Tag Archives: Harvard

The FX slogan in action

I always loved the FX slogan, it is true, and it is at the centre of entertainment. Yet is it at the centre of viable analytics? Is a result merely presented as an anecdote more acceptable? We seem to lack the ability to take a step back and look at it in a clinical setting, because it is not always about the mere setting.

A scientist will show you how expensive progress exactly is.
A diplomat makes you look forward to the invoice attached to it.

This is a setting that we seem to laugh at. Now take this in a very different direction: ‘A person who is 30% white is still 70% guilty‘. You are not laughing now are you? Take this to the next level with KTVU naming the crew of a plane crash (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpP2S6c74Ts), still having fun? The people connected to Asiana Flight 214 are not, I am certain of that. So when we see this, where do we go? Well we need to take a short pit stop when we address something that I have seen in my surrounding. The practice is not wrong, it can be loaded and it can blow up in your face if you do it wrong.

To get this we need to look at 2009, when Google’s Chief Economist Dr. Hal R. Varian told the audience: “The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades“, this is true, it has been true for decades. So as data becomes is found everywhere it becomes the setting of an almost opposition. To get data from almost common sense (where everyone seemingly gets it, to a stage that the presentation of numbers, with a story, almost any story that fits we get to see that companies are desperately searching for talent with data skills and they make it worse by trying to find people who can tell a story. Yet where is the story the value? Is that because it is more believable, or because it fits the moment? Yet that danger is now growing as well. You see each quarter the story needs to be amended and builds upon the previous story and investors have a much better memory than some realise. This is where Forbes gets us with “Interestingly, much of the current hiring emphasis has centered on the data preparation and analysis skills—not the “last mile” skills that help convert insights into actions. Many of the heavily-recruited individuals with advanced degrees in economics, mathematics, or statistics struggle with communicating their insights to others effectively—essentially, telling the story of their numbers.” I am not sure that this is a correct path. Instead of focussing on the communication skill, we are given data presentations by Mother Goose and Mr Grimm and in all that, will we get the story that is told correctly? I have prepared dashboards and data reports for decades. I have seen how some jumps were made on the assumption of one result, whilst the data was not supporting it, or it was, yet only after targeted weighting? In that we get the story that is a partial truth, yet it is in that same instant a partial lie too and that part will no longer get the proper scrutiny that is required.

So now we get to the good stuff. Now we get to the Guardian that treated us to: ‘China planted chips in Apple and Amazon servers, report claims‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/04/china-planted-chips-on-apple-and-amazon-servers-report-claims). Is it possible? Yes it is, yet the numbers and the speculative sides in all this is a larger problem, or better stated it is a large issue in a much larger universe and we are merely shown the keyhole view with the audio of two moaning people. Yet whether they are having sex or are pushing the bed around cannot be stated as we merely see a wall and part of a piece of furniture and we go by the sounds we hear. So when we consider that the corn borer can make the identical sound of a bat, so much so that the female corn borer moths cannot distinguish between the sound of a real bat and the sound of a male moth imitating a bat. Which quite literally gets her screwed, it’s merely how he gets lucky.

This now relates to the article, where we see: “A Chinese military unit has been inserting tiny microchips into computer servers used by companies including Apple and Amazon that give China unprecedented backdoor access to computers and data, according to a new Bloomberg report“, yet when we are also told “The attack was reportedly discovered in 2015 by the US intelligence services, as well as by Apple and Amazon as the companies purchased servers made by Super Micro Computer“, yet companies stay in the dark on this? So first it is Russia, now it is China? Consider the next quote “Amazon, Apple and Super Micro have all denied Bloomberg’s report. Amazon said: “It’s untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental.

Furthermore, we see both “As we shared with Bloomberg BusinessWeek multiple times over the last couple months, at no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems“, as well as “Apple said: “On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server.“. Is this an issue about what exactly?

This we see in the consideration of: “There have been increased concerns about foreign intelligence agencies infiltrating US and other companies via so-called “supply chain attacks”“. This is not unique. The American nagging and the nagging by its bitches (aka Australian Intelligence) is becoming a much larger setting as to the stage on where economic prosperity goes to. This is as I personally see it, the setting of a stage on where outsourcing goes to. This seems to be much more realistic and much more believable. You see, if there was truth in the Bloomberg part, if there was the real setting of “Apple had reportedly bought around 7,000 Super Micro servers when its security teams discovered the chips“, in that setting 7,000 server boards would have been shown to the world, it would have changed everything, places like Stanford, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and UTS (which has Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak as a professor). They would be showing you the high and low of it all, yet that did not happen did it? So when we are seeing “Technology shares in Hong Kong fell sharply on Friday led by Lenovo, which lost 23% in morning trade. The Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp lost more than 14%“, which is interesting as ZTE was a thorn in the 5G side of the US and a few other players (like Telstra for example) for a much longer time, so is that a mere coincidence? What story telling sides are we not exposed to?

However, this is not the end. It is important to look at Bloomberg, because Bloomberg is not really the ‘storyteller’ of the century. We get introduced (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies) to the quotes “In late spring of 2015, Elemental’s staff boxed up several servers and sent them to Ontario, Canada, for the third-party security company to test, the person says“, as well as “Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design“, which also gets us: “During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines“. This is a much more frightening setting, yet why was this kept in the dark for so long? Not because of any matter that can be attributed to common sense. You see, I find “Still, to actually accomplish a seeding attack would mean developing a deep understanding of a product’s design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain to the desired location—a feat akin to throwing a stick in the Yangtze River upstream from Shanghai and ensuring that it washes ashore in Seattle” an acceptable tactic, yet it opens the door on multiple places, places that are implied but not shown into the limelight. The first and perhaps the most visible one is: ‘timeline to design a chip‘. If that is so small, how can we be certain that the CIA did not do this to every Apple and IBM device ahead of fabrication? So when we get to “But that’s just what U.S. investigators found: The chips had been inserted during the manufacturing process, two officials say, by operatives from a unit of the People’s Liberation Army“, why them? Why not the Ministry of State Security? When we look in those directions, I personally find Chen Wenqing has a much more deceptive look then Xi Jinping. For either, funding would never have been the issue. And in the end Bloomberg gives us: “Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of 2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards. Apple severed ties with Supermicro the following year, for what it described as unrelated reasons“. So yes, Bloomberg is raising questions, questions on where we need to consider ourselves in regards to China, an issue not properly raised by the Guardian this time around. Yet in both cases we end up with questions. We know that 5G will be a multi trillion industry and the US is desperate to melt the cogs of Chinese industry here, they have a backlog that is too large, there is at present no chance that the US, or Europe could catch up with China. The Chinese focus had been on 5G for too long, production is nowhere near it needs to be to go up against China. Yet this story, this event 3 years old and never in the limelight until now, that is impacting Lenovo and ZTE, so one of the 5G drivers is now as they call it: ‘In the shits‘, a 14% loss is nothing to get sneered at. And this optionally links back to the accusations against China in 5G, yet they are all still stories. The evidence was never handed into the limelight, and it also squarely lands the entire matter into the pond of former President Barack Obama, who still wanted to get trade deals going at that stage, so the Democratic party is going to get pushed into this mud pool sooner rather than later, because corporations at a global scale will feel betrayed in this mess. It gets fuelled more when we go back to September 2015, after this mess started and the people (via Reuters) get treated to: “President Barack Obama announced on Friday that he had reached a “common understanding” with Chinese President Xi Jinping on curbing economic cyber espionage, but threatened to impose U.S. sanctions on Chinese hackers who persist with cybercrimes.” So, did it happen? Was the story on the servers a ruse? Seems interesting that when placed in the proper timeline, against other news, we see a different setting do we not?

