Tag Archives: CCTV

Oh La L’argent

Reuters is giving us the news yesterday that there is trouble brewing in France. The article titled ‘France’s Macron says defense chief has no choice but to agree with him: JDD‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-defence-idUSKBN1A00TE). The best way to trivialise this is by going on the fact that the world’s 6th most spending nation on defence is cutting the defence of France back by almost a billion. Now, for the number one and two spenders in this field, that is a laughable amount. In the national terms it is a little below 2% of that total budget. In light of the UK NHS and other players needing to trim the fat and handover a pound of beef that amount is equally laughably low, yet for France? The article gives us in addition ““If something opposes the military chief of staff and the president, the military chief of staff goes,” Macron, who as president is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, told Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD)“, we can see this as hard talk and a kind warning to any opposition, or we can accept that this former financial advisor is setting up the board. He is placing certain pieces in reflection of the events coming in 2018. I wonder if it is merely about defence spending. Even as we see the other quote “General Pierre de Villiers reportedly told a parliament committee he would not let the government ‘fuck with’ him on spending cuts“, the questions are rising on two fronts, fronts that are not them by the way. You see, when we see another source (at http://www.iiss.org/en/militarybalanceblog/blogsections/2017-edcc/july-c5e6/franco-german-cooperation-1efd), we see ‘Can Franco-German cooperation deliver a new European defence?‘, yet the question is not merely the side that matters, it is the quote “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has committed her government to meeting the symbolic 2% defence-spending threshold” as well as “Germany remains far off the 2% spending mark – it is projected to spend 1.2% of GDP on defence in 2017 – and the Chancellor’s main opponent in this September’s federal election, Martin Schulz, has poured cold water on Germany’s commitment to that goal“, this is where the cookie starts to crumble. Is there a consideration that France is cutting costs, to remain on par with Germany, mainly because that would simplify a European Army where the ‘pound’ of all power is based on France and Germany? It works for President Macron, because at that point he could spend it somewhere else, in some form of local Quantative Easing (read: funding economy projects) as well as highly needed infrastructure overhauls. Although, 1 billion will not get this too far, but overall one or two larger issues could be resolved to a better degree, depending on whether he goes for roads or waterworks as a first priority. In all this there is a second issue, which is the combined design of a new 5th generation fighter jet, which will impact both German and France’s defence spending a lot more than anything else.

So as General Pierre de Villiers is contemplating the impact of 2% less, whilst a new jet is on the design table and 2018 will become the year of whatever EU army is up for initial presentation, the amounting costs of that infrastructure change, the General is confronted not with a president, but with a former investment banker that relies on Excel and predictive analytics to set the possible options of a virtual reality against a person who deals in real time events, idle time strategy impacts and an need towards an affirmation of hierarchy whilst having a complete operational army. In all this there is no telling when France gets attacked next and for that the DGSE will need 5 high powered computers with access to a cloud system. With a new encryption that surpasses the current 1024-bit RSA encryption that is used. So yes, that is also going to cost a bundle.

This is not just ‘all about the money’, you see, the IISS article seems to give rise to the Nuclear planning part, but that is not the actual issue that will play. As in any war and any intelligence operation, it will be about the data and intelligence that is acted on, and whilst there is data going back to 2007, that the growing issues becomes a shifting one. With: “Arjen Lenstra, a cryptology professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, says the distributed computation project, conducted over 11 months, achieved the equivalent in difficulty of cracking a 700-bit RSA encryption key, so it doesn’t mean transactions are at risk — yet“, the growing deadline was set to roughly 5 years, with the growth of Ransomware and other criminal cyber solutions, we have gone passed the deadline of 2012 and as such, the is now a growing need for matters a lot more secure. when we consider the added quote: “the University of Bonn and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in Japan, researchers factored a 307-digit number into two prime numbers“, this might be a breakthrough in some ways, yet it still took 11 months to get to the solution, with other solutions like distributed calculating (example the famous Seti@Home program) and the cloud, as well as the fact that the bulk of PC users leave their computers on and way too unsecured, we are facing a combination that could spell cyber disaster. Just consider all those kids working their DDOS attack games. What happens when the computer is not aware because it is no longer attacking places (that can actually register these events), but just silently mulling over data? The person is asleep or at work, now we get that shared options gives us for example 50,000 calculators, changing an 11 month gig into a mere 10 minute job. Now, there is no precedence for this, yet the amount of people that have an infuriating lack of common cyber sense is still way too high (well over 75% too high), so getting to 50,000 computers silently is not the greatest task. It had been made easier by the Microsoft security flaws all over the place and the users not being adamant in upgrading their system when needed, as well as the need from Microsoft to keep on pushing some version of blue (read: Azure), my speculation is not that far away, moreover, it could actually already slowly being used in one way or another (read: extremely speculative suggestion).

