Tag Archives: IT

When the game changes

That is the question, this is not about gaming, but Microsoft is about to get a black eye. This one is not one I saw coming for a few reasons, but the stage is set in very different ways at present.

It all starts with European Court of Justice and their Schrems II case (C-311/18), in this case we see that the Privacy shield, as US Department of Commerce concoction to appease Europe and the European Commission has fallen, like Humpty Dumpty the setting got pushed by the judges, and it cannot be superglued, it is dead. The term is ‘invalid under European Law’, So all the American contractors and subtractors of personal data in Europe (mainly Microsoft, Google, Facebook and AWS) now have a much larger issue to content with, it is the stage that President Tump cannot use, it will be another mail in his election coffin. The source Aigine also gives us “It is close to impossible that the rules of GDPR will be enforced, as US-Companies have given capabilities to US Intelligence authorities (example the No Such Agency)” The implied seizing of transfer of data to US-controlled companies will be a much harsher reality than ever seen before. Basically it works for me, but there is a larger station where data pools will have a national setting. If players like Google want to stay ahead, they will need data and hardware specialists in a much larger region of the world, happy me! And this will follow in other nations as well, the GDPR will have larger considerations in the Commonwealth as well, and as I see it the US has set the stage to open a can of worms I always saw coming, yet I believed that the EU gravy train and US Wall Street people would be more aligned, in the end it now seems that they were not and the data field will change in a much more refined way than I thought was possible. As a data cleaner my options open up, yet Google will set a new parameter of systems as they already have, however they will have a much broader need and as this war continues, we will see these players overreact to make sure that their data is lacking gaps, again, happy me.

So as we see that there is an assessment on what an how things are transferred, we will se. Much larger shift internationally. There is still a lacking state. The text “if possible, personal data should be stored within the EU, and on servers controlled by EU companies” whereas we see questions on ‘if possible’, I see options and opportunities, and the stage for legal interpretations will open up on the larger stage as older (90’s) solutions are revisited on the method of storing personal data. As such there is a new data war coming, and in this there is an open field who will grow, pretty much all European data vendors can, because there is a whole shipment of US companies who cannot rely on the FAANG group, and that is where the commercial opportunities are staged. To be honest, Microsoft has an actual opportunity now that it did not have in the past. Even as Aigine gives no consideration in this, but the Azure systems have a greater ability to decentralise, it is something that they had in place for other options, but Google did not (not to that degree is more correct), and that is the stage that pushes Sunday into the IT gathering of the week. I reckon that the news will be about the PDPR and the impact that US systems will face over the next week, but this impact is too large, I reckon that there will be a larger impact on a larger scale, yet I will agree that my view lacks the clarity of certain players and what they put in the field over the last 3-4 years. No matter how we see the EC Judgment, there were enough voices around to see a downplaying of the verdict, a verdict that is now a much larger stage than in the last 5 years.


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And so it begins

Yes, it is beginning and the quote is not from me, the phrase was used by King Theoden in the Lord of the Rings movie “The Two Towers“, right before the major battle at Helms Deep. It is not the first time it was used, but there is where most get it from. As we were treated a few hours ago ‘The US is making its own 5G technology with American and European companies, and without Huawei‘, in this I have no objection, but the larger image is ignored by those less intelligent individuals in the White House. 

What I predicted is coming to pass and big tech companies are about to face the larger setback in the US. So no matter how this gets warped by players like the Wall Street Journal. In my personal view this step now gives us a clear view, the US will be lagging by 3-5 years in 5G as per now. When we see the article in the Business Insider (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/5g-huawei-white-house-kudlow-dell-microsoft-att-nokia-ericsson-2020-2), we forget a few items, in the first the US is nowhere near ready for 5G, in the second Huawei is already fully ready for 5G and any nation embracing either temporary or long term with Huawei will get the jump on American Big Tech. Even as “sic infit” (so it begins) goes back to The Metamorphoses of Apuleius, we need to understand that the reference to ‘The Golden Ass‘ might actually apply to certain players in the White House, we need to understand that the push for anti-Huawei sentiments was never doused in evidence, merely non-US paranoia. The world to a much larger degree has demanded evidence from the US, who actually never produced it. 

So as the Wall Street Journal gives us “the White House is working with U.S. technology companies to create advanced software for next-generation 5G telecommunications networks. The plan would build on efforts by some U.S. telecom and technology companies to agree on common engineering standards that would allow 5G software developers to run code on machines that come from nearly any hardware manufacturer. That would reduce, if not eliminate, reliance on Huawei equipment.

And here we see a few points. First there is ‘create advanced software‘, which is only partially true, the hardware is a larger part that is currently incomplete when we look at non-Huawei players, as such the presentation given is one that is debatable on a few sides. Then we get ‘agree on common engineering standards‘, a statement which would have been a given long before any of this started, as such the presentations we will see will be doused in ambiguity and in that format it implies that the US will be being whatever it was +2 years as it will not fill the gap it currently does not. Then we get a larger issue ‘run code on machines that come from nearly any hardware manufacturer‘, which should not be a 5G issue in the infrastructure, they would need to pass on anything on the system, this is a mobile setting. It is basically telling the stage that Apple and Android should have the same code and optionally set the stage to bar Harmony OS, so is this an actual 5G setting or a filtering setting to keep unwanted players out?

Yet this setting is one that is massively dangerous to the US, it relies on Big Tech (Google and Facebook) to enter a new stage where they cannot gather data and merge data in a global stage which would redefine their global data settings and such a delay would be monumental for these two. 

So we get all this because the US cannot provide evidence of optional Huawei wrongdoing? How weird is that? It is actually not weird that the data gathering tools are on the Chinese side now, the US is about to learn that being 4th in a place where they were alone is not the place to ever be, not in this economy, as such setting a stage for segregation now would give them a larger benefit down the road and that is where the shoes get to tight to dance.

There is a decent chance that Huawei is not the player that will be disregarded on the global stage, as such several EU countries are willing to entertain Huawei and with the Middle East and Asia already there, we will see Huawei getting a larger share of data than the US (with 325 million people) represents and that is what the US fears and that fear through the White House will be pushed onto Google, Facebook and Apple, and I am guessing not with their approval, they will have to adjust their models by a fair bit and feel the brint for a year at least (that is if hardware manufacturers agree on standards) and good luck with that part. 

Then we get to look at “the White House is working with US companies, and potentially European companies, to deploy the United States’5G architecture and infrastructure, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow who spoke with The Wall Street Journal’s Bob Davis and Drew FitzGerald“, so not only are they 3-5 (or 4-6) years behind, we now see ‘the United States’5G architecture‘, so not only is it their 5G, but based on their standards and when we consider the stage of AT&T and their 5G Evolution we saw last year, the US (and those who sign on) are in for a really rough ride that might never be 5G, merely a reset 4G+ standard. Of course the latter part is not a given, but time is the one part that the White House does not have and the hardware setting in the US is nationwide too far behind. In this there will be no national 5G in the US for a much longer time. 

As such were these steps even considered by Big Tech who relies on billions of users, not merely the 325,000,000 Americans? With the UK starting now on Huawei and their 68 million people, will that stop Europe? No, it will make them switch against American paranoia and Huawei gets a much bigger boost and this will have a larger impact, as these places go ahead and gain speed the rest of the EU will find themselves in a bind to accept other standards faster and leaving the US in a stage of isolation which will impact the US in several ways. And if you think that the restrictions will work? Yes they will but only to show that those not on the Huawei pool will lag in several stages and there will be a screaming to get Huawei in a larger pool soon enough. From there we will see Germany who is partially  on board and when they see the impact in the UK, Spain, France, and Germany will sway and that means that three of the large 4 will get the fourth on board, that is what we will see in 2020 and optionally 2021 when stubborn people delay, in that stage those who are early on the 5G path they will get a much larger commercial slice of that cake and there will be a massive amount of governments blaming the US for paranoia, in my view I would state that it is all their own fault. 

And whilst nations have their own policies in place are now in a stage where the option to buy the 5G technology and develop their own national cores would be a perfect solutions for these nations whilst Huawei will enjoy the financial benefits it brings, in this their pool of talents and showing a stage of training that is much larger than expected, training these nations in making their own national 5G developers on a Huawei core is a larger play and that is one that brings in the revenue and then some.

All this was a path that the US could have committed to but they do see that the data is the future currency and they do not want to share, the US was the only one efficiently gathering data and their value is based on all this, all that whilst their prospect was ludicrous all the way to sieve based routers on a global scale. The NSA and GCHQ aren’t the only players in the field, the US merely wanted to limit the data drain value and 5G makes it a non place, ata will go nearly anywhere, you merely need to ask Amazon (Jeff Bezos) and ask him where his data has gone to and he cannot answer that question, neither can former FBI agent Anthony J. Ferrante (an FTI consulting joke), as such we see a 4G failure and it will merely get larger in 5G, more data will go anywhere and the US is on board with limiting this as long as they get the data. That is the stage we see and it is not idle speak, there is too much information out there. 

So as we see the events unfold over this year we will merely see that non US success stories will take the limelight showing us just how far the US has fallen behind in 5G. That is the stage we are sailing to and we will see large players in media remaining in denial of that, that is until the evidence of data will open all over the place, at that point the carefully stated denials come out, as well as some claims that 5G is so much more complicated than anything else. Yet, it is a stage where we all see the impact without it hurting us too much, at least not more than it is hurting us now. 

In finality we see a first case where a lack of evidence is still enough to warrant a level of discrimination, did you consider that? We are getting short changed on cheaper phones and internet because the larger players have their own bonus to consider and we do get to pay for that part, we will to a much larger degree than ever before.


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Devil in the details

We all make mistakes at time, the issue is not that we make mistakes, the issue is on how to clear the error in question, that is always how I saw work, we (without question) try to work without error, the people that tell you that they never made a mistake are usually lying to you. Some hide it, some clean it up before it is noticed, these are merely two types, but in honesty, who would you prefer to be working for your company (or the company you work in)? So when I got wind of ‘UK concealed failure to alert EU over 75,000 criminal convictions‘, I had to take a step back, you see, this is not some failure, this is not some sall bungle, the quote we are give is “The police national computer error, revealed in the minutes of a meeting at the criminal records office, went undetected for five years, during which one in three alerts on offenders – potentially including murderers and rapists – were not sent to EU member states” and as I see it it is not some small mistake, a stem like this does not work sometimes, it does not work or it works always. This leaves me to think that issues were filtered, optionally on purpose giving out a larger concern when we see “It’s an ongoing glitch that we need to fix. We are working towards getting that done“, I personally refuse to believe that this was a glitch, this was orchestration set to pass as a glitch, the question is why and when we see “There is still uncertainty whether historical DAFs [daily activity file], received from the Home Office, are going to be sent out to counties (sic) as there is a reputational risk to the UK.

