Tag Archives: Indonesia

At these shores

We have been ignorant, we have been in denial, and now we get to pay for it. it comes in a currency that we have not considered ever before. ISIS has arrived at the shores of Australia and we are seeing it just across the waters of the Philippines. The Guardian gives us ‘How and why Islamic State-linked rebels took over part of a Philippine city‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/29/explainer-how-and-why-islamic-state-took-over-part-of-a-philippine-city), there is no reply from me on how right or how wrong, I myself have been ignorant of the dangers in regards to the Philippines and perhaps our ignorance whether it will affect Indonesia in a similar manner. I can sum up the elements, but you are better off to go to the Guardian link I provided and go over the facts there yourself. The article is an excellent source of information, yet there are other elements that require attention. One part is seen in “his year-long presidency characterised by bloodshed, with a “war on drugs” that has left thousands of alleged drug addicts and suspected dealers dead. He has been condemned internationally for supporting vigilantism“, we see ‘condemned‘ whilst those other governments have not ever found any form of solution to settle the war on drugs. We can debate the ‘alleged drug addicts‘ to some degree as there is an alleged elements, yet he decided on a course no government has ever been willing to do, to make dealing and addiction both a crime, one that can be solved through execution. Is there a truth that when someone sees all those dead people taking drugs might be less interesting? We have to consider the issues as the Philippines has had its economic turmoil and bad times does impact anyone’s quality of life and we do know that drugs gives any person an escape from that. In addition, he has according to the Guardian made an appeal to other organisations to take up arms against Maute, it is the mention by Sidney Jones, the Jakarta-based director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict that gives us the impeding optional dangers to Indonesia as well. The quote: “In an October report, Jones predicted the current tumult. Facing losses in Syria and Iraq, Isis have increasingly looked to the Philippines to establish a province or “wilayat” in the region, the report said“, the question becomes: ‘Just the Philippines?

I have no direct answer, because both countries have collections of islands where oversight would be hard to say the least. Both places have area and villages in turmoil and in disarray. When we consider “They have been convinced by Isis that the answer to Mindanao’s problems is Islamic law“, yet this is just Maute. Is there any intelligence on how the other groups react to that? There are additional concerns as Maoist-led rebel talks in the Netherlands have halted. The US has blundered here too (my personal view) as US restrictions on arms supply have forced the Philippines to seek these products from China and Russia (Source: Reuters UK). That also gives Russia additional options to offer the Philippines more lucrative commercial solutions on a long term basis. It seems hilarious that it is ISIS that will hunker down with some success on the list of allies that the US has. In all this, it seems that the Maoist-led rebels are getting new options and perhaps an optional Philippine future which is a bit of a new-age surprise in a time when we considered the rise communism and Marxism a thing of the past. The question remains, once the Maute have been dealt with, what happens after that. There is clear movement as the US bungled a few diplomatic steps in light of the ISIS rise in the Philippines. Yet we must understand that the diplomatic picture here is a lot more complex than the Maute incident is currently giving visibility to. The Diplomat (at http://thediplomat.com/2017/05/why-is-the-philippines-turning-away-foreign-aid/) gave us “The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte recently rejected a 250 million euro ($280 million) foreign aid package from the European Union (EU) on the grounds that the EU is trying to enforce human rights regulations in exchange for its aid“, which is fair enough from both sides. Yet with ISIS trying to get ground here, why has there not been a stronger response from London/Canberra? With Australia now on the doorstep of ISIS, another solution would have been required. It makes sense that there are questions from both sides, and to give a view to the severity of either side whilst knowing all the elements would just be folly from my side. Yet there is now a start of the acceptance of ISIS by Maute, which changes the game to some effect. For one, US drones are off the table, as are several other options. As long as Maute is one this path, several players could end up with their options not on the table. As some try to impose what they call ‘minimum guidelines‘, we now call a hindrance to deal with ISIS, which means that the war on terror as some tend to call it will be minimised in efficiency.

Yet there is another side that Manilla needs to realise and it is stated by Chithra Purushothaman: “To think that foreign aid from China would be entirely altruistic with no strings attached would not be wise. While human rights regulations might not come attached to Chinese aid, there is the chance of slipping into a debt trap that Manila would find hard to escape.” We should argue in equal matter that Russia would have a similar approach and for them a foothold on the Philippines could be the new nightmare scenario for the US Navy.

So how will this move forward? The open direct and non-compromising statements from President Rodrigo Duterte might sound awesome to some, yet after the Maute incident, the Philippines would need to get back to any sort of business plan, meaning that the need for conceding in some way on pressures from the person who gave them the goods and the money would form a second wave of changes. In which direction could not be stated, but geographically speaking, the Philippines are too interesting a place to just ignore for both Russia and China.