That is the stage we see when we add an element, any linked element to the story, it changes the preface of it and it changes the conclusions of it all. Any story with incomplete data is not a story, it degrades into a fairy tale, and both Mother Goose and Jacob Grimm both had their end of the spectrum when we watched their stories unfold. So where do the Guardian and Bloomberg stand? They go with sources that gave them news, yet when those sources cooperate in getting a particular story told, where do we get to stand, being told a story?

The server boards are evidence, yet where are they? If it is in 7000 server boards, there should be plenty to go around and show the world what was going on, but that did not happen, did it? So even as we were made aware a mere 5 hours ago of: “Huawei is trying to convince the U.S. government that Trump’s trade wars with China might slow down 5G adoption on American soil“, we now see that this is exactly what the US needed, time to catch up, or at least get a bigger slice of the 5G pie chart. You see a nation that is to be regarded as bankrupt cannot rely on importing goods; it needs US based goods to use a circle of non-cycled currency to keep its government running. And the 5G wave will go on for some time, the more time they get, the longer they can negate their official moment of being bankrupt. I am not the only one with that view, the same view is given (with a better economic handling) by Economist Laurence Kotlikoff who gives us: “While the United States’ official debt is $20 trillion, the fiscal gap is really 10 times larger — $200 trillion. That comes from adding in off-the-book liabilities, including debt that’s in the Federal Reserve’s hands, Kotlikoff said“, who also gives us: ““The evidence is in front of our eyes that we’re bankrupt,” Kotlikoff said. “It’s not bankrupt in the future. It’s bankrupt right now.”” A stage that I had mentioned three years ago, it might have been 4 years ago. I mentioned the settings and the consequences and I only needed an abacus to get there, but according to all the newspapers, I was wrong. Now we see more storytelling games and more pushes by large corporations to keep the current machine switches on, because once it is switched off, it ends for them, they will have no options and the markets will collapse soon thereafter wiping ours (and partially their) retirements away. That is the realism of our day and age and it is a story that I am telling, just like the others. I merely believe that I have seen more data, more complete data and I see the interactions on a wider scale. From that assumption my story is (seemingly) better, truer and more believable, is that the case, is it that for you?

You see, that is the danger with stories, it all hangs on the evidence that we are given and for the longest of times, the supporting evidence has been lacking, or basically completely absent on their side of the discussion. When we watch the Grimm in the TV Series Nick Burkhardt we accept it, because it is entertainment, and when the Grimm kills the Hundjägers, we know it is fabrication, entertaining fabrication mind you. Yet when we see the mention of Lenovo and ZTE, when we realise that 128,000 people are now in a state with an endangered job, families in danger of social security, as well as the impact on a larger scale, are we happy with the tale when it is the story and the non-shown evidence that is the matter. The fact that more parties are in denial is also an issue, but that could be for a whole host of reasons. It is the lack of evidence that is open for scrutiny that becomes the larger issue and that is an issue, it is an issue in every story, so whilst I embrace the FX slogan: ‘the story is everything‘ it is the lack of supported reality that makes it an issue in business intelligence and actual intelligence analyses. A setting that was 3 years in the open and we only get it partially served now, now that the need of America is becoming more and more dire.

The math does not add up and that has a much larger setting in all this than most are willing to admit to at present.

 

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The Digital Dilemma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#ItMustBeMe

 

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Rerumphobia

Somewhere between merry old England and joie de vivre France are islands, there are a few there and some actually have a population that exceeds the number of sheep (so you know it is not New Zealand we are talking about). The island has roughly 66,000 people, making it smaller than the total size of the Australian Defence Force and less people than Boston, Lincolnshire, meaning that merry old England has 304 cities larger than the population of this island.

Now that you have this collection of conversation starters, let’s get to the gritty of it all. The place I am referring to is Guernsey, a beautiful location that is caught between the island where you can order tripe with mint sauce and the main land that serves Steak Tartar. I was starting my browser to get a daily view of the Guardian and this is what got my initial attention ‘Guernsey chief minister defends anti-racism comments‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/09/guernsey-jonathan-le-tocq-defends-anti-racism-comments-islamophobia).

Jonathan Le Tocq, Chief Minister of Guernsey stated, according to ITV “they could meet many of the necessary UN requirements, such as education provision, they would not be able to guarantee the security of refugees if they came to the Bailiwick“. The paraphrase is not incorrect Jonathan stated: “…not be targeted or excluded, we’re not there and sadly that’s not possible”, this is a direct pragmatic statement.

In my view, a few players have missed the boat by a lot, let me explain. We have seen news, from nearly all sides. The quote “The protracted plight of these refugees has become an international security issue as terrorist groups have recruited from refugee camps“, which comes from Jill Goldenziel, a Harvard PHD, her article ‘Refugees and International Security‘ starts on page 3 of the attachment at the end of the article. She follows that quote with “These crises thus highlight the limits of the international refugee management system” So not only do they not know who has been going all over Europe, there is absolutely no way to know how many ISIS martyrs will be entering any given nation. That is not a scare issue, it is not an attempt to create fear; it is a visible established fact, a fact that has resonated all over the world and not just by the intelligence community. So in this case, it is Jonathan Le Tocq who brings the valid concerns here. He is more than just a man who will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of his 27th birthday next month (March 4th if you want to send him a birthday card at: Sir Charles Frossard House,  La Charroterie,  St Peter Port,  Guernsey,  GY1 1FH,  Channel Islands). He is chief Minister of an Island that is on the 305th place within the UK for population size, if we see The Right Honourable Jonathan as the Minister Chef of the Commonwealth Island of Guernsey he is not in the 305th position, he would slide down the list in a massive way.

So, can anyone show me a list of cities higher on the UK population list, with next to that name the number of refugees they have taken in? You see, Guernsey, Jersey and a few other islands have a massive problem. When things escalate, by the time help arrives, the population of that island could be decimated. When you consider the thought that this is just paranoia, consider the two attacks in Paris, a city with massive police power was left near powerless for too long a time, so how will an island with 146 policing  members deal with a threat like that? More protection? With what money?