In this the Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott gives us “It is bad enough to have made serious errors in relation to sharing information on criminals, but it seems that there was also an attempt at a cover-up. Ministers need to come clean. When did they know about these failures, why did they not make them public, and how are they going to prevent any repetition? A full, urgent investigation is needed.” In this situations she is almost right, I believe that there was a ‘cover-up‘, I merely think it ended up on a ministers plate and that person reacted poorly to the situation. And with ‘how are they going to prevent any repetition‘ we see a much larger failing. From my point of view the system was designed or was set up to optionally hide certain elements, yet the reason behind this is unclear. For some reason I believe that at least part of the reason is ‘fear of damaging Britain’s reputation‘, yet not in the way that this is shown in the article. When you look at the statistical numbers all over the field, consider that the crime numbers were supposed to be 30% (the one in three) higher (if every conviction based on merely one crime), what then? 

The Labour party would blame it all on austerity, yet the truth is (as I personally see it) much more refined. We have been in denial of what any government needs to do and we in turn do not try the criminal path, and let’s face it, we saw other news that allows to take care of the shortage of police officers. 

As issues like we see with Netflix are not resolved, and as another article gives us “This research shows that Netflix is ripping off our public services by channelling profits through tax havens even though it appears to have employees, property, and a substantial customer base in the UK,” yet linked to this is “the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts will make just £30m each from the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Google and Netflix“, so basically 5 companies see the light of optional international passing their revenue, avoiding well over £1,000,000,000 in tax payments, do you not think that this would have lowered austerity (and improved police visibility)? So when we see a group of losers wrongfully blame a tennis player for the environment, what if we ask the people in the UK all to renounce their Netflix subscription? Let’s not forget we have Disney Plus now (as well as Stan and a few others), I wonder how that massive hit will go over with Netflix. After that we start taking care of Amazon, Facebook and Google, the other four will actually be much harder to deal with, but Netflix is not, there are alternatives and the people protecting Netflix (and others) better realise that we are all about redistributing that one billions and taking their £ 350,000,000 profit away from them without any hesitation. 

Yet I digress, it is the crime statistics that might go out of whack, optionally impacting tourism if they had been released. Now we need to consider that not all crimes are alike, yet the article gives us: “including murderers and rapists – were not sent to EU member states” and that statement surprised me, not because of those two, but because the number of armed robbery convictions would more than likely be much higher. We also do not know what happened to these people after their sentence, so there is the immigration and deportation part to consider as well. 

Yes, the article gives a certain lack (not judging), mainly because the start gives us ‘the Guardian can reveal‘, implying that this article had a pushed deadline to be first, as such the follow up in this matter would be interesting to read, I reckon that in the near future the Guardian would have a full page (or two) on this matter. So even if we had last may “There is a nervousness from Home Office around sending the historical notifications out dating back to 2012 due to the reputational impact this could have“, I personally believe that the Office for National Statistics (GOV.UK) has a much bigger problem in their near future, when the numbers going back to 2012, the interpretation of these numbers will suddenly get a very different story to content with. You might remember the sort of researchers that make a nice story when they get statistics and top line results. Their “when we look at these numbers, we can clearly see” and likeminded responses. When the results are a part of the 30% of convictions off, ‘we can clearly see‘ becomes an entirely different matter in this situation. 

It is the setting of “historical backlog of 75,000 notifications” and we see that, but not before we consider the National Crime Statistics site, which gave us a few parts we need to consider “4% decrease in police recorded homicide offences (from 728 to 701 offences)” for Homicide, “11% increase in police recorded robbery offences (to 85,736 offences)” for Robbery, and “According to the CSEW, there was no change in the proportion of adults who experienced sexual assaults in the year ending March 2019 (2.9%)” for sexual assaults which is up to March 2019. Now consider the fact that (optionally) there was no decrease in homicide, optionally a small increase, that the robbery numbers are higher than now and that sexual assaults did not stay the same, they went up. This would change the story for the Police department to some degree (not their fault) and the stage we see now that the investments required would change a whole lot because of the non registered foreigner effort. You see, I believe that the situation is less positive. I believe that “UK has failed to pass on the details of 75,000 convictions of foreign criminals to their home EU countries” has a much larger impact. In my mind there is no way that people will avoid looking at the statistics when 75,000 conviction cases are missing. I believe that there is a larger (speculated) play and it is not merely my point of view. When we look (at https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/focusonpropertycrime/yearendingmarch2016), we see again and again “theft from the person offences along with cash or foreign currency and mobile phones“, when we consider ‘foreign currency‘, yet why are these merely crimes by Brits? and why is it ‘cash or foreign currency‘? I believe that there has been a trend and even as 75,000 convictions do not add up against some of the numbers, but when we see “Crimes recorded by the police show a 7% rise (539,767 offences) in criminal damage and arson offences“, we see that 75,000 convicted criminals are more likely than not to be a much larger impact on the numbers and now we see correlation and optional co-variant impacts on some of the crime, yet even as a co-variant is not always a good thing, we optionally now see a larger impact and in this instance can the government give clear answers on whether these 75,000 criminal convictions are part of these numbers? I have reason to believe (I have no evidence) that this might not be the case. It is a larger setting and I personally believe that it was not merely a play to make the foreign governments not aware, it was merely a side effect. 

You see, if that was not the case, the issue of ‘foreigners and crime‘ would have had a much larger hit and a lot sooner, a total of 75,000 might force the Home office to take a different stance, one that costs money. It is my personal believe that there are elements missing. Not due to the Guardian of course, because that would take a lot longer to investigate and it is more likely that not that the Guardian and the Independent will be all over this when the impact of damage is seen to a larger degree (the size of larger remains debatable). 

Consider these statements:

  • In contrast a much lower number of adults had been a victim of theft from the person (only 7 in 1,000 adults) or robbery (3 in 1,000 adults)
  • Around 3 in 50 children aged 10 to 15 had been a victim of personal theft and around 1 in 50 had been a victim of criminal damage to personal property

Now consider the (optional and speculated) impact of the statements after the 75,000 convictions are considered

  • In contrast a lower number of adults had been a victim of theft from the person (only 9 in 1,000 adults) or robbery (5 in 1,000 adults)
  • Around 4 in 50 children aged 10 to 15 had been a victim of personal theft and around 3 in 50 had been a victim of criminal damage to personal property

The shift seems small, yet still visible, the fact that the damage to children is now (mind you speculated) approaching 10% is an actual much larger setting then before, its impact would constitute the need for the government to change its position on crime and support a different stance on crime related issues from police to prison it would impact the government budget to a much larger degree. Now, we need to remember that this is speculated and the impact of data is not clear at present, yet I remain that ‘one in three alerts on offenders – potentially including murderers and rapists – were not sent to EU member states‘ feels wrong, a system fails or works, it does not filter, this all feels like orchestration, yet the stage is not clearly set. The Daily Mail was off course a little more colourful with “More than 2,000 foreign killers, paedophiles and rapists are waved into the UK without criminal records checks as police arrest TWO every day” yet there is still no (clear) information on how the numbers impact, as I am personally not convinced that this was merely one system, as the shift in the department of corrections would unbalance the system with numbers that did not match the Home office and as such the issue would have been seen well within the 5 years it took now.

Could I be wrong?

Of course, the issue of data is largely unseen which give optional strength to my speculation, and we need to be clear, I am speculating on the matter, yet the issue is based on a larger issue, a clear IT issue, until there is a clear open presentation on WHY one in three did not make it into the register, I feel that I am correct. However, when we consider the sources that the UK has, I truly believe that this could not be contained to merely one segment, and that is my personal view on the matter. As such I believe the 75,000 will have impacted numbers all over the stage, the foreign policy part being the one that (finally) exposed it finally after 5 years.

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When inability drives fear

It is a dangerous place to be in. We all have been there and in most cases it is as innocent as it could ever be. You see, sometimes life throws you a curveball. Gamers tend to identify it most easily. In my particular case it was a game called Magic Carpet. It was a Bullfrog game and I was testing it on the PC. It played magnificently there, and soon thereafter I also tested it on the very first PlayStation. There, because of the controller it was good, but not great. Still, it was fun to play and I tended (in those early years) to really get into a game, so when the situation blew into my face, I got a little frustrated. The next two times were worse and the last time (on that day) I went slightly angry (with myself) and I kicked the door. The issue was not the door, it was my steel tipped boot and I went straight through the door, so, I was not merely ticked off, I had a hole in the door (which would require funds to repair) and the boss in Magic Carpet was still alive. We all have had these moments. Our car, our bike, the TV, things go wobbly on you and we sometimes react wrongly to this situation and in light of that get to reflect on our own ego’s a little.

These are the images going through me when I was confronted to new information when looking at the unrealistic response by America (and Australia) to Huawei. In the case of Australia it seemed the mere application of greed and fear as politicians cater to the greed of a large telecom company, which was not seemingly the case with America. Yet that tip was raised for me less than 24 hours ago. The article (at https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/15/botched-cia-communications-system-helped-blow-cover-chinese-agents-intelligence/), shows how the CIA got their own systems handed to them through ego and what I would regard as stupidity. The initial headline ‘The number of informants executed in the debacle is higher than initially thought‘ is rather unsettling. It gets to be worse with “The CIA had imported the system from its Middle East operations, where the online environment was considerably less hazardous, and apparently underestimated China’s ability to penetrate it. “The attitude was that we’ve got this, we’re untouchable,” said one of the officials who, like the others, declined to be named discussing sensitive information. The former official described the attitude of those in the agency who worked on China at the time as “invincible.” Other factors played a role as well, including China’s alleged recruitment of former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee around the same time.” This is the most dangerous of settings. The wrongful setting comes straight from Sun Tsu where we learn that all war is based on deception. China is not some place that is tinkering at the side of the road, the Art of War COMES FROM CHINA! It gets to be worse when you consider that that book was written long before Americans had adopted proper reading and writing skills, close to 1200 years before that, so that was their first error.

