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How YouTubers turned running for London mayor into content | London mayoral election 2021

Voice Of EU



Niko Omilana will not be elected mayor of London next week. But the 23-year-old YouTuber prankster and mayoral candidate, who is polling just behind the Lib Dems and the Greens, is still likely to emerge from the contest as a winner.

“Content is his priority,” said Omilana’s manager, Grace O’Reilly, who happily accepts her client has no chance of beating Labour’s Sadiq Khan. “In terms of the cost of his campaign, it’s an investment for him. There’s no profits to be made off the back of it but with the marketing there’ll be a lot more brands interested in Niko Omilana.”

In the case of London’s mayoral election, individuals can in effect buy access to media outlets consumed by about a sixth of the UK’s population by paying a £10,000 deposit – a large sum for an individual to lose but potentially more justifiable as a business expense.

In return, they could choose to use the mayoral run as the backdrop for a series of prank videos for loyal viewers, to gain subscribers for their YouTube channel that can later be monetised through advertising, or to gain an endorsement deal.

“Niko has always been very good at knowing what his audience like watching him do. This is him just extending this into a long project,” said Hussein Kesvani, who hosts the Ten Thousand Posts podcast about online culture. He said YouTubers were always on the lookout for unique content that their rivals find it hard to offer: “Anyone can replicate a YouTube video eating spicy noodles, but not anyone can replicate running for mayor.”

The UK has a long history of no-hope electoral candidates running in the knowledge they will lose, ranging from Lord Sutch to Bill Boakes and the recently revived Lord Buckethead. They thrived on being the quirky “and finally” feature on local news coverage of byelections, enjoying their 15 minutes of fame by standing alongside a major party candidate as the results were read out on television.

What is different about the new crop of YouTubers is that standing for election can be just another piece of content to engage the public with other projects. In an economy built on attention, the democratic process can provide a shortcut to media success.

A video of Omilana “pranking” the BBC by demanding an interview outside their headquarters – the BBC says it was always happy to interview him but he turned up unannounced – has attracted more than 5m views in a week, many more eyeballs than watch leading BBC news bulletins.

O’Reilly said her client would next week use his audience to promote other younger political voices from diverse backgrounds and step up his criticisms of the mainstream political media: “This is the beginning of a content series that will see Niko throw his weight behind causes he cares about – what better way to start than a mayoral run?”

The flipside of the YouTube-driven mayoral candidates is Brian Rose, a 49-year-old American whose heavy spending on paid adverts has made him ubiquitous on the video site. He spent years building an audience for his London Real series of YouTube interviews, before pivoting over the last year to long discussions with the conspiracy theorist David Icke and other anti-lockdown content. He says he will not be getting vaccinated because he does not consider himself at risk from Covid-19.

Unusually for a man who insists he will be running the UK’s capital city next week, many of Rose’s paid YouTube adverts are promotions for forthcoming self-improvement business training courses that he sells for thousands of pounds. These have been dogged by negative reviews.

“There’s hundreds of people with the same complaint who are disappointed with the promises he made,” said the property developer Michael Magee who paid $3,000 to Rose’s company for a webinar course and now runs a Facebook group for people seeking refunds. “He is doing this [mayoral campaign] to raise his profile so he can promote more courses and get more people turned on to Brian Rose.”

Rose denies this, says the standards of his courses are very high, and that there is just a “small percentage of people, like [with] any business, who aren’t happy”.

Like any YouTuber, he understands the importance of attention-grabbing talking points and received press attention after he drank his own urine on camera last week: “At some point I thought, what am I scared of? It won’t kill me. I actually think this shows why I’m the best candidate, I’m open to new ideas. I don’t do it regularly. I don’t have to always be right.”

Despite trailing Omilana in the polls (“the polls are a 20th-century instrument for measuring 21st-century attitudes”) mysteriously large bets have been placed on Rose to shorten his odds and make him second favourite at some bookmakers.

Although YouTubers and influencers are unlikely to break through during this UK electoral cycle, they have already had success in Brazil and elsewhere in the world as part of a long-term drift in media audiences.

Max Fosh, another YouTuber running for London mayor, is largely using it as a source of fresh material for videos trolling fellow candidate Laurence Fox. He urged people not to vote for him (“I would make a terrible mayor”) but said journalists often misunderstood the site’s power and dismissed it as a youth fad: “The places where people are being influenced are changing.”

The site rewards loyal followings built around strong connections with individuals, which can transfer into politics. He said politicians could succeed on the site if they wanted to: “It’s very simple. It’s making content that people want to watch. There’s no smokes and mirrors.”

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Molly Russell inquest: social media ‘almost impossible’ to keep track of, says teacher | UK news

Voice Of EU



The headteacher of Molly Russell’s secondary school has told an inquest into the teenager’s death it is “almost impossible” to keep track of the risks posed to pupils by social media.

North London coroner’s court heard of the “complete and terrible shock” at Molly’s school after the 14-year-old killed herself in November 2017. Molly, from Harrow in north-west London, killed herself after viewing extensive amounts of online content related to suicide, depression, self-harm and anxiety.

Sue Maguire, the headteacher at Hatch End high school in Harrow, was asked how difficult it was for a school to stay on top of dangerous social media content.

She said: “There is a level where I want to say it is almost impossible to keep track of social media but we have to try, and we have to respond to the information as we receive it.”

Describing the school’s “shock” at Molly’s death, Maguire added that teachers had warned students about the “dangers of social media for a long time”.

She said: “Our experience of young people is that social media plays a hugely dominant role in their lives and it causes no end of issues. But we don’t present a stance that they should not use it. But it presents challenges to schools that we simply didn’t have 10 or 15 years ago.”

Oliver Sanders KC, representing the Russell family, asked Maguire whether the school was aware of the suicide and self-harm-related content available to students on sites such as Instagram.

Maguire said: “At the time, we were shocked when we saw it. But to say that we were completely shocked would be wrong because we had been warning young people about the dangers of social media for a long time.”

The deputy headteacher, Rebecca Cozens, who is also head of safeguarding at the school, told the inquest once young people had gone “down the rabbit hole” on social media, it was a “deep one”.

Asked by Sanders whether there was an awareness of the type of material Molly had engaged with, Cozens said: “I don’t think at that time an awareness of the depth of it and how quickly it would snowball … and the intensity then, when you’re going down that rabbit hole it is a deep one.”

On Monday a senior executive at Meta, the owner of Instagram, apologised after acknowledging that Molly had viewed content that breached the platform’s content guidelines. Elizabeth Lagone, the head of health and wellbeing policy at Meta, said: “We are sorry that Molly saw content that violated our policies, and we don’t want that on the platform.”

Last week an executive at Pinterest, another platform Molly interacted with heavily before her death, said the site was not safe when the teenager used it.

The senior coroner, Andrew Walker, told the Russell family he would deliver his conclusions by the end of the week.

  • In the UK, the youth suicide charity Papyrus can be contacted on 0800 068 4141 or email, and in the UK and Ireland Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123, or email or In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 or chat for support. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis text line counsellor. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at

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Microsoft to kill off old access rules in Exchange Online • The Register

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Microsoft next month will start phasing out Client Access Rules (CARs) in Exchange Online – and will do away with this means for controlling access altogether within a year.

CARs are being replaced with Continuous Access Evaluation (CAE) for Azure Active Directory, which can apparently in “near-real time” pick up changes to access controls, user accounts, and the network environment and enforce the latest rules and policies as needed, according to a notice this week from Microsoft’s Exchange Team.

That might be useful if suspicious activity is detected, or a user account needs to be suspended, and changes to access need to be immediate.

“Today, we are announcing the retirement of CARs in Exchange Online, to be fully deprecated by September 2023,” the advisory read. “We will send Message Center posts to tenants using client access rules to start the planning process to migrate their rules.”

CARs is used by Microsoft 365 administrators to allow or block client connections to Exchange Online based on a variety of characteristics set forth in policies and rules.