Let’s not forget that we tend to trivialise the police at times, whilst laughing at ‘the Thin Blue Line’, we all know that the police is a lot more than Det. Insp. Derek Grim trying to defuse the threat of ‘dratsuc’, yet people deny the direct deadliness of extremism as people looked away when a French Muslim policeman Ahmed Merabet got gunned down in cold blood by extremists, because he was protecting the French people and their freedom of speech. In equal measure there is the internal fear that a wave of panic could hit the population, lashing out unjustly. None of these facts point towards racism. Fear is a strange bedfellow, causing no good wherever it is, but in all this there is the reality of that what is, so can we see the list of the 304 larger places in the UK, with the number of refugees they have taken in?

Let’s also acknowledge that 99.999% of these refugees are real refugees seeking a way out of hell, a way towards decent sleep and decent food, but over 60,000 refugees that this means that there are 60 potential terrorists. The two attacks in France only required 11 assailants, as 34,000 police agents (over 15 districts) were too late in all the points of attack. So where does the Guernsey police stand? No matter how well Patrick Rice has his ducks in a row, with a force of 134 there is a risk and it was the responsibility of Jonathan Le Tocq to voice this.

So when we see many sources that there is “Islamophobia” on Guernsey they are not correctly voicing all of the facts. For any Christian place to state there is no “Islamophobia”, in my view that state is clearly lying, we all, have forever feared the unknown. To voice this, let me ask you a question (providing you are over 33), ‘Give me three differences between Shia Islam and Sunni Islam‘, if you know that, then ask yourself, did you know this on September 10th 2001? This comes from the award winning TV series ‘the Newsroom’, but the truth is clear, non-Islam earth for the most did not have a clue regarding Islam before that fateful day. Since that moment religious extremism (not just Islamic) has been on the rise on a global scale. In my view, the political failing to make the hard calls that need to be made are still a worry today. The humanitarian tsunami has shown that an open Europe brought massive problems and the dislodgement of millions of people is draining resources and stopping actual solutions to be implemented. This means that the fear of the unknown will hit many places and isolated easier and more intense. It does not make the people of Guernsey phobic, it does make the media at large hypocritical as it played the fear card for spinning, exploitation and scaremongering for too long, in all this the readers got caught in the middle. An example is shown (at http://www.smh.com.au/comment/terror-scaremongering-threatens-our-democracy-20140919-10jcxq.html), here we see that the 2014 rehashing of all the events show that the 2005 events were massively out of focus. The quote “The evidence in the lengthy court proceedings that culminated in a Supreme Court trial in 2008 showed nothing of the sort. The reference to the Westgate Bridge had been taken out of context and was completely innocent. There was simply no evidence of a plot to blow up Flinders Street station, and the reference to the MCG was in the context of a vague conversation between two of the accused“, in addition we see “The case against these men was put by the prosecution on the basis that they did not have a terrorist target and that they had no plan in place to commit a terrorist act. Christine Nixon’s phrase, “imminent terrorist attack”, was simply wrong“, in itself this might not be seen as evidence, but the clarity is still overwhelming. We fear what we do not understand, and not many comprehend Islam, which impacts all around. So the issue from Guernsey is still there, there is still a need to address the fear, which will not happen overnight. Yet as the press gives us that Guernsey is shown as an isolated case, would Steven Morris be so kind to give us a list of the 304 larger cities and the amount of refugees they are taking in? I did like the video that Steven Morris did put online with the view of the local populous, ‘the majority are not‘, which is very true, but a tinderbox can start with as little as two people and on 78 square kilometres, 135 people (one police commissioner and his blue minions) won’t have too many options soon thereafter, no matter in what direction the escalation went.

Let’s be clear here, I expect the chance to be so extremely low that it is not funny, but can any of the officials on Guernsey take that chance?

That is the one element people forget, you see Australia might be an ‘island’, but with 132,000 km of possible beachfront property, that little ‘island’ has a circumference equalling three times the earth. Unless you actually lived on an island (the size of Guernsey), the issue of island safety tends to elude us all. A side not clearly shown in the article, or by a massive amount of sources for that matter.

In the end, the clear refugee registration failure is part of all this. The nations of entry have missed the ball on a Titanic scale here which, under the sheer amount of refugees is not that much of a surprise, but it does give the UK now its own set of problems. Which gets us to one of the other reasons we get from being an island. ‘A lack of infrastructure and support services to help them‘, is not just a valid issue, it is a massively large one.

So as we await the list of 304, lets contemplate the wisdom of places a clearly limited group in the one place where they end up getting isolated from the other refugees (the 99.99999% that will not be placed on Guernsey), does that step make any sense at all? to end all this, lets shine a little light on a Guardian article from November 19th 2015 (at http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/19/syrian-refugees-in-america-fact-from-fiction-congress), there at the end we see “Since 2012, the US has accepted 2,174 Syrian refugees – roughly 0.0007% of America’s total population“, the article does show that the UK is staying behind in all this, which is not a good thing, but the UK is an Island, it comes with a setback, yet compare this now with the mainland (the graphic at the end of the article is very illuminating). Nations like France, Norway and Poland might not have done a lot, but they are on par with the ENTIRE United States of America, the fact that a nation like the Netherlands has taken 260% of what the USA has accepted makes the Guernsey debate a joke! That flaming, below sea-level, clog wearing nation called the Netherlands, a nation that is roughly 65% the size of the state of West Virginia, so shall we ignore the issue that is exaggerated regarding Guernsey and look at the issues why this is a global problem (apart from the valid reason of registration)?

So for those moving to Guernsey enjoy the fact that the weather at St. Peter Port will be a high between 5 and 14 degrees Celsius, so those people will face a few more shocks, not just cultural ones. Rerumphobia, ‘the fear of facts’. The final part to consider is the price tag. This costs, which no one ignores. That is a good thing, yet of all the options Jonathan, the words we could go broke was not one of them. So when you look at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-guernsey-35546424, consider that these numbers have been known for a little while now. So as tourism goes down, business visitors down by 39%, what do you think will happen next to those missing out? What will happen to the Guernsey business on that scale? In addition Tourism is set to be down by 7.8%, how will that impact retail? All elements that are a reality, when we see ‘Der Spiegel’ reporting “Some mayors have cancelled the contracts of tenants in publicly owned apartments in order to house refugees“, which is not the whole story, but a reported fact, we realise that Germany is in a decent economical position, with plenty of space, yet the pressure that 500K refugees are pressing on a population of 80 million, gives us that 0.00625%. So here we are, not confronted by “Islamophobia”, but with the underlying issues, of resources and needs, which will pressurise any situation.

As I said, let’s see how many refugees the larger 304 locations of the UK are taking on, before we start accusing smaller places by taking text out of context.

