounded on dry land rather than the fluid seas or 
skies. let alone the gaseous clouds of networks. And for many people --
most in many areas -- that's not just airy-fairy associations. They 
know how directly cars rely on petrochemicals because they have to pump 
them full on a regular basis in stations that can never stray too far 
from the grime of the repair shop. But try as we might to imagine 
otherwise, the futurity of those 'immaterial' sectors still depends 
entirely on transportation to move around everything subsumed under the 
phrase 'bricks and mortar,' from the raw materials to the detritus --
people included. So simplistic assumptions and associations about the 
automotive industry won't prepare us very well to think through this VW 
scandal. And, anyway, why bother? It's not that surprising -- just 
another corporation lying, right?


I think it's much bigger than that.

In a nutshell, over a period of at least a decade, VW systematically set 
about designing, testing, implementing, maintaining, and upgrading an 
undisclosed system that enabled its diesel cars to deceive environmental 
regulators. The core of this system was software that enabled a car to 
'know' when it was being tested for emissions and to dramatically reduce 
its emissions. VW claimed that it possessed some magical technology that 
allowed its diesels to achieve high mileage and low emissions without 
the need for a urea-based additive -- a liquid that, like gasoline or 
engine oil, requires its own special tank. Compared to diesels made by 
other manufacturers, VW's cars were cheaper and less of hassle to 
operate and maintain, and their resale value remained much higher.


So, right there, VW diesel owners have a pretty ironclad case for what 
boils down to speculative financial compensation: the difference between 
what the cars 'would have been worth' if this flaw hadn't been exposed 
and what they *are* worth -- which is zero, if only because no one in 
their right mind would buy one (and in many cases reale may now be 
forbidden by law). For many purposes, this group also includes VW 
dealerships, which are stuck with inventory they'll never be able to 
sell, furious owners who will look to the dealers for satisfaction, and 
little incentive to trust that sticking with VW will serve them well. On 
the contrary, many may be thinking about how quickly they should sue VW.


The flipside of VW's software trick is hardware -- or, rather, the lack 
of it. VW can patch the software, but doing so won't give their diesels 
the hardware needed to integrate urea additives: not in the engine, not 
in the fuel system, and not in the body panels. Recalling all those cars 
to retrofit such a system is almost certainly impossible: it'd be 
prohibitively expensive *and* far beyond the capability dealers' repair 
shops. So those vehicles -- 11 million of them and counting -- are 
damaged goods. They will *never* be able to meet environmental 
regulations. That means either (a) they'll need to be taken off the road 
or (b) environmental regulations will need to be rewritten to include a 
carve-out for VW diesel owners. Setting manufacturer-specific rules like 
that would be a disastrous precedent with huge political opposition, but 
to in effect 'reward' VW's systematic malfeasance would be a 
catastrophe. And who would support it? The other manufacturers? Not 
likely. Owners of non-VW cars? Not likely. The incentives for 
politicians and administrators to be seen as coming down hard on VW seem 
much greater than the incentives to come up with a flexible interim 
solution.


And then there's the minor matter of *how* to patch these cars.

If VW patches the software so that cars *always* run in 'dishonest' but 
comparatively clean emissions test-mode, their performance and mileage 
will immediately be seriously degraded. Owners will have little 
incentive to comply with that, if only because of the cost. And in most 
setting car inspections are still a pretty grimy, results-oriented 
business, so the automated machinery isn't up to the task of confirming 
software patches. Alternatively, if VW patches the software so that it's 
'honest' but dirty, the cars won't pass emissions inspections. Given the 
fact that compliance inspections are usually an annual process, there's 
a *very* short window for resolving this issue. That window will open, 
if you like, as regulatory agencies at different levels begin to issue 
ad-hoc rules

***SPAM*** Re: VW

2015-09-25 Thread morlockelloi
Consumers have been at the mercy of technology vendors for a long time. 
The novelty here is that it is the government that found itself in the 
subordinate role.


The lowdown is that the technology one doesn't fully understand and have 
full transparency into ("user") can and will screw you, and no amount of 
regulations can change that. Anything with software is especially 
insidious in this sense, as for most users it is impossible to fully 
grasp it.


The upside is that this enables multiple centers of power (from startups 
to VW), so in a way we are entering the age of pre-feudal fiefdoms. 
Whether the government model will prevail or not depends on how much 
power the illiterates have. I wouldn't hold my breath.



On 9/25/15, 12:01, t byfield wrote:


A few thoughts about the VW scandal

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