jm + uk   123

Online security won’t improve until companies stop passing the buck to the customer
100% agreed!
Giving good security advice is hard because very often individuals have little or no effective control over their security. The extent to which a customer is at risk of being defrauded largely depends on how good their bank’s security is, something customers cannot know.

Similarly, identity fraud is the result of companies doing a poor job at verifying identity. If a criminal can fraudulently take out a loan using another’s name, address, and date of birth from the public record, that’s the fault of the lender – not, as Cifas, a trade organisation for lenders, claims, because customers “don’t take the same care to protect our most important asset – our identities”.
cifas  uk  passwords  security  regulation  banking  ncsc  riscs  advice 
6 weeks ago by jm
Stiff Upper Lip by Alex Renton review – the damage boarding schools have done | Books | The Guardian
Holy shit:
Stiff Upper Lip is studded with startling stuff. Discussing the importance of football, for instance, in 19th-century public schools, he drops in the line that “in Charterhouse’s version a small boy was the ball”. I blithely went over that one, thinking he meant “a small boy was [expected to crouch on] the ball” or similar; but it was no typo. In a cheery kickabout on Good Friday, 1924, the Earl of Sussex’s son died from his injuries – _having been [used as] an actual football_.


(via Eva Wiseman)
football  public-schools  uk  school  history  murder  insanity  charterhouse  alex-renton  education 
10 weeks ago by jm
May's Brexit plan is falling apart and the press are talking about Easter eggs
Now the prime minister has embroiled herself in a negotiation in which we are at a disadvantage in terms of time and negotiating capacity. There will of course be no admission from Brexit MPs about this. They fixate on the one prediction economists got wrong - the surprising resilience of consumer spending - while ignoring everything their side was wrong about, like the fall in sterling, the announcement of a second Scottish independence referendum, the threat of a sudden hard border in Ireland or the crisis over Gibraltar.

This is not point scoring. Unless there is a sober assessment of what is going right and wrong on both sides there can be no realistic negotiating posture. We are condemned to keep making the same mistakes again and again and working ourselves into ever-more disadvantageous positions.
eu  politics  brexit  uk  fail  theresa-may 
11 weeks ago by jm
Communications data errors: UK police incriminating the wrong people due to data retention system screwups
It seems there have been 34 with serious consequences since 2008. Causes include:
- Omission of an underscore when transcribing an e-mail address led to the wrong subscriber information being provided and a search warrant being executed at the premises of an individual unconnected with the investigation.

- A CSP's data warehouse system change affected how GMT and British Summer Time were treated. This was not communicated to staff using the data retention disclosure system. This led to a one hour error in subscriber information disclosed in relation to IP address usage. Of 98 potential disclosure errors identified, 94 were in fact incorrect and four returned the same results when re-run. Of the 94 incorrect disclosures, in three cases a search warrant was executed at premises relating to individuals unconnected with the investigation (and one individual was arrested).

- Due to a technical fault causing a time zone conversion to be out by seven hours, a CSP voluntarily disclosed an incorrect IP address to a public authority.  That led to a search warrant being executed at premises relating to individuals unconnected with the investigation.


In other words, timezones largely screw up everything, yet again.
timezones  uk  law  data-retention  errors  bst 
march 2017 by jm
Banks biased against black fraud victims
We raised the issue of discrimination in 2011 with one of the banks and with the Commission for Racial Equality, but as no-one was keeping records, nothing could be proved, until today. How can this discrimination happen? Well, UK rules give banks a lot of discretion to decide whether to refund a victim, and the first responders often don’t know the full story. If your HSBC card was compromised by a skimmer on a Tesco ATM, there’s no guarantee that Tesco will have told anyone (unlike in America, where the law forces Tesco to tell you). And the fraud pattern might be something entirely new. So bank staff end up making judgement calls like “Is this customer telling the truth?” and “How much is their business worth to us?” This in turn sets the stage for biases and prejudices to kick in, however subconsciously. Add management pressure to cut costs, sometimes even bonuses for cutting them, and here we are.
discrimination  racism  fraud  uk  banking  skimming  security  fca 
january 2017 by jm
We planned for Brexit at Football Manager. So why did no one else? | Miles Jacobson | Opinion | The Guardian
Football Manager includes what is effectively a parallel universe, so they modelled the effects of Brexit on the UK Premier League:

'In my own current “save”, Brexit kicked in at the end of season three. Unfortunately I got one of the hard options, where all non-homegrown players are now going through a work permit system, albeit one that’s slightly relaxed. It means I can no longer bring in that 19-year-old Italian keeper I’d been eyeing up as one for the future. Instead I have to wait for him to break into the Italian squad, and play 30% of their fixtures over the next two years. Then he’ll be mine. Meanwhile, my TV revenue has just dropped by a few million. Let’s hope that doesn’t continue, or I won’t even be able to afford him.'
brexit  uk  games  gaming  football-manager  forecasts  simulation 
november 2016 by jm
IPBill ICRs are the perfect material for 21st-century blackmail
ICRs are the perfect material for blackmail, which makes them valuable in a way that traditional telephone records are not. And where potentially large sums of money are involved, corruption is sure to follow. Even if ICR databases are secured with the best available technology, they are still vulnerable to subversion by individuals whose jobs give them ready access.
This is no theoretical risk. Just one day ago, it emerged that corrupt insiders at offshore call centres used by Australian telecoms were offering to sell phone records, home addresses, and other private details of customers. Significantly, the price requested was more if the target was an Australian "VIP, politician, police [or] celebrity."
blackmail  privacy  uk-politics  uk  snooping  surveillance  icrs  australia  phone-records 
november 2016 by jm
Tesco Bank: 20,000 customers lose money - BBC News
"Any financial loss that results from this fraudulent activity will be borne by the bank," Mr Higgins said. "Customers are not at financial risk."


