Category Archives: IT

Opposed to Fry

The Guardian placed an interesting piece regarding Stephen Fry. This is a good thing, it is always nice to see the point of view of a truly intelligent person, even if I do not entirely agree. This is what happens in an intelligent world, one gives a good point of view and the second person opposes it, or agrees with it. In a true interactive dialogue, the problems of the world could be solved in such manner, which is why it tends to be really sad when politicians avoid that approach slightly too often. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/28/stephen-fry-facebook-and-other-platforms-should-be-classed-as-publishers) gives a few nice gems to start with: “Stephen Fry has called for Facebook and other “aggregating news agencies” to be reclassified as publishers in order to stop fake news and online abuse spreading by making social media subject to the same legal responsibilities as traditional news websites“, this is a good start, but here is also the foundation of my disagreement.

You see ‘Facebook and other “aggregating news agencies”‘ gives us a point, in my view Facebook is not an aggregating news agency. It is a social media outlet and as such, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, Reuters, CNN and a whole host of other providers push their articles to Facebook, often just a small eye catcher with a link to their web page. People can use ‘like‘ and ‘follow‘ and as such the news appears on their time line. This is mere facilitation. Do not get me wrong, Stephen Fry makes good points. In my opposition I would state that it makes more sense to go after the tabloids. Until they clean up their act with the innuendo and their not ‘fake’ but ‘intentional misrepresented‘ news, news that is miscommunicated in such ways to create emotional waves. They need to lose their 0% VAT option, that should be reserved for ACTUAL NEWSPAPERS. You see, these tabloids also use the social media as a projecting outlet. In all this Facebook merely facilitates. The second quote is “Fry accused social media platforms of refusing to “take responsibility for those dangerous, defamatory, inflammatory and fake items whose effects will have legal consequences for traditional printed or broadcast media, but which they can escape”“, I find it a lot harder to disagree with, although, when was the last time tabloids were actually truly fined to a realistic amount, an amount where the fine is set to the revenue of a week of published papers? You see when you have 2 billion users, you will get waves of fake news, or false information. There are no numbers, but consider that with 2 billion users, you are looking at 250 million to 1 billion added events per day, how can this be policed? Now, algorithms to police the use of certain words and that could help to some degree, yet the abusers of the social media system are getting clued in too. So they are getting good at avoiding triggering the software by avoiding words that flags them. In addition, when it is done via fake accounts, how can anything be stopped?

Fry makes a good case, yet I think he is not seeing the scope and amount of data involved. In addition, we see “At the moment, they are evading responsibility for their content as they can claim to be platforms, rather than publishers. Given that they are now a major source of news for 80% of the population, that is clearly an absurd anomaly“, he is completely correct, yet the users of Facebook have the option to not watch it or to not accept it on their timeline. Doesn’t that make it a choice of freedom for the users of Facebook? I have in the past needed to block content from a ‘so called‘ friend, merely because of the amount of BS he was forwarding. It was fixed with a mere click of the button. This is not an opposition towards the point Stephen Fry is making, but an answer on how some people could deal with it. In this equation we have the number of people on Facebook, there is a variable that takes into account the amount of BS we get from tabloids, and you better believe that they are active, via ‘stories’ and via advertisement. The advanced options of granularity that Facebook advertisements offers is the reason why those tabloids want to be there and the tabloid group outside of the UK is massively larger than the disgusting size of the UK tabloids is and they are all offering their links on a global scale.

Can Facebook be held to account? Well, to a certain level they can, you see, the actual propagator of events needs a Facebook account. When information is limited to an audience, the impact is lessened. So as Facebook users can no longer send information to friends of friends, only to friends, we have lost an iteration, this could be the difference between 500 people getting the news (fake or real) or the impact that this news goes to 250,000 people, when the addition is that newsmakers can no longer forward it over timelines, but only to the one subscribed timeline, we will soon see a shift on the wave of messages. In addition, not only is the damage contained (to some degree), but as forwarding any post becomes an instance, there would be a much smaller list to police and the users forwarding the post would no longer be the facilitator, they would become the publisher. Facebook is kinda ‘off the hook’, but the user is not, they could to some degree be held to account for certain actions. It makes the events a lot more manageable. In addition, it could limit impact of events.

So here we see the optional solution to some degree. It must be clear that it is to some extent, because it merely drops the impact, it does not take it away. Stephen follows it all up by also making reference to the British Airways IT fiasco. We now see “Fry cautioned that the world’s reliance on digital systems would also inevitably prompt a cataclysmic cyber-attack and bring on a “digital winter for humankind”“, there is certainly a danger and an issue here. The question becomes which issue is in play? As we see Reuters giving us: ““Many of our IT systems are back up today,” BA Chairman and Chief Executive Alex Cruz said in a video posted on Twitter“, we need to realise that even as Terminal 5 was designed to deal with 35 million passengers, in 2015, the numbers give us ‘Terminal 5 handled 33.1 million passengers on 215,716 flights‘, this gets us the average of 91,000 passengers a day, for 590 flights. So there would be an issue for 3-4 days I reckon. That is just the one day impact. The issue that plays and the caution of Stephen Fry is that as we are unaware of why and how it happened, there is no guarantee that it will not happen again. One of the Guardian articles gives us: “The glitch is believed to have been caused by a power supply issue and there is no evidence of a cyber-attack, the airline said. It has denied a claim by the GMB union that BA’s decision to outsource hundreds of IT jobs to India last year was behind the problems“, which has two parts one is the power supply issue, which is a bit of an issue, the second one is outsourcing. The first one is weird, that is, until we know where that power issue was. If there is a server farm, the server farm would be an issue. At this point, the backup systems should have been working, which should if properly set up be in a secondary location. power issues there too? There are several points where the issue could impact, yet with proper setup and tested solutions, the impact should not have been to the degree it was. That is, unless this was done by the same team who ‘tried’ to give the NHS a new system about 5 years ago, if so then all bets are off. The outsourcing sounds nice when you are a union, but that would merely impact the customer service as I personally see it, so until I see specific evidence of that, I will call it a bogus claim by GMB.

The Stephen Fry issue was neither, he merely stated ‘digital winter for humankind‘, which is an actual danger we are facing more and more. You can judge that for yourself and test it. You merely have to switch off mobile data and Wi-Fi from your mobile for 24 hours. 99.992% will not be able to do that, we are that relying on getting fed digital information. We will offer a host of excuses; like ‘I need to be reachable‘ or ‘people need me non-stop‘. I see it as all bogus mentions of the fact that we are digitally too dependent. If you give these people the additional limitation of ONLY using the e-mail and office programs, the chaos is nearly complete. We are all 100% digitally dependent. That means that any damage to such an infrastructure will bring us distress. We then see “An extinction-level event … will obliterate our title deeds, eliminate our personal records, annul our bank accounts and life savings” which is only part of the quote, but this part has already been arranged for the people of the world, it is called Wall Street (remember 2004 and 2008).

The final part to address is the part we see combined in the article. “Fry also addressed the rise of big data, which has seen private companies competing for and using the personal data of millions for corporate gain, the gig economy of Uber and Deliveroo; the inability of governments worldwide to keep up with technological progress; and live-streaming services like Facebook Live allowing people to broadcast acts of violence and self-harm“, the three elements are:

  1. Rise of big data
  2. Keeping up with technological progress
  3. Live streaming towards violence and self-harm

There is no issue with the rise of big data, well, there is but the people are in denial. They are all about government and the optional alleged abuse of that data, whilst they give the green light to places like Facebook and other instances to do just that, and now they get to sell aggregated data. Yet, when we use a certain data property, where every person is 1, like a social security number or a insurance policy number, when every aggregated fact is founded on a population of 1, how aggregated are you then?

We know that governments are not technologically up to date. You see, the cost to get that done is just too high. In addition, governments and other large non-commercial organisations tend to not push or pursue policies too high, which is why the NHS had its Ransomware issues. We see Labour and socialistic parties on how it all needs to be about people programs, whilst they all know perfectly well that without proper infrastructure there would be nothing left to work with, they just don’t care! They need their image of creating jobs, whilst spending all the cash they have and pushing the government into the deepest debt to keep whatever lame promise they make and the next person gets to deal with the mess they leave behind. The lack of long term foresight is also the Achilles of IT, any IT structure needs a foresight of what is to be done next, by living in a fantasy ‘at the present’ setting, is why some politicians go into denial and in that case IT systems will falter over time and no one is set into the field of ‘let’s get this working properly’, the NHS is the clearest example, but not the only one, or the last one to buckle.

The live stream is the larger issue that has no real solution, that is until the numbers are dealt with. As larger facilitators get a handle of what is pushed online, resources open up to resolve certain issues. There will forever be a risk that certain live streams get through, yet the chances might be limited over time. In that, until the laws change, there remains a problem. Part of it is the law itself. The fact that a rape was streamed live, in it watchers saw Raymond Gates, who was accused in the attack and charged with kidnapping, rape, sexual battery and pandering sexual matter involving a minor. That person ended up with 9 years in jail, whilst he ‘enjoyed’ media limelight attention for many months. Marina Lonina, the person who filmed it all got ‘caught up in the likes’. The New York Times stated: “The defendants each face more than 40 years in prison if convicted“, yet in the end, yet the girl filming it got 9 months, the man doing the act got 9 years (source: CBC). So as we see, it seems that the act of live streaming is rewarded with an optional implied sentence reduction of 39 years and 3 months. So if the governments want to make change, I would suggest that they clean up their justice departments and get some proper convictions in place that will deter such live stream actions. In addition, if Marina Lonina would have been convicted with at least the 8 years in addition, so that she and the actual penetrator served the same amount, there might be a chance that live streaming of self harm will fall. There is no evidence that it will, but you get to solve the matter in small steps. Take away the ‘benefits’ of being merely the camera man or girl, the amount of events might drop too.

