Showing posts with label investigation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label investigation. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Investigation into the conduct of Public Service Commissioner & IPA member could be cut short and closed without findings once he leaves the public service in August


John Lloyd. Image: The Guardian, 4 June 2018

This close to a federal election will Turnbull & Co organise a whitewashing of any Australian Public Service Commission Code of Conduct finding relating to John Richard Lloyd?

The Guardian, 21 June 2018:

The outgoing public service commissioner John Lloyd is being investigated for an alleged breach of the public service code of conduct, in what Labor has called an “unprecedented” move.

Labor has targeted Lloyd in Senate estimates sessions over allegations of favouritism to the right-wing thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs, of which he is a longtime member and former director.

At a supplementary session on Thursday, the finance and public administration committee chair, James Paterson, tabled letters showing that the acting merit protection commissioner, Mark Davidson, had announced he intended to conduct an inquiry into Lloyd’s conduct.

The 14 June letter from Davidson said he would investigate an “allegation of a breach of the Australian public service code of conduct”.

Asked why he is being investigated, Lloyd told the committee he would take the question on notice and said he did not want to prejudice the investigation but did not claim public interest immunity.

In June Lloyd announced his retirement effective 8 August but said the decision was not influenced by “recent events”.

He told the committee he resigned after consulting his family after a long working life and denied any government member had sought or canvassed his resignation.

Davidson told the committee there was “no power to continue the inquiry” after Lloyd ceases to be commissioner on 8 August….

At an October estimates session Lloyd was asked about his contact with the IPA, including an email in which he attached a document that he said “highlights some of the more generous agreement provisions applying to APS employees”.

The IPA is a fierce public critic of public service conditions and in December called for 27,000 jobs to be slashed.

At that hearing Lloyd defended his link to the group, rejecting the allegation that giving the information amounted to special access because the information was publicly available in public service enterprise agreements.

In May it was revealed Lloyd had complained about scrutiny of his links to the IPA, writing to the IPA’s executive director, John Roskam, referring to “more publicity for the IPA including page 1 of the Canberra Times thanks to ALP questioning”.

The Canberra Times, 23 June 2018:

Mr Lloyd was a controversial appointee from the moment Tony Abbott gave him the job. Although he is a career bureaucrat, he has long been associated with conservative politics; many of his senior promotions were the result of Coalition governments appointing him directly. As John Howard's building industry watchdog, he took an unashamedly hard line against unions. In his current role, he questioned long-held public service tenets, particularly security of employment, and openly opposed freedom of information law.

The head of the public servants' union, Nadine Flood, is hardly an objective observer. Nonetheless, the tone of her extraordinary farewell to Mr Lloyd, who will resign in August, is a sign of his impact on public administration. Ms Flood said Mr Lloyd had debased his office, misled a Senate inquiry, repeatedly attacked the public service, "used his position to promote his ideological preoccupations" and was unfit for the job.....

...it is deeply worrying that acting merit protection commissioner Mark Davidson took so long to deal with the complaint. The possibility now exists that the ensuing investigation might not conclude before Mr Lloyd leaves his job, by when the investigation, if it is still ongoing, would need to be cancelled.

Lloyd spent almost two hours of last month’s [Senate] hearing refusing to answer whether he was under investigation for his contact with the IPA, at one stage attempting to see if he could claim public interest immunity over the queries.
He later took the question on notice and said he was not the subject of any current inquiries.
The department of the prime minister and cabinet had rejected freedom-of-information requests asking for emails between Lloyd and the IPA, on the grounds that releasing the emails “could reasonably be expected to prejudice the conduct of an investigation of a breach, or possible breach, of the law”.

The Guardian, 4 June 2018:

John Lloyd, the public service commissioner, has announced his resignation just days after a Senate estimates grilling that questioned his independence…

Lloyd spent almost two hours of last month’s [Senate] hearing refusing to answer whether he was under investigation for his contact with the IPA, at one stage attempting to see if he could claim public interest immunity over the queries.

He later took the question on notice and said he was not the subject of any current inquiries.

