Tag Archives: 5G

Chaos, benefit or danger?

As an aspiring agent of chaos, I have always been in favour of chaos. There are two quotes from the movie The Dark knight (2008) that are important here. They seem meaningless, but they are not. Consider the events surrounding Brexit. The IMF, Wall Street, the ECB all desperate to scheme through fear mongering, and they are even at it today, all so eager to keep their status quo in place. So, the first quote is: “Y’know they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are“, that is only partially true. The evidence is all around us on how Wall Street is still largely in control. I am not giving you some conspiracy theory on how they did one or the other. The news as we read it in nearly every decent newspaper gives you that evidence and they call it ‘policy’. It is fun to make a second movie reference, especially as it also included Christian Bale. The movie the Big Short (2015) shows clearly the facts of the subprime mortgage issues that unfolded and became a reality. It was based on the book by Michael Lewis called The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. I was sceptic at first, not because of the actors involved. Yet the notion that it involved Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling made me a little wary. In the end, I saw a movie that showed a Steve Carell who shows us how brilliant he actually is, more than merely a really good comedian. Even as he had already worked together with his prospective son in law (a Crazy, Stupid, Love pun), as the narrator in part of the movie Ryan Gosling gives it that extra, that part that will make you remember the movie long after you have seen it. The movie ends up being not merely an entertainer, the movie becomes an educator almost to the degree that the book was. Together with Margin Call and Inside Job you get a real grasp of the economic wasteland that 2008 created.

This part is truly important, because when you consider those facts and the mere realisation that the US, EU and many other places still have no proper protective laws in place is just scary.

Part of this is seen in the McKinsey report on June 5th 2018 where we see: “That the effects of Pillar 2 add-ons and capital buffers should result in two widely different assessments, of €56 billion and €2.2 billion, is notable, highlighting the room for national discretion during implementation. In Sweden and Norway, for example, supervisors are reflecting higher risk weights for mortgage loans in Pillar 2 capital requirements. Some analysts are therefore expecting that these add-ons will be removed, given that they are already captured by an internal model floor for mortgages under Pillar 1“, the part ‘expecting that these add-ons will be removed‘ is the danger here. You see, Bloomberg reported in January 2018 (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-25/banks-prepare-for-battle-as-europe-readies-rules-to-cut-risk), “banks are uncertain about how Pillar 2 capital requirements — demands set over and above legal minimums — will be imposed“, the statement is odd as they were already there in Basel 2, so why is there now ‘miscommunication’? (Perhaps ‘ignorance through intentional non-comprehension‘ might be a better term).

When we look at those two pillars we see:

First Pillar: Minimum Capital Requirement
The first pillar Minimum Capital Requirement is mainly for total risk including the credit risk, market risk as well as Operational Risk.

Second Pillar: Supervisory Review Process
The second pillar i.e. Supervisory Review Process is basically intended to ensure that the banks have adequate capital to support all the risks associated in their businesses.

You see, we have seen the game of CDO’s, derivatives in many forms, sometimes being ‘diplomatically’ called Bespoke Tranche Opportunities nowadays, the Big Short mentions it at the very end. Consider that this was a 2015 movie, and Bloomberg gives us last August: “Pacific Investment Management Co., Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Columbia Threadneedle and others are snatching up bonds tied to subprime mortgages and other home loans made before the housing crisis, while selling speculative-grade company debt. They say junk yields are too low for the risk investors are taking, and securities backed by mortgages — which have already gained as much as 6.9 percent this year according to Bank of America Corp. data — offer higher potential returns given the risk“, it implies that some could get rich by taking risk on junk. So when that collapses, considering Basel 3 pillar one and two, what are the chances that pillar one, the operational side does not include such events as it is not ‘operational‘ but based on non-operational settings? Where is the risk then? In addition, when we see that now, the banks are expected to ‘expecting that these add-ons will be removed‘ from consideration, how dangerous is the balance at that point? Did we not learn enough in the years 2008-2011? Why are we allowing these gambles leaving us with nothing twice over? Why are there no clear laws banning credit swaps and BTO’s? It might sound nice and soundbyte nice when the pope makes such a claim, yet it is still legally an option, so why was this not halted? The fact that the book and movie mention this gives rise to the fact that Wall Street knew for many years, yet they let it slide. So what happens when the people DEMAND from their president that the banks will no longer bailout banks involved in that? What happens when Wall Street faces the rage of the people and there is no continuance or replay of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008? What happens when the people have had enough and in honour of the American Civil War (1861 to 1865) decide on the American Wall Street Clambake of (20xx) where 150 million Americans decide to lynch the 63,779 bankers on Wall Street in public, would that change a few noses to be more morally inclined (of those still alive that is)?

Agustin Carstens gives us a more diplomatic view in the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/720efbe2-75fa-11e8-a8c4-408cfba4327c) where we see “the future is not pre-ordained. The right policies can help. While the path ahead is a narrow one, it can be taken. We should seize the day to rebalance the policy mix and sustain the current expansion. That means regaining room for policy manoeuvre and reviving the flagging efforts to implement structural policies. Let’s use macroprudential tools to strengthen resilience where financial vulnerabilities are building up. Let’s ensure that public finances are on a sound footing“, yet he phrases it better, but as I stated in the beginning, I am an aspiring agent of chaos after all. This gets me to the second quote in the Dark Knight. It is applicable in two settings, the one we saw and the one we are about to see. The quote: “You know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even when the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I told the press that, like, a gang-banger would get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics. Because it’s all part of the plan. But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everybody loses their minds!

This gets me to the situation where Israel made a choice to speak, but from where I am sitting, it seems like the wrong voice to raise and it is the setting of a dangerous strategy that could backfire in ways that we cannot perceive as yet.

You see, on Wednesday afternoon Netanyahu tweeted out a video praising the Iranian soccer team for its performance in the World Cup against Portugal with “The Iranian team just did the impossible. To the Iranian people I say: You showed courage on the playing field, and today you showed the same courage in the streets of Iran.

For soccer fans it was a remarkable day, most of them did not give Iran any chance of winning, not against Morocco, who has a team that can stand up to the likes of Spain, a nation devoted to soccer, so for Iran to win, that was a really big thing. Now consider the words ‘today you showed the same courage in the streets of Iran‘. This is a reference to the Iranian currency plunging to the depths of the Mariana trench, having a massive impact on the Iranian people. ABC gave us (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-26/thousands-protest-in-iran-over-failing-economy/9909184) ‘Thousands protest in Iran over failing economy, forcing closure of Tehran’s Grand Bazaar‘, now we can acknowledge the event, yet from the lips of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, or in this one particular case ‘PM Be not a Yahoo‘ it seems to give notification that revolution needs to be on their mind. The problems is even as they currently have a lame duck in place (President Hassan Rouhani), who is merely accepted as the temporary voice of the Clerical and Military power in Iran. Such a revolution would merely empower the military and give rise to the Clerical side to end up supporting the military

Yet the setting in the frame whilst the nuclear negotiations are still going on, Iran is under pressure. The danger we are now exposed to is that the Iranian clerics and military will not place another ‘liberal’ minded person for another 4 years, so the danger of having some short minded version of former president Ahmadinejad on steroids as the next president of Iran is not out of the question. No one can tell whether the clerics and military have prepared the next one, but to get one in their years early tends to push chaos to a level of devastation and this is not the time to make this happen. So basically we see the feeding towards ‘then everybody loses their minds!‘ Could I be wrong?

Off course I can, yet the data and events seeping towards a more extreme new president was always coming, the acceleration in Saudi Arabia and the Iranian acts in Yemen clearly point that way. We see in some sources phrases like “Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told a news conference that the ongoing offensive on Hodeidah has put the country on the brink of famine“, from my point of view, the Iranians achieved that last year with the aid of a tool like Hezbollah and pointing the Houthi rebels to cause maximum damage to the people of Yemen. So when we see: “The international organizations and the UN should make an effort to end the aggression against the oppressed Yemeni people“, the UN knows perfectly well that delivered missiles firing from Houthi positions into civilian targets in Saudi Arabia made that a non-option right of the bat. Yet, we must not forget that Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi played his part very well, the main players are not new to this game and merely waiving their options away is not something the UN is willing to do, in that regard we all need time to get anything proper in place and Israel just changed that instance to some degree. Chaos in Tehran can unfold in ways that cannot be predicted because several players behind the scenes cannot be identified. Yes, the top two (Ali Khamenei and Qasem Soleimani) are known, yet their inner circle is not completely known and now we are in an upcoming impasse where we could be forced to wait until their moves are done, that whilst Iran is nowhere near on the ropes, so they have what might be seen as the field advantage for a little while and that is where chaos can go unbridled and cause actual long term damage.

There is enough evidence of that in Syria, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, none coming with short term solutions to get some actual productive. the Egyptian $500 million education reform bill is only two months old and took some time to get it all in the right shape. This is long term thinking, a true working strategy where the next generation will be more educated giving additional options for long term dialogues and giving a nation options to grow economically. Now consider that any prospective improvement is now optionally off the table for Iran until 2027. This gives a long term danger to sparks evolving in a very different form of chaos, one that no one can predict how it will unfold in the end. That is the game at present. Now consider such an event happening whilst Europe and the US go through another 2008 event, something that several predict and most seem to agree that it is pretty much unavoidable.

Almost like some used to say that the Great War (1914-1918) was the war to end all wars and we were treated to a very different reality in 1938. In that year we got the very first issue of Superman and Time magazine elected Adolf Hitler as ‘Man of the Year‘, do you remember how that ended, apparently all remaining 9 million Israeli’s definitely do!

Chaos can be good, it allows for true change. In this the quote: “It’s like knocking over an ant-hill. Every new generation gets stronger, the ant-hill gets redesigned, made better” is appropriate, yet the danger is that those ants have access to an arsenal of ‘solutions’ that can make a real dent ensuring long term chaos, that is why the Israeli push is not the beneficial push that the PM thought it could be, so tweeting that video was slightly too rash (for more than one reason). In that the earlier setting where we let the banks completely collapse might be the better options (if we had to choose between the two). In the second part, the Iranian debacle is also set on how China will react. Some are speculating that Iran wants to offer an oil solution if China is the saviour that they hope it will be. I cannot tell, I never looked at any data or papers giving real light to one path towards the other path. For china it might be an option, especially after the vitriolic actions against Huawei and ZTE, yet in the end that market is for now not large enough to cause truest concern, not whilst they have plenty of options to grow 5G in Europe with a population twice the size of the US and an overwhelming desire of the local populations in western Europe and Scandinavia to adopt it, there is enough for China to focus on, they might love to help out Iran, just to spite the US and to get under-priced oil, yet that is a separate play from what is on offer.

