Ads We Like: Singapore’s Housing Development Board gives bird’s-eye view of eco-town- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Singapore’s Housing Development Board (HDB) has created a campaign to showcase the city-state’s first eco-town of Punggol.
The campaign’s film, called “Neighbours” and created by Wunderman Thompson, is told through the eyes of a black-naped oriole and features panoramic landscapes that capture slice-of-life moments in heartland spaces that are familiar to HDB residents.
Through the oriole’s journey, she shares her observations on life in an HDB town and why it makes for an ideal home as she journeys past the heartlands, across the fields, and the iconic Punggol waterway.
HDB also hopes that the film will showcase the progress made in its design, sustainability and community-building efforts over the last six decades.
“Keeping nature at the heart of self-sufficient, modern estates is an integral part of HDB’s planning,” said Farrokh Jal Madon, the chief creative officer at Wunderman Thompson Singapore.
“That’s why this film is observed through the eyes of a friendly neighbour: a black-naped oriole. And through its chirpy and cheeky observations, we see how HDB enhances the lives of people from all walks of life.”
The HDB is the public housing authority in Singapore that was born in a crisis in 1960 to address an acute housing shortage situation. HDB today house more than 80% of Singapore’s resident population in flats located in housing estates across the country.

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Fletcher further distances govt from ACCC view on TPG-Vodafone merger – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has further isolated the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on its view that Australia’s telco market would be better with TPG as a fourth mobile operator, saying he “never thought” that would work.
The Federal Court on Thursday ruled a $15 billion merger of Vodafone and TPG could proceed, quashing the ACCC’s grounds for opposing the deal.
The ACCC believed TPG would restart a bid to launch itself as a fourth mobile network operator in its own right if the merger with Vodafone did not proceed.
The commission maintained that having more – not fewer – mobile networks was better for competition, a view dismissed by the court and criticised by Vodafone.
The question now is whether the ACCC decides to appeal the court’s ruling. 
The commission left all options open in a short statement following the judgment.
But it’s now emerged that the ACCC’s position is at odds with even the government on the issue.
“Today’s outcome clears the way for a stronger third player in the mobile market – which in my view is likely to bring greater competition in the market, in turn delivering benefits to consumers,” Fletcher said.
“I have never thought the prospect of a fourth entrant establishing a sustainable business was very great, given the history of the Australian mobile market, with One.Tel in the late nineties and Hutchison some years later both failing to sustain themselves as fourth entrants in the market.”
Vodafone CEO Iñaki Berroeta hoped the ACCC would decide not to press on.
“We’re not doing anything yet as a merged [Vodafone-TPG] company until this thing is fully approved, so we have to wait for the ACCC for their hypothetical appeal,” Berroeta said.
“We hope that the ACCC doesn’t do this, but this is not under our control.”
Berroeta said the case and lingering uncertainty of the merger, combined with Vodafone needing to switch equipment providers due to the Huawei ban, had taken its toll on the telco already.
“I think the last 18 months, on one side it’s been a lot of focus on this case,” he said.
“You also need to remember that at the same time that we were prevented from merging, there was the ban on using Huawei [in 5G networks], which is really important, andI think that many times it has been underestimated.
“With these two things, what I think is that they have really given [our] competitors the opportunity to get away from our pressure. 
“[But] between our rollout team … and the capacity that the technology team in TPG have, we have good opportunities to catch up and pass them and that’s really what matters.”
Berroeta said that the merger would create a powerful third 4G/5G player with enough resources and coverage to potentially lure customers away from Telstra and Optus.
However, S&P Global Ratings said in an advisory note that incumbents in the mobile space – specifically Telstra – could benefit from the smaller number of operators, putting some weight in the ACCC’s perspective.
“In our opinion, Vodafone’s merger with TPG reduces the risk of a flare-up of price competition and increased capital expenditure associated with a fourth mobile network operator aggressively entering the market,” S&P said.
“In recent years, the Australian mobile market has become susceptible to periodic bouts of intense competition. 
“We assess Telstra’s competitors to have less balance-sheet capacity and a greater incentive to generate cash compared with past periods.”

