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FI01, becoming offensive

I will leave the entire Novichok alone for now, there is rustling in the weeds and it is important to look at it, but only when more actual quality information is available. It is time to take a look at the FI protocols. It is time for FI01.

This might not be the article for many of my readers, I will not shun hash words and I will not shun those wading in hypocrisy. Yet to do that, we need to look at certain definitions too and that is the part we get to after we look at the Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/sep/13/social-media-firms-could-face-huge-fines-over-terrorist-content). The article ‘Remove terror content quickly or be fined, EU tells social media firms‘. the setting given is “Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will be forced to take terrorist content off their sites within an hour or face multimillion-pound fines under EU proposals“, is probably the biggest part, but let’s look on; when we see some of the parts given by Julian King, the British security commissioner in Brussels. We are given a few truths that matter. “We have got a problem with content; it is not an entirely new problem, we are not starting from scratch, we have agreed to do some voluntary stuff, and we got some good progress – but not enough” is the first part and I will get back to that, yet the more important part is “Every attack over the last 18 months or two years or so has got an online dimension. Either inciting or in some cases instructing, providing instruction, or glorifying“. I get it, something needs to be done. In the first we need to see the list and the proper setting of evidence. I get it that this is not offered online for several reasons. Yet there needs to be a lot more scrutiny. As we see the utter screw up regarding Novichoks, the lack of evidence and linked statements without evidence. We also need to state clearly that the press (to a larger extent) is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Julian King needs to realise that if his peers are dragging their heels on one side, he cannot be part of anything acceptable stating the utter impossibility of: ‘take terrorist content off their sites within an hour‘.

From my point of view, this is about something else; this is about giving governments’ direct access to social media to filter ALL content (at their leisure). To get anything done within the hour is just not realistic and they know it. It is also very clear that when 5G is here, it will be too late and that is what they fear even more, and being stupid about it is just not a solution in any place.

It becomes an even more laughable setting with: “Parties could be fined up to 5% of their annual budgets for breaching data protection rules in order to deliberately influence the outcome of the European elections, including those for the European parliament in May 2019“. So instead of making it illegal and rejecting that party from elected consideration, they get a fine? Allowing for big business to sacrifice via some small institution to cop a few million whilst still getting what they want. So when we see Julian King state: “given the track record, there has to be a chance, and we have to up our game and be more resilient“. How about setting the stage that the use of social media for elections is just out of bounds? Limit it to TV, Newspapers and magazines?

We see the problem a lot clearer when we consider the ‘High-Level Commission Expert Group on Radicalisation (HLCEG-R)‘ report from May 18th 2018. Where exactly is the definition of ‘terrorist content’? You see, the EC is all about definitions all the time. Yet here we see an interaction and a level of interchangeability of ‘terrorist content‘ and ‘illegal content‘. It is found to some extent in the report referred to in footnote 19 where we see the report ‘COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION of 1.3.2018 on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online’. So is all ‘illegal content’ ‘terrorist content’? It seems to me that this sudden trivialisation is about something else entirely (at least to some degree).

When we look at the second report, we see: “At the collective level, important progress has been made through voluntary arrangements of various kinds, including the EU Internet Forum on terrorist content online, the Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Sale of Counterfeit Goods. However, notwithstanding this commitment and progress, illegal content online remains a serious problem within the Union

This is reference to Article 292. Yet now we see Illegal Hate Speech Online, the Sale of Counterfeit Goods as well as terrorist content online. So is this about a Nina Ricci bottle or a Prada backpack, because the devil is not in the details, the devil wears Prada plain and simple. We see to some extent the ‘aggregation’ of stupidity (as I personally see it) in item 32, where we are treated to: “In light of the particularities related to tackling terrorist content online, the recommendations relating to tackling illegal content generally should be complemented by certain recommendations which specifically relate to tackling terrorist content online, building on and consolidating efforts undertaken in the framework of the EU Internet Forum“, so when illegal content is online, we now see the implicated setting that these people could be regarded as terrorist. With ‘be complemented by certain recommendations‘, which now becomes a rather weird setting. You see ‘political opinion’ cannot be seen as illegal speech, so not getting to barrier one, also avoids barrier two. In this setting, any political drive must be proven to give the reading of proven the need that the speech instils the drive to act illegally. Until a clear act is connected, there will be no success.

This now gets us to paragraph 33, where we see: “Considering the particularly grave risks associated with terrorist content and hosting service providers’ central role in the dissemination of such content, hosting service providers should take all reasonable measures so that they do not allow terrorist content and if possible prevent hosting it“. So at this point what exactly is ‘terrorist content‘? And the reference to that paragraph refers to ‘without prejudice to Article 14 of Directive 2000/31/EC’, are you effing kidding me? That is the privacy part on a section in ‘legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market‘.

So we get this mess presented?

In that regard when we see: ‘Commission proposes new rules to get terrorist content off the web‘ It is my personal agitated view in the matter that protocol FI01 is set to President Jean-Claude Juncker, he is the Eff…ing Idiot number 1.

When we again look at the headline: “Terrorist content is most harmful in the first hours after it appears online because of the speed at which it spreads. This is why the Commission is proposing a legally binding one-hour deadline for content to be removed following a removal order from national competent authorities“, a one hour deadline? Really? Most EC parts have not been able to clean their act in years, so now social media gets sliced and cut? Is Europe so broke that they want the millions from the three social media providers because they cannot clean their own stables?

Consider the Statistics, Facebook has 2 billion active users a month, and this is not static. We see from sources that Five new profiles are created every second, there is a registered amount of photo uploads approaching 300 million per day as well as the setting that every minute on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded and that is ignoring languages and expressions. The entire setting of removal in an hour is so unrealistic it is close to hilarious. When we are confronted with that, whilst ‘the Conservative’ (not the greatest source, I admit) gives us: “The structural defects of the European Commission are plentiful: an insurmountable democratic deficit; not a hint of accountability; and an opaque process of legislative formulation to name but a few“, that whilst labelled individual FI01 is also connected to: “The president of the European Commission is embroiled in a new criminal investigation into claims that “tampered” evidence misled an inquiry into phone-tapping. Jean-Claude Juncker faces accusations that his officials presented inaccurate information under oath in a case involving an alleged illegal wiretap more than ten years ago when he was prime minister of Luxembourg” (source: The Times, December 13th 2017), that is the person giving social media providers an ultimatum of an hour? You have got to be kidding me. The Telegraph gave us in addition: “The new evidence, which led to the postponing of a trial of three senior formers members of Luxembourg’s SREL intelligence service, according to The Times, showed that a key telephone transcript had apparently been doctored

That’s the person who is part of throwing ‘illegal content’ and ‘terrorist content’ on one pile?

Good to know!

So now we get to the fact sheet!

Here we see (at https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-factsheet-terrorist-content_en_0.pdf) the setting of ‘How does the new procedure for removing terrorist content work?‘ We now see the following

  1. National authority detects and makes assessment
  2. If considered terrorist content, removal order issued to host
  3. Host must remove content within one hour

That seems almost harmless, does it not?

Yet we also see:

  • Right to challenge: Hosting service or content provider may appeal the removal order. If the appeal is successful, the content is restored; if the appeal is rejected or the deadline lapses, the removal order stands and the content must be permanently removed.
  • Obligation to report: If issued with a removal order, the host must report on proactive measures taken to address terrorist content online three months after receiving the removal order.

I am missing any level of accountability, too much ambiguity. So from my point of view, anyone abusing the ‘terrorist content’ for mere filtering and censoring on behalf of anyone else needs to be held criminally liable. I reckon that after 2-3 cases there will be suddenly a large need for postponed trials.

When we investigate the member states part in all this, we see no fine for the state when wrongful removal was done, we see a pressure on removing (or else), yet there is a shallow point when it comes the other way around. In addition, we see “coordinate with other Member States and Europol to ensure that evidence of online terrorist content is flagged, and that duplication and interference in national investigations is avoided“, yet there is no registration on who ordered the removal, also, there is no registration per removal id and in that stage set penalties for those having set the stage for recurring unjustified removals giving ample voice to the earlier: “not a hint of accountability“, if this is about terrorist content, is that part not equally important?

I am all for getting all terrorist content removed, yet the systems cannot get it all, that is too unrealistic and pushing a one hour timestamp whilst the other side has no accountability at all is just a discriminating joke in the making. It is also still interesting to see that they claim to fight terrorism and terrorist online activities, whilst Iran state sponsor of terrorism in still a welcome debate and trade partner in the EU. In addition, the entire matter of Iranian diplomat Asadollah Assadi and terrorist was given light a week before the EU approved plans for the European Investment Bank to do business with Iran. So you want to stop social media, whilst still doing business with these people? How unacceptable is that part in all this? If the EU cannot clean its stables, it has no business enforcing anything on social media that is how I personally see it. Yes, we can agree that terrorist content must be removed ASAP, yet what is that? One hour? 24 Hours? 72 hours? The fact that the EU does business as usual with a terrorist funding government implies that they are clueless on several grounds and the fact that we see an increasing amount of evidence growing on the matter of Iranian Missiles fired into Saudi Arabia is further evidence still that the EU is merely the pot calling the kettle black. It is in that setting that we should conclude that they have no business ‘fine giving’ any social media, especially in light of such a massive funding failure.

You see, what angers me so is the mere filtering of politicians and that needs to stop too! In this I present two elements. The first part comes from Bloomberg last year. We are given (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-29/facebook-says-99-of-is-al-qaeda-content-spotted-by-ai) where we are treated to: “Today, 99 percent of Islamic State and Al Qaeda-related content Facebook removes is detected by the company’s AI before any user flags it, Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, and Brian Fishman, head of counter-terrorism policy, said Wednesday. They said in some cases the software was able to block the content from ever being posted in the first place“. Yet the other part that the Guardian gives us is: “We have got a problem with content; it is not an entirely new problem, we are not starting from scratch, we have agreed to do some voluntary stuff, and we got some good progress – but not enough“. Now we get to the good part, what EXACTLY is ‘not enough’? From my point of view Either Bloomberg lied to us, or Julian King is what some might consider as: ‘an unacceptable piece of trash’. If he wants 100%, he better give us clearly add a few elements of EC accountability and holding them criminally liable when they abuse their power. Also is any abuse of that ‘filtering content’ is found, he is to be dishonourably discharged and shamed in the entire EU, with a clear banning from ALL official positions in the EU and the Commonwealth.

Why the overreaction?

We have been fed two versions again and again and we see a lack of accountability on the EU side too often; for example the elitist banking group of 30 with Mario Draghi as a member. When the Financial Times gave us: “the close links between central bankers and the private sector have aroused public suspicion since the global financial crisis triggered a series of bank bailouts” we see suspected levels of nepotism that raises more issues than 50 successful Islamic State attacks. The article (at https://www.ft.com/content/dc64b6e2-8060-11e8-bc55-50daf11b720d) also gives us “The Ombudsman has also attacked the ECB’s argument that it was standard practice for top central bankers to join the club. The central bank chiefs of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, India, Brazil, Russia, Canada, and Australia are not members and Janet Yellen suspended her membership during her time at the helm of the US Federal Reserve”, showing that the European Commission has a truckload of issues, it is my personal view that it has no business acting in the way it does.

Yet, defence of the actions instigated by Julian King can be seen in Forbes. The article (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2018/05/15/the-problem-with-using-ai-to-fight-terrorism-on-social-media), an Article from last May gives us: “the general public would be forgiven for believing that Facebook’s algorithms are vastly more effective. The New York Times summarized the statement above as “Facebook’s A.I. found 99.5 percent of terrorist content on the site, leading to the removal of roughly 1.9 million pieces of content in the first quarter,” while the BBC offered “the firm said its tools spotted 99.5% of detected propaganda posted in support of Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other affiliated groups, leaving only 0.5% to the public.” In fact, this is not at all what the company has claimed. When asked about similar previous media characterizations of its counter-terrorism efforts, a company spokesperson clarified that such statements are incorrect, that the 99% figure refers exclusively to the percent of terrorist content deleted by the company that had been flagged by AI.

This could be easily tested and as such I decided to do so and with ‘ISIS images’ I got hundreds and hundreds of images, videos and other matters in my browser and I got even more with the search term ‘Jihad Islamic state’. The video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzCAPJDAnQA) shows actions of Islamic State, with sounds, vision and comments. It is News from Vice News, a video from 2014, still online today. At some point you need to as just how ludicrous and useless actions are. We get it that there are actions, we see that numbers become debatable. Yet in all this the mere reported numbers are already an issue, and if I added Vice News articles to me Facebook news feed, would that constitute ‘Terrorist Content’? This small part alone shows us that this is about something else and as such we better take a real hard look at the Actions of the EC, demanding that the censoring side should be held equally liable and prosecutable for their overreaction and inaction. Yet that is never ever going to happen, is it? This is making the EC actions (in my personal opinion) a lot more questionable in all this. It was the overreaction and the emphasis of ‘One Hour’ that set the tone of mistrust, I wonder what else we will see over the coming week.

 

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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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Life in USA less healthy now

You might not have thought it, but did you realise that your life, if you are in the USA is as per direct a lot less healthy? Did you know you are now intentionally endangering your health? You did not, then read on and learn how you have thrown your healthy life away. In the LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-broadband-privacy-senate-20170323-story.html), we see ‘Senate votes to kill privacy rules meant to protect people’s sensitive data from their Internet providers‘, you might wonder how this is a danger to your life, but it is, and it will hurt your pocket too no less. The first part is “overturn tough new privacy rules for Internet service providers, employing a rarely used procedure to invalidate restrictions that cable and wireless companies strongly opposed“, now this is not the FBI or the CIA spying on you, this is the option for internet providers to sell your actions and your privacy driven information to whomever wants to buy it.

One quote from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was “The FCC privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules that hurt more than they help”. Now, this is not just something that started now, to his credit, he has ALWAYS been on the commercial bandwagon, some of that goes back years where he questioned the White House on the way the FCC’s set-top box proposal came down and what role the White House had in that, and other, FCC decisions. He is clearly a man of less governmental oversight and that is his right. The issue becomes when TV and internet usage is sold to health care providers and on the consequence of what those people call the ‘weighted classification of couch potato‘, in that with the rise of health care premiums. This actually goes further than merely health care. The fact that app use and geographic data becomes available is equally a concern. There is a secondary situation, Companies can now go via consultancy firms and avoid issues with that pesky Employment discrimination law. You see, “the elimination of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment” can now be circumvented. People who are too often on Boston South Side, East LA, or the SF Mission district, the use of Geo data would allow for a percentage analyses of this GeoData, giving some people who had hit on hard times even less able to fight for a decent future. And let me be clear, any ISP denying that will be lying to you. The data will be part of something else, like where were you when a certain app was used, which might seem nice, but if they check all apps than that picture gets to be pretty complete.

The reality goes further than this. Even as you read this, MIT is making great strides (at http://bpp.mit.edu/offline-data-collection/). Yet when you read: “Daily price indices, monthly, and annual inflation rates for Argentina and the US. Monthly data with annual inflation rates for Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK, US, 3 US sectors, and global aggregates (including Eurozone). Daily PPP series for Argentina and Australia. The data were used in the paper titled “The Billion Prices Project: Using Online Data for Measurement and Research” – Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(1) (Spring 2016)“, a serious question comes to mind. You see, once you have this data, you can go into collaboration phases, after which you could raise minimum prices on hundreds of articles. It might be cents, but that raises your monthly costs in dollars, whilst the maker now gets millions in addition. So, yes everybody loves big data, yet will it love you? You get the impression from “Daily prices for all goods sold by 7 large retailers in Latin America and the US: 2 in Argentina, 1 in Brazil, 1 in Chile, 1 in Colombia, 1 in Venezuela, and 4 in the US. Used in the paper titled “Scraped Data and Sticky Prices”“, you just wonder if it is such a weird concept. Now, from an academic point of view, it is an amazingly interesting project. So was Dynamite, which Alfred Nobel learned the hard way, had a few optional uses which he never considered. Data is in that regard a whole lot more dangerous.

The biggest joke in all this is not President Trump, it is actually the FCC puppet Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Obama in May 2012, he stated that the rules threatened to confuse consumers as they were different to those imposed on web firms such as Google and Facebook. You see, as I see it Ajit Varadaraj Pai is stupid, but he is not stupid, you hearing me? Let me explain this. When a person looks at an advertisement, or seeks something like ‘Gaming Chairs’ at PC Case Gear. That person looks and decided not to buy, the person is just browsing. Now, as this person looks for other things or browses the internet and visits websites. This person gets to a site that uses advertisement spaces. Now for example, Google AdWords will show things that interest you, or things from places you visited. So, even as this person is just going to any place that has advertisement spaces, Google AdWords would possibly show that person ‘Gaming Chairs’ that PC Case Gear had on sale, and Facebook will do exactly the same. In all this, that persons actions and seeks would have remained private, the advertiser does not have my details. They will get general aggregated data, like the gender and the age of the visitor (age is set in an age range). At no time does the advertiser have my complete details. This is why it actually works, now that the ISP can sell my specific data, the issue changes. My details will now get out to third parties and their lack of any ethics (not that the ISP has any mind you) will now endanger us. Ajit Pai knows all this! And he is very happy to facilitate the need for greed, even if it endangers lives, because at some point in the near future it actually will. The health care data need will take care of that, meaning that when your child could not get healthcare, because his browser data indicated an unhealthy life, when he needs that Bypass and the healthcare provider got a little too needy, just remember the name Ajit Pai for the tombstone of your child. Let me explain this a little more clearly. The NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) gives us “Yet for those buying insurance on an exchange or private market plan for 2017, the average increase before subsidies was a shocking 25 percent” When we consider that the annual premium for an average family was up to $18,142 (I know, what a weird number), 25% is $4535.50, That is $378 a month, when was the last time you got a raise that allowed for such payments?, let me be frank, with 3 university degrees, I have NEVER received an annual increase that much, so as such, you lose either your healthcare or you lose your quality of life. What will you choose? So as junior is data mined as a little larger risk, your premium takes a hit and as you had to let go of healthcare, your child dies, with the compliments of Ajit Varadaraj Pai, so please send him a ‘thank you’ note, the FCC can be found in Washington DC.

You think I am exaggerating? This is the path the US was always on, exploitation to the max before the collapse. USA Today gives us “Sears and Kmart might not have enough money to stock their shelves” merely 3 days ago, it can no longer fuel its existence, that whilst its CEO grew his fortune by $1 billion last year alone. Forbes voiced it as: ‘Sears Suffers — Eddie Lampert Wins‘, now this is related, as places like Sears and Kmart will be vying for YOUR details, your browser history and your privacy and once they have your data, they will merge it and sell it via for example an Australian subsidiary to whomever will buy it, China for example. That is how your data will bounce around the planet, decreasing you and the value you have with every transfer deal made.

As I stated often in the past, I love big data, yet I know that there is an increased need for ethics on how it is collected, applied and moulded into a new base of information. The USA has shown that it is not able to keep any level of ethics in play, which sucks for Americans and it in equal measure sucks for anyone considering trusting an American company, that is, until the Europeans and others get on board on cashing in on data for sale. Consider one last thing, now, this is pure speculation and there is no evidence that this would happen, yet what happens when ISIS figures out what the parameters of a desperate person are? What happens when they mine this data to see who to approach for extremist actions? There is no way this could happen, could it?

 

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Alphabet Soup

I have been away for a little while. I delivered my final paper on Friday after a 34 hour stretch, mainly because I have the unequaled ability to doubt my own work any given moment. This is weird, because when it comes to data and data systems, I can see through the fog of implied BS in ways most cannot fathom. In that same way, I am now seeing a weird transition by Microsoft that has the ability to endanger its own customer base, which might be a new low in their list of achievements. After a day of attempted rest whilst I faced 44 degrees (summer in Sydney), the Guardian treats me (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/03/skills-shortage-harming-uks-ability-to-protect-itself-from-cyber-attacks). There is something either incomplete or not matching here. The article by ‘Rajeev Syal and agencies’ is actually quite good, it gives us “the role of the Cabinet Office, which is responsible for coordinating information protection across government, remains unclear“, which is in one way awesome because of the admitted issue, a little less so when you consider that his has been going on for over 6 years. You see, those people still got paid, and the admission of non-clarity for that amount of time should validate a few additional questions to those occupying postal code SW1A 2AS. So, when you are in front of that Downing Street fence, which separates the Prime Minister from the common riff raff, it will be the building on the right! One of the interesting quotes is: “The threat of cybercrime is ever-growing, yet evidence shows Britain ranks below Brazil, South Africa and China in keeping phones and laptops secure. In this context it should concern us all that the government is struggling to ensure its security profession has the skills it needs.

