Tag Archives: Cambridge Analytica

It’s fine that fine

I saw he news last week and it was one sentence that made me stop on the spot, but I needed some time to digest it all (and there was news from Iran to contemplate too). Facebook has been fined, the fine (the largest ever at $5,000,000,000) is not the sneer at, but for Facebook it will be business as usual soon thereafter. The amount is nothing more than an Apple building at the edge of the Mojave desert, so it seems little, but that would be the facade that we are offered. The article I initially saw (I forgot the source) stated: “paying fine to stop further investigations“, from my point of view that this would be worth a bundle, I believe that Facebook had been stupid to some degree and super clever in other ways. Let’s face it Mark Zuckerberg is on my level of data knowledge, so he is thinking several iterations ahead of all others and he needs the FTC of his back during the start-up of 5G, whoever is there first has a larger advantage to gain momentum. All my investigations into the dumb smart device shows that, all the data I see optionally coming requires unhindered acceleration and my device was meant to suppress data drag and emphasize on facilitation. Facebook needs this, Google needs this and Huawei has the advantage at present.

The new system when operational will give them (especially with Oak/OS) a 15%-24% advantage and in data terms when we consider that 5G is set to top out at 10 gigabits per second (Gbps), that difference is a lot, it is everything to enable a larger market advantage. Add to this the new devices that offer independence to SME and franchise markets, the stage would push towards smaller independent solution providers, if Google, Apple and Facebook even hesitate for one week the difference will be seen and short thereafter felt as well.

At that point every contract in the new setting will entice 3-5 others to follow as well. It is not word of mouth, it is companies watching their competitors gain advantage and that observed difference is almost exponential against mere word of mouth. And that part will also increase choices.

Yet it is not about what comes next (only partially) it is about what is now. There are two essential parts in the fine. The first is how it was a 3-2 split, with the Republicans all in favour to continue and the Democrats all eager to block. There is a polarising difference there. I am partial on the Republican side, Democrats clearly misrepresented this with the quote: “the dissent of the two Democrats on the commission because they sought stricter limits on the company” (source: NY Times). It is not about stricter limits one the company, it is the fact that the data has grown to dimensionality far beyond what governments have and it is available for purchase (to some degree). The element that we forget with the fine is what the Guardian gives us (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jul/12/facebook-fine-ftc-privacy-violations) when we see: “Facebook will now re-examine the ways it handles user data, but the settlement will not restrict the company’s ability to share data with third parties, reports said“, it is to some degree about the ability to share data and how granular that data is set for the upcoming war that the Democrats want to wage. It has direct implications in insurance and healthcare and the Democrats have a system in mind that cannot function when all that data is available for health care scrutiny (one of many issues), yet healthcare is the most visible one. One short thought like on what drinks (alcoholic) you like and you might be seen as a higher risk and as such see your premium rise. Alcohol, tobacco and recreational pharmacy might be the most visible ones, but as the data net grows, we see a more comprehensive flag system that pushes close to 20% out of healthcare soon enough (as premiums go up and up on the risky groups) and it is not that this point is coming soon, this point has already been passed and the moment that data gets out, the ducks come home to roost on a coffin.

As the New York Times gives us the quote: “Last year, the European Union fined Google $5.1 billion for abusing its large market share in the mobile phone industry. More recently, numerous officials and lawmakers around the world have rushed to regulate Facebook” (at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/12/technology/facebook-ftc-fine.html), we seemingly all put it on one pile, yet that would be a massive problem and wrong too. In one side (source: the Verge) we get: “Google also made customers sign contracts forbidding them from including rival search engines on their sites alongside Google’s own. In 2009, Google allowed the inclusion of rival search engines as long as Google’s was more prominent. In 2016, around the time the EU announced its case, the company removed these terms altogether“, we can debate the correctness, but we can also accept that Google started this and took the advantage that they engineered, as in most places software cannot be patented, so it had to find another path to gain the advantage it created whilst followers re-engineered whatever Google published as soon as humanly possible. We can call it wrong (or not) but that stage is in place and it links to now and it also links to Facebook. The 5G wave is all about getting there first and at present the FTC was in a place to stop Facebook innovation and paying the fine will give larger gains to Facebook than to let investigative wave after wave continue to slow Facebook down, and when we realise that Facebook is no longer the only player on that level Facebook needed to make a tactical decision.

Still, there is a remaining issue with the Facebook data and how it becomes available and the lack of answers should remain to be a cause for concern. It comes down to the beginning when we got: “The F.T.C.’s investigation was set off by The New York Times and The Observer of London, which uncovered that the social network allowed Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm to the Trump campaign, to harvest personal information of its users. The firm used the data to build political profiles about individuals without the consent of Facebook users“, that was merely the tip of the iceberg and those who comprehend Facebook data know this to be true. The issue is not merely how the data is collected; it is what else becomes available and what else is collected. To see this we need to consider the added image.

At present there are some stages where larger contracts give people their advertising over different locations. Yet what happens when you have a complete mobile image on where what is shown? What happens when we see interactions of an advertising and where it actually works and how users react, that is the next stage and the data is ready and to some degree in that setting Facebook is more ready than others, that is the image that pushes us all and the innovation through handed data and as we can see Facebook people either do not care, or have no comprehension of all the data linked to their actions.

I took that data and more into another innovation and pushed it to a new stage, giving the collector even more data, more advertising options and optionally even more data opportunities on a larger scale. It is that shift that is all the difference between a 5% and a 9% market share for companies and now it is no longer local, the data allows for global exposure, so consider that exposure in New Delhi (India) could also expose those in Little Bombay (New Jersey) addressing a similar group at the same time, brand exposure that becomes global changing the entire setting for smaller enterprises at close to similar prices, driving advertisement bidding wars and pushing revenues for those in that area and that is merely the first part of the IP I created. Places like Facebook could get a much larger advantage and transform advantage into momentum pushing that advantage further and faster. It is only for the bigger puppies (Google, Facebook, Huawei) but they all want the largest juiciest bone to gnaw on and that is where the group of innovations push the difference, so in the end $5 billion is chicken feed under what is pushing towards the surface at this very moment, and they all want to nibble on that pie, they merely need to be the first in the game to gain advantage through momentum. As I see it IBM and Microsoft are already out of the game trying to facilitate the systems and the data and to be fair Microsoft Azure does have a larger advantage here, but IBM is not sitting still and we know that Facebook (to a lesser degree) and  Google have systems that work. The playing field is near level and the match is far from over, now with the Huawei push and Oak/OS they have opportunity to gain advantage and they can decide who to allow access to that new system, so even as Google seemingly had the advantage, the Trump trade war took that advantage away from them, so there is a second level war going on and whomever makes the larger deal with Huawei gets the gain, the issue is that Huawei hardware is more advanced and that is their advantage, the Trump trade war stopped innovation towards the US, so as such in a global setting now pushes the advantage to Europe, India and the Middle East. In this the US loses more than it comprehended in advance and it all depends on how they react to the change. It is the error in judgement on 4G and 5G is where the American disadvantage lies. In 4G is was ‘Wherever I am‘, now with 5G it becomes ‘Whenever I want it‘ and for that step the most advanced provider wins , it is not Ericsson, not Nokia, not Telstra, and not Sprint. It is Huawei that can facilitate towards ‘Whenever I want it‘ to a much larger degree at present and that wins the race, but the others are not done yet and there the Facebook data becomes a power player, an optional sledgehammer for those who know how to bash a wall and that is happening now, so when we see: “Facebook and other large tech companies are under an increasingly harsh spotlight in Washington, D.C., including at a “social media summit” at the White House on Thursday in which President Trump repeatedly bashed Silicon Valley as being unfair to conservatives. Facebook wasn’t invited to attend, nor were other tech companies. They have previously said they police their platforms without regard to political ideology“, we see a setting that we accept to some degree, yet those who are all about that “Social Media Summit” seemingly do not comprehend the application of data to the degree they need to and as such they as shooting themselves as well as their economic options in the foot, which is good news for Huawei, not that much for the other players.

I reckon that I will be proven correct within the next 12 months. When the dust settles we will see the first clear winners, I am certain that Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics shows me to be correct and it will show the first larger winner, at present in this culture of short sighted decisions Google and Huawei will have the largest advantage, but 2 other players are not out of this race yet, so plenty can happen before we see the Olympic flame light the fires and start the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

 

 

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From Location to Innovation (loss)

It is a real estate dream, to talk about the location and therefor get a better price; we are all about getting a nice home, yet we look at places where we know it will sell for the 100%-200% of the price we paid for it, preferably within 5 years. Most of us looking for something oversized have at some point seen 924 Bel Air Road, Los Angeles, California. It is so over the top, so expensive that most billionaires might not even consider it. No matter how much of a technological, arts and lifestyle monument it is, complete with helipad. A house like that makes you a target of some sorts. There will always be envy, there will always be the next challenge and there will always be the next addition. To live in a house that has it all is for most you desire is unsettling. Weirdly enough it is within us, when we see this and we think ‘this is as good as it will ever get’, when we have that thought before we are 40 it becomes the limitation on us, it boggles our need of creativity. Now, for the most we need not worry, 99.99% of the population will never get near to 50% of that marker, but it is there, our minds creates this. So when a few articles passed my way, they started to add up and weirdly enough it is an opinion piece by John Naughton on June 16th that started it all. With ‘How Silicon Valley’s whiz-kids finally ran out of friends‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/16/how-silicon-valley-whiz-kids-finally-ran-out-of-friends) it begins.

With: “Once upon a time, Silicon Valley was the jewel in the American crown, a magnet for high IQ – and predominately male – talent from all over the world. Palo Alto was the centre of what its more delusional inhabitants regarded as the Florence of Renaissance 2.0“, I was never there, but I was linked to some degree and I say early on how greed took over, how opportunity seekers would resort to Machiavelli and other means to get what they desire and they never cared how they got there, it was their ‘political game’. Then we see a truth as the quote “the commentator Alexis Madrigal identifies no fewer than 15 different groups preparing ambushes. They include angry conservatives and progressive politicians, disillusioned tech luminaries, competition lawyers, privacy advocates, European regulators, mainstream media, scholarly critics, other corporations (telecoms firms, for example, plus Oracle and other business-software companies, for example), consumer-protection organisations and, last but not least, Chinese internet companies. With enemies like these, the US tech companies are suddenly discovering that they really need some friends.” the reason is actually simple. these US tech companies were heading in a direction of maximisation through iteration, as the need for true innovation was lost (not that innovation that places like Apple claim to have), others caught on and the drive that Silicon valley once had was no longer there, it was stepwise progression whilst the marathon runners like Taiwan, Korea, Japan and China caught up. Microsoft wasted its console world through mere stupidity and a spreadsheet (and being dumb and short sighted). That is why none of them are allowed near my IP (with the optional exception of Google). As innovation becomes iteration the margins went down and it brought regulators, tax haven needs and other players like competition and IP attorneys into all of it (as fore mentioned) and suddenly the grape season was out, the harvest had diminished and what in whiskey terms is called ‘the angel’s share’ grew leaving little to the others. I believe that the writer nails it with: “And we are beginning to realise that the immense power that the valley’s uber-geeks have acquired is what Stanley Baldwin memorably nailed as “power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages”” but there a mistake is made, there are two kinds in that valley, the dreamers and the combined needs of the operators and facilitators, that second group is more important to watch mainly because it stopped the first group. the second group thought that by putting their stallion in a paddock, fenced in and limited to a smaller part it would be more effective, and having 5 fields will lead to 500% of the goal, but that was stupidity speaking. Wild horses, real stallions need to race, the strongest takes the lead and together as they burn the ground under their hooves they become more agile, stronger players and their race goes towards the dream that they had no envisioned yet. that is how the iPad came, that is how Smartphone came that is how Nano technology comes and through iteration the next tier is not merely slower, the dreamers forgot to dream, they needed to produce in larger amounts with less resources, less space and that is how they got overtaken by said Korea, Japan and China. The results are in front of us and now that India is catching up in more than one way the dream of more fortune becomes the nightmare of losing it all. So when the final wisdom comes: “And once they went public they did what corporations do: maximise shareholder value, come what may, avoid regulation and pay as little tax as possible. Just like tobacco companies and arms manufacturers“, there we have it, the larger system was ignore thought compartmentalisation and no one realised just how stupid they were. that is one of two more reasons why I do not trust my IP with 98% of the tech firms, they will not learn because the inner parts are all about profit and maximisation, and through that weakness billions in revenue are lost, because of the fake dream that iteration brings the same in twice the time but at only a part of the resources, the biggest flaw is setting a profit stage to a spreadsheet, innovation can never be gained through predictive analytics, because predictive analytics gives the continuation of a product, not the consequence of a new technology beheld by a dreamer, there will never be data to do that and that is how it was all lost.

Round two

And that is how we got to round two last Saturday as Ruha Benjamin (associate professor at Princeton University) and even as she starts with ‘We definitely can’t wait for Silicon Valley to become more diverse‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jun/29/ruha-benjamin-we-cant-wait-silicon-valley-become-more-diverse-prejudice-algorithms-data-new-jim-code), she gives a truth that I partially oppose (not the diversity), as it was always about the dreamers. Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Mark Zuckerberg they were all dreamers to some degree. That world needs dreamers and facilitators that push dreams into the reality of innovation. The more diverse that world is, the more diverse the dream becomes and the greater the achievement could be. It is true innovation in its purest forms and whilst the CEO’s took the words of CFO’s and marketeers that reality was forgotten. Marketeers hope and drive hypes, they cannot dream on something that they cannot fathom, it is the most destructive vicious circle imaginable. So when I see: “She founded the Just Data Lab, which aims to bring together activists, technologists and artists to reassess how data can be used for justice. Her latest book, Race After Technology, looks at how the design of technology can be discriminatory” I see both hope and failure. the hope is that as diversity of ‘activists, technologists and artists‘ unites, we see new paths, the artist sees a path and draws it, the technologist can devise it the activist can oppose the path and scream for a meadow to walk on, that is how innovation came, quote literally, the Dutch a nation the size of New Jersey gave us: ‘Dutch Solar Bike Path SolaRoad Successful & Expanding‘ (which gave me another idea with a more metropolitan and rural opportunity approach), innovated roads by catching sunshine to power the evening lights, it is true innovation in action and an optional path to reduce the carbon footprint, whilst getting the surroundings powered. When we see first results: “with 3000 kWh generated, the solar panels were outperforming the 70 kWh annual per square meter expected threshold set in the lab. In its first year, the SolaRoad produced 9,800 kWh, roughly equivalent to the annual average consumption of three Dutch households“, we see a path towards innovation. There is no doubt that data can be used for justice, but in which direction? Yet I too adhere to idea’s, I am a different dreamer and even with a law and a technology degree (including a master) I have not dreamt in that direction, perhaps this is for another dreamer, the need to recognise it is essential, to find the right dreamer.

And this is not an attack on Ruha in any way, she gives a clear premise with “Many of these automated systems are trying to identify and predict risk. So we have to look at how risk was assessed historically – whether a bank would extend a loan to someone, or if a judge would give someone a certain sentence. The decisions of the past are the input for how we teach software to make those decisions in the future. If we live in a society where police profile black and Latino people that affects the police data on who is likely to be a criminal. So you’ll have these communities overrepresented in the data sets, which are then used to train algorithms to look for future crimes, or predict who’s seen to be higher risk and lower risk“, you see this is observation towards risk, a path we have seen clearly in the last two decades, yet the opposite is also there, but how to set its dimensionality? It becomes big data in observation towards opportunity, a path never walked because opportunity is one identified once it is walked, a system cannot predict the dream if it cannot comprehend the dream, or the dreamer. It is designing a computer that will design computers. It is the ability to design Skynet (I just had to go there), with the optional danger of our own end (see the collected works of Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger). It is always most likely to fail because Ruha forgot to include a philosopher to her team. The computer fails because we forgot about philosophia, the love of wisdom, and as we forgot about that we merely ended with really clever calculators and calculators are never about predicting the future, it is about limiting cost and maximising profit in any endeavour (more money, more reserves, more energy, more resources) and these margins never lead to wisdom or innovation because the dreamer was missing and dreamers do not constitute a positive influx in that engine, sales and marketing did away with that, they always will.

To illustrate this let me give you a personal side. In 1997 I send a mail to a sales executive. I had recently by accident found the Warner Brothers Angelfire partnership site. They had united and every person could freely sign up to get a Buffy Address, a Babylon 5 address, a Charmed address and so on. It was static, you got access to fan art, you got 20Mb web space and an email address. In those days (pre Gmail) it was actually really cool, but there was no way to reach out, So I suggested that we have something similar and allow the people to reach each other and we would be in the middle being able to market to all of them. The sales executive laughed in my face, stating that it would never have any business premise, it was a useless use of resources, it was not in ‘the mission statement‘. I dropped it knowing it was a lost opportunity. Now we have Facebook. My idea was nowhere near it, it was not advanced it was merely messaging and marketing, the direct impact of no vision, 4 years before Facebook shown in two colours, Black and White, I still have the email somewhere, 4 years before the launch of Social media, I tried to introduce a path towards it. I have no doubt that Facebook would have overtaken me, I did not dream that advanced, but at least I had the dream and it is also for that reason that my IP will never go into hands like the limited ones I had to work with.

A limiting amount of opposition (from to her) is seen in “Part of that has been spurred on by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and the US election. More and more people are realising that this idea of big tech coming to save us, it’s really been dismantled. Part of it is shifting from a kind of paranoia around technology to what my activist colleagues like to say: from paranoia to power“, I believe that data is data, it is not wisdom and I also believe that data can aid in finding solutions, yet to do that you must drive a solution, you must devise a way where data is the inspirer towards innovation and software cannot directly lead towards it, you can dashboard it to see where the needs are, you can report on it where the shortages are and you can make a slice and dice app to let people get a scope of information to feed the dream, but you cannot directly feed the dreamer as you cannot predict in what direction his dream goes. You can merely hope to bring the spark that makes the dreamer dream in his or her direction and hope it leads to innovation and at that part the CEO, COO, CFO and CTO will have come crying half a dozen times to stop the squandering of resources. She does address my view correctly when she gives us: “More diversity in Silicon Valley is important, but won’t automatically address algorithmic bias. Unless all those diverse people are empowered to challenge discriminatory design processes, diversity is a ruse” and she is correct and perhaps she also answers her own question.

In all this we forgot one group, we forgot about the children, we need to be able to look at data like a child and learn to randomly look at answers to questions that we aren’t even asking, it is the initial option of a spark (not a given) that leads to the insight we get with: ‘What If?‘, the need to embrace the obvious, not ignoring it, all this in data is required to get insights leading to wisdom, the question becomes how can this be addressed and form my personal point of view is to teach people about data as early as possible, not in a light of statistics, but in a light to something I got in the early 70’s, looking at the question ‘What is the chance something happens?‘, a simple ‘kans tol‘ (Chance spinner) which would give the younger watcher an indication on chance and statistics. When we add that to the equation what happens when creativity takes over and they start looking at what they can find, or even better, what they cannot find. The younger mind is more eager to find, and equally find missing. It is that part that we are missing out of and it matters, because it is the first step in learning the question that we are not phrasing, optionally overlooking the obvious.

Part Three (Final)

Finally we get to part three with ‘Why San Francisco techies hate the city they transformed‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jul/01/san-francisco-big-tech-workers-industry). And we see part of the drive with “Even Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce and a San Francisco native who has long urged comity between the techies and the city, has taken to calling his hometown a “train wreck”“, we can only conclude that now that he bought Tableau it will get worse for him. Even as it is not about him, but the failing infrastructure with “one-bedroom apartment reached an all-time high of $3,700 a month“, which is more than twice the price for a real decent two bedroom apartment in Chicago, we see the impact, but not what is around all of them, yet it is not new, London has similar issues. As the people who can afford to live somewhere, we see that greed takes over turning the city into a carcass because it lacks a sustainable infrastructure. As people cannot afford to live near where they work, infrastructure becomes an increasing problem and as cities cater to large investors, they forgot that affordable living is essential; they merely pushed that issue forward and forward again and again. We see he escalation even further when we consider the quote: “San Francisco has become more of a satellite campus, with South Bay stalwarts including Apple, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn competing for office space in the city proper. They’ve joined the San Francisco-native companies Twitter, Uber, and Airbnb in the cramped confines of a city of just 49 square miles, surrounded by water on three sides” instead of diversifying and clustering over a much larger area, they all moved together, and as such thousands of employees need to live where they work and now prices are through the roof, it also impacts the bottom line, so as others decided to keep their stomping grounds in Columbus Ohio and as we see those in Madison Wisconsin, we see that the bottom line changes, yet they too push for space in San Francisco, so what was once the United States of America is not the Marketing needs of California. the sad part is that these people are all separated and isolated form one another through intellectual property, and as I am happy to make fun of Zendesk and their need to “file oppositions at the United States Patent and Trademark Office to 49 trademarks including the word “zen”“, all whilst we know that “Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism” that is reported and registered as something that is 1200 years old, so to see that there are at present well over 724 active trademarks which include the word “Zen” we see the replacement from inner peace to turf wars and it links to all of it, these people all think and associate alike, and as we have seen, it leads to iteration not innovation. And there we see the hoax in the serious setting. As we are introduced to: ““I feel like San Francisco is between Seattle and New York, but rather than the best of both, it’s the worst of both,” said Beth, a 24-year-old product manager who asked not to be identified by her real name. Beth moved to the city directly after graduating from Stanford to work at a major tech company, but recently transferred to Seattle. “Everyone I met was only interested in their jobs, and their jobs weren’t very interesting,” she said of her time in San Francisco. “I get it, you’re a developer for Uber, I’ve met a million of you.”” When you cluster together you create new bias and new limitations that merely stop you from dreaming. When you are in San Francisco, North of SF International Airport, you are now mostly all the same, think the same, work the same and you are all separated on three sides by water, and a failed infrastructure, you have no way to go. There we see the benefit that the two other locations have, space created opportunity and the chance to dream, a path to innovation, and I fear that things will turn from bad to worse for San Francisco. As greed pushed out the infrastructure, it removed diversity, it is not merely the diversity that pushes us to lows, the fact that some ideas came from watching someone do something else, the ability to see their interaction with the environment that allowed for new thoughts and that cubicles took that away, even if it is not called open space, it merely made the entire open space a cubicle. So whilst these people ‘enjoy’ their 55Km bus ride to Mountain view, we see that the same distance gets us to Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay, all with opportunity and other considerations and it is the ‘other considerations’ that are the treasure trove in this, because it changes the mindset of people, considerations lead to opportunity, opportunity is the foundation of innovation, it always has been, whether the innovation is accepted or rejected does not matter, it is the one that does go through that becomes the innovation that fills a corporate coffer, iteration merely lets it go on a little longer. Diversity shows that as others embrace an idea it can truly be improved on and create a new innovation, not a new iteration, but that only happens when the accepting diversity is large enough, and that is when we get the one quote that shows the disaster. With: ““It was really hard to stomach the indifference that I witnessed from folks who’d been living in San Francisco for a while, simply stepping over the slumped bodies of people who lived outside or just cold ignoring people asking for money,” said Jessica Jin, who moved to San Francisco from Austin, Texas, to work for a tech startup, of her first impressions of the city. “I wondered how long it would take me to also become numb to it all.”” we need to see that this is the largest danger. It is not that Jessica Jin moved to SF, it is ‘how long it would take me to also become numb to it all‘, that will be the moment that her dreaming to innovation ends, when we become numb, we merely create a shell to ignore what is around us and that is the first thing to thump innovation into silence, as I see it that has always been the first hurdle to lose innovation and soon thereafter they lose the ability towards iteration as well.

It is the larger issue to a much larger problem that we never properly defined, how did we lose the ability to properly dream a path to innovation, it is what drowns the creative mind and soon thereafter we get exactly what the CEO’s and CFO’s wanted, result driven worker bees, but that is what killed their company, the dream is lost and so is creation of innovation attached to it.

It is about location, location, location, but not in the way you thought it was. It was about the space to truly dream, too bad these hundreds of board members all forgot that one simple lesson, all whilst it was in front of them all along, most of them got into the board of directors using that path in the first place, how quaint!

 

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Ding ding goes the alarm clock

The Guardian is waking us up. I was already awake as I have mentioned this danger close to two years ago; actually I gave rise to the risk even before anyone had heard of Cambridge Analytica. As we see the quote: “The government is launching an inquiry into the use of personal data to set individual prices for holidays, cars and household goods, amid rising fears of a consumer rip-off” from the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/nov/04/inquiry-personal-data-dynamic-pricing-consumer-fairness). You see, the issue is a lot larger and people are just not waking up to this danger. They all think that it isn’t really an issue, or that it will not hit them. Well, think again, it is already hitting you and the field of impact is growing on a nearly daily basis.

Setting the stage

The quote goes way beyond “Philip Hammond, has asked a panel of experts led by Jason Furman, a former adviser to Barack Obama, to examine competition in the digital economy, including how machine learning and algorithms are used to set prices and whether firms could gang up to disadvantage consumers“. You see, the large issues are actually the ones that are known in advance. World Business Forum, Forbes Women’s Summit, B2B Marketing Forum, E3, ComiCon, Call Center Week and so on. Some of these places are not merely known in advance, some will go to known places like Viva Las Vegas, so the impact is not as large as one would think, although an additional 2500 hotel rooms is still an impact. No, it is the other stuff, the IP World Summit – Amsterdam, the London Law Expo 2018. Niche markets where we think that it is merely a business venture and the expenses will not be noticed, that is where the coin is found and the impact and influence is felt over a larger group.