Scandinavia is also interesting as it allows Huawei to reach the bulk of Swedes through their three cities (Stockholm, Goteborg and Malmo). As Malmo is merely a bridge crossing away from Denmark’s capital Copenhagen a growth path for Huawei could show others soon thereafter what the rest is missing out on and with Swedish Telia on board, the setting for both Denmark and Norway becomes a reality. Even as the US is all up in arms, Reuters gave us merely 4 months ago on Huawei being “the company in prime position to lead the global race for next-generation 5G networks despite U.S. allegations it poses a security threat“. So even as we see newscasts like ‘Sprint, T-Mobile merger will generate 5G powerhouse, cut costs for users‘, that setting is definitely not a given. You see the chaos is not in getting the 5G, the chaos comes from 5G as governments and large telecom companies are nowhere near dealing with the setting that cyber threats can become. this is not merely phishing, scamming or abducting accounts, this is the realistic danger that for the first two years 5G facilitators become start points of all kinds of chaos though the facilitation of non-calibrated systems, architecture lacking equilibrium. the difference between ‘a holistic approach towards DDoS attacks and 5G networks, rather than relying on outdated defence tactics‘ (source: Wireless Week). Non-repudiation would have been a quality first step in that, in a time when too many are relying on authentication, we seem to forget that it remains relatively easy to get a ‘false positive’. Please do not take my word for that, merely visit 675 N Randolph St, Arlington, VA USA (address of DARPA) and ask Dr. Steven H. Walker if you can take a look at a massive archive of false positives that their previous research gave in all kinds of fields, it is an impressive read to get your fingers on and you’ll die of old age before you even get through 30% of the materials, even if you start as a teenager.

That was the ball game from the start. A mere setting of order versus chaos; a simple setting where order could have prevailed, if not for the economic setting of greed and speed over quality. In that 5G does not open up the super highway of data, it merely opened `15 highways next to the one we cannot even properly control now and we end getting 16 highways flooding us with false positives, chaos on a new level and not chaos of the good kind. It will be the wet dream of organised crime for close to a decade to come and the larger players remain is presented denial.

For that you merely have to search Google and use the search term “Telstra non-repudiation“, you get ‘Mobile Authenticator’, which states to be ‘Enhanced non-repudiation’. These two are not the same! Now, important that this is not anti-Telstra, the bulk of all systems on a global level have these issues. My issue in this particular case is “reduce the costs associated with robust user authentication for large populations of staff or customers accessing your online service” Non-repudiation is never cheaper (for now) and in the end the flaws are not obvious, yet they are there and it takes one sloppy moment to give access. Computer world gave us last year the article by Evan Schuman involved here is Steven Sprague is the CEO of Rivetz, this project that comes the from National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (yes, it’s a mouth full) is giving us: ““Software code is easily altered, and memory can be copied,” he said. “The [whole] software process can be observed. You simply cannot hide a secret in the operating system. It’s time to finally do it correctly, with hardened keys within the device.”“. It is one step stronger, yet this is still not non-repudiation, where the setting is that you and only you could have done the deed. Some go for the ‘Dual biometrics may just be the authentication answer we need‘, yet that is still ways away and in the end on the mobile path not really a good solution. One player called Sensory is making positive headway, yet they are not there yet and time ran out close to two years ago to get something really good on the roadmap. So even as we see that authentication solutions are there, in the immediate setting where mobiles can now move billions, the game is now and has always been non-repudiation. At present we move over a billion dollars a day via mobiles and ecommerce, when we consider that this push is going to fivefold in the next decade, do you really think that authentication is going to get the job done securely and on time before the big bank download begins?

Is there a connection?

Consider Bank Melli Iran: $45.5 billion, Bank Mellat: $39.7 billion and Bank Saderat Iran: $39.3 billion. Merely three banks with a few billions. Now consider the following settings. In the first we get “While the standards of the Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) are widely followed around the world, they are not enforced in Iran“, a mere setting of rules. Now we consider the resetting of Basel 3 pillars one and two, with the support from several financial sources giving us “The Central Bank of Iran has played a significant and effective role in implementing Basel II and III standards in the banking system“. Now we take those elements and add 5G, whilst non-repudiation is non-existent and some devious entrepreneurs help themselves to the $125 billion of cream. This fat cat, can we call them ‘organised cats’, could potentially use the 5G debacle to remain anonymous and sail away on their new yacht (by the way, if you guys pull that off, please remember my AU$20,000,000 consultancy fee through Riyadh, so I can use the legally available tax avoidance rules).

Do you still think I am joking?

We have heard all kinds of noise concerning security, so in addition to that, one source (Internet of business dot com) gives us “5G will enable IoT applications such as autonomous vehicles, healthcare solutions, and robotics. But the technology also poses a much larger security risk than the 2G, 3G, and 4G networks that came before it. Why is this?
Significantly, 5G represents an overhaul in the way that networks are run and managed. In contrast to the hardware-based networks of the past, the technology takes advantage of virtualisation and cloud systems, leaving it more vulnerable to breaches if not properly secured.
” There we see the connection, proclamation of proper security are at the foundation of it, whilst the systems are all about Authentication and not about clear non-repudiation, in an age where mobile hi-jacking is a reality of life, the authentications in place are often too easily avoided. In the time a person walks to the bathroom a highly jacked phone can now set up the vibe of 25 million transactions, all completed in 52 seconds, most likely at that point, the person going to the toilet barely sat down for the event to release, that’s what it took to set the Iranian coffers to ’empty’. Now, many will not react that it happens to Iran, yet the newly elected extremist will not let that slide; and what happens when it is not Iran, but another nation? What happens when we realise too late that our own banks are not up to scrap?

Only this month did we see: “Security breaches continue to be an ever-present threat for financial institutions. Defending against attacks and authenticating customers without creating undue friction is something financial institutions have not yet completely solved. Consumers seem to be willing to use more secure methods to access their accounts, but not necessarily give up on ease and speed of transacting“, and in addition ““Attacks haven’t died down,” said Will Lasala, director of security solutions at OneSpan, a cybersecurity firm. “The amount of loss is through the roof. Stopping losses and the need to analyze what’s happening in those transactions is important.”“. That was this month, whilst the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) treated all willing to learn to “Internet connections establish a pathway for hackers and thieves to access and steal sensitive personal information, including the banking records that many customers store on their home computers. Phishing, pharming, spyware, malware, worms, nimdas, viruses, buffer overflows, and spam—all relatively recent entries to our vocabulary—have raised electronic/Internet banking risk levels to new highs, and financial institutions have had to increase security measures to address those risks“, that was in 2005, thirteen years ago. Welcome to the age of ‘if it costs too much, sit on the solution for now‘, you see, not much headway was made (clearly nowhere near enough) and in that result we are now on the edge of 5G where the speed and issues are driven upwards at least tenfold, so that is where non-repudiation was a solution, if only someone had gotten us there. It was a risk covered in my University IT classes in 2010, so it is not like there was no awareness, merely a path that was seen by too many decision makers as too unprofitable to consider.

Now we see chaos in its proper light. Chaos could have set the stage properly, if they only allowed the banks to collapse in 2008, yet that did not happen and some players are up to their ‘old’ tricks in a new jacket whilst the people are more likely than not having to pay for it all again.



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The non-knowing speak loudest

There is an old saying that goes back to the original circus, the days of Sir Alec Guiness, John Le Carre and the circus (MI6). Those who do not know speak and those who do will not. There is however a valid issue with that mindset. When it is merely intelligence and what some regard as spyshit, we tend to not care. It is their world and they tend to live by other rules even as they have the same lack of common cyber sense as some US generals, it is their choice to make. Yet when we see labour people like Michael Danby need to present evidence in regards to “an opposition Labor party MP, called on the Liberal-National coalition to block Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms company ZTE from supplying equipment for the 5G network. “Both Huawei and ZTE must report to the Communist party cell at the top of their organisations,” he told parliament. “Let me issue a clarion call to this parliament: Australia’s 5G network must not be sold to these telcos.”” I am actually in the mindset that his seat should be put up for auction if he does not disclose a proper setting and give evidence as to the reasoning of all this. It becomes more pressing when we see “Mr Lord, a former rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, told Australia’s state broadcaster on Monday that these claims were “wrong”, adding that Huawei was not owned by any committee of government and posed no risk to Australia’s security“. It is not just because Mr Lord is a former rear admiral, more that the average naval midshipman tends to be more reliable than any politician. We get this from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/1a2d19ba-67b1-11e8-8cf3-0c230fa67aec). In addition, when we get politicians start the scare tactics of ‘critical infrastructure pose a risk to national security’, there is a clear need for both Duncan Lewis and Paul Symon AO to get hauled in a chair in Canberra and ask them to openly answer the questions regarding any evidence that Huawei is a security threat. To blatantly accept the US on their ‘china fears’ is all well and good for Telstra, yet the setting is not a given and the fact that Telstra is nowhere near the technological levels of Huawei is not something that we blame them from, but they basically lost the 5G war before it started through their own actions and inactions.

Now if there is an actual national security concern, we should be open about that and when that happens, and evidence is presented, at that point we can all relax and state to Huawei that we feel sorry for the inconvenience caused, but such concerns are just too big to ignore. I think we have had quite enough of these presentations that reek of Colin Powell and his silver suitcase with evidence that no one ever saw in 2001. We cannot go in that direction ever again. We will not be the play toy of greedy telecom companies and their internal needs for stupidity and inactions; we can no longer afford such a nepotism environment.

That same issue can be said regarding Nationals MP George Christensen. Apart from him trying to undo a business deal of a 99 year lease, no matter how silly that deal was, Australia cannot be perceived as a nation that cannot be trusted at the business table. My second issue is why a maroon (Queenslander) is involving himself with NT politics. In that regard, why do we not see the responses form Vicki O’Halloran is she has any, is she not the appointed administrator? In this, the game is not over. The Australian Financial Review gives us: “Huawei faces the likelihood that Cabinet’s national security committee will veto it supplying equipment for the 5G network, based on the recommendations of security agencies, over concerns about the potential for cyber espionage at the behest of China’s leaders“. In this the question becomes, is there an actual security concern, or is it that the national concern is the devaluation of Telstra? In additional support we need to see the Sydney Morning Herald two weeks ago when they gave us (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html): “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, as well as “the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“. the first part is something I wrote about for well over a year, the second one is important as we see ‘potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals‘, from my personal point of view it reads like the one lobotomised idiot in telecom country gets to decide through arm-twisting on how we need to remain backwards as they set the standard that they could not deliver for the longest of times (a little sarcasm regarding Telstra’s 2011 3.7G), I wrote about that recently.

ABC gave us yesterday: “it continues to be the target of criticism over its connections to the Chinese Government, including allegations it is involved in state-sponsored espionage“, yet the people have never been shown actual evidence, so where is that at? There might have been doubts to some degree for a while, but the Powell stunt is too clear in our minds and the USA does not have the credibility (or credit rating for that matter) it once had. The fact that the opposing former rear admiral of the Australian navy trumps two half bit politicians seeking the limelight any day of the week and some stay silent, the reason for that is only speculation, but we might not need to seek far and a few words ion Google Search might help find that answer (like ‘Telstra’ and ‘8000’). When we see some giving us: ‘Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) is betting it all on 5G‘ and we see the Telstra strategy briefing (at https://www.telstra.com.au/content/dam/tcom/about-us/investors/pdf-e/2018-Strategy-Update.pdf), we see on page 6, Leading with 5G, that would never be an option with Huawei in play as they are ahead by a lot, so the presentation given a week ago, whilst we realise that the presentation was prepared way before that is giving the setting that Huawei is no longer considered to be competition, that is what we now face! What some might call a backward organisation proclaiming to be leading whilst 8000 men will be missing through inaction. That page is even more fun when you consider the quote ‘new technologies like IoT‘, which is funny when you consider that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices. It is not a technology; it is a network that enables technology. In addition, when you start nit-picking in that 34 page event, we see all the bells and whistles we need to see, yet when you consider consumers and small business (the millions of people that Telstra charges) starts at page 9 and gives us 5 slides. We see ‘cutting edge 5G capability’ (by whose standards?), we see location devices (with the image of a dog), Access to rewards an tickets, a fully-digital relationship with Telstra (an implied no more personal interaction after the sales, merely a chatbot) and value added services, yet the value of a service like customer service and customer care are absent in that part of the equation, so how does this push the people forward, because I doubt that it actually will achieve anything in the long run and one flaw will anger the actual consumers without limits.

You see, personally I believe in the IoT, I believe in 5G, they are tools to enhance experiences and interactions, not make them obsolete and that is what  feel when I saw the Telstra strategy update. These two elements can enhance customer care, customer service and customer support, not replace them with ‘AI’ enhanced chatbots. So the moment we get a 2.0 version of ‘Telstra’s new chatbot, Codi, is making so many mistakes customers are furious’ (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/telstra-codi-bot-backlash-2018-3), chatbots can be a great asset to get the information and channel the call to the right person, yet that again is merely enhancing and that can work fine. The presentation implies the loss of actual customer values and ignoring their need for interactions. That in an aging population might be the least intelligent stance to make ever.

Yet this does not give way to the issue on Telstra versus Huawei, as the Sydney Morning Herald states “Telstra has refused to exclude Huawei from its 5G tender, but that is seen more as a way of keeping its existing supplier Ericsson on its toes“, as well as “In other words, a ban could be bad news for TPG, Vodafone and Optus. Whether it is necessarily good news for Telstra – which has its own issues at the moment – is less clear“. In finality we get “Intelligence agencies tend to get their way on matters like these“, this beckons the question what are they actually after? The US seems to be in bed with Samsung and their 5G routers, so it makes sense that this will be the path that Telstra walks as well, time will tell how it ends.

So why is this such a big deal?

We are currently in danger of actually falling behind Saudi Arabia, yes, that place in a large sandbox is about to surpass us in 5G and other technologies. They had the audacity to reserve half a trillion dollars toward Vision 2030 and Neom. So when we got “Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province, of Saudi Arabia, has become the first city in the region to benefit from the fifth-generation wireless network or 5G network, according to a press statement issued by the Center of International Communication“, last month. There was not a surprise in my bone. You see, this will drive their Vision 2030 plans even further. So as Saudi Arabia is now the new pond to grow speciality in 5G, app designers can promote, test and deliver on knowledge that will be available whilst Telstra is trying to figure out how to get 5G installed. with “All the necessary national 5G policies and supporting administrative provisions are planned to be in place before the end of 2019, along with the award of initial batches of the spectrum to support the full commercial deployment of 5G technologies“, we see that Saudi Arabia had been taking this serious for a much longer time. This goes a little further when we see ‘the Middle East and Africa 5G Technology market (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, and South Africa)‘, so at this point, Saudi Arabia has a head start to not just push Saudi Arabia forward, they have quite literally first dibs on gaining a chunk of the 98 million Egyptians. Not all can afford 5G, we get that, but those who do are confronted with only Saudi Arabia as a Muslim player, you did not actually believe that they would run to Vodafone, did you?

So back to the 5G local ‘market’! For this we need to take a look at the Australian Financial review 2 weeks ago. Here we see (at https://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/the-technical-reasons-why-huawei-too-great-a-5g-risk-20180614-h11e3o), with the title ‘The technical reasons why Huawei is too great a 5G risk‘, the start is good, this is what we wanted. Yet we are treated to paragraphs of emotion and alleged settings. So when we see: “Huawei presents unique additional risk beyond the “normal” risk of buying complex equipment. China has demonstrated a long-standing intent to conduct cyber-espionage“, so is ‘intent’ shown in evidence? How did the CIA and NSA acquire our data or Cambridge Analytica for that matter? ‘China is thought to be behind data breaches‘ is merely a statement ‘thought‘ is speculation, not evidence. Then we get: “The US Trade Representative’s Section 301 report from March this year details the very close cooperation between the Third Department of China’s People’s Liberation Army (3PLA is a military hacking unit, also known as Unit 61398) and Chinese enterprises“, I have to get back to this. We are treated to ‘At one extreme, Huawei could be asked‘, is a case of fear mongering and not evidence. In addition we get ‘it is certainly a possibility‘ which came after ‘Vulnerabilities may already exist. This may not be the most likely possibility‘ as well as ‘very likely‘ all emotional responses, none of them evidence in any way, so the article with included in the title ‘The technical reasons’, has pretty much zero technology and close to 90% ‘allegedly’, speculations and emotional twists, whilst we cannot deny the optional existence of vulnerabilities, yet these are found regularly in Cisco hardware and Microsoft software, so have those two been banned in Australia?

Now to get back to the Section 301 report (at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/Section%20301%20FINAL.PDF). It is 215 pages and I did not read that complete political US marketing behemoth. There is one that actually carries weight. On page 153 we see: “evidence from U.S. law enforcement and private sources indicates that the Chinese government has used cyber intrusions to serve its strategic economic objectives. Documented incidents of China’s cyber intrusions against U.S. commercial entities align closely with China’s industrial policy objectives. As the global economy has increased its dependence on information systems in recent years, cyber theft became one of China’s preferred methods of collecting commercial information because of its logistical advantages and plausible deniability“, which is basically good application of intelligence gathering. Please do not take my word for it, feel free to call the NSA (at +1-301-6886311, all their calls are recorded for training and quality purposes). Oh, and before I forget, the text came with footnote 970, which gave us “A number of public submissions provided to USTR state that the Chinese government has no reason to conduct cyber intrusions or commit cyber theft for commercial purposes, see CHINA GENERAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE [hereinafter “CGCC”], Submission, Section 301 Hearing 16 (Sept. 28, 2017); that the US has not provided evidence of such actions by China, that China is also a target of cyber-attacks, and that the two countries should work together“, there is that to deal with and is that not a rare instance where we are treated to ‘the US has not provided evidence of such actions‘, how many times have we seen claims like that since 2001? Would that number be a 4 or 5 digit number?

The point is not whether it can or could happen, the question becomes did it happen here? let’s not forget that in most settings the section 301 report is about US interests and their technological advancement (which they lost by becoming iteratively stupid). Here we have a different setting. In the setting we face Huawei has a technological advance over all we have in Australia and most of Europe as well. Huawei was one of the first to realise the power of data and 5G and they are close to a market leader, the US is basically relying on Samsung to get them there. BT (British Telecom) is on the ball, but still not on par. They are in bed with Finland “BT has teamed with Nokia to collaborate on the creation of 5G proof of concept trials, the development of emerging technology standards and equipment, and potential 5G use cases“, so this sets the larger players in a field where Nokia and Huawei are now active. The SAMENA Telecom Leaders Summit 2018 and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced today that it is working with Nokia to launch a 5G network in 2018 within Saudi Arabia, yet the technology agreements show that it does include Huawei and Cisco, so they aren’t already active, the setting for the initial bumps in the road that Cisco, Nokia and Huawei will surely overcome is knowledge that we will not have in Australia long after someone was able to connect the 5G router to a power point (very presentable, yet the online green light seems to be broken).

So whilst politicians are considering who to be buddies with, Saudi Arabia joins the US and they will be the first 5G providers, which means that the UK and Australia are lagging behind and optionally not for the short term either.

So am I not knowing or am I all knowing? I actually prefer the first, because it is more relaxing; yet the need to speak out loud is becoming increasingly important even if it was only to place the loud mouth limelight seeking politicians like Michael Danby and George Christensen in their slightly too arrogant place. They are of course welcome to present ACTUAL evidence proving me wrong. #WishingForAMiracleHere


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Telstra, NATO and the USA

There are three events happening, three events that made the limelight. Only two seem to have a clear connection, yet that is not true, they all link, although not in the way you might think.

Telstra Calling

The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/20/telstra-to-cut-8000-jobs-in-major-restructure) starts with ‘Telstra to cut 8,000 jobs in major restructure‘. Larger players will restructure in one way or another at some point, and it seems that Telstra is going through the same phase my old company went through 20 years ago. The reason is simple and even as it is not stated as such, it boils down to a simple ‘too many captains on one ship‘. So cut the chaff and go on. It also means that Telstra would be able to hire a much stronger customer service and customer support division. Basically, it can cut the overhead and they can proclaim that they worked on the ‘costing’ side of the corporation. It is one way to think. Yet when we see: “It plans to split its infrastructure assets into a new wholly owned business unit in preparation for a potential demerger, or the entry of a strategic investor, in a post-national broadband network rollout world. The new business unit will be called InfraCo“. That is not a reorganisation that is pushing the bad debts and bad mortgages out of the corporation and let it (optionally) collapse. The congestion of the NBN alone warrants such a move, but in reality, the entire NBN mess was delayed for half a decade, whilst relying on technology from the previous generation. With 5G coming closer and closer Telstra needs to make moves and set new goals, it cannot do that without a much better customer service and a decently sized customer support division, from there on the consultants will be highly needed, so the new hiring spree will come at some stage. The ARNnet quote from last month: “Shares of Australia’s largest telco operator Telstra (ASX:TLS) tumbled to their lowest in nearly seven years on 22 May, after the firm was hit by a second major mobile network service outage in the space of a month“, does not come close to the havoc they face, it is not often where one party pisses off the shareholders, the stakeholders and the advertisers in one go, but Telstra pulled it off!

A mere software fault was blamed. This implies that the testing and Q&A stage has issues too, if there is going to be a Telstra 5G, that is not a message you want to broadcast. The problem is that even as some say that Telstra is beginning to roll out 5G now, we am afraid that those people are about to be less happy soon thereafter. You see, Telstra did this before with 4G, which was basically 3.5G, now we see the Business Insider give us ‘Telstra will roll out 2Gbps speeds across Australian CBDs within months‘, but 2Gbps and 10Gbps are not the same, one is merely 20%, so there! Oh, and in case you forgot the previous part. It was news in 2011 when ABC gave us (at http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2011/09/28/3327530.htm) “It’s worth pointing out that that what Telstra is calling 4G isn’t 4G at all. What Telstra has deployed is 1800MHz LTE or 3GPP LTE that at a specification level should cap out at a download speed of 100Mb/s and upload speed of 50Mbps [ed: and the public wonders why we can’t just call it 4G?]. Telstra’s sensibly not even claiming those figures, but a properly-certified solution that can actually lay claim to a 4G label should be capable of downloads at 1 gigabit per second; that’s the official 4G variant known as LTE-A. Telstra’s equipment should be upgradeable to LTE-A at a later date, but for now what it’s actually selling under a ‘4G’ label is more like 3.7-3.8G. “3.7ish G” doesn’t sound anywhere near as impressive on an advertising billboard, though, so Telstra 4G it is“, which reflects the words of Jeremy Irons in Margin Call when he states: “You can be the best, you can be first or you can cheat“. I personally think that Telstra is basically doing what they did as reported in 2011 and they will market it as ‘5G’, giving premise to two of the elements that Jeremy Irons mentioned.

This now gives a different visibility to the SMH article last week (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html), where we see “The expected ban of controversial Chinese equipment maker Huawei from 5G mobile networks in Australia on fears of espionage reads like a plot point from a John le Carre novel. But the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“, as well as “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, you see I do not read it like that. From my point of view I see “There are fears within the inner circle of Telstra friends that Huawei who is expected to offer actual 5G capability will hurt Telstra as they are not ready to offer anything near those capabilities. The interconnectivity that 5G offers cannot be done in the currently upgradable Telstra setting of a mere 2bps, which is 20% of what is required. Leaving the Telstra customers outside of the full range of options in the IoT in the near future, which will cost them loads of bonus and income opportunities“. This gives two parts, apart from Optus getting a much larger slice of the cake, the setting is not merely that the consumers and 5G oriented business is missing out, private firms can only move forward to the speed that Telstra dictates. So who elected Telstra as techno rulers? As for the entire Huawei being “accused of spying by lawmakers in the US“, is still unfounded as up to now no actual evidence has been provided by anyone, whilst at the same speed only a week ago, the Guardian gave us ‘Apple to close iPhone security gap police use to collect evidence‘, giving a clear notion that in the US, the police and FBI were in a stage where they were “allowed to obtain personal information from locked iPhones without a password, a change that will thwart law enforcement agencies that have been exploiting the vulnerability to collect evidence in criminal investigations“, which basically states that the US were spying on US citizens and people with an iPhone all along (or at least for the longest of times). It is a smudgy setting of the pot calling the kettle a tea muffler.

The fact that we are faced with this and we prefer to be spied on through a phone 50% cheaper is not the worst idea. In the end, data will be collected, it is merely adhering to the US fears that there is a stronger setting that all the collected data is no longer in the US, but in places where the US no longer has access. That seems to be the setting we are confronted with and it has always been the setting of Malcolm Turnbull to cater to the Americans as much as possible, yet in this case, how exactly does Australia profit? I am not talking about the 37 high and mighty Telstra ‘friends’. I am talking about the 24,132,557 other Australians on this Island, what about their needs? If only to allow them than to merely get by on paying bills and buying food.

Short term and short sighted

This gets us to something only thinly related, when we see the US situation in ‘Nato chief warns over future of transatlantic relationship‘. The news (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/19/transatlantic-relationship-at-risk-says-nato-chief) has actually two sides, the US side and the side of NATO. NATO is worried on being able to function at all. It is levied up to the forehead in debts and if they come to fruition, and it will they all drown and that requires the 27 block nation to drastically reduce defence spending. It is already trying to tailor a European defence force which is a logistical nightmare 6 ways from Sunday and that is before many realise that the communication standards tend to be a taste of ‘very nationally’ standard and not much beyond that point. In that regard the US was clever with some of their ITT solutions in 1978-1983. Their corn flaky phones (a Kellogg joke) worked quite well and they lasted a decent amount of time. In Europe, most nations were bound to the local provider act and as such there were all kinds of issues and they all had their own little issues. So even as we read: “Since the alliance was created almost 70 years ago, the people of Europe and North America have enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. But, at the political level, the ties which bind us are under strain“, yup that sounds nice, but the alliances are under strain by how Wall Street thinks the funding needs to go and Defence is not their first priority, greed is in charge, plain and simple. Now, to be fair, on the US side, their long term commitment to defence spending has been over the top and the decade following September 11 2001 did not help. The spending went from 10% of GDP up to almost 20% of GDP between 2001 and 2010. It is currently at about 12%, yet this number is dangerous as the economy collapsed in 2008, so it basically went from $60 billion to $150 billion, which hampered the infrastructure to no end. In addition we get the splashing towards intelligence consultants (former employees, who got 350% more when they turned private), so that expenditure became also an issue, after that we see a whole range of data gathering solutions from the verbose (and not too user friendly) MIIDS/IDB.

In CONUS (or as you might understand more clearly the contiguous United 48 States; without Alaska and Hawaii), the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Automated Intelligence Support Activity (FAISA) at Fort Bragg, NC, has access to the MIIDS and IDB by tactical users of the ASAS, and they maintain a complete copy of DIA’s MIIDS and IDB and update file transactions in order to support the tactical user. So there are two systems (actually there are more) and when we realise that the initial ASAS Block I software does not allow for direct access from ASAS to the FAISA System. So, to accomplish file transfer of MIIDS and IDB files, we are introduced to a whole range of resources to get to the data, the unit will need an intermediate host(s) on the LAN that will do the job. In most cases, support personnel will accomplish all the file transfers for the unit requesting that intel. Now consider 27 national defence forces, one European one and none of them has a clue how to get one to the other. I am willing to wager $50 that it will take less than 10 updates for data to mismatch and turn the FAISA system into a FAUDA (Arabic for chaos) storage system, with every update taking more and more time until the update surpasses the operational timeframe. That is ample and to the point as there is a growing concern to have better ties with both Israel and Saudi Arabia, what a lovely nightmare for the NSA as it receives (optionally on a daily basis) 9 updates all containing partially the same data (Army-Navy, Army-Air force, Army-Marines, Navy-Air force, Navy-Marines, Air force-Marines, DIA, DHS and Faisa HQ). Yes, that is one way to keep loads of people employed, the cleaning and vetting of data could require an additional 350 hours a day in people to get the vetting done between updates and packages. In all this we might see how it is about needing each other, yet the clarity for the US is mostly “Of the 29 Nato members, only eight, including the US and the UK, spend more than 2% of their GDP on defence, a threshold that the alliance agreed should be met by all the countries by 2024. Germany spent €37bn (£32.5bn), or 1.2% of GDP, on defence last year“, it amounts to the US dumping billions in an area where 28 members seem to have lost the ability to agree to standards and talk straight to one another (a France vs Germany pun). In all this there is a larger issue, but we will now see that in part three

Sometimes a cigar is an opportunity

you see, some saw the “‘Commie cadet’ who wore Che Guevara T-shirt kicked out of US army” as an issue instead of an opportunity. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/19/west-point-commie-cadet-us-army-socialist-views-red-flags) gives light to some sides, but not to the option that the US basically threw out of the window. You see the Bill of rights, a mere piece of parchment that got doodled in 1789 offering things like ‘freedom to join a political party‘, as we see the setting at present. The issue as I see it is the overwhelming hatred of Russia that is in play. Instead of sacking the man, the US had an opportunity to use him to see if a dialogue with Cuba could grow into something stronger and better over time. It might work, it might not, but at least there is one person who had the option to be the messenger between Cuba and the US and that went out of the window in a heartbeat. So when we see: “Spenser Rapone said an investigation found he went online to advocate for a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers and US officials. The army said in a statement only that it conducted a full investigation and “appropriate action was taken”“. Was there a full investigation? To set this in a proper light, we need to look at NBC (at https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sexual-assault-reports-u-s-military-reach-record-high-pentagon-n753566), where we see: “Service members reported 6,172 cases of sexual assault in 2016 compared to 6,082 last year, an annual military report showed. This was a sharp jump from 2012 when 3,604 cases were reported“, we all should realise that the US defence forces have issues, a few a hell of a lot bigger than a person with a Che Guevara T-Shirt. So when we ask for the full investigations reports of 6172 cases, how many have been really investigated, or prosecuted on? NBC reported that “58 percent of victims experienced reprisals or retaliation for reporting sexual assault“, so how exactly were issues resolved?

Here we see the three events come together. There is a flawed mindset at work, it is flawed through what some might call deceptive conduct. We seem to labels and when it backfires we tend to see messages like ‘there were miscommunications hampering the issues at hand‘, standards that cannot be agreed on, or after there was an agreement the individual players decide to upgrade their national documents and hinder progress. How is that ever going to resolve issues? In all this greed and political needs seem to hinder other avenues though players that should not even be allowed to have a choice in the matter. It is the setting where for close to decades the politicians have painted themselves into a corner and are no longer able to function until a complete overhaul is made and that is the problem, a solution like that costs a serious amount of funds, funds that are not available, not in the US and not in Europe. The defence spending that cannot happen, the technology that is not what is specified and marketing will merely label it into something that it is not, because it is easier to sell that way. A failing on more than one level and by the time we are all up to speed, the others (read: Huawei) passed us by because they remained on the ball towards the required goal.

So as we are treated to: “A parliamentary hearing in Sydney got an extra touch of spice yesterday, after the chief executive of NBN Co appeared to finger one group of users supposedly responsible for congestion on NBN’s fixed wireless network: gamers“, whilst the direct setting given is “Online gaming requires hardly any bandwidth ~10+ megabytes per hour. A 720p video file requires ~ 500+ megabytes per hour. One user watching a YouTube video occupies the same bandwidth as ~50 video gamers“, we can argue who is correct, yet we forgot about option 3. As was stated last week we see that the largest two users of online games were Counterstrike (250MB/hour) add Destiny 2 (300 MB/hour), whilst the smallest TV watcher ABC iView used the same as Destiny 2, the rest a multitude of that, with Netflix 4K using up to 1000% of what gamers used (in addition to the fact that there are now well over 7.5 million Netflix users, whilst the usage implies that to be on par, we need 75 million gamers, three times the Australian population). Perhaps it is not the gamers, but a system that was badly designed from the start. Political interference in technology has been a detrimental setting in the US, Europe and Australia as well, the fact that politicians decide on ‘what is safe‘ is a larger issue when you put the issues next to one another. If we openly demand that the US reveal the security danger that Huawei is according to them, will they remain silent and let a ‘prominent friend‘ of Telstra speak?

When we look one tier deeper into NATO, they themselves become the source (at https://www.nato-pa.int/document/2018-defence-innovation-capitalising-natos-science-and-technology-base-draft-report) with: ‘Capitalising on Nato’s Science and Technology Base‘. Here we see on page 5: “In an Alliance of sovereign states, the primary responsibility to maintain a robust defence S&T base and to discover, develop and adopt cutting-edge defence technologies lies with NATO member states themselves. Part of the answer lies in sufficient defence S&T and R&D budgets“. It is the part where we see: ‘adopt cutting-edge defence technologies lies with NATO member states themselves‘ as well as ‘sufficient defence S&T and R&D budgets‘. You introduce me to a person that shows a clear partnership between the needs of Philips (Netherlands) and Siemens (Germany) and I will introduce you to a person who is knowingly miscommunicating the hell out of the issue. You only need to see the 2016 financial assessment: “After divesting most of its former businesses, Philips today has a unique portfolio around healthy lifestyle and hospital solutions. Unlike competitors like GE Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers, the company covers the entire health continuum” and that is merely one field.

Rubber Duck closing in on small Destroyer.

