Inside Europol

•February 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38957246

In a light, airy office on the ground floor of Europol’s brutalist headquarters in The Hague, David Ellero, one of its senior officials, is reflecting on how the organisation has changed since he joined in 2007. In those days, some people confused Europol with Interpol and others thought it was just an annoying part of the EU’s bureaucratic machinery.

“Our counterparts, or the investigators in the member states, didn’t really know what we did,” Ellero says.

Now, the European Police Office, to give it its official title, is recognised across the law enforcement world, with a budget of almost £100m, and a workforce of more than 1000, to match.

Its effectiveness certainly isn’t lost on the UK government, which is preparing to start negotiations about Britain’s role in Europol after the country leaves the EU. Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has said that the agency plays an “incredibly important role in keeping us safe in Europe”.

“The phone rings quite often,” says Ellero, with typical understatement.

A former detective – much of his career was spent in Italy investigating Mafia killings – he now heads a department tackling the top organised crime groups across the Continent.

“For a criminal to communicate with his counterparts across Europe it takes a second on WhatsApp.

“We need to make sure that… police (can act) at the same speed even if they have different judicial set-ups and and even if they speak different languages,” adds Ellero, pointing out that “even pickpockets” operate transnationally.

The main function of Europol, which started work in 1999, is to act as a hub for the exchange of intelligence between 750 global agencies. It also oversees databases containing tens of millions of pieces of information on criminals, offences and suspect vehicles, and it helps co-ordinate crime-fighting operations against drug dealers, human trafficking gangs and terrorists.

Outside Europol, other pan-European intelligence systems help in the fight against crime including the Schengen Information System (SIS). Although the UK is not among the 26 countries that have open borders under the Schengen agreement it can access the database which records cross-border movements and associated intelligence.

In 2015, the SIS was interrogated three million times by law enforcement officers across Europe with 64 million “alerts” placed on the system every day relating to stolen vehicles and missing children to foreign fighters returning to Europe from Syria and Iraq.

Indeed, one of the fastest-growing areas of work at Europol involves countering the spread of propaganda from terrorist groups and extremists. A 26-strong team in the Internet Referral Unit spends each day combing the web for material and then persuading social media companies and service providers to remove it.

The head of the unit, Vincent Semestre, likens it to “emptying the ocean with a spoon”. He says they’ve identified 91 internet platforms that have contained extremist content, more than 50 of which have co-operated with Europol in deleting the material.

Over the past 18 months the team’s most intense periods of work have come after terror attacks in Europe, when it’s had to act quickly to prevent the spread of extremist images, videos and postings.

“You need to have capacity in-house, which is understanding this ideology in its original language: which means staff speaking Arabic, speaking Russian, speaking Turkish,” says Semestre, who worked for the French judicial police before joining Europol.

———

“The main function of Europol, which started work in 1999, is to act as a hub for the exchange of intelligence between 750 global agencies. It also oversees databases containing tens of millions of pieces of information on criminals, offences and suspect vehicles, and it helps co-ordinate crime-fighting operations against drug dealers, human trafficking gangs and terrorists.”

a hub?

“You need to have capacity in-house, which is understanding this ideology in its original language: which means staff speaking Arabic, speaking Russian, speaking Turkish,”

skill sets..

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Images 19/2/17

•February 19, 2017 • 66 Comments

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lots of images this week..so what were these two lads up to?

trumpclimatechangefake

note the symbolism in the background at the signing ceremonies..thats a pentagram..

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click to enlarge..

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🙂

nato

now i see it..

c3lgxhexaael1_f

game plan..

main_14_14

do you know this creature?

beauty-and-the-beast-belle-emma-watson-dan-stevens-01-670-380

hes about to star in a movie with a hogwarts graduate..

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*sigh

vrg_jbareham_flotus_lede_sized_fin_scrubbed-0

michelle with the one eye..ALL must submit..

why

magazine cover from ireland..subtle?

joyvilla_grammyawards

now thats courage..or rampant attention seeking..

santigold_grammyawards

when i go to the grammys i always wear my 3 headed snake dress..

van-jones-in-varietys-inauguration-issue

van has a plan..

http-prod-static9-net-au-_-media-network-home-streams-2017-02-15-23-36-140217_kim_env2_sp

the “LOL” female assassin?..or does is it deeper? lol?

