Tag Archives: CPS

The Digital Dilemma

Just a few hours ago, the guardian makes us aware of an interesting case. The article by Rob Davies is interesting for a few reasons, apart from the fact that it was nicely written and reads really well. We see the title ‘Google under pressure to refuse Viagogo advertising‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/sep/10/google-under-pressure-to-refuse-viagogo-advertising). I cannot completely agree with the premise, but I understand the setting.

When we are confronted with: ‘FA, UK Music and MPs urge Google to stop accepting payments from ticket firm‘ we are confronted with a few things, all apart from the fact on the path taken and that awareness is a good thing. You see, when the quote “The letter, sent to senior Google executives on Friday and seen by the Guardian, says that Viagogo’s prominence in search rankings is leading to consumers buying sports, music and theatre tickets that may be invalid” we are confronted with two distinct parts, the first is ‘may be invalid‘, the more interesting part is not on Google, but on why there is no criminal investigation and prosecution of Viagogo. Is it not interesting that we see ‘pressure Google‘ and not ‘prosecute Viagogo‘? That part makes little sense. If the law is clear on selling and tickets at vast mark-ups, why is that not clearly in place?

When I enter ‘Viagogo’ in my google search, I am treated to at the very top of the screen. On the Right side I see image below that, which leaves us with even more questions, if you look at that image properly. So we can see that Viagogo is setting the right stage for Digital Marketing, there is no denying this. So as we are introduced to the workings of Eric H. Baker, the American businessman (read entrepreneur), aka founder and CEO of Viagogo, and co-founder of StubHub, a Harvard and Stanford graduate, we need to consider the parts where it counts. Is he breaking the law, and moreover if he is not breaking the law, is the setting of “Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, one of the letter’s signatories, said: “I have heard too many times from distressed customers of Viagogo that they were led to the website because it was at the top of their Google search” a valid one?

You see, whenever I want to go to a concert, I go to the actual site of where the performance is and I see THERE where I can get the tickets. So the fact that some consumers are lazy is one thing, that they do not properly do their homework is another one. That aside, when the law is broken actions need to be taken, that is clear, but was it? In additional, how often did MP Sharon Hodgson look into the matter? With ‘I have heard too many times from distressed customers’ she now becomes a valid target as well, so can we get specifics please? We see her visibility again in the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/2eefe9e0-b04f-11e8-99ca-68cf89602132). Now it is the other way around. Here we see ‘Viagogo sues Ed Sheeran’s promoter for ‘fraud’‘, that different candy, is it not? We setting given here is: “Viagogo claims that Stuart Galbraith, the founder of Kilimanjaro Live, “duped” fans during Ed Sheeran’s 2017 tour by setting up fake “Viagogo booths” outside venues to attract people who had bought their tickets from the site. These tickets, which Viagogo argues were valid, were then confiscated and fans were forced to buy new ones“, an interesting ploy, the question becomes was the law broken by Viagogo? We are also informed by the Financial Times on the action with “Viagogo said that it has refunded the fans who bought from them and has sued Mr Galbraith in a court in Hamburg with further legal action likely elsewhere“, so basically Viagogo refunded the customers, which is the decent act and will seek reparations elsewhere, which is (as far as I can tell) the decent business oriented act to follow. We are also given “senior executives from Viagogo are due to be questioned by British MPs about the site’s resale practices. Mr Galbraith is also scheduled to appear before the MPs“, this implies that the resale practice is looked into, yet it also quite clearly implies that no law is broken. Here is where we see the Labour MP mentioned as ‘Sharon Hodgson, the Labour MP who co-chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse‘. The question is not on merely ‘Ticket Abuse‘, the question is how the seemingly given title of abuse applies. This is a market of selling and reselling, until the law clearly makes reselling illegal, we see a setting that someone found a niche for margins and applied its options here.

So basically we could go to the setting that like most Labour minded ‘officials’ she too is full of (the ess and tea word) and goes with “Google needs to take action in order to protect consumers, and I look forward to working with them on this in the very near future“, to which my slightly too emotional response is: ‘No you stupid fishmonger, you either set the law correctly, or get out of the bloody way!‘ I agree it is not really diplomatic, but the entire setting is just a joke, the way I see it (at present).

You see, Viagogo (on their website) give us: “About Viagogo. Buyers are guaranteed to receive valid tickets in time for the event. If a problem arises, Viagogo will step in to provide comparable replacement tickets or a refund. Sellers are guaranteed to get paid for the tickets they sell and fulfil on time“, to me that is clear valid and acceptable. Yet in all this, I cannot find any setting where the CPS or the DPP is in a setting to investigate Viagogo or prosecute them, so were there laws broken? Now consider the commercial other path. If it was clearly illegal, or shunned Viagogo would have let’s say 200 tickets to any event and that would per gig be 20,000 in revenue lost if no one buys them, the question then becomes why not, and how can you continue this business? It would go into administration quick enough.

Is it illegal? That is not stated anywhere, and we need to acknowledge that it is either illegal, or it is not. So instead of working with this optional digital market provider, we see mere brazen outrage, whilst there is no clear legal definition. I also acknowledge that when we look at Product review, it got 1.3 out of 5, which is actually really bad and normally in eBay terms that score is close to a death sentence, yet they are still around why? I also acknowledge that we see reviews like ‘I could go online right now to Ticketmaster and purchase better seats for a much lower price‘, added only yesterday (what a coincidence), there are also the reviews that should lead the police towards the investigation of defamation against people like ‘Annie’ giving us: “People beware: do not bug from these people as the are comming a criminal offence called FRAUD. You buy tickets off them to get falsified tickets and are useless, get to the event an cannot get it. They send then to you a few days before the event“, so if Annie (optionally a fake FB account) cannot validate that opinion with facts, her opinion becomes defamation, if it is true and validated it becomes a path for prosecution (that was simple, was it not?). There was also a very positive review there, as well as ‘Delivered what they promised and got me out of a jam‘ from a Verified Customer. Now, I get it, there will be happy and unhappy customers in every field. My initial feeling is that a 1.3 of 5 does not instil me with any level of trust, yet their own site gives clear settings, clear business settings and the people acting against Viagogo do not go to the law, do not adjust the law, no, they come crying at the Google office front desk. Pardon my French, but how fucked up is that?

We cannot disagree with the Guardian quote: “The letter has 24 signatories, including a host of MPs, trade bodies and associations from the worlds of sports, theatre and music. Sporting bodies that have signed include the Football Association, England and Wales Cricket Board, Rugby Football Union and Lawn Tennis Association“, yet there is no mention that the law is getting broken and that had to be the first action. So why is there exactly this anti Viagogo activity? Margins? Mere legal profits? The fact that someone with Harvard and Stanford goes to scam options is just too weird at times (it does on a rare occurrence happen), or is Eric Baker merely an intelligent person who found an option, an opportunity and took that to make nice coins on the side? Is that not the setting that matters?

You see, I still see idiots all over the field having no clear idea on how to properly use digital marketing, the fact that there are those who do know what to do and they can turn opportunity into profit, which is a valid choice, it is in that setting we see the valid response from google with: “The CMA has been looking at the business practices of ticket resellers. We await the conclusion of these inquiries and we hope that they will clarify the rules in the interests of consumers. We will abide by the rulings of these inquiries and local law“, that is the actual setting and it took me 35 seconds to get there from the moment I read the title (before even finishing reading the Guardian article). It is about local law. It might not even be about the inquiry. The inquiry has no legal bearing until set in law. I is that same setting that the Daily Mail needs to be investigated, as we were treated only moments ago to: “‘Worse than a street tout’: Viagogo charges woman £3,000 for two £87 tickets to take dying father on a bucket list trip to the Last Night of the Proms“. The question becomes, why are the DPP and the CPS not all over this? We now DEMAND to see the evidence. If Viagogo was part of that, then against their own settings we might have a clear setting of law breaking, if not, then the public are entitled to see the Daily Mail to be prosecuted on all fronts. there is no ‘press protection‘ here, not in this current setting, but at that point it is more likely than not that people like Labour MP Sharon Hodgson will suddenly be too busy to look at issues around anything involving ‘the freedom of the press’ and holding the press accountable for their actions, that is how is tend to pan out.

You see, this scenario is out of what, all these accusations at almost the same time, with the Daily Mail ‘hiding’ (or is that using) a kidney cancer case, with tickets merely 2 days old, it is all happening at the same time. If that is the case and the DPP and CPS are not all over this in 5-10 hours, the UK has a much bigger issue, a systemic failure of the law on several fronts and that needs to be addressed now, whilst the first question is not merely: ‘was the law broken?‘ The issue then instantly becomes ‘How many parties have been negligent in all this, and what are their names?

At that point, when that is proven then Labour MP Sharon Hodgson has a case that demands here to be in the limelight, not before and we better get to see some real answers, not some lame ‘we will look into the matter and make proper changes‘, because at that point, I will seek out Eric H. Baker myself, seeking some funding to set up digital campaigns of my own, demanding the removal from office of Labour MP Sharon Hodgson as she is seemingly too unfit for public office. I can get such a campaign started for a mere £35 a day, giving that campaign optionally 20-30 thousand views a day. With all the profits he is making, he might be up for that, did you consider that path Sharon? And in hindsight, in this inquiry, how much time and effort are you taking in regards to StubHub, Ticketmaster, Seatwave, CTs Eventim and Ticketbis? Did any of those raise flags?

