Tag Archives: US

When the trust is gone

In an age where we see an abundance of political issues, an overgrowing need to sort things out, the news that was given visibility by the Guardian is the one that scared and scarred me the most. With ‘Lack of trust in health department could derail blood contamination inquiry‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/19/lack-of-trust-in-health-department-could-derail-blood-contamination-inquiry), we need to hold in the first stage a very different sitting in the House of Lords. You see, the issues (as I am about to explain them), did not start overnight. In this I am implying that a sitting with in the dock Jeremy Hunt, Andrew Lansley, Andy Burham and Alan Johnson is required. This is an issue that has grown from both sides of the Isle and as such there needs to be a grilling where certain people are likely to get burned for sure. How bad? That needs to be ascertained and it needs to be done as per immediate. When you see “The contamination took place in the 1970s and 80s, and the government started paying those affected more than 25 years ago” the UK is about to get a fallout of a very different nature. We agree that this is the term that was with Richard Crossman, Sir Keith Joseph, Barbara Castle, David Ennals, Patrick Jenkin, Norman Fowler, and John Moore. Yet in that instance we need to realise that this was in an age that was pre computers, pre certain data considerations and a whole league of other measures that are common place at this very instance. I remember how I aided departments with an automated document system, relying on 5.25″ floppy’s, with the capability that was less than Wordstar or PC-Write had ever offered. And none of those systems had any reliable data storage options.

The System/36 was flexible and powerful for its time:

  • It allowed 80 monitors (see below for IBM’s description of a monitor) and printers to be connected. All users could access the system’s hard drive or any printer.
  • It provided password security and resource security, allowing control over who was allowed to access any program or file.
  • Devices could be as far as a mile from the system unit.
  • Users could dial into a System/36 from anywhere in the world and get a 9600 baud connection (which was very fast in the 1980s) and very responsive for connections which used only screen text and no graphics.
  • It allowed the creation of databases of very large size. It supported up to about 8 million records, and the largest 5360 with four hard drives in its extended cabinet could hold 1.453 gigabytes.
  • The S/36 was regarded as “bulletproof” for its ability to run many months between reboots (IPLs).

Now, why am I going to this specific system, as the precise issues were not yet known? You see in those days, any serious level of data competency was pretty much limited to IBM, at that time Hewlett Packard was not yet to the level it became 4 years later and the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) who revolutionised systems with VAX/VMS and it became the foundation, or better stated true relational database foundations were added through Oracle Rdb (1984), which would actually revolutionise levels of data collection.

Now, we get two separate quotes (not from the article) “Dr Jeremy Bradshaw Smith at Ottery St Mary health centre, which, in 1975, became the first paperless computerised general practice“, as well as “It is not developed or intended for use in any inherently dangerous applications, including applications that may create a risk of personal injury. If you use this software or hardware in dangerous applications, then you shall be responsible to take all appropriate fail-safe, backup, redundancy, and other measures to ensure its safe use“, the second one comes from the Oracle Rdb SQL Reference manual. The second part seems a bit of a stretch; consider the original setting of this. When we see Oracle’s setting of data integrity, consider the elements given (over time) that are now commonplace.

System and object privileges control access to application tables and system commands, so that only authorized users can change data.

  • Referential integrity is the ability to maintain valid relationships between values in the database, according to rules that have been defined.
  • A database must be protected against viruses designed to corrupt the data.

I left one element out for the mere logical reasons.

now, in those days, the hierarchy of supervisors and system owners was nowhere near what it is now (and often nowhere to be seen), referential integrity was a mere concept and data viruses were mostly academic, that is until we get a small presentation by Ralf Burger in 1986. It was in the days of the Chaos Computer Club and my trusty CBM-64.

These elements are to show you that data integrity existed in academic purposes, yet the designers who were in their data infancy often enough had no real concept of rollback data events, some would only be designed too long later, and in all this, the application of databases to the extent that was needed. It would not be until 1982 when dBase II came to the PC market from the founding fathers of what would later be known as Ashton-Tate, George Tate and Hal Lashlee would create a wave that would get us dBase III and with the creation of Clipper by the Nantucket Corporation, which would give a massive rise to database creations as well as the growth of data products that had never been seen before, as well as being the player that in the end propelled data quality towards the state it is nowadays. In this product databases did not just grow with the network abilities within this product nearly any final year IT person could have its portfolio of clients all with custom based products all data based. Within 2-3 years (which gets us to 1989), a whole league of data quality, data cleaning and data integrity base issues would surface for millions of places, all requiring solutions. It is my personal conviction that this was the point where data became adult, where data cleaning, data rollback as well as data integrity checks became actual issues that were seriously dealt with. So, here in 1989 we are finally confronted with the adult data issues that for the longest of times were only correctly understood by more than a few niche people who were often enough disregarded (I know that for certain because I was one of them).

So the essential events that could have prevented only to some degree the events we see in the Guardian with “survivors initially welcomed the announcement, while expressing frustration that the decades-long wait for answers had been too long. The contamination took place in the 1970s and 80s“, certain elements would not come into existence until a decade later.

So when we see “Liz Carroll, chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, wrote to May on Wednesday saying the department must not be involved in setting the remit and powers of an inquiry investigating its ministers and officials. She also highlighted the fact that key campaigners and individuals affected by the scandal had not been invited to the meeting“, I am not debating or opposing her in what could be a valid approach, I am merely stating that to comprehend the issues, the House of Lords needs to take the pulse of events and the taken steps forward from the Ministers who have been involved in the last 10 years.

When we see “We and our members universally reject meeting with the Department of Health as they are an implicated party. We do not believe that the DH should be allowed to direct or have any involvement into an investigation into themselves, other than giving evidence. The handling of this inquiry must be immediately transferred elsewhere“, we see a valid argument given, yet when we would receive testimonies from people, like the ministers in those days, how many would be aware and comprehend the data issues that were not even decently comprehended in those days? Because these data issues are clearly part of all of these events, they will become clear towards the end of the article.

Now, be aware, I am not giving some kind of a free pass, or give rise that those who got the bad blood should be trivialised or ignored or even set to a side track, I am merely calling for a good and clear path that allows for complete comprehension and for the subsequent need of actual prevention. You see, what happens today might be better, yet can we prevent this from ever happening again? In this I have to make a side step to a non-journalistic source, we see (at https://www.factor8scandal.uk/about-factor/), “It is often misreported that these treatments were “Blood Transfusions”. Not True. Factor was a processed pharmaceutical product (pictured)“, so when I see the Guardian making the same bloody mistake, as shown in the article, we see and should ask certain parties how they could remain in that same stance of utter criminal negligence (as I personally see it), but giving rise to intentional misrepresentation. When we see the quote (source: the Express) “Now, in the face of overwhelming evidence presented by Andy Burnham last month, Theresa May has still not ordered an inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the Department of Health in dealing with this human tragedy” with the added realisation that we have to face that the actual culprit was not merely data, yet the existence of the cause through Factor VIII is not even mentioned, the Guardian steered clear via the quote “A recent parliamentary report found around 7,500 patients were infected by imported blood products from commercial organisations in the US” and in addition the quote “The UK Public Health Minister, Caroline Flint, has said: “We are aware that during the 1970s and 80s blood products were sourced from US prisoners” and the UK Haemophilia Society has called for a Public Inquiry. The UK Government maintains that the Government of the day had acted in good faith and without the blood products many patients would have died. In a letter to Lord Jenkin of Roding the Chief Executive of the National Health Service (NHS) informed Lord Jenkin that most files on contaminated NHS blood products which infected people with HIV and hepatitis C had unfortunately been destroyed ‘in error’. Fortunately, copies that were taken by legal entities in the UK at the time of previous litigation may mean the documentation can be retrieved and consequently assessed“, the sources the Express and the New York Times, we see for example the quote “Cutter Biological, introduced its safer medicine in late February 1984 as evidence mounted that the earlier version was infecting hemophiliacs with H.I.V. Yet for over a year, the company continued to sell the old medicine overseas, prompting a United States regulator to accuse Cutter of breaking its promise to stop selling the product” with the additional “Cutter officials were trying to avoid being stuck with large stores of a product that was proving increasingly unmarketable in the United States and Europe“, so how often did we see the mention of ‘Cutter Biological‘ (or Bayer pharmaceuticals for that matter)?

In the entire Arkansas Prison part we see that there are connections to cases of criminal negligence in Canada 2006 (where Canadian Red Cross fell on their sword), Japan 2007 as well as the visibility of the entire issue at Slamdance 2005, so as we see the rise of inquiries, how many have truly investigated the links between these people and how the connection to Bayer pharmaceuticals kept them out of harm’s way for the longest of times? How many people at Cutter Biological have not merely been investigated, but also indicted for murder? When we get ‘trying to avoid being stuck with large stores of a non-sellable product‘ we get the proven issue of intent. Because there are no recall and destroy actions, were there?

