Category Archives: Law

Secretary of the Nanny

Something happened last week, it was seen in the BBC news when we were given ‘Captain pleads for help over outbreak’, in this case it is Captain Crozier of the USS Theodore Rooseveld. I initially wondered how they dealt with other flu scenarios, taking into consideration that except from him and his CO, the people on that ship are pretty much all of them in the lower than 1% mortality rate group. Most people in Las Vegas would give their wife, oldest daughter and mistress for those odds, so why is there an overreaction? 

I was uneasy with the entire ‘No one has to die’ approach. This is a warship and here my Merchant Navy knowledge, training and education is a little help. I understand and accept the hierarchy that is important on EVERY boat, Article 2 is about the responsibility of the ship’s captain (ZAR, when I was in School) and I remember that part (reference to the Ships Collision Regulation). Yet it is larger and harder on a war vessel. I do not envy the situation that Captain Crozier found himself in, but the entire stage is an altered one, and the alteration matters. 

It requires me to repeat the part that I gave three days ago, the age based mortality curve. 

80+ years old 14.8%

70-79 years old 8.0%

60-69 years old 3.6%

50-59 years old 1.3%

40-49 years old 0.4%

30-39 years old 0.2%

20-29 years old 0.2%

10-19 years old 0.2%

Consider that the bulk of a naval vessel will have people between 20 and 39 years of age. This Captain is setting the odds against a stage where he runs the risk of optionally losing 8 people, and that is in a stage where complications set in. Lets not forget that military staff tends to be in much better condition then the average person in that same age, so optionally the risk for these groups is 20%-30% lower than the numbers we see, and I admit that this is slightly speculative, yet I feel that this is correct. As such I stand behind the Secretary of the Navy, or as we could consider the nanny of Captain Crozier,who set himself up in all kinds of ways. Letters ‘leaked’ to the press, the view of the navy and a few other matters makes me a supporter of Thomas Modly and the actions he took in this (name calling disregarded).

Yes, we want all crews to be 100% safe, but it is and remains a war vessel, there are priorities that need to be met and on a crew of 4000, losing 8 people is not nice, but not unrealistic either. In all this, the entire ‘plead for help’ was massively stupid, and he knew this, mainly because he would have send any considerations on the pandemic to the Admiralty (its American equivalent) and that does not seem to have been the case.

Perhaps there is a side where I am wrong and I should not call his actions ‘massively stupid’ yet there are other actions he could have taken and if it is not written down it does not exist, it is that simple in political actions and this was in part a political move, lets make no illusions on that. In this, it is my opinion that the call by Joe Biden (stating that the firing of Captain Crozier was close to criminal) is wrong, or at least this is how I perceive it to be. The Captain called doubt on the functioning of an American Warship and that is never OK. I cannot tell you what is the right action, but the visibility was wrong, there are rules, regulations and visibility of those in charge and most civilians do not understand it. That is not their fault, but there is a given where the function of a warship even in peacetime is extensive and we forget or shut our eyes to this and in civilian life that is fine, in the eyes of defence it is not. 

Showing your optional enemies that there is weakness and handing this out in a letter is folly, my mind remains focussed on who ‘leaked’ the letter, because that is the larger enemy in all this, not Captain Crozier (unless he leaked the letter).

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Law, Media, Military, Politics

Tech needs

I was amazed by a story in the guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/27/phones-that-may-hold-child-abuse-images-returned-to-suspects). Now, we all have that at times, a moment where we just do not get the idea that something is happening (or not), the issue here is that it is a much larger setting and we see this with “Police are giving back to suspected paedophiles phones and computers that possibly hold child abuse images because they do not have the time or technology to search the devices“, so the police ran out of time (or options) hand the evidence that could be used against these people and let them go?

Then there is “the technology that helps officers quickly scan devices to determine the likelihood of indecent images being present is not consistently available across forces” in this that it is important that we take notice of ‘quickly‘, how determining is that factor? As I see it with the range of mobiles that are coming in the next two years, the hardship of the police will increase by factor 16 at the very least (on average factor 32 applies). There is a larger setting where the police have a duty, but so do the tech firms. I am not the person to blame all the tech firms, yet there is a larger setting where certain tools need to become available with the next stage of transportable drives and hardware. And we need to look beyond the normal FAT (or NTSC) stage of scans where allocated space is scanned alone, making the hardship for the police increase to factor 64 at the least. 

Then we see “limited capacity of forces to conduct many costly and time-consuming digital forensic examinations is also hampering investigations into suspects who have downloaded indecent images of children” and that is when we see the impact of people saving images on their own drives, it is the group that has dark web links in a sort of 4chan (not blaming 4chan here) that allows these people to look at such images at their own ‘leisure’ in any free wifi situation as the images are encrypted until at the endstation with the decrypting part in the app itself, and as the hardship of the police is merely to scan for images, the solution to find these people is unlikely to become a larger solution ever.

So when we see “restore 20,000 police to the streets of England and Wales will not be enough to match the increasing demand placed on officers to protect children” we need to consider very different solutions and the adaptation of law to protect children becomes a much larger need. It is seen in “In one case inspectors found that 100 days had passed since police were notified that a 10-year-old girl had been receiving indecent images from three older men via social media. During that time there was no effort to identify and trace the perpetrators“, which is interesting because they were apparently able to identify that these were ‘three older men‘. Is it just me or is there a larger failing in the making? The second failure is seen in “Safeguarding planning for children linked to a suspected perpetrator is routinely deferred until a criminal investigation has begun“. As such there are actually three failings. We overlooked ‘social media‘, they too play a role. There should be a clear path for a younger person to press the alarm button alerting social media on any indecent picture sent via social media if the account holder is under 18, this could have been avoided years ago. This is not a stage of freedom of expression, this is not free speech, it is optionally criminal speech and evidence must be gathered at this point. 

There is no defence in ‘someone had my password!‘, the owner of the social media account had responsibilities too. As such as we see “The delay is worsened by the lack of technology available to officers to search devices for child abuse images“, the statement is cutting on both sides, as the images might not have been on the device. other means of tracking usage must be found and we need to do more to keep the children safe.

In all this there is a much larger failing, yes there are criminal prosecution needs, yet it is almost indecent to push the blame onto the police. I believe that whatever enlargements places like GCHQ is getting, they need to get off the horse of blaming players like Huawei on events that come from alleged unproven sources like the US state department and place these sources on finding true solutions to aid the police. Consider the need for solutions and less so towards unfounded allegations, that is close to 15% of GCHQ resources freed overnight. I call that a decent solution, do you not?

Yet, I am not blaming GCHQ, the issue is that we need to adjust the laws on digital prosecution and where we are presently allowed to go, that is not a given in the stage we see. We need to adjust the track we can walk and who can walk it for us, it is the only solution that remains at present and too many people think in call centre cubicle terms and refuse to see the larger pasture that we need to canvas.

In all this tech firms and governments need to find common ground and we are in the space where we can blatantly blame tech firms, yet it is not that simple. The tech firms offered a solution and someone found another use for it. We cannot blame Sony for people using their PS3 as a powerful Ubuntu Linux station and that is basically what is happening. This is not some tech firm problem, it is the station where a generic piece of hardware can run another app and use it as it sees fit, use and adjust for other solutions and implement that and the police has little to no hope at all solving the issue they face and tech firms need to come out and play with governments and stay nice. 

Yet the issue is much larger than anyone thinks. We saw part of this last year in the Crime report with ‘Tech Firms’ Neglect Lets Pedophiles Run Rampant Online‘, the fact that ‘freedom of expression’ is used in a way none are willing to agree to also means acknowledging that sometimes an aerosol is used, not to hand out what it was intend on doing, but to assassinate a politician. See here the object (at https://www.amazon.com.au/Aluminum-Pneumatic-Refillable-Pressure-Compressed/dp/B00JKED4MS/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=aerosol&qid=1582859473&sr=8-3), as I add it with the right Arsenic mix and switch the bottle, the user kills himself. Is the bottle maker to blame (or I am even more devious and add the mix to their own bottle, was the victim in the end to blame for their suicide)?