So here is my view and opposition of the parts Stephen Fry offered. He made good points and raising awareness of issues is always a good thing, especially if they are made by a person as renowned as Stephen Fry, but in all this dimensionality is still a factor. The response against issues (which I blogged earlier) on ‘tough new laws on extremist and explicit video‘, yet in all this, many transgressors will not get convicted and making it the problem of the facilitator, whilst the governments know that the law falls short is just blatantly stupid on the side of the governments. In the end, these people are not stupid, this track will continue for several years, whilst those politicians with: “the rules are not yet public and now enter what is known as “trialogue” – discussions between negotiators from the EC, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union“, gave rise to my ménage-a-trialogue label as this becomes a new EC gravy train which ends up coasting a boatload in lunches, meetings, hotels and flights whilst not resulting in any actual solution. Do you still think Brexit was a bad idea?

OK, my bad, this was not about Brexit, but the issue of laws and free speech have been on the agenda for the longest of times as ‘Strasbourg on March 24th, judges, journalists, lawyers and activists discussed the challenges facing the protection of free expression in Europe‘, there we saw that Helen Darbishire stressed on that event that “it is necessary that the judiciary in individual countries become more aware of European jurisprudence and standards“. If it is true that many countries are establishing regulations, transparency of public information is still far from being a reality. Yet when we consider that freedom of expression can be positive or negative and any hindrance of it goes via Strasbourg, the limitations faced cannot be pushed onto large corporations that facilitate. As the government leaves the field open to tabloids and even make them VAT exempt in the progress, a facilitator that comes with editors, writers and photographers, how can you push the blame onto a facilitation service that has been largely automated? And the worst of all, the governments pushing to place the blame in the other isle know this very well. As long as the debate goes on, they are ‘working on it‘ making the issue even worse.

So even as I oppose Stephen Fry to some extent, it was good and really interesting to read parts of his view (I was not at the event, so the Guardian might not have given me all he said), and as I read his view, I contemplated the views I had and tested them, that is what the views of an intelligent person does, they allow you to test these views against the views you have, which is awesome any given day of the week.

 

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In light of the evidence

We tend to accept facts and given situations whenever we have a reliable source and a decent level of evidence. The interesting side is that howling to the moon like a group of sheep hoping the lone wolf will not hear them is an equally weird revelation. The question becomes at that point, who is the lone wolf and who are the sheep, because neither position nor identity is a given. Now, for the first art, we have the Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/27/eu-theresa-may-combat-terror-brexit-europol), with the expected title ‘We need deal with the EU to combat terror, experts tell Theresa May‘, which of course gets them the DGSE, yet the usefulness of the rest becomes a bit of an issue. For this part we need to look somewhere else, and we will do that after the given quote in the mentioned article “Although our partnership with the US for intelligence sharing is extremely important, the fact is that the current terrorist threat is very much a European dimension issue. The Schengen database and knowing about who has moved where are all intimately dependent on European systems and we have got to try to remain in them“. This could be a valid and valued statement, yet is that truly the case? For this we need to take a little gander to another place of intelligence and Intel interest. The Cyber monkeys, or is that the cyber-mercenaries? The difference is merely a moment when you WannaCry 1.4. You will have heard, or perhaps read regarding the NHS as it was struck, here again we see: “However, it instead appears to be down to organisations and individuals failing to run keep Windows up to date“, which was actually voiced by NHS Digital, the failure of policies as they were not adhered to by IT staff, or at least those responsible for keeping those PC’s up to date with patches. The second quote given much earlier in the IT article is ““To be abundantly clear, the recent speculation concerning WannaCry attributes the malware to the Lazarus Group, not to North Korea, and even those connections are premature and not wholly convincing,” wrote James Scott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT)“, which is where I have been all along. The one nation that has less computer and internet innovation than a Nintendo GameCube sets this level of hardship? It is just too whack for thought. It is the quote “At best, WannaCry either borrowed heavily from outdated Lazarus code and failed to change elements, such as calls to C2 servers, or WannaCry was a side campaign of a minuscule subcontractor or group within the massive cybercriminal Lazarus APT” that changes the game. In addition we see: “The publication referred to “digital crumbs” that the cyber security firm had traced to previous attacks widely attributed to North Korea, like the Sony Pictures hack in late 2014″, we will exclude the quote “Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth has said Labour would invest an extra £5 billion into new IT infrastructure for the NHS, after hospitals and services were affected by the widespread Ransomware attack on Friday“, especially as Labour had in the previous government wasted £11.2 billion on an IT system that never worked, so keeping them away from it all seems to be an essential first.

The issue is now in several phases. Who got hit (those not updating their systems). It affected according to some sources thousands of systems, yet when it comes to backtracking to a point of origin, the Cyber Intelligence groups remain unclear. The IT article (at http://www.itpro.co.uk/security/28648/nhs-ransomware-north-korea-may-not-be-behind-wannacry), gives us a few things, yet the clear reference to the Guardians of Peace, the identity the hackers had given themselves in the Sony event gives a few additional worries. Either this is clearly a mercenary group without identity, or we have a common new issue on identity when it comes to Cyber criminals. You see, as we see more and more proclaiming the links between the Lazarus group and North Korea, we do not get to see a clear link of evidence. Many sources give us ‘could be linked‘, or ‘highly likely‘, which is an issue. It makes the evidence too shallow and circumstantial. The NY Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/technology/north-korea-ransomware-attack.html) yet they are basically stating what Symantec game us and mention that. My issue here is “But the hackers left behind a trail of digital crumbs that Mr Chien and his colleagues had traced to previous attacks by the Lazarus Group“, what if the crumbs were an intentional side? You see, the quote “another group of hackers that call themselves the Shadow Brokers published the details of National Security Agency hacking tools that the WannaCry hackers were able to use to add muscle to their attacks” give a different light. The fact that there is a team reengineering tools and flaws to get somewhere fast is one. We have seen the lack of actual cyberpower of North Korea in the past, the fact that they are regarded on the same level as Chinese Cyber forces is a bit silly. You see, any country has its own level of savants, yet the fact that North Korea, a nation as isolated as it is, gets to be on par with China, an actual superpower that has Cyber infrastructures, experts at the University of Shanghai (the white paper on cracking AES-256, 2001), as well as a growing IT technology base is just a little too whack.

This now reflects back to the European need of Schengen. The UK needs quality intelligence and with the US breaches of Manchester, the fact that no high quality evidence was ever given regarding the Sony Hack, the growing source of all kinds of hacker names and no validity or confirmable way to identify these groups leaves us with a mess that pretty much anyone could have done this. In light of the NSA flaw finders, there is now more evidence in the open giving the speculative hacker as one with skills that equal and surpass people graduating with high honours at MIT, than anything North Korea could produce. It does not put North Korea in the clear (well the fact that the generals there had no comprehension of a smartphone should be regarded as such), and as we see the entire Bitcoin go forward, we need to take more critical looks at the given evidence and who is giving that evidence. We all agree that places like Symantec and Kaspersky should be highly regarded, yet I get the feeling that their own interns know more about hacking then the sum of the population of all North Koreans do, which is saying a lot. We see supportive evidence in the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/wannacry-ransomware-attack-oddities-2017-5). Here we see IBM with “IBM Security’s Caleb Barlow, researchers are still unsure exactly how the malware spread in the first place. Most cybersecurity companies have blamed phishing emails — messages containing malicious attachments or links to files — that download the ransomware. That’s how most ransomware finds its way onto victims’ computers. The problem in the WannaCry case is that despite digging through the company’s database of more than 1 billion emails dating back to March 1, Barlow’s team could find none linked to the attack“, one billion emails! That is what we call actual evidence and here IBM is claiming that the issue of HOW the malware spread remains a mystery. Now, can you see that the entire North Korean issue is out of touch with the reality of Common Cyber Sense and Actual Cyber Security? Two elements, both are essential in all this. It is the lack of actual evidence that seems to be the issue, giving us the question, who wants the North Korea issue propagated? Any answer here is more likely to be political than anything else, which now gives us additional questions on where for Pete’s sake the need of European Intelligence remains as they fall short of providing answers. In light of the Schengen database. Why would that not be shared? If the US has access as a non-European, non-EC nation, why would the UK, a clear European nation be barred from access? With all the flawed acts by the US, having actual professionals look at Schengen data, seems to be an elemental first, would you not agree?

An additional question would be on how these Bitcoins would be cashed, it is not like an isolated nation like North Korea ever had a flying business in Bitcoins in the first place. It is actually (yes, I am shocked too), that quality information comes from PwC. In this case Marin Ivezic, a cyber-security partner. He gives us “EternalBlue (the hacking tool) has now demonstrated the ROI (return on investment) of the right sort of worm and this will become the focus of research for cybercriminals“, which would be a clear focus for veteran cyber criminals, yet the entire re-engineering foundation gives another slice of circumstantial evidence that moves us actually away from North Korea. So in this we have two elements. As the FBI and CIA have been all about pointing towards North Korea, the question becomes, where do they not want us to look and whatever else do they not have a handle on? These points are essential because we are shown an elemental flaw in Intelligence. When the source is no longer reliable, why would they be around in the first place? We can agree that governments do not have the goods on Cyber criminals, because getting anything of decent value, tends to require inside knowledge, which is the hardest to get in any case, especially with a group as paranoid as cyber criminals. The second side is that China and Russia were on the list as one of the few abled parties to get through Sony, yet Russia has fallen of the map completely in the last case, that whilst they are actually strengthening ties with North Korea. That does not make them guilty, yet on the sale required Russia was one of the few with such levels of Cyber skills. The fact that we see in the NY Times that it is too early to blame North Korea is equally some evidence, it gives vision to the fact that there are too many unknowns and when IBM cannot give view of any mail that propagated the worm, gives additional consideration that there are other places who cannot claim or show correctly how the worm got started, which is now an additional concern for anyone altering the work for additional harm. As the point of infection is not known, stopping the infection becomes increasingly difficult, any GP can tell you that side of the virus. There is one more side I would like to raise. This comes from a source (at http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/59458/breaking-news/wannacry-linguistic-analysis.html), it is not a journalistic source, or a verified source, so please take consideration that this news could be correct. It is however compelling. The quote ““The text uses certain terms that further narrow down a geographic location. One term, “礼拜” for “week,” is more common in South China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Singapore. The other “杀毒软件” for “anti-virus” is more common in the Chinese mainland.” Continues the analysis “Perhaps most compelling, the Chinese note contains substantial content not present in any other version of the note, is lengthier, and differs slightly in format.” The English note of the ransomware appears well written, but it contains a major grammar mistake that suggests its author is either not a native speaker or possibly someone poorly educated“, that would make sense, yet how was that source acquired?

The second quote: ““Given these facts, it is possible that Chinese is the author(s)’ native tongue, though other languages cannot be ruled out,” Flashpoint concluded. “It is also possible that the malware author(s)’ intentionally used a machine translation of their native tongue to mask their identity. It is worth noting that characteristics marking the Chinese note as authentic are subtle. It is thus possible, though unlikely, that they were intentionally included to mislead.” The Flashpoint analysis suggests attackers may have used the Lazarus code as a false flag to deceive investigators, a second scenario sees North Korean APT recruiting freelance Chinese hackers to conduct the campaign” gives us a few elements, the element of misdirection, which I had noted on from other sources and the element that North Korea is still a consideration, yet only if this comes from a freelance hacker, or someone trying to get into the good graces of Pyongyang, both options are not out of the question as the lack of Cyber skills in North Korea is a little too well set from all kinds of sources. The writer Pierluigi Paganini is a Cyber professional. Now even as Symantec’s Eric Chien is from California, did they not have access to this part and did no one else correctly pick up on this? As I stated, I cannot vouch for the original source, but as I had questions before, I have a few additional questions now. So, exactly how needed is European Intelligence for the UK? I think that data should be shared within reason. The question becomes, how is Schengen data not shared between governments? The Guardian gives us “After the Manchester attack, which killed 22 people and left dozens of others grievously injured, it was revealed that suicide bomber Salman Abedi had travelled back to England from Libya via Turkey and Dusseldorf four days before the attack“, so how reliable is Turkish intelligence in the first place? How could he have prepared the bomb and get the ingredients in 4 days? There is an additional view on ISIS support active in the UK, yet as we now see that this drew attention to him, why on earth was the trip made? Also, was Libya or Mecca the starting point (source: claim from the father in earlier Guardian article)? How would sharing have resolved this?

Now look at this in light of the US leaks and the Cyber Intelligence of a dubious nature. There is a growing concern that the larger players NSA, DGSE, GCHQ have flaws of their own to deal with. As they are relying more and more on industry experts, whilst there is a lack of clear communication and reliable intelligence from such sources, the thoughts now become that the foundation of fighting terror is created by having a quality intelligence system that recognises the need for Cyber expertise is becoming an increasing issue for the intelligence branch. Should you wonder than, then reconsider the quote: ‘demonstrated the ROI (return on investment) of the right sort of worm and this will become the focus of research for cybercriminals‘, if you think that cyber jihadists are not considering the chaos that they could create with this, then think again.  They will use any tool to create chaos and to inflict financial and structural damage. They might not have the skills, yet if there is any reliable truth to the fact that the Lazarus group is in fact a mercenary outfit, there would be enough critical danger that they will seek each other out, that is providing that ISIS could bring cash to that table. I have no way of telling how reliable or how certain such a union could be. What is a known is that Sir Hugh Orde is not answering questions, he is creating them, as I personally see it. The quote “UK membership of EU bodies such as Europol and Eurojust, which brokers judicial co-operation in criminal cases, not only allowed access to huge amounts of vital data, but also meant UK police could set up joint inquiries with German police or those from other national forces without delay“. You see, the UK remains part of Europe and Interpol existed before the EC, so as we now see the virtual creation of red tape, the question becomes why the EU has changed rules and regulations to the degree that the UK would fall out of the boat. Is it not weird that the EU is now showing to be an organisation of exclusion? Even if we laugh on the ridiculous promises that Corbyn is making, just to be counted shows that there is a larger problem in place. Why is there suddenly a need for 1,000 more intelligence staff? Can we not see that the current situation is causing more issues then resolve them? As such, is throwing money and staff on a non-viable situation nothing less than creating additional worries?

The last part is seen in “The Schengen database and knowing about who has moved where are all intimately dependent on European systems and we have got to try to remain in them“, yet this does require all players to enter the data accurately, in addition, that only applies to people entering Schengen, yet as has been shown in the past, after that getting locations on people is becoming an increasingly difficult problem. The fact that after the Paris attacks, some people of interest were found to be in Belgium is one side, the fact that these people could have met up with all kinds of contacts on the road is another entirely. The truth is that the intelligence branch has no way of keeping track in such details. In addition we have seen that the list of people of interest is growing way beyond normal means and organising such data streams and finding new ways not just to find the guilty, but to decrease the list by excluding the innocent is growing in complexity on a nearly daily basis. And that is before the cyber mess is added to the cauldron of nutrition. There is at least a small upside, as the technology stream will soon be more and more about non-repudiation, there will be additional sources of information that adds the branches by pruning the list of people of interest. The extent of pruning is not a given and time will tell how this is resolved.

It all affects the evidence that the parties hold and how it is applied, it remains a matter of time and the proper application of intelligence.

 

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Explicitly exposed

There is an issue pushing to the forefront. In the upcoming elections, certain parties are playing a different game. The article ‘Facebook and YouTube face tough new laws on extremist and explicit video‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/24/facebook-youtube-tough-new-laws-extremist-explicit-video-europe) is showing a story that is not just incomplete, it is not telling us about certain dangers we all face and it is not coming from extremists. You might have missed it all and that is fine, but you need to be aware of the mess that some parties are increasing. The quote: “European Union ministers approved proposals from the European Commission on Tuesday“, now the article gives us that the rules are not yet public, because they are still talking about it, which is fine. Let those people get their act together before presenting it, I have no issue with that. It is the ‘trialogue’ part in the article that beckons view. The negotiators from the EC, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union are in the midst of this and we will at some point hear what is agreed upon. What I find utterly boggling is how the people were left in the dark regarding Article 50 for years (during the Grexit era) and we now see an overreaction regarding “forcing them to remove hate speech and sexually explicit videos or face steep fines“, now, I have no issue (within legal limits) on fines for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Yet what those players are not realising and not considering is that THEY themselves wanted the smartphone era, they wanted connectivity, they USED those options to get new taxation, new revenues and new technological iterations, yet they are in denial of the opposite side of the scales and there has never been a balance in any place of used technology where it applied. Yet they knew better! I know for a fact (from mere history books), that porn was not part of the first photograph ever taken, it was definitely part of the first 50 photographs taken in history. With movie the same way. There is Etruscan erotic art 900 BC and the clock goes back a lot further, so we knew that it would happen. Now for the most, it gets stopped, yet at times the filters fail. This is because there is a global wave, you see, the statistics gives us that in the recent past there was a total upload of 60 hours of movies EVERY MINUTE. That is just YouTube, there is no way to see how much the other channels in different formats operate at present. What these overreacting individuals seen to be oblivious about is the stuff that they find ‘objectionable’. They will happily steer away from every bogus sales and scam video uploaded as those do not show breasts, penises, vagina’s or suicide bombers. Video’s on how to get wealth with so much certainty. On how the next hype whilst getting your neighbours involved is not a Ponzi scheme. The list goes on, but they will not act there. Or how the people are fooled by ‘YouTube Marketing Training Scams‘. No, they do not care about the thousands that get fooled by slick pitches that could have fooled many in the actual industry. No, the tits are out and we see how the outrage is in a state of overreaction. You see, when these ‘commissions’ start getting traction, the players will suddenly find that these large corporations will insist on other solutions, and the commission will not be able to do that. Because on that point, privacy will actually stop. Now, when it comes to stopping some of the video low lives that exploit the people for personal greed, I will be in full support. Yet these European nations will then learn that they were alas unable to prosecute those people. The mere levels of hypocrisy here is just too sickening for words.

Now, we have two issues. Yes, we do want to stop extremist video’s and I feel 100% certain that Google wants that too. Yet video is about content and identifying an extremist video is a lot harder than one thinks. censoring 60 hours of movies every minute is just nearly impossible. If it is set to priority it will just be another way to stop net neutrality, because the advertisers would want to get checked first. Meaning that an engine of free speech will be taken away from the people. The question that everyone is skating around is the number of explicit video’s produced and where from, as well as the original and numbers of extremist video’s. Now consider the element of Extremism. What if it is an imam giving a Muslim lecture? How could we see that it was extremist in nature? There are so many outlets and methods of communicating these dangers that the setting is (as I personally see it) not about fines, or about stopping any of this. It is about setting a stage to gain control of a media, where the some and the fat cats want control. And in this specific setting Google and Facebook are not the fat cats on the menu. So who are these ‘ménage-a-trialogue’ people facilitating to? You see, when you realise the 60 hours of video a minute, the three examples given in the article are less than 0.000,000,23% of all uploads and that is merely for one day of uploads. This is as useless as trying to get gun control in the US, guns do not kill people, people kill people. So as the criminal offenders film their events and as we can see that it is statistically impossible to prevent this from happening, why are the three parties having large lunches, uncanny levels of expenditure and levels of remunerations that go beyond most incomes, why is this happening?

I believe that this is merely to set levels of control, levels that do not benefit anyone at all, perhaps the church, which would start an entirely different debate. We are already moving towards a new technological setting of non-repudiation online, but the levels of settings, whilst we also know that hackers can get online ending up leaving the blame with some innocent granny who has internet is just not the way to go. The articles do show my side as partial evidence in the final paragraph. As we see: “The proposals, which fall under the digital single market legislation, also include a quota of 30% of European films and TV shows on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Video, up from the 20% originally proposed by the EC“, so if this is about bandwidth and streaming, we now see a different picture. One, why the hell do I get to pay for some Netflix need, one that I do not want in the first place. And with “Member states will also be able to require video-sharing platforms to contribute financially to the production of European works in the country where they are established and also where they target audiences” we see that video sharing now comes at a price of funding other matters? How will that work? 50,000 students (likely that times 500), all creating their video channel, in a field of their passion, hoping to get discovered and actually make their passion a reality on real life on TV for all their audience to see on the large TV. So as they do this, why is there a need of funding?

Also, when we realise that this is already in play, why would Google need to give 20 hours a minute of streaming time to European films? Will that be free of charge? I am going with ‘NO’ as the answer from the movie creators, so this will be about money, about surcharging that will push the non-viability of net neutrality because it is now about limiting bandwidth with a value to the mandatory availability of other materials.

So as these players are explicitly exposed, their ‘balls to the wall’ so to say, we should request the names of the members of this obscene ‘ménage-a-trialogue’, so that we can get some art going. Perhaps we can get Lars von Trier to make some new work called ‘Nymphomaniac Politicologica’, or perhaps ‘For a few Terabytes more‘ with music from Ennio Morricone. You see, in a few second I added hours of European promiscuous non-explicit art of a European nature. I am willing to bet the house that these people would prefer to remain in the shadows, because that is seen when we consider the quote “discussions between negotiators” in a time when all those imaginative attaining politicians, this is a setting between negotiators? Who missed that part of the article?

Yet it is not all gloom and doom. The quote ““We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European films, protect children and tackle hate speech in a better way,” said Andrus Ansip, EC vice-president for the digital single market” is not one of negativity. Yet as the watching video’s options is set on a shifting scale. New connection methods, new stream utilising options and new ways to offer other materials is in the corner of innovation, keeping that door open is the only way that innovation hits us. The one element in all this is the data provider, that was the simplest of issues to figure out. The issue is however seen, not in Google or Facebook et al, it is seen in the facilitation of the data stream itself, the ISP and they know they cannot get to the stream provider as that person is in it for the money and that provider has local government protection. KPN in the Netherlands, BT in the United Kingdom, Telia in Sweden, Mobile providers all over the European states and so on. The moment they go anywhere near this is when they get cut from everything and the censor marketing police will shout fire, rape, help, whatever they will shout to get the limelight. In all this Netflix might need more bandwidth and better deals, so they will happily facilitate this path. I am merely wondering why Andrus Ansip is happy to facilitate his voice for all this. You see it is not up to YouTube to promote European films, it is up to the film maker to creatively facilitate marketing for their movie. So, perhaps it is less about the DataStream, perhaps it is in equal measure getting proper television to look beyond the Marvel movies. When I was a lot less old than today, I would watch Simon van Collum (Netherlands), Jo Röpcke (Belgium) and Barry Norman (United Kingdom). I would dream of becoming like them, making a living talking about movies. Alas, I never had that option and I happily reviewed Video Games for a decade. These people were giants and they fell away whilst no one filled those shoes. So for the internet to pick that up is a little bit a stretch. And as YouTube is probably one of the most innovative services of this century, we could start asking a few more questions regarding the push that we see here. So as we see the one element in this that can be answered immediately, we see “tackle hate speech in a better way“, which can be solved on the spot. Because my response here is a non-diplomatic: “Clean up the Criminal Justice mess you currently have, and properly identify and prosecute those shits!“. You see? The issue is now solved, yet it is not, because European law is an utter mess and as Strasbourg will do too little to tackle the option as it is too restrictive on free speech, we see that the European Commission is stopping their own European commission to achieve anything ground breaking. In all this, as I personally see it, for those who need it there is a fictive solution in retrenching net neutrality that is no longer neutral and the European Commission Gravy train could run for years on this element alone. So as we see this level of facilitation, the term ménage-a-trialogue is a lot closer to the truth than some consider it to be. And as long as those balls to the wall don’t make it to YouTube, we will see no result that is a solution or fair, European would merely be receiving a lot more Netflix, but at what price?

 

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Passion of the player

I have been in a state where I decided to have a second go at some of the games I have had for some time and to get a few of the achievements added to my profile. Because of the Microsoft issues outstanding, my Xbox One is switched off, even if it has one of the most treasured games in my history of gaming. There is something wrong in the Xbox Universe and the press is happy to ignore it, because they want the Microsoft Surface Pro advertisement revenue (or at least that is what I personally think it is). Yet, not to fret, the game I love is coming to PS4, so soon (I hope), I can rejoice and feel alive again. Last week I started to replay Arkham Knight on my PS4. I had not played it for some time and there were several achievements I never got. I got them now (not all yet) and I still think that Arkham Knight is one of the best, near perfect games made for the longest of times. There is only one mission (the ACP mission), where the maker of that mission should consider lobotimisation. Yet that is the only mission that is just too dumb for words. The game gives us a batman world that the batman lover will embrace. The game is just too awesome in too many ways. In addition, I had installed the DLC’s yet I had forgotten to check them, so as I restarted the game, I had 4 additional Arkham episodes to play. What a feeling of bliss that brought. The game has all kinds of issues to some, yet in all of this, I loved pretty much every moment of this game (except the ACP bungle). The feeling a truly good game brings is often overwhelming, which is why I tend to get really testy when some (read: Ubisoft) drop the ball and deprive their games of a legendary status when it was (as I personally see it) within their grasp. I actually stayed away from Wildlands, so that is not a title to consider for bad or for good. Yet I have seen too often how some parts could have made a difference with just a little more effort. Yet, you need to realise that this is what I personally see as ‘a little more effort’, yet after being into reviewing games since 1987, I have a good handle on how certain things could have been better. So when I state that Arkham Knight is near perfect, I am not trying to sway your eyes. Like any game it tends to go a little over the top at times, but the Batman feeling and even the Joker and Scarecrow (masterly voiced by John Noble) gives us a setting that will be hard to overcome. Yet, is that not part of the game, to surpass others? In this I get back to the silent release of Shadow of Mordor, which I initially ignored because it seemed to be some Lord of the Rings title. I have never been happier to have been proven wrong. I saw one small movie on YouTube and I ran to the city in record time. Shadow of Mordor is one of those ‘must have’ games if stealth is what you like. The game is balanced and gives options for the rowdy slasher and the silent throat cutter alike. The entire nemesis system gives the game a flair that is pretty unique and the fact that it is all in Mordor just adds to it all. The game is quite excellent, so as we move towards a bigger sequel called ‘Middle-earth: Shadow of War’ many players will move into the ‘ranger shivers’ stage as they want that feeling of bliss gaming. Where Ryse and Watchdogs fall short, these games deliver. That is the name of the game and Ubisoft has fallen short (read: not flopped) a few times too often. Ryse is also an important title to mention. You see, I did not go for it, mainly because of the ‘button press action sequences’ in the game. I loathe them. The graphics were good, yet there was a repetitive side to the game that was unsettling. The second wind rounds and a few other items that just take the joy away. Yet Ryse is important in another way. This I learned when I decided to watch the YouTube storyline. I was just curious on how bad the game was and that title was soon lost, because Ryse has one of the best storylines I had seen for some time, equal to Arkham Knight, the story lines we see, Ryse has a storyline that is more and captivating, the entire Damocles story is almost an epic Greek story, one that the God of War trilogy would have been proud to have. It is one element in a game that does not satisfy which makes me wonder, could a more visionary maker have taken Ryse and make it a legendary title for the history of the console? I personally believe that the answer is Yes, which is now also an issue, because with the upcoming and less trusted Scorpio and the PS4 pro are going to be reliant on very good titles. You see, the console that wins will be the one that brings the better games. Even as the balance has games like Diablo 3 on both, perhaps Diablo 4 at some point, it is the unique games that make for the push towards a console. I believe that outside titles like Death Stranding will push systems and we cannot wait for the impact of that experience. We seem to latch onto some games like God of War (4) and hope to see the same feeling that the first three gave us, yet the Scorpio will have tis own game list and some of those fans (like HALO linked games) are just as fanatical towards their passion. In this I have to mention that one of these underrated games, on the Xbox was Styx. Those who got it for free on Live: Gold should get the sequel, like the previous game it offers challenge and is again larger then the prequel. I, for one love stealth games and Styx delivers in a few ways that few do. Still there are more games and more options. It is just where you seek your entertainment. When it was introduced, my first thought was not ‘Awesome!’, it was, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ (that is apart from me not owning the IP that is), I am referring to Pokken Tournament. Think of a Tekken game and now replace them with Pokémon’s! Can you imagine, the population that is all Pokémon Go! and now gets to battle brawl, crush and batter your opponent using Pokémon’s?  It gets even better if you consider what could be achieved with a setting like that. Apart from the previous Pokémon Colosseum (GameCube), the idea to have an RPG where you have to actually fight in the game. Not just tactical, but in a more arcade setting? The fact that your grass type Pokémon has additional benefits on a grassy knoll is just awesome. That game could keep you busy for months on any next generation console. All this in ways we have never played or even considered playing Pokémon before. As we see the arrival of remaked games this year (System Shock and Elite Dangerous PS4), gamers are recognising certain older games that brought more joy than some ‘open world’ games today claim they bring. I still keep my Wii, because I would love to replay Metroid Prime (1 and 2) again some day. When you feel that deep about a game, you know that the game is well above certain levels. Consider those who loved the Ultima series of Richard Garriott, consider playing that game on a Skyrim engine. To explore Sosaria, a true open world with missions to find, but overall the game is to just live and grow the character you created, exploring based on a ‘central mission’ but one that grows and brings more and more travels and challenges over time. It is in that light I initially made a design that I named Elder Scrolls 6: Restoration. the light of artistic creation (in my case a story and storylines) is one we need to embrace. We all have our own way of growing our artistic side. If you consider this to be not true, then look up ‘GTA5 Story DLC’, the demand for this mentioned product is off the scales and that makes perfect sense for those who love GTA5. The need for more and new challenges is within us all and addressing that is what gives some games the extra desire. Diablo 3 and Shadow of Mordor have their own engine giving us new and different opponents. It is that variety of bosses and treasures that makes us go back to the game that offers it. I was playing Diablo 3 (still) a few weeks ago, only to get a legendary item I had never had before, giving that character (my Witchdoctor) a mojo and dagger that makes short work of opponents, even on Torment 4, which is a decent challenge in the best of days and a nightmare on others. I now finished a portal in 4 minutes on that level, a speed I have never even been close to even before. Those are the moments a gamer lives for, Blizzard and Bethesda have figured that out for some time and they have so far not stopped delivering to the gamers need. In that CD Project Red is another player who with Witcher 3 reached the acclaimed ‘legend’ status of game creators, in that, do you think that there is one gamer, who loves that genre of gaming who does not check for ‘Cyberpunk 2077′ on a nearly daily basis? In all this, the reviewer (as I was in the past) I have been careful not to dismiss genre’s I did not like. For example, I do not give a toss about GTA5, it is just not my game, yet I can clearly see the excellence and quality of that game. So even as I am unlikely to give it a 100% score, it doesn’t take a genius to see that it is clearly a 90%+ game. That insight is one I kept with me when I was reviewing games in my days. very few games made it to the 100% bar, in my time less than a dozen games got that score. One game that did get that score was Ultima 7, my favourite System Shock got 95% and System Shock 2 got 92% if I remember correctly. There is however a shift, as games got graphically better, and as PC systems were more and more depending on more expensive cards the way to correctly review a game changed. I accept that and I was no longer reviewing PC games before that happened, I think the last PC review was Thief 3, which required me to upgrade my Diamonds Lab card in 2003 just to play the game. It was an upgrade well worth it, yet the element of graphic cards had already grown in those days. Nowadays the issue is a serious one. when we now see that the main negative point of such a card would be that ’99 percent of gamers can’t afford it’, in this case the GeForce GTX Titan X card, we need to reconsider certain system for games. now, I am going for the very top, so there are definitely alternatives. It is the aftermath that now becomes more and more important. The idea that I have to give a lifeline of a mere 2 years to a card that would at present cost me an arm and a leg is an issue younger gamers need to realise early in the game. the idea that a gamer needs to reserve around $800 a year to keep his graphics card up to date is a little much. Oh and this is the top of the range, there are good cards that require $500 a year, so there is manoeuvring space. Yet, when you are passionate about a certain game. The idea that you cannot play it at 100% of possible, how does that go over? It is for that reason that I stopped chasing PC hardware. I believe that the console delivers good gaming. I accept that PC’s will always bring better results. Yet in consideration of a $600 console versus a $2500 medium gaming PC, versus a $6000 for an upper range gaming PC, what can you, or what are you willing to dish out? That has always been the issue, and I cannot answer for others, yet when we consider the bad luck PC gamers had with Arkham Knight, my view will remain with the consoles. Although, in fairness the GTA5 edition, is supposed to be worth all 60 $100 bills for a top level gaming PC. It is where your passion lies and who delivers the experience to the fullest.

There are still a few games coming in 2017 and many are counting the days for the release date, yet as we see a shift in consoles, the gamers who have moved to console will have to see how they will address their gaming needs. For me with Microsoft, the issue will remain that relying on a 1TB drive, whilst you have already been shown that this is not sufficient, there will be a blowback, especially as Sony has opted to give gamers the freedom to replace the Drive for a larger edition. Crunching on a mere $60 to give the gamer half the storage is just dumb, no matter how you slice it. It is even more silly when you consider their claim “With 6 Teraflops, 326GB/s of Memory Bandwidth and advanced, custom silicon, the Scorpio Engine is the most powerful console gaming processor ever created“, and now consider that the system would be able to crunch the entire drive in 3 seconds, what are they playing at? Now, in honesty, Sony offers the same drive size, but allows players to place a larger drive. More interesting, I can just move my PS4 drive in a new PS4 pro and start playing almost immediately (OS requires update I reckon), 100% more storage, an option Microsoft does not allow for. Now, again in honesty, Microsoft did offer the Xbox 1s with a 2TB drive and that is well worth it, so why not get 2TB or even 3TB of the bat? the difference between 2TB and 3TB is less than $50 ($80 from 1 to 3 TB), who would not go that distance to resolve storage issues for the better part of the lifetime of that console? I have done that with the two previous consoles and never regretted it, there was never a storage issue. That is comfort we pay for!

We gamers we have always paid for our passion to be one in comfort, I just do not get it when game makers are ignorant of that part, there is years of data and evidence supporting my view. So to all a good day of gaming, and for those chasing achievements on the games they love, may you get that truly rare achievement today, and if you get ‘The Dark Soul’ achievement in Dark Souls 3, then we all bow to you, oh game master!

 

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See Other Side

I am just looking at an article of last Saturday, and I have to be fair, I really liked Pamela Duncan and Cath Levett’s article (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/datablog/2017/may/20/general-election-2017-manifesto-word-count-in-data), now there will be a whole host of issues we could go into, yet the article is a nice read. Weirdly enough it is the part of the Lib Dems that stands out a little in a positive way. You see, in this age, they are the ones having a high usage of the word ‘support’. That does not mean that it is a good way (or a bad way), the fact that neither Labour or Conservatives have that word in their top 5 is an equal issue to make. Labour is all about ensure and we saw how that went over. the idea that they are using ‘ensure’ whilst they are about to push the UK well over a third of a trillion deeper in debt is a massive issue. The Tories are using it down the line as well, so in what way are the words used? You do not have to wonder or think of it too deep. Reading the manifesto is a first and I had loads of issues with the Labour one, the way it was made (secretive) the way they shouted when it leaked and the way they so easily want to make ‘promises’ whilst having no finds to do so. The UK will need at least another decade to get over their previous spending spree and the least said about bungling the NHS IT issues the better. It is interesting that UKIP was taken out of the consideration at all. That is because now in the age of Brexit, their next steps are actually interesting and required knowledge. It is the follow up of the party that advocated Brexit that is an essential. Do not think for one minute that the article does not matter, you see, the Facebook article (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/may/21/revealed-facebook-internal-rulebook-sex-terrorism-violence), shows that in a lot more detail. Facebook is no longer a mere facilitator. With the ‘Revealed: Facebook’s internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence‘ article on moderation, we see that there is a shift from moderation to opportunity creation. The quote “Yet these blueprints may also alarm free speech advocates concerned about Facebook’s de facto role as the world’s largest censor. Both sides are likely to demand greater transparency” is in the limelight here. The article gives us generic terms to illustrate, yet in a setting where the secondary lines are all about swaying, how does text and text analytics have any consideration of validity to censor or impede? In this the article skates near it in a sentence of life ending regarding President Trump. The reality is “they are not regarded as credible threats” is the jewel that cannot be ascertained by algorithms, for the mere reason that content is created, it tends to be a shifting wave not set in stone, making algorithms pretty useless. It is also why Google is focussing on AI, as with that, the ability to dimensionally set content becomes a close reality. In this another realisation is coming to light. The article gives us “Some photos of non-sexual physical abuse and bullying of children do not have to be deleted or “actioned” unless there is a sadistic or celebratory element“, consider that this gives the setting that bullying is to be condoned. One source stated: “The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming: Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts“, whilst Facebook is stating that it is not intervening in bullying. We can argue that there is the freedom of speech, yet the bulk of such bullying is done through fake accounts. Facebook is at present ‘reviewing more than 6.5m reports a week relating to potentially fake accounts – known as FNRP (fake, not real person)‘. That is a potential 350 million accounts a year, that is a little short of 17% of all Facebook accounts. We cannot fault Facebook here completely, as the quote “Facebook cannot keep control of its content,” said one source. “It has grown too big, too quickly.“, the ‘too quick‘ and ‘too big‘ have sunk large corporations before. It is the realisation of content that is at play. Another quote that matters, links to a May 1st article on dangerous content. The quote “the biggest and richest social media companies are shamefully far from taking sufficient action to tackle illegal or dangerous content, to implement proper community standards or to keep their users safe“. Which is pretty much the quote of Yvette Cooper, Labour MP. Yet in all this we ask how? Either the world becomes a censoring police state, or it allows as much freedom of speech and freedom of expression possible. Facebook and Google both have issues in this. By trying to facilitate they set up a situation that those not allowed to speak do so in almost extreme fashion. We know and were ‘sullied’ by political players regarding content. And in this ‘sullied’ is pretty much the way they set it. You see, the quote “Referring to Google’s failure to prevent paid advertising from reputable companies appearing next to YouTube videos posted by extremists“, which seems to be the correct description in a pig’s eye. the statement is true, yet the actual truth is that Google designed a online facilitation of advertisement allowing small businesses to gain proper and granulated visibility of what they offer to the interested audience at less than 10% of what printed media demands. Give me one example where that will not be exploited? And when it comes to explosive situations, lets remember Alfred Nobel who found a way to make working for tunnel diggers relatively safe. It was these crying governments who thought of using dynamite against people during acts of war was a good idea, so please Yvette Cooper, go cry me a river somewhere else, and please feel free to flush yourself like you are a cast member of Trainspotting; please please pretty please. In this Germany is not without fault either. The quote “In Germany, the report points out, the justice ministry has proposed imposing financial penalties of up to €50m on social media companies that are slow to remove illegal content“, Illegal where, and what is ‘slow to remove‘? All pointless statements in a proposition that is laughable. We can all agree that ‘illegal‘ content is to be removed, yet I think the Germans need to consider their high chair when we consider the issues regarding the CDU before Angela Merkel was in charge, the days of Christian Wulff has a few issues whilst he resigned and subsequently got acquitted in 2014. The press and government hid behind ‘since it was not clear who had paid for these holidays‘ should be an issue as there is a debatable consideration that they did not pay for it, you see for the bulk of all of us, when we go on holidays it tends to be a real dip in our daily cost of living. That might not be for everyone, yet when we see clarity of who did pay, there is a lot more going on. The entire Google matter gives rise to political games in favour of printed media who feels massively threatened, whilst Google has NEVER EVER been unclear of how their AdWords system worked and how you could maximise YOUR visibility. So when the part of ‘YOUR visibility‘ is a not so nice organisation, in a system that facilitates for millions, the damage could happen. It is a lot more complex than merely paying for a vacation using your bank card or credit card. Here, we now have content!

In this light, when we consider the elements and we go back to the first article “the parties will “ensure” that in “government” they will “work” to do “new” things that “support” you, the “people”.” it is a clear political message that can fit any of the three parties and that is what the writers set out to do. Yet what are the new things? Where are the funds coming from? How will it better your life? That is where the content is. Labour pushes you in even further debt, the Tories are trying to go one way, whilst you lose as little as possible, and that whilst trying to deal with large issues like the NHS and the debt. The Lib Dems want to be supportive of you as they have lost way too much to actually achieve anything. The manifestos are trying to sway you in the way they can and ways that are allowed. In this social media is the unspoken gun that will spray consequences on the choices of opponents and whilst they would like to guide you towards their base of choice, the censors are seeing a shift in methodology. In all this we see non political parties trying to play a similar game whilst ‘enticing’ you to ‘their’ places of ‘combat’, which in extremist views are actually ‘theatres of war’. In all this we see shifts as governments on a global scale (USA and Indonesia) are now on the verge of having to deal with people who return from Syria in a radicalised state. America in this has even more problems as Syrian and Iranian ties are getting stronger. This implies the dangers for America as this pool of radicalised people is an optional source for VEJA to see what damage they could to to America and more important, whether they could give pressure to Indonesia giving American Allies (read: Australia) more headaches that they are comfortable with at present. So where is that content? You see, as you might have seen in the past and in the media, content is created, it is created by setting a stage and let data be data, making the watcher nervous, or reactive, in social media is an absolute first to create large waves. The problem with censorship is that you create waves, whether you censor or not, by trying to create the waves in your favour you are also fuelling the opposition who could hurt you if intentional censorship is exposed. In this the attempt to ‘save’ the Trans Pacific Partnership is a clear monument of evidence how political players are there to ‘cater’ to big business whilst misrepresenting it as ‘labour rights and environmental protections‘ that whilst too many media outlets have already reported on how consumers will basically lose rights. So as we see that we keep an optional job, whilst having no say on where we spend our money and having no options to the amount we have to pay to get better, can you explain to me how that is a good thing for anyone else than big business? In this we now get back to Google. Yes of course they are in it for the money (to some extent), yet they have shifted the bar of technology 5 times in the last 7 years, whilst Microsoft has merely pushed the same bar forwards three times and making us pay for those new iterations. Does Google have issues? Of course it has, when you push out something as revolutionary as Google AdWords, things will happen and flaws will be found. You show me a windows version that got the bulk of basic parts correct after 29 iterations and you will be on the shortlist for receiving a Nobel price (they gave one to Barack Obama after all).

We all create content and whilst we saw on how the number of words might persuade us on how well any political manifesto was, we know that content was not given, mere curiosity (read: and it is still a nice article to read). We can agree that speech, whether elective or hate based is to address a group that will listen to them. in this there are points of technology (read: facilitation), yet in UK law there is an explicit defence for facilitation, as there is in almost every Common Law nation. In this we can clearly argue that there are issues to solve, nobody denies that, not even the technology firms. Yet do you want to live in a Microsoft world where it is merely iterative result of non fixed software that works, yet has issues and we get to pay for these flaws again or again, or are we willing to see Google solutions evolve where we have been introduced to new options, and amazing new boundaries as we moved from 3G, 4G and now towards 5G, with smartphone issues that Apple could not give in the last 4 versions of their iPhone. I got introduced to more invigorating options in 12 months of Google than I saw Microsoft show us in 15 years and that is whilst the Media remains very uninformative on non-consensual upload of data by Microsoft, that too is content!

In finality, consider the quote “Facebook also told MPs that it is is reviewing how it handles violent videos and other objectionable material after a video of a murder in the United States remained on its service for more than two hours“, whilst we need to consider the 2014 event of ‘Video of ISIS beheading U.S. journalist James Foley‘, the issue the CNN brought forward was: “The question is why taking it down is controversial at all. The answer, I think, shows how important services like Twitter have become, and how this has thrust unexpected responsibilities onto them“, it took years in court to deal with the Christian Wulff case as some would state it in a very unsatisfied way, whilst there is the raising of hell in light of certain videos? We can agree that some should not have gotten through, yet that is when we are in the emotional stage of not realising the size of technology involved. We should like the 2008 Facebook sex tape case conviction towards the poster of the video. Yet the political players know that this is a game that they cannot win, so it is easier to go after Facebook and Google, that whilst they rely on businesses to use these solutions to turn a few pennies, all knowing perfectly well that it is a cloud of facilitation. Is it merely because being linked to a large firm getting kicked is sexier that actually solving issues like age discrimination or giving suspended sentences on intentional fraud. When we are set in such an environment, can we trust anyone? We are all dealing with concepts of ‘facilitation’, ‘censoring’, and ‘technology’, at times on a daily basis. We all need to consider what is on the other side of that piece of paper, because when we consider that on page two of that news is an advertisement mentioning bogus scientific results? How criminal is the paper? and how will you take down printed advertisement? The elements here matter, because it introduces a term that has bearing, one that politicians have used for decades. In this they ‘hide’ behind the term “wilful blindness“, to remain ignorant intentionally of a situation is an issue, an issue that Yvette Cooper has been demonstrating in the response as given by the media. In equal measure can we accuse Microsoft of the same thing? The fact that some bugs that were seen in Office 95 and are still an issue in Office 2007, does that matter? That’s well over 12 years!

We ourselves also create content by not looking at the other side, which during the upcoming election is a bit of an issue, because, as I personally see it, Europe is in a new level of turmoil, one that it has not seen for several decades. It is also a larger issue as most nations have borrowed away the reserves they had. The safety netting is gone, which makes proper and complete information a lot more important than the previous 4 elections.

So lets not forget to see the other side, because when we are told: ‘look here’ the actual action that harms us is over there on the other side, in that it is my personal view, that in that regard all politicians are alike, and not one party has ever been ignorant of using that tactic.

In this business will go vastly beyond politics, because as the 5G waves start hitting us all, it will be about creating content, in this we will all look at the other side of the page and wonder about the validity, not because we want to, but because we have to. We will no longer have a choice in the matter.

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Where to focus?

This is an issue on the best of days, we are overwhelmed with information, real news, fake news and of course the Direct marketing waves that hit our internet eyes nearly 24:7. The internet is no longer some child, it is a grown adult and adults tend to lack a certain sense of humour, well the adult eyes of the beholder that is. Yet, what matters to us? When we move beyond the job that feeds you, the partner that … you and the family that gives you (usually) strength. When these things are dealt with, what matters next?

The fearful will look at North Korea, on how they are a threat and when we look at the Washington Post, a very respectable paper we see (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-north-korean-nuclear-threat-is-very-real-time-to-start-treating-it-that-way/2017/05/18/d60cbeec-39a4-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html) on how the threat is real. Even as we saw two failed launches, and in addition, we have yet to see anything from North Korea to get any missile that far (reaching the US), that an opinion piece states: “Stephen Rademaker, a principal with the Podesta Group, was an assistant secretary of state responsible for arms control and nonproliferation from 2002 to 2006“, so here we see the message, yet the core truth is: “The Podesta Group is a lobbying and public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C.. It was founded in 1988 by brothers John Podesta and Tony Podesta, it can be found at 1001 G Street, NW Suite 1000 W Washington, DC 20001“. Basically it is a marketing firm working a very niche market. Don’t get me wrong. I am not ‘attacking’ them, I would accept a position in such a firm any day of the week. Whether we call them marketeers, government strategy councillors or even diplomatic assistants, they are professionals and I do love working with professionals, especially in an environment I am not fully comprehensive of. You see, when you are out of your waters, most people tend to get to be a little apprehensive. Not me, it invigorates me, whether it is working as a document carrier for Faisal bin Abdullah, or Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, doing work for google (which has been one of the most mentally intoxicating and invigorating environments ever) or merely finding new data solutions, working through data and solving the puzzle I see. So is North Korea a real threat or a perceived one? The safe bet is too see them as a real threat as they have access to Uraninite. You see, the world tends to be a little more complex than that. Having the stuff is not enough, getting the delivery method working correctly is an entirely different matter. It can be by having people from Pyongyang masked as South Koreans attending international universities in science and engineering would be a first, which is not that far a stretch. I literally (by accident) I told this Korean student “Does your family still have that bar in Pyongyang?“, he turned pale and said ‘How did you know that?‘, which was not the response I was going for, but OK, such is life, full of surprises. So as you ponder this, wonder on how China has little or no worry. If North Korea ever actually launches a missile towards America, do you think that the President of the USA would not instantly retaliate (especially the current one), what happens to places like Shenyang (in China), also consider whatever hits the water will make fishing no longer an option for decades, Japan learned that the hard way, so there you have it. In addition, we have seen the North Korea military look at systems like they were magical and those were computers the current European generation laughs at. That can be corroborated by the press as they were on a North Korean press tour a little over a year ago. The ‘minders‘ of those groups had NEVER seen a smart phone. I think that North Korea talks a lot, but for now has no real byte. Now the last part of that the Podesta group is a professional organisation. So was it merely an opinion piece or was the article their business, business they charge for? I will leave you with that thought.

The older American would look at the danger of pensions, which we also see in the Washington Post (athttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/18/trumps-budget-calls-for-hits-on-federal-employee-retirement-programs), the article ‘Trump’s budget calls for hits on federal employee retirement programs‘ describes on how it impacts. The article is a really good read and gives me the feeling that US retirement plans are an awful mess, with the additional danger that they seem to be running dry slightly too soon, which is what you get with a 20 trillion-dollar debt I reckon. The quote “A preliminary budget document released in March called for a domestic discretionary budget decrease of $54 billion, with an equal increase for defense, homeland security and veterans. Nineteen 19 small agencies would be eliminated, along with their workforces“, the additional “Increasing the FERS employee contribution would result in the average federal employee losing nearly $5,000 per year in take home pay, that’s per year after the phase-in is finished, he estimated. “Phasing this outrageous pension cut in over several years does not make it any more palatable. If this change is made, federal employees will no longer have a secure retirement. Period.”” is even more food for thought. The one equaliser in American business has for the longest time been that those people had a secure retirement, when this is off the table the one part of quiet governmental officials was that there was a long term benefit, with that off the table the environment in government positions will change. Now, we might think that this is not a bad thing, but it will result in chaos, and when we have seen and known that the American infrastructure has no real way to deal with chaos in its ranks, we will see different whirly waves of discontent, a few will leave marks on everyone. So when we read “The budget proposal President Trump plans to unveil Tuesday would give to federal employees with one hand, while taking away with five others” is an interesting one and I reckon that when the full paper is released this coming Tuesday, the US national papers will give it high visibility, because the United States federal civil service has a total of around 3 million people, which is 1% of the US population, making it decently important to cater to them. Perhaps those trying to sell the change might have been better off talking to the Podesta group first?

For me, the news was not in a newspaper. It was found in Digital health article. It re-iterated the issue of ‘urgent change‘ I voiced in my blog yesterday. In there I showed the NHS digital part regarding the endgadget quote “NHS digital had notified staff on patches” which would have diminished the Cyber attack gives us two sides. One, would there have been diminished damage, because that would suffice as evidence. Yet in Digital health we see: “a small team of developers is recommending the health service reduce its reliance on Microsoft“, which is overall not a bad idea, yet the NHS is too big to just make a shift in policy like that. I would be in favour of a shift towards something a lot safer like Linux, but that requires expertise. Another option is to rely on an android option where the NHS is all about apps, equally optional, but it will require massive amounts of resources on programmers, testers, upgraders and cyber monitoring. All these options require a drastic shift in IT operations. When we accept that in too many places there is no minding the NHS IT store (by not patching) the dangers will increase. As I quoted: “It is also my personal belief that in many cases the person claiming ‘urgent action is needed’ is also the person who wants the ‘victim’ to jump the shark so that they can coin in as large a way as possible“, which is what we see right here in the article. Now consider the quote: “To demonstrate that there is a licence-free alternative, GP Marcus Baw and technologist Rob Dyke have adapted the open source Linux-based Ubuntu operating system specifically for the NHS. They call it NHSbuntu“. So why not just use the foundation called Ubuntu? I cannot judge the intent (noble or not), but consider that technologist Rob Dyke has to pay for rent and so much, where is his interest? Do not get me wrong, we should not just dismiss any idea that might work, yet will it? You see any IT environment needs oversight and maintenance. The NHS is in no position to make such drastic changes as it is short on basic needs (nurses and doctors), I do agree that the IT needs to be addressed, yet two Labour governments wasted the IT budget of close to 10 years, lets leave it alone until we can actually address solutions. In this, one additional quote from Beta News. they give us “The report reveals that 12.8 percent of non-Microsoft programs were un-patched in the first quarter of this year“. If patching is so important, and it is, why give voice to 12.8% of additional risk? As stated, I am no Microsoft fan, but it does work in the current NHS environment and if we believe NHS Digital and the trusts do actually patch their stuff, the danger would have been a lot lower. As the evidence is at present, this issue would have been addressed by mere policy and replacing those not adhering to it might be the cheapest and best solution. In all this IT News gives us one more part, the fact that Microsoft is actually releasing a patch for operating systems that are no longer supported is also evidence. I do not see it as merely “to protect the company’s customer ecosystem“, which is a decent answer if you believe that. You see they could have merely told the customers to freely upgrade to Windows 10. I believe that, as they state it “to protect users against NSA-derived ransomware“. I believe that someone has evidence on a Microsoft-NSA cooperation in the beginning of the data snooping age and somehow the makers of the Ransomware (less and less likely to be North Korean) got access to the information needed. I reckon that anyone upgrading will be removing the digital evidence on their computers of that event. If you doubt me, consider the quote in that same article “Current versions of WannaCrypt use two exploits leaked by the ShadowBrokers hackers, who gained access to systems at The Equation Group, which is linked to the United States NSA, last year“, if that is true, how did North Korea get this? If they are good enough to be allegedly part of the NSA (source: Kaspersky), how come that the bulk of the cyber intelligence world has no knowledge of North Korea being such a threat against a player like that? It does not matter how it got out. Whether it was a disgruntled ex-employee. Some hacker that got sucked and suckered by a honey trap, there are enough options nowadays. The reality is that somehow the intel got out. It is being addressed and fixed. It does not make the issue go away, it merely tells us that remaining up to date and properly patched was the way to go. Urgently addressing does apply to systems being reasonable up to date, which does mean that there are costs, pushing yourself away from Microsoft (not the worst idea) comes with a cost, one that the NHS cannot afford, no matter how ambitious it seems and they got plenty of that, especially with non working systems. So, lets not make that error twice!

So when you wonder where you need to focus, I am merely suggesting that when your private house is in order, consider playing a video game or watch a nice blu-ray. It seems to me that a balanced life is the most important thing you can arrange for yourself, let the circus play its game and decide not to watch every show they offer, in the end it could just be merely Direct Marketing.

Get what you actually need, not what others state you need!

 

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As a puppet

Have you been in a place where a person behind the screens is slowly shows his ability to give appeal? He is majestically moving his hands, not seen by anyone, hidden in shadow, yet the audience is delighted, the audience is watching a show of puppets, whether Muppet or Punch and Judy, the kids are in delight, at times, so are the parents. You see, the true master is not just about the posing or the dance of the puppets, as a master his voice give reign to banter, gossip in two layers, one that makes the children laugh and that makes the adults go: ‘Ha!’. The mark of of a savant. Yet, the bulk of them are not savants and in the political field there are at times a few people who are a lot less than savants and the media lets them, because the outrage created is what their circulation depends on. That was my view when I initially saw: ‘Doctors’ leaders accuse ministers of ‘callous disregard’ for the NHS’, a piece of work by the Health policy editor. We see a few things in the article and we all know that the NHS is in serious trouble. The part that stopped me was: “Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman, said: “Instead of £350m a week for the NHS, under the Conservatives we’ve seen the health service being gradually run into the ground“, you see, leave it to a LibDem to be clueless on the best of days, but just in case (because I make mistakes too), there was the small decision by me to take a second look, for that just in case moment in my life. You see, I remember that number, for one, I have never had that much money in my wallet, but I remember the amount in different ways. You see, the busses, the mention, when was that exactly a promise? The Brexit team bus (fuelled by UKIP) states: “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead“, it is a valid slogan and it is a wish, in addition, the Nigel Farage interview on some morning TV show gives us “I would much rather give it to the NHS“, that is wishful thinking, it was not a promise or commitment, that came from nearly EVERY anti-Brexiteer. Now, I have slapped Labour UK around on their manifesto. It states: “The people of Britain are rightly proud of the NHS and we will invest £12 billion over the next five years to keep it working for them“, so we get a little over £6 million a day, or slightly more than £200 million a month, so where does this £350 a week ‘pledge’ come from? The independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/conservatives-must-make-manifesto-commitment-of-350m-a-week-for-the-nhs-say-doctors-a7739401.html) shows us: “Doctors, academics and public health officials have called on the Conservative Party to include in its general election manifesto a commitment to spend £350m a week on the NHS, in keeping with the notorious posters of the Vote Leave campaign“, which makes me wonder where the actual pledge comes from. So it seems that Dr Chand Nagpaul and Norman Lamb are both missing a few parts here (I am happy to be proven wrong), The conservatives pledge (2015 manifesto) was to increase £8 billion over 5 years, the increase goes nowhere near the 350 million some are muttering and this manifesto was BEFORE Brexit happened, so I am wondering what the article is based upon. If it was written with in mind the presentation of some think-tank, then this approach is a massive failure. So this health foundation think-tank is also moving in other not so clever directions. I could start that I had a solution (which only costed me 135 minutes to figure out and Google could get it from me for £15 million post taxation), yet they aren’t interested in a multi billion-pound revenue solution. And if this article is about spiralling pressures, well, we all agree and if the wasted £11.2 billion pounds on a previous IT project under previous labour, there might have been some space, yet the pressure would always have been there. As I wrote in previous blogs, the first thing that the NHS needs to do is change its mindset. That is an initial need on several levels. The ‘old’ way of doing things is no longer an option and it is weighing down as the cost of infrastructure is just increasing, that initial change is essential to survive. In my view (which might be flawed and incorrect) there seems to be an increasing wave of commissions in play and those groups are not free, there was a paper showing it and the reference is in my previous blog from January 15th 2017, where we see: “Coventry and Warwickshire NHS chiefs fork out £340,000 for advice on how to SAVE money” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/01/15/the-views-we-question/), this time it is not about the money, well perhaps partially. It is about the 7 commissions in Warwickshire. How much to they cost? Now, this is not about their validity to exist, yet it seems to me that these trusts and commission groups might need trimming or reengineering. And that is just Warwickshire. This is what I am implying with the ‘rethinking‘ part. Yet, when, I ask again when did any of these think tanks go there in looking on changing the NHS and the costs they have? I am pretty sure that the media have not seen or reported on that issue for the longest of times. As I read now that they are looking to fill 80,000 positions, whilst I with three Uni degrees can’t get a job because I turned 55 is just obscene in several ways. And the entire ‘government must plug funding gap in healthcare spending between UK and other European countries‘, which is debatable right there as the Netherlands is twice the size of Ross-shire, with 16 million people in there, in addition we see Sweden which is almost twice the size of the UK, with 10 million people and 20% of that in the three largest cities. So here we already see three very different dimension of issues, making the ‘funding gap’ a bit of a question mark, in addition, as the UK is well over minus a trillion, the health care issue will be an issue and remain so unless some players start considering different paths, throwing money at it does not make it go away, you merely move the issue after which you end up having to solve two problems. So how does that solve anything? Well, I believe that we need to get the Universities involved and start brainstorming on how certain problems might be solved. You see, there is nothing like the unbiased view of a politically incorrect student to try and solve a puzzle, especially when political lobbyists are not allowed to ‘forge’ minds to become politically accepted minds. I think that turning the puzzle into a creativity challenge will get us potentially some options people forgot about. I found my solution whilst browsing a historical page on Scotland, of all the technological solutions, I found mine in a history book that predates that device that Graham Alexander Bell invented (read: telephone). How weird was that?

The puppet issue still remains. You see, the quote at the end: “Urgent action is needed, the thinktank says, because 900 people a day are quitting as social care workers, too few new recruits are joining the sector“, is an issue. I am not doubting the number as a total, yet when monthly a industry is drained by 18,000 workers, there are additional problems. When we in addition see a source claiming that NHS digital had notified staff on patches and we see news that Labour now wants to pump £37 bn in the NHS, we have several issues. For one, the unrealistic prompt for money that cannot be found in a realistic way and the fact that Labour gave out a manifesto promising the UK to get them a quarter of a trillion in deeper debt is a worry. The IT story is also linked to all this as it shows that there are additional infrastructure issues. If the endgadget quote is true “It seems this advisory fell on some deaf ears, which explains why only certain NHS Trusts were affected“, it clearly shows that the infrastructure needs an overhaul and there is a strong requirement to take a harsh look on where the money is going. The endgadget quote shows a STRUCTURAL failure of the NHS, and only an idiot will pump £37 billion in something that could be structurally unsound. That part has been ignored by the media on too large a scale. Oh and that is not limited to the UK, there is a European failure here (as well as a few other parts of the British empire, like Australia). So we need to consider that we have to give stronger illumination to the puppeteers, because, who exactly is part of the the Health Foundation think-tank? And as we illuminate the players in such think-tank, as the people have a right to know, we need to stop being puppets. We need to look at actual solutions, that is because I have seen a few ‘think tanks’ and ‘consultancy teams’ mentioned and even as we can agree that ‘£340,000 for advice‘ could be money well spend, it seems that over the last year there have been a few of these events and I am decently certain that these people do not work for free, so how much has been spend? I feel that I am massively underrating and could end up being equally massively underpaid with my £15,000,000 solution that would bring the project completionist a few billion.

It is also my personal belief that in many cases the person claiming ‘urgent action is needed‘ is also the person who wants the ‘victim’ to jump the shark so that they can coin in as large a way as possible. Yet I agree that the NHS needs acts that lead to solutions, here I differ in labelling the action as an act. The act of instigating change is not done in a few minutes and I do not want it to be wasteful, so people need to have their bullet point list ready (I actually hate those lists). Not a longwinded presentation, or is that ‘long wined and did possibly’? The NHS issue is in too critical a state, pretty much everyone agrees, yet the way how it is addressed and where the highest priority lies is another debate, in my mind (possibly a wrong deduction) is in the first, nurses, in the second infrastructure shifts and three the doctors. The infrastructure is important, not because doctors are not, but because the infrastructure has been showing to be a drain on the funds available. In that part we see that as issues are resolved more and more funds would become for both doctors (and GP’s) and upgrades. It is not that points two and three could not be instigated at the same time, yet in equal measure whatever infrastructure issues is resolved might actually give additional funds for more doctors and GP’s as well. It is merely a thought and there will be enough opposition, or better stated valid opposition to my priority list, it is just finding the path that is best walked. And in this case, I have the feeling that from the very beginning of the failed IT project that the NHS decision makers have been all about talking the walk and not getting any actual walking done, which would be a terminal disaster for any project, no matter how many billions you throw at it. It will merely be wasted coin.

 

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