Archive for the 'Privacy' Category

French to roll out Biometric ID Card with central database

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Oh dear me.

It looks like the French are facing the New Labour disease of super Orwellian ID Cards to supplant their existing ID Card system.

Did you know that you cannot buy a SIM card in France without presenting State ID? Appalling!

It seems to me that they need to have a little Stonor Saunders injected into their ‘debate’, and Google Translate is more than happy to oblige:

+++++++

Cela a t envoy moi.

Ceci a t crit l’origine par STONOR SAUNDERS Frances.

Frances Saunders est l’ancien rdacteur en chef des arts du New Statesman, auteur de La Guerre froide culturelle, Diabolical Anglais et Le Diable Courtier et a t attribu William la Royal Historical Society de Gladstone Prix?commmoratif. Elle vit Londres. Il vaut bien lire et si vous souhaitez, s’il vous plat le transmettre autant de personnes que vous le pouvez.

Vous avez entendu ce que la lgislation crant cartes d’identit obligatoires franchi une tape cruciale dans la Chambre des communes. Vous pouvez penser que ID cartes ne sont pas de quoi s’inquiter, puisque nous avons dj de photos d’identit pour nos passeports et permis de conduire et une carte d’identit ne sera pas diffrente de que. Qu’est-ce que vous n’avez pas t dit est la pleine porte de cette identit propose Carte, et ce qu’il signifie pour vous personnellement.

La carte d’identit propose sera diffrente de n’importe quelle carte que vous tenez. Il sera tre connect une base de donnes appele le RIN, (National Identity Register), o toutes vos donnes personnelles seront stockes. Il s’agira notamment de numro unique qui sera mis pour vous, vos empreintes digitales, un scan de la arrire de votre il, et votre photo. Votre nom, adresse et date de la naissance sera videmment aussi y tre stockes.

Il y aura des espaces sur cette base de donnes pour votre religion, le statut de rsidence, et de nombreux autres faits privs et personnels votre sujet. Il est illimit espace pour tous les autres dtails de votre vie sur la base de donnes NIR, qui peut tre tendu par le gouvernement avec ou sans d’autres actes de Parlement.

En soi, vous pourriez penser que ce registre est inoffensif, mais vous seriez tort de venir cette conclusion. Cette nouvelle carte sera utilise pour vrifier votre identit contre votre entre dans le registre en temps rel, chaque fois que vous le prsenter prouver qui vous tes.

Tout lieu que vend de l’alcool ou des cigarettes, chaque bureau de poste, tous les pharmacie, et chaque banque aura un terminal de carte NIR, (tout comme les lecteurs Chip and Pin qui sont partout maintenant) dans lequel votre carte peut tre “glisse” pour vrifier votre identit. Chaque fois que cela arrive, un record est faite la PIR de l’heure et le lieu que la carte a t prsente. Cela signifie par exemple, qu’il y aura un dossier du gouvernement de chaque fois que vous retirez plus de 99 votre succursale de NatWest, qui maintenant ID demande pour ces transactions. Chaque fois que vous avez prouver que vous sont plus de 18 ans, votre carte sera glisse, et un enregistrement fait la PIR. Restaurants et licences hors exigeront que votre carte est glisse de telle sorte que chaque reu indique qu’ils vendaient de l’alcool quelqu’un de plus de 18, et que cela a t prouv par l’accs au NIR, les indemnisant partir
poursuites.

Les entreprises prives vont avoir accs la base de donnes NIR. Si vous voulez postuler pour un emploi, vous devrez prsenter votre carte d’un coup. Si vous voulez demander une carte Oyster Londres Underground, ou un la fidlit des supermarchs carte ou un permis de conduire, vous devrez prsenter votre Carte d’identit pour un coup. Va de mme pour obtenir une ligne tlphonique ou une tlphone mobile ou d’un compte Internet.

Oyster, DVLA, BT, et de Nectar (par exemple) fonctionnent tous de bases de donnes trs dtaille de leurs propres. Ils seront autoriss accder au NIR, comme tous les autres entreprise sera. Cela signifie que chacune de ces entits seront en mesure de enregistrer votre numro unique dans leur base de donnes, et placer tous vos dplacements, enregistrements tlphoniques, des activits de conduite et les habitudes d’achat dtaille sous votre numro unique de NIR. Ces bases de donnes, qui peut facilement s’adapter sur un stockage appareil de la taille de votre main, seront vendus aux tiers lgalement ou illgalement. Il sera alors possible pour une entit non-gouvernementales pour crer une dossier dtaill de toutes vos activits. Certes, le gouvernement aura l’accs tous les clandestins d’entre eux, ce qui signifie qu’ils auront une complte record de tous vos mouvements, de combien et quand vous vous retirez de votre compte bancaire pour les mdicaments que vous prenez, jusqu’au niveau de quelle sorte de pain que vous mangez – tous accessibles via un numro unique dans une base de donnes centrale.

C’est tout fait un bond significatif partir d’une carte d’identit simple qui montre votre nom et le visage.

La plupart des gens ne savent pas que c’est le vrai caractre et la porte des propos de carte d’identit. Chaque fois que les dtails de comment il fonctionnera sont expliques pour eux, ils changer rapidement d’tre ambivalente envers elle.

Le gouvernement va vous obliger entrer vos coordonnes dans le NIR et de raliser cette carte. Si vous et vos enfants veulent obtenir ou renouveler votre passeport, vous serez oblig de prendre vos empreintes digitales et vos yeux scanns pour le RIN, et une carte d’identit sera mis pour vous si vous voulez un ou pas. Si vous refusez de prendre ses empreintes digitales et oculaires numrises, vous ne serez pas en mesure d’obtenir un passeport. Votre carte d’identit sera, juste comme votre passeport, ne pas tre votre proprit. Le ministre de l’Intrieur aura le droit de rvoquer ou de suspendre votre identit tout moment, ce qui signifie que vous ne pas tre en mesure de retirer de l’argent sur votre compte bancaire, par exemple, ou faire tout ce qui vous oblige prsenter votre carte d’identit mise par le gouvernement.

Les arguments qui ont t mis transmise en faveur des cartes d’identit peuvent tre facilement rfute. Cartes d’identit NE SERA PAS arrter les terroristes; chaque Espagnol a une carte d’identit obligatoire, de mme que les Bombers de Madrid, et probablement la plupart des les criminels 9 / 11. Les cartes d’identit ne sera pas d’liminer la fraude aux prestations, qui en comparaison, est faible par rapport au cot astronomique de cette proposition, qui seront valus en milliards selon l’Ecole LSE (Londres des Economics). Ce schma existe uniquement pour exercer une surveillance totale et contrle sur le citoyen britannique ordinaire libre, et ce sera remplir les poches des les entreprises qui creront des systmes informatiques au dtriment de la votre libert, d’intimit et de l’argent.

Si vous ne saviez pas toute la porte du systme de carte d’identit propose avant et vous sont instables comme je suis ce que cela signifie vraiment pour vous, cette pays et son mode de vie, je vous exhorte l’email ou une photocopie cela et lui donner vos amis et collgues et tout le monde pense que vous devez savoir et qui se soucie. Le projet de loi a procd ce stade en raison de l’absence de renseignements exacts et complets sur cette proposition soient rendues publiques. Ensemble et main dans la main, nous pouvons informer la nation toute entire, si tous ceux qui reoit ce qu’elle transmet. ”

Ce message n’a rien voir avec la politique – il est faire avec notre libert. Mais ce sont les politiciens qui dans l’ignorance vont voter pour la carte d’identit et donc nous rapprocher de l’Etat de police qui semble tre le but de notre actuelle Gouvernement. S’il vous plat transmettre ce message – et d’utiliser votre prochain vote lection gnrale pour se dbarrasser des gens qui veulent dtruire notre chri dmocratie.

Envoyer le traducteur de cet article, un Bitcoin cette adresse: 14ScQgQRi2U5o6cdAJNhgyzY6w5UtwmX16

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Violent artists declare war on the 21st Century

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Thanks to a lurder (yes, ‘lurder’) who knows just what buttons to push to cause a BLOGDIAL post to emerge, we have this amazing piece of violent assertion from http://www.theartistscharter.org/

Lets pull it to bits.

We the undersigned, writers, artists and musicians, along with our fans and those millions of people worldwide who work in or are otherwise supported by the creative industries say as follows:-

We have the right to earn a living from our work.

True.

We reiterate that basic human right to work enshrined in Article 23 (1) of the UN Declaration on Human Rights, and by virtue of Article 23(3) of that declaration to just and favourable remuneration for our artistic endeavours.

False. Rights do not come from the UN. You have no ‘right’ to remuneration; you own your own body, and no one has the right to control you or force you to work under terms that are not agreeable to you. Those are the only rights you have with respect to your labor. There is no such thing as just and favourable remuneration; there is only what you will agree to work for and what you will not agree to work for. What that amount is for any particular task is up to you and the person who is hiring you to decide through negotiation.

We seek to make technology a friend and not an enemy of our creativity.

I doubt it.

We ask to be allowed to make a living, whether through performing, writing or recording music, derived from the power of our ideas and the commercial use of our talents.

You have a right to do what you want, on any stage or any medium. You already have this right, and should not ask to be ‘allowed’ to ply your trade.

We say it is a fact that the protection of our creative output depends substantially on copyright law, and we urgently call on all governments to assist us in the legal protection of our collective artistic output from piracy and other unauthorised infringement.

This is a lie.

It is absolutely not a fact that the protection of creative output depends substantially on copyright law. This is a myth, one that has been dispelled by by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine in Against Intellectual Monopoly and others.

When these people ask for all governments to ‘assist’ them, they are actually saying that they want the state to violently put grandmothers in gaol (for example) for copying from objects that they own.

They are asking for the State to do violence for them. This is wrong in every way that something can be wrong.

There is no such thing as ‘collective artistic output’. You own the physical objects that you produce. Once you release them, and someone else buys them or obtains them legitimately, you have no right to tell them what they may or may not do with their property. That means that you have no right to tell someone that they cannot make a copy of a record for someone else, or that they may not re-sell a book they have bought, or that they may notmake copies of their own wedding photos or do anything of any kind with something that they legitimately own.

In sum, you have no right to suppress the rights of others by violence because you want to make money.

It is self-evident that any commercial enterprise requires revenue flows to not only survive, but thrive, innovate and take calculated risks.

True.

We say that the internet service provider industry must accept its share of responsibility for the rampant abuse of copyright online. Easy unauthorised access to our material goes unchecked every day across the world and infringers do not seek our consent when sharing our works.

False. Internet Service Providers provide access to the internet. It is not their responsibility to police their users, any more than it is the business of the operators of telephone services to spy on their users on behalf of a malignant and violent group.

ISPs are not part of some imaginary Socialist collective, with responsibility to everyone everywhere. They are private businesses with responsibility to their shareholders only.

Our creative industries are facing unsustainable revenue losses due to weak or unenforced copyright laws. This means one thing and one thing only: millions of jobs lost and young talent ignored.

There are no ‘our creative industries’. The record companies are dying because the world has changed thanks to computers and networks. This is a good thing that will benefit everyone, including the people who make music, write books and do other creative things that can be digitized.

You sound just like the fear-mongers who said that the VCR would, “kill the film industry“, or the clowns who said that, “home taping was killing music“, or or that phonograph records would kill off sheet music sales or that sheet music would kill live performance. All of those were lies, and what you are saying now is also not true. There is a long history of artists and ‘music industry’ people getting it totally wrong when it comes to technology, and this rather ill informed declaration is just another example.

Creative people (the ones who are really creative, and not just lazy, ignorant, unintelligent, computer illiterate luddites) will find a way to adapt to the new reality and thrive off of it, just as previous generations did with the advent of recorded music, VCRs, home copying and every other innovation that helped people spread ideas and wealth.

You people just don’t get it.

While our industry has collapsed to annual revenues of less than US$20 billion, the ISP industry has more than doubled its revenues in the last five years to US$250 billion due in large part to infringement of our artistic works.

This is a lie. The ISP industry has grown because more people need access to the internet, no matter what is on it. As for the collapse in revenues, even if it is true (which it often is not) the opportunity the internet presents to creative people is without precedent; all that is needed is for you to go out and harness it. You do not need anyone’s permission, all you need is some software and… creativity.

We demand our indisputable right to copyright protection be no longer ignored. Free should not come at such a terrible cost.

Copyright is not indisputable, and it is not a right. Copyright it is very disputable, and is in fact, entirely illegitimate. No matter how loud you shout, your buggy whip business model is dead and dying. New people are supplanting you, and while you waste your time trying to prop up the zombie corpse of the old business model they are getting on with the task of inventing the new ways of making money from music, that you will inevitably have to accept.

Stand with us to ensure the creative industries survive.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/artistscharter/

Standing with you means standing up for and supporting violence and immorality. No thanks!

Here it is, again, the book that you must read to understand the true nature of the State, its laws and the violent truth behind them. If you cannot read, there is always a nice video for you to digest.

Right to rights!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Rights, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.

Apologies toJohn Godfrey Saxe

New rights are being shaped and squeezed, like sausages, from so much mechanically recovered political mincemeat. The difference between a right and a good is not a difficult concept. However, the sound ethical concepts underpinning the definition of true rights are sidelined in favour of political expediency and the generation of political power with new rights generated and promoted, with horrendous irony, under the guise of more power for individuals. In literal and ethical fact, the only real rights are those which apply to property in all its forms, and from which stem all personal liberties. Yet, and particularly among the politically educated, this fact does not prevent the rapid expansion in what are, in reality, goods at best and often little more than nonsensical, illogical restrictions on liberty.

Recently I have heard many promotions of the Right to Health (rather than to healthcare, which while also an idiotic statement, is at least a clearly demonstrable good… and to which you obviously have no right). Of course, we know what morally smug do-gooders mean when they invoke the Right to Health, but it is plainly as ridiculous a concept as the Right to A Pretty Face, or for that matter the Right to Food. Even if, for arguments sake, we consider Health as a good, then it is personal property; your Health (good or bad) belongs to you. Moreover, since you cannot sell your health, then it is an inalienable part of your Self, and encompassed under the first principle of the Right to Self-ownership (a true, valid, property right). Even though you may sell or donate access to your body for scientific or other purposes your health, being an inalienable part of your self, cannot be extracted and sold as a seperate entity.

In the same set of discussions, at WHO / UN level meetings, other rights mentioned included the Right to the Best Start in Life seriously! Which is what exactly? $10 million in a trust fund, crib at the Ritz and Gucci nappies? Who exactly judges what is best? As is plain to see, any discussion of new rights is nothing more than a hotbed of meddling, idealistic idiocy.

More timely at present due to men in wigs upholding an assinine law made on the fly to appease men on the take, and also due to Twitter caving, are the Right to Privacy and Right to Know. Both of these rights pertain to knowledge, which is essentially and ultimately a good, not a right. In the context of news stories about corporate whores, media whores and whoring whores and the abuse of law (superinjuctions) the two rights are tightly linked.

Consider a married-with-children man, lets call him Ryan Giggs, who decides to accept the oportunity (howsoever it arises) to fuck a media whore. The Mhore then directly gains, through application of her talents (use of her labour), certain knowledge about Mr Giggs preferences about which he would not wish his family to become aware. That knowledge has a value in our society, to newspapers and other media – these agencies believe the public has a ‘right to know’ how Mr Giggs likes his ladies to perform. The knowledge also has value to Mr Giggs, who presumably believes the public has no right to know, but unfortunately for him blackmail is illegal here. Were it not, our Mhore could approach Mr Giggs and offer to keep silent in exchange for money. They would enter a contract agreeable to both, and both parties would be happy. Mr Giggs is protected against further extortion as he has a contractual agreement on the value of the knowledge into which his Mhore has freely entered. Should she break this and sell the knowledge to the media anyway, she could be rightly and justly punished for breach of contract (property law). However, blackmail is illegal primarily to protect the rich, and prevents people from rightfully exploiting their property (knowledge) as they see fit. In this clearly ridiculous situation, our Mhore is obliged to realise the value of her knowledge (it is property, she owns it) on the market with the consequence that lawyers get rich, laws are abused and everyone finds out about it anyway.

For a comprehensive explanation of the ethical basis for selling knowledge, and why blackmail is an infringement on your liberty, see Rothbard. See Rothbard anyway. See it all. And when you next come across a new right, you will see it being squeezed, turd-like, from the ludicrous, self-serving, logic-mincing arsehole/machine that is global politics.

Cloudy Cloud Part Two: Fixing Chrome OS

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Richard Stallman informs the public in the Guardian with his opinion on Cloud Computing.

He is absolutely correct that the way Cloud Computing works right now is insane, and that anyone who trusts Google or any other Cloud Computing service with their data is ‘a sucker’.

The main problems that should concern anyone who is thinking about using these services are these; the sysadmins (the owners of the Cloud Computing service) can see all the data on the cloud that they manage, if they decide to cut you off for any reason, Wikileaks style, your data is lost. All it takes is a single phone call from the State, no warrant, no legal process. Lastly, the police can serve a warrant on the host company and not you personally to look at your data.

All of these are legitimate concerns, but what is not being seen here is why Cloud Computing could be attractive to millions of consumers.

Like many men who are confronted by difficult subjects, processes, realities and facts that they find inconvenient, consumers simply do not want to think about how their computers work; they just want to ‘do their email’.

The vast majority of people who use computers today do only two things on them; surfing the web and email. The Google Cloud Computing platform will do both of these wonderfully; it turns on instantly, has a very long battery life, and you can access your gmail (or any other webmail service) in an interface that you are already familiar with.

That is all most people need, and Cloud Computing does it identically to a local storage machine running a browser…. and there are still people out there, believe it or not, who ask ‘what is a browser’. This is the point that Richard Stallman does not understand, and it is the reason why Cloud Computing could take off in a big way. There are people, from the highly intelligent to the most stupid amongst us who are uninterested in ethics or the consequences of their actions, or how the world and technology really works.

There is another aspect to this that we have already touched upon on BLOGDIAL, and for the record, software is perhaps the only speech for which this statement always returns ‘true’ the answer to attacks on free speech is more speech.

As we wrote before, the problem of your data being visible to the sysadmins of Cloud Computing services can be solved by encrypting all the data on the users platform before it is stored in the Cloud so that Google cannot see it even if they wanted to. This would mean that the State serving a warrant on Google would be pointless, since all Google would be able to present to the police is unreadable ciphertext.

You solve the problem of privacy on Cloud Computing services not by complaining about them, or asking the State to outlaw what you do not like, but by writing software libraries and interfaces.

Then there is the problem of the State cutting you off from your files by forcing or intimidating the Cloud Computing service provider to do so.

This can also be solved by writing software; a simple adaptation of the Open Source tool rsync (a powerful mirroring tool) could do it; all the data that you generate on your Cloud Computing tablet or laptop is seamlessly sent to a mirror on your home or office computer, over SSL so that no one can see it in transit. It is stored in plaintext, in an identical folder structure so you can retrieve it at any time without downtime.

And there you have it.

There is no reason whatsoever why Cloud Computing cannot give you all the convenience of its particular innovations, with the security that your data cannot be seen or seized; all it takes is a little (in fact, very little) thought.

Looking back through the BLOGDIAL archive, we find that this negative attitude towards companies and their innovations is a bit of a theme with the FSF.

Defective By Design ran a campaign to try and get everyone to ‘not buy an iPhone’, the best ever mobile phone at the time.

When they were making this boycott call, Jailbreaking had already become wildly popular, with over 25% of all iPhones in circulation have been jailbroken / liberated.

Instead of helping that software effort, and using Jailbreaking as a means to educate people about all the important issues surrounding the Apple ecosystem, Defective by Design got precisely nothing and nowhere. It would have been far more useful to them if they had joined forces with Saurik so that he could improve the usability of the jailbreaking process and non Apple ecosystem software.

The lesson here is clear; in this information war, writing software is the key to winning anything real. Protesting, calling for boycotts of philosophically malodorous products and all other tactics like that simply do not work. The iPhone is bigger than ever, and so is Jailbreaking, which has now been determined to be legal; the FSF lost a big opportunity by not supporting it.

Android is gaining ground on iPhone sales; this is because the software is better philosophically. Apple is going to lose this one, in the same way that it lost the ‘PC war’, and the same way that Microsoft is going to be superseded by GNU/Linux. These behemoths may seem to be in an unassailable position, especially in the case of iTunes but in the end, they will fall, because the systems are not open, and they control the users like serfs. In particular, once everyone can do an A/B comparison to Android’s upcoming music service, or some other future service, iTunes will be dumped en masse.

With the Google Cloud Computing platform, there is an unprecedented opportunity to change the way it works by taking the Chrome OS source and altering it to make it privacy centred. Why would you, as a consumer, not take something that is private over something that is not, and which gives you local backups for free, without any change in the interface and no effort on your part? Even a sucker would go for it, and furthermore, the development of this is something that I would pay for and financially contribute to the building of.

One thing is for sure, all the complaining in the world will not make Chrome OS sane. The only sensible, moral and ethical way to fix it is to take it and modify it in a way that makes it trivial for anyone to have ‘Cloudy Chrome’ on their machine, with a simple patch or by any other simple means. People are willing to patch and modify their property in their millions, as we have seen with the iPhone jailbreaking phenomenon. Privacy and freedom are popular; what needs to be done is to make it easy for people to be free on Chrome OS.

Finally, what you cannot ever justify is calling on the State to force Google to respect the privacy of its users. There are some out there who have no problem with the idea of calling on the State to violate millions of people as a means of spreading their personal philosophies. They would, in a second, lobby for new law to force Google and all Cloud Computing service providers to add privacy and local backup facilities to their products. Calling on the state in this way is fundamentally unethical and unacceptable to all decent people. The way to change people’s minds about anything is to show them why doing it ‘my way’ is better. This means writing software that they can use, that costs them nothing to switch to (either in money or learning curve terms) that is clearly better for them.

Roll on Jailbroken Chrome OS!

Teh Internetz Destroyz Politrickz?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

The Wikileaks output is being widely and heartily condemned by those with vested interests. Sarah Palin has called for Assange to be ‘hunted down’, ‘like al Quaeda’. So, he won’t be found for a decade at least then..

However, Bob Aisworth, previously UK Defence Secretary, noted in this interview (from 1min50sec) a very interesting point. I shall quote:

There are no secrets any more. […] Anything goes. Nobody is prepared to take authority that you should not disclose this or should not tell people this and things systematically leak, and one must assume, whether you’re a politician or a security planner that anything and everything, every scrap of advice that you do is going to wind up in the public domain, not in 30 years time, but tomorrow or even later on today, and you have to do your business in that way, effectively, it’s as simple as that.

Mr Aisworth goes on to suggest that this will be damaging for the way diplomacy is done (he remains part of the old structure, but has at least seen the near-future clearly in this case). However, one could argue that it will not just be damaging, it will be absolutely and completely destructive for the way diplomacy is currently done . This can only be a Good Thing.

We may imagine a system in which there is less and less interference in the business of other nations and peoples, in which backroom deals can no longer be done to decide who invades whom and for what share of the spoils, in whichinfluence would be curtailed, nepotism and corruption laid bare. A system in which the state of paranoia is shifted from the populus to the existing elite, who will know that their every word is essentially broadcast to the world and there will no longer be any sub- to their -terfuge.

If all the political build-up to the Iraq invasion had been leaked at the time, it would never have happened. If all the internal motions of the gravy train that is the European Union and Council Of Europe were broadcast and available for dissection, the system would rapidly dissolve in its own digestive juices. At the very least, the populace may be reduced to pleading stupidity should they then allow these things to continue, but they would no longer be able to plead ignorance.

Business will, by necessity, be carried out on a small scale, with the requisite security controls in place. Business will no longer be allowed to exert self-serving interest over public servants – directing policies and law-making to their own benefit – and neither would government be able to interfere with business.

There is already an enormous propaganda war begun by those who stand to lose most from the “novyi glasnost”, from those who will be seen as naked emperors during the perestroika that will surely follow. We will be, and already are being, told that life cannot go on this way, that secretive dealings are the only way to maintain trust and international relationships, that secrets held by the few to wield power over the many are the only way to maintain a happy life. ”Go back to bed, your government is in control. Watch [$retarded_reality_show_for_retards]” (to misquote Bill Hicks). These lies, that only through secretive government can one achieve happiness, are as much a fairy story as the ugly, evil troll lurking beneath the bridge. An horrific fear existing simply to scare you away from the lush meadow on the other side. All that is required to break the fear is one small billy-goat… and one big billy-goat can destroy it forever.

Additional: Should you require any evidence that They are extremely concerned with this situation, and the potential harm it may cause their future ability to do business in the way to which they have become accustomed (i.e. in secret, doing as they please), please note that there have been calls for Julian Assange to be assassinated, and he has already been branded a rapist (in a very poor quality smear) in order to alienate him from the public. The person responsible for bringing the comments of public servants into the public arena has been branded a traitor and may be executed for his actions. In addition, the Wikileaks servers are being attacked, both digitally and politically.

All this is being done not to punish Wikileaks for facilitating this release, but instead is only to persuade any future leakers that it may not be in their best interest to do so. Very reminiscent of the way North Korea, China, Iran et al. deal with dissent to prevent it spreading, isn’t it?

The boat is well and truly rocked!

Blackberry Crumble

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Coerced association: the state mandates it

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Lew Rockwell has a great article about the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

It seems incredible that in the last days, a fundamental right of the whole of humanity, the freedom of association, has been denounced by the New York Times and all major opinion sources, even as a national political figure was reluctant to defend his own statements in favor of the idea, and then distanced himself from the notion. Has such a fundamental principle of liberty become unsayable?

Or perhaps it is not so incredible. An overweening government, in an age of despotism such as ours, must deny such a fundamental right simply because it is one of those core issues that speaks to who is in charge: the state or individuals.

We live in anti-liberal times, when individual choice is highly suspect. The driving legislative ethos is toward making all actions required or forbidden, with less and less room for human volition. Simply put, we no longer trust the idea of freedom. We can’t even imagine how it would work. What a distance we have travelled from the Age of Reason to our own times.

Referencing the great controversy about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Karen De Coster put the issue to rest by turning Rachel Maddows question on its head. She demanded to know whether a white businessman has the right to refuse service to a black man. Karen asked: does a black businessman have the right to refuse service to a Klan member?

I don’t think anyone would dispute that right. How a person uses the right to associate (which necessarily means the right not to associate) is a matter of individual choice profoundly influenced by the cultural context. That a person has the right to make these choices on his or her own cannot be denied by anyone who believes in liberty.

The right to exclude is not something incidental. It is core to the functioning of civilization. If I use proprietary software, I can’t download it without signing a contractual agreement. If I refuse to sign, the company doesn’t have to sell it to me. And why? Because it is their software and they set the terms of use. Period. There is nothing more to say.

If you run a blog that accepts comments, you know how important this right is. You have to be able to exclude spam or ban IP addresses of trolls or otherwise include and exclude based on whether a person’s contribution adds value. Every venue on the internet that calls forth public participation knows this. Without this right, any forum could collapse, having been taken over by bad elements.

We exercise the right to exclude every day. If you go to lunch, some people come and some people do not. When you have a dinner party, you are careful to include some people and necessarily exclude others. Some restaurants expect and demand shoes and shirts and even coats and ties. The New York Times includes some articles and excludes others, includes some people in its editorial meetings and excludes others.

When business hires, some people make the cut and others do not. It is the same with college admissions, church membership, fraternities, civic clubs, and nearly every other association. They all exercise the right to exclude. It is central to the organization of every aspect of life. If this right is denied, what do we get in its place? Coercion and compulsion. People are forced together by the state, with one group required at the point of a gun to serve another group. This is involuntary servitude, expressly prohibited by the 13th amendment. One presumes that a freedom-loving people will always be against that.

As Larry Elder says: “This is freedom 101.”

What about the claim that government should regulate the grounds of exclusion? Let’s say, for example, that we do not deny the general right of free association, but narrow its range to address a particular injustice. Is that plausible? Well, freedom is a bit like life, something that is or is not. Slicing and dicing it according to political priorities is exceedingly dangerous. It perpetrates social division, leads to arbitrary power, mandates a form of slavery, and turns the tables on who precisely is in charge in society.

[…]

And this is precisely why racialists, nationalists, and hard-core bigots have always opposed liberal capitalism: it includes and excludes based on the cash nexus and without regard to features that collectivists of all sorts regard as important. In the imagined utopias of the national socialists, the champions of commerce are hanged from lampposts as race traitors and enemies of the nation.

That’s because the market tends toward an ever-evolving, ever-changing tapestry of association, with patterns that cannot be known in advance and should not be regulated by federal masters. In contrast, government’s attempts to regulate association lead to disorder and social calamities.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/freedom-of-association145.html

Indeed; all of this is absolutely true, and I agree with it.

Government has no business forcing association or preventing association by law. Which puts into sharp relief the next part of this post.

It seems like the arguments questioning the logic of forcing anti discrimination by asserting that the state does not force people to enter restaurants or forbid people from engaging in boycotts are deflated in one aspect. It is indeed illogical that the state forces restaurants to serve but does not force patrons to enter… actually, they DO force people to trade with each other, and forbid boycotts.

In the USA, the Federal Government has enacted a law that forbids people from boycotting Israel.

What they are saying is that american firms are FORCED to deal with people that they may, for whatever reason, prefer not to deal with.

From the ‘Bureau of Industry and Security’, a department with a distinctly un-American name:

Antiboycott Compliance

The Bureau is charged with administering and enforcing the Antiboycott Laws under the Export Administration Act. Those laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain Moslem countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott. Compliance with such requests may be prohibited by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and may be reportable to the Bureau.

