Tag Archives: Nick Xenophon

It took even less time

This all started some time ago. It was September 7th 2021 when I wrote ‘As banks cut corners’ (at  https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/09/07/as-banks-cut-corners/) In that article I wrote “They merely needed some time, a $2500 computer and a decent internet connection, the pay off would be a 7 figure number and with the speed they are tracked they would be living large in another country with nothing attached to them. That is the current reality and the level of checks and balances that are missing is just too unbelievable for words. Enjoy your bank account (for as long as you still have it)” and what do you know, ABC gives us less than 20 hours ago (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-19/adelaide-man-prepares-legal-action-after-being-scammed/101452218) ‘Adelaide man enlists help from former South Australian senator Nick Xenophon after losing $36,000 to scammers’ there we see “Mr Xenophon, now working as a lawyer, is representing Adelaide car salesman Michael Edwards, who lost $36,000 to a sophisticated phone scam earlier this month.” It is one way of looking at it. I personally wonder when the stage of ‘a sophisticated phone scam’ is not met and it is simply the absence of proper checks and balances. The party line of “NAB says recovering money from scammers is often difficult” is a joke. And the setting of “after the call ended, he was still suspicious, and then spent hours on the phone waiting to talk to a real NAB fraud investigator.” Is largely a joke. It is not the man who needs to worry, it is the bank. In a full 5G network the damage will become twentyfold, and the banks need to set larger checks and balances, the fact that we see “I’m working for the NAB, I’ll send you something now on your mobile phone saying he was Mark Jacobs from the fraud department, NAB case number and all the rest of it” implies that the system, the bank system has failed. My first (and optionally incorrect) idea was that any bank has a Java-bean system that sets the stage that the person calling asks the person to start a bank application and goes towards the verification stage. Then the person can give three numbers that are encrypted and only the bank can see these three numbers and they can tell the person what these three numbers are, as such there is verification. Not the scammer gets the upper hand, but the person they try to scam and when that person does not CLEARLY state the three numbers, the person hangs up and presses the alert button. OK, this is old stuff but the stage of verification is underestimated and done away with by banks because of the customer unfriendly factor. So how friendly is losing $36,000 dollars? Things need to change and they need to change fast. When we see ““We’ve seen a significant increase in scams in recent years and its upsetting to see the devastating effects these can have on the impacted victims,” Chris Sheehan from NAB’s Investigations and Fraud group said in a statement” we see a clear setting that changes were essential years ago and soon the banks will not pay for that loss, as such they either improve the setting of security or they pay all losses, but that is merely my view on the matter and the fact that I saw this coming a year ago gives a much larger stage of reckless endangerment of bank accounts by banks. So as people like former South Australian senator Nick Xenophon know the banks have been dropping the ball, the problem is a lot larger. We the people need to realise that ‘simplicity’ of options have a risk. There is a reason why I do not allow for online banking. I have seen this flaw for close to a decade and now we see a case and it is not the first case as plenty of evidence shows. But now it will cost us money and as such the people need to change their habits and change their insufferably need for simplicity and easy access, criminals enjoy your easy access too and one person found that out by donating $36,000 to a scammer. He is not alone and a lot of criminals take a different road, they feel safer getting 50,000 pay outs of $10-$45 then one payout of $36,000. Where the banks stand? You ask them, I doubt you get a clear answer and this issue is playing all over the Commonwealth and the US. Australians lost over $2,000,000,000 last year alone. I have no clear image on how it hits the other nations but these scams are not just bank scams, so the picture is not completely clear, but something needs to be done and some message that 80 people are getting hired is not enough. But that might merely be me yammering on fictive issues. What do you think?