You see, I do not oppose such an inquiry, I do not oppose that he law is adjusted making reselling of tickets to be illegal, and that is a valid step to take. Is it not weird that those steps cannot be found? Oh, there is that. You see the setting we get with: “UK law stipulates that the re-sale of concert tickets is not in itself illegal. But it is an offence to sell tickets in the street without a trading licence“. So there we see the first part and if Viagogo has that, we also see the flaw in the entire setting from the start. So when we consider that setting the law was a first requirement, we see the absence of the DPP and CPS and also a first indicator that Labour MP Sharon Hodgson is unfit for public office. That did not take long, did it?

I loved the article by Rob Davies. It made me question parts and that is always a good thing. Yet, when we see all this, we need to ask the Football Association, England and Wales Cricket Board, Rugby Football Union, Lawn Tennis Association, UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher and Music Managers Forum chief Annabella Coldrick, the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre a simple question: ‘Have you sponsored a bill to make reselling of tickets illegal?‘ If not: ‘Why not?‘ Those are the questions that matter, but are we seeing those questions asked and answered?

It was that simple and crying at the front desk of Google was merely a waste of everyone’s time, plain and simple. I am not friend of Viagogo, I would have personally never gone there, not for one or the other, just because I would have taken the path of the actual venue location and the official venue website, and in all this is it not interesting that when we are confronted with the Daily Mail part: ‘Hannah Maturin, 30, wanted to take her frail father John to see the Last Night of the Proms‘, that she decided to allegedly pay £2959 over £174 and decided not to call the Royal Albert Hall first with her dad being in such a state? It is what I would have done. And we see all this news at the SAME TIME? How is this level of orchestration going for you? So much common sense absent from so many players and no one is asking the question: ‘Why is that?

#ItMustBeMe

 

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She was not ready

As subtlety goes, I am happy to throw it out of the window this morning (a lack of coffee does this to me). You see, when we get the situation that the guy states that it did not matter whether she was ready or not, mainly because it only costs him $50, regardless what comes (or is that who). You might wonder where this is going, this is not going there, we are talking about banking. It does not matter who you screw and how you screw people over, when ‘she’ is not ready (or willing), it potentially constitutes a crime and you can throw ‘potentially’, as I personally see it straight out of the window. So why are we not getting angry? Why are we confronted with ‘TSB plunges to £107.4m loss as bill for IT chaos reaches £176m‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/27/tsb-plunges-to-107m-loss-as-bill-for-it-chaos-reaches-176m). When we see: “bank has resolved only a third of 135,403 complaints“, why is there not a front page leading with the CPS investigating issues at the TSB? When we are confronted with “The payouts that followed a botched IT transfer from its former parent Lloyds to the new owner, Sabadell, a Spanish bank, in April pushed TSB into a first-half loss of £107.4m, compared with a profit of £108.3m in the same period last year“, we see a dangerous setting and there is no investigation? When we see the Financial Times on June 22nd 2018 (at https://www.ft.com/content/32749936-7561-11e8-aa31-31da4279a601), giving us the “customer of Bank of Scotland last month asked to withdraw £5,000 at her local branch in Leven, north of Edinburgh, the cashier thought the amount was unusual and asked her to speak to the branch manager. The pensioner explained that she needed the cash to pay workmen who had asked if she would like some half-price work on her driveway. Spotting a potential scam, the branch manager called the police, invoking a scheme that came into effect last year dubbed the “banking protocol”. Officers responded immediately and arrested six men at the customers’ house“, so in that case we go all out on 6 men, but we now see a setting where ‘135,403 complaints‘ are a potential issue involving many millions, and we are not looking deeper and setting the limelight on a level of negligence close to unique in banking. So what gives?

This does not come lightly, you see, when you take a scalpel to the quote: “The bank admitted that while it’s mobile app, online and telephone banking services are “much improved”, problems remain. The chief executive, Paul Pester, who defied calls to resign over the handling of the meltdown, said: “We’re making progress in resolving the service problems customers experienced following our IT migration and we will continue to work tirelessly until we have put things right.”“, we get the following:

  • The bank admitted that with its mobile app, problems remain.
  • The bank admitted that with its online banking services, problems remain.
  • The bank admitted that with its telephone banking services, problems remain.
  • The chief executive, Paul Pester has been called to resign over the handling of the meltdown.
  • We have been currently unable to resolve the service problems customers experienced.

Reread the previous quote and you can see that it is all there.

This setting does not merely impact some parts of the IT setting; it involves failure on the levels of

  1. Documenting the changes required.
  2. Verifying the document is accurate and confirmed form the UK and Spanish side
  3. Presenting the required steps to the board members letting it be scrutinised
  4. Analysing the migration test run and testing it for the setting of trial version against the live databases
  5. Doing a small segment live run to test for optional missed failures
  6. The QA report on the path to see if any issues were missed.

These are merely 6 steps in the most shallow of tests required to see if the changes would hold, yet in all this, with the setting of ‘135,403 complaints‘, there is a clear indication that more than just a few issues were missed.

It gets to be a larger issue with “Savings balances fell by nearly £1bn, while 26,000 account holders switched to other banks. Breaking down the £176m bill, TSB has so far paid £115.8m in direct customer redress, £30.7m to fix “operating defects” and £29.9m in lost income after it waived fees and charges to customers“, when I am confronted with ‘£30.7m to fix “operating defects”‘, we are confronted with a much larger issue than the 6 points show, It implies that the preparation and QA was close to completely missed. Even as we also see the implied £0.02 from TSB Marketing towards the Guardian, the truth of the presented “TSB said it remains one of the most financially secure banks in the UK and despite the highly publicised problems it had attracted 20,000 new customers“, you see, an actual secure bank does not lose £1,000 million, and neither does it stage the setting where 26,000 account holders do the ‘Nintendo Switch’ towards another bank. In addition, there is no verification for the quality of the implied ‘20,000 new customers‘, yet the loss of optional 26,000 loyal account holders might prove to be a much larger loss down the track. That is not given and the Guardian is not giving us those goods here (because we can accept that this loss is for now unknown).

The setting intensifies with “TSB was heavily criticised for its initially slow response to the crisis but has since hired 1,800 people and redeployed 700 staff internally to help stabilise its services“, so not only are people redeployed, 1,800 staff members need to be trained (I have done that for years, so I can already see the additional dangers not shown yet), there will be a learning curve, in addition the added stresses might make the chance of introducing new flaws and errors larger.

Even as TSB is for all settings decently adapt in shifting blame, with “On 22 April 2018 TSB moved from an IT system rented from Lloyds Banking Group to a new IT system provided by Sabis. As TSB outlined to the Treasury select committee in June, from internal investigations it appears that the design of the platform itself is robust but that the deployment on to the technical infrastructure led to many of the problems. TSB and Sabis therefore shifted the focus of the internal investigation towards the testing regime in Sabis and its providers“, the mere fact that a shift like that requires a shadow run of no less than 1 quarter, even if that means hiring 60 people trailing 6,000-10,000 accounts, that would have revealed a lot of the issues. So the evidence we see with ‘the deployment on to the technical infrastructure led to many of the problems‘, the 6 points mentioned earlier, the test runs and the shadow phase would have shown this. Now we have a, what I would personally regard as a setting of corporate negligence. You see, TSB cannot shift the blame, they are part of this and the proper testing was required on both sides. I would never want a CTO who had not been in the depth of the transfer from beginning to end, and if TSB had no proper CTO, continuing should not have been an option.

It gets even worse, when we see the Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/tsb-bank-losses-it-fiasco-cost-paul-pester-a8466856.html), who gives us “some reported being able to see other people’s financial details“, it’s a phishing hackers dream to get that far in any bank, for the bank to directly allow the viewing of this is just beyond normal comprehension. So as even the Independent is slightly soft on Paul Pester, they end with “The chief executive will not receive a £2m bonus he was due to collect for successful completion of the integration between TSB and its parent company Sabadell“, which would have been the straw that breaks the camel’s back. You see, the issue is larger than you think, when you consider the additional flaws that were revealed in publications going all the way back to February 2018. The Business Insider gave us the TSB goods on Crypto currency. So consider the IT failure and the setting of: “We don’t block payments for customers wishing to purchase crypto currencies when they use a TSB credit card or debit card, however we continue to monitor the use of crypto currencies and we will review our position on an ongoing basis“, which would have required additional testing on any system moving for one to the other, so additional tests were either not done, or not properly reported on. Now also consider the IBM report mention from June 2018. Here we see (at http://www.cityam.com/287976/ibm-report-suggests-tsb-testing-not-rigorous-enough-before), when we see: “Consultants from IBM told the embattled bank’s board that it had not seen evidence of the kind of testing it would expect of the risky migration process. The meltdown started on 22 April, when TSB had planned to complete a migration of its systems to a new system, away from a platform run by former owner Lloyds Banking Group“, as well as “IBM has not seen evidence of the application of a rigorous set of go-live criteria to prove production readiness,” according to the report, which was created as an update to the TSB board on 29 April, four days after IBM was hired and almost a week after the first signs of problems at the bank. IBM would expect “world class design rigour, test discipline, comprehensive operational proving” for a task of similar complexity and scale, the report said. However, the bank’s testing before the launch may have not given enough evidence to proceed, the report suggested. Previous examples have taken place over a longer time frame, with multiple trials, and did not attempt to migrate the entire customer base simultaneously“.