 

goldenziel_refugees_and_international_security__2010

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Fail it until you nail it

Another day another moment I roll my eyes. You see the Guardian came with an interesting article, interesting and kind of useless (OK, useless is a bit of a stretch). Let’s explain that part. The title is interesting enough. When we see ‘World’s biggest tech companies get failing grade on data-privacy rights‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/03/data-protection-failure-google-facebook-ranking-digital-rights), many of us, me included get to be a little curious.

The first part is shown here: “Given a percentage grade on privacy, freedom of expression and their commitment to those value based on an exhaustive analysis of their user agreements, no single company scored an aggregate grade above 65%“, the quote by Rebecca MacKinnon might sound nice, but she should know better in more than one way.

In the first, some of these companies are so global that many rights tend to be an upper level aggregation of the nation with the least rights. If America wasn’t so Prudishly Hypocritical a lot less would be ‘censored’. In addition, a global internet sounds nice, but it is crossing borders with national legislation, the internet does not get to have rights above national legislation, even in nations that are as liberal as it gets, issues will rise and the largest tech companies are trying to surf those waves as Rebecca MacKinnon very well knows. I am even more worried when a company like Vodafone (aka Vodafail in Australia) scores better than Twitter.

As for the grades, the beginning of the methodology (at https://rankingdigitalrights.org/project-documents/2015-indicators/#TOTAL) rears its ugly head in an interesting way when we look at question C3.

Here we see:

C3. Internal implementation

Does the company have mechanisms in place to implement its commitment to freedom of expression and privacy?

Checklist elements (select all that apply):

The company provides employee training on freedom of expression and privacy issues.

The company maintains an employee whistle-blower program.

 

The items here are the fun part:

The company provides employee training on freedom of expression and privacy issues.

Let’s take a look at some of these ‘great’ techies. Orange, Vodafone and Axiata. All telecom companies. In order of mention: ???,92000,20000. So let’s say 125,000 staff members, so should employee training on freedom of expression be available to all? In Addition, Orange merged in several nations. These mergers include France Télécom and T-Mobile UK, whilst in addition Orange is being phased out by its parent company EE Ltd. (aka Everything Everywhere). And for the whistle-blower part. How often was this a ‘hidden’ option to commit gross and unacceptable industrial espionage? As a Journalist it might sound like a sexy article, but did she for one moment realise that tech corporations need to hold onto their IP on several levels? Her book might be regarded as ‘amazing’ (Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom), yet when I read:  “Though the technology used for coordinating and organizing may be politically neutral, the context in which it is deployed is rarely so. Governments everywhere—whether they do business in the home government of companies or in the host government of markets—are demanding that Internet and telecommunications companies take sides, or at least stand back and avert their eyes while the government does what it needs to do, leaving the user or customer none the wiser.”, I worry!

Americans seldom comprehend that the right to be an utter idiot is not a god given right. In some places you get to be held accountable. I will go one step further, most of these self-proclaimed freedom fighters have excelled, through their train of thought, in protecting criminals and organised crime, which is some feather to put in your resume!

In addition, as people are crying for a free internet they also hold others accountable for their own stupidity.

Let’s show this with an example. If we change all global policies so that as per January 1st any hacked account who did not have a proper password will not be refunded, so the issue “Most banks will refund you your lost money after you sign some forms saying that you had nothing to do with the theft” will now include that not having proper quality passwords in place will be regarded as ‘assisted theft’. So you get no refund! I reckon it will take less than 1 day for the entire internet to go crazy regarding the injustice of that ruling. This is the issue, Rebecca MacKinnon doesn’t want a free internet; she wants an unaccountable internet. In her ‘netizenship’ she wants a free internet to hold governments to account, but in her virtual nation she has done nothing to hold those netizens accountable for Cyber bullying, harassment and assault on one’s devices. In that world there is no ‘Netfray’ (a made up crime definition), which might be freely seen as per adjusted version of the Crimes Act 1900 section 93C(2) “Netfray, a person who uses or threatens unlawful cyber violence towards another and whose conduct is such as would cause a person of reasonable user skills present at the scene to fear for his or her personal data and internet safety is guilty of netfray and liable to imprisonment for 10 years“.

That part we will not see!

This is what makes that report an issue. Tech companies need to protect themselves non-stop. So, even as we agree that the cyber joke (aka Ashley Madison) is one side, the other side is Sony, which has a massively higher level of protection. In the latter case it is still speculations from many sides (including one from me), but a real timeline, and an account of events that could be decently precise was never revealed. Now I would expect that both sides of the fence prefers to keep it a secret, but in my view that hack was never clearly solved.

In that environment Rebecca MacKinnon wants an open internet, who is she kidding?

Back to that report, because the mentioned items are connected to what comes next!

F11. Identity policy (Internet companies)

Does the company require users to verify their identity with government-issued identification, or with other forms of identification connected to their offline identity?

More important, the part that follows: “This indicator is only applicable to Internet companies. We expect companies to disclose whether they might ask users to verify their identities using government-issued ID or other forms of identification that could be connected to their offline identity. Evaluation: This indicator has two possible answers. A company will receive full credit if its answer is “No,” and a company will receive no credit if its answer is “Yes.”

So as hackers use dummy accounts, trolls use fake id’s and Identity thieves use your id to have ‘fun’ and profit from what is not theirs, finding ways to stop them loses you a credit. There are places where a person’s ID is not the issue, but in this day and age those places are quickly diminishing. If you doubt this (always an option) then perhaps you remember Caroline Criado-Perez, who did something truly British by petitioning for Jane Austen to be face of the Bank of England £10 note.

By the way, the amount of death threats she got, how many of those people got arrested, how many of those got convicted? Yes, an open internet would stop all that! (That’s my sarcasm for voicing ‘no it will not’).

Another issue with her quotes is seen here: “Part of the problem is that this is a new world with the internet, and we are so dependent on these companies that we really need them to get it right. And they have a lot of work to do.”, so how about hammering on proper legislation and better issues on prosecuting some of those offenders? When the internet gets cleaned up, a lot more leeway could be given to something like the internet. In this a nice example is given by herself as she answered a question on movie piracy (September 2012), “the fact they are kids and they’re doing stuff and they don’t even realize it is illegal, or it is not that big deal“, it is only part of the answer, but she makes a decent case, yet the issue here is that it is a BIG deal, these ‘kids’ are causing harm to the rightful revenue of the maker of that movie, so you want an open internet, but the transgressions there are far too often trivialised and for the most they end up not getting prosecuted, you want accountability on one side, but not on your side, that is too uneven a scale and for the most many nations have not caught up with the quality IP laws they need to protect their innovators.