So the entire ‘rampant’ part is (as I personally see it) intentional miscommunication, there is a larger stage and both sides need an actual point of reference. there is a system in place and we see “YouTube removed this video, and many others, after WIRED alerted it to the problem” (source: Wired) yet we forget that this is a massive engine and google is not in a place to stop the engine being used by criminals to make a few quick bucks. We need to accept and understand that. Even as several people hide behind “on a test account created to investigate the network of paedophiles on YouTube, the platform’s algorithm continues to suggest similar videos of children that have been commented on by sexual predators“, the engine did exactly what it was supposed to do, yet in this case we see that it is servicing the criminals and the short sighted people shout and blame the tech company, just as they blame the police and neither is at fault, the criminals are. We can look at the T91 assault rifle and claim it is used to kill, which is true, yet we forget that the person using it can kill criminals and police officers alike, blaming the makers for that is just short sighted and stupid.

We need a much better solution and we need to rely on tech makers to hand the tools to us, all whilst we know that those making the request (see hidden images) have no clue what to look for and how to look for them, it is maddening on several levels and the people on the side lines have no clue that the referee is looking for an orange jersey all whilst the All Blacks are playing Australia, so he sees Green, Yellow, Black and White (the fern). It is a stage where we look at the players, whilst the field has several other members that are validly there and we overlook them, just like the ‘hidden pictures’ are sought in a game where the pictures are optionally not even on the mobile device, merely the link to them is.

That part is overlooked and as we go from one item to the other, we forget that links can be added in several ways and the police will run out of time long before it runs out of options to check. In all this the law failed the children long before the tech firms did. So whilst we see Wired giving us “To date, Disney, Nestlé, Epic Games, Dr. Oetker and a number of other companies have halted advertising on YouTube after it emerged that the platform was monetising videos being uploaded and viewed by paedophiles“, I merely see one sanctimonious firm and 3 short sighted ones, it could be two for two, but I leave you to decide on that. An automated systems was designed and put into place, the criminals were hiding in the woodworks and there are close to a dozen ways to hide all this from an AI for years, all whilst we clearly see that We need to realise that YouTube became so much more than it ever was intended to be and when we take notice of ‘300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!‘ and consider that 18,000 hours of video is uploaded every hour, we get a first input of just how difficult the entire setting is, because these 18,000 hours of video will include 3,000 hours of videos that is set to items no more than 5 minutes per video, making the issue 20 times larger, in all this we forget that this is a global thing and cross border criminal activities are even harder to set any mind to then anything else and in all this, there is no actual number on the actual number of uploads. Consider that ten minutes out of 18,000 hours is illegal and that 30 seconds out of those 10 minutes is on paedophiles. At that point do you get a first inkling of how large the problem is. and that is merely YouTube, there are channels that have no monitoring at all, there are channels that have encrypted images and video solutions and there are solutions out there that have an adapted DB2 virus header and the police has no clue on how to go about it (not their fault either), in all this places like the DGSE and GCHQ are much better solution providers and it is time the tech firms talked to them, yet whenever that discussion starts we get some stupid politician who conveniantly adds a few items to the agenda, because to that person it made sense and as such no solution is designed and it has been the situation of non action and non solutions for a few years now and I see the same discussion come up and go about it all whilst I already know the outcome (it is as simple as using an abacus).

We have larger tech needs and we have better law needs, And whilst we see people like Andy Burrows, NSPCC associate head of child safety online go on about “extremely disturbing“, all whilst a person like that should realise that the system designed is generic and severely less than 0.03% of the population abuses it is beyond me, I would go on that a person like Andy Burrows should not be in the position he is when he has little to no regard of the designed system, more precisely, he should remove the ‘online‘ part from his title altogether.

And whilst Wired ends with “During our investigation into his claims, we found comments from users declaring their “love” for the children and exchanging phone numbers with one another to share more videos via WhatsApp“, I merely wonder how the police is investigating these phone numbers and whatsApp references, in all this the absence of WhatsApp (Facebook) is also a little weird, it seems that these social media predators are all over the place and the open abuse of one system is singled out whilst we get no real feel of just how the abuse statistics are against the total statistics. Consider that Windows has a 2.3% error to abuse by non users, in all this for Google to get a system that is close to 99.4% decent is an amount that is almost unheard of. most people seem to forget that Google gets pushed into a corner by media and madiamediators on transgressions on IP protected events (publishing a movie online), there is the abuse of video, there are personal videos that are disallowed and terrorism via YouTube, in all this harsh or not, the paedophile issue is a blip on the radar, Youtube gets $4 billion out of a system that costs $6 bilion to maintain and it pays off in other ways, yet the reality on the total is ignored by a lot of players and some of them are intentionally averting their eyes from the total image and no one asks why that is happening.

So whilst we look at the Wired byline ‘Legislation to force major tech platforms to better tackle child sexual abuse on their networks is also “forthcoming”, a Home Office spokesperson has confirmed‘ we need to seriously ask whether these legislation people have any idea of what they are doing. The moment these people vacate to another nation the entire setting changes and they have to start from scratch again, all whilst there is no solution and none will be coming any day soon. You might think that vacating nations solves anything, but it does not, because the facilitators of these images can pick up their server and move from place to place whilst they get millions, all whilst the payers are still out of reach from criminal prosecution. and whilst we go in the magic roundabout, we get from point to point never having a clue on the stage we are on, we are merely going in circles and that is the problem we face. Until the short sighted blaming stops and governments truly sit down with tech firms trying to find a solution, we are left in the middle without any solution, merely with the continued realisation that we failed our children.

We have dire tech needs and we need to make a cold list of what we need, and the first we need to do is blaming them for a situation that they are not to blame. Consider that we are blaming Johannes Gutenberg for the creation of the printing press, he created it in 1439, basically to make the bible available to all (before that only rich people could afford a bible), yet he is the one being accused of aiding the spread of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. that is what we face, we blame YouTube and Google for something they never did and optionally never considered facing. In 1814 Joseph Nicéphore Niépce made the first photograph (like we know camera’s today), yet in that same year Julien Vallou de Villeneuve used it to photograph naked women, should Joseph Nicéphore Niépce be held accountable? We all seem to say yes and blame Google, but it had little to no control at all, a system like the one Google made was not meant for the 0.00000000925% abusing the system, yet that is what is happening right now and we need to take a step back and consider what we are doing. I am not claiming that Google is a saint, yet we refuse to hold Microsoft to account for their 97.5% operating system, yet we are going to all lengths to prosecute Google for 0.00000000925% of materials produced (actually it is up to 1/24th of that if not smaller) by others through abusing the YouTube system, all whilst the problem is a lot larger and is beyond almost any tech firm, so why are we doing that?

It becomes clear when we add last year’s CNN article in the process. They gave us “Frustrated that those regulators are moving too slowly, Congress, with support from Democrats and Republicans, will use its investigative power for a top-to-bottom review of the tech industry, and focus on the biggest companies. Congress cannot break up companies under existing laws, but it could cook up new ones — and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who’s established herself as Democrats’ big ideas leader in 2020, already has a plan to break up the largest tech monopolies.” (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/04/politics/washington-turn-against-tech-companies/index.html), I believe that this is not about the materials, it is about a handle of the company and flaming conversations brings emotional response and the quickest way to push voters into an area where they are the most useful. Google is still too big for politicians, so they push and push until something gives and they are hoping that the people will be malleable to a much larger extent then the tech companies ever were.

Lets face it, how many companies are actually interested in fixing a problem that covers 0.00000000925% of their materials? That is the actual question! The police can’t go after it, these politicians are unwilling to adjust laws where paedophiles are actually processed, as such the entire situation does not make sense and tech firms are suiting up for their defense, that is all the politicians have enabled, now the politicians through media hope for enough outrage and we see the fallout, those politicians are willing to endanger the lives of the children by not seeking an actual solution, but a solution that fit their needs and these two do not align. and in this both sides of the isle on a global scale are guilty, both the elected and unelected (this term) parties are all equally guilty of setting a stage that suits them, not one that solves the problem.

We seemingly forget about that part of the equation, I wonder why that is.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Politics

Middle of the seesaw

To be honest, I am not sure where to stand, even now, as we see ‘Google starts appeal against £2bn shopping fine‘ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51462397), I am personally still in the mindset that there is something wrong here. 

We can give the critique that my view is too much towards Google, and that is fine, I would accept that. Yet the part where we see 

  • In 2017, €2.4bn over shopping results.
  • In 2018, €4.3bn fine over claims it used Android software to unfairly promote its own apps.
  • In 2019, €1.5bn fine for blocking adverts from rival search engines.

Feels like it is part of a much bigger problem. I believe that some people are trying to stage the setting that some things are forced upon companies and I do not mean in the view of sharing. I personally do not believe that it is as simple as Anti-Trust. It feels like a more ‘social mindset’ that some things must be shared, but why?

The BBC also gives us: “Margrethe Vestager, who has taken a tough stance on the Silicon Valley tech firms and what she sees as their monopolistic grip on the digital landscape” this might feel like the truth, yet I personally feel that this was in the making for a long time, Adobe was on that page from the start. I believe that as the digital landscape was slowly pushed into a behemoth by Macromedia, who also acquired Coldfusion a change came to exist, for reference, at that time Microsoft remained a bungling starter holding onto Frontpage, an optional solution for amateurs, but there was already a strong view that this was a professional field. that stage was clearly shown by Adobe as it grew its company by 400% in revenue over a decade, its share value rose by almost 1,000% and its workforce tripled. There was a clear digital landscape, and one where Google was able to axe a niche into, the others were flaccid and remained of the existing state of mind that others must provide. Yet in all this Social media was ignored for far too long and the value of social media was often ignored until it was a decade too late. 

For example, I offered the idea that it would be great to be in the middle of serviced websites where we had the marketing in hands, my bosses basically called me crazy, that it had no functioning foundation, that it was not part of the mission statement and that I had to get back to work, I still have the email somewhere. This was 4 years before Facebook!

I admit that my idea was nothing as grandiose as Facebook, it was considered on other foundations an I saw the missing parts, but no one bit and now that I know better on the level of bullet point managers I am confronted with and their lack of marketing I now know better and my 5G solutions are closed to all but Huawei and Google, innovation is what drives my value and only those two deliver.

But I digress, the Digital Landscape was coming to be, and as we realise that this includes “websites, email, social networks, mobile devices (tablets, iphones, smartphones), videos (YouTube), etc. These tools help businesses sell their products or services” we can clearly see that Microsoft, Amazon and others stayed asleep at the wheel.
some might have thought that it was a joke when Larry Page and Sergey Brin offered the email service on April 1st 2004, yet i believe that they were ahead of many (including me) on how far the digital landscape would go, I reckon that not even Apple saw the massive growth, perhaps that Jobs fellow did, but he was only around until 2011 when it really kicked off. IBM, Microsoft and others stayed asleep thinking that they could barge in at a later stage, as I see it, IBM chose AI and quantum computing thinking that they can have the other niche no one was ready for. 

When we consider that we saw ‘Google faces antitrust investigation by 50 US states and territories‘ 6 months ago and not 5 years ago we see part of the bigger picture, of course they could have left it all to China, was that the idea? When we get “Regulators are growing more concerned about company’s impact on smaller companies striving to compete in Google’s markets” we will see the ignoring stage, when it mattered smaller places would not act, as Google acted it became much larger than anyone thought, even merely two years ago we were al confronted with ‘companies’ letting Google technology do all the work and they get all the credit and coin, why should Google comply? Striving to compete with Google is no longer a real option and anyone thinking that is nuts beyond belief. The only places that can hold a candle are the ones with innovative ideas and in an US economy founded on the principle of iteration no one keeps alive, but they are all of the mind that franchising and iteration is the path to wealth, it is not, only the innovative survive and that is being seen in larger ways by both Google and Huawei. Those who come into the field without innovation is out of options, it is basically the vagrant going to the cook demanding part of the pie the cook made as they are hungry, yet the vagrant has no rights to demand anything. 

And as we are given (read: fed) the excuse of “Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820bn and controls so many facets of the internet that it’s fairly impossible to surf the web for long without running into at least one of its services. Google’s dominance in online search and advertising enables it to target millions of consumers for their personal data” we can give others the state where Microsoft did its acts to take out Netscape, how did that end? It ended in United States v. Microsoft Corp.. In all,  we see that in the end (no matter how they got there) that the DOJ announced on September 6, 2001 that it was no longer seeking to break up Microsoft and would instead seek a lesser antitrust penalty.

As such, in the end Microsoft did not have to break up hardware and software, they merely had to adopt non-Microsoft solutions, yet how did that end? How many data failures and zero day breaches did its consumer base face? According to R. Cringely (a group of journalists and writers with a column in InfoWorld) we get “the settlement gave Microsoft “a special antitrust immunity to license Windows and other ‘platform software’ under contractual terms that destroy freedom of competition.”” (source: Webcitation.org). 

Yet all this is merely a stage setting, it seems that as governments realised the importance of data and the eagerness of people giving it away to corporations started to sting, you see corporations can be anywhere, even in US hostile lands and China too. That is the larger stage and Google as it deals in data is free of all attachments, as governments cannot oversee this they buckle and the larger stage is set. 

From my point of view, Google stepped in places where no one was willing to go, it was for some too much effort and as that landscape shaped only google remains, so why should they hand over what they have built? 

It is Reuters that give is the first part of it all (at ) here we see: “EU regulators said this penalty was for Google’s favoring its own price comparison shopping service to the disadvantage of smaller European rivals“, yet what it does not give us is that its ‘smaller rivals’ are all using Google services in the first place, and Google has the patent for 30 years, so why share? This is a party for innovators, non-innovators are not welcome!

Then we get “Google’s search service acts as a de-facto kingmaker. If you are not found, the rest cannot follow“, which is optionally strange, because anyone can join Google, anyone can set up camp and anyone can advertise themselves. I am not stupid, I know whatthey mean, but whe it mattered they could not be bothered, no they lack the data, exaytes of data and they cannot compete, they limited their own actions and they all want to be head honcho right now, no actual investment required.

In addition when it comes to Browsers, Wired gives us “I spent the summer and beyond using Bing instead of Google for search. It’s a whole new world, but not always for the better“, I personally cannot stand Bing, I found it to have issues (not going into that at present), so as we are ‘not found’ we consider the Page rank that Stanford created for Google (or google bought it), when we consider when that happened, when was it reengineered and by whom? And when we got to the second part “Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords“, that was TWO DECADES AGO! As such, who was innovative enough to try and improve it with their own system? As I see it no one, so as no one was interested, why does there need to be an antitrust case? As such we see the Google strategy of buying companies and acquiring knowledge, places like Microsoft and IBM no longer mattered, they went their own way, even (optionally) better, Microsoft decided to Surf-Ace to the finish, I merely think, let them be them.

We are so eager to finalise the needs for competition law and antitrust law, but has anyone considered the stupidity of the iteration impact? If not, consider why 5G is in hands of Huawei, they became the innovators and whilst we are given the stage of court case after court case on the acts of Huawei, consider why they are so advanced in 5G, is it because they were smarter, or because the others became flaccid and lazy? I believe that both are at play here and in this, all the anti-Google sentiment is merely stopping innovators whilst iterators merely want to be rich whilst not doing their part, why should we accommodate for that?

so when we see (source: Vox) “United States antitrust officials have ordered the country’s top tech companies to hand over a decade’s worth of information on their acquisitions of competitor firms, in a move aimed at determining how giants like Amazon and Facebook have used acquisitions to become so dominant” who does it actually serve? is it really about ‘how giants like Amazon and Facebook have used acquisitions to become so dominant‘, or is it about the denial of innovation? Is it about adding to the surface of a larger entity that governments do not even comprehend, let alone understand? They have figured out that IP and data are the currency of the future, they merely need to be included, the old nightmare where corporations are in charge and politicians are not is optionally coming to fruition and they are actually becoming scared of that, the nerd the minimised at school as they were nerds is setting the tone of the future, the Dominant Arrogant player beng it sales person or politician is being outwitted by the nerd and service minded person, times are changing and these people claim that they want to comprehend, but in earnest, I believe that they are merely considering that the gig is up, iteration always leads there, their seeming ignorance is evidence of that.

Yet in all that, this is basically still emotional and not evidence driven, so let’s get on with that. The foundation of all Common Law Competition Law is set to “The Competition and Consumer Act prohibits two persons, acting in concert, from hindering or preventing a third person trading with a fourth person, where the purpose or likely effect of the conduct is to cause a substantial lessening of competition in any market in which the fourth person is involved“, yet in this, I personally am stating that it hinders innovation, the situation never took into proper account of the state of innovators versus iterators, the iterator needs the innovator to slow down and the foundation of Competition Law allows for this, when we see ‘preventing a third person trading with a fourth person‘, in this the iterator merely brings his or her arrogance and (optional) lack of comprehension to the table and claims that they are being stopped from competing, whilst their evidence of equality is seemingly lacking (as I personally see it). 

