The Coup De Grâce To The TTIP And TPP?

By Paris Finnie 

TPP (Transpacific Partnership) and TTIP  (Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership) have been the topics of conversations for many executives the past few years. Recent leaks detailing particular regulations the partnership was attempting to implement may be the nail in the coffin for the vampire deal. The video below, although polarizing, does explain a few of the fears for those apposed to the agreement.

Recent leaks brought to the public by courageous whistle blowers inform the public how:

the papers show that the US is looking to weaken the EU’s “precautionary principle” that governs how potentially harmful products are sold, Greenpeace says. The US has much weaker regulation that aims to minimize rather than avoid risks, and that same less strict regime could come to the UK and Europe under the deal.

Most likely why agreement moderators have fought incredibly hard to keep document details under extreme secrecy. Once the average citizen sees the threat it poses to democracies and health, oppositions runs rampant. Conversely  those who support the deal see both TTP and TTIP  profitable for business.  Approving the TTIP would allow EU and The USA to conduct trade and negotiations in a manner more efficaciously than ever possible in the past.

Regardless of the supportive platform consisting primarily of higher class citizens and business owners. Critics believe the latest leak is the beginning of the end for the deal.

Remember, do not just believe what we say. Research what we say!

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Data Leak and Data Leak and Data Leak All While The NSA Is Overwhelmed With Information

Compliments of ZDNET, Business Insider, Middle East Eye 

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is about to unleash a huge data dump about how some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people hide their cash.

The group has already released a host of information regarding how major figures in politics and business store their wealth in tax havens.

On Wednesday the ICIJ said in an email that on May 9 it would “publish what will likely be the largest-ever release of information about secret offshore companies and the people behind them, based on data from thePanama Papers investigation.

“The searchable database will include information about more than 200,000 companies, trusts, foundations, and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States.”

The findings of the so-called Panama Papers investigation were unveiled at the beginning of April. Over 11 million documents held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca had been leaked to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. The paper shared the information with the ICIJ, which is made up of 107 media organisations in 78 countries.

The global news outlets examined 28,000 pages of documents, also revealing the full scale of the tax breaks won by 340 companies.

The details of the investigation have already claimed the scalp of Spain’s acting industry minister Jose Manuel Soria and Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson — each of whom stepped down because of activities exposed by the Panama Papers documents.

Read More About Panama Data Dump 

Qatar National Bank (QNB) said on Tuesday that it was investigating an alleged hack that potentially exposed the names and passwords of a large number of customers.

Media reports claimed that a 1.4-gigabyte trove of documents had been leaked online anonymously and divulged information on more than 1,200 people and organisations.

Among the information reportedly leaked is the bank details of several journalists working for satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera.

According to the Qatar-based outlet Doha News, the data leak includes files about the country’s secret service, security apparatus and even members of the ruling al-Thani family.

The leakers of the documents remain unknown at this time.

The file is separated by several different folders, some of which were named ‘Al Jazeera’, ‘Al Thani’, ‘Defence and etc’, ‘SPY, Intelligence’, and ‘Mukhabarat’, or Qatar’s intelligence agency, according to the Doha News report.

Read More About Qtar Leak 

A former National Security Agency official turned whistleblower has spent almost a decade and a half in civilian life. And he says he’s still “upset” by what he’s seen leak in the past two years.

In a lunch meeting hosted by Contrast Security founder Jeff Williams on Wednesday, William Binney, a former NSA official who spent more than three decades at the agency, said the US government’s mass surveillance programs have become so engorged with data that they are no longer effective, losing vital intelligence in the fray.

One former Al Jazeera employee, Gordon Hickey, told Doha News that a friend messaged him and said his Qatari bank account and passwords were publicly available under the “SPY” folder.

“He was kind of joking, but he did ask whether I was a spy,” Hickey said. “This could have serious implications for me travelling. It’s not a nice thing.”