When we see: “But the penetration of the communication system seems to account for the speed and accuracy with which Chinese authorities moved against the CIA’s China-based assets. “You could tell the Chinese weren’t guessing. The Ministry of State Security [which handles both foreign intelligence and domestic security] were always pulling in the right people,” one of the officials said. “When things started going bad, they went bad fast.”“. The entire matter seems to be exponentially wrong. The big issue is not on how it was cracked, or even if it was cracked. My issue had been (for a much longer time now) that for too long, the deciding voices, all listening to some CTO, often with multiple sides lacking wisdom that the setting was not merely that there was ‘a security risk’, there was for the longer time a much larger security flaw. For much too long a time, we got the ‘slides of wisdom’ on how data in transit tends to be safe and data at rest tended to be in danger. Even when I started my CCNA, the amount of knowledge given in the Cisco books gave the rise to the consideration that data in transit is not merely as vulnerable, it was that a lot more could be done unnoticed (not merely by the Chinese mind you). It was some time before the Sony hack that I expected a setting where the routers themselves might be used against the owner, it went further when we consider Wired in 2013 (at https://www.wired.com/2013/09/nsa-router-hacking/). The headline is not merely ‘NSA laughs at pc’s, prefers hacking routers and switches‘. It is the setting where we see: ““No one updates their routers,” he says. “If you think people are bad about patching Windows and Linux (which they are) then they are … horrible about updating their networking gear because it is too critical, and usually they don’t have redundancy to be able to do it properly.” He also notes that routers don’t have security software that can help detect a breach“. This is where I was in 2011, when I started to comprehend the working of a router and router tables, I figured out that it is not the router they can see that is the problem; it is the one they cannot see. That idea came from a presentation by Thomas Akin, CISSP, Director, Southeast Cybercrime Institute who had a presentation for the Blackhat briefings. The 2002 presentation gave me the idea. You see apart from the lack of security, the +1 hop hack allows form something truly unique. Consider [.MIL Server], that server connects to <secure router 1> and things are set into motion. Now, we cannot direct all the traffic, yet materials from that location to let’s say ‘preferred consultant one‘ will go via certain paths, yet the first router after <secure router 1> tends to be merely one or two routers (depending on traffic) to that preferred consultant. It is easy to find a router that could optionally be a link to these routers and duplicate all packages that go to that specific next step. Not only is the task easily done, the path is not hindered, the router is not intervened with and a simple reset takes away whatever evidence existed in the first place. In addition, the additional part is that the compact flash in those routers is ‘The maximum storage capacity for the CF in Slot0 and Slot1 is 4GB‘, yet the only part here is that you only needed 32 MB, which is what most of us used then, but cards that small are no longer made, so most IT people just plug in what they have. You have well over 3GB of package storage, so all packages to that one location could be stored and redirected on the ‘off’ hours as not to leave any monitored spike. Until the CFlash card is ejected from the router and investigated no one will have a clue. That was 7 years ago and the systems are even more capable now, a 3GB glitch will not register on most systems, especially when those IT people do not block Spotify and/or YouTube. By the time they figured it out, the setting is already wiped, and this path can be adjusted on a daily bases so that most IT networkers never had a clue in the first place.

You think that I am alone in this, that I am this clever? No, I am not! There are plenty of IT Networkers running circles around me and that is now set into the stage of ‘we’re untouchable‘. The CIA was never that, they never needed to be touched, the opponent merely needed a clear line of sight to the router that is one skip from the secure router that they needed to get to. We see more in the Foreign Policy article with the quotes “Information about sources is so highly compartmentalized that Lee would not have known their identities. That fact and others reinforced the theory that China had managed to eavesdrop on the communications between agents and their CIA handlers” and “an encrypted digital program, allows for remote communication between an intelligence officer and a source, but it is also separated from the main communications system used with vetted sources, reducing the risk if an asset goes bad“. Now we merely add “But the CIA’s interim system contained a technical error: It connected back architecturally to the CIA’s main covert communications platform. When the compromise was suspected, the FBI and NSA both ran “penetration tests” to determine the security of the interim system. They found that cyber experts with access to the interim system could also access the broader covert communications system the agency was using to interact with its vetted sources, according to the former officials“. I believe it goes further than that. If we see the entire layer process and consider that in the end, certain systems merely replicate a process. Cisco (at https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/docs/lan-switching/8021q/17056-741-4.html) gives us: “A device can determine which VLAN the traffic belongs to by its VLAN identifier. The VLAN identifier is a tag that is encapsulated with the data. ISL and 802.1Q are two types of encapsulation that are used to carry data from multiple VLANs over trunk links”, as well as “The DA field of the ISL packet is a 40-bit destination address. This address is a multicast address and is set at “0x01-00-0C-00-00” or “0x03-00-0c-00-00”. The first 40 bits of the DA field signal the receiver that the packet is in ISL format“, so as the destination was known, the people needing this could search very specifically. When we consider ‘It connected back architecturally to the CIA’s main covert communications platform‘, the connection back would enable those seeking to find the needed value of the DA field. That does not merely impede the CIA, it stands to reason that to some degree the NSA would be just as vulnerable.

The main course

In my case, I tend to go for the Bambi burger, ideally I watch Bambi whilst having that lovely slice of venison. You see when we get to “As part of China’s Great Firewall, internet traffic there is watched closely, and unusual patterns are flagged. Even in 2010, online anonymity of any kind was proving increasingly difficult. Once Chinese intelligence obtained access to the interim communications system,­ penetrating the main system would have been relatively straightforward, according to the former intelligence officials. The window between the two systems may have only been open for a few months before the gap was closed, but the Chinese broke in during this period of vulnerability“, I believe the setting is worse than that. These players still require their consultants. It does not matter whether you call them construction workers, members of Blackwater, Xe Services, or Academi. It is those places as well as Booz Allan Hamilton and other providers that still require to be informed, and that is where the interception could start. The setting is not ‘the Chinese broke in during this period of vulnerability‘, it is the long term flags that they were able to test at this point and that is the fear we see with their setting of Huawei and partners. Not that Huawei is the danger, but the fact that Chinese intelligence is just as able to get into nearly all systems, it merely can get into Chinese systems faster (for now). This is where it gets a little more complicated, because it is not about the now, it is about tomorrow and the tomorrows that are coming. The only ones who have a chance of getting things done are players like the Constellis Group and Palantir when they unite abilities. It is going to be about data and about the ability to forecast how traffic goes. Thomas Akin was teaching this wisdom 16 years ago. We see this when we are made to realise

  • Live system data is the most valuable.
  • Immediate shutdown destroys all of this data.
  • Investigators must recover live data for analysis.

And the loss is merely a reset away, in most cases if there is an automatic reset; the only data available is the last transgression at best. With the coming of 5G live real-time capturing data streams is what is more likely to set the stage of finding out what happened, in this the entire setting of ‘China’s Great Firewall‘, we are already looking at outdated Chinese technology and I do believe that those behind the article, as well as some DARPA people are aware of that. America and Europe are behind in ways that we cannot even perceive, because the players that need to move forward are doing so iteratively, that whilst the time of reengineering is now merely 10% of what the development time was. We see this with “Call this the IBM problem, which faced an existential threat as soon as Asian groups started churning out cheap PCs in the 1990s. But here IBM also provides a few tips to the future, with its pivot to software and solutions. By the time of IBM’s iconic “solutions for a small planet” ad campaign in 1996, the company was trumpeting voice recognition and ecommerce — producing the sort of digital enterprise backbone that ended up helping develop the internet economy” (source: Australian Financial Review). In the first instance the Asian market required 10-15 years to catch up, the second time around it took 2-3 years and now with Google and Apple working globally, it takes months. IBM (others too) took iterative steps to maximise the economic footprint, instead of truly leaping forward whenever possible, they lost the advantage and are now trailing the markets. Huawei is one clear example where the American market was surpassed. Samsung showed its supremacy by having 5G home routers ahead of everyone else and the advantage in Asia is only growing. It is seen with “Alternatively, authorities might have identified the system through a pattern analysis of suspicious online activities. China was so determined to crack the system that it had set up a special task force composed of members of the Ministry of State Security and the Chinese military’s signals directorate (roughly equivalent to the NSA), one former official said“. I do not read this part in the same way. I believe that with ‘set up a special task force composed of members of the Ministry of State Security‘, was not about cracking. I personally believe that the Cisco books were so illuminating that they decided to change the setting in their own game. I believe that the Chinese now have a more advanced system. They have done what players like Cisco should have done before 2014 and they did not. I believe that when we see a partnership between Constellis and Palantir, their findings will bear that out with in addition an optional link that shows part of the accusation that China let Russia in on certain findings (and the Russian evolution of certain networking devices). This and the next part is largely speculative, but it is supported to some extent. We see this in: “Once one person was identified as a CIA asset, Chinese intelligence could then track the agent’s meetings with handlers and unravel the entire network. (Some CIA assets whose identities became known to the Ministry of State Security were not active users of the communications system, the sources said.)“. I believe that he part given in ‘not active users of the communications system‘ gives us the third part. I believe that the system was not merely invaded. There is every chance that certain systems when activated also leave tags behind and that is where the intrusion would have paid off. You see, in the Cisco setting (as an example), the data frame has an optional 60 bytes of extension headers, yet is that always empty? More important, when were these data packages truly thoroughly checked? In this speculative setting I take you to the movie Die Hard 2. In that movie we see on how someone decided to get clever and uses the outer marker beacon to warn the planes that were in danger. The beacon can be used in other ways than merely give a beep. I believe that Cisco data packages have other optional parts than can be ‘reused’ to do something different, like the optional headers. They are to most merely empty pre-set ‘spaces’, but they could have more. That is the setting that America faces and the fact that they could get overwhelmed by Chinese intelligence because they did not rely on iterative parts. Huawei had been leaping forward, for example now offering a 128GB Android 8.1 phone (the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset), for 50% less than its competitors. A system that is just as advanced as anything Apple and Samsung offer; at merely half the price whilst Chinese Intelligence has been digging into that device for months, unlike the NSA that needs to queue up with all the other users to get to look at the Pixel 3 and the iPhone 8 on launch day. That is the setting we seem to be seeing and America is indeed and rightfully worried, not because Huawei has backdoors (which I never really believed) but because the players here had been held backwards through iterative technology. Apple is actually staged by Forbes that way with the quote ‘a minor point update for the iOS 11.1 iteration‘, even Forbes speaks about iterative changes. That is the setting that they are up against and they have been surpassed for years and with Huawei leading the 5G stage on a global setting the US authorities are merely getting more and more afraid that not only are they no longer the leading players, they are now sidelined by not being able to keep up with what will be presented ‘tomorrow’.

