Tag Archives: Julian Assange

Finger in a dike

We have all heard the story of the boy who stopped a flood by putting his finger in a dike; Robin Williams made a reference to it and women in comfortable shoes in the past (whatever that means). The story is known, the act sounds just too ridiculous, because any flood that can be stopped with a finger is one that will not amount to much flooding. Yet the story behind it is very different. You see, the story is about the dangerous Muskrats, who dig themselves boroughs in dikes. These boroughs have canals that can go for hundreds of feet and as the Muskrat population grows, the dikes and dams they are in could be damaged beyond normal repair and that is when the dangers start, because dikes are important in the Netherlands. A large part of it is vastly below sea level, meaning that such a loss could have impacted safe living in that place. Muskrats are also fierce fighters and feeders, meaning that as their population grows, the other animals become extinct. Even as that rat has a usual lifespan for a year, in that year it can reap damage that only people can match. So as we consider the damage a year brings, we need to now consider todays story in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/14/freedom-of-information-act-document-leaks-could-become-criminal), where we see: “criminalise passing on information discoverable under FOI requests“, so basically any news given, even when it can be obtained by an FOI request can become an issue that follows prosecution and even conviction? How is anyone allowed to pass this as law allowed in office, especially as he lives by the motto that was a Herman Brood hit (read: I’ll never be clever). There is a weighting here. I for one have spoken out against the non-accountability of the press. The one time they got scared (read: The Leveson enquiry), they started to scream foul and promise bettering themselves. A promise some of the press broke even before the ink of that promised dried. Yet there is in equal measure a need to keep the people correctly and decently informed. There is a need to get cybersecurity on a decent level and there is a need to hunt down hackers. In this places like Sony are feeling the brunt of hackers and until the authorities are willing to execute the parents (or children) of these hackers, depending of the age of the hacker in front of their eyes, they will not ever see the light and these issues will happen. In this, the entire whistle-blower thing is another hot potato and some politicians seem to think that the one will stop the other, which is even more delusional than my idea of executions to make a point. There is another side to all this that is linked. You see, in the military there is a strict need of secrecy. In that this Bradley Manning person is just a traitor who did not realise just how stupid he really was. The fact that he did not spend life in prison until death is another failing which has been covered by too many for too long and too often. Julian Assange is another matter. Basically he was a mere facilitator, we might seem to consider him a traitor but in the end he did not break any laws and the US knows this, they just have another need to address the ego of certain people. I see Snowden as a traitor, plain and simple. As we were misrepresented with a movie, a book and all kinds of stories, there is still the issue that things did not add up. The never did and never will. In this light a whistle-blower seems to be a very different needed person (I will get to that later).

The three names mentioned all have their own role to play in all this. In case of Manning, it is treason plain and simple, whomever got him off lightly did a stellar Law job, but in the end, he committed treason under war time conditions. Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2013-08-02/bradley-manning-s-crime-is-smaller-than-treason) gives us the view of John Yoo, a legal expert, whose view I share: “His actions knowingly placed the lives of American soldiers, agents, and allies at grave risk. In the world of instant, world-wide communications and non-state terrorist groups, Manning committed the crime of aiding the enemy, and he is lucky to escape the death penalty“. As an operator, Manning had access to do his job and he abused the access he had endangering the lives of his ‘fellow’ soldiers. In this the less diplomatic view would be that he was more entitled to death by hanging than some of those executed at Nuremberg. So as we realise that Manning soon could have more rights than an optional member of the press is just a little too insane in my book. In all this, as we see that part in a little biased light, we need to realise that the press has a need to expose certain elements. Yet they too are biased and they are biased towards advertisers and stakeholders, which is why certain military documents are placed in a juicy sexy light, yet the issues of Microsoft, Sony and a few others that clearly food for thought for a generation of consumers seems to be misplaced. So how should we see the less responsible acts of the press in that light?

The second part is Snowden, again, as I see it a traitor, here the issue is severe on all sides, the Intelligence community failed miserably on several sides as one person has seemingly access to systems that should have been monitoring access on a few sides. I saw within two hours at least 3 issues for consideration of prosecution of certain heads of intelligence for mere gross negligence. The issues found with NSA contractor Harold Thomas Martin III just adds to the issues in Alphabet soup land. In this there would have been the need of a very different whistle blower, one that could have walked into the US supreme court stating that his nation is in serious danger giving evidence free from prosecution where an ‘uncle’ of the NSA walks into the office of Admiral Rogers (current director, not the director at that time) asking what the f**k he thinks he is doing on the farm. In a system that is about subterfuge and misdirection, those making errors are often chastised in unbalanced ways. As they are about deadlines and being flawless (which is a delusion all by itself) finding ways to clear issues, solve issues and give support in a place that is relying just a little too much on contractors is an essential need. In this the US is the most visible, but we can agree that the UK has its own demons, the most visible ones were in the 70’s, yet the cloud is now a dangerous place and in addition, I foresee that the near future will bring us more, because if a place like Sony cannot keep a lid on its data, do you actually believe that the cloud is secure? It is not, because some people were pushing too fast for a technology that has issues on several levels. As the cloud grows the customer is no longest charged per Gigabyte, but per Terabyte, so as the cost seems to be 0.1% of what was, they are all seeing the financial benefit and they are clearly ignoring the need to comprehends data sizes and what to put where. As the sales teams are giving nice presentations on security and no loss of data, they seem to be a little more silent on amount of data replicated somewhere else. Which in case of Intelligence is a bit of an issue under the best conditions. By the way that switch from GB to TB happened in the last 5 years alone, so this market is accelerated but in ways that seems to be a little too uncomfortable and I love tech and I embrace it whenever possible, so others should be a lot more mindful and worried than I am at present.

Last we get to Julian Assange, he is either loved or hated. I tried to remain in the balance of it as he basically broke no laws, but to shed the dirty laundry in the way he did was a little stupid. We read all the things on how certain stuff was removed and so on, but there is an issue. In all this we heard all the military stuff, yet when the mention and threats of bank presentations came, he went quiet and dark less than 48 hours later, so it seems that some issues are just not given to the people, especially certain facts that should have been brought out. Here we see another side of the whistle-blower. I get that certain events should not be allowed out, yet when I read: “We would expand the Freedom of Information act to stop ministers and departments from being able to block the publication of information they see as politically inconvenient“, which we get from Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson. We see another part of the conversation, one that needs scrutiny on a few levels. The entire issue that a conviction is possible for releasing information that is readily available under the FOI is dodgy to say the least. There is a side in my that there should be a certain level of control on whistle-blowers, yet in that same light as we see too often that corporate whistle-blowers are refused the light of day by the press calls for questions marks on the earliest given Mondays of any week.

If the dike is to stop the people from drowning we need to make sure that the muskrat is stopped for various reasons, yet when that dike is also the road that facilitates for the shipment of toxic waste, we need to wonder what the basic need of that specific dike is. And that is before we see that the road facilitates for ‘Big Pharma’ to ship its medication, whilst the 1000’s of tonnes of pharmaceutical waste is left ignored, which is ignored by the media when Dr Who (read: World Health Organisation) is telling people that there is now a direct danger to newborns, with in India alone an estimated 56,000 deaths of newborns dying from resistant infections. So as we see very little of that in the news, what are those opposing the whistleblowing actions crying about? They themselves have become filters on what the people are allowed to learn about. Doesn’t that sound slightly too sanctimonious to you?

The issue that goes on is that these events are less and less an issue of rarity. The Times (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/600-tonnes-of-waste-dumped-under-road-dmttlzrkh), gives us, when you are subscripted, a view that “Up to 600 tonnes of household rubbish have been dumped under the A40 in Buckinghamshire, in one of Britain’s worst incidents of fly-tipping”, this is not some issue that is done with a simple truck, this took time and staff. This was deliberate and orchestrated. In this the whistle-blower would have been essential in dealing with such a crime, as it stands now, it made someone an easy £90,000 and the damage could end up being considerable larger and more expensive. It is anyone’s guess if the CPS will ever secure an arrest and conviction. So as we see the toxicity of the changes the UK and others could face. When we consider the final part “Thomas Hughes, the executive director of Article 19, said: “The Law Commission’s proposals would move the clock backwards, undoing improvements in the UK’s 1989 Official Secrets Acts, and setting a dangerous example of eroding freedom of expression protections, which may be copied by oppressive regimes globally”, we must ask what the devils own sugar did the Law Commission have in mind when these changes were proposed. By the way, the moment it gets adopted, there is every chance that any person with direct links to Wall Street will see other sides. This is what we get from the NY Post, “The Financial CHOICE Act 2.0, which passed the House Financial Services Committee last week, has provisions to keep corporate whistle-blowers involved in any wrongdoing from collecting awards. The act would also require the whistle-blower to try to stop violations from happening within their company — a stipulation that advocates fear would force employees to choose between being fired or not reporting anything at all”, we see this at http://nypost.com/2017/05/14/whistleblower-bill-sparks-fear-among-advocates/, so you tell me who this is all supposed to benefit. As I see it, we see a shift where those who have not are stronger and stronger segregated from those who have and those who continuously want to have. A mere adaption from the battle strategy segregation, isolation and assassination? Assassination needs not resolve in death, today we see how economic and financial death could at times be much worse than anything permanently offered, although the mothers in India might disagree on that. The question becomes where does the press truly stand, with informing the people or with the advertisers they rely on nowadays?