Another Al Jazeera journalist, Bernard Smith, said the information on his personal account that was found online was accurate.

“The details they had for me were mostly correct – I had changed my credit cards just a few months ago after losing them, but other information such as my passwords and contact details were all accurate.

“I was very shocked to see my details online.”

In a statement posted online, QNB refused to say whether the leak had occurred, but said it was looking into the claims.

Read More About NSA 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Human Cyborgs Are Much Closer Than You Think

Compliments of Bloomberg 

The human body is a marvel, but it’s not perfect. There can be a defect, things can break, and illness can strike with little or no warning.

If we could augment ourselves with electronics, we might be able to solve some of these problems. But such devices have traditionally presented issues of their own: They’re often hard, rigid pieces of silicon and plastic. The body doesn’t react well to them, and they don’t work well inside you.

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology may have hit upon a solution. They’ve developed a new form of hydrogel—a water-based polymer that can look and feel like muscles and tendons. Such a gel could contain tiny electronics that can monitor our insides, deliver medicine, or provide needed electrical stimulus. Since the hydrogel is flexible, it can bend and twist without breaking or tearing. And because much of our body is made from similar materials, there’s little chance we would reject the material as a foreign object.

Read More 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Offshore Money Capitalists To Be Unmasked

Compliments of The Independent 

Offshore companies could be banned from owning property in the UK if they fail to reveal their owners under new Government proposals to crack down on money laundering and tax evasion.

Plans to unmask the beneficiaries of offshore shell companies, which can be used by criminals to hide illegally-obtained money, will be unveiled by David Cameron at an international anti-corruption summit in London next month.

While owning property via an offshore company is not illegal, it allows the real owners to evade detection because only the company’s name must appear on public registers.

A Government consultation document published ahead of next month’s summit warns that property in the UK “can provide a convenient vehicle for hiding the proceeds of crime.”

“The high values of property in London in particular presents an opportunity for criminals to launder considerable sums of money,” it adds.

More than 36,000 properties in London alone are owned through anonymous companies. The total value of property in the UK owned by offshore firms is estimated to be as much as £170bn.

The new proposals would see such companies revealing  “people with significant control” over their operations on a register, which is expected to be made publicly available, The Times reported. Only those foreign companies listed on the register would be allowed to buy and sell property in the UK.

However, it is not yet clear whether new rules would apply to around 100,000 offshore companies that already have property in the UK, or only to new purchases.

Under separate proposals set out by the Home Office today, suspected money launderers could see cash and property seized if they cannot satisfactorily prove the money was earned legitimately.

Read More 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

IMF Warns Financial Hardships On The Way

Compliments of The Guardian 

The International Monetary Fund has highlighted risks of a new financial crisis, warning that global output could be cut by 4% over the next five years by a repeat of the market mayhem witnessed during the 2008-09 recession.

The IMF used its half-yearly global financial stability report to call for urgent action on the problems of banks in the eurozone, a third of which it said faced “significant challenges” to be sustainably profitable.

“In the euro area, market pressures also highlighted long-standing legacy issues, indicating that a more complete solution to European banks’ problems cannot be further postponed,” the IMF said. It said there needed to be a comprehensive strategy to deal with €900bn (£715bn) of non-performing loans (NPLs) on the books of eurozone banks, adding that banks also needed to be closed in order to deal with excess capacity.

“The hardest hit banking systems within the euro area in February have been those of Greece, Italy and, to a lesser extent, Portugal, along with some large German banks, reflecting some or all of the following factors: structural problems of excess bank capacity, high levels of NPLs and poorly adapted business models.”

Noting that threats to global financial stability had increased since its last health check in October, the IMF said: “The main message of this report is that additional measures are needed to deliver a more balanced and potent policy mix for improving the growth and inflation outlook and securing financial stability. In the absence of such measures, market turmoil may recur.”

It added that there was a risk investors would demand high interest rates and that tougher financial conditions would create a “pernicious feedback loop” of fragile confidence, lower growth and inflation, and rising debt.

“Disruptions to global asset markets could increase the risks of tipping into a more serious and prolonged slowdown marked by financial and economic stagnation.”

Read More 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Tax Havens: Corporate Greed At Its Finest

Paris Finnie 

Since the one brave whistle blower leaked the Panama Papers to the world, the sweet tax escape has begun unraveling for the corporate hegemony. The Panama Papers is the largest data leak in history. In its contents were names of individuals and corporations who use offshore accounts in order to pay less in taxes. Although not completely illegal, it is morally unjust and frankly unnecessarily greedy.

Oxfam, a community based organization dedicated to fighting poverty, revealed that The top 50 U.S. companies Apple, Walmart and General Electric to name a few, have stashed $1.4 Trillion in off shore tax-havens. To put that into perspective, a ten inch Oreo Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory costs $40 and feeds twelve people.  The money these companies stored off shore not only total the entire GDP of Spain, but  could buy 35 billion ten inch Oreo Cheesecakes feeding  every single person on the planet 60 billion times. I digress, the point is that is a lot of money. The moral injustice does not reside in the income these companies acquire, but profits and benefits they rob other countries of by avoiding paying their taxes, receiving federal loans, bailouts, and loan guarantees.

The mentioned companies in 2008-2014 received a combined 11.2 trillion in federal funding. Meanwhile with the exploited tax loophole, the companies also managed to avoid paying 9.5% of their profit tax costing the world’s poorest nations 111 billion dollars in that same period. The facts beg the question. If you are receiving these tremendous amounts of money, why, at a time where the global wealth divide is increasing, do you avoid paying what you owe in taxes and leave the poorer countries to foot the bill?

Thanks to the discoveries of the Panama Papers and the reports provided by Oxfam, the clarity of the off shore abuse has reached the public. Pressure has been put on many business and individuals to change their behavior or face consequences. A lot less of a mafia shakedown and more of a global expectation of righteousness. Prime ministers have stepped down, while some firms who benefited from  tax havens are under intense investigation. The Panama Papers are the latest major step removing global inequality.

Remember, do not only believe what we say. Research what we say!

Source:
Cheesecake Factory 

Independent 

Oxfam

The Guardian 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

FBI Contracted Professional Hackers To Breach Iphone Security Flaw

By Paris Finnie 

The rumors of Israeli company Cellebrite being contracted by The FBI to bypass Apple Software has been thrown out. The FBI has revealed that they have used professional hackers to enter behind the elusive Iphone’s encryption. Before we continue however, for those who do not know, there are some crucial vocabulary terms one should be aware of to completely understand the matter at hand. Those keywords are: Black Hat, White Hat, Grey Hat.

Although the categories appear to be taken from a Doctor Seuss book, the terms refer to the type of hacker experts in existence. A White Hat is someone you love and trust. They look for flaws in technology and notify companies of holes to protect our security. Have you ever received a notification that your email was accessed by another computer? Or perhaps the website, turn and cough, you are about to access is not secured. Thanks to the White Hats we enjoy our cat videos and avoid cronies getting our personal information.

Black Hats are those exact cronies White hats protect us from. They look for flaws and holes in security systems and exploit them. Have you or a friend ever been a victim of Identity theft? Or have you ever watched a spy movie where one of the team members hacks the mainframe? Those people are considered Black Hats. To be clear, not all Black Hats are evil villains, sitting at a round table, holding countries for ransom, while placing their pinkies to their faces claiming exuberant amounts of money. Some of them provide flaws we know and enjoy, like Jail broken Iphones, or access to Netflix in foreign countries. Simply stated, Black Hats find flaws without selling or offering the information to the company at risk or the governments to protect us. The last category Grey Hats, may or may not do just that.

Grey Hats are the mercenaries of the hacker community. Their only allegiance is to a paycheck. This is exactly who the FBI found to discover Apple’s flaw, which we will add to provide you solace, has been discovered to only affect Iphone 5Cs running IOS 9. If you happen to be in that Iphone niche we advise you to throw your phone in the garbage disposal and move to Indonesia because it is too late for you the feds are on their way.

The latest controversy is whether the FBI will advise Apple of the flaw or leave them to contract their own hacker mercenaries. The FBI’s director James B. Comey has been reluctant to approach Apple with their discovery due to the likelihood they would patch the bug and leave investigators back at square one. One thing is for certain if you have an Iphone 5C, update at the next given opportunity. If you do not have an Iphone 5C, continue in peace knowing that for now there is not a government official watching you struggle at Candy Crush.

Remember, do not only believe what we say. Research what we say!

Source:
Washington Post 

PC Tools 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

The End Of Sneaky Texter

Compliments of Ars Technica 

We’re all familiar with the Breathalyzer, the brand name for a roadside device that measures a suspected drunken driver’s blood-alcohol level. It has been in use for decades. Now there’s a so-called “textalyzer” device to help the authorities determine whether someone involved in a motor vehicle accident was unlawfully driving while distracted.

The roadside technology is being developed by Cellebrite, the Israeli firm that many believe assistedthe Federal Bureau of Investigation in cracking the iPhone at the center of a heated decryption battle with Apple.

Under the first-of-its-kind legislation proposed in New York, drivers involved in accidents would have to submit their phone to roadside testing from a textalyzer to determine whether the driver was using a mobile phone ahead of a crash. In a bid to get around the Fourth Amendment right to privacy, the textalyzer allegedly would keep conversations, contacts, numbers, photos, and application data private. It will solely say whether the phone was in use prior to a motor-vehicle mishap. Further analysis, which might require a warrant, could be necessary to determine whether such usage was via hands-free dashboard technology and to confirm the original finding.

The legislation was prompted by intense lobbying from the group Distracted Operators Risk Casualties (DORCs). The son of its co-founder, Ben Lieberman, was killed in 2011 by a distracted driver in New York. The proposed law has been dubbed “Evan’s Law” in memory of 19-year-old Evan Lieberman.

“When people were held accountable for drunk driving, that’s when positive change occurred,” Lieberman said in a press release. “It’s time to recognize that distracted driving is a similar impairment, and should be dealt with in a similar fashion. This is a way to address people who are causing damage.”

Cellebrite already has roadside devices to scrape the contents of a phone, so this technology would just dial it back a bit. If the legislation passes, Cellebrite would have to bid on the project, as would other tech firms.

“Cellebrite has been leading the adoption of field mobile forensics solutions by law enforcement for years, culminating in the formal introduction of our UFED FIELD series product line a year ago,” Jim Grady, Cellebrite’s CEO, said in a statement. “We look forward to supporting DORCs and law enforcement–both in New York and nationally to curb distracted driving.”

The law, which is before the New York Senate Transportation Committee, would recast the motor-vehicle driving law to make it so that motorists give “implied consent” for “determining whether the operator of a motor vehicle was using a mobile telephone or portable electronic device at or near the time of the accident or collision, which provides the grounds for such testing. No such electronic scan shall include the content or origin of any communication, game conducted, image or electronic data viewed on a mobile telephone or a portable electronic device.”

Read More 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Reality Is Getting a Virtual Overhaul, Are You Apart Of The Rift?

By Paris Finnie 

Once again that conversation arises when you say “Hey they predicted that in insert movie title when I was insert age.” Back To the Future II  was one of the few movies to comment on societies adoption of wearable tech. Fast forward a decade and a half later and here were are today with Google Cardboard and the more lucrative Oculus Rift. The reach of Virtual Reality (VR) and its capabilities are becoming clearer by the day. Scientist, advertisers, amusement parks, and media companies alike are cashing in on the new tech.