In that consider a military equivalent. The 5th best registered CIWS solution called MK15 Phalanx (US), the 3rd position is for the Dutch Goalkeeper (Thales Netherlands) and the 2nd best CIWS solution comes from the US with the Raytheon SeaRAM. Now we would expect every nationality would have its own solution, yet we see the SeaRAM was only adopted by Germany, why is it not found in the French, Italian, Spanish and Canadian navy? Belgium has the valid excuse that the system is too large for their RIB and Dinghy fleet, but they are alone there. If there is to be true connectivity and shared values, why is this not a much better and better set partnership? Now, I get that the Dutch are a proud of their solution, yet in that entire top list of CIWS systems, a larger group of NATO members have nothing to that degree at all. So is capitalising in the title of the NATO paper actually set to ‘gain advantage from‘, or is it ‘provide (someone) with capital‘? Both are options and the outcome as well as the viability of the situation depending on which path you take. So are the Australians losing advantage from Telstra over Huawei, or are some people gaining huge lifestyle upgrades as Huawei is directed to no longer be an option?

I will let you decide, but the settings are pushing all boundaries and overall the people tend to not benefit, unless you work for the right part of Palantir inc, at which point your income could double between now and 2021.



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Why would we care?

New York is all up in sixes and sevens, even as they aren’t really confused, some are not seeing the steps that are following and at this point giving $65 billion for 21st Century Fox is not seen in the proper light. You see, Comcast has figured something out, it did so a little late (an assumption), but there is no replacement for experience I reckon. Yet, they are still on time to make the changes and it seems that this is the path they will be walking on. So when we see ‘Comcast launches $65bn bid to steal Murdoch’s Fox away from Disney‘, there are actually two parties to consider. The first one is Disney. Do they realise what they are walking away from? Do they realise the value they are letting go? Perhaps they do and they have decided not to walk that path, which is perfectly valid. The second is the path that Comcast is implied to be walking on. Is it the path that they are planning to hike on, or are they merely setting the path for facilitation and selling it in 6-7 years for no less than 300% of what it is now? Both perfectly valid steps and I wonder which trajectory is planned, because the shift is going to be massive.

To get to this, I will have to admit my own weakness here, because we all have filters and ignoring them is not only folly, it tends to be an anchor that never allows us to go forward. You see, in my view the bulk of the media is a collection of prostitutes. They cater in the first to their shareholders, then there stakeholders and lastly their advertisers. After that, if there are no clashes, the audience is given consideration. That has been the cornerstone of the media for at least 15 years. Media revolves around circulation, revenue and visibility, whatever is left is ‘pro’ reader, this is why you see the public ‘appeal’ to be so emotionally smitten, because when it is about emotion, we look away, we ignore or we agree. That is the setting we all face. So when a step like this is taken, it will be about the shareholders, which grows when the proper stakeholders are found, which now leads to advertising and visibility. Yet, how is this a given and why does it matters? The bottom dollar will forever be profit. Now from a business sense that is not something to argue with, this world can only work on the foundation of profit, we get that, yet newspapers and journalism should be about proper informing the people, and when did that stop? Nearly every paper has investigative journalism, the how many part is more interesting. I personally belief that Andrew Jennings might be one of the last great investigative journalists. It is the other side of the coin that we see ignored, it is the one that matters. The BBC (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06tkl9d) gives us: “Reporter Andrew Jennings has been investigating corruption in world football for the past 15 years“, the question we should ask is how long and how many parties have tried to stop this from becoming public, and how long did it take Andrew Jennings to finally win and this is just ONE issue. How many do not see the light of day? We look at the Microsoft licensing corruption scandal and we think it is a small thing. It is not, it was a lot larger. Here I have a memory that I cannot prove, it was in the newspapers in the Netherlands. On one day there was a small piece regarding the Buma/Stemra and the setting of accountancy reports on the overuse of Microsoft licenses in governments and municipality buildings and something on large penalty fees (it would have been astronomical). Two days later another piece was given that the matter had been resolved. The question becomes was it really? I believe that someone at Microsoft figured out that this was the one moment where on a national level a shift to Linux would have been a logical step, something Microsoft feared very very much. Yet the papers were utterly silent on many levels and true investigation never took place and after the second part, some large emotional piece would have followed.

That is the issue that I have seen and we all have seen these events, we merely wiped it from our minds as other issues mattered more (which is valid). So I have no grate faith (pun intended) into the events of ‘exposure‘ from the media. Here it is not about that part, but the parts that are to come. Comcast has figured out a few things and 21st Century Fox is essential to that. To see that picture, we need to look at another one, so it is a little more transparent. It also shows where IBM, Google, Apple and some telecom companies are tinkering now.

To see this we need to look at this first image and see what there is, it is all tag based, all data and all via mobile and wireless communication. Consider these elements; over 90% of car owners will have them: ‘Smart Mobility, Smart Parking and Traffic priority‘. Now consider the people who are not homeless: ‘Smart grids, Utility management, hose management like smart fridges, smart TV and data based entertainment (Netflix)‘ and all those having smart house devices running on what is currently labelled as Domotics, it adds up to Megabytes of data per household per day. There will be a run on that data from large supermarket to Netflix providers. Now consider the mix between Comcast and 21 Century Fox. Breaking news, new products and new solutions to issues you do not even realise in matters of eHealth, road (traffic) management and the EU set 5G Joint-Declarations in 2015, with Japan, China, Korea and Brazil. The entire Neom setup in Saudi Arabia gives way that they will soon want to join all this, or whoever facilitates for the Middle East and Saudi Arabia will. In all this with all this technology, America is not mentioned, is that not a little too strange? Consider that the given 5G vision is to give ‘Full commercial 5G infrastructure deployment after 2020‘ (expected 2020-2023).

With a 740 million people deployed, and all that data, do you really think the US is not wanting a slice of data that is three times the American population? This is no longer about billions, this will be about trillions, data will become the new corporate and governmental currency and all the larger players want to be on board. So is Disney on the moral high path, or are the requirements just too far from their own business scope? It is perhaps a much older setting that we see when it is about consumer versus supplier. We all want to consume milk, yet most of us are not in a setting where we can be the supplier of milk, having a cow on the 14th floor of an apartment tends to be not too realistic in the end. We might think that it is early days, yet systems like that require large funds and years to get properly set towards the right approach for deployment and implementation. In this an American multinational mass media corporation would fit nicely in getting a chunk of that infrastructure resolved. consider a news media tagging all the watchers on data that passes them by and more importantly the data that they shy away from, it is a founding setting in growing a much larger AI, as every AI is founded on the data it has and more important the evolving data as interaction changes and in this 5G will have close to 20 times the options that 4G has now and in all this we will (for the most) merely blindly accept data used, given and ignored. We saw this earlier this year when we learned that “Facebook’s daily active user base in the U.S. and Canada fell for the first time ever in the fourth quarter, dropping to 184 million from 185 million in the previous quarter“, yet the quarter that followed the usage was back to 185 million users a day. So the people ended up being ‘very’ forgiving, it could be stated that they basically did not care. Knowing this setting where the bump on the largest social media data owner was a mere 0.5405%; how is this path anything but a winning path with an optional foundation of trillions in revenue? There is no way that the US, India, Russia and the commonwealth nations are not part of this. Perhaps not in some 5G Joint-Declarations, but they are there and the one thing Facebook clearly taught them was to be first, and that is what they are all fighting for. The question is who will set the stage by being ahead of schedule with the infrastructure in place and as I see it, Comcast is making an initial open move to get into this field right and quick. Did you think that Google was merely opening 6 data centres, each one large enough to service the European population for close to 10 years? And from the Wall Street journal we got: “Google’s parent company Alphabet is eyeing up a partnership with one of the world’s largest oil companies, Aramco, to aid in the erection of several data centres across the Middle Eastern kingdom“, if one should be large enough to service 2300% of the Saudi Arabian population for a decade, the word ‘several‘ should have been a clear indication that this is about something a lot larger. Did no one catch up on that small little detail?

In that case, I have a lovely bridge for sale, going cheap at $25 million with a great view of Balmain, first come, first serve, and all responsibilities will be transferred to you the new predilector at the moment of payment. #ASuckerIsBornEachMinute

Oh, and this is not me making some ‘this evil Google‘ statement, because they are not. Microsoft, IBM, and several others are all in that race; the AI is merely the front of something a lot larger. Especially when you realise that data in evolution (read: in real-time motion) is the foundation of its optional cognitive abilities. The data that is updated in real-time, that is the missing gem and 5G is the first setting where that is the set reality where it all becomes feasible.

So why would we care? We might not, but we should care because we are the foundation of all that IP and it will no longer be us. It gives value to the users and consumes, whilst those who are not are no longer deemed of any value, that is not the future, it is the near future and the founding steps for this becoming an actual reality is less than 60 months away.

In the end we might have merely cared too late, how is that for the obituary of any individual?


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Business will be booming

There are all kinds of settings in the tech industry, some we like and some we like a lot less. It is the most visible in the mobile industry, the clear discriminatory setting there is almost unheard of. No matter what the reason is, a person for the most is iOS (Apple) minded, or they tend to go the way of the Android (Google, Huawei et al). There is for the most no in-between there. The reasons are as wide as the drops of water in a lake on a rainy day and for some these reasons make sense, or they do not. Yet we all tend to have them. I have been and remain an Android follower. I have nothing against apple. The initial setting was done by their marketing departments. Where Apple gave us: ‘You can do all these things and it is a phone too‘ and Android gave us: ‘This phone can do all kinds of things, some you will not have believed was even possible‘. I went the way of Android. You see, they are stating the same thing, yet Android focussed on a phone that can do other things. Apple went towards the things they could do, including being a phone. So from my point of view, I needed a phone, so I went the non-iOS way.

I know that in the end the difference is negligible, but it did matter. So it is a little over three years when I got myself (because it was a bargain) the Huawei P7. The difference from the previous phone (Motorola) was so distinct I became a Huawei fan overnight. Now that it is time to put that phone to bed and switch it off for the last time, I find myself clinging onto the idea that I need a new Huawei. Let me be clear, apart from my distinct non liking Samsung (a past issue I had with them), I do think that the other brands are decent too. Yet, when you have the option for a Google Pixel 2 XL, or a Huawei P20 close to $500 cheaper, what will you choose? Let’s also consider that the difference is almost nil, well it is not nil but the real differences do not stand out too much, not worth $500 as I see it. For me, if I get that phone, it will be a 300% improvement of what I have now and I am not dissatisfied with what I have, it merely has been acting up and after 3 years of working 24:7, that makes perfect sense. The little workhorse has earned its retirement. So when I started to look around, and I took a new look at the P20 and P20 pro, which is a $300 difference, I wondered why I would want the P20 pro for the usage I have. I have been able to do everything I needed with 2 GB RAM, so the 4 GB and  6GB RAM issue is not one I need to worry about. Both come with 128 GB storage, which is 800% more than I have now and even as I ran out of storage merely once, it did not worry me to any degree. The camera options are not the same, yet the PRO has an additional 40 MP camera option, which is slightly over the top need for someone who uses an EOS 1 Camera. The only issue is the battery, it is 3400 mAh versus 4000 mAh and I am not sure that this constitutes the value of $300 difference, not on my budget. More important, the P20 holds its own against the $1500 phones out there and when you consider the fact that it is 30% cheaper, what would you choose? This constitutes a difference that is well over a week’s rent for some people, so there is that to consider as well.