Yet, the gist must be clear, the governments, pretty much all over Europe are due a large overhaul of data collectors and data storage systems. Even as we see on how Russia and the US are so called collaborating on quantum computing, those who comprehend the technology will know that whomever has that technology would be able to gain access to any data, it like you using a PC XT, whilst others are all about the Pentium 2, the difference will be that severe.

Yet, this was about France (read: actually it is not). The issue is not just the small disagreement that was going on between two important players within a Western European nation; the fact that it was on a subject and amount that is not that drastic, but Reuters is going with it on the front of its pages. In all this France is also getting the forefront of visibility trying to become the facilitator for the Qatar, which comes with the added danger that France will become more of a target for extremists because of it. Not a given, but it is more likely than not that there is a danger that this will happen.

On the coming year, we see that it will be all about the money, that has always been a given, so it is just telling people that there is water coming out of a water tap, yet it will be growing in the coming year as several nations have overly neglected infrastructures and there is a decent prediction that some part will have to give in, which will require additional budgets. France and Belgium are taking the top ratings on the need to improve their roads and as some roads have been neglected for too long, the road repairs bill could become exceedingly large for those two players. As such, the total debt of France will take a rising hit (one part that France cannot really afford at present) and Belgium would be in a similar predicament. These are the additional elements that President Macron will need to deal with.

Does that not make defence cuts more important?

Well, that is one way to look at it, which is a valid one, yet the rising projects and the growing chance of a European Army start would give rise to either more spending needs in the French defence budget or the French Ministry of Defence could end up having to deal with additional pressure points soon thereafter, in this other nations (including the UK have similar complexities to deal with)

Why the reference to France?

Well, that will become a little more obvious in about a moment, yet it was important to show that the cost cutting on Defence in France is a first mistake (read: blunder) by President Macron.

The article ‘Government offers £2m for scientific research into counter-terrorism‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/17/government-offers-2m-for-scientific-research-into-counter-terrorism), is showing us a first step in regards to solve possible extremist behavioural issues. In my personal view it is a competition that Israel could win hands down as they have been employing certain parts of that with success at Ben Gurion Airport and other places for close to a decade. Yet, doing it in some automated way through data gathering is a new side to that and here is where all the hardware and DGSE comes into play, or in the UK terms, this is where GCHQ could be starting to earn the big bucks (read: £). The quote “The threat from terror does not stand still, so neither will we, which is why we are calling on the best and the brightest from the science and technology sector to come forward with their ideas and proposals to support our ongoing work to keep people safe” is the one that matter, yet overall, even beyond the £2M price, the costs will be decently staggering. You see, this is no longer about intelligence dissemination; it will become the field of real time parsing, gathering and analysing. Yes, the sequence is correct! You see, it requires the analyses of gathered information, parsing new data and overlaying the results, all that in real time. So as I stated earlier by relating this to Paris (and the attacks), it is the applied use of General Pierre de Villiers with the added parsed intelligence in real time. For the non-military trained people. It is like watching a Command and Conquer videogame, yet now seeing the entire map and knowing how the opposition is moving next, whilst in reality you are not seeing the map at all. Look at it as a version of blind chess, Hi-Octane style. Now consider that this is happening in real time at this very moment in London, with all the information of CCTV, facial recognition and back tracking the first attack and then back tracking the faces where it happened, seeing where they came from and seeing how the next event would likely happen and how soon. The computational power would be close to unimaginative large. So when you see ““In light of the horrific attacks in London and Manchester, the government has committed to review its counter-terror strategy,” Wallace will say. “Further to this I am announcing today that we are making up to £2m available to fund research into cutting-edge technology and behavioural science projects designed to keep people safe in crowds.”” we need to consider not just doing that, yet as I stated encryption, it will also require the collected data to remain safe, because the first one to have the manpower and the skill to hit not just in extremist ways with weapons, yet to hit their opponent with a cyber-assault to corrupt the initial data, will not merely have the advantage, it could cripple that forecasting system, implying that crowds will suddenly no longer be safe when an actual attack occurred.