Even as it is currently states as ‘could’, the quote “when you think about posting to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you probably don’t consider how it could affect your insurance. The truth is, social media could very well become a standard part of the insurance underwriting process in the not too distant future“, I personally believe that it is already impacting people. The example in the US Insurance agent is: ‘Taking pictures while driving and uploading them to social media could result in having your policy non-renewed based on the implication that you are a distracted driver‘, Yet in Ireland alone we see ‘14,000 drivers caught on their phones in 2017 – and some were posing for selfies‘. Now consider that you must comply with: “If you received a fixed penalty notice for a road traffic offence, you will need to disclose this to motor insurance providers for five years if you were 18 or over at the time“, at this point your premium goes up by a fair bit, it is something that can often be checked and even those not convicted can be hit with an increase, you have become a risk. In addition, tat lovely new phone you have is also the issue as ‘Why social media posts could invalidate your home insurance‘. Here it is not merely what you do, but where you were. So as we see: “Insurers are increasingly rejecting claims made by customers whose houses have been burgled while on holiday if they have shared the fact that they are away from home on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram“. Yet, this is the small stuff. Life insurances are seen harsher. Insurance companies are getting more and more savvy in analysing photos online. You see, that one cigarette, or even a cigar to celebrate a birth has impact. The policy is: ‘if you smoke at all, you are considered a smoker and your rates will be higher‘, it gets to be worse. If you claimed that you were a non-smoker and the insurance company can find two pics of you smoking, you could be regarded as fraudulent and it nullifies your life insurance, so as you get planted six foot deep at some grassy field, whomever you left behind ends up not getting a penny. Decades of premiums paid down the drain. This is the direct and clear stuff, yet in that stage, we see the impact of fees, premiums and algorithms. The story takes a deep turn for the worse there.

The real and the not so real stage

Consider that every convention is online, every events is documented. Instead of the airlines setting the stage of the need for an additional plane in advance, they do that and increase the price of the fee. We might think that it is normal when we see: “The average cost of a flight out of the UK to all destinations between the 16th and 31st of December is 12 per cent higher on the big day itself“, yet if you knew this a year in advance, the increase is a little less normal, even as we understand that the bulk wants to get there on that day, now consider that this is applied to a stage where it is not thousands, but hundreds more and the issue is not Christmas, but an event in New Jersey, or a convention in Budapest. Yet, this is still merely the top of the iceberg. What if it is not a flight, but an item you desperately need to buy online? Not some Ubermeal, but the version of ‘John Lewis to launch £10,000 ‘private shopping’ service‘, a service where you always pay premium. Now, we might not care as these people are wealthy and they will not mind paying a few extra £’s on the dollar. Yet, that model will also impact the general population, it’s merely the stage as something becomes a ‘phase’ we all want it, most people tend to be sheep, and there is a loaded part here. Is it wrong for a place like John Lewis to maximise on their stock? It is merely ‘whether firms could gang up to disadvantage consumers‘, is that still the case? The point is that this is becoming a grey area. Even as we see the customer care part of: ‘another new service is called the Shopping List, under which a member of John Lewis’s team can be booked free of charge to gather either a specific basket of items or to help pick out gifts for specific people‘. The data behind it can become much more lucrative. Even as we see the battering that many of these stores have taken, and we are notified (again) of ‘It has also spent millions of pounds on improving its home delivery infrastructure and IT systems to cater to demand for online shopping‘. That data can prove to be invaluable setting the next stage in all this and the question is not merely what the watchdog is saying it is, but the underlying part becomes, if this is about staying afloat, about maximising the revenue, is there a case of ‘disadvantage consumers‘, or are we seeing the data impact of optional fraudulent claims of healthcare benefits whilst the subscriber was not completely honest on the application form. Even as I agree that the people need to wake up, even as I have stated that the people are in a vice, part of it is done to themselves. Now, I am less inclined to stand on the side of the insurance on the burgled house whilst doing the dance party 24:7 on Ibiza. It was not the person; it was the burglar in all this that is at fault. Yet the opposite that ‘telling’ a person that a house is safe and unguarded is still a dangerous step and even as we are so shareable in some ways, we need to see that this data is now a hazard to the quality of our lives. The question is more ‘what should you never do‘ and not ‘did you set yourself up to be the disadvantaged consumer?‘ We all know that Christmas presents are the best bought two days after Christmas, so even as we know that the price is higher on December 24th; can we blame the seller for charging 110% 21-24 December, knowing he will try to sell it as 65% on December 27-30? We forget on the stage that we set ourselves. On a rainy day an umbrella might optionally be £1 more expensive, yet is this data we are looking at, or can we claim that we know that we are knowingly selling to aquaphobes that day? The second is a clear stage of ‘disadvantage consumers‘. This stage is moving as dashboards can be changed in every way. You see if the answer does not match, you merely change the question which is politics 101. Data is actually almost the same, it is not on the results; it is now the population that makes the result. It is the grasp of an Old Dutch joke: “We see the impact where mothers are no longer working in families with 2.4 children“, so basically a pregnant woman with 2 children is unlikely seek employment, or to be employed; it is the same yet presented completely different. And when you consider the stage (the 70’s) is behind that, we see that this stage has merely matured in both the application of the spoken word, as well as the stage of presented facts. If we see that a number is, or that a factor applies, we automatically assume certain stages. As it is about a gender, or a location, yet it is still a weighted part, a presented population (the people that were part of the equation) and this field is growing exponentially. Consider that Google is adding close to a million facts every hour (highly speculative), this ensures not merely what is known about a person; it also makes its advertisement drive more efficient. Google’s non advertisement share grew by 14% in the last year. The other side, its advertising accounted for a total of 111 billion U.S. dollars. To make this grow, data granularity becomes increasingly important and even as Google does not allow individual access to data, the fact that some facts can be found, means that more and more will be known about everyone and a lot of it through our own actions. Selfies, Geo-tagging, and other parts are making identification and classification happen in all this. Even as we push forward in one direction, we give it away in another. It does not matter whether we move in Google Ads, or push towards Amazon Ads. We give away our details and we think that what one sees, none of the others see it, it is that part that is the folly, whatever we share online is almost instantly known to everyone and machine learning is merely making the exchange (read: collecting) of our details more efficient.

How we get charged

Yes the alarm clock needs to go ding dong, preferably at 100db so that you actually wake up. Even as it was a little over 6 months ago, Miles Brignall gave us: “Next time your car insurance renewal comes through, don’t fall into the trap of describing yourself as unemployed if, for example, you are retired, a student or a housewife/house husband. If you do, you could end up paying 50% more“, a comparison where they merely changed recorded occupation, now consider how up to date your LinkedIn account is. Do you still think that it will not matter your case? When you are confronted with: “MoneySuperMarket says students and retired people who mistakenly describe themselves as “unemployed” have the most to lose – potentially up to £700 a year in the worst cases. Retirees who do the same may have to cough up an additional 37%, it found.” Now we see the danger, this is not maximised ‘retail effort’ this is clearly a stage of ‘disadvantage consumers‘ and it came from an optional direction we never considered, because if LinkedIn is the one place where we can get a new job, how dangerous should their system be regarded when our cost of living could be hit by an additional 50%? And this is not via Hacked Data, this is you the optional consumer and in need of services being as visible as possible, a part you never expected is now affecting you in other ways too.

I have always believed that LinkedIn is a massive force for good, yet others have found an alternative use of that and with hundreds of thousands facing an optional £250 a year extra; we now have merely one side that starts amounting to some serious cash. So when you tell me who ignores such serious levels of cash, I will at that point introduce you to a liar. It is that simple in this day and age, machine learning is merely changing the threshold of you paying extra. It is a great benefit, but in some hands it will be their revenue benefit, and takes your cost of living through the roof.

Yet the question for me remains that even as I believe such a watchdog to be essential, there is a question on how effective they will be at the end of the day, because when the conversation degrades to a ‘he claimed‘, whilst ‘he gave in writing‘ against ‘he posted freely online‘, to the opposition trying to make a ‘disadvantage consumers‘ case, we will end up seeing a case that is unlikely to ever be won.

 

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The stagnant life

What do you do when your life stagnates? What do you do when the next step is a smaller iteration of the previous one and the one that is coming is even less than that? Have you considered this part? It all started in the Guardian, which was soon transplanted to the Verge. Vlad Savov gave the notion with ‘What was good is still good; what was missing is still missing‘, it is about the OnePlus 6T mobile phone. Yet for the same setting it could have been our life, it could have been our career and it could have been our future. It is more of the same, yet for us it is interesting as it is cheaper, and as the Verge gives us: “starts at $549 for a sizable 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM“, we see that it is affordable. Yet when we look deeper, what do we get?

The good gives us: ‘Strong battery life‘, which is actually important in this day and age. Yet the other side is: ‘Camera remains mediocre, lacks wireless charging, still not fully, waterproof, quiet loudspeaker‘. In this the two I care about is the camera and the quiet loudspeaker. The camera is handy to have and here we see the first part. We get a Rear camera: 16 MP + 20 MP, whilst the front camera is 16MP, which is a lot more than my three year old Huawei P7. In addition a few sources give us: “the OnePlus 6 starts at just £469 for the 64GB / 6GB model, which makes it significantly cheaper than the £869 starting price for the Pixel 3 XL“, is it about the money? For many it is. It is the loudspeaker that inhibits the phone when we see: “the loudspeaker, which sounds very nice on this phone, but is woefully inadequate in terms of volume. Even at max volume, it’s only really useful in a quiet environment“. It is an inhibitor as I have missed calls in the past because I did not hear it ring.

