Thursday, May 29, 2008

Personal data 'being shared'

Even before the possible introduction of a national identity card, federal agencies are increasingly cross-matching the personal data held in vast government databases to crack down on identity theft-related crimes ranging from terrorism to welfare fraud and tax evasion.

The depth of personal information held by the Government has reached extraordinary levels, with the Tax Office keeping records of such details as religious affiliation and criminal convictions.

"Matching is inherently contrary to the privacy principle that (personal) information should only be used for the purpose it was collected," Australian Privacy Foundation spokesman Nigel Waters said.

The Attorney-General's Department says identity theft costs the Australian economy more than $1.1billion a year.

But privacy advocates, already concerned about the renewed Australia Card debate, believe the increased use of data matching could actually stymie the Government's efforts to combat identity theft.

They are also concerned that inappropriate information is being shared by government agencies.

Data-matching personal information between departments to improve the accuracy of identity details could create more "data quality" problems than it solved, Mr Waters said.

"Matching invariably brings major data quality (problems) as the data has been collected for different purposes."

While the largest federal government data-matching program is covered by laws restricting the use of personal information, most activity is covered by less stringent voluntary guidelines administered by federal Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis. Ms Curtis was not available for comment yesterday. (Why ??? Something to hide ???)

The Australian

Crackdown on snooping bureaucrats

The crackdown has led to a spate of resignations and the Child Support Agency is reviewing a number of breaches as it considers whether or not to press criminal charges against former employees.

The reports come a year after a series of sackings at Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office, where hundreds of staff were caught accessing client records that they were not authorised to view.

Child Support Agency general manager Matt Miller said breaches by employees were uncovered after its fraud detection systems were strengthened in November last year.

The software has since been used to audit 45,000 client records, with three confirmed cases of improper access detected and one possible instance still under investigation.

"The Child Support Agency places paramount importance on customer privacy and has zero tolerance of unauthorised access of customer records," general manager Matt Miller said.

"Of the three confirmed cases all three staff members resigned prior to determination of Code of Conduct proceedings. Despite this the agency is continuing the assessment of these cases in order to determine if criminal charges should proceed."

Mr Miller said the agency would continue to expand the software it used to detect unauthorised access of client records.

Medicare Australia, meanwhile, has confirmed 49 instances of staff inappropriately browsing confidential records after it launched a review program during the 2007 financial year.

The program included the introduction of a detection system that was modelled on data matching rules used by Centrelink, which has uncovered more than 790 instances of staff spying since 2004.

"Medicare Australia takes browsing very seriously and has a dedicated unit in place to proactively review staff access to Medicare Australia information," an agency spokeswoman said.

"Where unauthorised access is detected, swift and appropriate disciplinary and/or legal action is taken."

The spokeswoman said 147 investigations into possibly inappropriate access were launched during the first year of the program and in 63 cases the employees were cleared of wrongdoing.

"Forty-nine cases were finalised with a range of disciplinary action being taken, including information or formal counselling, written reprimands and fines. A number of operators resigned either before or after the completion of the investigation into their case," she said.

A further 35 cases are yet to be finalised.

The spying incidents came despite ongoing efforts by federal government agencies to beef up computer systems and education programs designed to detect and stamp out improper access to sensitive client records.

Mr Miller said 3500 agency employees had received fraud training since July last year and all staff were retrained at least every two years.

Medicare Australia staff are warned about the consequences of browsing client records whenever they log on and all staff access to records is monitored.

A spokesman for Centrelink said the agency had compiled data on unauthorised employee access to client records during the 2007 financial year and the information would be published in the agency's annual report.

If this were to be done in the private sector, then there would be consequences, but since the government runs the law, there are NO consequences. How typical, no suprises there.


Smartcard costs hit $52 million

SPENDING on the federal Government's mooted welfare smartcard has reached $52 million, despite uncertainty over whether the $1.1 billion program will proceed.

New contracts worth nearly $10 million have been signed by the Department of Human Services since June, with most due for completion well before the end of this year.

This may signal a slowdown of work, pending the outcome of the federal election.

In June, Human Services Minister Chris Ellison effectively put the controversial Access Card on ice, as opponents claimed it would become a national identity card.

The project's lead adviser, Booz Allen Hamilton, collected $30.5 million in fees during the past financial year, including $5 million for the months of May and June, and a slimmer $5.2 million for the current four months to October 26.

Law firm Minter Ellison earned $6.2 million for its work over the year, with consultancy KPMG picking up $4 million for its monitoring and assurance duties.

Technology services provider SMS Consulting Group had a steady run of contracts, totalling $1.6 million, while IT services supplier Acumen Alliance earned $1 million during the year.

Of the current round of contracts, only Acumen is engaged beyond December 30; in July it won a new one-year $1.1 million deal to June 30.

Research and public relations firms ORIMA, Porter Novelli and Mediascape held contracts worth a combined $3 million over the past two years, while advertising firm HMA Blaze earned $143,000 for two weeks' work seeking public comment on the draft Access Card legislation.

The largest project contracts, covering systems and card issuance, are yet to be awarded, following tender processes early this year.

The department is also yet to issue tenders for transaction services and the supply of eftpos terminals.

The most expensive component of the project will be registering Australian residents for the access card, but most of that work will be carried out by federal government employees.

Registration was originally due to start in April next year.

AAP 4 Sep 2007

Pedophile bank manager guilty of 90 attacks

Anthony Barron was a predatory pedophile who used children as "toys" and stored film of his acts in an extensive video library.

in an Oxford court yesterdya, Judge Julian Halltold him yesterday that the offences were "as serious as I think I have ever come across".

"I can't imagine anything worse than a parent knowing that their child has not only been abused but also knowing that film exists of that abuse."

Barron, 54, was found guilty of the rape and attempted rape of a 12-year-old girl following a two-day trial at Oxford Crown Court. He had already admitted 87 offences against another 10 girls between 1995 and 2006.

They included assaults on two sisters on the same day - one after the other. Police discovered footage of Barron joking on camera that there was not enough room for both of them with him at the same time.

On another occasion he abused a child while her mother was elsewhere in his house in Wantage.

Barron, a divorced father of three, lured girls to his home with sweets and games, and then bribed them not to talk about the abuse by handing out further treats. He was given a minimum term of nine years. (only!!)

This article from: AAP

As per usual, we have a law system that has let the victims down.

CommBank operating in tax haven

COMMONWEALTH Bank has been using the tax haven of Malta as a base to boost its European operations, with the island's lower rates helping cut the tax bill of Australia's largest bank.

CBA said in its annual results presentation earlier this month that lower offshore tax rates and tax-deductible capital losses enabled the group to cut the effective tax rate for its banking operations by 150 basis points to 26.7 per cent.

CBA ploughed $1.3 billion of capital into CommBank Europe Limited in the 2006 financial year, enabling it to increase its balance sheet almost fourfold to $4.7 billion.

Last November, the parent pumped a further $176 million into CommBank Europe, which since 2005 has held a Maltese banking licence that enables it to operate in the European Union.

And in a further use of the tax haven, CBA's asset management arm Colonial First State Global Asset Management introduced a Malta-registered entity, CommTrading Limited, to hold its 32.3 per cent stake in leading British water company AWG.

Colonial bought the stake last October as part of the successful Osprey consortium, comprising the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (32.3 per cent), Melbourne-based Industry Funds Management (19.4 per cent), and Britain's 3i private equity group. CommTrading followed up on November 30 with a $484 million share issue to Newport Limited, the CBA group's holding company in Malta, to help fund the purchase.

A CBA spokesman said yesterday the group would actually pay a higher level of Australian tax on the AWG equity investment than on an alternative investment structure, where higher foreign tax would have arisen.

"CBA has met all of its tax obligations," he said.

CommBank Europe used the $1.3 billion raised in 2006 for lending and investment to increase its balance sheet from $1.27 billion to $4.74 billion, according to documents obtained by The Australian.

The ballooning Malta operation accounted for two-thirds of the increase in the bank's international assets from $15.77 billion to $20.95 billion in 2006.

Pre-tax profit exploded from $865,000 to $31.4 million, with $2.3 million in tax payable -- equivalent to a 7.3 per cent tax rate.

But a CBA spokesman said yesterday that further tax was payable in Australia under the controlled foreign company rules.

This meant that the Maltese accounts did not reflect the full tax payable on the business profits in that country.

Earlier this month, after CBA's record $4.6 billion profit result for 2007, analysts questioned management about the unexpected fall in the effective tax rate for CBA's banking operations.

Higher profits from asset sales or lower tax rates are generally regarded as being of "low quality", as they do not reflect an improvement in the underlying businesses.

Banks are allowed to do this, but if individuals do the same, the are jailed, like this poor scape goat (Home sweet prison for tax cheat Wheatley)

Newsflash :- Fat Asses Use more Fuel

In the current economic climate, the catch words for now are : High Fuel Costs, Energy Savings, Greenhouse Gases, etc.

In a study which has not yet been performed by any University or government department, it is almost certain that Big Fat Asses need more Petrol.

A big ass needs a bigger vehicle to haul it around in. 'Ass' you can see by this illustration, no Toyota Corolla will be up to the task. This ass needs some serious machinery to move it around in, and it is heading in the vicinity of the 4WD to park itself into.

It is not only a health hazard to the owner, but in general no good to the environment, in more ways than one. For one, it needs more energy to sustain it in terms of food, secondly, it could emit more greenhouse gases 'literally' than a smaller sized ass.


A good excuse as any to Reduce Your Ass, before it's too late.

Lord of the Fries - Slave Labour

Here is an interesting job opportunity.. from a company called Lord of the Fries (similar sounding to William Golding's Lord of the Flies).

What is a prerequisite as mentioned is that you have to be Under 18. Why ?
Because you are not paid as an adult in terms of wages, and other privileges, therefore they want CHEAP, SLAVE LABOUR.

The successful ingredient to ANY franchise.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sex 'rife' in Nazi-occupied Paris

Lonely women living in Paris during the Nazi occupation regularly gave themselves to German officers in a great citywide sex romp, a new book claims.

Patrick Buisson, the French author of 1940-1945 Annees Erotiques ("Erotic Years"), claims wives left behind in occupied Paris couldn't get enough of the young "blond barbarians".

"It is a taboo subject, a story nobody wants to hear," Buisson was quoted as saying in Britain's Sunday Times newspaper.

"It may hurt our national pride, but the reality is that people adapted to occupation."

He claims many local women became sexually transformed during harsh winters where a nightly curfew between 11pm and 5am prevented them from other activities.

A spike in the birth rate in 1942 — despite two million French men locked away in prison camps — was evidence of an often unacknowledged amorous explosion, he said.

Buisson says war acted as an aphrodisiac and prompted a new "survival instinct" to kick in as resources such as coal dwindled.

"In times of rationing, the body is the only renewable, inexhaustible currency," he said.

The author claims people often used cinemas rather than hotel rooms to have sex because they were cheaper and offered some privacy.

Publications throughout France have lambasted Buisson for his insensitive depiction of what is regarded as one of the darkest periods in the nation's history.

ninemsn 27 May 2008

Passenger carrying drugs in Tokyo as dog fails sniff test

An unsuspecting passenger who flew to Tokyo is carrying one million yen's worth of cannabis compliments of customs authorities after a sniffer dog failed a test, officials said.

An officer at Narita International Airport on Sunday stuffed 142 grams (five ounces) of the drug into the side pocket of a randomly selected black suitcase coming off an overseas flight so that the animal could detect it.

"The dog couldn't find it and the officer also forgot which bag he put it in," a customs office spokeswoman said.

"If by some chance passengers find it in their suitcase, we're asking them to return it," she said.

The 38-year-old officer was quoted by the spokeswoman as saying: "I knew that using passengers' bags is prohibited, but I did it because I wanted to improve the sniffer dog's ability."

He was reprimanded by the head of customs at Narita.

"This case was extremely regrettable. I would like to deeply apologise," said the airport's customs chief Manpei Tanaka.

The cannabis, which has a street value of one million yen (9,680 dollars), was in a metal box wrapped with newspapers.

Japan strictly prohibits both hard and soft drugs, with people imprisoned for possession of even small amounts of cannabis.

ninemsn 27 May 2008

Is this only 'one ' isolated incident? Could the same have happened with Schapelle Corby?

It has been documented that there are approx. 400 employees in Australian Customs that have criminal records.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hung Up: Madonnas Confessions

Finally, Madonna has revealed she is only human after all. The Queen of Pop who turns the big 5-0 later this year has admitted that she thinks she has “big fat thighs”.

With a personal gym next door to her London home, Madonna follows a strict daily workout for two hours each day. A standard exercise session involves a mix of intense cardio, heavy weight training and Ashtanga yoga, and to top it off, she rarely touches junk food or goes out for meals. "I don't really eat food in restaurants – you can never be sure what's in it, can you?" Instead she sticks to a macrobiotic diet made up of organic whole foods rich in lean proteins.

. blah

.. blah blah


Cleo

Straight into the Who Gives a F... Do not Go past Go !! Straight into the clink!
I am so devistated of what she thinks, I am so depressed, I just might eat another kilo of chocolate!

China pushing up price of diesel: ACCC

The devastating earthquake in China and stockpiling for the Beijing Olympic Games are among factors which have forced the price of diesel up at a faster rate than petrol, the consumer watchdog says.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says it has been asked by the federal government to start a renewed focus on LPG and diesel prices.

"Consumers have been concerned about the increased price of diesel and we are monitoring international benchmark prices and retail price movements on a daily basis across capital cities and country towns," ACCC petrol commissioner Pat Walker said in a statement.

The average daily retail diesel price has risen by more than 17 per cent or 26 cents per litre this year in the country's five largest cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

This is a greater increase than in the price of unleaded petrol, which has risen by 12 cents on average this year in the five cities.

"The ACCC is monitoring these prices closely," Mr Walker said.

The ACCC says the substantial rise in the diesel price in Australia reflects sharp increases in the international benchmark - the Singapore Gas Oil - which in Australian dollars has increased 40 per cent in 2008.

"The devastating earthquake in China has damaged power infrastructure and constrained coal transportation," it said.

"As a result, there has been an increasing demand on diesel to generate electricity.

"In addition, China has been increasing stockpiles of diesel ahead of the Olympic Games."

There had also been a greater demand by global refineries for processing diesel in recent years, especially diesel from low sulphur crude oil.

ninemsn 26 May 2008

The ACCC is utterly useless in terms of regulating and /or reporting the true causes behind the high prices of Petroleum products.
The PetroChemical Industry is operated by a select group of financiers who dictate the price.
Previously the excuse for the high cost of fuel was Hurricane Katrina. Australia's oil does NOT come from that region.
I cannot wait to hear an excuse from ACCC reading that "The High price of Gas is due to fluctuation of Polar Bear Flatulence."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

AusAID Tsunami - No Warning - Lies


On the 26th of December of 2004, the Indian Ocean experienced a Tsunami, as a result of a shift in the continental plates.

Any natural disaster, can have severe consequences, both financially and in loss of life.

The easiest way is to plead ignorance to nature, then you will be off the hook.

After the disaster, a group of Australian surfers that were in the water were interviewed. They mentioned that the noticed that the ocean level dropped and became very still. With this in mind they were aware that danger was near by, and immediately headed back for shore, and had enough time to be out of harms way.

Not one single animal perished during this event, as they escaped to higher ground.
The general news media reports the event as one with 'No Warning', and this is also touted by AusAID, which quite simply put, is incorrect.

Some also say that the result of the tsunami has been caused not naturally, but by man, either through over mining or underground experiments.

The Government knowlingly gives you Cancer

It has been known for quite some time now, that living near High Voltage Power Lines, can cause serious illnesses.

Because the the effects are long term, any proficient department can create an argument contradicting any evidence, although there have been studies on more than one occasion with alarming results, e.g.
Babies at risk with high voltage cancer link

The illustration shows how properties are almost directly under the power lines, which can carry either 400,000, 275,000 or 132,000 volts.

The people living under or near these power lines are of no importance to the government, as they are usually from the less affluent areas, i.e. middle low, or low class workers who's children are designated to the scrap heap (expendable).

Government Obtains Income Illegally

It is a common site in Australia to see a car parked on the side of the road, with apparatus on front of it. At this point one can realise that the car in question is a speed camera car.

Parking on the nature strip, like the vehicle in illustration, is against the law.

Quite simply put, the law cannot be broken in order to prosecute an offender / offending vehicle.

Any speeding tickets obtained in this manner are null and void, when challenged.

The authorities are fully aware of this fact, and prey on the ignorance of the public, and continue to issue falsely obtained tickets.