So when we consider “Counter-terror agencies are running 500 investigations involving 3,000 individuals at any one time as they confront an unprecedented threat“, we aren’t being told the entire story. You see, it is not just that, in a crowd event, there would be the need to be able to scan 50,000 people and be able to flag as many and as fast as possible those who are not a threat. To teach a system where to look is one way, where not to look and what to overlook is equally a required skill. To do this in real time, requires loads of data and might not be entirely feasible until quantum computing is a realistic option. When someone tells you that 50,000 people can be easily scanned, we could concur, yet when every person needs to be checked against 200 sources? Consider the lone wolf (or wannabe extremist). Having an initial harmless person in the crowd is one thing, having one that came all the way from Grantham, whilst there is no data that this person has ever attended such an event becomes an issue, now correlate that against the event (like a concert, a humanitarian event or a political rally), how often has this person attended? It might be the first time, which does not make that person a worry, merely a flag that it is out of character. So how many people would have a similar flag setting? Now you get to see the need of exiting gathered data, which gives a rise to knowing those who are merely vested interest people, and optional worries. When you consider that it could require 100 additional flags that give rise to danger, you will now see the need for the computing power required. So how has Israel been successful? Well, they have observers, people who see people walk by, their stance, and their actions, how they look around, levels of nervousness, the way they walk, the luggage they have. The human brain is the most powerful computer there is, the eyes are camera’s that can see more detailed in 3D than nearly any given camera on the market and those persons can read the people walking by. I believe that there is a future where devices can do similar things because they can look different (read: infra-red), not better.

I think that the approach by Ben Wallace, the security minister, is brilliant. He is opening the doors towards out of the box thinking and perhaps set a new stage of technology. There will always be people outside the government who are more brilliant that those within, he is merely inviting them to cast the stone of innovation, I reckon that in light of the technology changes we will see in the next 2 years, the timing is great, time will tell us whether the solutions were real ones too. At least the ball has started to roll and in light of the cut backs by France, the United Kingdom could have a technological advantage that might be a long term solution all others want, which is great too for several reasons of economic growth, which keeps the commercial solution providers interested.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Military, Politics, Science

Legally and Criminally Insane?

There is an issue that had been on my mind for a long time. First of all, I do not have a car. I had a motorcycle for a while, but not at present. I never cared for cars that much. When you live in the big city, a car tends to be an expensive asset and it rarely gives you additional time. I learned that if one manages their time correctly you get heaps done without a car. It does not always work that way, I can admit that and for almost half a century, I have only desperately needed a car around 10 times. So, for me, a car is really not that needed.

You might wonder where this is going!

I just read an article, basically the second driver in a series of thoughts (at http://news.sky.com/story/1286644/brakes-slammed-on-over-zealous-spy-cars). The first one is a number of articles all pointing back to speed cameras (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/10613388/Motorway-speed-cameras-to-be-rolled-out-to-stop-those-driving-faster-than-70mph.html) and a third topic in this matter can be found at http://www.mindfulmoney.co.uk/trending-news/parking-fines-by-councils-reach-nearly-255-million-in-2013-with-tables-of-the-top-finers-by-local-authority/.

So, why these issues? We have traffic laws (UK, Australia and heaps of other nations). They are not like the three rules I got explained for driving a car in Egypt (in 1982), where it seemed that:

1. If you did not honk your horn, you are at fault.
2. The heaviest car has right of way.
3. A non-Egyptian is always at fault.

They seem simple and pretty much fit the bill.

In most Commonwealth countries we have set rules on speeding and parking. So, I do not get the problem when people start bitching over speeding tickets. Was there a speed limit? There always is and there is always a reason why it did not apply to that person. I reckon 1 out of 250 will have the actual honest defence that they missed the speed limit sign, which gives us 249 people who should keep quiet and just pay up, or should they?

Now, I will admit that I am slightly on the fence towards the topic with the title “Brakes Slammed On ‘Over-Zealous Spy Cars’“. Is that really a wrong approach?

Even though the heart of the matter quoted “These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists, ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, that school children are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear“, which is fair enough. My issue is that these people parked illegally, so why is that an issue?

The quote “CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls” remains funny as most town halls will never ever make profit, even if we fine roughly 87.2254% of the London motorists, London would still come up short by a sizeable amount.