How does a phone set a stagnant life?

You see, the second part is seen when we see the new iPad pro and it has no ‘Home’ button. Is that what we have progressed to, a massive marketing target and the fact that we ‘wow’ the home buttons demise? So as the Guardian gave us: ‘The long-rumoured iPad Pro redesign will be the first significant change to Apple’s iOS-based tablet since the release of the 12.9in iPad Pro in 2015‘, we see the issue. That is the great progress since 2015? No home button? How stagnant are we, and how stagnant has our technology become?

For example, in 2003 I saw the first virtual keyboard. It was projection technology (see image). I saw the impact it could have, to instantly switch between Roman, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Hiragana, Katakana, perhaps even Kanji and Arabic, a true push forward for all notebooks, netbooks, laptops and even tablets. More important was the fact that it took away key logging as intrusion to a much larger extent and in addition to that, a person could start working in a truly international sphere, as well as the fact that pretty much any flat surface would do, so no keyboards to mess with. It was true innovation. So when the first iPad was launched and it had the ‘keyboard’ on screen, it was progress, as it came at the expense of the screen, which was not great, yet much better than we ever had before and now I had direct access to all the Scandinavian characters which was awesome. So in 15 years, we see Apple give us ‘no home button‘, how weird is that? And the virtual keyboard need is more of a reality; the batteries are a lot better than we had them in 2003, 15 years of battery development to work with. The laser would have been a lot better, but Apple has not gone that mile forward as an accessory (even as the smart keyboard for the iPad pro is sweet), you are restricted to ONE keyboard at that point. The union of the smart keyboard and virtual keyboard could have been so much more and in 15 years they never got there?

Is this iterative technology holding us back? Is this a lack of vision, or is it merely the need to exploit the people one keyboard per purchase? If this simple innovation is withheld, how much more are we not getting? I can state that question as the technology has been there for 15 years and I know that there are innovative people out there, brighter than me. So why is Apple trailing that curve and not heading it?

Even as I initially designed what would have been the iTome (or optionally the Google Tome) and we see no plans or patents in any stage where that solution (which could solve many NHS issues) is planned, will we need Huawei to solve it for us and when they do will the USA bitch like a little girl whilst not providing any level of evidence? So whilst we get exposed to another wave of anti-Huawei, in this case by Australian Signals’ Directorate chief Mike Burgess, and when we are given “a potential security threat anywhere in the network would threaten the entire system“, yet no evidence was added to this. So when I see: ‘Fairfax Media and the ABC reported on Tuesday‘, it personally merely reads along the lines of one working the shaft and the other one was it tickling the balls of Telstra (a slightly less diplomatic view on all this). The more irritating part is that we have seen this circus go on for months now and still no evidence was ever given, clear evidence of that risk. More important, the risk by some other players (Apple) was shown as they decreased the battery efficiency of the mobile phone. Apple got a €10 million fine and had an annual revenue of one hundred and twenty seven billion. How flaccid should we consider these governmental player fucks to be (pardon my French here)?

It is even more fun to contemplate when we take Business Insider a mere 3 hours ago (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/top-spy-explains-huawei-ban-2018-10) and we consider the following: ‘Australia’s super-secretive communications spy agency has explained why Huawei is seen as an infrastructure risk’ (actually the ASD is at Russell Dr, Russell ACT 2600. Source: Google search). So now we get the quote, and it is a good one: “One of Australia’s top spies said the electricity grid, water supplies and other critical infrastructure could not have been adequately protected if China’s Huawei or ZTE were allowed to build the country’s new 5G mobile networks“. This is a realistic setting and it is the job of the ASD to look at this. Yet the same risk would have been there with an American or even a Scandinavian system (Ericsson), even in 5G there would have been all kinds of layers and intrusion is a realistic fact in 4G and it should similarly be so in 5G. That is why you hire the proper experts to set a secure stage. So now we get to: “His warning coincided with a new report from The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which revealed Australian universities were collaborating with Chinese military scientists at unprecedented levels and failing to mitigate national security risks“, so where is the evidence of that? We see that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) is ‘overly’ advertised as independent. From my personal point of view, as I have seen some networking events. People like Michael Shoebridge and Peter Jennings would have ties with Telstra that are way too strong (merely the impact of networking). So is there a chance that they are driving Telstra opportunities? I have NO evidence of that, and I am not stating that this is happening, yet in that same regard I have seen NO evidence that Huawei is an actual risk, which is what others are stating; is that not the driving part here? Now we need to also consider the second part of Mr Burgess. He was also quoted: “Mr Burgess did not specifically mention Huawei or ZTE, but said it was no longer sufficient to confine “high-risk vendors” to the edges of a telecommunications network“. OK that is fair enough, yet I have an issue with ‘high-risk vendors‘. Not because of the vendor part, but the ‘high-risk’ setting. When exactly is a risk a high risk and is that a systemic situation, or is the lack of knowledge, a knowledge that was not pursued in time, as the foundation of evolution from risk to become ‘high-risks’?

I started to evangelise the need for true non-repudiation 5 years ago, I was confronted with the need 7 years ago and we are nowhere near that today. As the designers and greed chasers were all about facilitating for greed and maximised revenue, we saw the fall of reliability and security on a global level. Windows 10, Sony, Facebook are all events that show this. I see a lack of proper testing; a lack of proper assessing; an insatiable need to quickly patch so that revenue remains up. None of it was done with the need of protecting the consumer, merely to facilitate corporate greed.

So whilst that article ends with: “Fairfax Media is investigating cyber hacking incidents in corporate Australia. Tip off our team confidentially via this secure online system“, we are confronted with two parts, the first is that Fairfax is not the greatest channel to get stuff looked at, whoever does this could be prosecuted as a whistle-blower and more importantly that a lot of these issues would not have existed with proper non-repudiation in the first place. So whilst there is no true evidence that China is the bad individual here and that Huawei is not the great technological evil, we must not remain absent from proper scrutiny and that would have been fine, if there was only true scrutiny brought to the media and that has not been done. When you consider that part you should also give another consideration to: “a potential threat anywhere in the network will be a threat to the whole network“, exactly how badly designed does a network need to be when we see: “a threat to the whole network“?  How have corporations failed us when they have not properly instigated protection layers? And in that trend how flawed is authentication technology at present that this could happen to a governmental debilitating degree?

And it is not just Australia, with the lack of evidence in any direction; the US has been pushing for this in the UK, Australia and Canada. Merely an hour ago TechAU is giving a similar view with ‘still provides no evidence‘. There will be a point when not only will we see the demand for evidence, we will demand harsh consequences who force the people in much higher expenditure impacting their quality of life. When that happens, the tidal wave of complaints will be enough to topple any government.

In our lives we need to take leaps forward, no longer relaying on iterative solutions. If we want true new innovation that is the only path that will make sense and in all that, the old farts in 4G trying to keep their fat income in a 5G environment better get with the program faster. There is enough indication that the people are getting fed up with certain settings and the numbers given merely a day ago: “Telstra had a 7.7 per cent increase in complaints” give rise to a lot more nagging by millions soon enough. Some might think that it no longer makes sense to complain. However there is always the option to switch providers and even as most are equally unworthy of our coins, some do stand out and as some are giving us: “With a three year total loss of 31%, Telstra Corporation Limited would certainly have some dissatisfied shareholders“. For me it is different, I actually do not give a hoot about the shareholders (never did, never will). Telstra can only head this up by advancing now through frog leaped technology, to get ahead of the curve, not to follow it when it is economically terrific. It is a path that is over and done with. Huawei and Google are showing that this path will not work in the long run and the consumer will merely be reflecting this as they have to pay for an outdated solution that merely has one less button and perhaps a jack taken out of the equation. We want to see true progress where we can do what we need to do anything I need to do.

You see in 5G it will not be ‘whenever we want it‘, it will be about ‘where ever we are, whenever we ask‘, it is not the same setting and the telecom providers are just not ready. It is exactly that setting that I saw in the Neom plans of Saudi Arabia where I saw the option of solution being addressed. The new stage where we see change; not one that becomes an option to one person but a change giving availability for all. A mere information stage that might seem to start with the information pylon, it goes beyond that, these things can be seen by buildings, in elevators and on the road, a mere place where we can immediately be updated or request to be updated, on the go and on the fly (literally so) and in all that governments are not ready, they left it to people who maximised on their profits with no intent of investing, a stage now coming to fruition as Google and Huawei leaped forward (OK, Samsung too). The rest is merely staging progress through marketing like ‘the most powerful console in the world‘ whilst one game (Red Dead Redemption II) requires close to 12% of the entire console storage, merely one game! That is merely one facet of the short-sightedness that we face today and 5G will bring these issues to the surface on a much larger scale. Not on the phone, but on the total infrastructure and it gets to be worse. You see, in 5G your mobile phone is not your phone anymore. It will be your personal data server whether you like it or not. So when we see ‘high-risk vendors‘, we forgot one element. That is the element we call ‘high-risk governments‘, the players behind the players who left other to do the preparations and now that they are learning the hard way (as I personally see it) that they are not ready, we see all these delays and other 11th hour grasps regarding the definition ‘high-risk‘. So as we contemplate the excuse “a threat to the whole network“, whilst we see nothing in the air of how such threats are even possible to exist. Whilst we were shown the Sony intrusion, the Facebook screw-up (Cambridge Analytica), we see nothing in the air of ‘we are prepared‘? We saw that excuse that people were prepared often enough for many years and when we look back we see articles (Financial Times) where the discussion was already on in 2012, six years ago and in all that time the danger of “a threat to the whole network” and ‘high-risk‘ did not make the headlines in all this? Is that not weird too? I personally see it as a clear example of facilitation towards greed instead of enabling safety to a much larger degree, security and reliability on a network that should have the non-repudiation ability that 4G never had, that was the foundation of the NHS solution, a safer setting, not a faster setting (which was actually a nice bonus). This is the first part in showing the players as those who propagate a stagnant life through iteration.

This has become a stage where the next generation is worse of then the two generations before us. On the upside, no, there is no upside to any of that, it is merely the recognition of facilitation of greed driven people and have we not facilitated to them enough?

 

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Just like everyone else

For the longest of times, I have worshiped Google. I have always been pro Google, and having worked in their offices for a year, being exposed to the options within Google is just overwhelming (and the food is pretty much the best in the world). So what happens when you are shown that Google is basically just like all the other large corporations? What when you wake up to an early e-mail where google advises you on the new Google Home Hub and the Google Pixels 3 (which is appealing even if it is at the price of your soul), yet 150 minutes later, you are shown by the Wall Street Journal that Google is just like every other corporation at present, how would you feel?

I can tell you that an ice bucket of water over your head at that point would have seemed a soft caress in contrast to the rude awakening I was made privy to.

To get the better view, we need to go back to May 2108, where we were treated to: “Google Australia’s boss Jason Pellegrino, who spoke on a CEO panel at Sydney’s CeBIT tech conference today, told the audience there had to be a “utility exchange” for the data a business obtains, adding if there is no trust, it can prove detrimental“, as well as ““That was about a leaky bucket. That data was going to places that consumers didn’t expect, didn’t agree with and got not value out of themselves. “None of these data buckets should be leaky. However, it’s started a discussion about what’s in the bucket itself. The data that’s there has been used to deliver a great service – no one has been sitting there saying Netflix ‘I can’t believe the data that you’re sharing’ – because they are delivering a wonderful service.”“. So as we were given on Monday ‘Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public‘ with the two quotes: “Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage, according to people briefed on the incident and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal“, as well as “A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, according to the documents and people briefed on the incident“, so basically Jason Pellegrino (not the exquisite Italian sparkling water) was basically calling the kettle black, whilst we can agree at this point that he had no business opening his mouth in the first place in light of 3 years of hidden software screw ups. It seems to me that both are in equal hot waters. Even if we water it down (not using sparking Pellegrino) into a setting that Cambridge Analytica was doing it on purpose and that the implied setting by Alphabet Inc. is that their software engineers basically did not know what they were doing (to some extent). We can call a fair dinkum, but something this hidden for three years. What optional issues can we expect from the Google Pixel 3, with Android version 3.14159265418 (Android Pie), as well as the Google Home Hub where the consumer is optionally revealing all their daily needs (including the speculatively implied and roughly estimated 54,233 daily attempts to watch Pornhub) with or without the optional keywords Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande, Shania Twain, Selena Gomez, Kirsten Dunst and Taylor Swift. Yes, that is the data those marketeers are willing to pay handsomely for, not to mention those unnamed parties speculatively involved in election persuasion consultancy projects.

It gets even more interesting that the Home Hub could potentially reveal when a person is at home or not (like on vacation), because there is no one who would want that data, right? Last week we would not have given it a second thought, yet with the revelations in the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-exposed-user-data-feared-repercussions-of-disclosing-to-public-1539017194) we now have a much larger issue. It was fun to see the review on the Verge where we see this puppy in action (the Google Home Hub) where the operator asks for the overview of the Pixel 2, whilst pre-orders of the Pixel 3 are happening all over the world, another fallen blobby in all this.

So as we see the turmoil that one of the world’s biggest tech giants will face over the last quarter of the year, we need to realise that you should never meet your idol whilst he is still alive. I reckon that Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will be able to hold his cool for the smallest amount when he meets me, but that is presently not a given.

So as well are treated to “The closure of Google+ is part of a broader review of privacy practices by Google that has determined the company needs tighter controls on several major products, the people said. In its announcement Monday, the company said it is curtailing the access it gives outside developers to user data on Android smartphones and Gmail” we need to wonder what is next for the social media people. I actually preferred Google+ as it was less junk driven then Facebook. And it also gave me the timeline as a first instead of the populist drive, which still annoys me in Facebook. So even as some at Google as trying to wane us to slumber, the cold reality is : ‘the company has no evidence that any outside developers misused the data but acknowledges it has no way of knowing for sure‘. That is the immediate setting in this, we no longer know who has our details and we might never know how we were optionally specifically phished and targeted as per 2015, is that not a nice new reality to face?

So as we need to realise “The company will stop letting most outside developers gain access to SMS messaging data, call log data and some forms of contact data on Android phones“, we might think it is no big deal, but this has the data potential to be a lot larger than any nightmare scenario that the UK ‘Hacked Off‘ ever envisioned in their nightmare settings that the press would have been up to, when people with less scruples (not by much though) have been given optional access to and let’s not forget, the criminals tend to be more creative then the law enforcers ever have been (or some of the intelligence services for that matter).

So even as we accept that the Google plus issue is a dwarf compared to the Facebook scandal, it still optionally victimised the setting through: “It found 496,951 users who had shared private profile data with a friend could have had that data accessed by an outside developer, the person said. Some of the individuals whose data was exposed to potential misuse included paying users of G Suite, a set of productivity tools including Google Docs and Drive, the person said. G Suite customers include businesses, schools and governments“.

I am not alone in this, a few hours ago, the New York Times are giving us: ‘How Will Google Play Its New Product Announcements on the Back of a Data Scandal?‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/09/business/dealbook/google-data-products.html). It is not merely that part, we need to consider that at present only Apple has a seemingly clean slate and they can use this to their advantage. It is in the end watered down by the NY Times through “They’re all part of Google’s strategy to highlight the company’s services via hardware (rather than necessarily become best-sellers in their own right)“, they are all still ruled by software and the cold setting here is that it is their software that was incompletely tested and prodded by those who should have done so. I refuse to merely blame a programmer here, it is a much larger problem!

The failing here can be seen in places like Ubisoft, EA Games, Bethesda, Microsoft and several other large developers. The non-stop trivialisation of proper testing and proper timelines to test settings is at the back of all this. It is not merely a lacking QA, it is a non believe in the power of testers and longer conversations in their insights that is here as well. Issues seen in FIFA 19, several shortcomings in NHL 19, AC Odyssey bugs reported mere hours ago and the less said regarding the Microsoft Surface Go the better and the list goes on. These issues shows that Google is part of the entire problem, the quality testing and scrutiny is seemingly not done (or not done to the extent needed), and with the Google Pixel 3 just around the corner, with a lessened confidence level at present, would you at that point trust the Google Pixel 3XL 128GB at $1500, or will you play it cautiously and select the less powerful, but still a large step forward when selecting the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset at $600, in this day and age, can we feel comfortable with spending an optional $900 too much? I will admit that there are a few alternatives at that price, not merely Huawei, but the list of quality choices is very small.

The revelation that the Wall Street Journal exposed us to on Monday is probably the most inconvenient that Google has faced in a long time. Even before we see whatever Google has to promote in the near future on 5G capabilities and enabling technologies, they now have a visible problem to address. It is not merely a dent in their armour, it now shows us a Google that was optionally never the knight in shining armour it has largely been seen as, which is a much larger problem for Google then they are willing to admit to any day soon.

Too many are hiding behind hype terms like AI and machine learning, yet the realisation that non repudiation and authentication was required on many more levels where data is involved in all this, is a failing on several levels, predominantly the developers one and it is there that Google will possibly face a very hard time to come.

