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Oil Ends 2019 On A Bullish Note – OilPrice.com

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Crude oil prices are about to book their biggest rise in three years on the last day of 2019, supported by the combined force of OPEC+ production cuts and the improvement of trade relations between the United States and China.

According to Reuters, Brent crude has added 24 percent since the start of the year, while West Texas Intermediate has done even better, rising by 36 percent cumulatively.

At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at $66.60 a barrel with WTI at $61.57 a barrel. Both were slightly down from yesterday’s close but still on track to book a positive year overall.

“Prices ended the year with optimism close to 70$ /bbl for Brent and we expect them to stay supported through Q1,” OilX chief executive Florian Thaler told Oilprice. “In March all eyes will remain on OPEC and OPEC+ and whether the action of production adjustment will be extended further. We observe that most of the recent optimism can also be attributed to the US/China trade talks and that will remain a key factor to watch as based on OilX data, China is the single largest growth factor in global oil markets.”

“Oil prices have followed the general de-risking drift into year-end despite a rise in Middle East tensions and last week’s bullish-for-oil-price inventory draws as the broader markets appear to be losing some of that holiday cheer,” Reuters quoted AxiTrader market strategist Stephen Innes as saying. Related: China Grants Export License To Teapot Refiners

Yet not all is rosy. “Oil prices, though largely expected to trade positive, will face headwinds from subdued global growth momentum and robust U.S. shale output levels in the first quarter,” analyst Benjamin Lu from brokerage Phillip Futures told Reuters.

Another headwind could be Russia’s withdrawal from the OPEC+ production cut agreement. As Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday, as quoted by Energy Intelligence’s Amena Bakr, Moscow will seek to gradually leave the agreement in 2020.

For now, however, in the last hours of 2019, oil is doing better than it was 12 months ago. This could carry over into the New Year in the absence of any production-related news reports that are likely to make a splash and cause benchmarks to take a dive.

One news story that could send prices higher, however, could be the EIA’s production report for October with actual figures from producers rather than estimates. The report is due out later today and could cause a spike in oil prices if, as some sceptics believe, the figure turns out lower than estimated by the EIA at the time, after reports began emerging that shale oil wells’ actual performance fell short of forecasts.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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'It starts with regret': TMX says it needs to regain trust after outage – BNNBloomberg.ca

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The interim head of TMX Group Ltd. said the company needs to start rebuilding investors’ faith in its trading platforms.

“It starts with regret,” said John McKenzie, interim TMX chief executive officer, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Friday. McKenzie spoke a day after a technical outage took the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture and Alpha out of commission for over two hours

“We’re actually quite sorry that we made that challenging for our clients to execute yesterday because that’s our number one objective. We start today with rebuilding trust and credibility, and we’ll do that in the way we operate the market every single day. But that starts right now.”

The TSX Alpha was halted at 1:51 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the TSX and Venture exchanges were halted three minutes later. The outage continued throughout the rest of the trading day.

“The simplest way to describe it is; if you think about the activity in the marketplace that we saw yesterday leading to almost-unprecedented levels of order entry coming into our system,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said the TMX system saw approximately 190 million buy, sell, and cancel orders on Thursday, compared to an average daily total of 90 million.

“That led to some challenges in the system that we are still working through, in terms of diagnosing what they mean for the long-term, but (we) went straight to the fix last night so we could make sure we were steady, reliable and up to open the market this morning, and you could have confidence in what we’re doing today.”

The S&P/TSX composite index opened sharply lower, down 452.20 points, or 2.70 percent, at 16,265.31 at 9:35 a.m. Friday morning.     

McKenzie is the acting CEO of the TMX Group, having taken over the mantle from Lou Eccleston in January. He said that while the decision about whether “interim” is removed from his title rests with TMX’s board of directors, he remains focused on the here and now.

“For me right now, the focus is on execution,” McKenzie said. “It’s not focused on the next role, it’s a focus on executing the strategy and making sure we’re delivering for clients through the interim period.”

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Two Calgary officers tested Clearview AI facial-recognition software – Calgary Herald

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Keith Raderschadt from NEC Corporation of America gives a detailed explanation and demonstration of the new facial recognition software being implemented by the Calgary Police Service at their CPS Headquarters, Westwinds Campus Media Centre in Calgary, Alta. on Sunday November 2, 2014. Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency


Darren Makowichuk / Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/ Q

The Calgary Police Service has confirmed two of its officers tested controversial facial-recognition software made by Clearview AI.

While the police service doesn’t use Clearview AI in any capacity, it said two of its members had tested the technology to see if it was worthwhile for potential investigative use.

“Neither officer used the software in any active investigations and both ceased use following the testing,” said a police representative. “Both have been told to delete any active user accounts.”

Calgary police said one of the officers currently works with the service and the other is seconded to another agency. 

Last month, it was revealed some Canadian law enforcement agencies were using Clearview AI software. The program uses billions of open-sourced images from popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which can then be used by authorities to identify perpetrators and victims of crime.

On Wednesday, Clearview AI revealed its client list had been hacked. It came to light that more than 2,200 law enforcement agencies, companies and individuals are using the software, including Toronto Police Service and divisions of the RCMP.

Both the Calgary Police Service and the Edmonton Police Service had denied use of the software earlier this month, but both have since come forward with reports that several of their officers had tested the Clearview AI software.

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Staff Sgt. Gordon MacDonald, of the Calgary police criminal identification section, said the service wouldn’t be interested in software that uses open-source images due to ethical concerns.

“As an organization, we wouldn’t be interested in it no matter the benefits it purports to bring,” said MacDonald.

“It’s just so fundamentally and ethically unsafe to start using that as a means to obtain some form of identification. It’s far better to go through our own photographs that we’ve obtained and can verify who these people are.”

Bonita Croft, chair of the Calgary police commission, said the Calgary Police Service has clear policies that guide the use of information technology and monitors to ensure compliance with those policies and privacy laws.

“We understand that CPS is evaluating the situation to determine whether the privacy commissioner needs to be notified,” said Croft. “The guidance of the privacy commissioner has been instrumental in how the CPS uses tools like body-worn cameras and facial recognition technology.”

In Edmonton, Clearview AI facial-recognition programs were used without approval at least twice by that city’s police service, which triggered an investigation by Alberta’s privacy commissioner, Jill Clayton.

She said in a statement that the situation serves as a “wake-up call to law enforcement in Alberta that building trust is critical to advancing the use of new technologies for data-driven policing.”

Three officers used the technology in Edmonton, according to Supt. Warren Driechel. All members have been directed not to use Clearview AI software moving forward.

Calgary police were the first Canadian police force to use facial recognition technology. Since 2014, the service has used biometric software created by the NEC Corp. of America.

Using the technology, police compare photos and videos, such as CCTV images of persons of interest, with their mug shot database of more than 350,000 images taken under the Identification of Criminals Act.

With files from Postmedia Edmonton

alsmith@postmedia.com

Twitter: @alanna_smithh

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Apple Disables Clearview AI's Developer Account After Violating Enterprise Certificate Rules – MacRumors

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Apple has disabled the developer account of New York City-based facial recognition startup Clearview AI and provided the company with 14 days to respond for violating the rules of its enterprise program, according to BuzzFeed News.

As part of the program, Apple issues enterprise certificates to large organizations to deploy select apps to their employees for internal use only, but the report claims that Clearview AI was distributing its facial recognition app to more than 2,200 public and private entities, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, Macy’s, Walmart, and the NBA. This scheme allowed customers to download the app outside of the App Store by installing the certificate on their device.


Clearview AI’s website says that it “searches the open web” for “publicly available images,” helping law enforcement agencies to “identify perpetrators and victims of crimes” and to “exonerate the innocent.”

Earlier this week, Clearview AI revealed that an intruder “gained unauthorized access” to its list of clients, according to The Daily Beast. The New York Times profiled the controversial company last month, claiming it has “a database of more than three billion images” scraped from platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

Apple took similar action against Facebook and Google last year after each company was found to be using enterprise certificates to distribute consumer-facing apps, but the certificates were later restored, presumably after Facebook and Google agreed to use them strictly for internal-use apps only as required.

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