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South Korea agency deleted 17,000 comments to combat “fake news”

•February 19, 2017 • 2 Comments

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http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/02/16/South-Korea-agency-deleted-17000-comments-to-combat-fake-news/2351487274760/?utm_source=fp&utm_campaign=ts&utm_medium=5

Concern about fake news and the uncontrollable growth of online rumors is going global, and in South Korea the national election commission is tackling the problem by targeting the comments sections of websites.

But the move is being criticized as censorship, local news service Media Today reported Thursday.

According to Open Net, a nongovernmental South Korean organization advocating freedom and openness of the country’s Internet, the crackdown on fake news is an “exercise of cyber-censorship.”

In early January, the national election commission announced plans to tackle defamation and “propaganda” online.

On Feb. 7, Lee Chul-sung, South Korea’s police chief, said “fake news are to be subject to investigation by police.”

Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also blamed fake news, or the deliberate promotion of political falsehoods, for “misrepresenting” him ahead of a possible presidential campaign in South Korea.

Ban dropped out of the presidential race after making several public appearances.

The national election commission was already actively monitoring online rhetoric on political candidates during South Korea’s 20th legislative elections in 2016.

The commission deleted more than 17,000 comments online in compliance with South Korea’s elections law, according to Media Today.

Removed content included questionable rumors about the illegal enrollment of a ruling party lawmaker to a university, and a meme of lawmaker Yoo Seung-min that depicted him as a pre-modern Korean eunuch.

Open Net said the “excessive” policy should be improved in order to prevent suppression of free speech and to not adversely affect legitimate press reporting.

———-

“the national election commission is tackling the problem by targeting the comments sections of websites.”

fake news is one thing..attacking and deleting comments which are opinons is a police state..see where this is heading?

“the move is being criticized as censorship”

duh..

and here is your sunday morning joke:

Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also blamed fake news, or the deliberate promotion of political falsehoods, for “misrepresenting” him ahead of a possible presidential campaign in South Korea.Ban dropped out of the presidential race after making several public appearances.”

its never the candidate or the policies..no no..must be fake news or those pesky russians..

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Russia boosts US Treasury bill holding after Trump’s election win

•February 19, 2017 • 7 Comments

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https://www.rt.com/business/377552-russia-trump-us-treasuries/

The Central Bank of Russia bought significantly more American Treasury securities in the two months after Donald Trump was elected president, according to data from the US Treasury Department published on Thursday.

The data from the Treasury shows that in November and December Russian investment in US government debt soared by 15 percent to $86.1 billion.

Before Trump’s election win, Russia had been steadily selling off US T-bills. From January to October last year, Russian holdings slumped from $96.9 billion to $74.6 billion.

The increase in November was the largest monthly purchase since relations between Moscow and Washington deteriorated over the Ukrainian crisis. For comparison, in April 2014, Russia held US Treasury bills worth $116.4 billion.

The last time the Russian Central Bank made such investments in US debt was in August 2011, when it bought $11.8 billion worth of American bonds.

The two largest holders of the US debt, Japan, and China, significantly reduced their holdings after Trump’s election. Japan sold off $40 billion, while China cut its holdings by $57 billion to the lowest level in almost six years.

However, China had slashed its US debt holdings in the six months before Trump’s election to prop up the falling yuan, selling off $180 billion in 2016.

“China is a massive player in our market and can move the markets whether they are a buyer or seller. If 10-year yields are going to trade to 3 percent this year, China will be the catalyst,” Tom di Galoma, managing director of government trading and strategy at Seaport Global Holdings told Bloomberg. On Thursday, the yield on the US 10-year note was 2.477 percent.

———-

its all about the timing..russia moves in..

yin and yang..

“The two largest holders of the US debt, Japan, and China, significantly reduced their holdings after Trump’s election. Japan sold off $40 billion, while China cut its holdings by $57 billion to the lowest level in almost six years.”

