AFP did not interview Angus Taylor over false document before dropping investigation | Australia news- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The Australian Federal Police did not interview Angus Taylor before concluding further investigation would not substantiate whether an offence had been committed in relation to a letter he signed containing inflated data about City of Sydney council’s travel spending.
The AFP commissioner, Reece Kershaw, told reporters at the Tempemail Press Club on Wednesday he was “not aware” that the minister was interviewed before the investigation was concluded earlier in February.
The comments were made after speeches from Kershaw, the Criminal Intelligence Commission chief executive, Michael Phelan, and the AusTrac chief executive, Nicole Rose, spruiking for new powers to combat child exploitation material and warning social media companies they could be named and shamed for obstructing investigations.

In October, Labor referred the letter with inflated travel figures used to politically attack the Sydney lord mayor, Clover Moore, and her record on climate change to the New South Wales police. It questioned whether the document containing inflated figures – quoted in Taylor’s letter – constituted a forgery used to influence an official in the conduct of their duty, and whether Taylor could have committed an offence by failing to report it.
On 20 December, the NSW police referred the matter to the AFP, reportedly because if any crime was committed, it would have occurred in Canberra, not Sydney.
On Wednesday, Kershaw was asked if the AFP had questioned Taylor or his staff. Kershaw replied he was “not aware that the minister was interviewed, or even offered an interview”.
“We’ve been pretty clear in the decision-making process that we came to, not being able to substantiate any offences being committed,” he said.
Kershaw said the NSW police commissioner, Mick Fuller, did not express a view about whether an offence under the NSW criminal code had been committed.
“I didn’t see the referral from NSW police, but I did receive a call from the commissioner as a courtesy, to let me know he was referring that through to us, I think around – I want to say around Christmas Eve … And the referral was made to us and then we assessed that material and made that decision.”
Morrison personally contacted Fuller by phone, leading to allegations, which were strongly denied, he had influenced the investigation.

In November, Fuller said he believed the matter would be wrapped up in a week. “To be honest with you, I actually don’t feel as though the allegations themselves are serious, in terms of the things that I would normally stand up and talk about the types of crimes,” he said.
Earlier, Kershaw, Rose and Phelan all warned of the increasing difficulty in investigating child abuse material as perpetrators rely on encryption and the dark web to hide their crimes.
Phelan proposed an “attribute-based approach”, suggesting that law enforcement agencies would like “to make it a lot easier to get in, to have a look” at suspects’ communications, subject to safeguards, rather than obtaining warrants to intercept a particular device, investigating a particular person for a particular offence.
“As the communications go very much into the dark zone, sometimes it’s very difficult to identify who the offender is,” he said.
Asked what more powers law enforcement needed to combat the problem, Kershaw said the Australian intelligence community was “pretty happy with what [the AFP] have, but there are some challenges there in some additional legislation [that is required]”.
“It wouldn’t be right for me to ventilate that here,” he said.
Kershaw and Phelan both downplayed the suggestion the powers would include expanding the Australian Signals Directorate’s domestic powers – the subject of Annika Smethurst’s reporting which resulted in two police raids.
In June, Dutton called for a “sensible discussion” about whether the ASD should gain powers to spy on and disrupt Australians’ criminal activities, which he argued could help disrupt paedophile networks and stop cyber-attacks.
Phelan said the ASD can already help law enforcement with “lawful authority”.
“So when we’re talking about modernising the interception regime, it would be law enforcement that would get those powers, which would make no extra burden or requirement for ASD other than that which they already have, which is to be able to help law enforcement if they have the ability to do so,” he said.
Kershaw said the ASD “help us under the frameworks, offshore, internationally”. The AFP did not use the ASD “domestically”, he said, except for cyber security work, such as when companies were hacked.
Kershaw reiterated the AFP’s opposition to Facebook moving all its users’ messaging into an encrypted service and confirmed Australia was working with the US through its CLOUD Act regime to speed up requests to break encryption.
He said that “all bets are off” when it comes to naming and shaming social media companies for obstructing police investigations.
“If I feel like certain companies are not cooperating, we’ll end up outing them and probably damaging their reputation.”

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False rumours on coronavirus could cost lives, say researchers | World news- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Misinformation and fake news on social media during infectious disease outbreaks, including the current novel coronavirus epidemic, can cost lives, according to researchers.
About 40% of people in the UK believe at least one conspiracy theory of some kind, say the researchers from East Anglia University. The figures are even higher in the United States and other parts of the world.
Their study, supported by Public Health England, looked at the impact of scare stories, rumours and false information about diseases such as norovirus, flu and monkeypox, shared on sites such as Twitter. It found that people who believed them were less likely to behave in a way that would protect themselves and others, such as washing their hands frequently and keeping away from other people if they have any symptoms.

Prof Paul Hunter, who is an expert on the new coronavirus infection, now called Covid-19, and Dr Julii Brainard, who are from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said efforts to disseminate correct information across social media and correct the false stories could save lives.
Hunter said: “Fake news is manufactured with no respect for accuracy, and is often based on conspiracy theories.
“When it comes to Covid-19, there has been a lot of speculation, misinformation and fake news circulating on the internet – about how the virus originated, what causes it and how it is spread.
“Misinformation means that bad advice can circulate very quickly – and it can change human behaviour to take greater risks.
“We have already seen how the rise of the anti-vax movement has created a surge in measles cases around the world.
“People in west Africa affected by the Ebola outbreak were more likely to practise unsafe burial practices if they believed misinformation. And here in the UK, 14% of parents have reported sending their child to school with symptoms of contagious chickenpox – violating school policies and official quarantine advice.
“Examples of risky behaviour during infectious disease outbreaks include not washing hands, sharing food with ill people, not disinfecting potentially contaminated surfaces, and failing to self-isolate.
“Worryingly, people are more likely to share bad advice on social media than good advice from trusted sources such as the NHS, Public Health England or the World Health Organization.”
The researchers looked at the effect of two strategies for combating the fake news. One was to reduce the amount of misinformation on social media. The other was to educate people to recognise false information when they saw it – something they call “immunising” people against it.
Both tactics had some success, said Brainard. “But while we used very sophisticated simulation models, it is important to remember that this is not an observational study based on real behaviour,” she said.
“The efficacy of implementing such strategies to fight fake news needs to be tested in real-world settings, with costs and benefits ideally compared with real-world disease reduction.”

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Majority of Malware Attacks in Africa Come from False Dating Apps | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from TechSpot and PC World.

With Valentine’s day around the corner and fast approaching, everyone is looking for love – instead, they may find an online virus that is stealing their money. Ain’t that a kick in the head?
Antivirus gurus Kaspersky say that while choosing the right partner for a romantic night out is of paramount importance, there is another matter that should be treated with care. Their analysis has shown that within 2019, the local region saw the circulation of 275 threats under the guise advertisements for over 20 popular dating apps in South Africa – with a total of 4,451 malware attacks coming from them. This is 58% of all attacks detected in all African regions (7,734).
Popular dating apps used internationally like Bumble, Zoosk and most importantly Tinder often become bait used to spread malware to mobile phones. Malware that is used to retrieve personal data to later bombard the users with unwanted ads or even spend their money on expensive paid subscriptions. These files and ads are not legitimate. They usually only use the name and design of popular apps to trick would-be victims.
Kaspersky notes that cybercriminals use Tinder the most as a cover for their malware. The app’s design and face were used in nearly a fifth of all cases.
The danger that these files bring varies and depends on the files themselves. Trojans hiding as “JOIN NOW” buttons can download other malicious files to your system, types of malware that send expensive SMSs from your phone to adware that bombards the user with annoying advertisements of things the user has no interest in.
For example, one notable application appears as Tinder at first glance, but is in fact, a banking Trojan that constantly requests Accessibility rights. When the rights are given the Trojan gives itself full access to the bank accounts of users, stealing their money.
On the internet, fake copies of apps like Tinder and Match.com are everywhere. Users are required to leave their personal information or connect to the disguised app through a social media account. The data will later be used or sold by cybercriminals, feeding on those simply looking for love.
“We advise users to stay attentive and use legal versions of applications that are available in official application stores,” says Vladimir Kuskov, head of advanced threat research and software classification at Kaspersky, “…and, of course, we wish you best of luck finding the perfect date for this special day.”
Kaspersky recommends a few ways to avoid cyber risks ahead of Valentine’s Day, here’s 4 of the most pertinent:
1. Always check application permissions to understand what an installed app is allowed to do.
2. Do not install applications from untrusted sources and use your smartphone’s settings to block any installations from unknown sources.
3. Find out more about the dating website you are about to visit before giving them any personal information – try to find user feedback and any sort of online trace or reputation.
4. Avoid sharing too much personal information with strangers online, and make sure the person you are chatting with is real and not a fraudster using a fake profile to scam you.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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Hypocrisy is at the heart of Facebook’s refusal to ban false political advertising | John Naughton | Opinion – Blog – 10 minute

On 20 December last, Andrew Bosworth, a long-time Facebook executive and buddy of the company’s supreme leader, Mark Zuckerberg, published a longish memo on the company’s internal network. The New York Times somehow obtained a copy and reported it on 7 January, which led Mr Bosworth then to publish it to the world on a Facebook page. In one of those strange coincidences that mark a columnist’s life, I happened to be reading his memo at the same time that I was delving into the vast trove of internal emails released by the Boeing Company in connection with congressional and other inquiries into the 737 Max disaster. Both sources turn out to have one interesting thing in common – the insight they provide into the internal culture of two gigantic, dysfunctional companies.

Trump got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period

Andrew Bosworth

The Boeing trove consists largely of email exchanges between the engineers working on the 737 Max. They confirm that employees knew about the chronic problems with the plane’s design and were aware of the extent to which the Federal Aviation Administration was in the dark about them. Some of the exchanges are graphic. In one – on 16 November 2016 – an employee flying the Max simulator reports that the MCAS autopilot software, which is believed to have caused the two fatal crashes of the plane, is continually frustrating his attempts to control it. “It’s running rampant in the sim [simulator] on me,” he emails a colleague. “I’m levelling off at like 4,000 feet and the plane is trimming itself like crazy.” This is the behaviour that the pilots on the two doomed flights experienced: they kept on trying to keep the nose up while the software continually overrode them and turned it down. And people within the company knew about it three years earlier.
When Boeing releases a flawed product on to the market, people die in terrifying accidents. I was going to say that when Facebook does the same, at least no one dies. But that’s not quite true, as survivors of the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar can testify. Interestingly, Bosworth, who continually flaunts his “liberal” credentials, does not mention Myanmar in his memo, but focuses instead on the 2016 US presidential election, when he was head of Facebook’s advertising operation. He maintains that almost all media coverage of the company’s influence in that electoral contest (including our coverage) was misguided or uninformed. Cambridge Analytica were “snake-oil salespeople”, the Russians spent much less than the official campaigns, the power of micro-targeted advertising was overrated, etc, etc.
But was Facebook nevertheless responsible for Donald Trump getting elected? “I think the answer is yes,” says Bosworth, “but not for the reasons anyone thinks. He didn’t get elected because of Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica. He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period.” Trump’s crowd apparently “did unbelievable work. They weren’t running misinformation or hoaxes. They weren’t microtargeting or saying conflicting things to different people on the same topic. They just used the tools we had to show the right creative to each person. The use of custom audiences, video, e-commerce and fresh creative remains the high-water mark of digital ad campaigns in my opinion.” Result: President Trump.
This brings Bosworth to the present moment, where Facebook’s advertising policies remain unchanged. “It occurs to me,” he burbles, “that it very well may lead to the same result. As a committed liberal I find myself desperately wanting to pull any lever at my disposal to avoid the same result. So what stays my hand?”
There then follows some ludicrous flapdoodle about The Lord of the Rings and the philosopher John Rawls’s idea of considering such profound questions from behind a “veil of ignorance”. (I am not making this up.) This then leads to the conclusion that Bosworth should do nothing except ensure it is business as usual, even if that leads to Trump’s re-election.
And that’s OK, apparently, because if people are taken in by political propaganda then that’s their problem, just as people who become addicted to tobacco, sugar or opioids ultimately bear the responsibility for their plights. But, Bosworth continues, in a vein that really defies satire, “while Facebook may not be nicotine I think it is probably like sugar. Sugar is delicious and for most of us there is a special place for it in our lives. But like all things it benefits from moderation. At the end of the day, we are forced to ask what responsibility individuals have for themselves.”
So, ultimately, it’s not Facebook’s responsibility to, say, ban political advertising that is demonstrably misleading or malevolently false. This has the convenient result of enabling Bosworth to burnish his liberal credentials behind that Rawlsian veil while the money rolls in. There’s an old English word for this: hypocrisy. If he ever needs another job, I’m sure there’s a place for him at Boeing.
What I’m reading
Sticking pointThere is a nice essay by John Kay on his blog about whether Adam Smith ever actually visited a pin factory (the economist used one to explain the division of labour in The Wealth of Nations). Answer: probably not, but it doesn’t matter because his sources were good.
Twitter ye notAn article about our recent election in the Atlantic declares “the Twitter electorate isn’t the real electorate”. I wish more journalists understood that.
Snap judgment There’s an interesting New York Times review of a new exhibition, arguing that “photography was Andy Warhol’s secret weapon”.

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Bots and trolls spread false arson claims in Australian fires ‘disinformation campaign’ | Australia news – Blog – 10 minute

Bot and troll accounts are involved in a “disinformation campaign” exaggerating the role of arson in Australia’s bushfire disaster, social media analysis suggests.
The bushfires burning across the nation have been accompanied by repeated suggestions of an arson epidemic or “arson emergency”.

The false claims are, in some cases, used to undermine the link between the current bushfires and the longer, more intense fire seasons brought about by climate change.
The Queensland University of Technology senior lecturer on social network analysis Dr Timothy Graham examined content published on the #arsonemergency hashtag on Twitter, assessing 1,340 tweets, 1,203 of which were unique, published by 315 accounts.

Labor & Greens Trash (@labor_trash)
#ClimateCriminals update. Total alleged Leftist arsonists sits at 183.Their ring leaders are presumed to be still active on Social media. If you spot any of them call PoliceThe #ArsonEmergency is very real. #ClimateEmergency exposed as a fraud #auspol https://t.co/7Al3oJ71dX
January 7, 2020

Using a Twitter bot detection tool, he assessed a random sample for bot-like characteristics.
His preliminary analysis found there is likely a “current disinformation campaign” on Twitter’s #arsonemergency hashtag due to the “suspiciously high number of bot-like and troll-like accounts”.
He similarly found a large number of suspicious accounts posting on the #australiafire and #bushfireaustralia hashtags.
“Australia suddenly appears to be getting swamped by mis/disinformation as a result of this environmental catastrophe, and we are suffering the consequences in terms of hyped up polarisation and an increased difficulty and inability for citizens to discern truth,” Graham told the Guardian.
“Looking at the kinds of accounts that post using the #ArsonEmergency hashtag, you see that these are individuals who are hyper-partisan ideologues, behaving in a way that is not reflective of the average Twitter user.
“The conspiracy theories going around (including arson as the main cause of the fires) reflect an increased distrust in scientific expertise, scepticism of the media, and rejection of liberal democratic authority. These are all major factors in the global fight against disinformation, and based on my preliminary analysis it appears that Australia has for better or worse entered that battlefield, at least for now.”
There is no dispute that arson is a serious problem in Australia, or that arsonists have not been active in the current bushfire season. NSW police say they have charged 24 people with deliberately lighting bushfires this season.

But that does not detract from the clear scientific evidence showing climate change is making Australia’s bushfire seasons longer and more severe. The Bureau of Meteorology’s clear advice is that climate change is “influencing the frequency and severity of dangerous bushfire conditions in Australia and other regions of the world, including through influencing temperature, environmental moisture, weather patterns and fuel conditions”.
The BoM states that there is some evidence that “climate change could influence the risk of ignitions from dry-lightning.
“Bushfire weather conditions in future years are projected to increase in severity for many regions of Australasia, including due to more extreme heat events, with the rate and magnitude of change increasing with greenhouse gas concentrations (and emissions),” the bureau says.
Claims about arson are not the only falsehoods being spread on social media. Other patently false claims include that the government has created the bushfire crisis to clear land for high-speed rail. Another absurd claim is that Islamic State is somehow responsible.
Several maps purporting to show the scale of the fires also vastly exaggerate their spread.

Nick Evershed (@NickEvershed)
ok so the latest Bad Bushfires Map doing the rounds makes the mistake of re-rendering grids from the FIRMS map into a heat map, instead of using points and scaling correctly pic.twitter.com/hDpWpzhOYi
January 6, 2020


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AMD Will Pay $12.1M to Settle Bulldozer CPU False Marketing Claims


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Back in 2015, AMD was sued by a pair of individuals claiming that the company lied when it sold Bulldozer products to customers. The lawsuit — which I have always believed is without technical merit — essentially conflated being disappointed with the FX family’s performance with the idea that AMD had lied by marketing Bulldozer as an eight-core CPU.

AMD has agreed to settle the case for the relatively low sum of $12.1M. According to the lawsuit, this is a sufficient sum of money to ensure that the members of the class will receive compensation of at least $35, even if up to 20 percent of the class members notify that they wish to be included in the settlement — a rather high number. The brief estimates that between 50,000 and 150,000 people may seek reimbursement for purchases of Bulldozer or Piledriver parts.

Members of the settlement class are defined as individuals who purchased “one or more of the following AMD computer chips either (1) while residing in California or (2) after visiting the AMD.com website: FX-8120, FX-8150, FX-8320, FX-8350, FX-9370, and FX 9590.”

That’s one of the ways you can tell that this lawsuit didn’t actually have any merit to it: It’s confined to AMD’s eight-core CPUs. There’s no logical reason for this to be true — if AMD actually falsely advertised its eight-core chips, it also falsely advertised its six-core, quad-core, and dual-core CPUs as well. AMD had a top-to-bottom product mix in-market based on Bulldozer and its derivatives. If the eight-core chips aren’t “real” eight-cores because they shared resources, then why are the other chips off the hook?

There’s one line in the brief that still grates on me, even though the lawsuit is settled. “According to Plaintiffs, the “cores” in the Bulldozer line are actually sub-processors that cannot operate and simultaneously multitask as actual cores.”

Bulldozer Blend

Bulldozer shared resources. It didn’t use a processor / sub-processor configuration

This is untrue. For an example of a CPUSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce with true sub-processors, look to Sony’s Cell Broadband Engine. The Cell had a Power Processor Element (PPE) and up to eight secondary Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs). Seven of these were enabled for the PS3. As RealWorldTech wrote (concerning Cell):

The function of the PPE is to act as the host processor and perform real time resource scheduling for the SPEs. To implement those functionalities, PPE modules must be written to perform generic processing tasks and I/O handling. Then, to fully utilize the power of the CELL processor, programmers must focus their attention on the creation of SPE modules. Each SPE module should use multiple SPE threads to take advantage of the parallelism afforded by the multiple SPE’s. To simplify the task of scheduling, all SPE threads in an SPE module are always scheduled simultaneously. Furthermore, SPE threads within an SPE module are started and stopped at the same time to reduce the complexity of synchronization. However, the complexity of scheduling remains and a PPE module must handle the scheduling of the SPE’s on a module-by-module basis.

If you want an example of a CPU that has “sub-processors” that must then be corralled and properly fed in order to keep performance high, it’s Cell, not Bulldozer. Bulldozer didn’t have “sub-processors.” Bulldozer shared certain execution units and, as we’ve documented before, continued to offer improved performance when workloads scaled above four threads. It did not have an asymmetrical core configuration with one core used for scheduling workloads on all the others.

No, Bulldozer and Piledriver chips didn’t offer equivalent performance to their Intel counterparts, which is why AMD’s CPU prices were so low for much of the same time period. In 2014, an FX-9590 could be had for as little as $229. The equivalent eight-core Broadwell HEDT CPU in 2015 was well over $1000. And one of the basic rules of PC components that still generally holds true is that higher prices tend to equal generally higher performance.

The problem with this lawsuit is the same as it ever was. The plaintiffs wanted to pretend that AMD’s lower performance constituted false marketing because one AMD core offered dramatically less performance than one Intel core. But CPU cores are not defined by performance, and this lawsuit has never even attempted to articulate a technical distinction between Bulldozer and Piledriver’s resource sharing and the resource-sharing of other CPUs.

This lawsuit was never grounded in a technical argument over the definition of a CPU core. At least now it’s dealt with.

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