 

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The German mirror that does not show

Ever since the event took place, the news, the gossip and the untold stories that are set without direction have been all over the internet. Der Spiegel (at http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-knew-terrorist-was-dangerous-but-failed-to-stop-him-a-1128423.html) start their version with ‘Why Did Germany Fail to Stop Terrorist?‘ with the by-line ‘authorities identified Anis Amri as a potential terrorist threat months ago‘. This sounds nice and plenty accusing yet on what premise? Der Spiegel gives a timeline. Wanted in Tunisia for stealing a truck (2011), convicted for battery and arson. Yet at this point Der Spiegel ads the threat he gave ‘I’ll cut your head off. That is pretty much all they have on him. He had changed his identity to Ahmad Zaghoul. The German view is after this shown to be flawed as some substitute papers ID papers came without a photo. Still, none of this screams terrorist, because the amount of teenagers shouting similar words go into the 7 figure numbers, especially on Friday night. There was too much superficial information, so when we see: “Germany’s interior ministry is seeking to overhaul the country’s security apparatus“, I am very willing to state: “an overhaul when there is no clear evidence that it could have been prevented, whilst the intelligence players know the issues with lone wolves and with mere loons is a matter of greater concern than the German interior ministry realises“, I wonder if Thomas de Maizière, the minister mentioned in the Guardian has other motives in this, because he has been around long enough to know this. It is not the question Der Spiegel posed in the headline, it is the fact that they knew that the entire matter is staged in a ludicrous notion. So when we look at the quote: “chain of errors led to the deaths of 12 innocent people in Berlin shortly before Christmas” seems to have been inserted for dramatic reference. Yet the opposite comes to light. You see even with my limited knowledge could have acted and caused a lot more casualties than 12 death and 48 wounded. This brings out the issue that is in play, as I personally see it Der Spiegel is leaving its readers with a story, a fairy tale, a scary one, like the Grimm brothers would tell it. The second part is given by the Financial times with ‘De Maizière calls for German security overhaul to counter terrorism‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/2c03bed2-d1ad-11e6-9341-7393bb2e1b51). The Financial Times are not the ones trying to bring you anything deceptive, yet the quotes: “an overhaul of the country’s security apparatus, centralising more powers in a contentious response to last month’s Berlin terrorist attack“, “The reforms put forward by Thomas de Maizière would take power from the regions, replacing their domestic intelligence services with a single national agency” and “But Mr de Maizière’s plans follow renewed concern that Germany’s security network is too fragmented and allows potential terrorists to avoid surveillance, including possibly the chief suspect in the Berlin assault“. So in this day and age, a system that actually works in Germany is now overhauled because of one incident? This reads like the resetting of limelight positions. I personally believe that the 16 fragments had a good view on what was happening in their region. Now Germany would need centralisation, data systems that are centralised meaning that cyber security would be a rather large issue and the 16 fragments would not get the access they had in the past, if so there are additional cyber concerns. All these amounting issues because of one case and the clear evidence is given in the shape of ‘ISIL released a video of Amri pledging allegiance to the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi‘, the fact that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had the video gives rise to Anis Amri being a terrorist, yet with the fact that there were only 12 fatalities, was this a failed attack? Consider another fact. The one part that makes sense is the question Der Spiegel gives “How he became radicalized under the eyes of German security officials“. The question becomes, did he become radicalised, or was he self-radicalised? A failed person, a small time criminal (car thief) who seems to have grown on the lower edge of the crime scale. After all that hopping around a mere 11 casualties. The amount of travelling he did to get into Milan is equally a question. Now, I started by giving rise to the question whether he was a terrorist. I had to get through the motions with you. I needed to create some doubt. That doubt is still there, yet another part of this is not in question. For this we need to take a look at what Sky News got from the German police. The quote “A police official says German authorities knew of 14 different identities used by Berlin Christmas market attacker Anis Amri” (at http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/europe/2017/01/06/police-say-berlin-attacker-used-14-identities.html). The question here is whether he went by 14 different names, like some teenagers do so that they can bed more women from the same college (or a fence dealing with different clients)? Did he have papers for these 14 separate identities? The second one is now the issue, you see, this now implies that there is a support structure in place. Not unlike the video on Heavy.COM, which I discussed in my blog ‘Homerun by UKIP‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/) where we see ‘a music video directed to recruit ISIS’ Turkish sympathizers‘.

Now we have the new situation, as the video could be made with a simple smartphone, forwarded to a place where the minions of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could download it and show it if such a wannabe or lone wolf makes a successful run. Mass marketing on an explosive ‘no cure, no acknowledgement’ foundation; the new methodology! In all this we need to recognise that Der Spiegel was all about the emotion and in some cases some of the information was made visible after the article was published, still plenty of facts have been missing and some statements are questionable. Were the speculated trips he took via Nijmegen and Lyon planned? Were they desperation or were they guided? In fact that part is extremely important, especially if it turns out that people like him have a support system that stays far behind the screens. The speculation becomes a lot more reliable if Anis Amri had papers for some of those 14 identities. Too many unknowns and more important, there is absolutely no evidence that the overhaul of German security and Intelligence will get any better with centralisation and there is plenty of experience around to see that the data quality take a massive dive as data systems get merged.

As I see it, the German political objective is getting in the way of the requirements of an efficient system and even if we accept that some level of centralisation is needed, until there is a clear path of how to resolve the refugee issues, align the logistics of a million refugees all over the place, making larger changes does not seem to be any solution. That is a given certainty. with Thomas de Maizière giving his ‘desires‘ to the Deutsche Welle we see the following: “more responsibilities for Germany’s federal police force“, “central tracking and investigation responsibilities“, “supplementary enforcement jurisdiction for residency termination” as well as “capable of truly recording all movement across the external borders“. There are a few more but let’s look at those another day. The first one makes perfect sense, as does the third one. It is the second one that seems to be not the greatest idea when we consider the issues involved, the path of changes and as stated the data. The fourth one makes sense to some degree, yet there are too many issues with that one, and I am not taking that one apart here.

In all this the German mirror (Der Spiegel) is not showing us all the parts and more important the reflection they bring is very incomplete, some parts make sense, but not all the missing parts, with all the ‘honest’ revelations we saw Der Spiegel bring regarding Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, they seem to be off their game a fair bit this time. I wonder why!

 

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In anticipation of

Yesterday’s news is glowing like only Plutonium can, it touches, it infects and it spreads. The Panama papers are a hot item, radioactive hot. The only place I skip on judging is Iceland. It was the only European nation that achieved a near utopian standard of living, so the impact from the collapse in 2008 will still enrage its population for a very long time to come. If you doubt this than take a look at Oscar winning movie ‘Inside Job’, the one movie that is the biggest eye opener on economies in the history of documentaries. On the other side we get the biggest joke in UK politics, namely Jeremy Corbyn. His quotes on ‘how only Labour will protect Britain’s families’. Perhaps Mr Corbyn will take a look at his party’s history. How Labour in the age of 1997-2010 achieved absolutely NOTHING in changing the wheel of tax havens. So when Jeremy is voicing his thoughts, he should take a long hard look in the mirror. Any defence or deflection is pointless and absent of values. Both sides have not done their job in stopping tax shelters.

Most important is that no laws seem to have been broken. Yes, we now see that there are a few issues, yet when we see the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/03/mossack-fonsecas-response-to-the-panama-papers), we see: “Finally, the instances you cite in your reporting represent a fraction – less than 1% – of the approximately 300,000 companies that Mossack Fonseca has incorporated in its over 40 years in operation“, that is the actual case in all this. A system that is allegedly 99% correct and above levels, is now under scrutiny, through no less than criminal acts. Now the weirdest case in statistical history. We are looking at 300,000 cases. In the dataset that is well over 2.5 terabyte we see a fact evolving that is now soon becoming an interesting side.

Here begins a level of speculation that you must comprehend, there is little evidence, only suspicions. I hereby warn the reader to not take what follows as given!