#Halfwaytotheweekendnow

 

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That did not take long

Wow, it has been a mere 22 hours since my last Blog. In there I wrote: “The additional part where we see that Pakistan is importing close to $400 million from the Netherlands each year is optionally be getting hit as well“, which comes to pass when I see the flames on Twitter between Geert Wilders (https://twitter.com/geertwilderspvv) and the Pakistani Government (https://twitter.com/pid_gov). Even the the Pakistan Defense forum(https://twitter.com/defencedotpk), they immediately went to their copy of ‘Art of War‘ and gave us “Royal Dutch Shell, Phillips, Unilever, ABN AMRO interests in the Muslim World should be nationalised, levy heavy duties on Dutch shipping passing through the Suez, Hormoez shall be closed off for Dutch ships. Their airlines should be barred from using OIC airspace. Watch it melt!“, now a forum is not a government speakeasy, so there is time, but this riled up well over 100,000 Pakistani’s in all walks of life. Yet in here a few cool heads prevailed with: “Doesn’t matter to them, as it will hurt Pakistan itself, thousands will be unemployed, lakhs of people are working directly or indirectly in Unilever Pakistan, not even 0.1%profit generated from Pakistan, of total Unilever profits, even all oic countries ban it, it will hardly damage them“, yes it will hurt Pakistan, yet will it hurt enough? When Pakistani interests are moved from Unilever to European or American alternatives, do you think that the pain is long term? No, that is unlikely to be the case, yet the long term pain to Dutch industrials will be clear when they lost the ability to meet quota’s and to meet the expectations of analysts. That pain will be very visible. So even when we see the response by Geert Wilders with: “Don’t claim victory too soon @pid_gov I am not finished with you yet. I will expose your barbarism in many other ways“, we have to wonder if he is exposing barbarism or instigating discourse through attacks on Islam? That has always been the setting here. Perhaps we need to take another look at the setting, which started as early as 2015. I implied it in my title ‘Lollies to the Right‘ (Yesterday’s blog), in this lollies is an English slang for money. Someone is funding all this. The Cartoon competition shows another side, from the $12,500 in Garland Texas, and the amount (unknown) for the Dutch event. This is not from the pocket of Geert Wilders, someone is funding these fumes hoping that a war will erupt and we need to find out who is behind the screens on the far right, it is more important then you know. It is not merely about the hatred, the setting of economic strike backs was always going to be a clear setting. And I was right all along. We now see in the Daily Pakistan: ‘Dutch govt seeks improved bilateral ties with Pakistan after blasphemous contest saga‘, where we see: “Dutch envoy to Pakistan, Ardi Stoios-Braken announced on Twitter that the Embassy team will work with fresh energy and focus on promoting the bilateral relationship with Pakistan and mutual understanding“, yes I saw that coming a mile away and the question becomes, how much will that cost the Dutch government? By the way, in that same period of contemplating my correctness, I also designed two new (optional) Google devices, so it required close to no brainpower, so I had three other things running in the back of my head. Here too we are fed the lies by Geert Wilders. The lie “to avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence, I have decided not to let the sacrilegious cartoon contest go ahead“, yet that was not really the case was it. The game was not set on the competition, but on the backdrop and I wonder what happened on May 1st 2018. When we were shown: ‘Far right leaders gathered in the southern French city of Nice‘, we were not in the picture on the rest. There was another player there, ready to use Geert Wilders as the tool he is. This was merely foreplay, binding the hands of certain politicians and setting the stage for others. The Independent gave on that very same day: ““The European Union today has catastrophic consequences for our countries, and yet another Europe is possible, the Union of European Nations,” she told a rally as she met with the leaders. “Europe is a good idea and the European Union is killing it.” The next European Parliament elections are scheduled for the 23 to 26 of May 2019 – after Britain is set to leave the European Union.“, that is the part that matters more, when things go out of balance, other players can come in and have some fun making money fast, that is the one part were the right seems to be blind. With Italy much more firmer in the right, with the AfD (Alternativ fur Deutchland) we see that they are still growing, even more so as Angela Merkel is now in a much lower ratings than ever before, so even as that does not indicate that AfD will push to better staging and more seats, that is not a given. Yet, in this I was proven wrong in my assumptions (based on data) on how Matteo Salvini was not really a risk and he got a much larger slice of Italian politics then we imagined and with Germany we cannot afford that mistake again. In all this it is more and more clear that the UK got out in time (a little too late though), with the European settings we all get to look at, there is a clear path that half of Europe will be in an anti-Muslim stage soon enough and not being part of that war is the only good we can hope for.

Yet the only links that I get back to in the end (thanks to some data that I found in Austria) from sources like the Wiener Zeitung and the Freedom Party of Austria and Heinz-Christian Strache is Steve Bannon of all people. Right on the same day that Cambridge Analytica became a non-entity, we see that Steve Bannon was always part of this, the question becomes: Was that why the data was needed? Was this why there was a nice dinner in Nice? OK, I admit that this is slightly too ‘conspiracy theoretic’, but the elements are there; we forgot that 87 million Facebook users are not merely there to use for the far right, they can also be used against the left and more important, once properly mined and grouped, other elements can also be addressed. We were treated to Channel 4 and their ‘Cambridge Analytica CEO filmed boasting of using entrapment, bribes and honey-traps to influence election‘, but the much larger cake is not merely the elections, it is the fact that creating discourse in Saudi Arabia as it is ready to start a trillion dollar investment setting (well over half for the creation of Neom, city of the future), we see a lot more opportunity for those players. Even in history we saw the UK push Egypt in another direction as it feared the larger hold and more importantly the hold that the UK would lose, we see a variation now by the escalations of Islam and anti-Islam and in all this Geert Wilders is the most visible tool. In this Steve Bannon played the game very well. Even as we saw him being close to Islamophobic in Breitbart and his film script, on which the Washington Post reported with “The script for the film, Destroying the Great Satan, which was never produced, opens with a fantasy scene of the US Capitol adorned with a star-and-crescent flag and broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer, according to a script obtained by the Washington Post. The film imagines a “fundamental clash of civilizations” between the west and “supremacist” Islam“. So, this is clearly not in my imagination and there is heaps of data behind it all, but there is no clear link, all the direct links are hidden. I am not speaking about ‘advertised’ open admiration between the players. No, there is a larger part in this and it is between middle men so there is nothing to prove. That evidence is not out there and it unlikely never ever will be. Steve Bannon is slightly too intelligent for that, because over time it comes knocking at his door, so he got it truly insulated against that, using tools like ‘Wilders’ as he sees fit. Marine Le Pen is in her heart too nationalistic (French) so she is an ally, but just up to a level and the same can be said for Matteo Salvini, all set in a stage of anti-Islam. Now that we see the Dutch impact others will be more cautious. When the Guardian informed us of “Steve Bannon has announced plans to establish a foundation in Europe that he hopes will fuel the spread of right-wing populism” we also got the push from Politico with “his potential European partners are ambivalent, saying they want to keep the controversial American at arm’s length even as they seek to tap his expertise on how to disrupt politics on the Continent“. I do not think it is false, but I do believe that there is orchestrated caution here. Yet as we also see: “Bannon’s connections to Europe’s leading populists, many sound unsure about letting an outsider play a central role in next year’s election, let alone one with his reputation. Some pointed out they are already working on their own pan-European alliances“, as well as “Rivière, his party’s international spokesman, said he has talked to Bannon about how he could “provide us with new ideas or share his experience.” Rivière said The Movement would be “a good non-partisan tool box” to achieve that. Bannon, who formerly ran Breitbart media, helped lead the successful Trump campaign in 2016 and went on to serve in the White House for seven months“. Here we see levels of facilitation and that facilitation will only go as far as Steve Bannon gets an industrial upper hand and it is not clear to me if these political players will be aware. What is very clear is that both Israel and Saudi Arabia need to become a lot more cautious when it comes to America. In the end, the Iranian escalations, the Syrian, Russian and Turkish setting in all this sounds nice and it sounds nice that America is on THEIR side, but only for as long as the economic fallout blows the wind to America, in the end those nations stand alone, in the end, America has a protection barrier called the Atlantic Ocean and they can retreat to ‘home ground’ , that is the play any bankrupt nation makes, lets others do the work for them, they only come when the cream is there to be scooped. When that does not happen, they walk away and we need to find a way to stop anti-Islam movements now, because they endanger the State of Israel in a similar way and even if these far right settings do not care, we should because when escalated it is a mess that no one can visit for at least a generation.

I think (as I stated before) that the seriousness of Saudi Arabia and the push for innovation has scared America and Europe. You see, the last time anyone was this driven we ended up with Google and now they are 4th in size on a global scale, that is until 2023 when they will jump back to number 2. Both IBM and Microsoft have issues and they will polarise clearly in view in 2019, at that point we will see a new shift and Google will bypass them pretty much overnight with all the 5G issues brought to the well willing hands of close to 2 billion people within a year, it is that same fear that made certain governments strike out against Huawei technologies. And that has nothing to do with security issues. When you realise that, we also see why the entire Wilders cartoon issue is a larger one. So, when you consider that the richest companies’ revenue wise in 2017 had Royal Dutch Shell on 7th with 240 billion in revenue. Now consider that the entire Wilders situation is still playing in Pakistan, with escalations still opening up in the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia. So when you consider that Shell could get hit and those hits are translated to additional opportunities for Exxon, which country benefits that? In the end Exxon and Shell might up trading revenue places on that same list in 2019.

