Tag Archives: Financial Times

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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The wrong side of news

We all have those moments where we get stopped by news. Not because it was shocking, or because it was some breaking event, we all have those moments. Yet, how often did news stop you because it raised a few too many red flags?

That was the case with me this morning when I saw ‘News Corp wants limits on ABC to prevent ‘advantaged’ competition‘. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jul/23/news-corp-wants-limits-on-abc-to-prevent-advantaged-competition) might be fair enough. Yet when we get treated to the story that is (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2018/jul/16/news-corps-promotion-of-lauren-southern-is-disturbing), merely a week ago, giving us ‘News Corp Australia’s promotion of Lauren Southern is disturbing‘ with the quote: “Her speaking engagements with rightwing YouTuber Stefan Molyneux will go ahead, as will the top-dollar dinner engagements with those willing to shell out $750. But if the notion that she might be prevented from entering Australia was credible, it’s because Southern has been banned from entering a country before“, what is an issue is that News Corp seems to be about creating visibility, but what part of all this was the news? It might be relevant, it might even fit, but all these resource draining tantrums that we get with “A temporary setback was re-purposed as precious publicity, and News Corp papers continued to unfurl the red carpet ahead of her visit“, seems to indicate that as a ‘commercial provider‘ they seem to be wasting loads of energy and resources. All these events are on their turf, so when I see “Rupert Murdoch’s Australian arm has told a government inquiry the internet has transformed the ABC and SBS into “news publishers” who have the advantage of being taxpayer-funded, while denying commercial competitors revenue” as ABC (and SBS), whilst the question on News Corp, whether it should exist at all is on the mind of many people. It’s like watching a butter salesman stating that a Brioche with margarine just tastes better. I am asking whether the limelight seeking News Corp, by their own actions (against ABC, SBS and Facebook) made their own existence debatable. As that comes into focus and people are more and more shying away from anything News Corp brings, they are now in a silly position. They painted themselves into a corner and now that they are in that corner being immobile for the time being, they are telling all the painters to stop, so that those painters will not get an actual lead on the amount of painting done.

One source gave me a partial interesting view. It is the setting of Sinclair broadcasting next to News Corp. This is seen in the Washington Post, where we get: “The Company is the largest owner of local television stations in the country, with 173 stations in 81 broadcast markets that stretch from coast to coast and just about everywhere in between, at a time when local news outpaces national news outlets both in overall viewership and trust. About 85 percent of Americans trust local news outlets, more than the 77 percent for family or friends, according to the Pew Research Center“. The article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/style/wp/2018/04/02/get-to-know-sinclair-broadcast-group-the-conservative-local-news-giant-with-a-growing-reach) shows a very different setting. You see, when we see those two, we get the setting: “using local voices and optionally celebrities to push a national and even an international agenda, in this pushing any other media as an enemy creating market penetration that is set on the foundations of a political required brand or view“. When we see that places like the Sinclair Broadcast Group (headquartered in Hunt Valley, MD), we start seeing that there is a larger play, in this light we do not see ABC or SBS in an advantaged playing field, we see two players bringing newsworthy events that oppose the playing field that News Corp relies on. We see a setting of opposition in a place where News Corp can’t stomach any. Now we get a very different light and in all this we need to wonder what the hell anyone is doing allowing and paving the way for News Corp.

In addition we see the Washington Post also give us: “Interest in Sinclair picked up recently after reports exposed a seemingly Trump-friendly script the company ordered its anchors nationwide to read, lambasting “irresponsible, one-sided” and “fake” news stories. The one-minute-long script, which appeared to echo Trump’s efforts to attack the reporting he has disagreed with as “fake news,” brought to the fore long-standing critiques about what many view as the company’s rightward tilt. The fake stories promo, which was first reported by CNN in March, drew wide attention after Deadspin published a video Saturday that layered dozens of the company’s anchors around the country reading the script over one another, creating a visceral portrait of corporate message control“, now we have ourselves a party, because if that is the future of News that News Corp is bringing us, then we are a lot better off keeping ABC and SBS enshrined in the places they are now.

One source gave us regarding a similar setting: “It should feel familiar; our very own News Corp has employed these strategies“, from that point of view we need to become extra careful.

It was the Sydney Moring Herald that gave us (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/news-corp-s-war-on-facebook-is-a-decade-in-the-making-20180511-p4zet3.html) the article ‘News Corp’s war on Facebook is a decade in the making‘, yet it is the quote “The company has made it very clear it thinks Facebook and Google should pay publishers “carriage fees” for running their stories. This would be a similar economic construct to the American cable television industry, where distributors such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable pay programming suppliers such as Murdoch’s Fox and Disney to carry their channels” gives a different light. You see, Murdoch took a path (one that he is allowed to. Whenever you share a story (like a link) you get transferred. In this example Google search gave me: ‘Daily Telegraph editorial: It’s time to embrace our freedoms and fight …’, which comes with the quote: “DURING the 1960s and into the 1970s, when waves of post-war Baby Boomers came of age and began to exert their demographic influence”, it might have been an interesting read, yet when we go there, we get pushed to ‘myaccount.news.com.au’, asking to log in, or take a subscription, which is fair enough. But now, all those papers like the Daily Telegraph, the Courier Mail and others are no longer used. People link others to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Guardian, the Independent, and the Financial Times. Social media is about sharing and an interesting article remains interesting when you share it with a like-minded person. So now News Corp is getting less and less traction, as others get the limelight. That is the effect on users trying to keep friends alerted. that is very much also the path and the entire ‘the foundations of a political required brand or view‘ is all about emotion (well mostly), so now as people regard News Corp to be less and less relevant, as people are relying on ‘any other source‘, we see that the long game as spoken about in the SMH, as well as the setting that the Guardian gives us is becoming more and more unacceptable to the people. for a lack of a better view, Murdoch dug his own grave and even as the coffin he has for the plot will be massively comfortable, once we cover it with dirt at roughly 6 feet deep, he starts becoming a ‘forgotten item’ from the era of the Jurassic age where the loud voice carries weight. At 6 feet deep no one can hear you scream (I just had to add some Alien factor).

So as SBS and ABC are all about sharing news, it opposes the agenda and revenue of News Corp, so now they cry like (for a lack of a better term) ‘prissy little bitches’. When we look at the Parliament page (at https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/BudgetReview201617/Publicbroadcasting), we see: “The ABC is to receive revenue of $3.1 billion in base operating funding over the three years to 2018–19“, as well as “Base funding for Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is also included in the Portfolio Budget Statements. The broadcaster will receive $271.9 million in 2016–17, $269.8 million in 2017–18 and $272.4 million in 2018–19“, when we realise some sources giving us: “The company reported total revenue of US$8.14 billion (AU$10.35 billion) last year“, which seems to be in line of previous reporting, although there is a shift and that hurts News Corp, I think considering the waste of resources when we look at events like Lauren Southern, how much was the entire bill for News Corp?

I am not saying that they should not have done that, but this is about creating emotion, not about reporting news. News Corps creating news (through their promotions) and that makes it another matter entirely. In all this, when I see: “She believes Australia should close its borders and that there “are only two sexes — male and female”“, it is my personal view that there is one poster that does give us the actual goods. So, what do you think? Should we all revert to Aboriginalism? At that point I do wonder who would embrace Pauline Hanson as a sister (but that is merely my evil sense of humour). I would never attack freedom of speech and freedom of expression, she is allowed her views, yet from my point of view, she’s a Canadian, a British Columbian. Her views are extreme right (or is that extremely incorrect), but pushed through the internet, a libertarian with a populist focus. A 23 year old not hit with the ugly stick and those factors make her an internet personality. The issue I also see is that she is seen as a Journalist, yet she never graduated University (University of the Fraser Valley). I am a blogger and I refuse to call myself a Journalist, even as I have a Masters in IP Law as well as two other postgraduate degrees from the University of Technology Sydney, I never graduated in Journalism, so I refuse to call myself a Journalist, even as I have publications going back to 1988 in several magazines, being a reviewer of multimedia products does not make me a journalist, plain and simple.

In this case Lauren Southern matters. You see, when you consider her education, the fact that we see that in March 2017, Lauren Southern left Rebel Media to become an independent journalist (without a degree in journalism I might add), this whilst she still additionally gained access to White House press briefings, so how is that even possible? In addition, News Corp is promoting her events making the entire matter even more debatable. So in that setting, when I see the Guardian giving us: “The publisher of the Australian and Daily Telegraph wants the ABC to be barred from promoting its news stories online using Google ads“, I am of the mind that someone stupid enough to promote a non-Journalist and giving the limelight to “News Corp papers continued to unfurl the red carpet ahead of her visit“, they should realise that there are places where people (and actual Journalists) actually focus on the news, reporting on events not creating hypes through: she chose Luton because it is the home of Tommy Robinson, the currently imprisoned founder of the English Defence League. In May, Robinson was sentenced to 13 months in prison for contempt of court after broadcasting details of a trial from outside Leeds crown court that risked causing it to collapse“.

News Corp is showing to be on the wrong side of the News, their approach on spreading news, I apologise! I meant spreading the subscription page is valid. They are allowed to do that and their tactic that they should be paid by places like Facebook is a fair choice to make, but they forget that actual reliable sources (BBC, the Guardian, SBS, ABC) are allowing such a path (without subscription), and when it comes to results, the people sharing stories want to share the story, not the subscription page. Add the entire Lauren Southern promotion and we don’t get news, we get the acceleration of emotional hype’s and we have had quite enough of that.

