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IQ versus PI

I could not believe my eyes this morning. OK, I admit I had a weird night. It was suddenly too warm (for winter) and I ended up cleaning my kitchen at 03:00, that’s how I roll at times. So when I got my morning routine together which was delayed by 30 minutes, I ended up having to wake up to ‘Moscow using UK as dumping ground for poison, says Sajid Javid’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/05/sajid-javid-uk-to-consult-allies-over-novichok-response-russia-poisoning), whilst having my first (and second) coffee. Now as a conservative, I am worried. For the most, I do not consider politicians to be overly intelligent. Now that is not really a big deal, my IQ test was around 12 point lower than Alan Turing, so I don’t have the biscuit on Intelligence, I know that much. Yet as a former boss of the Deutsche Bank, I would have thought that Sajid Javid had a decent handle on things (like common sense). So when I get confronted with “using the UK as a “dumping ground” for poison and urged Russia to explain “exactly what has gone on””, I do wonder whether Sajid is smitten with IQ or with Plenty Ignorance (PI). So as the article is giving us things like “Sources close to the investigation dropped a hint that they may now know the identity of the would-be killers who targeted the Skripals”, that whilst the transmission method was never determined, for either case, the fact that the goods cannot be traced as the individual parts were never found, we are confronted with ‘dropped a hint’ that comes across as an almost desperate attempt to shake the tree and wonder if anyone will be running away. The additional part where we are all still confronted with what the fans of the Hammers might regard as a ‘load of bollocks’, so when you see “the novichok that harmed them may have been in a sealed container left following the attack”, we need to realise that the operative part in all the unknown parts is ‘may have been’.

Now, this is nothing against the metropolitan police or the counter terrorism units, as this is not ANYONE’S cup of tea and we can add the CIA to that list as they are learning the issues that the Salisbury detectives are confronted with and with Salisbury with an utter lack of CCTV’s, the detectives get to work with a lot less than their peers in Sussex and Brighton currently have access to.

Now, the article also gives us “The incident in Amesbury is being viewed by the authorities as an after-effect of the March attack rather than a major new development. This would suggest the police do not regard the agent as being from a fresh batch” and that is important as I mentioned towards that yesterday (it was speculative at the time), and the fact that it might have been thrown out (if that is true) then it was a dump, but I feel certain that it was not done as a state driven action. People in that setting do not leave evidence behind. In addition, we need more factual data before we can draw on any speculative conclusions, yet it seems that Sajid does not have them either. The ‘may have been’ and ‘dropped a hint’ give us that much.

I do get it, they are all about smothering optional panic, but being stupid about it does not tend to be a solution, it pretty much never is. So when we see: “Our strong working assumption is that they came into contact with the nerve agent in a different location to the sites that were part of the initial clean-up operation”, we see to a decent regard a factual part, yet most common sense brains would have gotten us there, in addition, there were only two affected in both initial cases, so the investigators do not have anything and the additional police officer hit, would have been most likely from a transfer from one of the initial victims, which makes sense. In addition to that, the fact that the second pair was hit so much later, knowing that all the Novichok versions are highly unstable. Now in all regards, we cannot give Sputnik news the sentiment of being unbiased yet they gave us in April parts that were already known. “the Novichok is a very unstable substance, which depends on [exposure to] water, on alkalis, on everything”, So when we consider the rain and humidity in the Salisbury region, how likely are some of the presented facts? They also gave a part that I did not know (having no degree in Biomedicine or Ways of Mass Discomfort). The quote: “Mirzayanov said that the toxin did not kill Skripals since the substance is vulnerable to humidity, and there was fog in the United Kingdom on March 4, the day of the poisoning attack on Skripals”. I surmised part due to its instability, yet the given ‘the substance is vulnerable to humidity, and there was fog in the United Kingdom on March 4, the day of the poisoning attack on Skripals’ gives us that humidity is a much stronger factor in negating the efficiency of the substance, making it a lot less terminal. Something a state ordered visiting person would have been made aware of. So as we are confronted with more and more media outbursts, we are watching a show where the cast is unflatteringly (and undeserving) caught with their pants around the ankles doing the penguin.

The final part that is questionable is the quote: “scientists had said novichok degraded in the natural environment over time, adding to the notion that the substance Sturgess and Rowley came into contact with was in a container.” Yet when we accept that all the Novichoks are unstable and that humidity impacts it in a larger degree implies that there was no ‘degradation’ not after such a long time, not to remain this potent. So if it was a sealed container, there might be some reflection on that, but that requires a lucid person to answers a lot of questions and the victims are still “critically ill and doctors at Salisbury district hospital are trying to stabilise them”, so there is that part gone. In addition, they either have the container, or they do not. It might make most sense, but in the end it seems that some people of authority are setting a stage of implied emotion through speculation and half truth, so whilst they are all members of the Ignoranus clan and basically blaming the Russian government on this (this one time they might actually be innocent, so go figure), we see ‘The eyes of the world are currently on Russia, not least because of the World Cup’. It is a dangerous setting, not because of the fact that it is done, but merely because the people are not looking and perhaps realising that there was something that they missed which might have actually helped the detectives working on this.

And in the end Sajid Javid made it worse with: “We will stand up to the actions that threaten our security and the security of our partners. It is unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets, or for our streets, our parks, our towns to be dumping grounds for poison” the mere fact that there is close to no evidence linking the Russian government to this event because they basically invented the stuff, is almost like blaming Alfred Nobel for all the blown up buildings in Syria in the last 5 years when dynamite was used. The fact that the man has been dead for almost 122 years is the smallest of issues that the media will find a loophole for. Adding: ‘Sources close to the investigation’ or ‘may have been’ usually does that trick.

Yet no one denies that there is an issue, there is one that needs a resolution and we need to realise that one of several Novichok nerve agents are out in the open. There is even the consideration that someone with an utter lack of common sense is playing with one (or more) of them. The fact that there are no terminal cases might imply this, yet the wielder and the reason are unknown. We can also agree that in the Skripal case there might have been Russian government employee involvement, yet no evidence was ever brought to light. In the second case it is so much less likely, yet there we do not know how the nerve agent was set upon the couple, the timeline clearly indicates that she was the initial infected and the setting of a third unharmed person implies with a level of certainty that it happened outside of their premises and that is about all we have been exposed to. There might be more, but the police will not and optionally should not reveal that for the longer of times, which is fair enough, they have a hard task ahead and they can do without the Monday morning quarterbacks called bloggers (including me) and journalists (pretty much every paper on the planet). I do hope that they can solve and close the case, yet until that point comes, I do hope that Sajid Javid gets clue and gets it fast, because the PI he is showing is getting to be exponentially larger than his IQ ever was.

 

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Data illusions

Yesterday was an interesting day for a few reasons; one of the primary reasons was an opinion piece in the Guardian by Jay Watts (@Shrink_at_Large). Like many article I considered to be in opposition, yet when I reread it, this piece has all kinds of hidden gems and I had to ponder a few items for an hour or so. I love that! Any piece, article or opinion that makes me rethink my position is a piece well worth reading. So this piece called ‘Supermarkets spy on them now‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/31/benefits-claimants-fear-supermarkets-spy-poor-disabled) has several sides that require us to think and rethink issues. As we see a quote like “some are happy to brush this off as no big deal” we identify with too many parts; to me and to many it is just that, no big deal, but behind the issues are secondary issues that are ignored by the masses (en mass as we might giggle), yet the truth is far from nice.

So what do we see in the first as primary and what is behind it as secondary? In the first we see the premise “if a patient with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia told you that they were being watched by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), most mental health practitioners would presume this to be a sign of illness. This is not the case today.” It is not whether this is true or not, it is not a case of watching, being a watcher or even watching the watcher. It is what happens behind it all. So, when we recollect that dead dropped donkey called Cambridge Analytics, which was all based on interacting and engaging on fear. Consider what IBM and Google are able to do now through machine learning. This we see in an addition to a book from O’Reilly called ‘The Evolution of Analytics‘ by Patrick Hall, Wen Phan, and Katie Whitson. Here we see the direct impact of programs like SAS (Statistical Analysis System) in the application of machine learning, we see this on page 3 of Machine Learning in the Analytic Landscape (not a page 3 of the Sun by the way). Here we see for the government “Pattern recognition in images and videos enhance security and threat detection while the examination of transactions can spot healthcare fraud“, you might think it is no big deal. Yet you are forgetting that it is more than the so called implied ‘healthcare fraud‘. It is the abused setting of fraud in general and the eagerly awaited setting for ‘miscommunication’ whilst the people en mass are now set in a wrongly categorised world, a world where assumption takes control and scores of people are now pushed into the defence of their actions, an optional change towards ‘guilty until proven innocent’ whilst those making assumptions are clueless on many occasions, now are in an additional setting where they believe that they know exactly what they are doing. We have seen these kinds of bungles that impacted thousands of people in the UK and Australia. It seems that Canada has a better system where every letter with the content: ‘I am sorry to inform you, but it seems that your system made an error‘ tends to overthrow such assumptions (Yay for Canada today). So when we are confronted with: “The level of scrutiny all benefits claimants feel under is so brutal that it is no surprise that supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has a policy to share CCTV “where we are asked to do so by a public or regulatory authority such as the police or the Department for Work and Pensions”“, it is not merely the policy of Sainsbury, it is what places like the Department for Work and Pensions are going to do with machine learning and their version of classifications, whilst the foundation of true fraud is often not clear to them, so you want to set a system without clarity and hope that the machine will constitute learning through machine learning? It can never work, that evidence is seen as the initial classification of any person in a fluidic setting is altering on the best of conditions. Such systems are not able to deal with the chaotic life of any person not in a clear lifestyle cycle and people on pensions (trying to merely get by) as well as those who are physically or mentally unhealthy. These are merely three categories where all kind of cycles of chaos tend to intervene with their daily life. Those are now shown to be optionally targeted with not just a flawed system, but with a system where the transient workforce using those methods are unclear on what needs to be done as the need changes with every political administration. A system under such levels of basic change is too dangerous to get linked to any kind of machine learning. I believe that Jay Watts is not misinforming us; I feel that even the writer here has not yet touched on many unspoken dangers. There is no fault here by the one who gave us the opinion piece, I personally believe that the quote “they become imprisoned in their homes or in a mental state wherein they feel they are constantly being accused of being fraudulent or worthless” is incomplete, yet the setting I refer to is mentioned at the very end. You see, I believe that such systems will push suicide rates to an all-time high. I do not agree with “be too kind a phrase to describe what the Tories have done and are doing to claimants. It is worse than that: it is the post-apocalyptic bleakness of poverty combined with the persecution and terror of constantly feeling watched and accused“. I believe it to be wrong because this is a flaw on both sides of the political aisle. Their state of inaction for decades forced the issue out and as the NHS is out of money and is not getting any money the current administration is trying to find cash in any way that they can, because the coffers are empty, which now gets us to a BBC article from last year.

At http://www.bbc.com/news/election-2017-39980793, we saw “A survey in 2013 by Ipsos Mori suggested people believed that £24 out of every £100 spent on benefits was fraudulently claimed. What do you think – too high, too low?
Want to know the real answer? It is £1.10 for every £100
“. That is the dangerous political setting as we should see it; the assumption and believe that 24% is set to fraud when it is more realistic that 1% might be the actual figure. Let’s not be coy about it, because out of £172.3bn a 1% amount still remains a serious amount of cash, yet when you set it against the percentage of the UK population the amount becomes a mere £25 per person, it merely takes one prescription to get to that amount, one missed on the government side and one wrongly entered on the patients side and we are there. Yet in all that, how many prescriptions did you the reader require in the last year alone? When we get to that nitty gritty level we are confronted with the task where machine learning will not offer anything but additional resources to double check every claimant and offense. Now, we should all agree that machine learning and analyses will help in many ways, yet when it comes to ‘Claimants often feel unable to go out, attempt voluntary work or enjoy time with family for fear this will be used against them‘ we are confronted with a new level of data and when we merely look at the fear of voluntary work or being with family we need to consider what we have become. So in all this we see a rightful investment into a system that in the long run will help automate all kinds of things and help us to see where governments failed their social systems, we see a system that costs hundreds of millions, to look into an optional 1% loss, which at 10% of the losses might make perfect sense. Yet these systems are flawed from the very moment they are implemented because the setting is not rational, not realistic and in the end will bring more costs than any have considered from day one. So in the setting of finding ways to justify a 2015 ‘The Tories’ £12bn of welfare cuts could come back to haunt them‘, will not merely fail, it will add a £1 billion in costs of hardware, software and resources, whilst not getting the £12 billion in workable cutbacks, where exactly was the logic in that?

So when we are looking at the George Orwell edition of edition of ‘Twenty Eighteen‘, we all laugh and think it is no great deal, but the danger is actually two fold. The first I used and taught to students which gets us the loss of choice.

The setting is that a supermarket needs to satisfy the need of the customers and the survey they have they will keep items in a category (lollies for example) that are rated ‘fantastic value for money‘ and ‘great value for money‘, or the top 25th percentile of the products, whatever is the largest. So in the setting with 5,000 responses, the issue was that the 25th percentile now also included ‘decent value for money‘. So we get a setting where an additional 35 articles were kept in stock for the lollies category. This was the setting where I showed the value of what is known as User Missing Values. There were 423 people who had no opinion on lollies, who for whatever reason never bought those articles, This led to removing them from consideration, a choice merely based on actual responses; now the same situation gave us the 4,577 people gave us that the top 25th percentile only had ‘fantastic value for money‘ and ‘great value for money‘ and within that setting 35 articles were removed from that supermarket. Here we see the danger! What about those people who really loved one of those 35 articles, yet were not interviewed? The average supermarket does not have 5,000 visitors, it has depending on the location up to a thousand a day, more important, when we add a few elements and it is no longer about supermarkets, but government institutions and in addition it is not about lollies but Fraud classification? When we are set in a category of ‘Most likely to commit Fraud‘ and ‘Very likely to commit Fraud‘, whilst those people with a job and bankers are not included into the equation? So we get a diminished setting of Fraud from the very beginning.