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Microsoft calls for “digital Geneva Convention”

•February 19, 2017 • 1 Comment

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/02/14/microsoft-brad-smith-digital-geneva-convention/97883896/

In a major policy speech aimed at rising nationalism,  Microsoft president Brad Smith said tech companies must declare themselves neutral when nations go up against nations in cyberspace.

“Let’s face it, cyberspace is the new battlefield,” he told an overflow audience in the opening keynote at the RSA computer security conference.

Tech must be committed to “100% defense and zero percent offense,” Smith said.

Smith called for a “digital Geneva Convention,” like the one created in the aftermath of World War II which set ground rules for how conduct during wartime, defining basic rights for civilians caught up armed conflicts.

The speech was echoed in a blog post on Microsoft’s site that went up Tuesday morning.

The world’s governments need to pledge that “they will not engage in cyberattacks that target civilian infrastructure, whether it’s the electric grid or the political system,” Smith said.

This digital Geneva Convention would establish protocols, norms and international processes for how tech companies would deal with cyber aggression and attacks of nations aimed at civilian targets, which appears to effectively mean anything but military servers.

While Europe and other nations are also experiencing a rise in nationalist feelings, it is no accident that Smith’s talk comes just three weeks after Donald Trump was inaugurated the 45th president of the United States. Trump’s  aggressive stance — warning Iran, for instance, that it’s been put “on notice” — has caught the attention of the world and made tech companies uncomfortably aware that their realm — cyberspace — is also a likely battlefield when hostilities break out.

Smith listed a string of increasingly threatening cross-border cyber incidents, beginning with the North Korean attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014 to thefts of intellectual property by China in 2015, ending with last year’s Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential election.

“We suddenly find ourselves living in a world where nothing seems off limits to nation-state attacks,” Smith said.

Technology companies, not armies, are the first responders when cyber attacks occur, he noted. But they cannot and must not, respond in kind, or aid governments in going on the offensive, Smith said.

He called for the creation of an autonomous organization, something like theInternational Atomic Energy Agency that polices nuclear non-proliferation.

“Even in a world of growing nationalism, when it comes to cybersecurity the global tech sector needs to operate as a neutral Digital Switzerland,” Smith said.

“We will not aid in attacking customers anywhere. We need to retain the world’s trust.”

What this appears to mean in the near term is that tech companies should refuse to aid governments, even the government of the country they are based in, in attacking other nations. That could mean not building backdoors into programs sold in other countries and not taking part in work to create cyberweapons.

Some of this groundwork has already begun. In 2015 the United Nations made a recommendation for cybersecurity norms around country-sponsored cyber attacks.

Later that year the United States and China vowed to cooperate on cybersecurity and specifically the touchy issue of intellectual property theft. That was followed by the Group of 20 affirming the same principals.

Claudio Neiva, a network security research director with analyst firm Gartner, did note that it’s easier for Microsoft and other large companies to commit to taking no offensive cyber action because they have the money and staff to pursue legal action.

“They’re being offensive by using legal measures, so it’s just a different way of doing things,” he said.

Microsoft, which does business in 190 countries, clearly sees itself as an international company responsible to its global customers.

———

“The world’s governments need to pledge that “they will not engage in cyberattacks that target civilian infrastructure, whether it’s the electric grid or the political system,” Smith said.”

what world does this guy live in?

“tech companies should refuse to aid governments, even the government of the country they are based in, in attacking other nations. That could mean not building backdoors into programs sold in other countries and not taking part in work to create cyberweapons.”

im looking at you nsa..

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Google’s “DeepMind” AI understands the benefits of betrayal

•February 18, 2017 • 10 Comments

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http://www.iflscience.com/technology/googles-deepmind-ai-understands-the-benefits-of-betrayal/

It’s looking increasingly likely that artificial intelligence (AI) will be the harbinger of the next technological revolution. When it develops to the point wherein it is able to learn, think, and even “feel” without the input of a human – a truly “smart” AI – then everything we know will change, almost overnight.

That’s why it’s so interesting to keep track of major milestones in the development of AIs that exist today, including that of Google’s DeepMind neural network. It’s already besting humanity in the gaming world, and a new in-house study reveals that Google is decidedly unsure whether or not the AI tends to prefer cooperative behaviors over aggressive, competitive ones.

A team of Google acolytes set up two relatively simple scenarios in which to test whether neural networks are more likely to work together or destroy each other when faced with a resource problem. The first situation, entitled “Gathering”, involved two versions of DeepMind – Red and Blue – being given the task of harvesting green “apples” from within a confined space.

This wasn’t just a rush to the finish line, though. Red and Blue were armed with lasers that they could use to shoot and temporarily disable their opponent at any time. This gave them two basic options: horde all the apples themselves or allow each other to have a roughly equal amount.

Running the simulation thousands of times, Google found that DeepMind was very peaceful and cooperative when there were plenty of apples to go around. The less apples there were, however, the more likely Red or Blue were to attack and disable the other – a situation that pretty much resembles real life for most animals, including humans.

Perhaps more significantly, smaller and “less intelligent” neural networks were likely to be more cooperative throughout. More intricate, larger networks, though, tended to favor betrayal and selfishness throughout the experiments.

In the second scenario, called “Wolfpack”, Red and Blue were asked to hunt down a nondescript form of “prey”. They could try to catch it separately, but it was more beneficial for them if they tried to catch it together – it’s easier, after all, to corner something if there’s more than one of you.

Although results were mixed with the small networks, the larger equivalents quickly realized that being cooperative rather than competitive in this situation was more beneficial.

So what do these two simple versions of the Prisoner’s Dilemma ultimately tell us? DeepMind knows that to hunt down a target, cooperation is better, but when resources are scarce, sometimes betrayal works well.

Hmm. Perhaps the scariest thing about all this is that its instincts are so unnervingly, well, human-like – and we know how following our instincts sometimes turns out.

———-

“Google found that DeepMind was very peaceful and cooperative when there were plenty of apples to go around. The less apples there were, however, the more likely Red or Blue were to attack and disable the other – a situation that pretty much resembles real life for most animals, including humans.”

emotions can only be found in humans and animals..computers cannot..it has to be programmable..its just ones and zeros..

“Hmm. Perhaps the scariest thing about all this is that its instincts are so unnervingly, well, human-like – and we know how following our instincts sometimes turns out.”

thats because humans programmed it..duh?

401

Islamic State suicide bombing at Pakistan shrine leaves at least 75 dead

•February 18, 2017 • 1 Comment

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-17/islamic-state-suicide-bombing-at-pakistan-shrine-killing-scores/8278848

An Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber has targeted a famed shrine in southern Pakistan, killing at least 75 people in the deadliest attack in the country in more than two years.

The bomber entered the main hall of the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan and detonated his explosives amid dozens of worshippers, according to three security officials, who said at least 20 women and nine children were among the dead.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief reporters — Fazal Palejo, a senior health official in Sindh province, confirmed the toll.

The IS militant group claimed the attack in a statement circulated by its Aamaq news agency, saying it had targeted a “Shiite gathering”.

The Sunni extremist group views Shiites as apostates and has targeted Pakistan’s Shiite minority in the past — it views Sufi shrines like the one targeted Thursday as a form of idolatry.

Raja Somro, who witnessed the attack, told a local TV network that hundreds of people were performing a spiritual dance known as the Dhamal when the bomber struck.

“I saw bodies everywhere. I saw bodies of women and children,” he said.

Local TV showed graphic footage of the aftermath of the blast, with wounded worshippers crying out for help and the floors covered with shoes, blood and body parts — women cried and beat their chests in grief.

Ghazanfar Shah, the custodian of the site, said security was lax at the shrine, which is entered through two gold-plated doors.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed that security forces would track down the perpetrators of the attack, according to Pakistani state TV.

“Each drop of the nation’s blood shall be avenged, and avenged immediately,” Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, said in a statement.

———-

the civil war inside islam continues..more killing and death..

“The IS militant group claimed the attack in a statement circulated by its Aamaq news agency, saying it had targeted a “Shiite gathering”.

women and children..

“The Sunni extremist group views Shiites as apostates and has targeted Pakistan’s Shiite minority in the past — it views Sufi shrines like the one targeted Thursday as a form of idolatry.”

401

 
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