That part can be supported through the CIA with analyses reports (at https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol49no3/html_files/Collection_Analysis_Iraq_5.htm), in here we see that Richard Kerr, Thomas Wolfe, Rebecca Donegan, and Aris Pappas give us (in a different context): “The analysis on this issue by the Intelligence Community clearly was wide of the mark. That analysis relied heavily on old information acquired largely before late 1998 and was strongly influenced by untested, long-held assumptions. Moreover, the analytic judgments rested almost solely on technical analysis, which has a natural tendency to put bits and pieces together as evidence of coherent programs and to equate programs to capabilities. As a result the analysis, although understandable and explainable, arrived at conclusions that were seriously flawed, misleading, and even wrong“. It is important to realise that this was on the WMD setting, so in a different context and on a different setting. Yet the information systems were all designed to upholster that flaw to an ‘evolved’ placement, the systems in their entirety are nowhere near ready, now even for the previous setting. The movement from a lot of staff to more fruitful consultant settings is now paying off in a negative way for the CIA (and the NSA too). This is where it gets interesting. You see, the previous setting that I gave should partially have been dealt with through the flashlight program that DARPA has. Raytheon BBN is working on that with Professor Richard Guidorizzi from George Mason University Fairfax. I think that the system is not entirely ready here, not if the packages can be duplicated via the router and as long as the original is not touched, that system will not get the alert lights ringing.

To get you on board on how far all the NATO partners are behind, let me give you two settings. The first is a DARPA Project called ‘Probabilistic Programming for Advancing Machine Learning (PPAML)‘, the man in charge is Dr. Suresh Jagannathan, yet the bigger brain might be MIT graduate Dr. Jennifer Roberts. The given setting is “Probabilistic programming is a new programming paradigm for managing uncertain information. Using probabilistic programming languages, PPAML seeks to greatly increase the number of people who can successfully build machine learning applications and make machine learning experts radically more effective“, whilst we also see the goods in the DARPA article by Dr Roberts with “If successful, PPAML could help revolutionize machine learning capabilities in fields from Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to predictive analytics and cybersecurity“, this is certainly leaping forward, but it is still based on a system. I believe that the Chinese decided to turn the funnel upside down. To illustrate this I need to get you to an app called Inke. The article (at https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2018/02/09/hidden-world-chinese-livestreaming-app-inke/), gives us ‘The hidden world of Chinese livestreaming app Inke‘, this is not a few people; this is a craze that has already infected millions upon millions. So with “he was actually doing a livestream, an extremely popular hobby for young people in China. China is way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to embracing livestreams.” you are missing out and missing out by a lot. These streams are real-time and often geo-tagged. I believe that the Chinese have changed the setting, they are optionally collecting Terabytes of daily data and they are converting that to actionable intelligence. Facial recognitions in phones, geo-tagged and all uploaded and streamed, all converted on the spot, like the SETI screensaver, millions of affordable mobiles (this is where the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset and all other new handsets come in), parsing all that data into uploaded files and Chinese intelligence gets global information close to real time, whilst their learning machines are about efficiencies of collected data, it is not about the better application by making them more effective, it is about the massive amounts of data offered to get the systems to upgrade the efficiency of parsing data, because parsing data is where the bottleneck will be in 5G and they already have a larger advantage.

In the meantime, on any given day thousands of Inke users are filming life around them in malls and famous places looking awesome doing it. Yet, if you look at the CCTV settings, how many users would have passed 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, or at London SE1 9EL, UK walking towards London Bridge? How many people were merely assuming that they were tourists face timing with mom and dad? Are you getting that picture now? and also realise that Inke is merely one of more than 300 live streaming companies, all capturing that data all those tags that a smartphone allows it to capture and at the top of all this, Facebook and YouTube are eagerly pushing people to gain following by doing just that. So how long until the user realises that uploading the same stream to 2-3 providers gets them to gain a lot more following and optionally cash? Yes, the intelligence community is that far behind at present. So when we are worrying on “The system was not designed to withstand the scrutiny of a place like China, where the CIA faced a highly sophisticated intelligence service and a completely different online environment“, we need to consider that China is already ahead of the game and the CIA systems might be merely an option to scrutinise their own data, because that remains the Chinese bottleneck, the data will require verification and that is the one field where their opposition could gain the advantage if they set their minds to a different algorithm, one on reliability, not on likelihood. It is a setting where all the players involved have a second tier of consideration. They embrace a ‘not now, but soon‘ thought, when ‘I needed this yesterday‘ is the proper setting as I personally see it, because data without proper vetting is merely used space on any given storage device.

That final part can be considered when we look at the linked article that NBC had from last January. There we see: “When agents searched Lee’s hotel rooms in 2012, they found notebooks with the names of covert CIA sources, according to court documents. But not all of the agent arrests and deaths could be linked to information possessed by Lee, who left the CIA in 2007“, an issue I mentioned in an earlier blog. We get there when we consider his actions and ‘found notebooks with the names of covert CIA sources‘, do you think that anyone, especially in this setting would be that stupid? It’s like keeping the condom as a trophy after having intercourse, its useless and stupid. I believe that either it is not the ‘covcom’ system, or not merely the ‘covcom’ system. I believe that (if it is all correct) that Chinese intelligence got in further and deeper into acquiring the data required and the notebook is the proverbial red herring in all this, especially as Jerry Chun Shing Lee left the CIA in 2007. You do not hold on to that level of information 11 years after you might have had some level of valid reasons to have it in the first place. That is the part many overlooked, or looked away from.

In the end, I do believe that it is not merely the inability that drove the anti-Huawei waves, it is the fact that those decision makers have no idea where to navigate towards next is what drives their fears almost exponentially.


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The risk of androgynous automation

Today we see another message, another prediction and another approach to make people nervous. This time it is a combined effort from the fields of Oxford University and Deloitte, they find that ‘77% probability of ‘repetitive and predictable’ roles being automated‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/25/850000-public-sector-jobs-automated-2030-oxford-university-deloitte-study).

So how true is this?

Actually, there is a lot of truth in it. The truth is not just a given, it is an essential need. Yet the headline ‘Study says 850,000 UK public sector jobs could be automated by 2030‘ is a problem, not one of disaster, but one of opportunity possibly missed. The article gives us a few things, including links to the full report (indirect), which is a good thing and let’s be honest, Deloitte is no PwC; they stand miles above that group of Excel users. My first issue is with page 2. Not because it is incorrect, but the difference from my view is as I see it more than semantics. You see, they state “eliminating the budget deficit – into an era of parallel challenges as it moves towards Brexit“. I believe that Brexit will enable over time a speedier recovery of the deficit, it will be no picnic, but it will happen. Which is why I in earlier writing opposed the view the independent had. They wrote “Britain’s largest banks are planning to move business overseas due to uncertainty over the Brexit process, the head of the British Bankers’ Association has warned“, where my response in a decently diplomatic tone was “So, let them fuck off! The moment they feel the initial 2018 collapse of the Euro and the US Dollar, which will be voiced as ‘our currency will face a temporary contraction of value’, then they will see the cost they face and the revenue they are now missing out of. So, feel free to consider to return after learning that mistake under conditions of massive administrative fees for consideration of inclusion into the UK economy“. This is not an empty view, when the UK returns to strength, those moved away will see contracting economies in Germany, where the Deutsche Bank will be desperate to retain business out of fear of the damage of ‘written off’ collapsing corporations. France will be in a similar state, but there Crédit Agricole and Natixis are the Powerbrokers and neither will consider some ‘grocery bank’ that is relocating to ‘new shores’, so these moving banks will not be too welcome there. And several other nations are in a similar setting. So what is left? Italy? Greece? Good luck with that idea!

So as the UK is facing new issues and new challenges, Deloitte is showing that it is not all roses. The report shows on page 12 “The OECD and IMF views are backed up by OBR analysis that suggests spending on investment, public services and benefits are the interventions most likely to provide rapid economic boosts while providing a platform for medium and longer term growth“, this illuminates an earlier issue that has been mentioned by yours truly (aka: me) more than once. It isn’t just the £11.2 NHS IT failure the UK Labour party gave its citizens. The bigger issue is that governments at large have had a failing grade in managing such projects. Over micro-managing made these projects too massive and in the end no longer feasible or realistic. If this is the path, than it needs to precede an altered adjustment in procedures on how to manage and set these projects. The issue we see that still is required for the NHS, also clearly shows that the political interference tends to be a hindrance rarely a solution. However, the political part cannot be removed, but the entire setup can be altered in another way. A clear definition of what is required, that would after this point be scrutinised by proper IT specialists working for the government (to keep that part of the costing down), only then when that part has been dealt with, can the project move into a new field. If this was the Law and Mental Health, it might be best phrased that the government needs an IT version of a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Such a manual would need a data requirement part, and application part, a data networking part and a security part. Until such an approach is made, the need that we see, will end up being a massive expenditure towards the Exchequers chest, with the risk of no result and no alternative. These paths make sense in two ways. In the first there will be a lot more clarity on what is requested, required and delivered. There will be less contractual mud and as such whomever took the project will be responsible for the delivered bad boy and it would show a clear path of adjustment and repairs (where needed).

There is even a new side in this, it will shape the required need of technical universities. Because as they become involved, delivering the hours and manpower towards these projects, the costing will be reduced, the Universities will also gain an income and their students would end up with a partial career and years of work and subsequent income. You see, the need to move away from these ‘conceptual consultants’ and selling concepts not products is an essential need to make it all work. There is even an additional benefit that larger IT corporations will lose their grip on governmental budgets and it will serve a wider audience, a change that has been overdue for at least 10 years.

