Tag Archives: the Register

The day after the day before

I just noticed a story on Reuters, which came a day after I gave the lowdown on the GDPR. In their story ‘Companies need immediate rethink on U.S. data transfers, says watchdog’ I see “Companies seeking to transfer data to the United States must revert to new arrangements with immediate effect after the Privacy Shield transatlantic pact was declared invalid last week, a European Union watchdog said on Friday”, OK, we know that, but Reuters gives a little more, with “The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) said that companies that transfer data to the United States via standard contractual clauses would have to self-assess whether these have suitable safeguards and inform their national privacy enforcer” we see a part I had forgotten about (Yes, I forget things too), when we consider ‘via standard contractual clauses would have to self-assess’, I am confronted with a thought I had in 1998 in another station. You see there is an issue with ‘self-assess’ and ‘backups’. The self assess part is to ignore that small little data cruncher, whilst the global standardisation of back-up systems give a larger implied stage that for US Intelligence, it remains business as usual, with the optional larger workflow. Did anyone consider that?

So when we see “The EDPB, together with the European Commission, is now looking into ways to beef up standard contractual clauses and binding corporate rules that could be legal, technical or organisational”, I wonder how many delays back up solutions are given before that train ends, I reckon that it will take a while. And the situation is not new, ITProPortal gave us in 2018 “The legislation gives customers the right to be removed from the records of companies even if they have previously agreed to the collection and storage of their data. It’s called the ‘right to be forgotten’ and could be a potential stumbling block as organisations keep backup copies of their data. A request to have personal data removed, technically means that it should be removed from all copies including the cloud, or tape kept off-site in deep storage. Having to do this each time a request comes in, however, has been deemed excessive by those overseeing GDPR due to the logistical challenges it would throw up” and even if you think that it is something else, think again! We see this in “technically means that it should be removed from all copies including the cloud, or tape kept off-site in deep storage. Having to do this each time a request comes in, however, has been deemed excessive by those overseeing GDPR due to the logistical challenges it would throw up” and consider that there is a situation, we see this in “According to France’s GDPR supervisory authority, CNIL, organisations don’t have to delete backups when complying with the right to erasure. … You should also document policies and procedures for keeping backup data secure. This will include instructions on encrypting backups and where you will keep backup devices”, yes this is still about the right to be forgotten, but there is an absence on tertiary locations for backups and cloud backups, they can still be in the US, as such, the Intelligence conclave (the alphabet group) are still in a stage of business as usual. One source is giving me in 2019 “Rather than backing up everything in bulk as whole systems, organisations may find it easiest to separate systems backups and personal data backups so that systems backups can be kept for much longer retention periods than might be allowed/justifiable for the personal data”, yet the station of ‘organisations may find it easiest’ as well as ‘so that systems backups can be kept for much longer retention periods than might be justifiable for the personal data’, which in itself is not really an answer and I was surprised to the amount of ambiguity towards operational and logistical needs, whilst keeping the limelight away from backups, as such I believe that there is a lot more going on and no real matters regarding privacy will be solved any day soon. In this Curtis Preston, chief technical architect at Druva raised in 2019 “GDPR is not going to be able to force companies to ‘forget’ people in their backups – especially personal data found inside an RDBMS or spreadsheet.” (at https://www.theregister.com/2018/05/31/backup_gdpr_analysis/), and it seems that everyone links it to ‘the right to be forgotten’, so what happens to the off site backups of global databases? Are they still in the US? And why is there such a darkness around the states of backups? I find the comment ‘due to the logistical challenges’ a bit of a joke, they had years to get ready. Even closer to home, last January we see “Although Apple uses end-to-end encryption for both iMessage and FaceTime, it doesn’t do the same for iCloud backups. They are encrypted, but Apple holds the key, meaning that the company has access to a copy of almost everything on your phone – and that includes stored messages. I’d long expected Apple to fix this, but a report today claims that the company has decided not to…” so what else has not been done, and where are all these iCloud backups? If they are on an Apple Server, there is every chance others have access (speculation from my side). Which is actually not the weirdest thought, when we go back to 2018 and consider “authorities also discovered a series of hacking tools and files that allowed the 16-year-old boy to break into Apple’s mainframe repeatedly”, so if a 16 year old has access to the Apple mainframe, do you really believe that US Intelligence cannot enter it? 