It is in the area of the parking fines article we see this quote “The capital is extremely congested so we’d expect to see a higher number of restrictions in place and penalties being issued. However, there is a fine line between fair and opportunistic that councils shouldn’t be tempted to cross.” Here I wonder how to react. You see, if the council revokes a driver’s licence after 3-4 fines for no less than one year, it seems to me that the congestion problem will solve itself overnight. I agree that these transgressions are not in the league of Manslaughter or Grievous bodily harm, but laws are laws and are traffic laws any less? (Well, less than murder, yes!) There will always be excuses and some will remain valid.
L or P plates correctly displayed at start of journey‘, which in all honesty could happen. There is ‘on medical grounds‘, where the driver was helping a victim into a hospital. There will always be a grey area that we in all honesty must deal with. These are the parking fines and there are a few more valid reasons, but some are just out there. I felt a lot less lenient when it comes to speeding. You see, there is always that joker who thinks he is in control and when speeding goes wrong, he refuses to die for the sake of it, but will have killed someone else. When we read that: “X (name removed) was jailed for eight months for causing death by careless driving“, I wonder why that person is not spending life in jail for murder. the quote “Believing they were walking ‘deliberately slowly’, she engaged the clutch and revved the engine of her Honda Civic to scare them off the road while her car was still moving at around the 30mph speed limit” gives additional feelings of anger. These pedestrians were at a pedestrian crossing? 8 months jail and a two year ban is all she had to do, which in my book seems just wrong.

It is the quote “We are opposed to speed cameras in general. The evidence of their success in promoting safety is not good and in reality what is happening now is that the police are using speed cameras to fund their other activities through speed awareness courses.” by Roger Lawson, a spokesman for the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) that gives additional concern. Perhaps these measures do not go far enough?

It is currently stated that if you are caught speeding then you will be handed an absolute minimum punishment of three penalty points and a fine of £100. How about making that four penalty points and a fine of £200? Also during special times, like Easter, Christmas and so on, the demerits double, making the driver extra careful. Next we see that ‘if you accrue 12 points on your licence within a three-year period‘, should then in honesty become ‘if you accrue 24 points on your licence within a two-year period‘ the driving ban should be no less than 24 months, no matter how essential your driving license is. If someone states that this is too draconian, then I personally agree as well, but many acts do not change the mind of the driver now, so why not give them something to fear. It seems that public transportation frightens them a lot.

What do we get from this?

That is indeed the question. It seems that a total disregard for parking and speeding rules is getting out of hand, and whilst it seems unfair to some, this is also a possible way to stop congestion. It also stops a little pollution, so we do get a double whammy on this front.

This all gets me to Law and Morality by John Gardner (at http://users.ox.ac.uk/~lawf0081/pdfs/lawmoralityedited.pdf). It should seem clear that my approach is ‘aim to serve the common good (Finnis 1980: 276)‘ and ‘aim to justify coercion (Dworkin 1986: 93)‘. There is no denial that this is about coercing the driver to abide by the rules. We should at that point also consider how unjust the laws of traffic are (if that is the raised issue). But is it?

How often could you not park because someone had taken the spot that was rightfully yours? How often have you or someone you directly known to be in almost direct danger because of someone speeding? When a population above a certain level states yes to both (as it currently seemed to be the case), should these laws not change to something more draconian?

Is it not so, that in my imaginary change, we are changing the premise that we all have a right to drive a car, into the premise that driving a car is becoming a privilege for those abiding by the set rules? Is this not deprivation of freedom? We are to some extent already imposing those rules to pilots, considering the lack of accidents there, should we not take the same approach with car drivers? Should we not pass a certain parameter to be considered a driver? We demand skills to many environments that are a lot less hazardous, so why not car drivers? You see, as I see it, the car industry had forever been an open field as it was so lucrative to sell to so many people. Now, with the saturation we see, cars are almost too available and gas prices go through the roof. What if it becomes a privilege? What if the car driving population goes down by 20%? Cars might not become cheaper, but gas certainly will as there is a 20% less need. Public transportation will suddenly get a massive boost and the chance that all this reflects on higher safety standards and less need for emergency aid is also a good thing. We will always need emergency services, but consider that they will have on the emergency services. Here is where I got surprised. When we consider the numbers (at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB13040/acci-emer-focu-on-2013-rep-V2.pdf), we see that in the UK the response for ‘Road traffic accidents accounted for 1.4 per cent of type 1 department attendances in 2012/13‘. That was a number I did not expect to see, so am I looking in the wrong direction? When we look at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/255125/road-accidents-and-safety-quarterly-estimates-q2-2013.pdf, we see a rolling statistic of 1785 killed and 23,530 regarded as killed or seriously injured, which makes the Accident and Emergency (A&E) data in England a slight question. Especially as we regard page 17 of that PDF and the spread of the traffic cases on page 22. Well, No! The numbers make perfect sense; it just shows that the 23,000 are well spread over the timeline; it is just that these 23,000 are in the end only 1.4%. Yes, in case you wonder, I did notice they are not all from the same frame, but we see only a few percent change over these time frames, so that overall the picture is still usable for the most, just that the relief for Accident & Emergency would be minimal (alas). I had hoped that the traffic changes would lessen their work a lot more.