So as we see that ISIS is now an issue on the doorstep of Australia, we need to wonder how Canberra will react to the latest events and if they see it as a threat at all. With a Filipino population in Australia now approaching 200,000, both ASIS and ASIO would have their hands full on getting a hold of data that could enable them to figure out how large the risks would be for Australia. They might have had a good handle on the data in the past, yet the change in the Philippines to opt for vigilantism also includes an additional risk to ID Fraud and officially handed out incorrect passports, which does not help anyone, not even the Manilla government. Now, this last part is speculation from my side, yet when we see the messages as to the promises made by the president, if it is in the interest of President Rodrigo Duterte to hand out new identities to those who came to his ‘aid’, do you think that getting a new passport would be the hardest thing to get? The problem becomes what some extremists would do when they do get that new identity. That is the worry for those not in the Philippines. In the end, as the news is still escalating over the last week. We will not know what will happen next. Even when we realise that the ISIS claim for the suicide bomb in Indonesia is a real issue, the parts that remain an unknown for now is how large ISIS has grown in Jakarta and where they are growing towards. We get “President Joko Widodo said Indonesia needed to accelerate plans to strengthen anti-terrorism laws to prevent new attacks” from Asian Age, yet the reality is that the Indonesian president required more than a mere anti-terrorism law. They need an actual battle plan. If Mauta in Marawi is not actively stopped, ISIS would have a decent free go to anyone in the Sulawesi sea, which also implies that Brunei in play to some degree. We might be fooled by the Speech of President Trump to both Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and other distinguished guests, the ISIS issue is in South-East Asia and there is little evidence that it will let up soon. As President Trump gives a very different message to the Muslim nations (compared to former President Obama), there are indications that his version is more readily accepted. There is more as we see CNN, where we see an attack by Phelim Kline of Human Rights watch, which is her version and I am not stating that it is an incorrect one, yet when we read “Any assertion by any world leader, including US President Donald Trump, that Duterte is doing ‘an unbelievable job’ by cheerleading a murderous campaign that has killed more than 7,000 Filipinos is not only a gross insult to those victims and their family members, but sends a signal to Duterte and his willing executioners that their lawless killing spree can continue with a vengeance without fear of international criticism and repercussions“, I am not stating her version to be incorrect or inaccurate. Yet in this age, when we see that nobody can hold a budget, that services are denied more and more, and the people on a global scale have to accept that drug users are poor people who alas have a habit and they then take away services for thousands of people. The war on drugs has been a humongous failure on a global scale that is the denial of many people and even more politicians. Politicians who hide behind ‘a level of acceptance and tolerance‘, which is their right, yet some people have decided that enough is enough and started another path. The path that these politicians considered to be a non-option is being walked by one nation at present. Their fear is not how far will it go, their actual fear is what happens when it makes an actual difference. It takes one success for adaption to propagate a plan that is not humane.

As CNN makes a quick reference to a photo event (at http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2017/03/world/city-of-the-dead/), yet here we see part that the CNN people offered as evidence, yet did not talk about loudly in that opposition to the Philippine president: “Methamphetamine, or “shabu” as it’s known locally, is used by 860,000 — 49% — of the country’s 1.8 million drug users, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime“, 2% of the entire Philippine population is addicted to drugs! The CDC sets the Percentage of persons 12 years of age and over with any illicit drug use at 10.2%, which was a 2014 number, but it gives a rather large realisation, the US war on drugs has been lost on pretty much every field, the politicians are in denial because admittance is not just the only issue, the people would demand action and the US government has no options or funds for that. In addition, the stat is not entirely fair as the CDC goes for ‘illicit drug use‘ which is a much larger concept than the use of narcotics. So there is an unbalanced comparison. Yet when a nation has 2% of its population set to addicts, we need to accept that there is a much larger problem, it does not make the actions of President Rodrigo Duterte the right one, but I wonder if this at present is the only one remaining. When we consider the Netherlands with its population and its liberal approach of drugs, the numbers indicate that its narcotics addition is set to a mere 0.5%, I have no idea how reliable it is, yet the numbers come from the Dutch NRC, which is actually one of the much better national newspapers the Dutch have. So there the addiction numbers are a mere 25% of what the Philippines currently faces.

This all has an impact, because that would fuel the extremists agenda’s by a lot, in addition as we see that Islam prohibits all drugs that are not medically prescribed gives the drugs addicts even less options, so there is a growing concern to face.

This does not give acceptance of any party, and it will not give ISIS any additional options, the fact that Maute is ‘connected’ to them should fuel the fear of the other parties that are talking to ISIS at present. This gives light to the direction of President Rodrigo Duterte, we just do not know at present how this will play out. What is a given is that ISIS is stretching to the places a lot closer to home than we considered before, the question for us becomes: What are we willing to do to stop ISIS from actually landing here?