Hold Stop!

What did I just say? Well, there is method to my madness. Two sources, the first called Slashdot.org (no idea who they were), gave us a reference to a 2009 book called ‘Insidious: How Trusted Employees Steal Millions and Why It’s So Hard for Banks to Stop Them‘ by B. C. Krishna and Shirley Inscoe (ISBN-13: 978-0982527207). Here we see “The financial crisis appears to be exacerbating fraud by bank employees: a new survey found that 72 percent of financial institutions say that in the last 12 months they have experienced a case of data theft by one of their workers“. Now, it is important to realise that I have no idea how reliable these numbers are, yet the book was published, so there will be a political player using this at some stage. This already tumbles to academic reliability of Fraud in general, now for an actual reliable source we see KPMG, who gave us last year “KPMG survey reveals surge in fraud in Australia“, with “For the period April 2016 to September 2016, the total value of frauds rose by 16 percent to a total of $442m, from $381m in the previous six month period” we see number, yet it is based on a survey and how reliable were those giving their view? How much was assumption, unrecognised numbers and based on ‘forecasted increases‘ that were not met? That issue was clearly brought to light by the Sydney Morning Herald in 2011 (at https://www.smh.com.au/technology/piracy-are-we-being-conned-20110322-1c4cs.html), where we see: “the Australian Content Industry Group (ACIG), released new statistics to The Age, which claimed piracy was costing Australian content industries $900 million a year and 8000 jobs“, yet the issue is not merely the numbers given, the larger issue is “the report, which is just 12 pages long, is fundamentally flawed. It takes a model provided by an earlier European piracy study (which itself has been thoroughly debunked) and attempts to shoe-horn in extrapolated Australian figures that are at best highly questionable and at worst just made up“, so the claim “4.7 million Australian internet users engaged in illegal downloading and this was set to increase to 8 million by 2016. By that time, the claimed losses to piracy would jump to $5.2 billion a year and 40,000 jobs” was a joke to say the least. There we see the issue of Fraud in another light, based on a different setting, the same model was used, and that is whilst I am more and more convinced that the European model was likely to be flawed as well (a small reference to the Dutch Buma/Stemra setting of 2007-2010). So not only are the models wrong, the entire exercise gives us something that was never going to be reliable in any way shape or form (personal speculation), so in this we now have the entire Machine learning, the political setting of Fraud as well as the speculated numbers involved, and what is ‘disregarded’ as Fraud. We will end up with a scenario where we get 70% false positives (a pure rough assumption on my side) in a collective where checking those numbers will never be realistic, and the moment the parameters are ‘leaked’ the actual fraudulent people will change their settings making detection of Fraud less and less likely.

How will this fix anything other than the revenue need of those selling machine learning? So when we look back at the chapter of Modern Applications of Machine Learning we see “Deploying machine learning models in real-time opens up opportunities to tackle safety issues, security threats, and financial risk immediately. Making these decisions usually involves embedding trained machine learning models into a streaming engine“, that is actually true, yet when we also consider “review some of the key organizational, data, infrastructure, modelling, and operational and production challenges that organizations must address to successfully incorporate machine learning into their analytic strategy“, the element of data and data quality is overlooked on several levels, making the entire setting, especially in light of the piece by Jay Watts a very dangerous one. So the full title, which is intentionally did not use in the beginning ‘No wonder people on benefits live in fear. Supermarkets spy on them now‘, is set wholly on the known and almost guaranteed premise that data quality and knowing that the players in this field are slightly too happy to generalise and trivialise the issue of data quality. The moment that comes to light and the implementers are held accountable for data quality is when all those now hyping machine learning, will change their tune instantly and give us all kinds of ‘party line‘ issues that they are not responsible for. Issues that I personally expect they did not really highlight when they were all about selling that system.

Until data cleaning and data vetting gets a much higher position in the analyses ladder, we are confronted with aggregated, weighted and ‘expected likelihood‘ generalisations and those who are ‘flagged’ via such systems will live in constant fear that their shallow way of life stops because a too high paid analyst stuffed up a weighting factor, condemning a few thousand people set to be tagged for all kind of reasons, not merely because they could be optionally part of a 1% that the government is trying to clamp down on, or was that 24%? We can believe the BBC, but can we believe their sources?

And if there is even a partial doubt on the BBC data, how unreliable are the aggregated government numbers?

Did I oversimplify the issue a little?

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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