Well, that would be surprising....
tesco  banking  fraud  security  hacks  uk 
november 2016 by jm
Individual children's details passed to Home Office for immigration purposes | UK news | The Guardian
The UK's version of the POD database project was used by the Home Office to track immigrants for various reasons -- in other words, exactly the reasons why parents will choose not to provide that data
parents  databases  data  pod  uk  home-office  education  schools 
october 2016 by jm
Stephen Coutts – Irexit by Default? The Maintenance of Open Borders and Constitutional Realignment in the event of a hard Brexit
This is the new fear -- that FF/FG will accidentally and stupidly disengage Ireland from the EU as a side effect of trying to keep the UK happy and cross-border trade intact
trade  customs  borders  uk  brexit  imports  ireland  eu 
october 2016 by jm
Batsh!t Britain’s Brexit Border Blues
Good blog post on the insane plan mooted by the UK to push their border controls to the Republic of Ireland's ports
borders  uk  brexit  ireland  politics 
october 2016 by jm
We are witnessing nothing less than a Tory reformation | Rafael Behr | Opinion | The Guardian
An excellent explanation of what is going on in the UK right now. What a nightmare:
Finally there are the self-styled buccaneers of the free-trade seas. Boris Johnson would probably cast himself as Sir Walter Raleigh – polymath, wordsmith, adventurer. That leaves Liam Fox to play Sir Francis Drake, looking for domestic glory in global circumnavigation but seen from abroad as a pirate.

This is all myth and fantasy, of course. But parties have always been sustained by internal mythologies, and the task of exiting the EU is so complicated and fraught with danger that fantasy becomes a necessary comfort. As one former minister says of the puritan choristers: “They have spent their lives working towards this dream. Of course they don’t want to accept that it’s a nightmare.”

Tory pro-Europeans are in the impossible position of using rational argument against faith. If they counsel compromise on migration or the single market, they are accused of talking Britain down or trying to refight the referendum. They have few reinforcements across the political water. Labour is a shambles. The Lib Dems are puny in parliament. Scotland has its own distinct politics, and in Nicola Sturgeon its own remainian queen with her own independence agenda.

The Tories do not speak for all of England, but in the absence of credible opposition they feel as if they do, and will act accordingly. To those millions who did not vote to leave the EU, the message is clear: you are free to pray for whatever you like. Your antique rites will be tolerated. But do not expect your concerns to be represented in the court of Queen Theresa. Be humble instead. Swallow your doubts and take a pew in the reformed national church of Brexit.
reformation  uk  politics  brexit  eu  puritanism  fanaticism 
october 2016 by jm
Snooping powers saw 13 people wrongly held on child sex charges in the UK
Sorry, Daily Mail article --
Blunders in the use of controversial snooping powers meant 13 people were wrongly arrested last year on suspicion of being paedophiles. Another four individuals had their homes searched by detectives following errors in attempts to access communications data, a watchdog revealed yesterday.

Other mistakes also included people unconnected to an investigation being visited by police and delayed welfare checks on vulnerable people including children whose lives were at risk, said the Interception of Communications Commissioner. [....] A large proportion of the errors involved an internet address which was wrongly linked to an individual.

Of the 23 serious mistakes, 14 were human errors and the other nine ‘technical system errors’.
surveillance  ip-addresses  privacy  uk  daily-mail  snooping  interception  errors 
september 2016 by jm
The best thing to mark National Stalking Awareness Week would be to scrap the law on stalking
"The Secret Barrister" explains a classic case of empty-gesture lawmaking in the UK:
in 2012, the coalition government, in a fit of virtue signalling, announced a bold plan to offer extra protection to victims of stalking, following a rash of reported cases where obsessive nutjobs had slipped through the net. Hence, via the 2012 Act, section 2A was shoved into the Protection from Harassment Act, creating a shiny new offence of stalking.

What is stalking, you ask? Well here’s the clever bit. Stalking is…”a course of conduct which amounts to harassment…and [where] the acts or omissions involved are ones associated with stalking“. To inject some colour into the dull circularity of the definition, section 2A(3) provides “examples of acts or omissions associated with stalking”. In other words, you need to prove that the defendant is guilty of both harassment and stalking, in order to convict them of stalking. Therefore, proving stalking is by definition harder for the prosecution than simply proving harassment.

And what do you get if you opt for the harder road? What prize awaits the victorious prosecutor who has slogged her way through the additional evidential burden thrust upon her by section 2A? The answer is….nothing. Or at least, nothing more than if you successfully prosecuted for harassment. The maximum sentence in each case is 6 months’ imprisonment.

It is the very definition of empty gesture legislating. Section 2A is so very pointlessly pointless that I want urgently to go back in time to the day when then-crime prevention minister Jeremy Browne was hubristically prattling on about what a difference this law is going to make and shove a whoopee pie right up his schnoz. Section 2A does nothing other than create a new offence that is harder to prove than an existing offence that prohibits the same conduct, solely, it seems, to allow for the drawing of an entirely semantic distinction between “harassment” and “stalking”.
harrassment  stalking  law  legislation  uk  police  crime  prosecution 
september 2016 by jm
Violet Club
eye-poppingly bizarre half-assed safety features of the 1950s -- a megaton nuclear weapon rendered safe from accidental criticality accidents only by a plastic bag full of ball bearings
nuclear-weapons  nukes  safety  1950s  uk  funny  bizarre  violet-club  ball-bearings  via:cstross 
july 2016 by jm
'If you've got money, you vote in ... if you haven't got money, you vote out' | Politics | The Guardian
The prime minister evidently thought that the whole debate could be cleanly started and finished in a matter of months. His Eton contemporary Boris Johnson – and, really, can you believe that the political story of the last four months has effectively been a catastrophic contest between two people who went to the same exclusive school? – opportunistically embraced the cause of Brexit in much the same spirit. What they had not figured out was that a diffuse, scattershot popular anger had not yet decisively found a powerful enough outlet, but that the staging of a referendum and the cohering of the leave cause would deliver exactly that. Ukip were held back by both the first-past-the-post electoral system, and the polarising qualities of Farage, but the coalition for Brexit effectively neutralised both. And so it came to pass: the cause of leaving the EU, for so long the preserve of cranks and chancers, attracted a share of the popular vote for which any modern political party would give its eye teeth.
brexit  europe  eu  uk  eton  ukip  politics 
june 2016 by jm
There are liars and then there’s Boris Johnson and Michael Gove
Post-brexit post-mortem from Nicholas Cohen in the grauniad:
The Vote Leave campaign followed the tactics of the sleazy columnist to the letter. First, it came out with the big, bold solution: leave. Then it dismissed all who raised well-founded worries with “the country is sick of experts”. Then, like Johnson the journalist, it lied.
eu  politics  uk  brexit  boris-johnson  michael-gove 
june 2016 by jm
Three starts network-level ad blocking trial
Three, the mobile carrier, has begun warming up for a network-level ad blocking trial. It will become one of the first mobile carriers worldwide—and certainly in the UK—to try blocking ads before they are squirted over the network to the consumer, rather than attempting to hide or block ads locally on the device, which can cost both bandwidth and battery life.