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See Other Side

I am just looking at an article of last Saturday, and I have to be fair, I really liked Pamela Duncan and Cath Levett’s article (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/datablog/2017/may/20/general-election-2017-manifesto-word-count-in-data), now there will be a whole host of issues we could go into, yet the article is a nice read. Weirdly enough it is the part of the Lib Dems that stands out a little in a positive way. You see, in this age, they are the ones having a high usage of the word ‘support’. That does not mean that it is a good way (or a bad way), the fact that neither Labour or Conservatives have that word in their top 5 is an equal issue to make. Labour is all about ensure and we saw how that went over. the idea that they are using ‘ensure’ whilst they are about to push the UK well over a third of a trillion deeper in debt is a massive issue. The Tories are using it down the line as well, so in what way are the words used? You do not have to wonder or think of it too deep. Reading the manifesto is a first and I had loads of issues with the Labour one, the way it was made (secretive) the way they shouted when it leaked and the way they so easily want to make ‘promises’ whilst having no finds to do so. The UK will need at least another decade to get over their previous spending spree and the least said about bungling the NHS IT issues the better. It is interesting that UKIP was taken out of the consideration at all. That is because now in the age of Brexit, their next steps are actually interesting and required knowledge. It is the follow up of the party that advocated Brexit that is an essential. Do not think for one minute that the article does not matter, you see, the Facebook article (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/may/21/revealed-facebook-internal-rulebook-sex-terrorism-violence), shows that in a lot more detail. Facebook is no longer a mere facilitator. With the ‘Revealed: Facebook’s internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence‘ article on moderation, we see that there is a shift from moderation to opportunity creation. The quote “Yet these blueprints may also alarm free speech advocates concerned about Facebook’s de facto role as the world’s largest censor. Both sides are likely to demand greater transparency” is in the limelight here. The article gives us generic terms to illustrate, yet in a setting where the secondary lines are all about swaying, how does text and text analytics have any consideration of validity to censor or impede? In this the article skates near it in a sentence of life ending regarding President Trump. The reality is “they are not regarded as credible threats” is the jewel that cannot be ascertained by algorithms, for the mere reason that content is created, it tends to be a shifting wave not set in stone, making algorithms pretty useless. It is also why Google is focussing on AI, as with that, the ability to dimensionally set content becomes a close reality. In this another realisation is coming to light. The article gives us “Some photos of non-sexual physical abuse and bullying of children do not have to be deleted or “actioned” unless there is a sadistic or celebratory element“, consider that this gives the setting that bullying is to be condoned. One source stated: “The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming: Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts“, whilst Facebook is stating that it is not intervening in bullying. We can argue that there is the freedom of speech, yet the bulk of such bullying is done through fake accounts. Facebook is at present ‘reviewing more than 6.5m reports a week relating to potentially fake accounts – known as FNRP (fake, not real person)‘. That is a potential 350 million accounts a year, that is a little short of 17% of all Facebook accounts. We cannot fault Facebook here completely, as the quote “Facebook cannot keep control of its content,” said one source. “It has grown too big, too quickly.“, the ‘too quick‘ and ‘too big‘ have sunk large corporations before. It is the realisation of content that is at play. Another quote that matters, links to a May 1st article on dangerous content. The quote “the biggest and richest social media companies are shamefully far from taking sufficient action to tackle illegal or dangerous content, to implement proper community standards or to keep their users safe“. Which is pretty much the quote of Yvette Cooper, Labour MP. Yet in all this we ask how? Either the world becomes a censoring police state, or it allows as much freedom of speech and freedom of expression possible. Facebook and Google both have issues in this. By trying to facilitate they set up a situation that those not allowed to speak do so in almost extreme fashion. We know and were ‘sullied’ by political players regarding content. And in this ‘sullied’ is pretty much the way they set it. You see, the quote “Referring to Google’s failure to prevent paid advertising from reputable companies appearing next to YouTube videos posted by extremists“, which seems to be the correct description in a pig’s eye. the statement is true, yet the actual truth is that Google designed a online facilitation of advertisement allowing small businesses to gain proper and granulated visibility of what they offer to the interested audience at less than 10% of what printed media demands. Give me one example where that will not be exploited? And when it comes to explosive situations, lets remember Alfred Nobel who found a way to make working for tunnel diggers relatively safe. It was these crying governments who thought of using dynamite against people during acts of war was a good idea, so please Yvette Cooper, go cry me a river somewhere else, and please feel free to flush yourself like you are a cast member of Trainspotting; please please pretty please. In this Germany is not without fault either. The quote “In Germany, the report points out, the justice ministry has proposed imposing financial penalties of up to €50m on social media companies that are slow to remove illegal content“, Illegal where, and what is ‘slow to remove‘? All pointless statements in a proposition that is laughable. We can all agree that ‘illegal‘ content is to be removed, yet I think the Germans need to consider their high chair when we consider the issues regarding the CDU before Angela Merkel was in charge, the days of Christian Wulff has a few issues whilst he resigned and subsequently got acquitted in 2014. The press and government hid behind ‘since it was not clear who had paid for these holidays‘ should be an issue as there is a debatable consideration that they did not pay for it, you see for the bulk of all of us, when we go on holidays it tends to be a real dip in our daily cost of living. That might not be for everyone, yet when we see clarity of who did pay, there is a lot more going on. The entire Google matter gives rise to political games in favour of printed media who feels massively threatened, whilst Google has NEVER EVER been unclear of how their AdWords system worked and how you could maximise YOUR visibility. So when the part of ‘YOUR visibility‘ is a not so nice organisation, in a system that facilitates for millions, the damage could happen. It is a lot more complex than merely paying for a vacation using your bank card or credit card. Here, we now have content!

In this light, when we consider the elements and we go back to the first article “the parties will “ensure” that in “government” they will “work” to do “new” things that “support” you, the “people”.” it is a clear political message that can fit any of the three parties and that is what the writers set out to do. Yet what are the new things? Where are the funds coming from? How will it better your life? That is where the content is. Labour pushes you in even further debt, the Tories are trying to go one way, whilst you lose as little as possible, and that whilst trying to deal with large issues like the NHS and the debt. The Lib Dems want to be supportive of you as they have lost way too much to actually achieve anything. The manifestos are trying to sway you in the way they can and ways that are allowed. In this social media is the unspoken gun that will spray consequences on the choices of opponents and whilst they would like to guide you towards their base of choice, the censors are seeing a shift in methodology. In all this we see non political parties trying to play a similar game whilst ‘enticing’ you to ‘their’ places of ‘combat’, which in extremist views are actually ‘theatres of war’. In all this we see shifts as governments on a global scale (USA and Indonesia) are now on the verge of having to deal with people who return from Syria in a radicalised state. America in this has even more problems as Syrian and Iranian ties are getting stronger. This implies the dangers for America as this pool of radicalised people is an optional source for VEJA to see what damage they could to to America and more important, whether they could give pressure to Indonesia giving American Allies (read: Australia) more headaches that they are comfortable with at present. So where is that content? You see, as you might have seen in the past and in the media, content is created, it is created by setting a stage and let data be data, making the watcher nervous, or reactive, in social media is an absolute first to create large waves. The problem with censorship is that you create waves, whether you censor or not, by trying to create the waves in your favour you are also fuelling the opposition who could hurt you if intentional censorship is exposed. In this the attempt to ‘save’ the Trans Pacific Partnership is a clear monument of evidence how political players are there to ‘cater’ to big business whilst misrepresenting it as ‘labour rights and environmental protections‘ that whilst too many media outlets have already reported on how consumers will basically lose rights. So as we see that we keep an optional job, whilst having no say on where we spend our money and having no options to the amount we have to pay to get better, can you explain to me how that is a good thing for anyone else than big business? In this we now get back to Google. Yes of course they are in it for the money (to some extent), yet they have shifted the bar of technology 5 times in the last 7 years, whilst Microsoft has merely pushed the same bar forwards three times and making us pay for those new iterations. Does Google have issues? Of course it has, when you push out something as revolutionary as Google AdWords, things will happen and flaws will be found. You show me a windows version that got the bulk of basic parts correct after 29 iterations and you will be on the shortlist for receiving a Nobel price (they gave one to Barack Obama after all).

We all create content and whilst we saw on how the number of words might persuade us on how well any political manifesto was, we know that content was not given, mere curiosity (read: and it is still a nice article to read). We can agree that speech, whether elective or hate based is to address a group that will listen to them. in this there are points of technology (read: facilitation), yet in UK law there is an explicit defence for facilitation, as there is in almost every Common Law nation. In this we can clearly argue that there are issues to solve, nobody denies that, not even the technology firms. Yet do you want to live in a Microsoft world where it is merely iterative result of non fixed software that works, yet has issues and we get to pay for these flaws again or again, or are we willing to see Google solutions evolve where we have been introduced to new options, and amazing new boundaries as we moved from 3G, 4G and now towards 5G, with smartphone issues that Apple could not give in the last 4 versions of their iPhone. I got introduced to more invigorating options in 12 months of Google than I saw Microsoft show us in 15 years and that is whilst the Media remains very uninformative on non-consensual upload of data by Microsoft, that too is content!

In finality, consider the quote “Facebook also told MPs that it is is reviewing how it handles violent videos and other objectionable material after a video of a murder in the United States remained on its service for more than two hours“, whilst we need to consider the 2014 event of ‘Video of ISIS beheading U.S. journalist James Foley‘, the issue the CNN brought forward was: “The question is why taking it down is controversial at all. The answer, I think, shows how important services like Twitter have become, and how this has thrust unexpected responsibilities onto them“, it took years in court to deal with the Christian Wulff case as some would state it in a very unsatisfied way, whilst there is the raising of hell in light of certain videos? We can agree that some should not have gotten through, yet that is when we are in the emotional stage of not realising the size of technology involved. We should like the 2008 Facebook sex tape case conviction towards the poster of the video. Yet the political players know that this is a game that they cannot win, so it is easier to go after Facebook and Google, that whilst they rely on businesses to use these solutions to turn a few pennies, all knowing perfectly well that it is a cloud of facilitation. Is it merely because being linked to a large firm getting kicked is sexier that actually solving issues like age discrimination or giving suspended sentences on intentional fraud. When we are set in such an environment, can we trust anyone? We are all dealing with concepts of ‘facilitation’, ‘censoring’, and ‘technology’, at times on a daily basis. We all need to consider what is on the other side of that piece of paper, because when we consider that on page two of that news is an advertisement mentioning bogus scientific results? How criminal is the paper? and how will you take down printed advertisement? The elements here matter, because it introduces a term that has bearing, one that politicians have used for decades. In this they ‘hide’ behind the term “wilful blindness“, to remain ignorant intentionally of a situation is an issue, an issue that Yvette Cooper has been demonstrating in the response as given by the media. In equal measure can we accuse Microsoft of the same thing? The fact that some bugs that were seen in Office 95 and are still an issue in Office 2007, does that matter? That’s well over 12 years!

We ourselves also create content by not looking at the other side, which during the upcoming election is a bit of an issue, because, as I personally see it, Europe is in a new level of turmoil, one that it has not seen for several decades. It is also a larger issue as most nations have borrowed away the reserves they had. The safety netting is gone, which makes proper and complete information a lot more important than the previous 4 elections.

So lets not forget to see the other side, because when we are told: ‘look here’ the actual action that harms us is over there on the other side, in that it is my personal view, that in that regard all politicians are alike, and not one party has ever been ignorant of using that tactic.

In this business will go vastly beyond politics, because as the 5G waves start hitting us all, it will be about creating content, in this we will all look at the other side of the page and wonder about the validity, not because we want to, but because we have to. We will no longer have a choice in the matter.

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Dangerous levels of extinction

Bloomberg reported Yesterday that Nicola ‘Sturgeon Sticks with Timing for Scottish Independence Referendum‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-01/sturgeon-sticks-with-timing-for-scottish-independence-referendum), which is a little odd after the previous one not so long ago. As I stated in earlier blogs, I am not against Scottish independence, I think that at the earliest point, Scotland should seek independence. Yet at this point it is not a good idea. The situation has not changed for Scotland, at present their budget is already 11% short and that is with the inclusion of decreasing oil revenues. This means that within 10 years there will be additional problems for Scotland. And this is only the start of their troubles. You see RTE reported only 12 hours ago ‘Spain would not ‘initially’ block Scotland from joining the EU after Brexit‘, the catchword is ‘initially‘, we see the quote “any part of the United Kingdom that becomes a state and wants to join the EU will have to apply. And follow the steps that are stipulated“, this is the part that matters. Basically until Scotland is truly independent there is every chance that Spain would object, and that is just one of the 27 nations. After that when Scotland is independent, the initiation into the EU would start, which could take up another 5 years, perhaps even more. That is the part Scotland faces, so Scotland is facing the consequence of independence, growing a ‘national‘ debt and after that we see the issue that Scotland would be debt driven and getting into the EU, a triple banking issue (debt, interest and inflation levels), all levels that Scotland would need to overcome.

For example, try googling Scotland and economy and see what you get. What economic achievements did Scotland have gained in the last two years? The Financial Times gives us a part I actually do not agree with (at https://www.ft.com/content/7c6f8ca8-0807-11e7-97d1-5e720a26771b) ‘The economic case for an independent Scotland rests on the EU‘, to that the Scottish response should be: ‘the dog’s bollocks they are!‘ In this Scotland needs to grow an economy, so far, as long as Nicola Sturgeon has been in power, not too much has been gained in that department. I am certain that there are options, I even mentioned one in April 2015, (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/04/05/the-labour-manifesto/) where I write “I am still reasonably certain that Indian generic medication could grow all over Europe if they have a foothold in Scotland, which allows easy access to places all over Europe“, so which Scottish politician had actually made any headway into looking beyond the EU, its ECB with big debt credit cards? Because when the credit card stops, Scotland will be in levels of hardship they have not seen before for the longest of times. At that point, who will the Prime Minister be when that happens and where will that person lay the blame?

In the end that is a Scotland that has no chance to build any future at all. How is that a good idea?

So as we see that Scotland is focusing on the USA with the added quote from Bloomberg “She also noted her political differences with President Donald Trump, who owns golf resorts in Scotland. During the election campaign, the Scottish government stripped Trump of his role as business ambassador for the country“, which sounds nice, but how did she fare with Corporate America? Scotland might be open for business, but where is the interest in Scotland? How about the Far East? How could Scotland become a hub for places like Indonesia, India, Pakistan and China? With Beef as an export, why not benefit by creating a European Halal Trade centre in Scotland? With ferries leading to Norway and a growing Muslim population, there are options, it only requires the right politician to open certain doors. I am not saying this is a solution, I am merely showing that options are there, the right people only need to look into the right direction. Because, as I see it, relying on the USA and ECB grants will not work, not whilst Europe is in the state it currently is. With Italy set to grow no more than 0.9%, its position is weaker than France and its youth unemployment still stands at 38%, implying that Italy’s infrastructure will remain under harsh levels of duress for several more years. The quote “Italy’s chronically low growth, low inflation and gigantic public debt burden (133% of GDP) make a potentially deadly trio” gives us even more to worry about (source: the economist), with the UK having triggered Article 50, France elections still having the consequence of a Frexit signal and Italy under the duress it is in, the European Union will only have Germany to be the large positive impact player on its economy and that one is not faring too well either. So this is the moment Nicola Sturgeon want to enter the EU whilst going independent? It is not just a bad plan, with a non-closing budget she will be drowning Scotland into debt and this debt will grow and grow leaving Scotland with no options for any future at all.

Yet we could go with the definition of Sturgeon that she is honouring. I cannot state whether this is the same for both Prime Ministers and fish, yet the International Union for Conservation of Nature gave us: “According to the IUCN, over 85% of sturgeon species are classified as at ‘risk of extinction’“, which is a large group that Nicola Sturgeon seems to be happy to join, the sad part is that she would like the whole of Scotland to join her in this, which is really not a good idea, or fair on the population of Scotland.

 

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Creating a dangerous joke

There is a lot going on. At first I wanted to take you into the world of fake news, it is a problem and it is a global one, but the elements in play, so many of them will confuse the hell out of anyone. It is not a simple story, it is an issue that will take many pages and there are plenty of people that cannot be bothered to read that much, I most certainly get that.

So why three issues?

They are only casually linked, but the events as they are taking places all at the same time makes me wonder if, and to what extent they will intersect.

north-korea-disk-jpg
The first one is regarding everyone’s favourite ‘democracy’, North Korea! They decided to fire a missile for 500 Km to make a show of force. So millions were spend to make a show of strength that their missile will make it for 4% of the journey. This whilst we need to realise that the bulk of the 44,000 that became homeless in the floods 5 months ago are still for the most homeless. This event is making South Korea very nervous as the missile can reach them, the USA will make a show out of it all, even as there is no evidence that the missile could ever successfully make the other 96% and hit something substantial after that. As stated, there is no evidence, that in light of the military command setting the pass with Dell desktop computers that most gamers would not even touch in sheer desperation just so that they could play a game.

 

 

 

The second issue is another part all together. There has been a flaming row between Piers Morgan and JK Rowling. In this, I need to try and get through to people who seem to have a massive hatred for the Trump presidency. The video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MrbXk5xOOM) gives us part of that. We usually do not get the full story as more than one media outlet, or opponent does not like him to complete his train of thought. He makes a few points that need to be considered. It goes far beyond mere freedom of speech, I will never be against it, yet in all this the papers need to be accountable for what they do. The situation is similar that the UK has with Brexit. So when we see the Rowling v Morgan event (at http://honey.nine.com.au/2017/02/13/07/54/jk-rowling-piers-morgan-twitter-spat), which has been going on for a few days now. The nine event shows a short part where Piers gets splattered as he was not allowed to finish his words. The quote “President Trump’s travel ban because the British TV presenter won’t call it a Muslim ban. Trump has tried to stop citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries, including Iran and Syria, from entering the US“, which is what he actually said. The part where Piers is correct is that his assessment is correct. You see the 7 nations are: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. Some of the Muslim nations that are not on the list and not banned are: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Muslim nations are not on that list. In addition, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt. Yes, it is correct that the 7 nations are predominantly Muslim, yet until that list at least doubles, it is not a Muslim ban.

