Tag Archives: Allen Lew

Facebook Folly and 5G

There was an article in the Guardian last Thursday. I had initially ignored it for all the usual reasons, yet when I sat down this morning, there was something that made me take another look and the article is actually a lot more important than most people would think. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/31/apple-facebook-campus-permissions-revoked-teens-access-data-iphone-app) named ‘Apple leaves Facebook offices in disarray after revoking app permissions‘ shows a different side that goes a lot further than merely Facebook. We see this with: “We designed our Enterprise Developer Program solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organisation. Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple”, this statement alone shows the failing of their legal department, as well as their senior board that works under the strict sense of assumptions. We see this not merely with ‘Facebook had allegedly exploited a loophole in Apple’s approval system to bypass rules that banned the harvesting of data about what apps are installed on a user’s phone.‘ We see another level when we reconsider “Facebook Research, an app the company paid users as young as 13 to install that routed their iPhone traffic through the company’s own servers“. This is not merely about hijacking data; it is about the fact that both the IOS and Android paths are a little too transparent. Academically speaking it would be possible for Apple to distribute a similar app guiding Android people to the IOS data path.

The fact that we now see that others are affected through: “According to an internal memo, obtained by Business Insider, apps including Ride, which lets employees take shuttles between buildings on the company’s sprawling campus, and Mobile Home, an employee information portal, were down“. And it is not merely the Guardian, the Apple Insider gives us: “A report from December claimed Facebook had made special data sharing arrangements with other tech companies, enabling Facebook to collect more data on its users generated on Apple devices, without either Apple or the users’ permission or knowledge.” This now gives the setting that Facebook is getting desperate, when any company needs to rely on Data snooping to keep their momentum up that is the moment we see that any tower, data based or not will fall over.

Part of that came from an article last December giving us: “A damning report on Tuesday provides further details on Facebook’s shady data sharing practices, already under intense scrutiny for the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, suggesting the social media giant enabled Apple devices to surreptitiously collect information about users without their — or apparently Apple’s — knowledge” and the nightmare scenario is not merely that Facebook is gathering data, it is the ‘data sharing‘ part and more important, who it is shared with. This has over the last two months changed my position from waiting what is actually afoot into investigation into actively prosecute Facebook for their actions.

I am certain that the prosecution goes nowhere, mainly because the legal departments allowed for the loopholes to get into position in the first place. It enables the train of thought on how involved Apple was in all that. That train of thought continues when we revisit the Apple Insider quote: “It was revealed yesterday Facebook paid users $20 to sideload a VPN onto their devices, allowing the social network to monitor what participants aged 17 to 35 did online. Claimed to be a “social media research study,” the Facebook Research iOS app took advantage of Apple’s Enterprise Developer Certificates to allow the apps to be distributed separately from the main App Store, as well as effectively providing root access to a user’s device.” In all this the legal teams did not consider the usage and installation of linked VPN applications? Is that not weird?

Bloomberg is trying to water down the event with “Facebook seems clearly to have earned its latest privacy black eye, but it’s important not to overstate what’s going on here. This is essentially a contract dispute“, is it? It seems that the users are victims of deceptive conduct; it seems to me that root access clearly implies that all data and content of the mobile device was made available to Facebook, was that ever clearly communicated to the users installing that?

It is my sincere belief that this was never ever done. So as Bloomberg in trying to add more water to the wine with “Apple’s concern about it’s “users and their data” might well be sincere, but this particular dispute isn’t about the fact that Facebook collected user data; it’s about the way that Facebook collected user data.” Here we see more than merely deceptive conduct, or to use the quote: “I’m not suggesting that what Facebook has done isn’t serious. But neither is it the end of user privacy as we know it“. You see, when you had over root access it means that you had over everything and at that point you have revoked your own right to privacy. And at the top of the watering down of wine, making it impossible to distinguish between the taste of either we see: “But users seemed to know what they were getting into — and were also paid for the privilege“, likely to be Bloomberg foulest statement of the day. Not only do they knowingly hide behind ‘seemingly’ they know for certain that no one will ever knowingly and willingly hand over root access to an unknown third party. It also tends to introduce security flaws to any phone it was installed to, when exactly were the users informed of that part?

So whilst we get another version of: “Twenty dollars per month might not sound like a lot to, say, the typical Bloomberg reader. So imagine Facebook instead had promised one free local Uber ride per month” you all seemingly forget about the international community, who like all others will never get to cash in on those events, or paid responses or alleged dollars for donuts deals. That becomes for the most direct profit for Facebook, access without a fee, how many of those people were part of that event?

Cnet phrases it a lot better with: “I think it’s highly unlikely that the vast majority of the people who went through this whole process really knew the kind of power they were giving Facebook when they clicked OK to install this (app),“, which we see (at https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-shuts-down-ios-research-app-it-used-to-access-user-data/) by Bennett Cyphers, a staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

And that is not the only part, not when we enlarge the circle. Two days ago, my predictions become fact after the Sydney Morning Herald gives us: ‘Optus concedes 5G service without best technology after Huawei ban‘, which is awesome, as the IP I came up with does not affect either and allows for Global Huawei (or Google) continued growth. So as we are treated to: “”From a pure technology perspective, Huawei is probably ahead of the other three “Mr Lew said after Optus unveiled plans for a $70-a-month unlimited service with guaranteed minimum speeds of 50Mbps. “But what we’ve got from the other suppliers will enable us to provide a globally competitive service.”” This is actually a lot more important than you think, when mobile app users seek the fastest solution, the more bang per gigabyte, the Huawei solution was essential in all this. So as Optus chief executive Allen Lew now concedes that those not using Huawei technology will be second best in the game at best, my solution will set a new level of e-commerce and information on a global scale and all I asked for was $25M upfront and 10% of the patents, the rest was for Google (or Huawei). It is a great deal for them and a really nice deal for me to, a win-win-win, because the consumer and SMB communities will equally profit. I merely circumvented paths that were not strictly legally required; merely a second tier to equal the first tier and when the speed map drives us forward, the players using second rate materials will end up losing customers like nothing they have ever seen. It’s good to use political short sighted policies against them. So whilst the world is listening on how Apple and Facebook values are affected, no one is properly looking on how Huawei and Google have a much clearer playing field on how 5G can be innovated for the consumers and small businesses. It will be on them to restart economies and they will. They are moving from ‘Wherever the consumer is‘ to ‘Whenever the consumer wants it‘, the systems are there and ready to be switched on, which will be disastrous for many wannabe 5G players. I am giving a speculative part now. I predict that Huawei holding players will be able to gain speed over all others by 0.01% a day when they go life. This implies that within 6 months after going life they can facilitate 2% better than the others and within a year is double that. These are numbers that matter, because that means that the businesses depending on speed will vacate to the better provider a hell of a lot faster than with other players. This effect will be seen especially in the Middle East and Europe. And before you start screaming ‘Huawei’ and ‘security threat’ consider that the entire Facebook mess was happening under the noses of that so called cyber aware place America. It happened under their noses and they were seemingly unaware (for the longest of time), so as security threats go, they are more clueless than most others at present. It boils down to the boy howling Huawei, whilst his sheep are getting eaten by fellow shepherds, that is what is at stake and it shows just how delusional the Huawei accusations have been form many nations. How many of them were aware of the Facebook data syphoning actions?

This gives us the final part where we see the growth of Huawei as we see ‘Saudi-based Telco opens joint ICT Academy with Huawei‘, you might not find it distinct and that is fine, yet this is the same path Cisco took a decade ago to grow the size it has now and it was an excellent example for Huawei to adopt. The middle East is the global 5G growth center and with Qatar 2022 introducing maximised 5G events, we will see that Huawei took the better path, feel free to disagree and rely on AT&T and their 5G Evolution, yet when you learn the hard way that it is merely 4G LTE and now that we also see that ‘Verizon likely halting its ‘5G Home’ service roll-out after test cities, waiting for 5G hardware to actually exist‘, we see the events come into play as I have said it would, America is lagging and it is now likely to lag between 12 and 18 months at the very least, so whilst the world is starting their 5G solutions, America gets to watch from the sidelines, how sad it all is, but then they could still intervene into the Facebook events. They are not likely to do so as they do not see that as a ‘security threat‘. So as we are given: “As reported by VentureBeat, Verizon has detailed that it won’t have true 5G hardware for its 5G Home service ready until later this year. That means expansion to more markets beyond Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Houston won’t be likely until the second half of 2019“, how many people have figured out that ‘expansion to more markets beyond Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Houston‘ implies the largest part of the USA and they are not up for anything before 2020 (and that is me being optimistic).

It is he direct impact of a stupid policy, which in the end was not policy at all, it was merely stupid and we all get to witness the impact and the carefully phrased political denials linked to all that; funny how evidence can be used to sink a politician.

This reminds me of my blog of August 2018 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/08/23/liberalism-overboard/) where I opened the premise of “the topic would be ‘How to assassinate a politician‘“, I should sell it to Alibaba Pictures or Netflix, it could be my Oscar moment (and cash in the wallet). So, it is true, political folly is good for the wallet, who would have thunk it?

 

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Optus Yes = Optus WTF

You know, I have been in this field for quite some time and for the most I tend to give people (and organisations) the benefit of the doubt. Yet what should we think of an organisation that does not have its act together, seems to be clueless what it is doing, or should be regarded as massively incompetent?

I’ll let you decide on the following facts.

Fact one. The bulk of the Optus Shops, as well as nearly every other shop that deals in Optus mobile internet is out of stock.

This literally amounts to the notion that at Optus, at least two boss levels above the store keeper, people are either incompetent or asleep (which amounts to the same thing). The Huawei E5377 WIFI Modem is registered to be out of stock. How can a mobile provider like Optus continue without sellable product? To be this unable to service your customers, without any alternative is just beyond stupid. In addition, the fact that Optus stores are still in ‘Yes’ advertisement mode could be construed as misleading conduct. When we consider Australian Consumer Law, we see in section 18 Misleading or deceptive conduct “A person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive“. Stating ‘yes’ and then not have it in stock, seems to be just that.

This is however not enough. You see, one product does not make for issues, this should be regarded as just a case of bad luck, which we all have that at times.

When people pay for services that cannot be upheld, we have an entirely different matter.

That part seems to be an additional issue that hit me like a steel mace across the chops. You see, I had a case of bad luck, I had to get a new phone, in my case the Huawei P7, which was on special. Less than three months later the battery buckles. I now only get 10 hours standby from a battery. This is massively unacceptable! So, I go to Optus and fair enough, they take it into repair under warranty. I cannot ask for more, which is fair enough, so now I am stuck with my old phone, which is a major concern on several levels. I got lucky, because I got to borrow a Huawei E5251 with 8 GB. The first file goes swimmingly, which means 700 Mb all done. Now the problem starts! Even though powered, it takes three attempts to get a 4.8 GB file, 1.7 GB, 3.8 GB, and after that at a little over 1.3 GB the system stops, failed attempts with corrupt data. No way to save it, this now implies that Optus can no longer maintain a functional 3G wireless connection. This now has large repercussions for the consumers, because the consumer pays for 8 GB of data, whilst it was never functional. The lobotomised excuse from ‘customer care’ is ‘you used your data’, whilst we now have an issue with the reliability of the Optus network. The half-baked excuse they gave that ‘this can happen’ holds little water when the consumer gets to pay for functionality that cannot be met.

The question in my mind now becomes, is this isolated or is this a symptom of a much larger issue? This now takes us to the Australian Financial Review of May 18th 2015, where we see “Singtel-Optus chief executive Allen Lew will focus on keeping costs down by providing more customer services via the internet and run a “hard-nosed” review of its 160 retail stores” (at http://www.afr.com/business/telecommunications/optus-in-hardnosed-retail-review-to-keep-costs-down-20150517-gh3h5q). Yet, when we consider the hard-nosed part. Is that the case or has the upper staff ignored infrastructure issues? When I cannot rely on 3G networks in Sydney city to download data (speed was not an issue), we must consider that the objective of ‘keeping cost down’ is now at the expense of its consumers, a part that was not that clear in the Financial Review. This makes the quote “yes, we will grow but we will make sure that the growth is profitable growth” debatable at best, and concerning at the very least. Another quote is “an Optus spokeswoman later told Fairfax Media that cutting costs would not lead to any decrease in service quality or an overall fall in jobs“, well the service levels are not met, whether the job situation remains good, is something for the future to be decided.

So, is there a pure stock issue, or is there more? The latter remains the more likely than not scenario as my personal point of view, for all shops to be without 4G wireless routers implies that that the stocktake part does not work or the shortage is nothing more than a signal that the Optus network is starting to get really congested. That last part is of course a speculation on my side, but doesn’t it make sense? Virgin and Telstra are selling their 4G modem plans, yet in the case of Virgin, they too ‘suddenly’ ran out of the Huawei E5377 WIFI Modem. Which would seem to give strength to the thought that this is a mere ‘stock’ issue. Yet, if that is so, how incompetent was the executive to let it go this far? In addition, the issue of the unstable 3G is not addressed.

For this I have to make a jump back to 2010, when this was posted “Optus is known to put a lot of its web data through a proxy which reduces the packet size and makes it seem like your connection is faster. This comes at the cost of reduced quality in the form of images and the like“, important to know here is that the source is not reliable, but it is one of many voices. In 2011 the Sydney Morning Herald gave us (at http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/optus-makes-customers-pay-to-fix-its-blackspots-20110411-1da6b.html), with the quote “But analysts believe the real reason behind launching the product is that the Optus mobile network is struggling and Optus would prefer to make consumers fork out money to ensure their mobile phones work at home, as opposed to the Telco investing in more mobile towers“, which now gives us a clearer view, a view that is more reliable at least, in addition we get “Foad Fadaghi, a telecommunications analyst at Telsyte, said femtocells had typically been used in the US by poor quality carriers that had not invested enough in the capacity of their networks” which is an additional tone to the previous quote. The Optus response was “Optus said in response to the criticisms that the new technology was designed to ensure customers received “the best value and experience from their mobile devices”. It said it had invested over $2 billion in its mobile network over the past five years and built over 600 mobile sites in 2010, with a similar number of mobile sites planned to be built this year“, yet consider the issue when we read “Telco’s needed to be upfront from the start about coverage and the capacity of their networks and the onus should be on them, not the customer“, an issue I basically faced as no uncorrupted data house arrived at my station. The mention of ‘capacity of their networks‘ is now in play. For a 4G tower to scale back to 3G is one thing, yet do they process basic 3G in the same way? 600 towers is a massive amount, and that article is a few years old, but the final part in all this was at http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/133245-4g-vs-3g-it-s-not-just-download-speed-you-know, as well as the Telstra site (which I will ignore for now). A 4G network should be able to offer data at 15.1Mbps, which is only barely above normal broadband. 3G gives data at 6.1Mbps, which is considerable slower, yet if time was not an issue, 3G should work, but in my case it did not. I reckon that we are starting to see congestion where 3G is sacrificed to maintain the 4G standards. This is pure speculation on my side, but is that such a stretch? There were clear indications for half a decade that Optus was a failing network, now they thought they were back, but the deals offered through Optus Yes were so ‘fashionable’ that millions switched, now we see that adding a thousand towers whilst the data need of millions went up by 250% could be a clear indication of massive congestion dangers, which will now lead to dropped data packages and in some cases corrupt packages, which gave me my aggravating position. 8 GB to download 5 GB and none of it survived the trip. Now this month (actually this week) we see “Optus launches tri-band carrier aggregation“, which shows increased speeds. The quote “It is a more efficient use of our spectrum bands and will provide a more consistent and better experience for our customers“, it is the ‘more efficient use of our spectrum bands’ that flagged it for me. Is this truly about ‘speed’ for the customer or to deal with congestion? If congestion is a problem in Sydney, than we have new worries, more important, we will soon have a lot less stability. In all this I will state again, that some of these views are speculative and of course they are tainted due to issues I faced, but are they less of an issue because of that? Now let’s see if the same problem persists with Telstra, I know a guy with an extra wireless router, let’s see what happens tonight!

I try to stay on the fence and fair (even though I am very much pissed off), I just wonder who else has been faced with corrupted downloads whilst having to pay for the download. I reckon Optus has a problem and they still have to find a way to address it.

 

 

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