Boycott Alert

U.S. companies continue to report receiving requests to engage in activities that further or support the boycott of Israel. U.S. companies may receive similar requests in the future. If you have questions, please call (202) 482-2381 and ask for the Duty Officer or you may contact us by email.

This is a law that forbids private companies from refraining from association.

Antiboycott Laws:

During the mid-1970’s the United States adopted two laws that seek to counteract the participation of U.S. citizens in other nation’s economic boycotts or embargoes. These “antiboycott” laws are the 1977 amendments to the Export Administration Act (EAA) and the Ribicoff Amendment to the 1976 Tax Reform Act (TRA). While these laws share a common purpose, there are distinctions in their administration.

Objectives:

The antiboycott laws were adopted to encourage, and in specified cases, require U.S. firms to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction. They have the effect of preventing U.S. firms from being used to implement foreign policies of other nations which run counter to U.S. policy.

Primary Impact:

The Arab League boycott of Israel is the principal foreign economic boycott that U.S. companies must be concerned with today. The antiboycott laws, however, apply to all boycotts imposed by foreign countries that are unsanctioned by the United States.

Who Is Covered by the Laws?

The antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) apply to the activities of U.S. persons in the interstate or foreign commerce of the United States. The term “U.S. person” includes all individuals, corporations and unincorporated associations resident in the United States, including the permanent domestic affiliates of foreign concerns. U.S. persons also include U.S. citizens abroad (except when they reside abroad and are employed by non-U.S. persons) and the controlled in fact affiliates of domestic concerns. The test for “controlled in fact” is the ability to establish the general policies or to control the day to day operations of the foreign affiliate.

The scope of the EAR, as defined by Section 8 of the EAA, is limited to actions taken with intent to comply with, further, or support an unsanctioned foreign boycott.

What do the Laws Prohibit?

Conduct that may be penalized under the TRA and/or prohibited under the EAR includes:

  • Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
  • Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality.
  • Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
  • Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person.

Implementing letters of credit containing prohibited boycott terms or conditions.

The TRA does not “prohibit” conduct, but denies tax benefits (“penalizes”) for certain types of boycott-related agreements.

Note the double talk, the act does not prohibit conduct, but penalises for agreements. Later on the page says:

Penalties:

The Export Admnistration Act (EAA) specifies penalties for violations of the Antiboycott Regulations as well as export control violations. These can include:

Criminal:

The penalties imposed for each “knowing” violation can be a fine of up to $50,000 or five times the value of the exports involved, whichever is greater, and imprisonment of up to five years. During periods when the EAR are continued in effect by an Executive Order issued pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the criminal penalties for each “willful” violation can be a fine of up to $50,000 and imprisonment for up to ten years.

Administrative:

For each violation of the EAR any or all of the following may be imposed:

  • General denial of export privileges;
  • The imposition of fines of up to $11,000 per violation; and/or
  • Exclusion from practice.

Boycott agreements under the TRA involve the denial of all or part of the foreign tax benefits discussed above.

When the EAA is in lapse, penalties for violation of the Antiboycott Regulations are governed by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The IEEPA Enhancement Act provides for penalties of up to the greater of $250,000 per violation or twice the value of the transaction for administrative violations of Antiboycott Regulations, and up to $1 million and 20 years imprisonment per violation for criminal antiboycott violations.

[…]

http://www.bis.doc.gov/complianceandenforcement/antiboycottcompliance.htm

Amazing isn’t it? It does not prohibit conduct, but puts you in GAOL for doing it, removes your ‘export privileges’ (doing business is a privilege?), imposes incredibly large punitive fines, and finally (I presume) can revoke your license too practice your trade.

Absolutely immoral and illegitimate.

On the other hand, you have many states that enforce a boycott of Israel, which is an illegitimate and immoral denial of the right of association.

Not only do all of these countries violate the right of association, but they are violating the right of individuals to freely enter into contracts.

If someone wants to draw up a contract that contains a boycott clause, it is the absolute right of the parties to agree to this. Period. Obviously, the mandating of the insertion of such clauses is a clear violation; you should be able to remove or add clauses as both parties see fit.

Take a look at a representative sample of the clauses:

Office of Antiboycott Compliance

Examples of Boycott Requests

Following are recent examples of boycott requests that have been reported to the Office of Antiboycott Compliance. These examples are illustrative and not exhaustive. Companies should call our advice line (202) 482-2381 with questions concerning these or any request to comply with restrictive trade practices or boycotts.

BAHRAIN

Prohibited Boycott Condition in a Purchase Order:

“In the case of overseas suppliers, this order is placed subject to the suppliers being not on the Israel boycott list published by the central Arab League.”

Reportable boycott condition in an importers purchase order:

“Goods of Israeli origin not acceptable.”

Reportable boycott condition in a letter of credit:

“A signed statement from the shipping company, or its agent, stating the name, flag and nationality of the carrying vessel and confirming … that it is permitted to enter Arab ports.”

Prohibited Boycott Condition in a Contract

“Israeli Clause:
The Seller shall not supply goods or materials which have been manufactured or processed in Israel nor shall the services of any Israeli organization be used in handling or transporting the goods or materials.”

Prohibited Condition in a Contract

“The Contractor shall comply in all respects with the requirements of the laws of the State of Bahrain relating to the boycott of Israel. Goods manufactured by companies blacklisted by the Arab Boycott of Israel Office may not be imported into the State of Bahrain and must not be supplied against this Contract. For information concerning the Boycott List, the Contractor can approach the nearest Arab Consulate.”

Prohibited Condition in a Letter of Credit

“Buyer shall in no way contravene the regulations issued by Bahrain Government and or Israel Boycott Office. Buyer shall not nominate a vessel blacklisted by the said office.”

BANGLADESH

Prohibited Boycott Condition in instructions to bidders on a contract

“No produced commodity shall be eligible for … financing if such commodity contains any component or components which were imported into the producing country from Israel and countries not eligible to trade with … the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. The equipment and materials must not be of Israeli origin. The supplier/bidder who are not black listed by Arab boycott of Israel will be allowed to participate in this bid.”

IRAQ

Prohibited Boycott Condition in a Questionnaire

“1. Do you have or ever have had a branch or main company, factory or assembly plant in Israel or have sold to an Israeli?”

“2. Do you have or ever have had general agencies or offices in Israel for your Middle Eastern or international operations?”

“3. Have you ever granted the right of using your name, trademarks royalty, patent, copyright or that of any of your subsidiaries to Israeli persons or firms?”

“4. Do you participate or ever participated or owned shares in an Israeli firm or business?”

“5. Do you render now or ever have rendered any consultative service or technical assistance to any Israeli firm or business?”

“6. Do you represent now or ever have represented any Israeli firm or business or abroad?”

“7. What companies in whose capital are your shareholders?” Please state the name and nationality of each company and the percentage of share of their total capital.”

“8. What companies or shareholders in your capital? Please state the name and nationality of each company and the percentage of share of their total capital.”

“N.B. The above questions should be answered on behalf of the company itself and all of its branch companies, if any.”

Prohibited Condition in a Contract

“The Contractor shall, throughout the continuance of the Contract, abide by and comply in all respects with the rules and instructions issued from time to time by the Israel Boycott Office in Iraq.”

Prohibited Condition in a Trademark Application

“Requirement for the registration of pharmaceutical companies:

Certification letter regarding the boycott of Israel (i.e., do not comprise any parts, raw materials, labor or capital of Israeli origin).”
“Requirement for the Registration of Medical Appliances, Disposables producing companies, and Laboratory diagnostic kit manufacturers:

Certification letter regarding boycott of Israel.”
Prohibited Condition in a Purchase Order

“Supplies of our purchase order should never be consigned or shipped by steamers included on Israel Boycott list.”

Prohibited Condition in a Contract

“The bill of lading shall bear a note that the vessel delivering the cargo is not on the “Black List” and does not call at Israeli ports.”

KUWAIT

Prohibited Boycott Condition in a Customs document

“[The vessel entry document asks the ships captain to certify that,] no goods, dry cargo, or personal effects listed on the document of Israeli origin or manufactured by a blacklisted firm or company are to be landed as they will be subject to confiscation.”

Prohibited Boycott Condition in Letter of Credit

“We hereby certify that the beneficiaries, manufacturers, exporters and transferees of this credit are neither blacklisted nor have any connection with Israel, and that the terms and conditions of this credit in no way contravenes the law pertaining to the boycott of Israel and the decisions issued by the Israel Boycott Office.”

Reportable Boycott Condition in Letter of Credit:

“Importation of goods from Israel is strictly prohibited by Kuwait import regulations; therefore, certificate of origin covering goods originating in Israel is not acceptable.”

Prohibited Condition in a Purchase Order

All shipments under this order shall comply with Israel Boycott Office Rules and Regulations.

Prohibited Condition in a Purchase Order

Goods must not be shipped on vessels/carriers included in the Israeli Boycott list.

Prohibited Condition in a Contract

The vendor (as person or organization) or his representatives should not be an Israeli national. So the vendor should not be owned, managed, or represented by any companies that carry an Israeli nationality and there should not be any sub-contractors that carry Israeli nationality.

The vendor should not involve any person or representatives that carries the Israeli nationality in importing or exporting the software or hardware mentioned in this contract and its appendices and the vendor should provide all documents that support the above information.

LEBANON

Prohibited Boycott Condition in Power of Attorney from Lebanese firm

A Lebanese firm sent a power of attorney affidavit to appoint a local agent in Iraq to a U.S. firm. The affidavit asked that U.S. firm answer a series of questions concerning the Arab boycott. These questions included whether the firm had a plant in Israel, has sold to Israel, had offices in Israel, owned shares in an Israeli firm, had provided services for an Israeli firm, or had granted any trademarks, copy or patent rights to Israeli persons of firms.

Reportable Boycott Condition in letter of credit:

“Certificate issued by the shipping company or its agent testifying that the carrying vessel is allowed to enter the Lebanese port…”

LIBYA

Prohibited Condition in a Letter of Credit

“Original commercial invoice signed and certified by the beneficiary that the goods supplied are not manufactured by either a company or one of its subsidiary branches who are blacklisted by the Arab boycott of Israel or in which Israeli capital is invested.”

Prohibited Condition in a Contract

“The Second Party shall observe the provisions of the Law for Boycott of Israel or any other State which the provisions for Boycott are applicable and shall ensure such observation from any other sub-contractor. In case of contravening this condition, the First Party shall have the right to cancel the contract and confiscate the deposit by mere notice by registered letter without prejudice to his right of compensation.”

Prohibited Condition in a Contract

“Boycott Provisions:
The Contractor shall observe and comply with all the provisions and decisions concerning the boycott to Israel or any other country the same is valid. The Contractor shall secure the respect of such boycott by any other party he might have subcontracted with him.”

Prohibited Condition in a Certificate of Origin

“The goods being exported are of national origin of the producing country and the goods do not contain any components of Israeli origin, whatever the proportion of such component is. We, the exporter, declare that the company producing the respective commodity is not an affiliate to or mother of any company that appears on the Israeli boycott blacklist and also, we the exporter, have no direct or indirect connection with Israel and shall act in compliance with the principles and regulations of the Arab boycott of Israel.”

[…]

http://www.bis.doc.gov/antiboycottcompliance/oacantiboycottrequestexamples.html

Did you know that if you have a stamp from Israel in your passport, none of these countries will issue a VISA?

In the USA, it is clearly illegal for a greengrocer to require a wholesaler to only provide products that do not come from Israel. The law says that it is illegal to participate in foreign boycotts, but how can anyone separate a foreign boycott from a USA led boycott? If the terms are exactly the same, and a foreign boycott started first, then how could you prove that your domestic boycott is not an extension of a foreign one?

The people who drafted this law knew that the constitutionality of this law would have been challenged immiediately if it had been an outright ban on boycotting, so they put it in the context of foreign boycotts to get around that pesky piece of paper.

It’s an interesting question.

There are certain trades, like the gem trade, where people from these two supposedly separate spheres, who publicly are unalterably opposed, do business together as if they were members of the same family.

They make agreements on a handshake, where vast amounts of money are involved, and everyone behaves like rational human beings.

This is what happens when you remove the malevolent influence of the state. Without the state interfering, on both sides, people behave rationally and manage to live together without conflict.

This is the truth, it always has been the truth, and the only people who are against the sort of peace that we all expect are the statist collectivists who, with their foul and artificial divisions of humanity, cause every act of violence in the world.

California outlaws large, power-hungry TVs

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

In a move that could spell the end of the plasma TV industry as we know it, the state of California agreed today to enact strict regulations on the amount of power televisions can consume, effectively outlawing most large plasma TVs as of January 1, 2011, with many more televisions set to be banned beginning January 1, 2013.

The state had been concerned that 10 percent of a home’s energy use is typically devoted to the TV and its related equipment, and that percentage has been increasing as consumers gain access to larger and larger (and cheaper and cheaper) televisions, which command an ever-increasing hunger for power.

The new rules go into effect a little more than a year from now: On January 1, 2011, televisions will be required to reduce energy consumption by an average of 33 percent. In 2013, a second tier of restrictions will go into effect, with average energy consumption required to be reduced by 49 percent vs. today’s levels.

Rest assured, this doesn’t mean the end of the television as we know it. As the California Energy Commission notes, as of now, over 1,000 televisions already meet the 2011 standards, so many manufacturers won’t have to panic in order to comply with the regulations, at least for now.

Those who will be heavily affected are manufacturers who make televisions that draw more than their fair share of juice. A formula related to the size of the TV’s screen in square inches will be used to determine the maximum power draw allowed by a TV. For example, Panasonic’s 54-inch VIERA plasma TV would be allowed to draw 281 watts of power in “on mode.” Today that set is rated to draw 293 watts of power. Smaller plasmas are generally OK under the 2011 specs, but virtually all of them fall short when put up against the 2013 rules. That same 54-inch plasma will be required to draw only 175 watts once 2013 arrives, a power reduction that just might not be possible.

Bottom line: Most LCD televisions will be safe under the 2011 law, and many plasmas will as well, but come 2013, everyone’s going to have to do some serious belt-tightening.

All told, the new rules are expected to save 6,515 Gigawatt-hours annually in the state, save the state $8.7 billion in costs for additional power plants, and save consumers $8.1 billion a year in lower energy bills.

One additional point of note: The new rules currently don’t apply to very large TVs, those of 1,400 square inches or larger (roughly a 58″ set), although rules are likely to be enacted against these ultra-large sets in the second phase of this legislation.

[…]

http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/154936/california-outlaws-large-power-hungry-tvs/

Lets get this straight.

You buy an electricity supply from a company, or make it yourself with your own solar panels or windmill.

The state says, “you cannot use that TV because it consumes too much electricity”.

Too much of WHOSE electricity?

Once that electricity enters your house, or you make it yourself, it is completely up to you what you do with it. Why should someone who lives ‘off grid’ (or on grid for that matter) be stopped from spending his own money on electricity?

This is all part of the same core idea; that the state can get into your home and tell you what you can or cannot do there. Wether it is running a certain type of electricity consuming equipment, washing your clothes, heating your house, cook your food, flushing your loo or bathing, or eating, they are trying to regulate absolutely everything that you do, no matter where you do it.

And note the language in this piece, “more than their fair share of juice”. What does this mean exactly? Electricity does not come from a collective pool that is distributed free to everyone; it is a product that is purchased by a household for personal use. There is no ‘fair share’ in any aspect of electricity generation, distribution or consumption. And no, global warming is not a result of electricity generation.

No doubt, if america is even still there, there will be a ‘cash for plasmas’ where people are encouraged to trade in their perfectly good televisions for new ones, none of which are manufactured in the USA.

Kirlian Photograph

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Originally, passengers had to remove their jackets when passing through airport security. Then it was belts, and soon shoes had to come off too. But those who feared that losing one’s trousers was the next logical step will find scant comfort in the news that an x-ray machine that produces “naked” images of passengers will be introduced at a British international airport today.

As well as enabling staff to instantly spot any hidden weapons or explosives, the full-body scanner being trialled at Manchester airport will leave little to the imagination of airport security staff. It will reveal a clear outline of passengers genitalia, as well as any false limbs, breast enlargements or body piercings.

Guardian.

It makes you wonder what evil the people at Manchester airport are supposed to have done to deserve this trial in addition to the requirement for staff to get biometric ID cards.

But of course an unfounded supposition of guilt would be no excuse for rolling out this sort of scheme and you know this.

You also know that it is part of the ‘security theatre’ to inure people to more intrusion into their lives. This was said at the time of removing belts and shoes and now we see the attempted introduction of this technology (for at least the second time). This incrementally increasing intrusion cannot be disputed, however it can and should be resisted.

The Guardian fails in questioning this (are the existing detection methods effective or already too onerous?) or alerting the general reader.

Travellers can refuse to undergo the virtual strip at Terminal 2 and choose a traditional “pat down” search instead, according to the airport, which admits that some travellers may feel uncomfortable about using the new technology.

This of course makes the system unable to enhance security. Another parroting fail too.

The scan’s black and white image will be seen by one officer in a remote location before it is deleted, said Sarah Barrett, head of customer experience at the airport.

The image will be transmitted across a computer network and (at least temporarily) stored in some form memory. The procedure will create of images of a very personal nature that are not under the control of the passenger and will be viewed by someone unknown.

Anyone being scanned is being asked to consent to someone else creating and owning the following property; an image of themselves unclothed to be viewed by an unknown third party in unknown circumstances. You know yourself whether this acceptable.
The transmission and ‘remote access’ of the images may be compromised, at the least the remote viewer may be able to take screenshots. The article does not mention a lower age limit.

Is the ‘head of customer experience’ the best person to ask about such technology? Guardian mega-fail.

“Most of our customers do not like the traditional ‘pat down’ search, they find it too intrusive, but they still want to be kept safe. This scanner completely takes away the hassle of needing to undress. The images are not erotic or pornographic and they cannot be stored or captured in any way,” she said.

What hassle of needing to undress? Why is an increased level of search required? Is it purely to remind passengers they are being ‘kept safe’ because they are now used to pat down procedures?

Pornography being a subjective matter of course.

Storage? See above.

As passengers will not have to remove their coats, shoes or belts, the scanner will in theory speed up the check-in process. Frequent flyers will not be at risk from the low-level radiation, which is 20,000 times less powerful than a dental x-ray, Barrett said.

“Passengers can go through this machine 5,000 times a year each without worrying, it is super safe and the amount of radiation transmitted is tiny,” she said.

Hmm presumably this will be marketed to frequent flyers as a way to jump queues. Nothing like eager volunteers to make a trial run smoothly.

The scanners, made by the firm RapiScan Systems at a cost of 80,000 each, were trialled at Heathrow airport in 2004. The Department for Transport will decide whether to install them permanently at the end of the trial, which is expected to last for a year.

A nice little earner for the vendor. Now, this technology has been on trial since 2004 and not implemented, in the intervening period the actual ‘enhanced security’ at airports has not been compromised, so why exactly is it necessary to trial it again other than the vendor wants another bite at the cookie.

Why will the Department of Transport take the decision to install these devices rather than the Home Office? Is it because they know less about border control issues?

Electromagnetic waves are beamed on to passengers while they stand in a booth, and a virtual three-dimensional “naked” image is created from the reflected energy. Security officials in the US have pioneered the use of the scanners at New York and Los Angeles airports and they are gradually being introduced at other airports in the country.

What the US does is its own business and irrelevent to the argument.

Social workers need to be reigned in

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Another article from the radical social worker has trickled down the internets. Here we go…

The reform of child protection by so-called ‘experts’ has failed disastrously. Very urgent action is required to re-assert the fundamentals of good practice and restore public confidence in the social work profession.

At the root of the problem is a government that has undermined child protection work by introducing the Common Assessment Framework which requires social workers to gather masses of information on children not at risk of harm. Social workers find it difficult to focus on those at greatest risk because they are overwhelmed with paperwork and computer-based work. It is obvious that the public wants child protection services to be improved – as shown by the outrage over child abuse scandals – and expects social workers to rescue children suffering appalling treatment at the hands of their parents. A stronger focus on child protection would not only be popular but would also make services more responsive to the local community.

Serious weaknesses in child protection have lead to shocking failures to spot abuse or dangers in high-risk cases. Reform is urgently needed to improve social work practice in the following areas:

Formal Investigations into Abuse and Neglect

Social workers have a legal duty to investigate where there are suspicions, or allegations, of abuse or neglect. This does not mean they carry out a criminal investigation but they do have a lead role in gathering evidence which may later be used in care proceedings. Unfortunately, an over-emphasis on early intervention and prevention has diverted attention away from this work.

Child abuse is a crime. If a crime has been committed, then the criminal process must be initiated. What is unacceptable is that there is a parallel legal system, where the normal standards of evidence are not applied to something that is a crime.

Social workers operate as a law unto themselves, as we have seen in the case of the man who had his children kidnapped because he believed they were at risk. If social workers are to be able to do their jobs properly, they need to follow the rules of evidence and be subject to the same controls and procedures as the police are. It is completely wrong that they can invade a home and remove children from their parents or initiate investigations on the basis of anonymous phone calls or rumors in ways that the police are not able to do.

It is well known that the competence with which the investigation is handled will crucially influence the effectiveness of subsequent work. Usually, the focus is on a single incident and some critics have complained that this is unfair and causes unnecessary stress on families. However, a speedy investigation of the incident may provide the oppportunity to obtain medical evidence of abuse which could be useful in legal proceedings.

Once again, if there is evidence of a crime, then a criminal case should be opened, full stop.

The social work investigation involves more than looking for physical injuries (important though this is) and gathering facts about the reported incident or concerns. Judgements also have to be made about the quality of family relationships, verbal and non-verbal communication from the child, and any other possible risk factors that might become apparent.

My emphasis. This is where the problem starts. It is not the proper role of government to say what is or is not ‘a quality family life’. No one but a parent can determine this, and no one has the right to come into your house and make a judgement on you and your family and how you conduct yourself in private. This is how, in the United States, children have been kidnapped from their families when social workers find piles of dirty plates in the sink, and then scream ‘HEALTH HAZARD’.

Therefore, it is essential that all authorities should have a centralised investigation team that is fully staffed and has good management back-up so that all child protection (section 47) referrals are thoroughly and promptly dealt with. Social workers in this team need to consider the dilemma of how to intervene both minimally and as early as possible and should not take crucial decisions without managerial involvement. They need different skills and style of working from social workers who provide family support. Ideally, initial investigations should be carried out by experienced workers working in pairs, as this ensures greater objectivity.

Social workers should only be engaged when a crime is committed. Anything else is not social work, but is instead, social engineering.

Some cases where child maltreatment is suspected may be dealt with by the district team if it is felt the initial assessment should be carried out over a longer period of time. However, there are advantages in a specialised team carrying out initial investigations because the focus of work is more likely to be kept firmly on the concerns reported and on gathering evidence. In some cases it is good practice to arrange a joint interview with the Police to avoid the need for the child to repeat their story twice.

If the police have been called, then it should be a police investigation into a crime. Social workers should not be able to make up law as they desire, based on their personal standards and prejudices.

It is anticipated that referrals will increase as new guidance to agencies on spotting early signs of abuse takes effect. Early identification of children suffering abuse and neglect should lead to better-informed decisions and more effective interventions. Children’s social work services have a lead role and carry greater responsibilities than other agencies and therefore a more pro-active approach may sometimes be necessary.

No. This will lead to more false positives, more harassment and an eventual curtailing of the powers of social workers. One day soon, these people will mess with the wrong family and find themselves at the receiving end of a multi million pound lawsuit that will be successful. The entire culture of social work will be fixed soon after that.

Every Child Matters

The Every Child Matters programme has been driven by a government more interested in social engineering and surveillence than good social work practice.

This doesn’t make any sense. Those who read BLOGDIAL know about the story of a fat child who was kidnapped from his parents because he was fat.

Someone went into that family’s house and made a judgement that a child was ‘too fat’, and then kidnapped that child, “for its own good”. This is social engineering; where a social worker, who is actually in this case acting as a social engineer, decides that a child does not fit in with ‘societal norms’, and should therefore be ‘adjusted’ so that it becomes ‘normal’.

Social workers with principles need to decide wether or not they are social engineers or not. They need to decide wether or not their role is to look after those children who have no one else to care for them, or wether they are the third parent to all families.

As for surveillance, social workers are colluding in the most Orwellian surveillance systems ever seen on this earth. More on that below.

It is over-ambitious, unrealistic and unworkable.

And it is IMMORAL. It is not the proper role of government to set the goals that families should strive for when it comes to their children.

The Government’s aim is for every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to ‘be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being’.

And this is total nonsense. Not everyone can be a rock star, or more appropriately for these days, the winner of Big Brother. This is the same flawed thinking that has resulted in examinations becoming less than worthless; everyone, no matter what their ability is, ‘deserves to pass an exam’ for the sake of inclusiveness. There have been many writers that have explained why this is complete madness, and I will not delve into it here. Suffice to say that Neu Liebour is totally insane in its social engineering agenda, and crazed and insatiable in its need to make everyone equal. It does not work, it cannot work, and it can and has wreaked havoc everywhere it has been applied.

It involves agencies sharing information and working together, to protect children from harm and help them achieve what they want in life.

Totalitarianism.

When a child is identified as vulnerable professionals are to assess the needs of the child and share personal information about the family with other professionals.

What does ‘vulnerable’ mean? In the case of this child, it means merely being fat.

The computerised Integrated Children’s System for recording this information has been a bureaucratic nightmare for social workers resulting in masses of meaningless data. It should therefore be scrapped.

And yet, the only reason why it is full of a mass of meaningless data is because social workers put it there, without question, without analysis, without introspection or an application of any principles whatsoever.

ContactPoint will would have been just as bad, and the fake charities are all lining up to say how good it is. Social workers must reject, on principle, ContactPoint or anything like it that may be proposed in the future. They need to do this not only so they can be moral people, but so they can do the real work of being a social worker.

Problems have arisen because this programme has been driven by top-down policies that have distorted the social work role and produced an enormous amount of confusion throughout children’s services. It has given social workers a free rein to behave coercively because of unthinking assumptions about the protection of children.

No programme can cause a person to be immoral. The people who kidnapped that fat child acted immorally because they are immoral, as were the people who ambushed a father outside of his school. The new tools at the disposal of these wicked people are nothing more than an ‘Amazon for kidnappers’ where they can see, ‘other cases like this in your area’ and every other database driven way of connecting entries. Absolutely despicable.

Also, government is encouraging social workers to ‘nanny’ families where ‘concerns’ are identified in order to prevent children from becoming a problem for society.

There is nothing in this world that can make a social worker violate the rights of any person. They willingly and gladly do it, for wages. The role of a social worker, like the proper role of government, should be extremely limited. They should not be measuring the waists of children, monitoring how they are dressed, ‘running CAFs‘ on them or any of the completely insane, immoral, intrusive and ridiculous things that they are called upon to do.

It is not easy to differentiate between good social work practice and harassment by the ‘nanny state’ – but it is an important distinction.

On the contrary, it is EXTREMELY easy to differentiate between good social work practice and harassment. Lets see if we can come up with a short list on the fly:

  • Social workers calling on Home Educators because they have received an anonymous phone call that someone is Home Educating: HARASSMENT
  • Social workers kidnapping a child for being fat: HARASSMENT
  • Social workers ambushing a father for asking a head teacher if he can pick up his children inside the school because they might be at risk: HARASSMENT
  • Social workers judging a mother to bee ‘too stupid’ to look after her own child: HARASSMENT
  • Social workers kidnapping children because the kitchen sink is ‘dirty’: HARASSMENT
  • Social workers kidnapping children because the mother has quintuplets: HARASSMENT
  • Social workers kidnapping an infant because the mother has questions about breast-feeding: HARASSMENT
  • Social workers taking a child into care when its parents are killed in a car accident and there are no relatives: NOT HARASSMENT

See? Not that difficult. The principle here is that social workers are not parents, and when they act as if they are parents, then they are doing wrong. When they take children from their parents and no crime has been committed by the parent against he child, then this is doing wrong.

Good practice requires social workers to have a clear understanding of their statutory powers and to be as open and honest as possible about their concerns.

No. Social workers must have their duties outlined very clearly. They must not have ‘powers’ in the same way that the police have powers. They should be there to provide a service to the public only, and they should not have the power to control any intact family, i.e. a family where there is at least one living parent or close relative available to act as a parent.

An appropriate balance between care and control must be negotiated with the family.

This is absolutely and totally wrong. And once again, we hear another stock totalitarian phrase; you know the ones I mean, “You are who you say you are”, “we must strike a balance between…”, “justice must be seen to be done”, “paying their fair share” etc etc. Care and control are the remit of the family, and are not the business of the state. Social workers, when they are acting properly, are a temporary safety net in cases where there are no parents or relatives. They have no business telling people what to eat, how much they should eat, how children should be educated or disciplined or anything else. This is the fundamental philosophical failing of social workers; they believe they have the right to control other people, making those people into property – their property. That is wrong in every way that something can be wrong.

Let me help those who are having trouble understanding this. If we were talking about a slave who did not want to be a slave, the master’s slave manager would opine, “we must strike a balance between the needs of the slave and the needs of the household”. Not very palatable for the slave is it? But that is exactly what social workers are advocating; that people are property, and that they are the managers of that property on behalf of the property owner, THE STATE.

The role of the social worker is like that of a good parent.

NO it is not. And this is the fundamental failure of principle that is the core of the problem.

Very often the social worker provides support and encouragement to families struggling to cope but occasionally a more controlling approach is necessary, signalling that certain behaviour is unacceptable.

This is absolutely wrong. The state and its aparatchicks do not have the right to tell people what behavior is right and wrong. If someone is committing a crime, then the state comes into play. Anything else is up to the individual and the family, and the state has no say in it. This is the gray area that social workers inhabit, where they can, through the dirty lenses of their own prejudices, say what is and is not appropriate behavior. It is unacceptable, totalitarian, unprincipled and completely WRONG. Social workers are making up bespoke law when they determine that a child is too fat, or that a relationship in a family is ‘unacceptable’… unacceptable to WHO?

However, the social worker who tends to ‘nanny’ people, or harass them, is less respected and can appear weak and ineffectual. In the same way, parents who nag a child, or make threats that they do not carry out, teach the child not to respect parental authority.

This is pretty sickening stuff.

The social worker who tends to ‘nanny’ people should have no power to do that in the first place. They do not deserve respect because they have no principles and are nanny state aparatchicks. They deserve only contempt. It is not in any way ‘the same way’ when a parent ‘nags’ a child. First of all, who is to say what nagging is or is not, and secondly, a parent is not in any way equatable with a social worker. Social workers ARE NOT PARENTS. Thirdly, how can a child come to respect parental authority when social workers can trump parental decisions at any time? This is not only immoral thinking, it is illogical thinking.

Another insidious development is the increasing use of the rhetoric of social exclusion to imply that people who are different and who do not share the dominant values should be made to conform because they are ‘at risk’ or ‘socially excluded’.

But this is exactly what using the phrase ‘unacceptable behavior’ does. By saying, arbitrarily, that some behavior is unacceptable, there is a presumption in the mind of the social worker that their perception of reality and decency is ‘the norm’ and that their victims are ‘abnormal’ or ‘unacceptable’. This is exactly the same as saying that people who are different and who do not share the dominant values should be made to conform; only in the mind of the social worker, the dominant values are not ‘dominant values’ they are acceptable. This is double thinking; it is the same double thinking that makes social workers think that Home Educated children are likely to suffer ‘social exclusion’, when in fact nothing like that is true.

These people really need to take a step back and think about what their principles are and what their core ideas are. They seem to be holding contradictory thoughts; in the case of this person, who appears to be very thoughtful and sensitive, if she is the better kind of social worker, heaven help us; what are the BAD one’s thinking like?

Recent government proposals to introduce greater regulation of home education is a good example of its efforts to extend the ‘nanny state’. Social workers must take a stand against this authoritarian trend which puts the profession in a very bad light.

You see? A sensitive and thinking person! But sadly, some of the principles she outlines above, if applied to home educators (social workers nannying people, the rhetoric of social exclusion, ‘the role of social workers is like that of a parent’, ‘a controlling approach is needed’, ‘certain behavior is unacceptable’, ‘An appropriate balance between care and control must be negotiated with the family’, It is hard to differentiate between help and harassment, etc etc) would put prejudiced and ignorant social workers at odds with Home Educators. You cannot have it both ways; either social workers are there to set the norms and if Home Education is not the norm according to a social worker then control is warranted OR social workers are not parents and should not be nannying families and should, quite rightly, not be interfering with or investigating Home Educators. Which one is it?

Back to Basics

Grandiose ideas about ‘safeguarding children’ through all-embracing professional intervention need to be ditched and replaced with more realistic thinking.

They need to be ditched, and then real thinking needs to be done, not just realistic thinking. The principles of social work need to be outlined and their special powers (that even the police do not have) removed entirely. Their role must be reduced to caring for the truly needy only (even so, what ‘needy’ means needs to be carefully defined), so that all social engineering is removed from their jobs. That means no more kidnapping fat children, ambushing fathers who want to collect their children inside the school gates and no more abuses period. The safeguarding of children is the duty of parents, not social workers.

Social work urgently needs to break free of government control.

No. Social work needs to be strictly defined by government and stripped of all its power. Social work free of control means an unlimited license to nanny, harass, kidnap and abuse.

Child protection social workers should be allowed to concentrate on the core task of identifying parenting which definitely puts a child at risk, using their legal powers correctly and working to protect and support children.

No. Social workers are not parents; it is not their role to ‘support children’. They should be there to help when the family disappears from a child’s life and there are no living relatives to pick up the slack. It is not their role to interfere in the lives of people, to surveil them with databases (as the phrase ‘identifying’ implies) and to impose their prejudices on perfectly ordinary and free people.

Too many children are being brought into the child protection system and are stretching social work resources to breaking point.

You cannot have it both ways. You cannot on the one hand, desire to act as a parent to all the children in a country ‘supporting’ them, and then complain that you have too much work. Stop kidnapping fat children and interfering with people who have a different world view to you and then your caseloads will start to look more doable.

Increasingly, social work is collapsing under the weight of unrealistic expectations and is unable to do the very thing it was set up to do.

Those expectations are not only unrealistic, but more importantly they are immoral. You do not have the right to tell people how to live. The sooner you accept this, the easier your job will become and the more meaningful and rewarding your work will be.

To summarise, the organisation of child protection work needs to undergo radical change. Good social work practice will only happen if there is a clear focus on child protection.

Wrong. Child protection is a fad. The vast majority of children in the UK are perfectly safe. In fact, they are so safe, that social workers have to create bogus pretexts to interfere with their development, like obesity.

Social workers need to be told what their role is; they cannot be left to determine what it is themselves. They are not a law unto themselves, they are not a separate branch of government, though they seem to act like it at times. They need to be reigned in severely and have their role written down in a form that explains and delineates what they can do; everything not on that list they should be forbidden from doing.

Also, the complexity of long-term work child protection work needs to be better understood so that appropriate management support and training can be provided.

No.

Finally, local authorities should have a career structure for social workers that encourages them to stay on the front-line and a style of management which promotes stable, committed and supportive teams.

[…]

http://www.radical.org.uk/barefoot/reform.htm

And there you have it. “Give us more money”.

Once again, this is one of the ‘GOOD’ ones!!!!

The true origin of ContactPoint

Friday, May 29th, 2009

This piece was forwarded to BLOGDIAL by a lurker. Its contents are simply shocking:

I raised the alarm about family 15 years ago. I still want answers

Eileen Fairweather

Every time I have seen Lord Laming, the Government's favourite child protection “expert”, wheeled out since Baby Peter's death I have gritted my teeth.

Never once has he admitted he knew the truth about this poor child's family.

Fifteen years ago, I warned Lord Laming in writing that a young relative of Baby Peter was central to a vicious London paedophile ring.

This followed one of the most disturbing and revealing inquiries ever mounted by the Evening Standard.

But Lord Laming — then chief inspector of social services — did nothing effective to rescue this terrified boy.

Since then, Lord Laming has presided over the destruction of tried and tested child protection systems, so more children than ever are at risk. He has also helped create today's surveillance society, which allows government apparatchiks and paedophiles alike to spy on innocent families.

In the early Nineties, Baby Peter's mother and a relative were under Islington council's care. Shockingly, all of its 12 children's homes then contained pimps, paedophiles and pornographers, who openly abused children. Decent staff who protested were threatened or sacked. In desperation, some bravely contacted this newspaper.

Baby Peter's relative, we were repeatedly told, was under particular pressure to introduce children to outside pimps. But the authorities thought it more important to protect politicians.

The then-council leader Margaret Hodge labelled the newspaper's meticulously-sourced investigation as “sensationalist gutter journalism”.

Laming, who later worked for Hodge, responded by letting Islington investigate itself. Inevitably, its inquiries were a whitewash.

So I and a Standard colleague met Lord Laming and revealed that management had “lost” incriminating files requested by police investigating three separate child sex rings. Islington's assistant director resigned a few days later “for personal reasons”.

But still no real inquiry ensued.

Hence the Standard's decision to compile a 112-page dossier of further evidence. I submitted it with real if naïve hope and Laming, to his credit, ordered a secret inquiry into Baby Peter's relative. It confirmed in August 1994 that Islington knew for two years that he was at the heart of grave concerns about pimps preying on children's homes. The council and local police had done nothing save call meetings about meetings.

A broader independent inquiry in 1995 demanded that 26 former Islington staff, given glowing references following serious allegations of rape, kidnap and pimping, be barred from social work. Still no paedophiles were raided or charged, and no children interviewed or rescued.

Social services is the lead agency in child protection inquiries, so Laming had the power to call for police action.

None followed. Thus Hodge was able to boast that no one was convicted as a result of the scandal, and no evidence was found of a ring. The ring dispersed but continued hurting children.

Three protected Islington children's home heads moved to Thailand's notorious Pattaya child sex resort. Thai police charged Nick Rabet there in 2006 with abusing 30 local children, as young as six.

The Islington cover-up had, Thai police estimated, allowed him to hurt hundreds more children. Everyone who failed the children of London rose spectacularly higher.

Sue Akers, the detective inspector then in charge of Islington's Child Protection Team, is now a Deputy Assistant Commissioner.

Hodge, infamously, became Britain's first children's minister.

Herbert Laming was awarded ermine and undertook the inquiry into Victoria Climbie's murder, whose 2003 recommendations allowed Hodge to treat all parents as potential abusers.

Her subsequent Every Child Matters (ECM) “reform” of social services abolished the Child Protection Register, and replaced it with the controversial ContactPoint database on all Britain's 11 million children.

The few children at grave risk are now almost invisible, while social workers drown under a tidal wave of paperwork about ordinary families. ECM also effectively removed police from investigating child abuse — Laming suggested in his Climbie report that the police only investigate actual crime, not a child's feared risk of harm.

The police responded by closing most child protection teams.

Baby Peter's mother was once a victim too, and became an abuser in turn, through the well-documented “cycle of abuse”.

So why did no one in power ever do anything effective to stop the evil ring which ultimately destroyed her and Baby Peter?

I asked Lord Laming recently but he would not comment.