adolf-hitler-world-tour-t-shirt-web
It was ‘nice’ and original that Jim Jefferies reflected on how Adolf Hitler grew into his role whilst singing a lullaby to 6 million Jews, but the reality is not the same here. So in a comedian like atmosphere he can tell Piers to Eff You Kay off, but he is deceiving you. In that regard the quote from JK Rowling ““Yes”, she tweeted.” Watching Piers Morgan being told to f–k off on live TV is *exactly* as satisfying as I’d always imagined“, might be valid from a celebrity like her as she has seen the darker less acceptable side of journo’s on a global level, but in all , the facts were not correctly given. And the press seems to be heralding to a larger extent, for too long to give the microphone to any person willing to loudly speak out against the current US president. This situation is more important than you think, you see, President Trump is doing almost exactly what he promised to do, yet if we consider that 100% of his voters are 50% of the nation, is he doing the right thing for America? It is a serious question and the answer is less easy to give, because the losing side is trying to create flame after flame via emotional broadcasts. The left has grown its media domain to such an extent that part of the US is unlikely to ever get the full facts. The Piers Morgan video gives us that. They give the realm where we hear on how CNN is implied to have some sort of buddy system with the previous administration. That is actually more alarming than you might think, because in such a setting, have we heard any reliable news from CNN over the last 3 years? Did you consider that part of the equation?

erdoganmemeTurkey is the last part in this equation. As we see thousands of people getting fired, arrested and prosecuted in what most call a massive aversion of the course of justice, we see that the list has grown. The BBC recapped the last 7 months as an event “following the failed coup attempt, nearly 100,000 civil servants have been removed from their posts. That includes teachers, police officers, soldiers, academics and lawyers“, where it should be clear that several of these groups would not be caught alive talking to one another, we must wonder how this shift, how this automation towards a totalitarian political shift is not the disastrous move that Germany found itself in on 30th January 1933. With the death of Paul von Hindenburg on 2nd August 1934, the shift of Adolf’s rise to power was complete. In this the danger we see Turkey in due to the acts of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are a lot higher than we get from President Trump, more important, as we see a massive political ‘Erdogan’ shift, what does that spell for the rest of Turkey? Will we become witness to the rise of a dictatorship, not unlike the one from Saddam Hussein? The changes he started in the 70’s, which led to the executions (read: purges), which would kill well over 250,000 Iraqis? More important, how will Europe interact at that point, or would Europe even allow itself to any interaction with Turkey?

 

These three are interacting because the Turkish population all over Europe will react to what happens in Turkey, more important, as Turkey becomes more ‘driven’ and President Erdogan finds the European doors close on him, we will get a new intelligence issue. As the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) will be given the similar tasks, but now if finds itself more and more collecting international security intelligence, which changes the game as the allegiance with the USA will shift. The one with the FSB does not change that much as the FSB never really shares intelligence unless they know there are two other sources able to offer the information. As the open EU borders shut down to their original state, we will suddenly see that those outside of certain discussions will now become absent of being informed. It is the natural consequence of ending an open border environment. So as we see the Cold War escalate, there is at least the smallest chance that they will try to leave the hints of gullibility with the MİT. There is no evidence, but the Russian Intelligence side of things (before they started to call themselves FSB) has plenty of examples and lets not forget that they are still sore regarding a certain fighter plane that was shot down for transgressing Turkish borders for no more than 14 seconds.

This now gets another turn of complications as the two parts that we see escalating in the Washington Post with “White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is under increasing political pressure and risks losing the confidence of some colleagues following reports that he misled senior administration officials about his discussion of sanctions with a Russian envoy shortly before President Trump took office“, as well as “Former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates warned the White House that national security adviser General Michael Flynn may be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, the Washington Post reported on Monday“, so as we ponder this, just a mere 1800 seconds ago we get “Flynn has acknowledged he might have discussed sanctions with the Russians but could not remember with 100 percent certainty, which officials said had upset Pence, who felt he had been misled“. ‘Is this the geriatric division of the Intelligence community?‘ I might drop a nickel every now and then, but I am not the national security adviser and neither is I having to be a General! Two very visible places where an event where things like ‘sanctions‘ and ‘could not remember with 100 percent certainty‘ what factors were having an impact on the sanctions. That part should have been clearly documented as filed so that the alphabet group knows what’s coming (those in charge that is). You see, as we all face the news of escalations (especially Turkey and Russia), the Russian issues with America (and vice versa) implies that we are on the forefront of an optional new cold war.

This is not just me, several sources are raising the threat of the new cold war (or Cyber cold war) as some call it. In this we will face several fronts, because there is currently an issue with the top positions and I feel that I can claim with a decent certainty that Breitbart News will be massively out of its depth when it misplaces, misrepresents or misquotes any element in such an affair. In addition, the General Flynn issue gives rise to the issue that this optional war is one that America will not be ‘in like Flynn‘, which gives away some of its lack of preparedness at that point.

So as North Korea might soon be making a few more boasts whilst we get incriminations addressed towards America and South Korea by China, we will see more speeches, considerations and not so carefully worded denials. In the end, we are skating towards a diminishing field of options. Well, actually, the question becomes what will happen, as we now see the resignation letter of the National Security Advisor (which might have been the only move left), the USA is now forced to get another person confirmed for the role. In a time when getting proper advice is pretty stellar important, selecting the right advisor would have been pretty important. All this in the first 100 days is not the best way for the new president to make any headway. Attached to this is the press, who have been on a massive Trump bash. The left who has been enjoying a lefty point of politics and getting enabled at every corner is now facing a vindictive administration, which is counterproductive on both sides, because any escalation down the Cold War front means that proper informing the people on what is actually happening is going to be much more important. In that regard, perhaps it is starting to be more and more important to label the tabloids with a brand that it is not truly presenting the news, I would prefer that they also lose the 0% VAT option, the idea that intentional misinforming the people comes with a tax break! Does that not bother you?

You see, these elements as stated are linked, not directly on the events, but how we react to them, this can have an increasing negative consequence, especially as we use social media to gain favour and laughs. Yet the other side tends to be less recipient. Some will take the moral offended side of the matter. So as we heard Jim Jefferies Hitler reference, some reacted, some did not and most reactions were against Piers Morgan. Now, I am no fan of him. I think that he plays a dangerous game, trying to side with the emotional side of people, as do Journo’s like Lisa Wilkinson, yet in some lights she tends to be a lot more level headed here. In contrast, when we see the Morgan quote: “To all the ignorant, bigoted transgender community members continuing to abuse me re @janetmock – I’m bored of you now, go away. Thanks.

Piers need to equally realise that if he does not consider thinking things through before making his case knowing very well that there will be open outrage, he needs to realise sooner rather than later that he is not part of any solution, he remains part of the problem.

This story will get a sequel as certain events are currently still evolving.

 

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The cost of free trade

There is a side in me that is a little beyond angry. When I see these politicians whine like little bitches on how good ‘Free Trade‘ is, on how it is so good for all. I wonder if they remember the days when slavery was an actual solution for commerce. How these people look and praise Chiwetel Ejiofor (aka Baron Mordo) for playing a slave in ‘12 years a slave’. When we see “Mexico, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore aim to continue with TPP with or without the United States, Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said on Friday” (Source: SBS), we need to wonder on how the TPP is seen as anything but evil, a mere apparatus of convenience for large corporations to keep a stranglehold on those around them and to minimise the number of opportunities for smaller businesses.

The Evidence?

The Economic Policy Institute gives us: “This paper does not include an exhaustive review but cites as an example Capaldo, Izurieta, and Sundaram (2016), who noted that studies claiming that the TPP would have a positive impact on the U.S. and global economy are based on unrealistic assumptions, including no change in the U.S. trade balance with the TPP countries and full employment“, which is only the top of the iceberg. You see, in addition we have “Currency manipulation is the most important cause of the large and growing U.S. goods trade deficit with the group of countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Coupled with the fact that the United States is the largest and most reliable trading partner for many of the TPP countries, this is a recipe for U.S. pain at others’ gain“. This is not the USA, it would also hit Australia in other ways, not the people who secretly arranged all that they get top dollar in a few other ways. Yet, before we move on, let’s take one more part, because that will have connecting issues. The quote “Many members of the proposed TPP, including Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan, are known currency manipulators. Others, namely Vietnam, appear to be following the lead of currency manipulators by, for example, acquiring excess foreign exchange reserves to depress the value of their currency. Currency manipulation explains a substantial share of the large, persistent U.S. trade deficit with the 11 other TPP countries that has not only cost millions of U.S. jobs but also increased income inequality and put downward pressure on American wages“, and although this paper focuses on US consequences, it will in addition have a speculative negative impact on Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Dutch Financial Times (at https://fd.nl/economie-politiek/1176922/tpp-opzegging-holt-voorbeeldfunctievs-uit) gives us: “Donald Trump heeft de wereld deze week een belangrijke boodschap gegeven. Door te stellen dat hij de Verenigde Staten op de eerste dag van zijn presidentschap terug zal trekken uit het Pacifische vrijhandelsverdrag TPP, geeft hij het signaal af dat hij de relaties met andere landen puur vanuit de blik van een zakenman zal zien. Hij wil bilateraal met landen gaan onderhandelen ‘over eerlijke handelsafspraken die ertoe leiden dat banen en industrieën terugkeren naar Amerika’. Internationale relaties moeten voordelig zijn; anders hoeft het niet“, which paraphrased gives us: “Donald Trump will be withdrawing from the TPP on day one of his presidency. He will be looking at relationships with other countries from a business point of view, international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“. Is that a bad thing? You see for exploiters it is, which gives us the Malayan Times (at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/tpp-aint-over-till-its-over-firdaos-rosli). Last week they had the headline ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, the article is a decent legal view of getting the TPP ratified, which only gives additional cause for concern in a few ways, yet that is not the issue for now. The one quote at the end that matters is “The government must proceed with its top-down reforms agenda and these are direly required to make Malaysia great again” This is fair enough on one side, Malayans are there to make Malaysia strong, there is no cause more just, yet in what ways are they doing this?

This is where the other side gets to show us the dangers. You see the headline ‘Malaysia workers speak of their despair: ‘Samsung only knows how to take’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/21/malaysia-workers-speak-of-their-despair-samsung-only-knows-how-to-take), shows that large corporations are at the heart of the problem. Tax shelters, exploitation and what cannot be seen as anything else than intentional slavery are at the heart of the matter. The Samsung Port Klang factory as mentioned shows how Samsung is growing its business by massively reducing costs whilst maximising customer exploitation at almost the same time.

When we see “In total, Bhandari says he paid £750 to secure his job in Malaysia – more than the average annual salary in his home district” as well as “There are an estimated 2.1 million documented migrant workers like Bhandari in Malaysia, many of them hired through third-party labour supply companies who recruit foreign workers from Nepal, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh to drive Malaysia’s industrial boom“. Implying that Samsung has no HR to speak of, it is arranged through third party affairs that are buttering their bread on both sides of the isle with a labour population in slavery. So when we rethink the Malayan Times with ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, we get that they (those making the profits) need the TPP, because slaves tend to be free (read: really cheap) and too many people seem to be filling their pockets in a few ways. So when you see “Now he’s in Malaysia, Bhandari’s recruitment debt – and the 60% interest loan he took to pay it – has a stranglehold on the teenager“, you know that this is how slavery is created and how it is maintained. Not through shackles that bind you, but debts that stop you from moving and breathing. I reckon that the old southern ‘solution’ was a lot more humane. At least you knew that there was slavery, now the boat load of governments remain in denial and the large corporations can claim to remain negligently unaware. Which of the two is the larger hypocrite remains to be seen. The fact that Australia signed this, whilst they had to be aware that this was happening to some degree is an issue on many fronts, not just the slavery part, but the fact that the TPP has the largest option of being a negative influence. You see, those who had walked away wanted to do so via the TPP, there is absolutely no guarantee that whilst in the TPP jobs are not lost to areas where labour laws are a lot more flexible.