Now consider that the IBM report was given on April 29th, yet the making of the report suggests that part of this visibility was there as early as March. When you consider these events, how come that the SFO and the CPS is not all over this? It will not matter whether there is a case in the end, their absence is a setting that shows that there is a much larger issue at the banks and TSB might not be alone, but merely the most visible and stupid player.

So even as the TSB hides behind the spokesperson giving us: “The IBM document contained a preliminary work plan with very early hypotheses based on observations to date, that were produced after only three days of engagement with TSB. The content is therefore now very much out of date, really? My 6-point list took a mere 5 minutes, I am certain that IBM has a lot more than I have, and for the ‘out of date‘ part? 26,000 customers leaving and 135,403 complaints, shows that the issues is a lot larger than a trivialised IBM report.

So when I see: “nor were they a validated view of what went wrong or of the actions that have subsequently been taken. Without this context, this document could be misinterpreted to the detriment of TSB’s customers“, I would like to tell this spokesperson (who seems to not be named anywhere) that ‘actions that have subsequently been taken‘, are actions when it was already too late, they should have been prevented! In addition, with well over one hundred and thirty five thousand complaints, the detriment of TSB customers have been achieved by internal actions alone, the IBM report might merely show how stupid these yet to be presented documented actions have been.

There is one additional part in this, and even as we see it as a sign for some crucifixions on banking levels, yet the given Financial Times in May that gives us ‘TSB turned down help from Lloyds during IT failure‘, with the additional “Lloyds had made an open-ended offer to use its own expertise to help TSB, but TSB declined. TSB has since recruited a team from technology group IBM to help it identify and fix the problems“, we see a path that TSB could validly have taken, yet to not include the one provider with years of experience on the TSB account and system usage seems not too great a decision. In addition, we see this (at https://www.ft.com/content/7159ae84-5798-11e8-b8b2-d6ceb45fa9d0), yet what we equally need to consider is that with “TSB’s new system was unable to cope with the volume of customers when it went live“, we see another failure, something that comes with the preparation before things transfers, the entire data load and bandwidth requirement that the new systems require to have, In my personal view it needs to be the current load +50%, not merely because customers tend to get nervous when ‘a new system‘ comes into play, the fact that there are moments when peaks come play (like Christmas shopping), systems tend to get tested to the max, not in April when no one has anything special in mind. In addition, it seems that TSB is relying again and again on ‘Our teams have continued to work around the clock‘, so how long until those teams get a burnout? The same excuse is reused for months now, so either they have been paying triple rates to staff members, or TSB ends up not even being close to a legal setting where they can walk away from anything. That view is seen in the Guardian the April edition, where we saw “Sabadell was warned in 2015 that its ambitious plan was high risk and that it was likely to cost far more than the £450m Lloyds was contributing to the effort. “It is not overly generous as a budget for that scale of migration,” John Harvie, a director of the global consultancy firm Protiviti, told the Financial Times in July 2015. But the Proteo system was designed in 2000 specifically to handle mergers such as that of TSB into the Spanish group, and Sabadell pressed ahead” that part alone should have been the setting where the board of TSB would have required to be up in arms every step of the way. So who were the board members, and which of them have actual IT, Technology and data quality experience? Is that not the weirdest question to ask when we are confronted with crash issues that should have been clearly identified in the preparation and identification phase of a project like this?

So whilst you are lulled to sleep with: ‘we will continue to work tirelessly until we have put things right‘, continue to think what else a bank could lose, or publicly propagate that impacts your life. In the end, the damage is not over and when we see the imbalance not be resolved, IBM might actually end up advising that for now, the return move towards Lloyd’s will be the only remaining sane act in play. How much more is that going to cost both TSB and Sabadell?

A setting that took a mere 5 minutes to see and I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee yet.

In the end, how ready was the bank? It seems not very ready, not ready at all.

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Racing to last place

Even though it is less than 24 hours since my last story that involved the CPS, it is equally less than 6 hours since the Guardian gave us ‘Police outsource digital forensic work to unaccredited labs‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/12/police-outsource-digital-forensic-work-to-unaccredited-labs). It is here that Hannah Devlin informs us of the issues that might plague the courts over the next 2 years. She decides to start strong with the subtitle ‘Market for data analysis called a ‘race to the bottom’, with trials failing because of evidence issues‘ and that is not all. Her article gets stronger paragraph by paragraph. I raised some of these issues yesterday, but that was in general before I even touched on the outsourcing issues. She removes all brakes with the quote: “Gillian Tully, the government’s forensic science regulator, said there is “no excuse” for police forces to continue to use unaccredited providers. “It’s clearly of concern when contracts are being placed with providers that are not compliant,” she said“. Hannah is right, there is a lot wrong at this particular moment in time. And with “The Met outsources digital forensics provision to a defence technology company, called Mass, which subcontracts casework to other private companies, some of which are unaccredited. City of London Police uses six external providers, three of which are not accredited” we see two additional issues. The first is that when a contractor decides to subcontract, they will only do that whilst there is still a profit, so the costing of this endeavour will, once highlighted make matters worse for the CPS. As it is crying on resources, we see outsourcing of outsourced materials. The second issue is that the chain of evidence is now all over the place, which could endanger the privacy of the accused, the victim and possible give additional cause for concern that the course of justice could be in theory end up being perverted in more than one way. This must be the ultimate wet dream for Rupert Murdoch, all that optional information without having to hack mobile phones. The call for an immediate public inquiry in this matter seems almost unavoidable. I think that even without a ‘digital forensic degree‘ the fact that I saw a failing within 5 minutes of reading certain matters in R v Allan is only juicing the frenzy for hard draconian actions in all this. Hannah is completely correct when she states: “In the past decade, digital forensics has evolved from a niche capability to a central element in the investigation of almost every serious crime. The electronic footprint left by suspects can help rapidly establish alibis, identify accomplices and expose spurious claims“, setting is fuelled further that it was not only on disclosure, the joint review gave me clear thought on the lack of actual investigation into the basic connections. That part took me LESS than 300 seconds; or alternatively less than 5 minutes for those less interested in precision. So when we see the BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42417553) which gives us: “A computer disk containing 40,000 messages revealed the alleged victim had pestered him for ‘casual sex’“, we need to realise that checking text messages is done by using the most simple of computer find actions through <CTRL>-F and enter the place of transmission (phone number or identity) would have given the investigation the clue that something was amiss and that is something any IT technician or entry level helpdesk support representative could have done in under a minute, so when Hannah Devlin is implying that something is wrong she is not kidding, she is basically being slightly too diplomatic (a flaw I am fortunately not gifted with). This situation is almost like 30 people walking in on a man sledgehammering another person to death in full view of an audience of 30, and one of them states: “You might require legal representation“. Yup! That would be regarded as the quote of the year!

The article also shows an issue with the view of criminal barrister Andrew Keogh, who gives us: ““You’d be led to believe that there’s some magic in this accreditation and that if you’re not accredited you’re not good,” said Andrew Keogh, a criminal barrister based in Wigan and a visiting fellow at the University of Northumbria. “That’s not true at all.”“, actually, my learnered friend would be wrong in more than one way. You see that unaccredited office is simply ‘not good enough‘, because being ‘good enough’ is ascertained by the accreditation. Feel free to check with the Rt Hon the Baroness Tessa Blackstone on accreditation by the Bar Standards Board and ask whether there is any validity of hiring any legal counsel to represent you in a criminal matter who is not accredited by the Bar Standards Board.

So his view of ‘if you’re not accredited you’re not good’ might sound true, but it is not about being ‘good’, it is about being ‘good enough‘. The commercial sector has all kinds of accreditation, some are as one might think, a ‘load of bollocks‘, and some are essential for keeping afloat. It might merely be my personal view, but being accredited before being allowed anywhere near a life changing situation seems really important to me. Would you trust the first passer-by to use a non-automated defibrillator on you? I reckon that the situation that puts you in prison for life (or merely 8-15 years) requires to be handled by a person who has been checked for having the right qualifications and knowledge of how to deal with evidence. Call me old-fashioned that way, that just how I roll.

So basically I am in line with Norman Lamb who gives us: “The whole fragility of the market and what happens to samples that are suddenly in insolvency, we can’t mess around with this, it goes to the heart of people’s rights as citizens“, so the chair of the science and technology select committee (the person sitting on it) states that there is a flaw in the current tendering and it is leaving the sector vulnerable. I think that it in equal measure endangers the people accused and also the optional victims in all this. So when we consider that there is now evidence that Liam Allan (now 22) has been on bail for almost 2 years will have suing nature with the Metropolitan Police. Can we blame him? In addition, as we might feel for the woman connected to this, the stigma will haunt both. The messages shows him to be allegedly innocent (I am stating alleged, because I never saw the actual messages) and on the other hand we have a case on non-repudiation, because is there evidence that she actually send those messages? That part I can understand as I have had a few messages (from an unmentioned non linked source) where I was offered to ‘fuck her‘ whilst I know she had never had any interest in me in that way (or any other way for that matter). It took less than 5 seconds to realise that someone used her mobile trying to be ‘funny’. The entire forensic screw up gives, again, a wrong light to parties and it could have been prevented, a 2 year mess that could have been largely diffused in less than 2 hours. It now gives both the stigma that could have been avoided as well, and as we read that this work is done by unaccredited companies and people makes it an infuriating one because there are hundreds of people who are hoping to get justice through their day in court and they will be waiting for an additional longer time to get there.