There are enough markers in all this, but no direct evidence, that is likely to be seen after it is too late. At that point what will Europe do? Wake up, or just let it slide? I will let you decide, just be aware that the impact will be the economy, it usually is the first one to take a body blow in such events.

 

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Rocking the bullshit

There has been a massive issue with Huawei, the accusations by the US is the largest one, one of its sheep (aka Australia) has been on the same post on how Huawei is such a large danger to the safety and security of a nation. It gets ‘worse’ when we see ‘The DNC tells Democrats not to buy Huawei or ZTE devices ever’, (at https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/3/17649920/dnc-democrats-huawei-zte-devices-ban-china-hacking-threat). Here we see the quote “people shouldn’t be using devices from either Chinese company for work or personal use. The words echo what federal officials have already said about Huawei and ZTE posing possible security threats to the US. In February, CIA, NSA, and FBI chiefs testified in front of a Senate committee that the two companies were beholden to the Chinese government and the devices could become tools for undetected espionage“, my issue has always been: ‘show me the evidence!’ Basically EVERY phone can be used as a spying device, that is one clear thing we got out of the Cambridge Analytica part, in addition, the Fitness tracking app Strava was a great way to find CIA black ops bases, so even as Strava merely mapped ‘a regular jogging route’, using Google or Apple maps, you would be able to map out the base, the supply routes and so on, the Apple Fitbit would be there for the Russian government knowing where these specialists were and when the were there. So in all that, and all the security transgressions seen here, not of the were Huawei or ZTE, yet, how much noise have you heard from the CIA, NSA, or FBI on Apple? Even now, they are that one Trillion dollar company, are they too big to mention?

I wonder why?

Yet, Huawei is not out of the hot water yet, they are actually in deeper hot waters now but this time it is allegedly by their own actions. Reuters is giving u mere hours ago: ‘Huawei in British spotlight over use of U.S. firm’s software’, the news (at https://www.reuters.com/article/huawei-security-britain-usa/huawei-in-british-spotlight-over-use-of-us-firms-software-idUSL5N1US343) gives us: “One of those is due to Huawei’s use of the VxWorks operating system, which is made by California-based Wind River Systems, said three people with knowledge of the matter, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing details which were not made public in the report“, which now leads me to the setting that the American accusations are set on the premise of American Software used? How dopey is that?

Then we get: “the version of VxWorks being used by Huawei will stop receiving security patches and updates from Wind River in 2020, even though some of the products it is embedded in will still be in service“. In all this, the fact that it is still serviced for another 2 years, how are we now in the stage of: “potentially leaving British telecoms networks vulnerable to attack“? Is that not equally a questioning setting? Do we not have enough issues out there with Microsoft which has been nearly forever a security concerns, at this point, 2 years early we get the security warning on Huawei, yet not on Microsoft or Apple for that matter, in all this Google is equally a place of patches, and in all this, Huawei is the one getting unbalanced and unfairly burned at the stake like a Catholic at an Elisabeth I barbecue gathering.

Yet the good stuff is “All three sources said there was no indication that the VxWorks mismatch was deliberate. There is also no suggestion that the software itself represents a security risk“, this now leads us to two parts. The first is if it is true that ‘no suggestion that the software itself represents a security risk‘, does this mean that Huawei never had a security risk and if that is incorrect, why not present that evidence so that every Huawei Owner can test for this transgressions ending whatever future Huawei had in the first place.

In the second part, if there is no proven security flaw in the Huawei on hardware, is the security flaw a software one, or better stated an American software one, and if so, why are these people only going after Huawei and not after a dozen American firms?

The one part that we see in Channel News Asia is “Consultant Edward Amoroso, a former chief security officer at AT&T, said Huawei’s experience in Britain showed the challenges of securing international supply chains. Although no one should dismiss Huawei as a supplier solely because of its geographical location, reliance on software that is going out of support is a legitimate concern, Amoroso said“, the news (at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/huawei-in-british-spotlight-over-use-of-us-firm-s-software-10590268) gives the part that does matter, in this Edward Amoroso is right, software at the end of its reign is often the true safety concern, not merely because of the time frame, but in extent the time required to properly update the software on all the devices, which is not always a smooth path and tends to open up additional security gaps. In that part of the equation Huawei does have a legitimate problem to address. The second part to all that is “In addition to the issue with VxWorks, this year’s report also cited technical issues which limited security researchers’ ability to check internal product code“, I believe it to be a minor part and the proper investigators could seek or test for the issues, not merely that, the limitations also remove whatever options there are for zero day breaches, which has a much larger legal frame to address. So even as we agree that the US setting of accusation without evidence (proper presented evidence is merely the stuff that makes the grass grow in Texas). We also get that the US is giving us: “In the United States, the Pentagon is working on a “do not buy” list to block vendors who use software code originating from Russia and China“, there is an actual thing called national security and as such, it is their right to implement that part, I do believe that in the end it might be somewhat counterproductive, but it is still within their rights to be in such a setting nor no other reasons.

In the end there are a few issues in the field and some are out there, but with a lack of technical details, some cannot be proven, yet the fact of what some have done in the past might give the setting of ‘is it more likely than not that some do not really have 5G‘ is a true setting, yet I prefer to have the actual evidence, that some are trying to keep buried, and the media is part of that chase, which is odd to say the least. Huawei is bouncing back and forth and their hold to grow fast via the UK will be there, but from my point of view, they will need to fix the VxWorks part a lot faster than they think they need. From my estimation a new software solution should be well beyond the Beta stage in Q1 2019 if they want to have any chance of keeping their lucrative growth contracts in place. In equal measure we need to look at Canada and Australia, as they are currently set to be nothing more than US tools in all this. In all respects no actual and factual evidence was thrown out in the open. If that was done Huawei would have lost pretty much every non-Chinese contract, the fact that the BS is spread even larger with absence of evidence gives more reliability that there is no real security danger and it is more a tool for some to get the slice of 5G pie, probably at the expense of a monthly data dump, nicely mailed via UPS to: N 11600 W, Saratoga Springs, UT 84045, USA. That alone should give us the goods on who to trust and who to be cautious of. In all this, no evidence has been presented to the public (and their right to know) on how Huawei is a threat to our security. The fact that I believe that this is all bogus in one thing, the issues seems to be blown up as everyone takes a queue from John Bolton, that whilst the setting “Five Eyes is an alliance between Canada, New Zealand, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom that facilitates collaboration in intelligence activities” gives us that there are three in the dark, the UK might be around with the knowledge and the rest merely takes a queue form the US, which has seemingly been whispering like they did in the WMD in Iraq phase, you do remember that in the end, they were never found and it was merely bad intel. So in that setting whilst Corporate America, Canada and Australia are all in fear of their gap against leading Huawei, in that setting we are supposed to have faith on the American gospel on what constitutes a danger from Huawei? And now that we are made aware that the software solution used is an American one?

Yup, we have all kinds of problems and some are valid issues of concern as Edward Amoroso phrases it. Yet between a setting of concern and an actual concern is a mile long gap and whilst we acknowledge that Huawei has some fixing to do, until actual evidence is shown that there is a security breach, the only thing that the US can do is to offer a $229 instant price match for the Apple, or an $100 instant price match for the Google Pixel 2, or a $400 instant price match for the Samsung 9, why would anyone in this day and age pay more for the same, actually, with the enhanced batteries of Huawei you will still miss out, but that might be the smallest cross to bear. All this because some players just didn’t get the pricing right, too many fingers on the margin pie, that alone seems to unbalance the entire equation, because all these players will miss out when Huawei is given free reign there. In this the equation is no longer about security, it will be merely about greed and those enabling for it. Is that not equally important an element to consider?

I’ll be honest, I am still happy with my Huawei P7, it was really affordable against anyone offering anything and after 3 years working 24:7, where would you think I would look first? The one who had proven himself, or the one overpricing its brand (OK, with the Pixel at a mere $100 more, that is still an awesome deal).

When we decide on pricing it is one, when unreliable players in the game force us away from the affordable option it becomes a different stage and so far, the US has proven to lose reliability again and again when it comes to their version of security. To emphasize on that, check on all the printing regarding the Landmines in Yemen placed by the Houthi and the amount of articles that we see in the NY Times, the LA Times and the Washington Post. Now consider the impact of mines and why Americans seem to be eager not to inform you. By the way, that setting was almost certain a setting that Iran enabled, if you questions that (which is fair) then answer the simple question, where did the Houthi forces get 1,000,000 mines from?

We are kept in the dark on the wrong topics and it is time to set the limelight on those people keeping us knowingly in the dark.

 

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