Consider the quote “Many of the group now want to leave, if only they could. They say their passports were all confiscated on arrival in the country, an illegal but pervasive practice, and they have been told they will have to pay £740 if they want to go – the equivalent of four months’ basic salary“, which translates to a little over 4 weeks of Australian welfare. Which in light of “A Samsung statement said: “As a committed member of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), we comply fully with the EICC’s Code of Conduct and have found no evidence of violations in the hiring process of migrant workers hired directly by our manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Once there is any complaint, we take swift actions to investigate” as well as “When asked whether Samsung had repaid any worker debts at the factory, one man employed directly by Samsung instead of through a labour supply company says he hasn’t received any compensation. “Samsung doesn’t know how to give,” he says. “It only knows how to take.”” which to some degree shows that not only is Samsung not doing too much about it, it is also intent towards reaping the benefit of these trade deals for as long as they can. More important, even though Samsung is the visible one, the fact that from several sources we see “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, implies that there are other brands exploiting this way of cutting costs. So from that part, the evidence that Slave labour is again a ‘valid’ form of cost cutting towards commerce is given.

Should any government object that I reckon it is time that clear labour requirements are added to the TPP, I wonder how many would suddenly oppose such actions, because as I see it it is clear that Japan and USA, the two direct requirements for the TPP would not oppose it, unless Sony decides that their margins would dwindle, but that is just pure speculation from my side.

What to do?

Well, I do not think it is too far-fetched that those linked to these unacceptable labour practices are required to have a specific import license for their good, which is at a price, FTA or not! I wonder what will happen when Samsung gets a 23% surcharge on slave labour goods import. Will that suddenly make them see the light? I do not mind if they decide to make them in Malaysia, but I reckon we all agree that these workers are due decent pay and no slave labour conditions. At that point, when the margins are hit, how good was the TPP and how beneficial were factories in Asia? I do not proclaim to have the answer, I am merely asking the question. When slavery is dealt with, we will suddenly see that there is no benefit in some of these places and that other places like Argentina, Texas, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK and Belgium are decent places where goods can be produced whilst the company still has a margin. And perhaps there is no need for a $229 Samsung Microwave when a $129 Sharp version would suffice. So, a $100 more expensive whilst ‘depending’ on slave labour (to at least some degree), seems odd doesn’t it?

Consider: “it promised only £268 a month, including overtime“, whilst “a payslip seen by the Guardian shows Bhandari worked 29 out of 30 days in September, including 65 hours of overtime“, so we get 65 hours a slave every month and an income of £9.20 a day, which amounts to 25% of what you get in Australian Centrelink and the cost of living in Sydney is actually high. So the next time you see those Samsung advertisements, consider that they can afford these billboards thanks to slave labour. Look at your Samsung phone and admire how you got that great deal, if you are lucky only one person literally worked himself/herself to death to make you one. Feel better now?

It is also important to realise that Samsung is not alone here, one firm does not make for “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, it takes a lot more than one firm and if only Samsung was involved, those people would apply for every other place on day two of their arrival. This makes the issue a lot larger and this also makes the unbalanced use of what we now laughingly call ‘Free Trade Agreements‘. So when we get another load of Bill Shorten and how the TPP isn’t costing jobs, we see a clear case that the man needed to be tarred, feathered and walked through George Street whilst a person behind him clanks the bell shouting ‘Shame!‘ It might be a little too much Game of Thrones, yet in that place they are only now abolishing slavery on the East side of that place (read: Essos), in addition, Malcom Turnbull is not free of any moral harm either. The fact that the TPP was supposed to implement stronger protections and the fact that Malaysia is still very much on the TPP ball, whilst as the Guardian shows, that what amounts to Slave labour is still going strong to me implies that those involved have either loop holes in place or that there are alternative options for those enjoying the fruits of their exploitation.

You see, the TPP Labour summary gives us: “In addition to commitments by Parties to eliminate forced labor in their own countries, the Labor chapter includes commitments to discourage importation of goods that are produced by forced labor or that contain inputs produced by forced labor, regardless of whether the source country is a TPP country“, this implies that those involved at Samsung have either a Chinese wall in place or a system of deniability. The fact that The Guardian received evidence (payslips) and had testimonials of multiple workers should suffice as evidence.

The fact that Huawei has the option to expose issues with Samsung, whilst not seeming to act, gives also pause for concern. China is not part of the TPP, it is trying to seal its own trade agreement. Even though we have no evidence on how China works in certain matters, the existence of China’s State Owned Enterprise’s (SOE) is another circle of issues and it will be so for both Australia and New Zealand, yet to what extent cannot be stated by me (read: ignorant of such levels of government rules). In that regard Huawei might have an unfair advantage (read: when compared to Samsung) and of course, Huawei could impact the booming Mobile business Australia has (read: Exchange rate of sarcasm towards giggles). As many see that China has been non-enthusiastic when it comes to dealing with corruption, the shown evidence gives us that several other nations aren’t that much better and corporate greed tends to trump government requirements. So there!

No matter how we slice it, the trade agreements only truly benefit large corporations and no one else, which is an issue on a few fronts and in that President Elect Donald Trump might be the clearest American patriot when he states “international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“, for the simple truth is that for the most and agreement signed that was not advantageous was an agreement best not signed at all.

 

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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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