And that is not all, the CPS mad it even worse with the statement: “it was decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction“, which in some measure implies that he was the man ‘who got away with it‘ and that is optionally a separate level of failure. That too came from the BBC in December 2017. So, even as we were given the ‘casual sex requests’ part on one side that does not prove that the woman in question was giving consent when they met. Because digital forensics failed, the stigma will remain and in addition they are empowering events where victims grow less and less certain that they will receive justice or get the protection that these victims are entitled to. That is a failing beyond merely the forensic side and that makes the entire mess even a lot larger than merely the academic view of accreditation.

Yet beyond Andrew Keogh, there is another view. With “Others dispute whether the accreditation system, widely used to assess DNA and toxicology labs, is readily applicable to digital work” we need to realise that this is a bigger basket of worms. One field of science is not the other one and the digital science part has been and will remain in motion for years to come, which also gives more considerations to the digital forensics field. Even as we can agree that there are basic needs, the fact that mobile technologies alone are in transit and in an in-usage evolution spiral, which means that the technology is evolving whilst the technology is used, so there are more issues even below the surface. You have to merely look at the Android and IOS updates a user goes through on a weekly basis to see that there are constant changes. The dangers are that these changes have two sides, the parts we see and the parts we do not see. The second one includes data streams and as these streams optionally change (or have additional digital parameters), there are moments when data is wrong, or better stated wrongly set. To view this I will give you two quotes. The first was: “Google is adding a real-time location sharing function to Google Maps that can be very useful. It can also be restrictive and annoying or, in a worst-case scenario, potentially abusive and controlling“, the second one is: “When we bought our house in 2011, Google maps placed it 1.5 miles south of the actual location“. So important that these are two different quotes, not related to one another. But the essence is that the mobile could have optionally given information that a mail was send from ‘another’ location given the perpetrator a ‘false’ alibi. That error could be the vital part in a defence setting a perpetrator wrongfully free. So in that one instance we see that accreditation is essential and in the second part that there is a supporting side that the DNA and toxicology accreditation might not be (completely) correct for digital accreditation. Without knowing more it is hard to completely agree with the given dispute, but it is clear that here is a possible agreement on that side.

So you would rightfully be left with the question, how anyone in this entire chain of organisations decided to make the call to just outsource it all and how those not passing any quality testing would have been allowed near the evidence in the first place. The implied issues as we see the articles from the BBC, the Guardian and the Independent give a rise to concerns all over the field, not in the least with the victims related to this. You see in light of the transgressor and the victims, the person being the victim in the end is not a given and raises the issue even further. If I can add a reasonable doubt to these cases, how far could I get, without the accreditation to add reasonable doubt to any murder case that relies on digital evidence? In the R v Allan case, I merely needed two minutes and knowledge on how to use an ASCII editor, what happens when a murder case gives me the digital data and optional setting of time and location? The ‘opportunity’ to add reasonable doubt because a lot of this data has no non-repudiation will add to the mountain of reasonable doubt that would add to a long list of acquittals, that is before any barrister can raise the lack of accreditation of the people processing the digital evidence in the first case. And these are all matters that happen before someone wants a proper list of decisions regarding the rules of outsourcing whilst looking at the documentations from the Metropolitan Police, the CPS and the DPP. It is pure speculation on my side, but I reckon that the list of issues would grow even beyond the scope I can see at present. You see, part of this is seen in the BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-derbyshire-42453405). Here we read: “Judges heard police asked the woman to retrieve Facebook messages that they had exchanged. Three pages of messages had been printed and the woman, who cannot be identified, told jurors she had deleted some to free up storage space“. I have an issue with that part, because of the setting. In the first how many messages were deleted? What space was freed? I find the entire matter very debatable, especially as something that I noticed almost immediately, that part took the CPS and parties 4.5 year to figure out? OK, it happened 4.5 year earlier which is not the same thing, but the issue stands. How many cases have been bungled like that and what happens when the courts start to overturn murder cases because there is an issue with the digital evidence? Even if the digital evidence was not key; the chance of additional cause and effects could potentially be seen when there are retrials and they could give issues to a lot more damage. Consider the partial quote “jurors at the trial had been given an “edited and misleading” picture“, in a murder case that will have far reaching consequences.

I feel certain that the end of these events have not been reached and I reckon it will take the CPS several months to realise the full impact of all of this, which would be another worry altogether, because all this could potentially lead to a case load that is a lot higher than ever before and the claimed damages that the government faces could add up to a lot more than most could ever imagine. The latter part is speculation, but in light of claims already underway, I am unlikely to be incorrect on that matter.

It is not without concern that I wonder what other matters Hannah Devlin can raise in subsequent articles on this matter, because I am certain that in the near future we will see more, not less of these ‘evidence failure’ events.

 

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Crown Proclamation Stuttering

In the US we see a new plan to fix infrastructure, which sounds nice, but the US does not have that $1.5T, they are relying on state and local government to raise the money. This sounds nice, but when we realise that the city of Detroit, San Bernardino, Stockton and a few more have filed for bankruptcy, we need to wonder what part of the US would get fixed, because the parts that require fixing might not get it done, the bulk of the American local governments have no budget left to get anything fixed. There is also the news in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/feb/11/sweden-tried-to-drop-assange-extradition-in-2013-cps-emails-show), that ‘Sweden tried to drop Assange extradition in 2013, CPS emails show‘. This is odd, because the quote “The newly-released emails show that the Swedish authorities were eager to give up the case four years before they formally abandoned proceedings in 2017 and that the CPS dissuaded them from doing so” gives even more rise on certain matters. We are then treated to two interesting quotes. The first “The CPS lawyer wrote back to Ny in December 2013, insisting: “I do not consider costs are a relevant factor in this matter.” This was at a time when the Metropolitan police had revealed that its security operation to prevent Assange escaping from the embassy had already cost £3.8m“, as well as “The CPS lawyer also told Ny that year: “It is simply amazing how much work this case is generating. It sometimes seems like an industry. Please do not think this case is being dealt with as just another extradition”“. They are interesting because if we look at the costs of trials there is an extensive need that the CPS lawyer handling that case, might have retired, but letting his pension pay for these costs is not too excessive. You see, when you set £3.8m aside for the security operation on an alleged rapist, whilst you can’t get the CPS talking in a straight line, questions need to be asked, and they need to be asked from the people at the highest levels of the CPS. You see, when you look at that specific case against the CPS (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cps-review-rape-sexual-assault-cases-trials-collapse-alison-saunders-a8180881.html), where we see “All current rape and serious sexual assault cases are to be urgently reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after the collapse of a string of trials due to evidence disclosure failings“, so when we see the collapse of this amount of cases, whilst the CPS blew 4 million on one specific person in regards to a case not pertinent to the UK, there are a number of questions that rise and the media have been all over this for the longest time. So as I see “Police officers dealing with disclosure of evidence could be required to obtain ‘licence to practise’ under plan to address failings“, I realise that the CPS failing is actually a lot larger then we currently see and in all this, and as I see it, in this case, Alison Saunders has ‘inherited’ a mess that is just the tip of the iceberg. The fact that she has held the office since 2013 gives rise to an internal mess that lacks all transparency for the members within the CPS, because if that is not the case and the failings were known in advance than the CPS requires a witch hunt broom to clean it up, right and proper.

You see, this is getting larger and larger. With: “A Metropolitan Police officer involved in two collapsed rape cases has been removed from active investigations amid probes into failures to disclose key evidence” some fail to see that that it is not merely about evidence that was not shown to the defence, there is a concern that the evidence was wrongly collected or not completely collected. This now places the woman in all this in a larger focussed danger because if the police failed to get ALL the evidence, there is the risk that no conviction will ever be achieved. This is partially seen with: “Police had downloaded the contents of complainants’ phones but failed to pass on the information they contained to the prosecution or defence, claiming thousands of messages were irrelevant“, this also implies that the alleged criminals might rely on photo vaults that cannot be hacked and a wrong code could wipe it all. And as for the ‘irrelevant‘ part, how much time was used and how were messages categorised as ‘irrelevant’? The fact that these failings go back at least 7 years show that there is a lack of technical skills, which also means that evidence was never examined properly. If our actions are on our smartphone, the lack to comprehend the usage of that device to the larger extent means that the investigation was incomplete.

That part is shown with the quote “Lawyers say they are frequently told police do not have the time, training or resources to examine thousands of messages and photos on each smartphone – technology which did not exist when forces were given the responsibility of checking for evidence” which was given in a linked article also from the Independent. As we can show that the smartphone has been centre of the personal universe of millions for over 5 years, we can in equal measure state that the correct investigation of evidence that would have been in play has failed for 5+ years. That is far beyond serious, that now implies a systemic failure of the CPS, which is unfortunate for Alison Saunders as this has been on her plot of land for pretty much since she got the top position. Even as we can agree that “the authority said officers failing to comply with requirements were “often ignorant” of their disclosure responsibilities” clearly implies a failing since before she had the position; it equally shows that the CPS has a much larger systemic failure that also involves the Police force. In all this the implied links to the USA in regards to Julian Assange and the clear fact that a government that cannot overhaul its own roads has no business playing politics with the options of the CPS and using members from inside the CPS shows a third failing as well. That part is also shown in the earlier quote “Please do not think this case is being dealt with as just another extradition“, because that is the money quote. You see, that is exactly what it had to be, merely another extradition! The fact that it was not implies that this was some US based nepotism, which coming from the CPS should actually be regarded as utterly revolting, because the CPS has no business playing politics with issues that were not UK based (beyond the optional extradition). In addition, law experts in the UK and other countries have already given a clear view in the days following the entire WikiLeaks part. Form the clear view of Assange being Australian, he had basically not committed the crimes as the US played them to be; you see he is not a US citizen. Now I am no friend of Assange, I utterly oppose what he did, but in the end, the hypocrisy that the US showed by trying to hang an Australian, whilst they refuse to hang the people who were behind the 2008 crash and let them walk away with their billions of bonuses is just slightly too sanctimonious for my blood.

The fact that the CPS was willing to waste millions on nepotism and playing politics with the powers of the CPS is merely the icing of the systemic failing cake (yes it is minty flavoured). It will be essential to make larger changes and making them immediately is a lot more essential. Even as the changes are being made and we see that they are 5 years late. My only concern is that acting fast is equally dangerous. With technology it is not merely on the evidence collected, but on how it is stored. The larger danger is that digital stored evidence remains to be optionally under attack until presented in court and with court dates being pushed forward by up to a year that danger will only intensify with every iteration of technology the courts gets to be confronted with.

And in the end?

Considering the mess we see with ‘not to be shown to the defence‘ whilst that was the turning point in the movie ‘In the name of the father‘ a movie from 1993, based on the Guilford Four, the bombing in 1974 implies that the CPS 33 year later still haven’t learned anything (or more accurately, way too little). I would think that those events would have signaled a strong chance of how the matters were handled. It is clear that this is not the case and more dangerously that other players (the US) can use it to play politics, that part is even more damning as I personally see it.

Is that it?

Well, no, there is a defensive side in all this too. When we see: “Defence lawyers say they are routinely having to “fight to get” evidence police should have already reviewed, then putting in hours of unpaid work to examine it themselves at a late stage of criminal proceedings” implies strongly the lack of resources and technology. There will be a larger need to get smart about certain matters and that can be achieved to some degree, but in the end it will be about ample resources, that part has not been in question. The large bonus based pound amount will be about how to bring this about. That is the part that the R v Allan case brings forward. The Joint review (joint-review-disclosure-Allan) gives us two gems the first is seen in Item 27 of the chronology: “The officer in the case (OIC) decided to submit C’s phone for examination by the MPS digital forensic laboratory in order to recover deleted messages. The phone contained over 57,000 lines of message data. He conducted a search of the phone download in an effort to identify relevant material. He did not record the method he used to conduct this search“. This now shows exactly the technological failure and well as the failure of the resources. In this particular case the resources seems to be free of blame, yet the technology and the options used are not. The question is how the data became available. the second part is see in point 9 of the findings as we see “Prosecution Counsel and the prosecutor relied on the OIC mistakenly stating that the only messages retrieved were some limited Snapchat messages and that the other data in the phone download was personal data not impacting on the case. The prosecutor should have probed and challenged the OIC and should not have relied upon Prosecuting Counsel making the enquiries. Disclosure should have been considered earlier by the prosecution team“, here I would think that the clear mention of ‘57,000 lines of message data‘ might ring a bell in the brain of the prosecutor to look at the methodology and approach to that evidence. In addition, the mention of ‘limited Snapchat messages‘ also implies that here might be a larger social media interaction between certain parties. Was this ever looked at? The fact that only item 31 of the chronology part makes any mention of social media, gives rise to the joint report being incomplete. You see, people who are on Snapchat tend to be on Facebook as well, so was there no interaction between these parties at all? If that is the case we see the statement that we see in item 26 of the chronology “In January 2016, C alleged that she had been sexually assaulted and raped by D on a number of occasions. As part of the police investigation, C’s phone was handed to the police. In police interview, D said that their sexual relationship was consensual and that the allegations were untrue“, that statement would seem more accurate if there had been little of no Social Media interactions and become lessened with any positive social media interaction that the two parties had. The idea of 57,000 messages and no Facebook gives this my personal assessed reliability of almost 0%. So in this part even the joint review falls short. We can understand that the CPS/Police failed there, yet the fact that social media is merely one paragraph in the review also shows that the review might still be incomplete at present, which is an assumption from my side, so I attached the review of R v Allan so you can make up your mind in all this.

 

 

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Lawyers on a weakly basis

It is the Lawyers Weekly that gets the attention at present. The article (at https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/biglaw/22159-lawyers-don-t-need-to-become-accomplices-to-white-collar-crime) gives us the nice title with ‘Lawyers ‘don’t need to become accomplices’ to white-collar crime‘, yet is that statement anywhere near the truth or the applicable situation that many face in today’s industry? Monty Raphael QC talks the talk and does so very nicely as the experienced QC he is, yet there were a few points in all this that are an issue to me and it should be an issue to a much larger community. For me it starts with the quote ““Cyber space has not created any new crimes, as such, really, of any significance,” Mr Raphael said.” This is of course a correct statement, because until the laws are adjusted, plenty of issues are not covered as crimes. We merely need to look at the defence cloak that ‘facilitation’ gives to see that plenty is not covered. The case D Tamiz v Google Inc is merely one example and as technology renews and evolves, more and newer issues will rise, not merely in cases of defamation breaking on the defence of mere facilitation.

Yet for this matter, what is more a visible situation is the case of Tesco a how PwC seems to not be under the scrutiny it should be, it should have been so from day 1. So when we read: “Mr Raphael insisted that lawyers have an ethical obligation to ensure they do not support or enable white-collar crime” we are introduced to a statement that is for the most seemingly empty. I state it in this way, because the options of scaling the legal walls while not breaking any of the laws that were bended to the will of the needy is an increasingly more challenging task. If the legal walls were better than PwC would clearly be in the dock 2 years ago, or would they? In addition, they are not alone, merely slightly (read: loads) more visible as the profit before tax for Tesco ended up being minus 6.3 billion in 2015.

Monty makes a good case, yet the underlying issue is not the lawyer, it for the most never was. It is the law itself. This is why I object to the title, it is nice but is it true? PwC shows that even as we oppose their actions, the fact that they are not in the dock is because when we see Reuters (at https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-tesco-fraud/former-tesco-executives-pressured-staff-to-cook-books-court-told-idUKKCN1C41TK) we see “Tesco’s auditors PwC were “misled and lied to,” Wass added“. Is this true? Let’s consider the evidence, can it be shown and proven that they were lied to?

It might never be proven because the people in the dock have had years to get their story right (read: synchronised). What I stated at the very beginning of the events of Tesco remains true and it remains the issue. The fact is that PwC made that year £13 million from this one customer. Much of it in a project and auditors for the rest and they did not spot the fact that the books were ‘cooked’, will remain an issue with me for some time to come. It is the Tesco case that also underlies the issue here. It is about the weak lawyer, not because he is weak, but the lack of proper laws protecting all victims of white collar entrepreneurs is stopping them from aiding potential victims. In addition as the law is struggling to merely remain four passes behind it all, it becomes less and less useful, not to mention a lot less effective. As the next generation of economic tools are being rolled out (block chain being a first), we will see new iteration of issues for the law, for both the CPS and DPP as it cannot progress forward in light of the legal parties not comprehending the technology in front of them, so showing wrongdoing will become an increasingly hard task for lawyer to work with. The biggest issue is that as it is all virtual, the issue of non-repudiation goes out of the window. Not only will it become close to impossible to work with the premise of ‘beyond all reasonable doubt‘, there is the fact that ‘proof on a balance of probabilities‘ is becoming equally a stretch. The fact of non-repudiation is only one of several factors. So as we have seen that successful criminals tend to hide on the edge of technology, the chance to stop them is becoming increasingly less likely.