In this the Columbia Law School is (at least partially) on my side as I found “Scholars and policymakers have long thought that concentrated market power and monopolies produce more innovation than competition. Consider that patent law—which is the primary body of law aimed at creating incentives for innovation—was traditionally thought to conflict with antitrust law. Known as the “the patent-antitrust paradox,” it was often said that antitrust is designed to prevent monopolies and other exclusionary practices while the patent system does the opposite, granting exclusionary rights and market power in the form of patents. Given this framework, it makes sense that scholars, courts, and government agencies have only recently considered antitrust and patent laws to be complementary policies for encouraging innovation.” it gives the foundation and when you consider that iterators are the foundation of hindrance to innovators, you see how competition law aids them. In the old days (my earlier example) Microsoft and Netscape that was a stage where both parties were on the same technology and comprehension level. Microsoft merely had the edge of bundling its browser with the OS and got the advantage there, Netscape did not have that edge, but was an equal in every other way. 

Another name is Gregory Day, who gives us: “a greater number of antitrust lawsuits filed by private parties—which are the most common type of antitrust action—impedes innovation. Second, the different types of antitrust actions initiated by the government tend to affect innovation in profoundly different ways. Merger challenges (under the Clayton Act) promote innovation while restraint of trade and monopolization claims (under sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act) suppress innovative markets. Even more interesting, these effects become stronger after the antitrust agencies explicitly made promoting innovation a part of their joint policies” yet I believe that iterators have a lot more to gain by driving that part and I see that there is actually a lack of people looking into that matter, who are the people behind the antitrust cases? Most people in government tend to remain unaware until much later in the process, so someone ‘alerts’ them to what I personally see as a  ‘a fictive danger’. In this I wonder who the needed partner in prosecution was and what their needs were. I believe that iterators are a larger problem than anyone ever considered.

In the case of Google, Amazon and Facebook, we see innovators driving technology and the others have absolutely nothing to offer, they are bound to try and slow these three down as they are trying to catch up. 

Ian Murray wrote in 2018 (CEI.ORG), “Yet there is no such thing as a dominant market position unless it is guaranteed by government. AOL, Borders, Blockbuster, Sears, Kodak, and many other firms once considered dominant in their markets have fallen as the result of competition, without any antitrust action” and that is a truth, yet it does not give that the iterators merely want innovators to slow down, so that they can catch up and the law allows for this, more importantly, as the lack of innovations were not driven over the last decade, South Korea became a PC behemoth, and China now rules in 5G Telecom land. All are clear stages of iterators being the problem and not a solution, even worse they are hindring actual innovation to take shape, real innovation, not what is marketed as such.

As such, governments are trying to get some social setting in place by balancing the seesaw whilst standing at the axial point, it is a first signal that this is a place where innovators are lost and in that are you even surprised that a lot of engineers will only take calls from Google or Huawei (Elon Musk being an optional third in the carbon neutral drive)? 

It gets to be even worse (soon enough), now that Google is taking the cookie out of the equation, we get to see ‘Move marks a watershed moment for the digital ad industry to reinvent itself‘, this is basically the other side of the privacy coin, even as google complied, others will complain and as Google innovates the internet to find another way to seek cookie technology, we will suddenly see every advertisement goof with no knowledge of systems cry ‘foul!’ and as we are given “Criteo, which built a retargeting empire around cookies, saw its stock tumble following Google’s announcement. Others such as LiveRamp and Oracle-owned businesses BlueKai and Datalogix, as well as nearly all data management platforms, now face the challenge of rethinking their business” (source: AdAge) we will see more players hurdling themselves over Competition Law and optionallytowards antitrust cases because these players used someones technology to get a few coins (which is not a bad thing, but to all good things come an end).

And I am not against these changes, the issue is not how it will be reinvented, it is how some will seek the option to slow the actual innovators down because they had no original idea (as I personally see it). Yet we must also establish that Google did not make it any easier and they have their own case ORACLE AMERICA, INC. v. GOOGLE INC. to thank for.

That verdict was set to “With respect to Google’s cross-appeal, we affirm the district court’s decisions: (1) granting Oracle’s motion for JMOL as to the eight decompiled Java files that Google copied into Android; and (2) denying Google’s motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck function. Accordingly, we affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand for further proceedings.” in this situation, for me “The jury found that Google infringed Oracle’s  copyrights in the 37 Java packages and a specific computer routine called “rangeCheck,” but returned a noninfringement verdict as to eight decompiled security files. The jury  deadlocked on Google’s fair use defense.“, as I see it in that situation Oracle had been the innovator and for its use Google was merely an iterator (if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it).

Basically one man’s innovator is another man’s iterator, which tends to hold up in almost any technology field. Yet this time around, the price is a hell of a lot higher, close to half a dozen iterators ended up giving an almost complete technology surge to China (5G), which is as I personally see it. They were asleep at the wheel and now the US administration is trying to find a way around it, like they will just like ORACLE AMERICA, INC. v. GOOGLE INC.  more likely than not come up short.

And one of these days, governments will figure out that the middle of the seesaw is not the safe place to be, it might be the least safe place to be. As the population on each end changes, the slow reaction in the middle merely ends up having the opposite and accelerating effect, a few governments will learn that lesson the hard way. I believe that picking two players on one (or either side) side is the safest course of action, the question for me remains will they bite?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Politics, Science

It’s all about interpretation

It started late Friday for me when the Financial Post gave me ‘Fearing Huawei curbs, Deutsche Telekom tells Nokia to shape up‘, the article (at https://business.financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/fearing-huawei-curbs-deutsche-telekom-tells-nokia-to-shape-up-2) gives a few items and linking that to another post gave me a lot to consider. First we need to see “Deutsche Telekom has told supplier Nokia it must improve its products and service to win business installing the German group’s 5G wireless networks in Europe, according to internal documents and a source with direct knowledge of the matter“, the issue is twofold, yet the important part is not a given. Here we see the story behind ‘Nokia must improve its products and service‘, yet the story focuses on services, a little less on the product. So as we take notice of “the German group considered Nokia the worst performer among all suppliers in 5G tests and deployments“, yet because of the US bully tactics, Nokia is feeling a little too safe to be worried, which is nice for Nokia, but it is one of a few items hitting the European Telecom providers. The entire Nokia matter is shown with one simple statement “Deutsche Telekom’s willingness to give Nokia another hearing shows the difficulties mobile companies face over pressure from the United States“, it is more than bully tactics, the station we now see is that those giving in to the US are facing 2 larger ones, the first being the implementation by players like Nokia on a European front, the larger issue is not merely Nokia, the larger issues is seen in the IP Watchdog that gives us (as did the news a few days ago) ‘Huawei Sues Verizon‘, we are given that “Chinese telecom giant Huawei filed two lawsuits in U.S. district court, one in Eastern Texas and the other in Western Texas, asserting claims of 12 patents against Verizon Communications. The suits were filed after Huawei “negotiated with Verizon for a significant period of time”“, let me explain why it is a larger issue. 

Firstly, the fact that we see ‘negotiated with Verizon for a significant period of time‘ leaves us with the larger setting that this isn’t nothing, in addition, as the US was so proud to give the stage of 5G ready, we see that at least one vendor might not have been ready, no matter how this case slices and dices 5G, a dozen patents are in this, as such they can be checked and if so, the entire 5G bubble will explode (not burst) in the Trump administration face right in the middle of re-election. In addition, the fact that the US has not given one part of evidence setting the stage against the US at present gives a much larger scene over the optional backdrop of failing US equipment whilst they are trying to roll out 5G, in light of all this that earlier speculated 4-6 years delay for national 5G will optionally reach up to a decade, which means that the entire 5G setting is game over for the US (optionally depending on this trial). As I personally see it, the Trump Administration will have to rely on the brightest minds at the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to investigate BEFORE the trial commences how big an issue it might be, if that is not done the Trump administration will end up with egg on its face whilst the 5G networking issue will hang around its neck like an anchor keeping them in place, it would be a global setback for them.

Now we cannot state that Huawei has a case or that Verizon is innocent, but a dozen patents will impede it as they need to be examined and the courts will take up to two years, no matter what delays are seen, if Verizon continues, all their revenue will go straight to China with a lot more in penalties, that was never in anyone’s cards.