One source (fusion) is giving us: “So far, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has only been able to identify 211 people with U.S. addresses who own companies in the data (not all of whom we’ve been able to investigate yet). We don’t know if those 211 people are necessarily U.S. citizens

Metro gave us this quote: “But weirdly, considering it’s the world’s largest economy, there was nobody from the USA. Is that because America is a beacon of transparent business dealings?“, the second quote is “Stefan Plöchinger, digital editor of German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung which obtained the leaks, shot out this teaser earlier today, saying: ‘Wait. Just look at what’s coming…’” (at http://metro.co.uk/2016/04/04/why-are-there-no-us-people-in-the-panama-papers-5794114).

One side states that more is coming, yet even under these properties even the term ‘there is more to come‘ becomes a highly suspicious consideration.

Now we get to the speculative side. You see, yesterday I made mention on the Libor scandal, yet I did not mention the part I speculated on initially (on April 1st 2013), in an article titled ‘60% confiscated and counting in Cyprus!‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/04/01/60-confiscated-and-counting-in-cyprus/), at that time I wrote: “On 30th November 2010 Jullian Assange revealed that the next target of his whistle-blowing website will be a major U.S. bank. The same date a red notice was issued by Interpol. It was around that time that the hunt for Assange intensified by a lot. Perhaps the one bank was just the beginning? If we look back at the issues we know now, then there is a chance that someone made mention of the LIBOR percentage tweaking issue. If this is what frightens the US, then consider the consequences of a system like LIBOR being manipulated through the total value of trade. If that would have been off by 11.2%. Out of $1000T (UK and USA combined) then that difference would be $112T.

I would love to get 1% finder fee of that! It would make me the FIRST Trillionaire in history (not bad for a person only dreaming to be a Law Lord someday)

It was my speculation that Libor was not limited to the UK. It was my speculation that the US, as it was in such deep debt, that it started to manipulate the total value of trade, creating an 11.2 trillion dollar buffer. Here the danger for them was that the UK could illuminate that and that would have made the US option impossible and it would go bankrupt overnight (I still want that finder’s fee!). It was a speculation, yet founded on some data I saw, the data implies (cannot confirm or prove this), that packages were reset so that they would not falter, even though collapsed mortgages were added to them. See it as a leave one extra in. A repackaged deal where 70% had not yet collapsed sold at bargain price.

So how does this connect to the Panama papers?

Ask yourself a simple question, a firm like Mossack Fonesca would have extensive protection, firewalls and other shapes of protection. When you represent 300,000 firms worth trillions, only an idiot would rely on a laptop running on Windows 98 (a mere exaggeration). These people are not idiots, they are a lot brighter than I ever could be. This now raises the question how that much data got out. This raises the question, is this truly just about tax havens, or is this about a clear message from the US. The message is ‘Do not leave the EU, or else!‘ a message aimed at the UK and at France. Germany is willing to give aid, because for the most Germany does not want anyone to leave the EU. I personally see this step as a desperate act form large players who would not accept any responsibility from acts of immense stupidity. A path that evolved clearly due to inaction regarding Greece.

The fact that US people are not (yet) mentioned is because the US needs its wealthy with extreme desperate shortages. A nation (the USA), who is at present perhaps so close to bankruptcy that it will take desperate acts. So is the USA behind the hack on Mossack Fonesca? There will never be any clear evidence on that. There is no way to prove this one way or another, this is all clear speculation from my side.

Yet, is this so far-fetched? I personally do not think so, especially when we consider the timing. So as the UK tax havens might undergo slimming down, we could suddenly see another batch of US deregulations set for the creation of taxation, wealth building and retrenching. So will this happen? Is my speculation way too wild? I am not certain, you see, even I question myself. I would have had a lot less faith in all this if we would have seen the ‘revelation’ of Americans. That absence is what fuels certain paths of speculation. When we consider the amount of bonuses that many bankers in the US legally got away with gives weight to all this, in a group of 300K people and this group 0.01% currently American is too low and too unbelievable at present. There is of course all the chance that those names have been held back, time will tell!

So beyond the speculation we see the facts, because the facts matter. And the press is massively ignoring the impact that Brexit has, not just on the EU and their Euro, but it is the value of the US Dollar that is equally hit when that currency gets hit with the impact the Euro would expected to receive. President Obama’s nightmare has officially begun, because the impact is likely to impact the US dollar before he stops being an elected official. So tactically there is not the question of Mossack Fonseca and the tax shelters/havens. A tactical question that Bloomberg answered on January 27th 2016 (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-27/the-world-s-favorite-new-tax-haven-is-the-united-states) where we see ‘Moving money out of the usual offshore secrecy havens and into the U.S. is a brisk new business‘, it is followed with the quote “It is now moving the fortunes of wealthy foreign clients out of offshore havens such as Bermuda, subject to the new international disclosure requirements, and into Rothschild-run trusts in Nevada, which are exempt“, so ask yourself the following question: ‘Are the Panama papers with the details from Mossack Fonseca a mere hack, or is this a coup d’état by big players like Rothschild moving money into the US, forcing the wealth and the powerful in Europe to face the danger that Brexit will soon impact their money and that must not be allowed’.

This last tactic is again speculation, but it is a tactical one, and it is supported by some facts. In that regard this tactic is old, hundreds of years old, because it was Niccolo Machiavelli who stated: “Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception

I wonder what ‘revelations’ the Panama papers will bring, more important the parts the press will trivialise into the trashcan?

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Another online danger

It seems that we the consumers are soon in danger of being left out in the offline cold. You might not realise it, you might not even worry, but your money, your payments online are finite!

You see, not only are the events of last week troubling (not the UK election mind you), the consequence of allowing this to move forward unanswered could be a costly one.

With online presence there is the additional danger of non-online absence.

For this I will emphasize it with one example. The game is from Enix and the title is ‘Order of War: Challenge‘, if you had bought it from Steam, then you have a possible issue, because the game has been wiped of your account. Now, this is not a massive issue of today, this is an issue from the sheer point of view called ‘You paid for it!’ and now it is no more and you can never play it again. An important fact is that this issue played in 2013, so you might wonder what gives!

That is an excellent question. I for one would not care too much for Steam, I never did. Yet the issue of yesterday is now quickly progressing towards issues out today and even more important those who are out tomorrow and after that. This goes far beyond the wiping of a ‘Silent Hill Playable Demo’. Some changes are made because the circumstances changes, which is fair enough. That is not the true issue (even though the Silent Hill fans who missed out would be miffed).

The issue is found in the mobile and console games out now and more important those released after tomorrow.

Let me give you an example.

The mobile/Tables environment has a game called ‘Dungeon Keeper’. Many of those who loved that game when it was originally released on the PC went nuts the moment that game reappeared. Yet, in hindsight this new game was a massive failure on many levels. The game had actually destroyed the image the masterful game maker Peter Molyneux had built. The game is now all about delaying events and forcing people to make very expensive purchases online in the form of Gems. As micro transactions go, this game is the one example why micro transactions should be illegal. A nice view is given at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpdoBwezFVA. Yet compared to the pc edition of the second game (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DJmS7prcmE), the mobile game is horrendous.

Now we have an additional side, I cannot tell when this happened, but several people (including me) have only had access to the game once in the last two weeks, there have been ongoing server connection issues. In light of the issues that have been mentioned in the past there is now a matter for other cause. You see, if there is an issue with a game, if you had purchased enough gems, the issue at hand is not just that you are forced to a server, the fact that the server is no longer there and the player can no longer play gives weight to the question whether there should be legal consequences for those eager to sell a micro transaction relying game. Can something offered as ‘freemium’ but will only work smoothly when purchases be made, should that game be allowed to be non-functional?  Should the makers not offer an offline side to the game? That is at the foundation of what is wrong. The danger of consumers paying for something that can be removed as soon as the exploiters no longer consider the product to be viable and it stops working for various reasons.

What are those reasons?

Well Dungeon Keeper is a first example. The fact that a server is down is one thing, the fact that the server cannot be reached for two weeks is an entirely other matter. Which leads us to the question, should games that only have online server options be allowed? Beyond that, when gameplay is removed, are those who paid for additional gaming experience be entitled to credit vouchers?

This is the loaded question because basically it is payment for a service, which should be regarded as temporary, however, was that clearly communicated to those buying the service? Now we have ourselves a different video game altogether!

You see, this part will be a growing issue as people are dependent on downloads and could storage of games that are not played on a daily basis. There is the added consideration that these providers never did anything wrong as they might have specified that in the terms of service, yet who reads them? This is not a business agreement, or isn’t it?

Let me move on (for now to another example).

Now we have (or better states we used to have) the PlayStation 3. It has the option of PSN and PlayStation Home. PlayStation Home was discontinued, but what about those people who have spent money for years on the locations there? There had always been an implied assumption that there would be PlayStation Home in PS4. Clearly implied is not correct, too many sources stated most options in silence. Then when the PS4 came it was initially incomplete and in 2014 the verdict was final, no PlayStation Home on the PS4. And recently PlayStation Home was also removed from the PlayStation 3. There was no fault here, there was never any clear agreement that PlayStation Home was to be ported to the PS4, but to lose it on PS3 would never be an acceptable option to those who like it.