This now gets us to the statement “In the wake of the Panama Papers revelation from law firm Mossack Fonseca, Mr Raphael cautioned that clients’ criminal activities can come back to haunt their law firms“, the fact that both former prime ministers involved in the Panama paper scandals, Bjarni Benediktsson and Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, have been re-elected to the Icelandic parliament (Source: IceNews), so it seems that the Panama papers are a little less of a haunt. In addition there will be a long debate of what constitutes the difference between Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion, because only one of those two is illegal. In addition certain questions on how 2.6TB was leaked and no alarms went off is also an issue, because the time required to get a hold of such a large amount of documents would take a monumental amount of time and with every option to shorten the path, alarms should have been ringing. When we consider the basic IT issues, we get partial answers but not the answers that clearly address the issues, as they did not. The time it had required to do all this should have placed it on the IT radar and that never happened. So as we see on how patches and security risks are now being pushed for as a reason, we need to wonder if Mossack Fonseca could have been the wealthy party it claimed to have been. When we consider the expression ‘a fool and his money are soon parted‘ the lowest level of IT transgressions that have been seemingly overlooked gives rise to a total lack of Common Cyber Sense, staff that should have been regarded as incompetent and an infrastructure that was lacking to a much larger degree. You see, even before we get to the topic of  ‘illegally obtained data‘ which was used for investigations that have convicted people of crimes, the larger issue that could be in play  on the foundation of that data alone, a few prison sentences could be regarded as invalid, or might get overturned soon enough. There were cases where the story gives clear indications of what was done and here we see the consideration of what is admissible evidence. In this, the one step back is the IT part. The hardware would have regarded as little as $100K to upgrade to better security standards and hiring a better level of University Student in his or her final year might have given a much safer IT environment, perhaps even at half the current cost.

All issues worthy of debate, yet none of it hitting the lawyers; it more hits the infrastructure of it all. Yet these two issues that might now be seen as real hindrances for lawyers, in a place of laws that are now seemingly too weak, the law, not the lawyer. So as we recollect the Toronto Star in January 2017 where we see “Canada is a good place to create tax planning structures to minimize taxes like interest, dividends, capital gains, retirement income and rental income,” when we see the added “the Canadian government has made it easier than ever for criminals and tax cheats to move money in and out by signing tax agreements with 115 countries” we see growing evidence that the law is getting hindered by eager politicians making their mark for large corporations through the signing of tax agreements, and what they think would be long term benefits for their economy, whilst in actuality the opposite becomes the case. So every clever Tom, Dick and Mossack Fonseca can set up valid and legal shapes of international corporations all paying slightly less than a farthing for all their taxations. Legal paths, enabled by politicians and as the laws are not adjusted we can all idly stand by how nothing illegal is going on. So as we admire the weakly lawyers, we get to realise that the law and the politicians adjusting it weakened their impact.

In all this at no point would the Lawyer have been an accomplice. The data lies with IT, the setting of these off shore accounts were largely valid and legally sound and in that, there could always be a bad apple, yet that does not make the Lawyer an accomplice. That brings us to the final part which we see with “Money laundering has been in the spotlight recently, with the Commonwealth Bank facing punishment for failing to report suspicious deposits in its ATMs“. It needs to be seen against “Mr Raphael insisted that lawyers have an ethical obligation to ensure they do not support or enable white-collar crime” in this the banks are already faltering. We seek the dark light events of PwC and Mossack Fonseca, yet the basics are already getting ignored. I believe that the article is missing a part, I feel certain that it has at least been on the mind of my jurisprudential peer. You see, the legal councils will need to evolve. Not only will they need to do what they are already doing, the path where they (or more likely their interns) start to teach IT and other divisions a legal introduction on what is white collar crimes. The fact on how ‘suspicious deposits‘ could be a white collar crime is becoming more and more visible. I see that the education of IP legality in IT is now growing and growing. The intertwining can no longer be avoided. Now, we can agree that an IT person does not need a law degree, but the essential need to comprehend certain parts, in the growing mountains of data is more and more a given.

In all this there is one clear part that I oppose with Mr Raphael, it is the statement ‘There’s nothing cultural about greed‘, you see, as I personally see it that is no longer true, the corporate culture that is globally embraced made it so!

 

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It starts with a wrong label

Yes, merely ‘the wrong label’ is the beginning of what we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/16/nhs-data-loss-scandal-deepens-with-162000-more-files-missing) when we see the press look at ‘loss‘ and data files. You see, when we see a million documents that have been removed, that whilst the media (in this case the Guardian) uses expressions like ‘went missing‘ and ‘gone astray‘ we need to worry about the media as a whole. You see this is nothing less than an optional cover up of intentional negligence, multiple acts of manslaughter and perhaps even mass murder. That is quite a leap is it not? You see, when 137 documents are removed and wiped from a system it is a clear cover-up. Just lose those and 925.000 other documents and you get a systematic failure and no one looks too deeply, because now we have an optional situation where MP’s can vie for a few billion to ‘fix it‘. Yet the levels of what went wrong and more important the fact that I myself had a solution available (which would require another year to implement) is exactly the solution that would be preventing this. By the way, this is not about me trying to sell ‘some’ solution. This is merely the application of common sense. We can all agree that a document can get lost, it should not, but it happens. After the loss, if the system is set up correctly, the loss could be recovered. That is when a system is properly set up.

Yet, the opposite is what we see now. Now, we get a mess that is even larger and no one has any clue on how to proceed.

This last statement requires clarification, because merely stating an issue, does not make it one. It is initially seen in the quote “Officials said that in the course of their inquiries, they had identified a further 150,000 medical documents that had been mistakenly sent to the outsourcing firm Capita by GPs; and a further 12,000 missing papers that had had not been processed by SBS“. So it involves several GP’s, which means that the infrastructure has either a systemic failure, or has been mishandled by those in charge. The document went out of the hands of the GP’s, and those who had no copies basically threw away the health of their patients. So what happened when it went to the outsourcing firm? They should still have the papers, or they have forward them to someone else. You see, 12,000 papers (with envelopes) is a large bundle of paper and that does not just go missing, someone received it, processed it and what happened afterwards? How was it processed? The systemic failure is larger when we consider “However, despite staff raising concerns, the firm – which is 49.99% owned by the Department of Health – did not alert the department or NHS England until March last year, 26 months later. SBS was then “obstructive and unhelpful” to NHS England in the inquiry it then instigated, the NAO found“. The 26 month period implies in my view that arrests and prosecution of staff becomes clear. Was that done? What were the actions of the Department of Health, the NHS or the DPP for that matter? 26 months of inaction, it is perhaps the first clear part in this that gives rise to my suspicions. The additional “SBS has paid £4.34m for the loss” gives rise to the fact that the negligence goes a lot higher up the ladder than we are shown. In a place where anything more than £10,000 requires autographs from people who usually cannot be found to sign for anything for months at a time, someone dished out £4 million plus to make it go away.

There is the foundation of mismanaged events that are also the stepping stones of endangering the lives of people. The alleged issue, or is that evident issue that there is more going on can be seen in the quote “People should be reassured that despite reviewing over 97% of the records that SBS failed to process not a single case of patient harm has been identified”, so how does the NHS spokesperson know this? 97% whilst hundreds of thousands of documents including treatments and health plans are missing, how are they so sure? It gives rise to my suspicions of something else. What else? I do not know and it is mere ‘conspiracy theorist’ waves to make any alleged setting here, but the setting in the end that we read about is not about prosecution, it is about an upcoming wave of spending that the UK government cannot afford at present, giving rise to even more issues to come. With “Jeremy Hunt must urgently come before parliament to explain what steps are being taken to ensure this does not happen again“, You see, the ‘happen again‘ part implies that it is clear how it happened in the first place and that is the part where the DPP should have visibly stepped in, and as far as we can tell this did not happen. In addition, with ‘what steps are being taken‘, there is an implied setting that there was a thorough investigation and that might have been part of those steps, yet that did not happen (as far as we can tell) and the fact that the mess was covered up for 26 months gives rise to my suspicions that this was not merely about records. We only need to loop sat the Pharmaceutical scandals in 2013 and 2017, the link to Aspen holdings and the fact that someone saw the option, through a loophole to drive prices by 4,000%. Perhaps that now gives more suspicion to so many documents being ‘misplaced‘. I am not implying that Aspen Holdings is involved in this (or implying that they were), I am merely stating that there have been larger bungles costing millions upon millions that might not survive the scrutiny that the light of day brings. With the Times and the Independent howling one side, the report of ‘lost’ documents is even more unsettling, because that now implies that the usage of certain medication is now only in the hands of the NHS, and they seem to be very uneasy of seeing certain numbers appear. Those numbers will still appear, but now possible on a whole stack of other medication, so that the impact of 3-5 medication suppliers remains unseen. So am I correct? Do not take my word for it and do not merely believe me, I am not asking you to do that, I am asking you to see the failure of these lost documents is a lot bigger than ‘merely’ one outsourcing firm, to lose this amount of paperwork require orchestration on a higher level, that is one part that should be pretty apparent. Yet that last part is still speculative in nature because with the loss of one side, reporting and data dash-boarding on the other side is not a given and may not be impacted, that is the part I will admit to, there are unknown sides in that part, yet the question and the speculative consideration remains in place.

Now, this is not a new revelation, In February and June we saw this news hit the papers and magazines. In all this the DPP remains unseen. When we consider the impact that the events are having and the possible dangers to people’s health, to see nothing at all in relation to Alison Saunders is pretty weird to say the least. It looks fine when she makes a speech regarding the expectations of the NHS on fairness. So as we see “Alison Saunders said the Crown Prosecution Service will seek stiffer penalties for abuse on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms“, we think she is doing her job and she is, yet she has yet to give us anything on the entire lost paper trail, the documents, the actions by the NHL and the outside resource. Is that not even stranger?

You see this all started in February with ‘More than 500,000 pieces of patient data between GPs and hospitals went undelivered between 2011 and 2016‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/26/nhs-accused-of-covering-up-huge-data-loss-that-put-thousands-at-risk). With “The mislaid documents, which range from screening results to blood tests to diagnoses, failed to reach their intended recipients because the company meant to ensure their delivery mistakenly stored them in a warehouse” we get a new part. You see, stored does not mean lost, and this gets weirder with “NHS England secretly assembled a 50-strong team of administrators, based in Leeds, to clear up the mess created by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), who mislaid the documents“. So at this point 8 months ago, the DPP had a clear responsibility. You see when we look at the CPS we see (on their own website ‘the three specialist casework divisions are: the Specialist Fraud Division (which also incorporates Welfare Rural & Health), the Special Crime & Counter Terrorism Division and the International Justice and Organised Crime Division. They deal with challenging cases that require specialist experience, including the prosecution of cases investigated by the Department of Health and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency‘ (I skipped the other departments), so we see here that there was a clear setting last February alone, the longer the inaction, the worse the damage becomes, that has been proven again and again.

In June we see ‘Health secretary forced to respond to urgent Commons question after withering NAO report on loss of 700,000 health documents‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/27/jeremy-hunt-nhs-shared-business-services-data-loss-scandal). With “answer questions from MPs after a damning National Audit Office report found that the scandal may have harmed the health of at least 1,788 patients and had so far cost £6.6m“, we see one side, I expect the damage to be distinctively larger. You see the DPP (as well as the whole of the CPS) seemingly ignored “The private company, co-owned by the Department of Health and the French firm Sopra Steria, was working as a kind of internal postal service within the NHS in England until March last year“, so was this an experiment gone wrong? Was this a PLM error (product lifecycle management) on a massive scale and this does not stop with Sopra Steria, there was an increasing risk that CIMPA S.A.S was linked to all this. The operative word is ‘was’ as the DPP and her CPS seemingly sat on their own hands for at least 8 months, maybe even more. You see, my suspicions are taking me to the fact that the Department of Health knew more on a higher level. That suspicion is shown with “the NAO report pointed out that the DH had chosen not to take up two of the three seats in the boardroom it was entitled to as 49.99% owner of SBS“, so please tell me when was the last time that ANYONE in the department of Health was willing to pass up any boardroom seat. Even if the pay sucks (which it never does) it opens up networking avenues for people they never had before, to the ‘let’s not take this seat‘ would be completely out of the question, dozens at the DH would be chomping at the bits to get a leg up in visibility, so that is how I personally see this mess. When certain members steer clear, there is a larger issue and the DPP was fast asleep (or at least so it seems).

And now the plot thickens!

With: “The government’s response has been complacent and evasive. It’s still not clear how much public money has been wasted in this affair or how this private company is going to be held to account. It’s totally unreasonable for Jeremy Hunt to wash his hands of this when more and more details of his department’s failures keep emerging“, that whilst it had been known that up till 8 months ago £6.6 million was spend and it is not mentioned now is only the top of the issue. With the absence of Sopra Steria and CIMPA it seems that certain sides are pushed away from the centre of the room. It is equally seen when we see “Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a Conservative committee member, said: “You tell us the bombshell that whilst on a trawl of local trusts you find another 12,000 and then you found another 150,000 missing items“, here I cannot tell whether the issue was raised or not (it was not in the Guardian article), yet there is no way that Geoffrey was unaware, a graduate of Eton and Freeman of the City of London. There is no doubt in my mind that he was aware of the links, the question is why questioning in this direction was not pursued and/or reported on. So when you might have been thinking that I was all about some ‘conspiracy theory‘ in the beginning. Do you still think so? The entire PLM issue is one that is not bathing in millions, but in billions as infrastructure crack more and more on the paper trails and reports they require PLM solutions are the only one stopping systems from collapsing overnight. In this regard even India is on par with the needs and CIMPA is taking every step to be the only player of significance there. So now some of the events make a lot more sense, do they not? You see CIMPA was on the right track, until AI becomes the path that solves certain issues, it will be about automation and data processing. For a lack of term ‘from paper to digital data without people’ is what is required as people are the drain on speed and the postal sorting machines had proven that side decades ago. In the end what exactly happened is uncertain and might never be known, especially as the DPP is seemingly still asleep in all this. Did the solution fall over, did the data collapse? We might never know, yet in all this the one part I left for the very end. With the mention of ‘private company, co-owned by the Department of Health and the French firm Sopra Steria‘ there is one side not mentioned. You see private companies have revenues and profits, these profits go to private individuals. None of the articles shed any light on those people involved did they? The DPP, the CPS, Vince Cable, and the Guardian made no mention of that at all and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown didn’t ask these questions either did he?

5 parties all with interests are avoiding looking into a direction to the extent that it needs to get. The fact that it happens under our noses is particularly interesting. I wonder what we will learn in a few weeks, especially as this 26 month ‘slicer’ is as quoted by Simon Stevens, the NHS’s chief executive to be dealt with in the next 5 months with: “This should be wrapped up by the end of March. End of March is a feasible goal.

By that time what else will they not have looked at?

 

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The new Monopoly game

Do you remember playing monopoly? Did you ever play it? I grew up loving it. I am not some realtor, some real estate dreamer beyond the dream of having my own place. Most of us are like that. Just the time when I was young and the family played that game, or plying it with a couple of friends. I ended up having several versions, including the replica original with coins, in a wooden box, just a cool thing to have. So when we consider this game, as the prices of the streets were shown in those days; we knew that blue was the highest an always out of our reach. I lived in a green property for some time, so life felt good, yet today, Yellow, Red, Orange, Purple and light blue are no longer in my view of affordability, in the best case, I might be able to get one of the brown coloured properties. This is how the market changed in a mere 22 years. From an optional 80% of the map to a mere 2 out of 16, that is all that was left to me. So when I read ‘Total UK wealth tops £10tn thanks to City and property boom‘ by Larry Elliott (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/08/total-uk-wealth-city-property-homes-inequality-saving), I just had to laugh. I understand that he might be trying to have a sense of humour about it. Yet when we see “A booming City and rising house prices provided a double boost to Britons holding assets in 2016 as they pushed the nation’s wealth through the £10tn mark, according to a new survey“, the question becomes: ‘How much of that is NOT owned by foreign investors?‘ Is that a weird question or what? Even as we see “Since the better off held a greater proportion of these assets, 40% of the gains of rising share and bond prices went to the richest 5% of households“, is ‘households’ correct or should it read clients represented by British law and accountancy firms, representing foreign interests in the UK? With “The £3.9tn increase in the value of residential property and financial assets owned by UK residents represented a 59% rise, whereas prices rose by 39% and gross household income was up 37%“, we see again the ‘UK resident‘ part and when we take a look at the government (at http://www.ukimmigration.com/investor/uk_investor_visa.htm), we see that basically any person investing in any property (as the London bulk is well over £1 million, the threshold for foreign investors is reached), which beckons the call, when we start digging into UK residents versus UK citizens, how will this all end? Lloyds shows even more sense of humour with “Lloyds said its figure excluded non-residential property and assets held by charities and other non-profit institutions“, which clearly includes all the foreign investors and they are always in it for the profit. It is the final part that gives the new consideration “However, a continued low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing shortage of properties for sale, should help continue to support house prices over the coming months“. This now gives the premise, have the current and previous governments been guilty of betraying the British people by setting the stage of ‘ongoing shortage of properties for sale‘, in this we see the historic part that former Prime minister Margaret Thatcher was the last of the prime ministers giving a rising and clear need for social housing. We see this in the 2015 article from the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14380936) where the amount of social housing went up in the beginning of her ‘reign’ to the highest ever recorded surpassing 150,000 right-to-buy, it took a small dive and in 1987 it got back to around 140,000, after she was succeeded in 1990, social housing took a steep dive to below 50,000 and from there it just went down and down. At the end of the labour reign in 2010 it was at the lowest stage ever, only now is there a small increase visible in that graph. Yet in the BBC article we also see a problem, even as it compares to 1918 where owner occupied is a mere 23%, the 2012-2013 part where 65% is owner occupied is as I call it ‘misrepresented‘ at 65%, because how much of that is empty and what part is foreign invested? You see, plenty of places in London are not offered for rent, but for lease, so who is the owner in that case and where does this fit in that graph? If we add the privately rented, we see that socially rented is a mere 16% (way higher than 1918), yet as we see the Thatcher numbers, who got the people there and how were the people kept out of affordable housing by not making that available. In Australia it might be as bad as the valid people in NSW housing are on the lists for a time in excess of 6 years. So how is that a solution to solving housing issues? And let’s not forget, when the housing is set and forced to become a larger contributor to social (read affordable) housing, what then remains of this ‘£10tn UK wealth‘ housing side? The fact that both sides of the political isle have been in denial and remiss to get any of that solved and Jeremy Corbyn claims to have a solution by pushing the UK in even deeper debt, deeper by the better part of a trillion pounds. So how does that help anyone?