Yet, it is not about that part, it is that Huawei has seen the light of opportunity in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt, so when we see (at https://www.albawaba.com/business/pr/huawei-announces-%E2%80%98vip%E2%80%99-service-p20-pro-saudi-arabia-1135384), the fact that branding is getting momentum in the Middle East with their Huawei Consumer Business Group and their “a ‘VIP’ service for its customers in Saudi Arabia through its authorized service centres for any customer buys Huawei P20 Pro with Huawei KSA warranty”. Some call it marketing, which in all fairness it actually is, yet with 95 million people in Egypt and 33 million in the KSA, the market could be booming for Huawei, even as an Apple store is coming in 2019, the Apple SA store is pointing towards “Apple-designed outlets located within selected Apple resellers and other retail shops. Many are staffed with Apple-trained experts who can help you to find the right solution for you“, which is a perfectly valid and acceptable text. Yet, when you can consider an ‘outlet’ versus “Huawei has announced “Huawei Flex” which is a free drop off service in which customer can drop his device for service in more than 300 locations across kingdom for Huawei device under Saudi Arabia warranty to be send for Huawei Authorized service centre for warranty repair and return“, we see that Huawei is on the ball (I am not saying that Apple is not), but the service minded sales pitch is clearly there and as we see: “Pablo Ning, President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Saudi Arabia said: “The Kingdom is a strategic market for us, and this announcement reflects our commitment to doing business in the region. It is our effort to always cater to the specific needs of the markets we operate in. Recognising the needs of our loyal customers in the Kingdom, we are very pleased to announce these services and we are looking forward to announcing many more unique offers for them in the future”“, we see that even as we realise that too is a marketing setting, it also states that Huawei means business. With a chunk of a 125 million customer base, these two alone could drive sales even further in the Middle Eastern nations; in addition, the Huawei centre is rumoured to be coming to Neom, which could drive the brand even further. Even Forbes was recognising the growth Huawei had in 2017, even though we do take notice of the fact that anti-Chinese sentiments in the US barred the phone from the US markets, we need to realise that the planet is a lot bigger than the 325 million in the US. Also consider the fact that Huawei does a lot more than merely smartphones and the opening of the market that is a third of the US population matters, in addition the 740 million Europeans are now more than ever looking for a good deal. So the group of people who have the cash to go all out and get a phone $500 more expensive is shrinking fast. Yet Huawei is not out of the woods there either. It is up against Samsung and Samsung is doing a good job of gaining ground. In there we see that Apple is losing their footing, losing sales share in the UK, France and Spain. So even as some had growth, iOS was merely growing at 0.1%, against Android 2.8%, that is a massive difference, and Huawei is tinkering very effectively on these two markets. Although, I have to admit (speculatively) that the largest growth was due to the release of the Google Pixel family. Still Huawei remains in the fight of growth and its setting in the Middle East is as assertive as it gets. I reckon that if Pablo Ning pulls it off, he might be looking forward to his new apartment overlooking Chaoyang Park in Beijing. It is that extreme because the market share that Huawei has to grow is pretty astounding. You see, not everyone is looking towards the coolest marketed phone that most cannot normally afford, in the Middle East revenue is often set towards pragmatism and that is a setting that Marketing on a global basis tends to be unfocussed on. It is in this setting that mobile phones will gain traction in sales. So when we consider the progress that Huawei is making towards growth by going via the support and customer care path, or as Pablo Ning phrases it “the needs of our loyal customers in the Kingdom“, we see not some message on selling a phone like ‘iPhone X, Say hello to the future‘ with after that ‘Sales, Apple Authorized Resellers‘ or ‘Sales, Apple Authorized Resellers‘ but with ““Huawei Flex” which is a free drop off service in which customer can drop his device for service in more than 300 locations across kingdom for Huawei device under Saudi Arabia warranty to be send for Huawei Authorized service centre for warranty repair and return“, we see that Huawei means business. It is not about the initial sale, it is putting to bed any worry the consumer has afterwards and the Huawei version sells much stronger than the other messages and that is how commercial traction leaps forward making it market share gain. The lower sales threshold only speeds it up. In that we see that “aiming of strengthening its business base, its operations and customer service in the Kingdom“, is not just vital for growth of Huawei, the commitment of 5G in Saudi Arabia as it is at present, will only fuel the need for the Huawei smartphone (and smart phones in general); with its upcoming Huawei Mate 30 (Q3 2019) Huawei could give a further boost, as those buying today would be ready for a new phone just as the Mate 30 will be released and it will drive it a lot faster if it is both 4G and 5G enabled (which is not officially confirmed), so as Apple and others are looking to open a shop at that point, we will see that if (consider that it is an ‘if) Huawei kept its services and exceeded the expectations of the consumer, they will have a much larger advantage and as such Google might profit with their own Android phones on the coattails of Huawei. This is shown in another way too. Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/271774/share-of-android-platforms-on-mobile-devices-with-android-os/) gives a view that takes some mulling. When we consider the Android market share, we see that the largest part is owned by Marshmallow (v6) and Nougat (v7), so that means that those who update now to Oreo (v8) will be most likely to update the moment 5G is out, those who delay more than 6 months are not likely, or better stated less likely to update more than once, so either they miss out on 5G or are in a much smaller segment (not serious smartphone users). So they use it as a phone and that is it, which is fair enough, because a phone is a phone and for that 5G is not essential. Yet when we consider that this group is almost 37%, there is an option for smartphone sales everywhere to evolve those users towards a more smartphone driven use of apps and data, yet what are these consumers made of? There is no data that I had at my disposal, yet finding out is actually a lot more important here. If we know what the consumer needs, we can see if there is a better solution in new hardware, not merely because of the security risk that older phones hold, the fact that smartphone functionality is optionally missed out on is basically a sales opportunity missed and when it affects an optional 37% slice of smartphones it starts to matter as that involves a serious amount of cash. Now we need to accept that it is not merely the phone, for the larger places like the island of Australia mobile data was until last year pretty expensive, so why upgrade when the data used will monthly kill your budget? to go from 15GB a month for $65 in 2016 to 200Gb for $70 in 2018 is actually a massive leap and not all places have made such changes, so not everyone is on board yet, but with 5G that will change by a lot, not only will they drive down the 4G data prices, but the mobile setting in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia (outside of Cairo and Riyadh) will drive the need of people much larger. The fact that Egyptian TV outside of the large cities is not fabulous, for these people to suddenly get a clear reception of matches of Al Ahly SC or Zamalek SC could drive sales, so the larger the part of that 37% slice is actually found in the Middle East, the easier the upgrade sales will get; when we consider the joke (that is how I personally see the Vodafone Egypt site), as well as the clarity of http://www.egyptsim.com/, we see that there is still space to improve it all and Huawei is in an interesting place to make that happen. In addition, the Egyptsim site shows a setting that was almost the 2016 setting in Australia, so they are not that far behind, so when we see the evolution where the prices reflect 500% if what they offer now (which is what we can get in places like Australia nowadays), we see a more competitive setting where upgrading any smartphone will become the essential need of anyone wanting to use such amounts of bandwidth. Even a mere 50 GB at €15 could change the game, it will drive app use, phone use and more important, the need for phone upgrades and competitive phones will become more and more desired. This is shown in direct opposition to the anti-Huawei feelings that we see from America (at https://www.politico.eu/article/huawei-china-ghost-in-europe-telecom-machine/), a story from last January. So in all this when we see “The Chinese tech giant is banned from bidding for government contracts in the U.S. over concerns that its telecommunication equipment could be used for spying by Beijing“, that whilst it refers right next to it a story regarding ‘Mark Zuckerberg hearing: As it happened‘, in all this Huawei is a concern? As the US has not even got clear legislation on data and as we see the Facebook events, I can state that some people have their mindset in the wrong place. In addition, if we can believe the Daily Mail who gave us “Google caught using $580 million worth of Australians’ phone data to spy on them by monitoring their movements“, so in that, is Google getting government contracts? And if the second is true, why is there no outcry in that setting? Is it about the company, or where the revenue is going to? It is a multiple facetted setting of greed, technology and whose ego is the largest to present. How does that help the consumer who wants a good affordable phone, if the Google Pixel and Huawei phones offer the same thing, yet Huawei can do it 30% cheaper, why would we want the more expensive one, our privacy? Facebook gave that away and there is no actual act in place to thwart that, in addition, the US senate hearing gave more and more reluctance as we seem to get the impression that these senators do not even comprehend technology in its basic foundation. We merely have to look back at the moment with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who asks on: ‘how do you sustain a business model where users don’t pay for your services‘, the answer by Mark Zuckerberg was priceless: ‘Senator, we run ads!“. When we are confronted with such a level of what I regard to be ignorance towards business reality, that is the not party we should rely on when they state to us: “its telecommunication equipment could be used for spying by Beijing“, yet in that foundation, not one piece of evidence has been presented that this is actually the case. The “potential for secret ‘backdoors’” is astounding. Not one piece of evidence, not one setting that gives any level of reliability on ‘potential‘. I wonder how many of these gentlemen have been receiving calls from Cisco, Apple, IBM and other parties on their fear of China getting a slice of American business, or perhaps it is even more simple. With American firms the government of the USA can make tax deals, because the inability of paying invoices can always get bartered on a national level, not international. And there is where Huawei has its opportunity. As it grows its segments in both Europe and the Middle East it can potentially grow the services they offer as the reach of those services and in that light and the next level of growth towards 5G, we see that Huawei has a growing distinction against all competitors. It can offer a new price range, one that consumers have not had for the longest of times and it can place a setting where customer loyalty can grow towards Huawei as it offers something affordable, now when the providers think it is time, but when the consumers need them, which is always a war that works in favour of the consumer. It is a war of settings between optionally, actually, and eventually. The first one offering it has the benefit. Yet is Huawei ready to make that commitment? I do not know, yet should Huawei grace the settings and be announced as a participant of the new high tech city Neom, at that point you can be decently certain that Huawei will become a much larger player in the Middle East and from that, growth in Europe will be a near certainty. Business for Huawei will be booming and it all started by making high end mobiles an affordable item for those not in high paying jobs, or forced to get themselves chained to a two year contract with a telecom provider.


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Go with a smile

OK, I will be honest, this morning, I saw news pass by and it made me giggle. It was the title, I swear, the title was enough, because below the surface it is actually a serious matter, yet the writer/editor of Arab News gives us “‘Spy cell’ in Saudi Arabia sought foreign financing“. In my mind, I saw the image of two freshman at Berkeley University in California, walk into a wealth managing corporation like Rothschild’s and tell the CEO, that they found a way to overthrow the government and if they could please get some funding (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1306306/saudi-arabia).

I know, you are giggling now too, but that is what they title left me with, yet it is actually a lot more serious. You see, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy. Like all monarchies there are set rules and regulations on what to do and more important what not to do. Anyone with a primary school education knows this, no rocket science involved.

Yet, below the title, under the image we see a caption that is very much a serious matter. With: “Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of the State Security arrested seven people for suspicious communication with foreign entities and actions against the state“, you see there are two elements in this the first is ‘suspicious communications‘, which is optionally an element, yet ‘actions against the state‘ is actually quite clear. The question is how it all fits together, and make no mistake, there is a clear setting that it applies to a hell of a lot more people than merely those in the KSA, so you better wake up fast.