I would add to that is the fact that those nations tend to hold employees accountable for cyber losses, which might not be fair but it is apparently wildly effective. In the cyber industry a decent dose of paranoia tends to keep people cautious and on their toes, which does allow to explain the situation the Commonwealth at large finds itself in, not just the UK. One of the gems in the article was “The report said the Cabinet Office’s ability to make informed decisions about security is “undermined by inconsistent and chaotic processes for recording personal data breaches”“, that is just one factor. The fact that Microsoft has been uploading gigabytes of data (per person) from gaming consoles, without consent and whilst Microsoft is in denial blaming the ISP for this event, the question the press at large has not considered asking Microsoft. Why do you need 6 GB of data from a console playing a single player game? There is no way that this is about ‘enhancing‘ the experience.

newzoo-games-market-segments

This is about collecting data and in addition, there is no divulging on what exactly is being uploaded, the fact that it is done without consent is another matter and there is no record on the system. If one victim had not shown me the $60 additional fee he got for 2 weeks of unknown uploading, I would not have believed it. The fact is that this person had mobile broadband was a kink in the attempt to keep the uploads unnoticed is one that Microsoft had not considered and as such we need to consider that an Xbox User needs to realise he is facing an estimated $1400 a year in additional fees upload fees, how affordable is that console now?

So is this about money, about data or about privacy? The issue is that worldwide 15 million were sold by November 2015, whilst the US has roughly 8.5 million of them. So a sizeable chunk of the 6.5 million outstanding consoles are in the UK and whilst Microsoft is not revealing the sales numbers, likely as the humiliation against the PS4 sales is too great, we also need to wonder in light of the upcoming Scorpio (the Xbox One plus plus) edition, the light of so much uploads without consent is an issue, because in the first the people did not get a choice and the second is that there is no way to tell what was uploaded, how much privacy information. In that light, we need to look at not just what is done, but what actions need to be made against these large corporations and I am willing to bet the house that these ‘inconsistent and chaotic processes for recording personal data breaches‘ involve groups giving protection to Microsoft to some degree creating chaos. In addition, I wonder if GCHQ is aware on what Microsoft is pushing into its Azure cloud via Windows 10, what level of privacy breaches is Microsoft involved in?

That is part of all the issues because there is no issue with skill shortage, especially when cybercrimes cannot be properly monitored as everything is in a cloud environment, a US driven cloud environment I might add. Before those in Whitehall start to snicker on the premise of gaming, perhaps those are reminded that as we see in Newzoo (at https://newzoo.com/insights/articles/global-games-market-reaches-99-6-billion-2016-mobile-generating-37/), the gaming industry is a $100 billion plus field and the UK has shown its teeth in this field for the longest of times.

q2_2016_newzoo_global_games_market_revenue_growth_2015-2019

Yet the makers are now creating an unfair advantage (and without consent) on mineable data allowing US companies to take the highest road at the least cost. In all this they have the ability of selling spiked lemons, impeding the industry outside of the AAA American companies’ even further. That is all before we see the dangers of cloud intrusions and the damage organised crime can inflict. And any of those people claiming that this cannot happen, I would advise those people to take a look at the Sony track record of getting hacked. There are too many unknowns, but the fact that a lot of this is done without consent is perhaps the most damaging one and so far, it seems that skills shortage in the UK is not even the most debilitating one. When you consider this quote: “The government ignored its own advice by failing to carry out a business case for government security classifications system, which was meant to deliver £110- to £150m-a-year in benefits, MPs said“, a quote that is not in question perse, yet the fact that the games industry surpassed $100 billion, in this the UK could stand to corner up to $30 billion, I am decently certain that ‘£110- to £150m-a-year in benefits‘ won’t be getting close to covering it any day soon.

The losses and the growing loss of industries in several sectors are leaving the UK with a diminishing amount of options in an industry that will the first and almost the only one growing its production, manufacturing and development base. All items that would have the effect of spicing the coffers of her majesties treasury by a fair bit, that is of course not the bottom line, but it is the icing on the cake and those who had to live by ‘let them eat cake‘ have been doing so without any icing for nearly a decade. And that is all before Google has decided on the next step that could bring them an additional 6-13 billion (13 billion would be most advantageous forecasted model), a jump that will affect software and hardware evolutions in a few ways for the next decade as 5G gets a hold of these new devices and opens the field for even more devices and concept solution. A change few had seen coming and less of them thought the change was realistic, some hold that opinion even today, it’s a sad world, I know!

In that atmosphere the Cabinet office and MP’s are deliberating on Cyber needs and skills whilst their train is already 3 stops delayed and they have no idea what is awaiting two stops ahead, meaning they are already one train stop behind and that is just delay through inaction. So as we are looking at the last part given, where we see: “A National Cyber Security Centre spokesman said: “The government has been clear that the newly formed NCSC is the UK’s definitive authority on cyber security. In the four months since becoming operational, the NCSC has transformed how the UK deals with cyber security by offering incident management capabilities, fostering technical innovation to help prevent attacks and providing real-time cyber threat information to 3,000 organisations from over 20 different industries”“, yet in that, where is the turnaround? You see, as we see linked to all this: “New generation of ethical hackers aims to impress recruiters“, we see: “Defence experts have long warned of the growing menace of cyber-crime and now they have good reason to believe the threat is being given priority treatment“, yet we do not see: “Last year’s Cyber Security Challenge was fairly fanciful. It involved a bio-hazard attack and a threat against a minor royal. This year, the challenge is more grounded in reality. The contestants are asked to find evidence of large corporations gaining an increased advantage by uploading personal data without consent for advantageous data mining“, that no less a threat and it seems that government parties on a global scale are actively avoiding this. You see, we agree that organised crime and batches of exploiting hackers must be stopped, yet for the longest time, the party’s involved are ignoring the ‘legal‘ crimes and how it is shifting the balance of cyber power. slowly but certainly towards the 5 big players leaving the field barren for nearly all other innovative corporation hoping to grow into that field and as the field is limited to 5 players we will lose out on actual innovation and we are left with the iterative field we have had for slightly too long. By the way, this goes far beyond games, this field is now intersecting a very different field. Consider the paper ‘Big Data Framework for Analyzing Patents to Support Strategic R&D Planning‘, by Wonchul Seo, Namhyoung Kim and Sungchul Choi. In this paper they set in the abstract “In this paper, we propose a big data framework to process and analyse large-scale patent data. The proposed framework consists of four layers: an aggregator layer, a storage layer, an analysis layer, and an application layer. These layers are designed to collect patent data, store the collected data, analyse the data, and present the results. The primary objectives of the proposed framework are to provide a patent analysis service platform based on big data technologies, and to support strategic R&D planning for organizations“, now consider interfacing that with a database that has the goods on 270 million devices using Windows 10. Does it still sound so strange? The gaming industry might seem juvenile to the people in Whitehall, but even they cannot be stupid enough to ignore a $100 billion plus industry. So as Microsoft is uploading data and no one is asking questions, we have to wonder why the questions are not asked, more important, the fact that ‘without consent‘ is not addressed is even more worrying, especially with the cyber players in town and the fact that anyone actively ignoring a few billion in revenue tends to not have a career after that comes out.