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Govt distances from ACCC view on TPG-Vodafone merger – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has further isolated the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on its view that Australia’s telco market would be better with TPG as a fourth mobile operator, saying he “never thought” that would work.
The Federal Court on Thursday ruled a $15 billion merger of Vodafone and TPG could proceed, quashing the ACCC’s grounds for opposing the deal.
The ACCC believed TPG would restart a bid to launch itself as a fourth mobile network operator in its own right if the merger with Vodafone did not proceed.
The commission maintained that having more – not fewer – mobile networks was better for competition, a view dismissed by the court and criticised by Vodafone.
The question now is whether the ACCC decides to appeal the court’s ruling. 
The commission left all options open in a short statement following the judgment.
But it’s now emerged that the ACCC’s position is at odds with even the government on the issue.
“Today’s outcome clears the way for a stronger third player in the mobile market – which in my view is likely to bring greater competition in the market, in turn delivering benefits to consumers,” Fletcher said.
“I have never thought the prospect of a fourth entrant establishing a sustainable business was very great, given the history of the Australian mobile market, with One.Tel in the late nineties and Hutchison some years later both failing to sustain themselves as fourth entrants in the market.”
Vodafone CEO Iñaki Berroeta hoped the ACCC would decide not to press on.
“We’re not doing anything yet as a merged [Vodafone-TPG] company until this thing is fully approved, so we have to wait for the ACCC for their hypothetical appeal,” Berroeta said.
“We hope that the ACCC doesn’t do this, but this is not under our control.”
Berroeta said the case and lingering uncertainty of the merger, combined with Vodafone needing to switch equipment providers due to the Huawei ban, had taken its toll on the telco already.
“I think the last 18 months, on one side it’s been a lot of focus on this case,” he said.
“You also need to remember that at the same time that we were prevented from merging, there was the ban on using Huawei [in 5G networks], which is really important, andI think that many times it has been underestimated.
“With these two things, what I think is that they have really given [our] competitors the opportunity to get away from our pressure. 
“[But] between our rollout team … and the capacity that the technology team in TPG have, we have good opportunities to catch up and pass them and that’s really what matters.”
Berroeta said that the merger would create a powerful third 4G/5G player with enough resources and coverage to potentially lure customers away from Telstra and Optus.
However, S&P Global Ratings said in an advisory note that incumbents in the mobile space – specifically Telstra – could benefit from the smaller number of operators, putting some weight in the ACCC’s perspective.
“In our opinion, Vodafone’s merger with TPG reduces the risk of a flare-up of price competition and increased capital expenditure associated with a fourth mobile network operator aggressively entering the market,” S&P said.
“In recent years, the Australian mobile market has become susceptible to periodic bouts of intense competition. 
“We assess Telstra’s competitors to have less balance-sheet capacity and a greater incentive to generate cash compared with past periods.”

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8 Awesome Uses For Google Maps Street View – Blog – 10 minute

Everyone knows how useful Google Maps can be. But to most people, Google Maps Street View can feel like nothing more than a novelty.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are dozens of practical uses for Google Maps Street View. These ideas will save you time, reduce stress when you’re traveling, or let you go on an adventure from the comfort of your couch.
Let’s take a look at the 8 most useful uses for Google Maps Street View.

1. Use Google Maps Street View to Explore Vacation Spots
Imagine you’re planning your family vacation to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. You know there are wonderful places to shop, hike, and go dining. But how do you find the best ones?
Sure, you could depend on Google Reviews or Local Guides, but why not visit the locations you’re interested in before you travel there?
To do this, use Google Maps to find the town you want to visit. Then switch to Satellite View and zoom into the location with all of the stores, dining areas, and other attractions. Then drag the Street View icon (the little yellow person) onto the map at the street location you want to explore.

Once you’re on the street, just use the arrows to travel back and forth along that street. Click and slide the mouse to look left and right at all of the attractions you could visit once you’re actually there.

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One of the most frustrating parts of traveling is putting restaurants or attractions on your itinerary that sound great online, but once you get there the neighborhood looks terrible. Exploring your vacation spot ahead of time with Street View ensures that you’re taking your family to environments that are always exciting and fun.
2. See How Places Have Changed with History View
Google has been sending their camera-topped vehicles around the world for many years. That means that Google has stockpiled an impressive collection of historical photos of many places.
In Street View, you can select the small timer icon just under the location address. You’ll see a slider bar under past photos. Slide the bar back to the year you’d like to see and then select the photo to zoom in. 