I thought it was a cool place, it was partially useless, yet it had the option of being a playful marketing tool. Trailers, unlockable extra’s for games and so on, there were even a few decent games in that environment. Because it had channels so that people could chat, it was something that is out there that would forever be an option. Now it seems that Sony is mostly rejecting the social media, or it is partially doing that. PlayStation home is not the only place, the profiles are a second part, but here we are forced online and in an almost ‘anti-social network’ situation.

This is where the wheels come off the wagon, you see there is another side to all this!

This all links to the previous as there is a real danger that someone at some point will deactivate a service, then what? There is currently an uneven, unequal and a dangerous push to force people online. There is now a second part that has massive consequences for gamers on a global scale. I have made references with the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) before, and it seems that several other sources are now on the bandwagon regarding the dangers here, gaming is only one aspect (and not even close to the biggest one, but because of the global setting of gamers a lot easier to spot). It is not just the ‘profile’ issue, that is the least of it all, but it is a driving force around it. More important, the cost of being ‘online’ could soon be another matter altogether.

It would be too simple to state that the TPP is just a bad consequence of a group of utterly incompetent politicians, mostly staying presently at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but that would be not entirely correct either. You see, their inadequacies resulted in a group of industrials to change the premise on Digital Rights Management (DRM) on a massive scale. For the most, I have mixed feelings. I believe that it is perfectly legit for a corporation to protect their product from being illegally copied. Now, the internet providers (ISP’s) are all about bandwidth, so as such, they like people who copy movies, they love it even better when people copy Blu-rays, because 100,000,000 people going for 2-3 blu-rays every night is a massive amount of bandwidth. There is to the smaller extent that a DRM is all about setting up who can legally use something and who cannot, but that seems to be the smallest tip of the iceberg.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald gives us ‘http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/politicalnews/trans-pacific-partnership-will-push-medicine-prices-up-review-finds-20150303-13sxty.html‘. This is not entirely correct, but not wrong either. If we take this quote “The leaked treaty text also reveals new American and Japanese proposals designed to enhance the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to extend and widen their patents on drugs and medicines“, it is the word ‘extend’ that is the issue. Because some pharmaceuticals are all about prolonging, we see more and more new patent additions to give any drug a longer exclusivity, which means that generic medication will be less and less of an option. There is in addition the quote “Jeffrey Bleich, accused Australian consumers of habitually stealing copyrighted content and of being some of the worst offenders with amongst the highest piracy rates … in the world“, that statement makes Jeffrey Bleich an idiot to some degree (not the worst he’s ever been called), because his peers in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden say exactly the same and he should properly investigate these matters before making those statements.

Now, he was not being too bright (or massively misinformed) and a mere voicer for large corporations, which is to some degree his job I reckon, but he could have been a smudge more thoughtful in that regard. You see, the American side has been utterly stupid for a long time. Because it was always American first, then ‘whomever is left’! We have seen that in Movies, Music and games. Although music not as much. It started in the mid 80’s when Greed took over and American corporations were utterly clueless on global corporate actions from day one. I am not just talking about Games, or movies (even though they are the most visible ones). No the utter consumer disrespect shown by Ashton-Tate, IBM, Lotus Development Corporation, Oracle, Novell and Adobe was beyond belief in those days. You would actually look forward to meeting with Macromedia, WordPerfect and Corel to see that humanity in IT was an option. Now many of them changed tunes over time, the movie and games industry stayed behind for a long time, it is only recently that the US is seeing that the money of their blockbusters are coming from outside the US in some cases in excess of 75%. Now we have ourselves a ballgame! Now we see the shift some are making, but in other ways.

You see, there is a reason why some people have an aversion to buying a game at 40%-70% more. In my early days, I had no options, a game advertised in the American magazines at $19.95 would cost me $69, that’s a not so nice 300%, so America changed the environment from the very beginning. Even today, Australian gamers will pay 40%-70% more for a new game. Now, we will see casual mention on how it is all about shipping. Well guess again. PSN (PS4) was offering games on day one in a shop for $89, On Amazon it was $59 and guess what, the download in Australia was priced at $99.

How do these elements link?

There are two parts. First the quote by Julian Assange “The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies“. It is actually not that far a stretch, you only need to consider the legal disagreements between Apple and Samsung to see the dangers here.

After which the following claim is made “The leaked text shows that this agreement is more about corporate power than “free trade”. Investor-state dispute settlement is really a form of corporate sovereignty“. That part can be found here (at https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/WikiLeaks-TPP-Investment-Chapter/page-1.html).

Basically, in there you can find the issue “where foreign firms can ‘sue’ states and obtain taxpayer compensation for ‘expected future profits’“, this now reverts back to the earlier mention of games, movies and especially music. A false dimension of revenue has been maintained by corporate ‘baboons’, claiming ‘loss of revenue’. Relying on incomplete information from Napster, Kazaa and a few others players in the peer to peer networking solution. They basically went on the premise, one download means one sale lost. I believe that this was never a reality. People might download and listed, but would never have bought the bulk of it in the first case. That same premise of certain lacks is seen when we see the quote “Attorney-General George Brandis has signalled his intention to introduce more stringent copyright laws to crack down on online piracy“. In that regard the attorney general does not seem to strike too high on the academic scale of logic (on any given day for that matter). I posted an article on September 10th 2014 called ‘Changing topics?‘, in there the issue is better shown, you see it is not just about copyright, because that could have been dealt with quite easily. It was about Malcolm Turnbull’s anti-piracy forum. You see, if copyright was truly the issue, which would have been easy. But in that event the words ‘revenue‘ and ‘bandwidth‘ were very much skated around. Telstra was extremely cautious (and eager) to steer clear of that because in the case of Telstra, monitoring bandwidth, people actually stopping copying movies will cost Telstra billions! Now we see the consequence!

You see, America is figuring out that it cannot deal with its own ISP’s and they definitely cannot deal with the others like Telstra, Tele 2, Com Hem, KPN, TDC and a few others. They are doing it stepwise and the TPP will give them some options. Now back to that term that is laughingly referred to as ‘expected future profits‘.

One source states: “Losses to Video Game Makers Due to Piracy: $8.1 Billion“, based on what numbers? ISP’s state they cannot monitor. Then we get “Pirated Software Impact to Businesses: $63 Billion“. Again on what premise and how?

Well the first one gives us: “Video game piracy of hand-held games leads to the loss of about $8.1 Billion a year, as losses due to pirating of Sony PSP and Nintendo DS games between 2004 and 2009 lead to worldwide losses of nearly $42 Billion“. Here we see an interesting side. These are only two consoles. More important, these consoles have again and again limited legitimate access to games released in US and Japan again and again. So is this truly about piracy, or is the decision as seen here “Monster Hunter 3rd is the best-selling PSP game ever in Japan with 4,780,000 copies sold. Its PS3 HD remaster sold an excellent 500,000 copies as well, yet neither version is scheduled for an international release“. By the way, is the maker not guilty of discrimination? Let me be frank, I will not and have never condoned pirated games. I believe in getting a game and playing the original (I rarely buy games, so when I do, I will go for the VIP options that an original game brings). So, is this about piracy, or about segregation?

That part is harder to prove in the business case. The source “Business Software Alliance, “2011 BSA Global Software Piracy Study,” May 2012” is an issue. I cannot be certain how they got to $63 billion, but with so many illegal versions of Office, that number seems a lot more plausible. It is funny that there, US and China are the biggest transgressors representing a little less than one third of the entire lost stack. The UK is set at 1.9 billion and Australia less than a billion, yet how were these numbers achieved, through ‘rough’ estimation perhaps?

Now we get to the monkey’s banana moment “Losses due to Music Piracy: $12.5 Billion“, which is stated “According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)“, yes, they wanted the number to be as high as possible, because it made bad productions and louse representatives look a little better. In addition, some of these numbers cannot be decently vouched for in any way, shape or form. It boils down to well over 500 million CD’s, in a numbers game that number on a population of 7 billion seems small, but here is the kicker, that same source had the following, which I found illuminating: “In a survey of over 6,000 people in Finland between the ages of 7 to 84, researchers found that on average each person who downloaded pirated content online had about 2,900 pirated music files and 90 pirated movie files. The researchers who conducted the study believes that downloaders have more music files is due to the ease of downloading pirated music. According to the study, downloading movie files require faster internet speeds, more digital storage space, as well as a higher technological ability to playback movies“.