So you tell me, is the water still too murky or are the players murky about the actions taken?

And when we see the marketing responses like ‘to give the players a better gaming experience‘ or ‘uploading is not with us, that responsibility lies with your ISP‘, you better be able to answer the question why the ISP is dumping all that data on the Azure cloud, because ISP’s tend to not do anything they aren’t paid for and they tend to not do anything without consent, as the retaliatory claims and penalties tend to be much too high. So when the alphabet soup gives us Avarice, Build-up & Covetousness. Is the alphabet soup about protecting against cyber-attacks or trying to minimise corporate losses?

They are both victims, but one does not include the other, I’ll leave it up to you to decide who remains a victim in the long run.

 

 

 

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Hunting facts

We can go on about Greece (which is again in crises), we can look at video games (like how the QA of Arkham Knight got effed up), but for now all interesting news has been said and there are a few British political events starting, but what some of you all forgot about was FIFA. When I look into the Guardian and seek the sports page (online) I see three times the mention of FIFA, only one has a video regarding the money-laundering inquiry. The interesting part is that the term ‘bribes’ is now replaced with ‘money laundering’. In that view the following document is rather interesting https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Fraud_bribery_and_money_laundering_offences_-_Definitive_guideline.pdf.

You see, Money Laundering is a rather harsher part in all this. For that we need to take a look at a few crimes acts, specifically the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (not today though).

And as I go through it with a few giggles, it seems to me that all this is not good for Jack Warner, even though he ‘threatened’ to reveal an ‘avalanche’ of secrets, he could end up looking at his luxurious stay in Hotel Sing Sing for a lot longer, than he would if convicted for bribery, in addition the accusation of him redirecting financial aid for the Haiti victims (from several newspapers) could make matters even worse for him.

This came from the Guardian with the title ‘Jack Warner fears for his life and will reveal ‘avalanche’ of secrets‘, yet so far, no revelations of any kind, or none that ended up in the hands of the press at present. This is the interesting part, if we go by the Jamaica observer who reported only 2 days ago: “but up to Thursday, the Office of the Attorney General had not received any request for Warner to be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted on wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges“, is that not peculiar? Technically it is not, extradition, means the start of a trial, and as such, Jack Warner is too visible, there is no place he can run to (as I see it). In addition, setting up a trial of this magnitude will take some time. However, the initial indictment that I published in ‘Condoning corruption!‘, (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/29/condoning-corruption/) almost a month ago, should clearly put him at the top, as the star player in all this. In addition there is (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/10/john-oliver-trinidad-television-mock-jack-warner-fifa), where you can see the comedian telling the same things I told , but his comical approach is one that is not to be missed!

So why the long silence?

Well, that is the interesting part. There was no silence, when we look at the Guardian in Trinidad (at http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2015-06-23/warner-integrity-commission-has-tapes), we see the headline ‘Warner: Integrity Commission has tapes‘, yet, I have at times doubted the duty of many newspapers all over the place, especially when it is owned by a member of the Murdoch family. Still is it not extremely interesting how many large newspapers have not picked up this news? I would think that the news of audio tapes, FIFA members and bribery would be the stuff of legends for papers like the LA Times, the NY Times, or even the Washington Post, yet none of them had picked up the Breaking news, or should it be broken news? The Washington Post did however pick up the response to John Oliver from Jack Warner (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/06/12/composer-says-jack-warner-stole-his-music-for-video-directed-at-john-oliver/), especially as Jack Warner is also under fire from the composer, whose music he used to drown out his own voice from 1:13 to 2:20. Anyway, his response to the comedian was given on the 12th of June, the Washington Post possible regarded this as light entertainment (with Greg Dombrowski who is at present the only one who is not amused). After that the Washington Post has nothing. So was it breaking or broken news? I do not know. I have not heard the tapes, yet neither had any of the other news outlets as far as I can tell, so if Jack Warner is bringing evidence out, why ignore it? A half-baked news moment on the ‘MH370 suicide mission’ gets picked up with what was called a ‘reliable source’ by those working for the Barclay Brothers, yet no one is touching the Warner Tapes.

I am quite happy to see Jack Warner Fry for all of this, but the man is entitled to a defence, when the press steers clear to this amount, who are they actually listening to? What is the audience not getting informed on and where are the FIFA puppeteers? Let’s not forget that the full report from Michael Garcia is still being kept locked away. The entire FIFA debacle has people running for the hills and there is a decent indication that the press is aiding some of them by not illuminating the issues at play.

Yet, we must also look beyond Jack Warner, which gets us to CONMEBOL. It is forced to pay 10 million out of its own funds. When we look at http://www.espnfc.com/fifa-world-cup/story/2502646/conmebol-facing-cash-flow-crisis-due-to-fifa-bribery-scandal, we get the following facts:

  • Sponsors have been asked to pay Conmebol directly
  • Datisa had only paid Conmebol 35 out of the 80 million, which means it is all short by 4,500,000,000 centavos.

It becomes a little weirder (possibly due to missing facts), when we consider the quote by Bloomberg: “head of international business for Brazil-based sports marketing firm Traffic Group (Jochen Loesch), one of the companies that make up Datisa. Traffic founder Jose Hawilla, 71, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He agreed to forfeit $151 million“, so if he forfeits THAT MUCH, what else did he stuff into ‘a’ matrass? By the way, I had a decent income for a few decades, yet summed up, over my whole working life, pre taxation, I will have made less than 1% of what Hawilla is forfeiting in this event; crime has become THAT rewarding!