The question becomes, will political need buckle to their needs via News Corp, and once that is out and in the open, when we investigate those politicians who allowed for this, will we tolerate answers like ‘It was a complex setting‘ and ‘there appeared to have been a level of miscommunication‘, when those quotes are given, will we be able to demand their eviction from any political seat? I am asking these questions because all those shouting on how our privacy is gone and how we are all monitored whilst the political setting is in a stage where smothering real news is a reality that we are optionally allowing for. In that part we are actively allowing for media outlets to create fake news. When we are not allowed to see the whole story, when we merely see a carefully scripted partial side, are we not in the foundation where we are being fed fake news?

 

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Iterative diversity never goes anywhere

Facebook has been on the minds of many people, so merely on how to procrastinate (a student thing), some on the value of the company and some are investigating on how data issues were reported. CNet reported merely a few hours ago ‘SEC asking if Facebook properly warned investors of data issue‘ (at https://www.cnet.com/news/sec-investigating-if-facebook-gave-investors-enough-warning-about-data-issue-wsj-says/), the origin is the Wall Street Journal. My issue is at the top when we consider the quote “The agency is looking into how much Facebook knew about Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of data, says a report in The Wall Street Journal“, do you think that any evidence is still there to be found? Even if the brightest minds unite to finding anything, by the time all the proper access is granted, the decisionmakers will be facing a new government resetting priorities.

Now, I get it. That is the job of the SEC. With “The SEC has requested information from Facebook to learn how much the social-networking company knew about Cambridge Analytica’s data use, according to the Journal. In addition, the SEC reportedly wants to learn how Facebook analyzed its risk as developers shared data with others against Facebook’s policies“, we see that the SEC is merely doing its job and even if we believe the meida and some of the revelations that passed our screens, the SEC has a clear directive, merely set in factual evidence. Yet the can of goods is seen with “The SEC is also looking into whether the company should’ve told shareholders about Cambridge Analytica’s policy violation when Facebook found out about it, in 2015“, it is not the game, but it is a setting of the stage. In my view there is doubt that this was properly done. The issue is not whether it happened, it is the setting that we must speculate on what would have happened next, and that whilst there is no evidence that something was done. Not the acts of Cambridge Analytica their part is a foregone conclusion. The issue is as long as there is no evidence showing that the data was sold on to other parties. The value of the company would not have been impacted, which would have negatively impacted shareholders. That is the game the SEC is set with that is their duty and they are doing that just fine.

The question becomes on what stage is speculation of something that might have happened set in actionable consideration two years after the fact, that is the setting and that will be a dry bone as far as I can tell. Still the SEC has a duty to perform and they are doing that. Even as Endgadget goes with “the agency might disagree with Facebook’s perspective and find the company at fault for not properly informing shareholders“, the setting is not a given. You see, the impact of value was after the revelation and after the shareholders were spooked by the fear mongering media. As long as there is no evidence that a third party has all the raw data, the value impact is close to nil. The only impact that the SEC should be allowed to consider is the negative impact of value, if proven that data left control of Facebook and only when that evidence is proven to have impacted Facebook before Jan 2018, only at that point is there an optional issue and there is a second tier in all this. If any shareholder is in both companies, it becomes a little murky, because at that point the shareholders themselves will be up for investigation. Whether this is true cannot be said because the first part for the SEC is proving that the second player actually has the raw Facebook data, in all this aggregated data lacks value and interactions on aggregates data is just too shallow for consideration.

And this is just one of the settings. The second and main setting is the Diversity report that Facebook has presented. The Verge is all about the focus on ‘Change is coming slowly, if it comes at all‘, which is a given in most companies (Apple and Google are optionally the exception). The setting is however no longer just about optional diversity, it is about bankable value and the national patent value that these places have in that setting diversity be damned and Endgadget knows this the fact that they took a page to focus on ‘diversity’ whilst there are much larger fish swimming in the Facebook pond is to some a total mystery. The IP Watchdog gives us another side and a side that in this day and age are actually really important. There we see (as a small grasp):

  • U.S. Patent No. 8732802, titled: ‘Receiving Information About a User From a Third Party Application Based on Action Types’. Issued to Facebook in May 2014.
  • U.S. Patent No. 8938411, titled: ‘Inferring User Family Connections From Social Interactions’. Issued to Facebook in January 2015.
  • U.S. Patent No. 9740752, titled: ‘Determining User Personality Characteristics From Social Networking System Communications and Characteristics’. Issued to Facebook August 2017.
  • U.S. Patent No. 9798382, titled: ‘Systems and Methods of Eye Tracking Data Analysis’. Issued to Facebook October 2017.
  • U.S. Patent No. 9923981, titled: ‘Capturing Structured Data About Previous Events From Users of a Social Networking System’. Issued to Facebook March 2018.

These are only 5 out of a large basket of patents and the issue is not about diversity of staff, it is about the diversity of the population. The setting does not change that much, because changes might be small, but consider that in this case we have an additional 1 TB a day that can now be used very effectively. So even as the Verge reminds us with “Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) took some time out of a congressional hearing in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal to grill CEO Mark Zuckerberg about increasing diversity at the company, something that Zuckerberg said that Facebook was “focused on.”“, we can take diversity as stated with ‘increasing diversity at the company‘ as either staff diversity or data diversity, I guess that I am going with number two on that one. You see, even as I tipped on ‘diversity’ we all recollect places like Forbes and the Financial Times on how it leads to better profits. It is the reason it reflects on the shareholders on how that notion gives them an on the spot hard on, male and female shareholders alike. Yet, the much larger revenue boost is seen when we combine the setting of the patents, the data that Facebook has and now we get to yesterday’s story, In yesterday’s article (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/07/12/seeking-security-whilst-growing-anarchy/), I left a few screws fall all over the place. With ‘Seeking security whilst growing anarchy‘, I gave a title that could be read in more than one way. The part I just skipped yesterday (as the story would have been too large) was seen with “So now we get the setting of ‘who is exactly waging war on who’, or is that whom?“, as well as “the defense ‘laws governing wars were devised with conflicts between states in mind‘ can no longer be upheld“. These were true settings, yet the setting of the data was partially set in “how many flags were raised by that one person, yet now not on 5 tests, but on dozens of tests, against people, places, actions and locations at specific times“, there we see the issue, but there is a complication, the bulk of the people actively sought all use burner phones, they tend to be nervous and do not call, yet they are closely grouped together and that is a first setting. Now consider that for the most burner phones are useless, now consider these people taking hours to keep busy and some will go for the silliest diversion. A diversion like a simple Candy Crush, now take another look at the 5 patents, consider that the burner phone is useless for intelligence, but now reconsider that value when these patents are used, not merely for tracking needs, but reconsider the ‘Eye Tracking Data Analysis‘ add the camera to take a silent image of the iris, it is almost as good as a fingerprint. Now add ‘Structured Data About Previous Events From Users‘. Two of the five added to the billions of users on Facebook and now we have a system that does a lot more, it is the 32% that Palantir inc. does not have, the patents that Facebook has allows not merely for a diversity growth factor, it will be one of the few times that any company had two massive niches in data, when Combined it allows the US to have a grasp of a system that allows near real time tracking of anyone they seek, this system can void well over 80% of the false flags making the data system well over 10 times as efficient than ever before. So yes, we can argue the truth of “Not to worry, says Facebook VP Allen Lo, head of intellectual property. “Most of the technology outlined in these patents has not been included in any of our products, and never will be,” he told the Times in an email” as a master of IP I do know the length that Facebook has been through with patents and he is telling the truth, the product of Facebook is Facebook, that system will not go there, but will be in all kinds of different technical solutions that allows for new methods of data gathering. Even as it is a burner phone, when they take it for a mere leap into betting solutions and gaming procrastination, they will hit some top 10 app of the month and that is when one element of data is connected to the ones that matter for those seeking these really welcome people for personal one on one interviews. And there we see the link between places like Palantir and Zuckerberg (not Facebook). Sen. Maria Cantwell was asking around the edges for a reason, the April interview had another reason, one that I was never aware off (or considered). It seems that she heard water cooler chats on settings of Palantir, this was about a larger issue and the Patents had clearly indicated options for Facebook, it was not about the setting (as she put it) ‘the talent and the will to solve this problem‘ it is given that Palantir knows that Facebook Inc. can become a contender and with the data that could be available, we see a setting where Palantir would be going up against a new player having 500% of the data that the Palantir customer has and more important, Facebook has the patents to partially solve the burner phone issues much better then Palantir ever had the option for and that is a real new path in this field. So as I personally read it, Sen. Maria Cantwell was asking whether Mark Zuckerberg was ready to become a player in this field.

So yes, even as we see that some steps are small (like diversity and torts law), Facebook has an optional setting to take a leap forward, not by a mere length, but by an entire class of data options, which is new and that is where those investigating Cambridge Analytica never looked at, or so we were meant to believe, Sen. Maria Cantwell might be the first through orders or insight to do just that.

That setting is now still under debate, not because of the tech, but because of a case of OIL STATES ENERGY SERVICES, LLC v. GREENE’S ENERGY GROUP, LLC, ET AL. No. 16–712 (decided April 24th, 2018), this case changes the game all over, because until overruled by the US Congress, we now have a setting where we see that the possibility that patents are no longer property rights is close to an absolute. Patents are not property rights and will not be property rights until Congress overrules the case, so in this the entire patents side is now a new setting that it is set as a government franchise, so in all this Facebook has the one play to set themselves apart from the rest of the data players, and some might state that the setting of the decision of the Supreme Court was a forgone conclusion close to two weeks earlier, so Sen. Maria Cantwell was either on the ball or asked the perfect questions two weeks in advance, I wonder who ended up with a boatload of speculated wealth, because someone definitely got rich in that process (happy speculation with a smile from the writer).

