Tag: trump

Donald Trump could be Apple’s arch-Nemesis

poison-appleApple is hoping for a better 2017 after an embarrassing fall in dominance last year, but it is starting to look it might have found itself an enemy for all things Applish in the new president Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump.

Apple was a frequent target of Trump’s criticism on the campaign trail. He encouraged supporters to boycott Apple because of its encryption policies while also condemning the company for building its products overseas.

One of the few things we know about Trump’s stated economic and trade policies is that damaging large, multinational tech companies who don’t have a plant in the US is high on the agenda. Apple and any company that relies heavily on overseas manufacturing and the global economy and this is the same business model which will suffer.

Trump said that the aim was to get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.

Things would be bleak had not Trump has backed away from or moderated his tone on some of the issues he brought up during the campaign. He didn’t jail Hillary Clinton and he backtracked on corporate lobbying – several of his cabinet represent big companies. But he did rather go on about Jobs’ Mob.

Trump claimed to have spoken to Apple CEO Tim Cook about building “a big plant in the United States” and about cutting taxes and regulations that would currently keep Apple from doing so.

Trump claims he’s going to get Apple to “build a big plant” in US. Apple will then be made an example of and it could avoid a huge amount of pain if it does what it is told.

Apple makes most of its gear through Chinese outfits Foxconn and Pegatron. Foxconn has already said it is investigating building a plant in the US. It probably will not create many jobs as the outfit has said that it wants to be nearly fully robotic. However, if Trump says that Apple’s tech is being made in the US he will use that to create a sound-bite win and hope the country are too think to notice that it has made no difference to jobs.

If Apple is clever, it will suck up more government money and maybe get a tax break or too to bring its cash pile to the US and have the phones made by Foxconn robots.

But Apple’s Tame hacks at the New York Times reported that Apple’ Chinese manufacturing arrangements would be nearly impossible to replicate elsewhere.

Cook also has a balancing act to play out if Apple wants to stay in the lucrative Chinese market. While the Chinese interest in Apple has fallen lately, the outfit did get its foot in the door.

Trump has hacked off China big time and appears to be itching for a trade war.

Trump has promised to impose a 35 percent import tax on American companies that manufacture their products in countries like China and Mexico. This will be increased to a 45 percent tax on all Chinese imports from the country, compared to an average tax rate of about three percent currently.

While this could jack up the price of consumer goods, particularly smartphones and other technology China has promised to retaliate by further raising prices.

Obama raised taxes on Chinese tyre imports to 35 percent and the country added between two and 21.5 percent to the taxes for cars imported from the US and caused hell for US companies trading in China.

If Trump follows through, China will buy Airbus instead of Boeing. US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted.

Apple has promised to invest in China and Chinese companies in an effort to maintain good relations with the country, but if the Trump administration takes a hard line on China, the benefits that the company relies on to keep its costs down and margins high could evaporate.

Tim Cook the chief executive officer of one of the world’s most valuable companies still showed up to Trump’s tech summit in New York last month, despite looking less than pleased about it.

He explained his presence at the meeting to Apple employees in an internal memo saying that he had to show up because Governments can affect the company’s ability to do what Apple does.

This year we will see how much of Apple is going to go down in a blaze of Trump.

Alibaba promises Trump a million new jobs

Donald-Trump-funnyAlibaba Boss Jack Ma met US President-elect Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump to talk about putting a million small US  businesses onto his platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years.

Alibaba thinks it can create a million US jobs as each company adds a position. Alibaba has previously campaigned to bring more small US businesses onto the company’s sites, but this is the first time Ma has discussed specific targets.

Trump and Ma emerged from their meeting at Trump Tower in New York together. The president-elect told reporters they had a “great meeting” and would do great things together. Ma called Trump “smart” and “open-minded”.

Ma said small businesses, especially in the Midwest, such as farmers and small clothing makers, who could tap the Chinese market directly through Alibaba, whose Tmall online shopping platform offers virtual store fronts and payment portals to merchants.  Apparently foreign brands do well selling their stuff to China’s vast and growing middle class by offering to smoothen out Chinese sales, payment and shipping processes.

Ma gets on rather well with the Chinese authorities which is more than can be said for Trump.  During the election he  often targeted China and blaimed it for US job losses and vowing to impose 45 percent tariffs on Chinese imports.

About 7,000 U.S. brands including wholesaler Costco Wholesale and apparel seller Levi’s currently sit on Alibaba’s Tmall, an Alibaba spokeswoman said. They made $15 billion in sales to Chinese consumers last year.

There is also the small matter of an ongoing US Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Alibaba’s accounting practices. However Trump’s top choice for the incoming head of the commission is Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton who happened to work on Alibaba’s initial public offering so we guess that means it will go through now.

 

US senators investigate Russian hacking

russian-villagersWhile Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump is denying his chum Tsar Vladimir Putin unleashed his team of hackers to help him win the election, senior U.S. intelligence officials will testify in Congress on Thursday on Russia’s alleged cyber-attacks during the 2016 election campaign.

Trump has not been briefed on the hacks yet, but that has not stopped him denying they took place.  He is apparently going to receive details on the DMC hack today.

He is already heading for a spat with Democrats and fellow Republicans in Congress, many of whom don’t like Putin and distrust Trump’s praise of the chap.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre are expected to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is chaired by Republican John McCain, a vocal critic of Putin.

Their testimony on cyber threats facing the United States will come a week after President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their alleged involvement in hacking U.S. political groups in the 2016 election.

US intelligence agencies say Russia was behind hacks into Democratic Party organizations and operatives before the presidential election, a conclusion supported by several private cybersecurity firms. Moscow denies it.

US intelligence officials have also said the Russian cyber-attacks aimed to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. Several Republicans acknowledge Russian hacking during the election but have not linked it to an effort to help Trump win.

Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager, were leaked to the media in advance of the election, embarrassing the Clinton campaign.

Trump and top advisers believe Democrats are trying to delegitimize his election victory by accusing Russian authorities of helping him.

However, he has not helped his case by nominating Moscow-friendly types to senior administration posts, including secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, who while Exxon Mobil chief executive, was awarded the Order of Friendship, a Russian state honour, by Putin in 2013.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will also hold a closed-door hearing today to look at Russia’s alleged hacking and harassment of US diplomats.

 

Snowden knows that Trump was given a hand by Putin

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is pictured during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong KongWhile the FBI, CIA and President Barack Obama all agree that Russia hacked the DNC and asserted its will on the US presidential election they seem to be having difficulty convincing the world.

If you post news about the hack anywhere online you will normally get otherwise sane people parroting the mantra that “there is no proof.”

So far most of the proof has come from private security companies who normally would be accepted without question, but for some reason no one is believing them this time. Official comments from the spooks are short on anything that people call proof.

Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump has done his best to claim that it was not his good chum President Putin. He claims that hacking is hard to prove.
Only it really isn’t. According to a new document leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA has successfully traced a hack back to Russian intelligence at least once before.

A classified excerpt from page from the NSA’s internal wiki shows that the NSA once verified that Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s email account had been targeted by Russian Federal Intelligence Services a year before her 2006 murder.

The information is classified as “Top Secret Signals Intelligence” which means that the NSA knows Politkovskaya’s email was hacked by Russian operatives because they were able to trace the hack back to Russian intelligence.

The entry itself doesn’t specifically say how this trace was accomplished or provide the evidence — but the existence of the entry shows that the NSA is wholly capable of tracing such hacks back to their source.

While it does not prove that the Russia gamed the US election, it shows that the US intelligence agencies can gather the proof. It also shows that when the proof is found it is classified. The US does not want to risk showing its hand to foreign operators.

This would lead to a strange situation where President Obama, all the spooks and the White House dog all know that Russia gamed the election and can take action against Russia, but the rest of the world will not know why.

When Trump takes office in a couple of weeks he will know too, but it is unlikely he will say anything. After all he owes Putin’s Oligarch mates rather a lot of money.

IBM suits revolt against CEO’s Trump endorsement

suitsCEO Ginni Rometty might be enthusiastic of her love of Donald Trump and his plans to build a national Muslim registry, but her staff are getting rather hacked off with her.

The IBM suits are revolting against their CEO’s pro-Trumpery in a very public way and telling her not to include IBM in Trump’s plans.

In November, Rometty wrote Trump directly, congratulating him on his electoral victory and detailing various services the company could sell his administration. The letter was published on an internal IBM blog along with a personal note from Rometty to her enormous global staff.

“As IBMers, we believe that innovation improves the human condition. … We support, tolerance, diversity, the development of expertise, and the open exchange of ideas,” she wrote in the context of lending material support to a man who won the election by rejecting all of those values.

However IBM employees were horrified and some of them are denouncing her letter and asserting their “right to refuse participation in any US government contracts that violate constitutionally protected civil liberties.”

The IBMPetition.org effort has been spearheaded in part by IBM cybersecurity engineer Daniel Hanley, who  started organizing with his coworkers after reading Rometty’s letter.

He has told the press that he was shocked because IBM has purported to espouse diversity and inclusion, and yet Rometty in an unqualified way was reaching out to an admin whose electoral success was based on racist programmes.

The petition now has 51 signees, which is a tiny fraction of the company’s enormous global staff, but has only circulated only privately. The full IBMPetition.org letter can reads: :

“We are disappointed that IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s open letter to President-elect Donald Trump does not affirm IBMers’ core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct. For our mutual aid and protection, we call on IBM to expand diversity recruitment programs, and we assert our right to refuse participation in any U.S. government contracts that violate constitutionally protected civil liberties. We call on IBM to demonstrate commitment to our Business Conduct Guidelines and to prevent perceived influence peddling through Trump affiliated businesses.”
“In response to your open letter to Mr. Trump [1], we are disappointed that you did not reaffirm the core values which differentiate both IBM as a company and us collectively as IBMers. While we understand your willingness to engage in constructive dialogue with the president-elect, we believe our shared culture and values remain not only constant, but also central to our transformation underpinned by cloud and cognitive initiatives. As you know, more than 400,000 IBMers around the world work in environments where diversity — including diversity of thought — is the norm. IBM values this because our diversity helps create innovation that enhances every aspect of our business.

“Your internal memo to employees, advocating diversity and the open exchange of ideas, echoes IBM President Tom Watson’s Policy Letter #4 [2]. Watson’s letter reaffirmed IBM’s moral leadership by refusing to discriminate on the basis of race, resisting the prevailing attitudes of governors in the southern United States. In this instance, Watson sacrificed short-term business interests in order to be on the right side of history, something IBM takes pride in today.”

The letter goes on to say that taking a conservative approach has grave implications.

“Our own founder’s experience and the rest of history teach us that accommodating those who unleash forces of aggressive nationalism, bigotry, racism, fear, and exclusion inevitably yields devastating outcomes for millions of innocents.”

The IBM petition is perhaps the first of its kind, a rare instance of tech employees directly confronting their management in an industry where organised labor is unheard of.

Already one IBM employee Elizabeth Wood has publicly quit the company shortly after reading Rometty’s letter. Apparently she provided advice and helped with drafts of the IBMPetition.org letter.

 

Boffins fear book-burning Trump brown-shirts

1933-may-10-berlin-book-burningUS boffins are frantically trying to work out ways to protect data on climate change from climate-denying Trump supporters who are expected to try and destroy it.

The Trump administration believes that Climate change is a fraud and has vowed to wipe government websites of years of research. The logic is that if you burn the books, people will not know that there is a problem.

Environmentalists and researchers encountered a friendly White House over the last eight years that encouraged inquiry into global warming and signed historic agreements meant to lower global carbon emissions.

However now they are worried that publicly available climate change data and research found on government websites would be wiped clean or made otherwise inaccessible to the public.

Academics like the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Toronto, are attempting to download and save as much data as possible. The University of Toronto is set to host a “guerilla archiving event” in collaboration with the Internet Archive’s End of Term 2016 project.

This aims to archive the federal online pages and data that are in danger of disappearing during the Trump administration, including climate change, water, air and toxics programs.

Other universities are planning “hackathons,” putting out a call to hackers to scrape federal website databases for climate change intel.

The hacks are perfectly legal because the information is currently available to the public – they might not be after Trump takes office.

Obama’s Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that policies that have been put in place to make sure that science continues to be foundational are not going to be easy to remove.

Talking to the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco she said that there is no reason to think that a successor administration is going to want to because the data is so important to the decisions we make every single day.”

But boffins remember that they had a hell of a time getting climate data under the last Republican administration. George W. Bush made climate data inaccessible because he did not believe in global warning because God said in the bible that there would never be another flood and put a rainbow in the sky to prove it.
Other boffins are worried that budget cuts to government science organizations like NASA would make important climate prediction projects impossible.

Trump and Silicon Valley try to bury the hatchet

Donald-Trump-funnyDonald “Prince of Orange” Trump met with Silicon Valley’s top executives attempted to bury the hatchet and to smoke a peace pipe.

The meeting, in Trump Towers, focused chiefly on economic problems, including job creation, lowering taxes and trade dynamics with China, while largely avoiding the many disagreements the tech industry has with Trump on matters ranging from immigration to digital privacy.

For some reason, three of Trump’s kids sat in on the meeting. We guess it is because they know a little more than their dad about tech. Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, sat at the head of a large rectangular table as the meeting began in a conference room on the 25th floor of Trump Tower.

Of course there is a small problem of conflict of interest because Trump’s kids are going to be running his business while he is being president.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence was also there as was  Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’sSheryl Sandberg and Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk, Alphabet Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, and IBM’s Ginni Rometty. Missing was Twitter, which Trump claimed was too small to be at the table and it had nothing to do with the personal spat that Trump was having with Twitter.

Cook and Musk joined Trump for separate meetings after the other technology executives leave, according to a spokesman for Trump’s transition team.

Bezos said in a statement the meeting was “very productive” and that he “shared the view that the administration should make innovation one of its key pillars, which would create a huge number of jobs across the whole country, in all sectors, not just tech – agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing -everywhere.”

Silicon Valley got on well with  President Barack Obama and heavily supported Democrat Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign.

Trump bashed the industry during the election campaign. He urged his supporters to boycott Apple products over the company’s refusal to help the FBI unlock an iPhone associated with last year’s San Bernardino, California, shootings, threatened antitrust action against Amazon and demanded that tech companies build their products in the United States.

Trump has also been an opponent of the Obama administration’s “net neutrality” rules barring internet service providers from obstructing or slowing consumer access to web content. Two advisers to his Federal Communications Commission transition team are opponents of the rules, as are the two Republicans on the FCC.

 

IBM promises Trump that it will hire US workers

Great-Depression-Unemployment-Line-Biggish Blue hopes to get on side with Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump by pledging to hire 25,000 workers in the US.

IBM Chief Executive Ginni Rometty make the pledge as she and other technology executives prepared to meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump today.

Writing in USA Today, Rometty said that IBM had thousands of open positions and wanted to hire about 25,000 professionals in the next four years in the United States.

However Biggish Blue has not indicated how that hiring might be offset by staff reductions or disclose how many people IBM employs in the United States.

In fact, the company has made it clear that it will end 2016 with “Our US.workforce about the same size as it was at the beginning of the year. By 2020, we expect it to be larger than it is today,” Pratt said.

Biggish Blue had 378,000 employees at the end of 2015, according to the company’s annual report so 25,000 might not be the great increase that the pro-Trump press has been trumping.

Still it must be some sort of improvement. IBM has reported that the active number of participants in its 401(k)-pension plan fell to 84,350 last year from 110,876 in 2010.

However, Rometty is a big fan of Trump. She is one of more than a dozen US executives serving on an advisory council that Trump has formed to consult him on job creation.

Carly Fiorina might get intelligence

CarlyPresident-elect Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump might be set to ask former HP supremo Carly Fiorina to take on the job as the US’s top spook.

The news comes from the New York Times which got it from its deep throats in the Trump transition team.

The move is unexpected as not only does Fiorina have a pussy to grab but she also said some rather nasty things about Trump during the primary debates.

In her days at HP, executives were terrified as corporate axemen ruled the building downsizing what had been a hugely successful business empire. This effort doubled when Fiorina spent a fortune buying one of the world’s largest PC makers, Compaq which needed to be integrated into HP’s empire.

If there are any obvious parallels between HP and politics it could be a rather bloody time for the intelligence community. However, rumours like this have been played out by the Trump transition committee for a while now so it might never happen.

Reddit finally to crack down on Trump trolls

Donald-Trump-funny

The social notworking site Reddit is finally going to crack down on Orangemen carrying out online harassment campaigns against those who fail to support Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump.

The problem has been ongoing for a while based around a collection of trolls who inhabit a couple of groups dedicated to Trump the biggest being r/The_Donald. The attacks are often racist, sexist and bullying, but Reddit has been attempting to negotiate treaties with the main participants. After all the site is supposed to be about free speech.

However, all that changed when the trolls, empowered by their election win, decided to attack the Reddit Chief Executive Steve Huffman. Suddenly the gloves are coming off.

Huffman said that Reddit’s content policy prohibits harassment, but that it had not been adequately enforced.

“Personal message harassment is the most cut and dry. Right now we are in an interesting position where my inbox is full of them, it’s easy to start with me.”

Reddit will also  monitor user reports, add greater filtering capacity, and be more proactive role in policing its platform rather than relying on community moderators.

Last week, Reddit banned Pizzagate, a community devoted to a conspiracy theory, with no evidence to back it up, that links Clinton to a pedophile ring at a Washington, DC pizza parlour.

Reddit has a more permissive attitude than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to what it allows on its site, but r/The_Donald users frequently crossed a line, Huffman said, including by trying to manipulate voting to ensure their posts appear on prominent Reddit pages.

Reddit has stepped up its efforts to combat abuse on the site over the past year, creating what it called an “anti-evil” team of engineers dedicated to fighting harassment.

“The fact I was saying that combating harassment was important and then letting that openly happen to me, the CEO, there’s a disconnect there,” Huffman said.

In the past, Reddit has worked with moderators of communities to try to enforce its rules.

With r/The_Donald in particular, “we haven’t found that to be particularly effective. We might see flashes of success, but things kind of revert,” Huffman said.

Huffman said he had been asked by many Reddit users “to ban r/The_Donald outright, but he had rejected that idea, because “if there is anything about this election that we have learned, it is that there are communities that feel alienated and just want to be heard, and Reddit has always been a place where those voices can be heard”.