Of course, we seem to focus on FIFA alone, yet, when we look at the Boston Globe, we see the indirect fallout, which makes the lashing the FIFA executives a lot more essential. When we read the article ‘FIFA scandal may affect Boston’s 2024 bid‘ (at https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/06/24/fifa-scandal-grows-could-affect-boston-bid/AasXsCJZobZTayvfb06obP/story.html). My issue is not with the article in the Boston Globe, it was with a quote in the Chicago Tribune “Because next Tuesday, if the U.S. Olympic Committee has come to its senses, its board of directors will wisely choose at a regularly scheduled meeting to pull a doomed Boston bid that has been a disaster from the start“. Two parts, one is the question, why it was doomed? That is an actual question, there is no direct answer in my view. The second is that the Olympic committee could, ‘wake up’ is the incorrect term, I do not think that the Olympic Committee is asleep, I mean that they need to refocus their current vision. What could be the problem is the location of the games. You see, no matter how all this goes, the 2024 Olympics will be 2 years AFTER Qatar, actually, due to rescheduling, less than 18 months, which means that there will be all kinds of issues all over Europe (a reeling UEFA after a drenched timeline as part of the 2022 soccer competition will be all over the place is one), the second one is French politics. At this point it is still extremely likely that National Front end up in a new location, when Marine Le Pen moves to 55, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris, with the French in a massive wave moving towards European segregation, keeping the Olympics on the US side of the Atlantic river might not be the worst idea. Although, if the American administration does not clean up its tax act, it will be bankrupt making the entire exercise slightly exotic to say the least. If there is one essential part we need to consider in all this, then I would state that the Stability of the Olympics need to be assured, apart from that having them in the US after 28 years is not a bad way to go. With all the troubles Europe is still to face, especially with Greece messing up the European economy (the makers of the Olympics of all things), both Paris and Rome could end up in such a bad state that only Hamburg and Budapest remain a realistic location, considering Boston for the games of 2024 is definitely in my books at present.

So how did I get from FIFA to the Olympics?

That we do get from the Boston Globe, where we see “While longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has said he’ll resign possibly by year’s end, has not yet been indicted, he is said to be a target of the investigation. Blatter also happens to be an IOC member, which comes with the job of heading one of the planet’s biggest sports, such as track and field, swimming, basketball, and skating“, which is generic information. The second quote has the gem: “If Blatter is indicted, he’d obviously have to resign from the IOC. The question is, will the Justice Department stop with soccer or will it broaden its inquiry to other federations where payoffs likely have been made over the years? And since at least 17 present or honorary IOC members are current or former federation heads, will they have a strong incentive not to vote for Boston for the 2024 Summer Games, lest they be taken into custody upon arrival at Logan“, you see, the quote “at least 17 present or honorary IOC members are current or former federation heads” in that same article is linked to all this. Now, there is absolutely ZERO indication that these members have done anything wrong, but a massive amount of them are Europeans and this FIFA spectacle will grow and touch (read: smear) many European nations, at which point the media, will go on a rampage like hungry rats, ripping whatever they can for the prospect of ‘circulation’, getting the 2024 Olympics out of Europe that time around might be something to seriously consider. As viewers watch matches of all Olympic events, whilst games are overshadowed by all kinds of ‘speculative revelations’ by unnamed sources in newspapers, it would be good to have the Olympic games in a time zone several hours away, so that the games can remain centre in all of this. Is that such a stretch? In addition, all those close friends of Sepp Blatter in the IOC would also benefit from a time zone isolation of what will still be reeling at that point in Europe.

So, I will happily oppose Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune regarding “a doomed Boston bid that has been a disaster from the start“, I am not convinced, moreover, defaulting the Olympics to Boston could be the best thing. I’ll be fair, Canada might have been better, but they pulled beforehand, which gives us “Toronto’s Economic development Committee voted against bidding for the 2024 games on 20 January, citing a bid would cost the city $50 to 60 million” (Source Wiki), why does a bid cost them that much? I never really looked into that part of Olympic biddings, so the costs in that are equally disturbing, but that is for another day.

Anyway, if Toronto has an issue with 50 million (which is a truckload of cash) having them in the ground of a few billion might not be a good idea. Sydney had its Olympics in 2000, which is way too recent, from that logic I state, let Boston be the default!

Back to FIFA!

We learn today, via SBS (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/06/25/two-argentines-sought-us-fifa-scandal-put-under-house-arrest), that the extradition proceedings are happening and they seem to be accelerating. With guilty pleas in the bag from other members, the options for Hugo and Mariano Jinkis are dwindling down fast. Federal judge Claudio Bonadio rejected their release saying they presented a flight risk given their personal wealth, adding that until last week they had both been fugitives. Their bail which was set at $1.2 million for the both of them might be regarded as a laughing matter when we consider the 151 million Jose Hawilla forfeited, so how much funds do the Jinkis have? Perhaps an electronic tag is for them a mere inconvenience should they decide to move to a nation that will not extradite to either Argentina or the US; I am just phrasing a question here!

So as we hunt facts regarding the FIFA members involved, how come the news on the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian was not picked up anywhere internationally? That is the issue we started with, a question not answered and unlikely to get answered any day soon. There is one more part to consider, it is a part every FIFA executive fears, because with Football (read soccer) is such disarray from the FIFA point, why are the nations involved not inviting UEFA to ascertain in what depth of trouble their local sport is in? Any political move to ignore this can be countered in this as unofficial knowledge of bribes and corruption went unanswered for over a decade, we only need to look at the work of investigative journalist Andrew Jennings to see that the problem is truly Titanic in size. The added fact that one person walked away with $151 million is proof further still.  It should feel pretty comfortable for Michel Platini to see UEFA in a consideration to clean up Football. In all this, there needs to be transparency and visibility. Although I was never much of a soccer fan, to me it feels important that in all this both members of the IOC and soccer members like Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin, Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Alan Shearer, David Beckham and Jürgen Klinsmann to seriously sit down and see how FIFA can truly be cleaned up. I personally have zero trust in Sepp Blatter doing anything else than cover his hide at present, because when anyone sitting at the helm remaining THIS unaware of bribery and corruption for such a long time is on all fronts the wrong person to sanitise that system. I would like to add that such an investigation should be headed by three members of Royalty. Soccer is such too strong influence in Europe, to be handed to people loving the limelight for personal reasons. In this I would nominate Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, King Willem-Alexander of Orange from The Netherlands and Princess Anne from the United Kingdom. It will requires officials and renowned players with managerial knowledge to take a harsh look at all this, having this headed by three members who have lived a life beyond reproach is equally important.

So in the end, consider that in all this, when we look from a distance, you should be appalled on how an organisation so influential in national events on a global scale is given a level of leeway that even the most powerful organised crime organisation could never ever hope for is just too unsettling. And in all this, it is all preparation, the support acts have not started yet and the main event is some time away. It is time to make a massive change and the sooner such actions begin, the better for all those passionate about sports involved.