The elements of worry are seen in the first paragraph. Here we see “sought to “incite strife by communicating with foreign entities hostile to the Kingdom and to establish a false legal organization, according to information received by Asharq Al-Awsat from informed sources“, it could impact a lot more people than you think. In light of the escalations of Vision 2030 as well as the setting in Neom, we are bound to get a few cowboys trying to strike it rich (I am definitely one of them), in a setting of a total amount of close to $800 billion, or $800,000,000,000, I too will happily try to pick up a few coins, I will as the non-greedy person that I am happily settle for 0.001% or $8,000,000. I have a weapon system, an idea to make an Iranian nuclear reactor do the runaway on its own operators (by using the principle of a snow globe), which is my way of telling Steven Walker from DARPA that his behavioural sciences degree is not that useful in a nuclear physicist setting (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk), no negativity on Steven Walker though, he is slightly smarter than most smart cookies, and in addition to the earlier two ‘solutions’, I also considered a solution that I thought up to solve the UK NHS issue, which actually has a lot more applications under 5G.

I am not digressing, you see, these idea’s all need funding, now there are a few players with ideas that are all good and proper and in the 11th hour one of the backers walks away (reason is irrelevant), so now this (young) upstart needs to fix things fast to get its fingers in the Saudi Arabian treasury till of Vision 2030/Neom. In this he reaches out and he finds an interesting backer and meets with an entrepreneur in Qatar, now we have close to the same setting as we just read. Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are not really on good terms. Now add a few emails that skates around the funding and we have a setting that might be seen by Saudi Arabia as a worry, when we consider that Qatar has its own ‘Smart Digital plan‘ for 2030 we get a setting that some people might consider selling their idea twice. It is not far-fetched and it is definitely on the minds of close to a dozen growth driven people in Silicon Valley. Now we have a very different ballgame and that is not even considering those people who have been working as 3rd party developers for places like Palantir; anyone of those developers when they approach both Saudi Arabia and Qatar might be seen as just such a transgressor.

We forget that each nation has its own set of rules and even as some think that they are ‘shielded’ as they are American or perhaps Commonwealth citizen, they better wake up fast and realise that in national interests, it is the nation where you are where you need to adhere to settings. This works in both directions. We see this with “Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nahas, member of Shoura Committee Council on Foreign Affairs, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday that the Kingdom is capable of overcoming many security challenges due to the vigilance of its security apparatus“, I do not for one moment disagree with Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nahas, for the most merely due to a lack of data, yet what he optionally forgets is that this system is going to get tested more and more over the next 5 years from all the parties who are trying to get an option to what we should consider is the largest technological jackpot in the last 25 years. We have not seen the option to such opportunities since the beginning of Windows 95, so there will be a massive flock of cowboys trying to land a deal with numbers optionally up to 9 zeroes behind a number, so you better believe that thousands of ‘innovators’ will come with their idea of a lifetime, which could potentially swamp the security apparatus.

In case of the article, it is about seven people who have been active to facilitate by acts that are considered “hostile to Saudi Arabia, to receive financial support in exchange for continuing to incite trouble”, which seems to be a decently clear setting. Yet it will not always be that clear when we see “It said authorities detected coordinated activities by a group of people, who carried out organized work to violate the religious and national principles of the Kingdom“, in the setting as quoted, there are a number of issues, religious principles being the first one that carries weight, because most cowboys seem to forget that Saudi Arabia is a Muslim state, as such it acts on religious settings. That is also the case in America where they have the pledge of allegiance, which gives us “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God“, this is important, because many nations have something similar. So when someone noticed that McDonalds in Saudi Arabia advertised “We renew our allegiance and obedience for his royal highness, the servant of the two holy mosques, King Salman the son of Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and we support Amir Mohammed bin Salman, his son, to become Minister of Defence and Prime Minister and to be nominated as successor.  God give him wisdom and equip him to rule his kingdom. With peace and prosperity, McDonald’s“, in this the response by someone who appears to be a Canadian, we see “Ads in Saudi Arabia placed by @McDonalds pledging allegiance to the new crown prince….am I the only one that finds this totally bizarre?“, I think that he did nothing wrong, even as he thinks it is weird, but when you are so far removed from a true monarchy setting, you forget small things. I too when I was in my military time had to make the pledge of allegiance, which in my case was to pledge allegiance to the monarch, obedience to the law and subject to martial law  with: “Ik zweer trouw aan de Koningin, gehoorzaamheid aan de wetten en onderwerping aan de krijgstucht. Zo waarlijk helpe mij God Almachtig“. Even as martial law no longer applies to me, I still feel that my oath obliges me to come to the aid and protection of the Dutch royal family until my dying day. It is something we accept, it matters to us, to any monarchist. So it is the same in Saudi Arabia and you better believe that (roughly) 99.99992% of these citizens will comply and enforce that oath on all those (citizens) who think they need not do that.

I feel that global businesses forget about such settings and they are optionally shooting themselves in the foot by not educating their staff members when having to go to such places. It matters because we all make mistakes and there are transgressions which are usually forgiven (unless you make an error under paragraph 322(5) under UK immigration law, then you are truly screwed), yet when you make mistake after mistake, even unintentional, merely because you come from a very different environment, you could end up burning the brand you represent permanently in that nation, which might be a nice little challenge for Apple, Google and IBM to survive. Although IBM is more business strict, but the Apple and Google mindset might find it increasingly hard to adjust and that is where losses are made, really large losses I might add.

So even if you are laughing now on the ridiculous setting I am offering, you better realise that the law in not a funny matter in Saudi Arabia. It is set to be written as “Saudi Arabia is a state built on the foundations of justice and it enshrines the principal of equality for all before the law”, you better realise that within many nations there is a consideration on what defines ‘foundations of justice‘. According to some sources Saudi law in theory allows that the ruling of a death sentence is a real setting, now we can understand that we know not to commit murder, yet in that same setting Espionage and Treason also gets your head separated from your body just like in: ‘off with their heads!‘ (Quoting the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland), now in the technological setting that is happening at present in the beginning of the article, the involvement of Qatar (fictive example), treason and espionage are actual options now coming to the surface? Now we all know that being well prepared stops such things from happening, yet who knew that Adultery and Waging war on God are equally punishable? So when you think that you have a nice option for Saturday night in your hotel room, did you realise that if you live by ‘it doesn’t count in you are in another country‘, your future might end up a little more grim than when you got out of bed that morning? And that is even before we get to Waging war on God, which is an issue on several levels. You see unless you have a clerical mind, the dangers of waging war on God is an open field, you can be transgressing this unknowingly if you are a Christian and that is something one must be prepared for so that it can be avoided.

If I understood it correctly the ḥirabah is seen as ‘enemy of God‘. The reference is seen in verse 33 of Surah al-Ma’ida of the Qur’an. It sets punishment for “those who wage war against Allah and His Prophet and strive to spread disorder in the land“, yet ‘disorder in the land‘ is a much wider concept nowadays then when what it was in those ancient days. We see that wisdom when we look back to those days as ‘banditry in open country: a uniquely destabilizing threat to civil order in a pre-modern society’. You might think of it as folly, yet in those days when towns relied on commerce and traders, banditry could have far-fetching consequences for the entire town, perhaps even the region. You only have to look at the movie ‘Kingdom of Heaven‘ a Ridley Scott masterpiece to see what a massive destabilising factor the Christian knights and people tended to be in those days. They were basically whoring and pillaging whenever possible (basically every waking hour), and no one considers the impact that left the Muslim Arabic nations?

This all matters because when you are trying to tap into the wealth that Arabia as a whole is offering, you better know what you are in for, you better be prepared and you also better leave some of your values (or lack thereof) at home. The setting of this stage seems all too appealing, yet many nations have a clear legal directive and as I have been hearing some of the conversations around me, it seems to me that some have not considered the impact they are setting their perception, what they think is happening and what is perceived. So when I heard someone say “go there, smile a lot and make a fortune. It works in japan“. Now, I am not certain whether that would work in Japan to that degree, I am decently certain that they will lose a lot more than they bargained for when they are totally unprepared going to Saudi Arabia thinking that they strike gold with a mere presentation and a smile. Because the wrong presentation can easily be perceived and what you thought was a nice idea in the end brought chaos in the land, good luck setting up your defence at that point.

I believe that good business is always available in every nation; the wisdom is to comprehend the rules of that game in that nation and abide by them, not as best as you can, but completely. In the age of compromise I think the current generation is oblivious to that danger, they have been so used to go by ‘let’s compromise’, not everyone is willing to do that. In this considering John Braithwaite’s excellent work ‘Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry‘, it is not about the pharmaceutical part, the issue is the setting of corporations. By the time that you have gotten to chapter 4 (fraud in the safety testing of drugs) or chapter 5 (criminal negligence in unsafe manufacturing of drugs), by that setting you will have seen close to a dozen issues that could perceive you as the party responsible for creating ‘disorder in the land‘. This is merely a academic setting, I am not an Saudi Attorney, I have no experience in practicing Muslim Law, but these were the questions that formed in my mind and In all this I see a clear element missing in all the presentations that passed my eyes, seeing them scrutinised in a setting of Islamic Law seems to be important, because the law in Saudi Arabia is not set in the Crimes Act, the Data Protection Act, the Human Rights Act or the Mental Capacity Act. It is set through the Quran and that is a very important distinction.

For the most, when people are going for the jackpot, they tend to be as prepared as possible, yet in all this, more than just a few have forgotten that it is not merely a presentation, they better be aware of the legal lay of the land, as well as the social and personal norms that are required in Saudi Arabia (as with every nation you want to do business), we seem to look at the EU where almost anything is valid and not illegal, as such they forget that there are places where that approach will not work.

Did I get all this from a mere reference to a Spy Cell in the Arab News? Well, not exactly! I had been looking at parts of this for a little while, merely because some settings require investigation on any level, and the more I had to dig into certain messages the more I was confronted with people quoting the Quran, which came to a focal point when I was confronted with ‘French Proposal to Change the Quran’, which was from early may this year in the Atlantic. Apart from the blasphemy that it represents, which passages from the Bible regarding slavery or women as servants of their husbands have been removed in the last 50 years?

Opposition of such views was given by Tareq Oubrou, the prominent French imam who oversees the Grand Mosque of Bordeaux. Here we see “the notion that anti-Semitism is built into Islam is “theologically false,” he added. As monotheistic “People of the Book,” Jews and Christians enjoy a special status in Islamic law. Historically, they were considered protected dhimmi communities, which meant they were allowed to practice their own religions, although they were subject to a tax and various indignities that symbolized their subordination to Muslims”, by the way, this was an act that Christians did to the Saracens in Italy (also seen in ‘Kingdom of Heaven’), so let’s not throw mud when we know that we have done the same thing.

In the end, wherever you go, feel free to go with a smile and be prepared for what you face, knowing the legal and religious lay of the land is a rather important step that most seem to ignore, it might not matter in all places, but not preparing in places where issues like that do matter is merely the greater folly.

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Are there versions of truth?