UC San Diego has been at the pinnacle of  VR’s medical application as they are working on cures for cancer and other illnesses remapping genes in VR. Six Flags Magic Mountain has spear headed VR’s application in theme parks with” The New Revolution” ride. Lowe’s has invested in the new tech to help customers with the hurdles of redesigning kitchens and bedrooms. We doubt even Marty McFly foresaw this future.

In San Diego earning the tag ” Home for phones, phones, and genomes” have taken the step into medical application of VR. One student Steven McCloskey  visited TRN and gave us the inside look in UCSD VR medical program. ” We use Virtual Reality head sets to map and recreate genomes. We can recreate viruses like AIDS or Ebola virtually as a means to better understand them and thus create a cure to combat their proliferation.”

 

Steve McCloskey constructing in VR.

Six flags newest futuristic attraction is called The New Revolution. It is a typical roller coaster with a VR edge. Thrill seekers are given VR headsets, strapped into seats, and set off to speeds over 55 mph! The coaster takes you out of the park and into an intergalactic war between humans and an alien Invasion with 360 degree synchronization. It like getting a first person view of what Will Smith felt like in Independence Day or for the younger audience, what Starscream from Transformers feels like before he transforms back into a biped.

Lowe’s along with a few other retailers are targeting the shopping market with VR headsets. Consumers are now able to design entire kitchens without spending a penny to see the final product. Companies like Ikea and Home Depot understand the reticence many shoppers encounter with big purchase renovations. VR helps with the hurdle allowing staff to build clients dream kitchens and bedrooms, painted as they please and restructured as they wish. All in real time. It is a movement known as V-commerce. Assuming VR reaches the masses, we will soon be able to walk down rows of clothing picking out jeans and shirts all in the comfort of our homes.

As these companies present their new technology, it sets a standard for capability and hopefully competition to lower prices of accessibility. Oculus Rift head sets cost on average $500+. It may take a few years before the average joe acquires VR capabilities.

Remember, don’t just believe what we say. Research what we say.

Source:
San Diego Union Tribune

Cheat Sheet 

Six Flags 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Triclosan: Doing More Harm Than Good In Our Soaps

Compliments of Ars Technica 

Whether you’re coming home from an airport fluttering with international germs, a daycare full of sticky-fingered toddlers, or just a grimy office building, scrubbing your hands with bacteria-busting soap seems like a great idea. But the data that have washed up on the cleansers in recent years suggest that they actually do more harm than good—for you, those around you, and the environment.

Scientists report that common antibacterial compounds found in those soaps, namely triclosan and triclocarban, may increase the risk of infections, alter the gut microbiome, and spur bacteria to become resistant to prescription antibiotics. Meanwhile, proof of the soaps’ benefits is slim.

There are specific circumstances in which those antimicrobials can be useful, civil engineer Patrick McNamara of Marquette University in Milwaukee told Ars. Triclosan, for instance, may be useful to doctors scrubbing for minutes at a time before a surgery or for hospital patients who can’t necessarily scrub with soap but could soak in a chemical bath. Triclosan and triclocarban do kill off bacteria during long washes. But most people only clean their hands for a few seconds. “There’s evidence that there is no improvement with using soaps that have these chemicals relative to washing your hands under warm water for 30 seconds with soaps without these chemicals,” he said.

And the point hasn’t been lost on the US Food and Drug Administration. Though the agency ruled years ago that triclosan and other antimicrobials are safe, it’s now revisiting claims that the chemicals make soaps and other personal care products better. The FDA has asked antibacterial soap makers to send in data showing that their soaps beat out regular soaps at keeping people germ-free and healthy. The agency expects to announce this September whether the submitted data pass muster. If they don’t, the companies that make up the $5.5 billion soap market may be forced to ditch the chemicals entirely.

Read More 

What do you think of this post?
  • Boring 
  • Useful 
  • Interesting 
  • Awesome 

Ascending Consciousness

Advertisment ad adsense adlogger