For local historians, this is a fantastic way to see how places have changed over time. For town administrators and politicians, it’s an insightful way to see how local town investments have changed the community (for better or worse).
For environmentalists, History View lets you examine how clearcutting or other commercial interests have negatively impacted the natural landscape over time.

Keep in mind, however, that you can’t predict what season Google has captured its photos. So comparing things like the natural landscape can be more difficult if the seasons between two photos are different.
3. Explore Your Future Apartment’s Neighborhood
Apartment hunting is hard. You need to make sure apartment features include things that matter to you. The cost needs to be right. And the schools and local economy are also important.
But one thing you can’t see in an apartment listing is what the community around that apartment looks like. 
This is where Google Maps Street View can help. 
Type in the address of your potential apartment, and then drag the Street View icon onto the map.

Exploring the neighborhood using Street View gives you lots of insights you normally can’t get from an apartment listing.

Are the neighborhood streets and sidewalks kept in good condition?
Do you see older cars or garbage outside local homes?
What do residents walking along the streets look like? Does the neighborhood look dangerous?
Is the outside of the apartment building or home in good repair?

You’d be amazed how much insight Google Maps Street View can offer into your future rental choice.
4. Relax to Scenic Views Without Using Gas
There are some breathtaking views all around the world, just waiting to be enjoyed. Sure, you could invest in airfare, a hotel, and a rental car just to see those views. Or, you could type in the location and explore those views in all their grandeur while sitting on your couch.

This isn’t the way one would always want to travel, but after a long and stressful day at work, wouldn’t it be nice to use Street View to take a drive along the famous Kancamagus Highway in the New Hampshire White Mountains? Or explore the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California?
Or if the ocean is your thing, you could take a virtual scenic drive along the Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway.

Watch the seagulls soaring, the waves rippling, and the sun shining as you coast along with Google Maps Street View.
The only thing missing is the ocean scent blowing in through your open windows.
5. Explore Abandoned Places with Google Maps Street View
If exploration is your thing, then you may want to turn to exploring abandoned places with Google Maps Street View.
Across the world, there are historic towns that are lost under the sands of time. You can see old brick and stone banks or jailhouses visited only by the ghosts of the past in abandoned towns like Thurmond, West Virginia. 

Or head overseas and check out the ruins of the Eilean Donan castle in Loch Duich, Scotland. 

You can catch glimpses of abandoned theme parks, castles, asylums, prisons, and much more.
This kind of exploration with Street View requires a bit of sleuthing, as often the exact locations of abandoned places are not always publicly available.
But if you can track down the location, you can call up Google Maps Street View to drive by and catch a glimpse. If you’re lucky, other people have visited the location in person and left actual photography in Google Maps for you to get an even closer look.
6. Find Trailheads Before Going Hiking
One of the most annoying parts of being a hiker is finding the location of many trailheads. The last thing you want to do is waste your entire morning driving around the base of a mountain to find where the trail starts.
In most cases, you’ll find many trailhead locations (where you’ll usually find a parking lot) located right on Google Maps itself.

Other times, especially for less popular trails, you’ll need to switch to Google Maps Street View and explore the area until you find the trail.

Street View lets you “drive around” virtually to find the location long before you waste your time searching for it the morning of your hike.
Once you spot the location, you can click and drag the mouse to look left and right for a good parking location as well. Once you’re satisfied, just select the red marker icon next to the current address and mark the location on Google Maps so you can find it later.
Save the location to your Favorite Places list so you can access it from your phone when you’re on the road.
7. See Augmented Reality Walking Directions With Live View
While it isn’t exactly “Street View”, when you’re walking around a town or city, you can get a similar view on your phone with directions to get where you need to go.
This is called “Live View”, and it’s a real-time augmented reality alternative to Street View.

To access this feature, just open the Google Maps app and select the three lines to open the Menu. Scroll down to Settings and select Navigational Settings. At the bottom of the menu you’ll see Walking Directions. Turn on Detailed Voice Guidance.
Now, when you’re in Google Maps and select walking as your mode of transportation instead of driving, Live View will launch and a voice will give you turn by turn directions on how to walk there.
8. Travel Internationally On a $0 Budget
Have you ever wanted to see the Beaches at Normandy, the Louvre in Paris, or The Great Pyramid of Giza?
Google Maps Street View gives you access to all of these amazing places, and you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars for a plane ticket to get there.

