Tag Archives: Mastercard

What’s the name, what’s the game?

I saw the news a few days ago, and for the most it does not matter to me, but there is an awful lot of hypocrisy going around and the media is (as I personally see it) as tainted as anything else. The stage is set to Elon Musk, or better stated is set against Elon Musk. Why? Don’t really know the man, but he seems the modern day Midas. Whatever he touches turns to gold. He made an upheaval in the battery market, the mobile market, the energy market. The man is (allegedly) an inventor like me, or he can see proper innovation just like Steve Jobs. How is this a bad thing? Consider the news that he was getting involved in social media. Why not? I do not know if it is a bad idea. But he has the dough to become part of it. Yet the Sydney Morning Herald gives us ‘Elon Musk launches $58 billion hostile takeover of Twitter’ (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/elon-musk-launches-hostile-takeover-of-twitter-20220414-p5admv.html) as such lets take a look at what constitutes a hostile takeover? The definition gives us “A hostile takeover occurs when an acquiring company attempts to take over a target company against the wishes of the target company’s management. An acquiring company can achieve a hostile takeover by going directly to the target company’s shareholders or fighting to replace its management” is this true? CBS gives us ‘Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter for $43 billion’, so who is giving us the truth and who is giving a stakeholder a blow job? You think this is rude? You ain’t seen nothing yet. We can argue until the sun goes down, but the setting of finance is clear. If a company is worth it, or could become worth it, you buy it. This has been the case in many occasions. Yet no one is saying that about Microsoft and Blizzard. There we get ‘Activision Blizzard/Microsoft Deal Discouraged by Letter Penned by SOC Investment Group’, how quaint.

So it was today when I saw (at https://www.reuters.com/technology/twitter-adopts-poison-pill-fight-musk-2022-04-15/) ‘Twitter adopts ‘poison pill’ as challenger to Musk emerges’, it is the Guardian version where we see “The method, known as a “poison pill” in the finance world, suggests Twitter will fight Musk to prevent a hostile takeover. It would go into effect if a shareholder were to acquire more than 15% of the company in a deal not approved by the board and expires 14 April 2023.”You see my issue is with the ‘hostile takeover’ part. The guardian gives us those goods with “Jack Dorsey, Twitter founder and former CEO, noted in a tweet on Friday that such surprise purchases are always a risk for the company. “As a public company, Twitter has always been ‘for sale’,” he said. “That’s the real issue.” Musk is already facing legal action for his Twitter purchases, with one investor suing the Tesla executive in a potential class action lawsuit for failing to disclose his buy-up of shares before the required deadline to do so. The lawsuit comes as Musk faces a number of investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission for his investment activities, including insider trading allegations related to his own tweets.” So we see ‘insider trading’, we see ‘hostile takeover’ but we are given no real evidence of either. Merely the word ‘allegations’ that everyone is overlooking. 

The stage becomes even weirder as we consider the actions that Microsoft unleashed on the gaming industry and it is casually trivialised by too many media outlets. 

In all this the statement “he wanted to release its “extraordinary potential” to support free speech and democracy across the world.” Is trivialised by “Twitter’s board on Friday unanimously approved a plan that would allow existing shareholders to buy stocks at a substantial discount in order to dilute the holdings of new investors”, there is no real setting of who these board members are, the media seemingly forgot about that part. These members that include Bret Taylor (SalesForce), Parag Agrawal (CEO Twitter), Mimi Alemayehou (Mastercard), Egon Durban (Silver Lake), Martha Lane Fox (House of Lords), Dr. Fei-Fei Li (Stanford), Patrick Pichette (Google), David Rosenblatt and Robert Zoellick (AllianceBernstein Holding L.P.) there was a unanimous objection to the purchase by Elon Musk and no media outlet had anything from these members with the simple question ‘Why oppose?’. There might be a very valid reason, but I and all others were not informed, so what gives?

We can speculate on why it was done. Elon Musk sees that the US is going after the billionaires. As such he might be buying anything he can to drop the tax rift, and lets face it, he has been turning things to gold and Twitter is a golden idea. So whilst we see all kinds of objections on how analysts see (and say) things like “KeyBanc Capital analyst Justin Patterson downgraded the social media company in the wake of Elon Musk’s buyout proposal. Patterson cut his rating to sector weight, after being at overweight since January 2021, saying that the potential for the Musk bid to “go up in smoke” will turn investor focus on a more challenging macro environment that elevates downside risk to financial estimates.” I personally honestly do not know what will happen, but when a person buys a company, a person that has transformed several companies into powerhouses, I wonder what really is going on. It could be simple, it could be complex, yet the larger station is that people laughed at Tesla and now we see “As of April 2022 Tesla has a market cap of $1.018 Trillion. This makes Tesla the world’s 6th most valuable company by market cap according to our data.” So as I see it, the joke is on them. What was an idea is now 6th on the most valuable companies on the market and that is behind Apple, Microsoft, Aramco, Alphabet, and Amazon and as I gave voice to Microsoft, there is every chance that it will head of Microsoft in the next 3 years. And that is whilst no one has a clue where Meta will end, because they will become part of the top 7 soon enough (2024), and that too is out into the market. So I have questions and the media is not asking the board members of Twitter, or Elon Musk a clear set of questions. And all that before someone decides to ask KeyBanc Capital a few uncomfortable questions. So what is in the name Twitter, what is in the name Elon Musk and what is in the shares game being played now. No matter what is happening, I feel certain that the media will not properly inform us, that mush seems a personal given. Yet in all this we see the approximation of “to support free speech and democracy across the world”, it seems to me that Elon Musk is giving us options, options in mobile technology and energy technology. Who else has been giving us that? I see questions and no one asking them, it is weird, is it not?

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When it was about safety

That is the stage I was woken up to, a stage that is no longer about ‘safety’ but about convenience. And people will pass corpses just to give marketing a chance to set the phrase “This will be a lot more convenient to you” and it is a dangerous step. In one direction the news is good news. It shows that not only was I on the money when I wrote ‘As banks cut corners’ on September 7th, a mere three weeks later we see ‘Researchers find Apple Pay, Visa contactless hack’ (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-58719891). Here we are given “researchers were able to make a Visa payment of £1,000 without unlocking the phone or authorising the payment”, a setting that evolved for people to bloody lazy to unlock their phones. Lets be clear this is a setting regarding commuters to make quick contactless payments without unlocking their phone. That gate is coming up and you know this 30 seconds in advance and unlocking the phone takes mere seconds. So when we get in opposition “Visa’s view was that this type of attack was “impractical”” did anyone tell VISA that they are marketing themselves as a bunch of tossers? There is nothing impractical about £1,000, 20 hits a day and the young entrepreneurs are sitting on a healthy income and it will take time to solve it after which someone else can make a new hack.

And Apple is not free of blame either. The response “This is a concern with a Visa system but Visa does not believe this kind of fraud is likely to take place in the real world given the multiple layers of security in place”” gives criminals the stage where they can get away with it for some time. So how long until low income people can get a transit ghost? And all this is happening because there was no proper testing. Yet, it is an outlier and it was unlikely that people were seeking in this direction, but that will soon change. All because people were not willing to go through the inconvenience of unlocking their phone. So how long until this stage evolves beyond the Metro? Your first cup of coffee, your quick lunch, your cinema line, and that list goes on, all because of convenience we now see a stage where Apple and VISA are optionally catering to crime and organised crime (if they have a Filofax it is very organised crime). 

A stage that is out in the open and we see deflection from VISA and to a smaller extent from Apple too. In this it is Dr Andreea Radu, of the University of Birmingham who seems to be the voice of reason with ““It has some technical complexity – but I feel the rewards from doing the attack are quite high”, she said, adding that if unaddressed “in a few years these might be become a real issue””, in addition we see that Samsung Pay and MasterCard cannot be exploited like that. So there is a stage where this goes (as the academics say) tits up. Concert tickets, beverages in any trade show all places where it is about small transactions and as they are all about the convenience of the people the criminals get to have a laughing feast, a feast with all the trimmings because the banks, in this case Financial Institutions cut another corner, optionally straight into your bank balance. 

Enjoy your contactless payments today.

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Yay discrimination!

Yup, that has to go down like a kick in the head, does it not? But that was the thought I had when I was confronted with the BBC article ‘Mastercard severs links with pornography site’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-55267311), now personally I do not care about Pornhub. I don’t think I have ever been there, honestly. I am not anti or against porn, in Europe it was available on nearly every corner and a lot of it for free, as such I got over that need decades ago. So, whatever, I (for the most) do not care, but I hate hypocrisy, I hate it with a passion. So when I see “Mastercard says it is ending the use of its cards on the pornography platform Pornhub after a review confirmed the presence of unlawful content”, yup, it is an option they can take, but at the same time they are setting themselves up for a court case regarding discrimination by Pornhub. You see, when we consider “Members of China’s Uyghur ethnic minority are being used as forced labor in factories far from the so-called reeducation camps that have held them for years in Xinjiang, according to an extensive new report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), a think-tank founded by Australia’s government” (source: Quartz), if I remember my law lessons, slave labour is illegal, is it not? 

As such, how many Nike shops were banned by Mastercard as well? How many Apple Stores are not able to process Mastercard? The New York Post (25th July) gave us ‘Nike should quit lecturing on social justice — and atone for using slave labor in China’, where was Mastercard at that point? Oh and according to ABC VISA is doing the same thing and for both I see no actions on Nike, Apple and a few others, like fashion stores that have been involved in ‘Aussie fashion retailers accused of driving poverty in Bangladesh with cut-throat pricing in new Oxfam report’, this came from Nine News 3 weeks ago regarding an Oxfam report, so where were VISA and Mastercard barring “Some of the biggest Australian fast fashion brands” in this? Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander, I say. But it seems that hypocrisy is high with the financial institutions. Now, I am not stating that Pornhub is innocent, even as we are told “A New York Times investigation accused the site of being “infested” with child-abuse and rape-related videos”, it calls for investigation and pressure, but the voice of Mastercard and VISA stating some holier than though barring, all whilst they have no issue processing slave labour goods is a bit much, even for me.

So when we get “Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof named it in his New York Times article, saying he “didn’t see why search engines, banks or credit-card companies” should “bolster” Pornhub”, I am willing to initially side against Pornhub on matters and when we see a name like Nicholas Kristof, we all want to see where and how he got the data he used, fair is fair, yet in this, I see the actions by VISA and Mastercard as a BS approach towards the limelight. Especially when we see reports of Oxfam and several others on the other issues. But I reckon that these two card companies will hide behind the ‘too complicated an issue’ and will continue as usual, but as I see it, they are discriminating foundations and if Pornhub wants to extract a billion in losses from these two, I would be able to live with it, but it does not take them off the hook. Even if we are told “Pornhub, which has denied the claims”, I would want to look into the evidence of Nicholas Kristof, I have had my doubts on journalists several times, but this is a Pulitzer Prize winner, they tend to remain well above board, in this Pornhub is the lesser trustworthy of the two on a mere glance, and I state that speculatively, I have not seen the evidence and I hope that Nicholas Kristof will hand over that evidence to the press on a much larger stage. Yet, we need to see Pornhub like a much less puritan version of YouTube, or Facebook (me thinks), as such they facilitate automated distribution, just like social media, but they too need to look into matters to a much deeper degree, if I believe that social media must do this, then players like Pornhub must too, and if there are criminal issues, they need to be dealt with and fast. We cannot say for sure what is criminal and what is fake criminal and the track is not an easy one, a source (Tweaktown) gave us in December 2018 “Pornhub saw 4.79 million videos uploaded in 2018, with 147GB per second”, this might not be as much as YouTube, but it cannot be too far off and a place like Pornhub does not have the infrastructure that Google has (my speculated view), as such there is every chance that criminal activities will pass the filters and not be seen until it is much too late, and yes, something needs to be done, but we can do without the hypocritical BS that VISA and Mastercard are giving us, if anything Pornhub needs the funds to upgrade their hardware on detection, investigation and reporting, that’s how I see it.

You know, this article might have the most use of the letters pee, ohh, arr, enn ever. Oh Joy! Well, time to enjoy Saturday with a strong cup of coffee and a sandwich.

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