The report gives on page 20 the public’s attitude. My issue is number 2. “More people expect public services to get worse because of Brexit“, I am not sure if that is complete. It is not incorrect, but the point of focus would reset really quickly when we consider the Guardian where we read “Deloitte’s previous work has shown that all sectors will be affected by automation in the next two decades, with 74% of jobs in transportation and storage, 59% in wholesale and retail trades and 56% in manufacturing having a high chance of being automated“, any automation where we see the change from personal towards an automated androgynous system, tends to cause waves of rejection and stress. Even today, we still have an automated irritation when we hear ‘press 1 for sales‘. Until we can upgrade these systems into a much better evolved system, automation will fluctuate into people seeking other avenues in acquiring that what they need. In addition, there is still an aversion to automated sales in some areas as distribution misses the quality marks the recipient demands in some cases. Now, we can all agree that there is plenty of evolution in this field and the evolution is growing in many directions and in long before 2030 we will have systems that are vastly superior to the systems we have today, that is the way the beast tends to work. There is also a given that we cannot yet predict how that will be in 5 years, yet all this requires a solid foundation between sales, services and facilitation/distribution and that part is currently still missing.

Now we get to the part that is a little bit of an issue with the report. We see that the top issue is ‘Better public transport‘, but better how? We see it on page 21 of the full report, so when we see ‘What things would you say would most improve public services in your area?’ Here, I miss a part where we see what the audience now feels is missing or failing. Is it prices, the amounts of times the public transport comes in, how busy it is (no sitting options), you see, they all come with extra costs. More busses means more costs. The solution that seemingly addresses all three mentioned, but is that the failure, the flaw or is it something else? I think that this issue remains subserving to the public’s personal issues ‘Poverty, inequality and low pay‘ as well as ‘Housing‘, which is all about the quality of life for most people. How to address that part is also an issue and automation does not address these policies in any way. Which is respectively 20% and 18% of an asked population of 1099 adults, which in my view is a population way too small to set this ‘State of the State‘ to. For a decent level of reliability, especially as the UK is a mere 65 million people, having a response quota 5,000-10,000 on a national level would have been an essential first. If the results were weighted towards the UK demographics, than it is likely that this report will have additional ‘flaws’, making me wonder who signed off on the requested paper?

There is another side the Guardian gives “However, in contrast to the doomsayers who predict mass unemployment, the firm has argued that over the last 140 years automation has created more work than it destroyed“, I am on the side of Deloitte here. In addition to creating more work, from the issues I raised earlier when considering that 10%-20% is moving towards retirement, the new jobs that are brought will be largely long term jobs and as the setting from tertiary IT education focusses on the governmental automation needs it already has as well as those we will likely see over the next 5 years, the overall quality of the workers in this field could rise almost exponentially when set this against the prepared workforce in the last 10 years. The result of better and more focussed workers will also increase the curve of automation as well as the quality of it. Part of the new data world is discussed on page 34 of that report. the quote “A police and crime commissioner compared data security challenges in the public sector to those in banking, concluding that banks “have secure information and have got away with it”” reads a little weird, yet the foundation of it is a requirement factor that will grow immensely. That field will grow in two ways. The first is the growing field of non-repudiation, a clear register that a certain person accessed certain data and only that person could have done it. This field especially if a cause for concern because there is a gap in technology here and especially in the case of NHS data, that gap needs to be filled (as well as several other fields). Should you doubt that, or prefer to trivialise this, then look towards Ashley Madison, the Office of Personnel Management, Anthem, Hacking Team and Premera. In effect totalling the endangered personal details of up to 150 million people. And this is only the hacks of 2015. When we see the upcoming move towards domotics, the overall danger of personal data getting out has the option of growing the number of people exposed by 1000%, basically a lot more than the complete UK population, at that stage even the sheep, sheepdogs and pony’s on Shetland could find their personal details online. This industry will grow, with a large club of international career opportunities in IT and the growing niche of Data Security.

In the end, we can agree with the numbers, or we can disagree. No matter how the meat is sliced, the recommendation on page 49 are in the end what matters. That part reads a little too diplomatic, but in all fairness they are points that count. Yet, as I personally see this, especially when set against page 2, I am missing something. You see, in my view, there is an item 6. I would state “This state will need to grow into a different dynamic (Government, Non-Profit and Commercial), it requires to grow its government policies by actively engaging and hiring the final year students into its governmental workplace and make them part of the IT evolution“.

It is my view that corporate needs will always exist, yet by preparing these students, graduating them and for them to adhere to corporate policies as they sell their innovations to government is all good for those corporations and I am not against that, because they will get a massive dose of that throughout their careers. There is nothing wrong by having these places of education create part of the engines of solution for the UK government. It falls directly in line with the thoughts in recommendations 2, 3 and 4.

The paper is a lot more than just about IT, even though IT takes the forefront here. When we look at the Guardian quotes “Interactive roles, which require “a high degree of personal interaction, including jobs such as teachers, social workers and police officers”, face a 23% chance of automation“, “senior staff in “cognitive roles that mostly require strategic thinking and complex reasoning, including finance directors and chief executives”, 14% have a chance of being automated” as well as “but the number of health service staff in this “interactive” job is expected to fall to 266,000 by 2030“. This grows another side in the IT business. Over the next 10 years we will see evolution and change as we see CRM systems and the interpretation of ‘What is a CRM system?’

The interpretation of ‘manage and analyse customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle‘ has gone through massive change due to places like Google and systems like Facebook. This is an ongoing path and the inclusion of 5G and domotics over the next 5 years will create even more waves. It is starting to be almost essential that governments at large (not just the UK) are grabbing these changes by the proverbial balls before we see another iteration of lagging adapted technology. It is not the requirement to be ahead, but to be ‘inclusively ready’ will turn the tables on many issues. To be ready to include within the current technological iteration would give an additional decade of data and opportunities, whilst not adhering to these large changes could become increasingly costly over time. In an age where we move towards automation the need to be ahead is not the most essential one, it is staying behind where the danger lies. In that regard, you end up having to adhere towards whatever the commercial technologist brings, instead of shaping technology in ways where it is most useful for you.

A lesson most have learned the expensive way in this generation.

If there is one part I have to disagree with, than it is “Our wider research on automation also shows that while jobs are displaced by automation, new, higher-skilled and better paying jobs are created as a result“, the issue is not the need for these people, but as governments are no longer able to afford certain pricing plans (as those commercial managers hope they could price them at), it becomes a market where the cheapest provider is willing to offer it on, meaning that junior staff gets to be under higher scrutiny for less money, in a place where unemployment is relatively high, these hiring managers will get away with it. I reckon that the market will positively adjust by 2021, but that is still 5 years away. Unless you are a niche specialist, it will be your fate, but overall the quality of life would start to go up by 2019 (due to rising cost of living, aka rent), that is if you have the right degrees.

A slightly gloomy picture that is absent of doom and still a lot better than the issues the EU population overall is facing over the next 3 years.


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Slaves of a different nature

The sci-fi fan sees in his/her mind a woman, all green, preferably close to naked growing lust in their mind. It is the Orion Slave girl fantasy. This comes from a TV-series that is half a century old. In that universe created by Gene Roddenberry these green ladies were introduced in the original pilot of the Star Trek series in the episode ‘the Cage’, there they were depicted in a sexual context. This is not that kind of slave. Neither is it the kind that is forced to create products through prisons or work camps where they make license plates, or set up governmental mailings. Neither are they children under 18, forced into some kind of servitude. No, these are not one of the 5 forms that the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is illuminating, this is a sixth kind.

It is the kind of servitude that was once a calling, once a choice of life, which governments and insurers alike have been putting under pressure beyond any normal acceptance of labour. That part has been ignored for too long. People all believing in the wealth that a doctors and lawyers income brings. Later in a career that might have some level of truth when you ignore the elements on the other side of the scale. The fact that someone in IT will surpass the income of those graduates from the very beginning is often ignored. When I see some of my friends in health care, I see friends who are exhausted 70% of the time, some working in excess of 14 hours a day. So when I read ‘Nearly 60% of Scottish GPs plan to leave or cut their hours‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/28/nearly-60-of-scottish-gps-plan-to-leave-or-cut-their-hours), I am not overly surprised.

We all claim that we are against slavery and injustice, yet the governments on a global scale are seeing their health systems collapse and as such, hiding behind the false image of all doctors are wealthy, they have been cutting into the incomes of doctors and stretching the hours they have to make. Underfunding practices and making them work ungodly hours. What we see in Scotland is only the beginning. In the Netherlands we saw in 2014 that GP’s would work around 60 hours per FTA (Full Time Equivalent), making that 13 hours per day, whilst IT staff would get more for a mere 40-45 hours a week, 9 hours a day at the most.

So in all this, whilst health care workers availability are at an all-time low, we see the quote: “26% planned to leave general practice in the next five years“, so one out of four is stopping whilst one in 6 patients will at current pressure not receive the minimum level of care which will now get close to another 1.5 out of 6. This gives us 33% to 50% of the patients in a tough spot. One foot in the grave will get a whole new meaning soon enough when that comes to pass. Certain elements of these changes are already visible in France and the Netherlands, the United Kingdom is in a harsher place than the Netherlands, but I cannot confirm how France is set. Outside of the large cities the information tends to be sketchy and cannot completely be relied upon (read: my knowledge of French sucks big time). Sweden is heading towards a new economic crises on more than one side. Healthcare is one (but less visible), the issue that is visible is the economic drain that the refugees are causing, well over 100,000 have no place and no matter how obliging Sweden is. The refugees are confronted with language issues and a skill set problem. The latter one can partially be adjusted, the first one can be overcome by the refugees who truly want this, but it takes time, which is one side Sweden is having less of. Sweden is trying to recruit doctors in many ways and their approach might work, but it will work slowly and it will cost the Swedish government a fortune. The reason for focussing on Sweden is because for the most, Sweden is a social success. Sweden has made social changes that the nation accepted (including paying a lot more tax than there neighbouring nations). The refugees are changing this, a social system can only survive in balance, the refugees arrived in such massive amounts that the system cannot cope. The total refugees that recently arrived have surpassed the size of the Swedish city of Västerås, which by the way is not the smallest of places. With the banking in disarray and Sweden missing sales marks gives additional problems for Sweden and healthcare will feel the brunt as doctors are now moving to other non-Swedish shores. Sweden illuminates the required need for the UK, a need that the UK is unable to adopt at present. In addition, the approach that Jeremy Hunt is taking will not help any.

