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More security theatre

So now, only actual travellers will be allowed into airports, and everybody else from your mother to your 3rd aunty twice removed has to say their teary goodbye at home rather than at the Airport KFC.

But why?

So that terrorist will now have to buy a ticket in order to blow up the airport? I can picture out now, “Al-Qaeda attempt to bomb KLIA foiled due to lack of funds for ticket purchase”

….riiiiggght!

Do these people even consider just how easy it is to circumvent some of the ridiculous ‘security measures’ they put in place these days.  If all it takes for a terrorist to gain entry into an airport is a plane ticket, it’s not a very tall order for them to go out and buy one, or just print a fake copy good enough to fool the security officers.

We’d be spending countless of man hours, for security personnel on entry points scanning through useless documents with no real security in return.

What a waste–just like those women only KTM coaches that do absolutely nothing.

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Just buy McDonalds

If you haven’t listened to it already, here’s a fantastic cut-down (no bullshit) version of Jim Comey’s testimony to congress, on why he recommended Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted for hosting her own e-mail servers.

For the uninitiated, while Hillary Clinton was US Secretary of State, she hosted her own official e-mail servers, and the contention was whether she was right in hosting a service that would handle classified e-mails in the basement of her house.

The politics and legal wranglings are fascinating but I want to focus on the technology.

At one point of the testimony, you can hear the shock of a Congressman that Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server was less secure than Gmail. To his credit, Jim Comey went on to elaborate that Google has a full team of security experts working on its mail servers, something Hillary could not afford, when pressed on whether he considered Hillary’s mail server ‘secure’, he answered that security “wasn’t binary”, and it’s not secure vs. insecure, but rather a spectrum of more secure or less secure.

That was a good answer.

Security is define by various factors, such as from what, from whom, and what kind of attack.

It’s very easy to look at a piece of code and determine that it’s insecure, because we know what insecure code looks like.

But it’s impossible to look any code and say it’s ‘secure’, because unless you know all the attack vectors, you’re not going to be able to determine the absolute security of any system or application.

Going back to the original point though, nobody should be surprised that Gmail has better security than anything you could build on your own. Even Hillary Clinton, with all her Clinton dollars couldn’t compete with an industrial e-mail solution from a big corporate conglomerate–and why should it?

You wouldn’t build your own car, or microwave oven, or toaster? Why would you build your own e-mail system.

A lot of people think that e-mail servers, and website are easy things to host and maintain–actually they’re not. And you couldn’t compete with the scale of services like Gmail in terms of pricing, features and security….no way jose.

Sure, we love our mother’s cooking more than any industrialized fast food, but those are the exceptions. With computers and technology, it’s often a good idea to be just like everyone else, in other words just buy Mc Donalds and be happy with it.

Highly customized solutions ‘tailored’ for your every need, are not just more prone to software errors waiting for be exploited, they’re also less likely to be fixed even if those issues are found.

I hear it all the time, people want customized websites that ‘represent my brand’, but never stop to consider the other issues at hand.

Would you ask for a customized brick and mortar shop that ‘represented your brand’, or would you be happy with a standard generic store-front that you just plaster your signboard on? A highly customized shop, that looked unique to just your brand, cost a lot of money, and that’s money only the largest companies would be willing to shell out.

If Berkshire Hathaway (with a market cap of 326 Billion) is happy with this website–do you really need anything more fancy.

That’s why I recommend people to just get a wordpress.com blog, or a Squarespace site, it’s simple, it’s secure and it’s cheap. Of course it looks like every other website out there, but hey less worries about DDOS attacks, and less targets for hackers, and you can just focus on the content–not managing the dodgy IT vendor you got to help with your site.

Differentiate on the content, not on the looks.

Rolling your own website, usually involves employing a website designer, a UX/UI designer, a coder, and infra guy, and a whole lot of invoicing that frankly 99% of people aren’t prepared to deal with. Even if you were, the cost would be 1000’s of times higher what you could get with sites like squarespace or ghost.

I’ve heard people moan that they spent RM10,000 on a website and it didn’t look pretty enough–but what were you hoping to get for RM10,000? Sure it’s a lot of money, but if you bought a RM10,000 car, what kind of car do you think you’ll get? A modern website is actually more complex than a car, especially one that is tailored to you, rather than a generic off-the-shelf solution.

A custom website requires custom maintenance, custom patching, and custom hosting–all of which require expertise that don’t scale very well. So unless you’re willing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars on something that will cost another tens of thousands to maintain over the years, do yourself a favor and just go generic.

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Technology saves lives, but it isn’t perfect

What do you do when the technology turns on you?

Or when the feature that’s built to save you, is the one that might just kill you?

There’s a stark similarity between the Takata airbag fiasco, that’s already taken 2 Malaysian lives, and the lady who died in self-driving Tesla.

Both involve the auto-industry and both are technology related, but together they represent a much deeper issue at hand–despite our noblest expectations, technology isn’t perfect–but it’s better than we had before.

We’ve all been trained by Hollywood to expect perfect technology, working all the time and in every scenario, but in reality technology sometimes fails, and newer technology fails more often.

Technology endures through failures, only by our good graces, but unless we grant that grace to it, we will not progress.

What should our response to a technical failure be?

Do we insist on removing ALL traces of the offending technology, or do we accept it as a price of progress, that the occasional failure is a tax we pay to get better technology.

But are some taxes just too high?

Society might accept failing antennas on an iPhone, or even bad Google searches, but an air-bag, that might blow a hole in your chest or a car that might crash you into a truck, might be too high of a price.

So is the tax for air-bags and self-driving cars just not worth the potential safety we get in return?

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Show notes for today

 

Some interesting links you might want to check out during my interview on BFM today, will tidy up this list later in the week.

Office of Personnel Management Data Breach (Chinese hackers breaking into US Federal Employee Databases)

China arrested the hackers responsible for OPM breach

Turkey losing Personal Information on 50 Million Citizens

Philippines Data Breach, Troy Hunt’s perspective.

Check if your e-mail address has been part of a previous breach from the HaveIbeenPwned website.

24 year old IT grad behind Philippines Breach caught

Phineas Fisher explains how he hacked Hacking Team (in under 100 hours)

Hackers break into a Jeep connected to the internet

Hackers breaking into baby monitors, and shouting profanities at children

Baby monitors (and everything else) connected to the internet, aren’t good ideas..

Why anti-viruses aren’t any good these days

My take on why people with Anti-Viruses end up with MORE malware

Why I don’t believe passwords should be changed constantly

Why GCHQ (the British equivalent of the NSA) share my thoughts

Great article on how hackers guess hashes

Some guy built a computer to guess 380+ Billion hashes a second

Enabling 2 Factor for your Google Account

Norton Dossier on Stuxnet (interesting, but VERY long read)

Countdown to Day Zero (more interesting, and even longer read on Stuxnet)

Or just watch the Ted Talk on Stuxnet

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The Internet is slow because of illegal downloads

Let’s start with the quote that set off the rage in my heart—

“You can see today that our Internet is slow. Not because it itself is slow but because a lot of people are using it,” he said

The government agency chief blamed this on illegal downloads hogging Internet bandwidth here, adding that this does not happen in countries like Germany due to stricter enforcement.

“In Germany, the Internet is fast because if you download illegally, you will be charged by the authorities.

“You can’t download illegal movies, songs and pictures there, you need to pay but we here, anything also we download illegally right up to the pictures of our grandfathers.

“That is why the Internet highway is slow but we blame the government. The government has created proper Internet highways but we don’t know how to use it. Millions have been spent on this by the government,” he explained.

So apparently, Datuk Ibrahim Saad, the  National Civics Bureau (BTN) chief  thinks that the internet is slow in Malaysia (it’s not that slow), because illegal downloads are hogging up the pipelines.

Let’s start with his first sentence, an substitute the word ‘internet’ with the name of any Malaysian highway you choose, personally I like to use the LDP:

You can see today that our LDP is slow. Not because it itself is slow but because a lot of people are using it

Hmmm, I guess in his infinite wisdom that makes sense to the BTN chief, but to me that just sounds like the highway wasn’t built properly.

Let’s go to the 2nd statement:

In Germany, the Internet is fast because if you download illegally, you will be charged by the authorities.

“You can’t download illegal movies, songs and pictures there, you need to pay but we here, anything also we download illegally right up to the pictures of our grandfathers.

“That is why the Internet highway is slow but we blame the government

Now we come to the crux of the issue. If Malaysians weren’t illegally downloading, they’d have faster internet.

Here’s 4 reasons why he’s wrong.

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This is how Pedophiles get caught

SexOffenderThis will easily be the most controversial blog post I ever wrote, so consider yourself warned.

It’s controversial, because it touches on multiple taboos in our society, sex, child abuse and security theater. You see, there’s been a growing call for a national sex offender registry, especially in the wake of news that a British Pedophile had sexually abused up to 200 children in Malaysia.

The news is especially shocking for Malaysians, who are still coming to grips with the fact that a foreign ‘mat salleh’ abused our children, in our country, right under our fucking noses, and we’re only now learning about it….years after the abuse had taken place and even then, the details are sketchy.

As I said,many have renewed the call for a Sex Offender registry. The idea being, that if we start registering sex offenders, we could more easily monitor them, and be able cut-off  their ability to further abuse children. It’s a great idea, but it wouldn’t have saved these 200 children, simply because Richard Huckle wasn’t convicted of any sexual abuse, he wouldn’t have been on the registry even if had one.

Then we have calls for better screening procedures of people who work with children. Another great idea, but again wouldn’t have stopped Richard Huckle. Maybe a extremely thorough and in-depth screening  process that interviewed his parents, grandparents and fourth grade history teacher would have uncovered something about his psychology that may have triggered some alarms–but that level of screening is both unrealistic and a gross invasion of privacy.

Finally we have calls for better sex-education in schools, which I’m 100% in favor off. Proper sex education may have prompted one of Huckle’s victims to speak out and report the issue, which may prompted his arrest at a much earlier time–but ultimately these were impoverished children who were not given access to proper education anyway, so sex education in public schools probably wouldn’t have helped them.

But are we forgetting something obvious?

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The law shouldn’t rely on good behavior from Billionaires

Gawker is the internet’s most slimy news organization, a online website that has no qualms disclosing people’s sexual infidelities regardless of the cost such disclosures have on their personal lives.

So for most people, seeing WWF superstar Hulk Hogan win a lawsuit against Gawker to the tune of $140 Million dollars was a real sight for sore eyes. But when it was revealed that Hogan was funded by Billionaire Peter Thiel, the internet suddenly lost its damn mind.

Peter Thiel is a giant of the Venture Capitalist industry, a co-founder of Paypal, and an early investor a Facebook he’s earned his VC hall of fame status, but despite all his successes he’s remained deeply private. His feud with gawker started way back in 2007, when Gawker published an article (not linked to here), claiming he was ‘totally gay’.

Thiel didn’t earn his Billions sitting on your arse, and so he turned his laser intellect and vast resources to enact revenge on gawker for the personal grief and hurt the online publication caused him.

He launched a ‘proxy war’ against gawker, using a Wrestler (of all things), and going straight for the jugular. If gawker loses the appeal, the hundreds of millions in damages it must pay to Hulk Hogan would bankrupt the company, so claiming Gawker is literally fighting for its life is not an understatement.

Essentially, Peter Thiel may have pushed Gawker to bankruptcy with nothing more than pocket change and a retired WWF superstar.

The fact that a Billionaire could potentially shutdown a news outlet (even one as disgusting as gawker) is appalling and goes against the grain of that most cherished of Constitution amendments. The first thing the founding fathers of that great country chose to amend in their constitution was a guarantee for Freedom of Speech, and while the law may be in effect–it isn’t effective– especially against someone with ridiculous wealth on their side.

To most non-Americans this seems a bit odd. After all, isn’t America the land where everyone sues everyone, and where the legal system is choked to the brim with cases of people suing McDonalds because the coffee was too hot.

So allow me to correct some misconceptions.

While America is choked full of Libel and Slander suits, a Supreme court case in 1964 made a clear distinction if the victim was a “Public Figure”, setting the bar to an almost impossibly high standard.

If you’re a Public Figure, suing someone for slander or libel is damn near impossible, because you have to prove the statements were made with ‘actual malice’—that is with reckless disregard to whether it was false. Needless to say, trying to prove someone did something is easy, trying to prove they did it with ‘actual malice’ is not.

In fact, it’s ridiculously difficult, Hulk Hogan’s legal bills ran up to $10 million US dollars, and even a successful show person (yes, folks Wrestling isn’t real) like Hulk Hogan can’t afford that sort of funding.

And not to get too political, but if our ‘beloved’ Prime Minister ever decided to sue the Wall Street Journal, he’ll have to prove the ‘actual malice’ component as well, something it seems only Hulk Hogan and $10 million dollars have succeeded in doing. Suing the Wall Street Journal may send a political message, and a signal confidence, but legally speaking it will end up nowhere, unless Najib has $10 million–oh wait, he does.

But for those defenders of the first amendment who are so adamantly opposing Peter Thiel’s proxy vendetta, aren’t you missing the point?

The law shouldn’t depend on Billionaires behaving well–it should be water-tight to the point where even Billions isn’t going to get anywhere. If your legal system is at the mercy of a the top 1-percenters behaving, you’ve got a pretty shitty legal system.

Fortunately, Gawker would most likely succeed on appeal, and all should be well in the world, but shouldn’t this indicate that stronger and higher bars be set for court cases regarding public figures.

In Malaysia of course, this bar is far lower, which explains why many politicians have already sued news outlets and succeeded. Shouldn’t this indicate to us as well, that our laws need to be strengthened to allow for freedom of expression?

Many don’t believe this of course, because few Malaysians believe in having a truly robust freedom of speech framework. We still would like a few ‘clauses’ here and there to prevent hate speech, and political speech and ‘sensitivities’.

But unless we open up the marketplace of ideas, the rich and powerful will always dictate the narrative.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Ben Thompson wrote a great piece in Stratechery that put this story in a fascinating perspective:

Thiel made the largest part of his fortune by investing in Facebook, where he still sits on the board. Facebook specifically and the Internet broadly has made it possible for sensationalistic rags like Gawker to exist, even as it has fundamentally weakened journalism by destroying the geographic monopolies that guaranteed the financial freedom to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Thiel as the personification of the tech industry is very much the superhero looking to remedy a problem he created.

In the same vein, Jeff Bezos, a similar Billionaire to Thiel is single-handedly keeping the Washington Post alive. So it seems the media is now in the hands of billionaires, and only they can keep alive what only they can kill.

Interesting.

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Security theater on KTM trains

The last time I took a public train in Malaysia was 10 years ago.

That’s a long time to be spoilt by the luxury of having a car to drive around. So it was a pleasant surprise to see this viral story, about a man on a KTM kommuter train who saved a women from a group of youths who “misbehaved and demanded cash and their valuables”.

But then I remembered that KTM had launched ‘women-only’ coaches on their train, and this event had me pondering the security and social implications of such coaches, and concluded that women-only coaches are a terrible idea!!

Women shouldn’t fear men

Firstly women shouldn’t be afraid of men, they should be afraid of perverts, rapist and criminals. But not all men are perverts, rapist and criminals, and implementing women-only coaches discriminates against all men like as though their criminals.

Of course the argument is that women feel ‘safer’ on these coaches, and indeed they do. But feeling safer is not the same as being safer, and it’s a fallacy to implement policy based on peoples feelings.

There may be a strong perception of an oncoming zombie apocalypse, but we shouldn’t be spending money trying to prevent that–policy decisions must be rooted in facts and effectiveness, not feelings.

The women-only coach conflates men with rapist, the same way Donald Trump conflates terrorism to Islam.We wouldn’t tolerate a white western tourist demanding to be on airplanes that didn’t have arab muslims in it, yet we somehow women on trains that didn’t have men on them perfectly acceptable.

Obviously discriminating against men isn’t as bad as discriminating against women, as women have less power economically, politically, socially and, to an extent, physically as well. In much the same way as black comedians can make fun of white folks, but not the other way–it’s a phenomena called punching-up, it’s not as bad if you’re discriminating against the more powerful.

But the social impact of such a move is way beyond my knowledge, so let’s focus on the security effectiveness of the women-only coach, and whether it’s worth the price.

First off, what is the price? Social implications aside, as an engineer it’s quite plain to see that having a public transport system that discriminates is pretty inefficient. If people were allowed to get on any coach at any time, they’d naturally filter in an efficient manner. Having specific coaches for specific genders will logically lead to a less efficient utilization of the trains–and in the realm of public transport, efficiency is of prime importance.

Are women in danger on public trains?

So if we’re losing efficiency, are we at least gaining some security for the women?

Here’s where things get a bit complicated….

Not many studies have been conducted on these women-only coaches, but I manage to snag this study from UUM:

In terms of the safety in Women-Only Coach in KTM Komuter, it was found that approximately (i) one in 30 respondents (3%) had experienced snatch theft, (ii) one in 30 respondents (3%) had experienced others incidents such as fighting, falling, (iii) one in 10 respondents (10%) had experienced sexual harassment, and (iv) almost the majority respondents (84%) from the total female passengers had no experience of encoutering any of the mentioned incidents while travelling on KTM Komuter.

A study in 2002 conducted  found that 35% of respondents in Malaysia had experienced one or more forms of sexual harassment, and honestly these numbers are ridiculously higher than what I anticipated.

I expected it wasn’t going to be 0%, but I figured that a well-mannered society like Malaysia would have better record of somewhere between 0.2-0.5%, I was convinced we wouldn’t have broken the 1% barrier.

The fact, that even the lowest estimate is 10% is mind-boggling to me, and frankly points to how far removed I really am from society at large.

So we know we have a problem of sexual harassment on trains–and we know that women suffer nearly all of that. What can we do?

Well the unimaginative would simply have women-only coaches, which may improve the feeling of safety, but not safety itself. Consider if the group of youth from the viral facebook article decide to hop on the women-only coach at some dodgy station in Klang–why board a mixed coach, when you could hop only women-only coach and have a field day demanding money from women in a coach where no men could save them.

And it works the other way around as well–imagine a women who can’t board the women’s coach because it’s full, and now she’s a coach that’s predominantly male, and the perverts on the coach start thinking “why are they here if not to be felt up”, and now we’ve just double the discrimination impact on women who choose to use the normal coaches.

Essentially, the logical conclusion of a women-only coach policy is a that you will create a men-only as well–and that’s taking a couple hundred steps back as a society.

Hawks and Doves

Sometimes in security we use the analogy of Hawks and Doves.

Hawks are competitive assholes you fight for every inch of turf you give them. A couple hundred hawks on a sinking ship, causes them all to fight each other till the last hawk is left limping onto the lifeboat whilst bleeding to death.

Doves are co-operative nice guys, that are just plain good. A couple hundred doves on a sinking ship will line up 2-by-2 and calmly fill out the lifeboats till all of them are safely on board.

But put a hawk among the doves, and he’ll have an unfair advantage. Being the first on the lifeboat, and launching it away before the doves get on board.

Put a dove among the hawks, and they’ll be first to be killed.

If you have a Dove-only coach on a train–you can easily see how this becomes a juicy target for the hawks.

In IT, we operate on the same principle. It used to be, that the internal corporate network was considered ‘safe’, anything deployed inside the firewall was generally regarded as low-risk and didn’t need things like pen-testing and vulnerability assessments.

But with the old model, a hawk, that has somehow got a foothold in your network now will have a field-day within your network, because all your defenses are down. This is how Sony Pictures, Target, and hundreds of other companies failed to protect their prized IT assets.

If your internal data is not protected, all it takes is a single compromised machined, or bribed employee to cause havoc within the network. Instead most organizations now segment their networks placing more critical infrastructure behind layers of protection (defense in depth), and taking long hard looks at the security of their internally deployed systems.

Believing that a internal network somehow magically protects the internal systems, is like believing a women-only coach protects women.

Conclusion

In summary, a coach on a Komuter train made exclusively for women causes a huge inefficiency in the system.

In the end, there’s no evidence it makes women safer, or reduce crime–it merely serves to discriminate against men, and causes wide social implications.

Women’s safety isn’t about sequestering them in separate compartments, but the enforcement of laws already on the books, and the social changes necessary to ensure they are treated equally in society and not looked upon like sex-toys on trains.

 

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The ugly truth about Uber

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 14:  In this photo illustration the new smart phone taxi app 'Uber' shows how to select a pick up location at Atocha Station on October 14, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. 'Uber' application started to operate in Madrid last September despite Taxi drivers claim it is an illegal activity and its drivers currently operate without a license. 'Uber' is an American based company which is quickly expanding to some of the main cities from around the world.  (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)Two weeks ago, I took my first ever Uber ride, and here’s what I think is The Good, the bad and the ugly of Uber.

The Good

The app worked perfectly out of the box, it was intuitive, and the drivers that fetched me from (and to) the Toyota service center were courteous and friendly. What was even more shocking was the price–Uber is freaking cheap.

Bukit Jalil to Bukit Bintang for RM20.20. I remember a time when taxi drivers would charge me Rm10 just to drive from Menara Citibank to KLCC, or RM20 to drive from the Kelana Jaya LRT station to Subang Parade–and that was after I haggled, begged and bargained the prices down.

Uber is so cheap, I felt compelled to tip the driver, but the app doesn’t let me do it.

And when a cheapskate klang boy feels compelled to tip, that’s when you know things are cheap.

Some of you may scream, that Uber isn’t legal and that it’s not regulated. Well, a Taxi Driver refusing to use the meter is also illegal, and if I’m going to choose and illegal Taxi vs. and illegal Uber–I’ll take the Uber, thank you very much.

And in terms of regulations–well Uber (the company) does regulate it’s drivers, probably as much as SPAD regulates taxi drivers. But the Uber system works perfectly in terms of self-regulation, Passengers rate drivers AND Drivers rate passengers too.

What that means is that you can’t be an asshole passenger, because drivers would give you a bad rating, and no one would want to take you anymore. And because rating drivers is so easy, drivers can rely on the hundreds of good reviews they’ve had to offset one nasty review.

Contrast this with how SPAD regulates its drivers–well actually it doesn’t!

I tried calling SPAD hotlines before for speeding express busses and lorries, those numbers just don’t work. In truth, I think Uber is far more regulated than taxis in KL.

And anecdotally, the Uber cars I got into were cleaner and better maintained that most taxis I’ve been in. So if SPAD is regulating them, I’m not sure how effective it is.

Finally, Uber seems to be helping Malaysians make ends meet. One of my drivers was a part-time property agent, who was driving Uber in his ‘off’ time to make some extra cash, and the other was a recently layed-off employee who resorted to Uber as his primary income. Both seemed pretty happy about the arrangement–so I guess I’m happy for them.

Uber is cheap, works perfectly (on all my trips at least) and has friendly and courteous drivers. What’s there not to like?

The Bad

The reason why I like Uber so much, is that Uber is like me.

An Uber driver is more likely to be tech-savvy , middle-income and my age. The same can’t be said of generic cab drivers in KL.

Driving an Uber Car requires you be the following:

  • 21 years old with with driving license
  • Own a car that is less than 8 years old
  • Car insurance policy under the same name as applicants. If you are driving your family’s car do make sure that your name is also under the insurance policy

A poor man driving a 15-year old Proton Iswara is not going to have an Uber opportunity, and neither is a 50 year old uncle who doesn’t know how to use a smartphone.

In some ways, Uber is an sequestered community or tech-savvy 30-something urbanites, and that’s a bad thing. But wait till you see what comes next.

 

The Ugly

If you’re waiting for the part where I reprimand the Taxi drivers–that’s not the point on the post.

I want to focus on the nice Uber Drivers, because something not-so-nice is going to happen to them.

Uber drivers will be the front-lines of the job wars humans will have to fight with Artificial Intelligence. And most people on the front-lines don’t make it through the war.

The moment Google (or whoever else) releases their an autonomous vehicle, that local authorities will let on the road, is the exact instant Uber drivers lose their source of income.

An Uber driver working 12 hours a day, 30 days a month, can expect an income of around RM8,000–a number Uber themselves guarantee. Some have this number at Rm10,000 or even Rm12,000, but those are not guaranteed numbers.

Even then, it’s revenue and not salary. The driver still needs to maintain their car, pay their fuel bill, and gets no EPF, medical benefits or annual leave while doing so.

Roughly, if you drove a more realistic 8 hours a day (from 6am to 3pm) and only for 22 days a week (leaving weekends for your family), you’ll earn just over RM4,000. Minus cost, and the loss of EPF and Medical Benefits, and you’re looking at an effective salary of about RM2,500 .

An autonomous vehicle needs no rest, and therefore can drive 24/7. It requires no EPF or Medical Benefits either, and can be programmed to drive in a fashion that prolongs the life of the car, consumes less fuel, and charges more. Autonomous vehicle will over time incur less insurance premiums, cost less overall and replace ‘driverable cars’.

Think about it, horses are considered a  luxury these days because of cars, and in the next 3-5 years, the manual gearboxes will cost more than automatic ones (in fact, most cars these days don’t come with a manual option anymore).

And if ladies feel safer in cars driven by ladies, they’re probably going to feel a whole lot safer in cars driven by AI, pay no attention to Hollywood AI depictions, they’re wildly off the mark.

In the same way, rich people buy houses to rent to poorer people–rich people will buy autonomous cars to Uber around. If Johnny Bill Gates can expect a return of RM4,000 for a full-time autonomous vehicle that Uber-ing around, he’d buy a 1000 of them and put 1000 Uber drivers out of business.

We’ve got 10 years (at most) before the guys relying on Uber to supplement their income have to look elsewhere–and the saddest part is that their driving Uber in the mean-time, which isn’t adding any hard-skills to their resume (aside from the ability to make casual conversation–a skill most people lack).

Uber is just delaying a huge problem that’s going to come over the horizon.

And sure, taxi drivers and lorry drivers are in the same bucket as well.

The problem with AI

The only real-problem with AI in Malaysia, would be that some genius would figure out to call AI cars to some dogdy corner of KL, and start stealing car parts while the AI sat passively not harming humans!

So if autonomous vehicles ever landed in Malaysia, and you saw a couple of guys jacking up Uber cars to remove the rims–you know what’s happening.

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Passcodes should be protected

Diverse_torture_instrumentsSome people are fans of medieval torture, and who can blame them. There’s just something about the sadistic treatment of people that makes us both want to watch with a bowl of popcorn in our hands, yet at the same time turn away in disgust and discomfort.

How else do you explain the popularity of shows like Saw?

I personally am a fan of the Iron Maiden, which before it became a name of rock band, was a evil torture device designed to impale its victims with spikes, but meticilously avoid crucial organs thereby prolonging the agony, letting the victim slowly bleed to death rather than die from something boring like heart failure or liver damage.

There’s a list on Wikipedia, that has all the gory details of medieval torture techniques, including keel-hauling (which I always though was some pirate term) and Scaphism, which is  a Persian specialty where the victims dies of Diarrhea.

It’s a whole new level when the victim dies of Diarrhea—Diarrhea!! (and the smart-ass know it all types probably are thinking that Persia wasn’t in the medieval period–yes, I know and I don’t care)

[*Steve in the comments points out that Scaphism didn’t really die from diarrhea but from insects feasting on them. Which doesn’t exactly make it sound any better ]

Fortunately, we live in a modern world, where such barbarism is consigned to history classes rather than current affair shows, and trust me while water boarding is torture, it’s probably a couple of rungs lower on the cruelty scale than an Iron Maiden or Scaphism.

It’s good to view out past just to figure our far along we’ve come along as a species, to take stock in the great progress we’ve made in civil liberties. Torture is a fine example of such progress, but take for example the what 16th century English had to deal with, when they were sent to the Star Chamber!