Tag: trump

Foxconn in secret talks with Trump

Foxconn, including its grand pooh-bah Terry Gou, had secret talks with the White House presumably looking for sweeteners for a $7 billion plus US investment in a display making plant.

TVBS television showed Gou entering and leaving one of the entry gates of the White House with senior company executives including Tai Jeng-wu, Foxconn vice chairman and chief of Japan’s Sharp, in which Foxconn holds a two-thirds stake.

When asked by reporters on his way out of the White House if he had met US President Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump, Gou responded: “My memory is not good. Maybe I already forget.”

While most people would want to forget three hours in the presence of Trump, it is unlikely and Gou just does not want to talk about it.

Gou had said in January that Foxconn was mulling setting up a display-making plant in the United States with an investment that would exceed $7 billion.

Gou provided the details at the time after Foxconn’s business partner Masayoshi Son, head of Japan’s SoftBank Group, pledged a $50 billion investment in the United States when meeting Trump in December, while accidentally showing materials that had Foxconn’s logo.

The expansion into the United States by several global corporates comes amid Trump’s “America First” efforts to expand US jobs.

While Foxconn has not disclosed a timeline for a decision on going ahead with the plant, it would depend on many factors, such as investment conditions, that would have to be negotiated at the US  state and federal levels, Gou has said.

Tech firms not worried about war with North Korea

Global electronics firms are not particularly concerned if Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump declares war on North Korea.

There is some concern among the Tame Apple Press that Apple will not be able to source key parts from South Korea if a war starts. Never mind the huge body count that is expected – just so long as Apple fanboys get their toys.

Trump told Reuters that a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programmes, though he would prefer a diplomatic resolution. But then he might have changed his mind by the time he popped around the corridor.

South Korea, a US ally and home to major electronics parts makers such as Samsung Electronics, LG Display and SK Hynix, would be particularly vulnerable to any military attack from its northern neighbour.

South Korea supplies more than half of components such as memory chips and flat screens.

However, investors are pouring money into South Korea’s financial market, and companies are flocking to the stock market to raise billions of dollars.

Seoul’s stock market has climbed nine percent so far this year to near record highs, helped by strong earnings by major exporters including Samsung Electronics, which rose three percent to a life-time high on Friday after reporting its highest profit in more than three years.

Earlier this week, Hynix and LG Display, both Apple suppliers, reported record quarterly profits and sounded upbeat for the remainder of the year.

LG said that talk of conflict is speculative, and it did not have any plans to react to the current situation.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s top automaker, said it had detailed contingency plans to ensure business carried on under various situations but couldn’t disclose them.

Any military conflict on the Korean peninsula could have a dramatic effect on the memory chip market in particular, as Samsung’s and Hynix’s main operations are clustered in South Korea.

The pair control half of the flash memory market, and almost two thirds of DRAM chips, widely used in computers, making it almost impossible for customers to find alternative supplies quickly.

As supply of those chips are already tight, any interruptions to their manufacturing operations might cause large customers such as Apple and Lenovo to trigger a contractual term known as an “allocation” to get more of their suppliers’ limited supply, according to industry executives.

The ultimate beneficiaries of supply interruptions in South Korea would likely be Japan’s Toshiba, and US  firms Micron Technology and Western Digital.

Spy probe starved of resources

The Senate’s main investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election has little funding and staff, which will make it hard to get a decent a clear result.

According to Reuters the investigation has been given only seven staff members and as a result progress has been sluggish and minimal.

A weak Senate investigation could renew calls by some Democrats and other Trump critics for a commission independent of the Republican-led Congress to investigate the allegations.

The intelligence committees of the Senate and House of Representatives have taken the lead in Congress in examining whether Russia tried to game the election in Republican Trump’s favour, mostly by hacking Democratic operatives’ emails and releasing embarrassing information, or possibly by colluding with Trump associates.

Previous investigations of national security matters have been much larger in terms of staffing according to a review of official reports produced by those inquiries.

The House committee formed to investigate the 2012 attacks on a US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans had 46 staffers and eight interns.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s years-long study of the CIA’s “enhanced” interrogation techniques during President George W. Bush’s administration had 20 staff members, according to the panel’s official report.

The special commission separate from Congress that reviewed the intelligence that wrongly concluded former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction ahead of the 2003 invasion of Iraq involved 88 staffers.

Apple and Facebook spend a fortune lobbying Trump

Facebook and Apple set their record high for spending in a single quarter. Facebook spent $3.2 million lobbying the federal government in the first months of the Trump era.

During the same period last year, Facebook spent $2.8 million which sounds rather a lot but it is actually 15 percent less than it spent this year.

The company lobbied both chambers of Congress, the White House, and six federal agencies on issues including high-tech worker visas, network neutrality, internet privacy, encryption, and international taxation.

Facebook was the 12th-highest spender out of any company and second-highest in tech.

The Fruity cargo cult Apple spent $1.4 million, which is just $50,000 more than during the final months of the Obama presidency, when it set its previous record and the most it has ever spent in a single quarter.

Apple lobbied on issues including government requests for data, the regulation of mobile health apps, and self-driving cars.

Google, once again, outspent every other technology company. It was tenth overall, tallying $3.5 million.

While the search giant decreased its lobbying spending compared with this time last year, Amazon, Microsoft, and Uber all boosted their beltway budgets for the first three months of 2017.

Amazon spent $3 million on lobbying, behind only Facebook and Google, and was 17th out of all companies including ones outside of tech. Amazon met with government officials to discuss net neutrality, drone air cargo, drone privacy, and the flow of data across borders, among other issues. Microsoft claimed $2.3 million as the fourth-biggest spender in tech and 27th overall.

Assange betrayed by Trump

It rather looks like Julian Assange’s attempts to get Donald Trump elected has backfired on him completely.

Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump has decided that Assange is a criminal and he wants him arrested and to stand trial in the US.

The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.

During President Barack Obama’s administration, Attorney General Eric Holder and officials at the Justice Department determined it would be difficult to bring charges against Assange because WikiLeaks wasn’t alone in publishing documents stolen by Manning. Several newspapers, including The New York Times, did too.

Apparently that changed when Assange helped Edward Snowden, a former NSA analyst, disclose a massive cache of classified documents.

In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, CIA Director Mike Pompeo went further than any US government official in describing a role by WikiLeaks that went beyond First Amendment activity.

Pompeo said WikiLeaks: “Directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States. It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

US intelligence agencies have confirmed that Russian intelligence used WikiLeaks to publish emails aimed at undermining the campaign of Hillary Clinton, as part of a broader operation to meddle in the US 2016 presidential election. Hackers working for Russian intelligence agencies stole thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee and officials in the Clinton campaign and used intermediaries to pass along the documents to WikiLeaks, according to a public assessment by US intelligence agencies.

Assange backed the wrong horse in the elections, and if he thought he was going to get a clear statement from Trump that he would be free thanks to his help he is mistaken.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a news conference yesterday that Assange’s arrest was a “priority”.

“We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks. This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”

What this means is that even if Assange waits another five years for the statute of limitations to expire on his Swedish sex case, he is going to face extradition to the US.  It also means that all his claiming that the Swedish case was a smokescreen to get him back was complete fantasy.

Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, argued that US prosecution of Assange sets a dangerous precedent.

“Never in the history of this country has a publisher been prosecuted for presenting truthful information to the public. Any prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing government secrets would set a dangerous precedent that the Trump administration would surely use to target other news organisations.”

Trump wants visiting Brits to hand over all their data

The US government wants visitors from Britain to hand over all their electronic details at the border.

The UK is not the only country being targeted by the new rules, but it does show how stupid the new law is going to be.

Trump is considering whether or not to deploy “extreme vetting” practices at airports around the world, which could force tourists from Britain and other countries visiting the US  to reveal their mobile phone contacts, social media passwords and financial data.

Travelers who want to enter the US could also face questioning over their ideology. Which means that if you make one joke about the country having an orange president, you could be on the next plane home.

Trump made the “extreme vetting” of foreign nationals to combat terrorism a major theme of his presidential election campaign. But his executive order imposing a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries has twice been blocked in court.

His antics have already gutted the tourism industry with most people thinking twice before going to the US.

Already tourists from the UK, France, Australia and Japan participate in the visa waiver program, which requires adherence to strict US standards in data sharing, passport control and other factors.

This could require people to hand over their phones so officials can study their stored contacts and possibly other information.

The aim is to “figure out who you are communicating with,” a senior Department of Homeland Security official was quoted as saying.  “What you can get on the average person’s phone can be invaluable.”

Applicants will be asked to hand over their social media handles and passwords, so that officials could see information posted privately in addition to public posts, the Wall Street Journal said. Which basically means all those TechEye stories mocking the US will keep me from going to US tech conferences.

The Journal report said the DHS official working on the review indicated that questions under consideration included whether visa applicants believe in so-called honour killings, how they view the treatment of women in society, whether they value the “sanctity of human life” and who they view as a legitimate target in a military operation.

Which is a bit unfair. If they asked me who I would see as a legitimate target, I would be thinking in terms of strategy and see it as an intellectual question and say “Apple headquarters”.

 

 

 

Trump did not change H-1B visa numbers after all

This year’s round of H-1B visa programme applications will be the same as last year, despite comedy president President Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump’s policy changes which were supposed to keep the foreigners out.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services last updated its online page dedicated to the programme, which granted visas to skilled foreign workers, Wednesday with the rules mostly similar to those of last year and quotas remaining the same.

For those who came in late, Trump promised to save American jobs and reform the programme on the grounds that companies exploited it to fill jobs once held by US citizens who earned higher wages. An alleged draft of an executive order was leaked last month and widely circulated, raising fears that the administration was preparing to gut the program. These measures were dropped.

This has led analysts to suggest that that the window in which the White House could have made serious reforms is now closed and it is business as usual.

Earlier this month, the USCIS announced it would neither lower nor raise the quota of H-1B visas, but did reveal a new restriction. For a fee of $1,225, applicants were once able to expedite their processing to just 15 days. From March 3, premium processing was indefinitely suspended for at least six months in a decision the USCIS said was aimed at reducing long processing times.

Protester wants to broadcast Republican’s browser histories

US dollar - Wikimedia CommonsA protester who is upset at the Republican congress voting to allow ISPs to flog people’s browser histories to the highest bidder has come up with a novel way of doing so.

Online privacy activist Adam McElhaney has launched an initiative called Search Internet History, with the objective of raising funds to buy the browsing history of each politician who voted to do away with privacy.

We guess he will then publish the information for everyone to mock and be shocked at. After all it is pretty likely that more than one Jesus loving, right-wing Republican will have a hard-core donkey porn addition and will order prostitutes and rent-boys online.

On Tuesday, Congress sent proposed legislation to President Trump that wipes away landmark online privacy protections.

On the site, McElhaney has also put up a poll asking people whose internet history they would like to see first. The campaign which only needed $10,000 has already raised over $55,000 which should be enough to get a few interesting browser histories.

Republicans vote to end US internet privacy

US Republicans cheerfully voted to allow the big telcos and ISPs to spy on consumers and flog their personal details to the highest bidder.

The US House voted on Tuesday 215-205 to repeal regulations needing internet service providers to do more to protect customers’ privacy.

The White House said President Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump strongly supports the repeal of the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October under then-President Barack Obama.

The rules forced internet providers to ask consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history for advertising and marketing.

Last week, the Senate voted 50-48 to reverse the rules in a win for AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications who paid a lot of money to get their Tame Republican candidate’s elected.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai in a statement praised the decision of Congress to overturn “privacy regulations designed to benefit one group of favoured companies over another group of disfavoured companies”.

Last week, Pai said consumers would have privacy protections even without the Obama internet provider rules, but most sane people think that you must be smoking something to believe that is true.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it is not rocket science to work out that companies “should not be able to use and sell the sensitive data they collect from you without your permission”.

One critic of the repeal, Craig Aaron, president of Free Press advocacy group, said major Silicon Valley companies shied away from the fight over the rules because they make so much dosh from flogging consumer data.

“There are a lot of companies that are very concerned about drawing attention to themselves and being regulated on privacy issues, and are sitting this out in a way that they haven’t sat out earlier privacy issues,” Aaron said.

One amusing side effect of the story is that interest in VPNs in the US is suddenly booming.

Trump makes more bizarre tech claims

Desperate to appear in control again after losing a crucial anti-Obama care vote, Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump has claimed that he was personally involved in a move by Charter Communications’ decision to invest $25 billion in the United States and hire 20,000 workers over four years.

At a White House event with the second largest US cable company’s Chief Executive Thomas Rutledge and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Trump praised Charter for planning to close its offshore call centres and move them to the United States.

Trump said: “We’re embracing a new economic model – the American Model. We’re going to massively eliminate job-killing regulations – that has started already, big league – reduce government burdens, and lower taxes that are crushing American businesses and American workers.”

But the decision is not new. Charter said last May that it planned to add 20,000 jobs as part of its merger with Time Warner Cable and acquisition of Bright House Networks. As early as June 2015, Rutledge said Charter would need an additional 20,000 employees after those deals.

The company said more than a year ago in February 2016 that it planned to close foreign Time Warner Cable call centres and move the jobs to the United States.

This is not the first time that Trump has touted job announcements at the White House that had been previously planned or announced.

“You’re going to see thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs, of companies, and everything coming back into our country.”