In all this it was not merely the setting of diversity and how to see it, but the fact that a place like Facebook might think iterative within its Facebook app, it has options and therefor opportunities in a much larger field than merely the Facebook app. So if Palantir is not worried on what comes next, they are more asleep at the wheel than you imagine; a small spoiler alert here: the people at Palantir are a lot of things, they have never ever been asleep so they know what is coming and as the path of Facebook is allegedly on now is regarded as government Franchise terrain, we need to wonder where this goes next as they are still all about finding those illusive extremists, all depending on burner smart phones.

I wonder when the rest realises what the patent holders have been able to achieve in mobile communications, now consider 350% of speed increase and 700% of data markers with the release of 5G, now revaluate the Patents that the Facebook corporation has and consider how much larger they could optionally become by 2021. Now reconsider the Forbes list of ‘The World’s Most Valuable Brands‘ and consider its position in 2021. I doubt that it will be #1 at that time, but it will be equal if not bigger then Google by then taking its #2 position away from them, and leaving Microsoft a distant #4. Although Microsoft is doing plenty to diminish its value all by themselves, they do not need to rely on Google and Facebook to reduce their position for them.

Iterative act never go anywhere, it is the setting of new stages where true fortunes are gathered.

Happy Friday 13th everyone! (Please don’t meet a guy named Jason today)

 

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Round two

Yesterday was a day when I thought it was essential to speak out against the language used in the NY Times. It was part of a larger whole that will be shown to all over time (as I am missing three pieces of evidence). Yet the oil issue was in the centre of it all and so it remains. Now, I had done my homework (for the most), yet there was one element I overlooked and it is an important one. Reuters was awake and gave us (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-opec-saudi-trump/can-saudi-arabia-pump-much-more-oil-idUSKBN1JR1HI) the part I forgot about. “the kingdom, OPEC’s biggest member, can barely raise output by 1 million bpd to 11 million bpd and even that would be difficult, according to industry analysts who forecast a further oil price rally due to a lack of new supply“, yes we forgot about the engine that drives it all. It has been increasing production again and again, yet at some point; the system that drives the production of crude reaches its maximum and that is where the teller of barrels is now hitting a little issue. I like (yet optionally disagree) with Gary Ross, head of global oil analytics at S&P Global. With “While Saudi Arabia has the capacity in theory, it takes time and money to bring these barrels online, possibly up to 1 year“, we see a ‘stabilising’ comment, but based on what, knowledge of the parts that are driving the crude oil machine forward? Perhaps that is true, yet if that is the case the one year setting is off. Other elements require adjustment, but the one year (yes he did add ‘up to’) implies that engines and perhaps pipes require adjustment, meaning that the system is set to increase beyond the 100% marker might be more dangerous. Pressure can be a bitching issue and the mere fact that even in suburbia water mains still go out (mine went kablooie yesterday evening) implies that there is a setting where pressures do not align. Now with water it is a nuisance, so my evening of pasta went straight out of the window. With crude oil it is another matter entirely. There the blown gasket can optionally make a mess to the environment and more important, it could optionally force Saudi Arabia to turn the dial down to 60%-80% until that mess is fixed. When that happens they go into a freefall where one plugging evokes another part to burst emotionally, that is where the problem starts and that is an important side in all this.

It is not the only part; CNBC gave us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/30/oil-deal-may-stir-the-pot-in-the-middle-east-and-test-saudi-capacity.html) a few other parts. Even as we might be able to ignore “Iran and Venezuela are both reeling economically, with Tehran feeling the bite of new sanctions“, especially as Iran has a set clientele. Yet the given part of “President Donald Trump surprised the world on Saturday by announcing a new side agreement with the Saudis to compensate for supply shortages from crisis-hit producers“. I found the setting of ‘compensate for supply shortages from crisis-hit producers‘. It is interesting for two reasons. The first is that the US had no application for Iranian oil in the first place and the second is that Venezuela had all kinds of issues; I personally believe that the low price of oil is reasons for some of it. Yet when we take a step back we get three pieces. The first in 2017 when we saw the Business Insider treat us to “Falling output at refineries means that Venezuela needs to import more gasoline, squeezing the national budget even further. Refineries are currently working at less than 30 percent of average 2016 levels. State-run oil company PDVSA is importing between 100 and 150 thousand barrels per day of gasoline”, so why are the refineries down to 30%? In addition, that is the refinery issue, the setting is not the petrochemical part it is merely the availability of crude oil that was the issue. The second was March 2018 where Reuters gave us “Indian imports of oil from Venezuela have fallen to their lowest levels in over half a decade, shipping and industry data showed, as a severe economic and political crisis hits crude output in the South American OPEC member“, so that is a production need, which beckons why India has decided to import less, are there suddenly 275 million cars less? No there are not, just try to blindly cross Saket Metro Station in New Delhi and you will get hit by two dozen cars within a minute, so that part is not happening. Forbes had its own version of the issue in 2017 and even as it sounds acceptable, I belief that there is a larger issue in play. You see We might look at the Financial Times and see ‘A Venezuelan oil embargo would wipe out Maduro & Co‘, yet the setting is larger than that. Consider Chili, Brazil and Argentine, all needing petrochemical products, the fact that refineries have issues is one thing, the fact that there is a shortage of crude oil and that cannot be met is equally an issue, so why is that?

I have no answers, mere speculations, yet whenever I searched for the Venezuelan reserves and beyond the Argentinian president Mauricio Macri advocating of ‘there would be ‘broad support’ across the region for a full oil embargo‘, I see no evidence of shortage (out in the open). All these actions on Venezuela, forcing them into even more hardship, how has that ever led to anything positive?

Yet the story is the crude, would an arm-twisting scenario to send 30% of the crude oil price into a fund that is only to be used for humanitarian and local support. Would that not work? It seems better than an embargo kicking things over. The additional news that China is importing less from that source is making things worse and no resolution will be coming forward making things better. The other party Iran is a given, yet they still export to a few nations.

Oil price dot come is giving numbers that clearly imply that over a year oil production has fallen by close to 50%, with the implied forecast that the International Energy Agency (IEA) states regarding the Venezuelan oil production which could drop to just 800,000 bpd or even lower next year. it seems that most actions against Venezuela is a little too harsh, now nobody is implying that they are saints, yet we can all agree that they are not Iran. In 2017 it was all about censorship (or anti hatred laws as the Venezuelan government puts it). Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/04/venezuela-happening-170412114045595.html) gave us a more in depth part. So when I see some of the issues, with items like ‘Health assistance’, ‘Food shortages’ as well as ‘Hyperinflation’, where a deal could be made that 30% of the sale goes into 10% sprockets addressing these three settings, it could be an optional solution to negotiate. It seems to me that an embargo is often the least of all working solutions, even as it enables the US to get basement prices on a million barrels a day, apart from the setting that they have more immediate problems and removing Venezuela form the equation pushes the other pressures more. Even if it means that the Maduro administration would have to swallow its pride, there might be a path to a long term solution that they were part of, at present they have nothing to look forward to but an angry mob of people left with nothing. It should not allow the US to discuss the price of eggs, yet the Maduro government will realise that the price of fish came at a premium and it is not derived from merely sweat and tears.

This setting is important, because when we look back at the Saudi situation with its 10 million barrels a day, when the pressure goes wrong and the US suddenly loses access to two to four million barrels a day. when that happens and that danger is not unrealistic, do you really think that the American economy is ready for a 25% price hike? Do you think that there will be mere frowns? That danger is not merely a speculation. the danger was shown last week when we saw reports on “The shutdown of Syncrude’s oilsands facility last week could lead to a shortage of oil in North America, investment bank Goldman Sachs has warned“, the source was the Huffington Post (at https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/06/26/syncrude-outage-oil-shortage-north-america_a_23468490/), in addition we got “Syncrude’s facility has a capacity of 350,000 barrels of oil per day, but it shut down production on Friday after a transformer blew, the Globe and Mail reported. The company says production could be offline for all of July“, so there was the given part I left for last, merely a ‘transformer’ and without Optimus Oil rolling out the juice, no crude for a month. So do you really want to play a game of Russian Turbines with the Saudi oil setting and pushing the need from them to deep into the red zone of engineering safety? With that given, what are the dangers when the push goes south in a very realistic way when the downfall will be 90-150 days? Do you still think that finding some dialogue with Venezuela is not an optional much better solution? I would tell you the story of the silly politician and that person relying one basket for all his eggs (and his demoted belief that they were golden ones), your parents might have told you the story when you were young. So when Goldman Sachs gives us: “shrink stockpiles at the main U.S. storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, putting upward pressure on oil prices“, they are telling you no fibs, what they neglect to mention is that the danger is a lot more realistic then most predict and the impact could end up being an increase in price that is not pennies, but several dollars. to emphasize that, you merely need to consider May 2008 when the crude price went to $148 a barrel, twice the price it is now. You still ready to play that game of chicken with oil producing hardware, because in the end you will always lose that game. These devices adhere to the cold calculations of pressures and power and in the end the Wall Street motto of ‘120% of norm is merely our version of a Monday morning wakeup call‘ will backfire to all those who relied on affordable fuel.

 

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Chaos, benefit or danger?

As an aspiring agent of chaos, I have always been in favour of chaos. There are two quotes from the movie The Dark knight (2008) that are important here. They seem meaningless, but they are not. Consider the events surrounding Brexit. The IMF, Wall Street, the ECB all desperate to scheme through fear mongering, and they are even at it today, all so eager to keep their status quo in place. So, the first quote is: “Y’know they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are“, that is only partially true. The evidence is all around us on how Wall Street is still largely in control. I am not giving you some conspiracy theory on how they did one or the other. The news as we read it in nearly every decent newspaper gives you that evidence and they call it ‘policy’. It is fun to make a second movie reference, especially as it also included Christian Bale. The movie the Big Short (2015) shows clearly the facts of the subprime mortgage issues that unfolded and became a reality. It was based on the book by Michael Lewis called The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. I was sceptic at first, not because of the actors involved. Yet the notion that it involved Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling made me a little wary. In the end, I saw a movie that showed a Steve Carell who shows us how brilliant he actually is, more than merely a really good comedian. Even as he had already worked together with his prospective son in law (a Crazy, Stupid, Love pun), as the narrator in part of the movie Ryan Gosling gives it that extra, that part that will make you remember the movie long after you have seen it. The movie ends up being not merely an entertainer, the movie becomes an educator almost to the degree that the book was. Together with Margin Call and Inside Job you get a real grasp of the economic wasteland that 2008 created.

This part is truly important, because when you consider those facts and the mere realisation that the US, EU and many other places still have no proper protective laws in place is just scary.

Part of this is seen in the McKinsey report on June 5th 2018 where we see: “That the effects of Pillar 2 add-ons and capital buffers should result in two widely different assessments, of €56 billion and €2.2 billion, is notable, highlighting the room for national discretion during implementation. In Sweden and Norway, for example, supervisors are reflecting higher risk weights for mortgage loans in Pillar 2 capital requirements. Some analysts are therefore expecting that these add-ons will be removed, given that they are already captured by an internal model floor for mortgages under Pillar 1“, the part ‘expecting that these add-ons will be removed‘ is the danger here. You see, Bloomberg reported in January 2018 (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-25/banks-prepare-for-battle-as-europe-readies-rules-to-cut-risk), “banks are uncertain about how Pillar 2 capital requirements — demands set over and above legal minimums — will be imposed“, the statement is odd as they were already there in Basel 2, so why is there now ‘miscommunication’? (Perhaps ‘ignorance through intentional non-comprehension‘ might be a better term).

When we look at those two pillars we see:

First Pillar: Minimum Capital Requirement
The first pillar Minimum Capital Requirement is mainly for total risk including the credit risk, market risk as well as Operational Risk.

Second Pillar: Supervisory Review Process
The second pillar i.e. Supervisory Review Process is basically intended to ensure that the banks have adequate capital to support all the risks associated in their businesses.

You see, we have seen the game of CDO’s, derivatives in many forms, sometimes being ‘diplomatically’ called Bespoke Tranche Opportunities nowadays, the Big Short mentions it at the very end. Consider that this was a 2015 movie, and Bloomberg gives us last August: “Pacific Investment Management Co., Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Columbia Threadneedle and others are snatching up bonds tied to subprime mortgages and other home loans made before the housing crisis, while selling speculative-grade company debt. They say junk yields are too low for the risk investors are taking, and securities backed by mortgages — which have already gained as much as 6.9 percent this year according to Bank of America Corp. data — offer higher potential returns given the risk“, it implies that some could get rich by taking risk on junk. So when that collapses, considering Basel 3 pillar one and two, what are the chances that pillar one, the operational side does not include such events as it is not ‘operational‘ but based on non-operational settings? Where is the risk then? In addition, when we see that now, the banks are expected to ‘expecting that these add-ons will be removed‘ from consideration, how dangerous is the balance at that point? Did we not learn enough in the years 2008-2011? Why are we allowing these gambles leaving us with nothing twice over? Why are there no clear laws banning credit swaps and BTO’s? It might sound nice and soundbyte nice when the pope makes such a claim, yet it is still legally an option, so why was this not halted? The fact that the book and movie mention this gives rise to the fact that Wall Street knew for many years, yet they let it slide. So what happens when the people DEMAND from their president that the banks will no longer bailout banks involved in that? What happens when Wall Street faces the rage of the people and there is no continuance or replay of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008? What happens when the people have had enough and in honour of the American Civil War (1861 to 1865) decide on the American Wall Street Clambake of (20xx) where 150 million Americans decide to lynch the 63,779 bankers on Wall Street in public, would that change a few noses to be more morally inclined (of those still alive that is)?

Agustin Carstens gives us a more diplomatic view in the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/720efbe2-75fa-11e8-a8c4-408cfba4327c) where we see “the future is not pre-ordained. The right policies can help. While the path ahead is a narrow one, it can be taken. We should seize the day to rebalance the policy mix and sustain the current expansion. That means regaining room for policy manoeuvre and reviving the flagging efforts to implement structural policies. Let’s use macroprudential tools to strengthen resilience where financial vulnerabilities are building up. Let’s ensure that public finances are on a sound footing“, yet he phrases it better, but as I stated in the beginning, I am an aspiring agent of chaos after all. This gets me to the second quote in the Dark Knight. It is applicable in two settings, the one we saw and the one we are about to see. The quote: “You know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even when the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I told the press that, like, a gang-banger would get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics. Because it’s all part of the plan. But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everybody loses their minds!

This gets me to the situation where Israel made a choice to speak, but from where I am sitting, it seems like the wrong voice to raise and it is the setting of a dangerous strategy that could backfire in ways that we cannot perceive as yet.

You see, on Wednesday afternoon Netanyahu tweeted out a video praising the Iranian soccer team for its performance in the World Cup against Portugal with “The Iranian team just did the impossible. To the Iranian people I say: You showed courage on the playing field, and today you showed the same courage in the streets of Iran.

For soccer fans it was a remarkable day, most of them did not give Iran any chance of winning, not against Morocco, who has a team that can stand up to the likes of Spain, a nation devoted to soccer, so for Iran to win, that was a really big thing. Now consider the words ‘today you showed the same courage in the streets of Iran‘. This is a reference to the Iranian currency plunging to the depths of the Mariana trench, having a massive impact on the Iranian people. ABC gave us (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-26/thousands-protest-in-iran-over-failing-economy/9909184) ‘Thousands protest in Iran over failing economy, forcing closure of Tehran’s Grand Bazaar‘, now we can acknowledge the event, yet from the lips of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, or in this one particular case ‘PM Be not a Yahoo‘ it seems to give notification that revolution needs to be on their mind. The problems is even as they currently have a lame duck in place (President Hassan Rouhani), who is merely accepted as the temporary voice of the Clerical and Military power in Iran. Such a revolution would merely empower the military and give rise to the Clerical side to end up supporting the military

Yet the setting in the frame whilst the nuclear negotiations are still going on, Iran is under pressure. The danger we are now exposed to is that the Iranian clerics and military will not place another ‘liberal’ minded person for another 4 years, so the danger of having some short minded version of former president Ahmadinejad on steroids as the next president of Iran is not out of the question. No one can tell whether the clerics and military have prepared the next one, but to get one in their years early tends to push chaos to a level of devastation and this is not the time to make this happen. So basically we see the feeding towards ‘then everybody loses their minds!‘ Could I be wrong?

Off course I can, yet the data and events seeping towards a more extreme new president was always coming, the acceleration in Saudi Arabia and the Iranian acts in Yemen clearly point that way. We see in some sources phrases like “Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told a news conference that the ongoing offensive on Hodeidah has put the country on the brink of famine“, from my point of view, the Iranians achieved that last year with the aid of a tool like Hezbollah and pointing the Houthi rebels to cause maximum damage to the people of Yemen. So when we see: “The international organizations and the UN should make an effort to end the aggression against the oppressed Yemeni people“, the UN knows perfectly well that delivered missiles firing from Houthi positions into civilian targets in Saudi Arabia made that a non-option right of the bat. Yet, we must not forget that Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi played his part very well, the main players are not new to this game and merely waiving their options away is not something the UN is willing to do, in that regard we all need time to get anything proper in place and Israel just changed that instance to some degree. Chaos in Tehran can unfold in ways that cannot be predicted because several players behind the scenes cannot be identified. Yes, the top two (Ali Khamenei and Qasem Soleimani) are known, yet their inner circle is not completely known and now we are in an upcoming impasse where we could be forced to wait until their moves are done, that whilst Iran is nowhere near on the ropes, so they have what might be seen as the field advantage for a little while and that is where chaos can go unbridled and cause actual long term damage.

There is enough evidence of that in Syria, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, none coming with short term solutions to get some actual productive. the Egyptian $500 million education reform bill is only two months old and took some time to get it all in the right shape. This is long term thinking, a true working strategy where the next generation will be more educated giving additional options for long term dialogues and giving a nation options to grow economically. Now consider that any prospective improvement is now optionally off the table for Iran until 2027. This gives a long term danger to sparks evolving in a very different form of chaos, one that no one can predict how it will unfold in the end. That is the game at present. Now consider such an event happening whilst Europe and the US go through another 2008 event, something that several predict and most seem to agree that it is pretty much unavoidable.

Almost like some used to say that the Great War (1914-1918) was the war to end all wars and we were treated to a very different reality in 1938. In that year we got the very first issue of Superman and Time magazine elected Adolf Hitler as ‘Man of the Year‘, do you remember how that ended, apparently all remaining 9 million Israeli’s definitely do!

Chaos can be good, it allows for true change. In this the quote: “It’s like knocking over an ant-hill. Every new generation gets stronger, the ant-hill gets redesigned, made better” is appropriate, yet the danger is that those ants have access to an arsenal of ‘solutions’ that can make a real dent ensuring long term chaos, that is why the Israeli push is not the beneficial push that the PM thought it could be, so tweeting that video was slightly too rash (for more than one reason). In that the earlier setting where we let the banks completely collapse might be the better options (if we had to choose between the two). In the second part, the Iranian debacle is also set on how China will react. Some are speculating that Iran wants to offer an oil solution if China is the saviour that they hope it will be. I cannot tell, I never looked at any data or papers giving real light to one path towards the other path. For china it might be an option, especially after the vitriolic actions against Huawei and ZTE, yet in the end that market is for now not large enough to cause truest concern, not whilst they have plenty of options to grow 5G in Europe with a population twice the size of the US and an overwhelming desire of the local populations in western Europe and Scandinavia to adopt it, there is enough for China to focus on, they might love to help out Iran, just to spite the US and to get under-priced oil, yet that is a separate play from what is on offer.