Returning to the FP we also see: “It is well known that Deutsche Telekom is pursuing a multi-vendor strategy so that we are not dependent on just one supplier. This is an elementary part of our security philosophy,” said Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom’s head of technology and IT. “In 2019 we have made many steps together with Nokia to make Deutsche Telekom’s networks evolve towards 5G readiness, including all network domains, from radio and fixed access to transport and core, and continue to do so in 2020 and onwards.” Federico Guillen, Nokia’s president of customer operations in EMEA and APAC, said: “We continue to work extensively with Deutsche Telekom which is one of our most significant customers, both in Europe and the U.S.”” this all makes sense, there is no hidden agenda (or is there), most larger companies will not be set to the leash of one large giant, there is no opposition to that, but in this case we see that for some reason Ericsson is not considered, a Swedish company that is supposedly ready for 5G deployment, now we can say that Ericsson is a large player and it is (to some extent) the pride and joy of Sweden with as far as I can tell a much larger state of international readiness than Nokia ever was, as such why is the focus on Nokia? In this stage of 5G and the need to grow where a telecom player can, why is Ericsson not regarded as a backup for Nokia? When we realise that “in 2017 Nokia was dropped entirely from that market segment when Ericsson was handed a 30% share of Deutsche Telekom’s spending on it, reports in the trade press said at the time. It was the first of several wins for Ericsson“, Ericsson is indeed the other player, it seems like a desperate setting to have merely to keep Huawei out, so in this, these so called cut-throat players are unwilling to play hard ball. I wonder why? I have seen some of these players play fast and loose and play hardball as well and seeing the optional failure by Nokia and the subsequence unwillingness to consider Huawei, we see a puch from Germany orchestrated by the US, the EU 5G solutions will take a firm beating at present making them (optionally) ahead of the US and optionally behind other players, players that were never in such a high place before and that was before the patent infringement accusations, now the mess becomes a much larger setting.

All whilst we consider “Deutsche Telekom then suspended vendor talks to await the outcome of a debate in Berlin over the security of critical national networks, where senior lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party back the U.S. call to bar Huawei” in this I believe that the US has set the fate of Angela Merkel as well, when the US stumbles even once, and the beginning of that was shown 5 days ago (at CNN) with ‘Angela Merkel lambasts her party’s cooperation with far-right AfD‘, this 5G anchor is not merely around the neck of Merkel as well, it could limit the actions of the CDU and give power to the AfD. Even as we take notice of ““It’s a very big deal … the consensus amongst democrats that there would be no cooperation with far-right parties ended yesterday,” Kai Arzheimer, a professor of Political Science at the University of Mainz, told CNN. “So it was a historic day,” he added“, the impact is larger, when the US bully tactics are seen for what they are, and as the US remains debatable in not presenting any evidence against Huawei, there is every chance that the far right in Germany will get to shout that the CDU has reverted to being a puppet of the US and they will point at Deutsche Telekom, a group laced with cut throat profit makers as evidence, the moment that is accepted, the US will not merely lose Germany, at that point it needs to consider France, the Netherlands and Spain lost as well, Italy is a larger problem (for Huawei) but it is too early to shout on that. In addition, as 2 of the big 4 change course, especially as the patent infringements fire up the others will take money for promises and full steam reverse whatever plan they had, the waters will be too shallow and too dangerous to sail in the US domain.

All this remains an issue when we see the Huawei stage of affair as they give the world “Huawei negotiated with Verizon for a significant period of time, during which the company provided a detailed list of patents and factual evidence of Verizon’s use of Huawei patents. The two parties were unable to reach an agreement on license terms. “We invest heavily in R&D because we want to provide our customers with the best possible telecommunications solutions,” continued Dr. Song. “We share these innovations with the broader industry through license agreements.”“, this does not give any details of who is in the right, but if the Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. is anything to go by, the court took almost 5 years and in the end “On December 6, 2016, the United States Supreme Court decided 8-0 to reverse the decision from the first trial that awarded nearly $400 million to Apple” in this there is a larger stage to patent infringements and in this it was a global impact, in the Huawei case it is more than merely infringement, if the US has a 5 years setback there will be a much larger stage and even as the US wants to push through this case, the world is watching. Not only has the US given accusations against Huawei without clear evidence for the world to scrutinise, the Patents will be open to read for all and this changes the stage to a much larger degree. The fact that the Apple issue went past Dutch, Australian, British, German and Japanese courts give rise to that, the Huawei case could be an equally large and for the US a much larger consideration towards indiscriminate judging of American values, the world will scream for evidence in the middle of an election campaign, it does not sit pretty to be part of this administration. OH and the Apple trial was merely about a phone, a 4G phone, the Huawei stage will be about 5G and the infrastructure, the stage where the US is screaming on Chinese intervention whilst Verizon is delivering all over the US equipment allegedly based on Chinese patent transgression would feel uncomfortable in anyone’s point of view.

There is however the other side, Verizon is still on the ‘There’s 5G. Then there’s Verizon 5G‘ horse. I get it, it is their marketing, so when we see ‘Not all 5G is the same‘ where their hype creation department (read: marketing) gives us “Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband has the power to deliver speeds more than 10 times faster than some other 5G networks” here we see a dangerous tune, that is when you disregard ‘Ultra Wideband‘, the stage becomes that they are about to go to court with a dozen patents linked to their name, patents owned by Huawei. And as we were treated last Thursday to ‘Verizon sticks behind ambiguous 2020 DSS rollout plan‘ (source: FierceWireless) we get the stage where their entire marketing needs to sit on their hands, the moment this gets to court and the Patent lawyers will go over every word and punctuation, when the Patent IT people will investigate the claims and this hits the news cycles 24:7, Verizon will need to steer in different directions and the US administration will push them, the last thing this administration needs is a global expose on Chinese patent infringement all whilst they are pushing non-Chinese hardware on a global scale, the entire Verizon issue, whether true or not will be tested in courts and that is a large bone to pick, even today the 9 years old case between Samsung and Apple is on the minds of too many people, this was a setback the US could have done without.

It does not matter at present who is in the right, this will drag on for years to come (as court cases on infringement do) and it will hinder 5G growth in the US and 5G deployment  in Europe, in all this Huawei has too much to gain and the lack of evidence on Chinese government interference claims will not help any, not until clear evidence is presented by the US administration, which is unlikely to happen.

This will be a new technology in waves of interpretation, it is so because the US never gave the rest of the world evidence on Chinese government dangers and that is about to backfire. When this hits the media, it is more likely than not that Verizon shares will plummet, it will plummet to below values they had on August 14th 2019 ($55.72), which would make it a 15% drop which in 5G terms translates to the first coffin nail that Verizon will have to swallow, I reckon that at that point corporate reorganisations will be the talk of the day at Verizon for weeks to come.

Can it be avoided?

That is hard to say, we need to see that interpretation goes both ways and the patent infringement accusations are a larger issue, until we see them investigated by qualified senior Patent lawyers (like the USPTO has) we are merely speculating and even after that, as the court starts it will impact and impact larger than expected. Avoiding that stage would have been the issue to a much larger degree and the talks that ended in no resolve might require a push from the US administration to get those resolved, still the accusation is in the air, that had to be avoided (as I personally see it), no matter what deal is struck, we see the accusations against Huawei whilst Verizon was optionally (and allegedly) using Chinese technology in their hardware. That part is now in the open, and questions will be asked internationally, if not by the governments, it will be a good stick for their opponents to use with any of their upcoming elections. 

Settling this beforehand was the larger economic need and it was not done (not judging whether the cases will have merit at present). That is what a lot will remember in the end, especially those who needed a big stick, Huawei just gave them a bat to end most matches.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Politics

6 simple questions

I have written about it before, yet the article last friday forces me to take more than another look, it forces me to ask questions out loud, questions that should have been investigated as this case has been running for two years, lets not forget the hairy Amazon owner had his smartphone allegedly hacked in 2018.

My article ‘The incompetent view‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/01/28/the-incompetent-view/) was written on January 28th. I kept it alone for the longest of times, yet the accusations against Saudi Arabia, especially as that French Calamari UN-Essay writer is again involved forced my hand and the article last friday gives me the option to lash out and ask certain questions that the investigation optionally cannot answer, as such two years by these so called experts should be seen as 2 years by whatever they are, but I have doubt that expertise was part of the equation.

as such we begin with the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/31/jeff-bezos-met-fbi-investigators-in-2019-over-alleged-saudi-hack), here we see the following

NSO said: “we have not been contacted by any US law enforcement agencies at all about any such matters and have no knowledge or awareness of any investigative actions. Therefore, we cannot comment further.”“, which is a response towards the FBI who had been investigating NSO since 2017, which is based on the setting of “officials were seeking information about whether the company had received any of the code it needed to infect smartphones from US hackers

Yet it is the quote “Two independent investigators at the United Nations, Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, revealed last week that they have launched their own inquiry into allegations that Bezos’s phone was hacked on 1 May 2018 after he apparently received a video file from a WhatsApp account belonging to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince“, in this, can anyone explain to me why the UN is involved? I do not care how wealthy Jeff Bezos is and this has nothing to do with the Washington Post, either way this would be an initial criminal investigation, optionally running through the FBI.