The department of the prime minister and cabinet had rejected freedom-of-information requests asking for emails between Lloyd and the IPA, on the grounds that releasing the emails “could reasonably be expected to prejudice the conduct of an investigation of a breach, or possible breach, of the law”.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Almost right from its very beginning Facebook Inc was not the benign Internet presence it pretended to be


Facebook Inc. - incorporated in July 2004 and headquartered at 1 Hacker Way (so named by Facebook management), Menlo Park, California 94025 - has at least twelve data centres around the world which collect, transmit, collate, store and monetise data drawn from an est. 2 billion active Facebook accounts. 

In May 2017 this social media company was worth est. US$407.3 billion according to Forbes.com.

Now that the social media giant finds itself being officially investigated to varying degrees by the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States on matters of user data collection, data retention, privacy and safety - as well as being the object of a number of lawsuits - here is a timeline indicating how Mark Zuckerberg brought Facebook to this low point......


FACEBOOK INC
2005

Facebook Privacy Policy states that Thefacebook takes appropriate precautions to protect our users' information. Your account information is located on a secured server behind a firewall. However it also states When you visit the Web Site you may provide us with two types of information: personal information you knowingly choose to disclose that is collected by us and Web Site use information collected by us on an aggregate basis as you and others browse our Web Site.
When you register on the Web Site, you provide us with certain personal information, such as your name, your email address, your telephone number, your address, your gender, schools attended and any other personal or preference information that you provide to us.
When you enter our Web Site, we collect the user's browser type and IP address. This information is gathered for all users to the Web Site. In addition, we store certain information from your browser using "cookies." A cookie is a piece of data stored on the user's computer tied to information about the user. We use session ID cookies to confirm that users are logged in. These cookies terminate once the users close the browser. We do not use cookies to collect private information from any user.
Thefacebook also collects information about you from other sources, such as newspapers and instant messaging services. This information is gathered regardless of your use of the Web Site. 

2006

Facebook’s privacy policy is now expressing this sentiment; We understand you may not want everyone in the world to have the information you share on Facebook; that is why we give you control of your information. Our default privacy settings limit the information displayed in your profile to your school, your specified local area, and other reasonable community limitations that we tell you about….

However the company is still collecting as much information about Facebook users that it can, as well as informing account holders that; Facebook may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant messaging services, and other users of the Facebook service through the operation of the service (e.g., photo tags) in order to provide you with more useful information and a more personalized experience. By using Facebook, you are consenting to have your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States.

2007

Facebook Platform  - app developers can now access the “’social graph’ ie., tracked connections between users and their friends.

Beacon - shares what users are doing on other websites with their Facebook friends without specific consent.

2008

Facebook Connect - corrects Beacon’s mistakes by requiring users to take deliberate action before they share activity from other websites when logged in using Facebook.

2009


Beacon officially shut down after at least one lawsuit commenced over privacy issue.

Facebook hosts the Farmville game which was later revealed as a data miner.

2010

Facebook’s privacy policy states; When you connect with an application or website it will have access to General Information about you. The term General Information includes your and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections, and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. ... The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” ... Because it takes two to connect, your privacy settings only control who can see the connection on your profile page. If you are uncomfortable with the connection being publicly available, you should consider removing (or not making) the connection.

On 28 April 2010 Electronic Frontiers Foundation reported that: Facebook announced a plan to transform most of the bits in your profile (including your hometown, education, work, activities, interests, and more) into connections, which are public information. If you refuse to make these items into a Connection, Facebook will remove all unlinked information.

2011

Social reporting tool – allows Facebook users to directly contact other users to request a post or image takedown if either relates directly to them. Any takedown is voluntary if content doesn't breach Facebook rules.

Facebook Inc initially refuses to take down a defamatory site invading the privacy of Clarence Valley highschool students. It only does so after direct pressure is applied by a community member.

2012

In February the Parliament of Australia invites the Australian public to connect with it via Facebook.

Facebook begins roll out Facebook Camera for iOS to English-speaking countries - a standalone photos app where users can shoot, filter, and share single or sets of photos and scroll through a feed of photos uploaded to Facebook by friends.


2013

Facebook begins collaboration with Dr. Alexandr Kogan eventually supplying him with data on 57 million Facebook friendships by 2015. User data supplied to Kogan for his research was later sent to Cambridge Analytica without Facebook users knowledge or consent.

Facebook hosts Hangouts - live video.

2014

Facebook Groups - app for iOS and Android introduced and then deleted some months later.

Facebook buys WhatsAppMessaging.

Facebook conducts a number of psychological experiments on users without their knowledge or consent. It is reported that 689,000 users had their home pages manipulated.


2015

Security Checkup - new tool to simplifying privacy controls.

Head of Research at Facebook Inc, Peter Fleming, and one of the company’s  contract researchers are listed as co-authors of Alexander Kogan’s published research on the relationship of social class and international friendships. 


2016


2017

Privacy Basics - new tool to simplify privacy controls.

Becomes public knowledge that Facebook revealed to one Australian advertiser that it had a database of young users – 1.9 million high schoolers, 1.5 million tertiary students and 3 million young workers – and that it could tell advertisers when young workers were particularly vulnerable.

Facebook reported to be planning $750 million data center in New Albany, Ohio employing only 50 permanent staff.

Facebook admits to US Securities and Exchange Commission that 1.5% of its 2.01 billion accounts worldwide are “undesirable” - that is likely to be fake accounts. Yahoo Finance calculates that to be upwards of 30 million accounts.

In December Germany’s Federal Cartel Office released preliminary investigation findings and stated: The Bundeskartellamt has informed the company Facebook in writing of its preliminary legal assessment in the abuse of dominance proceeding which the authority is conducting against Facebook. Based on the current stage of the proceedings, the authority assumes that Facebook is dominant on the German market for social networks. The authority holds the view that Facebook is abusing this dominant position by making the use of its social network conditional on its being allowed to limitlessly amass every kind of data generated by using third-party websites and merge it with the user's Facebook account. These third-party sites include firstly services owned by Facebook such as WhatsApp or Instagram, and secondly websites and apps of other operators with embedded Facebook APIs.

Google search engines now host multiple Facebook apps.

By 2017 numerous government departments and agencies in Australia have Facebook accounts, from which the company can harvest visitor data whether or not the visitor has a Facebook account.

Included on the long list of government departments/agencies is the federal Dept. of Human Services (DHS)DHS states that it posts on its Facebook page about payments and services, answers questions, gives useful tips, shares news, and give updates on relevant issues. This means that anyone who visits or interacts with the five DHS Facebook pages will have their Internet usage data scraped, information contained in any questions asked retained and collated with any other information Facebook holds on that visitor. DHS appears to be aware of privacy vulnerabilities in its use of Facebook as it is at pains to point out that The department is not responsible for the privacy practices or content of Facebook.......

Australian federal and state electoral commissions also have active Facebook pages.

In December 2017 Facebook rolled out Messenger Kids app which is installed via an adult's Facebook account. This app offers video and text chats for children using their own digital devices. Although Messenger Kids displays no ads it does not appear to be exempt from Facebook's user data collection.

Facebook Inc initially refuses to remove a scam account attempting to raise money and only does so after media pressure

2018

On 16 March Facebook Inc. announces it has suspended the accounts of Aleksandr Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Strategic Communication Laboratries Group on the basis they had misused Facebook user data,  

In late March it was revealed that Facebook's Android app is capable of hoovering up extensive call data without users knowledge or consent.

Facebook-created VR app like Spaces obtain information about what users doing there, much in the same way that any third-party app developer would. Facebook also records a “heatmap” of viewer data for 360-degree videos, for instance, flagging which parts of a video people find most interesting.

Facebook admits that it archived unpublished and deleted user videos created using a now redundant video streaming function. 

Facebook Inc. admits that up to 87 million account holders may have had their personal information accessed by the Trump presidential campaign-linked data miner Cambridge Analytica. Either because  Facebook users accessed the thisisyourdigitallife app or because they had friended a person had done so.

Only 53 Australian Facebook users took the thisisyourdigitallife personality quiz but the app hoovered up the data on est 311,127 other users included in friendship lists once it accessed those 53 accounts. Just 10 New Zealanders used the app but data from another est. 67,000 users was collected via their friendship groups.

Facebook also admits that its software allowed reverse searching of its user pages employing only ‘phone numbers and email addresses and that “malicious actors” may have used this feature to scrap public profile data from most of its 2 billion users.

The company admits that its account recovery process can also allow these malicious actors to access user data.


In April Facebook announces a tightening of its privacy controls and states it intends to police all third party requests for access to user data. Given the company stated it had in total 215,000 staff worldwide as of December 2017 and, not all those staff would be available to personally monitor third party requests relating to Facebook’s est. 2 billion active monthly users, one wonders just how reliable this latest ‘promise’ from Facebook Inc. will be.

On 4 April 2018 USA Today reported that: Members of the House and Senate committees that will question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about user privacy protection next week are also some of the biggest recipients of campaign contributions from company employees and the Facebook Inc. PAC.
The committee that got the most Facebook contributions is the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which announced Wednesday morning it would question Zuckerberg on April 11.

Open Secrets lists Facebook Inc PAC contributions to 2016 U.S. federal election campaigns:
Contributions from this PAC to federal candidates (list recipients)
(44% to Democrats, 55% to Republicans)
$519,500
Contributions to this PAC from individual donors of $200 or more (list donors)
 $619,240

In April Facebook admits that it has entered an unspecified number of the 1.3 billion 
Messenger accounts and, without users knowledge or consent, selectively removed messages sent to those users by Mark Zuckerberg and other unnamed Facebook Inc executives/employees

Australian Privacy Commissioner launches investigation into Facebook Inc.

Five U.S. state attorneys-general reported to have begun investigations into how Facebook Inc. collects, shares and does or doesn't protect user information.

According to the Insurance Journal on 5 April 2018: Users and investors have filed at least 18 lawsuits since last month’s revelations about Cambridge Analytica. Beyond privacy violations, they are accusing Facebook of user agreement breaches, negligence, consumer fraud, unfair competition, securities fraud and racketeering.

On 6 April Facebook Inc annouces that it has suspended the account of Canadian tech company AggregateIQ because of its involvenment in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and three days later suspends CubeYou on similar grounds while it investigates.

On 9 April TNW reports that Facebook's cryptocurrency ad filter failed.

The Washington Post  reported on 9 April:
As for Facebook itself, former FBI special agent Clinton Watts told me that, in one sense, the numbers should not be surprising since “everyone has a message to get out, and Facebook is the best place to do it. Russia, Cambridge Analytica or any campaign for that matter has to go to social media to be effective.” The problem arose in Facebook’s mode of operating. “Their motto was move fast and break things, and they did, they moved fast and in the end broke the trust of their users with the platform,” Watts said. “They didn’t do solid assessments of who was accessing data on their platforms, and they didn’t effectively scrutinize advertisements and accounts surfacing on their platforms.”

By 10 April it was being reported that a number of Facebook IT engineers were quitting or asking to change departments over ethical concerns.

On 11 April 2018 Facebook Inc. founder, CEO and controlling shareholder, 33 year-old Mark Elliot Zuckerberg appears before the US House of Representatives House Energy and Commerce Committee's Facebook: Transparency and Use of Consumer Data hearing.

The day before Zuckerberg fronted the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s  Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data hearing.

Despite all of the above, as of 11 April 2018 the Australian Government Dept of Human Services retains its "Humans Services", "Student Update", "Families Update" and "Seniors Update" Facebook pages and, the departmental website still links to "How to 'Like' " instructions and shows visitors how to set up their own Facebook account with a link to its very own 'how to' YouTube video. Cenrelink's General Manager also still has an official Facebook account.

Note:
Given the federal Department of Human Services admitted that it had employed third parties to monitor social media including Facebook for information about welfare recipients that it could match with internal departmental data, one has to wonder what range of methods were used to undertake this surveillance and exactly who the contractors were.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Australian Taxation Commisioner discreetly warns staff to keep their mouth shut when approached by ABC Four Corners reseachers


ABC TV airs “Mongrel bunch of bastards”, the Four Corners/Fairfax investigation into the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on Monday 8 April 2018 at 8.30pm.