So, am I just trying to add morality to a traffic case? Gardner explains that at times morality needs law, just as law is in need of morality at times. So we are still with the question, is adding draconian measures to traffic laws morally considerable, or will the act result in a lack of morality for the law? That issue is brought to light when Gardner gets to item 4. “Does law have an inner morality?” There we have a nice consideration. Is morality not a setting of norms, hence in reflection is it not a form of discrimination? I am doing that by discriminating against the transgressors, but am I doing this in an unbalanced way? If we accept that morality is seen as a system of values and principles of conduct, and the bulk of people break speed limits, is the morality of speeding not one that should change? If almost all break the speed limit, is the law not unjust to being with and as such is this law, draconian or not a transgression of accepted morality and therefor a law that should not exist?

The facts now fit the statement that Roger Lawson gave us, is this about funding, or about safety? That is not easily answered and without knowing the true and complete course of the 1785 killed. How many got killed through speeding? If we accept that the UK has roughly 34.8 million cars in use, should 0.00525% decide the consequence of the rest? When we look at the deaths, that is what we see; we get 0.0676% if we include the wounded. So, when looking at this, no matter how we twist or turn the data, well over 99% suffers because of a few. There is no question that none of this changes for the victims of these events, but it shines a harsh light on certain aspects of traffic safety and the approach it has. Should the laws change however? There is growing evidence at this point that my Draconian approach is just not the way to go, it shows an increasing tendency to be unjust. We can all agree that unjust laws should not be followed. But in the second degree, are the current laws too harsh?

Here we have several other factors to consider. If congestion is the cause of many evil, then my draconian approach survives the test as it solves part of the problem, yet will it solve the situation? There is no real way to tell. We should however question whether we want to take away the car as a basic freedom, because that is what a car embodies and revoking freedoms is as we can all agree highly immoral.

It seems like we took an opposition approach and through this we learned that people like Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin have a clear case. The same could be said for Roger Lawson, which takes us to the question whether the UK should consider losing the speed limits all together. Would you believe that someone made that case? Norfolk Police Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett did this and makes a good argument for it, which gives wonder on what to do next? He stated “If we are going to do anything about speed and villages we ought to take down all the signs and say all villages are 30mph [48km/h] and you drive on roads like they do in Germany and Italy, as road conditions say”. So if this works in Germany and Italy, why should the UK not go that same way? It cannot just be the weather as the weather in Germany can be even more treacherous as it is in the UK. Is it not also the case that the simpler any traffic issue is, the less confusion we are likely to face? The Egyptian example at the beginning is an extreme one, but does show the effectiveness of simplicity (except for rule three which can be scrapped in Common Law on grounds of discrimination).

Perhaps some changes the UK could get by learning from its neighbours, who knows, perhaps after this the French, Dutch and others will follow the Italians and we might get a reasonable equal traffic system (one can only hope). The end of the article comes down on Stephen Bett stating “UK motoring organisations have dismissed Bett’s comments, with the Guild of Experienced Motorists describing them as ‘just nonsense’“. But is that so? The numbers seem to be in his favour, the evidence of simplicity as generic evidence has been proven again and again, so is it all nonsense or is Stephen Bett onto something? Even though he stepped aside as PCC while an investigation is carried out into his expenses (since yesterday), the points he made should be seriously investigated, especially if proof can be given that simplicity drives down the number of accidents and transgressions, which is a win/win for all people.

So as I see it, the act to add Draconian laws seems almost criminally insane, which is actually what is happening in Spain, but we will get to that in due time when we see the results of Spain implementing such harsh rules.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics, Science