Just follow the same procedure as above. Type the location into Google Maps, and then place the Live View icon as close as you can to that location. Then press and hold the mouse to look and explore in every direction.

You will be amazed at the breathtaking places around the world that you can explore. And even when you think you won’t be able to get close enough to get a good look, you’ll discover that tourists who visited that location before have left some amazing photos tagged to that Google Maps location.

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Suncorp’s stalled Oracle core banking replacement disappears from view – Finance – Cloud – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

A stalled $300 million Oracle-based core banking system replacement at Suncorp now looks unlikely to be extended across deposits and transactions and will remain limited to writing mortgages after the regional bank and insurer buried all reference to the hobbled build in its half-yearly results.
In a challenging set of numbers with investor interest dominated by insurance claims from recent fires and floods, a final decision on the fate system – rather unfortunately named ‘Project Ignite’ and based on Oracle Flexcube – has been kicked into touch for another six months.
Despite a positive headline number of net profit landing at $642 million – propelled by selling off two insurance related businesses for $293 million, underlying profit from continuing operations sagged 6.2 percent to $396 million during the first half.
As a regional bank faced with the same compliance requirements as the big four, Suncorp has been under unrelenting pressure to optimise its retail banking business or risk being eaten away by leaner neobanks, with the new core meant to have been a differentiator.
Started in 2016, the system was meant to replace the ageing Hogan platform that is still used by ANZ, Westpac and St George but has instead visibly frustrated two successive chief executives, Michael Cameron and Steve Johnston, who have both questioned its functionality.
Cameron, in particular, called out Oracle, demanding the US giant needed to show Suncorp the system worked at scale in another bank before the Brisbane-based bancassurer flicked the switch.
In August last year Johnston went as far as to liken the frustrated deployment to a hostage scenario where Suncorp was dependent on another institution going first.
“To some extent we are a bit of a hostage to someone else doing it, I think that’s a better way for us to consider it, “Johnston said at the time.
“I don’t think there is any benefit in us being the first mover in deploying a deposit module onto a new core banking system, it’s not within our risk appetite to do that.”
Investors for the main waved through the lack of action on the new core on the back of a horror summer that will require Suncorp’s insurance brands focused on processing claims.
Helping that is the fact that Johnston has poached NAB online pure play UBank’s chief executive Lee Hatton to head Suncorp’s banking and wealth division, a move that will parachute a digital banking native into the organisation.
Like Suncorp, NAB has also had its fair share of frustrations with Oracle, especially prior to that bank’s massive cost cutting exercise.
Johnston is certainly talking up Hatton’s potential.
“Lee is the ideal leader for Suncorp Bank as we continue to transform the experience our customers have with us,” Johnston said in December 2019 upon Hatton’s appointment.
“Her track record of building customer-focused, digital banking offerings and ability to positively influence organisational culture means she is the ideal candidate to lead Suncorp Bank in the rapidly evolving and highly competitive environment we are in.”
Until that happens, Johnston is taking a more meat-and-potatoes view of digital and IT, especially around delivering cost reductions and efficiencies.
While most insurers are actively experimenting with artificial intelligence, Johnston mooted that the technology could be put to work to look at varying grades of housing stock to price more effectively against water damage from broken waterpipes, a significant item for Suncorp.
Another major headwind this period has been an increase in “regulatory project costs” – usually compliance related software that generates no income – that came in at $155 million, in line with forecasts.
The bad news is those costs will stay elevated a bit longer than the bank had previously said, with Johnston blaming poorly drafted regulations that were taking longer to arrive than anticipated.
“We anticipated these costs to decline more gradually than expected,” Johnston said.

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Nubian Skin on challenging ad land’s ‘one-dimensional view of blackness’ with TfL win- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Progressive lingerie brand, Nubian Skin has been awarded £500,000 of advertising space across London’s transport network, which it says will be used to challenge advertising’s “one-dimensional view of blackness”.
The London-based upstart has been crowned the winner of Transport for London’s (TfL) annual diversity in advertising competition, which this year asked brands to devise campaigns which addressed the “sometimes superficial” representation of the capital’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
Nubian Skin — which specialises in ‘nude’ undergarments for women of colour — won over the judges with its ‘A Different Kind of Nude’ campaign.
Developed and shot by its in-house team, the winning work (which will be the brand’s biggest marketing push since it was founded in 2014) challenges assumptions surrounding the word ‘nude’ in the fashion industry.
‘A Different Kind of Nude’
“[The idea behind the brand] is a very simple concept,” Nubian Skin’s founder and chief executive Ade Hassan MBE explained to Tempemail.
“Nude is such an important colour in lingerie. But as a black woman, I could never find my ‘nude’ as it was always beige.”
Hassan was certainly not alone in her frustration. When Nubian Skin presented its first product photo on Instagram, the campaign promptly went viral, confirming that she was onto something. Its first update gained Nubian Skin 1,000 followers in one week, and within a month the photo went on to held the brand garner over 35,0000 notes on Tumblr and over 20,000 Instagram followers.
Six years down the line and the brand now boasts Beyoncé as a client, with the pop star wearing the label as part of her wardrobe for her ‘Formation’ tour. In 2017 Hassan was awarded a MBE for services to fashion. However, despite the landmarks moves the brand has made in so short a time, Hassan said that until now, its marketing has been mostly organic.
“Because no one was doing what we were doing when we launched, we were incredibly fortunate,” she divulged.
“After we started trending on social media, every major outlet wrote a story on the brand. Everybody was talking about it, either retweeting or reposting images. At that time, it was just me and an intern.”
Though the team has grown since then, Hassan explained that majority of Nubian Skin’s advertising and marketing is still done via social.
“As a small brand, we can’t afford to do big campaigns or magazine advertising, so this opportunity with TfL is just phenomenal for us,” she added.
Moving away from tokenism
Marking the second year of the competition, in October, TfL put out a brief that challenged brands and agencies to develop creative that markets their product while offering a “nuanced and authentic” portrayal of black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) people.
The brief was set by TfL and the Mayor of London after insight from Lloyds revealed that although ethnic minority representation in advertising increased from 12% to 25% between 2015 and 2018, more than 60% of ads still featured only or majority white people.
“I loved that the focus of this years competition was on ethnic minorities,” commented Hussan. “When it comes to representing black people in advertising or in the media in general, it’s quite tokenistic or stereotypical.”

To combat this bad practice, in the winning campaign, Nubian Skin asks ‘what does being black mean to you?’ The submission was reviewed by a panel of judges that comprised advertising and media experts from City Hall and TfL representatives, and the brand was chosen due to its bold and inclusive imagery which embraced a range of ages and body types as well as skin tones.
As the winner of this years competition, Nubian Skin will receive £500,000-worth of prominent advertising space across the TfL network, including space on the digital screens at Canary Wharf and across the JCDecaux UK digital bus shelter network.
“We want to open up the conversation, portray diversity and celebrate blackness,” explained Hussan on what the brand hopes to achieve through the competition. “We want to bring a smile to people, especially black people when they see a campaign that doesn’t feature a token black person – but is truly representative of us.”

Although a step in the right direction, there is still so much ground to be made to combat advertising’s “one-dimensional view of blackness”.
Looking forward, Hussan believes solving this challenge is about much more than branding.
“A lot of times you end up with tokenism when you don’t have anyone in the room who can actually say what it’s like to be part of the BAME community,” she argued, saying representation within the advertising industry needed to change at a decision-making level.
Nubian Skin’s win follows on from Holland & Barrett taking the TfL prize last
won the crown of which called on brands to better reflect the diversity of women in the city. Holland & Barrett’s winning idea tackled the “last taboo” that often gets sidelined in advertising – the menopause.
Created by Pablo, the ‘Me.No.Pause’ campaign profiled a diverse range of women going through the menopause and highlighted the challenges they face, including the loss of femininity, identity and self.

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Managing Social for the UK Embassy: The Insider’s View | Social Media Statistics & Metrics – Blog – 10 minute

When it comes to social media management, people usually think of managing a brand’s profiles. But when people, especially those living outside of their home country, go looking for information, their local embassy is often one of the first destinations. And increasingly, that includes embassy’s social media accounts.
If a brand accidentally tweets some misinformation, it’s a problem. But if a government agency puts out something factually inaccurate, it’s an incident.
It requires an exceptionally high degree of vigilance for accuracy while balancing a role as an information center and still having fun, because government agency accounts still want followers after all.
One of the people balancing all of these duties is Tereza Kosáková, who is the social media officer and deputy head of press and public affairs at the British Embassy in Prague. 

