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The snipers empathy

Today is a different day, today is not some case where I am a Don Quichote wannabe, I am not fighting a windmill and I am not hunting for Credit Agricole and certain upcoming 2024 events (for those who were able to comprehend the links between three earlier articles), not to mention an unconfirmed rumour that a small group will end up with the better part of €467 million. Today is different, this is a point where I might be wrong from the very beginning, and I am OK with that.

This is about an article in the Guardian last Wednesday (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/aug/07/ads-human-stalking-satire-the-hunt-pulled-us-mass-shootings). I saw the trailer and to be honest, I never made any link to the El Paso and Dayton killings, I also understand that in this turbulent times the studio needs to rethink its approach to a movie that took most of the previous 2019 to make. It was also the moment that I learned that is was based on the 2012 original Jagten with Mads Mikkelsen (Death Stranding, Dr Strange, Rogue One), which is actually a little issue as this was done before with the remake of Nightwatch (Nick Nolte), the makers wanted an English movie without having to rely on subtitles and missed to boat to the larger degree, the issue is not the makers, the director was for both Nattevagten and Nightwatch Ole Bornedal, so I am at a loss how the movie was worse, the actors were good, I felt that the original had a much better atmosphere. So now I do worry for the Hunt, yet in all this the hunt has a strong cast (Betty Gilpin, Hillary Swank, Emma Roberts), and it might work, the idea that hunters overestimate a woman is not without premise giving an edge to the movie, the idea that ‘they’ve been chosen to be hunted in a game devised by a group of rich elite liberals‘ is also strong, the idea that clueless rich people cannot look beyond the veil of a spreadsheet is readily accepted by the audience, yet that is not what this is about.

This is about the event where a filmmaker is now getting his hands tied behind his back because of an event in real life and the polarisation of the people around it. I believe that there is strong character in the cast and crew to look at other ways to adjust creating awareness. Creating awareness is an important part of any movie and spreading creativity has a plus and a consequence. I get it, you do not want to set the open stage of ‘entertainment’ where the people are all upset over events, yet the premise remains.

Does it really?

When we consider the quote “According to the Hollywood Reporter, cable network ESPN dropped an ad for the movie that was to air last weekend while studio Universal reassesses its plans for the film, which is due for release on 27 September in the US. The same publication says “a source” at ESPN said that no spots for the film would appear on the network “in the coming weeks”” and we see the ‘27th September‘ as the start date, why would there be any advertisement on TV before September 1st? There are other venues! for example IMDB as well as YouTube has been seen as a trailer central for movie lovers, there no restraints are needed, those in grief (and we get that) would not be in a state of mind to seek out new trailers, watch movies that are coming, in addition, the Digital world is global and even as the makers need to pussyfoot around their American audience for now, but that restraint is a lot less needed internationally. When we consider that the larger productions are now in a stage where the US is often merely 25%-35% of the total global revenue, focussing on the non-US side would become increasingly more important. There is also an issue with the quote: “The Hollywood Reporter quotes a Universal executive saying that the studio was responding to the politically “fluid situation” amid a wave of protest in the US against gun violence and white supremacism and that it was discussing plans to change direction over the film’s promotion “if people think we’re being exploitative rather than opinionated”” Here we need to realise that the original is 6 years old, in addition, filming was completed months ago, showing the clear stage that this is about a movie and not about exploitation, that next to the fact that when some people are calling the issue a ‘politically fluid situation‘, we need to realise that the politicians are part of the problem here; this was been proven close to half a dozen times over. When we give rise to: “Employees in different departments were questioning the wisdom of making such a movie in these times“, we need to ask additional questions. Was there wisdom in creating ‘the Deer hunter‘, ‘Apocalypse Now‘, or ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile‘? Where do we draw the line? Now we see the Hunt, which is a story, not a reality and somehow people are unable to distinguish real from fiction, we can call that a much larger failing on all of us. And if this was a small (not so) subtle push to propagate the dislike of firearms, does that have a quorum in a work of art (as the maker would call it)?

I will accept that some people do not want to get near this movie for all the personal convictions they might have and that is fine, yet how should we go about fiction because it is uncomfortable? Is art not set to the stage to make it larger? Is pushing a person outside of their comfort zone not an important aspect? If we so object, how come that the protest was not louder when in the movie Final Girl was trained by Wes Bentley to take matters in her own hands? Was it because an Axe gave the coup de grace and not a Benelli M4 Super 90? Seems weird, in the end the person would still be dead. It reminded me of an old conversation, “We are not murderers, we are killers“, all whilst we know that the person we’d be gunning for ends up being equally dead either way we label it.

For me the Hunt will be interesting, the switch away from Mads Mikkelsen and towards a female lead. In addition, Emma Roberts has proven herself to be a bad ass witch (Madison Montgomery), can she repeat it in the Hunt and end up being as bad ass as her daddy was in the roles like Alex Grady, James Munroe, Tomas Leon and several others, to see the ‘bad ass’ stamp pass on to the next generation is just a fun part. Emma Roberts has distinguished herself a few times over, watching Nancy Drew go Madison Montgomery on us is merely icing on the entertainment cake. It also shows that the makers did a good job, which is essential for any movie lover.

Yes, if there is a focal point to the hunt for me, then it is the stage of fun, it always has been that; art and fun need to go hand in hand; it is also the reason why Lars von Trier movies take so much effort for me. I found his ‘the House that Jack built‘ a little meeker that I expected. I remember seeing ‘Dancer in the Dark‘ I was deeply depressed for well over a week, so when I see art, I prefer to feel joy and entertainment. The Hunt is in the end still entertainment, nothing more to it. Is it a hunting story where we get to enjoy the change as the hunter becomes the hunted. It is as stupid as it gets, like jumping into a snake pit and playing with your food, it never ends well. For a true hunter, the idea that someone thinking that he is a hunter and getting eaten by the lion he wanted to kill is just great joy. A true hunter kills for food, not for joy, a true hunter is not there to get the Lion, he wants to get the real deal, the animal that gets him fed, not the pelt (which is merely a bonus at times).

So when I am looking at the story of “a group of globalist elites gathers for the very first time at a remote Manor House to hunt humans for sport” I see the need that this goes Topsy Turvy on the hunters and it remains entertainment. It does not take away the issue that there is a real event in the US and because of that the anti-gun feelings are exploding, I get that, I truly do and I also accept that the film makers are not there to upset feelings, they show the empathy that politicians never show when they exploit events for their own personal limelight. Yet the film makers could take it to better staging (I have not seen the hunt at present and beyond the little captions know, as well as the trailer) I know very little about the movie at present. Yet the stage that we see today also calls for other parts.

Whilst politicians are trying to exploit a movie, the recollection of the New York Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/22/us/politics/trump-atf-nra.html) where the NRA is accused of “It has aggressively lobbied against nominated directors and pushed Congress to enact restrictions on how the bureau spends money to curtail its ability to regulate firearms and track gun crimes. One funding provision, for example, forbids the A.T.F. from using electronic databases to trace guns to owners. Instead, the agency relies on a warehouse full of paper records“, if that accusation is proven, then we have a much larger setting where the governing members of the NRA might be guilty of corporate manslaughter. If we accept: “an organisation will be guilty of the offence of corporate manslaughter if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death“, will the absence of electronic records set a stage where it caused a person’s death? Consider the Columbine High School massacre, perhaps the best known shooting (1999), it happened in a time where databases and data analyses has already evolved to a much larger degree, consider that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had been in the database system, is there enough evidence that this alone might have triggered clearer actions in time? In addition, if the NY Times is to be believed and the issue of: “For decades, the N.R.A. has used its sway in Washington to preserve the A.T.F. in its limited capacity” could be proven, does that increase the chance of conviction of corporate manslaughter on the NRA and the governing members? It is an important question because the evidence that the failing of the ATF is funding and either all politicians unite to grow the ATF or they should be muzzled and forbidden to make any political statement at any shooting, should that increase the chance of actually solving matters?

Perhaps larger visibility to the hunt becomes essential, when we see ‘entertainment’ and the premise of real danger we might take more notice. The notice of sociopathic millionaires and billionaires hunting people for sport is not realistic, but the dangerous premise where weapons are handed out and remains available completely unchecked is an actual danger. I myself have a fondness for guns (specifically long range rifles), yet I never owned one because in the Netherlands there are no proper rifle ranges, and I lived in the city. In Sweden there were options, but I was in the city and did not see the need to get one and so on. I believe in responsible choices and so far there has not been an option to enjoy my passion for years, so I have to limit myself to other fun events and there are plenty.

I believe that the largest passion of guns in the US comes from partial hunting and from passing on the skills and knowledge from generation to generation; there is plenty of evidence that farmers and families are about safety and about proper handling of weapons, so having these people in a database should not be an issue or a worry, it is when a group caters to a 1% group with other needs, that is when we need to worry and that is seemingly happening now.

When we call the entire senate to attention and demand an answer on the limitations of the ATF, will we get a clear answer? The last permanent director of the ATF was Todd Jones (August 31, 2011 – March 31, 2015), whilst President Obama was in office until 2018, so the failing in the White House is much larger than we see. This is important because if the people are not taking this serious, why should a movie maker show constraint on a movie that is not based on real life?

I wonder how the person with links to Universal responds in case a person like Oliver Stone decides to wake up and does a deep dig into the ATF and the political ramifications it has faced for over 10 years, in an age where terrorism is a larger danger, how can you limit the one organisation that could assist the FBI to the largest extent? I wonder how the NRA will scream and cry like little bitches when a movie like that makes it to the world screen. In the end I do agree with the NRA on one thing, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people“, and there is also the hidden wisdom, should we stop a database that connects a gun to a person? It is a larger issue and we accept that, yet the solution was simple and has been for over a decade, the fact that the media and the real politicians who fight for a better nation are not there to protect and grow the ATF also are the shown politicians that are optionally part of the problem. That evidence is shown as the 5th director of the ATF was Bradley A. Buckles (December 20, 1999 – January 2004), and Carl Joseph Truscott as the 6th director from 2004 to 2006.
So in a stage of terrorism and mass shootings, there has been a proper ATF director in play for a period of 10 years out of the last 20 years, why is that not daily news? The fact that the ATF started on 1st July 1972, and so far there have only been 7 permanent directors, with decent governance in the years up to 2004, does that not strike you as strange too, especially after all the 9/11 events?

I believe that those opposing and complaining about the Hunt have a much larger problem, but it seems that calling the white House and the ATF, as well as the FBI to attention on this is not what limelight seekers do, they merely want the stage for the message of selling themselves, not presenting the presentation on how to keep Americans safe, is that not a nice consideration to have?

A sniper does not show empathy to instantly kill its target, there is no benefit to prolong your targets life, it merely needs to e killed and one bullet does just that, kill a person, kill a cause or kill an idea. It is a Hollywood stage where the target has to suffer, or be able to plead, or be able to alert others through screaming.

As I see it, apart from the joy that a movie like the Hunt brings (with a soda and pop-corn mind you), it could optionally show just how stupid people are by not demanding a permanent ATF director and a better ATF budget from their elected official every single day. When people do that every day and make sure that their life (read: their re-election) depends on it, we will see an actual improvement to limiting and in the long term stopping mass shootings. Perhaps a movie like the Hunt is good on other levels, it might make people wonder on how the system is kept in place by political exploiters and that too is important to shove into the limelight (the less diplomatic, the better).

There is no short term solution, there never was and anyone telling you that is lying to you, yet none of it is reality until actual decisions are handed out and for now, they are not.

 

 

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When politicians rely on terrorism

Something really bad happened in New Zealand last week, no one denies that. The impact and repercussions are staggering and will be for some time. Yet he politicians need to wake up and take a long hard look into the mirror. That is the view that ABC News left me with yesterday. The article (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-19/new-zealand-facebook-christchurch-shooting-video-sheryl-sandberg/10915184) gives us ‘New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern leans on Facebook to drop Christchurch shooting footage‘, I get it, it needs to be deleted, everyone (99%) agrees on that. We were also told on the day after the event “Facebook said it had removed 1.5 million videos from its platforms within the first 24 hours of the shootings and was removing all edited versions of the video, even if they did not show graphic content“, even as we see the added “Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube said they were also using automated tools to identify and remove violent content” yet still we hear: “Ms Ardern said despite those assurances, the “graphic” vision was still available online“, it becomes time for Jacinda Ardern to wake up and take a long hard look at the state of the situation. I get it, she is in a really bad place having to deal with it, yet the political lack of common sense is now becoming an issue. As I wrote the day before this article (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/03/18/media-out-of-bounds/) in ‘Media out of bounds‘: “This is seen with the Twitch statistics that report “As of May 2018 there are 2.2 million broadcasters monthly“, that comes down to 72,330 streamers every day, there is no technology that will monitor it; there is no AI that could intervene. That solemn common sense moment makes the involved politician part of the problem, not part of the solution. Consider that out of all 0.000138% uploads one is optionally an extremist (this implies one extremist every day), so the number ends up being 0.000003% is optionally too dangerous. We cannot get politicians to put in the effort of keeping up a decent information system that is 75%-80% efficient and they demand 99.999997% efficiency from technology platforms?” That was one source. Now add the YouTube statistics (Jan 2019) “300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute! Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day” and in addition when we consider that 17 minutes out of 300 hours represents a mere 0.00944% and that is one instance of a total of video’s that is 1440 times the total daily uploaded size, the chance of finding it becomes harder and harder. More important, more changes imply a different digital footprint. That is besides certain tricks that I will not name here. So 100% is scanned, mostly automated. Yet to find that one video places like Google would require an additional 2500 staff members to be hired, and that is YouTube alone. The burnout factor will be massive. That is before someone figures out the solutions that the Mafia employed in the 80’s and 90’s against wiretapping, when that is applied to digital media the manpower solution will fall apart. And it does not end with her, because she at least is up in arms to deal with something that happened on her watch, in her domain. It is the ABC quote: “Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he wanted world leaders to discuss how they could crack down on social media companies to prevent similar videos from being spread online.” It is my question on how idiotic any Prime Minister could get. We do not see the state: ‘he wanted world leaders to discuss how they could crack down on people uploading terrorist video, preventing them from being spread online‘, he goes straight for the tech firms whilst simple top line reports show the delusional state of some of these politicians. The problem has gotten to be too large. Yet according to some news Brenton Tarrant acted alone, so how exactly is all this possible? the issue is a much larger one and it is time for the politicians to do more than to merely nod their heads, they need to become active in hunting down these elements, but that does not look too good on their resume, so like confused sick puppies, they do what was done in 1934, they find a scapegoat and blame those people, so how did that work out in 1934?

I hereby also demand clear presentation of evidence regarding the statement: ‘Social media platforms ‘unable or unwilling’ to take action‘, it becomes even worse when we see: “if the site owners can target consumers with advertising in microseconds, why can’t the same technology be applied to prevent this kind of content being streamed live?” It almost feels like a discussion with a surgeon stating: “Listen, I took out your gallstones, so I reckon that it will be the same with Overian/Testicular cancer, I will just cut out the bad part, OK?” It is not the same, it is something entirely different. The fact that every minute 18,000 minutes of video is uploaded, which is merely YouTube, makes the issue a very different part. When we add the mobile uploads directly to Facebook, Twitch and the two Chan channels that number becomes close to horrendous. For the most, whatever solution you want to employ, there will be a way to diffuse the effectiveness of the digital solution making matters worse every second.

In all this, the media is making matter worse. This is seen with: “In one email exchange New Zealand police requested an American-based website preserve the emails and IP addresses linked to a number of posts about the attack, but were met with an expletive-filled reply. In a reply posted on the site, its founder described the request as “a joke” before calling New Zealand as a “s***hole country” and an “irrelevant island nation”” (at https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/us-website-labels-nz-s-hole-country-refuses-help-police-in-christchurch-terror-attack-investigation), let quality hackers have a go at them, see how they like that.

So if this truly matters, than you will give us all the name of that ‘American-based website‘, the people have a right to know, don’t they? What do you think happens to the funds of that ‘American-based website‘ when everyone is informed that they are supporting terrorism? Make sure that you repost that information on 9/11, let’s see how much of a shithole that place will be soon thereafter. And the news in Auckland gave us additional info I gave earlier. With “technology firms including Facebook, Google and Twitter – said it shared the digital “fingerprints” of more than 800 edited versions of the video“, yes 800 versions. This is not someone merely being sickly curious wanting to see what happened, 800 versions were made, and is the police still thinking that ‘the shooter acted alone’? There was a support system in place. I got that much within 12 minutes of reading the presented information (aka evidence). The 800 versions give rise to a sympathiser platform and still we see the overly less intelligent Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison trying to crack down on social media companies? Give me a break please!

I personally believe that certain politicians are trying to push their own social media agenda and to achieve that, they are conveniently looking at the options that Brenton Tarrant left at their feet. Yet when you look at the foundation of the numbers and the realisation that this extreme video is a lost smaller than 0.000003% of all uploaded videos (and that is merely founded on one day of videos, we should realise that there is an overreaction. Is it not interesting that over the last decade when it came to taxing these tech firms their diligence was a lot less (optionally 87.5446% less) diligent. Why do you think that was?

It is time to take a hard look at what is realistic and what is not and judge some politicians for their actions. In this specific case New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gets a pass, as this happened on her watch in her yard. She gets to take it to emotional levels, yet we will watch for how long those buttons are being pushed, that seems only fair.

 

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Media out of bounds

This time I am at a loss. I know that discrimination and racism are entities that exist, yet until last weekend I had no idea that governments would be condoning it. There is absolutely no other way to see it. There is close to 0% of the educated world that does not know that something horrific happened in New Zealand last weekend, 50 lives were lost. So for the most, the entire planet is capturing the moment for their audience, their readers, or so one would think.

There were some rumblings via Al-Jazeera initially, but I was focussed on other matters. Yet when a friend gave awareness to a front page of what might be the biggest newspaper in the Netherlands, it is time to look at the issue at hand. So this large newspaper (large in size as well) decided to use 2/3rd of a page for a photograph of a formula one racer ending in 3rd position taking a selfie. Now in fairness, it is a Dutch racer, so there is national pride at play, but for a newspaper that always has been on the front seat to blow terrorist actions out of proportions (the emotional drive) to take this step is just insane. As such a 3rd position is more important than 50 dead Muslims killed by a Christian?

Because that is the setting!

The Daily Mirror made it worse by having in one instance the stage of an ISIS Maniac (a previous event), yet in the case of New Zealand it is an Angelic boy who grew into a mass killer. The images are also staged for maximum effect. So how islamophobic has the Christian world become?

Because if this continue we are merely one step away from the stage where niggers go into the back of the bus, and will anyone react when it happens to the busses in London and the trams in Amsterdam? If this upsets you, good you should be! You need to get angry because this is just insane; to allow for two measurements, one for Christians and one for the rest? Even as a Christian I find that method of measurement revolting.

At least the Sun gave the goods and a lot more, merely on the front page. It should be offensive for the Dutch Telegraaf to be seen as inferior to the Sun, yet they pulled it off that day. I have looked at hundreds of images of newspapers, plenty in languages I cannot read (and cannot state what they say), yet nearly all papers, except the Daily mirror, all saw a monster, a madman and a terrorist, none of them saw some angelic boy reference.

There is something wrong, it has been wrong for a long time, yet this event is probably the first time that the issue gets pushed to the foreground this clearly. I have stated several times (my personal point of view) that the media facilitates to their shareholders, their stakeholders and their advertisers in that order, beyond that the audience gets served. When we take that into consideration, I wonder which individual was so set on getting the Angelic reference printed, the Catholic Church perhaps? As for the Netherlands, a nation filled with business driven needs, the idea that the front page required a 2/3 page for a photo of a driver making a selfie is equally weird. In that view, was it so weird for me to make the claim that the actions in New Zealand are seemingly just the beginning?

This view is only enhanced when we see the Financial Times giving us yesterday (at https://www.ft.com/content/13227c90-487b-11e9-bbc9-6917dce3dc62) ‘Police believe New Zealand shooter may have acted alone‘; the reports in the last 36 hours contradict this strongly. The spread of the manifest, all set to the stage mere minutes from the attack, the stage of reloading, the setting of time until capture whilst the video and stills had been uploaded to a whole range of locations. So when I see: “Security services under pressure to explain why Brenton Tarrant was not on a watch list“, I see a much bigger issue. I think they are aware that he did not act alone, they have no way to find them at present and that is the larger issue. When Mike Bush gives the Financial Times: “He also defended the police response to the mass shootings on Friday, which saw 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant target Muslims praying at the Hagley Park mosque in central Christchurch and then drive about 5km to the Linwood Mosque, where he shot more worshippers“, I will not disagree. This is not something that New Zealand was prepared for, the fact that this person went to a second place is a larger issue and when we see: “within 36 minutes we had that mobile offender in our custody“, we see the issue. He ‘wanted’ to get captured (massive speculation on my side), more importantly in that time frame he could not have done the digital part. It shows that he was not alone in this; there was a support system in place. Another source gave us that this had been planned for two years. That might hold a truth, but the entire setting with the Bangladesh Cricket team a mere 50 meters away gives rise to slightly bad timing, this means orchestration. It is massively unlikely he had all those parts available. In this the politicians are making matters worse. This is seen with: Technology platforms, including Facebook Twitter and YouTube, are also facing growing criticism from politicians over their failure to prevent the gunman live streaming the shootings on the internet and subsequently allowing the sharing of the video“. This is seen with the Twitch statistics that report “As of May 2018 there are 2.2 million broadcasters monthly“, that comes down to 72,330 streamers every day, there is no technology that will monitor it; there is no AI that could intervene. That solemn common sense moment makes the involved politician part of the problem, not part of the solution. Consider that out of all 0.000138% uploads one is optionally an extremist (this implies one extremist every day), so the number ends up being 0.000003% is optionally too dangerous. We cannot get politicians to put in the effort of keeping up a decent information system that is 75%-80% efficient and they demand 99.999997% efficiency from technology platforms? Politicians have become that delusional. And in addition, there is no way to get them all aboard, making it an exercise in technology discrimination, so in light of what the newspapers get away with, we see no validation on these politicians being loud to get some limelight.

The ‘evidence’ that he did not act alone is seen with “She also revealed that the gunman emailed a copy of a manifesto, which outlined his extreme right-wing, white supremacist views, to her office nine minutes before the attack began. She said it did not include a location or specific details that might have enabled authorities to respond faster. The manifesto was also sent to media groups“, the flaws and other parts showed that his agenda was not some clockwork orange, and the expression fits. When you consider “something bizarre internally, but appearing natural and normal on the surface” we see the larger failure. His actions, his manifesto and his preparations, bizarre on several settings, yet he raised no flags. This is not an attack on the intelligence groups (not this time anyway), yet to do all this, to not raise flags, that requires training and coaching. Even if he was super paranoid, the weapons and ammunition required would need all kinds of assistance (optionally from the criminal elements), but when someone buys all this hardware and ammunition, there is a trail, there are other paths that would have raised a flag or two, yet apparently he had none, this can only be done if others did part of that; an IT ‘friend’ setting up the accounts, the scripts and the stage of forwarding all the images and streams to multiple locations. Was the setting of the Cricket day predetermined? That might have been very likely, yet to know where they would all go for the religious service, how did he get that information? Too many elements cannot be answered with ‘lucky’. My point of view becomes a lot more acceptable when we see: “In the first 24 hours we removed 1.5m videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2m were blocked at upload” and that was only Facebook, so they blocked less than half at upload, yet the amount of uploads and sharing gives rise to a much larger issue and even as we accept that many are not from extremists, merely from people forwarding what they saw, this was ONE channel. 4Chan, 8Chan, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter links, the list goes on and all can link to one another. This was more than being prepared; Brenton Tarrant had either direct support or a support system at his disposal. They are not the same yet at present the police and the Intelligence community cannot answer which is which. In that same light, I am not entirely sure if tightening gun laws will solve anything. It is so easy to look at guns and their laws, yet the oldest rule applies. Guns do not kill people, people kill people.

In this we must admit that PM Jacinda Ardern has a close to impossible task at present, not merely because of how rare gun violence is in New Zealand, it is the response that some of the media is giving. From my personal point of view some are facilitating to anti-Muslim events. I see the Dutch Telegraaf and the UK Daily Mirror as direct evidence of this. If there was a united front the news would have reported it as such, yet as one twitch was not stopped and 100% more in news coverage was able to give a presented minimised violence footprint, we can say that the technology platforms are a lesser concern than the media is currently showing to be.

It is in that same view that I oppose: “Terrorism experts said the Christchurch attacks showed there was a need for police to focus more on far-right extremism“, I oppose it because the statement is against one successful attack. The issue is not the person; most extreme right people tend to be dumb as fuck (a mere casual observation on American far right wing elements). The elements that made this a success is more important, the timeline, the hardware and the software shows that Brenton could not have done this alone, even if he did do most executions alone, someone taught him to remain under the radar; especially when it comes to the weapons, the ammunition, the IT requirements, the streaming and editing. He would have been on someone’s radar, the fact that he was not makes it a larger issue, not merely some extreme right issue. I can to some extent agree with Jose Sousa-Santos, director of the Strategika Group when I see “there may exist within the security and intelligence community an institutional culture in which Muslim, indigenous and activist individuals and groups are perceived to be the greater threat to national security than right-wing extremism“, yet that does not deter from the fact that Brenton should have been flagged at least once, the fact he was not gives rise to the larger concern of support towards his actions.

So in the end The Financial Times got a lot right, yet the title will remain under debate making it a much larger issue for Mike Bush and Rebecca Kitteridge for the foreseeable future.

 

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Hammering Facebook

The Guardian has another story, which was updated a mere 6 hours ago. To be honest, I am a little ticked off. I get that the Guardian is giving us this and it makes perfect sense, it is news. Yet when I see ‘Fake news inquiry: Facebook questioned by MPs from around the world – as it happened‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/live/2018/nov/27/fake-news-inquiry-facebook-to-face-mps-from-around-the-world-mark-zuckerberg-live-updates), whilst in the same setting we see newspapers ‘hiding’ behind ‘from an unnamed source’, when we get blasted by well over 64 million results in Google Search on the death of a journalist that close to nobody gives a hoot about, the entire ‘fake news‘ seems to be nothing more than a targeted sham to me. Not the element of fake news, I get that, but some of the players are a little too hypocrite to my liking.

So let’s take a look at a few of these issues we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/27/facebook-fake-news-inquiry-the-countries-demanding-answers).

Ireland: “The Irish government is reviewing proposed legislation to promote online safety amid an outcry that tech companies are unable or unwilling to tackle harmful content. The move jars with Dublin’s normally effusive support for tech companies with an Irish base. Facebook has its European headquarters in Dublin and falls under the remit of Irish data protection authorities“. The first thing to do is look at the definition. The European commission gives us: “Harmful content, is authorized material subject to distribution restrictions (adults only, for example) or material which some users may find offensive even if, on the grounds of freedom of speech, there are no restrictions on publication.” First of all, the Pornhub site is freely available to every man, woman and child. In addition there is a porn version of YouTube that is also freely available, from that we can see that Ireland has a lot of other worries and these two are not available through Facebook. When we look at Ireland we see a nation that given in to big business through tax laws at the drop of any hat and they have harmful content issues? In addition the Times gave us on November 6th: “Google and Facebook will call on the government today to define exactly what kind of content a proposed digital safety commissioner would have the power to remove online.” It becomes a lot more entertaining when we see in Fine Gael last week: “Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton will travel to Westminster next Tuesday (November 27th) for a meeting of the International Grand Committee on Communications”, as well as ““Social media companies cannot hide from the genuine concerns of national parliaments from around the globe, it is imperative they engage with us in a meaningful way. “This document sets out a blueprint for how that can be done.” It is entertaining as she seemingly has a document whilst this entire setting has been going on for years (even before Cambridge Analytics). That entire meeting is in my personal opinion as hollow as it sounds. All trying to look important, yet where is that so called document from Hildegarde Naughton? It does not seem to be on the HN site (at http://www.hildegarde.ie), so where is it? When we are told: ‘This document builds upon the work done by the Oireachtas Communications Committee‘, we should be able to read and scrutinise it. You see, the Irish Law Reform Commission has a 2016 document (at https://www.lawreform.ie/_fileupload/Reports/Full%20Colour%20Cover%20Report%20on%20Harmful%20Communications%20and%20Digital%20Safety.pdf), it is merely that or a continuance of that? And this document is important, especially on page 165 where we see: “The definition of “communication” implements the recommendation in paragraph 2.53 that the proposed legislation on harmful communications should apply to all forms of communication, whether offline or online, analogue or digital, and therefore the definition includes communication by speech, by letter, by camera, by telephone (including SMS text message), by smart phone, by any digital or online communication (including the internet, a search engine, a social media platform, a social media site or the world wide web), or by any other telecommunications system.

This now implies that art is now no longer merely in the eyes of the beholder, basically if any art is regarded as harmful content, is comes under scrutiny (read: censoring) A massive part from Facebook is relying on art to propagate via digital medium, digital art is still in its infancy and it seems that this offends Ireland in the broader view it has, it is in that view that my message to Hildegarde Naughton is seen (at https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/priest-who-sexually-assaulted-girl-6-during-first-confession-avoids-jail-due-to-old-age-and-health-problems-36840577.html). When we contemplate that when you have health issues and you are old, it seems fine to rape a six year old. It is all in the nuance, is it not? So, what will you do when you consider this Grigor Malinov painting to be harmful content? Add a Jade Swim bikini with a brush and a fashionable colour? In light of what certain people get away with, the entire harmful content is not a joke, yet hammer Facebook with it, whilst there are other players openly in the field is too weird as I personally see it.

Then we get a Turkish advertisement variant with ‘MPs do not intend to publish Six4Three documents today, Collins says‘, either you have the documents and you inform the public, or you go home and polish your silverware! You scream fake news and leave the audience in innuendo and what I personally perceive as intentional miscommunication, and haven’t we seen enough of that?

Blame Canada

I can’t resist, whenever I see a Canadian flag, a Canuck or anything Canadian I think of that South Park song. It’s nothing negative, I think that Canada is awesome in hockey, it seems to have great people (several attended UTS with me) and it seems to have a healthy life. I’d take a job in Canada any day if possible (as well as the opportunity to watch Hockey almost every night), I might even be good enough to be a goalie for one of their NHL teams, even though I am nowhere near Martin Jones as a goalie (I merely wish I was). So Canada gives us: ‘Facebook inflated video viewing times for two years‘, I actually see an issue here, the Guardian gives us “only counting views lasting more than 3 seconds, the time a video must be seen to count as a view“, yet with YouTube the skip moment is 5 seconds an now as some people get 100% more ads with many of them not with the option to be skipped we see a shifted trend. This might be YouTube, yet there is no chance that this does not affect Facebook, giving rise that Canada has as optional a valid issue. Richard Allan (Facebook) gives us: ““it depends on the problem we’re trying to solve”“, something that might be valid, yet in the question by Charlie Angus we see: “Facebook has inflated video metrics, overstated for two years. “I would consider that corporate fraud, on a massive scale,” he says, “and the best fix is anti-trust. The simplest form of regulation would be to break facebook up, or treat it as a utility, so that we can all be sure that we’re counting metrics that are accurate or true.” I see his failure as a setting as there is a large intertwined part of Facebook, Vines, YouTube and a few other medium adding fuel to the video metrics, no matter if all hosted on Facebook. You would have to set the stage for all and to merely have Facebook here is a faulty stage, we get pushed into an assumption pool of no facts and biased metrics making matters merely worse. I feel certain that Charlie Angus should have and probably did know this making the issue a tainted one on more than one level.

Finally, let’s go out with a bang and add Latvia to the stage. When we get Latvia’s Inese Lībiņa-Egnere, we get the question: “how Facebook can help countries like Latvia, that face specific threats from Russia“. It took me around three minutes to stop laughing, I should be serious, but I cannot hold my straight face. You see, that is not the job of Facebook. I will go one step further, by stating: “Dear Inese, have you considered adding digital responsibility to both the Drošības policija and the Militārās izlūkošanas un drošības dienests?” There is an unconfirmed rumour that one of your routers is still set to ‘Passw0rd‘ and another one to ‘Cisco123‘, can you please confirm that? In light of the fact that ‘https://www.zs.mil.lv/lv/kontakti‘ directly links to Facebook pages, one might see how the Latvian military (as well as Latvian intelligence) could get phished in several ways, especially when there is the chance that some alleged under dressed biker chick would have been looking for ‘adventurous officers’. It gets to be even more fun when that alleged woman look a lot like a vogue model. You should introduce them to: (https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/fake-facebook-scams/), to have Common Cyber Sense is a government’s responsibility. Getting Facebook to do free consultancy via a hearing is just not Cricket.

I will end this with Brazil, I really liked his question: ‘He asks what Facebook is doing to prevent improper manipulation of its algorithms to prevent illegal manipulation of elections‘. It is a good and important question. I think the newspapers, especially the tech columns should spend space on this and let Facebook show them what is being done, what the impact is, how those metrics were generated and how its validity was checked. I think that the problem is a lot larger than we imagine. I would set a line towards American soft money. It has never been regulated and it still is not. We talk about fake news and political influence, whilst soft money is doing that in the US from the day after a president is elected all the way up to the next presidential election (or the senate, or congress). It is basically shouting at one, whilst the other element is ignored. The difference is that digital campaigns give anyone all the soft money they need, taking the rich out of the equation, the fact that I have not seen anything towards these lines gives a larger implied weight on all media. All those newspapers with ‘from an unnamed source‘ and that is where the blockage begins. There is a setting that it is not the ability or Russia, but the failing of others not correctly countering digital media that is the problem and that was never a Facebook problem, it merely shows the incompetence of others and in an age of advanced nepotism it is a much harder pill to swallow.

In all this, I never claimed that Facebook is innocent, merely that there is a lack of the proper questions making it to the table and even as a few nations were addressed, the issue is a lot larger and needs addressing, preferably before the 5G tap opens which allows the digital media providers to deliver 500% more than it is delivering now.

I wonder how many players have considered the impact of that game changer.

 

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FI01, becoming offensive

I will leave the entire Novichok alone for now, there is rustling in the weeds and it is important to look at it, but only when more actual quality information is available. It is time to take a look at the FI protocols. It is time for FI01.

This might not be the article for many of my readers, I will not shun hash words and I will not shun those wading in hypocrisy. Yet to do that, we need to look at certain definitions too and that is the part we get to after we look at the Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/sep/13/social-media-firms-could-face-huge-fines-over-terrorist-content). The article ‘Remove terror content quickly or be fined, EU tells social media firms‘. the setting given is “Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will be forced to take terrorist content off their sites within an hour or face multimillion-pound fines under EU proposals“, is probably the biggest part, but let’s look on; when we see some of the parts given by Julian King, the British security commissioner in Brussels. We are given a few truths that matter. “We have got a problem with content; it is not an entirely new problem, we are not starting from scratch, we have agreed to do some voluntary stuff, and we got some good progress – but not enough” is the first part and I will get back to that, yet the more important part is “Every attack over the last 18 months or two years or so has got an online dimension. Either inciting or in some cases instructing, providing instruction, or glorifying“. I get it, something needs to be done. In the first we need to see the list and the proper setting of evidence. I get it that this is not offered online for several reasons. Yet there needs to be a lot more scrutiny. As we see the utter screw up regarding Novichoks, the lack of evidence and linked statements without evidence. We also need to state clearly that the press (to a larger extent) is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Julian King needs to realise that if his peers are dragging their heels on one side, he cannot be part of anything acceptable stating the utter impossibility of: ‘take terrorist content off their sites within an hour‘.

From my point of view, this is about something else; this is about giving governments’ direct access to social media to filter ALL content (at their leisure). To get anything done within the hour is just not realistic and they know it. It is also very clear that when 5G is here, it will be too late and that is what they fear even more, and being stupid about it is just not a solution in any place.

It becomes an even more laughable setting with: “Parties could be fined up to 5% of their annual budgets for breaching data protection rules in order to deliberately influence the outcome of the European elections, including those for the European parliament in May 2019“. So instead of making it illegal and rejecting that party from elected consideration, they get a fine? Allowing for big business to sacrifice via some small institution to cop a few million whilst still getting what they want. So when we see Julian King state: “given the track record, there has to be a chance, and we have to up our game and be more resilient“. How about setting the stage that the use of social media for elections is just out of bounds? Limit it to TV, Newspapers and magazines?

We see the problem a lot clearer when we consider the ‘High-Level Commission Expert Group on Radicalisation (HLCEG-R)‘ report from May 18th 2018. Where exactly is the definition of ‘terrorist content’? You see, the EC is all about definitions all the time. Yet here we see an interaction and a level of interchangeability of ‘terrorist content‘ and ‘illegal content‘. It is found to some extent in the report referred to in footnote 19 where we see the report ‘COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION of 1.3.2018 on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online’. So is all ‘illegal content’ ‘terrorist content’? It seems to me that this sudden trivialisation is about something else entirely (at least to some degree).

When we look at the second report, we see: “At the collective level, important progress has been made through voluntary arrangements of various kinds, including the EU Internet Forum on terrorist content online, the Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Sale of Counterfeit Goods. However, notwithstanding this commitment and progress, illegal content online remains a serious problem within the Union

This is reference to Article 292. Yet now we see Illegal Hate Speech Online, the Sale of Counterfeit Goods as well as terrorist content online. So is this about a Nina Ricci bottle or a Prada backpack, because the devil is not in the details, the devil wears Prada plain and simple. We see to some extent the ‘aggregation’ of stupidity (as I personally see it) in item 32, where we are treated to: “In light of the particularities related to tackling terrorist content online, the recommendations relating to tackling illegal content generally should be complemented by certain recommendations which specifically relate to tackling terrorist content online, building on and consolidating efforts undertaken in the framework of the EU Internet Forum“, so when illegal content is online, we now see the implicated setting that these people could be regarded as terrorist. With ‘be complemented by certain recommendations‘, which now becomes a rather weird setting. You see ‘political opinion’ cannot be seen as illegal speech, so not getting to barrier one, also avoids barrier two. In this setting, any political drive must be proven to give the reading of proven the need that the speech instils the drive to act illegally. Until a clear act is connected, there will be no success.

This now gets us to paragraph 33, where we see: “Considering the particularly grave risks associated with terrorist content and hosting service providers’ central role in the dissemination of such content, hosting service providers should take all reasonable measures so that they do not allow terrorist content and if possible prevent hosting it“. So at this point what exactly is ‘terrorist content‘? And the reference to that paragraph refers to ‘without prejudice to Article 14 of Directive 2000/31/EC’, are you effing kidding me? That is the privacy part on a section in ‘legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market‘.

So we get this mess presented?

In that regard when we see: ‘Commission proposes new rules to get terrorist content off the web‘ It is my personal agitated view in the matter that protocol FI01 is set to President Jean-Claude Juncker, he is the Eff…ing Idiot number 1.

When we again look at the headline: “Terrorist content is most harmful in the first hours after it appears online because of the speed at which it spreads. This is why the Commission is proposing a legally binding one-hour deadline for content to be removed following a removal order from national competent authorities“, a one hour deadline? Really? Most EC parts have not been able to clean their act in years, so now social media gets sliced and cut? Is Europe so broke that they want the millions from the three social media providers because they cannot clean their own stables?

Consider the Statistics, Facebook has 2 billion active users a month, and this is not static. We see from sources that Five new profiles are created every second, there is a registered amount of photo uploads approaching 300 million per day as well as the setting that every minute on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded and that is ignoring languages and expressions. The entire setting of removal in an hour is so unrealistic it is close to hilarious. When we are confronted with that, whilst ‘the Conservative’ (not the greatest source, I admit) gives us: “The structural defects of the European Commission are plentiful: an insurmountable democratic deficit; not a hint of accountability; and an opaque process of legislative formulation to name but a few“, that whilst labelled individual FI01 is also connected to: “The president of the European Commission is embroiled in a new criminal investigation into claims that “tampered” evidence misled an inquiry into phone-tapping. Jean-Claude Juncker faces accusations that his officials presented inaccurate information under oath in a case involving an alleged illegal wiretap more than ten years ago when he was prime minister of Luxembourg” (source: The Times, December 13th 2017), that is the person giving social media providers an ultimatum of an hour? You have got to be kidding me. The Telegraph gave us in addition: “The new evidence, which led to the postponing of a trial of three senior formers members of Luxembourg’s SREL intelligence service, according to The Times, showed that a key telephone transcript had apparently been doctored

That’s the person who is part of throwing ‘illegal content’ and ‘terrorist content’ on one pile?

Good to know!

So now we get to the fact sheet!

Here we see (at https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-factsheet-terrorist-content_en_0.pdf) the setting of ‘How does the new procedure for removing terrorist content work?‘ We now see the following

  1. National authority detects and makes assessment
  2. If considered terrorist content, removal order issued to host
  3. Host must remove content within one hour

That seems almost harmless, does it not?

Yet we also see:

  • Right to challenge: Hosting service or content provider may appeal the removal order. If the appeal is successful, the content is restored; if the appeal is rejected or the deadline lapses, the removal order stands and the content must be permanently removed.
  • Obligation to report: If issued with a removal order, the host must report on proactive measures taken to address terrorist content online three months after receiving the removal order.

I am missing any level of accountability, too much ambiguity. So from my point of view, anyone abusing the ‘terrorist content’ for mere filtering and censoring on behalf of anyone else needs to be held criminally liable. I reckon that after 2-3 cases there will be suddenly a large need for postponed trials.

When we investigate the member states part in all this, we see no fine for the state when wrongful removal was done, we see a pressure on removing (or else), yet there is a shallow point when it comes the other way around. In addition, we see “coordinate with other Member States and Europol to ensure that evidence of online terrorist content is flagged, and that duplication and interference in national investigations is avoided“, yet there is no registration on who ordered the removal, also, there is no registration per removal id and in that stage set penalties for those having set the stage for recurring unjustified removals giving ample voice to the earlier: “not a hint of accountability“, if this is about terrorist content, is that part not equally important?

I am all for getting all terrorist content removed, yet the systems cannot get it all, that is too unrealistic and pushing a one hour timestamp whilst the other side has no accountability at all is just a discriminating joke in the making. It is also still interesting to see that they claim to fight terrorism and terrorist online activities, whilst Iran state sponsor of terrorism in still a welcome debate and trade partner in the EU. In addition, the entire matter of Iranian diplomat Asadollah Assadi and terrorist was given light a week before the EU approved plans for the European Investment Bank to do business with Iran. So you want to stop social media, whilst still doing business with these people? How unacceptable is that part in all this? If the EU cannot clean its stables, it has no business enforcing anything on social media that is how I personally see it. Yes, we can agree that terrorist content must be removed ASAP, yet what is that? One hour? 24 Hours? 72 hours? The fact that the EU does business as usual with a terrorist funding government implies that they are clueless on several grounds and the fact that we see an increasing amount of evidence growing on the matter of Iranian Missiles fired into Saudi Arabia is further evidence still that the EU is merely the pot calling the kettle black. It is in that setting that we should conclude that they have no business ‘fine giving’ any social media, especially in light of such a massive funding failure.

You see, what angers me so is the mere filtering of politicians and that needs to stop too! In this I present two elements. The first part comes from Bloomberg last year. We are given (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-29/facebook-says-99-of-is-al-qaeda-content-spotted-by-ai) where we are treated to: “Today, 99 percent of Islamic State and Al Qaeda-related content Facebook removes is detected by the company’s AI before any user flags it, Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, and Brian Fishman, head of counter-terrorism policy, said Wednesday. They said in some cases the software was able to block the content from ever being posted in the first place“. Yet the other part that the Guardian gives us is: “We have got a problem with content; it is not an entirely new problem, we are not starting from scratch, we have agreed to do some voluntary stuff, and we got some good progress – but not enough“. Now we get to the good part, what EXACTLY is ‘not enough’? From my point of view Either Bloomberg lied to us, or Julian King is what some might consider as: ‘an unacceptable piece of trash’. If he wants 100%, he better give us clearly add a few elements of EC accountability and holding them criminally liable when they abuse their power. Also is any abuse of that ‘filtering content’ is found, he is to be dishonourably discharged and shamed in the entire EU, with a clear banning from ALL official positions in the EU and the Commonwealth.