  1. Why is the UN involved?

In defence we must observe “WhatsApp has said it believed NSO has violated criminal laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal law that is used to prosecute hackers. WhatsApp has claimed 1,400 users were hacked using NSO technology over a two-week period in April-May last year, after NSO was allegedly able to exploit a WhatsApp vulnerability that was later fixed

And again, we see that NSO technology is involved, yet FTI Consulting makes no mention of that part of the equation, more important whether the same atack was used, and in light of all this, we might see ‘NSO was allegedly able to exploit a WhatsApp vulnerability that was later fixed‘, yet when exactly was it fixed? That too is part of the equation.

When we look at the FTI report, other issues become surface materials. Like the quote “The phone maintained an unusually high average of 101MB of egress data per day for months thereafter, including many massive and highly atypical spikes of egress data. Forensic artifacts demonstrated that this unauthorized data was transmitted from Bezos’ phone via the cellular network.” What data was sent exactly? The report gives us: “they provide the ability to exfiltrate vast amounts of data including photos, videos, messages, and other private or sensitive files. It should be noted that spikes resembling these might occur legitimately if a user enabled iCloud backup over cellular data service. Bezos. however. had iCloud backups disabled on his device. Other legitimate causes of spikes in egress data could be if a user willingly uploaded or transmitted large amounts of data via a chat or messaging app. email client, or cloud storage service, but none of these activities were corroborated by GDBA or Bezos.

As such, as FTI Consulting gives us “Advanced mobile spyware. such as NSO Group’s Pegasus35 or Hacking Team’s Galileo,36 can hook into legitimate applications and processes on a compromised device as a way to bypass detection and obfuscate activity in order to ultimately intercept and exfiltrate data. The success of techniques such as these is a very likely explanation for the various spikes in traffic originating from Bezos’ device.” Yet is that what happened? lets not forget that the FTI Consulting report on page 16 states “The following investigative steps are currently pending.

  1. Intercept and analyze live cellular data from Bezos’ iPhone X“, as well as “2. Jailbreak Bezos’ iPhone and perform a forensic examination of the root file system.” steps that are seemingly incomplete and optionally not done at all, as such how did anyone in Saudi Arabia get fingered as the guilty party? It could be the German Cracking Service for all we know stating to Jeff Bezos ‘Copy me, I want to travel‘.
  2. Where is the evidence on the hack and the destination of the hacked data?

There are two parts in this, as I explained earlier, Vice.com gave an earlier consideration with ““Hacking Team was thoroughly owned, with its once-secret list of customers, internal emails, and spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see”” yet the stage that we see here, is merely a footnote in the FTI Consulting report and is given no weight at all.

This leads to the question 

  1. How was the phone of Jeff Bezos infected and where is that evidence?

This could lead to 3a. Who actually infected the iPhone of Jeff Bezos?

Which leads to the last part of last friday’s article and perhaps the biggest smear of all time “New revelations about the alleged hacking of Bezos’s phone have caught the attention of a handful of politicians in Washington who have sought more information about the alleged hack, including whether there was any evidence that Saudi Arabia had infected phones of any members of the Trump administration.” and because of this (as well as more) we get to:

  1. What exactly are the new revelations, as the FTI Consulting report is incomplete.
  2. Where is the evidence that Saudi Arabia infected ANY phones?

You see, someone infecting another person by claiming that they are someone they are not is at the core of this, as such any person in the room could have infected Jeff Bezos’s phone and optionally other phones too. Claiming to be MBS and being MBS are two separate parts. 

In this it was CNN who gave us “The report’s limited results are a reminder that it can be extremely challenging to reconstruct the activities of a determined, well-resourced hacker” and if hat is the setting, we again get to the stage where we cannot tell who infected the system of Jeff Bezos in the first place. As such Kenneth White (formerly with DHS) as well as  Chris Vickery (Director UpGuard) who gives us “other evidence provided by FTI increased his confidence that Bezos was being digitally surveilled“, we do not question that, we merely question the lack of evidence that points to Saudi Arabia as a perpetrator, basically the guilty party is not seen, because no evidence leading there is given, the fact that essential tests have not been done is further evidence still of the absence of any guilty party.

As that stands I merely end with the question:

  1. Why on earth is the UN involved in an alleged Criminal investigation where so much information is missing?

When we realise the small line in the Guardian “An analysis of the alleged hack that was commissioned by the Amazon founder has not concluded what kind of spyware was used” we are given a much larger consideration, if the spyware used is unknown, how can the data spy be seen? This gets an even larger mark towards the question when we consider “Check Point Research, however, recently unveiled new vulnerabilities in the popular messaging application that could allow threat actors to intercept and manipulate messages sent in both private and group conversations, giving attackers immense power to create and spread misinformation from what appear to be trusted sources.” (at https://research.checkpoint.com/2018/fakesapp-a-vulnerability-in-whatsapp/), and another source (at https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/whatsapp-vulnerability-allows-attackers-to-alter-messages-in-chats/) gives almost the same information and also has the text “Using these techniques, attackers can manipulate conversations and group messages in order to change evidence and spread fake news and misinformation“, the FTI Consulting report gives us nothing of that, and as it does not set the stage of disabling that these were options that were disregarded, we see that this mobile situation might not now or not ever see the light of day with an actual reference to an attacker that will hold water in any court. 

As such the UN will have a lot to explain soon enough, I got there through 6 simple questions, 6 questions that anyone with an application of common sense could have gotten to, I wonder why the UN did not get there, I wonder why FTI Consuilting handed over a report that was failing to this degree.

 

2 Comments

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Politics

Evidence? Why?

I ignored the news initially, as I saw it, it was nothing more than some bash piece on Saudi Arabia. Yet something hot me, it was just a thought and it was: ‘What if I illuminate parts and let common sense people decide‘ (which takes out many journalists and mostly all politicians). As for me? The issue is that the media is all about bashing any royal part of Saudi Arabia, all whilst ignoring evidence (and debatable evidence to a much greater degree, their pursuit of circulation and agreeing to the beat of shareholders and stakeholders has gone to the heads of too many editors and I get a real rush to illuminate this part.

I have never ignored evidence, yet just like with Huawei, it is seemingly all about the big bully shouting, whilst the deciding world for the most ignores evidence and I think that it is a weird situation. Not merely in this blog, but on a few matters, we will get to hold them to account in a few years, at that point these people will make hastily formulated excuses whilst running to their mummies to get breastfeeding (I reckon).

So, lets begin. In the first we have ‘How the UN unearthed a possible Saudi Arabian link to Jeff Bezos hack‘ (the Guardian at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/22/how-the-un-unearthed-a-possible-saudi-arabian-link-to-jeff-bezos-hack) as well as ‘Did Saudi Arabia’s crown prince hack the Amazon king?’ (the Economist at https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/01/25/did-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-hack-the-amazon-king), a nice side effect is that the Economist, is viewed and acted on on the 24th of January, whilst the article states that it is the Jan 25th 2020 edition, but enough about that. Let’s start with the Guardian who tells us “The UN’s demand for law enforcement authorities to conduct a proper investigation into the alleged hacking of Jeff Bezos’s mobile phone came after it reviewed the findings of a cybersecurity firm, FTI“, we might not see anything here, yet the UN, who is underfunded and strained has time for this? Is this another US Essay like the one by some French girl on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi? And what about ‘after it reviewed the findings of a cybersecurity firm, FTI‘? This implies that the United Nations called for the inspection, notified a cyber security firm (FTI) and investigated the phone of some so called billionaire (postage and shipping required). So why exactly is this not with the police or an official investigative body like the FBI Cyber division?

Following this we get the real beef with “concluded with “medium to high confidence” that it had been compromised because of actions attributable to a WhatsApp account used by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman“, first of all, if I want to investigate the corruption at an army base, I will not go in as the lawlordtobe, I would enter the situation as some poor schmuck who is from the city of Noonecares. It is almost like an assasination and the official in question uses his own service revolver instead of someone else’s. And what goes with ‘medium to high confidence‘, what evidence was uncovered? Then we get the part where is all falls to shambles. With “The UN was careful not to be definitive. Instead of pointing the finger, its statement said the apparent hack had been achieved using software “such as NSO Group’s Pegasus or, less likely, Hacking Team’s Galileo, that can hook into legitimate applications to bypass detection and obfuscate activity”“, just like the Khashoggi essay fiasco, the UN is all about being not definitive, as such we want to know how accusations can be made when you are not definitive. As such I would like to point the UN troll to a kids game called Clue, there in that games (for ages 8+) we are introduced to the concept of evidence, where you need to collect facts and state “I am accusing Colonel Mustard who killed Dr. Black (aka Mr. Boddy) in the Kitchen using the lead pipe” and then we look at the evidence and see if the claimant had his or her facts straight. None of that CIA BS where we see ‘medium to high confidence‘, I would offer that if the confidence is already medium, what was not looked at and what was discarded. The statement comes directly before “The NSO Group, an Israeli cyber-surveillance firm, strongly denied that its surveillance tools were responsible“, as such we are left with ‘less likely, Hacking Team’s Galileo‘. so there is a mountain of doubt on an article that throws the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in a bad light and there is seemingly an increasing lack of evidence. As we go on, we see the NSO giving the statement that offers direct opposition to some firm called FTI with “These types of abuses of surveillance systems blacken the eye of the cyber-intelligence community and put a strain on the ability to use legitimate tools to fight serious crime and terror. We expect that all actors in this arena put in place stringent procedures and technological controls, such as those that we have put in place, to assure that their systems are not used in an abusive manner“, as such there are larger questions not merely on the UN for setting the stage of something that is not on their plate, they apparently went to another small operation (who knows) and let them set up the stage of doubtful and debatable documentation, doubtful as we get one of the implied companies go directly into denial and setting a document based on evidence that is regarded as ‘medium to high confidence‘.

And then something beautiful happens. We see “The FTI report cited by the UN special rapporteurs, Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, noted that both NSO and Hacking Team, an Italian company, offered tools that could theoretically have performed the attack” where we are (again) introduced to that UN essay writer, the one that had given us the joke called some Khashoggi report (Agnes Callamard), as well hiding behind ‘tools that could theoretically have performed the attack‘, the idea that this joke from a building based at 760 United Nations Plaza, Manhattan, New York City, New York 10017 and hide behind the word ‘theoretically‘, as such pardon my French (oh, that was funny!) but how the fuck does she still have a job?

For several reasons I will not use the Economist (as I am not a subscriber), but the quotes in their magazine “which was soon used to steal large amounts of data—though the un did not say exactly what, or how it was used” as well as “It called for an “immediate investigation”. The Saudi embassy in Washington, dc, said the accusations were “absurd”.

As I see it, the UN is nothing more than an advertising paper tiger, adhering to the commands of some stakeholder (identity unknown), if this was a direct action by the UN, those people need to be investigated immediately, I feel decently certain I will get both China and Russia to sign off on this, as this has the distinct smell that comes from neither region, so they would score a win, in addition to that, the UN would have to submit data as to what exactly was taken and how it could be identified, which is also an issue that is unclear and optionally unclear to the UN people involved. 

The Verge had a lot more, they had (at https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/23/21078828/report-saudi-arabia-hack-jeff-bezos-phone-fti-consulting) the actual report, and there we see on page one we see the person we need to hackle for information, it is Anthony J. Ferrante who needs to give us the names of who this so called ‘Confidential Report’ was given to, because it seems that it was leaked. And there we see the originator (vice.com) giving us “The report, obtained by Motherboard, indicates that investigators set up a secure lab to examine the phone and its artifacts and spent two days poring over the device but were unable to find any malware on it. Instead, they only found a suspicious video file sent to Bezos on May 1, 2018 that “appears to be an Arabic language promotional film about telecommunications.”“, however, this is not the end. They also give us “Investigators determined the video or downloader were suspicious only because Bezos’ phone subsequently began transmitting large amounts of data. “[W]ithin hours of the encrypted downloader being received, a massive and unauthorized exfiltration of data from Bezos’ phone began, continuing and escalating for months thereafter,” the report states“. In this I state OK, let’s take an actual look.

And they do give us more, quotes like “The digital forensic results, combined with a larger investigation, interviews, research, and expert intelligence information, led the investigators “to assess Bezos’ phone was compromised via tools procured by Saud al Qahtani,” the report states“, as well as “A mobile forensic expert told Motherboard that the investigation as depicted in the report is significantly incomplete and would only have provided the investigators with about 50 percent of what they needed, especially if this is a nation-state attack“, ““They would need to use a tool like Graykey or Cellebrite Premium or do a jailbreak to get a look at the full file system. That’s where that state-sponsored malware is going to be found. Good state-sponsored malware should never show up in a backup,” said Sarah Edwards, an author and teacher of mobile forensics for the SANS Institute“, and “The investigators do note on the last page of their report that they need to jailbreak Bezos’s phone to examine the root file system. Edwards said this would indeed get them everything they would need to search for persistent spyware like the kind created and sold by the NSO Group. But the report doesn’t indicate if that did get done.“, which is as I personally see it the shallow political BS that some people go for. As such we see in the report “The following investigative steps are currently pending“, and more profound, on page 4 we see: “On May 1st, 2018, Bezos received a text from the WhatsApp account used by MBS“, my issue here is that this might have been the infected one, yet if I did that, I would use an originator that was real. And there we have it, the Dailymail gave us ‘New bug allows hackers to send fake messages pretending to be you – and there’s nothing you can do to stop them‘ (at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6039533/WhatsApp-users-beware-Hackers-send-fake-messages-pretending-you.html) with the additional text: “First discovered by Israeli cybersecurity group CheckPoint Research, the flaw is incredibly complex and involves a gap within the app’s encryption algorithms. Writing on their website, the team said the vulnerability could make it possible for a hacker ‘to intercept and manipulate messages sent by those in a group or private conversation’ as well as ‘create and spread misinformation’. Hackers could use the bug to alter the text sent in someone else’s reply to a group chat, essentially ‘putting words in their mouth’, the group said.

It took me 5 minutes and Google search to find this. I am not stating that this is true and that the Daily Mail is the source to use (they often are not), yet this is a larger failing, I expected this from the very beginning, the origins of the setting was not properly investigated. Then Vice.com gave us “the report is significantly incomplete and would only have provided the investigators with about 50 percent of what they needed“, which is what I expected before I read one word of the accusation, and with US Essay writer Callamard involved (yes again it is her) we see what this is, another mindless attack on a nation and one person. They did not even bother getting him properly smeared, and no one is asking questions, I reckon that the involved stakeholders are likely to go for the, if we create enough barbeques, someone will shout fire: ‘I ran’ for office! Anyone?

what is the most irritating part is that the UN is again used as the cheap tool that they are. In this there is also the involvement of the FTI and more interesting that a Cyber Security firm did not look past the simplest trappings, as as we consider the optional involvement of Anthony J. Ferrante we need to consider sending quota to all 49 of the Global 100 companies that are FTI clients. Even if it was merely to make a few people sweat. When a non Cyber adapt like me can see through this part they have a clear problem and whether Anony Mouse Bezos was part of this or not will not matter. There is one other part in the report that should be considered. On page 2 we see “More significantly. al Qahtani is known to have played a key and senior role in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.” In the first, he was acquitted (in a Saudi trial) and there has been no other trials, as such the statement should be read as false, no clear evidence was ever presented. In the second, as this is part of the executive summary, it seems that this was a way to blatantly strike out against one individual and the evidence is not corroborating any of this, too many questions are left unanswered and the media is not asking them either, as such I wonder what is to be believed, especially in light of the Daily Mail ‘revelation’ last August, which implies long in advance of this report. The fact that this (optional) fact is ignored gives out a much larger issue, the work in incomplete, debatable and political, not factual, as such sending serious cyber letters to the 49 of the Global 100 companies that are FTI clients, as I personally see it, these players are all about facts and when their provider and be painted as open for considerations, we should entertain all kinds of questions. 