Even as we see a batch of sources giving us parts in this year, the entire visibility from 2005-2017 shows that the media has given no, or at best dubious visibility in all this, even yesterday’s article at the Guardian shows the continuation of bad visibility with the blood packs. So when we look (at http://www.kpbs.org/news/2011/aug/04/bad-blood-cautionary-tale/), and see the August 2011 part with “This “miracle” product was considered so beneficial that it was approved by the FDA despite known risks of viral contamination, including the near-certainty of infection with hepatitis“, we wonder how the wonder drug got to be or remain on the market. Now, there is a fair defence that some issues would be unknown or even untested to some degree, yet the ‘the near-certainty of infection with hepatitis‘ should give rise to all kinds of questions and it is not the first time that the FDA is seen to approve bad medication, which gives rise to the question why they are allowed to be the cartel of approval as big bucks is the gateway through their door. When we consider the additional quote of “By the time the medication was pulled from the market in 1985, 10,000 hemophiliacs had been infected with HIV, and 15,000 with hepatitis C; causing the worst medical disaster in U.S. history“, how come that it took 6 years for this to get decent amounts of traction within the UK government.

What happened to all that data?

You see, this is not merely about the events, I believe that if any old systems (a very unlikely reality) could be retrieved, how long would it take for digital forensics to find in the erased (not overwritten) records to show that certain matters could have been found in these very early records? Especially when we consider the infancy of data integrity and data cleaning, what other evidence could have surfaced? In all this, no matter how we dig in places like the BBC and other places, we see a massive lack of visibility on Bayer Pharmaceuticals. So when we look (at http://pharma.bayer.com/en/innovation-partnering/research-focus/hemophilia/), we might accept that the product has been corrected, yet their own site gives us “the missing clotting factor is replaced by a ‘recombinant factor’, which is manufactured using genetically modified mammalian cells. When administered intravenously, the recombinant factor helps to stop acute bleeding at an early stage or may prevent it altogether by regular prophylaxis. The recombinant factor VIII developed by Bayer for treating hemophilia A was one of the first products of its kind. It was launched in 1993“, so was this solution based on the evolution of getting thousands of people killed? the sideline “Since the mid-1970s Bayer has engaged in research in haematology focusing its efforts on developing new treatment options for the therapy of haemophilia A (factor VIII deficiency)“, so in all this, whether valid or not (depending on the link between Bayer Pharmaceuticals UK and Cutter Biological. the mere visibility on these two missing in all the mentions, is a matter of additional questions, especially as Bayer became the owner of it all between 1974 and 1978, which puts them clearly in the required crosshairs of certain activities like depleting bad medication stockpiles. Again, not too much being shown in the several news articles I was reading. When we see the Independent, we see ‘Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to meet victims’ families before form of inquiry is decided‘, in this case it seems a little far-fetched that the presentation by Andy Burham (as given in the Express) would not have been enough to give an immediate green light to all this. Even as the independent is hiding behind blood bags as well, they do give the caption of Factor VIII with it, yet we see no mention of Bayer or Cutter, yet there is a mention of ‘prisoners‘ and the fact that their blood was paid for, yet no mention of the events in Canada and Japan, two instances that gives rise to an immediate and essential need for an inquiry.

In all this, we need to realise that no matter how deep the inquiry goes, the amount of evidence that could have been wiped or set asunder from the eyes of the people by the administrative gods of Information Technology as it was between 1975 and 1989, there is a dangerous situation. One that came unwillingly through the evolution of data systems, one that seems to be the intent of the reporting media as we see the utter absence of Bayer Pharmaceuticals in all of this, whilst there is a growing pool of evidence through documentaries, ad other sources that seem to lose visibility as the media is growing a view of presentations that are skating on the subject, yet until the inquiry becomes an official part we see a lot less than the people are entitled to, so is that another instance of the ethical chapters of the Leveson inquiry? And when this inquiry becomes an actuality, what questions will we see absent or sidelined?

All this gets me back to the Guardian article as we see “The threat to the inquiry comes only a week after May ordered a full investigation into how contaminated blood transfusions infected thousands of people with hepatitis C and HIV“, so how about the events from 2005 onwards? Were they mere pharmaceutical chopped liver? In the linked ‘Theresa May orders contaminated blood scandal inquiry‘ article there was no mention of Factor VIII, Bayer (pharmaceuticals) or Cutter (biological). It seems that we need to give rise that ethical issues have been trampled on, so a mention of “a criminal cover-up on an industrial scale” is not a mere indication; it is an almost given certainty. In all that, as the inquiry will get traction, I wonder how both the current and past governments will be adamant to avoid skating into certain realms of the events (like naming the commercial players), and when we realise this, will there be any justice to the victims, especially when the data systems of those days have been out of time for some time and the legislation on legacy data is pretty much non-existent. When the end balance is given, in (as I personally see it) a requirement of considering to replace whatever Bayer Pharmaceuticals is supplying the UK NHS, I will wonder who will be required to fall on the virtual sword of non-accountability. The mere reason being that when we see (at http://www.annualreport2016.bayer.com/) that Bayer is approaching a revenue of 47 billion (€ 46,769M) in 2016, should there not be a consequence of the players ‘depleting unsellable stock‘ at the expense of thousands of lives? This is another matter that is interestingly absent from the entire UK press cycles. And this is not me just speculating, the sources give clear absence whilst the FDA reports show other levels of failing, it seems that some players forget that lots of data is now globally available which seems to fuel the mention of ‘criminal negligence‘.

So you have a nice day and when you see the next news cycle with bad blood, showing blood bags and making no mention of Factor VIII, or the pharmaceutical players clearly connected to all this, you just wonder who is doing the job for these journalists, because the data as it needed to be shown, was easily found in the most open of UK and US governmental places.


Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Politics, Science

The German domino

The Guardian is giving us another view of what seems to be blunt misdirection, in this case misdirection from the German industrials. The title ‘German industry warns UK not to expect help in Brexit talks‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/08/german-industry-warns-uk-over-brexit) might seem true, might sound true and by their own admittance be hopeful and true, yet in all this, we know that the statement is one that they cannot hold on to. You see, with every step that the UK gets into a slightly better stand, with every step where the UK economy gets a little better slowly yet certainly, it is in that phase that we need to recognise that the Germans are all merely facilitators to their own boards of directors (in multi plural ways). So, when we consider an EU population of 508 million and 13.5% of that population is British, do you actually think that they are willing to throw overboard a 13.5% consumer base? Who are you kidding? So as we see the words from certain players who apparently are trying to remain anonymous the quote “Two of Germany’s biggest industry groups have told the Observer that their main concern during the Brexit process is protecting the single market for the remaining 27 members, even if this harms trade with Britain“, which is a lot of bogus. The other 27 members can openly be single market as much as they like! The issue is that certain players are not part of THAT discussion. You see, do you think that Bayer, the large pharmaceutical wants a situation where they lose a large chunk of 68 million people who are aging? Do you think that they want to offer that multi million unit customer base to Indian generic pharmaceuticals or to American pharmaceuticals? The US loves that prospect, let me tell you that. In addition, once the US and India get a chunk of that base, they will have the foundation to grow stronger into the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia. So suddenly 13.5% becomes 31% and that 31% is actually spending a fair amount compared the the lower 15 on that same EU list. Places like Solingen for metal ware and a few other German players are in that same neck of the woods. In addition there is the car industry; I reckon that Volkswagen is truly looking forward to losing that part to Saab, Volvo or its French equivalent. The UK will happily take decent trade deals with many of them.

So when we consider all this, the amount of bluff we see in the article could be costing the German economy a 2% drop, would that not push THEM into recession? So as I read about Dieter Kempf, president of the BDI, the federation of German industries, I actually wonder how he got his math done. When we see: “The UK will remain a very important partner for us, but we need a fair deal for both sides respecting this principle. The cohesion of the remaining 27 EU member states has highest priority.” This might be true, yet when you consider that the lower 15 are not much of any consumer and that your growth does not exist there, how soon until you weasel your way back into the shadows relying on the quote “I was merely voicing the issues our members were“, which is very likely to be true. Yet when we ask names, how many will you be allowed to phrase? How many members will step forward as the train wreck you yourself created is showing the levels of damage it incurred? At that point they will all hide in the shadows, and we will find their statements to be part of the loom of those weaving their personal private needs, not the ones of any of the industries you claim to represent.

In this the quote “While we will be leaving the single market and the EU customs union, we want to achieve a comprehensive free trade agreement that allows for the most frictionless possible trade. The government has been clear that we want to ensure a smooth implementation of our new partnership with the European Union that is in the interests of businesses in the UK and across the EU.” that part makes perfect sense, yet that comes from the UK side and there is the ball a little smoother. There is a difference between wanting an actual trade deal and others trying to force you into some trade deal that benefits certain people the most. Wanting trade versus bullies and opportunists is never a trade deal. In all this Markus Beyrer, director general of the Business Europe group gives us an interesting side, or better stated, he phrases it almost identical. He states “We want a good deal for business, which means an orderly Brexit and an orderly transition to the future relationship, while fully protecting the integrity of the single market“, this actually sounds good, yet in all this the issue is more and more becoming about the validity of the ‘single market‘. You see if this single market is so awesome the fact that the UK is staying in it is not a problem, in that this same ‘single market‘ would shrug their shoulders, making some ‘their loss‘ statement and move on. Yet did this happen, no it did not! We have seen all levels of bulling, statements of near blackmail and a level of almost feudalistic statements in the air of ‘remain or else’. You see, it is almost like the old communism, ‘be a member of the party or else‘, did you not notice that? So what is it that they do not want the UK and others to learn and find out? Did you not once consider that part? It started when the initial UK economy was going up a little, now it is about 27 members trying to oppose the UK at every turn. It is almost like watching a physician making the patient sick so that he can sell medication.

When was the single market ever about that?

John Longworth, the former director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce who campaigned for Brexit, is on my side. When we look at his quote “The European project is so important to the Germans politically and economically, that the German political establishment are prepared to sacrifice even their own car industry for that outcome“, I wonder if that is true. You see, when the car industry (read: Volkswagen) gets the first dips in their results and when those boards will miss out on several millions of Euros in bonuses, they will call other people and someone will get axed really soon thereafter. You only need to take the revenue from a pimp once for that person to take a less optimistic view of life and the health of his opponents the moment it happens. We have plenty of long term evidence in that regard. In all, the only thing the German industry would do is alienate the British who don’t like to be told by any German, any day of the week, so there is that to consider.

In all this the EU made one colossal error. Even as we have all been ignoring it, the opportunity offered which was quoted in the Economic Times: “India is one of the fastest-growing large economies and is expected to surpass Germany and Japan to become the third-largest economy by 2025. India has become the land of possibilities, and when you consider that the country offers a growing market of 1.25 billion consumers you can see why“, so as this market grows import, it will be on the edge of a razor to grow its export, preferably larger that their import, so as the EU markets are playing hard sale, India is ready to come in and offer all kinds of deals with the UK. With a growing Indian population, the UK (Australia in second place), are the two markets where India has options and opportunity to grow. Once the Germans learn the hard way that they gave away a chunk of their market, how long until the other EU nations come running for some kind of a trade deal?

You see, in all this the UK always had options and as the Europeans are posturing themselves into the UK alienating from them, we will see growing amounts of evidence that these posturing parties were only hurting their own cause.

The most interesting quote comes from Albrecht Ritschl, an economic history professor at the London School of Economics. He states “One thing German industry is clearly worried about is the potential disruption on the way to a free trade agreement because it cannot be negotiated within the two-year timeframe“, which is interesting because why not start to negotiate today with the UK with the start date of that trade deal to be the day after Brexit is complete. Anyone stating that this is not an option is lying to you. The entire industrial industry from 1918 onwards has been set on the smoking cadavers of those who ruined what was before. We see this in the Marshall plan. Even as we see that the plan was in operation for four years beginning on April 8, 1948. There is clear evidence that the preparations started as early as April 5th 1946, these were not the first players, but their reference to the meeting on the ‘preceding Monday’ gives light that actions had been planned for much longer. The Marshall plan, a plan that involved the two players Mr Cohen and Mr C.P. Kindleberger, the appointed member of the US Treasury.

In all this Germany could have been starting their own industrial conversations with the leading UK industrials. It is really weird that they have not actively done so from day one. If this was to gain the UK banking votes that they went about it the wrong way, if it was to continue the old track that is was more than merely stupid, it only shows that the ‘one market’ path is flawed for many players and it seems that too many players want to keep that side of the story between the sheets, yet for what reason I cannot say. I can speculate that this was merely about greed, but that would be too simple and the greed that holds in contempt other players tends to see the light of day quicker than we realise, so I honestly cannot say what we are prevented to see. What I can say is that the entire German boast of them sitting on their hands was not too bright and in the long term they are very likely to hurt themselves a lot more than others.



Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics

In light of the evidence

We tend to accept facts and given situations whenever we have a reliable source and a decent level of evidence. The interesting side is that howling to the moon like a group of sheep hoping the lone wolf will not hear them is an equally weird revelation. The question becomes at that point, who is the lone wolf and who are the sheep, because neither position nor identity is a given. Now, for the first art, we have the Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/27/eu-theresa-may-combat-terror-brexit-europol), with the expected title ‘We need deal with the EU to combat terror, experts tell Theresa May‘, which of course gets them the DGSE, yet the usefulness of the rest becomes a bit of an issue. For this part we need to look somewhere else, and we will do that after the given quote in the mentioned article “Although our partnership with the US for intelligence sharing is extremely important, the fact is that the current terrorist threat is very much a European dimension issue. The Schengen database and knowing about who has moved where are all intimately dependent on European systems and we have got to try to remain in them“. This could be a valid and valued statement, yet is that truly the case? For this we need to take a little gander to another place of intelligence and Intel interest. The Cyber monkeys, or is that the cyber-mercenaries? The difference is merely a moment when you WannaCry 1.4. You will have heard, or perhaps read regarding the NHS as it was struck, here again we see: “However, it instead appears to be down to organisations and individuals failing to run keep Windows up to date“, which was actually voiced by NHS Digital, the failure of policies as they were not adhered to by IT staff, or at least those responsible for keeping those PC’s up to date with patches. The second quote given much earlier in the IT article is ““To be abundantly clear, the recent speculation concerning WannaCry attributes the malware to the Lazarus Group, not to North Korea, and even those connections are premature and not wholly convincing,” wrote James Scott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT)“, which is where I have been all along. The one nation that has less computer and internet innovation than a Nintendo GameCube sets this level of hardship? It is just too whack for thought. It is the quote “At best, WannaCry either borrowed heavily from outdated Lazarus code and failed to change elements, such as calls to C2 servers, or WannaCry was a side campaign of a minuscule subcontractor or group within the massive cybercriminal Lazarus APT” that changes the game. In addition we see: “The publication referred to “digital crumbs” that the cyber security firm had traced to previous attacks widely attributed to North Korea, like the Sony Pictures hack in late 2014″, we will exclude the quote “Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth has said Labour would invest an extra £5 billion into new IT infrastructure for the NHS, after hospitals and services were affected by the widespread Ransomware attack on Friday“, especially as Labour had in the previous government wasted £11.2 billion on an IT system that never worked, so keeping them away from it all seems to be an essential first.

The issue is now in several phases. Who got hit (those not updating their systems). It affected according to some sources thousands of systems, yet when it comes to backtracking to a point of origin, the Cyber Intelligence groups remain unclear. The IT article (at http://www.itpro.co.uk/security/28648/nhs-ransomware-north-korea-may-not-be-behind-wannacry), gives us a few things, yet the clear reference to the Guardians of Peace, the identity the hackers had given themselves in the Sony event gives a few additional worries. Either this is clearly a mercenary group without identity, or we have a common new issue on identity when it comes to Cyber criminals. You see, as we see more and more proclaiming the links between the Lazarus group and North Korea, we do not get to see a clear link of evidence. Many sources give us ‘could be linked‘, or ‘highly likely‘, which is an issue. It makes the evidence too shallow and circumstantial. The NY Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/technology/north-korea-ransomware-attack.html) yet they are basically stating what Symantec game us and mention that. My issue here is “But the hackers left behind a trail of digital crumbs that Mr Chien and his colleagues had traced to previous attacks by the Lazarus Group“, what if the crumbs were an intentional side? You see, the quote “another group of hackers that call themselves the Shadow Brokers published the details of National Security Agency hacking tools that the WannaCry hackers were able to use to add muscle to their attacks” give a different light. The fact that there is a team reengineering tools and flaws to get somewhere fast is one. We have seen the lack of actual cyberpower of North Korea in the past, the fact that they are regarded on the same level as Chinese Cyber forces is a bit silly. You see, any country has its own level of savants, yet the fact that North Korea, a nation as isolated as it is, gets to be on par with China, an actual superpower that has Cyber infrastructures, experts at the University of Shanghai (the white paper on cracking AES-256, 2001), as well as a growing IT technology base is just a little too whack.

This now reflects back to the European need of Schengen. The UK needs quality intelligence and with the US breaches of Manchester, the fact that no high quality evidence was ever given regarding the Sony Hack, the growing source of all kinds of hacker names and no validity or confirmable way to identify these groups leaves us with a mess that pretty much anyone could have done this. In light of the NSA flaw finders, there is now more evidence in the open giving the speculative hacker as one with skills that equal and surpass people graduating with high honours at MIT, than anything North Korea could produce. It does not put North Korea in the clear (well the fact that the generals there had no comprehension of a smartphone should be regarded as such), and as we see the entire Bitcoin go forward, we need to take more critical looks at the given evidence and who is giving that evidence. We all agree that places like Symantec and Kaspersky should be highly regarded, yet I get the feeling that their own interns know more about hacking then the sum of the population of all North Koreans do, which is saying a lot. We see supportive evidence in the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/wannacry-ransomware-attack-oddities-2017-5). Here we see IBM with “IBM Security’s Caleb Barlow, researchers are still unsure exactly how the malware spread in the first place. Most cybersecurity companies have blamed phishing emails — messages containing malicious attachments or links to files — that download the ransomware. That’s how most ransomware finds its way onto victims’ computers. The problem in the WannaCry case is that despite digging through the company’s database of more than 1 billion emails dating back to March 1, Barlow’s team could find none linked to the attack“, one billion emails! That is what we call actual evidence and here IBM is claiming that the issue of HOW the malware spread remains a mystery. Now, can you see that the entire North Korean issue is out of touch with the reality of Common Cyber Sense and Actual Cyber Security? Two elements, both are essential in all this. It is the lack of actual evidence that seems to be the issue, giving us the question, who wants the North Korea issue propagated? Any answer here is more likely to be political than anything else, which now gives us additional questions on where for Pete’s sake the need of European Intelligence remains as they fall short of providing answers. In light of the Schengen database. Why would that not be shared? If the US has access as a non-European, non-EC nation, why would the UK, a clear European nation be barred from access? With all the flawed acts by the US, having actual professionals look at Schengen data, seems to be an elemental first, would you not agree?

An additional question would be on how these Bitcoins would be cashed, it is not like an isolated nation like North Korea ever had a flying business in Bitcoins in the first place. It is actually (yes, I am shocked too), that quality information comes from PwC. In this case Marin Ivezic, a cyber-security partner. He gives us “EternalBlue (the hacking tool) has now demonstrated the ROI (return on investment) of the right sort of worm and this will become the focus of research for cybercriminals“, which would be a clear focus for veteran cyber criminals, yet the entire re-engineering foundation gives another slice of circumstantial evidence that moves us actually away from North Korea. So in this we have two elements. As the FBI and CIA have been all about pointing towards North Korea, the question becomes, where do they not want us to look and whatever else do they not have a handle on? These points are essential because we are shown an elemental flaw in Intelligence. When the source is no longer reliable, why would they be around in the first place? We can agree that governments do not have the goods on Cyber criminals, because getting anything of decent value, tends to require inside knowledge, which is the hardest to get in any case, especially with a group as paranoid as cyber criminals. The second side is that China and Russia were on the list as one of the few abled parties to get through Sony, yet Russia has fallen of the map completely in the last case, that whilst they are actually strengthening ties with North Korea. That does not make them guilty, yet on the sale required Russia was one of the few with such levels of Cyber skills. The fact that we see in the NY Times that it is too early to blame North Korea is equally some evidence, it gives vision to the fact that there are too many unknowns and when IBM cannot give view of any mail that propagated the worm, gives additional consideration that there are other places who cannot claim or show correctly how the worm got started, which is now an additional concern for anyone altering the work for additional harm. As the point of infection is not known, stopping the infection becomes increasingly difficult, any GP can tell you that side of the virus. There is one more side I would like to raise. This comes from a source (at http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/59458/breaking-news/wannacry-linguistic-analysis.html), it is not a journalistic source, or a verified source, so please take consideration that this news could be correct. It is however compelling. The quote ““The text uses certain terms that further narrow down a geographic location. One term, “礼拜” for “week,” is more common in South China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Singapore. The other “杀毒软件” for “anti-virus” is more common in the Chinese mainland.” Continues the analysis “Perhaps most compelling, the Chinese note contains substantial content not present in any other version of the note, is lengthier, and differs slightly in format.” The English note of the ransomware appears well written, but it contains a major grammar mistake that suggests its author is either not a native speaker or possibly someone poorly educated“, that would make sense, yet how was that source acquired?

The second quote: ““Given these facts, it is possible that Chinese is the author(s)’ native tongue, though other languages cannot be ruled out,” Flashpoint concluded. “It is also possible that the malware author(s)’ intentionally used a machine translation of their native tongue to mask their identity. It is worth noting that characteristics marking the Chinese note as authentic are subtle. It is thus possible, though unlikely, that they were intentionally included to mislead.” The Flashpoint analysis suggests attackers may have used the Lazarus code as a false flag to deceive investigators, a second scenario sees North Korean APT recruiting freelance Chinese hackers to conduct the campaign” gives us a few elements, the element of misdirection, which I had noted on from other sources and the element that North Korea is still a consideration, yet only if this comes from a freelance hacker, or someone trying to get into the good graces of Pyongyang, both options are not out of the question as the lack of Cyber skills in North Korea is a little too well set from all kinds of sources. The writer Pierluigi Paganini is a Cyber professional. Now even as Symantec’s Eric Chien is from California, did they not have access to this part and did no one else correctly pick up on this? As I stated, I cannot vouch for the original source, but as I had questions before, I have a few additional questions now. So, exactly how needed is European Intelligence for the UK? I think that data should be shared within reason. The question becomes, how is Schengen data not shared between governments? The Guardian gives us “After the Manchester attack, which killed 22 people and left dozens of others grievously injured, it was revealed that suicide bomber Salman Abedi had travelled back to England from Libya via Turkey and Dusseldorf four days before the attack“, so how reliable is Turkish intelligence in the first place? How could he have prepared the bomb and get the ingredients in 4 days? There is an additional view on ISIS support active in the UK, yet as we now see that this drew attention to him, why on earth was the trip made? Also, was Libya or Mecca the starting point (source: claim from the father in earlier Guardian article)? How would sharing have resolved this?

Now look at this in light of the US leaks and the Cyber Intelligence of a dubious nature. There is a growing concern that the larger players NSA, DGSE, GCHQ have flaws of their own to deal with. As they are relying more and more on industry experts, whilst there is a lack of clear communication and reliable intelligence from such sources, the thoughts now become that the foundation of fighting terror is created by having a quality intelligence system that recognises the need for Cyber expertise is becoming an increasing issue for the intelligence branch. Should you wonder than, then reconsider the quote: ‘demonstrated the ROI (return on investment) of the right sort of worm and this will become the focus of research for cybercriminals‘, if you think that cyber jihadists are not considering the chaos that they could create with this, then think again.  They will use any tool to create chaos and to inflict financial and structural damage. They might not have the skills, yet if there is any reliable truth to the fact that the Lazarus group is in fact a mercenary outfit, there would be enough critical danger that they will seek each other out, that is providing that ISIS could bring cash to that table. I have no way of telling how reliable or how certain such a union could be. What is a known is that Sir Hugh Orde is not answering questions, he is creating them, as I personally see it. The quote “UK membership of EU bodies such as Europol and Eurojust, which brokers judicial co-operation in criminal cases, not only allowed access to huge amounts of vital data, but also meant UK police could set up joint inquiries with German police or those from other national forces without delay“. You see, the UK remains part of Europe and Interpol existed before the EC, so as we now see the virtual creation of red tape, the question becomes why the EU has changed rules and regulations to the degree that the UK would fall out of the boat. Is it not weird that the EU is now showing to be an organisation of exclusion? Even if we laugh on the ridiculous promises that Corbyn is making, just to be counted shows that there is a larger problem in place. Why is there suddenly a need for 1,000 more intelligence staff? Can we not see that the current situation is causing more issues then resolve them? As such, is throwing money and staff on a non-viable situation nothing less than creating additional worries?

The last part is seen in “The Schengen database and knowing about who has moved where are all intimately dependent on European systems and we have got to try to remain in them“, yet this does require all players to enter the data accurately, in addition, that only applies to people entering Schengen, yet as has been shown in the past, after that getting locations on people is becoming an increasingly difficult problem. The fact that after the Paris attacks, some people of interest were found to be in Belgium is one side, the fact that these people could have met up with all kinds of contacts on the road is another entirely. The truth is that the intelligence branch has no way of keeping track in such details. In addition we have seen that the list of people of interest is growing way beyond normal means and organising such data streams and finding new ways not just to find the guilty, but to decrease the list by excluding the innocent is growing in complexity on a nearly daily basis. And that is before the cyber mess is added to the cauldron of nutrition. There is at least a small upside, as the technology stream will soon be more and more about non-repudiation, there will be additional sources of information that adds the branches by pruning the list of people of interest. The extent of pruning is not a given and time will tell how this is resolved.

It all affects the evidence that the parties hold and how it is applied, it remains a matter of time and the proper application of intelligence.


Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Military, Politics, Science

Life in USA less healthy now

You might not have thought it, but did you realise that your life, if you are in the USA is as per direct a lot less healthy? Did you know you are now intentionally endangering your health? You did not, then read on and learn how you have thrown your healthy life away. In the LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-broadband-privacy-senate-20170323-story.html), we see ‘Senate votes to kill privacy rules meant to protect people’s sensitive data from their Internet providers‘, you might wonder how this is a danger to your life, but it is, and it will hurt your pocket too no less. The first part is “overturn tough new privacy rules for Internet service providers, employing a rarely used procedure to invalidate restrictions that cable and wireless companies strongly opposed“, now this is not the FBI or the CIA spying on you, this is the option for internet providers to sell your actions and your privacy driven information to whomever wants to buy it.

One quote from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was “The FCC privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules that hurt more than they help”. Now, this is not just something that started now, to his credit, he has ALWAYS been on the commercial bandwagon, some of that goes back years where he questioned the White House on the way the FCC’s set-top box proposal came down and what role the White House had in that, and other, FCC decisions. He is clearly a man of less governmental oversight and that is his right. The issue becomes when TV and internet usage is sold to health care providers and on the consequence of what those people call the ‘weighted classification of couch potato‘, in that with the rise of health care premiums. This actually goes further than merely health care. The fact that app use and geographic data becomes available is equally a concern. There is a secondary situation, Companies can now go via consultancy firms and avoid issues with that pesky Employment discrimination law. You see, “the elimination of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment” can now be circumvented. People who are too often on Boston South Side, East LA, or the SF Mission district, the use of Geo data would allow for a percentage analyses of this GeoData, giving some people who had hit on hard times even less able to fight for a decent future. And let me be clear, any ISP denying that will be lying to you. The data will be part of something else, like where were you when a certain app was used, which might seem nice, but if they check all apps than that picture gets to be pretty complete.

The reality goes further than this. Even as you read this, MIT is making great strides (at http://bpp.mit.edu/offline-data-collection/). Yet when you read: “Daily price indices, monthly, and annual inflation rates for Argentina and the US. Monthly data with annual inflation rates for Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK, US, 3 US sectors, and global aggregates (including Eurozone). Daily PPP series for Argentina and Australia. The data were used in the paper titled “The Billion Prices Project: Using Online Data for Measurement and Research” – Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(1) (Spring 2016)“, a serious question comes to mind. You see, once you have this data, you can go into collaboration phases, after which you could raise minimum prices on hundreds of articles. It might be cents, but that raises your monthly costs in dollars, whilst the maker now gets millions in addition. So, yes everybody loves big data, yet will it love you? You get the impression from “Daily prices for all goods sold by 7 large retailers in Latin America and the US: 2 in Argentina, 1 in Brazil, 1 in Chile, 1 in Colombia, 1 in Venezuela, and 4 in the US. Used in the paper titled “Scraped Data and Sticky Prices”“, you just wonder if it is such a weird concept. Now, from an academic point of view, it is an amazingly interesting project. So was Dynamite, which Alfred Nobel learned the hard way, had a few optional uses which he never considered. Data is in that regard a whole lot more dangerous.

The biggest joke in all this is not President Trump, it is actually the FCC puppet Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Obama in May 2012, he stated that the rules threatened to confuse consumers as they were different to those imposed on web firms such as Google and Facebook. You see, as I see it Ajit Varadaraj Pai is stupid, but he is not stupid, you hearing me? Let me explain this. When a person looks at an advertisement, or seeks something like ‘Gaming Chairs’ at PC Case Gear. That person looks and decided not to buy, the person is just browsing. Now, as this person looks for other things or browses the internet and visits websites. This person gets to a site that uses advertisement spaces. Now for example, Google AdWords will show things that interest you, or things from places you visited. So, even as this person is just going to any place that has advertisement spaces, Google AdWords would possibly show that person ‘Gaming Chairs’ that PC Case Gear had on sale, and Facebook will do exactly the same. In all this, that persons actions and seeks would have remained private, the advertiser does not have my details. They will get general aggregated data, like the gender and the age of the visitor (age is set in an age range). At no time does the advertiser have my complete details. This is why it actually works, now that the ISP can sell my specific data, the issue changes. My details will now get out to third parties and their lack of any ethics (not that the ISP has any mind you) will now endanger us. Ajit Pai knows all this! And he is very happy to facilitate the need for greed, even if it endangers lives, because at some point in the near future it actually will. The health care data need will take care of that, meaning that when your child could not get healthcare, because his browser data indicated an unhealthy life, when he needs that Bypass and the healthcare provider got a little too needy, just remember the name Ajit Pai for the tombstone of your child. Let me explain this a little more clearly. The NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) gives us “Yet for those buying insurance on an exchange or private market plan for 2017, the average increase before subsidies was a shocking 25 percent” When we consider that the annual premium for an average family was up to $18,142 (I know, what a weird number), 25% is $4535.50, That is $378 a month, when was the last time you got a raise that allowed for such payments?, let me be frank, with 3 university degrees, I have NEVER received an annual increase that much, so as such, you lose either your healthcare or you lose your quality of life. What will you choose? So as junior is data mined as a little larger risk, your premium takes a hit and as you had to let go of healthcare, your child dies, with the compliments of Ajit Varadaraj Pai, so please send him a ‘thank you’ note, the FCC can be found in Washington DC.

You think I am exaggerating? This is the path the US was always on, exploitation to the max before the collapse. USA Today gives us “Sears and Kmart might not have enough money to stock their shelves” merely 3 days ago, it can no longer fuel its existence, that whilst its CEO grew his fortune by $1 billion last year alone. Forbes voiced it as: ‘Sears Suffers — Eddie Lampert Wins‘, now this is related, as places like Sears and Kmart will be vying for YOUR details, your browser history and your privacy and once they have your data, they will merge it and sell it via for example an Australian subsidiary to whomever will buy it, China for example. That is how your data will bounce around the planet, decreasing you and the value you have with every transfer deal made.

As I stated often in the past, I love big data, yet I know that there is an increased need for ethics on how it is collected, applied and moulded into a new base of information. The USA has shown that it is not able to keep any level of ethics in play, which sucks for Americans and it in equal measure sucks for anyone considering trusting an American company, that is, until the Europeans and others get on board on cashing in on data for sale. Consider one last thing, now, this is pure speculation and there is no evidence that this would happen, yet what happens when ISIS figures out what the parameters of a desperate person are? What happens when they mine this data to see who to approach for extremist actions? There is no way this could happen, could it?


Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Politics, Science

Retrenching under false pretence

Today we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/01/len-mccluskey-ford-unite-tariff-free-single-market-access-bridgend), how Ford is moving its needs and its projections towards other places. It fill the pattern and projected promise that have been set in motion a few years ago. The US is moving parts back to the US and some parts to Asia. Australia had been feeling this for some time. Ford left Australia in 2016 when in October the last Falcon XR6 came of the belt. Now we see the beginning of their exodus from the UK and in this the title ‘Unite blames Brexit as Ford prepares to cut 1,160 Welsh jobs‘ is as they call it, a total load of bullocks! You see, this is the other side of a one market and tariff free access. You see, as these costs fall away, making these 4 wheeled thingamajigs in America becomes profitable again. Now, let’s be fair, Ford is an American company. For American companies to move back to their home turf makes sense, it could even be seen as patriotic. But in all this, Ford remains a business. So they need profit to soar and that can be done by having their factories in America and Asia. Brexit was never a factor, Australia never had a Brexit.

Is there a chance that Brexit was any factor? I do not believe so, the UK is not yet in a completed Brexit and it would take a few years before all would be complete, so there is no Issue for Ford, in their camp it was already planned, the entire pressure on Brexit is just tactics, because the US is scared of what comes next, so for the US, in light of the upcoming French elections, the anti-Brexit pressures are essential. The game is changing in France. President Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term, according to the BBC the first French president to do this in modern times (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39130072), he is that unpopular and as such France is seeing several different issues and power plays in place. With one in four under-25’s is unemployed. So even as all parties agree that massive changes are needed, the Socialist failure gives rise to additional voices moving towards Front National. In all this, we see additional moves. We could even consider that this is a partial discriminatory ruling. The EU claims to be all about the freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, yet they will happily lift parliamentary immunity for the French prosecution to take legal action. We can argue the validity here in two ways. One: Marine Le Pen did break French law. Two: how many other French people have been prosecuted for ‘publishing violent images’? I would really like to see the numbers on that one. So as we will see big data mining on transgressors, I wonder how many have not been investigated, which shows that the EU is very willing to upset the sanctity of a fair election, especially as those deciding on this are likely to lose their jobs when Frexit becomes a reality.

So as we see through the (what I personally regard to be) blatant lies by Ford, or better stated by Len McCluskey, and in this as Ford is not forthcoming they get to be tainted by the very same lie. The quote “UK’s biggest trade union has urged Theresa May to guarantee car makers tariff-free access to the single market“, in this I would state ‘Mr McCluskey, are you usually just facilitating for big business?‘, you see, as I see it, Ford is using Len McCluskey not for the plant, not for the single market access ‘need’. No, they want to sweeten the deal! They need other concessions, like the ones they had in Australia. ABC Australia (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/tax-transparency-report/7036708) gave the people a Tax Transparency report. Where: FORD MOTOR COMPANY OF AUSTRALIA LTD, had a Total income ($) of 2,940,670,099 (so basically almost $3 Billion), a Taxable income ($) of a mere 7,057,051. This means that 99.9917% of the income did not need to be taxed. So as we see: Tax payable, Tax payable as percentage of total income, as well as Tax payable as percentage of taxable income. These numbers become zero (that means $0.00 and 0.00%). So is Len McCluskey going to open his eyes? Is he going to realise that he is made the bitch of big business that requires the UK government to give away taxable income in the form of free labour? Perhaps Len McCluskey remembers what slave labour is? All valid questions, more important, if this is the path Ford wants, why not let then fuck off to merry old America? Let’s be fair and honest. America is in dire need of actual jobs and an actual economy. They are bleeding currency value and as such, if American companies decide to retrench in the US to save their home country, than that should be regarded as a noble action. Yet, these companies are run by boards that have one need, dividend and bonuses. Let’s also be honest here, these people don’t make any massive coin, not compared to a few other fortune 500 companies. The top executives, have an income ranging from $5.2M to $17.7M, which in Wall Street terms might be laughingly little, yet the retrenching has the danger of those people losing 28%-42% of what they are getting now. You see, as the US has a collapsing infrastructure, the strain the US is getting by having these manufacturers move back to the US is going to cause a few infrastructural gaskets to blow. It will not happen overnight, but within 24 months they setbacks will hurt Ford, there is no doubt in my mind on that. The level of setback will be anyone’s guess, I do not have any wisdom that could state to any degree of certainty how much the impact is. Yet, when you consider that Ford is working on a 3.9% operating margin (2014 reported numbers) and they walked away from an Australian 99.9917% non-taxation, we should wonder on how they tend to do economically more terrific in the US. It seems to me that the US retrenching has either massive kickbacks, or will come at the consequence of short sightedness and long term hardship. The numbers do not makes sense to walk away from either, but the clarity is that fingering Brexit was not the reason. But then, Ford did not do that, they got

Len McCluskey to do just that. It is the part “McCluskey also demanded that Ford provide “legally binding guarantees” of future production at the plant”. It made me giggle. You see if they had not before, why would they do that now? It seems to me that McCluskey, not unlike Kim Carr in Australia, was either in on part of it for a time, or I need to consider them both to be massively incompetent. A legal binding guarantee after the fact. It is just too hilarious! Of course, when the issue collapses and Ford moves, then we get the real issue, because at that point the blame game starts. In Australia, Kim Carr got to play his game and got the reprieve, so when his labour team got replaced by the Australian Liberal Party (the Aussie Tories), he stood back and got to stand playing with his beard thinking ‘not my problem anymore!‘, yet Len McCluskey does not get to be this lucky, when Ford leaves it will be on his plate and the Unite members will have a massive amount of questions, I wonder how many actual answers Len McCluskey will have.

So all these revelations and facts brought to you because someone decided to blame Brexit and I have actually had enough of those blamers. The fact is that there would always be consequences to Brexit, so when I see another ‘bremainer’ demand a Brexit without consequences, I wonder just how stupid some people tend to get. Another side linked to this is seen in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-will-not-contribute-to-eu-budget-if-no-brexit-deal-is-reached-says-lords-report-a7609526.html), here we see ‘Britain will not contribute £50bn to EU budget if no Brexit deal is reached, says Lords report‘, the subtitle is even more descriptive ‘The UK appears to have a strong legal position in respect of the EU budget post-Brexit and this provides important context to the Article 50 negotiations‘. The reason to go here is seen in “According to the Lords, EU budget payments – likely to be a contentious issue throughout the Article 50 negotiating period – would not be enforceable and the UK would be in a “strong” legal position to not pay a penny if talks ended with no deal“, so all the hard play we have seen has been absent of a proper analyses of the articles, something the House of Lords was not about to let go. The quote “Theresa May has warned her European allies that the UK is prepared to crash out of the EU if no reasonable Brexit deal is agreed on. In this case, the Lords add, Britain will not be liable to make any further financial contributions to the budget” also implies that there is a two stream issue within the conservatives. You see, when we see the quote of Theresa May against “David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, said earlier this year that the Government would not rule out making future payments to the EU’s budget in order to secure favourable access to Europe’s markets“. The two streams are ‘let’s be flexible about it all‘ and ‘we have had enough of this‘. The point being that large corporations have been souring the cream pushing European politicians to take emotional stands whilst others are trying to muzzle Mario Draghi and his need to spend a trillion no one has. This now pushes back to the Automotives of the land (including the exiting Ford), I think we need to see that the approach that has been used for too long a time, making some industries holy and non-taxed is not the way to go. Now, there are plenty of people who want certain markets to push forward and to have trade deals in place tends to be a good thing. Yet the part that the media seems to ignore again and again is that these deals benefit large corporations to a massive degree, but others tend to fall between the cracks losing out on all those fringe benefits. It is an injustice that has been seen several times and Brexit would allow for a change that gives a level of fairness to it all (allow does not mean it will happen though). So whilst we can agree that there would possibly be an impact, there are still too many waters stirring, so any level of Brexit blame is very premature. That evidence is given additional support when we consider Reuters news from 2015 (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-ford-asia-idUSKBN0O625Y20150521), it was already forecasted 2 years ago that “When I take a look at Ford’s growth over the next five to 10 years, we believe roughly 60 percent of the growth will be in the Asia Pacific region,” said Dave Schoch, president of Ford’s Asia Pacific region“, which was the first sign that the Ford plants in Australia were at risk. In equal measure, the slowing economy in China saw Ford sales drop, a similar event has been happening in Europe, where the drop is three times higher and here we get the issue. It had a rise for a while and the European numbers looked really good, that is, until you realise that Russia was the only strong contributor to the Ford sales. Yet the Russian slump has been in play and it is now also hurting Ford, whilst the news of ‘rapid recovery unlikely‘ to be at the head of the forecasting table. So when we see Ford media give us (at https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/feu/en/news/2017/01/18/ford_s-european-sales-rise-5–in-2016–strong-ford-transit–rang.pdf), “Ford sales rise 5 percent in 2016 to nearly 1.4 million vehicles in its 20 traditional European markets*“, with the reference to Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland.

Giving us now the one part that the papers were missing. The fact that the sales are not sliding, but the revenue is set to better profitability, in that the element becomes that the UK is only one of 20 nations for Ford and when we add the Ford Authority quote to it from February 20thIn all, the closures terminated nearly 6,000 jobs, although some number of those were merely shifted to lower-cost countries like Spain and Turkey“, as well as “Ford Europe has continued to pare down its workforce, offering “voluntary separation” packages to some 10,000 employees since early last year to help save an estimated $200 million annually” a valid tactical move by Ford going back to well before 2015. So as we see this facts, the entire Ford issue has been playing for a while and a lot of it has been out in the open. So at this point I would ask Len McCluskey where he got the idea “workers had been “kept in the dark”“. I would like to know what actions he had undertaken since December 2015 when this was already underway, more important, the move in Australia should have really woken him up. Did it do that? Because certain facts, clearly given by several sources, some of them openly Ford themselves. It is there where we now see a reason to doubt the existence of both Kim Carr and Len McCluskey (but that is just my view on the matter). Len had the option of making a clear speech to the workers in wales starting by ‘the party is over, there will be massive changes in the future, but we do not know the exact setting, but the worst case scenario is that the plant will seize to exist‘. Did he make that speech? I reckon not, most people like that tend to avoid bad news, especially when events like Brexit can be blamed and that is exactly what he did in the end.

As a final point I need to refer to the quote “We have had, as I said, dialogue with Ford. We will continue to have a regular dialogue with Ford about the ways in which government can help to make sure that this success continues“, which was exactly was happening in Australia, with the happy ending not becoming a reality. There, certain players decided to blame the newly elected liberal government, whilst we clearly see that there is plenty of evidence that Ford had already decided, and the decision was ‘vacate!’

I wonder what McCluskey does next, perhaps blame the Welsh weather?


Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics

Is it a Prise, Prize or Price fight?

This is an interesting time, you see, many will not yet realise it, but we are roughly 19 months away from a game changing moment in our lives. There are groups of people scurrying to get to a virtual starting position, because they have learned the hard way that not setting the stage for the fight means that they will lose out the second time and this time there will be no third round for them. If you are at this point considering that I am kidding or that my statement is over the top, you better reconsider fast, because Orange Poland is now starting to get backers who have serious amounts of cash and last Wednesday, AT&T released ECOMP (their version) in San Francisco. They called it Indigo and it is one of two markers that are now actively in place to set the stage for massive shifts in Big Data. Yes, you are reading this correct!

This is not just a stage of evolution, this is now starting to be a stage of transition. As the people are marketed into a sullied state of dreams, they are tempted to seek what the places bring to them. Places like Tableau relying on AdWords top placement to show how important they are in this industry, with others using the same path on how ‘the magic quadrant of Big Business‘ is the solution, on how we see the ‘Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader‘, but the truth is actually in another direction. Places like AT&T who basically got their asses handed to them as they did not act in the 90’s, they now see that being there ahead of the game is the only move left to them, because AT&T sees that America will not make them great, it will not make them the global player. That is the first shift we see are now witnessing.

In this a very similar view can be found in the movie Assassins Creed. Now, it got written off by a several critics, but the beauty of the product is not in the movie, which is still bringing in a decent amount of profit (millions) for first time producer (and actor) Michael Fassbender. The reason why this movie is so interesting is seen in the revenue. Only 25% came from the US, the rest international. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story does it to some degree where the US and international set is 50/50, the US is no longer the bulk of the income for, a basic issue that now needs addressing, especially by the American players.  That time has gone and these players have caught on that in 22 months the infrastructure is either in place, or they are out of the race. Even as we still see large players (like the Dutch KPN) rely on presentations on how ‘great’ they are. Certain players are realising more that tactics need to change, the presentation is no longer enough, and they need to be ready sooner than ever expected.

This is seen in another way, a way I already saw coming. This time it is the Canberra Times (at http://www.canberratimes.com.au/technology/technology-news/ftc-accuses-vizio-of-spying-on-smart-tv-customers-20170206-gu70p5.html) that gives the goods. We see ‘The US Federal Trade Commission said on Monday that Vizio used 11 million televisions to spy on its customers‘, which reminded me of my blog article ‘The back door‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/12/29/the-back-door/), which I wrote on December 29th 2016 with the part “consider the amount of mail you have at present and see what happens when 10 devices are added to your house profile. The refrigerator, your smart TV, your smart recorder, your game console, your laptop/tablet/PC, your 5 smart devices” as well as “A large group of people will get more and more access to your way of life. In addition, there will be an option to influence your way of life, which is a side nobody signed up for“, a stage that is now coming a lot faster than I expected. The Vizio case is only the most visible one now, this whilst more evidence is coming that Microsoft is engaged in similar actions. Is it not interesting that Microsoft is not mentioned? Perhaps that is because they are only doing that outside of the US? What is interesting is that with Vizio, places like Time.com states how to deactivate certain options, there are more and more indicators out there that this is not an option with Windows 10. How many devices use that? The other part we need to know is that the Vizio case started all the way back in 2014. So it took the trade commission well over 2 years to get there, and for how long was data collected? The interesting part is however not there, it is in the quote “manufactured VIZIO smart TVs that capture second-by-second information about video displayed on the smart TV, including video from consumer cable, broadband, set-top box, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, and streaming devices. In addition, VIZIO facilitated appending specific demographic information to the viewing data, such as sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education level, home ownership, and household value, the agencies allege. VIZIO sold this information to third parties, who used it for various purposes, including targeting advertising to consumers across devices, according to the complaint“. You see, the issue is not seen towards one place, when you consider ‘including video from consumer cable, broadband, set-top box, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, and streaming devices‘, this implies that Vizio played the field and was also getting the data from Consoles (which hurts Microsoft and Sony) as well as Foxtel (several data paths), so did Vizio get dobbed in? You see, in 2014 this field was in its infancy, now in 2017, whilst data will be the essential centre stage to all matters big data related, now it gets to be a different thing and still the media at large is asking way too few questions on the who, where and for how long. And as our exposure is set to 2014 cases that are only decided now. Even as now suddenly a wave of newscasts is hitting the screens of people on how Microsoft has privacy tools, how Microsoft is trying to quash gag orders. Microsoft is part of all this from the ground up. Whilst within a Chinese wall environment, one side of the wall is boasting that they champion the privacy of others. As we see that there are now Microsoft privacy tools, we see that that part comes with the small quote “coming to future editions of Windows 10“, which is the case because Microsoft and AT&T are very aware that being alive is being in the game and data is the one element that allows them to do it in an affordable way. There is an additional side, which was brought by Forbes. It is just a week old and gives us the consideration we actually need. The part where we get hit with ‘Tempest in a Teapot’, which could just be a storm in a teacup is not that minor an issue. You see Forbes own Thomas Fox-Brewster is setting the stage, but is he doing it intentionally so? consider “Trump’s decision should only affect the privacy of data handled by government agencies, not private companies” as well as “the only way in which the order may affect non-U.S. individuals lies in the manner the Department of Homeland Security handles personal information“, which is actually the part we should not care about. It is the ‘private companies‘ part that is the actual danger. First we need to take a look at the legal part. Now, I can do that, but the experienced people at DLA Piper (at https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2016/07/privacy-shield-is-final/) did that and I just hate inventing the wheel twice. Yet in that part the following issue rose, and it did so because it has happened before (and it will happen again). It is seen in this part ‘Secure personal data and ensure the ability to restrict secondary uses‘ and the issue is not because of that part exactly, it is because of the technological side to it. You see the restrictions on data and backup data are not the same, backup data is not seen as data. Forbes actually raised it in 2012 with “First and foremost, IT auditors need to come up to speed on the implications of auditing data that’s beyond the organization’s control and beyond the organization’s home borders. While some auditors are worried, many are more optimistic that these requirements provide business opportunities within the security, compliance and auditing community as organizations move data and long-term storage into the cloud” as well as “When data is moved beyond an organization’s technological and geographic borders, the organization runs the risk of losing control of how that data complies with regulatory compliance. By addressing legal and regulatory challenges up front through technology, an organization can begin architecting an off-premise, cloud-based storage solution that meets the business’s needs as well as keeps regulatory compliance at bay“, yet only now, or better stated only recently do we see a shift that places like SAP are now realising that technicians and consultants have their own agenda’s and an American one does not see things the same way a European technician sees things. Computer Weekly raised it, but they did so with the interesting quote “data analytics technology, will ensure that only technicians in Europe will have access to potentially sensitive data held in its cloud datacentres, if companies demand it“, you see, it’s the ‘if companies demand it‘ part that matters. If provider A has an infrastructure yet it gets its backup serviced by consultancy provider B who uses a different cloud and cloud system, where is the security set when system B is in the USA and system A is in Italy? There we might see the term ‘data safety is not impacted‘, yet it is equally not impacted when Intelligence Agency ‘who gives a damn‘ has mirrored that backup and now has 100% of all data. That is the realistic issue that the Privacy Shield addresses, but does it do that in equal measure for a cloud corporate infrastructure? Is the backup party vetted, or even identified? You see, this is not about paranoia or what people learn about me. This is about large corporations getting an even more unbalanced advantage. That part is not addressed because those supporting large corporation only need to delay things (Vizio 2014 is evidence enough). It is Kevin Werbach from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania who gives the parts I have been referring to. In a podcast on innovation we get “Companies like Uber and Airbnb are built on algorithms. They’re built on software that understands supply and demand and matches people on both sides of the network“, THIS IS IT!

That is why the players need the data and as much as they can. Do you think that people like Mike McNamara (Target Corp) got a massive oversized budget for the fun of it? No, he realised (and successfully sold that to the board of directors), that if he had the data and the systems in place he can take K-Mart and Walmart to town and take chunks of their share, in the next 6 months we are likely to see the first small victories, small in start but it will be a growing wave, have no doubt about that part. These are the advantages that larger corporations have and some are doing it ethically acceptable. Yet in a similar fashion I see that those taking a different path are not questioned or hold to any level of accountability. How is that for screwed up? I have nothing against these places, but in the global setting, Target would gain an advantage against the Dutch C&A if this continues. I believe that to some degree competitiveness is a good thing, but what happens when the tools available are not available to all? What happens when one retailer is ethically kept blind, whilst the outside competitor has a dataset describing the national population in excellent detail? Where is the fairness then?

So are we facing a fight with three players? That is not a given, there are a few elements in motion over the next 18+ months so there will be shifting. Except those who are claiming and considering not participating, they are pretty much out of the game for good. Nokia is now re-joining the mobile fight, trying to bring a competitor to the Pixar XL and the iPhone 7 to the fight (Nokia P1), what was interesting is that they avoided the one ‘mistake’ the Google Pixar has. It will be one way for people to get a cheap solution this year, but will it be enough?

