Archive for the 'Software' Category

Evil unleashed: ContactPoint pilot goes live

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

ContactPoint, the pure evil paedophile directory invented by the monsters of New Labour and developed by Capgemini, has ‘gone live in a local authority pilot’.

The reprehensible and vile BBC News has a nauseating article, that has an inappropriate picture, and which trots out all the lies HMG want you to swallow unchallenged. Of course, you and I know better.

Since we have been through ContactPoint sufficiently, we can now turn to something fascinating that is related to ContactPoint tangentially.

This is an article, a dreadful article, from ‘CIO‘: “Business Technology Leadership”. This is from their ‘about’ page:

CIO is the leading information brand for todays busy chief information officer. Available online at www.cio.co.uk and in print via our monthly magazine, CIO addresses issues vital to the success of chief information officers worldwide. CIO provides technology and business leaders with analysis and insight on information technology trends and a keen understanding of IT’s role in achieving business goals.

Ok…… if this is piece of writing is an example of what they describe above, it is no wonder that there are people out there who say things like:

The database is only intended to be accessed by professionals working with children, such as social workers, doctors and the police, and the government has said users cannot download the contents from ContactPoint.

That line was repeated in print, unchallenged by ‘Siobhan Chapman’ in Computerworld UK, who commits an unpardonable sin. Either this idiot is a paid liar for HMG, or she is computer illiterate, or completely immoral or as stupid as they come; whatever way you slice it, that she has written this article is deeply shameful and disgusting. That two magazines / websites that pretend to have expertise in IT can accept and reproduce a piece of writing like this that is clearly full of nonsense / propaganda makes them look bad and is absolutely astonishing.

Every schoolboy knows that it is IMPOSSIBLE to create a database system accessed by browsers that can prevent the users of the system from copying the entries. The fact that ContactPoint holds ‘minimal’ (more on that later) details makes it easier to copy entries, since they can all fit in a small space in the browser and can be copied with a single click of the mouse. And remember, we are talking about COPYING entries; to use the word ‘download’ is disingenuous. The point about the dangers of this database is that the entries can be copied, will always be copyable and there is nothing that anyone can do to stop copying, short of not having a database at all. It is very important that right now, some journalist puts up a bounty for a photograph of a ContactPoint entry to demonstrate that anyone can make a copy of a ContactPoint entry, and that those copies can be transmitted to anyone anywhere, and the idea that the entries are ‘not downloadable’ is purely farcical.

Now, lets get onto the insanity of Siobhan Chapman:

ContactPoint children’s database rolls out

Not so. It has not been ‘rolled out’ it is being piloted. This is important; it is easier to stop ContactPoint and the escape of all the data on the children living in Britain at this early stage. To imply that it is a fait accompli is to be on their side; the side of the paedophiles, child farmers and monsters.

System has been dogged with security faults

This is a magazine about IT. What on earth is a ‘security fault’? The people who write for this magazine should know that ContactPoint cannot be secured. They should know how databases work, how browsers work, how operating systems work, and they should have a good understanding of what data is. Someone who fits that bill would not use the phrase ‘security faults’ – it is meaningless.

A controversial database featuring the details of every child in England has become available to childcare professionals today.

Up to 800 social workers, head teachers and health officials will be able to use the new system, called ContactPoint, as it begins its national roll-out in the north west. Eventually, the system will be rolled out across the country.

This is underplaying the horror of ContactPoint. We know that over 300,000 ‘professionals’ will have access to it. To say that 800 people have access makes it sound like only a carefully selected few will have access to it, when it fact, a million people will have access. The implications of this have been discussed on BLOGDIAL, at length.

The system, which cost an estimated 224m has been dogged with data security fears and has been delayed twice due to faults.

Once again, this is a magazine for IT professionals; what were the ‘faults’ that you are writing about? And as for ‘dogged with data security fears’ have the people who created ContactPoint changed the nature of the universe and solved the problem of the security of the data on this database? If you are competent, you should know that it is impossible for them to secure ContactPoint. These are not ‘fears’ they are FACTS.

ContactPoint has also come under heavy criticism from civil libertarians. A report written by information policy experts at Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust described the database as “almost certainly illegal”, and warned that storing information leads to vulnerable people, such as young black men, single parents and children, being victimised.

If it is illegal, a legal challenge should be mounted immediately. I have 100 to contribute right now to the fighting fund.

In 2007, Deloitte and Touche said in a report that the project could never be totally secure.

And what is the opinion of Siobhan Chapman? How is it that CIO has no opinion on this dastardly database? How can a magazine like this not lambast ContactPoint? Do these idiots not have families of their own? It beggars belief. They are busy talking about greening their CIO activities as a part of corporate citizenship, but do not attack ContactPoint, which is pure evil and a clear and present danger. Absolutely pathetic.

In March, the launch was delayed after a fault sometimes exposed the information of vulnerable children, including victims of domestic violence and those in witness protection schemes.

This is nonsense. All the children on ContactPoint are vulnerable by virtue of being on the database. Since every entry on it can be copied, the system exposes all children’s information by default, no matter who they are. There are few things more annoying than a person without brains writing about something like this.

Think about it; if all the people who access ContactPoint are trusted, then how can it be a bad thing that the details of ‘vulnerable children’ are exposed to them? Surely these people, being good, can do no harm by seeing the details of ‘vulnerable children’?

The truth of this statement is that the details of the children of the rich and famous was found to be not hidden from the users of the system, meaning that curious ContactPoint users would be able to look up the details of people who have had their details ‘shielded’. If it is necessary for the rich and famous to be shielded because of harm from the supposedly trusted users of ContactPoint, how is it that the children of everyone else are safe from these trusted users? The whole thing doesn’t make any sense!

But Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary (pictured) said there has been “important and careful work” to build ContactPoint over the past four months.

Including lines from Ed Balls is…..balls.

No matter what this aparatchick says, ContactPoint is immoral and a danger to children. To repeat his words is give credence to the logic of a paedophile violator who would sell the children of Britain to a company for money.

“If we are to do our best to make sure children are protected and that no child slips through the net, then it’s crucial the right agencies are involved at the right time and get even better at sharing information,” said Balls.

This is utter garbage. To protect children, just like the children of the rich and famous, ContactPoint must be dismantled. The children of the rich and famous are vulnerable by virtue of being on the database, that means that ALL children are vulnerable by default.

Also, all of the recent cases involving abuse, like the ‘Baby P’ case were known about by social workers in detail, and yet, in each case, the worst possible outcome was the result. This database will not prevent people from being hurt, will not stop criminals from committing crime and will do nothing but violate people on an unprecedented scale, and put children at risk.

“ContactPoint is vital for this because it will enable frontline professionals to see quickly and easily who else is in contact with a child.”

Once again, total drivel, and of course, unchallenged by Siobhan Chapman, who lets this monster get away with lying in an article under her name. Absolutely horrible collaboration with evil. There is no need whatsoever to put EVERY child in the country in a database because an extremely small number of children are at risk. The common sense thing to do would be to put only those children on a list of vulnerable children not every child by default. Even then, since the state has insane ideas about who and who is not at risk (gypsies being regularly targeted for abuse from the Local Authorities) you would regularly get children put onto ‘ContactPoint 2.0’ because Local Authorities are staffed by racists. ContactPoint is a bad idea, plain and simple.

It has been welcomed by children’s charities and organisations, including Barnardo’s, KIDS and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services. Martin Narey, chief executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s, said it “would make it easier to deliver better-co-ordinated services”.

And so what? Barnardo’s is not a part of government, and will not even have access to ContactPoint; who cares what they think? Martin Narey is an imbecile, clearly. Since when does the opinions of imbeciles justify the violation of millions of children? Once again, Siobhan fails to challenge this by asking the obvious question; HOW is ContactPoint going to, “make it easier to deliver better-co-ordinated services?”. He is bullshitting of course, as is Ed Balls, and you let them get away with it Siobhan. SHAME ON YOU.

ContactPoint, built by Capgemini, is described as an “online tool” that holds “minimal” identifying information of around 11 million under 18 year olds in England, including names, addresses, dates of birth, gender and contact details for parents or carers. Each child is also given a unique identifying number, as well as contact details for the child’s school, GP practices and any other practitioner services involved.

This is incredible. To describe the information as ‘minimal’ is an abuse of the English language. There is enough information on ContactPoint to UNIQUELY identify the parents and children of all families in Britain. There is nothing ‘minimal’ about that at all, in fact, it is quite the opposite. It is more than the Nazis had when the rounded up undesirables with the help of IBM. A tatooed number on your arm is ‘minimal information’ is it not? After all, its ‘just a number’. Of course, we cannot rely on the likes of Siobhan or the anonymous propaganda repeaters at the BBC to tell us this!

The database is only intended to be accessed by professionals working with children, such as social workers, doctors and the police, and the government has said users cannot download the contents from ContactPoint.

CIO

This article appears in two different magazines, with the same unchallenged garbage. The editors of both publications failed to stop this propaganda from hijacking their platforms. This is what we call a ‘lapse of standards’.

We can only hope that a legal challenge is forthcoming, or a Tory victory and the scrapping of this, the NIR, and ID Cards; preferably all of them, all at once. One thing is for sure; with ‘people’ like Siobhan Chapman and the inexcusably inept rags she writes in propping up the propaganda, the task of getting the fact out in the public is made that much harder. We expect nothing but evil from the BBC, so that is par for the course. Thanks you jackasses.

Anyone who boosted ContactPoint, who let propaganda for it pass by them unchallenged, who coded for it, argued for it, made excuses for it, allowed data to leave their office to enter it; everyone who helped make this happen is going to BURN IN HELL for what they have done. It is inexcusable, unforgivable and totally horrible. Any council worker who touches it, trains people for it or even makes a single telephone call where the number came from it, is also going straight to the lake of fire, where they will join the concentration camp runners, PW Botha and all the other villains of history.

ContactPoint is a particularly nasty thing because it uses children it farms children for money; there is no other way to describe it. The company that developed it, Capgemini, has become the greatest abuser of children in the history of the world, along with the government that commissioned it. They are making money out of children; they will have priced for the work they did based on the size of the database, i.e. the number of children it records; they were paid per child. This is a sin in every culture in the world. How these people can sleep at night is beyond me, and the irony is clearly lost on them that they are using children to make money and justifying it by saying that the act of using ALL the children in the UK to make money is going to stop the abuse of children.

You can’t make stuff like this up…. and these days, you don’t have to. That is the problem; every dystopian nightmare is trying to come true right before our eyes.

Finally, do not suffer under the illusion that just because they have put all the pieces in place that ContactPoint cannot be completely dismantled. It CAN be dismantled, and all the data erased. The DNA database climb-down is the most recent demonstration of what it looks like when HMG is forced to stop doing evil. Not only should all the data be erased, but it should be illegal for anyone in government to create a database of children that is accessible to people outside of a council. Capgemini can keep their fee. That money will condemn them forever.

Think about it; under what circumstances would a council need to keep a database of all children in its ward? The schoolmasters know how many places there are and who is applying for places, the doctors know who is on their (preferably paper) records and do not need to be served by a database run by the council or central government; for decades everyone has done without this ‘service’, so why should the privacy and dignity of families be violated in this way? The general census provides enough data for planning, so why do they need to do this? For ‘efficiency’? If that is the criteria, then why not take all children from their parents at birth and house them in a central Kibbutz, where efficiency is absolutely maximized? I’m sure that this idea appeals to the New Labour monsters, but most normal people would reject it outright.

Efficiency is not everything and certainly people should not be violated to provide the state with greater efficiency. Inefficient systems that protect people and their dignity are infinitely preferable to efficient systems that violate people. That is why a doctor’s office that runs on paper, even though it may be less efficient than a doctor’s office that runs on databases, is far preferable than the latter. Paper is private. Paper is decent. Paper protects the sacred oath of confidentiality that all doctors pledge. That it takes more time to organize the information of a patient in a ‘paper practice’ is NOTHING compared to the loss of confidentiality, and as we have seen with ContactPoint, there are unintended consequences to ‘modernization’, like the automated uploading of confidential patient records to the NHS Spine, the elimination of prescription privacy and everything else that flows from the availability of digital information.

Unintended consequences lead to what we call ‘feature creep’. We see that ContactPoint is going to be used to see who is and who is not ‘fully recorded’. The ‘minimal information’ that is supposed to re-assure everyone that ContactPoint is benign is actually extremely intrusive. For example, by keeping a list of what doctor you have, should there be a blank in the ‘GP’ field, (because your child has never needed to see a doctor for example) a Local Authority worker will immediately say that you are an abuser because your child does not appear to have a GP. And make no mistake, ContactPoint will allow the Local Authority to print a list of all children who have missing fields; that means children not registered with a GP, children who are not registered at a school, etc etc.

At the very least, the Local Authority will generate automated letters to all the parents from these records. That means that millions of letters generated from ContactPoint will be in the post, presumably with the child’s unique identifying number. As we saw before with the stolen child benefit DVDRs, the letters that were sent out to apologize to parents ended up being sent to wrong addresses, exposing the private information of families to strangers.

This is the sort of nonsense, and worse, that we can expect should ContactPoint be allowed to go live.

ContactPoint must be scrapped and the data permanently deleted. Nothing like this must ever be attempted again. There is no justification for it by any stretch of the imagination, an you should do everything in your power not to be touched by it. It is pure evil, a recipe for multiple disasters and for sure, a child is going to die as a result of this database.

Who Sampled

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Who Sampled is a fascinating site; when they start documenting the ‘DNA’ of House Music and all its decedents, it will be…just incredible!

http://www.whosampled.com/

Sites like this are under threat from the Intellectual Monopolists. This tool, if applied to all music could eventually show us where every musical idea came from…its just BRILLIANT!

And while we are at it, take a look at this heart squeezing comparison. Here is the instrumental.

It is sweet perfection.

The BBC is the threat

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Thanks to a vigilant lurker, we have this gem from BBQ / BBC:

Italy police warn of Skype threat

By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

The police’s use of wiretaps has forced some criminals on to the internet
Criminals in Italy are increasingly making phone calls over the internet in order to avoid getting caught through mobile phone intercepts, police say.

Officers in Milan say organised crime, arms and drugs traffickers, and prostitution rings are turning to Skype in order to frustrate investigators.

The police say Skype’s encryption system is a secret which the company refuses to share with the authorities.
Investigators have become increasingly reliant on wiretaps in recent years.
Customs and tax police in Milan have sounded the alarm.

They overheard a suspected cocaine trafficker telling an accomplice to switch to Skype in order to get details of a 2kg (4.4lb) drug consignment.

Use of wiretaps by prosecutors in Italy has grown exponentially in recent years.

Heated debate
Investigators say intercepts of telephone calls have become an essential tool of the police, who spend millions of dollars each year tracking down crime through wiretaps of landlines and mobile phones.

But the law may be about to change.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing government has drawn up a bill which would restrict police wiretaps to only the most serious crimes.

Much crime reporting in the Italian media is based on leaks of wiretaps and leading politicians, including Mr Berlusconi himself, have found to their embarrassment that details of their private telephone conversations have sometimes been leaked to newspapers.
Under the new law reporting of details of criminal investigations obtained through wiretaps would become illegal until a final verdict has been delivered.

Given the extreme slowness of Italian justice, this would mean that details of cases now before the courts might be reported by the press only in 15 years time.

Not only have Italian journalists been protesting at the new draft bill, but a heated debate is also going on about it within the country’s highest body for the administration of justice – the supreme council of the magistrature, composed of the country’s top judges.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7890443.stm

David Wiley is an ignorant, context dodging, fearmongering, BBC propagandizer of the first order. Look at the headlines of some of his bad work:

Pope Promotes Conservative Cleric
Scientist hails birth of ‘rat children’
Vatican Says Aliens Could Exist
Fewer confessions and new sins
Thou Shalt Not Wear Condoms When Going Forward
Vatican braces for Muslim anger
Vatican ‘forgives’ John Lennon
Vatican archive yields Templar secrets
Italian arrest over ‘toxic wheat’
Vatican divorces from Italian law
ho are the Calabrian mafia?
God’s politician : John Paul at the Vatican
Crib mosques anger Italian party
Italy sounds alarm over migrants
Italy approves tax on pornography
Priest ruins Christmas for kids

Those headlines sound like something from a tabloid newspaper. Which is perfectly fine, as long as you are not forced to pay for it.

Skype is not a threat to anyone, any more than any other technology is. The vast majority of its users, which number about 16,000,000 at any one time, are quite ordinary people who just want to make phone calls and chat. There is absolutely no reason why the police should be able to listen to Skype calls or any other call for that matter, without a warrant signed by a judge, and if that cannot be done, then the police have to do in person surveillance ‘just like in the old days’. While we are talking about numbers, did you know that Skype has been downloaded over 500,000,000 times?

Back to the subject at hand. This piece of sickening, context free nonsense, propaganda if you will, in favor of police state wiretapping is pure evil. Lets hear from someone with common sense:

Helping the Terrorists

It regularly comes as a surprise to people that our own infrastructure can be used against us. And in the wake of terrorist attacks or plots, there are fear-induced calls to ban, disrupt, or control that infrastructure. According to officials investigating the Mumbai attacks, the terrorists used images from Google Earth to help learn their way around. This isn’t the first time Google Earth has been charged with helping terrorists: in 2007, Google Earth images of British military bases were found in the homes of Iraqi insurgents. Incidents such as these have led many governments to demand that Google remove or blur images of sensitive locations: military bases, nuclear reactors, government buildings, and so on. An Indian court has been asked to ban Google Earth entirely.

This isn’t the only way our information technology helps terrorists. Last year, a U.S. army intelligence report worried that terrorists could plan their attacks using Twitter, and there are unconfirmed reports that the Mumbai terrorists read the Twitter feeds about their attacks to get real-time information they could use. British intelligence is worried that terrorists might use voice over IP services such as Skype to communicate. Terrorists might recruit on Second Life and World of Warcraft. We already know they use websites to spread their message and possibly even to recruit.

Of course, all of this is exacerbated by open-wireless access, which has been repeatedly labeled a terrorist tool and which has been the object of attempted bans.

Mobile phone networks help terrorists, too. The Mumbai terrorists used them to communicate with each other. This has led some cities, including New York and London, to propose turning off mobile phone coverage in the event of a terrorist attack.

Let’s all stop and take a deep breath. By its very nature, communications infrastructure is general. It can be used to plan both legal and illegal activities, and it’s generally impossible to tell which is which. When I send and receive e-mail, it looks exactly the same as a terrorist doing the same thing. To the mobile phone network, a call from one terrorist to another looks exactly the same as a mobile phone call from one victim to another. Any attempt to ban or limit infrastructure affects everybody. If India bans Google Earth, a future terrorist won’t be able to use it to plan; nor will anybody else. Open Wi-Fi networks are useful for many reasons, the large majority of them positive, and closing them down affects all those reasons. Terrorist attacks are very rare, and it is almost always a bad trade-off to deny society the benefits of a communications technology just because the bad guys might use it too.

Communications infrastructure is especially valuable during a terrorist attack. Twitter was the best way for people to get real-time information about the attacks in Mumbai. If the Indian government shut Twitter down — or London blocked mobile phone coverage — during a terrorist attack, the lack of communications for everyone, not just the terrorists, would increase the level of terror and could even increase the body count. Information lessens fear and makes people safer.

None of this is new. Criminals have used telephones and mobile phones since they were invented. Drug smugglers use airplanes and boats, radios and satellite phones. Bank robbers have long used cars and motorcycles as getaway vehicles, and horses before then. I haven’t seen it talked about yet, but the Mumbai terrorists used boats as well. They also wore boots. They ate lunch at restaurants, drank bottled water, and breathed the air. Society survives all of this because the good uses of infrastructure far outweigh the bad uses, even though the good uses are — by and large — small and pedestrian and the bad uses are rare and spectacular. And while terrorism turns society’s very infrastructure against itself, we only harm ourselves by dismantling that infrastructure in response — just as we would if we banned cars because bank robbers used them too.

http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0902.html

In addition to the above, on BLOGDIAL we have told you about Asterisk many times. Anyone who does not want their phone calls to be overheard can buy some cheap hardware, download some free software, and the Carrabinieri and their colleagues will not even know that there is a call in progress.

Contrary to what ignorant swine, sensationalist, tabloidist BBC correspondents in Italy, who have obviously been brain damaged by too much sun, beautiful women and fine red wine, this is a good thing.

The state has no right to eavesdrop on your private communications. Period. Thankfully, in this unprecedented time of cheap computing power and free software, anyone anywhere can simply take back their privacy and shut out any potential eavesdropper.

The answer comes before the question

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

If you use Apple, you will know that the new version of iLife will include updates to iPhoto that are simply astonishing.

iPhoto 09 will scan your photo library for faces, and allow you to name the people in your photos. It will then put the right name to each face in every photograph in your library automagically.

The first thing that came to my mind was the phrase, “Police state dividend!”.

What is even more fascinating is that iPhoto 09 allows you to upload your named faces to Facebook. I’m sure there are many people who know what this means; why should the state spend billions rolling out centralized databases of everyone’s faces when they can get back door access to Facebook, which not only will have everyone’s name and face, but also all of their social connections and their named faces also!

In any case, David Rowan writes in the times about how face recognition is being touted as the next big thing:

[…]

Rob Milliron, a construction worker, had a close escape back in June 2001, when, while eating lunch in Tampa, Florida, he was photographed without his knowledge by a hidden government facial-recognition surveillance camera scouring for felons and sex-offenders. Police passed images to the press and, although Mr Milliron wasn’t a match to a bad guy, his picture was printed in a magazine alongside the words: You can’t hide those lying eyes in Tampa. A woman in Tulsa called police to identify him falsely as her ex-husband wanted on felony child-neglect charges. When police surrounded Mr Milliron days later at his construction site, he had to point out that, yes, that was him in the photograph, but no, he had never married, never had children, and never been to Oklahoma. As he told the local newspaper: They made me feel like a criminal.

Tampa scrapped its facial-recognition system two years later, citing its ineffectiveness, but not before Milliron had become something of a poster-boy for the technology’s unreliability and its likelihood to trap the innocent amid its many false positives. Since then, the War on Terror has amplified official interest in and financing for face-recognition trials as a means of identifying the supposedly high-risk – but, in projects from Newham in East London to Logan Airport in Boston, results have been flawed to say the least. In one high-profile trial, at Palm Beach International Airport, a facial-recognition system at a security checkpoint matched faces to those in its database just 47 per cent of the time. Ordinary passengers and other airport staff not meant to be recognised, meanwhile, triggered 1,081 false alarms in a month, risking interrogation or detention.

Yet just because, for the moment, such surveillance systems are flawed – their recognition befuddled by human ageing, outdoor light, poor image resolution, even facial hair – the extraordinary pace of development means that far more accurate screening systems are imminent. Researchers are developing sharply accurate scanners that monitor faces in 3D and software that analyses skin texture to turn tiny wrinkles, blemishes and spots into a numerical formula.

The strongest face-recognition algorithms are now considered more accurate than most humans – and already the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers have held discussions about the possibility of linking such systems with automatic car-numberplate recognition and public-transport databases. Join everything together via the internet, and voil – the nation’s population, down to the individual Times reader, can be conveniently and automatically monitored in real time.

Just listen to senior law-enforcement executives to understand their brave new intentions. Three months ago, Mark Branchflower, Interpol’s database chief, declared facial recognition a desirable means of alerting local forces about the movements of internationally wanted suspects, a step we could go to quite quickly. And in evidence to MPs last March, Peter Neyroud, head of the National Policing Improvement Agency, raised the prospect of automated face recognition to identify suspects, as well as behaviourial matching software that uses CCTV images to predict potential troublemakers.

So let’s understand this: governments and police are planning to implement increasingly accurate surveillance technologies that are unnoticeable, cheap, pervasive, ubiquitous, and searchable in real time. And private businesses, from bars to workplaces, will also operate such systems, whose data trail may well be sold on or leaked to third parties – let’s say, insurance companies that have an interest in knowing about your unhealthy lifestyle, or your ex-spouse who wants evidence that you can afford higher maintenance payments.

Rather than jump up and down with rage – you never know who is watching through the window – you have a duty now, as a citizen, to question this stealthy rush towards permanent individual surveillance. A Government already obsessed with pursuing an unworkable and unnecessary identity-card database must be held to account.

As for me, I’ve been re-watching for inspiration the 1997 film Face/Off, in which John Travolta wears Nicolas Cage’s face as a way of infiltrating Cage’s criminal gang. And if that fails to inspire a means of fighting back, face-transplant surgery is always an option.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5504534.ece

Before I dive in:

Mark Branchflower, Interpol’s database chief, declared facial recognition a desirable means of alerting local forces about the movements of internationally wanted suspects

What if every time they came to find someone, the people who were despatched were simply despatched themselves:

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur — what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked. The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

No matter what face recognition software is out there, if the above is the counter rule, the machine will grind to a halt. Today, it will not be half a dozen people with axes, but a flash mob of 500 who will not only despatch the thugs, but who will destroy whatever is put in front of them, like a swarm of hungry nanites. It will look something like this only violent.

The answer to all of this is very simple. There are things that the state simply should not do. It is not the function of the state to issue ID Cards, run central databases that store everyone’s communications, etc etc. It does not matter what technology scientists invent; the mere existence of something does not mean that the state should use it. Quite the opposite.

Small government, with its functions clearly defined is the answer to all of our problems. The government has no business regulating money. The government has no business regulating $whatever_they_do_now. Their job is to clean the shit off the streets with brooms and to arbitrate in disputes between people, should they choose the state as the arbitrator. As soon as they start doing other things, the trouble is set off. We see the result of it every day.

The CCTV cameras in the UK are now like a sleeping giant. Once they become intelligent they will suddenly awake and KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

Just think about that.

Every empire that ever existed on the earth eventually fell to dust; these systems and the people who own them are as fragile as a chicken’s egg stretched a mile wide. In a single night the entire machine could be destroyed by an unaccepting population. Whatever happens, this will not last forever. Something will break; either the mass will reject it or the empire that uses it will collapse under the weight of its own debt, like all the others have.

In the mean time, we live in a time where the tools of oppression are available to you to play with. You can download iLife and use its face recognition to organize your photos. This is unprecedented, and very useful. It will instruct millions of people on the true capabilities of the state, causing them to be outraged…but I digress.

This is an age where everyone everywhere can use military grade encryption to keep their communications private. All you need to do is just use it. If Apple rolled it out as a part of their ‘Mail’ application, in a single day many millions of people’s communications would ‘go dark’ to the authorities.

Imagine this scenario. Someone somewhere sets up a Web 2.0 site that features photos of bad police and other officials, or those mysterious agent provocateurs that have been plaguing the useless demonstrations around the world. Imagine that the software behind this site (which could be connected to iPhoto 09) identifies all the bad people and exposes them to the public, nullifying all acts of political infiltration over night. Anyone setting up any sort of anti-state gathering or demonstration or action could, with a gauntlet of workers armed with iphones, vet every demonstrator as they turned up to weed out all the infiltrators, collaborators and provocateurs.

I guarantee you that this will happen, and not only that, but that someone is going to put into a copy of iPhoto 09, a huge archive of photos from demonstrations and political meetings going back decades to pick out the bad guys.

This explosion and convergence of technologies is a double edged sword, and since there are more of us than there are of them, it will be the case that all this technology and the networks that join them together will result in something totally unexpected; the tools may turn around and bite the state in the ass in an unexpected way. The very nature of networks says that this will happen; the population by virtue of its vast networked numbers can overpower any government in a scenario where the network is the power.

We are not powerless like the slaves in the Soviet Union were. We have fantastic tools, all of them free, right in our hands. Those tools, by the act of using them, change the game entirely, and the more the state pushes against the mass, the more dense and impenetrable it becomes.

This is a war that they cannot ever win.

Whistleblowers: get some gloves!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Whilst trawling around on the interwebs, I cam across this amazing story, and a reason to award some brass balls:

Up Yours Carter-Ruck

Guido is with the in-laws for Christmas and only has internet access via a dial-up or his mobile. So the megabyte size attachment from libel solicitors Carter-Ruck received a few days ago has only this morning been downloaded. Guido emailed Carter-Ruck back at the time to explain he was driving and only had mobile internet access, so what were the contents of the attachment? No reply from Carter-Ruck.

The email contains a Court Order by Mr Justice Tugendhat, threatening Guido with contempt of Court if Guido even reveals the existence of the Order.

Guido believes that he is not the only leading blogger to receive the injunction. He is however the only one willing to break it. Unfortunately for Carter-Ruck they seem to have forgotten that since 1922 the orders of British Judges have been happily ignored by us Irish in our own country. So Carter-Ruck have merely tipped Guido off to a case of which he was previously unaware and Guido will, as a consequence, now share what little he knows with with his co-conspirators as a Christmas treat.

Somebody (unknown) hacked into the email accounts of Zac Goldsmith and his wife Sherazade, Jemima Khan also appears to have had her email accessed. They thieves tried to sell the illegally obtained information to the Sunday Mirror and the Mail on Sunday. Not really that interesting politically, though Goldsmith is a Conservative candidate and presumably Zac is his father’s son…

This particular case isn’t really a matter of principle and Guido isn’t claiming it as such. As fascinating as Zac’s love life probably is, it isn’t really hypocritical. It does illustrate how Britain is increasingly heading towards the French situation of a politically cowed client media injuncted and restricted by privacy laws from reporting on the rich and powerful. The government has also been making a lot of noise about curtailing online publishers and Stephen Carter is gearing up with legislation to attack bloggers. Freedom of the press is soon going to be even more curtailed in Britain.

So we will have a situation where offshore bloggers broadcast the truth to Britons in much the same way as Radio Free Europe kept the citizens of the Soviet Empire informed. The legislation won’t succeed, only Chinese style internet censorship will prevent the truth getting out. Is that the path politicians want to go down?

Guido Fawkes

Now there is a man who has a pair. Sadly, he calls Scientists, Architects and Engineers who have learned that the official story of the mythical ‘911’ is false, “Troofers“.

But hey, no one is perfect, right right right?

Here is a link to the Wikileaks page.

It is right that people should not have their private email sold to and then printed in newspapers. It is however, entirely wrong that secrete (yes, ‘secrete’) hearings and secret orders be used to silence people. Those same secret orders, like the National Security Letters being used in the USA are immoral and WILL ALWAYS result in an abuse. These National Security Letters have been used to stop librarians from disclosing that the government has investigated who has been borrowing what books from the library. When you get one of these letters, you are not allowed to say that you have received one.

The only correct response to these letters and orders is the one that Guido Fawkes made; to immediately release it to the public. If everyone who got one did this, they would be rendered useless.

This takes us to the subject of leaks and the recent government plans stupid idea to get into your hard drive remotely.

One of the comments at that SpyBlog post lead to this site that has a list of what to do’s to be an effective and safe whistleblower. One of the tips is as follows:

Anti-forensics precautions

  • Licking a Postage Stamp is likely to leave both your fingerprints on it, and to preserver a sample of your DNA from your saliva.
  • Sealing a letter envelope or parcel affixing a postage stamp using sticky adhesive tape or glue etc. will also tend to trap possibly identifiable fibres, dust particles, hairs, skin cells and fingerprints (which may contain sufficient DNA for analysis) , or even a characteristic scent which could be used by tracker dogs.

Commercial Postal Box rental, either from a private company or for an extra fee from the state postal service, has its place, but there is always a financial paper trail to the person who rents the box, and often CCTV video footage of anyone picking up mail from such boxes.

Wikileaks.org offers a supposedly secure Postal Whistleblowing service, for whistleblower leaks to them, but they do not seem to recommend many anti-forensics precautions. except regarding the serail numbers embedded into batches of CDROMs, and the unique Recorder IDs which most CD or DVD burners embed in each copy which they produce.

Interesting…lets think some more about it.

Most stamps today come in the form of a white adhesive label, laser printed behind the counter and then stuck on to your mail by the Post Office worker:

As you can see the date is on there as well as a serial number.

The other types of stamp are the ones that are sold in booklets and which have peel adhesive as the backing. Licking stamps rarely happens today, but it is good advice not to lick stamps nonetheless.

A bigger threat to you is the time-stamp of these stamps combined with the CCTV that is found in most Offices. In order to see who mailed the package, all they have to do is look at the time-stamp from the serial number, and then go back to the time index on the CCTV footage to see your face.

If you want to minimize the effectiveness of a forensic attack, use gloves. Use gloves when you buy your envelopes. Use gloves when you make your photocopies in a public place. Use gloves when you buy your adhesive stamps and use gloves when you stick them to the envelope.

Do not use envelopes from a sealed pack. There are many places where you can buy packs of envelopes that are not sealed. In fact, these are often displayed adjacent to the Post Office queue. Why should you do this? If you use one of these loose envelopes, you can be sure that the sneezes, browsing touches, hairs and and breath traces of tens of thousands of people are going to be on them. These envelopes will be hopelessly contaminated, and that is good for you.

Now you can see yet another reason why setting up a National DNA Register would be such a bad thing. If they had such a register, not only could they catch a whistleblower who was not careful, but they would falsely accuse and then investigate tens of thousands of people simply because they stood in a queue in a Post Office.

I have updated our own additions to the SpyBlog post the most important one being to dump winblows if you are still using it. In the light of govenrments wanting to gain backdoor access to your files, why make it easy for them by running an operating system that is insecure by design?

Ubuntu is massively peer reviewed, and as soon as any flaw is found, it is announced immediately and patched very soon after for free. It is like being a part of a huge body with a self aware immune system that by its nature, cannot lie to itself. This is the first time ever that the vast majority can take advantage of this high level of security and openness without needing any technical prowess.

Once the penny drops about how secure Ubuntu is, several things are going to happen.

First, there is going to be a mass adoption and abandonment of windows.

Second, there will be moves to outlaw Ubuntu, since it is secure by default.

We can make the second prediction because we remember l’attitude Fraiçaise and how they had to change 180° from their previous total ban on encryption. After all, it would look ridiculous if every browser had 128 bit SSL and it was illegal to use it; it would mean no credit card transactions online etc etc. They had no choice but to cave in, and in fact, this is always true; when governments are faced with an entire population that point blank refuses to obey, or they are faced with a massive loss of revenues because they will not adapt to a new way of doing business, they cave in and ‘change course’.

If everyone switches to Ubuntu, then banning it means banning computing itself and destroying commerce, learning and communication completely. There is no way that any government would allow that to happen, so as long as Ubuntu remains under the control of its thousands of developers there would be nothing that anyone could do to stop it. All attempts to poison it would fail, any attempt to attack it would strengthen it – it would be game over for mass automatic surveillance.

By adopting Ubuntu to replace windows everyone gets:

  • Unprecedented security
  • Unprecedented stability
  • Unprecedented ease of use on a Linux system
  • Freedom to copy and distribute ad infinitum
  • Free updates forever
  • Free extension of the useful life of hardware
  • Free world class applications (Gimp, Open Office, Evolution etc)
  • Ownership of the software
  • Permanent exclusion of governments ability to taint the OS

Ubuntu is a massive win for everyone. It is a game changing event, and every move to violate our privacy will simply push more and more people away from windows and to Ubuntu.

Fascist Andy Burnham is at it again

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

This guy doesn’t know when to quit.

Andy Burnham is trying to become Britain’s version of Al ‘I invented the internet’ Gore. This time, after lying about the ID card, trying to blackmail ISPs to send threatening letters to their users and just being a lying shetbag he now wants to bring the utterly fascist BBFC regime to…

TEH INTERNETZ!

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Andy Burnham says he believes that new standards of decency need to be applied to the web. He is planning to negotiate with Barack Obamas incoming American administration to draw up new international rules for English language websites.

What Andy Burnham believes or does not believe doesn’t amount to a hill of beans to me. When he connects to the internet and I connect to the internet we are peers. He doesn’t have any more say in anything than I or any other user does, unless he provides some useful service that someone can either use or reject. Andy Burnham hates the internet because it is something that he and his fascist neu labour scumbag control freaks cannot control because it is beyond their ability to censor, manipulate or give orders to.

The Cabinet minister describes the internet as quite a dangerous place and says he wants internet-service providers (ISPs) to offer parents child-safe web services.

The internet is a dangerous place; it is a place that is dangerous to liars like Andy Burnham, who lie and lie and lie and lie and think that they can get away with it. The internet has changed all that; he cannot lie with a loose tongue. Someone somewhere will use Google against him and then write it up on their blog and then the whole world will see him for the liar he is, for decades to come. They have woken up to this very real threat to their lie machine and will now try anything to shut it down.

This is only the beginning.

Giving film-style ratings to individual websites is one of the options being considered, he confirms. When asked directly whether age ratings could be introduced, Mr Burnham replies: Yes, that would be an option. This is an area that is really now coming into full focus.

The only thing coming into full focus here is the depth of the insanity of Andy Burnham. Giving ‘film-style’ ratings to websites is completely unworkable. Even if it was workable, the idea is immoral. Who is going to sit and trawl through the millions of English language websites? Who is going to pay for it all? (see below for the answer to that one)? Obviously this means a massive power grab for the BBFC, who would need a new huge building filled with cubicles and an astronomical budget.

The British Board of Film Censors watches every film that is released in the UK, and then blackmails directors into making cuts of what it deems inappropriate before issuing a rating and a certificate:

They were and are total villains:

Historically the Board has faced strong criticism for an over-zealous attitude in censoring film. Prior to the liberalising decade of the 1960s, films were routinely and extensively censored as a means of social control. For example, Rebel Without a Cause was cut in order to reduce the “possibility of teenage rebellion”. Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night was cut to remove “overtly sexual or provocative” language.

[…]

and they have and do disrupt commerce:

19 June 2007, the BBFC has refused to certify the PlayStation 2 and Wii editions of Manhunt 2, meaning that it would not be legal to sell in the UK (though it would still be legal to own), unless Rockstar made extreme changes and resubmitted it,[4] or appealed the ruling.[5] Rockstar appealed to the independent Video Appeals Committee and finally won the case in March 2008, forcing the BBFC to grant an 18 certificate against its will.[7]

[…]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Board_of_Film_Classification

Now.

Rockstar were prevented from selling a game in the UK by this arbitrary gaggle of imbeciles, and they lost one year of sales thanks to the BBFC. They were not compensated for these loses of course.

More importantly to this post is the fact that every game film and advertisement that is given a rating by the BBFC has to be PAID FOR BY THE SUBMITTER, who they rather ridiculously call ‘the customer’.

Manhunt 2 cost million to develop. If they had caved in and ‘re-cut’ it, it would have increased their costs dramatically in terms of development and then having to sell two different versions instead of one. What is so galling about the BBFC is that they one day say that you cannot play this game, and then the next, say that you can. It was the same with ‘Video Nasties’; you could not watch ‘The Evil Dead‘ or ‘The Driller Killer‘ in your own home, but now you can watch all of these government censored films on free to air TV. Their censorship of these games and movies costs untold hundreds of millions of pounds in lost revenues, and all of it for no reason, since they almost always subsequently back down and allow people to watch movies that they previously banned or ordered cuts to.

But this is primarily a financial scam in the making.

Here are the rates that people have to pay to have their works certified.

As you can see, Features, trailers and advertisements have a ‘handling fee’ of 75 per submission plus 6.00 per minute for full length of work.

If we are talking about Bladerunner for example it would cost:

(117*6) + 75 = 777

to get a certificate. Now multiply that by all the films that come out every year.

Then, they rate Video Games. The rates are ‘Handling fee’ of 300 per submission plus 6.00 per minute for full length of work.

Legend of Zelda “A link to the past” takes 5 to 15 hours to complete. That means:

(15*60*6)+300 = 5700

I’ve taken the maximum of 15 hours because I am assuming these old geezers are as thick as shit.

Now, you may say that Nintendo and Ridley Scott can afford this money. So what? It is completely immoral that the BBFC can arbitrarily block them from releasing their films and games based on their own prejudices…but that is not what I am ultimately aiming at.

If Andy Burnham were to be successful in getting the BBFC to rate websites, HMG would be in for literally hundreds of millions of pounds. They would charge fees to everyone with a blog or a website, and blogs would no doubt be subject to regular re-certification, since the content changes regularly. If you do not pay your fee and accept a government rating, you go off line. Period. They would either ask require your ISP to delete your site or simply add you to the list of unrated sites that cannot be accessed. the result is the same; you become inaccessible.

This, my friends, is a TAX on the internet, pure and simple.

ISPs, such as BT, Tiscali, AOL or Sky could also be forced to offer internet services where the only websites accessible are those deemed suitable for children.

Yet another pointless burden on the beleaguered ISPs. Parents need to monitor their children’s internet use, or simply forbid them from using it.

Putting a child on the internet alone is like giving a 13 year old a Glock, 1000 in cash and a Harley and leaving them in the middle of SOHO at 1AM on a Saturday night.

YOU JUST SHOULDN’T DO THAT.

Mr Burnham also uses the interview to indicate that he will allocate money raised from the BBCs commercial activities to fund other public-service broadcasting such as Channel Four. He effectively rules out sharing the BBC licence fee between broadcasters as others have recommended.

The license fee’s days are numbered. Mark my words.

His plans to rein in the internet, and censor some websites, are likely to trigger a major row with online advocates who ferociously guard the freedom of the world wide web.

They will never work. He does not understand the internet, computers, how and why the internet has become so successful, and how those forces will prevent anyone like him from destroying it.

He would do well to study the phenomenon of Anonymous. If he DARES to try and implement this, he will find out first hand what the words quite a dangerous place means when it comes to teh internetz. If he continues to even talk about this garbage he is going to face an Anonymous style flood of actions the likes of which he cannot even BEGIN to imagine.

The internet does not belong to government, or to anyone. No one can control it, and anyone who tries gets bitten in the ass.

However, Mr Burnham said: If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that Governments couldnt reach. I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now. Its true across the board in terms of content, harmful content, and copyright. Libel is [also] an emerging issue.

The only issue here that he is concerned about is the internets ability to instantly transmit the refutations of and permanently store the facts that refute lies.

The people who created and who continue to maintain the internet understand how powerful a thing this is, and they will do literally anything to keep it clean; i.e. free from the dirty hands of liars like Andy Burnham. There is no such thiing as ‘harmful content’. The actions of the BBFC prove this categorically in their arbitrary and always reversed rulings on what does and does not constitute ‘obscene material’. We will not allow our internets to be subverted, corrupted or interfered with by computer illiterate liars and control addicts. It is designed to resist control, to route around censorship as damage and there is NOTHING that the likes of subhuman monsters like Andy Burnham can do about it.

If he thinks that he can run to 0bama to help him in his quest, he is more than delusional. America has a written constitution with guaranteed rights of free speech. There is already case law preventing government from rating newspapers and other such nonsense. Anyone who wants to operate an English language website away from Andy Burnham’s fascist regime can simply move their content to a USA server; most of the Blogspot blogs are hosted in the USA already….but Andy doesn’t know any of this…is is a totally clueless luser, an ID10T of the first order.

There is content that should just not be available to be viewed. That is my view. Absolutely categorical.

And you can take that view and shove it up your arse.

This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it;

yes it is, you LIAR.

it is simply there is a wider public interest at stake when it involves harm to other people.

This is yet another LIE.

Anyone who does not want to see something simply doesn’t look at it. The internet doesn’t push things that people do not want in front of their eyes; Andy Burnham is one of those people who DELIBERATELY goes out of his way to find the most repellent things unimaginable to prove his point that the internet needs his control, when in fact, it is only HIM and 200 other people who are watching that filth, and the other 200 are journalists writing salacious stories about how bad the internet is!

We have got to get better at defining where the public interest lies and being clear about it.

The public interest lies in YOU having nothing to do with the internet. Period. You and your fellow animal Mandelshon – yet another chinless wonder out of the same mold that spawned you – who wants to nationalize Nominet, the body that organizes (very successfully without interference from Government) .co.uk domains is another example of how you want to totally control the internet. That particular scumbag’s department wrote the following letter to Nominet:

“In a letter dated October 15, senior civil servant David Hendon, BERR’s Director of Business Relations, asked Nominet chairman Bob Gilbert: “What arguments would you employ to convince my Ministers that the present relationship between government and the company is appropriate in ensuring that public policy objectives in relation to the management of the domain name system and the standing of the UK in the internet community are understood and taken into account?”

Im not making that up; “justify why we should not incorporate you into the government” and if they think the reasons are not good enough? Well then, I guess you just have to bend over Nominet.

You people just DON’T GET IT.

The internet was created without you, thrives because you are not involved in it, and it will RESIST every effort you make to control it. If you think its bad when companies leave Britain because the business climate is so bad here, wait till you try and control the internet. With a few simple commands websites that are money making enterprises can flee britain at no extra cost to the business and transparently as far as the user is concerned.

Mr Burnham reveals that he is currently considering a range of new safeguards. Initially, as with copyright violations, these could be policed by internet providers. However, new laws may be threatened if the initial approach is not successful.

Nothing that this lame brained luser can devise will work. All it takes is a single developer to write a single protocol and the whole world changes.

Take the example of Napster (who we supported). If no one had tried to shut them down, there would have been little incentive in finding a solution to the problem of how to help people share files. Sadly, the imbeciles shut it down.

And the war started.

The first salvo came in the form of Gnutella, an attempt to decentralize the filesharing service so that there was no single point of attack for the buggy whip luddite Andy Burnham’s of this world….then came the Tzar Bomba: Bittorrent and the super popular trackers like Suprnova, Mininova and The Pirate Bay, and the countless other smaller trackers out there. One man, Bram Cohen created Bittorrent by himself. It now accounts for one third of all internet traffic.

I guarantee you, right here, right now, that if ANY sort of concerted effort to censor or rate the internet comes to pass, that someone is going to release a protocol that sits on top of the internet and brings everyone what they want without interference from any third party. People have already started working on projects that do just this. They will become infinitely more efficient once there is a real need for the software. It will work on all devices, in all places, and no one will be able to stop it.

Andy Burnham is on a hiding to nothing. He is on the wrong side of history. He is a total fool, and a laughing stock, and if he is ‘successful’ he will be personally responsible for bringing about exactly the sort of internet that he does not want.

I think there is definitely a case for clearer standards online, he said. More ability for parents to understand if their child is on a site, what standards it is operating to. What are the protections that are in place?

This is another lie. There is no case for government to take this role, there are already ways for parents to know what their children are doing online, and some operating systems have this BUILT IN. The fact of the matter is that Andy Burnham is not only not wanted for this role, he is not needed.

The OPPOSITE of what he is saying is the truth; the appalling record of the BBFC is proof that government is there merely to censor and harvest money from industry. They do not actually care about what is or is not ‘decent’. If they did, the list of banned films would not change. While we are on the subject, did you know that they CUT TNG to remove mention of peace in Ireland?

He points to the success of the 9pm television watershed at protecting children. The minister also backs a new age classification system on video games to stop children buying certain products.

TV is not the same as the internet.

This is just another example of how confused Andy Burnham is; he cannot distinguish between TV broadcasting and and internet websites and services accessed from a computer. The fact is that computers give parents absolute control of what does and does not display on their screens. TV never did that, although they tried to make it happen in the usa. Internet access now gives fine grained control to parents in a way that they never had previously. They can select only the sites that they want their children to use, and block everything else. This happened without anyone having to tell the makers of OSes that they needed to do it; people are responsible and do not need government to manage them. They can find the right balance for themselves, create the services and tools they need for themselves and Parental Controls in the major OSes is proof of that.

Mr Burnham, himself a parent of three young children, says his goal is for internet providers to offer child-safe web services.

I wonder how he controls internet access for his own children? I’m sure that he DOES control their access; if he can do it, what makes him think that other parents need his help?

It worries me – like anybody with children, he says. Leaving your child for two hours completely unregulated on the internet is not something you can do.

And so….DONT DO THAT.

This isnt about turning the clock back.

To when? A date before the internet was in most homes?

The internet has been empowering and democratising in many ways but we havent yet got the stakes in the ground to help people navigate their way safely aroundwhat can be a very, very complex and quite dangerous world.

ROTFL.

The only stake that needs to be put somewhere is into the heart of this vampire. No one needs your help to navigate the internet you piece of garbage. The internet is very simple to use, and the world is NOT dangerous you fear-mongering sack of shit.

Mr Burnham also wants new industry-wide take down times. This means that if websites such as YouTube or Facebook are alerted to offensive or harmful content they will have to remove it within a specified time once it is brought to their attention.

Not going to happen. Facebook has over 100,000,000 uers. If someone writes ‘fuck’ on their profile, there is no way that the Facebook staff will be able to respond to a takedown notice on short notice. And even so, the sky is not going to fall because something that Andy Burnham, Catholic, thinks is offensive or ‘harmful’. These words my friends, are those of a delusional miscreant looking for a job; a perfect example of idle hands doing the devil’s work. And for the record, both Facebook and YouTube are based in the USA, where they have RIGHTS, which you cannot in your idle imaginings erase ‘for the greater good’.

He also says that the Government is considering changing libel laws to give people access to cheap low-cost legal recourse if they are defamed online. The legal proposals are being drawn up by the Ministry of Justice.

Judge Dredd is way too busy to be dealing with that dontcha know.

Mr Burnham admits that his plans may be interpreted by some as heavy-handed but says the new standards drive is utterly crucial. Mr Burnham also believes that the inauguration of Barack Obama, the President-Elect, presents an opportunity to implement the major changes necessary for the web.

See what I mean? DELUSIONAL.

These plans are utterly crucial to him maintaining some sort of relevance and nothing more. They will not work, will not be adopted, and are further eroding the paint layer of usefulness from his unctuous body.

The change of administration is a big moment. We have got a real opportunity to make common cause, he says. The more we seek international solutions to this stuff the UK and the US working together the more that an international norm will set an industry norm.

It will not happen. There are too many computer literate people, too many countries with written constitutions to allow this to happen, and finally the internet itself will not allow it to come to pass, for technical reasons.

The Culture Secretary is spending the Christmas holidays at his constituency in Lancashire but is planning to take major decisions on the future of public-service broadcasting in the New Year. Channel Four is facing a 150m shortfall in its finances and is calling for extra Government help. ITV is also growing increasingly alarmed about the financial implications of meeting the public-service commitments of its licenses.

TV is dead.

Mr Burnham says that he is prepared to offer further public assistance to broadcasters other than the BBC. However, he indicates that he does not favour top-slicing the licence fee. Instead, he may share the profits of the BBC Worldwide, which sells the rights to programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing to foreign broadcasters.

I feel it is important to sustain quality content beyond the BBC, he said. The real priorities I have got in my mind are regional news, quality childrens content and original British childrens content, current affairs documentaries thats important. The thing now is to be absolutely clear on what the public wants to see beyond the BBC.

Top-slicing the licence fee is an option that is going to have to remain on the table. I have to say it is not the option that I instinctively reach for first. I think there are other avenues to be explored.

[…]

Telegraph

Blah blah blah Bollocks.

I have to say, I really do enjoy watching these morons make total asses of themselves. Whenever they talk about the internet or computers, they expose their complete lack of understanding, their lack of insight, their incompetence and inability to think.

We can see just what sort of people they really are, how useless, pointless and dumb they are, and most importantly, how weak they are.

Articles like this should make it abundantly clear that the world really has turned in our favor, and that it is only a matter of time before ‘people’ like Andy Burnham are consigned to the scrapheap. We will simply do without them. And their pronouncements, if they are even there to make them at all, will just be ignored or deliberately sabotaged, like the unbelievably cool people at The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are doing right now by giving parents the option to ‘shield’ their children on ContactPoint.

This is how fragile their control is; I have always said that their control and power is an illusion. It only takes a handful of people to change everything. These councilors are just a small number of people with principles and now they are going to potentially bring down ContactPoiint single handedly!

Now imagine Andy Burnham against the entire internet.

What a joke!

Mandarin: speak it and eat it.

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Take a look at this site, called ‘Gapminder’.

It is a fascinating piece of software that displays the positions of countries on a graph of different factors set against each other.

If you look at the default graph on this site, you will see that the most prosperous and longest living people live in Hong Kong.

Jim Rogers has moved his family, including his two daughter, to Singapore, where she is being tutored in Mandarin, because he wants. “to prepare her for the future”.

Fascinating.

And thanks to the lurker who pointed us to it.

Speaking of useful tools, check out this one, called ‘Sitefinder’: The Mobile Phone Base Station Database. You put your postcode into the slot, and it returns a map of all of the cellular telephone masts in your immediate area. Clicking on the blue triangles brings up information on who operates the transmitters and the amount of power they are outputting.

This is an amazing resource for those who do not want to buy a house that is being drenched in emissions from the many towers that provide near blanket coverage of the UK.

Germany VS Google

Monday, September 8th, 2008

The Germans do not like ‘Der Google’:

The Federal Office for Information Security warned Internet users of the new browser Chrome. The application by the company Google should not be used for surfing the Internet, as a spokesperson for the office told the Berliner Zeitung. It was said to be problematic that Chrome was distributed as an unfinished advance version. Furthermore it was said to be risky that user data is hoarded with a single vendor. With its search engine, email program and the new browser, Google now covers all important areas on the Internet.

This is so absurd its laughable, and I would laugh if it wasn’t so serious.

These idiots are warning Germans not to use Chrome to surf the internet (wtf else is it for?) because it is unfinished. Guess what you morons: all software is unfinished by nature. It remains unfinished because:

  • users expectations are not static
  • operating systems are not static
  • competition is not static
  • security issues are not static

Anyone with experience in software will be aware of this, and certainly anyone who calls themselves an expert will know this. Perhaps that is why a government agency has come out with such a completely stupid statement.

Finally, they shoot themselves in the foot with the final part of this farcical bullshit.

If it is ‘risky that user data is hoarded with a single vendor’, then it is also risky that user data, citizen data, is hoarded by a single vendor: THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT.

OR ANY GOVERNMENT for that matter.

Certainly, no government that can put out a statement like this should be trusted with an empty USB key, let alone the private data of millions of Germans, since they are obviously computer illiterate. Can you imagine these same people in charge of all ID card data, all passport data, medical data, and all other private data to do with the German people? It is unthinkable, even without knowing how stupid and incompetent they are.

As for Google covering all important areas of teh internetz, this is just total nonsense. You can choose any number of other services for search, email and everything else. You can sign up for Google services under any name that you like, multiple times. You can encrypt the data you store on Google’s servers so they they cannot read it. You can delete your account at any time. Google Chrome is even beginning to address the coming privacy backlash by having a primitive private browsing mode built into Chrome.

Compare this with the German Government:

  • COMPULSORY ID card
  • COMPULSORY school
  • COMPULSORY single identity
  • COMPULSORY single vendor
  • NO LIABILITY if they destroy your life accidentally through negligence
  • NO COMPENSATION if they destroy your life

and if you disobey them, they DESTROY YOUR LIFE with police and financial ruin.

In every way, even if Google were as evil as Micro$oft, any sensible person would choose to have their identity and all the services listed above handled by Google rather than the German government. With Google you are a customer, not a servant, and of course, Google doesn’t tax you.

In any case, what are the risks this spokesperson talks of? Its the German government that is snooping into people’s emails, not Google; surely he should be FOR Google taking everything to make his STASIesque job easier. Remember, this is the same criminal German government that conspired and had stolen to order the details of bank accounts from a sovereign country; a criminal act of international espionage and base theft of the kind that ‘organized crime’ does:

One German politician is unapologetic, and deserves credit for at least stating the matter bluntly: [That this was illegal] is irrelevant. What Germany will do is confront every tax suspect with the option of whether they want to drop their trousers and cooperate or possibly go to jail.

These people are bastards. They are also illogical. There are no two ways about it. What makes it worse is that they are illogical bastards, dirty criminals, liars and thieves.

Connecting the dots for US, instead of THEM

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Laura Margottini at the NewScientist.com news service wrote the following:

Snoop software makes surveillance a cinch

“THIS data allows investigators to identify suspects, examine their contacts, establish relationships between conspirators and place them in a specific location at a certain time.”

So said the UK Home Office last week as it announced plans to give law-enforcement agencies, local councils and other public bodies access to the details of people’s text messages, emails and internet activity. The move followed its announcement in May that it was considering creating a massive central database to store all this data, as a tool to help the security services tackle crime and terrorism.

Meanwhile in the US the FISA Amendments Act, which became law in July, allows the security services to intercept anyone’s international phone calls and emails without a warrant for up to seven days. Governments around the world are developing increasingly sophisticated electronic surveillance methods in a bid to identify terrorist cells or spot criminal activity.

However, technology companies, in particular telecommunications firms and internet service providers, have often been criticised for assisting governments in what many see as unwarranted intrusion, most notably in China.

Now German electronics company Siemens has gone a step further, developing a complete “surveillance in a box” system called the Intelligence Platform, designed for security services in Europe and Asia. It has already sold the system to 60 countries.

According to a document obtained by New Scientist, the system integrates tasks typically done by separate surveillance teams or machines, pooling data from sources such as telephone calls, email and internet activity, bank transactions and insurance records. It then sorts through this mountain of information using software that Siemens dubs “intelligence modules”.

This software is trained on a large number of sample documents to pick out items such as names, phone numbers and places from generic text. This means it can spot names or numbers that crop up alongside anyone already of interest to the authorities, and then catalogue any documents that contain such associates.

Once a person is being monitored, pattern-recognition software first identifies their typical behaviour, such as repeated calls to certain numbers over a period of a few months. The software can then identify any deviations from the norm and flag up unusual activities, such as transactions with a foreign bank, or contact with someone who is also under surveillance, so that analysts can take a closer look.

Included within the package is a phone call “monitoring centre”, developed by the joint-venture company Nokia Siemens Networks.

However, it is far from clear whether the technology will prove accurate. Security experts warn that data-fusion technologies tend to produce a huge number of false positives, flagging up perfectly innocent people as suspicious.

[…]

New Scientist

Once again, ‘scientists’ (or in this case, a science writer) fails to connect the dots.

What is most amusing about this failure is that the article is about… connecting the dots!

We all know that everyone is separated by Six Degrees of Separation thanks to a recent thorough test of the theory.

Since this is true, that means that everyone, everywhere is Six Degrees of Separation away from a ‘criminal’. The only thing left to measure in a system like the Fusion Centers and this completely bogus software from Siemens is the level of criminality of the focus person.

This is absolutely the case because all people are connected, and so if you are going to investigate (violate) someone because they are two steps away from a ‘criminal’ you will have to assign a threat level to that person; everyone everywhere ‘knows’ or is ‘close to’ a ‘criminal’ and I put the word criminal in single quotes because what a criminal is or is not is highly variable.

The massively connected nature of people is the reason why these systems cannot possibly work. It also explains why there are an irrationally large number of people on the ‘terrorist’ watch list in the USA; if they are secretly using this software or something like it to see who is connected to who, they will find that everyone is connected to everyone, and everyone is a potential terrorist according to the software. That is why there are literally millions of people falsely listed as ‘potential terrorists’ in the USA. Just to be clear, I do not accept that there is such a thing as a ‘potential terrorist’ in the first place.

No one working with the systems has had the guts to stand up and say that the emperor has no clothes, and that it is impossible for this many people to all be potential terrorists. Eternal shame upon them.

The writer of this New Scientist article should know about Six Degrees of Separation, that it has very recently been demonstrated to be true, and she should have made the insight jump and use this to make the case that these ‘services’ cannot ever work and to explain why they should not be deployed.

If the terrorist threat is real, and you are doing this to try and catch terrorists, then these systems should not be used because they throw up too many false positives and put too many people into the system that have no relation to ‘the enemy’. This confusion would stop you from getting to the real bad guys and stopping what you are trying to stop. The Six Degrees factor makes it even worse, as you are bound to be putting everyone in the system since everyone ‘knows’ everyone. These systems are actually dangerous in the physical sense AND the moral sense.

It is clear that these systems should not be deployed because they do not help you do what you need to do. This is quite apart from the moral aspect of mass violation of innocent people. Guilt by Association is known by people who can use the Google to be an inductive form of fallacy:

An association fallacy is an inductive formal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association. Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion.

[…]

Wikipedia

Everyone who worked on this software will have been aware of all of this. They are selling software, and will have simply given the authorities who are computer and maths illiterates what they asked for. The question is, what is the real reason they want it in the first place.

It is clear that the people who ordered these systems are not interested in ‘terrorists’. They want this to use against enemy corporations, politicians that need to be shut down and every other nefarious thing you can imagine. Do you remember the arrest of the British executives for ‘gambling offences’ the USVISIT system and the passenger list data are being used not to stop ‘terrorists’ but to capture people, in this case, who are not even criminals at all.

That is what this is all about. Anyone who says otherwise is completely delusional. All the evidence points to this, and all the other evidence that no one wants to accept is the icing on the cake.

Do I have to actually type out that the ID Card and the NIR would be used as a key part of a guilt by association system? Oyster is already being used in this way; they have the swipes of all the Oyster cards at a certain time / location locus and then they investigate every one. You will be in BIG TROUBLE if purely by chance you were the passenger that swiped just before or after a criminal; the software would assume that you were traveling together since you were in such close proximity.

And this brings us to the final point in this post.

Once cash is banished from public transport, the only way to travel on it will be with Oyster. That means that they will be surveilling everyone by default, and the guilt by association will be used against you by default.

Now extend this to the cash you use every day to by anything.

Once cash is driven out of the marketplace, the same systems will be used universally; only much much worse.

Lets say that you pay a plumber to do some work for you, and that plumber did work on the black market. Everyone who paid him in the new Beast Money® would immediately be subject to investigation to see how they were connected to the black economy. This scenario is faulty of course, because in the cashless society, the state will extract its payments automatically and you will have no control over your money at all, never mind privacy.

The bottom line is that the engineers, architects, programmers, scientists and everyone who can make systems needs to have a moral code instilled in them so that no one will be willing to supply the mortar, or the bricks or the door hinges or anything else for the gas chambers. It takes a very small number of people to devise and deploy these systems and in the networked world, everyone everywhere can be involuntarily plugged into them and made to suffer, barring a massive, unprecedented revolt.

I fear that an appeal to high standards may fall on deaf ears.

We shall see.

Defective By Design on iPhone

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Defective by design have just sent out a call to not buy the new iPhone. Lets pull it to bits:

=================================
DefectiveByDesign.org DefectiveByDesign.org
=================================
The 5 real reasons to avoid iPhone 3G

* iPhone completely blocks free software. Developers must pay a tax to Apple, who becomes the sole authority over what can and can’t be on everyone’s phones.

The iPhone OS has been reverse engineered, by people who are not defeatists. There are literally millions of Jailbroken iPhones in circulation, all of them making and receiving phone calls and running free software, the source for which is available under the GPL. Instead of complaining about this brilliant hardware platform, perhaps Defective By Design should spend time developing or promoting the development of software for the iPhone so that they can realize their goals. Certainly, asking people not to buy an iPhone is not going to work in any meaningful way.

* iPhone endorses and supports Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) technology.

Once again, this is solved by writing software, not by complaining.

* iPhone exposes your whereabouts and provides ways for others to track you without your knowledge.

ALL cellular telephones do this. If this is the level of expertise that these people have then their movement is doomed.

* iPhone won’t play patent and DRM-free formats like Ogg Vorbis and Theora.

Then write a player for it. Even better; why don’t you port Videolan to iPhone and distribute it via Installer.APP? You would have access to millions of users in a very short amount of time, and you would not be exposing yourself to legal attack from Apple, because someone else is actively developing Installer.APP and its ecosystem; you would be interfacing with the iPhone community by that means and not directly. It could not be easier for you. The development tools are out there, the source for robust players to decode the formats you love is available, all it takes is the will to do it or to pay someone else to do it if it is that important.

There are alot of things that the iPhone cannot do, and you can solve any of them that you like, by writing some software.

* iPhone is not the only option. There are better alternatives on the horizon that respect your freedom, don’t spy on you, play free media formats, and let you use free software — like the FreeRunner (http://www.openmoko.com).

A phone in the hand is better than two on the horizon. Especially if you want to make phone calls. And I would love to see how those ‘on the horizon’ phones connect to the GSM network without knowing where you and your phone are.

We can trade our freedom and our money to get something flashy on the surface, or we can spend a little more money, keep our freedom, and support a better kind of business. If we want businesses to be ethical, we have to reward the ones that are. By not enriching companies that want to take away our freedom and by rewarding those that respect us, we will be helping to bring about a better future.

OR we can use our imagination and expertise to fix the problems in products like the iPhone so that they work in the way that they want, give us the shiny phone we want, AND preserve our freedom. We can have our cake and eat it. This has been very successfully done by the people who have created the Jailbroken iPhone community. Really, you should understand this.

In solidarity,

John, Josh, Matt, and Peter

Calling for solidarity, demonstrations, boycotts are all fine, but in the end, it is the people who have an imagination that make a difference in the world. The Jailbreaking of the iPhone is a perfect example of how active people with skill and imagination can force change to happen. The only reason why Apple is allowing developers to write native software for the iPhone is the explosive and unprecedented success of Jailbreaking and Installer.APP. Everyone knows that 25% of all iPhones in circulation have been jailbroken. Because of their work, there are more telephones running free software than ever before, and this will continue with the new iPhone. Because of their work, the iPhone is now open to developers through the closed system, whereas before Apple wanted everyone to develop web apps that ran in Safari. Because of their work we now have a platform that will ensure that the iPhone is always open to developers of free software going forward.

At the end of the day, all the complaining in the world will not stop DRM. Only the writing of software will defeat it.

What we have to ask is this; what are you actually offering? You are not offering any solutions, you are not offering any new philosophy or any sort of strategy that will produce results, and you are completely ignoring the heroic work of the Jailbreakers and the millions of phones they have liberated as if it has not happened at all.

That is odd, to say the least.

Preventing an attack on Iran: Real solutions

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

In order to prevent an attack on Iran, the american people must be made to understand that the Iranian people are ‘just like them’. They have to come to the realization that Iranians are not inhuman monsters, but that they are gentle, intelligent and perfectly normal human beings, living in a beautiful country, doing for the most part, the things that everyone else in the world does.

To make this happen, americans and Iranians need to talk to each other on a peer to peer basis, without any interference or filtering. They have to discover the humanity of each other, through a transparent medium that has no preconditions and no agenda other than to connect people so that they can get to know each other.

How can we do this?

Firstly cities and towns in america must twin with cities in Iran. Twinning of cities and towns has been done before, and it is a good idea, but we need to go further. The families in each town and city must also twin, and enter into regular communication.

When each ‘side’ sees that there are actually pleasant human beings on the other side of the globe, and not monsters, it becomes impossible for normal people to say that they must be bombed, or killed or made in any way to suffer. In effect, we will be de-demonizing and re-humanizing these populations.

It will be much harder for the american air force to bomb Esfahān when there are literally millions of americans intimately connected to the 3,430,353 people who live there. Not only will the americans feel total outrage that their friends are being murdered, but for the first time, many americans will know exactly where the bombs are falling and what the place looks like. They will be able to equate these places and people directly to their own places and people, and they, as decent moral folk, will not stand for it.

Now that we have the internetz, we can take this idea up to 11, organizing and fostering fine grained twinning down to the level of the family through a richly featured matching website, where each town and its residents can find people in the twinned town to connect with.

Think of it as ‘Peace 2.0’.

The unrepresentative and destructive Psychopaths that run the american government must have their plans for war short circuited. When americans feel, not by force, but by simple human contact, the pain of seeing their friends and acquaintances murdered, the insane pre-emption doctrine will implode. The vast majority of americans are completely decent, moral, generous and good people. They have been brutally mislead and tricked into a vicious cycle of hate by a small number of very bad people. But you know this.

There is nothing we can do about the myriad crimes that have been committed in the past; what we can do, is put a permanent stop to this headlong rush to endless war, and in particular, the war that is being planned right now against Iran.

Now, where can we find a Rails developer to build it?

. . . . . . .

>>>>>>> UPDATE!! <<<<<<<

Someone has their thinking hat on:

Call Iran/Call America: People to People Diplomacy to Prevent War

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2007-10-08 07:29.

It is time that the people of America and Iran let our leaders know: we’re ready to talk, and if they won’t take that first step, we will take it for them.

The Enough Fear campaign seeks to link people across borders to halt the march to war between the US and Iran. By creating connections between people, we will demonstrate our common commitment to a negotiated settlement to the current crisis and show that dialogue between Iranians and Americans is possible.

To facilitate people-to-people diplomacy, we have designed an action that will link Americans and Iranians who otherwise would never have the opportunity to talk with each other.

You can find out more about our past events in Boston and New York, and read press coverage of this campaign.

How it works:

A phone bank, made up of 4-5 old-style red desk phones (like the ones used for direct emergency talks during the Cold War), is set up in a public space in the US. A phone call from each phone in the US is placed to a volunteer in Iran. The phone calls run continuously for 2 hours, and during that time, we invite passers-by in DC to have a 5-minute chat with someone in Iran. Iranian volunteers are welcome to invite friends and family to join them so they can pass their phone around as well. Each phone in the US has a second line to be used by a translator. Iranians and Americans are welcome to talk about anything they like – the only requirement is that people be respectful.

Needed: volunteers in the US and Iran

If you’re in the US, you can help us set up and volunteer at the events (and we especially need people who can translate between Persian and English on the calls). If you’re in Iran, you can volunteer to participate in one of our calls. To volunteer, or if you have any questions, please email contact@enoughfear.org.

For information on upcoming phone events, please sign up for our email list.

Photo by James Felder/SnapshotArtifact.org

We want to thank The Lee + Gund Foundation for their financial support. And thank you to everyone who made donations to make this event possible.

[…]

http://enoughfear.org/en/call

EU backs use of open-source software

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

By James Kanter
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

BRUSSELS: The European Union’s competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, delivered an unusually blunt rebuke to Microsoft on Tuesday by recommending that businesses and governments use software based on open standards.

Kroes has fought bitterly with Microsoft over the past four years, accusing the company of defying her orders and fining it nearly ?1.7 billion, or $2.7 billion, for violating European competition rules. But her comments were the strongest recommendation yet by Kroes to jettison Microsoft products, which are based on proprietary standards, and to use rival operating systems to run computers.

“I know a smart business decision when I see one – choosing open standards is a very smart business decision indeed,” Kroes told a conference in Brussels. “No citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to choose a closed technology over an open one.”

Kroes did not name Microsoft in advance copies of her speech, but she made her meaning clear by referring to the only company in EU antitrust enforcement history that has been fined for refusing to comply with European Commission orders – a record held by Microsoft.

“The commission has never before had to issue two periodic penalty payments in a competition case,” she said.

The EU has previously ruled against Microsoft for abusing its dominance in the markets for software to play music on computers and to communicate with powerful server computers on a network. In recent months, Kroes has opened new investigations against Microsoft after complaints that it was competing unfairly in the market for Web browsers by using the Explorer software. Kroes is also investigating whether Microsoft is making it too hard for rivals to work with its Office suite applications.

In her speech, Kroes said there were serious security concerns for governments and businesses associated with using a single software supplier. She praised the City of Munich for using software based on open standards, along with the German Foreign Ministry and the Gendarmerie Nationale, a department of the French police force.

Kroes, who is Dutch, encouraged the Dutch government and Parliament to continue moving toward use of open standards. EU agencies “must not rely on one vendor” and “must refuse to become locked into a particular technology – jeopardizing maintenance of full control over the information in its possession,” she said.

A policy by the European Commission adopted last year to promote the use of software products that support open standards “needs to be implemented with vigor,” she said.

[…]

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/10/technology/msft.php

Amazing. It looks like they are finally beginning to GET IT.

Micro$oft Winblows === BAD
GNU/Linux/Gnome/Ubuntu === GOOD

M$ Office === BAD
Open Office === GOOD

.doc === BAD
.odf === GOOD

Freedom === GOOD
Slavery === BAD

Simple really!

FLAC Off

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

I have often been put off downloading FLAC files as the format is not supported via iTunes, converting FLAC to mp3 is a bind to say the least, and I don’t usually listen via VLC. Poor excuses I know. So the FLAC files just sit there doing nothing on my hard drive.

Somewhat belatedly I have tried Burrrn, to copy FLAC files to audio CD. From there to mp3 is a cinch, with the bonus of having a full-quality CD to listen to ‘properly’. It is a blessing. So simple, so functional and intuitive. Another door opens.

Thank you, Matjus Vojtek.

WordPress 2.5 upgrade

Monday, March 31st, 2008

We have finally upgraded WordPress!

Whenever I previously tried to do it, MSQL returned:

WordPress database error: [Duplicate entry '1'
for key 1]
INSERT INTO wp_terms (term_id, name, slug, term_group)
VALUES ('1', 'In', 'in-2', '1')

WordPress database error: [Duplicate entry '1-category'
for key 2]
INSERT INTO wp_term_taxonomy (term_id, taxonomy, description,
parent, count) VALUES ('1', 'category', '', '0', '22')

WordPress database error: [Duplicate entry '2' for key 1]
INSERT INTO wp_terms (term_id, name, slug, term_group)
VALUES ('2', 'Administravia', 'administravia-2', '1')

WordPress database error: [Duplicate entry '2-category'
for key 2]
INSERT INTO wp_term_taxonomy (term_id, taxonomy, description,
parent, count) VALUES ('2', 'category', '', '0', '6')

WordPress database error: [Duplicate entry '3' for key 1]
INSERT INTO wp_terms (term_id, name, slug, term_group)
VALUES ('3', 'The Law', 'the-law-2', '1')

Which resulted in an upgraded WordPress, with 1000 posts that were all Uncategorized.

Eventually, after reading up and doing some dry runs, I discovered the solution:

  • Back everything up, deactivate plugins.
  • Upload the new WordPress files.
  • Truncate the wp-terms table.
  • Truncate the wp-taxonomy table.
  • run the wp-admin/upgrade.php script.

It works!

More lies about the eternal enemy

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

This article smells very bad. Lets take a sniff…

Al-Qaeda group’s encryption software stronger, security firm confirms

By Ellen Messmer
Network World
02/01/08

Shame on you for propagating this nonsense.

Al-Qaeda support group Al-Ekhlaas has improved the encryption software it now provides to its online members, according to one security researcher who examined the software, known as “Mujahideen Secrets 2.”

Al-Qaeda support group, also known as ‘NSA’.

Anyone who is smart enough to know how to write an encryption algorithm and a package to deliver its functionality, and who is responsible for keeping people secure, knows that it is far better to use an off the shelf set of tools rather than build your own application and algorithm from scratch.

If ‘Al-Qaeda’ was real, and someone in their group knew about encryption, all they would need to do is settle on standard tools to keep their communications secure; they would never risk, or waste time trying to create from scratch, using their own proprietary system.

Mujahideen Secrets 2 has added the ability to encrypt chat communications, which the first version lacked, says Paul Henry, vice president of technology evangelism at Secure Computing. Henry says he got the software through a contact in the intelligence community.

OH REALLY??!?!? a contact in the ‘intelligence community’???!!!!

It is OBVIOUS to even the most casual observer that the way to infiltrate a group like this, that is paranoid about security, would be to infiltrate them and then provide them with a ‘secure’ way of chatting that logs all of their communications. You could do this even if the clients were secure; all you would need to do is control the chat server.

I assure you that all of the people, even those that are casually interested in cryptography understand this. They would immediately recommend open source publicly available tools to do this job. For example, if you want to have one to one encrypted chat, you use Adium. If you want encrypted email, you use GNU Privacy Guard. If you want to shred files, manage keys, recipient keys, encrypt attachments and files there is no better tool than Enigmail. Any tool that is not peer reviewed cannot be trusted. This tool, by its very nature, is untrustworthy; this whole story doesn’t sound right.

The home-grown Mujahideen Secrets 2 encryption software, based on open source RSA code, can encrypt binary files so they can be posted on ASCII-text-based bulletin boards and Web sites.

‘Pics or it didn’t happen’. Without looking at the source of this programme, it is impossible to say how good this software is, and once again, there are other, better more secure tools to do this.

Lets think about the sentence above. If you are going to post an encrypted binary on an ascii bulletin board, you need to encrypt it to the members of that board, using the private key of each member. If you cannot control who is on your board, i.e. you have a single infiltrator, your enemy will have access to the file and the list of recipients. The whole point of posting files on a board is to distribute them widely, and so you do not want to encrypt them in this way; if you want to send encrypted binaries to multiple people, you send the file by email, encrypting the file for each recipient individually. Once they get on your board in the scenario provided by this ‘journalist’, your enemy can get a hold of the file, at any time after it was posted, and then list the keys needed to decrypt the file, giving a list of all the nicknames of the recipients of the file. Sending

“They have improved the operation of the graphical user interface and it will now encrypt chat communications,” says Henry, who adds that the Arabic translation suggests the software is encouraged for use by Al-Ekhlaas members to evade U.S. government efforts at surveillance.

This sentence is the exact OPPOSITE of what the truth is; it is software encouraged by U.S. government to aid its efforts at surveillance of Al-Ekhlaas.

Tampa-based ISP NOC4Hosts and Rochester, Minn.,-based SiteGenesis in January found out their operations were being used to host the Al-Ekhlaas Web sites where Mujahideen Secrets 2 can be found. Both hosting firms pulled the plug on the Web sites after receiving specific technical information about the content.

From whom?

This week another Web hosting company, CrystalTech Web Hosting in Phoenix, shut down sites linked to the Al Qaeda-link support group.

Once again, these people could, if they were real, host their websites anywhere in the world. They would not host thier sites in Minnesota or Pheonix. This is just utter nonsense of the first order, and those sites were most probably ‘honey pots’ set up to get this Back Orifice ‘Jihad Edition’ into the hands of dweebs that want to help the CIA operaton ‘Al-Qaeda’ who they will then use as patsies to carry out false flag attacks, all under the guise of ‘Radical Islamo Facscism’.

“As soon as we found out, we brought the IP sites down,” says Bob Cichon, president of CrystalTech Web hosting, who blamed a reseller for it happening. “We’re a very large host and it’s hard to track everything.”

Its not your fault Bob.

In its analysis of Mujahideen Secrets 2, Secure Computing has noticed that the software appears to violate copyright law.

“Typically with open source, they still require a copyright notification,” Henry says. “There’s no copyright notification whatsoever here.”

So, the latest supercrime of Radical Islamo Facscists is not blowing up buildings and making them fall in defiance of the laws of physics, NO, we can prosecute them for violating the GPL.

Another notable thing is that the public-key signature in Mujahideen Secrets 2 leaves a tell-tale sign that the Al-Ekhlaas home-rolled software produced it. The encryption itself is strong at up to a 2,048-bit key length, and like the previous version, provides e-mail and file encryption using public-key certificates.

All contents copyright 1995-2008 Network World, Inc

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/020108-al-qaeda-encryption.html

Once again, if any of this is even true, there are only a handful of people who are capable of understanding how to best fulfill the requirements of encrypting chat and instant messaging, and then the subset of people who can actually pull this off in a software client is even smaller. No one in their right mind would do this in a ‘home-rolled’ package…unless your home is the NSA.

Everything that this journalist claims could be done with off the shelf packages, and in fact, it would be safer to do it with off the shelf packages.

Lets say that the above report is true, and these packages are out there. The only way you can know that the package has not been tampered with is if you can check the signature against it. GPG does this so that you know that you are getting an un-tampered with binary or source. Publicly available tools give you a high level of confidence that your communications will not be susceptible to a ‘man in the middle attack‘. By settling on those tools, rather than rolling your own, you get a higher level of trust. And everyone who understands how this works knows that.

Rolling out your own tools, from whatever angle you look at it, is insane. It is clear that this whole story is a glimpse into some secret operation to recruit patsie jihadies. In that respect, it is fascinating.

What will be even more interesting is to read a report from a trusted peer, who would, amongst other things, run a packet sniffer to see if and where this sneaky piece of infiltration-ware phones home.

Is this a warm up article for another attempt to crack down on freely available encryption tools?

Ministers admit ContactPoint system ‘too risky’ for the famous

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor
Last Updated: 2:04am GMT 26/01/2008

The security of the online computer system used by more than three hundred thousand people to view the private details of children is in doubt after HM Government admitted it was not secure enough to be used by MPs, celebrities and the Royal Family.

Thousands of “high profile” people have been secretly removed from the ContactPoint system amid concerns that their confidential details would be put at risk.

This provoked anger from consumer groups and accountants who said the same levels of security should be offered to all British children regardless of their perceived fame.

HMRC was responsible for losing 25 million child benefit records and the latest admission will concern millions of people entrusting the online system with their confidential financial records.

[…]

ContactPoint has a list of those excluded from the new rules who must have their records kept on hard copies for “security reasons”.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to use the electronic system to make the Jan 31 deadline this week.

ContactPoint records contain children’s names, addresses, parent details, doctor details and other sensitive personal information, – all valuable to paedophiles.

On Friday, senior doctors said they had concerns over the security of the system – apparently confirmed by the the Government’s secret policy.

Mike Warburton, of the General Medical Council, said: “Either ContactPoint is a system which can guarantee confidentiality for all or they should defer plans to roll it out. It is extraordinary that MPs and others can enjoy higher security.”

Mark Wallace, of the Dr. Barnardos charity, said: “This double standard is unacceptable. If the online system is not secure enough for MPs, why should ordinary taxpayers have to put up with it?”

The system was uncovered by the Tory MP Andrew Robathan, who received a letter saying his children’s records could not be found online. He challenged ministers.

“Given our discussions on the efficiency of HMRC recently, how come I have also been sent a letter from my doctor saying I cannot find my children online?”

Jane Kennedy, a Treasury minister, told him: “There are categories of individual for whom security is a higher priority. Not just MPs – there are several categories – and HMRC does not have the facilities for their children to be placed online.”

[…]

INTERRUPTION!

This statement means that Jane Kennedy believes that there is a way to create a higher security system for celebrities and MPs that depends only on facilities and not the nature of data or databases!!!!!!

[…]

In a statement to The Daily Telegraph, ContactPoint confirmed the policy. “ContactPoint services are designed with security as an integral part of the service. We use leading technologies and encryption software to safeguard data and operate strict security standards.

“A tiny minority of individuals’ records, including MPs, have extra security measures over and above the very high standards of confidentiality with which ContactPoint treats all childrens’ data.

“The separate arrangements mean their doctors are unable to use the online service.”

The extra security applies to those in the public eye. Their details are thought to be stored on a highly-restricted database with extra levels of security.

ContactPoint stressed that all childrens’ details were secure.

[…]

Telegraph

And there you have it.

UK Government: “We need more time to change the nature of the Universe”

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Child database system postponed

Ministers are postponing a new database on every child in England, pending a security review and changes to the system including its access controls.

Children’s minister Kevin Brennan told MPs there would be a five-month delay to the 224m system, ContactPoint.

The security review was ordered after the loss of child benefit discs.

ContactPoint holds name, address, date of birth, gender, parental contact information, details of school and any professionals working with the child.

It does not include actual case records.

The database came out of the inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie and is designed to make it easier to co-ordinate the work of different child protection agencies.

‘Questions raised’

Mr Brennan said in a statement: “Over the last few months we have been considering the substantial stakeholder feedback we have received and looked at the implications that the resulting proposed changes could have on the system.

“It is clear from the considerable work we have done so far that we will need more time than we originally planned to address the changes to ContactPoint which potential system users suggested.”

The change to the timetable will mean deployment to the “early adopters” local authorities and national agencies in September or October 2008, and to all others by May 2009.

Mr Brennan said the loss of the Revenue and Customs child benefit data “has raised questions about the safety of large scale personal data in other government systems, including ContactPoint”.

An independent assessment of security procedures would be undertaken by Deloitte.

“Delaying the implementation of ContactPoint will enable the independent assessment of security procedures to take place as well as address the changes to ContactPoint that potential system users have told us they need,” Mr Brennan said.

He added: “The fundamental design of ContactPoint will not change; the alterations will make sure the system works even more effectively for users and improves the ability of local authority ContactPoint teams to manage user access.”

Shadow Childrens Minister Maria Miller said: “The government should also use this opportunity to see whether it really is necessary to have a database for every single child in the country, accessible to 330,000 people, given the significant amount of concern that this could overload the system and lead to a dumbing down of information.

“We have always supported, as an alternative, a slimmed-down tightly controlled database which focuses on those genuinely vulnerable children.”

[…]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7115546.stm

My emphasis.

This is one of the most absurd statements ever. Just when you thought that they couldn’t get more stupid, we have the imbecile ‘Kevin Brennan’ saying they need more time to CHANGE THE VERY NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE and RE-DEFINE THE RULES OF MATHEMATICS before they roll out ContactPoint.

The fact is, you computer illiterate JACKASS, no matter how long you delay it, not matter what you do to re-design it, data will always be copyable, and if you put together ContactPoint in the way it has been planned, it will still be copyable. Read how this is going to be done, in evidence already submitted to you. Even if you make it difficult for insiders with root level DB access, wholesale copying WILL take place on a page by page basis. Remember, there are going to be 300,000 people with authorized access; it will be impossible to monitor them all, like that PHD’s submission says.

No amount of security reviews will be able to stop people from printing off ContactPoint pages. Deloitte knows this. The alterations you are talking about will do nothing to reduce the risk you are putting all the children of the UK in.

These are the FACTS.

ContactPoint MUST BE ABANDONED COMPLETELY, and it is absolutely sickening that you and your inhuman child harming monster colleagues are pushing on with this abomination.