The ad blocking trial, which will affect both mobile websites and apps, will take place during a 24-hour period sometime between June 13 and 20. Three says it will contact customers and ask them to sign up for the trial, presumably via the online customer portal. It isn't clear how large the trial will be.

Technologically, the network-level ad blocking will be powered by Shine. Due to the nature of the beast—the constant tussle between ad publishers and ad blockers—Shine doesn't like to talk about its tech in much detail. It sounds like Shine uses deep packet inspection and machine learning to find packets that contain ads, and then replaces or removes them in such a way that it doesn't break the layout of the website or app.
shine  three  uk  adblocking  mobile  isps 
june 2016 by jm
Can the United Kingdom government legally disregard a vote for Brexit?
Oh thank god, there's a "get out of jail" card before they destroy the global economy to appease the eurosceptics.
On the day after a vote for Brexit, the UK will still be a member state of the EU. All the legislation which gives effect to EU law will still be in place. Nothing as a matter of law changes in any way just because of a vote to Leave. What will make all the legal difference is not a decision to leave by UK voters in a non-binding advisory vote, but the decision of the prime minister on how to react before making any Article 50 notification. And what the prime minister will do politically after a referendum vote for Brexit is, at the moment, as unknown as the result of the result of the referendum itself.
brexit  law  uk  government  referenda  eurosceptics  eu 
june 2016 by jm
The tyranny of the algorithm yet again...
Paypal will no longer handle payments if the user's address includes the word "Isis":
That these place names exist won't be a surprise to anyone familiar with English limnology - the study of rivers and inland waters. As Wikipedia helpfully tells us, "The Isis is the name given to the part of the River Thames above Iffley Lock which flows through the university city of Oxford". In at least one local primary school I'm familiar with, the classes are called Windrush, Cherwell, Isis and Thames.

[...] Now PayPal has decided that they are not prepared to facilitate payments for goods to be delivered to an address which includes the word "Isis". An Isis street resident ran into some unexpected difficulties when attempting to purchase a small quantity of haberdashery on the internet with the aid of a PayPal account. The transaction would not process. In puzzlement she eventually got irritated enough to brave the 24/7 customer support telephone tag labyrinth. The short version of the response from the eventual real person she managed to get through to was that PayPal have blacklisted addresses which include the name "Isis". They will not process payments for goods to be delivered to an Isis related address, whatever state of privileged respectability the residents of such properties may have earned or inherited in their lifetimes to this point.


One has to wonder if this also brings the risk of adding the user to a secret list, somewhere. Trial by algorithm.
isis  algorithms  automation  fail  law-enforcement  paypal  uk  rivers 
june 2016 by jm
UK at serious risk of over-blocking content online, human rights watchdog warns | Ars Technica UK
The IWF in the spotlight...
The blacklist operated by the IWF effectively amounts to censorship. Not only are the blacklist and notices sent to members of the IWF kept secret, but there is no requirement to notify website owners when their site has been added to the blacklist. Even where statutory rules do exist with respect to notice and take-down procedures (namely, the Terrorism Act 2006 and the Defamation (Operators of Websites) Regulations 2013), the provisions are not so concerned with safeguards for the protection of freedom of expression, as with offering an exemption from liability for ISPs.
iwf  censorship  uk  filtering  coe  eu  europe 
june 2016 by jm
MPs’ private emails are routinely accessed by GCHQ
65% of parliamentary emails are routed via Dublin or the Netherlands, so liable to access via Tempora; NSA's Prism program gives access to all Microsoft Office 365 docs; and MessageLabs, the anti-spam scanning system in use, has a GCHQ backdoor program called Haruspex, allegedly.
snowden  privacy  mps  uk  politics  gchq  nsa  haruspex  messagelabs  symantec  microsoft  parliament 
june 2016 by jm
Westminster social engineering to blame for 'Glasgow effect' mortality rate
This is quite significant -- scientific proof that austerity/social engineering policies cause higher mortality rates:
Researchers found that the historic effect of overcrowding was an important factor and highlighted the strategies of local government, which prioritised the regeneration of the city centre over investment in the cities housing schemes as having a significant impact on the health of Glaswegians.

Data shows that Glasgow authorities spent far less on housing repairs, leaving people's homes poorly maintained and subject to damp. David Walsh, of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, said that their work proved that poor health had political causes and could not simply be attributed to individual lifestyle choices.
glasgow-effect  scotland  poverty  glasgow  lifestyle  health  mortality  housing  policies  uk 
may 2016 by jm
The problems with forcing regular password expiry

The new password may have been used elsewhere, and attackers can exploit this too. The new password is also more likely to be written down, which represents another  vulnerability. New passwords are also more likely to be forgotten, and this carries the productivity costs of users being locked out of their accounts, and service desks having to reset passwords.
It’s one of those counter-intuitive security scenarios; the more often users are forced to change passwords, the greater the overall vulnerability to attack. What appeared to be a perfectly sensible, long-established piece of advice doesn’t, it turns out, stand up to a rigorous, whole-system analysis. CESG now recommend organisations do not force regular password expiry.
cesg  recommendations  guidelines  security  passwords  expiry  uk  gchq 
april 2016 by jm
GCHQ intervenes to prevent catastrophically insecure UK smart meter plan - The Inquirer

GCHQ barged in after spooks cast their eyes over the plans and realised that power companies were proposing to use a single decryption key for communications from the 53 million smart meters that will eventually be installed in the UK.


holy crap.
gchq  security  smart-meters  power  uk  electricity  gas  infrastructure 
april 2016 by jm
£25,000 stolen online. But even more shocking: Barclays washes its hands of it | Money | The Guardian
UK banks are getting press for evading liability and screwing the customer when scams and phishing occur
scams  phishing  uk  banking  banks  liability  terms-and-conditions  barclays 
march 2016 by jm
Nook DRM promises to kill book collection unless user takes action
yay, DRM. "It is important that you transfer your purchased NOOK Books to ensure access"
drm  fail  nook  uk  sainsburys 
march 2016 by jm
Lasers reveal 'lost' Roman roads
UK open data success story, via Tony Finch:
This LIDAR data bonanza has proved particularly helpful to archaeologists seeking to map Roman roads that have been ‘lost’, some for thousands of years. Their discoveries are giving clues to a neglected chapter in the history of Roman Britain: the roads built to help Rome’s legions conquer and control northern England.
uk  government  lidar  open-data  data  roman  history  mapping  geodata 
february 2016 by jm
Big Brother is born. And we find out 15 years too late to stop him - The Register
During the passage of RIPA, and in many debates since 2000, Parliament was asked to consider and require data retention by telephone companies, claiming that the information was vital to fighting crime and terrorism. But Prime Minister Tony Blair and successive Home Secretaries David Blunkett and Jack Straw never revealed to Parliament that at the same time, the government was constantly siphoning up and storing all telephone call records at NTAC.

As a result, MPs and peers spent months arguing about a pretence, and in ignorance of the cost and human rights implications of what successive governments were doing in secret.
ripa  big-brother  surveillance  preston  uk  gchq  mi5  law  snooping 
december 2015 by jm
Big Brother Watch on Twitter: "Anyone can legally have their phone or computer hacked by the police, intelligence agencies, HMRC and others #IPBill https://t.co/3ZS610srCJ"
As Glynn Moody noted, if UK police, intelligence agencies, HMRC and others call all legally hack phones and computers, that also means that digital evidence can be easily and invisibly planted. This will undermine future court cases in the UK, which seems like a significant own goal...
hmrc  police  gchq  uk  hacking  security  law-enforcement  evidence  law 
december 2015 by jm
Lisa Jones, girlfriend of undercover policeman Mark Kennedy: ‘I thought I knew him better than anyone’ | UK news | The Guardian
She thought they were a normal couple until she found a passport in a glovebox – and then her world shattered. Now she is finally getting compensation and a police apology for that surreal, state-sponsored deception. But she still lies awake and wonders: did he ever really love me?


I can't believe this was going on in the 2000s!
surveillance  police  uk  undercover  scandals  policing  environmentalism  greens 
november 2015 by jm
Red lines and no-go zones - the coming surveillance debate
The Anderson Report to the House of Lords in the UK on RIPA introduces a concept of a "red line":
"Firm limits must also be written into the law: not merely safeguards, but red lines that may not be crossed." …   
"Some might find comfort in a world in which our every interaction and movement could be recorded, viewed in real time and indefinitely retained for possible future use by the authorities. Crime fighting, security, safety or public health justifications are never hard to find." [13.19] 

The Report then gives examples, such as a perpetual video feed from every room in every house, the police undertaking to view the record only on receipt of a complaint; blanket drone-based surveillance; licensed service providers, required as a condition of the licence to retain within the jurisdiction a complete plain-text version of every communication to be made available to the authorities on request; a constant data feed from vehicles, domestic appliances and health-monitoring personal devices; fitting of facial recognition software to every CCTV camera and the insertion of a location-tracking chip under every individual's skin.

It goes on:
"The impact of such powers on the innocent could be mitigated by the usual apparatus of safeguards, regulators and Codes of Practice. But a country constructed on such a basis would surely be intolerable to many of its inhabitants. A state that enjoyed all those powers would be truly totalitarian, even if the authorities had the best interests of its people at heart." [13.20] …  

"The crucial objection is that of principle. Such a society would have gone beyond Bentham's Panopticon (whose inmates did not know they were being watched) into a world where constant surveillance was a certainty and quiescence the inevitable result. There must surely come a point (though it comes at different places for different people) where the escalation of intrusive powers becomes too high a price to pay for a safer and more law abiding environment." [13.21]
panopticon  jeremy-bentham  law  uk  dripa  ripa  surveillance  spying  police  drones  facial-recognition  future  tracking  cctv  crime 
november 2015 by jm
England opens up 11TB of LiDAR data covering the entire country as open data
All 11 terabytes of our LIDAR data (that’s roughly equivalent to 2,750,000 MP3 songs) will eventually be available through our new Open LIDAR portal under an Open Government Licence, allowing it to be used for any purpose. We hope that by giving free access to our data businesses and local communities will develop innovative solutions to benefit the environment, grow our thriving rural economy, and boost our world-leading food and farming industry. The possibilities are endless and we hope that making LIDAR data open will be a catalyst for new ideas and innovation.


Are you reading, Ordnance Survey Ireland?
data  maps  uk  lidar  mapping  geodata  open-data  ogl 
october 2015 by jm
The Surveillance Elephant in the Room…
Very perceptive post on the next steps for safe harbor, post-Schrems.
And behind that elephant there are other elephants: if US surveillance and surveillance law is a problem, then what about UK surveillance? Is GCHQ any less intrusive than the NSA? It does not seem so – and this puts even more pressure on the current reviews of UK surveillance law taking place. If, as many predict, the forthcoming Investigatory Powers Bill will be even more intrusive and extensive than current UK surveillance laws this will put the UK in a position that could rapidly become untenable. If the UK decides to leave the EU, will that mean that the UK is not considered a safe place for European data? Right now that seems the only logical conclusion – but the ramifications for UK businesses could be huge.

[....] What happens next, therefore, is hard to foresee. What cannot be done, however, is to ignore the elephant in the room. The issue of surveillance has to be taken on. The conflict between that surveillance and fundamental human rights is not a merely semantic one, or one for lawyers and academics, it’s a real one. In the words of historian and philosopher Quentin Skinner “the current situation seems to me untenable in a democratic society.” The conflict over Safe Harbor is in many ways just a symptom of that far bigger problem. The biggest elephant of all.
ec  cjeu  surveillance  safe-harbor  schrems  privacy  europe  us  uk  gchq  nsa 
october 2015 by jm
From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities
Inside KARMA POLICE, GCHQ's mass-surveillance operation aimed to record the browsing habits of "every visible user on the internet", including UK-to-UK internal traffic. more details on the other GCHQ mass surveillance projects at https://theintercept.com/gchq-appendix/
surveillance  gchq  security  privacy  law  uk  ireland  karma-police  snooping 
september 2015 by jm
How your entire financial life will be stored in a new 'digital vault' - Telegraph
In a move to make it easier to open bank accounts and Isas, people will be asked to share all of their accounts, tax records and personal details with a central service.
To check someone's identity, a company would then ask potential customers a series of questions and check the answers against the information in the vault. The checks would replace the current system in which new customers must send by post copies of their passports, cross-signed by a friend, along with bank statements and utility bills.