The term ‘each person’ now becomes really interesting, because 90 movies boils down to 360 Gb, and 2900 songs come to an rough (very rough) estimation of 14.5 Gb. A person downloading that much would be visible on the ISP counter. You see, you buy bandwidth monthly and downloading this much, as well as watching online and perhaps stuff they no longer have, you are looking at $80 a month, however, only 6 years ago, I paid $70 for 25Gb. you see how the picture changes? That is centre here. By the way, if you think that 25 Gb is little, consider that I have only hit that maximum once during my entire contract with my ISP and that was because on a Friday my system decided to update Windows 7, Office 2013 and my Adobe Master collection, which was quite the resource drain that evening.

Your online presence is now a danger in more than one way. In the first more and more ‘providers’ are forcing us to save on the cloud, forcing us using bandwidth. Now, I understand the first download, but many systems are now gearing towards less memory and more reliant on cloud drives. Which was my issue with the Microsoft Xbox One even before that system was launched.  Are those not streamed services? More important, my issue there was that once a service is disconnected, would we just lose it all overnight? Consider your movie and TV series collection. What happens when your old versions of Star Trek, Dexter and Game of Thrones are discontinued?

In addition, if online presence is essential for our services to run, how will that be monitored? I only need to refer to the Sony hack, to give you a first fright that certain owned items could be lost by a mere scripted command. Again, a situation the consumer is not ready and not prepared for. Now, in the case of PlayStation Home, there is some understanding that certain services will be lost, could a local copy have solved it? (I am asking, not telling). There are unresolved issues, mainly because the new technologies move so fast and to be quite honest, some considerations are new, we never had to make them before. We the consumer must accept that some parts are lost to us at some point. Yes, I loved HERO on the Atari 2600, but to expect that game to function 30 years later is not that realistic either. In that regard, we have attached to software (especially games) to the same extent we hold onto a book. They are not the same, which is a simple reality.

But the dangers of online remain, or do they? In that regard, the issues I raise are mostly about time. We see the failing of a game and losing out on what we spend within a year totally unacceptable, yet in that same notion, we should find peace in the notion that nothing lasts, it is all a mere matter of time. Yet, there we see a partial solution, we cannot realistically expect the provider to give ‘eternal’ support, but is a local version (no servers) after a while, or before the service is pulled a possible solution? That I have yet to see and it is not that far-fetched, because in the end, with the amounts of products and the change of IP, that part is slowly but certainly becoming an essential step to consider, especially in light for the business model of any software corporation. Consider you the player with your game of Halo, or Gears of War. I reckon that at some point, you will accept that online mode falls away, but how would you feel is the single player option falls away too, especially if you still have the console or PC to run it on?

A gaming dimension that will fall away at some point, but are we ready to let go of those moments? Now consider that your console/PC can no longer link to the service, even though you have the original disc. In the new DRM, it is entirely possible that no online verification means no playing the game. This is the certainty that we face and the TPP will push us there a lot faster than you realise. Should you doubt any of the last part, then consider the site gog.com. It holds some of the most brilliant games ever created (sold at very low prices), people still revere these games and many of them (especially the original dungeon keeper) will find a place in the heart of gamers. Moreover, several of these would make fine console games when adapted (higher graphics in most cases). I believe that the MSDOS Dungeon Keeper could be a hit 3DS game (like many other games on that site), even today.

Gaming is not about the latest game (decent graphics and sound aside) it is about joy and the games on that site are most pure joy to play.

Now you might all think that this is about games and many of you readers do not care about games, but now consider that same step when you look at your Office 365 account and the fact that you are pushed away from a version that works perfect for you (like the nightmare Office 2007 users faced in the past). There is an abundance of programs that offer a similar scary outlook.

Now translate this to collections you do care about. Your music, your TV shows, perhaps even your digital books. Do not take the word of those stating that it will not happen, because it will, it has happened in the past, it is happening now and it will happen in the future. The DVD and book on your shelf are a touchable item, that part is (if you treat them properly) secure, something online can be lost by merely removing a server or damaging its data. If someone states that this can never happen, then look at Sony, they experienced that event first hand.

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The Sound of silence

Hello accountant, my dark fate
your books are bloated as of late
the need for bonus loudly creeping
to be deposited so fleeting
and the greedy that are filling
their domain, they always gain
it is the need for money

The P W C accounting firm
will gain support, another turn
you see the press is staying quiet
we wonder now who got them hired
see the news is remaining just the same, it’s such a shame
and they should all be fired

You might think why this rewritten song of Simon and Garfunkel? You see, it has been almost 50 years exactly that Simon and Garfunkel took this to paper, 50 years later we would see quite the different ballad, one that would see repercussions in ways never seen before, yet both instances unique. That part was made clear today when we see ‘Tesco posts record loss: what the experts say‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/22/tesco-posts-record-loss-what-the-experts-say). So when we see “Tesco reports record £6.4bn loss” and when we see ‘these experts’, you and me alike should ask a series of questions the press is not asking. It has not been asking them for 2 quarters now (well an absolute minimum).

Consider the following quote: “Soon after his arrival, Lewis unveiled a £263m accounting scandal caused by overoptimistic recording of payments made to Tesco by suppliers. Tesco is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and the supermarket regulator over the affair“, this is what got it all started, what the publishing pussies refer to as ‘overoptimistic recording of payments‘ turned out to be nothing less than a systematic issue as we saw some of the news from DeLoitte. It is shown in my ‘adjusted lyrics’:

Will gain support, another turn
you see the press is staying quiet
we wonder now who got them hired

You see, there is the Sound of Silence, an actual silence. Try finding anything regarding Tesco in 2015 regarding PricewaterhouseCoopers. You will find very very little, pretty much the absolute minimum. Perhaps you remember the wild allegations on the ‘MH370 suicide flight‘, in addition, all those claims regarding the World Cup soccer in Qatar 2022. Yet, in regards to PwC the Murdoch machine stays very quiet. I regard that this makes Rupert Murdoch the biggest pussy in newspaper publication since the newspaper concept started in the 17th century.

It took just less than two hours to realise that PwC needed investigation, the papers made close to zero mention on it, there were some casual mentions regarding ‘asking questions’, but it was as low key as technologically possible. In December 2014 it pretty much stops, feel free to try and Google it for yourself. You will find articles on how Sainsbury switches from PwC to Ernst and Young (January 16th 2015), but for the rest there is too much nothing. Not just the Murdoch groups, but in equal measure, you will find little to nothing regarding PricewaterhouseCoopers. Is that not strange? Especially as we now see how £263m inflation, caused a £6.4bn deflation. A result 24:1, it became such an interesting long term bet to make, especially by those involved. Yet many of those players are shrouded in silence.

You see another matter suddenly dawned on me. I reckon you all remember Julian Assange, from all those cables regarding the Afghan war. 5 days ago, they decided to also go public on all those Sony hacked cables. We see the quote: “This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geopolitical conflict. It belongs in the public domain“. No Mr Assange! You decided to play god with stolen data and you decided the fate of this corporation by hanging out the laundry, in addition, you handed the power they wielded and threw it up in the air to be taken over by any competitor who can grow in directions they never bothered to look, because they could not be bothered taking the effort.

And as we are talking into the public domain Julian, what happened to your ‘bravery’ when you made the quote “In November, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Forbes the site has a ‘mega leak’ on an unnamed major US bank exposing an ‘ecosystem of corruption’ that will be released early this year?” I am pretty sure that this never went public. I searched high and low and your WikiLeaks page shows nothing there either. It seems to me that many parties are too scared when it comes to banks and financial institutions.

The question should be Did Julian Assange have anything ever regarding his claims on an ‘ecosystem of corruption’ in regards to a US bank. Should I not ask that question? You see, when the press at large ignores the PwC issue, many should ask questions, especially as both Tesco and Greece fill pages of text in the Guardian and several other newspapers, yet the hunt for information regarding PwC is not moving forward.

In the first article mentioned, where we see the dubious term ‘what the experts say’, NO MENTION AT ALL on PricewaterhouseCoopers (or PwC), is that not strange? The question how 10 million in costs (which I converted to 199 full time accountants working on Tesco for a full year alone) did not reveal anything in time, so how could such a managed event stay hidden? In several articles we see a similar quote as I am adding here, a quote that in many cases was the very first paragraph of articles late October 2013. “DELOITTE has completed its review of Tesco’s overstated half-yearly results and confirmed that its black hole is even bigger than the £250m previously declared and goes back even further than the supermarket group had originally stated“, which means that these auditors ‘missed’ it for a longer period of time. A thought I had in the first few hours, was confirmed a month later (which is fair enough, they hard to check many numbers before stating anything), yet I saw and reported on this (as well as my thoughts), having no economic degree, just me as an analyst saw what the press has been ignoring ever since.