Not enough data to tell and that is where it sets the pace of the continuing fighters, who has the data? Which might be the premise of a joke. Three fighters were getting into the match. One thought it was a prize fight, one thought it was a prise fight and one assumed it was a price fight.

Which player do you think will be the one left standing in the end?


Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Science

We get it, but we don’t

There are times when we love to see the big boys getting sued, yet this is not that time. When I saw the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/03/apple-lawsuit-facetime-car-crash-iphone-patent), I had to wonder whether I had to laugh out loud, or just let my head hang down and shake it slowly. I get it, when a bad thing overcomes you and your family, the one you sue is the one who has the cash to settle or pay largely (read: deep pockets). That part I learned in my first week of Torts, so the fact that a couple goes for Apple makes sense, yet it does not. You see, in this global community there are these pesky things called ‘traffic laws’, so to make a point I decided to take a look at the traffic laws of California and that was a trip so psychedelic, that no amount of mushrooms could ever equal it. It all started with the California Driver Handbook (at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/web/eng_pdf/dl600.pdf).

I was off to a great start, because on page 21 we see ‘distracted driving‘ with “Anything that prevents you from operating your vehicle is a distraction” and it mentions ‘Visual-Eyes off the road‘ and ‘Cognitive-Mind of the road‘, so it seems that there was a good start. Then on page 86 we see the things that you must not do, which states ‘Do not operate a cell-phone without the use of a hands-free device‘ as well as ‘Do not drive a motor vehicle whilst using a wireless Communication device to write, send or read text-based communications‘ as well as ‘do not drive a vehicle equipped with a video monitor, if the monitor is visible to the driver and displays anything other than vehicle information‘. So, I saw the ground pretty much fall away from me whilst I realised that the first mention was ‘Do not smoke at any time when a minor is in the vehicle. You can be fined up to $100‘. Is this for real? Smoking is fined, yet the more hazardous issues are not dealt with? I cried wolf almost too soon. The DMV (at https://www.dmv.com/distracted-driving-penalties) gives us for California: $20, so we now know that we can plan for the accidental execution of ex-wives, people we do not like and people with a price on their head, because California has decided that this act of ‘gross’ negligence carries a fine of $20, or perhaps $40, because it could be proven that both visual and cognitive were transgressed upon. We just need to look really really sad, remorseful and get a great lawyer. If you have any such plans, after the deed is done in for example San Francisco, you should call Chris Dolan of the Dolan Law Firm (at https://dolanlawfirm.com/), they might be able to help you all the way avoiding jail.

So, as some places take distracted driving serious, there is a clear indication that plenty of states do not. This is upsetting in a few ways as the level of distracted driving (video chatting whilst driving) amounts to nothing less than manslaughter. Now the California Penal Code gives us Penal Code 192(a) voluntary manslaughter and Penal Code 192(b), involuntary manslaughter. The second one is set apart as it does not require intent to kill. I thought that we were in the clear with voluntary manslaughter as there is the option of vehicular manslaughter. Although here we see the needed:

A. in an unlawful way (not amounting to a felony), with or without gross negligence;
B. during the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner, or
C. knowingly causes the accident for financial gain (which is also a violation of California’s automobile insurance fraud laws).

Now part c seems not to be the case. In my fictive example the prosecutor would require proof. Good luck getting that part from my banks in Riyadh! Hah!

Yet part A and part B are still filled at present. The issue is that distracted driving is not said to be a felony or unlawful. In that regard video chat driving is gross negligence through common sense, yet the California driving rules and the DMV do not state it as such (as far as I can tell at present) and as such someone’s 5 year old little daughter ended up with a dead one, for the fine (as currently stated in the DMV penalties list) no larger than the price of merely 4 MacDonald happy meals? How screwed up does that sound? The fact that the DMV could have clearly set in motion the change that caught with more than one element of distracted driver means an automatic suspension of the driver’s license for no less than 5 years as well as setting the bar towards a felony and not keep it at a misdemeanour, an act that would clearly be turning faces real quick. As minors and adults seem to worship their cars and their needs to drive somewhere, setting that change in motion could have resulted in a living child, very likely loads of non-dead individuals because of acts of utter stupidity. The fact that the DMV was very willing to add statistics to the drivers guide shows that this is a massive amount of lives that could be saved.

Let’s face it, in the world of common sense, video chatting whilst driving seems to be one of the more stupid acts to pursue. It is at the end that I disagree with Nora Freeman Engstrom, a Stanford law professor, who states “Apple’s inaction in the face of that knowledge may not trigger liability here. But it may well expose Apple to liability down the road”, in that I disagree as the pressure should have been on the irresponsible driver from the very start and the driving laws should have been adjusted as such for a long time. It is time to set the blame where it should have been, with the driver!

Now, we all understand that the personal injury lawyers tend to have a go at those with the deeper pockets, yet how fair is that? Actually, fairness does not come into question, the law was already clear on distracted driving, it just needs to become a little more clear and let those relying on distracted driving either have a really good insurance, or let them feel the sting of prison when harm comes to victims due to their negligent actions. In that we can agree that texting, video chatting whilst operating a vehicle will always have a negative impact on the lives of people they hit.

The fact that this is not addressed on a national level is equally disturbing. When we see statistics like ‘Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way‘, whilst we see in addition, that ‘64% of all the road accidents in the United States had a cell phone involved‘, so any clear change will have an adverse effect on those two statistics. That seems clear enough a reason to make distracted driving a much harsher transgression with a penalty and fine large enough making it a felony. In that logic, the misconception that people can drive and text or video chat is a mismanaged perception that should be addressed as soon as possible, or better stated, with the statistics shown this should have been addressed years ago. So in that we do get that the parents want to lash out against the guilty parties, yet we don’t get that this is done, making guilty a party that had not implemented a patent, to be more precise a patent that might have gotten itself circumvented as well as the clarity that any usage in combination with driving is already defined as dangerous. The fact that the State of California regards this to be a $20 transgression makes the situation just sad and not really a valid guilt trip for Apple, Google or any other Android mobile smartphone brand.

You see, in itself, the article is not that important. So someone is suing Apple, la di da! Yet behind all the fun, frolic and charade is the hidden issue of responsibility. We seem to avoid responsibility, feign unawareness or advocate stupidity the difference in this case seems to be mere semantics depending on your point of view. There is a decent argument to be made that the law makers have been too lax, yet to what extent? To what extent can any nation continue when common sense is thrown out of the window? It is an equal valid view that not the law, but the person in situations can be the point of decision, yet when we decide to avoid that, we do get to spend life in jail, especially when our own negligence and lack of common sense gets other people killed. There is no ‘I’m sorry‘ and ‘I thought it was OK‘ or ‘It was not illegal‘, I especially like that part. Well, I got my in-laws killed, but it was not illegal, so have a nice day Justice! We can even argue whether killing a person we know is less punishable then killing a stranger, but that is a discussion for another day. What is very much the issue is that Moriah Modisette died because Garrett Wilhelm, of Gainesville thought that he could safely drive a car on the interstate at 65 Mph whilst using FaceTime. Yet, this did not happen in Santa Clara, it happened in Texas on interstate 35W, near mile marker 81. Now we see a change, because Texas has harsher rules, and here we see “Denton bans texting and driving on city streets, but the city ordinance does not include the interstate“, so now we get a new ballgame, even as we see “Manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas and carries with it the possibility of up to a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence of at least two years, but no more than 20 years” yet the DMV states that distracted driving applies to Drivers younger than 18, which Garrett Wilhelm was not, so is it mere luck that he is up on a manslaughter charge? How come that death gets a different value, that stupidity is rewarded in some states? The fact that there are rules, regulations and city ordinances all giving a different value to this serious transgression. Now, as an Australian I accept that the US has different values and even though they too work on the premise of Common Law, doing so on a national level is not easy. Yet should this matter not have been dealt with more severe and on a national level? Especially when we see the statistics and a massive gap as to how the transgression and the implied consequence of the transgression holds up?

In case of Garrett Wilhelm, the trial date got set in the end to 26th September 2016, whilst the report of June stated that a request for continuance is to be expected, so over two years later there is still no justice for Moriah Modisette which would drive any parent insane with grief, rage, bitterness and sadness. All these emotions at the same time would be devastating. It still is not fair to have a go at the mobile maker, but that is only my personal view.

Perhaps it is time for someone like Bill O’Reilly to champion another law, just like he did with Jessica’s Law. Perhaps the US needs a Moriah Law, a law that makes the use of any mobile, other than hand free voice calling whilst driving a car a felony and it would be a law that covers all if the US, every state, regardless whether it is in the city or not. They shouldn’t need a law like this, yet the acts of Garrett Wilhelm (who is not the only one mind you) clearly state other whiles.


Leave a comment

Filed under Law, Media, Politics