Scandinavia is also interesting as it allows Huawei to reach the bulk of Swedes through their three cities (Stockholm, Goteborg and Malmo). As Malmo is merely a bridge crossing away from Denmark’s capital Copenhagen a growth path for Huawei could show others soon thereafter what the rest is missing out on and with Swedish Telia on board, the setting for both Denmark and Norway becomes a reality. Even as the US is all up in arms, Reuters gave us merely 4 months ago on Huawei being “the company in prime position to lead the global race for next-generation 5G networks despite U.S. allegations it poses a security threat“. So even as we see newscasts like ‘Sprint, T-Mobile merger will generate 5G powerhouse, cut costs for users‘, that setting is definitely not a given. You see the chaos is not in getting the 5G, the chaos comes from 5G as governments and large telecom companies are nowhere near dealing with the setting that cyber threats can become. this is not merely phishing, scamming or abducting accounts, this is the realistic danger that for the first two years 5G facilitators become start points of all kinds of chaos though the facilitation of non-calibrated systems, architecture lacking equilibrium. the difference between ‘a holistic approach towards DDoS attacks and 5G networks, rather than relying on outdated defence tactics‘ (source: Wireless Week). Non-repudiation would have been a quality first step in that, in a time when too many are relying on authentication, we seem to forget that it remains relatively easy to get a ‘false positive’. Please do not take my word for that, merely visit 675 N Randolph St, Arlington, VA USA (address of DARPA) and ask Dr. Steven H. Walker if you can take a look at a massive archive of false positives that their previous research gave in all kinds of fields, it is an impressive read to get your fingers on and you’ll die of old age before you even get through 30% of the materials, even if you start as a teenager.

That was the ball game from the start. A mere setting of order versus chaos; a simple setting where order could have prevailed, if not for the economic setting of greed and speed over quality. In that 5G does not open up the super highway of data, it merely opened `15 highways next to the one we cannot even properly control now and we end getting 16 highways flooding us with false positives, chaos on a new level and not chaos of the good kind. It will be the wet dream of organised crime for close to a decade to come and the larger players remain is presented denial.

For that you merely have to search Google and use the search term “Telstra non-repudiation“, you get ‘Mobile Authenticator’, which states to be ‘Enhanced non-repudiation’. These two are not the same! Now, important that this is not anti-Telstra, the bulk of all systems on a global level have these issues. My issue in this particular case is “reduce the costs associated with robust user authentication for large populations of staff or customers accessing your online service” Non-repudiation is never cheaper (for now) and in the end the flaws are not obvious, yet they are there and it takes one sloppy moment to give access. Computer world gave us last year the article by Evan Schuman involved here is Steven Sprague is the CEO of Rivetz, this project that comes the from National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (yes, it’s a mouth full) is giving us: ““Software code is easily altered, and memory can be copied,” he said. “The [whole] software process can be observed. You simply cannot hide a secret in the operating system. It’s time to finally do it correctly, with hardened keys within the device.”“. It is one step stronger, yet this is still not non-repudiation, where the setting is that you and only you could have done the deed. Some go for the ‘Dual biometrics may just be the authentication answer we need‘, yet that is still ways away and in the end on the mobile path not really a good solution. One player called Sensory is making positive headway, yet they are not there yet and time ran out close to two years ago to get something really good on the roadmap. So even as we see that authentication solutions are there, in the immediate setting where mobiles can now move billions, the game is now and has always been non-repudiation. At present we move over a billion dollars a day via mobiles and ecommerce, when we consider that this push is going to fivefold in the next decade, do you really think that authentication is going to get the job done securely and on time before the big bank download begins?

Is there a connection?

Consider Bank Melli Iran: $45.5 billion, Bank Mellat: $39.7 billion and Bank Saderat Iran: $39.3 billion. Merely three banks with a few billions. Now consider the following settings. In the first we get “While the standards of the Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) are widely followed around the world, they are not enforced in Iran“, a mere setting of rules. Now we consider the resetting of Basel 3 pillars one and two, with the support from several financial sources giving us “The Central Bank of Iran has played a significant and effective role in implementing Basel II and III standards in the banking system“. Now we take those elements and add 5G, whilst non-repudiation is non-existent and some devious entrepreneurs help themselves to the $125 billion of cream. This fat cat, can we call them ‘organised cats’, could potentially use the 5G debacle to remain anonymous and sail away on their new yacht (by the way, if you guys pull that off, please remember my AU$20,000,000 consultancy fee through Riyadh, so I can use the legally available tax avoidance rules).

Do you still think I am joking?

We have heard all kinds of noise concerning security, so in addition to that, one source (Internet of business dot com) gives us “5G will enable IoT applications such as autonomous vehicles, healthcare solutions, and robotics. But the technology also poses a much larger security risk than the 2G, 3G, and 4G networks that came before it. Why is this?
Significantly, 5G represents an overhaul in the way that networks are run and managed. In contrast to the hardware-based networks of the past, the technology takes advantage of virtualisation and cloud systems, leaving it more vulnerable to breaches if not properly secured.
” There we see the connection, proclamation of proper security are at the foundation of it, whilst the systems are all about Authentication and not about clear non-repudiation, in an age where mobile hi-jacking is a reality of life, the authentications in place are often too easily avoided. In the time a person walks to the bathroom a highly jacked phone can now set up the vibe of 25 million transactions, all completed in 52 seconds, most likely at that point, the person going to the toilet barely sat down for the event to release, that’s what it took to set the Iranian coffers to ’empty’. Now, many will not react that it happens to Iran, yet the newly elected extremist will not let that slide; and what happens when it is not Iran, but another nation? What happens when we realise too late that our own banks are not up to scrap?

Only this month did we see: “Security breaches continue to be an ever-present threat for financial institutions. Defending against attacks and authenticating customers without creating undue friction is something financial institutions have not yet completely solved. Consumers seem to be willing to use more secure methods to access their accounts, but not necessarily give up on ease and speed of transacting“, and in addition ““Attacks haven’t died down,” said Will Lasala, director of security solutions at OneSpan, a cybersecurity firm. “The amount of loss is through the roof. Stopping losses and the need to analyze what’s happening in those transactions is important.”“. That was this month, whilst the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) treated all willing to learn to “Internet connections establish a pathway for hackers and thieves to access and steal sensitive personal information, including the banking records that many customers store on their home computers. Phishing, pharming, spyware, malware, worms, nimdas, viruses, buffer overflows, and spam—all relatively recent entries to our vocabulary—have raised electronic/Internet banking risk levels to new highs, and financial institutions have had to increase security measures to address those risks“, that was in 2005, thirteen years ago. Welcome to the age of ‘if it costs too much, sit on the solution for now‘, you see, not much headway was made (clearly nowhere near enough) and in that result we are now on the edge of 5G where the speed and issues are driven upwards at least tenfold, so that is where non-repudiation was a solution, if only someone had gotten us there. It was a risk covered in my University IT classes in 2010, so it is not like there was no awareness, merely a path that was seen by too many decision makers as too unprofitable to consider.

Now we see chaos in its proper light. Chaos could have set the stage properly, if they only allowed the banks to collapse in 2008, yet that did not happen and some players are up to their ‘old’ tricks in a new jacket whilst the people are more likely than not having to pay for it all again.

 

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The non-knowing speak loudest

There is an old saying that goes back to the original circus, the days of Sir Alec Guiness, John Le Carre and the circus (MI6). Those who do not know speak and those who do will not. There is however a valid issue with that mindset. When it is merely intelligence and what some regard as spyshit, we tend to not care. It is their world and they tend to live by other rules even as they have the same lack of common cyber sense as some US generals, it is their choice to make. Yet when we see labour people like Michael Danby need to present evidence in regards to “an opposition Labor party MP, called on the Liberal-National coalition to block Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms company ZTE from supplying equipment for the 5G network. “Both Huawei and ZTE must report to the Communist party cell at the top of their organisations,” he told parliament. “Let me issue a clarion call to this parliament: Australia’s 5G network must not be sold to these telcos.”” I am actually in the mindset that his seat should be put up for auction if he does not disclose a proper setting and give evidence as to the reasoning of all this. It becomes more pressing when we see “Mr Lord, a former rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, told Australia’s state broadcaster on Monday that these claims were “wrong”, adding that Huawei was not owned by any committee of government and posed no risk to Australia’s security“. It is not just because Mr Lord is a former rear admiral, more that the average naval midshipman tends to be more reliable than any politician. We get this from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/1a2d19ba-67b1-11e8-8cf3-0c230fa67aec). In addition, when we get politicians start the scare tactics of ‘critical infrastructure pose a risk to national security’, there is a clear need for both Duncan Lewis and Paul Symon AO to get hauled in a chair in Canberra and ask them to openly answer the questions regarding any evidence that Huawei is a security threat. To blatantly accept the US on their ‘china fears’ is all well and good for Telstra, yet the setting is not a given and the fact that Telstra is nowhere near the technological levels of Huawei is not something that we blame them from, but they basically lost the 5G war before it started through their own actions and inactions.

Now if there is an actual national security concern, we should be open about that and when that happens, and evidence is presented, at that point we can all relax and state to Huawei that we feel sorry for the inconvenience caused, but such concerns are just too big to ignore. I think we have had quite enough of these presentations that reek of Colin Powell and his silver suitcase with evidence that no one ever saw in 2001. We cannot go in that direction ever again. We will not be the play toy of greedy telecom companies and their internal needs for stupidity and inactions; we can no longer afford such a nepotism environment.

That same issue can be said regarding Nationals MP George Christensen. Apart from him trying to undo a business deal of a 99 year lease, no matter how silly that deal was, Australia cannot be perceived as a nation that cannot be trusted at the business table. My second issue is why a maroon (Queenslander) is involving himself with NT politics. In that regard, why do we not see the responses form Vicki O’Halloran is she has any, is she not the appointed administrator? In this, the game is not over. The Australian Financial Review gives us: “Huawei faces the likelihood that Cabinet’s national security committee will veto it supplying equipment for the 5G network, based on the recommendations of security agencies, over concerns about the potential for cyber espionage at the behest of China’s leaders“. In this the question becomes, is there an actual security concern, or is it that the national concern is the devaluation of Telstra? In additional support we need to see the Sydney Morning Herald two weeks ago when they gave us (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html): “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, as well as “the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“. the first part is something I wrote about for well over a year, the second one is important as we see ‘potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals‘, from my personal point of view it reads like the one lobotomised idiot in telecom country gets to decide through arm-twisting on how we need to remain backwards as they set the standard that they could not deliver for the longest of times (a little sarcasm regarding Telstra’s 2011 3.7G), I wrote about that recently.

ABC gave us yesterday: “it continues to be the target of criticism over its connections to the Chinese Government, including allegations it is involved in state-sponsored espionage“, yet the people have never been shown actual evidence, so where is that at? There might have been doubts to some degree for a while, but the Powell stunt is too clear in our minds and the USA does not have the credibility (or credit rating for that matter) it once had. The fact that the opposing former rear admiral of the Australian navy trumps two half bit politicians seeking the limelight any day of the week and some stay silent, the reason for that is only speculation, but we might not need to seek far and a few words ion Google Search might help find that answer (like ‘Telstra’ and ‘8000’). When we see some giving us: ‘Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) is betting it all on 5G‘ and we see the Telstra strategy briefing (at https://www.telstra.com.au/content/dam/tcom/about-us/investors/pdf-e/2018-Strategy-Update.pdf), we see on page 6, Leading with 5G, that would never be an option with Huawei in play as they are ahead by a lot, so the presentation given a week ago, whilst we realise that the presentation was prepared way before that is giving the setting that Huawei is no longer considered to be competition, that is what we now face! What some might call a backward organisation proclaiming to be leading whilst 8000 men will be missing through inaction. That page is even more fun when you consider the quote ‘new technologies like IoT‘, which is funny when you consider that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices. It is not a technology; it is a network that enables technology. In addition, when you start nit-picking in that 34 page event, we see all the bells and whistles we need to see, yet when you consider consumers and small business (the millions of people that Telstra charges) starts at page 9 and gives us 5 slides. We see ‘cutting edge 5G capability’ (by whose standards?), we see location devices (with the image of a dog), Access to rewards an tickets, a fully-digital relationship with Telstra (an implied no more personal interaction after the sales, merely a chatbot) and value added services, yet the value of a service like customer service and customer care are absent in that part of the equation, so how does this push the people forward, because I doubt that it actually will achieve anything in the long run and one flaw will anger the actual consumers without limits.

You see, personally I believe in the IoT, I believe in 5G, they are tools to enhance experiences and interactions, not make them obsolete and that is what  feel when I saw the Telstra strategy update. These two elements can enhance customer care, customer service and customer support, not replace them with ‘AI’ enhanced chatbots. So the moment we get a 2.0 version of ‘Telstra’s new chatbot, Codi, is making so many mistakes customers are furious’ (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/telstra-codi-bot-backlash-2018-3), chatbots can be a great asset to get the information and channel the call to the right person, yet that again is merely enhancing and that can work fine. The presentation implies the loss of actual customer values and ignoring their need for interactions. That in an aging population might be the least intelligent stance to make ever.

Yet this does not give way to the issue on Telstra versus Huawei, as the Sydney Morning Herald states “Telstra has refused to exclude Huawei from its 5G tender, but that is seen more as a way of keeping its existing supplier Ericsson on its toes“, as well as “In other words, a ban could be bad news for TPG, Vodafone and Optus. Whether it is necessarily good news for Telstra – which has its own issues at the moment – is less clear“. In finality we get “Intelligence agencies tend to get their way on matters like these“, this beckons the question what are they actually after? The US seems to be in bed with Samsung and their 5G routers, so it makes sense that this will be the path that Telstra walks as well, time will tell how it ends.

So why is this such a big deal?

We are currently in danger of actually falling behind Saudi Arabia, yes, that place in a large sandbox is about to surpass us in 5G and other technologies. They had the audacity to reserve half a trillion dollars toward Vision 2030 and Neom. So when we got “Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province, of Saudi Arabia, has become the first city in the region to benefit from the fifth-generation wireless network or 5G network, according to a press statement issued by the Center of International Communication“, last month. There was not a surprise in my bone. You see, this will drive their Vision 2030 plans even further. So as Saudi Arabia is now the new pond to grow speciality in 5G, app designers can promote, test and deliver on knowledge that will be available whilst Telstra is trying to figure out how to get 5G installed. with “All the necessary national 5G policies and supporting administrative provisions are planned to be in place before the end of 2019, along with the award of initial batches of the spectrum to support the full commercial deployment of 5G technologies“, we see that Saudi Arabia had been taking this serious for a much longer time. This goes a little further when we see ‘the Middle East and Africa 5G Technology market (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, and South Africa)‘, so at this point, Saudi Arabia has a head start to not just push Saudi Arabia forward, they have quite literally first dibs on gaining a chunk of the 98 million Egyptians. Not all can afford 5G, we get that, but those who do are confronted with only Saudi Arabia as a Muslim player, you did not actually believe that they would run to Vodafone, did you?

So back to the 5G local ‘market’! For this we need to take a look at the Australian Financial review 2 weeks ago. Here we see (at https://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/the-technical-reasons-why-huawei-too-great-a-5g-risk-20180614-h11e3o), with the title ‘The technical reasons why Huawei is too great a 5G risk‘, the start is good, this is what we wanted. Yet we are treated to paragraphs of emotion and alleged settings. So when we see: “Huawei presents unique additional risk beyond the “normal” risk of buying complex equipment. China has demonstrated a long-standing intent to conduct cyber-espionage“, so is ‘intent’ shown in evidence? How did the CIA and NSA acquire our data or Cambridge Analytica for that matter? ‘China is thought to be behind data breaches‘ is merely a statement ‘thought‘ is speculation, not evidence. Then we get: “The US Trade Representative’s Section 301 report from March this year details the very close cooperation between the Third Department of China’s People’s Liberation Army (3PLA is a military hacking unit, also known as Unit 61398) and Chinese enterprises“, I have to get back to this. We are treated to ‘At one extreme, Huawei could be asked‘, is a case of fear mongering and not evidence. In addition we get ‘it is certainly a possibility‘ which came after ‘Vulnerabilities may already exist. This may not be the most likely possibility‘ as well as ‘very likely‘ all emotional responses, none of them evidence in any way, so the article with included in the title ‘The technical reasons’, has pretty much zero technology and close to 90% ‘allegedly’, speculations and emotional twists, whilst we cannot deny the optional existence of vulnerabilities, yet these are found regularly in Cisco hardware and Microsoft software, so have those two been banned in Australia?

Now to get back to the Section 301 report (at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/Section%20301%20FINAL.PDF). It is 215 pages and I did not read that complete political US marketing behemoth. There is one that actually carries weight. On page 153 we see: “evidence from U.S. law enforcement and private sources indicates that the Chinese government has used cyber intrusions to serve its strategic economic objectives. Documented incidents of China’s cyber intrusions against U.S. commercial entities align closely with China’s industrial policy objectives. As the global economy has increased its dependence on information systems in recent years, cyber theft became one of China’s preferred methods of collecting commercial information because of its logistical advantages and plausible deniability“, which is basically good application of intelligence gathering. Please do not take my word for it, feel free to call the NSA (at +1-301-6886311, all their calls are recorded for training and quality purposes). Oh, and before I forget, the text came with footnote 970, which gave us “A number of public submissions provided to USTR state that the Chinese government has no reason to conduct cyber intrusions or commit cyber theft for commercial purposes, see CHINA GENERAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE [hereinafter “CGCC”], Submission, Section 301 Hearing 16 (Sept. 28, 2017); that the US has not provided evidence of such actions by China, that China is also a target of cyber-attacks, and that the two countries should work together“, there is that to deal with and is that not a rare instance where we are treated to ‘the US has not provided evidence of such actions‘, how many times have we seen claims like that since 2001? Would that number be a 4 or 5 digit number?

The point is not whether it can or could happen, the question becomes did it happen here? let’s not forget that in most settings the section 301 report is about US interests and their technological advancement (which they lost by becoming iteratively stupid). Here we have a different setting. In the setting we face Huawei has a technological advance over all we have in Australia and most of Europe as well. Huawei was one of the first to realise the power of data and 5G and they are close to a market leader, the US is basically relying on Samsung to get them there. BT (British Telecom) is on the ball, but still not on par. They are in bed with Finland “BT has teamed with Nokia to collaborate on the creation of 5G proof of concept trials, the development of emerging technology standards and equipment, and potential 5G use cases“, so this sets the larger players in a field where Nokia and Huawei are now active. The SAMENA Telecom Leaders Summit 2018 and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced today that it is working with Nokia to launch a 5G network in 2018 within Saudi Arabia, yet the technology agreements show that it does include Huawei and Cisco, so they aren’t already active, the setting for the initial bumps in the road that Cisco, Nokia and Huawei will surely overcome is knowledge that we will not have in Australia long after someone was able to connect the 5G router to a power point (very presentable, yet the online green light seems to be broken).

So whilst politicians are considering who to be buddies with, Saudi Arabia joins the US and they will be the first 5G providers, which means that the UK and Australia are lagging behind and optionally not for the short term either.

So am I not knowing or am I all knowing? I actually prefer the first, because it is more relaxing; yet the need to speak out loud is becoming increasingly important even if it was only to place the loud mouth limelight seeking politicians like Michael Danby and George Christensen in their slightly too arrogant place. They are of course welcome to present ACTUAL evidence proving me wrong. #WishingForAMiracleHere

 

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Way of the Dodo

Tariffs are nothing new, these things have existed for the longest time. I grew up where that was a given, so in my youth, only the rich bought a Harley, a Chrysler or a Chevy. I still remember walking to the shop in Rotterdam and look at all those awesome vehicles through the windows (I was too young to drive in those days), many grew their passion that way. It seems odd that living next to the country that made Volkswagen and Mercedes, we wanted a Blazer, a Harley or another American car. Nowadays, the petrol guzzlers they used to be wouldn’t make it today in Europe. So when we see: ‘EU tariffs force Harley-Davidson to move some production out of US‘, I merely see a stage setting to the old ways. The Guardian gives us loads of information as the market slides, as the shift of production and the changing of the US stock market. That is the direct visible impact of the Trade wars. Australia had this setting a few years earlier as the car industry packed up and left Australia for more exploitative settings in Asia. In the booming market that is stated to exist, we see ‘Harley: EU tariffs will cost $100m/year in short term‘ (source: the Guardian). this is a war the US president started and he forgot that companies, especially US ones, have one focus, short term ROI and a trade war changes the hats of many corporations overnight. This is seen to some degree as Bloomberg treated us to ‘Bigger Booby Trap for U.S. Economy‘. We get introduced to “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on June 20 that officials are beginning to hear that companies are postponing investment and hiring due to uncertainty about what comes next” (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-24/trump-s-trade-war-sets-bigger-booby-trap-for-strong-u-s-economy). It is what is sometimes referred to as the corporate mindset, the consideration that tomorrow is not going to be any better for now. In all this the US hides behind “tax cuts power both consumer and company spending. That would be the strongest in almost four years and twice as fast as the first quarter’s annualized advance of 2.2 percent“, yet the US seems to forget that tax cuts also means that infrastructures are falling apart, the US has a debt it cannot seem to pay and the debt keeps on rising. This in a nation where the national debt has surpassed $21 trillion (103% of GDP), whilst in addition the statistics show that the US faces a setting where the debt per taxpayers is $175K opposing a revenue per taxpayer is merely $27K, a $148K per taxpayer shortfall, that is not the moment when tax cuts have any clear momentum, because the moment the infrastructures start failing, at that point their momentum seizes. Even as Nariman Behravesh the IHS Markit’s Macroeconomic Adviser give us “If they keep down this path, all the positive effects of the tax cut will be gone“, it is worse than that. This gives the indirect implication that unemployment rates will go up giving additional ‘attack’ against the US infrastructure. All this seems to become a direct result of the tug of war between tariffs and protectionism. The BBC gives the best light (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-43512098), when we consider ‘Five reasons why trade wars aren’t easy to win‘. In this we see (not all five added):

  1. Tariffs may not actually boost steel and aluminium jobs much. The question becomes, how much of a boost would be possible, and is this proven or still merely speculation?
  2. Tariffs are likely to raise costs in the US, so the cost of the product will be increased as these CEO’s do not want to take it out of their margins, so it will be bookkept in another place, the consumer has to pay for all these charges in the end.
  3. Tariffs could hurt allies and prompt retaliation, which is already the case and when you consider that the two largest deliverers of steel are Canada and the EU, the move does not make that much sense. So we see a tariff war that will be about exemptions. In that regard, the tariff war is a bust where the companies hit will be facing a rock and a hard stand on tariffs, this is shown by a few clever people to move part of their operation to Europe, and Harley Davidson is merely the first of several to make that move.
  4. China has options, this is the big one. The US blames China for flooding the market with cheap steel and aluminium and has already stepped up protective measures against Chinese steel products. In opposition, US businesses, including those in the car, tech and agriculture industries, are eager to get into the Chinese market, giving leaders there some leverage. So in the end, the tariff war is not strangling US businesses to fan out to the Chinese market, as exemptions are gained here, the tariff war becomes close to pointless and it merely drove down the economy. This last part is not a given and cannot be proven until 2019, which could null and void any chance of President Trump getting a second term, in addition, if this is not going to be a slam dunk win for the Democrats, the Republicans better have a strong case, because 2020 is the one election where the chances for winning by Jeb Bush (Florida) and Ann Coulter (Florida) seems to be a better option than re-electing the current president. Who would have thought that in 2016? It becomes hilarious when you consider that 2020 is the year that Marco Rubio declined to run, only to give the presidency to Ann Coulter. My sense of humour needs to point that out, whether it becomes reality or not.

The previous part is important to consider, not for the matter of who becomes president, but the setting that the economy is in such a state where we all see the proclamation ““Anyone who thinks the economy is being wrecked doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a June 21 Bloomberg Television interview“. We accept the fact that he states that, yet everyone seems to overlook that the debt also gives an annual interest that is close to $100 per taxpayer, now consider that 80% of the population is in the 15% or 10% bracket. So from their taxation we see a maximum of $755 where 13% goes straight to the paying of the interest, when you are in the higher bracket 3% is lost. So before anything else is done up to 16% is lost and that accounts for 80% of the population, merely because no budgets were properly kept, the US infrastructure lost up to 16% straight from the start, that is the undermining of an infrastructure that also fuels the economy which it can no longer do. You see behind this is the IP, or as the US calls it the IP theft by China. I am uncertain if we can agree. I am not stating that it does not happen, I merely look at the Dutch examples from Buma/Stemra in the 90’s and their numbers were flawed, perhaps even cooked. They never made sense and after that we have seen ‘political weighting‘ of numbers that were debatable from the start.

So when we look back to 2017, we see the NY Times giving us: “Intellectual-property theft covers a wide spectrum: counterfeiting American fashion designs, pirating movies and video games, patent infringement and stealing proprietary technology and software“, yet I have seen these accusations in Europe and the numbers never added up. So when we see: “Central to Chinese cybersecurity law is the “secure and controllable” standard, which, in the name of protecting software and data, forces companies operating in China to disclose critical intellectual property to the government and requires that they store data locally. Even before this Chinese legislation, some three-quarters of Chinese imported software was pirated. Now, despite the law, American companies may be even more vulnerable“. It will happen, yet to what degree does it happen? What evidence is there? Consider the setting when we think of students. Students tend to have one of the harshest budgets to live on. Let’s take 100 students and they all decided to duplicate (read: borrow) the latest album from Taylor Swift ‘Reputation’ (it is easier to imagine it when the victim is a beautiful blonde who only recently stopped being a teenager). Now, basically she lost $2390 in revenue, yet is that true? How many would have actually bought the album? Let’s say 10% of all students are real fans and they would have bought the album (when not confronted with the choice of food versus entertainment), so the actual loss is $239. Now, this is still a loss and she is entitled to take action here. Yet the people making a living in the facilitation industry will demand the loss be set to $2390 that is where the numbers do not add up! There is the setting of eagerness to hear an album versus the need to have the album. We are all driven with the need to hear the album and some will buy it. This opposes several views and whilst the implied copied work allegedly is done so in the hundreds of thousands, the evidence is not there to support it. That is where weighted forecasts are the setting and it is an inaccurate one. So in all this, from the IP point of view, do we have 23,675,129 C# programmers, or merely 24 million people who wanted to take a look at C# only to install it and never use it because they could not figure out what they were looking at?

Now we get to 2018, where we see (at http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/23/technology/china-us-trump-tariffs-ip-theft/index.html) the projected issues with “The United States Trade Representative, which led the seven-month investigation into China’s intellectual property theft and made recommendations to the Trump administration, found that “Chinese theft of American IP currently costs between $225 billion and $600 billion annually“, I wonder what numbers they are set on. Now we can agree that the likelihood of “”China has sought to acquire US technology by any means, licit or illicit,” James Andrew Lewis, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in a blog post Thursday” being true in regard to defence projects would be high. Yet in all this, where is the data supporting these views? Without proper data we are faced with US companies setting expected revenue that is many millions too high and that part remains unanswered on many fronts. Now in defence, we get it! That is the game, so as we consider the news last year from breaking defense with the news that: “compassion for the Army, which is trying to standardize its computer systems across more than 400 units in the next 28 months. The objective is a “single software baseline,” where every unit has the same set of information technologies. Such standardization should simplify everything from training, maintenance, operations and future upgrades“, this is fun to read as I had to set up something like that for a company much smaller. There we learned that Dell was kind enough to have within two shipments the same model computer yet both had different patches because one chip had been changed. Now consider that this ‘unsettling dream of standardisation‘ was for a company with hardware usage merely a rough 0.13% of what the US Army has. So, that is something that will bite them soon enough. This doesn’t make the setting smaller, but a lot larger, the wrong patches tend to open up networks for all kinds of flaws not correctly set. So the cyber intrusion setting would be an optional 300% larger, giving a much larger success rate, all people willing to sell data to the Chinese (or the Chinese merely enticing the American people to embrace marketing capitalism for their own gains).