One of the more revealing articles was in the Financial Times named ‘UK accountancy watchdog hits PwC with two separate probes‘ (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/98e02452-89c8-11e4-9dbf-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3Y3cymr54), which was in late December 2014, after that the news and the hunt for the Priced and watered Coopers stops on nearly all media fronts. I wonder how they pulled that one of. The fact that there is almost no visibility on the two probes is only more cause for concern, but those experts all have ‘something’ to say in this matter. Isn’t it nice that they did not have anything to say, or did not say it out loud before the calamity was seen. All those Tesco projects, ready to roll, not one came with the considerations ‘Tesco is spreading itself too thin‘, which is nice before the fact, but pointless, bordering on clueless after the fact. I especially liked the quote from Mike Dennis from Cantor Fitzgerald, you know, one of those after the facts proclaimers. “We believe Tesco should consider closing 200 underperforming supermarkets/superstores and focus on growing the more profitable remaining 700 stores (excluding Express); in addition, this should also allow for £40m of cost-savings from the closure of a distribution centre“, you see, my issue is twofold.

The first is where the ‘under’ performing line lies. Is underperforming, working at a loss, or at a minimal profit? The reality remains that people need groceries, so if an ‘underperforming’ shop is closed another will open with a different label and now that lost revenue will go somewhere else. My second issue is that 40 million in savings. You see, if those 200 shops are spread all over, that distribution centre will still be needed, even if the amount of stores decreases, someone will need to open a grocery store and this distribution centre could service independent supermarkets to some degree, meaning a small additional revenue. Then we get the second set of debatable solutions “Matt Davies, Tesco’s UK CEO as of 1 June, should consider a further reduction in staff and a significant simplification of central functions and category management. Aldi UK today generates twice the sales per full-time employee compared to Tesco UK and is expected to report higher trading profits“, reduction on staff? Where? You see, it is nice to ‘opt’ for simplification, but in my experience in 100% of the cases, simplification was not a bad thing, but it came at some expense, what is that expense and will it hurt down the line? The biggest fun can be seen when you read the part of Philip Benton. It all reads nice, but the issue I have is at the end in this case. “The retailer is in the midst of a huge restructuring after selling off much of its portfolio including Blinkbox and Tesco Broadband as well as the forthcoming sale of market research unit Dunnhumby and undergoing a complete overhaul of its leadership“, my issue is the possible ‘inflated’ that Dunnhumby represents. You see, it could be regarded as inflated as its value is determined by what the buyers will offer. In the end Dunnhumby represents well over 140 million a year and it also represents undocumented savings. You see, if a lot of the marketing and visibility research is done at market value, Tesco will face that they either deal with additional costs (not small ones) or not do the research. Both are bad ideas. None of these ‘experts’ are looking into the amalgamation of services that Dunnhumby could offer via Tesco and/or for Tesco. Dunnhumby is a massive data warehouse and it should have loads of options. Moreover offering these additional services (in the trend that Google has done with ‘Gmail for work’ could open up new capital gaining opportunities. Now, as the economy is slowly starting over the next 3 years, those who grow could need data insight that is currently available via Dunnhumby. This means financial and revenue growth that shows a healthy future, giving that away in some sale to recoup 2 billion, from a 6 billion loss that was all based upon degraded value seems like a very bad idea to me. Even if most of that 2 billion is recovered, the invoices that follow will put pressure for a larger part on Tesco.

Consider that the interest on 2 billion is 70,000,000, now consider that not only are them making 100 million plus, they are also the centre of data, a place Tesco will desperately need in the coming 2-5 years. Not having it could imply more costings for Tesco. No one seemed to be considering that part of the equation at all.

So, reality now, will stores be closed? That seems unavoidable, yet closing stores also means no more revenue, dumping the location at a loss and a few other items linked to this. Tesco needs to grow again, but the method remains debatable. I would have thought that moving more towards an Aldi/Lidl margin might make a difference, will it be enough? Whatever move it will make, it will need data to support and test the foundations with, so I personally feel that this requires the non-sale of Dunnhumby (for now). You see, I still see the centre with Dunnhumby for another reason. When you look at their site, you see a list of the large corporations, that is all good (and it brings home the bacon), but they are also sitting on loads of Tesco data as well. What if aggregated parts could be linked to small firms, smaller firms who end up with a dashboard solution, where their limited data is linked to that massive Tesco Data Warehouse, where these smaller companies, for a small fee get a dashboard uniting their data with Tesco demographics. Now we have a whole new clientele in a business setting, so before those supermarkets get closed, they should see if a small corner of it could be an added business venture. Likely those prospective clients will be in larger area’s where Tesco remains operational, but we now have an added service and Dunnhumby has an optional new suite (based on for example SAP dashboard) that opens up new ventures and even added consultancy and training. In these times the innovators will cause growth to evolve, selling off things only makes for lost market share (even though some non-profit ventures should always be considered for scrapping).

Are my ideas so outlandish? You must always consider that part, for the simple reason that the sceptical approach causes no harm and the proof that follows will only create futures. The following quote is as old as the hills, so it should not be a surprise to anyone in this field: “Sales will blame Marketing for the lack of quality leads with repetitive precision, whilst Marketing will blame Sales for not acting on the leads on time, or at all. When nobody has any reliable stats to back up their ‘verdict’, the arguments go on forever and nothing gets done”. Now, consider all these new firms, those new start-ups, or just one man companies like for example Electricians, Plumbers and Painters. They have no Sales or Marketing at all in most cases, would it not be nice if they had a simple dashboard based option that can help them focus on where possible opportunities lie? Not to mention usual retail like family bookshops and leagues of small pharmacy places that could do better. The solution I suggested could help them focus on where to look next. The great thing is that for the most, the same basic solution will work for all, they would only need a set of very specific filters in addition to the demographical ones. A solution that could be automated to the larger extent. One simple market, there for the taking. Did anyone consider that?

And as we look into these possibilities, we get back to the beginning, how could all the financial data be so opaque that it escaped the view of PwC, when we look at all these claims by experts, how did none of the warning lights light up, especially when we consider the words of Deloitte “these auditors ‘missed’ it for a longer period of time“, now I have brought you from the premise, past the innuendo to the basic view on how data can be new business too. Finally, when we consider the following quote that was in the Guardian “Further positives include that Tesco did in fact make a bigger trading profit than the market believed was possible (£1.4bn v. £760.86m consensus)“, this reads, they did twice as good, this means that Tesco is getting back on its feet. Yes, I did read that it is less than it was, but still, they got one dot four billion in, which is a lot better than Greece and most traders want them to get 7 billion regardless, so I think we should consider that many are willing to dump 7 billion on a location of non-cooperation, whilst they will drown a corporation fight to achieve and collect ACTUAL revenue. What a double standard we live by!

If we go by the simplest stats (not an accurate one), then we see that Tesco exceeded by £700M, which is 23% of the £3 billion loss, Greece cannot even raise 10% of what is due shortly, so it is time to look at what is real and look at why the press seems to be ‘avoiding’ (read not actively digging) into Pricewaterhouse Cooper either. But I will leave that to what I would currently regard to be the ‘Pussy’ family (Witherow, Rusbridger, Murdoch et al). Should you consider the path I walked here to be ‘inappropriate’ then Google ‘Tesco+scandal+2015‘ (837.000) and Google ‘PwC+scandal+2015‘ (271.000), now look at the amount of Newspaper links we find in the second one (almost none and many of these links are 2014). I think I made my case here, I just wonder what scared the press to this extent away from a story.

So as we see the quotes “Over the full year, the profit margin in the UK was 1.1%, a far cry from the impossible 5.2% that Lewis’s predecessor, Philip Clarke, ridiculously attempted to defend” and “Lewis must show that the ‘early encouraging signs from what we have done so far’ will produce a discernible improvement in profits“, yet no mention on the previous directors, regarding ‘cooking’ the books and still no mention of the Auditor either. It seems that everyone knows that the dice are loaded but no one is willing to say it out loud.

What else is not reported on regarding the 24:1 loss?

 

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Authentically Realistic

Whilst we see many sources talk about the need of blaming North Korea, we see an abundance of changes that are now not just changing the way we think, but these changes will also change the way we live and act. As we are soon to be lulled into more false sense of security, we must now content with the thought, what is real and what is not.

In IT these issues have existed on several layers for a long time, yet the overall lack of Common Cyber Sense has been absent for a massive amount of time. Bradley Edward Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning is only one of several parts of this puzzle. Wikileaks has added its own levels of damage and let us not forget the acts of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. This is not on how things were done; it is about a lack of proper measures and controls. In the age of people screaming that they have a right to know, they will publish whatever they can for the need of ego and then scream on how the government is abusing their right to privacy.

These are all elements that link back to ‘Common Cyber Sense’.