Now, it is not all bad, reading the linked ‘2015 Indicators’ of the Ranking Digital Rights is actually a lot more interesting than the article. A few of the questions were an amazing topic for discussion by themselves and the people behind them had done an interesting job, yet overall how can you compare Malayan company Axiata against Vodafone, or Orange for that matter? Axiata which was only recently rebranded (2009), whilst Vodafone has had a global one-sided (and to some extent one-sided failure) in the industry. A brand that has its fingers in the national pies of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Places where you either adhere to the law or you get shut down. So how can they receive a fair weighted grade? If not than the article and the exercise are almost moot. Almost because there is one part of the article I wholeheartedly agree with: “MacKinnon said remained optimistic the industry would improve its privacy efforts over time. “This is the test you take at the beginning of the class where everybody fails, and then you get to work, and then everybody’s going to improve,” she said

It is not a mere ‘Amen to that’ ending, there are several serious issues that come to light, especially when you consider players like Apple and Microsoft. In case of Apple (with whom I still have some beef), is the fact that from 1995 onwards I have had a few of their devices, the Performa 630, the MacBook Pro and the G5, all between 2100 and 3000, all affordable and all on the ‘above average’ end of the range when they were released. The iPad 1 (I still have it) at a price that is still good, because that that same price you now get the latest version with 128GB; in an open non-accountable internet that is no longer an option, the billions poured into a design will find itself cheaply reengineered making new innovations no longer an option. Microsoft has a similar part, the Xbox One now at almost 50% of what the initial Xbox360 costs and close to equal in price with the very first Xbox. Even though this sounds good, these firms have had their shares of ‘errors’ to deal with, but overall those consumers (for the most) have never received a sour deal, this is only possible with quality protection in place, protection that MacKinnon is not considering to the extent she should, in her view of ‘netizens and the open internet’ she should get an equal fail grade, both sides need to work on whatever future comes our way, McKinnon know this too!

You do not get to graduate Harvard and run CNN in Beijing and Tokyo without a clear realisation that national borders are a lot more than a mere line on a map, which is what she almost implies, almost!

 

 

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Prosecuting Facebook

As I was trying to complete a few legislative issues regarding Greece, I noticed that another part had been neglected for too long, so I decided to cut Greece in half (at least the story) and now take a look at the situation where Facebook might find itself getting prosecuted in the near future in more than one way.

This story started in the Netherlands. The story (at http://www.meuknieuws.nl/wraakpornofilmpje/) ‘Facebook loses lawsuit revenge porn movie Chantal‘. So what happened?

There is a girl named Chantal (now 21), who at one point gave oral sex to her boyfriend, and it got filmed (never a good idea). On January 22nd, through a fake account this movie was spread through Facebook, after which her life turned into a hell. Even though Facebook removed the movie, the damage was done and the movie got spread into all directions. Soon thereafter the fake account vanished. This is the act of revenge porn.

The case got a twist when all the data was removed after two weeks, the data was permanently deleted. Additional information in Dutch can be found here (at http://www.ad.nl/ad/nl/34821/Rivierenland/article/detail/4072928/2015/06/12/Facebook-gegevens-account-gewist.dhtml). The data was (according to Facebook) wiped. The Judge has ruled that Facebook must show diligence and present evidence that all options have been searched to find any data pertaining the crime. The judge also stated that if need be a third party has to be assigned to find and trace the information. Now we have two issues. One is to find the data of Chantal, the second is that the acts undertaken by Facebook could imply that Facebook could also be prosecuted at present.

Why?

Well, if we go through Common Law (Australia/UK) we see that in Australia the Crimes Act section 254 states:

Destruction of evidence

A person who knows that a document or other thing of any kind is, or is reasonably likely to be, required in evidence in a legal proceeding; and either

destroys or renders it illegible, undecipherable or incapable of identification; or expressly, tacitly or impliedly authorises or permits another person to destroy or conceal it or render it illegible, undecipherable or incapable of identification and that other person does so; and with the intention of preventing it from being used in evidence in a legal proceeding is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum) or a level 6 fine or both. There could even be complications as the lady was less than 18 years old giving the case additional uneasy sides.

Ouch Mr Zuckerberg!

In addition, hiding in the US on this is not much help either, this is seen in California Penal code 135 (thanks to the site of Attorney Seppi Esfandi), the penal code states:

California Penal Code 135[1] makes it illegal to destroy or conceal any evidence, written or physical, that you know is relevant to either a criminal investigation or court case. The two elements of the crime are:

That you destroyed or concealed evidence that you knew was going to be used as part of the investigation.
That you destroyed or concealed the evidence wilfully.

Interestingly, he also states a few common legal defences. The first one is the application of the word ‘knowingly’, which already makes it hard for the Dutch party to progress, the second one if destruction was not successful, so if the information is found after the fact it becomes not an issue, because penal code 135 does not have any ‘attempting to commit a crime’ issues. They can only be processed if the deletion was a complete success.

So, in all fairness, my first message to Mr Zuckerberg is to call Seppi Esfandi for advice as the man has 13 years of experience regarding penal code 135.

Why is this still an issue?

Well consider the following sources: ‘Facebook keeps track of every message you type – even ones you don’t post’ (at http://bgr.com/2013/12/13/facebook-user-tracking-deleted-posts/), where we see the quote “Facebook isn’t keeping a database on all these non-posts’ contents, mind you — it’s simply keeping a record of all the data surrounding self-censored posts such as what time it was almost posted and whether it was set to be posted on a friend’s page or on the user’s own page. Kramer and Das say that Facebook wants to understand all the reasons that people decide against posting because the company “loses value from the lack of content generation” every time a would-be post gets the axe” This is a core need in social media data mining, with the specific quote “Facebook wants to understand all the reasons that people decide against posting” which implies that a post would also have records created with a league of meta data.

Then there is this quote ““So Facebook considers your thoughtful discretion about what to post as bad, because it withholds value from Facebook and from other users,” she writes. “Facebook monitors those unposted thoughts to better understand them, in order to build a system that minimizes this deliberate behaviour”“, which we got from http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/12/facebook_self_censorship_what_happens_to_the_posts_you_don_t_publish.html. So in anyone deleted the post, there would have been a record.

This is part one!

Now for the next part. This part is seen in ‘Turns out ‘delete’ doesn’t quite mean the same thing to Facebook as it does to you‘ (at http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/deleting-facebook-posts-fail/). Here we see the quote “New evidence suggests that Facebook might not really be deleting the posts you think you’re getting rid of. In fact, sometimes these deleted Facebook posts are reappearing“. So if that is the case, than we have two tiered evidence. If these messages are remaining, it implies that there was a record, which also means that if the movie and its metadata has been deleted permanently, Facebook could be facing California Penal Code 135, as well as the issue in several nations where such events have been happening, the only part Facebook could truly hope for is that it is all settled in the US, as it becomes a 6 months versus a 5 year stretch in Hotel Iron Bar.