It is a question that has haunted plenty of people, you see there is just one truth, although, is that ‘there is your side, my side and the truth’; it comes from Robert Evans ‘The kid stays in the picture‘, a 2002 documentary. We have seen the quote is several works including the famous Sci-fi series Babylon 5. The fun part of this is that the three parts are all based on honesty, yet it is more than just a matter of perspective. I have always known that, although the interaction of perception and observations is something that needs to be in a book, not on a blog. So when I was confronted with the site ‘Seeking Alpha‘, which was described by the Wall Street journal in 2014 as “SeekingAlpha.com predicted stock returns, as well as earnings surprises, above and beyond what was evident from Wall Street analyst reports and financial news articles” is from the article more than just that. The article (at https://seekingalpha.com/article/4168001-investors-face-moral-dilemmas-investments-saudi-arabia) gives us ‘Investors Face Moral Dilemmas with Investments in Saudi Arabia‘, can be countered with ‘every investment has a moral dilemma’, so that is not much to go by. Yet the setting of a 500 billion market where we see the foundation with “A component of the Saudis’ Vision 2030 is to create an indigenous defense industry one that will promote volatility, not stability, in a region on perpetual warfooting“, gives me not the shivers, but the contemplation of what game is played. You see there is no doubt that Saudi Arabia wants to create an indigenous defence industry; every nation wants that, especially when it has been under threat for many years. I would have told Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman if he would respectfully consider buying Remington as it is bankrupt and going cheap. The excellence of its weaponry, weaponry that have made it to the most elite parts of the global national defence forces is not just a matter for defence, hunters and others revere the weapon for its standard of excellence and it is not a bad place to start. You see, that is merely one path, in all this the setting of ‘one that will promote volatility‘, is not only not a given, I wonder where Seeking Alpha got the data in the first place to make that assumption. When we accept that there is an optional truth, there should be a look at the antagonising party, namely Iran as well, in that regard we see (at https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/776842-investorideas-com/5152941-cryptocorner-iran-developing-cryptocurrency-japan-s-sbi-launch-exchange-australia-cracks-icos), “Iran is progressing with its own crypto currency project despite having banned crypto trading in local banks according to a report at Reuters. Information and Communications Technology Minister Javad Azari-Jahromi said the ban from Iran’s state bank would not apply to development of a domestic crypto currency“, as well as “Equally, if not more importantly, investments by Russia’s oil and gas companies in the development of oil fields in Iran may exceed $50 billion, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters in early April” (at https://seekingalpha.com/article/4167229-effect-unilateral-u-s-sanctions-irans-crude-oil-production?page=3) and in finality we see “On Sunday, pro-Iranian Shiite rebels in Yemen launched a missile attack on Saudi Arabia targeting four cities. The Saudi air defense intercepted the missiles, however, one person died and two others were hurt by shrapnel. Saudi Colonel Turki al-Malki made it clear who Saudi Arabia thought was to blame: “This aggressive and random act by the Iran-backed Houthi group proves that the Iranian regime continues to support the armed Houthi group with qualitative capabilities…”“, which we get from the article (at https://seekingalpha.com/article/4159016-7-missiles-closer-iran-war-100-oil) called ‘7 Missiles Closer To Iran War And $100 Oil‘. So now we see two parts, we see Saudi Arabia accused of volatility and ion all this the aggressor Iran is not painted in any way in any of these mentioned articles merely defined as ‘Pro-Iranian rebels‘, the fact that those rebels cannot afford any missiles and for the most they lack the ballistic skills as well as deployment and knowledge of GOLIS firing solution systems, issues like deployment, missile calibration and beyond that there is setting the precision of the missile by making sure that the electronic settings are correctly tweaked and calibrated to interact with the information that the targeting hardware offers. All that requires skills, skills that the Yemeni do not have, but Seeking Alpha is all over that and, oh, actually they are not!

So in the $500 billion setting of growing the Saudi industry, one valid component is now the stuff of moral discussions and the setting of unproven volatility, can anyone explain why Seeking Alpha has released 7 articles in the last 24 hours on Iran, where one shows opposition between the Iranian judiciary and the President on ‘disrupt national unity‘ in the setting of ‘Rouhani opposing banning social media networks, as he attempts to open up the country to the outside world‘, there is not a moral dilemma here? Or perhaps it is not a setting for volatility whilst the growing of Iranian civil unrest is currently seen as a given. So how do we not see in more articles that for the speculative person investing into Iran is facing all kinds of risks from Iranian civil unrest?

Yet it is that setting that we can all easily check on how certain paths are played. We can see this in another way as well, when we see the French visit; we see “Macron had come to Washington in a bid to convince Trump to remain in the deal. He proposed “pillars” for adding to the existing deal, including extending it for the long term, limiting Iran’s ballistic missiles, and dealing with Iran’s involvement throughout the region“, whilst in the article regarding Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman we see “Regardless of his charm, offensive MBS will continue his extreme ruthlessness, admittedly a de rigueur requirement in a tough country and even tougher neighborhood especially because his radical changes have created many internal enemies“, we also saw “Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) wrapped up his well-orchestrated and unprecedented “meet & greet”, “press the flesh” two-week April tour of the US with the icons and titans of three primary industries in his effort to diversify the Saudi economy as part of the ambitious Vision 2030 plan“, yet nowhere do we read an optional: “Success can only come from a vision, brought by a visionary. We are a nation with resources, with options and opportunities. We are more than the oil that is acquired from our soil, we can and will harness resources as well as investment opportunities to stimulate our economy and diversify our revenues. Our nation sitting central between Africa, Asia and Europe should have been more about growing that advantage and now we will, we have the foundation to grown in technology, in minerals and in services to be a global player, we must take that opportunity before it is lost to us forever. It’s not a fast path, and to do this properly we must grow over the next 12 years to be able to become that global powerhouse“. Well, there is one place where something like that can be read, it is the introduction (at http://vision2030.gov.sa/en/foreword), where we also see a lot more on the Islamic part on Saudi Arabia, which is perfectly valid. So when we go to http://vision2030.gov.sa/en/node/125 we see a massive amount of programs all set to push Vision 2030 forward and the interesting part in that is that there is not one mention of the words ‘defence’, ‘Army’, ‘Navy’ or ‘Air force’. Even as I am convinced that growing national defence is part of that, my wonder is that with all these options and opportunities, Seeking Alpha resorted to the Moral part of a defence structure that is nowhere near a central part of the Vision 2030 brief. We know that Saudi Arabia has the option to go full G5 from day one and the investment options there are massive opportunities not to pick up millions, but billions. Yet the issue becomes larger when we see that the writer Albert Goldson has plenty of experience and should be well aware of commodities (read: he is a bit of an expert according to sources), so when we set this against the view of Bengt Nordström, CEO of consultancy Northstream who gave us last year “growth in the industry has disguised not only the fact the telco industry is largely a commodity, but also that it has not been hugely innovative for a number of years“, that in light of the upcoming 5G, where ‘first in, soaring profits’ could surely be a given, none of that is shown, merely the fact that Saudi Arabia is allegedly about ‘volatility‘, so whose buttering the bread and who is that sandwich being made for?

Another part not shown was ‘Advancing pharmaceuticals and patient safety in Saudi Arabia: A 2030 vision initiative‘ (at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319016417301780). Here we see “A recent conference in Riyadh, sponsored by King Saud University, sought to discuss these issues and develop specific policy recommendations for the Saudi 2030 Vision plan. This and other efforts will require more and more creative educational programs for physicians, pharmacists, hospitals, and patients, and, most importantly evolving regulations on quality standards and oversight by Saudi health authorities“, let’s not forget that we are in the beginning of all this, there is 12 years, which will go quickly I’ll grant you that, yet in all this the opportunity to grow Patent Law, Law firms, and set proper markers in place would be an essential step before such a level of patent bearing change comes. The option for Pharmaceutical investment was not shown in the article, or the mention of the issues shown at https://ncusar.org/programs/17-transcripts/2017-06-20-burton.pdf (attached). So, I am not opposing that there is optionally a need to grow the national defence industry, but is that set in the right light? In the light he gives the investors (which is his right to do), we see “However, for the moral implications mentioned with respect to the development of an indigenous defense industry, check your moral compass. From my perspective, it’s a financially profitable but morally bankrupt undertaking“, yet what morally bankrupt idea is there on growing the pharmaceutical and mobile network industry? they are highly profitable if it is achieved and there is moral question, my moral compass is setting on the field asking Albert Goldson, a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and an Associate Member of the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) why he missed on those options. Also in the view of two dozen projects that are openly stated, why would he focus on a part that represents merely 10% and focus on those two dozen programs, where the investors would find the gems that the investors would want to find in a $500 billion layered cake called ‘Vision 2030‘. Oh, as for that military part, the attached Burton presentation ‘Opportunities in Saudi Arabia – Vision 2030 and Beyond‘ spends two slides on it and the most important part shown is “Vision 2030 calls for 50 percent of military equipment purchases from domestic suppliers instead of imports“, whilst also mentioning that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) “spent a total of over $63 billion on defense and security in 2016, including off-budget spending“, so when we see that, we see that for the smart investor there is an optional $30 billion a year available for those who might not have a moral issue working on a government set national defence program. That in light of Iran delivering missiles hardware and support to non-combatants, which are rebels at best, yet terrorists might be more apt when we consider “Nasrallah’s letter is proven evidence of Iran’s involvement in the Yemeni civil war, since it shows that Hezbollah, which is financed by Iran, is taking part in the fighting in Yemen” (source: Jerusalem Post). So where exactly does Seeking Alpha stand? Let’s be fair, they can be in any place they like as they are merely advisors towards their investors in all this, yet even with my high moral (or is that outspokenly oral) I would not turn away from a $32 billion market, especially if I had that level of cash. Oh, and whilst you consider on where morality needs to be, Boeing, Lockheed and Raytheon have already signed up, so the delay you took made that cake a hell of a lot smaller, but even if there is still $2 billion up for grabs, would you walk away? Let’s not forget that next month’s rent is due!

So in all this, I never stated or implied that Albert Goldson lied to anyone. Yet when we consider there is your side, my side and the truth, what did we see? You see, I get back to perception versus observation. Through perception he is focussed on the defence part, but why? The shifted setting towards Saudi Arabia will impact something else, but what else is impacted? That is the question, is it the Iranian setting (when considering the other articles), is it something else entirely, or is Albert Goldson focussed on something beyond all this? It is a speculation from my side, yet the absence of the Pharmaceutical and Mobile Industry absence implies just that, yet in equal measure I will state that this would merely be my perception, based on all my observations. That is part of the setting. In the realm of ‘there is your side, my side and the truth’, it becomes more and more about observation versus perception. In a case like this, when there is $500 billion on the table, is the perception the amount on the table, or the observation of whom else is at that table that matters. Is that merely an observation or does the perception become: where is MY opportunity? Because in the end that is what the investor cares about, and moreover, where and what size their slice of the cake becomes.

In addition, my observation will be that the changes mean that there are new players and some of the old players have been so well fed for such a long time, in this ‘parting might be such sweet sorrow’ (Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 2), yet for the previous players it will be over their dead bodies, that tends to be the gist of it. The change needs to be observed because it shown also where the pressures of the players will be and that pressure can be seen as cost and risk. It is the wiser player that makes it through and gets the slice of the $500 billion layered cake; it is merely the question on the size of the slice and the perception of the profit it allegedly holds.


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