As someone who manages social media for an embassy, what are the key objectives for your team? What role do your channels play in connecting with UK citizens or even the Czech audience?
In a hyper-connected world, social media has become the principal component of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office communications. As at the very heart of any diplomatic role, my main objective is delivering on the issues British people care about. Whether this is through raising awareness, changing perceptions, or encouraging behavior change, British Embassy Prague would not be able to do that without compelling communications. Social media is a vital tool of influence beyond traditional audiences like domestic politicians and it helps us to connect directly with both the Czech general public and Brits living in the Czech Republic. Social media allows us to become more accessible, visible, and transparent through open dialogue. Moreover, it offers a wide range of opportunities, which is why digital diplomacy has become one of the very core diplomatic skills of the 21st century.

What’s the hardest part of the job? Are there risks involved? And if so, how do you mitigate them?
The hardest part is definitely delivering consistent and attractive content. Every day, I monitor hundreds of channels to showcase the UK’s innovation across sectors and I therefore need to understand a bit of everything. My aim is also to amplify content by our close partners, e.g. British Council or British Chamber of Commerce, and ensure that our messaging is similar in format and tone.

How intricate is the approval process for something like an embassy?
The approval process is similar to any bigger organization. I consult on content within my management chain for a “second pair of eyes” check. Our content is seen by thousands of followers and my aim is to establish the Embassy channels as a reliable and impartial source of factual information, which means I try to avoid any mistakes. My team is also quite small so we brainstorm a lot during the creative process. This enables us to spot potential flaws before we produce and potentially publish any content.

How has social media transformed your overall communications strategy? Is it making it more difficult or easier to manage?
Social media has dramatically improved our ability to gather news and insights as well as to improve the delivery of our services through closer engagement with our customers. Over the last few years, the Embassy has expanded to multiple social media platforms and our overall communications strategy became more robust and versatile. I don’t believe we can say that it is making things harder or easier. The Embassy’s approach towards sharing and gathering data simply changed and that also had an impact, for example, on the structure of the team or the way we work or evaluate the outcomes. My full-time role with an exclusive focus on digital diplomacy is just about three years old and we can expect that this trend of adjusting traditional roles to new trends will continue also in such a traditionally conservative field as diplomacy. 

How do you see it evolving in the future? Is the process becoming more centralized or more open and democratic?
The systems used by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are both effective and democratic. For campaigns with international validity, all posts receive centrally produced digital assets. This enables us to enhance the communication momentum and literally achieve a global impact. In terms of bilateral liaisons between the UK and Czech Republic, I formulate my own strategy, which is tailored specifically for the audience living in the Czech Republic. FCO also relies on my expertise so some international campaigns can be adjusted accordingly. I believe that this balance between centralized and open processes is ideal for the success of such worldwide organization.

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A Comprehensive View of Pen Testing – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Penetration tests have long been known as a critical security tool that exposes security weaknesses through simulated attacks on an organization’s IT environments. These test results can help prioritize weaknesses, providing a road-map towards remediation.
However, the results are also capable of doing even more. They identify and quantify security risk, and can be used as a keystone in cybersecurity policies. The same can be said about broader penetration testing practices.
Organizations gain real value from learning about others’ penetration testing experiences, trends, and the role they play in today’s threat landscape.
The world of pen testing can be an interesting balance of open collaboration and closely guarded privacy. While pen testers may engage in teaming exercises, or happily talk technique when they attend Black Hat, most organizations are extremely reluctant when it comes to discussing their pen testing practices and results.
Of course, confidentiality and security should be kept top of mind—sharing anything that puts data at risk defeats the point of pen testing to begin with.
Further, publicizing security weaknesses does not help maintain confidence in an organization’s ability to keep their customers’ information safe. However, there is still valuable data that can be shared without divulging sensitive information.
For example, information about average pen testing team sizes and testing frequency can help an organization determine if they need additional resources. Learning about the different types of tests being performed could help an organization determine its testing priorities.
Data about how organizations are using pen testing tools may help developers decide what new functionalities are needed. This type of information would help penetration testing professionals and organizations develop a better idea of today’s expectations, practices, and challenges at a broader level, so they can continue to improve and innovate the field.
With this in mind, Core Security is launching the 2020 Penetration Testing Survey. Core Security, a HelpSystems Company, has seen and been a part of the evolution of penetration testing over the years and is dedicated to its continued advancement and growth.
If you are involved in pen testing in your organization, we want to hear from you. By participating, you will be joining a community of like-minded cybersecurity experts in discussing ethical hacking program effectiveness and the resources required to deploy them.
Want to take part in this anonymous survey that will provide foundational research findings on pen testing? Take the survey.