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For those doubting Brexit

There have been a few issues with the EU, some are petty and some only seem petty. You see, many are all in arms and all about the issue on how Canada is a good place, and it really really is. Yet, we have to understand that a trade agreement tends to be an agreement where one is better off than the other. That is a simple fact of life. A trade agreement, when completely balanced equally to all parties is a figment of the imagination of the visionary who wanted it, for the simple reason that it was in their interest. Now, that does not make the person evil or greedy, it is merely the reality of any trade agreement. Yet, when the trade agreement is done in secret, there will be additional issues. This is not such a case, but in the case of CETA (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/24/belgium-eu-ultimatum-canada-trade-deal-ceta-wallonia), there is the image that French speaking Belgium (aka Wallonia) will miss out too much in this EU-Canada deal, so they are all about not letting it happen. The article gives us ‘Paul Magnette, the leader of the Wallonia region, says the deal is bad for Europe’s farmers and gives too much power to global corporate interests‘, which would give ample voice to the justification of Wallonia trying to scuttle this deal. It does not make Canada bad or evil, it only gives voice to the European side that Wallonian farmers lose out, from their point of view too much. This shows partially the justification of Brexit; yet in equal measure it shows how the Bremain group feels scared and scarred as well as their justification that together the UK would be stronger. On one side they have a point, on the other side, we see here that if Wallonia gives in, the EU basically sells their future short and away from them. The quote “One European diplomat said that the reassurances “responded to all of Mr Magnette’s concerns”” implies that Magnette is unreasonable as reassurances were given, yet we have all seen how politicians can roll on their backs when the wind turns, so is he wrong? In this case I very much doubt it, as does politico (at http://www.politico.eu/article/meet-monsieur-paul-magnette-the-man-killing-ceta-deal-trade-agreement/). Here we see two mentions. The first is “Wallonia did its homework” as well as “In particular, he protested that CETA would leave European governments vulnerable to court action from unscrupulous multinational companies“, these are issues raised in both the TTIP and the TPP. In the TPP it was New Zealand that showed backbone, whilst Australia folded like a tissue in front of a hair dryer on high, it was not a pretty picture. We have had several issues with the US in the past, yet not with Canada. It is my personal believe that large corporations are dictating the trade agreement language to governments at large, which is cause for concern in two ways.

In the first it means that the governments are not enough about governing and a little too much regarding the status quo of the Fortune 500 they have connections to and in the second it implies that they overall quality of government legislators is dwindling too much and as such national interests are not being met, which now implies that proper taxation laws are about a decade away and nations at large cannot afford to work that way.

In that light the quote in Politico seems pretty decent: ““This treaty affects the lives of 500 million Europeans and 35 million Canadians for years and years,” Magnette told La Première channel Wednesday. “We can take a few weeks, a few months to analyse the problems and overcome them.”” Is that such a bad idea? The fact that a decision is demanded in less than 12 hours gives additional cause for concern. Why the speed?

Canadian Global Research had this quote “The CETA agreement –presented to public opinion as an innocuous “bilateral” EU-Canada trade deal– constitutes a TTIP in disguise, which would eventually evolve towards the integration of NAFTA and the EU, i.e into what might be described as a giant “North Atlantic Trade and Investment Area”. Those who are involved in the negotiations are fully aware that CETA is a back-door mechanism which would would create the underlying conditions for the formation of a North Atlantic Trading Block, i.e. a US “Imperial Project” controlled by Washington“.

This now implies that this is a new approach to TTIP, a backdoor. The part where we see “US “Imperial Project” controlled by Washington“, gives voice to the part that I have given for close to two years. The United States of America is broke and bankrupt. This is the only path that the US has left to remain in the game for a little while longer, whilst giving 98% of American power to large corporations, which n my humble opinion was never a working or acceptable solution. The fact that pressures are applied to get this done quicker and quicker only gives rise to the fact that this American Democratic administration could end up being the worst in American history and this administration needs a clear ‘win’ to be less regarded as less of a failure. What a legacy President Obama brings, no matter how this goes, it will make progression for the next US administration near impossible, so we can see why the Clinton campaign was against the TTIP to begin with. In addition, the Canadian Tyee (at http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/10/22/CETA-Failure-Reflects-Public-Rejection-Trade-Deals/), gives us “Leaving aside the odd reference to how nice Canada is, this is remarkable language that lays bare the obvious frustration and disappointment for the government, which prioritized the CETA agreement above all trade deals“, in that my personal response becomes: ‘drop the option to large corporations to sue governments‘, first they get tax breaks, now they get to sue for missed alleged profits? When did we get ourselves so retarded that this: “Currently, the US Lone Pine energy company is using ISDS provisions in NAFTA to sue the provincial government of Quebec for $250 million because it suspended shale gas mining pending an environmental study in response to community concerns“? How on earth was the mining of Shale Gas ever allowed before clear environmental studies were made?

Environmental regulations are there for a reason. When the environment is damaged, these companies tend to get really far and away when the invoice is due, trying all kinds of loopholes not to be held accountable. The Australian Newspaper The Age gives us “The high cost of ISDS makes the threat of arbitration a potent tool for the tobacco companies“, meaning that in not so wealthy countries, Tobacco, Soda drinks and alcohol companies can hold a nation over a barrel when they can find an option to apply the ISDS. Australia Spend $50 million to defend its plain packaging requirement in cigarettes. A system that allows for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), where we see the issue of alleged discriminatory practices is too dangerous. In addition, the proven dangers of tobacco, how many people died and were not compensated? How discriminatory is that?

Yet the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade gives us “Is ISDS a threat to Australia’s sovereignty? No. ISDS does not prevent the Government from changing its policies or regulating in the public interest. It does not freeze existing policy settings. It is not enough that an investor does not agree with a new policy or that a policy adversely affects its profits”, yet this is the opposite of what we see when we the Australian case of Philip Morris. The fact that only 5 days ago, News.com.au (at http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/govt-wont-reveal-tobacco-case-costs/news-story/7a81f7003241d0290685b5ce1d83f6db) gives us “Nick Xenophon wants to know what it cost taxpayers to defend the case, but the department insists it needs to be kept secret“, it gives light to the danger that the ISDS poses, it shows that Paul Magnette, the leader of the Wallonia region seems to be a lot more clued in and a lot more on the ball than those trying to get this dangerous trade pact passed and in addition, the fact that court costs are kept secret means that the taxpayer is not getting properly informed. The ISDS is more than just investors feeling safe, it is a secondary tool to get revenue up when the forecast gets downgraded by (amongst others) environmental needs and governmental freedom to set policy, although some deny that this is happening now (like the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), yet the fact that the cost is kept in secret gives indication that the sum is likely to be running towards the 9 digits, whilst it was about opposition on a health policy. Two cases like this could make most Eastern European EU nations bankrupt overnight, so there is cause for concern and in that Paul Magnette has a clear mindset in requiring more time.

In all this, the one part that is not making sense is that the ISDS could be seen that this is to protect non-visionary investors, investors that aren’t doing their homework, to give an additional option to get their money’s worth. Why on earth are we facilitating for corporate losers? If for example a UK company decides to cut corners and go for places where they learn that they are blocked, why would we give them any allowance for suing the UK government? If this example seems fair fetched, consider Philip Morris Asia Limited (Hong Kong) v. The Commonwealth of Australia. They might have lost, but the costs were really high. And this was whilst plain packaging was already in place. So getting rid of parts, or better the ISDS as a whole, would be a decent idea. Let’s not forget that if these companies were truly wronged, most common law nations have the option of proceeding through Torts.

Giving them additional options seems too far-fetched and in the end only counterproductive. No matter how many tears Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s trade minister brings to the table. In that part I wonder, why she had not considered removing the ISDS. Let’s face it, if investment is too dicey or dodgy, those companies should not go there to begin with, would that not be common sense? So why drive the ISDS? Perhaps I am oversimplifying the problem. I know that the ISDS makes sense, yet the Australian Philip Morris case shows the ISDS parts to be flawed and in light of how American and Chinese companies play the game, it is time to face the harsh reality that facilitation is becoming the lesser healthy alternative. In the end if there is profit, these companies will come.

So in the end, this was not about Brexit, but here we see in clarity, that this one market deal is not as great for the people at large as they think it is. For those only iterating that a one market deal is the only way, consider Wallonia, no matter how you slice it, people will lose out and if the court case is strong enough, you could lose a lot. A side that the Bremainers are not giving a clear view to, which is equally disturbing. There are elements on both sides, yet the disturbing one that Paul Magnette is bringing to light is one that too many have ignored. Brexit might end up giving the UK options and protections, that the EU trade agreements are currently trying to remove from the UK.

 

 

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For free or for naught?

It is less than a day after I wrote the previous blog ‘The danger ahead’, now I read in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/nsa-gchq-smartphone-app-angry-birds-personal-data) that the quote I made in yesterday’s blog “Speed and disregard of proper development has allowed for open access to many computers and devices, which allows for almost complete collection and stored and such storage can only be done by just a few. This open level of availability allows the NSA and GCHQ (amongst others) to collect open source intelligence, hoping to gain the upper hand in the war on terror.“, which is close to what the Guardian reported, as well as what is currently shown on Sky News!

At this point, I am looking at a few issues and the more I look at the data that the press is stating, the more I see that Edward Snowden is more than just a traitor. He claims being a victim in a German TV interview (at http://www.dw.de/wanted-dead-by-us-officials-snowden-tells-german-tv/a-17388431), where he speaks the fear that he is being targeted for long term sleep therapy (aka ‘terminal sleep’).

The ‘problem’ is that the issue is not just Snowden. The more I look into the breaches, the more I look into a possible functional approach on the way the NSA server parks (plural) are set up, the more I am convinced that not only was Edward Snowden not alone in this all, I feel some level of certainty that this person might still be in the NSA, endangering both NSA and GCHQ as well as other allied monitoring agencies.

The humongous amount of ‘revelations’ that are claimed in the name of Snowden do two things. First of all it turns Benedict Arnold in a stumbling saint (I just had to wash my mouth with soap for making such a claim). Linked to this is the fact that the many dozens of operations as his ‘revelations’ seem to touch on would have been on at least a dozen of servers (as projects are spread around). The fact that NSA uses an upgraded edition of SE-LINUX means that a system with logs and mandatory access control cannot get transferred to such a degree. The fact that IT and security monitors it all, as well that he was civilian contractor means that his name should have popped up a dozen times. Even if he used other accounts, the logs should have triggered alerts all over the field when they were scanned through solutions not unlike a program like Palantir Government.

The claims I am making are growing in reliability with every ‘revelation’ that is being made. There is however another side that is now the consequence of all these whingers and whiners about ‘their privacy‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/tech-giants-white-house-deal-surveillance-customer-data). We now enter a field where it is important to realise that the new situation could be regarded as a danger.

It is linked to a previous newscast where President Obama was considering moving telephony data out of government hands (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/01/23/government-privacy-board-members-say-shifting-nsa-data-to-third-parties-is-a-bad-idea/)

As stated before, this is a really bad idea. Consider that criminals, if enough money is in play, can use places like HSBC to launder their money (I am not talking about forgetting your wallet whilst washing your jeans), but the idea that commercial enterprises can get away with these events for just a 5 week fee (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2012/07/16/hsbc-helped-terrorists-iran-mexican-drug-cartels-launder-money-senate-report-says/, as well as http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/01/23/uk-standardbank-fine-idUKBREA0M0LF20140123) is a lot more dangerous than many realise. Handing data storage out of government hands is just too dangerous. I am steering away from the issue whether the monitoring program should go on or stop. The intelligence community needs to do what it needs to do. Leaving that data with third parties is just not an option. The worst case scenario would see the US government paying out billions if any data leading to a registered IP ends up in ‘other’ hands. Once that evidence is ever given, the US would lose whatever credibility they ever thought they had.

At this point the title can be used as a joke. What is the difference between for free and for naught? Someone got rich for free, the US got rich for naught! That would end up being the reality of a project that was meant to map levels of global terrorism. This joke only gets stronger when we see another ‘view of shock’, but now from Google CLO David Drummond (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-25911266). It is hard to state against his view, or the premise of the company. These carefully pronounced statements from legal eagles are to be expected from many firms for some time to come. There is however a commercial positive view (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25914731). Here we see how entrepreneurs in makeup and clothing are showing options to avoid detection. In more than one instance it is stated to be metal based, so standing next to airport detectors should be fun soon enough. I wonder how much more would get checked when the boxers or briefs are also metal based.

So whether we get entertainment for free or fashion for naught will be discussed by many soon enough, the main fact remains. If we want to remain safe, then data needs to be collected. It is not for free, or for naught. It is for the simple reason that the world is filled with bad people; some will go any distance to hurt as many as they can. Our governments have a duty to keep us safe, it is only fair that they are given the tools, the methods and the opportunity to do so.

This does get us to the final part (or final side) to these events. This morning, the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/28/microsoft-rules-out-back-door-access-to-mps-electronic-communications) reported on backdoor access allegations. The quote “Both Ludlam and South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon have been concerned about the security of Australian parliamentary communications since the Prism surveillance program was first revealed by National Security Agency contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden.” gives the information that was the part of all this. So again we see more resources squandered in regards to Snowden. Do not get me wrong, the question by both Ludlam and Xenophon is fair enough and as such it should be looked at. Whoever wants access to certain information, which might always be the case, could consider Intruding a system, which, unless you are a real expert is getting harder and harder, as it should be.

Yet, capturing and copying frames sent over a router system makes a lot more sense. You just capture it all and decrypt it later. Now, most people will not have the ability to do this, but consider the amount of elements to get this all from user1 to user2 via server X. If you think that this is highly encrypted hard to achieve effort, then think again. The more common the method used, the easier it is to read into it. So, there is a level of entertainment as we see leagues of technicians concentrate on the door of the bank vault, whilst in reality one of the walls is missing.  To give you another example, we take a look at a paper by Daehyun Strobel, Benedikt Driessen, Timo Kasper et al (at https://eprint.iacr.org/2013/598.pdf). As we look at the quote “Despite the fact that nowadays strong and well-analyzed cryptographic primitives are available for a large variety of applications, very weak cryptographic algorithms are still widely deployed in real products all over the world.” This relates to the IT issue as, we might have secure servers and powerful password rules, but files are send from one computer to another via the ‘internet’, which goes via a router system (no matter how you twist or turn it). So, as someone gets to any router on the track and wireshark’s the traffic, the stream can be rebuilt. From there the hacker still faces a few obstacles, but you better believe that above a certain skill level, this data can be retrieved. So what exactly are we all crying about?

 

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