When we see the British Telecom News page, we see “But in a letter to the BMA’s junior doctor committee chairman, Dr Johann Malawana, Mr Hunt said: “It is not now possible to change or delay the introduction of this contract without creating unacceptable disruption for the NHS.”

As I see it, my response would be ‘Yes, Mr Hunt!‘ you had alternatives but you chose to ignore them. Focussed on a system that had collapsed, focussing on the approach of slavery, you saw in your school years the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, yet as we see the words from the English poet William Cowper (1785) as he wrote:

We have no slaves at home – Then why abroad?
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free.
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That’s noble, and bespeaks a nation proud.
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein.


Bankers are overprotected whilst being vultures, for not being held accountable for the mess they created (as it was not illegal), whilst at the same speed, junior doctors are reset with contracts that amounts to becoming an involuntary slave labour force. This to the degree that doctors are packing their cases and moving to Australia and other Commonwealth nations that will take them and with the shortage the world at large has, for them moving to Nassau and live by the beach with a small practice would be preferred to a city job with a mortgage they cannot pay off and working 60 hours a week. Jeremy Hunt dropped the ball. He did not do this intentionally. He was given a bad hand from the start, yet in all this instead of going on the same way, the NHS needed another direction entirely, that part was never really investigated.

For me, with whatever I have left?

If I had to go into healthcare, I would try for Radiologist position in Essex or something like that. I still have 15 years in me. For now, I have a nice idea for Google to grow their revenue by 3.5 billion dollars over the next 5 years, and gradually more after that and for £25M post taxation it is all theirs! For now, I am considering to do some teaching in Italy in the future. Teaching English in Catholic Public Schools near the Vatican. You see, this crazy merry go round we have in Europe now will collapse, there is no viable way to stop that at present as I personally see it. We must focus on what comes after. That part is now gaining visibility as we see the US President (read: Mr Lame Duck Obama) is quoted in Forbes “President Obama’s Implicit Message To Taxpayers: ‘I Own You’“. My response?

No, Mr President, you do not. You never did. Like a weakling you stopped taking taxation to a realistic level, you refused to do anything to stop greed. That part was clearly shown at the G-20 in 2013, three years ago. You might actually end up becoming the most useless president in the history of the United States of America

That would be my response!

When we look at Forbes (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2016/04/10/president-obamas-implicit-message-to-taxpayers-i-own-you), we see that the Obama treasury stopped one deal, one deal only. This is about a lot more than just that 212 billion dollar deal. You see, this is not about the Panama Papers, this is what they enabled. When we consider the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/may/06/panama-papers-us-launches-crackdown-on-international-tax-evasion), we see that same duckling state “the president will take executive action to close loopholes used by foreigners in the US and call on Congress to pass legislation“, how interesting that it is just about the foreigners, so how much is in Rothschild wealth management directly from foreigners and how much is arranged through American agents?

In addition we have “The Panama Papers underscore the importance of the efforts the United States has taken domestically, and the efforts we have undertaken with our international partners, to address these shared challenges”, which is an empty statement as I see it, because over the next 6 months too little will be done and it will be left to the next person in office. The final quote is “The problem is that a lot of this stuff is legal, not illegal”, which is something we already knew. Yet when we consider the change that could have been brought in 2013, he (read: the Democratic Administration in power) backed off, forcing a watered down version that was close to useless. This is the evidence I see as to the level of uselessness that the USA currently represents. Poverty levels are still at a high and in Europe that number is growing, this is the foundation that allows for the growth of what can be regarded as legal slavery. It is legal because it is governmentally arranged, it is slavery as the medical industry is pushed into a level of servitude of no-choice. In Europe, some are now claiming that the amount of people under the poverty line is now one out of four. That push is a great hammer for Jeremy Hunt to use to push for cheap contracts and ungodly working hours, but in the end, when doctors stop working, there is no NHS to continue to cure people (source: http://www.euractiv.com/section/social-europe-jobs/news/eurostat-one-out-of-four-eu-citizens-at-risk-of-poverty/).

There is no clear solution, but another path needs to be taken. The push from NHS and the deal that people get through what I call ‘deceptive insurances‘ and ‘skewed medicinal solutions‘ is changing the game. It now reflects back towards the change I was willing to make. What if we make hospitals self-sufficient? What if we take the insurance out of the equation and push for a self-sustaining level of hospitals on local foundations? You might think that the given logic forces us to look at Behemoths like the NHS and large medical corporations. I am stating that it is my belief that the medical gravy train is losing too much cargo on route. So it is our need to have a neutral solution. When medical suppliers start pushing on ‘how it will be too expensive that way‘, the people will have to push back. So that means that the UK hospitals start getting supplies from other sources, independent and possibly even non-UK sources. How long until greed driven corporations cave? They only need to fail 2 quarters of forecasting and THEIR nightmare begins! Trust me when I state that a merger making the board of directors over 200 billion means that their margins were really really good and via Ireland they were only getting better.

That is the issue and solving that is a first step in solving the slavery riddle, which is not a riddle, it is a mere puzzle that can and should be solved.


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Fear mongers cannot learn, will the reader?

The technology section of the Guardian had an interesting article (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/13/artificial-intelligence-ai-unemployment-jobs-moshe-vardi), ‘Would you bet against sex robots? AI ‘could leave half of world unemployed’‘, is that so? So, is the title a reference that 50% is in prostitution, or is there more?

The article starts straight of the bat without delay it gives the quote: “Machines could put more than half the world’s population out of a job in the next 30 years, according to a computer scientist who said on Saturday that artificial intelligence’s threat to the economy should not be understated“.

I remember a similar discussion now 35 years ago. It was 1981, I was working on the defence mainframe and I got the inside scoop how computers would replace people, how those machines would put hardworking people out of a job and a future. In the first 5 years that followed I saw the opposite, yes some work became easier, but that also meant that more work could be done. The decade that followed gave us an entire new region of technology. A region that would open doors that had never been there in the first place.

This technology is not any different, it will open up different doors.

Now, the people in ‘fear’ of it all are not the most half-baked individuals. They include Physicist Stephen Hawking and the tech billionaires Bill Gates and Elon Musk, in addition there is professor Vardi from Rice University, his statement “AI could drive global unemployment to 50%, wiping out middle-class jobs and exacerbating inequality“, I massively disagree here. The words of Elon Musk calling it “our biggest existential threat” and in addition professor Vardi stated “humanity will face an existential challenge“, those two comments are closer to the reality. Yet here too I believe changes will dominate. Consider a few years back, back to the time when I was younger then young (like 900BC roughly), in an age of Greek wars and utter ‘nationalism’ the Olympic truce was created. “Ekecheiria”, was established in Ancient Greece in the 9th century BC through the signing of a treaty by three kings: Iphitos of Elis, Cleosthenes of Pisa and Lycurgus of Sparta. (Source: olympic.org) There was a lull but in 1896 it started again. An event, which origin was to create an option to not be in a war and to compete. Of all the existential angst we have, robots should not be on the list any time soon.

My reasoning?

As we saw the start of recruitment for Mars, a serious recruitment to start colonising mars, we must admit that there are issues on mars, several could be diminished with the use of intelligent robots. Or perhaps the idea that NASA is looking on how to get resources from asteroids, so how about that Android solution? The BBC gives us the speculation on ocean living (at http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20131101-living-on-the-ocean), again an element where we do not thrive, but a robot could pave the way. In my own view, with the massive energy issues, how long until someone has the idea to place paddled wheels above a hydrothermal vent in the ocean to capture it as an energy source? Not the kind of work a person can do, a machine could, and an AI driven one could excel there. Just three places where we could end up with more and not less. Yet Vardi does give an interesting side, if robots replace people to some extent, that value of physicality might be lost. Now ask the bricklayer if he could do something else, would he? There is indeed the danger that physical labour becomes less and less appealing, yet that does not mean it will be gone. It would take at least half a century for things to be completed, whilst in that mean time new evolutions start, new challenges start.

More important, much more important is the one fact people tend to avoid out of fear. But you the reader, if you are over 45, consider that in the near future you will be dead! So will 3 out of 7 of your friends. Yes, the population is growing, yet the age groups are shifting, this implies that robots could be a solution for some of the work areas that do not require academic thinking. All these opportunities, not threats!

So as we see a new iteration of fear, is this version more valid than then the previous one? With that I mean the implementation of the PC. Perhaps having another set of less fear mongering eyes would help. The second part people forget is that fear mongering is also a drain on productivity here. Even as we speak Japan has a lead in this market, as does America. So how about we start getting ahead of the rest, so that is wrong with the commonwealth picking up a robotic skill or two, because one truth remains, once the other player get too much of a lead, the consequence will be that the followers are not considered for the creational jobs here and that is where the real mulah is, the IT explosion taught us that and that field grew a multitude of billionaires, the next technological iteration will do no less.

I am not alone in my way of thinking, the writer Nicholas Carr gives us: “human creativity and intuition in the face of complex problems is essentially irreplaceable, and an advantage over computers and their overly accurate reputation“, which is where the new future will head. Not to create robots, but the creativity to make then excel in extreme places where we could not comprehend until out boundaries are clearly mapped. So how is this news such an eyeopener? Well, when we get back to the beginning we saw “artificial intelligence’s threat to the economy“, as stated, much like the Personal Computer, it will not be a threat, but a solution, an opening into a new arm of the technology sector, even more important, this is not just a IT only field. It will require quality engineers and depending on the application of the scene. This means that we get new challenges, different ones mind you, but not lesser ones?

In that regard, depending on the implementation, it will require analysts, engineers, programmers and a few others on the list of adepts.

all these options and we did not even need to get close to the technological design of the new age cybernetic machines for the purpose of erotic exploration (level 1 at http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/04/sexbots-realdoll-sex-toys), which is nowhere near an AI experience, time will tell how real that field becomes. Consider the age of STD’s we see nowadays. Mycoplasma Genitalium might be the new ‘trend’, as it can be cured with a mere one week setting of anti-biotics. So how long until it evolves into something that does not cure? Yet we do not even have to go that far, consider all the areas where man (or woman) cannot function, the risk too high and the rewards become too low. Here comes the clockwork system (aka the AI robot) and we are back on track.

So I see the robot as a positive wave. For careers, for jobs, for business evolution and for evolving technology. We only need to see the light of creation and we will end up with a lot more options than we bargained for.



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View to the North

It is again the guardian that calls my attention to events happening (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/22/independent-scotland-startup-costs-200million). It is important to know that I have nothing against Scotland becoming independent. I think that the timing is not great as we are in a massive economic downturn, but the Scots will correctly ask when would be the right moment? Anyway, as this independence is becoming more and more of a reality, we all need to look at what happens after.

The Scots have a few advantages. As the Scots seem to be members of a conservative party with its motto “Let’s not trust a computer farther then we can throw it“, we are set with the positive part that not trusting computers is not at all bad (Yes, as an IT person I am stating this). The downside is that the average Scot can throw a log really far, so tossing a computer might not be such a challenge after all. The issue is in the headline of the article. “Independent Scotland’s start-up costs ‘could be as little as £200m’” and “Leading academic says that could cover duplicating core Westminster functions, but millions would be needed to build necessary IT systems“. I have an issue here. There is an underestimation of requirements here. Yes, overall the costs might seem low, but when Scotland realises that the costs go beyond initial costs and they get to deal with infrastructures, at this point the costs will not be contained that easily.

Why do I care?

Caring is not the best word here. I think that in this case it is more that I like to see goals succeed, even if I do not completely agree with them. Only a real loser is trying to do what they can to make others fail, making others fail is fair when you are at war and we are not at war with the Scots, or with Scotland. The fact that about 3-4 generations ago, my family was from Perthshire (as far as I could tell) does not work in either direction either.

The other quote is “the final tally would be decided in a ‘poker game’ of post-referendum negotiations, according to the leading economics professor who last month criticised the UK government for inflating his figures on the subject“. Since when would anyone decide certain matters in a poker game, is also beyond me. Becoming independent is either tactical or on principle and one should not gamble on the Achilles heel that the people could create in this manner. In that same matter I am not sure if I can agree with the setting that this professor sets. The reference is towards Professor Patrick Dunleavy at the London School of Economics. A person who very likely knows more than 10 times more about economics then I ever will, even if I started to study economics full time at this point.

As stated, I have issues. Scotland will need an infrastructure, services and other matters. Several Scotland, as part of the UK already has and I think they should just be given them, yet Scotland will now need a proper economical system and set up. A national bank, a defence structure and these things all cost money, often a lot more than most imagine. There is however the ‘other’ side. The quote “In May, the Treasury published a detailed analysis of the financial risks of independence which claimed that a previous report by Dunleavy put Scotland’s start-up costs as high as £2.5bn” feels equally overstated. In my view the truth is in the middle and leaning to the cheaper side. In my untrained mind the costs are well over 500 million, but remain steadily under 700 million. This all makes me wonder why the numbers of the treasury are so far off as well (remember, me is a non-economic).

It is this quote that gives a few insides into the views that are shaping within me “In a leaked Scottish cabinet memo, the finance secretary, John Swinney, estimated the costs of a new Scottish tax authority alone at £650m. The Institute of Chartered Accounts Scotland had put those costs at £750m, while other experts suggested a new welfare system would cost £560m“. Is this about independence, or is this about certain people getting ‘their’ greedy fingers in the Haggis called ‘the Scottish economy‘. This is the part I do partially get. We all seem to forget that Scotland represents an economic power in the books of someone, when that falls away into independence, some people will not feel too comfortable and they are all looking for keeping themselves involved.

My question becomes, what can be done and does not cost?

In the age of computers and millisecond decision, I at this time remember my old dentist. He was a Dutch dentist called ‘van Charante’. In the age of computers, this man had the most advanced filing system I ever saw. He had used folders and colour indicators that opening his drawer showed a multidimensional top line table in colours. He saw in seconds something half a dozen tables produced in any analytical system would not tell him in 5-10 minutes. I had heard some IT wannabe’s wanted to convert him. I do not think anyone ever succeeded there. Perhaps that is the direction Scotland should face. It might not be done within the 200 million imagined, but perhaps they could steer well clear of the 2.5 billion someone speculated.

What if the Scottish system reverted to the old systems, not just becoming one Scotland, but in many cases reverting to the 33 counties? Thirty-three areas of ‘almost’ self-management, with a few exceptions, like one police system. They would get a buddy system where the area does what it needs to do and the neighbours come to aid when needed (emergency services). In that case Orkney and Shetland would feel a little isolated, but that might be business as usual for them. The question will remain how to IT some of this, but a system consisting of 33 self-regulating satellites are likely to be more effective, then systems like taxation, healthcare and welfare trying to become three Scottish national systems. If my train of thoughts are correct, then once this is approach is solved, the Scottish system could be an actual WORKING template to fix the failed IT NHS system that has currently costed the UK 10 billion and counting and still not working that well.

Yes, in all this I left out Scottish defence. By the way, has anyone seen what they do with logs and hammers? You really want to run up their hills whilst they smile at you and throw you a gauntlet or two? I for one ain’t that stupid to begin with, but that might be just me.

A final quote from the Guardian is “The debate with Darling, which broadcasters say privately has been tacitly agreed for some time, is now expected to take place sometime after the Commonwealth Games, which end on 3 August. It would potentially be a defining moment of the campaign“, no matter what will be discussed on that day, the truth remains that with two approaches being so far apart, both sides have unresolved issues, without a proper light on both sides these talks will not be the marker of any beginning independence, it could end up being an acceptance on how far views leading to independence are still apart.

So, is my view the correct one? I honestly cannot tell, but I am in all honesty looking for solutions, like any puzzle, an independence remains a logistical conundrum with plenty of loose ends, solving the puzzle is at times the best challenge that can be faced. Getting others to see the puzzle the way I did is the next challenge and implementing that puzzle is another challenge still. Three links in a chain that leads to a solution. Micromanaging these events like the BBC did with their 5 questions (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26836126) seems a little too trivial an approach. Yes, these questions will need a solution and it will be up to Scotland to find them. I reckon the views we seen in regards to the disagreements between Theresa May, the current Home secretary and the European Court of Human Rights shows that the UK has its own puzzles to figure out and they have been at it a lot longer than Scotland.

May we all be one Commonwealth, supporting each other, fighting for each other and at times disagreeing with one another, especially when Scotland is playing England, at that time the disagreements must be loud, jolly and with a few better Scottish players on the Rugby field.

Go Wallabies! 😉


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The danger ahead

It was the BBC that gave me an insight I had not been aware of. It is easy to miss an item, even though I have been involved in IT on many levels for over 3 decades. It is just not possible to keep it all in focus all the time.

It is kind of fun to consider the words of my late grandmother. It was the only issue we could never see eye to eye on. She had an expression ‘Johnny of all, master of none‘. It was not a positive expression! I always went the other way in that regard. Whilst most went to some ‘temporary’ master as they mastered a certain niche skill. I went into the width of IT. I got exposure to such a wide field that my knowledge covered the entire foundation of IT (yes, in the time of the mainframe). After that I started to grow the base of this knowledge trying to evenly grown my knowledge of all IT fields (to some degree). My knowledge grew from programming, to consulting, to training and so on.

So where is this going?

I wrote at an earlier date about IT and the iteration approach to IT (at ‘Year of the last Euro?‘). The entire field goes a lot further. In an age of the similar devices, last week as I was prohibited from moving for 4 hours, I decided to let my mind wander and I came up with an entirely new Notebook. I categorise it as a fat notebook and I call it the ‘True Mobile System’. In an age where Sony, Asus, IBM et all seem to come up with a different names for the same flavour, my mind designed a new approach to a mobile business system.

Was it clever? Not sure! The issue is that many could have come up with it and either they are limited to what their boss dictates or they are just not thinking in a user based forward motion. Here lies the crux of many issues we have seen lately. Their way of thinking is not user based. It is often revenue based, there is a HUGE difference!

If you have read my previous blogs (especially ‘Fifth in a trilogy!‘) then you might notice a trend. In my mind most corporate IT is now all about what is in charge, not who! So as marketing decides on deadlines and evolutions, many learn the hard way that marketing is basically the extension of the CFO (and/or the stakeholders) and as such it is all about the money. If development is the science, then marketing should be seen as the ‘tainted’ picture. The problem is that too many CEO’s and others are all about this tainted picture (and as such the perception of what comes next), the science/engineering side gets too often ignored, or just briefly listened to and after that they get shut down and pushed forward to meet the deadline.

In that regard I still see the game ‘Assassins Creed 4’ (yes that pirate game), which could have been truly great and ended up being less than that (at least in my personal view)! The same can be said for business based ideas. If we consider this message (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25859360), where Google Chrome might be considered an eavesdropping risk, then what is safe to users?

The quote “The malicious site you visited can continue listening in on you long after you have left it said Mr Ater. As long as Chrome is still running nothing said next to your computer is private.” gives ample reason for worry. The danger from our side is that this could be a topic for conspiracy theory. Was this really ‘accidental’? I am not saying it was not or was not. It is however interesting how we as computer users have been exposed to a massive amount of security flaws in the last year alone.

In my mind, is this due to shoddy programming, or is their local marketing so set on certain deadlines and as such proper testing is no longer done? I personally think it is a combination of the latter two. As additional ‘evidence’ in my train of thought, my recent Yahoo experience comes to mind.

I have been a faithful Yahoo user since the early 90’s, for me it always sufficed. The e-mail was robust, it gave me the space I needed and as such I never regretted it. Yet, since the ‘remake’ of Yahoo it changed by a lot. The amount of failures I viewed are on a new low level of customer experience and as such, at present I am seriously considering leaving Yahoo mail and move to Google permanently.

The feedback does not have any options for filing bugs or complaints. It is all about ‘submit an idea‘ and ‘send public feedback‘. To me this all seems like the marketing image left by someone who should be lobotomised and left somewhere far away from any IT endeavour (preferably forever). Yahoo mail now exposes us to additional dangers as we no longer see a status bar in certain places. So, we no longer see ‘the’ link, which I consider a bad thing. The new system also ‘assumes’ spam, so I now have to scan my spam even more often. I can no longer sort by sender, which means that organising my inbox take a massive amount of time longer. The list goes on and on. Is it marketing at the expense of functionality?  To be honest, I would need a little more evidence before I can state that as a fact to some level, but the deadline push has been visible with too many corporations and for far too long.