CCS as I call it has in its foundations a few branches. The first is proper use and knowledge. Many still laugh and sneer at manuals and proper use of equipment, yet when other people started to ‘look’ through their webcams on laptops into their privacy, smiles disappeared quickly. We live in an age where everything is set around the fake image of comfort, it is fake because comfort at the expense of security is never comfort, it is just an added level of danger into your own life. At this point people forget that what is set into software, can usually be switched on and off at the leisure of a skilled ‘someone else’.

Buying what is cheap and what is right are worlds apart, that part is more and more a given fact. The bulk of people are lulled into ignoration when it comes to a simple easy tool that can be used everywhere, at which time they forget to ask ‘by everyone?’. Consider the HP laptop (one of many brands) has a build in webcam at the top of the screen, instead of relying on a software switch, these makers could have added a little slide that covers the lens, literally a low-tech solution making the lens see nothing, as far as I can tell, no one took that precaution for the safety and security of the consumer, is that not nice?

The second branch is access. If I got $.50 for every person that uses their name, ‘qwerty’ or ‘password’ or even ‘abc123’ for their login, I could buy a small Island like Hawaii or New Zealand, probably even both. Even though many websites and systems demand stronger passwords, there is always that bright person who uses the same password for every site. This is part of a larger problem, but let’s move on for now.

Third is the connection branch, places where we can ALWAYS connect! You think that not having passwords on your home Wi-Fi makes you safe? Wrong! You could add loads of problems on every device that connects to it by not properly setting things up. I wonder if those with an automotive router have considered the dangers of not setting it up properly and letting all the people they pass access to whatever is connected to it in the car.

The fourth branch is for the unknown. This might seem like a weird option, but consider how fast movable technology is growing, I am using ‘movable’ and not mobile, because this changing field includes phones, laptops, PDA’s, tablets and other not yet defined devices (like the apple watch, handheld game systems and consoles).

At the centre of all this is proper usage, but not just your hardware, it also includes your software, a fact many have remained oblivious to.

At this point, I will take a temporary sidestep and let you consider the following term ‘non-repudiation’.

Non-repudiation is about identity and authentication. Basically it states, ‘you and you alone‘ have sent this item (message, photo, financial transfer). In legal reasoning this will be the strong shift that will most likely hit many people in 2016 and onwards, it could hit you this year, but there are more than just a few issues with this situation for the immediate now. So when you lose your money and you state you were hacked, then you might soon have to prove it, which means that any evidence that you EVER gave your password or pin-code to a spouse, lover, boy/girl friend or sibling means that you nullified your rights. You get to pay for the consequences of THEIR acts at that point.

So when we see biometrics, we think fingerprint, we expect to be a lot safer. WRONG! Only last month did a group in Germany show how they recreated the finger print of the German Defence minister from simple digital photos, which means that this could have given them access to a whole collection of items, events and information they should not have gotten access to. So what to do? Well, that market is growing really fast. ‘Vein’ is the latest. It does not rely on fingerprint, but on the veins in a finger or hand, it is just as unique as a fingerprint, it is a 3d issue, making it even more secure and it requires an actual living hand. It also will lack the dangers of influence that a retinal scan has when a woman gets pregnant, or in case of a diabetes patient or alcohol levels. These all can shift retinal scans, with the added problem that this person stays outside the lock, becoming the valid person ‘no-more’. Yet, ‘Vein’ is still a new technology and not currently (or in the near future) available for movable devices, which gives us the issue on what devices are actually decently secure.

Let’s not forget, that even though this is not an immediate issue, the people will need to change their possible ‘lacking’ approach with more than just slow muffled interest, whilst they rely on the comfort of not having to comprehend the technology. That part is still not completely disregarded in several cases, the issue at Sony being likely the most visible one for some time to come. There is still a massive amount of actual intelligence missing. Most speculate, including me (yet I have been looking at these speculators and claimers of facts). Whilst Sony is visible, there are still unanswered issues regarding the NSA and how a place like that had the implied intrusion Edward Snowden claimed to have made.

Now let us take a step back to the four branches. I showed the webcam issue in the first branch, but the lack of consideration by the user is often a bigger problem. You see, many ‘lock’ their device, or just walk away and switch their screen off. Their computer remains connected and remains accessible to whoever is looking for a place to hack. I know that waiting 45 seconds is a bother at times, but learn to shut down your computer. A system that is switched off cannot get hacked, the same applies to your router (which actually has the added benefit of letting your adapter cool down, making the device last longer) and your overall electricity bill goes down too, all these benefits, all neglected for the fake comfort of accessing your social media the second you come home. Yet proper usage also includes software upgrades. Many do them, but more often than not, they tend to be made when the system reboots, when this is not done (or the software upgrades are not made) your system becomes increasingly at risk for intrusions of all kinds. Windows 7, which is a lot better than either Vista or Windows 8, still required 84 patches in 2014. With over half a dozen being either critical or important, you see why even in the best of times, under all conditions met, you still run some risk. And this is just Windows; in 2013 they had to fix 47 vulnerabilities regarding Outlook, explorer and the Windows kernel. There was a massive issue with remote execution, which means that your system was open to the outside without the need for a login (source: PCWorld). Now, to their defence, Windows and office are massive programs, but still, it seems that Microsoft (not just them) have taken a strong stride towards ‘comfort’ whilst ignoring ‘safety’ (to some extent).

Branch two is usually the biggest flaw. Even though many websites will require a decent level of strength (usage of small and capital letters, numbers and a special character), but that list is still way too small. The amount of people that I have met that use the lamest of simple words (like ‘abc123’) and these people cry the loudest when their money is gone. You see, it is easier to just hack your computer or device and use that system to order online via other means then it is to hack into your bank account. Yes, it is a bother (at times) to remember every password, yet in that regard you could be clever about it too. There is nothing stopping you from creating variations on a password whilst making sure it is a completely different one. I learned that someone had used her dictionary app to use a version of word of the day, she changed ‘adscititious’ into something like ‘Adsc1t!tious’. Good luck figuring that one out! (I had to look up the word in all honesty), the options become even more interesting if you speak additional languages. So, branch two is something that you the user largely control.

Branch three is actually the growing danger. It is not just when we connect, but when things connect automatically that becomes an issue (and where from). Insurance companies are more and more about your visibility, even though no official moves have been made, the day that junior uploads that catch of the day to his Facebook with dad in the background. That is the option for the members from the ‘institute of discrete entry and removal operations’ to help you with your old stuff (the missing items when you get home). The information you ‘give’ when you connect (especially on free Wi-Fi places), you see, when you connect to free Wi-Fi, more than one danger exists that others can connect to you, yes, you could learn that free Wi-Fi was the most expensive part of your vacation soon thereafter. It however moves more and more to your area of usage. As we get more connections and as we can connect from more places (like the automotive router), we will receive additional responsibilities in setting devices up properly for our safety and the safety of our children.

Now, to take a second sidestep. This is not about scaring you (a nice benefit for sure), some of these things can be prevented from point zero. Knowing what you switch off, switching off when not used are first easy and elemental steps. You see, a hacker looks for a place to get into, when your computer and router are switched off, the hacker will not spot these devices at all and move on. Hackers do not like to waste time, so when you use proper passwords, that same hacker will lose a lot of time getting access to your devices, time he could be having ‘fun’, so these two elements are already diminishing the chance of you getting transgressed upon. But in the end, there is another side. Makers of hardware and software need to become increasingly aware that their ‘toys’ have malicious usage. It was Geek.com that had the article ‘Yes, Xbox One Kinect can see you through your clothes‘ (at http://www.geek.com/games/yes-xbox-one-kinect-can-see-you-through-your-clothes-1576752/), which gives an interesting demo (without showing off anything indecent) how defined and articulate the scan system worked and it is a hackable solution, even there we see the mention that a lens cover would not have been a bad idea.

Yet we have digressed away from the heart of the matter. All these are linked, but the crown in the hardware is an increasing need for non-repudiation, showing that you and only you acted. A lack of this evidence could also go a long way in proving that you were innocent and that you were the victim. It is easy to claim that the makers are at fault and to some degree they are, but there is a growing need to have the right solution, and so far having any clean solution remains absent, whomever comes up with that could own the cornerstone of the global technology sector, an area that represents a massive amount of long term revenue.

 

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Fur ball?

OK, I thought I was done for the year, you know, the last article when I threw a little lob ball in a less serious approach to reporting events. However, that part threw me a little fur ball, almost like coughing up the Cheshire cat.