So when we consider where our backups are, also consider how up to date your personal records are at 57 Duker Rd, Farmville, VA 23901, United States. To be ‘speculatively more precise’, how about IBM-VA23901-1-3.213.5? I wonder how many other places your data can be found, all for the simple reason of national security, all whilst we see the media take a hard look on all the cyber tools that some agencies have no one seems to be looking at all the access that they have to backups. The fact that several locations are giving us versions of ambiguity, none of them look deeper into the matter, I reckon that the Stakeholders wouldn’t allow it, but that is me grasping at straws.

There is a larger station now that the agreement has fallen apart for the EU, on the other hand, there will be a pool of new talent be required all over Europe, and in the light of the Corona events, I wonder how many are still alive. So, what will we see tomorrow in this regard?

 

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The Iranian escalation

We know that their nuclear accord is not worth the paper it got printed on. We also know that the involvement in Yemen is a lot larger than anyone has been able to illuminate on (especially the media). Yet the cupcake of the day goes to the Times of Israel (not the most neutral party in all this). they gave us mere hours ago ‘We bought spares for nuke equipment we agreed to destroy‘ (at https://www.timesofisrael.com/irans-nuclear-chief-we-bought-spares-for-nuke-equipment-we-agreed-to-destroy/). It is ‘supported’ with the by-line Ali Akbar Salehi says supreme leader was convinced West would renege on 2015 pact, so replacement tubes for nuclear reactor were secretly purchased‘. We get this part, whilst a mere 4 days ago the Financial Times give us: ‘EU seeks to keep Iran nuclear deal alive despite US pressure‘, a policy state of mind that I called reckless and not too bright close to 5 months ago. So now we see that not only did Iran have no intention to keep its word, it is actively setting the stage of being a danger to a lot more than merely Israel. Has anyone considered the dangers when one of the warheads goes missing, gets an added dirty load and both elements miraculously in the hands of Hezbollah?

This is not a fictive danger!

Consider the following ‘facts’:

  • Article 151 of the Constitution obliges the government to “provide a program of military training, with all requisite facilities, for all its citizens, in accordance with the Islamic criteria, in such a way that all citizens will always be able to engage in the armed defense of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • General Qasem Soleimani is in charge of the IRGC army, his direct inner core has direct control of the Basij and they protect and reinforce several locations where nuclear materials can be found. In addition there have been several pieces of evidence that the support of Hezbollah by the IRGC goes beyond simple funds and hardware, hence the danger I am illuminating is not the weirdest one, or the least likely one.

So when the Financial Times gives us: “We need to accept that the [nuclear deal] is important and it has been a signal achievement“, we also need to consider that this is merely what Iran wants you to think. It is a stage that is too dangerous for some ‘peace for our time‘ moment as the UK thought to have in 1939, it did not end well then and it will equally not end well this time either. The trouble here is not merely what is in store for Israel, the defeat that they currently face opposing Saudi Arabia in Yemen (via Hezbollah), it also implies that there is every indication that proxy strikes against Saudi Arabia are not out of the question. I am not talking about the two fired on Saudi Arabia 4 days ago (source: Al-Masdar Al-‘Arabi). The quote “According to the official media wing of the Houthi forces, their rocket battalion fired two Badr-1 ballistic missiles towards the Asir and Jizan provinces of southern Saudi Arabia. The Houthi forces said that one of their ballistic missiles managed to hit a Saudi military gathering near the Yemeni border with the Jizan province.” gives is that Houthi forces are upping the game. Whether Hezbollah is directly involved is unknown at present, yet the danger is that Hezbollah makes for a decent Iranian mule and as such a dirty payload is not out of the question at present. The part that none are giving is that both the Asir and Jizan areas are predominantly civilian and that with the lousy aiming abilities of both Houthi and Hezbollah forces we can speculate that the only way for these two to hit a military target was done by aiming for civilian targets. No matter how it turns out, Houthi (and optionally Hezbollah) forces are waging war on Saudi civilians which is a big no-no and as the Western media stays out of it (to a larger degree) the Saudi coalition will be forced to strike hard and harsh against the enemies of Saudi Arabia. The important part here is that this is no longer merely Yemen, at some point in the near future a meeting and decision will be made to actively engage Iran and that is when all bets are off for Tehran. the evidence shown in regards to the Nuclear deal as well as their involvement in Yemen, we see that both the EU and the US have no other option but to stand by Saudi Arabia in all this, decency would demand it from them and by not doing so, we will see a very different stage and Russia is only one step away from enabling themselves into a political stage of becoming best friends with Saudi Arabia. So as we saw three days ago the statement “Iran has not been invited to a global conference on the Middle East in Warsaw next month and Russia has declined the invitation“. The question in my mind becomes, is that truly the reason for declining, or is Russia playing a larger game? I will emphasize at this point that this is pure speculation from my side, yet if there is chance to get a much closer relationship with Saudi Arabia and get that achieved by ‘seemingly remaining friendly with Iran‘, we see a Russia that has plenty to win with this path. Unlocking the ties between Saudi Arabia and the USA would be one of the greatest wins of the decade for Russia and that danger should not be underestimated.

In the end Saudi Arabia and the Saudi coalition needs to do what is best for them and the events of the last two years give rise to the stage that America has merely been thinking of their own needs in the last 3 years and most allies have had enough of that.

What will happen in the end is not to clear, not whilst there are gaps in either path of allies and whilst Russia is playing its own cards close to their chest, the Americans have been too clumsy for close to two years. The Khashoggi and Yemeni events have clearly shown that part. The media gives us even more when we consider Al Arabiya. There we see: ‘Orchestrated media, political campaign to damage Saudi-US ties, says analyst‘. The quote “I strongly believe that Qatar, Turkey, and certain Muslim Brotherhood proxies in the West are involved in funding a media campaign and political operations to discredit Saudi reforms and the government in general” by Irina Tsukerman (at http://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2019/01/10/Orchestrated-media-political-campaign-to-damage-Saudi-US-ties-says-analyst.html) is as I personally see it incomplete. She is looking at one part, but there is a second stage. Not unlike the UK actions in the 70’s against the Cairo-Tel Aviv attempts for a peace, we see another stage here too. You see, the events from Saudi Arabia regarding Neom City have been so overwhelmingly progressive that larger US industrials are now worried, they cannot live with the fact that they are soon to be less impressive than the Saudi advances in 5G, it goes further, large players like AT&T are now openly deceiving the people with their 5G Evolution, a product that has been heralded all over the media as a fake product. The Register, USA Today, Android Police, TechCrunch and many others are seeing this as deception. The idea that Saudi Arabia beat them to the punch was too unacceptable to these people. They are increasingly worried that every win towards Neom City will be regarded as a loss towards their own economy, which is the America the allies of America face. It also fuels the entire recession mess that is upcoming, merely because corporations can fund one place and whatever goes towards Saudi Arabia is not going towards other places and in all this, the UAE will benefit to some degree as well. As Saudi Arabia is facing down it’s not so hidden enemy Iran, Saudi Arabia will face opportunities as well as challenges and its allied neighbours will have positive waves of economy going their ways too.

Yet before there can be a positive outlook on it all, the global players will have little choice but to put down Hezbollah as soon as possible. No matter how they try to commit to peace, there is enough evidence that Hezbollah is still committed in wars against Israel and Saudi Arabia. Even as we see “Tens of millions of Iranian dollars have gone to Yemen“, we see that this image is also incomplete. That part is seen when we consider the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-46958455). When we consider the fact that ‘Pro-government forces removed 300,000 landmines laid by the Houthis between 2016 and 2018‘, the numbers do not add up. the value of the mines, the time required to place them as well as the manpower required to place them we get the clearer picture that the entire funding goes well beyond ‘Tens of millions of Iranian dollars‘. That part as well as the missile costs, the Hezbollah support and other goods imply a financial support that implies close to 1000% of the support that is claimed by some. The found number of mines implies that Yemen required placing 200+ mines a day every day. That require a much larger workforce and support engine (including some form of logistics and communication) than anyone could possible consider. That requires no less than two regiments placing mines 24:7. That is the number that does not make sense in all this and Yemen is not known for soft sands, there are plenty of rocky surfaces to content with. The numbers do not add up and it seems to me that the media has been ignoring those facts to a larger degree, making the Iranian involvement a lot larger than anyone expected, which also implies that the commitment by Hezbollah was a lot larger making them a more essential enemy to get rid of and that part is not limited to Israel and Saudi Arabia. Europe and America have every interest in dealing with Hezbollah with extreme prejudice. Well, that is if they ever want to see true peaceful balance in the Middle East, because with Hezbollah (and Hamas) that will never happen.

In all this Iran has been the catalyst to escalation and it is high time that the global media is taking a very serious look and openly reports on the actions that Iran has been an active participant in, do you not think so?

 

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Behind the facade

There is a question, there are several questions and for the most we have been ignorant of these questions because we give more unruly validity to the populist masses. ABC questioned it yesterday evening with: ‘Why is Huawei so controversial and being targeted by foreign governments?‘,  the article (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-07/why-is-chinese-tech-company-huawei-being-targeted/10593156) is an excellent piece by both Ian Burrows and Jack Kilbride, and it is brilliant that for the most we see questions, we see questions that are important. In equal measure we see answers and points made. Points that most of the media shunned from, it all starts with: “The dramatic arrest in Canada of a top Chinese technology executive for possible extradition to the United States has sent stock markets plummeting and cast doubt on a recent US-China trade truce“. We see the shot across the bow with: “Reports say Ms Meng is facing extradition to the US on suspicion she violated US sanctions against Iran“. So there we have that they are not giving us the fact that they have evidence, merely that they have suspicions and that is why the extradition had been started. A woman in high office and that is the one you arrest, right? The fact that Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei might merely be icing on the American cake. As I personally see it, it has nothing to do with any of that, it is not about any option that involves Iran, if so dozens of Indian nationals and Russians would have been in a similar state, yet they are not. America is not acting there are they? No, America is afraid, it has been for a long time and for the longest of times they were looking in the wrong direction. As the cowards they have shown themselves to be 4 times over, they got played and Huawei, especially Ren Zhengfei knows how to play this game and brokered deal after deal. Facilitating towards fintech, but not facilitating to fintech, two very different stages. And now we get: “It says it operates in more than 170 countries, has 180,000 employees and serves more than a third of the world’s population“, that is the fear, because if wealth is set to the currency of data, American businesses don’t really hold a candle anymore do they? I have the goods on $2 billion in value, yet I do not trust anyone, especially the American corporations that hide behind ‘misunderstanding’, ‘miscommunication’ and inflated or deflated values as their need for greed requires. That is why people go directly towards places like Google and Huawei as they tend to cater (more) correctly, as long as their corporate targets are met. The fear of no longer being regarded as an entity that matters is the new fear of America. And with 1/3 of the population catered by a Chinese conglomerate and well over 40% by others moves America from the number one players to a player in the top 6. And you know Americans, they only respect number one, and the idea that this is a Chinese company is just too offensive to them.

The article has more. When we revisit “New Zealand’s international spy agency also followed Australia’s lead, banning the use of Huawei equipment in its planned 5G upgrade, saying it posed a “significant network security risk”“, we are introduced to more lies, lies propagated by America. It was an utter step of stupidity. At present no evidence has ever been submitted that Huawei was a risk and the idea that they serve a third of the population is a debilitating fear that America is unable to deal with, it is like anti-communism on steroids, a new cold war where America is optionally not in pole position. You see, this is in opposition to MI6 chief Alex Younger, he never claimed this. He stated that the British government (or any government for that matter) should never be at risk and should never hand out such levels of infrastructure risk to others. That is perfectly valid, it is a policy choice and the United Kingdom would be well off to take that step. Now we do get that it makes things harder for others, yet in an age of data to not have your own technology in place is ludicrous. That is a fair point to have, and that is valid, very valid. Yet the simpletons under us give us unwarranted and invalidated ‘significant network security risk‘, so please feel free to explain to me when stupidity was a good idea in any setting of data or security?

Concerns

There are concerns when ANY company growths to the size of Huawei, we cannot deny that, you merely have to look at the stupidity Facebook has shown in the last 61 weeks, three days and 6 hours to realise that part of the equation. And the article gets us to a statement that matters, so when we see: “There has long been concern that Huawei is not that separated from some of the Chinese security apparatus and there are suggestions its equipment could be used for spying“. OK, the concern is valid, yet is it happening? Is there a cause for concern, for genuine concern? Optionally there is and it merely gives empowerment to the statement that Alex Younger gave us, not the dozen of Punch and Judy characters claiming the unproven ‘significant network security risk‘. There is a difference you know.

We can argue that there is another part that matters. I remember reading a paper form Shanghai University (2010) who made the setting that there is a theoretical part in AES256 that makes it viable to unnerve the encryption (I did not say hack it). It requires quantum computing skills, but still there was an interesting part in the paper that reminded me of another stage (I will not go deeper into it now).

Going back to the concerns, we see a part by Fergus Hanson, that is valid, yet is it a real concern? He gave us: “The biggest concern is, whether they want to do it or not, they can be compelled by the Chinese Communist Party to spy and conduct espionage on the Chinese Communist Party’s behalf“, I am not sure whether it is valid. It should not be ignored, yet in this age of economy and revenue (and profit) would you want to endanger the goose with its golden eggs when a third of a population is using your products? When you get people by the billion handing data to Facebook and a league of other sources, when that data is already accessible, why push further at present? That is the stage Chinese intelligence is in, and even as we cannot ignore that danger, do you think anyone in the Chinese intelligence chair (namely Chen Wenqing) would be allowed to keep his seat if he directly endangered Chinese economy to that degree?

And how did China react? When the opportunity came up to bash President Trump and his personal iPhone, we see: “Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed the claims and suggested that “if they are really very worried about Apple phones being bugged, then they can change to using Huawei,” instead“, in one shot, brilliant!

When China is that proud of its devices, would they want to be proven wrong? Would they want to?  And whilst we consider how to hack the phone, we forget that there is another way: Kaspersky (at https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/hacking-cellular-networks/10633/) gave us all the way back in 2015: “It was last year when a new method of attack on cellular networks was discovered. It requires neither costly radio scanners nor PC powerhouses and is available to virtually anyone. Besides, carriers have no practical means of protecting against this type of attack“, everybody is crying over the milk being stolen whilst criminals are getting direct access to all the cows in the land, how did that make sense, like ever?

And the hacking gets to be worse. One source giving us: “Interestingly enough, the 3GPP, the organization in charge of setting mobile data network standards and enforcing them, also acknowledged the issue in 2006 but chose to do nothing about it. Researchers brought up this vulnerability to the world in 2015 in a paper titled: Practical attacks against privacy and availability in 4G/LTE mobile communication systems.  That same year, the ACLU managed to obtain documents that described the stingray surveillance device had identical functionalities. In the following year, Zhang Wanqiao of Qihoo 360 extended the practical attack described by the initial researchers and presented on it at DEFCON 24 in August of 2016. Now, at Ruxcon in October of 2016, the attack has been demonstrated and been proven to work on all LTE networks with readily available gear“, and in all this Huawei was never part of this, yet that is where the focus remains and whilst this push goes through, we see a short sighted approach. I am not worried on the risk via Huawei, there is enough evidence out there that the concern is not ‘Is Huawei the danger’, it is whether these so called politicians playing with their Punch puppets are setting the stage that hacking becomes increasingly easy for others to hack it.

So here we are, in a stage where America is already facing energy hikes, hikes that started at a mere 5% hours ago as they agreed ‘to cut global oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day‘, something I saw coming two weeks ago. Now we get a new stage, not merely a technological one, it will be a field of what I call ‘techno-facilitation‘, As the 5G pressure changes, places like Huawei are pushing not for the parts they are rejected from, but the consumer parts, the smart devices that are added to more and more non smart devices on a daily basis. Some might have seen the ‘Samsung Family Hub 2.0 Smart Fridge‘. To oversimplify it, it is a fridge with a tablet on the front door (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaKh5qJrTKQ), as we see more applications towards smart devices, these solutions all require interfaces and there Huawei has options and already an advantage. You see, the chance of a players like Gorenje, Hoover, Beko or AEG taking their own department into 5G technology of get a Huawei package is another matter. Soon enough we will see that Huawei will merely spread out, perhaps not allowed be part of the 5G infrastructure, yet as Huawei has shown to be economically terrific towards the consumer, they will get more and more options, and every delay and disappointment the others are making will quickly infuriate the consumers and tax payers to a larger extent.

The bigger worry is not the one; it is the other (nice and cryptic). You see, Huawei can afford to wait to some degree, as we see the perpetuated non truths of devices being pushed forward, the replacements better do a whole lot better and they are unlikely to do so. When we see another failure in 5G start and we see transgressions and those screaming that ‘Huawei’ was a danger, the moment they cannot prove it and their ‘friends’ give us a device that is malicious, the blowback will be enormous. There is already cause for concern if we go by CNBC. They give us a few points that show the additional fear that America has on Huawei.

We get: ‘T-Mobile says a nationwide network will launch in 2020‘, optional a year AFTER Huawei is ready to launch 5G, and then we get: “most people won’t be able to access them since they’ll only be available in a small number of markets next year. Plus, the way we use phones today won’t really require the faster data speeds 5G will offer. Today’s 4G LTE networks are more than fast enough for all the video and music streaming you want to do on your phone“, is it not interesting that something as fragile as 4G LTE is to hacking, which has been known for the longest of times is still the pushed solution? And I personally interpreted “won’t really require the faster data speeds 5G will offer“, is more like a way to state, ‘we cannot offer it’ versus ‘You do not need it’, you merely have to watch Netflix on a tablet in 4K to see that need prop up overnight. All these excuses and intentional phrased denials in a stage without Huawei is why there is such a large issue. I get where Alex Younger is coming from, the rest is merely trying to avoid panic of no longer being a person that matters in the mobile industry, the fact that Huawei grew so fast and so large is the biggest fear that they have because whatever they win, Wall Street optionally loses. Screens behind mirrors, facades behind facades and they are all in fear of being considered redundant in a technological age that is still not slowing down.

And I am not alone here. The New York Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/opinion/huawei-meng-wanzhou-china-arrest.html gives us: “This week, the White House released a five-year plan around STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math — that is not nearly robust enough to make the Chinese even slightly nervous that we can keep up with their decidedly more aggressive efforts to train their work force for the next era of computing“, the short and sweet part is that America is not ready to take any lead anywhere for the next 15 years. In addition we see: “I am perplexed about why the Trump administration has been such an embarrassment when it comes to the kind of actual leadership and vision needed to keep the United States at the forefront of the tech race“. This is where he is wrong, you see this is not on President Trump, this is a failing that goes back to the Bush era, the era before President Obama. What had to be done then was not done and now the impact is a lot larger than it could have been. So when we see the quote “everyone would feel a lot more confident if the government was also focused on investing more in American innovation and if the crackdown looked less chaotic“, we see the fear from the US, it is not ready, it has failed innovation and the mistakes made are optionally debilitating the next 15 years of innovation. Chine is primed and ready and that is where we see the fear. American is pushing itself towards becoming a third world nation, they did this all by themselves, and it goes further than merely technology. The US has shown a lack of insight for a much longer time. As we see US Defense giving us: “The Navy is asking Congress to fund a conversion of its 600-foot stealth destroyers from primarily a land attack ship to an anti-surface, offensive strike platform, according to budget documents released Feb. 12“. It was earlier this year. It matters as we see merely 2 weeks ago: “The destroyer Zumwalt’s big guns don’t have any ammo, and the Navy may ditch them entirely because they don’t even work right“, so we are confronted with ‘a request for $89.7 million’ to make it better, that thing costed billions in research, it took half a billion to make, it is useless (decently ugly) and in 4 hours I had a $3.5 million concept solution to sink it. In all honesty I have to admit that my idea was designed to sink the Iranian fleet, but this vessel is just slightly too insulting for comfort. The Digital Journal did some of the legwork form me with: ‘Can’t fire its guns due to massive $1 million per round cost‘, ‘May lose stealth due to redesign limitations‘ and ‘Cuts to stealth capacity add up to many more risks in combat‘. The article (at http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/op-ed-accountancy-vs-usazumwalt-a-stupid-story/article/538102) has a lot more and my mere $3.5 million solution, which is a simple redesign from something made in the 70’s. I saw it as a way to turn Iranian cruisers into submarines (with air-conditioning). It is murder on the lungs, but good for non-Iranian morale and as such it was a great idea. It could be easily adjusted to park the USS Zumwalt at 18°38’18.9″S 147°10’15.3″E and help it grow coral for the Great Barrier Reef, all problems solved.

My issue links it as we see the problem, they are linked because we failed the STEM education path for well over a decade, so there is a massive shortage. There is a reason why the larger players like Salini Impregilo are looking at Universities all over the world seeking quality Engineers and they are not alone, the shortage is close to global and there we see the growing advantage that China is now showing to have. The fact that America is showing such levels of non-vision, even within their own navy results is exactly what they are shouting in fear.

I would go one step further in the proclamation that America is not afraid of what China can do, they have no one left to show them and explain to them what the Chinese capabilities are and that is a lot more fearful than anything else. That is how I see it (and I might per 100% wrong), yet consider the failings we have seen in the last year alone, the emotional push in places where logic require to prevail, the inability to counter what should not have been a threat. The Mabna Institute in March: “The DOJ says the hackers stole 31 terabytes of data, estimated to be worth $3 billion in intellectual property. The attacks used carefully crafted spearphishing emails to trick professors and other university affiliates into clicking on malicious links and entering their network login credentials” (source: Wired). Not the fact that it happened, the stage that it took forever to find and do something is equally part in all this. June gave us: “marketing and data aggregation firm Exactis, which left about 340 million records exposed on a publicly accessible server. The trove didn’t include Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, but it did comprise 2 terabytes of very personal information about hundreds of millions of US adults” and important here is that these are the so called clever people. Those with fat incomes and nice additional perks, if they cannot contain the issue, the underpaid, undervalued and overworked IT people at the US government truly have no chance at all, do they?

The facades behind the facades are shining through 10 windows all without curtains or coding (at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/06/windows_10_security_questions_remotely_defined_answers/) and it gets to be a lot worse in 2021 when 5G hits full force everywhere, it is a cyber criminals dream coming true. Huawei is in all this merely the smallest blip on the radar and that realisation should hit us fast and quick, because at present, the only way to keep your data safe is to educate yourself, no one else will, they do not know how.

 

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Playing the player

It happens, we sometimes meet those players who have it all, and they also have the ego and naive approach, so basically stupidity in a neatly wrapped package. This is not about one of these people, this is about someone who got to be smart about it and even as my psyche is slightly vexed and upset on the game played, I have to admire the fact on someone making close to half a billion playing it. We get to the Australian Financial Review (at https://www.afr.com/business/banking-and-finance/hedge-funds/nintendo-trader-who-made-a-massive-short-bet-against-the-games-maker-revealed-20180730-h13cmo). the title gives the goods with ‘Nintendo trader who’s made a $540 million bet against the games maker revealed‘, the quote “Gabriel Plotkin, head of New York hedge fund Melvin Capital Management, has accumulated a $US400 million ($540 million) short bet against the Japanese game maker, according to regulatory filings” and in normal cases this is not an issue, the market is all about ups downs, I get that (I might not agree).

It is also part of the problem here. You see, the Nintendo Switch has been breaking records since the start and whilst it is about to push Microsoft down into a third position, it is equally breaking several other records. It has surpassed the historic global sales of the first Xbox, the GameCube, the Wii U the PS Vita, as well as the Nintendo 64. It is unlikely to surpass the Original Nintendo Entertainment System (over 61 million) for at least another year, but we see that the Switch has surpassed most of its own lifetime sales except for one console and 4 handhelds. It has done that great in less than two years. With the additional revenue from the software which is also breaking new records, one would think that there is no stopping Nintendo, so when I reported on the issue that I had with the Analyst making those brash announcements on being short by 10%, I was not sure on who is riding the ‘expected sales’ talk and why expectations are so high, were they inflated to be artificially high?

Well, it seems to me that someone made a truckload of money on the work of others. I am honestly unsure how to feel about that. I think I have to accept that this is how the Wall Street game is played; I merely accept that I do not have to like it.

So when I see “Nintendo will report first quarter earnings on Tuesday after the market close. Analysts estimate revenue will rise 21 per cent from a year earlier, while operating profit will jump 58 percent“, I wonder how that game was played. You see, two days ago, I wrote ‘The state of the gaming union‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/07/29/the-state-of-the-gaming-union/), and when I was confronted with “even Jefferies’ Atul Goyal, widely considered to be the most optimistic of all analysts when it comes to Nintendo’s prospects on the market, has slashed his price target for the company by more than 10 percent, attributing his depressed outlook on a concern that Nintendo’s sales for the Switch in 2018 may not meet expectations“, which came from https://gamingbolt.com/jefferies-analyst-believes-switch-sales-will-see-a-slowdown-this-year. This is an issue I have raised before. Not in regards to Nintendo, or gaming though. So how come that we see, and merely take for granted the words of an analyst giving us ‘missed target for the company by more than 10 percent‘, that whilst we see the records broken and the forecast is: “revenue will rise 21 per cent from a year earlier, while operating profit will jump 58 percent“, at what point was there any validity on slashing the stock price? Is there an interaction between analysts like Atul Goyal and Hedge funds managers like Gabriel Plotkin?

Am I the only one asking that question?

If it was a bubble and someone shorted on that seeing the bubble is bursting like in the Big Short, I say ‘Yay!’ to the one doing it, or better those making money of stupid people deciding to make bubbles and hypes. People making money from stupid people relying on greed is a nice thing, it is like instant karma watching a Cobra seeing a nice snack, only realising too late that it is a Mongoose and the snake ends up not having any dinner and becoming a meal himself. Yet in this case, we need to accept that Wall Street seems to have its own view on natural selection and that the price of getting mentioned there is that you are merely the next meal for some. Still, when it is a faltering Microsoft, an error full of Facebook, Equifax breaches, they all happen and they will therefor take a few additional hits. In light of all Nintendo issues, apart from one solvable issue, the Switch has been doing stellar and now the issue rises more and more that what analysts predict is almost like selling fairy tales and in that setting pragmatism and realism will never ever win. This makes me wonder on the checks and balances on forecast analysts.

I might be jealous that Gabriel Plotkin made close to half a billion, but the setting does not make sense. Many who are actually in this field might laugh out loud, and that is fine. Still, logic no longer applies here, 3+3 is no longer 6 and that offends my logical way of thinking. Apart from me having been pro-Nintendo for the better part of two decades, the math does not add up on the Nintendo Switch. Consider the parts

  1. At Amazon recently, the top 10 sales chart for games was 90% for Nintendo
  2. Nintendo Switch is still breaking records, still on a firm route to be the second largest next gen console, surpassing another player, which it had not been able to do since they entered the market.
  3. Seven Switch games published by Nintendo have sold over 1 million copies each. And “Super Mario Odyssey” has sold nearly 10 million copies. For a system this short on the market, these are stellar achievements. In addition “Super Mario Odyssey” is bought by almost 60% of those owning a Switch that is nothing short of exceptional, it might not have been in the old days where everyone with a PlayStation had Tomb Raider, especially with the large game market nowadays, but it is still quite the achievement.

When we see the demand for Nintendo Switch continuing, the sales racking up and the records that are currently being broken, how unrealistic were the forecasts from analysts? That is where my mind is at. So whilst we saw the 10% drop given two days ago, where was the reality there? That is what makes the issue for me, so when we see someone walking away with half a billion at the expense of Nintendo, the question becomes

Was the Market played, were both played and how was this play possible?

My mind tends to go towards the inside job equation. I cannot say that this is an accusation, mainly because I do not know or comprehend that market. Yet, I do know games and consoles and in all this, the setting of Nintendo does not add up. So whatever Melvin Capital Management and Gabriel Plotkin did to make this play out the way they have shown that they are really intelligent, no one denies that. Yet, in light that Nintendo got slammed because of this, in light of all the gains they have made does not add up for one iota.

Yes, many graduate from the London School of Economics will have a laughing field day on this, I get that, but the sentiment form me stands, the numbers do not add up because the forecast is set in a too unrealistic way from my point of view and that is where the people behind the screens create turmoil that seems unacceptable to me.

In this, the funny part is that Yahoo Finance actually gave me something that I do not agree with, but the phrasing is actually important here. With ‘Massive Short Bet Against Nintendo After Shares Drop‘, we see (at https://finance.yahoo.com/news/sac-alum-plotkin-makes-massive-050808098.html). the quote “There’s a new villain in the world of Nintendo Co. Gabriel Plotkin, head of New York hedge fund Melvin Capital Management, has accumulated a $375 million short bet against the Japanese game maker, according to regulatory filings. The former star trader at SAC Capital Advisors accounted for as much as 7 percent of Nintendo’s daily volume in recent weeks, contributing to stock declines since May that have stunned analysts” starts funny, because I am not certain if Gabriel Plotkin is a (or even ‘the’) villain, or the new Warrio. You see the part that we see is ‘contributing to stock declines since May that have stunned analysts‘, that was not the case, analysts started the 10% drop that started it all, the question is whether this was an intentional play to decrease the value of Nintendo, and if there was intent, do any of those analysts have any connections to Microsoft? If there is a villain Microsoft is a much more likely one than the facilitator Gabriel Plotkin seems to be.

the other quote that seems to be important here is: “Many analysts were bewildered when shares began dropping sharply in May, leading to the biggest gap in a decade between brokerage targets and the actual stock price. Goyal called the declines “shocking” at the time“, the quote seems to be in opposition to “the most optimistic of all analysts when it comes to Nintendo’s prospects on the market, has slashed his price target for the company by more than 10 percent“, which I commented on two days ago. Something made him slash the prices, so there was no shock. Now we get to the part on how Atul Goyal got from one place to the other. Did Gabriel Plotkin play Atul Goyal, or did they play the market together?

I might not have noticed if they had played Microsoft with their bungles on the Xbox and Surface fields, I might not have noticed on the PlayStation reaching certain levels of saturation, or even IBM, who got the ‘tits up’ claim from the Register. There would be an impact, especially with the ‘troubling storage underperformance‘ that their cloud had. Yet in opposition the Nintendo setting did not add up and I wonder if it ever will add up, unless certain analysts are proven to have set the stage of (intentional or not) creating an anticipation bubble that was too unrealistic. That was merely my view and I believe that I am not the only one having certain questions in all this.

Merely ask yourself on how stock drops 10%, that whilst operating profits are set to be jumping 58 percent in the last year alone and more profits are clearly in the sights of all who see what Nintendo is doing, creating, as well as achieving.

#SwitchIsLife (or so they allegedly say at Nintendo)

 

 

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