hahahaha NO FUCKING WAY.
bills  banking  uk  tax  privacy  digital-vault  accounts  authentication  identity-theft  bad-ideas 
august 2015 by jm
Food Blogger Mehreen And Anges De Sucre's Patisserie Owner Reshmi Bennett In Online War Over #BloggerBlackmail
I can't believe this is the state of food blogging in the UK and Ireland. full-on payola for reviews. See also @damienmulley's excellent rant on the subject in this country: https://twitter.com/damienmulley/status/633353368757497858 -- there's even rate cards for positive review tweets/posts/facebook updates etc.
food  blogging  restaurants  uk  bakeries  reviews  payola  blogger-blackmail  pr 
august 2015 by jm
Care.data and access to UK health records: patient privacy and public trust
'In 2013, the United Kingdom launched care.data, an NHS England initiative to combine patient records, stored in the machines of general practitioners (GPs), with information from social services and hospitals to make one centralized data archive. One aim of the initiative is to gain a picture of the care being delivered between different parts of the healthcare system and thus identify what is working in health care delivery, and what areas need greater attention and resources. This case study analyzes the complications around the launch of care.data. It explains the historical context of the program and the controversies that emerged in the course of the rollout. It explores problems in management and communications around the centralization effort, competing views on the safety of “anonymous” and “pseudonymous” health data, and the conflicting legal duties imposed on GPs with the introduction of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. This paper also explores the power struggles in the battle over care.data and outlines the tensions among various stakeholders, including patients, GPs, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the government, privacy experts and data purchasers. The predominant public policy question that emerges from this review centers on how best to utilize technological advances and simultaneously strike a balance between the many competing interests around health and personal privacy.'
care.data  privacy  healthcare  uk  nhs  trust  anonymity  anonymization  gps  medicine 
august 2015 by jm
How .uk came to be (and why it's not .gb)
WB: By the late 80s the IANA [the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, set up in 1988 to manage global IP address allocations] was trying to get all those countries that were trying to join the internet to use the ISO 3166 standard for country codes. It was used for all sorts of things — you see it on cars, “GB” for the UK. [...]

At that point, we’re faced with a problem that Jon Postel would like to have changed it to .gb to be consistent with the rest of the world. Whereas .uk had already been established, with a few tens of thousands of domain names with .uk on them. I remember chairing one of the JANET net workshops that were held every year, and the Northern Irish were adamant that they were part of the UK — so the consensus was, we’d try and keep .uk, we’d park .gb and not use it.

PK: I didn’t particularly want to change to .gb because I was responsible for Northern Ireland as well. And what’s more, there was a certain question as to whether a research group in the US should be allowed to tell the British what to do. So this argy-bargy continued for a little while and, in the meantime, one of my clients was the Ministry of Defence, and they decided they couldn’t wait this long, and they decided I was going to lose the battle, and so bits of MOD went over to .gb — I didn’t care, as I was running .gb and .uk in any case.
dot-uk  history  internet  dot-gb  britain  uk  northern-ireland  ireland  janet 
july 2015 by jm
Code-Point Open
The UK Ordnance Survey's "open data' free product, free for all uses:
Code-Point Open is FREE to view, download and use for commercial, educational and personal purposes.


(via Antoin)
via:antoin  postcodes  mapping  open-data  ordnance-survey  uk  gb  royal-mail  maps 
july 2015 by jm
Bad data PR: how the NSPCC sunk to a new low in data churnalism
when the NSPCC sent out a press release saying that one in ten 12-13 year olds [in the UK] are worried that they are addicted to porn and 12% have participated in sexually explicit videos, dozens of journalists appear to have simply played along – despite there being no report and little explanation of where the figures came from. [....]

"It turns out the study was conducted by a “creative market research” [ie. pay-per-survey] group calledOnePoll. "Generate content and news angles with a OnePoll PR survey, and secure exposure for your brand,” reads the company’s blurb. "Our PR survey team can help draft questions, find news angles, design infographics, write and distribute your story." "The OnePoll survey included just 11 multiple-choice questions, which could be filled in online. Children were recruited via their parents, who were already signed up to OnePoll."


The NSPCC spends 25 million UKP per year on "child protection advice and awareness", so they have the money to do this right. Disappointing.
nspcc  bad-science  bad-data  methodology  surveys  porn  uk  kids  addiction  onepoll  pr  market-research 
april 2015 by jm
Small claims triumph as aerial photographer routs flagrant infringers
This is great news. Flagrant copyright infringement of an aerial photograph penalised to the order of UKP 2,716
copyright  infringement  small-claims  law  uk  webb-aviation  photography  images 
april 2015 by jm
Sign up for Privacy International's anti-surveillance campaign
Have you ever made a phone call, sent an email, or, you know, used the internet? Of course you have!

Chances are, at some point over the past decade, your communications were swept up by the U.S. National Security Agency. The NSA then shares information with the UK Government's intelligence agency GCHQ by default. A recent court ruling found that this sharing was unlawful. But no one could find out if their records were collected and then illegally shared between these two agencies… until now!

Because of our recent victory against the UK intelligence agency in court, now anyone in the world — yes, ANYONE, including you — can find out if GCHQ illegally received information about you from the NSA. Join our campaign by entering your details below to find out if GCHQ illegally spied on you, and confirm via the email we send you. We'll then go to court demanding that they finally come clean on unlawful surveillance.
gchq  nsa  spying  surveillance  internet  phone  uk  law  campaign  privacy-international 
february 2015 by jm
UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful ‘for seven years’ | UK news | The Guardian
The regime that governs the sharing between Britain and the US of electronic communications intercepted in bulk was unlawful until last year, a secretive UK tribunal has ruled.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) declared on Friday that regulations covering access by Britain’s GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law.
gchq  surveillance  uk  nsa  law  tribunals 
february 2015 by jm
ODROID-C1 - Multicore credit card computer
Pretty amazing specs for a 33 quid SBC.
Amlogic ARM® Cortex®-A5(ARMv7) 1.5Ghz quad core CPUs 

* Mali™-450 MP2 GPU (OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1 enabled for Linux and Android)

* 1Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM

* Gigabit Ethernet

* 40pin GPIOs

* eMMC4.5 HS200 Flash Storage slot / UHS-1 SDR50 MicroSD Card slot

* USB 2.0 Host x 4, USB OTG x 1,

* Infrared(IR) Receiver

* Uses Ubuntu 14.04 or Android KitKat operating systems


Includes HDMI out. (via Conor O'Neill)
via:conoro  uk  sbc  hacking  linux  hardware  odroid  gadgets 
january 2015 by jm
BBC uses RIPA terrorism laws to catch TV licence fee dodgers in Northern Ireland
Give them the power, they'll use that power.

'A document obtained under Freedom of Information legislation confirms the BBC's use of RIPA in Northern Ireland. It states: "The BBC may, in certain circumstances, authorise under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and Regulation of Investigatory Powers (British Broadcasting Corporation) Order 2001 the lawful use of detection equipment to detect unlicensed use of television receivers... the BBC has used detection authorised under this legislation in Northern Ireland."'
ripa  privacy  bbc  tv  license-fee  uk  northern-ireland  law  scope-creep 
january 2015 by jm
Privacy is a key issue for young UK voters
Exactly half [of young UK voters] put online privacy among their main concerns - more than the environment (45%), immigration (43%), tax avoidance (37%) or Britain's future in the EU (34%).
privacy  uk  politics  polls  youth 
december 2014 by jm
The US complains that others steal its technology, but America was once a tech pirate itself
History repeating itself -- see the "Gongkai" story today for a modern analogue.
Hamilton used patents to lure immigrants with skills and knowledge to move to the United States. George Parkinson, for example, was awarded a patent in 1791 for a textile spinning machine, which was really just a rip-off of a machine he had used in England. The United States also paid his family's expenses to emigrate and re-locate to the US. [...]

The Brits were not happy about the attempts to steal their intellectual property. Severe penalties were on the books for anyone trying to take machines or designs out of the country, or even to lure skilled workers. It was actually illegal for such skilled workers to leave the country.
china  gongkai  patents  ip  copyright  history  us  uk  textiles  spinning 
december 2014 by jm
More on the VATMOSS debacle
This is a really good page summarizing where UK-based small digital-media-vending businesses stand
smes  uk  vat  vatmoss  tax  fail  eu 
december 2014 by jm
Operation Socialist: How GCHQ Spies Hacked Belgium’s Largest Telco
Chilling.
GCHQ maintains a huge repository named MUTANT BROTH that stores billions of these intercepted cookies, which it uses to correlate with IP addresses to determine the identity of a person. GCHQ refers to cookies internally as “target detection identifiers.”
privacy  gchq  surveillance  belgacom  regin  uk  spying  belgium  isps  cookies  malware 
december 2014 by jm
Richard Tynan on Twitter: "GCHQ Tapping Eircom owned cable"
Cable listed as owned by Eircom and Cable and Wireless (now Vodafone?)
vodafone  cables  tapping  surveillance  eircom  internet  uk 
november 2014 by jm
UK museums lobbying for copyright reform with empty display cases
Great to see museums campaigning for copyright reform -- this makes perfect sense.
Display cases in the Imperial War Museum, National Library of Scotland and University of Leeds sit empty. They should contain letters from the First World War; from a young girl to her father serving as a soldier and from soldiers to their families back home. Because of current UK copyright laws the original letters cannot be displayed. At the moment the duration of copyright in certain unpublished works is to the end of the year 2039, regardless how old the work is. The Free Our History campaign wants the term of copyright protection in unpublished texts to be reduced to the author’s lifetime plus 70 years.
copyright  history  uk  law  museums  ip 
november 2014 by jm
Photographs of Sellafield nuclear plant prompt fears over radioactive risk
"Slow-motion Chernobyl", as Greenpeace are calling it. You thought legacy code was a problem? try legacy Magnox fuel rods.
Previously unseen pictures of two storage ponds containing hundreds of highly radioactive fuel rods at the Sellafield nuclear plant show cracked concrete, seagulls bathing in the water and weeds growing around derelict machinery. But a spokesman for owners Sellafield Ltd said the 60-year-old ponds will not be cleaned up for decades, despite concern that they are in a dangerous state and could cause a large release of radioactive material if they are allowed to deteriorate further.

“The concrete is in dreadful condition, degraded and fractured, and if the ponds drain, the Magnox fuel will ignite and that would lead to a massive release of radioactive material,” nuclear safety expert John Large told the Ecologist magazine. “I am very disturbed at the run-down condition of the structures and support services. In my opinion there is a significant risk that the system could fail.
energy  environment  nuclear  uk  sellafield  magnox  seagulls  time  long-now 
october 2014 by jm
UK's ICO spam regulator even more toothless now
We appealed this decision, but on June 2014 the Upper Tribunal agreed with the First-tier Tribunal, cancelling our monetary penalty notice against Niebel and McNeish, and largely rendering our power to issue fines for breaches of PECR involving spam texts redundant.


This is pretty terrible. The UK appears to have the weakest anti-spam regime in Europe due to the lack of powers given to ICO.
ico  anti-spam  uk  law  regulation  spam  sms 
september 2014 by jm
UK piracy police arrest man suspected of running proxy server (Wired UK)
The site, Immunicity.org, offers a proxy server and a proxy autoconfiguration file (PAC) to tell browsers to access various blocked sites (PirateBay, KickassTorrents et al) via the proxy.
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has arrested a 20-year-old man in Nottingham on suspicion of copyright infringement for running a proxy server providing access to other sites subject to legal blocking orders.


Is operating a proxy server illegal? Interesting. Seems unlikely that this will go to court though.

(Via TJ McIntyre)
immunicity  via:tjmcintyre  police  uk  piracy  proxies  http  pac  pipcu  copyright 
august 2014 by jm
UK private copying exception plans face possible legal action
Under the proposed private copying exception, individuals in the UK would be given a new right to make a copy of copyrighted material they have lawfully and permanently acquired for their private use, provided it was not for commercial ends. Making a private copy of the material in these circumstances would not be an act of copyright infringement, although making a private copy of a computer program would still be prohibited under the plans.

There is no mechanism envisaged in the draft legislation for rights holders to be specifically compensated for the act of private copying. This prompted the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments (JCSI), tasked with scrutinising the proposals, to warn parliamentarians that the rules may be deemed to be in breach of EU copyright laws as a result of the lack of 'fair compensation' mechanism. [...]

"We are disappointed that the private copying exception will be introduced without providing fair compensation for British songwriters, performers and other rights holders within the creative sector. A mechanism for fair compensation is a requirement of European law. In response we are considering our legal options," [UK Music] said.
uk  law  copyright  music  copying  private-copying  personal  infringement  piracy  transcoding  backup 
july 2014 by jm
South Downs litter picker has truck named after him - West Sussex County Times
This is amazing. In http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/30/stepping-out-3 , David Sedaris had written: 'in recognition of all the rubbish I’ve collected since getting my Fitbit, my local council is naming a garbage truck after me'; naturally, I assumed he was joking, but it looks like he wasn't:
Horsham District Council has paid thanks to a volunteer who devotes a great deal of time and energy to walking many miles clearing litter from near where he lives as well as surrounding areas.

David Sedaris litter picks in areas including Parham, Coldwaltham, Storrington and beyond. In recognition for all his fantastic work and dedication and as a token of Horsham District Council’s appreciation, the council has named one of their waste vehicles after him. The vehicle, bedecked with its bespoke ‘Pig Pen Sedaris’ sign was officially unveiled by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex Mrs Susan Pyper at an outdoor ceremony on July 23.


Best of all, the article utterly fails to mention who he is. Amazing.

(via John Braine)
via:john-braine  funny  david-sedaris  litter  uk  horsham  rubbish  garbage  cleaning  volunteering  walking 
july 2014 by jm
Bletchley Park Trust erects "Berlin Wall" to cut off on-site computer history museum - Boing Boing
The Bletchley Park trust have erected a fence, nicknamed "The Berlin Wall," between their well-funded museum and its poorer on-site neighbour, the UK National Museum of Computing, which houses the hand-built replica of the codebreaking Colossus computer. The trust received an £8m lottery-funded grant and set about shitcanning long-serving volunteers, cutting off the computer history museum, and generally behaving like greedy jerks, systematically alienating long-term supporters. Oh, and there was that Snowden business.


WTF. Stupid antics.
bletchley-park  history  wankers  uk  museums  computing 
may 2014 by jm
Theresa May warns Yahoo that its move to Dublin is a security worry
Y! is moving to Dublin to evade GCHQ spying on its users. And what is the UK response?
"There are concerns in the Home Office about how Ripa will apply to Yahoo once it has moved its headquarters to Dublin," said a Whitehall source. "The home secretary asked to see officials from Yahoo because in Dublin they don't have equivalent laws to Ripa. This could particularly affect investigations led by Scotland Yard and the national crime agency. They regard this as a very serious issue."


There's priorities for you!
ripa  gchq  guardian  uk  privacy  data-protection  ireland  dublin  london  spying  surveillance  yahoo 
march 2014 by jm
Ucas sells access to student data for phone and drinks firms' marketing | Technology | The Guardian
The UK government's failure to deal with spam law in a consumer-friendly way escalates further:

UCAS, the university admissions service, is operating as a mass-mailer of direct marketing on behalf of Vodafone, O2, Microsoft, Red Bull and others, without even a way to later opt out from that spam without missing important admissions-related mail as a side effect.

'Teenagers using Ucas Progress must explicitly opt in to mailings from the organisation and advertisers, though the organisation's privacy statement says: "We do encourage you to tick the box as it helps us to help you."'

Their website also carries advertising, and the details of parents are sold on to advertisers as well.

Needless to say, the toothless ICO say they 'did not appear to breach marketing rules under the privacy and electronic communications regulations', as usual. Typical ICO fail.
ucas  advertising  privacy  data-protection  opt-in  opt-out  spam  direct-marketing  vodafone  o2  microsoft  red-bull  uk  universities  grim-meathook-future  ico 
march 2014 by jm
Big doubts on big data: Why I won't be sharing my medical data with anyone - yet
These problems can be circumvented, but they must be dealt with, publically and soberly, if the NHS really does want to win public confidence. The NHS should approach selling the scheme to the public as if was opt-in, not opt-out, then work to convince us to join it. Tell us how sharing our data can help, but tell us what risk too. Let us decide if that balance is worth it. If it's found wanting, the NHS must go back to the drawing board and retool the scheme until it is. It's just too important to get wrong.
nhs  uk  privacy  data-protection  data-privacy  via:mynosql  big-data  healthcare  insurance 
february 2014 by jm
Hospital records of all NHS patients sold to insurers - Telegraph
The 274-page report describes the NHS Hospital Episode Statistics as a “valuable data source in developing pricing assumptions for 'critical illness’ cover.”
It says that by combining hospital data with socio-economic profiles, experts were able to better calculate the likelihood of conditions, with “amazingly” clear forecasts possible for certain diseases, in particular lung cancer.
Phil Booth, from privacy campaign group medConfidential, said: “The language in the document is extraordinary; this isn’t about patients, this is about exploiting a market. Of course any commercial organisation will focus on making a profit – the question is why is the NHS prepared to hand this data over?”
nhs  privacy  data  insurance  uk  politics  data-protection 
february 2014 by jm
Sky parental controls break many JQuery-using websites
An 11 hour outage caused by a false positive in Sky's anti-phishing filter; all sites using the code.jquery.com CDN for JQuery would have seen errors.
Sky still appears to be blocking code.jquery.com and all files served via the site, and more worryingly is that if you try to report the incorrect category, once signing in on the Sky website you an error page. We suspect the site was blocked due to being linked to by a properly malicious website, i.e. code.jquery.com and some javascript files were being used on a dodgy website and every domain mentioned was subsequently added to a block list.


(via Tony Finch)
via:fanf  sky  filtering  internet  uk  anti-phishing  phish  jquery  javascript  http  web  fps  false-positives 
january 2014 by jm
BBC News - Pair jailed over abusive tweets to feminist campaigner
When a producer from BBC Two's Newsnight programme tracked Nimmo down after he had sent the abuse, the former call centre worker told him: "The police will do nothing, it's only Twitter."
bbc  bullying  social-media  twitter  society  uk  trolls  trolling  abuse  feminism  cyberbullying 
january 2014 by jm
UK porn filter blocks game update that contained 'sex' in URL
Staggeringly inept. The UK national porn filter blocks based on a regexp match of the URL against /.*sex.*/i -- the good old "Scunthorpe problem". Better, it returns a 404 response. This is also a good demonstration of how web filtering has unintended side effects, breaking third-party software updates with its false positives.
The update to online strategy game League of Legends was disrupted by the internet filter because the software attempted to access files that accidentally include the word “sex” in the middle of their file names. The block resulted in the update failing with “file not found” errors, which are usually created by missing files or broken updates on the part of the developers.
uk  porn  filtering  guardian  regular-expressions  false-positives  scunthorpe  http  web  league-of-legends  sex 
january 2014 by jm
Internet Censors Came For TorrentFreak & Now I’m Really Mad
TF are not happy about Sky blocking their blog.
There can be little doubt that little by little, piece by piece, big corporations and governments are taking chunks out of the free Internet. Today they pretend that the control is in the hands of the people, but along the way they are prepared to mislead and misdirect, even when their errors are pointed out to them. I’m calling on Sky, Symantec, McAfee and other ISPs about to employ filtering to categorize this site correctly as a news site or blog and to please start listening to people’s legitimate complaints about other innocent sites. It serves nobody’s interests to wrongfully block legitimate information.
censorship  isps  uk  sky  torrentfreak  piracy  copyright  filtering  blocking  symantec  filesharing 
january 2014 by jm
Nominet now filtering .uk domain registrations for 'sex-crime content'
Amazing. Massive nanny-stateism of the 'something must be done' variety, with a 100% false-alarm hit rate, and it's now policy.
'Nominet have made a decision, based on a report by Lord Macdonald QC, that recommends that they check any domain registration that signals sex crime content or is in itself a sex crime. This is screening of domains within 48 hours of registration, and de-registration. The report says that such domains should be reported to the police.' [....]

'The report itself states [...] that in 2013 Nominet checked domains for key words used by the IWF, and as a result reported tens of thousands of domains to IWF for checking, all of which were false positives. Not one was, in fact, related to child sex abuse.'
filtering  nominet  false-positives  nanny-state  uk  sex-crimes  false-alarms  domains  iwf 
january 2014 by jm
Operation War Diary
Crowdsourcing transcription of some WWI artifacts: 'The story of the British Army on the Western Front during the First World War is waiting to be discovered in 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries. We need your help to reveal the stories of those who fought in the global conflict that shaped the world we live in today.'

(via Luke)
via:luke  war  history  war-diaries  wwi  uk  britain 
january 2014 by jm
UK NHS will soon require GPs pass confidential medical data to third parties
Specifically, unanonymised, confidential, patient-identifying data, for purposes of "admin, healthcare planning, and research", to be held indefinitely, via the HSCIC. Opt-outs may be requested, however
opt-out  privacy  medical  data  healthcare  nhs  uk  data-privacy  data-protection 
january 2014 by jm
Content filtering by UK ISPs
An exhaustive list from the UK's Open Rights Group
filtering  uk  isps  org  porn  blocklists  internet 
december 2013 by jm
MP Claire Perry tells UK that worrying about filter overblocking is a "load of cock"
the bottom line appears to be "think of the children" -- in other words, any degree of overblocking is acceptable as long as children cannot access porn:

The debate and letter confuse legal, illegal and potentially harmful content, all of which require very different tactics to deal with. Without a greater commitment to evidence and rational debate, poor policy outcomes will be the likely result. There's a pattern, much the same as the Digital Economy Act, or the Snooper's Charter. Start with moral panic; dismiss evidence; legislate; and finally, watch the policy unravel, either delivering unintended harms, even to children in this case, or simply failing altogether.


See https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2013/talktalk-wordpress for a well-written exploration of a case of overblocking and its fallout. Talk Talk, one UK ISP, has filters which incorrectly dealt with IWF data and blocked WordPress.com's admin interface, resulting in all blogs there become unusable for their owners for over a week, with seemingly nobody able to diagnose and fix the problem competently.
filtering  overblocking  uk  politics  think-of-the-children  porn  cam  claire-perry  open-rights-group  false-positives  talk-talk  networking  internet  wordpress 
december 2013 by jm
Reinforcing gender stereotypes: how our schools narrow children's choices | Athene Donald | Science | theguardian.com
Our children should be free to choose to study what really excites them, not subtly steered away from certain subjects because teachers believe in and propagate the stereotypes. Last year the IOP published a report "It's Different for Girls" which demonstrated that essentially half of state coeducational schools did not see a single girl progress to A-level physics. By contrast, the likelihood of girls progressing from single sex schools were two and a half times greater.


Amen to this.
sexism  schools  teaching  uk  phyics  girls  children  bias  stereotypes 
december 2013 by jm
Smart Metering in the UK is FCUKED
Most utilities don’t want smart metering.  In fact they seem to have used the wrong dictionary.  It is difficult to find anything smart about the UK deployment, until you realise that the utilities use smart in the sense of “it hurts”.  They consider they have a perfectly adequate business model which has no need for new technology.  In many Government meetings, their reluctant support seems to be a veneer for the hope that it will all end in disaster, letting them go back to the world they know, of inflated bills and demands for money with menaces. [...]

Even when smart meters are deployed, there is no evidence that any utility will use the resulting data to transform their business, rather than persecute the consumer.  At a recent US conference a senior executive for a US utility which had deployed smart meters, stated that their main benefit was “to give them more evidence to blame the customer”.  That’s a good description of the attitude displayed by our utilities.
smart-metering  energy  utilities  uk  services  metering  consumer 
december 2013 by jm
Perhaps I'm out of step and Britons just don't think privacy is important | Henry Porter | Comment is free | The Observer
The debate has been stifled in Britain more successfully than anywhere else in the free world and, astonishingly, this has been with the compliance of a media and public that regard their attachment to liberty to be a matter of genetic inheritance. So maybe it is best for me to accept that the BBC, together with most of the newspapers, has moved with society, leaving me behind with a few old privacy-loving codgers, wondering about the cause of this shift in attitudes. Is it simply the fear of terror and paedophiles? Are we so overwhelmed by the power of the surveillance agencies that we feel we can't do anything? Or is it that we have forgotten how precious and rare truly free societies are in history?
privacy  uk  politics  snooping  spies  gchq  society  nsa  henry-porter 
september 2013 by jm
BBC News - How one man turns annoying cold calls into cash
This is hilarious. Quid pro quo!
Once he had set up the 0871 line, every time a bank, gas or electricity supplier asked him for his details online, he submitted it as his contact number. He added he was "very honest" and the companies did ask why he had a premium number. He told the programme he replied: "Because I'm getting annoyed with PPI phone calls when I'm trying to watch Coronation Street so I'd rather make 10p a minute." He said almost all of the companies he dealt with were happy to use it and if they refused he asked them to email.
spam  cold-calls  phone  ads  uk  funny  0871  premium-rate  ppi 
august 2013 by jm
David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face | Alan Rusbridger | Comment is free | The Guardian
The man was unmoved. And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

Whitehall was satisfied, but it felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age. We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won't do it in London. The seizure of Miranda's laptop, phones, hard drives and camera will similarly have no effect on Greenwald's work.

The state that is building such a formidable apparatus of surveillance will do its best to prevent journalists from reporting on it. Most journalists can see that. But I wonder how many have truly understood the absolute threat to journalism implicit in the idea of total surveillance, when or if it comes – and, increasingly, it looks like "when".

We are not there yet, but it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources. Most reporting – indeed, most human life in 2013 – leaves too much of a digital fingerprint. Those colleagues who denigrate Snowden or say reporters should trust the state to know best (many of them in the UK, oddly, on the right) may one day have a cruel awakening. One day it will be their reporting, their cause, under attack. But at least reporters now know to stay away from Heathrow transit lounges.
nsa  gchq  surveillance  spying  snooping  guardian  reporters  journalism  uk  david-miranda  glenn-greenwald  edward-snowden 
august 2013 by jm
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