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After Epstein, it’s time for the Valley to find a moral view on capital – gpgmail


Is capital moral or amoral?

In the predominant view held in Silicon Valley today, capital is amoral — cash is cash, and regardless of where it comes from, once it leaves the hand of its investor or donor, it no longer has that individual’s taint. That money might have previously been spent on acquiring access to underage girls, or murder, or espionage, but now it is being spent on something productive, something useful. Isn’t that ultimately a net win for society?

That culture of fundraising is under an exacting microscope this week after the MIT Technology Review reported that Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the famed MIT Media Lab, would have continued to take convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s donations to the research center.

[… He] said he had recommended that [Joichi Ito, the lab’s current director] take Epstein’s money. “If you wind back the clock,” he added, “I would still say, ‘Take it.’” And he repeated, more emphatically, “‘Take it.’”

The comments, made during a meeting of the lab’s staff, shocked many of the participants, with some angrily replying in the heat of the moment. As the Review noted, “Kate Darling, a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab, shouted, ‘Nicholas, shut up!’ Negroponte responded that he would not shut up and that he had founded the Lab, to which Darling said, ‘We’ve been cleaning up your messes for the past eight years.’”

Epstein funded projects widely in the tech world through the Edge Foundation and other initiatives, and his acquaintances read like a who’s-who of tech luminaries.

Yet, this week’s controversy over fundraising is hardly novel. Just last year, SoftBank’s Vision Fund was dealing with the fallout in its own fundraising after Saudi Arabia — the fund’s largest limited partner with a $45 billion commitment to the $93 billion fund — murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its consulate in Istanbul.

These two singular cases also connect to the larger story about the U.S. government’s active shutdown of Chinese venture capital dollars flowing into the Valley for fear of foreign intelligence espionage. Through the modernization of legal tools like CFIUS, to the Pentagon’s creation of a Trusted Capital Marketplace, to reversals of acquisitions like the unwinding of Chinese company Kunlun’s purchase of gay dating app Grindr, the government has repeatedly been telling entrepreneurs: it matters where your capital comes from.

Indeed, that’s the very quandary that Silicon Valley is facing these days. Its amoral view of capital is increasingly clashing with the reality that it matters a whole heck of a lot where that capital comes from. And it is about time that founders and investors take responsibility for cleaning up a capital base that has become more and more squalid over time.

Why can’t capital just be immoral? Well, Epstein’s web of donations provided him with a philanthropic sheen that eased access to the highest echelons of society while he committed his crimes. Saudi Arabia is the largest investor in Silicon Valley not only because it drives a return and diversifies its oil-dependent economy, but also because it can Valley-wash the horrific rights abuses and atrocities it commits against all of its citizens, including women, LGBT people, and immigrants.

(But hey, women can drive now, just in time for autonomous vehicles.)

This amoral versus moral view of capital is just the classic debate in philosophy between utilitarianism versus deontological duties, but Silicon Valley has almost exclusively chosen the former rather than the latter. My bank asks me more questions about my $50 deposits than many founders ask about where that $500 million check comes from.

That’s perhaps understandable in context. Founders — as with non-profit leaders — fundraise around-the-clock. When a check finally arrives, they don’t bother to ask a bunch of due diligence questions. They just want that money to hit the bank and get back to building what they were intending to the entire time.

It’s a mode of operating that continues to the present day. I was chatting with a founder this week, and during demo day last week, he got an emailed check for $50,000 from an investor in the audience. It was amazing, he said with exclamation points to me, and it sounded like he just added the check to the pile he had accumulated. Who is this person? Do we know where his capital comes from? Is there going to be some scandal that shocks the startup in a couple of years? Yet the excitement was palpable — the round was closed, and it was the easiest $50,000 ever fundraised.

Those diligence questions probably didn’t need to be asked a decade or two in the Valley, back when a few dozen firms mostly raised from blue-chip university and non-profit endowments as well as state pension funds.

Today though, there are all kinds of sources of capital, with little clarity about where the capital is coming from. Take, for instance, Carlos Ghosn, who once headed Nissan Motors and is currently on trial in Japan for a variety of financial crimes. He has been accused of embezzling millions of dollars for a VC fund run by his son by running a kickback scheme through a Nissan distributor in Lebanon. As the Wall Street Journal reported a little more than a week ago:

In March 2015, the Ghosns set up in Delaware an investment vehicle called Shogun Investments, which Mr. Ghosn described as a fund that would invest in Silicon Valley startups. Mr. Ghosn was majority owner while his son, Anthony, held a stake, according to people familiar with the matter. The younger Mr. Ghosn, who was about to graduate from Stanford University, was working at the time as chief of staff for Silicon Valley venture capitalist Joe Lonsdale, providing the elder Mr. Ghosn a close-up view of the tech investment world. The lofty returns had stunned him, according to one of the people.

That fund would go on to fund some of the most well-known unicorns in the world:

“Following our phone conversation, I ordered a transfer of $3 million,” Carlos Ghosn wrote in a December 2017 email to his son, who was 22 years old at the time.

Of that amount, $2 million was for an investment in Grab, a Southeast Asian competitor to Uber Technologies Inc., Mr. Ghosn wrote, adding that he was sending “$1 million for the company of your friend that you think will do very well.” It wasn’t clear which company Mr. Ghosn was referring to.

I would love a world in which founders asked all the right due diligence questions. I would love for them to inquire about limited partners, about how wealth was created, and how it has been invested. But I am also aware that in what can be a desperate search for funds, those questions may well never get asked in the first place.

If you want to stop the capital laundering taking place every day in the Valley, you have to create active, real-time antidotes. That means stopping it at every point of contact, every single opportunity where it can infect the ecosystem.

And so, we need better systems as a community and as an ecosystem to cleanse ourselves of this dirty money. We need “know-your-capital” processes that are standardized, robust, and accurate so that every check can be verified before it hits the bank. We need tools to verify that a startup or non-profit has actually followed those KYC processes, so that employees don’t suddenly show up at work and realize they are making money for a bunch of murderers. It’s “trust but verify.”

Systematization and process are key to execution, but that doesn’t disclaim the responsibility for the Valley’s leaders to take a moral stance here. Utilitarianism only takes you so far — it does matter that you take capital from a bad actor. Negroponte is wrong to say that he would still take Epstein’s money, regardless of what that capital might have funded at the MIT Media Lab.

Taking responsibility for your capital is part of being a leader of an organization today. Hopefully, the next generation of founders will take a look at Epstein, and Khashoggi, and China, and Ghosn, and the Sacklers, and a whole host of other case studies and learn from them and change their fundraising practices. A moral view on capital isn’t a cost of doing business — it’s simply the right thing to do.


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Google launches ‘Live View’ AR walking directions for Google Maps – gpgmail


Google is launching a beta of its augmented reality walking directions feature for Google Maps, with a broader launch that will be available to all iOS and Android devices that have system-level support for AR. On iOS, that means ARKit-compatible devices, and on Android, that means any smartphones that support Google’s ARcore, so long as ‘Street View’ is also available where you are.

Originally revealed earlier this year, Google Maps’ augmented reality feature has been available in an early alpha mode to both Google Pixel users and to Google Maps Local Guides, but starting today it’ll be rolling out to everyone (this might take a couple weeks depending on when you actually get pushed the update). We took a look at some of the features available with the early version in March, and it sounds like the version today should be pretty similar, including the ability to just tap on any location nearby in Maps, tap the ‘Directions’ button and then navigating to ‘Walking,’ then tapping ‘Live View’ which should appear newer the bottom of the screen.

Live View
The Live View feature isn’t designed with the idea that you’ll hold up your phone continually as you walk – instead, in provides quick, easy and super useful orientation, by showing you arrows and big, readable street markers overlaid on the real scene in front of you. That makes it much, much easier to orient yourself in unfamiliar settings, which is hugely beneficial when traveling in unfamiliar territory.

Google Maps is also getting a number of other upgrades, including a one-stop ‘Reservations’ tab in Maps for all your stored flights, hotel stays and more – plus it’s backed up offline. This, and a new redesigned Timeline which is airing on Android devices only for now, should also be rolling out to everyone over the next few weeks.


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