To explain the previous part in its proper light we need to realise. It is not merely about IP theft and rights; it is also about common cyber sense. In both the military and corporate setting there is a need for levels of standardisation, whilst IP that tends to rely on standardisation to be more successful, the IP theft setting is actually opposite to that. The Conversation (at http://theconversation.com/three-reasons-why-pacemakers-are-vulnerable-to-hacking-83362) gives us when they look at the medical dangers. As they give us Power versus security as well as Convenience versus security we see the first dangers. So consider the following. First there is “according to Carnegie Mellon researchers, can increase the energy consumption of some mobile phones by up to 30% because of the loss of proxies“, then we get “Most embedded medical devices don’t currently have the memory, processing power or battery life to support proper cryptographic security, encryption or access control“, giving us that hacking into someone’s pacemaker is actually not as hard as one might think. Now consider that encryption, or a lack thereof can be found on a large variety of IoT devices, and any army has their own devices that need to be more accessible at all times. In the second consideration we get “The prospect of having to keep usernames, passwords and encryption keys handy and safe is contrary to how they plan to use them“, as well as “When your pacemaker fails and the ambulance arrives, however, will you really have the time (or ability) to find the device serial number and authentication details to give to the paramedics“, it is the age old setting of convenience for the safety of all. So as we realise this, how much IP theft was already available before anyone realised its need? It is almost like the gun laws in the US, everyone wants gun laws whilst there are millions available for unmonitored purchasing defeating the purpose altogether. In that same setting we ignore common Cyber Sense too often allowing for IP theft on a much larger scale. The issue is that it does not mean that this is actually happening, or that others have interest to steal that particular IP. So we can optionally agree that the Chinese government that they definitely want all the IP on that front, even as some sources state that there is still a problem. So when we consider to an example, we need to look at that part of the information came from a research report by LtCol B. L. Ream, USAF, which gives us “There are two types of guidance systems available, the AGM-65A/B is optical guided and the AGM-65D model Is Infrared guided“, as well as “Once launched, the missile maintains a lock on to the target and guides autonomously, providing a standoff launch and leave capability. The aircraft can then egress the target area or set up to fire again in a target rich environment“, yet the other undisclosed source gives us that a programming issue on the locking when it is set through a buddy system. The: “data link control of the weapon can be provided from two different sources. Either the launch aircraft can guide the weapon or a buddy aircraft can control the weapon after launch. In either case, data link line of sight must be maintained between the data link aircraft and the weapon. Thus, on a standoff control scenario, the further away from the target the control aircraft is the higher altitude it must maintain. Even though this may not appear to be tactically sound, the standoff range is impressive“, so the undisclosed source that gives that the Data Link has a match issue and there is a chance that the speculated offset of 35 metres is ‘accidently implemented on targeting‘, will there be an issue of IP theft? When materials are openly available on the internet, as I was able to read the report on the Defense Technical Information Center site. When is there a case of IP theft? In this I love the reference that WIPO uses. Here we see: “Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such“, considering that ballistic software is 90% math (read: the application of mathematical concepts), copyright as an option goes straight out of the window, in addition, the data link adjustment makes it in theory a new product that was not covered in the first place. So standardisation makes it easier to get to the lollies, and by adjusting the wrapper it ends up not being IP theft, as long as no trademarks reside on the wrapper (a ‘it is more alike than not‘ issue in IP law).

And now for the main meal

This is seen in the CNN article I raised earlier. The headline ‘President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, taking aim at China’s theft of US intellectual property‘. It was and has always been about IP protectionism. Business Insider gives us “Two former senior Defence Department officials said Chinese intellectual property theft cost the US as much as $US600 billion a year, calling it possibly the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.”“, the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/995063be-1e0a-11e8-956a-43db76e69936) gives us: “as Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, suggests: “It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States.” Yet once this loophole is used so irresponsibly by the US, of all countries, where might it stop?” The Financial Times takes it a lot further giving raise to the question how did it in the end serve IP? Where we saw more than once the terms ‘as much as $US600 billion a year‘, yet no evidence is presented. There is no setting that ‘Two former senior Defence Department officials‘ can present a list adding the numbers up and with $600 billion in the balance (as opposed to the commercial industry) we see that if proper evidence was presented a better case could have been made. Where we see in opposition to China: a lucrative market in designer knockoff goods in places like Amsterdam and London. London getting its share of 17 million tourists, all happy to get the latest Gucci bag for a special discount price of £19.95 as well as in Amsterdam where the 14 million visitors can get them for a mere €25. So did Gucci report a €812 million in IP theft losses? What about the other brands? I was the proud owner of an Australian Polo for $12, I merely needed a polo shirt (many years ago) as some drunk blonde thought it was perfectly normal to dance in high heels in the middle of the road holding a glass of red wine, so as she jumped to get away from a car (who had an actual reason to be on the road), I ended up with her wine on my shirt. So I got to the first place that sold a polo shirt and got a new one so I would not arrive at a diner red stained before it even began. Did I initiate IP theft? I had no idea what ‘Australian’ was in those days. There is the setting, what we know, what was real damage and how it is presented by those needing inflated IP theft numbers?

It is in this setting that we need to see the stage for reported IP theft. We agree that the smallest fraction is indeed set to the covert acquisition of military IP, yet the bulk (well over 95%) is all about a misrepresenting economy, the brands want their losses to seem as large as possible, the US is setting that stage to prospective economic health, yet that evidence cannot be validated and the tariff war is likely to become a much more detrimental factor in the US economy that is currently presented as a revenue bubble that will impact sooner rather than later. The independent gave us last December (at https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/economy-signs-interest-rates-donald-trump-market-bubble-burst-next-year-a8102356.html) that ‘Five economic signs that can tell us if the bubble will burst next year‘. Here we see “The good news is that the world is at last experiencing a coordinated expansion, with all major regions growing reasonably swiftly“, as well as “the policies that have led to this expansion, especially ultra-easy money conditions, have created a boom in asset prices that at some stage will come to an end“. There are a few views in all direction, yet the one that no one seems to focus on is the quality of life. Earlier this year USA Today reported that “California has the worst quality of life in America“, the sunny state is where people can no longer afford to live to any decent degree. That part is forgotten, the QoL in New York is in 25th position, not a great place to be. The Quality of Life in the US has decreased to the degree where it is the lowest in the developed world. That and the fact that the US is at minus 21 trillion does not help. It is shown in the US Social Progress Index where none of the five largest state economies (California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Texas) are in the top ten states on social progress. This is important and reflects back to the student example I gave earlier. So as these people will all ‘borrow’ the latest Taylor Swift album and none of those will buy it, because they cannot afford to do so. That part becomes even more visible when you consider the Wired setting on pre-owned games in 2016. At some point Microsoft made the terminal choice as given by Wired through “You may remember that Microsoft attempted to do away with “used games” with the launch of the Xbox One. (Yeah, they made some hand-wavy claims of players being able to trade games at “participating retailers,” but the DRM scheme meant you couldn’t borrow, lend, sell them on eBay“, that setting is merely exploding in an economy that is not moving forward. That with 80% of the people on merely a 15% tax bracket or lower and the cost of living there is still going up. Even as Microsoft is pushing to “buy at the Microsoft store“, a digital copy cannot be handed out to friends, so there is little push for that move when you can only afford 4 games a year. However, Microsoft is in equal measure pushing for the Game Pass which balances one for the other. EA is making a similar move and it is actually an intelligent move to make. The few that would buy the latest NHL version no matter what gives is nothing compared to the overwhelming group that will happily buy the previous year version when it is part of a package deal at $40 a year. So I might wield the latest NHL version, at $40 a year getting the previous season of FIFA, NBA and NFL is just smart thinking. Yet these people are equally part of the claimants of IP theft. The question becomes (even as we accept that it will happen), how large is the actual IP theft? So when the US adds a 10% tariff on video games, does that merely make the download 10% more expensive? I do not think that from $40 to $44 for EA games is an increase we lose sleep about, yet the ‘cost’ of downloading remains as well, and in the flawed Microsoft design, how does the tariff apply over time, on DLC and other elements in gaming? All these changes and increases, where the consumer sees no upside, all based on projected and presented numbers without its proper representation and scrutiny.

This is how an economy goes the way of the Dodo, so when you think (source: Sydney Morning Herald) that the start of ‘US plans to curb Chinese tech investments, citing security‘ is a good idea and it is waxed with “the White House would use one of the most significant legal measures available to declare China’s investment in US companies involved in technologies such as new-energy vehicles, robotics and aerospace a threat to economic and national security, according to eight people familiar with the plans“, we need to see in equal setting the fact that 750 million Europeans might find the escalation of events important and threatening enough to take a 180 degree position on tech operators like Huawei when we are treated to “Huawei, China’s biggest maker of handsets and networking equipment, which has been flagged numerous times by US lawmakers as a possible security threat to Americans. Upon the New York Times’ publication of a piece (paywall) highlighting Facebook’s data sharing with Huawei, as well as with three other Chinese companies, the social network told the paper it would wind down (paywall) its partnership with the Shenzhen-based phone brand“. One side tries to stop and filter, whilst the other side turned open the tap and let the room flood. Even now, after a congressional hearing and the Cambridge Analytica events, we see alleged transgressions and the sharing of data on a stage where we see only growth. With “Due to the importance of highlighting the natural and heritage landmarks in the Kingdom, “Huawei Saudi” joined together with Qumra’s community of photographers to organize a workshop around “photography through smartphones” by using the latest “Huawei P20 Pro” phone” and the setting that offers the latest in mobile technology far below the prices that Google, Apple and Samsung have. It does not matter on how the tariff war is to become a disaster, it is the mere realisation that it fails because those implementing changes do not seem to comprehend that the economy consists of well over a billion consumers and they cannot afford the 10% more or the 28% more expensive mobile phone alternatives. In all this the people confronted with the dilemma merely went directly to the consumers, as such Harley Davidson is moving to Europe to circumvent a few barricades, a tariff war that was short sighted to a lot of people more intelligent than me and the country that considers naked short selling to not be illegal seems to be doing just that to its own economy, how is that the setting of morality of capitalism?

We consider the way of the Dodo and realise that in the end it merely tasted like chicken.

#HowSmartWereWe or is that #HowSmartHuawei

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