Now, we might accept and understand that life in London is never affordable ever again, yet the political isles must equally accept that this change could constitute an infrastructure collapse. This gets us to some old news. In August 2014 we saw (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/aug/07/london-gets-24-times-as-much-infrastructure-north-east-england) the mention ‘London gets 24 times as much spent on infrastructure per resident than north-east England‘ which is a nice title, yet the dangers are shown soon thereafter. With “more than half of that total was down to the decommissioning of the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria – necessary, doubtless, but hardly an infrastructure ‘improvement’ as most people would understand it” we see only part of the danger. The quote “New analysis of public infrastructure spending by IPPR North lays bare the gap between how much capital expenditure there is in the capital than the rest of England” shows another part, yet the actual issue is not what is spent, but what is required to get something done. When we paraphrase it into “analysis of public infrastructure spending by IPPR North lays bare the gap between how much is required for the same amount of work in London compared to the rest of England” we see the dangers, when the infrastructure maintenance is 2400% of the rest of the UK, there is a danger, yet is it the correct one? In February this year, we see a partial repetition of the old Guardian article, yet with updated numbers it shows (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/20/more-than-half-uk-investment-in-transport-is-in-london-says-study) that London requires 50% of all the funds. In all this we are not given any reliable numbers, because in all this I do not see the comparison of £ per mile of rail serviced. Consider that London has 20 times the amounts of rail that most places have and he London rail when stretched can get a person from Waterloo station to Glasgow five times over (OK, slight exaggeration). Yet the message should be clear. As the infrastructure has less options with in addition less people being anywhere near it, the city of London is facing all levels of collapse. Another part was shown on July 17th in the Independent. The title ‘More than half a million social homes in England do not meet basic health and safety standards‘ is the first indication that social housing and infrastructure are beyond collapsing. With quotes like ‘almost one in seven of all social homes in England‘ are below standards, we see a dangerous escalation. So in this we see a mention of 224,000 houses where the most dangerous safety hazards (category one) is seen. It includes “exposed wiring, overloaded electricity sockets, dangerous boilers, leaking roofs, vermin infestations or inadequate security“, yes, the right and proper place to get your partner pregnant and start a family, would you not agree?

Even as we now see that the Grenfell disaster is a first step in looking into cladding, they all seem to forget that the cladding was done to appease the houses around Grenfell, in addition, the other failures and dangers are basically the non-cladding issues, so the mess is a lot bigger. when we consider the quote “Local authorities have a legal duty to act if a category one hazard is discovered, but hundreds of thousands are going unreported or ignored” we see a much clearer situation where government and city council members could be held accountable towards the transgression of ‘reckless endangerment‘ of lives, so in all this, what is the CPS doing? Has the Crown Prosecution Services made any start on taking a look at this, because these 244,000 houses would in theory represent 300,000 people working to some degree for the London Infrastructure, being it the underground, busses or other civil offices, if even 10% falls away, what happens then? How much pressure, increased costs and non-functional infrastructure remains for London at that point? It seems that the City of London has no way of dealing with such dangerous terms. As I see it, Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan has his work cut out for him. We should all agree that he did not cause this, but he can equally agree that it is on his plate at present and his success will be weighed against his ability to lower that danger and remove the hazards within his largely leased London city.

So as we look at the wealth boom, how exactly is it benefiting the UK and specifically London? As London becomes less and less affordable, as its ‘status’ as premium investment location continues, we might soon see a London that even the tourists can no longer afford. This is not a danger at present with the dropping pound against the Euro, so London is a great place to visit for Europeans. Yet the reality is that this benefit is merely short term, the dangers as the UK turns its economy around, which they will for certain, gives dangers that the dangers I predict are merely 5 years away. When that happens the tourism part will drop, not by a small part, but by a phenomenal amount (In my speculative view well over 20%), so whoever is investing now needs to get that part back in 4 years, they might be facing deadly competition for the few remaining tourists after that. The Time in 2015 talked about the tourism bubble and set it to greed, I think that it is not merely greed; in all this the infrastructure that is dangerously close to a collapse would be a much larger contributing item in all this. So as we see that the infrastructure is in a dangerous place, we need to wonder how the UK government will be addressing this. It is not like it is not a clearly visible issue. It is merely one of several critical issues that the UK faces. Yet in this, the housing part is also the contributing factor for other sides of infrastructure as well. We saw 3 weeks ago that the NHS has 86,000 posts vacant. Not only can they not be filled, even if there was a person available, the reality is that for nurses life in London has become largely unaffordable, which hits social housing as well as infrastructure, a clear visible item known for the better part of 3 years. As a conservative I would be willing to blame my political party, yet the BBC chart clearly shows that as the conservatives came back into office the social housing curve was moving back up (to the smallest degree). Now, there is part that was done by the previous labour government, but only to an even smaller degree. In this I will end with an article that the Business insider has in 2015, in it we see the minimum income per area, when we take a look is that only the cheapest place was affordable for NHS nurses, 54 miles from the hospital, anything nearer would require double the income they presently have, some places are forever out of their reach. Even whilst I know of some places in Swiss Cottage, Southwark and West Brompton, it is shy of the 86,000 places, it will not even give aid to 1%, or 860 places to live in. So, as some people are shrugging at the £10tn wealth value, or the imaginative issue that the NHS problem will solve itself. We need to realise that a few of these issues were interconnected and have been for many years. In this Labour and Conservatives are both to blame, they achieved nothing in stopping, or decently reducing the danger. So when you look at the Monopoly board consider the 22 places and which of these streets you cannot afford a place to live in. So how was this UK wealth any help in resolving the quality of life for those not in the top 5% wealth part, which amounts 98.85% of the UK population, foreign investors excluded.

Consider that side when the next rent is due, and more important, even as all the papers are shouting about rent drops, in the end, the rental price is merely increasing slower for now. With the rent being on average set to £1,500, the 12 month increase is set between £22 and £35 a month depending on your condition, so when you consider that if these people are lucky, their pay increase ended up being up to £61 a month, we see that the increase only takes care of the rent, it will not hold water to take care of the increased price of groceries or heating, so the outlook for the British tenant will be gloomy this Christmas. And before you start blaming Brexit, it would not have mattered one bit. If anyone tells you different, as I personally see it, they would be lying to you.

The people in Britain are seeing a new Monopoly board. Where you start with £800 and passing start gets you a mere £100, in addition add 15% to every street in the first 5 turns and add another 15% for the rest of the game. The final changes are 40% more due for any station and set utilities to 15 times rolled, regardless if it is one or both owned. Now we get a slightly more realistic version of the game as we live it today, so how far would you get in that version of the game? I might want to add that we would need to add 4 pubs, one for each side and treat them like the stations, yet the amount due is 10 times the rolled dice. It seems that our childhood monopoly is the one we still think we live at times, even as we never had any ambitions to own hotels, we always expected to get one house in one street sometimes in our lives; the reality is that this is no longer an expected reality. The reality is now that whomever owns and keeps a place, leaving that to the children is the only guarantee that they have any future at all in the UK, a reality that was not due to Brexit, but due to a government having other commitments, one that was to spending too much whilst not having any backup in place, it is the reality all in the UK face until well over 2040. I still believe that the conservative path to diminish the debt is the only way out and when we consider the news about the £40 billion divorce bill, that is not too weird, because at present Mario Draghi is spending 150% of that every month and getting out now seems to be a lot safer than being around when that collapses, or is that explodes into the faces of EU citizens? Most disagree with me on that, loads of them with economic degrees and that is fine. As I see it, the people all over are in denial of previous debts made and seem to imply that it is not for them to solve, so at your banks when you borrow £2500 every month to pay for things like rent, do you think that you will not have to pay any of it back? Do you think that financial institutions are that philanthropically minded? So as City AM announced on July 17thEurozone inflation fell in June, the European Commission today confirmed, easing pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to start tightening monetary policy at its next announcement on Thursday”, yet a week later we see “Draghi struck a dovish tone at the meeting in Frankfurt, with no firm date given to an announcement on the future of the quantitative easing programme, but investors were not convinced”, which we got on Friday July 21st. So as the spenders are all in denial on several levels, we see that their impact could be a disaster for London when that hits, I have stated in personal belief that getting out of that mess sooner would be essential for the UK. A mere week ago we saw (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-03/big-investors-losing-faith-in-europe-s-ecb-fuelled-junk-rally). Now we see the first mention, not of QE, but the mentioning of ‘ECB-Fuelled Junk Rally’, Bloomberg is now speaking almost the same parts that I have advocated against for many months. With the quote “Deutsche Asset Management has reduced holdings of European junk bonds in its 100 billion euro ($106 billion) multi-asset portfolios and JPMorgan Asset Management says investors should brace for a tough second half. BlackRock Inc. says risks for European credit are tilted to the downside and Nataxis SA recommends dialing back high-yield debt exposure” the large players seem to accept (read: come to the conclusion) the dangers I warned for, for many months, this is a dangers that Brexit should avoid. So, as some players are trying to delay it all, so that the UK gets part of that additional 2 trillion (as I see it).

These matters are connected, you see, when those players try to escape the sewers they will seek other parts that give rise to returns on investment that avoids their downfall, this is where the Monopoly game comes in. Because the reality is that this mentioned UK wealth of £10tn could be the escape hatch they need, yet in that the dangers to the infrastructure would only increase, I might be wrong in that view, yet it is merely my view. So feel free to disagree, providing you do not cry when I am proven correct yet again.

 

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