It all started with the Jerusalem Post today, at least that is when I noticed the message. The title states: ‘Israel expects world community to oppose Palestinian efforts at UN, Netanyahu says‘ (at http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Israel-expects-world-community-to-oppose-Palestinian-efforts-at-UN-Netanyahu-says-386058), true, there are issues with the entire UN debacle to some extent; my emphasis is regarding the use of ‘some’. You see, as much as I oppose the entire anti-Semitic approach towards Israel. Having a strong anti-Palestinian view seems equally wrong; however, Palestine has created this issue whilst condoning whatever Hamas did to the largest extent, which is completely unacceptable either, none of those actions make sense. The quote “Israel will oppose conditions that will endanger our future” is very much central into this. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is very correct in that statement. Hamas has always and remains ‘dedicated’ to wiping out Israel, which beckon the thought why the EEC courts would rule against giving Hamas the ‘terrorist’ label. We could argue and speculate on how this is even acceptable. Did this grow out of fear on the Islamic state presence in both Gaza and Sinai? The fact that they are growing in Libya and even in other parts of North Africa is a nightmare scenario coming true (at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/27/islamic-state-opening-front-in-north-africa/). There have been unconfirmed reports of Islamic State in Algeria, but if so, if they could start getting any level of hold in Morocco, then they are just a footstep away from Spain. That should scare the EEC plenty, they have no funds left to manage any event, and giving up Israel means that they get a little time to ‘clean up’ their border issues. This would be a step that is delusional in many ways. You see, Israel remains essential to balance in the Middle East. The Economic Judges took little notice of that part of the equation; just on the formality of what a terrorist is, (apparently blowing up Sbarro filled with civilians is not a terrorist act). By the way, did anyone notice how there dos not seem to be any paper explaining the formality in that legality? Just the fact that is was ‘a formality’.

The second quote is the one that seems to be a little debatable: “Netanyahu said that Israel and western civilization were under attack from Iran and Islamic radicals, and that this attack also included Palestinian efforts to impose a solution that would endanger Israel’s security and place its future in danger“, one part should be (as I see it): “under attack from extreme supporters within the Iranian government and Islamic radicals“, which would be more correct. I do not believe all Iranian (at present) are like that, yet open support from Iran towards Hamas has been seen, these military elements seem to get some political protection, which proves my point (to some extent), yet I am not certain (or there is at least a decent level of doubt) that it does not blanket all political Iran as I see it. The fact that President Obama announced the possibility of an American Embassy in Tehran is not a bad thing, but these developments should be closely watched, because there is an issue. It is not the fact that this meeting was with Indiana Governor Mike Pence. The act that he is a Republican and that this meeting was absent of Democratic heavy weights might be fuel for speculation were the current Democratic administration stands. Especially as the White house was unwilling to confirm or deny it stance towards Israel. This has all the makings of a political issue that should be a moral one. Israel remains under siege from rockets on a nearly daily basis, it seems that people forget how the US reacted when there was some demolition going on in New York close to the corner of West Street and Liberty street. Let us not forget that this was ONE event. Israel has remained under attack for decades. Israel now has two generations under attack from rocket fire. These events cannot be compared, but perhaps the Americans can remember their anger on September 12th, which is the feeling Israel has had for a long time. It wants to survive plain and simple. It’s neighbour will continue to attack Israel, whilst Israel wants to survive, yet, in fairness, I must look towards the other side too. I believe there can be a Palestine WITHOUT Hamas. That is an option, but Hamas does not want it, it wants to lead and to do that, it must remove Israel. It is not a puzzle, it is a simple equation, one denies the existence of the other solution, so I must side with Israel and as such, as long as there is Hamas, there can be no Palestine. A situation now worsened with the existence of Islamic state in that area.

There is another view that I must bring forth. I am not sure if I can agree with it as there are a few parts that touch on items I never looked at (it is not a small document at http://www.academia.edu/5145129/Gunning_-_The_Conflict_and_the_Question_of_Engaging_with_Hamas_in_EUISS_CP124_European_Involvement_in_the_Arab-Israeli_Conflict), but it has views that are not invalid. As such, I call to attention to the following part “They could, for example, spell out the rewards that would be forthcoming for a new unity government that would share responsibility for delivering basic services and the rule of law in both the West Bank and Gaza“, this is found on page 41. I am not stating that this is happening, but when we consider the events, it is not that far a stretch to see that this might be part of a path that the EEC is currently treading. If so, they will soon see the other side of a terrorist organisation. It remains nice and talkative as long as steps in their direction are made; when that stops when THEY need to show progress there will be delays, miss-communication and other events. Then those big business judges will see innuendo towards ‘give us the rest or else‘, then what? When THEIR ego is in play, what will they decide then? Let us not forget that they are gambling with the existence of the state of Israel. When they are told, there are 10 solutions to this and ‘no’ is not an option, whilst they contemplate what the other 8 options are, when they suddenly realise it was a binary question with a ‘no’ and a ‘yes’, the other 8 solutions never existed in the first place, then what? They might not have pulled the trigger, but they are skating towards the end of Israel for the simple comfort of mind that never existed. You see, terrorists are extremists, they only cater to the view of ‘self’, with no regard of any other view. Israel is trying to survive, plain and simple, a war that continued from 1945 onwards.

Yet, there was also a spark of visibility (in other areas), that gave me pause to consider other dimensions. Not in regarding to what goes boom, but in another direction. In the same way that we look at the EEC decision of Hamas, there is a Jewish issue that the Jerusalem post shows, which gives us another part of this cloak. It is seen at http://www.jpost.com/Israel-Elections/Rabbi-Meir-Mazuz-responds-to-Rabbi-Cohens-attack-on-Yishai-385989. As we see a needed separation of politics and Law, we see an equal need to separate state from church (as many have always seen it in the US and other places). The quotes were “Rabbi Shalom Cohen, he should be well, is a great Torah scholar, a righteous man and a great intellectual, but he does not come down to the people and, therefore, he does not understand the common people”, “He has never held public office and served most of his career as a rabbi in yeshiva and a yeshiva dean, not as a halachic arbiter dealing with the questions of Jewish law that are brought to senior rabbis for a ruling” and “Mazuz seemingly referenced one of Cohen’s recent outbursts in which he said during a prayer service at the Western Wall for the welfare of IDF soldiers during Operation Protective Edge that Israel did not need an army because “It is God almighty who fights for Israel.”“. Now I am not debating the issues as they are, I feel not qualified to do so, but there are issues as they have always been in almost any religion. I would not elect a Rabbi to political office, for the same reasons I would not vote for the election of a Catholic in that same category, each having a slight radical, absolute view. A woman’s ‘right to choose’ abortion would end pretty much immediately, also, there would be a diminished view for defence and an increase or humanitarian needs and diplomacy. Yet, Diplomacy without military power could be regarded as either pointless, or useless. Diplomacy requires a stick to fight with when ‘the’ word is ignored. It is counterproductive when we know that the stick remains ignored and the diplomatic view is ignored completely when we know that there is no stick in the first place. This is the damage that Julian Assange created, which too many ignored. The anti-American league had a field day when they saw WHERE the US had made commitments, knowing where the stick was, toppled many American diplomatic endeavour, whilst they remained in the dark where the other sticks were. That view is only emphasised when we see the Jewish elections. How can the people be served without their military need for defence? Is that not counter to the Torah? If we know that the IDF abides by what is seen as “The Torah establishes the boundaries of what is permitted and forbidden in war for both individual and for society“, which gives us how Hamas waged war, yet the ‘legalised’ view of the EEC disregarded that overall view and reacted to, what I regard to be an economic view of judgement, which gives us the escalating issues. The added incentive here is that no one has actually give any visibility on how the ruling was made, on what legal premise is was founded, is this not strange too?

So, as we consider on who makes rulings on how judiciary choices are made, we must consider that the players have their own agenda. Whether we should consider how the law is seen (by some) and when we see how economies ad terrorists make decisions, in a morally biased way how, is any of it regarded as legal? Is there a boundary between those who fell from a rocket and those who fell through economic ‘treason’? How does that reflect differently on the victim? There is a famous quote we see Lee Marvin make in the movie ‘The Big red one’ (one of my five all-time war movies). There he states “We don’t murder; we kill“, I am certain that it did not matter to the one whose live we end, only to our own morality to pull the trigger. A morality a terrorist or a stockbroker for that matter does not seem to have.

You see, the sniper kills (or murders) for the protection of others, the terrorist and stockbroker acts for the wealth (or survival) of self at the expense of (all) others, elements of the same sides of two different coins.

So as the fur ball coughs up a Cheshire Cat, we must worry for the future, we all seem to disregard certain values and adhere to choices of our own survival, even if that requires us to realign our morality, just the slightest. As Saruman the White becomes Saruman of many colours, we see the fading of white, the finding of what was actually right and we lose ourselves into a world where we remove the fences that were there to protect us all. What happens next? I do not know, or even pretend to know, but I do worry, because 2015 is likely to be a year of turmoil, a year where we had to focus on a better economy, a side that might be pushed aside for whatever escalation comes next.

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