Tag Archives: Luc Sala

A fair call

I have been outspoken in the past on the US Administration speaking out on things they hardly understand, more specifically the nuts and fruits division (aka US Senate and US Congress), yet this morning I got confronted with one of such calls and I find it hard to disagree. The article that I initially saw on ABC (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-09/google-facebook-banking-senate-inquiry-fintech/12856080) where we get told ‘Senate inquiry asks whether Facebook, Google should be regulated like banks’ is the foundation of a much larger stage, and in the I find it weird that Apple is not named either. You see the quote “The inquiry — which in September handed down an interim report into other issues including regulation of buy now, pay later platforms such as Afterpay and Zip — is now examining whether it is dangerous to have large tech giants offering banking or other financial services”, is more than simply on the money, there is a whole range of services pushed and prodded towards consumers, if anything, the fact that players are faced with games like Gardenscape who continue their deceptive advertising trough games is a mere indication of how bad it could get. There is a basic level of protection that consumers are entitled to and as I personally see it they will not be getting it. 

Now, if these tech providers want to facilitate financial services whilst their services are not linked and behind a Chinese wall, isolating data and speculative insight away from the financial services it is one thing, it would level the playing field with the other providers. Yet in it current stage that setting is indeed extremely unbalanced, unbalanced towards their competitors and more important it will be unbalanced for the consumers who need a honest chance. 

So whilst we are getting treated to “Senator Bragg says our personal data has become an asset and the tech giants could be regulated so they use it fairly”, my response towards Andrew Bragg is that he is wrong, or perhaps incorrect is a much better word here, it is not regulation, it is isolation from internal and external data sources. Which means that if Banco Googly wants to extent a loan to Jack the Keyboard Hammer for a $99 new keyboard, they will have to do their own due diligence and use the methods the other banks and financial services have. That is the only way to keep level playing field. 

Now, player like Google Facebook and Apple might claim that the data link will allow cheaper loans, the might optionally be true, but when you get to the other side of the seesaw, and the seesaw is down for you, the data links might give you less options or more expensive options for the longest of times and the would not be fair. In that regard, have you ever seen ANY financial institution who set your wellbeing over their need for profit, please give me their name, because the alleged law firm known as Mandacious, Dissembling and Sneaky, who will inform you that there are leagues of financial institutions the always have your wellbeing at heart, all whilst you know that there are none that actually do. 

So, yes, I do believe the these tech giant have a much larger drive to own more and more money and there is nothing wrong with the, but they are doing it with a massive unfair advantage leaving banks with the empty jar of watered down milk as tech giants get to skim the cream of every milk delivery, it would be an unfair advantage, with larger implications when they start connecting financial data to the data the they already have, it would be a stage where we get a larger segregation of those who have versus those who have not. A stage that Dutch Journalist and tech savvy person Luc Sala warned us all against in the late 80’s, so 30 years ago he saw this level of segregation through technology, and when did personal segregation EVER have positive consequences? Ask the African Americans, the US Latino’s, optionally Native American Indians. Ask them what positive result they saw from segregation. Oh, and by the way good luck getting out of the room alive when you ask. 

Yet there is a larger stage the Google, Apple and Facebook will face and they already have the larger pieces in place to avoid them, as such regulation does not solve anything, it merely gives rise to legal loopholes, as I personally see it, the segregation of those services is the only decently clean and complete stage the void a lot of traps (most of them, not all), there is a larger stage where Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (yup they are in it too) can set the stage of offering testing data, but the should only be allowed if that data is open to all financial institutions and for the same price. You see, they are not alone, that field has has layers like Equifax, TransUnion, Dun & Bradstreet, LexisNexis and a few more, as such there is a stage where their data has more unequal benefits, which is interesting, the article never mentioned them, so whilst some are amazed by people like Andrew Bragg and their PowerPoint voice, yet the data keepers the re out in the field now are not on the ticket here, it seems weird as they have been around and their impact is not to be ignored, so why did Andrew Bragg miss that? 

And the final quote is “Senator Bragg calls it a “game changer”, although critics have pointed out that without careful consideration, it could have serious privacy implications, among other concerns”, so what is his game, when we see ‘serious privacy implications’, I merely wonder who is buttering his bread, because the few I mentioned have a much larger impact, one the is never to be ignored and they have been involved in the financial industry almost forever setting the bar of allowed data versus insincere, or unjust data, a term that should have been in the article as well. You see the unequal field is created by some having more data as well as second degree data. Second degree, or secondary data is where it is at. We can consider that Secondary data refers to data, collected by someone other than the user. Yet what is the case is that these sources of secondary data is often collected for other means and other settings, like social science which includes censuses, information collected by government ad commercial departments for other means; organisational records and data that was originally collected for other research purposes, research purposes that are now reused without the users knowledge. And that is beside the station that some of this data is cleaned badly, and often linked to settings the are no longer relevant, yet they are there connected to a user setting an unrealistic view and optionally ignoring the setting that the created debt is false. The person will soon learn the he/she cannot pay it back, or it is rated as just that little more expensive. 

All stations that players like Experian and Dunn & Bradstreet arm against, for their needs as well as the good of the people. These tech giants are nowhere near the level of clean (and optionally corrected) data. As such there is a fair call to disallow these tech giants their Fintech arm, unless it is completely isolated from their other business arms.

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It was never about you

We get it, some players work on a multitude of levels. That is fine, but when a company makes hay through marketing that they are all about the consumers and we get ‘Apple delays new anti-tracking privacy measures’, we see how (what I regard to be) deceptive conduct is the alleged foundation between a company and a $2 trillion company. There is no upside for the consumer, there consumer was entitled to protection and we get “Apple said the changes were being delayed until the start of 2021 to give app developers and websites more time to adapt their services”, which makes us wonder why Apple designed the anti-tracking part in the first instance, a solution made and delayed to give trackers another way to do so, does that make sense?

So if it is a setting and we get “once the change is implemented in 2021, it will be off by default and advertisers will have to ask permission to access it”, at what stage is it in our interest to delay the change? I get it Apple needs a stream of incomes and my personal view there is one in betraying your customer base, that is the simple setting.

The other quote that matters is “Facebook has warned that Apple’s privacy plan could make one of its advertising tools “so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14””, which is fair enough, but I reckon that this will optionally cost Apple a few coins. The question becomes: what is the cut-off point and what is the trade off point for Apple and what ‘enhanced security’ will remain for the consumers? 

I reckon that there will be a massive decrease in free apps, it is mere speculation but yes, as mobile data becomes less available the pool for free apps and games will decrease. And let’s be fair, these companies did nothing illegal, but in the end, remember it is not about you, it is about the money you bring in and when was the last time you got that advertisement properly handed to you?

And in this it is Apple who states ‘Think different’, which is what we are doing, we want to see what deals Apple is making with the advertisers, which is NOT illegal lets be upfront about it. As such when we see “It is a world of consumers only”, “The market stands on the shoulders of consumers”, “A life of consumerism revolves around all that you want” and “Markets are built as per the taste of consumers”. We are getting misinformed, the world today is monetary based, so it becomes about the enablers and actively those who push it. That realisation is key in today’s world, the temporary setting of consumers is yesterday’s news and we only move forward when we learn that lesson, until then we are marketing tools and spending fools (an exaggeration I agree). To get ahead of the game we need to accept that marketing will happen, data captures will happen, but we also need to agree that our data is not a third party tool to be handed around the campfire. We might have woken up in the age of Cambridge Analytica, but this stage was not new. A Dutch entrepreneur and politician named Luc Sala already gave visibility to this setting 25 years ago, I was not the first (and I never made that claim). So as the haves and have not people are being segregated, we see a new form of discrimination, not on sex, religion or colour, but on the setting and longevity of your bank card (and the Credit Rating connected to this). Not your credit card, debt is not the equaliser, it is a timeline of how long you can service the organisation that wants you to service them. It is the power of the bank card that makes you a ‘Have’ in their eyes and that is where all the data is priming towards, because the firm who has the data most complete to distinguish the ‘Have’ people, that will be the winner and the US has been in the running the longest and now that China is surpassing them, now they cry in every direction, but as the remarked the ‘status’ of their reason for crying, we merely see the BS that they hide behind, just like Colin Powell and his silver briefcase (Iraq anyone?).

And the US has another problem, the stage was partially going smooth that is until the 45th President made a mess of the entire setting and the entire playing field, not only did he set the stage to a visible perspective, in his utter lack of intelligence he set the stage on ‘national security’ and ‘China’ whilst the evidence would not support it and as this is getting more and more visibility, Huawei is gaining momentum outside of the US and considering that there are less than 350 million Americans, and a growing customer base outside the US surpassing billions of ‘have targets’, that is the stage where the US is losing grip, that is where a lot of the Have’s are. And the stage to find them will soon change, the stage will be about uniting those who have and in this the US is behind, and the lag is increasing. 

There is no stage to make any kind of a reliable prediction who will win, but as far as I can tell, it will not be the US. The stage in the EU is still fluid, several banks were in the running. I first took notice of Credit Agricole in 2018 in that regard. The quote “Acting within the framework of a regulated activity, we offer you and provide products and services requiring the collection and use, as data controller, of the personal data of individuals related to you (for example: employees, shareholders, agents, legal representatives, beneficial owners, family members, third-party representatives, etc.) (the “Data Subjects”)” is set to a larger stage and it is important to realise that Credit Agricole never did anything illegal or against the European GDPR. Yet I took notice of ‘the personal data of individuals related to you’ and I found a little more than bargained for. So when we realise that there is more to life than being identified as a consumer and that the truth, but did you consider that you are optionally set to a different spectrum?

 

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Privacy and (fake) fears

It has been all over the news. The US government has access to your email and your details. It was quite the show to read this all yesterday and the issues this morning was set in a nothing less than A-level theatre play. A play that would make Robert Ludlum envious I might add.

The issue is that the US Government (NSA in this case) is reading your e-mails. They have been doing that for some time. Basically, it was the Patriot act that opened the (back) doors for them to get access to all this information. As they were dealing with data on a lower level in those days, their task was simple. Find Terrorists! Find those who attack America and deal with them. So readers, here is your fake fear! This is one moment where I agree with President Obama 100%. You cannot have 100% security and 100% privacy. Anyone claiming different is lying to you.

The NSA is not interested in you soliciting erotic acts from a recipient on the other side of the e-mail track. They are not interested in the deals you make offering a quick buck! So those in fear (roughly 99.8932353%) you have nothing to fear but fear itself. The part you are not afraid of is the part that SHOULD scare you. You see all that data that you ‘surrender’ to Facebook, Google, MySpace, and Friendster and so on. All THAT data you gave can be crunched, marketed and sold to companies, corporations and all who would buy them. THAT is an interesting part. That is the fear people need to have when they looked at the dangers that Dutch Equens represent (as reported in the earlier blog: ‘You might soon be sold by the banks!‘).

It is not just that part, it is the possibility that data miners offer as they combine data files in one coherent file that could be a personal ‘danger’ to you.

The NSA issues are not that. They need these abilities to fight the existing and growing threat called ‘the lone wolf terrorist’. These people are guided by sources like ‘Inspire’ magazine, which is created by AQAP (al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula). It is however not that simple. The real lone wolves get their ‘guidance’ remotely from sources most do not know and all that under the eyes of the Intelligence Community. To have a grip on stopping these people, monitoring the internet is essential to keeping us the common people safe. If you think that reading mails was enough, then you are wrong. The further going plans by some to monitor the internet is going to be an essential part. Do not think that this is a fun exercise for those involved. It is pricey, it drains resources and it is never ending. As people move to the cloud the need to monitor upcoming dangers will only increase.

Most readers will have heard of the soldier killed in Woolwich UK. Home Secretary Theresa May was quoted when the mention came that this attack was not from a ‘Lone Wolf’ terrorist. I am not opposing this thought. Yet, it cannot be denied that magazines like Inspire might be central to these events. As such it is no wonder that GCHQ wants to peek over the shoulders of the NSA to see if dangers are hitting their small island (I meant the UK, for those who wonder).

There were additional issues that are growing on several grounds, which give weight to the need of monitoring and in all of these cases people like you and me are not an issue.

For most of you feeling fear of this, your fear is unwarranted. Your fear should be how Microsoft and Sony are very interested on squeezing your details out of you as they are preparing and implementing their Next Gen consoles. That will affect you a lot sooner than the security services ever will. (Blog: ‘Government ministers, be warned!‘)

It looks almost sanctimonious that people are so shouting at these government actions and after that spread their visions with pictures and reveal all they can (and sometimes with way too much info) using Shutterfly/Instagram and Facebook. When their identities are stolen they will whine that it is ALL the fault of the government on how their identity was not safe.

Seems almost laughable doesn’t it.

When we sit on the fence we do see that there is a responsibility to hold parties to account for what they do. In case of the NSA this is Judge Roger Vinson. So, yes, someone does take a look at what is done. When did you last hear a loud scream on what Facebook is doing with your details? How about never? Only when Facebook had certain plans involving Instagram did the inner demon of personal greed scream out stating that the pictures were not to be open for business. Again we see a show of double standards. Judge Roger Vinson, born in the state where the delicious Forest Reserve Bourbon is from (Kentucky). He is the Federal Judge for the state famous for Pina Colada and cool Mojito’s (Florida). He approved the data request that the NSA made. So, yes there is oversight on this. It is however not needed for foreign requests. Is that bad? We give it freely to Facebook, so why are they stopped from sharing that with the government. Are you having that drink yet?

The NSA, GCHQ, DSD, CSE and a few others need these data streams. They would like to prevent people who are eager to get other people blown up. For you and me to stand on ‘principle’ on one side and then we give away our identity to be marketed and spammed to commercial content is just way too weird.

The world is now visibly changing. It is in my mind a little frightful as we are soon to become part of something different. As the finance markets were not contained, and soon no longer can be contained ever, we see a move away from nations and nationalities. We are about to be reduced to a metadata tag. With an added weighting that is soon to be set to ‘useful’ or ‘waste’. This was not instigated by governments and not even by the intelligence community. It was instigated by corporations behind Social media; and as we openly surrendered our details we are now placed in boxes where we can be approached. When we have moved through all the boxes and we are no longer an asset in any box we will be given the ‘waste’ tag. Then what?

These are my words, but funnily enough I was not the first one to mention this. In the Netherlands there was a New-Age entrepreneur called Luc Sala. Even from the late 80’s he evangelized the dangers of the groups “have” and “have not” and how we were allowing ourselves to be placed in these boxes. I wonder if he ever realised that not only was he correct, but that it could even fade national borders? Consider what you heard over the last months, what we will see in the next 13 months. Prime Minister David Cameron was strong about keeping the UK identity safe, to protect it. He was not willing to step out of the EU for this. That step is now being sought after by UKIP and their leader Nigel Farage.

How are these related? This is a valid question that is forming in your mind. And I have been fighting with these thoughts and especially evidence around this. Without evidence all this is nothing more than a bad level of Conspiracy Theory. You see, all these messages we read in the last few days and the next week are in my mind a smokescreen to some level. We are all so shouting about privacy. Yet, who was up in arms when MySpace started to sell their data in 2010. (Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/191716/myspace_selling_user_data.html).

Did you stop to think about your data on Facebook? Did you think ‘whatever’? So what other ‘evidence’ is there? In that case I point to several blogs I wrote, but more important you should look at more reputable sources like the Guardian and the Wall Street Times, where we faced stories in regards to the pay outs by all towards Greece, Cyprus and other nations to keep the economy ‘alive’. Whilst now we read how the IMF made errors. How a train line sucks up over 7 billion and is presently still not operational in the way it should be. This is a time and place where other nations are now giving aid as budgets are not met in various degrees by nearly all EU nations. So is it such a far stretch to see National borders fade as these issues are ‘resolved’ (read: ‘put on hold’) by group driven options. All this happens whilst we hear ‘voices’ that seem less and less aware of consequences or claim ignorance and error afterwards.

For this train of thought we need to see three parts

In the first part there is last year when this was quoted “The slight uptick is largely due to Europe, which is expected to return to very slow growth of 0.3 percent after the -0.2 percent contraction in 2012” (Source: http://www.conference-board.org/data/globaloutlook.cfm). Yet the guardian in two articles where the 2012 version stated in: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/07/eurozone-growth-next-year-ec the following “with the 17-nation Eurozone eking out expansion of just 0.1% in 2013”. However 6 months later we read in: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jun/06/ecb-eurozone-recession-deepen, where it states “European Central Bank says the Eurozone economy will shrink by 0.6% in 2013 as it considers unconventional policies to kick-start growth”. Numbers change and get adjusted, but the game can only be one of profit by those who have the right numbers (read the better data source). This game is played and replayed, again and again. This has bearing on all the privacy issue in the form of the collected data these predictors require. If the power of voicing the future is based upon data then your privacy is a thorn in the eyes of commerce as they do react to data, but whose data and created how? So as companies are making less, as economic values go down, other paths to revenue must be found and this does have bearing on your privacy, as you are data. This means you are commercial currency, not government currency as such.

This is the other side of data. Many corporations decided to ‘store’ their backup data in some High-Tech solution off-site facility, not unlike the hosting solution Peer1. Peer1 is a Canadian corporation with hosting locations in for example San Antonio (when they acquired ServerBeach). That is corporate data and as such there is an issue in this place. There had been soft voices of concern in those early days on who gets to access these data servers. American linked companies implementing off-site storage options in America from all over their European locations. Was local management realising that they gave their customer base and (financial) details to US insight?

There is NO; I say again NO evidence that these data files were ever ‘violated’ for commercial gain. If we consider the dangers of greed and in the light of what we read earlier, can we be certain that this did not happen, or even whether this is not likely to happen in the near future?

It had been clear that parties like the NSA had access. There is however a side we do need to take proper heed of. If they have access, then who else has access? From corporate documents from these hosts, corporations would have likely read how impossible access was, and how they never give out access. If that part was shown to be ‘violated’, then what other dangers lurk that these companies did not expect? (In this concept violated does not mean a legal violation as the data storage company would have been adhering to their government rules, yet the fact that corporations might not know this is a question for many and as such legal questions should be asked).

So think again, as social media is in their right to sell the data they have in some shape and that it is the price you paid for all these ‘free’ abilities that these places give you. Most do not worry, but then worry about information the government has/looks in to.

For private individuals all this is simply a fake fear.

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