Even if the case cannot stick, Facebook will now feel the marketing pressure and condemnation that it unknowingly assisted in the transgressors of revenge porn to remain non-prosecutable. So even as US legislation is still trying to make heads and tails of the act from Rep. Jackie Speier, the fact that it is law in some nations cannot be ignored by a global company like Facebook, in addition, the fact that all traces are claimed to have been wiped is further cause for concern.

The question now becomes: is Facebook in danger of getting prosecuted?

That question becomes even harder to answer when we go back to the Digital Trends article where we see: “We reached out to Facebook about the issue, whose representative only pointed out Facebook’s Terms and Conditions page, and highlighted the fact that that when you actually delete content on Facebook, it only goes away if it’s permanently deleted – which is tricky. The problem with permanently deleting anything on Facebook is the fact that nothing is actually seemingly deleted. Just simply “deleting” content stores the content to a backup Facebook drive temporarily. As Facebook puts it: “Some of this information is permanently deleted from our servers; however, some things can only be deleted when you permanently delete your account“.

That was exactly what happened, yet can there be verification on whether the user deleted it, or whether Facebook removed the user? That part is not clearly given (as far as I could tell). Yet, the issue of truly delete photos/videos on Facebook was never truly achieved until 2012, which means that the video in question was no longer there, yet the fact that no separate log of uploads was maintained in some way remains an interesting mystery, especially in the light of this legal case. In addition, some logging of the original account should also have been kept, again, interesting that this was not done. In an age where 4 Terabyte can be bought for a mere $250 dollars adds to the confusion of why not keeping this logging data, especially as mined data is the bread and butter of Facebook!

This case calls for several questions, the Lady named Chantal might never get a clear answer, yet that should not prevent legislation from taking a long hard look at social media, especially in the age of lone wolf terrorism, because next time it might not be a lady in ‘Bee Jay’ mode, it could be an extremist showing the combination of 4 chemical compounds, which according to Matthew Meselson, a Harvard biochemist is extremely easy, the fact that this could kill a boatload of people makes the dangers of social media a lot more intense, when that media starts to wipe overwrite, not delete) data of inconvenience, the world could find out the hard way on just how dangerous social media could be.

Revenge Porn has been deemed criminal in several states, although they are usually treated as misdemeanors (until the bill by Rep. Jackie Speier gets passed), the case in the Netherlands gives us an uncomfortable truth and that truth is that Facebook seems to be lacking in keeping some victims safe, because the logged logging data could have achieved that very thing.

To state it clear in the end, Facebook is very likely not guilty. I will not state innocent, because certain data, even for mere mining statistics could have remained with Facebook, whilst not breaching any privacy, enough data to give assistance to digital forensics to aid Chantal in her plight.

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What’s the matter?

That is the question I asked myself. Greece is in worsening shape, we see certain news as it happens and I noticed how certain ‘facts’ are now missing in the news articles I have been reading. In other news we have the UK election as it is going towards the final day before the people in the UK will decide on who they trust to give them a better life and now we get news that Isis decided to mess with Texas. So here on the day when the Dutch celebrate that the Germans were defeated and the Netherlands became a free nations once again, we see these issues come to blow more and more.

Miss Representation

Yes, she has image, she is the vision we desire and we all stare at her cleavage, complete with two boobies, one named ‘slush fund milk’, the other one we name ‘the party’s choice’, both giving ‘as implied’ the consumer the honey of equality. Now we get the real deal, if we bring the breast to our mouth, will we taste honey? Or will we perhaps the taste be more of the same, more of what is bland, non-nourishing and will never satisfy.

The first issue is Greece and the representation it is receiving. The first part we see in the article ‘Greece vows to pay debts as it awaits handout from international creditors‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/04/eurozone-enjoys-production-boost-but-greece-and-france-dip). In here we see the following quote: “Greece has vowed to honour heavy debt repayments over the coming weeks but says it is counting on international creditors to release billions of euros in rescue funds before the end of the month“. Now, let’s be frank, no lie is told here, but the direct fact is not that payment is due, but that the first payment was due May 1st and is due to the fact that it was a public day, payment was rescheduled to be due May 6th, the first payment of 200 million will be due in 24 hours. So why is that not clearly voiced? Before the end of the month another 760 million will be due, making the total slightly south of 1 billion. The second article ‘Greek debts: what does it owe? When will the money run out?‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/24/greek-debts-what-does-it-owe-when-will-the-money-run-out), states almost the same. Yet this one shows a little more, even more than I bargained for.

You see, there we see May 1st an IMF interest loan payment (now due May 6th) and May 12th we see the part that 760 million is due. The part that was unknown to me is also the part that is not loudly voiced to EEC nations, because this knowledge will influence the voters (as I personally see it). You see, the missing part that is not voiced in many sources is the small fact that two T-bill batches mature, the first one on May 8th and the second one on May 15th, each worth 1.4 billion.

Now we get the part I voiced over and over in the past, that the consequences of bonds are high and the Greek people are about to learn this the hard way. You see, when a T-bill matures, it becomes a nice piece of paper, one that has value. You see, at the beginning, you are offered a paper that offers a percentage, so you buy it for $918.10 and when the bond matures a year later (if you got one for 1 year), you get $1000. A nice 10%. So, before the end of May, Greece will have to make two payments, one for 960 million, and one for 2.8 billion. Greece is out of options, out of money and the quick 5 billion they sold in 2014 to get a quick cash option is now starting to come back. Billions are needed and the Greek treasuries are about to learn that not only could it never afford to play the Syriza game via Alexis Tsipras, the assurances we see in the papers left right and centre is now showing to be hollow and not realistic. Greece is about to seek another deal and one more and then likely some more. Greece is awaiting 7.6 billion in aid, yet where will it go? Before the end of May Greece needs 4.7 billion and in addition before the end of June, Greece needs to come up with an additional 6.8 billion, the 7.6 billion will not even cover the bills. Greece is about to make a call that will hit the financial district and small investors alike, the Greeks are facing a hel we do not wish on anyone and for the most, as I see it, the only people who are allowed any consideration are the wealthy power players that depend on continuation of the status quo. How can this ever go to a better place?

Here you see why I whacked Syriza again and again. The rock star game we saw by Yanis Varoufakis is the killer here. Alexis Tsipras did not act when he should have done this and the non-austerity approach was a non-solution from day one. Why do I feel that I am the only one seeing this, or at least the only one clearly voicing this, because the UK elections, when the voters learn that Greece is about to desire up to 30 billion before the end of the year, so that it can pay the outstanding bills. It is status quo, but in the end, there is the direct risk that almost none of these funds will help, aid or support the Greek people, who I genuinely feel for, does Syriza? My issue still remains what it was from day one, the Greek had the freedom to choose, but I believe that they chose poorly. Now you have no reason to take my word on this, but Antonis Samaras has a degree in economics and an additional MBA from Harvard, which gives him a financial view that I lack, even though my numbers gave a clear view as an analyst regarding the dangers Greece had, I saw this in 2013, it was already clear that the dangerous waters for Greece were icy cold and deadly deep.

My article ‘Are we getting played?‘ from May 18th 2014 shows my view that allowing the Greek bonds back on the market was a really bad idea, now we see that this view was a decent reality. Here we are, looking at a game that is being played with Greece and the Greek people in the middle, austerity is not the great idea, but it is the only solution. It should be clear that there is no short term solution, austerity will remain around for close to two generations, the debt will take no less than 4 generations to become manageable, but only with a restructured Greece, it is not a nice picture to watch, it will be an entirely different Greece, there should be no doubt here.

This now links to the UK and its elections too. You see, the news as is, is that the voters need to realise that it needs to support an EEC nation that will need another 30 billion, with no guarantee that this is the end of that. The economy is in a slump and too many nations are feeling the slowness of the economy that is unlikely to return to the ‘old’ days.

The news is given in the article ‘Ignore the Tories: the figures show the recovery is veering off course‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/03/ignore-the-tories-figures-show-recovery-veering-off-course) but in a way that gives me pause. The quote “Economists are divided about the causes of this so-called “productivity puzzle”. It’s unclear whether it’s caused by a lack of investment, poor education and training, or the fact that our labour market is so flexible that it’s cheaper for firms to ramp up output by hiring short-term, low-skilled staff than to buy in new technologies and equipment” is at the heart of all of this. You see, these economists are not just setting a bad example, they seem to leave out several elements, they know to also be at the heart of all of this and the picture that follows is incomplete.

You the reader will know some of the elements, you live these elements and some economists getting the fat checks have not been at the heart of it all. Consider the following, when did you buy anything else than food lately? Anything else than the weekly needs? When did you buy a TV, when did you buy a car or any luxury items that are produced in the UK? The UK is better off than most other European nations, I see where the people in the Netherlands and Belgium have a little cash, but most people are lowering their debt, all over Europe people do the same thing, they are not buying to the extent they were, they replace only the essentials and they buy cheap. This is why Aldi and Lidl are so successful. The evidence is all over the place, yet we see “Confidence is certainly higher than it was five years ago, but aside from notable successes such as the car industry, there is little sign of a radical shift in the shape of the economy. Manufacturing output has been growing, but remains below its pre-crisis peak“, which makes perfect sense. The view of these economists is: “But deficit reduction is not the only purpose of economic policy: they also set themselves the aim of building a more sustainable model for growth. Here too, they have largely failed“, is that so?

You see, to grow an economy, people must buy, they are not buying and they carefully consider each purchase. This is the ignored part, in addition other nations ‘might’ seem to push forward, but consider one final part, when you buy your equine burgers, is that what it states on the packaging? Perhaps you were hoping for cow?

This is at the heart of those making sales in places. Quality is at the heart and the quality of life has been under attack for some time now, an issue many economists ignore too. Should you wonder about that then take a gander towards Texas! The only hilarious part there is that ISIS attacked the one state where the population is better armed then the police, the defence department and the military reserves. How does this reflect on the other elements? Believe it or not but there are real economic consequences to terrorism, especially when it is done on US grounds. As the US economy is already slumping, this could add negatively to it all. Yet it must be stated here the one line that has direct bearing “No evidence Islamic State had actual hand in attack in which two men opened fired outside centre exhibiting Muhammad cartoons“. So, I am not doubting the statement. It is not that far-fetched that those acting out for personal reasons are very willing to get linked to a larger group, for both defence and to propagate their own ego. This all matters, if you do not believe it to be true, you should decide to watch Kung Fu Hustle. A movie well worth watching (it is hilarious). So is it a good idea to relate ISIS to a comedy? Well, when you start acting out in Texas, that call is not the wildest one to make. You see, there is a dark side here. When we consider the words from Tim Clemente, who stated “Former FBI agent Tim Clemente said the gunmen may have plotted the attack without direction from ISIS“, the danger becomes, if that is true, who else has gone the loopy tunes? Is it not weird that a place, dedicated to freedom of speech, is giving a way to the freedom of speech to people who are dedicated to remove freedom of speech? This is not at the heart of it all, what is the heart of the matter is that if this is happening in the United States, is the danger of lone wolf (sympathiser) actions in the United Kingdom so far out of realm of possibilities? Now consider the statement by British Labour “A Labour government will control immigration with fair rules“, now consider that Italy received over 200,000 refugees with no way to get it all processed. How many will arrive into the UK?

Be cautious here, I am NOT stating that these people are terrorists, yet the danger that a terrorist would try to enter Europe this way is not that far a stretch. Statistically speaking, if only 0.1% came in, than we will see that Italy, after that, the EEC and the UK will have to deal with 200 extremists, 200 people inflating actions. Now the truth is that there is no evidence that 0.1% is extremist, but today’s life of dangers and consequence is a numbers game and the numbers are against us all. Even though I could advise Andrew Parke (the man that the people at MI-5 call ‘Big Boss’) on how to clean his ship, I must also add that Andrew is very up to date on how to do that, he does not need me. Yet the political elements ignoring the intelligence issues are all positioned to blow it all on spending’s towards an economy, they ignored the elements that could drive an economy even further down.

Three elements all linked towards a change that impacts the UK economy and the British way of life, yet none of them were linked to the UK on their own. Here is what’s at play! Too many events are too intertwined and too misrepresented to ignore, yet those who trivialise the elements are not the ones paying the bills when their ‘prognoses’ goes pear shaped, it is a game we can no longer afford to be played.

 

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Price Waterfall Blooper

I am sad to say, I am sorry to report
we have not seen any fraud of this sort
not a win or a gain, but just sadness and pain
are the man plainly vain, they do not travel by train
it will not go to court, yet the profits fall short

as my profits progress to the basement below
as executives go, with no exit fee show
we will wonder awhile, what results they proclaim
as we now still decide, should we name, should we shame
where is the pee double you sea and its dough

So, yes, is this the beginning of arts, the limericks and the consequences of non-accountability?

You see, there is no doubt in my mind that the initial investigation is only the beginning for both Tesco and PwC. Whatever we may think, we can be certain that if Dave Lewis had NOT rung the bell, the mess would be a lot larger then it is at present. I think we should also ring the bell of honour for the whistle blower, because without it Christmas would have been the grimmest of experiences in the UK.

Let’s take a look to the last two days, when Deloitte got its report out (to some extent) as reported (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/oct/23/tesco-profits-black-hole-bigger), we see a few things that do not add up.

