Bitcoin has carved out a 33-month high, showing resilience amid growing instability in the traditional markets.
Wall Street closed out another punishing week Friday with the S&P 500 posting its first back-to-back monthly loss since the pandemic first gripped the economy in March.
The S&P 500 dropped 1.2 percent and ended the week with a 5.6 percent loss, its worst in seven months. Sharp drops in big technology stocks drove much of the selling, reflecting worries that expectations built too high for some of the market’s biggest stars, including Apple and Amazon. Investors have bid up shares in those and other Big Tech companies this year, anticipating they would deliver strong profits, but their latest results and uncertain outlooks left traders wanting.
Wall Street was already wracked by fears about the potential economic damage from surging coronavirus counts around the world, Washington’s inability to provide more support for the economy and uncertainty surrounding the presidential election. President Trump often cites the stock market as a barometer of his administration’s performance on the economy.
“Today, you have investors who are taking profits in the tech stocks that they expected to do well in the third quarter,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. “And now the focus once again is on COVID-19, and investors are just selling ahead of a weekend.”
The S&P 500 lost 40.15 points to 3,269.96. It ended October with a 2.8 percent loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 157.71 points, or 0.6 percent, to 26,501.60. Earlier, it had been being down 515 points.
The Nasdaq composite gave up 274 points, or 2.5 percent, to 10,911.59. The tech-heavy index is within 0.6 percent of a “correction,” Wall Street-speak for a decline of 10 percent or more from an all-time high.
Much of the market’s focus Friday was on Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google’s parent company. They are four of the five biggest stocks in the S&P 500 by market value, which gives their movements outsized sway on the index, and they were principal forces behind Wall Street’s huge rally since March.
All four reported profit for the summer that was even better than analysts were expecting, just like the other stock in the Big Five did earlier this week. But also like Microsoft, most nevertheless fell as investors found reasons for concern within their reports.
Apple dropped 5.6 percent after investors focused on weaker revenue than expected for its iPhones and sales in China. Amazon fell 5.4 percent, and Facebook lost 6.3 percent.
Twitter, another high-profile tech stock, slumped 21.1 percent for the largest loss by far among stocks in the S&P 500. It also reported better-than-expected earnings for the latest quarter. Investors focused instead on its growth in daily users, which fell short of analysts’ expectations.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was an outlier and rose 3.8 percent after reporting growth in digital ad spending.
A similar trend has been occurring across the market: Stocks are not getting the bounce they usually do after reporting results that beat analysts’ expectations. And they’ve been giving investors plenty of opportunities to do so: With nearly three-quarters of the S&P 500 by market value having reported, 84 percent of companies have beat expectations, according to Credit Suisse.
Analysts say that’s an indication that expectations may have built too high through the market’s big rally and that investors’ attention may simply be elsewhere given all the uncertainties sweeping the market.
Much of the market’s focus has been on what’s to come for the economy when coronavirus counts are rising at troubling rates across Europe and the United States.
Several European governments have already brought back restrictions on businesses to slow the spread of the virus. Even if the strictest lockdowns don’t return in the United States, the worry is the pandemic’s rising death toll will drive customers away from businesses by itself and undercut profits.
“Because of the spike in COVID-19 overseas, with Germany and France in lockdown mode once again, the implication is that we could be heading into a double-dip recession in Europe, and that would have negative future implications for our economic growth.” Stovall said.
Meanwhile, Washington has been unable to deliver more aid to the economy. That’s despite investors and economists saying it’s sorely needed following the expiration of supplemental benefits for laid-off workers and other stimulus approved by Congress earlier this year.
“The Fed is saying this, the market is saying this, and most economists are beginning to adjust their fourth quarter forecasts with the expectation that growth without stimulus is going to be hard to achieve, especially as COVID-19 cases seem to set new daily records each day,” said Kevin Giddis, chief fixed income strategist at Raymond James.
In markets around the world on Friday, caution was still continuing to dominate. But the moves were not as violent as earlier in the week.
A measure of fear in the U.S. stock market, the VIX index, flipped between small gains and losses before rising 1.1 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury ticked up to 0.87 percent from 0.83 percent late Thursday.
European markets ended mixed and Asian markets closed broadly lower.
Oct. 26, 2020
Head Coach Jeff TraylorÂ
On what he learned about the team between the first and the second half â¦Â
“We are really good on defense. We play extremely hard. We are very physical. We start every meeting with the Triangle of Toughness. That is where we begin. Second, we have become a team that is committed to running the football, and we run it well. We have been, at times, very explosive in the passing game, and at times we haven’t been. We have got to get more consistent. I would say we are a good offense. We do a lot of good things which would contribute to our success this year. There is a lot more room for improvement with that unit on being more consistent. Special teams wise, we have got a really good kicker, a really good punter and good return guys, but we have to be more consistent. When we don’t hit a good punt or a good kick, we really pay for it. We have got to get better at our coverage units. We can’t be so dependent on our great kicker or our great punter. If we don’t ever get the ball where we are supposed to hit it, we pay for it. As a team, we believe in each other. We have a strong belief system in our culture. We have now played 28 straight competitive quarters where every play was the difference in a win or a loss. 28 straight quarters, which is pretty remarkable.”Â
On the performance of the defense line â¦Â
“It always starts with players, and we have got quite a few good players in there. I think Coach (Rod) Wright does a really good job of rotating them. We play six to seven kids every game, and we have played as many as nine in a game. Depth, players, effort, buy-in to the culture, it is a combination of those things.”
On how Sincere McCormick handled the workload against Louisiana Tech â¦Â
“It was awesome. He was in my office the very next morning laughing. He is in great spirits, bouncing around here. It is unbelievable. The kid is mentally tough and physically tough. He loves this university. He loves San Antonio. He loves his teammates. That is just who Sincere McCormick is.”
On Frank Harris’ play â¦Â
“There were a few plays that were very critical. The quarterback’s job is to lead his team to a victory, and that is what Frank did. That is what is most important. The scramble he made during the four-minute drive, that was a tough play he made. The fourth down, that was another tough hit he took to get that first down. There were a lot of things Frank did very well. When you play quarterback and you leave some throws out there on the field or you make a couple interceptions, that is hard on young men. He took that very hard. I was just proud of the way he bounced back and competed. It’s just Frank. At the end of the day, that is something we can’t ever forget. The quarterback’s job is to lead his team to victory. That is his job. By one point, it doesn’t matter, it still goes in the left column of the win column. That is what is most important.”
On Frank Harris struggling at the beginning of the game against LA Tech â¦Â
“I don’t want to make excuses for him because he knows what he has to do. He needs to play consistently and get reps. It is hard when you have had to miss the amount of time he has missed. I think the more he plays, the better he will get. Just like with any quarterback, he just has to keep getting plays. Every time you play a defense, they are a little different. Personnel is different, their schemes are a little bit different, and the only way you get that is by actually playing the game. There is no other position harder to play in all of the sports than that one. You need to go play it a lot. That is how you get good at it.”
On takeaways from FAU’s games played this season â¦Â
“We can tell they are used to winning. The kids play very hard. Defensively, they are physical and right under the football. Offensively, it always starts with everybody’s quarterback, and they have a good quarterback and good skill kids. You can just tell you are playing a team that is used to winning. That is what I see when you watch video. You have to look like a winner and act like a winner before you can ever be a winner, and you can tell FAU has won a lot of games.”Â
On how to look like a winner on the field â¦Â
“The way they carry themselves. The way the kids have confidence. The way they run around. You can watch video, and when it looks like a bunch of ants scurrying around everybody real fast, you can tell those kids are used to playing hard and winning ball games. That is what FAU looks like, a bunch of kids that are used to winning ball games.”Â
On overall impression of Conference USA in the West division â¦Â
“I don’t ever look. I have got chapter eight with FAU written on it. I don’t look it up. I wouldn’t know one standing from anybody. I don’t even know anybody’s record. I know a lot about FAU, but that is about where I would be. That would be the last thing I would be able to comment on. No coach talk, I have not looked it up.”Â
On if there has been any concern playing FAU after the team’s issues with COVID-19 â¦Â
“I am concerned on our end. I was concerned this morning about the (our) test. I am always nervous about that test. I think anybody in college football this year is worried about every game. I have said this before, when I put my headphones on and I see the ball in the air, I say to my coaches each week, ‘Well, we are playing again this week, boys.’ I think we are only one of two teams that has played every game straight through. We are blessed we have played as much as we have.”Â
On how Sincere McCormick has been able to help establish a symbol for the team in Texas â¦Â
“It has been huge. There are so many, though. Marcus Davenport has been very supportive of us. If you follow him on Twitter, he has been keeping up with us. My son coaches for the Saints, so Jordan (Traylor) gets to talk to Marcus all the time. I actually put him on my Twitter this morning about why leave the 210. You can get everything you want, if you want to get to the National Football League, but yet build your own brand in your own city. That is what Sincere McCormick believes as well. He talked to me about it yesterday, how him, Rashad (Wisdom), Frank (Harris), Spencer (Burford), Hunter Duplessis, those guys take great pride and they chose to stay in the city. They can tell we are building something. They can tell we are moving this thing in the right direction. Coach (Kevin) Brown, who I hired as our Director of Football Operations, was one of the original coaches here. He speaks of that Original 18 all the time. Those original 18 kids that helped build this thing from the very beginning. It is very rare that you get an opportunity to really build a football program. The bloodhounds of college football have been around for 100 years, where here you are really getting to build it. Sincere, Marcus Davenport, Rashad Wisdom, they take great pride in that. That is really why we wanted that 210 brand that we speak of all the time, the Triangle of Toughness. We are going to make a big deal of that in the new facility we are building right now. Those single digit numbers, the 210, are always going to be something important here at this place. Sincere is all about that.”Â
On getting Spencer Burford back on the offensive line against LA Tech â¦Â
“Whenever you lose your left tackle, it was painful to go through. It is not such a knock on any individual, we just can’t keep the same five out there for communication purposes. We had a lot of miscommunication from playing so many kids, and I am not making it sound bad for my kids. We would just like to get some consistency there, so I am very proud of all of those kids who keep stepping in there each week. I am a huge Cowboys fan, and you can see what that looks like when you change that lineup up a bunch. It can get really scary up there. That is where the game is. We watch the football so much. If you don’t watch the ball, that is where the game is won and lost.”
On what Sincere McCormick’s talent says about the undervalued talent from Texas â¦Â
“That is why I am so excited about the job. I think San Antonio is one of the most underrecruited areas in our state. We plan on starting here, and that is where a majority of our roster is going to come from. When I took the job, we had 11 on our roster. We are up to 25 right now. I know I have said this a lot, but I am a simple creature. We are going to try to have five to seven every year we sign. We are going to try to get five to seven walk-ons from this area every year, so if we can get 10, 12 or 14 kids each year on our roster from the 210 and they are really good players, that Alamodome is going to fill up pretty quick. The community is going to come watch them because there will be more people tied to them. We didn’t know we were going to be on national TV seven times in a row in a year of the pandemic, which has hurt our crowd tremendously, and hopefully we stay on national TV. They would rather come down to a 2:30 kick, maybe have a good concert after the game in the Alamodome, cruise on over to the Riverwalk, have a glass of sweet tea, some salsa and chips, I would sign up for that. We are going to recruit for that and try to get our city excited about the brand of ball we play. We have some homegrown kids, and the future here is extremely exciting. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
On how the return of Tykee Ogle-Kellogg helped the offense â¦Â
“I am just so proud of him. Culture speak again, he has really bought in. He has just done a lot of much better work off the field which got him rewarded to get on the field. His ability to play football has never been a question. His nickname is “Potential.” I call him that all the time because we know the definition of potential around here if everything that you are not. Tykee is tired of hearing me say that, and I challenge him every day about it. Every single day in the stretch line I will say, ‘What’s up, Potential?’ He does not like it. I love the young man, and I want him to be all that he can be. He could bring something very special to our team. I think we have him moving in the right direction. He won the Triangle of Toughness award this week, which is a prestigious honor around here. I hope chapter eight for him in the book is even better than chapter seven was.”
On what Tykee Ogle-Kellogg can do off the field to meet the standard of culture â¦Â
“Discipline and taking care of the little things. If you take care of the little things in life, the big things will take care of themselves. He just has to take care of the little things. The devil is in the details. When you are that age, that if tough to swallow. I didn’t like learning it, and luckily I had some guys who stuck by me and mentored me through some of those times in my life. We want to be that for these young men as well.”
On how Tykee Ogle-Kellogg’s height on the offense can help â¦Â
“No doubt he is large, but his run after catch is also really good for a man his size. That is also an element. Do you want to walk up and press him and then throw the ball up to him, but when you (line up) off of him in cushion, he has the ability to break the route or use a stiff arm to pick up an extra 15 to 20 yards. There is no doubt. We feel good about our receiving corps. Josh Cephus continues to play well, as does Zakhari (Franklin), so (Tykee Ogle-Kellogg) just adds another weapon out there. We know we can run the ball well. We have to expand on our passing game and continue to get better at throwing the ball down the field. Let’s get some of those easier touchdowns instead of those 12 and 13 play drives.”
In this week’s top stories: The iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPad Air 4 are here, plus iOS 14.1 details, new HomePod features, and much more. Read on for all of this week’s top stories.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are now available, and early reviews and hands-on coverage are rolling out.
The general consensus in the reviews seems to be that for most people, the iPhone 12 is the best option, offering an OLED screen, camera upgrades, and an all-new design. The iPhone 12 Pro appears to struggle to justify its $200 premium, and in fact, many reviewers actually like the aluminum design of the iPhone 12 better than the stainless steel design of the iPhone 12 Pro.
To accommodate iPhone 12 launch season during the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple is significantly expanding its new Express Storefront pickup service. This helps safely serve customers for pickups and support appointments. Stores with the Express format include a temporary wall at their entrance or a kiosk outside, product display shelving, and sales counters with plexiglass shields. You can learn more here.
Meanwhile, the new iPad Air is also now available. It starts at $599 and includes a design similar to the iPad Pro, alongside the A14 Bionic processor and Touch ID in the power button.
Reviewers seem to agree that the new iPad Air is not only likely the best iPad for most people, but it’s also the best value in the iPad lineup. It offers a similar design and features as the iPad Pro, despite starting at a lower price of $599. You also still get compatibility with Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil accessories.
Finally, Apple this week released iOS 14.1 to the general public. iOS 14.1 brings support for 10-bit HDR video playback and editing in the Photos app for the iPhone 8 and later This comes as the iPhone 12 adds support for recording videos in 10-bit HDR quality.
In addition to 10-bit HDR support, iOS 14.1 also addresses several issues related to home screen widgets and Apple Music. Learn more in our full guide here.
These and the rest of this week’s top stories below.
iOS 14 |
Apple Watch |
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As a team, Tech finished the morning round at a 10-over-par 298 and followed with a 5-over card in the afternoon to build a five-stroke lead over second-place Baylor. Tech, which enters the final round with the tournament lead for the first time this season, controls a 12-stroke advantage over host Oklahoma State in third place and a 15-stroke lead over North Texas in fourth.
Gala Dumez, who opened with a 1-over 73 and then followed with an even-par 72, sits in third place overall individually. Dumez dropped a combined eight birdies on the day after sinking four in each round.
Anna Dong and Sofia Garcia were right behind as they both finished tied for fourth place. Dong wrapped the day at 2-over with a 3-over 75 in round one and a 1-under 71 later in the day. Garcia signed for back-to-back rounds at a 1-over 73.
Amy Taylor also ranks tied for 26th on the individual leaderboard at 13-over for the tournament, while Cecilie Nielsen is at 17-over and in a tie for 37th place. Pyrene Delample, playing as an individual, sits in 49th place at 32-over.
Tech is set to tee off Friday’s final round with an 8:45 a.m. shotgun start. Live results can be found throughout the day at Golfstat.com.
It’s usually a good day when 3? of your players finish among the top-5? individuals.
— Texas Tech Women’s Golf (@TexasTechWGolf) October 22, 2020
The CFTC wants futures commission merchants to take care when dealing with customer’s funds.
A high tech coffee table: Local startup Touchwood Labs wants to put digital interfaces on ordinary surfaces – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A high tech coffee table: Local startup Touchwood Labs wants to put digital interfaces on ordinary surfaces Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
THE FLATS – The NBA Finals finished less than a week ago at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, and all of the former Yellow Jackets in pro basketball are in off-season mode … Derrick Favors is a free agent, Thaddeus Young and Josh Okogie have completed off-season workouts with the Bulls and Timberwolves, respectively.
This week’s #ProJackets Report compiles more of the latest news, stories and social media posts on former Jackets and their activities of the past week.
OKOGIE ON REPRESENTING NIGERIA
Born in Nigeria, Josh Okogie was selected 20th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2018 NBA Draft. Okogie plays for the Nigerian national basketball team and was named a member of the World Team for the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge.
In the latest episode of NBA Africa Game Time, Okogie reflects on the evolution of his career, the current pandemic, social justice and talks about how he plans on becoming a bigger offensive threat for the upcoming season.
CAN OKOGIE AND CULVER FIT IN WOLVES ROSTER?
From the Dane Moore NBA podcast: As the Timberwolves roster is currently constructed, Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver are critical pieces to whatever Gersson Rosas and Ryan Saunders are building. Obviously, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are at the top of the Wolves food chain, but right behind them, it’s Okogie and Culver. Towns and Russell are the max contract guys, Okogie and Culver are the past two first round picks. It’s kind of that simple.
Note: Okogie is signed through 2020-21 with team option ($2,771,040 in 2020-21; $4,272,944 team option for 2021-22; $6,123,128 qualifying offer for 2022-23).
READ MORE AND LISTEN TO PODCAST
GEORGES-HUNT SIGNS WITH NEW TEAM IN CHINA
Former NBA guard Marcus Georges-Hunt is signing with the Jiangsu Dragons of the CBA, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports. Georges-Hunt also spent last season in China with Guangzhou, averaging 24.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg and 3.6 apg. He lasted appeared in the NBA with the Timberwolves during the 2017-18 season, when he came off the bench in 42 games.
SBNation profiles Georges-Hunt’s career overseas.
BOSH APPEARS ON YAHOO FINANCE
Two-time NBA Champion Chris Bosh joins Yahoo Finance’s Akiko Fujita to discuss the 2020 NBA Finals, LeBron James’ legacy, and life after basketball.
#PROJACKETS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I’ll just say it up front, so I don’t sound like I’m hawking a mixtape: I dropped a single this week.
If you’re reading this, you probably know that my retirement happened fast. I don’t talk much about it, but I’ll be honest:
I had no idea what to do. https://t.co/Sw1Mkh9Jl3
— Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) October 9, 2020
“He’s being humble. What I watched LeBron & Dwyane do, I haven’t seen anything like it since.” pic.twitter.com/4Cd7A1VFI8
— Club Shay Shay (@ClubShayShay) October 13, 2020
— Jeannie Lightsey (@JeannieLightsey) October 12, 2020
— Swish Cultures (@swishcultures_) October 7, 2020
Great day, on the Rooftop working. SideLineShorty pic.twitter.com/aVJdhpDwaQ
— Dennis 3D Scott (@Dennis3DScott) October 14, 2020
— Dennis 3D Scott (@Dennis3DScott) October 10, 2020
Bitcoin bounced close to $11,600 before retreating a bit while ether options traders are less active than they were in September.
- Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $11,552 as of 20:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Gaining 1.7% over the previous 24 hours.
- Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $11,186-$11,598
- BTC is above its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, a bullish signal for market technicians.
After a flat weekend that saw the world’s oldest cryptocurrency stick to a tight $11,300-$11,400 range, bitcoin’s price jumped Monday as high as $11,598 before settling to $11,552 as of press time.
Read More: Bitcoin and Ether Rally After Grayscale’s ETH Trust Becomes SEC-Reporting
In its weekly investor note, quant trading firm QCP Capital put bitcoin’s technical support at $10,500, with any point above positive for the overall market due to payments firm Square buying $50 million in bitcoin. It has stayed above that level comfortably since Oct. 2.
”Last week Square’s purchase put a nice floor in BTC right at the key trendline and 10,500 level, with their average purchase price being $10,617 for 4,709 BTC,” the QCP note read. “Square’s purchase and effective lobbying of other corporate treasury desks through their white paper will give people confidence that a five-digit BTC price will be sustainable.”
On the macroeconomic front, global stock markets are anxiously awaiting further economic stimulus in the face of an increasing number of coronavirus cases, said Rupert Douglas, head of institutional sales for broker Koine. Equities traders want another round of stimulus as well as a weaker dollar, which supports gold, silver and bitcoin, too, he added.
Indeed, since Sept. 25, the U.S. Dollar Index, a measure of a basket of fiat currencies versus the greenback, has been flat, in the red 0.01% Monday at press time.
“Macroeconomic news and markets have been mostly positive across the globe, with equities up 2%-3% last week,” said Jason Lau, chief operating officer for cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin. He also noted that funding rates have been mostly positive the past three days, indicating traders are mostly paying for margin to go long in the bitcoin market.
“Positive funding rates in the BTC futures markets and recent large corporate purchases, for example Square, have also increased short term bullish sentiment in line with traditional markets leading into year end,” Lau added.
Ether options open interest lower in October
Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was up Monday trading around $387 and climbing 4% in 24 hours as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).
Prices jumped nearly 4% several hours after digital currency asset manager Grayscale announced its Ethereum Trust has become a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-reporting company. Grayscale is owned by CoinDesk’s parent company, Digital Currency Group
Read More: DeFi Project Aave Raises $25M From Blockchain.com and Other Investors
In the options market, after a record September for open interest on derivatives venue Deribit, October’s volume is much lower. In the first 10 days of September, ether options open interest averaged $425 million. For the first 10 days of October, that average was down 18% to $346 million.
Despite a mostly bullish run for ether to start October, options traders are less interested in placing bets on Deribit, which is the largest ether options venue. Vishal Shah, an options trader and founder of derivatives exchange Alpha5, says a decline in DeFi interest this month may be the culprit for open interest dipping. “I think, without over-analyzing it, DeFi has fizzled a touch, naturally reducing the need for ETH optionality on the margin,” he said.
Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly green Monday. Notable winners as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):
One notable loser as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):
Read More: UK Crypto Derivatives Ban Seen Having Limited Effect on Small Market
- Oil was down 2.6%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $39.49.
- Gold was in the red 0.32% and at $1,923 as of press time.
- U.S. Treasury bond yields were flat or slightly in the red Monday. Yields, which move in the opposite direction as price, were down most on the 10-year, dipping to 0.775 and slipping 0.63%.
The government has done a deal over facial recognition technology that throws access to it wide open.
The government has done a deal over facial recognition technology that throws access to it wide open.
The Department of Internal Affairs has signed a master agreement with a leading global biometrics tech supplier that just about any organisation, public or private, can be allowed to join.
Documents released under the Official Information Act show the master deal was signed with the New Zealand subsidiary of the $20-billion-a-year US giant DXC Technology. The company is part of the Tysons food conglomerate.
The agreement was signed in December 2018, though it has taken until now for the department to get its new DXC-managed system running.
The deal is far-ranging, dreamt up by Internal Affairs in mid-2017, signed off by the minister, and is now open to:
- many public agencies have automatic access, or local councils can opt in
- other public agencies can ask to join
- any private organisation can seek approval to join, from Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Other agencies that join the master deal will still have to pay DXC Technology to set up and manage a facial recognition system for them, but it removes the extra initial costs and demands for expertise in tendering and initial contracting.
DXC Technology also provides the system and upgrades to it, so agencies pay it for a service and don’t face capital costs themselves.
The company uses the vastly powerful Neoface software from Japanese firm NEC – the same software as in the police’s brand new system – which is designed and marketed by NEC primarily for investigations and surveillance work.
“NEC Neoface Reveal is a game changer for law enforcement and criminal agencies,” NEC says.
The master deal encourages the proliferation of facial recognition but also allows agencies to sign up without the visibility of running a public tender.
“The department chose [the] arrangement to enable any other interested agencies to procure facial recognition services without the need to incur the cost of going to market to secure similar services,” DIA general manager of operations, Russell Burnard told RNZ in a statement.
So far no other agencies have signed up.
However, the aim to expand the use of biometrics for multiple uses by Crown agencies is clear in documents obtained under the Official Information Act from Internal Affairs, the police and others.
“The business outcome… is to deliver a fit-for-purpose and supported Facial Recognition Solution that will increase productivity, reduce cost and extend the capability across and beyond” the Service Delivery and Operations branch, said a privacy assessment of the DXC system by Internal Affairs.
Police tender documents show they sought out a system that could be used in the future to import drivers’ licence and passport photos, and masses more facial images than currently, though police deny they will use their Dataworks Plus-NEC system for that.
The European Union is pushing to establish global standards around facial recognition, but in this country there has been a limited push to encourage debate or secure a public mandate for exposing people to more facial recognition.
Biometrics includes facial recognition, fingerprints and iris scanning, image collection and identification. And the latest feature to be analysed is individual walking style, in response to so many people wearing pandemic masks.
The DXC system about to go live at Internal Affairs would essentially do the same thing as the old tech that ran out of supplier support in 2017, the department said.
However, instead of the department managing the passport photos and data for 4.5 million people, with help from Datacom, now a private company, DXC Technology’s local subsidiary Enterprise Services New Zealand, will do it.
Also, the new system will have more of each person’s biometric and biographic data in it.
It does not change how or what information is collected, or how long it is held – which is 50 years.
Many of the systems target fraudsters.
Internal Affairs listed eight controls within the master contract to monitor and prevent misuse of people’s personal data, such as not letting DXC use the data “for its own purposes”; and letting the department audit the operations.
It uses facial recognition to compare passport photos with a database to ensure an applicant does not have multiple identities.
Internal Affairs assessed the privacy risks in January this year, more than a year after the master deal was signed, but while it was still negotiating over its own system with DXC.
The assessment was released under the Official Information Act – it was not publicly available on the department website.
The report shows that out of five risk categories, two scored high risk, and one medium.
That meets the department’s own criteria for ordering a full privacy impact assessment, stated as: “Sensitive personal information is involved, and several medium to high risks have been identified.”
But a full Privacy Impact Assessment was not done.
The department discussed this with the Privacy Commissioner.
The two high risks identified are:
- the scale of the data – “the aggregate is enormous”
- the sensitivity of the personal data
“If biometric ID is compromised it cannot be repaired,” the report noted.
It was an “entirely new system (even though it is performing the same functions as the previous system)”, and was “a substantial change to an existing policy, process or system that involves personal information”, the documents noted.
Yet, previously Internal Affairs told RNZ the DXC system was merely a “replacement”, and this was a key factor in it not informing the public.
“There is no sharing or matching of personal information held by different organisations, or currently held in different datasets,” it said
Under government procurement rules it did not have to tell the public, Russell Burnard said.
The master deal was entirely in line with government policy to encourage such cost-cutting deals, he added.
The master deal is not needed by agencies with their own biometrics system, such as police and Immigration New Zealand, though Internal Affairs ran the idea past some of them in 2017, specifically the Transport Agency, Police, Customs, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Immigration – a part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – spent $1.5m in the last financial year expanding a visa processing system that’s cost $6m for facial recognition since 2016, according to an Immigration statement to RNZ.
There is a lack of reliable and readily available information about the expansion of facial recognition in this country, coupled with conflicting claims about the aims of facial recognition expansion, even among partners.
Daon, and major Irish tech company, is expanding a second biometrics system that Internal Affairs uses to ensure applicants for a RealMe account to deal with government and businesses are real people.
In a case study published online, Daon claimed that it would be able to assist Internal Affairs to realise its hope of “eliminating” human review of biometric data “altogether in the future, saving time and money”. At the moment staff review some images. Its pioneering work in areas like “policy-driven configurable facial black lists and web and mobile behavioural biometrics” would enable this, it said.
But the Department of Internal Affairs denied this.
“We can confirm that Daon has overstated the extent of the research and development work they are undertaking that relates to DIA,” the department’s General Manager of Partners and Products, David Philp, told RNZ in a statement.
“Daon continues to develop facial liveness testing techniques, and when available we are likely to introduce updated liveness software that we expect will be more accurate, and importantly customers will find easier to use.
“This work has nothing to do with policy-driven configurable facial black lists, or web and mobile behavioural biometrics.”
MBIE also uses Daon to help run its IDme system.
Its Enroll software was used to “capture biometric and biographic identity information, and capture scans of all supporting documentation”.