Protect Pedestrian Zones from Hijacked Trucks

Recent attacks on people in pedestrian zones using hijacked trucks around the world give rise to concern.

I have seen overseas, I believe it was in Prague, hydraulically actuated bollards protecting public squares that can be remotely raised – and lowered when access was appropriate. They could also be configured to lower for a minute when touched on top I recall.

The South Australian Government should prioritise doing so here in high profile public areas in Adelaide like Rundle Mall, Victoria Square, North Terrace and the new broad War Memorial footpath leading up to the War Memorial on North Terrace as well as at the forecourt for the new Oval and prominent Churches.

These facilities would ideally be remotely monitored and jointly controlled by both the Police and Traffic Monitoring Centres. Coordination with any Emergency Services responses would be a key aspect of the mechanised bollards.

Once implemented at the most prominent areas, phased implementation around public building forecourts and roads, like The Parade at Norwood, that are at regularly closed to traffic for pedestrians to participate in big public events, would be similarly hardened.

Posted in City Planning | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bluetooth Hijacks Frustrate Login on Mac

Apple should implement a soft keyboard option at the password login screen so you could use the mouse to click out your password! I have been locked out of my mac mini as the Apple bluetooth keyboard and trackpad are ignored now because I was playing with new bluetooth devices in the same room. I bought a new Digitech AA2104 bluetooth transmitter/receiver to get audio out from the television audio out to my new bluetooth headset and that worked fine. Problem is it seems to have hijacked my apple bluetooth peripherals’ pairings and without getting past the login, I cannot cleanup my bluetooth pairings! A wired USB mouse was easy to find and the Mac Mini responds to that but a wired apple keyboard is harder to get my hands on. I had a still shrink wrapped extra apple bluetooth keyboard but that has not helped even though the neon indicated pairing attempts… any ideas?

Posted in City Planning | Leave a comment

Apple ID & iCloud Authentication Mess

The Apple User Interfaces for connecting newly updated Apple Devices are confounding.
Say you have two macs and an iPhone or two… after upgrading the OS it needs another device already acknowledged as yours to approve things – it locks the screen form with a spinning icon waiting for the aforementioned approval. However that screen has no entry field to enter the authenticating code sent to the existing device – it is locked.

You are not told on which device the authentication protocol has been initiated.

Quite possibly it is busy downloading the same update there that got you into this quandary? Furthermore you need to enter your rather long password suffixed with the new code – and inadequate time is allowed to do this. Even if you turn off all other devices but one to limit the ambiguity of where to look, it then wants passwords to the turned off devices! Why? Particularly if you do not wish to use iCloud Drive, but just use the basic synchronised Contacts, Calendar, Notes and iMessage infrastructure. Furthermore, the authenticating codes to be entered sometimes come up in quick succession with no clue as to which device they are to be entered! Bear in mind that updates often are happening on multiple devices so this confusion is real. 

All to easily, you find yourself in a catch twenty two situation whereby more than one device is waiting on another so resolution is a challenge! 

Clearly, you need to get one connected to the cloud before upgrading and connecting the next, but there is nothing enforcing or facilitating that. Sometimes waiting helps, but this dilemma needs to be fixed by a rethought overarching strategy at Apple – after all do they not want families to buy multiple Apple devices?

Posted in iCloud, Internet, iPad, iPhone, iPhone, Mac Computers, privacy, Technology | Tagged | Leave a comment

MacOS Update Printer Hangup

Has upgrading your Apple Mac to MacOS Sierra 10.12.2 resulted in your printer hanging up? It seems that the upgrade includes a printer driver and or firmware update that causes an attempt to print failing with an error message:
stopped – filter failed
To fix this you need to get into System Preferences | Printers and Scanners.
The panel listing your printers has + and – buttons at its foot that let you add and remove printer drivers. Remove the existing one that is now misbehaving or simply reset the printer system to do so – a right click option. Then use the + to see the drivers available to you. Hopefully you will see one for your printer but it may have a different or longer name than it had before to make clear that it is a new version. Try it out – it worked for me. Other computers connected to the same wi-fi network and hence the same printer but that did not yet get the MacOS update may also have a problem that can be fixed the same way. I am assuming that the update on the first computer actually downloaded new firmware to the printer unbidden so the same fix up driver protocol works on the other mac computers!

Posted in Mac Computers, Technology | Leave a comment

Australian Census 2016 & Secret Ballot at Risk

Secret Ballot Under Threat in Australia?
The Price of Liberty may well be Eternal Vigilance – but surely there is no prospect of so dire an outcome here for we are not in Turkey or Syria? Well, think again.
The 2016 Census was this time organised as a principally online event notwithstanding that nothing online is anonymous anymore and yet the 1905 Census Act authorised the collection of anonymous statistical information only! Even if you requested a paper form, it arrived with your exact address pre-printed on it and a unique login code to enable unambiguous correlation with that address. Furthermore, it was publicly admitted that they would retain the associated individuals’ names for years and use those to cross-correlate to yet wider databases for an even more comprehensive data-set into the future! So why would the Government conspire to circumvent the clear intention of the legislation to limit the census to anonymous statistical information only – which is all that is needed for worthwhile useful purposes such as planning for schools, roads and similar infrastructure. Could it be that they are intending to achieve an Australia Card equivalent in the virtual world of linked databases – notwithstanding that being rejected by the electorate in 1987? Could it be that they would like to conduct future elections online just as they tried to do this census online? Just how secret or anonymous would our vote be then when you consider just how secret are our census submissions now?

You may wish to read the actual legislation yourself (esp. Section 9 & 10):

Posted in International Affairs, Internet, privacy, Public Policy, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Surveillance State

The Surveillance State – Peace and Security at What Price?
Hitherto most of our freedoms and rights in Australia and were actually anchored in the British Common Law evolved over centuries and the culturally grounded respect of those in our institutions and agencies for fairness and the intrinsic rights of people. However statutory law overrides Common Law and lately has seriously eroded those rights. Nightmarish scenarios like arbitrary and secret arrest and continual judicially unsupervised widespread surveillance of the everyday contacts and the location of every person on a minute-to-minute basis are now fact.
 Just turning off Location Services and the GPS on your devices does not stop the tracking. Because cellular services automatically compare signal strength at all nearby cell towers to determine the best connection, the recording & remembering of those attributes every few moments for every mobile means position can be deduced with surprising accuracy. The source & destination of every communication together with participants’ exact location and that routine powerful data mining and matching can work out everyone’s network and aims.
Of course this only matters to those who are up to no good – right?
Well no – the universal implementation means the bad guys are now totally alerted and they either leave their devices off or on and somewhere misleading. The encrypting of messages embedded in the noise of photos or media files means that only the sophisticated bad guys are not intercepted so personal privacy is compromised to no useful end.
Similar Statutory Law in the United Kingdom to Australia’s was recently overturned by their High Court as inconsistent with the right to privacy enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Australia has no constitutionally guaranteed set of basic rights like that charter or the US Bill of Rights or the German Basic Law. It is about time that we did. If we are to change our constitution to remove race as a criteria in legislation, why not simply incorporate that Charter in our constitution exactly as is? It would implicitly achieve that aim and numerous others with negligible unintended consequences.

Police States have always cited preserving national security to justify widespread surveillance… “Just trust us!” – the trouble is who is watching the watchers when it happens on a vast scale? Who determines just what constitutes a threat to National Security? Pol Pot thought having an education was a threat. Bring back Judicial Oversight and institute a constitutionally entrenched Charter of Rights or you loose my vote. I am uneasy too about agencies trawling though our social media posts – it is a small step from there to having mandatory internment of anybody with ideas that might predict the possibility of a crime. 

The propensity of our Government to take our country to war without a Declaration of War and a vote of the Legislature to ratify that is also dangerous – it means the Executive can essentially deem opposition to a political position as Treason.

Posted in City Planning | Leave a comment

Effective Watch List Technology.

Watch List Resources?

Given the failure of potential terrorist watch list protocols to prevent the recent Martin’s Place incident, what more might be done?

Quite apart from metadata collection and collation, some form of automated video monitoring technology gives the best chance of interdiction at potential focal points of attack – prominent public places, transport hubs, places of National or religious significance… One problem is the grainy low resolution CCTV images we are used to after events. Clearly this ought be upgraded to higher resolution, automatically focused (or using rapidly sequenced multiple focus planes), and use of multiple camera views for 3D rendition all for much higher probabilities of automated recognition. Facial recognition databases, including the camera systems at immigration gates and driver licence bureaux, would need to be upgraded too to best leverage such camera and processing initiatives.

The limited number of people on watch lists should make it logistically possible to automatically raise an alert to responders when a person or persons of interest approach a natural target location, particularly with a high probability score given the technology underpinning a particular source.

So, security agency policy makers, broaden your focus beyond Metadata. That will be incredibly expensive and require exorbitant investment in human resources to leverage the results. More cost effective might be deploying technology at the places we need to interdict actors should they seek to do harm.

Posted in Civil Rights & Government Power, crime, International Affairs, privacy, Technology, Terrorists | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment