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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Finance IT group wants to push forward banks’ cloud discussion

The Banking Industry Architecture Network (Bian) called on the industry to move beyond technical discussions and consider which of their core systems banks can move to cloud platforms and share. Bian has written a white paper identifying 280 core bank processes that could be conducted in the cloud. These include payment execution, party identification and cheque processing. Bian is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes common banking architecture, with a membership split 50:50 between global banks and IT suppliers. There are no UK banks among its membership, but it does include European organisations Deutsche Bank, UBS, ABN AMRO and Société Générale; as well as banks in anglophone regions such as North America and Australia. IT suppliers Microsoft, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and SAP are members. Hans Tesselaar, executive director at Bian, said that, up until now, most discussions about the cloud in the finance industry were related to security and resilience. Tesselaar said it is time banks identified the systems they run internally and their interdependencies. He said this will enable them to put individual processes on cloud platforms. Integrated bank services “The whole cloud discussion is currently a technical discussion, but we are talking about functionality,” he said, adding that most banks use private cloud, so it is time they established what can be in the cloud. While banks are using public cloud for support functions such as procurement and HR, core systems cannot go public due to regulatory issues. “The cloud-based solutions operate as a loose-coupled network, allowing banks to form alliances with other banks, specialist service partners and even to integrate their services in their customer’s operations,” said the Bian report. “The conventional product and service boundary banks have with their customers blurs as banks offer more flexible operational access to their core capabilities, such as cash flow management, currency exchange and cash management, financial risk management, financing and access to primary and secondary investment exchanges.” Bian identified 280 separate services banks run and said the next step should be to define the interactions between them. Tesselaar said this will help identify which services banks can put in the cloud and make available to other financial services suppliers.  In the future, businesses outside the finance sector will be able to offer banks' systems to their customers. Tesselaar said the ultimate goal would be an app store for core processing systems for financial services firms. Email Alerts Register now to receive ComputerWeekly.com IT-related news, guides and more, delivered to your inbox. By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy Read More Related content from ComputerWeekly.com RELATED CONTENT FROM THE TECHTARGET NETWORK

Congress will consider proposal to raise H-1B minimum wage to $100,000

Enlarge / Rep.

Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is one of two sponsors on an H-1B reform bill. He's pictured here at a House Republican Conference meeting in 2015.Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty reader comments 236 Share this story President-elect Donald Trump is just a week away from taking office.

From the start of his campaign, he has promised big changes to the US immigration system.

For both Trump's advisers and members of Congress, the H-1B visa program, which allows many foreign workers to fill technology jobs, is a particular focus. One major change to that system is already under discussion: making it harder for companies to use H-1B workers to replace Americans by simply giving the foreign workers a raise.

The "Protect and Grow American Jobs Act," introduced last week by Rep.

Darrell Issa, R-Calif. and Scott Peters, D-Calif., would significantly raise the wages of workers who get H-1B visas.
If the bill becomes law, the minimum wage paid to H-1B workers would rise to at least $100,000 annually, and be adjusted it for inflation. Right now, the minimum is $60,000. The sponsors say that would go a long way toward fixing some of the abuses of the H-1B program, which critics say is currently used to simply replace American workers with cheaper, foreign workers.
In 2013, the top nine companies acquiring H-1B visas were technology outsourcing firms, according to an analysis by a critic of the H-1B program. (The 10th is Microsoft.) The thinking goes that if minimum H-1B salaries are brought closer to what high-skilled tech employment really pays, the economic incentive to use it as a worker-replacement program will drop off. The H-1B program isn't supposed to replace any US workers at all. Rather, it's meant to help US companies get skilled labor they can't hire domestically.

But critics of the program say abuse has been widespread and point to examples of high-profile mass layoffs in which American IT workers were sometimes ordered to train their foreign replacements. Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that Southern California Edison had laid off hundreds of IT workers and filled their positions with workers from two Indian outsourcing firms, Tata Consulting and Infosys. Disney was also accused of replacing American IT workers with H-1B workers from India; two of the Disney IT workers filed a lawsuit against their former employer last year. "We need to ensure we can retain the world’s best and brightest talent," said Issa in a statement about the bill. "At the same time, we also need to make sure programs are not abused to allow companies to outsource and hire cheap foreign labor from abroad to replace American workers." The H-1B program offers 65,000 visas each fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 reserved for foreign workers who have advanced degrees from US colleges and universities.

The visas are awarded by lottery each year. Last year, the government received more than 236,000 applications for those visas. End to arbitrage The case that H-1B has been used as a cost-cutting program was made directly to Congress by Prof. Ronil Hira of Howard University, who testified about the Southern California Edison layoffs. Hira submitted testimony (PDF) claiming that SCE IT specialists and engineers get paid an average wage of $110,466, while H-1B workers at Infosys and Tata get average annual wages of $70,882 and $65,565, respectively. Hira suggested raising the wages of H-1B workers to "clean up some of the most flagrant abuses." He also suggested increased enforcement by the Secretary of Labor and random audits of H-1B employers, added safeguards which haven't yet seen a champion in Congress. Harj Taggar, founder of tech recruiting firm TripleByte, told Ars in an interview that outsourcing firms' dominance of the system has discouraged his clients, typically small to mid-sized startups, from participating in the visa lottery. That could change, though, if minimum wages for H-1B visas are raised. Outsourcing firms might find it more difficult to profit from the difference between the market wage and what their workers are typically paid, leaving more visas for others. "You'll start seeing Bay Area technology companies say, if the chances [of getting a visa through the lottery] have gone from 5 percent to 30 percent now that there's less competition, you'll see more engage in the program," said Taggar. "If you raise the minimum wage requirement to $100,000, that will still fall below the average that engineers in particular, in particular those who have been working for a few years, will command in salary." Reuters reported yesterday that one senior Trump adviser is considering a more radical change to the H-1B system: doing away with the visa lottery altogether and just selling visas to the highest bidder.

The news service reported that Trump seemed open to changing the H-1B system at a meeting last month with top tech CEOs, but he was "searching for a middle ground." At the end of the day, the president-elect is "not hostile" to the H-1B program, according to one source, but may choose to raise the cost of getting the visas.

US Libraries Hit By Ransomware Attack

Libraries across the city of St Louis are gradually regaining control of their computer systems, following a malware attack several days ago.Criminals broke into the systems of 17 libraries, disabled them and demanded a ransom...

Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority launches LS telcom’s Automated Online Frequency Management...

Lichtenau/Baden, Germany, March 02, 2017 – LS telcom’s Automated Online Frequency Management System is now fully implemented and in operation at the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) of Qatar.

The system automates around 180 different workflows of spectrum allocation, assignment and licensing in support of the updated spectrum licensing framework and spectrum fee policy, which was put in place in Qatar in July 2015.

The e-Spectrum Services Portal, which is compatible with computers and mobile devices,... Source: RealWire

Woman, prosecuted for selling $12 of ceviche on Facebook, now faces...

EnlargeCyrus Farivar reader comments 120 Share this story STOCKTON, Calif.—Last year, a retired Stockton police sergeant named Gabe Herrera was looking into the sale of unlicensed food. Working as an undercover investigator (“Robert Paine”) for the San Joaquin County District Attorney, Herrera joined a Facebook group called “209 Food Spot.” (209 refers to the area code in this part of central California.) In early 2015, the San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department had received complaints about unlicensed food being sold on 209 Food Spot. One person even said they got sick as a result.
So, the EHD, as a responsible county agency, decided to investigate. Unlike an unlicensed taco stand or another unlicensed food business that operates on the street and can easily be shut down, getting ahold of 209 Food Spot was trickier. Nearly everyone was cooking and selling from their own homes.

The EHD contacted multiple sellers directly, warning them that they did not have adequate permits.

But these warnings had little, if any, effect on the Facebook group.

The EHD stepped up its game by sending letters to some of the sellers.

Those warnings were ignored, too. By December 2015, Sgt. Herrera decided to go after six different women, chosen at random from 209 Food Spot. One of those women was Mariza Ruelas, a 37-year-old single mother of six children. Posing as Paine, Herrera went to Ruelas’ house, handed over $12, and walked away with 32oz of ceviche. (He did not respond to Ars’ request for comment.) Six months later, in June 2016, Ruelas and five other women received a court summons for their arraignment to face state-level misdemeanor criminal charges for operating a food facility without a valid permit and engaging in business without a permit to sell. None of them were amongst those who had received prior warnings from the EHD. The other five women were offered plea deals of a year of probation, 40 hours of community service, and $250 in fines.

They immediately accepted. Ruelas, by contrast, was initially offered three years probation and 80 hours of community service.
She was the only one who requested a lawyer and was provided a public defender. “I asked for representation because I felt that the punishment was a little harsh for the crime in question,” she told Ars over coffee following her November 17 hearing in county court. Not long after, the prosecutor then tacked on two additional counts: an alleged health and safety violation and an alleged tax violation.

According to court filings, by late July 2016, Ruelas had even moved to a new, secret Facebook group called “Taste of 209,” where she and others continued to sell food. “It would be negligent for our office to ignore it,” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau said during a November 9 press conference in Stockton. “We did not send anybody out there to go hunt people down. We are not trying to prevent people from cooking or sharing or potlucks or anything like that.” In a press release, the DA’s office noted that the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 48 million persons get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne infection and illness in the US each year.” Ruelas has been assigned a December 2 trial date, and she faces additional charges for allegedly thwarting the law. Ruelas could face a maximum penalty of two years in prison, but District Attorney Kelly McDaniel has repeatedly said she is not seeking jail time. (According to the FBI, Stockton, a city of about 300,000 people approximately 80 miles east of San Francisco, has one of the highest rates of violent crime in California.) During the November 17 hearing, McDaniel told the court that her office had recently received and executed a search warrant for the contents of Ruelas’ Facebook account and messages she left on 209 Food Spot and other related groups.

The social network recently coughed up over 72,000 pages of Ruelas’ Facebook records.

The DA has since shared them with Benjamin Hall, Ruelas’ public defender, as part of the discovery process. Hall said he has had scant time to review them. Crime and punishment Since 2013, California has had a “cottage food” law, which formalizes the sale of some approved baked products, including breads, cookies, pastas, confections, and other items, to be sold locally (ceviche, which is made from raw fish that has been cured instead of cooked, is one of many items not on the approved list).

After passing a short training, home cooks are allowed to sell. David LeBeouf, a Stockton lawyer who has been involved in numerous food-related legal cases but is not representing Ruelas, said he had never heard of a case quite like this one. “This to me is the biggest waste of time and the people's energy,” he told Ars. “Tell her not to, and if she still does it and still does it after maybe the third time, then slap her hand.” He wondered how the law should treat ad hoc community food sales. “It’s like when schools or churches have a drive with tri-tip dinners, do they have to get permits or licenses? It happens once or twice a year, and they are clearly selling food on a small-time basis. How do you differentiate?” LeBeouf said if citizens want to buy unlicensed food off of Facebook, they should accept the risk. "Come on, man, leave the woman alone," he said. Since Ruelas lawyered up, McDaniel has since reduced the plea deal so that Ruelas would only have to do 80 hours of community service as part of a “plea in abeyance.” That arrangement would dismiss all her charges and sentencing as long as she does not break the law for a year after completing her community service. Ruelas would not have a criminal record at all. “We’re not throwing the book at her, we’re not throwing her in jail,” McDaniel told Ars, noting that as a prosecutor she could seek thousands of dollars in fines and at least a year of jail time. But Ruelas has refused to go along with this.
She argued that, while she and the other women on the Facebook group did take small amounts of money for their food, they weren’t actually doing much more than covering their costs. “Trying to run a business is not something we were doing,” Ruelas said, explaining that others were selling phở, lumpia, barbeque, cheesecake, and other items. She explained that oftentimes she would make large dinners for her family.
Sometimes, she would sell the leftovers, which were often Latin American dishes like pozole and ceviche.

By her own estimation, she was only selling a few times per month. “They got to eat, and I got my money back for what I put into it.

A lot of times I would post stuff and no one would comment,” she explained, meaning it wouldn’t sell. Your tax dollars at work Enlarge Cyrus Farivar Ruelas said that as someone who volunteers in her community and may seek more formal employment in the future, she doesn’t want a criminal record, even a brief one.

As of now, she noted, her primary source of income is government assistance. “I was willing to do community service, and the fine, but the misdemeanor, no, I didn't want that on my record,” she said. So Ruelas is continuing to fight.
She maintains that she did not actually violate the law. Meanwhile, the prosecutor doesn’t seem to be backing down anytime sooner, citing the rise of unlicensed food sales online. “It’s becoming a big issue, that’s why Environmental Health decided to go after it,” McDaniel said, explaining that if someone did get sick or even died as a result, county health inspectors would be considered derelict in their duty to protect the public. “They saw this growing, and their interest is always the public’s health and safety. When they see this volume of sales going on, and this risk to the community they feel they have to do something.

This Facebook group was growing exponentially very quickly.” Speaking to Ars by phone on Thursday, McDaniel seemed baffled that Ruelas had not simply accepted the plea deal—a deal that she still could accept all the way up until the trial. “Our interest is to resolve these cases.

Trials are expensive. We feel that we have given a really reasonable offer in this case,” McDaniel said. “A plea in abeyance is the best deal you can get around here, except for a dismissal.
It’s a pretty good deal!” Ruelas, for her part, said that she's no longer selling, but still loves to cook. “I’m not going to stop sharing my food with people that love it," she said. Ruelas’ next court date, set for November 23, is the final hearing prior to her December 2 trial.

MPs say Care.data programme should be put on hold

NHS England's controversial data-harvesting programme dubbed Care.data could face further delays after an inquiry into the scheme found that there has been a lack of clarity about the project. In February, NHS England responded to rising criticism over its plans for a centralised patient record database by postponing the programme for six months, and in May, the organisation's chief executive Simon Stevens told MPs that the programme's "artificial start date" should not be set in stone - suggesting that further delays were imminent. Now, a report released by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Patient and Public Involvement in Health and Social Care has found that the public still has concerns about how their data will be used. NHS England hasn't yet announced when it expects to release the list of GP practices that will pilot its flagship Care.data project, although it has said that surgeries in the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas of Leeds, Somerset, West Hampshire and Blackburn with Darwen would be selected. But the parliamentary group's report will come as a blow to the organisation, after it questioned the project's aims and methods. "There has been a lack of clarity and publicity around the Care.data programme, how the data will be used, who the data will be used by, and what implications it has for end of life care," the report stated. Unsurprisingly, evidence taken from a cross-section of healthcare charities, royal colleges, the research community and NHS England showed "strong support for medical data sharing in theory". The report claimed that patients and the public "are broadly supportive of the principle of using health data for research that is in the public interest". But it added that many people still have "deep concerns" about the programme, and are particularly worried about how their personal data will be used. It said that most participants agreed that an opt-out system is necessary to ensure that researchers have large enough datasets that are representative of the population as a whole - a point that privacy campaigners have strongly disagreed with. But despite the NHS's £1m Care.data leaflet scheme, it said that the public had been "inadequately consulted in the early stages of the Care.data programme". "It would therefore be correct to halt the programme to allow further consultation," it said. It also noted that information regarding legal penalties imposed on individuals or organisations that abuse patient data needed to be resolved. The APPG said it would discuss the progress of the Care.data programme at a meeting in 2015. If necessary, NHS England's Care.data team will be asked to report on how the programme has progressed.

HoloLens enterprise apps are now a reality

Microsoft unveiled its HoloLens augmented-reality device more than two years ago.

Taking augmented reality a step further than overlaying data on a screen image, HoloLens uses its sensors to anchor computer-generated 3D objects in the real world, putting them on walls, sofas, tables, and so forth. In those two years, HoloLens went from a research prototype to developer devices, then a fully supported enterprise headset. We’re now seeing the first enterprise applications.

Taking advantage of 3D development tools like Unity and the Universal Windows Platform tools in the latest Windows 10 SDK, these new apps go a lot further than the initial demos, with larger, more complex models and much more interactivity via voice and gestures.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Senators Move to Block FBI From Expanding Hacking Powers

Two US senators this week introduced a bipartisan bill meant to protect Americans from government hacking.The Stopping Mass Hacking (SMH) Act from Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would prevent the implementation of a federal court procedure known as Rule 41.

Approved in May, Rule 41 makes it easier for the Justice Department to obtain warrants for remote electronic searches.
It also allows judges to issue a single warrant authorizing government hacking of numerous devices around the world. "This is a dramatic expansion of the government's hacking and surveillance authority," Wyden said in a statement. "Such a substantive change with an enormous impact on Americans' constitutional rights should be debated by Congress, not maneuvered through an obscure bureaucratic process." The Fourth Amendment provides the right to be "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures." The clause, Paul said, "wisely rejected general warrants and requires individualized suspicion before the government can forcibly search private information." But, the former 2016 presidential hopeful fears the rule change "will make it easier for the government to search innocent Americans' computers and undermine the requirement for individual suspicion." Bill co-sponsors Sens.

Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) agree, suggesting Congress should ensure a rule change of this magnitude "has the proper oversight," Baldwin said. "Our right to privacy doesn't end when we turn on a computer, send an email, or search the Internet," Tester added. "We must ensure that law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to keep us safe while also protecting our civil liberties." Rule 41, recommended by the Justice Department, comes from a government advisory committee and updates the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
It was adopted by the US Supreme Court and submitted to Congress, which can approve or reject it.
If Congress does nothing, it goes into effect on Dec. 1. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) notes, updates to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure are usually procedural and rather dull—"everything from correcting clerical errors in a judgment to which holidays a court will be closed on." Rarely do they wade into such hot-button items as government surveillance, EFF says. "The amendment to Rule 41 isn't procedural at all.
It creates new avenues for government hacking that were never approved by Congress," the EFF argues. The risks with Rule 41 are two-fold, the EFF says.  "The first part of this change would grant authority to practically any judge to issue a search warrant to remotely access, seize, or copy data relevant to a crime when a computer was using privacy-protective tools to safeguard one's location," the organization argues, which could affect those using Tor, a VPN service, or even those who declined to share their location with a smartphone app. The second part would allow the feds access to a PC compromised by a botnet. "This means victims of malware could find themselves doubly infiltrated: their computers infected with malware and used to contribute to a botnet, and then government agents given free rein to remotely access their computers as part of the investigation," the EFF says. As Reuters reports, however, the Justice Department argues that the move updates federal rules for the digital age. Right now, magistrate judges can only grant requests that cover their jurisdictions, which can hamper efforts to go after bad actors online, who are not limited to one jurisdiction.

Security Think Tank: Automation is good, assumptions are bad

Technology, even as far back as the agricultural revolution, is designed to make humans’ lives easier or better in some way. A large proportion of technologies are therefore dedicated to repeating manual processes, that is, automation. Information technology is no different. When computers were first networked together, it was quickly realised that routing between multiple computers caused the processors to slow down, and so the first dedicated routing machines were created by Cisco. These so-called “routers” became the backbone of the internet, some quite literally. As each new development in computing comes about, repetitive processes which require regular application are handled perfectly by dumb machines. Firewalls applying rules, virtual private networks (VPNs) creating secure connections, even log management platforms collecting logs and displaying them on a screen require little manual intervention.  There is some setup required, of course, but this has always been the case – even the horse-drawn plough needed a human to attach the plough to the horse and set the horse off on the right furrow. The worst mistake that can be made with a tool is not examining the requirement for it in the first place. To continue an already laboured analogy, consider the cattle farmer who has heard that horse-drawn ploughs are amazing tools, and have increased his neighbour’s turnover (pun intended) by a factor of 10.  The cattle farmer invests in an incredible new machine, only to find his cows are not interested, do not produce more milk, and if anything are slightly put off by this sharp item they now have to share a field with. Conclusion: plough ends up in shed, expensively unused. This rather simplified example is repeated across modern businesses on a worryingly regular basis. Requirements are assumed, risks are not quantified, benefits are not expressed in the correct way. Automation can be a boon to business, of course, but only where it will make a difference. Another example, now in the 21st century, is big data. Investments in big data are... well, big. Companies are investing sums of as much as $80m per deployment, without any clear strategy or reasoning as to why. It is known that big data can spot trends in data, use metadata that humans cannot see and process huge amounts of it in short periods.  It is known that spotting trends in company data can show areas where new developments might come in useful. It is even known that big data shows up unexpected results, which could never have been planned for. What is not known, however, is how big data can ever show a return on investment where no return has ever been expected or planned for. All programmes and projects need a few key things – executive support, governance, management and, finally, when all of that is in place, technology. From the very top, this requires a vision, a goal to reach, channelled into a project or programme with the guiding principles of an organisation, to avoid waste and create alignment.  When all of the requirements of this goal are known and articulated, common sense needs to be applied to choosing a tool. It is assumed that, in spite of the benefits of using automated tools, security process automation is still not widely used in business. This assumes that: The security tools being used already are not automating a process at a level we aren’t thinking about; The security processes we are focusing on need to be automated. Think of the identity and access management (IAM) space for a moment. There are processes in a number of large organisations that are still performed manually: provisioning of accounts, starters, leavers and movers processes, and reconciliation. We look at these and think that we are failing if they are not automated to the Nth degree.  However, look a bit deeper and think what is automated – collection and management of the identity: just because Microsoft Active Directory has been around for nearly 40 years now in one form or another, doesn’t mean it doesn’t do an incredible job. Quite the opposite, in fact – it does an incredible job, and that's why it’s been around for 40 years: Authentication of users – a person doing that on a daily basis would still be verifying identities at the end of the day;  Authorisation of users – complex management of each user would simply not be possible without automation.  We take it for granted because we use it every day, but just because it is convenient, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The processes we build on top, provisioning, simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM), reconciliation, and so on, are exposed as a result of automation. Just as routers and firewalls have management processes around them, so IAM does, it is just a little less developed and embedded in organisations at this stage. Automation, in itself, is a process which needs careful management. There does not need to be any hurry to automate, just choosing the correct time and manner of doing so – otherwise you may end up with another expensive plough in your cattle field. Robert Newby is an analyst and managing partner at KuppingerCole UK. Email Alerts Register now to receive ComputerWeekly.com IT-related news, guides and more, delivered to your inbox. By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy Read More Related content from ComputerWeekly.com RELATED CONTENT FROM THE TECHTARGET NETWORK This was first published in June 2014

BlackBerry CEO hints 2016 is make-or-break year for its phones

Enlarge Image BlackBerry CEO John Chen (right) shows off his company's first Android phone during a chat with Recode's Walt Mossberg. Shara Tibken/CNET HALF MOON BAY, California -- BlackBerry CEO John Chen has set a deadline for the recovery of the...

Why the US and Japan didn’t shoot down latest North Korean...

Ballistic missile passes over Hokkaido as US, South Korea hold military exercise.