 

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The economy of change

It is now three months to the day that I wrote ‘A seesaw for three‘, in there I spoke about the Swiss Franc and the changes they decided on. In that article you can read: “So the SNB decided to abandon the ceiling on the franc, in response, the spring-loaded franc shot higher“, makes perfect sense. Why should a nation with a relative low debt hold this much in risk? So now we get a new dance! “The SNB’s decision to suddenly go back on a previous policy it had claimed to be committed to will make markets think twice before taking the bank at its word“.

This was always the issue, why should nations with relative low debt pay for the short sightedness of the incapable? In addition, the claim ‘The SNB’s decision to suddenly go back on a previous policy‘ is also a loaded part, you see, as we see with Greece at present, it seems that policies are not being kept all over the field, even now there is an implied orchestration to let Greece ‘kinda’ of the hook. The words of Christine Lagarde for creditors to go ‘soft’ on Greece is not helping. Then there is the thought I offered with: “Perhaps the question that Katherine Burton (the writer) at Bloomberg should be asking is “How come such managed levels of foreign currency holdings were left out in the open to this extend, especially after the Cyprus issue”“.

The day before that one, I wrote ‘Year of the last Euro?‘ (17th January 2015), there I stated “previous administrations lived under some umbrella with the picture of a sun, which they took as an eternal summer! Instead of caution, they ignored basic rules and just went all out on a spending spree. Now that all the money is gone, the coffers are instead filled with ‘I OWE U’ notes. When every nation spends more than they are receiving, no one will have any money left, yet governments started to borrow to one another. So, those in debt were borrowing massive amounts to one another, even though no one had any money, is no one catching on?

I saw the writing months ago, which is why I have been hammering on the Greek issue, it should not be prolonged, and there should be no ‘alternative‘ or a ‘continuation‘. Now we get the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/18/us-interest-rates-rise-federal-reserve-market-crash), the subtitle ‘Janet Yellen’s decision will have global consequences – and the end of ultra-low rates could mean meltdown for indebted countries‘, whatever are you saying Mr Bond?

I have stated again and again that those in severe debt will feel the consequence at some point. Now we see the increased risk that interest rates will rise. Yet again we see dismissals, now from Olivier Blanchard. Was he not the one who came up with “Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy” (at http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/spn/2010/spn1003.pdf)?

So are we witnessing the start of targeted inflation? The quote that Olivier makes “companies may have hedged their position, while investors and finance ministers were well prepared“, well, in that regard, my response is: ‘companies that are credit maxed are never hedging positions, an elemental truth at times and as for the preparation of investors we can argue that they are usually geared towards greed (relying on a 15% turnover in a 3% world) whilst in addition, finance ministers on a global scale have been pushing things forwards for a long time, relying on the sun returning the next morning. This approach works for a week, but after 157 weeks of clouds, those finance ministers tend to project sunshine from memory, forgetting the reality of the sun’. If you doubt this then consider the list of finance ministers who correctly kept their budget. I tell you now that this list has diminished to zero for some time now. Some even exceeded their budget shortage through managed bad news, a growing trend all over Europe.

In illustration the IMF wrote in regards to the possible financial crash “It highlighted how any shock can send investors fleeing; with only sellers in the market, the price keeps plunging until someone believes it has gone far enough and starts buying“, yes this is how the rich get to be even richer, my immediate concern is the dangers that superfunds and retirement funds are sitting as they might be facing another 15%-30% write off. I wonder how people feel about the consequence of their retirement funds collapsing again and now they will have to work until they are 75-80.

So, is this realistic? Am I in an evangelising ‘panic’ mode?

One might think this, but if you have followed my blog, I have consistently written over a period exceeding a year that the first need was to diminish government debts. It was the number one issue that had to be dealt with, nothing else mattered, because those without debt would get by and those in debt will get a massive invoice. Now we see that danger. So the initial quote that the Guardian had “higher interest rates in the world’s largest economy could come this year” is not just a fab, it is a reality that will push interest payments to new heights. Did Switzerland foresee this, or were they just too unhappy with the risk the Euro had? No matter what, their act seems to have been a good one and releasing the debts they were holding onto is now a second need.

There is a side that seems slightly offensive to me. When we consider “But while it is almost certain Turkey, Brazil, Russia and many others that have seen their businesses and governments borrow heavily in dollars to maintain their spending will suffer higher borrowing costs courtesy of Yellen“, is that true? Is it due to the courtesy of Yellen, or is it because the bulk of politicians cannot get a grasp on their spending spree?

Let’s face it, rates would never remain low and many are following the good news cycle that it will remain, that change is not good and as such, they forget that in their eyes rate rises are not realistic, but they do not control the algorithm. So here we all are, in a place where change is about to befall many, the outcome largely relies on your personal stability, which is a lot easier when your debts are down.

So where lies the economy of change in our favour? That is the true question that matter and I am not sure if I can answer that. I believe it to be dependent on corporations having a balanced realistic long term view. I am however uncertain to predict who those players are. Yet, if we take a look at British politics, we should consider the following; Ed Miliband states “Labour leader tells ‘one nation’ Conservatives he’s on the centre ground and will keep Britain at heart of EU”, how is that a reality? Then there is the quote “Miliband says the past 10 days of the campaign have seen the Tories become the “incredible party”, whose unfunded promises on everything from the NHS to transport and housing have turned them into the party of ‘funny money’“, so how does this relate to the economy of change?

Well, the simple matter is that Labour decided to spend 11.2 billion on an NHS IT system, that system never came, the money is gone and the NHS is weaker still. These are simple facts that you the reader can Google in any browser. There is housing progress, but not as much as many would like. In this time of change, Labour wants to spend more money, get the UK in deeper debt, now consider the US raising the interest by 0.5%, in regards to the 1.7 trillion in debt, that change could cost the tax payer an additional 8.5 billion, considering that the IMF claimed that the UK will be short 14 billion, adding to that will be a very dangerous act.

So will the economy of change require us to throw Greece out of the Euro? Will the change of interest topple France and Italy? There are too many factors, but there is certainty that the markets will be massively impacted once the percentage changes. Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, will come ‘He will cite figures in Health Education England’s (HEE) Workforce Plan for England 2015/16, which he says shows the service will be employing nearly 2,000 fewer nurses over the next four years – for reasons “mainly driven by affordability”’ This is a fact we cannot ignore, yet the fact that many sides are not willing to make the hard calls on certain NHS issues, does have an impact in all other quadrants, this includes nursing staff. So before Andy Burnham comes with the alleged plan that the NHS cannot survive another 5 years of David Cameron, perhaps Andy would like to look into his own party and find the plus 11 billion that they had spent on something that never came to be. I am certain that the cutting of nurses would not have been a reality if the 11 billion had not been lost to virtual plans that never became a reality.

The last of the pork pies can be found here: “Labour has set out a better plan to invest £2.5bn extra each year, on top of Tory spending plans, paid for by a mansion tax on homes worth £2m, to fund 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.”, the current UK plan is at a deficit, so where is the 2.5 billion coming from? Mansion tax sounds nice in theory, but those places need maintenance too, which means plumbers, electricians and so on. Also, why keep on pounding the ‘wealthy’ places again and again? It is like the wealth tax. Stating on how the rich can afford more tax. The simple reality is, is that those making more than 1 million is only 6,000 people and roughly another 16,000 make £500,000 to £1 million. So how will you tax them? 60% addition? Where will you get the money to fund 28,000 health care workers? The idiocy of Labour as they make these claims is just too unwarranted. Now add to that the news from 7 hours ago that the interest rates could rise. Once they do, the deficit will grow even more.

So as we see these interactions of change, many of them not realistic, we need to realise that Austerity is here to stay for at least two more administrations, not because we want to, but because the increase of a mere 0.5% amounts to the bulk of all NHS costs, we might not survive a third increase, so we must fight now, so that we can all move forward sooner instead of never.

 

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Changing the rules of Democracy

An interesting thought isn’t it? It was CNN that gave me the idea in the first place. It all started with the article on the upcoming Argentinian default (at http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/25/investing/argentina-default/index.html). I have skin in the game here. Part of my family comes from there, which is why it caught my eyes in the first place. This is not the first time that Argentina has been in such a problematic state. The last time was in the late 90’s when it faced the great depression.

So, why is this event such a big deal?

Let us not forget that apart from soccer, many regard Argentina, no matter how beautiful it is, as a third world nation. So why is it allowed on the International Capital markets in the first place?
That was not an offensive question, but I need to ask it so that I can answer the questions many of us have in the first place. Argentina is in second place when it comes down to South American GDP, after Brazil (who is in first place by a massive margin), it is followed by Colombia and Argentina has a GDP that is 50% better than the nation holding position three, Colombia. So, within the ‘third world’ Argentina is pretty high up there. The second fact is that Argentina has the 21st position in regards to GDP, so this gives a massive view to how big its economy is. So why is it about to default on a 1.5 billion bond?

Well, Argentina is playing hard ball, a statement that seemed weird, because in the light of Argentina it seemed like worrying about a shave on route to the guillotine (a fake fear many former French Aristocats had, pun intended).

My first thought was the ‘worry’ why the IMF was not speaking out on all this. It seems so outspoken on a little place like Cyprus (no insult intended), yet is remains silent on an economy a hundred times larger?
What gives?

Well, my faithful old Yahoo had a nice part on this (at https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/impact-argentine-default-100849473.html).
I particularly liked the following quotes: “The IMF proposed an international debt restructuring mechanism in 2003 but the plan was abandoned under pressure from the United States, the institution’s largest stakeholder, and the major emerging-market economies“, so the USA needed to keep Argentina as a cash cow or what?

The second one was “Under a US court order, Argentina has until Wednesday to either pay hedge funds demanding full payment on of its bad debts — or face a default that could have serious economic consequences“. So is this another USA hedge fund game?

If we consider the generic statement “Hedge funds are made available only to certain sophisticated or accredited investors and cannot be offered or sold to the general public. As such, they generally avoid direct regulatory oversight, bypass licensing requirements applicable to investment companies, and operate with greater flexibility than mutual funds and other investment funds“, we see the fear that governments are financially no longer run by governments but by those holding the credit bill behind the scenes.

This gives us a lot more fear then we should have to deal with and as such, it seems that democracy is no longer in the hands of the people, but in the hands of those managing the hedge funds. As such, did US District Judge Thomas Griesa buckle under internal pressures or is there something else in play? We should ask this question as we see that the response we see (at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/us-judge-orders-argentina-and-bondholders-to-agree-deal-1.1875547), which is quotes as “Jonathan Blackman, a lawyer for Argentina said even with around-the-clock talks ‘it would be unlikely, if not impossible, to result in settlement. It simply can’t be done by the end of the month’ he said

This feels like a game played with millions of households on the butcher’s counter, with the meat cleaver already raised up high. There is not enough information in these sources to clearly state how the game was played up to now, or the involved players behaved and how the international justice courts (not just the US) as such have been behaving on the given facts. The fact that the IMF has warned that an Argentine economic default could not only hurt the country’s economy, but also the global financial system is another fact in the entire game as this is currently playing out. What is FACT, is that we have seen hedge funds cash in at the expense of close to a billion people, they played a game that made them wealthy and left the rest in destitution, yet now we see more and more that these players are implied not to be held to rules of oversight and it can bypass licensing in apparently too many flexible ways. Yet, it must also be clear that Argentina is not blameless in this game either.

Not unlike the USA, when we compare debt to GDP (governments seem to love that comparison) USA is currently set to 101.45%, whilst Argentina is only at 45.6%, which implies that Argentina has an economy twice as solid as the US has (a false statistic, I know!). So when we play the numbers game, this default, or even to allow for this event to occur seems massively stupid in my books. The question becomes why Argentina is continuing to play such a level of hardball, the debts will not go away, Argentina would lose its place as a G20 member and beyond that the foundations of the Argentinian economy will be shaking for a long time to come, opening additional doors for investors to bail out of Argentina, take the first row boat across the Rio de La Plata and set up shop there. This in the end will be a massively good thing to Uruguay and the economy of Montevideo for the next 10 years.

So, how is this all affecting democracy?

In my view if we want to remain true democracies, then it is time to regulate Hedge Funds and their managers. It will require a level of oversight that is beyond reasonable, as the economic fall of the USA in 2008 has proven to require. In that regards the term ‘Vulture funds‘ seem very appropriate. The US and in particular its FBI are all about hunting down Loan Sharks, whilst at the same time they ignore a 2.4 trillion dollar market right under their noses.

Yet, in all this Argentina is not without blame either. Someone approved these debts. If we accept, no matter how repulsive that these funds, referred to the behaviour of vulture birds “preying” on debtors in financial distress by purchasing the now-cheap credit on a secondary market to make a large monetary gain, is as such opening a market, which is high risk and also at time high yielding, then we must accept that Argentina stepped, willingly or not, into a field with their eyes wide open, as such they largely have themselves to blame.

If these are matters of fact then we see the acts on both sides of the isle to allow and even mandatory pursue the need for a change to the democratic standards we see in monarchies and republics. If you wonder why I made the reference to the Guillotine, than consider the History of France, its bankers and the change as it brought order through Napoleon Bonaparte. The statement ‘War never changes‘ seems highly appropriate here, it is a quote from a Videogame, yet the truth behind it is as solid as the writings of ‘von Clausewitz’ and ‘Sun Tzu’. The question remains in these economic wars, who are the warring parties and who are the people behind the screens. You can be certain that those names are not the names of any elected official. Does that not change the premise of both economic war and democracy?

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