I would also look at the footnotes and take a larger look at that descriptive part, I wonder what is left once I have had the chance to take a red pencil through this report. Now, I am not stating that Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is innocent, I am merely considering that his evidence is so shallow, that I would never accuse him of anything, not before a lot more work was done (and a lot more footnotes were properly weighed), in this consider on page 3 footnote 8. When we go there, we see that the article is Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai a member of Motherboard (so why is there no Motherboard article that is the source), we see “An investor from Saudi  Arabia is apparently behind a company that bought a stake in the controversial spyware vendor” where ‘apparently‘ is the operative word. It is also where we see: “Hacking Team was thoroughly owned, with its once-secret list of customers, internal emails, and spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see“, were all these customers on a secret list investigated? There is also ‘spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see‘, a small fact that is apparently not investigated, additional players all optionally ready to give someone called Bezos the time of his on-line life. Then we get “this apparent recovery is in part thanks to the new investor, who appears to be from Saudi Arabia“, a line ruled by, you guessed it ‘apparent‘ and ‘who appears‘, so much filtering and doubt, and in this FTI used that as a footnote source? A program co-owned for 80% by none other then David Vincenzetti. That does NOT make HIM a guilty party and neither is there any convincing evidence of any kind towards the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

When I see all this I wonder if the UN (or FTI) has any clue how much we should regard them as tools. I cannot tell at present what kind of tools they are, but my personal view is that if this is the debatable level of evidence that some employ, we all are in so much more trouble then we ever thought.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Military, Politics, Science

It took one funeral

In the left corner

Iran is in all kinds of problems, there are a few issues all playing at the same time, yet the one that is satisfying me the most is the news on Al-Jazeera where we see ‘UN monitors say Houthis not behind Saudi Aramco attacks: Report‘ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/monitors-houthis-saudi-aramco-attacks-report-200109062732396.html) It is here that we see “The investigators, who monitor sanctions on Yemen, also said they do not believe that “those comparatively sophisticated weapons were developed and manufactured in Yemen.” They were not tasked with identifying who was responsible for the Saudi attack” in this it is interesting that it was merely about identifying that houthis were not responsible and the added ‘They were not tasked with identifying who was responsible‘ merely shows a larger failing for the UN. Of course they might use the same approach in falsely accusing the murderers of Jamal Khashoggi, but the UN cannot get what it wants, it is now a political engine trying to be the vice for the EU to get Nuclear accords. What took them a month to figure out was within my grasp within hours when I wrote ‘Government? Censorship?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/08/18/government-censorship/), the data was available and even as the UN might set ‘standards’ for their information (the UN-essay by Agnes Callamard debates that), the setting of a destroyed Yemen making advanced weaponry like the drones, all whilst they never had the people to make them before the war was not a part that they took for granted? The fact that years of war show a rather large lack of accuracy whilst the pinpoint accuraccy of the attack on Aramco was almost surgical. No, none of that mattered to the UN, even as they had months to look into the matter ‘They were not tasked with identifying who was responsible‘ rears its ugly head. Al Jazeera then gives us “Adel al-Jubeir, signalled in September that Riyadh was waiting for results of UN investigations before announcing how his country would respond. UN experts monitoring UN sanctions on Iran and Yemen travelled to Saudi Arabia days after the September attack. Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, told the Security Council in a separate report on December 10  that the UN was “unable to independently corroborate” that missiles and drones used in the attacks “are of Iranian origin”“, the UN did its job and prevented a war at the expense of credibility and trustworthiness. I had by that date in December established via several sources that only Iran could have done what was done and I even looked at other Saudi Allies as optional aggressors, only NATO and Iran remained as optional aggressors, I wonder if we get a NATO brief next week with an apology? The matter is actually larger than merely hardware, Houthi forces also do not have the ability (read: people) to properly control drones, I would argue that my ability (I’ve never managed a drone) with mere Flight Simulator experience would make me a better drone operator than any Houthi. 

In the right corner

Now we get to the fun part (for me that is), the news of ‘Catastrophic failure of Ukraine jet in Iran suggests missile strike‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/09/catastrophic-failure-ukraine-jet-iran-suggests-missile) with added photo of a Tor-M1 part gives a rather nasty setting, it is the news that comes with “Fail-safe systems that would have allowed the aircraft to get back safely in the event of engine failure appeared to have been compromised in an instant. Others pointed to what looked like penetrating holes in the airframe, leading some to compare them to the damage suffered by the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 shot down over Ukraine by a Buk surface-to-air missile five years ago“, yet I was not convinced, if I slam Iranians (which is always fun) I want to keep a rather high level of evidence in play. I am also unwilling (after three CIA bungles) to go with “the US had picked up the signature of an anti-aircraft missile battery locking on to the Ukrainian plane, and then the infrared heat signal of two missile launches followed by that of an explosion on the plane“. I even debate the intelligence implied by prime minister Justin Trudeau (most likely relying on US-CIA intelligence) that it was an Iranian surface-to-air missile. I am however taken with the independent part of “the aircraft landed safety with only one death, thanks to the significant “redundancy”, or fail-safe designs, built into modern planes to allow them to land safely after an engine failure“, you see, no matter what happened after that, the plane would be in a largely controlled crash drive and there would be communication, there would be updates by the pilot, no matter what his or her nationality was. In addition there is: “Here we had some kind of event that knocked the transponder off the plane. Some kind of event that disabled the electronics to that system. It takes a lot to disable the electronics on a sophisticated aircraft like the 737-800“, I get that and that is very acceptable and from that we get back to the quote ‘Experts say debris fragments and sudden loss of fail-safe systems point to missile‘ and “while some apparent evidence of fragment damage to the aircraft turned out to be debris from the ground, other images showed ragged holes in one of the engines and scorching to one side of the cockpit, and other parts of the aircraft“, this all point towards the use of a missile and I agree with the statement of implied convenience “the unverified picture of the seeker head of the Tor-M1 missile seemed to some to be too good to be true, lying on the ground and largely intact“, I would like to know the source of that image, it is not Iranian, that much is certain, and any person ‘on the ground’ there finding that part is just too much of a happy go lucky lottery winner for me to have faith in (yes, I tend to not trust anyone). The issue remains, Iran is screwing up, in massive ways, the overreaction towards a civilian passenger carrier implies that the people there cannot distinguish between optional targets and that implies a lack of push on the iranian side, if they go to war whilst their people cannot tell differences implies that they are open to much larger flaws when tactical issues cannot play out because they cannot tell the difference.

Even as we (to some degree) accept “US officials would not disclose the intelligence they claim to have that indicates an Iranian missile was to blame, they acknowledged the existence of satellites and other sensors in the region, as well as the likelihood of communications intercepts and other similar intelligence“, there is a play in motion, now that Iran has torn up the nuclear accords, we see new actions on the table, yet these actions seem hollow. Actions like ‘Germany urges Europe to respond to Iran’s nuclear violations‘ (source: Reuters), where we see the quote “stopped short of calling for renewed U.N. sanctions“, an almost cowardly level of response whilst the transgressions have been going on since October 2019, I spoke about it in ‘The tradesman and the deal‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/11/05/the-tradesman-and-the-deal/), yet the EU still cannot find any solution that works months later and is refraining from ‘calling for renewed U.N. sanctions‘, it’s like watching a large neon sign ‘I saw a big pussy and it called itself EU‘, no wonder nothing gets resolved.

Yet no matter how it turns, Iran is getting more and more issues on its plate and there is a growing amount of international intelligence and evidence to really turn up the heat on Iran, the problem is that there are also an increased amount of players who want ‘their’ project to continue and that is the larger problem for now, when we look at the timeline and resolve the Aramco attacks at Abqaiq and Khurais first, we will see a much larger level of pressure against Iran, nuclear accords be damned, anyone thinking that Iran would abide by them is completely looney tunes, the news that Iran gave last year of transgressing its 300Kg limit by one thousand percent was (as I personally see it) a timed one, there was just not enough space to hide their transgression and the materials and hardware required for it and that part is just ignored by too many (mostly the 27 players in the EU), now one funeral later it all comes to blow, but not because of the funeral, the matter that people forget is that when you have an orchestra and you replace the conductor, we see that the orchestra is going through changes, it always does and as we see it now, the fact that Qassam Soleimani was juggling half a dozen issues at the same time, it is expected that his replacement will drop a few items as he does not know these issues 100%, as well as the fact that the people in that army are all vying for a better position, that is the benefit we now have and that is why we have to push. When Iran is exposed to the largest degree they will falter again and again until they have no credibility anywhere, that is the setting we need to go for, not because of people on a flight, not because of attacks of refineries or transgressions on accords, those are in the past, we need to do it because of the things that are still to reach the surface and there are issues that will still reach the surface, that is what will show Iran as the weak middle eastern bully it has been for the longest time, there is the victory of what is yet to come and that will set change, the problem is will the opponents of Iran be strong enough? Saudi Arabia and Israel are, the rest is open to interpretation, it is linked to the ego of the speakers and the win they still hope for, the EU is showing that all too clearly.

I personally wonder just how far certain players are willing to go to get their ego’s fixed, I feel certain we will see a lot more before the month is over.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics