August 4, 2015

Search Results for: ann

CUC announces declaration of dividend on Class A ordinary shares

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 12.52.19 PMCARIBBEAN UTILITIES COMPANY, LTD. CLASS A ORDINARY SHARES ARE LISTED FOR TRADING IN UNITED STATES FUNDS ON THE TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands- Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. (TSX:CUP.U) (“CUC” or “the Company”) announced today that the Board of Directors has declared a dividend of US$0.165 per Class A Ordinary Share, or an annualized dividend of US$0.66 per share. The dividend will be payable September 15, 2015 to shareholders of record September 2, 2015.

CUC provides electricity to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, under a non-exclusive Electricity Generation Licence expiring in 2039 and an exclusive Electricity Transmission and Distribution Licence expiring in 2028. Further information is available at www.cuc-cayman.com.

Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. (“CUC” or “the Company”), on occasion, includes forward-looking statements in its media releases, Canadian securities regulatory authorities filings, shareholder reports and other communications. Forward-looking statements include statements that are predictive in nature, depend upon future events or conditions, or include words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “plan”, “believes”, “estimates”, “intends”, “targets”, “projects”, “forecasts”, “schedule”, or negative versions thereof and other similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “would” and “could”. Forward- looking statements are based on underlying assumptions and management’s beliefs, estimates and opinions, and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally that may cause actual results to vary from plans, targets and estimates. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to operational, general economic, market and business conditions, regulatory developments and weather conditions. CUC cautions readers that actual results may vary significantly from those expected should certain risks or uncertainties materialize or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect. Forward-looking statements are provided for the purpose of providing information about management’s current expectations and plans relating to the future. Readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise except as required by law.

Contact: Letitia Lawrence
Vice-President Finance & C.F.O.

Phone: (345) 949-5200
Fax: (345) 949-4621

Pin It

Smoking cannabis is more dangerous for MEN

2AEE40D200000578-3178483-The_NHS_recognises_a_common_cause_of_the_mental_health_issue_whi-a-19_1438165491887By Lizzie Parry for MailOnline

Drug is ‘four times more likely to trigger psychosis in males than females’, experts warn

Gender difference between cannabis use and psychotic episodes explored
Study: Male users are four times more likely to suffer illness than females
Twice as many men as women are known to regularly use marijuana
Investigation has implications for potential gender-specific treatments

Smoking cannabis is more dangerous for men, scientists have discovered.

When it comes to the drug’s mind-altering effects, researchers at the University of York say their new study reveals males are more sensitive to mental health symptoms.

Past research has examined the relationship between marijuana – the most widely used illicit drug in the UK – and psychosis.

2AEE401700000578-3178483-Male_cannabis_users_are_four_times_as_likely_as_female_users_of_-a-18_1438165454919However the role of gender in relation to the drug’s mental health effects is less well understood.

Psychosis is a mental health problem that causes sufferer’s to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them.

The condition can trigger hallucinations where a person hears, sees, and in some cases, feels, smells or tastes things that are not there.

And delusions, where a person believes things that, when examined rationally, are obviously untrue, are also a common symptom.

The NHS states that common triggers of psychosis include traumatic experiences, drug and alcohol misuse, brain tumours as well as other mental health issues, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression.

Health scientists investigating the link drew on key literature, as well as detailed analyses of data regarding admissions for cannabis psychosis across the NHS over an 11-year period.

They drew the data from the British Crime Survey as well as regularly published Hospital Episode Statistics.

In addition, epidemiological studies were reviewed to compare gender differences.

Trends in cannabis use suggest that twice as many men as women use the drug.

And the gender disparity is mirrored in the rates of psychosis, where males outnumber females 2:1.

But the research team, led by Ian Hamilton, Dr Paul Galdas and Dr Holly Essex, found there is a significant widening of this ratio when it comes to psychosis specifically induced by cannabis use.

There, the figures reveal males outnumber females by four to one.

However it is not clear why the male brain appears to be more susceptible to the effects of cannabis.

Mr Hamilton said: ‘The marked gender differences in rates of cannabis psychosis is puzzling.

‘It is possible that mental health and specialist drug treatment services, which have a disproportionate number of men, are identifying and treating more males with combined mental health and cannabis problems.

‘However, it is also possible that women with cannabis psychosis are not being identified and offered treatment for the problems they develop.’

‘When it comes to cannabis psychosis gender does matter,’ he added.

The researchers said their focus on gender differences is important to help improve understanding and the provision of gender sensitive services.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists note that even though cannabis use can result in relaxation, if large amounts are consumed, it can have the ‘opposite effect by increasing anxiety’.

The Royal College states: ‘Some cannabis users may have unpleasant experiences including confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia, depending on their mood and circumstances.

‘Some users may experience psychotic symptoms with hallucinations and delusions lasting a few hours, which can be very unpleasant.’

The study is published in the Journal of Advances in Dual Diagnosis.

IMAGES:
Male cannabis users are four times as likely as female users of the drug to suffer psychosis, experts warn
The NHS recognises that drug and alcohol misuse is a common cause of psychosis, which can cause hallucinations and delusions
The NHS recognises that drug and alcohol misuse is a common cause of psychosis, which can cause hallucinations and delusions
For more on this story go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3178483/Smoking-cannabis-dangerous-MEN-Drug-likely-trigger-psychosis-males-females-experts-warn.html#ixzz3haCSIYKH

Pin It

Surge in Cayman Islands development reflected in planning law changes

Kimpton-472x200By Stuart Rowe From Walkers Global

The process for obtaining planning permission for development of property in the Cayman Islands has been updated as a result of the latest revision of the Development and Planning Law and accompanying regulations (July 2015).

The update in legislation aims to increase the efficiency of the Central Planning Authority (“the CPA”) by formally recognising the role of a Deputy Chairman of the CPA, as well as allowing the Director of Planning, previously required to attend all meetings of the CPA, to send a delegate in his or her absence. Both changes will allow the CPA to meet with greater frequency and reflect the trend of increased real estate development activity in the islands.

The new legislation has also formalised the CPA’s discretion in respect of factors it must consider regarding major developments such as hotels, apartments and commercial and industrial developments over a certain size. The accompanying Development and Planning Regulations have also been updated to address some frequently raised issues around the interpretation of setbacks and heights of certain types of buildings, as well as recognising the new designated hotel and tourism development zone in the Beach Bay area of Lower Valley on the southern coast of Grand Cayman.

The Walkers real estate group provides advice on a wide range of commercial and residential development matters. For more information, please contact Stuart Rowe.

T +1 345 814 4644

Stuart.Rowe@walkersglobal.com

SOURCE: http://www.walkersglobal.com/Pages/News.aspx?News=702

END

IMAGE: www.dartrealtycayman.com

Pin It

Cayman Islands Government announces District Meetings for the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2015

PrintThe Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs and the Department of Labour & Pensions has released the Labour Relations Bill, 2015 and the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2015 for public consultation. These Bills can both be accessed on the Ministry’s website at the direct link: www.education.gov.ky/labourpensions.

As part of the public consultation process, the Ministry and Department have been holding a series of district meetings to give the public an opportunity to discuss the bills and raise any concerns or questions they may have.

The district meetings for the Labour Relations Bill, 2015 were held in July and are now complete. The Cayman Brac district meeting was a joint meeting for both Bills and was held on Saturday 18th July, 2015.

In August, the Ministry and Department will host meetings on the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2015 in Grand Cayman. These meetings will begin in North Side at the Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre on Monday 3rd August at 8:00pm. Bodden Town’s meeting will be on Thursday 6th August in the Savannah Primary School Hall beginning at 7:30pm. Then on Monday 10th August the East End meeting will be held at the William Allen McLaughlin Civic Centre at 8:00pm. West Bay’s meeting will be in the Shirley Kidd Memorial Hall at the Sir John A. Cumber Primary School on Wednesday 12th August and the final meeting will be in George Town at the Town Hall on Thursday 13th August. Both the West Bay and George Town meetings will begin at 7:30pm.

All members of the public are invited to attend these meetings and be a part of this public consultation process. The public can also give their feedback on both the Labour Relations Bill and National Pensions (Amendment) Bill via email to the Ministry and Department by emailing lpl@gov.ky no later than the 31st August 2015.

For more information on the district meetings and on the Labour Relations Bill, 2015 and National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2015 please visit www.education.gov.ky/labourpensions.

Attachment:

District Meeting Schedule for the public consultation on the National (Pensions) Amendment Bill, 2015

Print

Pin It

Cayman Islands utilities provider announces decrease in earnings

IMG_5825-CUC-197x300CUC announces Second Quarter Results for the period ended June 30, 2015

Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. is listed for trading in United States dollars on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands, July 31, 2015 /CNW/ – Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. (TSX: CUP.U) (“CUC” or “the Company”) announced today its unaudited results for the Second Quarter ended June 30, 2015 (all figures in United States dollars).

Net earnings for the three months ended June 30, 2015 (“Second Quarter 2015″) totalled $5.5 million, a decrease of $0.2 million when compared to net earnings of $5.7 million for the three months ended June 30, 2014 (“Second Quarter 2014″).

Net earnings for the six months ended June 30, 2015 totalled $8.8 million, a decrease of $0.4 million when compared to net earnings of $9.2 million for the six months ended June 30, 2014.

These decreases in earnings were due mainly to higher depreciation, transmission and distribution and temporary generation rental costs, partially offset by higher electricity sales revenues and other income.

After the adjustment for dividends on the preference shares of the Company, earnings on Class A Ordinary Shares for the Second Quarter 2015 were $5.4 million, or $0.17 per Class A Ordinary Share, compared to earnings on Class A Ordinary Shares of $5.6 million or $0.20 per Class A Ordinary Share for the Second Quarter 2014.

After the adjustment for dividends on the preference shares of the Company, earnings on Class A Ordinary Shares for the six months ended June 30, 2015 were $8.6 million, or $0.28 per Class A Ordinary Share, compared to earnings on Class A Ordinary Shares of $9.0 million or $0.31 per Class A Ordinary Share for the six months ended June 30th 2014.

These decreases in earnings per Class A Ordinary Share were due to lower earnings and an increase in the weighted average number of Class A Ordinary Shares.

During the Second Quarter 2015, the Company successfully completed a Rights Offering raising gross proceeds of $31.6 million through the issuance of 2,930,700 Class A Ordinary Shares. The Rights Offering also increased the weighted average number of Class A Ordinary Shares used to calculate the earnings per Class A Ordinary Share for the Second Quarter 2015 to 30,283,909 when compared to 29,105,771 for the Second Quarter 2014. For the six months ended June 30th 2015, the weighted average number of Class A Ordinary Shares increased to 31,029,896 when compared to 29,120,811 for the six months ended June 30th 2014.

Sales for the Second Quarter 2015 totalled 146.0 million kilowatt hours (“kWh”), an increase of 1.5 million kWh in comparison to 144.5 million kWh for the Second Quarter 2014. This was driven primarily by growth in commercial customer sales.

Sales for the six months ended June 30, 2015 totalled 275.0 million kWh, a decrease of 0.2 million kWh in comparison to 275.2 million kWh for the six months ended June 30, 2014. The average monthly temperature for the first six months of 2015 was 81.3 degrees Fahrenheit as compared to an average monthly temperature of 81.5 degrees for the first six months of 2014. Cooler temperatures reduce air conditioning load which can negatively impact the Company’s sales.

Total customers as at June 30, 2015 were 28,008, an increase of 2%, compared to 27,462 customers as at June 30, 2014.

The Company’s reliability of service as measured by the Average Service Availability Index was recorded at 99.95% for the Second Quarter of 2015 with customers experiencing, on average, less than one outage for the quarter lasting approximately one hour.

Capital expenditures for the three months ended June 30, 2015 totalled $14.0 million, an 87% increase when compared to capital expenditures of $7.5 million for the three months ended June 30, 2014. This increase was driven primarily by the Company’s ongoing investment in its new generating plant.

Work on the Company’s new Power House building is progressing as planned. The project is on track for the handover of the first generating unit on May 1, 2016 and the second generating unit and steam turbine will be handed over on June 1, 2016. When completed, CUC will have an additional 39.7 megawatts (“MW”) of diesel power including a 2.7 MW waste heat recovery steam turbine. The project cost is estimated at US$85 million.

President and CEO, Mr. Richard Hew, says, “I am pleased with the overall results recorded during the Second Quarter 2015. The successful completion of the Rights Offering and the progress being made on the construction of our new power house are positive indications that we will have a strong financial base and a stable and efficient power supply to provide excellent customer service to our current and growing customer base in the summer of 2016 and beyond.”

The Consumer-Owned Renewable Energy Generation (“CORE”) programme which allows consumers to generate energy from renewable sources and be compensated through stable, long-term rates continues to attract participants. During the Second Quarter 2015, 26 customers were connected with 334 kilowatts (“kw”) of renewable capacity.

The CORE programme allows customers to connect small scale solar systems or wind turbines to CUC’s distribution system and to reduce their monthly energy bills by generating their own electricity while remaining connected to the CUC grid. Total capacity connected under the CORE programme is estimated at 2,910 kiloWatts.

CUC’s Second Quarter results and related Management’s Discussion and Analysis (“MD&A”) for the period ended June 30, 2015 are attached to this release and incorporated by reference. They can be accessed by clicking the link at the end of this release.

The MD&A section of this report contains a discussion of CUC’s unaudited 2015 Second Quarter results, the Cayman Islands economy, liquidity and capital resources, capital expenditures and the business risks facing the Company. The release and Second Quarter MD&A can be accessed at www.cuc-cayman.com (Investor Relations/Press Releases) and at www.sedar.com.

CUC provides electricity to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, under an Electricity Generation Licence expiring in 2039 and an exclusive Electricity Transmission and Distribution Licence expiring in 2028. Further information is available at www.cuc-cayman.com.

Certain statements in the MD&A, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements concerning anticipated future events, results, circumstances, performance or expectations with respect to the Company and its operations, including its strategy and financial performance and condition.

Forward looking statements include statements that are predictive in nature, depend upon future events or conditions, or include words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “plan”, “believes”, “estimates”, “intends”, “targets”, “projects”, “forecasts”, “schedule”, or negative versions thereof and other similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “would” and “could”. Forward looking statements are based on underlying assumptions and management’s beliefs, estimates and opinions, and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally that may cause actual results to vary from plans, targets and estimates. Some of the important risks and uncertainties that could affect forward looking statements are described in the MD&A in the section labeled “Business Risks” and include but are not limited to operational, general economic, market and business conditions, regulatory developments and weather. CUC cautions readers that actual results may vary significantly from those expected should certain risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect. Forward-looking statements are provided for the purpose of providing information about management’s current expectations and plans relating to the future. Readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise except as required by law.

SOURCE Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd.

PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2015/07/31/20150731_C5552_PDF_EN_468024.pdf

image: http://rt.newswire.ca/rt.gif?NewsItemId=C5552&Transmission_Id=201507311923CANADANWCANADAPR_C5552&DateId=20150731

Letitia Lawrence – Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Phone: (345) 914-1124, E-Mail: llawrence@cuc.kyCopyright CNW Group 2015
Canada Newswire
July 31, 2015 – 7:23 PM EDT

Read more at http://www.stockhouse.com/news/press-releases/2015/07/31/cuc-announces-second-quarter-results-for-the-period-ended-june-30-2015#hSC7oUZMVrwSbDYD.99

Pin It

Cayman Islands: Walkers Professional Services welcomes Steven Manning into its fiduciary team

Steven Manning

Steven Manning

Grand Cayman – Walkers Professional Services is pleased to announce the recruitment of Steven Manning as Director of its fiduciary services.

Steven has broad fiduciary experience, sitting on the boards of various asset finance and structured finance companies. He specialises in ensuring corporate compliance in US and UK FATCA as well as regulatory issues such as EMIR, ISDA Protocols and the Volcker Rule. Additionally, Steven has tax advisory experience, having worked for KPMG, in international tax for the banking, insurance, aircraft leasing and renewable energy industries.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to be part of this excellent firm and to deliver a fresh and tailored fiduciary service offering to the industry,” Steven Manning was quoted as saying.

Antonia Hardy, Walkers Cayman Office Managing Partner, stated “We are very pleased to welcome Steven into Walkers and into Walkers Professional Services. His experience and expertise in fiduciary, regulatory and tax issues is an excellent addition to the team and will significantly benefit our clients.”

This news follows shortly after Walkers recent release on 21 May 2015 announcing the launch of the new corporate and fiduciary services division, Walkers Professional Services.

For more information, please contact: Antonia Hardy, +1 345 949 0100.

About Walkers

Walkers is a pre-eminent International Financial Centre law firm and professional service provider. From offices in the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dubai, Dublin, Hong Kong, Jersey, London and Singapore, Walkers provides legal, corporate and fiduciary services to global corporations and financial institutions.

Walkers law firm focuses on corporate and finance law with an emphasis on investment funds, private equity, structured products and capital markets. Our firm delivers clear, concise and practical advice based on an in-depth knowledge of the legal, regulatory and commercial environment in the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Ireland and Jersey.

Walkers is experienced in all types of international and cross-border transactions and is committed to developing close working relationships with its clients. Walkers also operates expert groups dedicated to the world’s emerging markets in Latin America, Russia/CIS, China and India, with specialist lawyers experienced in working with clients from these regions.

Please visit www.walkersglobal.com for further information about the Walkers Group.

END

IMAGE: Steve Manning www.walkersglobal.com

Pin It

Defending the last missing pixels: Phil Zimmermann speaks out on encryption, privacy, and avoiding a surveillance state

phil-zBy Steve Ranger From TechRepublic

Since writing the PGP encryption software in the 1990s, Phil Zimmermann has been a key figure in the internet privacy debate. With that argument heating up again, his perspective is more relevant than ever.

Walk into London’s Victoria and Albert museum design, pass the queues admiring the fashionable frocks and rooms full of classical statues, and you’ll come to a glass case. Look inside and you’ll see the remains of a thoroughly trashed MacBook, and, a little down and to the left, a small, black, unblemished smartphone.

The ruined MacBook was owned by the Guardian newspaper and held a copy of the files leaked to the paper by by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, or at least it did until it was destroyed with axle grinders and drills following pressure from the UK government (all of this was pure theatre of course; duplicate copies of the files on the machine existed elsewhere).

blackphoneThe smartphone is better known as the Blackphone, the handset developed by a company called Silent Circle with the purpose of keeping its customers’ conversations as private as possible.

The hard drive and smartphone tell different parts of the same story: how technology is at the heart of the battle over what privacy should, and does, mean in the twenty-first century. The smashed MacBook embodies how governments try (and fail) to contain their secrets (particularly ironic when the secret they want to protect is that they are spying on us) while the smartphone reflects the attempts of individuals to keep their communications private.

The Blackphone is the latest project from Phil Zimmermann. Over the last three decades, Zimmermann has been building encryption technology has ensured the security of countless messages. If you’ve ever had any secrets held about you on a computer—and everybody has secrets, even things as simple as tax records and credit card numbers—there’s a good chance that Zimmermann’s technology has helped keep them secret.

At a recent private viewing of the exhibition that features the Blackphone, Zimmermann pondered what the emergence of whistleblowers like Snowden says about the current state of privacy.

“The moral problems with the behaviour of our intel agencies should give us pause, should get us to step back and question, ‘What are we getting our intel agencies to do?’ We should take another look at this. We should try to restrain them more,” he told the audience.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 10:  Blackphone Event at the Internationals Spy Museum on June 10, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 10: Blackphone Event at the Internationals Spy Museum on June 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

“This has been my motivation for my entire career in cryptography,” he says. “The driving force is the human rights aspect of privacy and cryptography and ubiquitous surveillance, pervasive surveillance… We live in a pervasive surveillance society.”

As he spoke, the radio of one of the watching museum guards squaked briefly and loudly into life, neatly illustrating Zimmermann’s point.

Miss the mortgage, code the crypto
Encryption is the process by which data—be it an email, phonecall, or indeed any digital communication—can be scrambled so that it can only be accessed by the intended recipient.

The debate over online privacy had been going on since the emergence of the internet itself, often centred around the use of encryption, since the technology remains the best way to ensure privacy. After all, modern encryption systems mean it would take a supercomputer thousands of years to break encrypted messages without the key.

SEE: The undercover war on your internet secrets: How online surveillance cracked our trust in the web

Zimmermann has been a central figure in the debate since the start. His work on encryption has always gone hand-in-hand with his privacy activism, as he explained over tea the day before the museum’s private showing.

“If you’re going to do communications on the internet, you pretty much have to do crypto” – Phil Zimmermann

“I can apply my crypto expertise to making a living and that fits nicely with the activism about privacy,” he said. It’s certainly the discussion of privacy that makes him most animated, although, as he notes, “at different times my activism has run in different directions,” adding as an aside: “If I had more time, I’d work on climate change.”

In the 1980s in Boulder, Colorado, he worked as a military policy analyst with the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign while juggling a day job as a software engineer.

2015HL8158During this period he was arrested along with Carl Sagan, Martin Sheen, and Daniel Ellsberg —quite a line-up for a geek dinner party—and 400 others for protesting at a Nevada nuclear weapons test site. It turned out the test they were trying to stop had taken place a couple of days earlier.

As the Cold War began to draw to its close, Zimmermann’s interest in encryption grew as he realised the need for technology to protect private communications both across the world and at home. When the internet was just a hangout for a bunch of early adopters, security and privacy wasn’t that big a deal. As it began to grow, that changed.

“The internet became a more hostile place. In the early days of the internet, it was kind of a nice neighbourhood with well manicured lawns and then it became a blighted neighbourhood so people were more aware they had to be more careful. If you’re going to do communications on the internet, you pretty much have to do crypto to have any expectation of privacy,” he said.

Zimmermann began working on a project, which eventually became Pretty Good Privacy—PGP for short—an email encryption software package. It was published for free on the internet in 1991, and became the most widely used encryption software in the world. Its development wasn’t an easy job, however.
“It was a hard road to get to the release of PGP. I missed five mortgage payments developing the software in the first half of 1991,” Zimmermann wrote on the ten-year anniversary of its debut.

It got worse. When PGP spread worldwide, Zimmermann became the target of a three-year criminal investigation, because the government argued that US export restrictions on cryptographic software had been violated. The government finally dropped the case in 1996.

“It was shortly after PGP 2.0’s release that US Customs took an interest in the case. Little did they realize that they would help propel PGP’s popularity, helping to ignite a controversy that would eventually lead to the demise of the US export restrictions on strong cryptography,” Zimmermann wrote.

That’s because his case, along with a number of other events at the time, created a very public debate about how privacy technologies should be used. The conclusion was that, despite the potential risks that encryption might pose, governments ought not place controls on the technology.

“At the end of the 90s we saw many elements of society were reaching a consensus: that strong crypto was an important technology for ecommerce and civil liberties and privacy and a free society,” Zimmermann said.

Since then, encryption has taken on the same level of importance to the internet as the Force in the Star Wars universe: a mysterious power that surrounds us and binds the internet galaxy together.

When we shop online, it’s encryption that makes sure that your credit card details aren’t being snooped on. When you log into your bank account, it’s encryption that means you can be sure it’s really your bank’s website you are visiting, not a glossy fake. Encrypted databases keep your medical records safe from prying eyes, while encrypted email protects your business proposals, declarations of love, or nude selfies.

PGP is now owned by Symantec, and for the last dozen years Zimmermann has been working on encrypted voice communications protocols, and most recently the creation of a company called Silent Circle. One of the voice encryption standards used by Silent Circle is called ZRTP and as the company’s website puts it bluntly: ‘The Z in ZRTP stands for Zimmermann.”

Silent Circle
Silent Circle launched in October 2012, jointly founded by Zimmerman and Mike Janke, a former Navy SEAL. The company counts 30 of the Global Fortune 50 among its customers, along with journalists, government agencies, and the military. The company recently raised $50m to fuel further growth.

But it’s not your standard tech startup, many of which make their money from slicing, dicing, and reselling information about their customers’ web habits. In contrast, last year Silent Circle moved its headquarters to Geneva—Zimmermann is also based in the Swiss city now—from Canada in search of stronger privacy laws to protect its customers’ information, even from itself.

Originally when they started the company, the intention was just to pursue markets where there were people with a particular need for privacy—like journalists working in war zone—but after the Snowden revelations, “there were a lot more people that could see that there’s a need for this in all kinds of situations,” Zimmermann said.

Talking of Snowden, Zimmermann notes with a certain amount of pride: “Snowden got his hands on some documents that showed some products that [the NSA] had broken the crypto [on]—and none of my stuff was on the list.”

Silent Circle’s Blackphone device runs a security-toughened version of Android it calls PrivatOS. Calls are encrypted end-to-end which means even the company itself can’t hand over the details to anyone. “We have no access to it. None. We can’t disclose what we don’t have access to,” the company says.

Since the V&A exhibition opened, the Blackphone has been added to the collection of a second museum—the International Spy Museum in Washington DC. Its ‘Weapons of Mass Disruption’ gallery explores the challenges facing the intelligence community in the twenty first century.

The idea behind the Blackphone smartphone, and the tablet that followed it, is to provide an even greater level of security than is available with current hardware. The decision to move from software to hardware was in direct response to questions like ‘Is your stuff NSA-proof?’ which make cryptographers uncomfortable, said Zimmermann. That’s because, while their software might work fine on ‘clean’ hardware, when running on a computer infected with malware, the software—no matter how good in theory—could prove useless. “For many years that was our caveat, but it’s better to try to do something about it, [to] see if we can improve the hardware platform,” he said.

The second version of the Blackphone is due out later this year, as is the Blackphone+ tablet. They arrive at a time when the old debates about privacy and surveillance and cryptography are being rerun once more.

The coming debate
Providing secure communications might seem relatively uncontroversial but the consensus built in the 1990s—that encryption is a good thing—is now on the verge of collapsing, with the Snowden documents representing the unexpected catalyst.

Governments are warning again about the dark side of encryption, claiming that it allows criminals to plot in secret because police and intelligence agencies can no longer crack their communications.

Recently, Admiral Mike Rogers, director of the NSA, said: “I certainly have great respect for those that would argue that the most important thing is to ensure the privacy of our citizens and we shouldn’t allow any means for the government to access information. I would argue that’s not in the nation’s best long-term interest.”

Lining up on the other side are the privacy campaigners and even the United Nations which argues that access to encryption is essential to protect basic human rights.

All of this is an issue again because, as a consequence of the revelations from Snowden about the extensive surveillance programmes of the US intelligence agency, more and more companies (Apple, Whatsapp, Silent Circle, and others) are making encrypted communications the standard for their billions of customers.

“All dystopian societies are surveillance societies” – Phil Zimmermann

As a result, politicians and law enforcement agencies have been making louder and louder noises that something must be done about the use of encryption—although they are vague on exactly what actions should be taken. They also generally sidestep the irony that many companies have only turned on encryption because of the massive data collection by the NSA and others.

The NSA is demanding access to encrypted communications and the UK is considering passing a law to enable the same. In contrast, Germany, with a different historical perspective on the dangers of government surveillance, not only allows encryption but positively encourages it.

Considering that Zimmermann has been through the whole encryption debate once and thought it settled, only to see it emerge again like some kind of digital Groundhog Day, he seems surprisingly relaxed and upbeat—at least about this element of the privacy battle.

“Back in the days when I was getting arrested for trying to stop the arms race, that seemed pretty hopeless. The entrenched interests in that were huge. Look around: we managed to get through it. The Cold War is over, the nuclear arsenals have been dramatically reduced—still enough to blow up the world a few times, but we’re much better off now than we were. If we can change that, why can’t we change this?”

For Zimmermann that means a public debate, like the one that the privacy activists won back in the 90s. “I used to debate NSA and FBI officials; I’d like to do that again. Strong crypto is pervasive now: in every web browser when you do ecommerce or online banking, the web browser has strong crypto. There’s no rolling that back. That’s why I’m not getting all worried about it.”

But does the average member of the public care? Despite the Snowden revelations, has there been any real impact on public opinion? If so, it’s difficult to perceive. The issue of privacy would mean little to an average citizen – say my dad – for example. Therefore, the wider the public debate, the better.

When bringing up my dad, Zimmermann’s response is sharp and to the point: “You bring it up with him I assume? Then he might have quite a lot of opinions on it. Ask him what he thinks.” His point: the danger is letting such issues pass undiscussed and unchallenged.

He might not be worried about the ongoing anti-encryption rhetoric, but he remains a vocal supporter of the right to use it. Zimmermann was one of a number of technologists who signed a letter to the US—along with tech giants like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, and the American Civil Liberties Union—warning the White House to step back from attempts to bring encryption under government control.

“More than undermining every American’s cybersecurity and the nation’s economic security, introducing new vulnerabilities to weaken encrypted products in the US would also undermine human rights and information security around the globe,” the letter said.

However, the very same governments, even the same agencies, that worry about the use of encryption by the public are themselves enthusiastic users of encryption products, including those from Silent Circle.

The irony is not lost on Zimmermann: “Everybody wants this protection for themselves, they don’t want others to have it,” he says.

“We had US Customs come into the office. It so happens that US Customs was the agency investigating me in the 90s. I sat in on the meeting and I said, ‘How many people here actually worked at US Customs back in the 90s?’ Nobody’s hands went up—so none of the people in the room were aware that US Customs was the investigating agency in my case.”

“They are in a golden age of surveillance now. They’ve got this big picture with a few missing pixels and they’re complaining.” – Phil Zimmermann

But what of the idea that only governments should be allowed to use encryption technologies? While Zimmermann was addressing a security conference in one hall of London’s Olympia exhibition centre, in another hall at a completely different event, the UK’s top anti-terrorism police chief made a speech complaining about how tech companies—he didn’t say which ones—were making life harder for cops.

Zimmermann deploys an analogy to dismiss such arguments: “We’re in the business of making body armour—there’s a need for body armour, Navy Seals need body armour. What are we going to do? We can’t just sell to them, there’s not enough Navy Seals. If we sold only to them, the cost would just be crazy.”

He points out that there are plenty of other technologies beyond cryptography that have been used by both consumers and the military.

“There’s lots of technologies that are widely used: GPS receivers were developed by the military to guide missiles to their targets. It’s only later that people started using them for other things. Crypto historically has been used more by the military than anybody, but now everybody uses it for ordinary things, just like they use GPS for ordinary things,” Zimmermann said.

The question of pervasive surveillance
But while Zimmermann is relaxed about the prospect of refighting the crypto wars of the 1990s, he’s far more worried by what he sees as a larger threat to privacy that is looming right now.

“The debate now is about the question of pervasive surveillance. We have to push back against the intercepting [of] everything that flows over the internet and fusing it with surveillance data that comes from other sources—cameras everywhere, face recognition algorithms behind the cameras—total information awareness,” he warned.

Part of this is down to technology—as we carry more gadgets, snoopers will find it easier to track us and learn about us. But it’s also to do with a change in emphasis for the intelligence agencies, from focusing on a few individuals to collecting as much data about everyone as they can.

Zimmermann argues that one of the key things that has come out of the Snowden leaks is how the NSA has changed its definition of the ‘collection’ of data, which allows it to collect and store vast amounts of data—as long as it doesn’t look at it.

“The new definition of collection is that ‘it doesn’t really count if all I do is collect it and store it somewhere, but if I want to look at it in storage, then I go to a court.’ Well, that’s a pretty loosey-goosey definition of collection. That’s collection that should count as collection,” he said.

Zimmermann speaks with the air of someone who has had these debates many times before, but is still willing to go back into battle. What of the standard argument often deployed here: that if I have nothing to hide I have nothing to worry about?

His response is succinct. “If you really felt that you had nothing to hide, then I would never want to tell you any of my secrets as you’re not going to protect them. If you’re a doctor, I don’t want to see you because you’re not going to protect any of my patient records.”

Also, to take such a narrow view is to miss the bigger point. For example, political opposition in China is impossible because the country has built a surveillance society, he argues. “Here we have a democracy in Britain, but sometimes in a democracy bad people can come into power and if you have a system that allows another election cycle, you can get rid of the bad people.

“But if they inherit a surveillance infrastructure like what we are seeing, they can use the power of incumbency to remain in power. They can neutralise opposition with scandals or blackmail, or whatever can be exposed about their private life.”

Even George Orwell’s Big Brother had the decency to limit its surveillance to one all-seeing ‘telescreen’ per house. Now, thanks to smartphone selfie cameras and webcams on pretty much every device, we’ve all but built our own panopticon. All that is required is for the NSA or GCHQ to start gathering up the streams.

Technology can both protect the individual or create an environment where privacy is impossible, he warns.

“All dystopian societies are surveillance societies, so we have to get people to recognise that it’s bad to give up everything,” he said. “In any complex society, people do have secrets.”

Even those people who see little to fear might ponder the scenario that Zimmermann sketches out of the future of pervasive surveillance.

“Imagine if the police installed surveillance cameras in your house, in every room of every house, in your bathroom, in your bedroom, and they collected all the video and put it on massive disc farms in the basement of the police station and they promise not to look at the files unless a court orders it.”

He also has little time for the politicians and police who worry about losing track of criminals who use encryption.

“They are in a golden age of surveillance now. They’ve got this big picture with a few missing pixels and they’re complaining. You go back twenty years, and they didn’t have this big picture, they didn’t have all these incredibly pervasive surveillance capabilities. So would they take that trade? I don’t think so,” he said.

“They have near total information awareness so they shouldn’t be trying to take away our last few remaining black pixels on the big picture.”

According to Zimmermann, we are witnessing the emergence of pervasive, retroactive surveillance, and the response is obvious. “We have to do something about this,” he said.

The exhibition “All of This Belongs to You” at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum closed on 19 July 2015.

IMAGES:
Phil Zimmermann Image: Silent Circle
Mike Janke (left) and Phil Zimmermann Patrick McDermott, Getty Images
The Blackphone 2 smartphone Image: Silent Circle
Computer used to write about Snowden. © The Guardian/ Victoria & Albert Museum, 2015

For more on this story go to: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/defending-the-last-missing-pixels-phil-zimmermann/?&ftag=TREd8c0fa8

Pin It

New TV channel to show ‘Positive side of the Caribbean’

1HeartTV_Launch-Jade_AviaFrom The Voice UK

1HEART TV will broadcast via OHTV from July 28

CELEBRITIES TURNED out in full force to celebrate the launch of brand new London-based ‘Caribbean inspired’ TV channel, 1HEART TV.

Capital XTRA presenter Jade Avia, MOBO award-winning saxophonist Yolanda Brown, Jamaica Tourist Board managing director Elizabeth Fox and Jamaica’s High Commissioner Her Excellency Mrs. Aloun Ndombet-Assamba lent their support to the event on Wednesday night (July 22).

“I’m pleased to see that this idea of sharing a positive side of the Caribbean with the world is growing,” Jamaica’s High Commissioner Her Excellency Mrs. Aloun Ndombet-Assamba said of the new venture. “I’m looking forward to seeing us on television here in the UK in a way that some people may not realise or understand. We can’t wait on people to tell our stories so we should tell them ourselves.”

1HeartTV_Launch-Jamaica_High_Commissioner_Her_Excellency_Mrs._Aloun_Ndombet-Assamba_Adeola_IdowuPatrick Campbell of 1HEART TV led event proceedings and shared the grand vision for the channel and promised “somebody, somewhere, is going to build a global £100 million company, that reaches a 100 million people, based on celebrating the Caribbean.”

“I truly believe that 1HEART could be that company. At 1HEART TV we believe in the ‘4 Cs’. We Create, Curate, Connect and spark Conversation. This is the driving force behind what we do and where we do it is simply on TV, Online, Social and Digital,” he added.

During the launch event, guests indulged in a selection of tasty bites from the likes of Port Royal Patties, The Kings Room Catering and cakes from Cakes by Kels. Guests were also provided with exotic Caribbean beach cocktails from Ravissant Drinks and Dub Jam.

1HeartTV_Launch-Yolana_BrownOH TV Station Director Vidal Juba and OH TV CEO Akin Salami also gave guests a warm welcome and insight into the partnership between 1HEART TV, OH TV and UN1TY.

Guests were introduced to British Comedienne Angie Le Mar, host of 1HEART TV’s flagship show Home Sweet Home Jamaica…with Angie Le Mar and 1HEART LIVE presenter Leah Charles. Together they presented exciting teasers and a sneak peak into the content coming soon to 1HEART TV.

The evening featured entertainment from Britain’s Got Talent series 7 semi-finalists Gospel Singers Incognito, followed by a mini carnival display from the Elimu Mas Band.

Angie_Le_Mar_Leah_Charles_King1HEART TV will broadcast via OH TV Sky Channel 199 and the UN1TY App next Tuesday (July 28) from 7.30pm to 10pm.

IMAGES:
FACES OF 1HEART TV: UK comedienne Angie Le Mar and presenter Leah Charles
HAPPY TO SHOWCASE CARIBBEAN IN A POSITIVE LIGHT: Jamaica’s High Commissioner Her Excellency Mrs. Aloun Ndombet-Assamba (right) with Adeola Idowu
HEART OF THE MATTER: Saxophonist YolanDa Brown
SHOWING SUPPORT: Capital XTRA presenter Jade Avia
For more on this story go to: http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/new-tv-channel-show-positive-side-caribbean

Pin It

The Editor Speaks: Cayman Monetary Authority’s non-announcement

Colin Wilsonweb2If you go to the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority’s (CIMA) website it lists the Directors as Mr. George McCarthy, OBE, JP – Chairman, Mr. Linburgh Martin – Deputy Chairman, Mrs. Cindy Scotland – Managing Director, Mr. Harry Chisholm, MBE, JP – Director, Prof. William Gilmore – Director, Mr. Raul Nicholson-Coe – Director, and Ms. Judith Watler – Director.

There is also a nice cozy picture of them all.

However, according to an official gazette notice released by government that information is not correct.

George McCarthy is no longer chairman, nor a member of the board. The new chair is Grant Stein, who was managing partner of Walkers Global in the Cayman Islands. Stein as you can see was not a member of the original board.

Other new appointees are Gus Pope, Patricia Estwick and Brian Murphy. Linburgh Martin in no longer Deputy Chair – that job has gone to Harry Chisholm.

No reasons have been given as to the changes and one would have thought the CIMA would have been the first to have made the announcement and provided some reasons for the appointments and replacements.

The Government on July 21st approved the changes. It would appear only William Gilmore and Judith Watler have kept their positions.

With the scandal over financial institutions and former bankers being involved in the FIFA investigations it would have been pertinent to provide an explanation quickly as to why the changes were made and if there was any connection. The result is conclusions being made that may not have any foundation whatsoever.

It is this total lack of communication that gives rife to speculation and out of date information on prominent and influential websites is a BIG NO, NO!

It is has been a week now since the Gazette was published and the silence in the wake of the storm is hurting this country.

Especially so when the Managing Director, Cindy Scotland, is very close to individuals who may or may not be the subject of the FIFA investigation.

It was the former Chair McCarthy who said, amid media requests for her to remove herself from her position whilst investigations were being executed, “there was no need for her [Scotland] to set aside her role at this time.” He also said there was no evidence any Cayman Islands banks had done anything wrong.

Now McCarthy has gone, what do we conclude?

Do you see what non-announcements create?

Pin It

Cayman Islands utilities company announce voting results for the election of Directors

logoCARIBBEAN UTILITIES COMPANY, LTD. CLASS A ORDINARY SHARES ARE LISTED FOR TRADING IN UNITED STATES FUNDS ON THE TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, July 28, 2015 /CNW/ – Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. (TSX:CUP.U) (“CUC” or “the Company”) announced that the nominees listed in the Company’s Notice to Shareholders and Management Information Circular dated March 13, 2015 were elected as Directors of CUC at the Company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders held on May 12, 2015 in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

Election of Directors

The following nominees were elected to serve as directors of CUC until the next annual meeting of the Company or until their successors are elected or appointed. Notwithstanding that the motions were passed by a show of hands vote at the meeting, the votes recorded by proxy in advance of the meeting were as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 11.40.48 AM

CUC provides electricity to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, under a non-exclusive Electricity Generation Licence expiring in 2039 and an exclusive Electricity Transmission and Distribution Licence expiring in 2028. Further information is available at www.cuc-cayman.com.

Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. (“CUC” or “the Company”), on occasion, includes forward-looking statements in its media releases, Canadian securities regulatory authorities filings, shareholder reports and other communications. Forward-looking statements include statements that are predictive in nature, depend upon future events or conditions, or include words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “plan”, “believes”, “estimates”, “intends”, “targets”, “projects”, “forecasts”, “schedule”, or negative versions thereof and other similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “would” and “could”. Forward-looking statements are based on underlying assumptions and management’s beliefs, estimates and opinions, and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally that may cause actual results to vary from plans, targets and estimates. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to operational, general economic, market and business conditions, regulatory developments and weather conditions. CUC cautions readers that actual results may vary significantly from those expected should certain risks or uncertainties materialize or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect. Forward-looking statements are provided for the purpose of providing information about management’s current expectations and plans relating to the future. Readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise except as required by law.

SOURCE Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd.

Pin It