Why the overreaction?

We have been fed two versions again and again and we see a lack of accountability on the EU side too often; for example the elitist banking group of 30 with Mario Draghi as a member. When the Financial Times gave us: “the close links between central bankers and the private sector have aroused public suspicion since the global financial crisis triggered a series of bank bailouts” we see suspected levels of nepotism that raises more issues than 50 successful Islamic State attacks. The article (at https://www.ft.com/content/dc64b6e2-8060-11e8-bc55-50daf11b720d) also gives us “The Ombudsman has also attacked the ECB’s argument that it was standard practice for top central bankers to join the club. The central bank chiefs of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, India, Brazil, Russia, Canada, and Australia are not members and Janet Yellen suspended her membership during her time at the helm of the US Federal Reserve”, showing that the European Commission has a truckload of issues, it is my personal view that it has no business acting in the way it does.

Yet, defence of the actions instigated by Julian King can be seen in Forbes. The article (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2018/05/15/the-problem-with-using-ai-to-fight-terrorism-on-social-media), an Article from last May gives us: “the general public would be forgiven for believing that Facebook’s algorithms are vastly more effective. The New York Times summarized the statement above as “Facebook’s A.I. found 99.5 percent of terrorist content on the site, leading to the removal of roughly 1.9 million pieces of content in the first quarter,” while the BBC offered “the firm said its tools spotted 99.5% of detected propaganda posted in support of Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other affiliated groups, leaving only 0.5% to the public.” In fact, this is not at all what the company has claimed. When asked about similar previous media characterizations of its counter-terrorism efforts, a company spokesperson clarified that such statements are incorrect, that the 99% figure refers exclusively to the percent of terrorist content deleted by the company that had been flagged by AI.

This could be easily tested and as such I decided to do so and with ‘ISIS images’ I got hundreds and hundreds of images, videos and other matters in my browser and I got even more with the search term ‘Jihad Islamic state’. The video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzCAPJDAnQA) shows actions of Islamic State, with sounds, vision and comments. It is News from Vice News, a video from 2014, still online today. At some point you need to as just how ludicrous and useless actions are. We get it that there are actions, we see that numbers become debatable. Yet in all this the mere reported numbers are already an issue, and if I added Vice News articles to me Facebook news feed, would that constitute ‘Terrorist Content’? This small part alone shows us that this is about something else and as such we better take a real hard look at the Actions of the EC, demanding that the censoring side should be held equally liable and prosecutable for their overreaction and inaction. Yet that is never ever going to happen, is it? This is making the EC actions (in my personal opinion) a lot more questionable in all this. It was the overreaction and the emphasis of ‘One Hour’ that set the tone of mistrust, I wonder what else we will see over the coming week.

 

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Upping the game

Today started with a nice revelation, Microsoft has taken the sales offensive. Even as we were treated to ”Bethesda’s online action role-playing game “Fallout 76” won’t be available on Valve’s Steam platform during beta or when it launches on November“, the story changes when we look at the PC games in the Microsoft store we see: “Pre-order to get access to the Fallout 76 B.E.T.A.“, so it seems that Microsoft is setting the bar really high, in addition for that part the game is equally available on launch day for those who have the Microsoft Game Pass. The Game Pass is $11 a month solution (in Australia); you get no option to buy the pass for a year (as far as I could tell), which is a drag, and you better have the download options (not to mention the storage) before you commit to it, but there is no denying that it is a deal that is way too good to be true. Microsoft even offers a 14 day free trial, which implies that the games are only available to play as long as you are a member (this is speculation!), not unlike the PS Plus setting. The pass has XB1 and Xb360 backward compatible games and it is a HUGE list. It includes a list of the upcoming top games to be released this year makes the Game Pass an essential choice. The Pass at roughly $130 for a year) will include well over $600 of AAA+ top games, yet to be released in 2018. So apart from the download hassle the pass represents hundreds of dollars of saving in this year alone. I personally believe that they messed up some of the visibility and marketing, but that was their choice. The smaller issue is the backward thinking cap of the US, for people outside of the US (Australia for example) games (when bought outright) are roughly 28% more expensive (and that is after I corrected for the exchange rate). There are also ‘shadows’ here. I do not believe it to be, but there are. For example one source gave me “These eleven Xbox Game Pass games are “leaving soon”“, I cannot tell whether they will also be removed if you have added them to your library (so check this when you decide), the second shadow needs to be mentioned as the quote was: “Personally, paying for the Xbox Game Pass program and Xbox Live Gold is quite a monthly cost“, which is ABSOLUTELY BOGUS! The Xbox Live is a service subscription to play multiplayer, so if the Game Pass title has that, then yes, you will need Xbox Live as you always would have needed it. For the simple player part it is not needed, just as the setting is today. In addition ‘quite a monthly cost‘, is silly to say the least, even on a budget, the setting is that you have Xbox live $80 and Game Pass $130, gives us full and complete access to $12,000 worth of games for $210 a year, anyone debating whether that is expensive needs to get their heads examined. Now, there is no way that you will like all games that would be silly. Yet the setting now allows for you to try games at $0 that you would never have bought in the first place, a setting where you can grow the games dimension that you are in. I believe that to be a really great setting. The part not mentioned is of course the downloading time and subscription fees of the internet, even as those prices have been going down, or better stated giving you more download at the same price, it is a cost you need to consider, yet at the setting where you get access to $12,000 in games, which represents more than I have ever bought in a lifetime across the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One together is an astounding part you must remember. If only Microsoft had thought that hard drive issue through in 2012, things would be even better for them. I still see that as the one Achilles heel in all this, yet with the rumoured new Console (Project Scarlett) announced for 2020, we do know that Game Pass is a long term setting of gaming for Microsoft and whatever sets the console will be optimised for the billions that Game Pass will bring in. In all this we might ramble too early on the storage issue, but it is an issue Microsoft knowingly and willingly ignored and in all this ‘the most powerful console in the world‘ is impacted through it. In addition, I have had the longest issue with Microsoft marketing (for various reasons, so as Microsoft states in Windows Central: “Xbox Scarlett hardware will ‘set the benchmark’“, I tend to get nervous, you see, they have no idea (well some idea) on how gaming evolves, yet in the end, we will not know what will be available by 2022, so at that point any console will be merely on par, 14 months after it is bought. I moved to console gaming as the update for a PC in 2002 went overboard. Processor and graphic card showed that you would need $2500-$3000 to be up to date for high end gaming and that got you roughly 24 months at best. So gaming with the additional $200 a month, as well as updating drivers, patching and whatever else needed made me move more and more towards consoles and the Xbox 360 delivered perfectly for almost 8 years (at $700), so the cost of living was set to the games bought not to the additional cost of upgrading the hardware to play games. An awesome setting, Yes there was the one off for the hard drive (from 20 to 120 gigabyte, at $119 at that time), but it was well spend. In the end I bought 2 Xbox 360’s, the second one was essential as I got another red rings of death 75 hours before the release of Fallout New Vegas, so I went: “Eff That!” and got the one with the 250 GB drive and it still works, so apart from a high blood pressure event once, the Xbox 360 was a golden choice for any gamer. I also had the PS3, which had the option to upgrade the drive as the PS4 had, so in all this the entire hard drive issue was out there for 12 years, ignoring that part (as well as always online bullying) angers me, because there was never any need, for none of it.

Why does it matter?

It is a level of orchestration, pushing people into a direction before they are ready (and perhaps they never will be). In this Cambridge Analytica is a larger hurdle then anyone imagined and the gamers are sketchy under the most stable conditions. Hackers, phishers, cheaters and trolls are always around the corner and it is best seen when you investigate ‘League of Legends’, I never played the game, but the amount of messages giving way that the victims of bullying and trolls are worse off than the perpetrators is why there should be an online ‘off’ switch. It is essential because the resources needed are allegedly not used correctly (debatable if that would have been possible), and the systems do not have the settings to protect players. The option to just play offline for a while is perhaps the only pressure valve that works (not on all games though), so when we look at MailGuard and we get it in regards to Office 365 (just one day old): “The cunning thing about this phishing scam is that once the victim has entered their username and password, the fake login page redirects them to a genuine Microsoft website, so they think that nothing is amiss. Meanwhile, the criminals have collected their login credentials and are able to steal their online identity for all kinds of nefarious purposes, like fraud, invoice falsification and malware spamming“, Microsoft needs to realise that they have a larger issue and they cannot fix it (basically no one can). Well it is possible, some of the kids involved have been identified, and by shooting them in the back of the head and leaving a message with the parents to start taking notice of what their kids are doing you get change, although some might find it a bit extreme (an issue that is probably a setting for the eyes of the beholder).

Why the extreme example?

The issue is not merely being online, the issue is that too much is online and even if we wanted to apply Common Cyber Sense all the time, there will be a hiatus and when it comes, it will be at the wrong moment in the wrong place. At present the actual success rate on finding and convicting cyber criminals is less than 2%, it is even less when we realise that not everything gets reported. It is in that atmosphere that game streaming is about to be set to a much larger extent. A setting that is based on mere authentication and not on non-repudiation (uncertain how achievable that is at present). You show me a company that guarantees you 100% safety and I will introduce you to someone who is lying to you. As the gaming industry is a $100 billion plus market, the issue was forever that gaming was low impact (for the most), people had more often than not a physical copy, there were more and more parts that one had to overcome, so for cyber criminals it was not an interesting market. Yet with the upcoming changes to the gaming environment it changes, all is online, all is set on central servers and that is when BlackMailWare and RansomWare will become a much more lucrative business for those targeting gamers. Even when you think it does not happen, what happens when your online account gets scrambled, your passwords changed from the outside and for a mere 0.01 bitcoin you can get it back. Systems like that are already used, some will consider that paying $88 is preferable to waiting and losing scores, statistics and access to files with the logs of hundreds of hours of playing a game. When you see the time some invested on games like Diablo 3, Skyrim, Fallout 4 and now upcoming Fallout 76 you get the optional setting where ransom might be successful. And the setting of ‘always online’ makes the threat to console gamers a lot more realistic. You merely have to google the issues on League of Legends and World of Warcraft to see the impact and it is much larger than some think it is. You think it is simple and an adult thing to live with, yet when Microsoft has to explain that danger 250,000 times to the non-technological mother and father of a 16 year old playing and suddenly losing all access, perhaps being permabanned in the process as well, at that point the game changes quickly.

Having a decent non-repudiation solution in place might limit the damage to a larger extent, but that system does not exist for gamers, mere authentication and even when upgrading the issue is not the 100 that do, it is the 15,000,000 who haven’t. this is part of the setting that Microsoft faces and it is facing it on a daily basis with Microsoft 365, where the users are (for the most) adults, so when we get to the console it becomes a different setting. This is why the console evolution is a little more treacherous. When the gamer has the option to remain offline (when needed) he/she has options, when forced online they fall away. Sony got hacked a few times (at least twice), with millions of accounts and the details in the open, the damage was larger than some expected and I reckon that most avoided damage was because the overwhelming amount of gamers had physical copies of the game. So offline gaming was never impacted, merely the multiplayers losing a few days of access.

Now, with Game Pass that would not be an issue and the optional overall damage of $210 (two subscriptions) are easily tended to, in the worst case scenario you pay for it twice and a few weeks later it is either refunded, or you are all paid up for +1 year.

Now, let’s change the setting that the Business insider gave us one month ago. With ‘A desperate hacker tried selling US military files for $150 — only to find no one wanted them‘ (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/hacker-us-military-drone-files-for-sale-2018-7), this seems hilarious, until you consider the following facts, the first one is “The hacker, who is believed to reside in a poverty-stricken country in South America, said his internet connection was slow and that because his bandwidth was limited, he did not download all the files prior to finding a willing buyer“, so it is in a low yield place, the second one is “The hacker also tapped into live footage of surveillance cameras at the US-Mexico border and NASA bases, and an MQ-1 Predator flying over the Gulf of Mexico“, we still have a sense of humour, live camera watching! Yay! Now we add “the vulnerable computers were taken offline, which inadvertently cut off the hacker’s access to the files“, OK, it happens, sometimes a computer has a missed security patch. Now we add ‘a maintenance manual for the MQ-9A Reaper drone, a list of airmen assigned to a Reaper drone unit, manuals on how to suppress improvised explosive devices‘, is seems harmless, right? Yet when you consider that this was a professional setting where the person had access to “documents belonging to a US Air Force service member stationed at the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, and documents belonging to another service member believed to be in the US Army“, we see the setting where Military security was circumvented, from a close to powerless place into Military hardware. so when we are confronted with “enough knowledge to realise the potential of a very simple vulnerability and use it consistently“, we see the first part, the second part was given with “The Netgear router vulnerability, which dates back to 2016, allowed hackers to access private files remotely if a user’s password is outdated. Despite several firmware updates and countless news articles on the subject, thousands of routers remain vulnerable“, this is a setting involving adults (one would hope), they cannot get their heads right and you are submitting teenagers and gamers (in a non-professional setting) to those exploitations. Microsoft can market all it can, and to some extent they can fix some parts, but the ‘always online‘ will still be out there and that is where the damage gets to the people.

The prosecution fail rate makes it cool and interesting to go after gamers and the many hours of having to download games will at some point present an opening for hackers, that market is growing and it will hit gamers, there is close to 0% avoiding that.

The question becomes, how ready will Microsoft be? How much resources will be impacted on their customer care and customer service when it hits? The Xbox 360 gave them the red rings of death issue (which went it happened to me was fixed awesomely, it merely took 3-4 weeks), which is acceptable as a new console was shipped to me. The setting when it is in cyberspace, the game changes as a million accounts could be affected. Some hackers will be creative and resort to a low corruption setting (like the dBase virus), some will merely download and wipe, the fact is that even if it is resolved, it will take time to resolve and that is where gamers lose patience really really fast. My setting to buy another console to fix it is one example (I had the funds when it happened), yet what happens when you are in the middle of a Diablo 3 season, which is time restrained and someone ransoms your access? In current setting the damage is partially avoidable; the new Scarlett setting leaves the partial part up for debate. In addition, as the number of people resorting to that path increases, the interest to mess with that part becomes a lot more interesting to Cyber criminals.

In this we need to look at the other side too, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) gives us “cybercrime is costing the Australian economy up to $1 billion annually in direct costs alone“, when we look global, we see Experian with the quote: “Ransomware attacks, data breaches, theft of intellectual property, sales of counterfeit goods and other illicit activities are generating at least $1.5 trillion in annual revenue“, so globally, when gamers are added to that list of victims, how high will that priority be? Do you think that they get prime time consideration, or will the party line become ‘the best and easiest thing to do is to just start again‘, I was told that by Microsoft when my Xbox one profile got somehow damaged in the first year. Now try the setting with access, invested cash and time and tenfold the amount of open targets. From my personal point of view, when there is an Office 365 impacting against the Xbox Red accounts wiped, how many resources will Microsoft have? I am certain that the business customers get first dibs on whatever they need. Now this last part does not count against Microsoft, it is merely the lesser of two high cost evils, it is reality.

Even as Microsoft is showing that it is upping the game on gaming and consoles, it is also upping to optional damage and hardship to gamers. I say optional, because in the first, we have no idea what that red box will be doing, we have no idea what the settings are for near future gaming (in 16 months) and we do not know how certain changes will actually impact the gaming sphere, but Sony has shown us that the dangers are real.

In the end, we see that Microsoft is upping the game when it comes to gaming, there is no denying it, yet how the future will pan out and whether Microsoft has truly upped the game for gamers is still to be determined. That is not a negative thing, because any expectation for the future is merely speculation, yet the dangers to their gamers will increase by a lot and that part remains the question mark in all this. Some could have been prevented by a lot, but Microsoft is clearly steering into a settings where adherence to ‘always online‘ is the setting they demand, one way or the other. Even if the prison has golden bars, it remains a prison and that part needs to be clear. The fact that gamers do not get the choice in the matter is what matters, not only from the cyber threat side. Congestion is a growing concern on a global scale. Even as Bill Morrow, Chief Executive of NBN Co. was idiotic enough to initially blame gamers for the congestion, the truth is that against 4K Netflix and YouTube, gamers are not even a blip on that radar, yet congestion is a present and growing issue, so there is a problem there too. The system is already under pressure and globally 200 million gamers when a large slice of that pie is set to the streaming and virtual copies of games only come into play, congestion will rear its ugly head and those gamers become more than a mere blip. Consider that Bethesda shipped 12 million units to retailers within the first 24 hours of Fallout 4, and consider that a large chunk of these people will immediately download the game on launch day of Fallout 76. so optionally up to 12 million people all downloading a game that is also stated to be 4K, so we are looking to around 100 GB download, that is merely one game title, it will be in a time when there is plenty to download and even now, as we accept that most are physical copies, the truth is that gaming in that way will add to the congestion in a really big way. Most providers are not ready and it will impact the gamers, Netflix users and Stan (the list goes on for a long time) are merely part of all this traffic. I named Bethesda and they are merely one of many players in all this. Microsoft, Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Electronic Arts; all people pushing (or getting pushed) towards the virtual release only side of things down the track.

Why does this matter now?

One of the big events QuakeCon 2018 starts tomorrow and that will also be the place where more specific information will be given by the actual makers on more than one title by the way. It will be important on how games are moving forward. It is not merely Fallout 76 (one of the biggest titles anticipated) that is in the upper limits of gaming on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation; it would potentially give the direction of where they are going with the Elder Scrolls VI. Merely two Bethesda games that literally has millions of followers, so there is an essential need to take notice of Bethesda for several reasons. This reverts back to Microsoft, because Bethesda games have a huge following on all platforms. It also means that in that setting (set against the rumour that Fallout 76 is online multiplayer only, yet you can play the game alone) any congestion will topple game joy completely. We know that there is enough experience with Elder Scrolls Online, so it is not the setting that Bethesda is going in blind in any of this, but at the same time the gaming dimension is changing at the same time, so that change is impacting in more than one way; that is the push that Microsoft is going for, which is all fine, yet at that that point we will be faced with more outside interference factors and congestion is a real factor, one that players will be confronted with to a much larger degree in the near future.

If Microsoft gets that all right, then it will be picking up momentum in a scary way and at that point the question will be, can Sony match this? I personally love that part, if we see a setting where Sony and Microsoft push each other to new heights is great because in all this, the gamer ALWAYS wins! And over time this push is a realistic one, yet in some places we will optionally see a time where the providers cannot match what the consumers need and that is a new setting for many gamers. In the past we merely accepted what was available, in the new setting you get to play based on what you pay for and that is something we have not been confronted with. Anyone thinking that this will not happen; think again! It might be the selling point for people to switch providers, but there will be a clear setting of borders, borders that set what you can do and that is where we see the overall cost go up, yet to what extent is a clear unknown for now.

 

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The E3 end is nigh

Yes, we are 24 hours away from the end, the end of the 2018 E3. Now it is time to see how the chances of my earlier predictions are. The biggest player involved is Nintendo. From the very beginning two years ago at that E3, we were shown something new and it was clear that Nintendo had a winner. That one presentation gave us the goods. No matter how we all sliced it, we were not ready for the tsunami of acceptance from players on a global level. I think that not even the big bosses of Nintendo had a clue just what kind of winner they had. So as we saw how sales records got crushed, I saw the issue and the nightmare that Microsoft faced. The most powerful console in the world would be surpassed by the weakest one. My lifetime view of fun over hype got proven correctly against a console with a few hundred million dollars in development. Now we see how far the 26 titles are coming. Nintendo started with giving us the party and group games, all focussed on having fun, as well as a linked new Pokémon games where the game can link to your Pokémon Go mobile games and get across the Pokémon’s caught, it is a game changer. We also saw a game that allows 4v4 multiplayer, so as we are seeing on the more and more Switch abilities, we are shown a path where Nintendo will increase its sales in the near future by a fair bit and of course the free Bethesda games were announced, as well as Wolfenstein 2, Fortnite (another free games), Battle Royale (out now) and a lot more to come some from new developers, some well treasured games from the Nintendo past. So the second issue I expected is actually becoming a reality, Sony will need to up its game. Nintendo will not overtake them, but it will be able to narrow the gap and as the family fun label is very clearly shown, Sony will without a doubt lose some expected revenue towards Nintendo. So instead of people buying 5 PS4 games until the end of the year, they end up selling 4 and Nintendo gets the 5th, which implies a 20% lessened revenue. The fact that the Amazon top 10 included 90% Nintendo Switch games is merely one piece of evidence. Just as we accept that every Xbox lover will get Forza Horizon 4, the Nintendo Switch will have the same with Super Smash bros. As we were shown ‘everyone is here‘, we are looking at every fighter in Super Smash bros history is in the game, so as you start with 10 characters, you will unlock the hundred plus fighters over the course of the game, and it is not done in a dull way. Each character with personalised attacks, and there is no substitute for Snake sneaking up to Pac-man and Kirby. If only Snake knew the deadly opponents he would face here. If there are parents that want to be the cool parents, you better pre-order this game today, because it will definitely be sold out on day one. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the massive amount of stages to fight in, controller options as well as amiibo compatibility, this game releases December 7th, too late for Saint Nicholas and Thanksgiving, but in time for Santa Clause (pun intended).

This all before you realise that this is a four player battle arena, so the challenge and the hard-core fun is not going to stop any day soon. So Nintendo brought the goods and then some! So even as this is merely one game, it is the one too many were waiting for. Yet it is not the end of the innovations that Nintendo brings. Free Fortnite was a lovely surprise for everyone, yet the addition is that “you can use any standard 3.5 mm headset for online voice chat, which is a feature that no other game offers on the system“, online chat in a team battle is pretty much a dealmaker, so the Nintendo will be for many the system of choice, especially when they are travelling. It seems that from now on, no road trip will be complete without the Nintendo Switch. Yet, Nintendo left us hanging with too little on the 26 games announced, in addition, there were expectations on the new Pokémon game, but that stayed absent, it is not a deal breaker and perhaps they want to wait for the Pikachu and Evee games to have their time in the limelight, it makes marketing sense, yet at times the E3 is not always about making sense. It is the one part that only Phil Spencer and Todd Howard really got right at the E3. In addition we see the upcoming Starlink, a new Ubisoft game that will be an absolute blockbuster. I can tell you about it, but the Verge will do it better (at https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/11/17449232/starlink-ubisoft-preview-ps4-xbox-switch-e3-2018). Here we see “Starlink: Battle for Atlas takes place in a large sci-fi universe, which spans seven explorable planets that you can seamlessly travel between. Each world has its own wildlife and ecosystem, and there are different factions battling among themselves, vying for control“, a kid friendly mix of Star Wars and No Mans Sky. So as we make a balance on the games, it is clear that Nintendo has the gaming goods that equal what PS4 and Xbox One has, yet all these titles are kid friendly and family founded. It might not seem like much, but it is. You see, there is more and more noise from parents regarding ‘game addiction‘, yet more often they worry about the environment they are in. I am not sure whether it actually is, but the perception is there. So as we see the clarity of the family friendly setting that Nintendo has evangelised for the longest of times, parents feel safe with a brand like Nintendo and that will sell, especially as some kids have exhausted their bandwidth on mobiles before 50% of the month is gone, so the math is exceedingly simple that the Nintendo Switch offers a break even point within 6 months, that too is a selling point, and the absence of bloodshed and violence in Nintendo games makes the consideration for parents a lot easier. These two elements will drive Nintendo sales as well, and now with the upcoming games this year alone, seeing a $375 solution that has all the assuring sides that other consoles do not offer (from a parents point of view) implies a stronger growth option for Nintendo. I personally think that the setting of others is not wrong, but comes at a price. Battlefield 5 feels like it is about overwhelming the player with chaos, the Division 2 is about engaging and the Switch games are about fun. I believe that all three are valid paths, but the Nintendo one is too hard to resist. You see, we all want to engage like in the division, enter the overwhelming chaos of Battlefield 5, yet we are often in the mindset that we just want to have some fun. That path is becoming more enticing to many players and they feel like that a lot more often than before. These players will most likely all have a Nintendo Switch on the side, sooner rather than later. This is what makes the Nintendo the stronger player for now and as the engaging levels of Nintendo remains, that interest curve is the Switch will keep on growing. If there are 20 million Switch players out there today, than the chance of 5 million wanting to get Super Smash Brothers is merely a low conservative estimate. That implies an additional quarter of a billion in revenue before the end of 2018. That is nothing to be sneered at and that is also the clear signal from Sony to up their game, because that many gamers will merely increase the sales curve of the Nintendo Switch soon enough. It does not stop there. Business Insider (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/best-buy-listing-hulu-netflix-streaming-nintendo-switch-2018-6), several sources are now on the setting that Netflix and YouTube are heading to the Nintendo Switch as well. It changes the game as the overwhelming amount of apps and free games tend to drive sales as well. Consider Fortnite and Fallout Shelter being free games. Now add Netflix and YouTube and this console is becoming nothing short of irresistible. Nintendo played their cards right and that impact will both Sony and Microsoft, there is no denying it. Nintendo got its homerun and we will see lot more Nintendo Switch systems in almost every corner of our lives, it is utterly unavoidable.

We have one more day of E3 and of course the many deals that all the players are offering during this week. Microsoft has been reducing prices by a lot, so did Sony and some stores are giving up to 75% discount on some titles. So this is a great week to get the 1-2 titles you never wanted to pay full price for. As the E3 ends, we will all await the games we want the most to be released yesterday. For me personally it will be Fallout 76, yet there is a whole range of games that would love to play and Nintendo made the desire for the Switch only greater. So even as the Express leaned on speculation with ‘so expect to see Splinter Cell make an appearance with a brand new gameplay trailer during E3‘ and disappointed its readers by being wrong. They in the end all missed the Elder Scrolls 6 teaser and that is why the E3 is an event not to miss and hypes should be avoided as much as possible. What was a much larger surprise is the amount of effort and push that both Ubisoft and Bethesda gave towards the Nintendo Switch. EA was there, but they were expected, a free Fallout Shelter and Ubisoft with Trials Rising and Starlink were not on everybody’s mind and that is changing perception as well. You merely have to watch the hilarious insanity and consider not playing this game. You will most likely fail. Watch this (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyBsT7a8JZg) and decide for yourself. You can die 1000 deaths and still want more, merely to finish the trial. Redlynx is taking death defying tests to a whole new laughing level.

So whatever system you lean to, whatever game you go through, make sure you have fun doing it. As to the fun in gaming, you merely have to see Devolver Digital (a https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4ytFiRVMwg) to see how serious ‘fun‘ should be taken at times.

Have a great day!

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