“You can prevent clients from connecting to Exchange Online based on their IP address (IPv4 and IPv6), authentication type, and user property values, and the protocol, application, service, or resource that they’re using to connect,” according to a Microsoft document from earlier this year.

For example, access can be granted to Exchange resources from specific IP address, and all other clients blocked. Similarly, the system can filter access to Exchange services by department or location, or based on usernames.

Microsoft announced the replacement CAE in January, touting its ability to act fast on account revocation, disablement, or deletion; password or user location changes; the detection of nefarious activity; and other such updates, according to a blog post at the time by Alex Simons, corporate vice president of product management for the Windows giant’s identity and network access division.

“On receiving such events, app sessions are immediately interrupted and users are redirected back to Azure AD to reauthenticate or reevaluate policy,” Simons wrote. “With CAE, we have introduced a new concept of zero trust authentication session management that is built on the foundation of zero trust principles – verify explicitly and assume breach.”

With this zero-trust focus, session integrity – rather than a set session duration – is what dictates a user’s authentication lifespan, we’re told.

CAE not only aims to give enterprises greater and more immediate control over access and events, but users and managers may appreciate the speed at which changes are adopted, Microsoft claims.

“Continuous access evaluation is implemented by enabling services, like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Teams, to subscribe to critical Azure AD events,” Microsoft added earlier this month. “Those events can then be evaluated and enforced near real time. Critical event evaluation doesn’t rely on Conditional Access policies so it’s available in any tenant.”

Critical events can include a user account being deleted or disabled, a user password is changed or reset, or multifactor authentication is enabled for a user. There also are other events, such as when an administrator explicitly revokes all refresh tokens for a user or a rogue insider is detected by Azure AD Identity Protection.

Finally, for workload identities, CAE enforces token revocation for workloads, among other things, according to Microsoft. ®

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EU proposes new liability rules around AI tech to protect consumers

Voice Of EU



The current EU rules around product liability are more than 40 years old, meaning they do not cover harm caused by drones and other AI tech.

The European Commission has outlined a set of new proposals to enable people who are harmed by AI tech products to seek and receive compensation.

The proposals were published today (28 September). They are designed to comply with the EU’s 2021 AI Act proposal, which set out a framework for trust in AI-related technology.

Today’s AI Liability Directive aims to provide a clear and comprehensive structure for all Europeans to claim compensation in the event they are harmed by AI tech products, such as drones and robots.

The EU’s directive includes rules for businesses and consumers alike to abide by. Those who are harmed by AI products or tech can seek compensation just as they would if they were in harmed any other way.

The rules will make it easier for people who have been discriminated against by AI technology as part of the recruitment process, for example, to pursue legal action.

An example of harm that may be caused by tech products is data loss. Robots, drones, smart-home systems and other similar digital products must also comply with cybersecurity regulations around addressing vulnerabilities.

The directive builds on existing rules that manufacturers must follow around unsafe products ­– no matter how high or low-tech they are.

It is proposing a number of different strategies to modernise and adapt liability rules specifically for digital products. The existing rules around product liability in the EU are almost 40 years old, and do not cover advanced technologies such as AI.

European commissioner for internal market, Thierry Breton, said that the existing rules have “been a cornerstone of the internal market for four decades”.

“Today’s proposal will make it fit to respond to the challenges of the decades to come. The new rules will reflect global value chains, foster innovation and consumer trust, and provide stronger legal certainty for businesses involved in the green and digital transition.”

Vice-president for values and transparency, Věra Jourová, said that for AI tech to thrive in the EU, it is important for people to trust digital innovation.

She added that the new proposals would give customers “tools for remedies in case of damage caused by AI so that they have the same level of protection as with traditional technologies”. The rules will also “ensure legal certainty” for the EU’s internal market.

As well as consumer protection, the proposals are designed to foster innovation. They have laid down guarantees for the AI sector through the introduction of measures such as the right to fight a liability claim based on a presumption of causality.

The AI Liability Directive will need to be agreed with EU countries and lawmakers before it can become law.

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