Thursday, November 10, 2022

Richard Denniss on High Farce: Debts By Kafka’s Colourless Robots - Judge, jury and executioner: Lifters and Leaners: What happens when the boss spreads misinformation?

Straight Out of Kafka’s unpublished novel “Cease and Disist”

Power means not having to ask permission, which is why it was OK for the Australian government to implement (unlawful Robodebt and ) lift the price it charges students to go to uni and get an education but it’s not OK to lift the amount the gas industry pays us for our own resource

~ Richard Denniss - Australia needs a windfall profits tax – but our government seems to fear the gas lobby

The Irish poet W. B. Yeats could have had the Robodebt fiasco in mind when he wrote, ‘Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.’

We just got served with an erroneous #robodebt notice for FTB payments. You just pissed off the wrong data scientist

Establishment announcement On 18 August 2022, AD, the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), issued Letters Patent, which established the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme

Robodebt, officially called Online Compliance Intervention, ended up wrongly pursuing thousands of welfare clients for debt they didn’t owe, sparking a class action.

Recently, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, in his warning about the risk of a “digital welfare dystopia,” singled out Robodebt as one of the leading examples of how much human and reputational damage can be caused by bad design.

What were they thinking  as what the legislation makes clear is that the use of automated decision-making by the Australian Government is not binding under law. 

This was upheld by the full Federal Court in the recent case of Pintarich v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation [2018] FCAFC 79,where the majority of Judges held that “no decision was made unless, accompanied by the requisite mental process of an authorised officer”.

Bad Machines  allow operations like Robodebt to spread by super villain civil servants  A human face for misery and shame of ‘robo-debt’ scandal

The monster that ate hope: Robodebt was a tragedy 40 years in the making

Many shades of grey and brown as culture of fear was spreading among APS 1-6 levels 

Even before the unlawful scheme was rolled in out under then Social Services Minister Scott Morrison, CPSU members working in Centrelink told the department and government that the scheme was flawed and would cause serious problems.

These workers are experts in the system. They work on the frontline of social security service delivery every day and when they raised the alarm about how vulnerable people would be harmed, they should have been taken seriously.

Change the culture, change the system Change the boy and girl clubs: Accountability and justice: Why we need a Royal Commission into Behaviour of APS at Executive Levels and SES levels 

We Mean Nothing to the Company The Baffler. The deck: “Most Americans are already subject to authoritarianism—at work.”

The inquiry heard Ms Wilson received advice showing the income-averaging proposal that became Robodebt was unlawful

  • She blamed a "lack of courage" for allowing the scheme to progress
  • At one point, Commissioner Catherine Holmes told Ms Wilson: "You seem to be speaking in code, almost."

  • Mr Greggery said: "You could act consistently with the code of conduct which applies to you as an Australian public servant and give full and frank advice or you could go down the road of doing things, taking steps which ensured the continuation of what you then believe to be unlawful

Senior bureaucrat Serena Wilson admits in Robodebt inquiry to breaching public servants' code of conduct

If it was a bookie, a fishmonger or a landfill operator their licence would be stripped for tilting the scales.

A former fraud chief at the Department of Human Services (DHS) has admitted it was known within the organisation that using Pay As You Go (PAYG) data from the Tax Office to average income to calculate debts produced untrue results, saying he was shouted at when he raised concerns.

Former DHS fraud boss admits robodebt calculator design was known to produce untrue results

Micromanagers are full of insecurity." The 5 red flags of a toxic boss to look out for.

Russia Exposes Germany’s Weakness. “Germany has relinquished any aspirations of a leadership role in Europe. Its inadequate response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine has exposed Berlin more as an obstacle to European security rather than as a defender. German policy is also hypocritical by preaching anti-corruption to Balkan states seeking to join the European Union while enabling massive Russian penetration of its economy and political system. . . . Successive German governments opened up the country to Russian state influence, which penetrated all major political parties, national institutions, banks, businesses, and energy corporations. The results of this massive Russian corruption were visible in energy projects such as the Nord Stream pipelines and the laundering of billions of Russian dirty money through German banks. The results of Moscow’s penetration of German foreign policy have been evident since the launch of its extended war against Ukraine.”

Of course, Russia’s weakness has also been exposed.

Wells Fargo Faces US Demand for Record Fine Exceeding $1 Billion Bloomberg

Lifters and leaners: energy giants and Rupert bludging on tax again, big banks and miners pay their dues

WSJ: The IRS And The 8th Amendment


AFR Cocaine and opioids: Medibank hackers post stolen data


We Mean Nothing to the Company The Baffler. The deck: “Most Americans are already subject to authoritarianism—at work.”


Big Tech’s Algorithms Are Built With Invisible Labor Jacobin


Algorithms Quietly Run the City of DC—and Maybe Your Hometown Wired

The inflation narrative is fabricated, as is the response Tax Research UK

Wildfire smoke alters immune cells, promoting inflammation Wildfire Today

The Insect Apocalypse Is Coming to Your Neighborhood Bloomberg

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus seeks meeting with Administrative Appeals Tribunal over bullying and harassment allegations

What happens when the boss spreads misinformation?



 DRM On My Mind – Christine ParkAdjunct Professsor of Law, Fordham Law Library highlights risks of and legal restrictions related to digital rights management. LLRX welcomes further discussion of efforts to implement solutions, “before it’s too late.” See also David H. Rothman’s article Will Amazon’s new ePub capability help the anti-DRM movement?

The New York Times Magazine – David Wallace-Well – “…Over the last several months, I’ve had dozens of conversations — with climate scientists and economists and policymakers, advocates and activists and novelists and philosophers — about that new world and the ways we might conceptualize it. Perhaps the most capacious and galvanizing account is one I heard from Kate Marvel of NASA, a lead chapter author on the fifth National Climate Assessment: “The world will be what we make it.” Personally, I find myself returning to three sets of guideposts, which help map the landscape of possibility.

Ars Technica: “Google has been pushing out a tool for removing personally identifiable information—or doxxing content—from its search results. It’s a notable step for a firm that has long resisted individual moderation of search content, outside of broadly harmful or copyright-violating material. But whether it works for you or not depends on many factors. 

As with almost all Google features and products, you may not immediately have access to Google’s new removal process. If you do, though, you should be able to click the three dots next to a web search result (while signed in), or in a Google mobile app, to pull up “About this result.” Among the options you can click at the bottom of a pop-up are “Remove result.” Take note, though, that this button is much more intent than immediate action—Google suggests a response time of “a few days.” Google’s blog post about this tool, updated in late September, notes that “Starting early next year,” you can request regular alerts for when your personal identifying information (PII) appears in new search results, allowing for quicker reporting and potential removal. 

I took a trial run through the process by searching my name and a relatively recent address on Google, then reporting it. The result I reported was from a private company that, while putting on the appearance of only posting public or Freedom of Information Act-obtained records, places those records next to links that send you to the site’s true owner, initiating a “background check” or other tracking services for a fee…”