  1. He dismissed the idea that fraud may have been involved in the accounting blunder: “Nobody gained financially as a consequence of the overstatement of performance.”“, is that so? You see, there are a few issues that we have; I will step over one of them because I prefer to tackle that part a little further down.
  2. Laurie McIlwee (former CFO) as well as Mike Iddon require closer scrutiny. Mike was a group finance director, planning, treasury and tax. When we see tax, we see a person who will dig, trying to find any cent that is deductible, as a good FD should be, and in 13 years at Tesco, he had not seen anything? Seems rather clumsy doesn’t it? The fact that the accounting hole is a little bigger (15 million is not much when you say it fast), also came with the knowledge from Deloitte that the hole was there for a longer while, so basically, the inflated 265 million, means an inflated payment of taxation, how is that ever a good idea?
  3. So consider Tesco, the size and scope of it. They lose a CFO and a FD, and all along NO ONE at Tesco, I state again, NO ONE seemed to offer to pick up the baton for those months? Even if it was at no extra pay and only for 3-4 months, 99% of the financial industry would be chomping at the bit to pick up the baton, so that they can add this to their resume, it gets even better. It is a win won for whomever picks it up, because if that person does well, then the value of that person goes up by a lot and his/her future, whether within or not with Tesco would be a few steps on the large corporate ladder, even with nothing to gain it ends up being a win/win.

Let’s just face it, I am nowhere near next in line to take command of the 591 Signals Unit at Digby, but if I get the chance because the current commander was on the list to become Air vice-marshal, I would get there running, even if I was still in my pyjamas and was holding only a toothbrush. No matter how well my performance would be, if I made it I would be eligible for a nice challenge at GCHQ, a seriously cool way to skip half a dozen steps on that ladder, now consider that NO ONE had these levels of ambition at Tesco? I truly believe that beside the whistle blower a few more had a clear picture that taking that seat from within would turn out to be nothing less than poisoning their career.

  1. He dismissed the idea that fraud may have been involved in the accounting blunder: “Nobody gained financially as a consequence of the overstatement of performance.”“, now we get to the issue that I have had since day 1.
  2. Consider that PwC had (a reported by the Guardian in an earlier blog) last year; PwC was paid £10.4m by Tesco for its auditing services and a further £3.6m for other consultancy work (a newer version at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/23/guardian-view-tesco-auditing-debacle-pwc-systemic-shambles). This article now shows the following quote: “At the very least, this is a very cosy and lucrative relationship“, which slightly debunks the statement of Dave Lewis via Deloitte regarding ‘Nobody gained financially’; it depends on ‘how’ we regard ‘gain’, when the alternative is losing revenue, remaining at status quo is clearly a gain.
  3. So as we see these two numbers, let’s do a little math, let’s say an auditor makes £65,000 a year (a little less usually), so we now see that the annual fee gives us 153 auditors for a year and an additional 46 auditors for the consultancy for a year, that gives us 199 people going over the books, checking it all. No one saw anything? Now, the reality is not exactly like this, but considering that PwC is one of the big 4, we now have a clear case for some serious questions for 25% of all the large audited companies in the UK, how much taxation was not collected, how many large bonuses and incomes were honoured in such a symbiotic incestuous relationship? No wonder George Osborne has such a hard time, the deck seems to be seriously stacked against him.
  4. There is one more thought that comes to mind, but this one is, as I will happily admit, based on shallow grounds. This was all found by Deloitte in a little over a month, mainly because they knew WHERE to look. But, it is entirely plausible that the whistle-blower just knew about that one thing, what else is there and what has not been found yet?

This is important for two reasons. The first is that it then debunks the statement from Lewis, likely via Deloitte who said ‘He dismissed the idea that fraud may have been involved’, I am not convinced! It took Deloitte to find the obvious over the period of a month. We can consider that the fact brought by a whistle-blower gives weight to intently hiding, if not than this person would have stepped forward internally and the old crowd would have solved it, that did not happen. It is not unlikely that those involved hoped for a quick brush under the carpet, this circus was unlikely anything they ever desired. What was signed off on, by the equivalent of 199 auditors remains a serious issue.

This part we can see in the Guardian quote “The making up of the profits figures was not in a report signed off by PwC. That happened in August – three months after PwC had given the supermarket chain’s figures a clean bill of health. Even then, it noted that there was something potentially funny with the numbers, and expressly warned about “the risk of manipulation” – but allowed them to pass anyway“, so something potentially funny does not warrant digging? Let’s not forget they had the equivalent of 199 people for the year, so plenty of digging resources. If we add the following “It is one of the primary ways in which investors, business partners and regulators can tell the true state of the company they are dealing with“, so not only is there a link to possible fraud, the implied length of this gives reason to suspect intentional misdirection towards investors, which makes the news releases all over the papers on class actions against Tesco a plausible worry for some time to come.

It becomes a much finer point of debate when we consider the following abstract ‘Misreporting in our model covers all actions, whether legal or illegal, that enable managers of firms with low value to make statements that mimic those made by firms with high value. We show that even managers who cannot sell their shares in the short-term might misreport in order to improve the terms under which their company would be able to raise capital for new projects or acquisitions‘ (at http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/bebchuk/pdfs/2003.Bebchuk-Bargill.Misreporting.pdf). It comes from a paper by Oren Bar-Gill and Lucian Bebchuk, published at Harvard in 2003.

Now we add what they wrote on page 21 “3.4 Creating Opportunities to Misreport, at T=1 managers decide how much to invest in creating opportunities to misreport earnings. The equilibrium level of this investment decision is characterized in the following proposition“. after that it becomes increasingly mathematical, but behold, the initial text ‘whether legal or illegal’, so if the old Tesco gang focussed on ‘legal’, was that the reason they needed to pay an additional 3 million in consultancy (a clear and admitted assumption on my side), yet is that really too weird a thought? Let’s face it PwC signed off on books containing an additional quarter of a billion, which took some time to create.

I know that incestuous is all about keeping it in the family, but the fact that this could possible all be legal is just a little too hard to swallow.

Could it be that both Corporate Law and Taxation Law within the Commonwealth are in dire need of an overhaul? Some might say that it could be an idea to do this before Christmas, to them I say “Bah! Humbug!“, Monday the 5th of January 2015 will be soon enough. It will give Lord Blackwell, Lord Goodhart, Baroness Goudie and Lord Haskel something to look forward to as some might be enjoying a large roast with potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and thick gravy. The Rt Hon Lord Millett has done more than his share in his long career and his Lordship, as right honourably retired can enjoy a second helping of Christmas plum pudding with custard (unless his lordship prefers the challenge of making corporations a little more accountable then the currently seem to be). I would, as blogger Lawlordtobe be happy to lend a helping hand, but I never studied economy or taxation laws, so I would only get in the way, yet I remain available for assistance if need be. I do reckon that the members of the House of Lords who are members of the Joint Committee on Tax Law Rewrite Bills should consider their calendars, especially if the investigation turns out that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) will be unable to press any criminal charges, to me and likely to all it should be clear that such levels of orchestration must be addressed!

 

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