At least one ATO employee appears to have talked with some of the journalists involved in the investigation. His home was recently raided by the Australian Federal Police accompanied by an ATO investigator.

The ATO is not happy and issued this warning to all staff.....


Image via Twitter

Friday, 23 March 2018

The president doth protest too much, methinks


On 15 March 2018 the mainstream media reported that the Special Counsel Russia Investigation has served a subpoena on the Trump Organisation.

Since then US President Donald J Trump has removed an FBI deputy-director and tweeted his defiance of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

As usual the only words in Trump's tweets that can be relied on are connecting words like "and", "or" & "but'  - everthing else is bound to be a distortion of fact or a downright lie.



Friday, 16 March 2018

What a farce is the Dept of Home Affairs under Peter Dutton


In early July 2017 it was reported that Roman Quaedvlieg​ the head of the federal government's Australian Border Force had taken indefinite leave on full-pay since May following an external investigation by the Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

Despite a rather sordid tale coming to light coyly wrapped in phrases like 'inappropriate behaviour relating to a personal relationship' Mr. Quaedvlieg​ refused to resign and the Prime Minister continued to sit on the results of two reviews of the investigation and his conduct in office.

To date Roman Quaedvlieg has been paid in excess of $500,000 while on leave.

It wasn't until details of the PM&C review were leaked to the media and Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister for Home Affairs Dutton felt a need to sweep the decks clean ahead of the forthcoming federal election that the Governor-General was finally requested to sack Quaedvlieg and the announcement was released on 16 March 2018.
[Australian Border Force Act 2015—Subsection 21(4)—Statement of Grounds of Termination of Appointment as Australian Border Force Commissioner]

According to ABC News on 16 March 2018; His sacking ends a drawn-out and expensive internal investigation that will trigger a restructure in Peter Dutton's new super-ministry, Home Affairs. Mr Quaedvlieg was a former chief police officer in the ACT and the inaugural Border Force Commissioner.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

ICAC investigating water theft and allegations of NSW government corruption involving party donors


Eventually full details of this investigation will become public, as it cannot seriously be thought to be in the public interest for the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) not to publish findings.

The Australian, 27 October 2017:

ICAC has begun a preliminary ­investigation into whether NSW public officials favoured Nationals donor and irrigator Peter ­Harris by not prosecuting him over ­alleged water theft.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is also investigating whether public officials made decisions in favour of western NSW irrigator and lobbyist Ian Cole by changing water sharing arrangements to benefit him.

A day after The Australian ­revealed that the corruption watchdog was investigating a case where Multicultural Affairs Minister Ray Williams wrote to ­Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair asking for prosecutorial ­action against constituent Garry Bugeja to be dropped, it has emerged that the NSW government is facing a ­series of inquiries over its water policies.

The Berejiklian government is facing the real spectre of a public ICAC inquiry potentially involving the two ministers and at least one former primary industries minister, Katrina Hodgkinson, just months out from the 2019 state election.

ICAC is investigating whether former deputy director-general of the Department of Primary ­Industry Gavin Hanlon disclosed confidential information to ­Barwon-Darling irrigators, allegations that have been the subject of a government inquiry and led to Mr Hanlon’s resignation.

The commission is also understood to be looking at whether any public official failed to properly investigate or prosecute Mr Harris, a cotton farmer from Moree, in northern NSW. ICAC is also understood to be investigating why the department’s strategic investigations unit was disbanded, leading to the abandonment of several water compliance operations.
There is also an investigation into whether any public official acted inappropriately in making changes to the Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan to benefit ­irrigator Mr Cole.

Another line of investigation is understood to be whether any person improperly gave access to departmental files and confidential material for the benefit of Mr Harris. Investigations into Mr Cole are understood to also involve whether pumps were attached to a property and were authorised by the department in breach of water laws…..

It was revealed earlier this year that Mr Blair sought law changes which may have benefited Mr Harris by retrospectively approving water-trading rights granted to him that appeared to not comply with the law. But Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton blocked the changes.

Mr Blair also legislated to allow past illegal works to be retrospectively approved — another piece of law which may have helped Mr Harris….

Mr Bugeja was not prosecuted for an alleged ­illegal dam in Sydney after Mr Williams wrote to Mr Blair

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Independent Investigation into NSW Water Management and Compliance - interim report concerning theft and corruption allegations published 8 September 2017


It took a public airing of the issues by ABC TV “Four Corners” in its Pumped: Who is benefitting from the billions spent on the Murray-Darling? program on 24 July 2017 to force the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Australian National Audit Office, Commonwealth Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption and the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government into investigative action.
The NSW Government has now published its initial 78-page report into allegations of theft and corruption in the management of water resources in the Murray–Darling Basin.


On 11 September 2017, Ken Matthews issued a statement regarding the delivery of his Independent Investigation into NSW Water Management and Compliance. The focus of his interim report was to assess whether the department's policies, procedures and actions were appropriate, to recommend whether further actions should be undertaken, and to identify opportunities to improve the department’s future compliance and enforcement performance.

Download the Independent investigation into NSW water management and compliance – Interim report (2 MB PDF).


ABC News, 12 September 2017:
Yesterday, Mr Hanlon was stood down from the Department of Primary Industries pending a misconduct investigation: Four Corners had also revealed he had offered to share with them — via DropBox — internal departmental documents that had been "debadged".
His removal was announced as the Government released a wide-ranging report by Ken Matthews into the allegations raised in the program.
The Matthews report has turned out to be nothing of the whitewash many expected. What he has delivered instead is a grenade.
Among his recommendations is that the Government enforce a regime of "no metering, no pumping" which is sobering for no other reason than it is so obvious: the vast majority of people who pay water rates in this country will be aghast that this has not always been the case for water users who deal in billions of litres of water.
Most alarming for some government employees and businesspeople is the revelation contained in his report that the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has taken up an interest in the matter: including into whether the department has properly and fully pursued cases of alleged illegal water extraction.
As a result of its involvement, the fine details regarding "gaps in the case management record", and why cases were not pursued in the face of "prima facie evidence of substantive breaches", were not published. Instead, Mr Matthews handed these matters to the anti-graft commission.
From what I saw on the ground when we were filming this program, there will be many people sweating on what happens next. The Matthews investigation was clearly thorough, but it was done in a very short time, and with none of the powers of the ICAC.
A critical further point, that might otherwise be lost amid the hue and cry about illegal water take and meter tampering, is the question of so-called "environmental water".
This was made possible by a bizarre "water sharing plan" enacted in 2012 by which the NSW Government gave major water-users more reliable access to water — including by dumping restrictions on pump sizes and allowing fast, large-scale industrial extraction of water even when the river was running low.
Mr Matthews makes it clear that "this issue applies not only in the Barwon-Darling water system but elsewhere in NSW and the wider Murray-Darling Basin".
"Solving the problem will be critical to the success of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan," Mr Matthews found.
"It is a pre-condition if the anticipated environmental benefits of the plan are to be delivered.
"The issue is not new. Regrettably, it has continued without resolution for years ... there is a strong public expectation that arrangements should be in place already, and to the extent that they are not, a remedy is urgent."
This is a bombshell for the Commonwealth Government and this major economic and agrarian reform.
The South Australian Government has reacted to Mr Matthews' findings already, reiterating calls for a national judicial inquiry.
For Mr Le Lievre, and many others, this is where the significant changes need to be made. Communities like Louth will simply fade away without the water they once had flowing past.
Earlier this year, Mr Le Lievre told me someone in the NSW Government had to be held accountable for what had been done with the water.
The Matthews report goes some way to delivering precisely that, but, as the weathered farmer insisted at the time, "the only way to make them accountable and to stop them from pulling out legs is to do it under oath".
"Simple. They can't get out of it, they've got to tell the truth."
It is a power that was not available to Mr Matthews, or to the various other investigations now underway into the Four Corners revelations. It is, however, readily used in the ICAC's hearing room.