These issues go a lot further when you consider the article called ‘Android’s biggest security flaws‘ at ZDNet (at http://www.zdnet.com/androids-biggest-security-flaws-1339338283/). As they mention the dangers of inexperienced and malicious developers, they actually forgot about the third group, the ‘callous developer’. These firms (not the individual programmer), who are all driven to meet certain deadlines and as such might not properly test or secure their application.

It is important to note that I do not see the inexperienced developer as a real threat. Yes, they offer the same level of danger, but they are not out to harm you. You, the user, who wants applications for free (as many do) should not blame that new person for trying to get a foothold. If that developer is to be held for one thing, then in my mind it would be that too many of these freebies should bare the mark ‘Beta’ or ‘Trial’, to add an extra warning level for user downloading their new endeavour.

The big issue becomes: ‘What to do about Android?’

As the influence of android increases and interacts with all manner of devices in other ways (like with a person’s Sony-id account, so that a gamer keeps online with friends and achievements when they are not at home), gives way that security flaws become more and more harmful. More important, as we become more and more oblivious of the interaction, we might be spreading all our personal details all over the internet and that danger could grow exponentially with every additional application.

These events also shine an interesting light on an article that was in the Guardian last Friday (at http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/24/justify-gchq-mass-surveillance-european-court-human-rights). When we consider the issues I listed on application security, we should take a second look at the quote in the article “Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch said: ‘This legal challenge is an essential part of getting to the bottom of why the public and parliament have not been properly informed about the scale of surveillance and why our privacy has been subverted on an industrial scale.’

Perhaps the quote could also be read as “Speed and disregard of proper development has allowed for open access to many computers and devices, which allows for almost complete collection and stored and such storage can only be done by just a few. This open level of availability allows the NSA and GCHQ (amongst others) to collect open source intelligence, hoping to gain the upper hand in the war on terror.

I am not stating this is the case, but it could be seen as such. In that regard I call for the issue I mentioned in a previous blog called ‘Internet Privacy?‘ on December 27th, where we see the dangers of some applications (at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/dec/27/snapchat-may-be-exposed-hackers). If we consider the dangers consumes are exposed to for whatever reason, it seems odd that Big Brother watch is not more outspoken on the industrial subversion of privacy by software designers.

So here we get back to the beginning of this blog where I wrote “I designed a new way for a mobile business system.” As Microsoft has moved into a field of computers utilising an approach in the air of “With our computers you do not need to use the brain you never had in the first place“. An automated system that assumes all the time to cover 95% of its users, loaded with gaps and security flaws.

People need to get licensed to get a gun, drive a car, a boat or a plane. Yet, the dangers that computers expose us to are currently not dealt with in any serious way. I reckon that in the next two years identity theft and identity fraud will be regularly in the back of our minds, as it grows into the very visible danger it already is. If we look at some of the numbers then I could speculate that 90% of the people will directly know one victim of identity fraud or identity theft. Lexis Nexis, in their paper ‘2013 LexisNexis® True Cost of Fraud Study‘ state numbers that should scare us all. In 2013, 58% of the merchants were confronted with credit card fraud and 36% of the 2013 population was confronted with lost or stolen merchandise. These numbers by themselves are not that useful as such (at http://www.lexisnexis.com/risk/downloads/assets/true-cost-fraud-2013.pdf). Yet consider that 12.6 million U.S. adult victims of identity fraud had to deal on average with $1,653 of damage per fraud victim. The total amount becomes a staggering one and this is just the US! As technology is not properly attuned to a better level of security, but to set to please a growing marketable population these dangers will only increase. This is the true danger ahead, not what the government can see. In that regard Foreign Secretary William Hague is quite correct when he states “law-biding members of the public have nothing to fear“.


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Buying cheap intelligence goods

Well, another week, another story about the world’s favourite traitor Mr Edward Snowden. The latest information as shown by Sky news is that he offers Brazil to defeat US spying, but it starts with a permanent political asylum. So, Brazil would end up spending way too much on a person who is likely not fluent in any way in the Portuguese ways.

So, after he ‘walks away’ from China and as Russia seems to be a non-option, Brazil now gets a shot at buying that diamond in the rough for only $2.99. Is no one picking up on this?

My advice to the Brazil government is that if you want to secure your systems in a proper way, get someone with a decent University degree with additional papers and knowledge of Cisco systems. Both will allow for the implementation of Common Cyber Sense. Now, this might not stop US spying, but it will make it a lot harder for them. In the end, if a Brazilian official opens a mail with a ‘personalised’ letter from some sexy ‘Miss X’, hoping for a dinner date, then the worm that opens their security would already be installed again. So, your system might not remain that secure for long. Still, getting the proper professionals will help.

I just do not get it, a person that is regarded as ‘non-valuable’ in both China and Russia, is now hoping for some future in Brazil? I reckon that Brazil might not want these complications in any way or form. Do you think that IF Snowden was such an asset that there was not some ‘loophole’ in place where he would have been able to spend a permanent comfortable time in either Russia or China? America had been playing that game for decades (even for non-intelligence and zero economic value holding trained ballerinas). I see it in a more simple way. Snowden walked away with a treasure chest, there are plenty of issues on the validity of the bulk of what he had, but now that he is on the outside, that one chest will have to last him a life time. The strongest issue that seems to be ignored by EVERYONE in the press is on how the NSA failed to the extent that he was able to walk away with this amount of data, more important, who is he selling it to?

I am not talking about governments and their intelligence groups, but the commercial branch of many corporations who might want to take a deep look at all this data.

So here we are reading another iteration of the Snowden joke and at present the press seems to ignore many of the most common sides that we should worry about. Some might have read the statement that General Alexander gave. Funny enough, the issues he stated and the acts he described were close to identical to the issues that I mentioned no less than 5 months ago. Many of them were the paces that any IT professional would have seen. No, it is just so much sexier to just take over the issues the Guardian took to heart. I am not stating that what they wrote were not based upon ‘facts’, but the source is already proving to be extremely unreliable and even less bothered by the integrity he proclaimed to have. Also, when people compare him to Julian Assange, then consider that I still have my doubts about Assange, but at least he always remained on his horse of idealism, not one I truly support, but I get to some extent the windmill he believes that he had been fighting. It makes the two worlds apart and in case of Snowden in a very negative way.

So back to Snowden, what to do about him?

Although I am all for the ‘drastical’ solution we reserve for certain types, it is important to get him into the US (alive) and into the interrogation room. You see, he got a boatload of data out of a building that should not have allowed the opportunity for this to happen. Even though the American alphabet groups have their own issues as they used private contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton, certain security matters are now at the forefront of whatever they will try to do next. This is not an accusation against BAH, I am convinced that the bulk of these people are devoted nationalists and American patriots. I reckon 99.1% would never consider doing what Snowden did, this makes for a case that there are a few still walking around contemplating what Snowden did. We need to learn what weaknesses the NSA had. Not because we truly care that much (Americans definitely might), but if it happens there where they have an overwhelming budget of many billions, what issues can we expect to find when a light is brought on both the DSD and GCHQ? Let’s not forget that they get a combined budget less than 1% of what the NSA has at its disposal. I feel that direct treason is not likely to happen, but overall, there is the danger of intrusions and even the danger of data heists to some degree. It is that degree that will bear scrutiny. So the open question ‘How easy is it to get data out of the agency?’ is a question that needs to be addressed by several governmental parties.

So back to this Snowden fellow, when we see the LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-mcmanus-column-metadata-snowden-20131218,0,4977259.column#axzz2nqe1wbKe) we see other parts of this discussion. There are two quotes in this piece “Congress is debating several proposals to rein in the program, including a bill that would effectively end it.” This is of course a valid option, for one, the US is still a nation governed by laws, and Congress can put in place a policy to change it. Let us not forget now that the bad guys know (thanks to the Guardian amongst others) what is being done; only the stupid terrorists will get caught and they would have gotten caught anyway. The second one is a little harder to discuss “I cannot imagine a more indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion of citizens’ rights”, District Judge Richard J. Leon wrote in a blistering opinion. “The author of our Constitution, James Madison would be aghast.” I feel uncertain to agree with his honour Justice Leon. In the end citizens’ rights were never in danger, we could state that only terrorists were in danger, all were collected to see whether they were a terrorist or not. It could have been stated that if Senator McCarthy had access to these systems, would innocent people ever have been targeted? That is at the centre of this. There people SUSPECTED of communism were destroyed, here they are trying to find the real terrorists. In the end the McCarthy issue went a lot deeper, but at the core we have this notion, is it un-American to object to these methods (if you are an American)? There was never a case for innocent people. There is even the notion that criminals, drug dealers and others could never be gotten at through this way, it is a method to find the hidden dangers of terrorism. In addition, his honour should not forget that it was the legal branch that enacted the Patriot Act the way it was. It was for the most, the legal branch that ‘wallowed’ in ambiguity, which allowed for most of these far fetching ‘freedoms’.

It gets a lot more fun if we consider the article the Guardian published a month ago (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/01/nsa-keith-alexander-blames-diplomats-surveillance-foreign-leaders)

So as General Alexander answered: “the NSA collected information when it was asked by policy officials to discover the ‘leadership intentions’ of foreign countries. If you want to know leadership intentions, these are the issues,” the NSA director said. So basically, the NSA responded to questions by the policy makers. (perhaps the same policymakers who are now proposing a bill to end all this?)

So, who exactly is this pot which is calling the kettle monitored?

It is the Australian that gives us the final part (at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/us-nsa-spy-agency-is-split-on-snowden-leaks-deal/story-e6frg6so-1226783316594), which discussed a few parts last Monday. The issue of making any kind of a deal with Snowden should not be considered. “General Alexander said an amnesty deal would set a dangerous precedent for any future leakers.” The other quote, which came from Rick Ledgett who stated “Mr Snowden would have to provide firm assurances that the remaining documents would be secured“. This is an assurance that has no holding whatsoever. After the Chinese and the Russians were done with him as well as the Guardian, any ‘security’ to these documents is nothing more than a hollow promise. I personally find it disgusting that treason to this degree could end up being non-prosecuted in any way, shape or form. It is more than a dangerous precedent. It is an almost assured way for fake ideologists to take a roll at the casino for a few million and an optional new passport. It is a dangerous game that will hold long term consequences for all involved.

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