Eileen Fairweather is a former Standard reporter involved in an award-winning investigation into Islington care homes

[…]

Evening Standard

This confirms many of the things we have been saying about ContactPoint:

  • The people who organized it are dangerously incompetent.
  • It will hurt children, and not help them.
  • If you want to keep a register of children, you only list those at risk, and not every child.
  • ContactPoint is a dream come true for paedophiles.
  • ContactPoint will make ordinary people into suspects.

It is clear, in the light of this information, that ContactPoint should never have been developed, and that Lord Lamming, Margaret Hodge and everyone involved in this scandal should have been permanently barred from having anything to do with the welfare of children.

I wonder if this evidence, had it been presented during the consultations on ContactPoint, would have made a difference. I expect not. What is more clear than ever is that ContactPoint is flawed, not only in the technical sense, which is irremediable, but in its inception. The people who were behind its creation were scandal ridden molestation enablers. That people of that background should be able to commission and create a system like ContactPoint (and Every Child Matters) is a prime example of what is wrong with Britain. Monsters, literally, are in charge and enabling the worst sort of criminals to carry out their crimes.

If you were not scared by ContactPoint, this should be enough to utterly terrify you. If you are not scared by it, you are INSANE. The children listed in ContactPoint are going to be viewable by over ONE MILLION PEOPLE. It cannot ever be secured. Anyone using the system can take a screenshot from the database, and then send it anywhere they like. Once the data is out, it is out forever, and since there are over a million people using the system at once, this means that all it will take for the entire database to be copied is for every user of contact point to make 11 screenshots each (11 million children being divided by one million users). The shortest time this could happen in is less than a day. It will happen. Even if ‘only’ half of the children’s records are copied, or one 100th of them are copied, the crime is still the same. It is totally immoral, socially corrosive and evil to create a system like this; there is no excuse for it, and that it comes from the minds of monsters like Lord Lamming and Margaret Hodge is no surprise whatsoever.

How to delete your NHS Summary Care Records

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Now you can demand that your records are deleted. Good news.

This is the statement direct from NHS Connecting for Health:

Change to the position on deleting Summary Care Records

Following recent discussions with the Information Commissioner, it has now been agreed with NHS Connecting for Health that a patients Summary Care Record (SCR) can be deleted – if asked by a patient, unless the SCR has been used by a healthcare professional in the course of treatment or should have been used.

A Department of Health spokesperson said:

“Our early adopter programme was set up precisely so we can learn from emerging issues such as this one.

“Our priority is to ensure that the information provided to patients is accurate. As soon as we realised that one of our early adopters had inadvertently suggested the Summary Care Record could be deleted, if a patient changed their mind, we took immediate steps to update the website and information leaflet.

“Following discussions with the Information Commissioner we have now agreed that anyone can now request that their record is deleted. In the event that a record was accessed as part of someones healthcare, a record of that access needs to be kept in case there was a subsequent investigation of the performance of a clinician or a dispute about the facts this is in the best interests of both patients and clinicians.”

[…]

http://www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/

What this means is very clear.

If you accept healthcare from the NHS, then they will retain your records. They need to do this in case you sue them for malpractice. You can delete your records at any time between now and before they treat you, but once you are treated by them you can kiss your privacy good bye.

Like I said before, only the rich will have privacy in the UK (July 10 2004). Anyone who has a private doctor and who never uses NHS services will never have their private medical details violated.

It seems to me to be outrageous that the state should steal money from you to provide healthcare for everyone, and then provide a healthcare that mandates that you give up your dignity. Is dignity too now only for the rich?

Since there are almost no accident and emergency rooms that are private, going to one and revealing everything medical about yourself to them so that you do not get killed by a shot of penicillin being allergic to it, will mean that this information will be on the Spine forever, and you will not have the right to remove it, since the NHS has to indemnify themselves. If you are going for a home birth and are forced to decamp to hospital, all the records of that birth and you will be on the Spine with no option open to you for deletion.

That’s not right.

Clearly you should be able to delete your records no matter when or how they are created, and the NHS performance and liability excuse is nonsense. If you sign a waiver giving up your rights so sue the NHS, then that should be enough to allow them to delete your records without any fear of repercussions.

In any case, here is how you go about deleting your Summary Care Records. Or not.

I telephoned the friendly people at Connecting For Health on 0845 603 8510, and got put through to a nice man, who I will call Dave. Dave told me that, “you have to go to your GP’s surgery and ask for an opt out form.”

He then told me that once you fill out this form and your records are processed, “your records will still be on the spine, but will not be available to other computers”. I informed Dave (who trained in November 2008) that in fact this is not what I was asking about, and that Connecting For Health has put out a statement that Spine records are now to be DELETED COMPLETELY from the system on demand, and not just ‘shielded’ from other computers.

He claimed that he knew nothing about this. I asked wether or not he was on the internet there; he said that he was. I directed him to the news article above, and he was surprised by its contents. He said that he would speak to his supervisor to see what it was all about.

Clearly they do not have a system in place so that you can have your records deleted. Perhaps they have no intention of allowing you to delete them at all, and they are going to keep them on ‘The Spine’ for your doctor, but ‘shield’ them from users other than your GP. Maybe they need time to set up a system to manage deletion. Lets hope its that.

Cameron’s Speech in Milton Keynes: FAIL.

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Cameron has just delivered his speech in Milton Keynes, and the Daily Mail has an article on it.

Let’s see shall we?

An end to ‘top-down authoritarianism’

authoritarianism that is bottom up instead of top down is still authoritarianism. FAIL.

Education:
Take power out of councils’ hands and give it to parents
End state monopoly of state education
Any suitable organisation can set up a new school
Parents can send child to different school if unhappy
new extra payment for children from poorest families

And ‘enshrine the rights of Home Educators’ is missing from that list. As is enshrining the rights of parents. Also, the scrapping of ContactPoint is not anywhere mentioned here is it? How can you return power to parents if you COMPEL them to be listed on an Orwellian Database that is made to work against them, violating the sanctity of the family, privacy and everything else bad that ContactPoint does? FAIL.

Housing:
local community to decide size and shape of their area
new local housing trusts giving neighborhoods power to build houses they want
planning permission granted if agreement on local level

Once again, the local community, a collective, cannot have the power to say what you can and cannot do on your own land. If Britain is to be a free country, then what you do on your property is your business, as long as it does not interfere with anyone else’s life or property. FAIL.

Local government:
cut back on central regulation and targets
end central ring-fencing of local budgets
publication of spending over 25,000 online
local referendum on any excessive tax increases
keep proceeds on any activity that boost local economic growth
new general power of competence to act without government’s permission
directly elected mayors
policing under local democratic control

Local referendum on tax increases? So the collective can decide to steal more as long as the majority vote for it? FAIL.

“Policing under local democratic control”. Does this mean that if the local community wants smoking in pubs, speed limits on roads, an end to ‘drug’ prohibition etc etc, that they can have a police force that will only enforce the laws that the local community agrees on?!! WIN!

Europe and Justice
redistribute power from EU to Britain and judges to the people
referendum on Lisbon Treaty
law to require referendum on any further transfer of power to Brussels
negotiate return of powers and greater scrutiny of European legislation
British bill of rights to strengthen liberties
proper democratic accountability over creation of new rights.

British bill of rights to strengthen liberties WIN. Although how this line is worded should give everyone pause. Rights are absolute, not conditional. A bill of rights that lists conditional rights like the German Constitution is going to be complete FAIL. The right to privacy, the right to property, freedom to travel and all the other rights that are well understood and which have been enshrined in the constitutions of other countries should be in any bill of rights that Britain adopts. I fear that it is not likely that anyone in Britain today who is currently in a position to make it happen, has the spiritual and intellectual purity to write such a document. In any case, I mark it as ‘WIN’ because it is the right noise.

As for the rest of it, Britain should not be in the EU, so everything else on that list is in that block FAIL.

So, it looks like Cameron is full of FAIL. No surprise there.

The Daily Mail article title is:

Cameron promises fixed-term Parliaments under Tories as he unveils ‘manifesto’ to tackle ‘Orwellian state’

There is no mention in this article about anything to do with the Orwellian state; i.e. the NIR, ID Cards, ContactPoint and the insane number of networked CCTV cameras in the UK.

Like I said before:

Shifting the the responsibility for running the nanny state from the centre and distributing this vile power to the regions does not solve the actual problem, which is that people are tired of being interfered with by power itself.

[…]

http://irdial.com/blogdial/?p=1781

Can you think of anything worse than being under the thumb of non cosmopolitan people with the power of the Orwellian State to back them up? We know what it looks like, thanks to New Labour; witness the recent outrages of Councils using Anti Terrorism laws to spy on the people they are ‘serving’:

And there you have it; just a smattering of the insanity we can expect to be amplified by the amount of power devolved to the local level.

Now take a look at this:

State recruits an army of snoopers with police-style powers

A growing army of private security guards and town hall snoopers with sweeping police-style powers is being quietly established, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Under a Home Office-run scheme, people such as park wardens, dog wardens, car park attendants and shopping centre guards receive the powers if they undergo training, and pay a small fee to their local police force.

Their powers include issuing 60 fines for truancy and dropping litter, and being able to demand a person’s name and address on the street.

Under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme, the number of civilians wearing a special badge, and a uniform approved by the local chief constable, has rocketed by almost 30 per cent in a year and there are now 1,406.

Critics claim Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is quietly seeking to create a third-tier within the ‘policing family’, with even less training and accountability than the controversial Police Community Support Officers.

The civilians are known as Accredited Persons, but they have been nicknamed ‘Jacqui Smith’s Irregulars’. The only significant difference between them and PCSOs is that they do not have the power to detain a suspect. Instead, they have to summon police.

Councils and other public sector organisations must pay between 300 and 315 to be accredited to the scheme, and between 35 to 90 per employee.

[…]

Phil Booth, of the NO2ID privacy campaign, said: ‘This sharp increase in Jacqui Smith’s Irregulars makes you wonder what her policing ambitions are.’

[…]

Daily Mail

My emphasis.

Think about that; park wardens, dog wardens, car park attendants and shopping centre guards are going to be able to give you an on the spot fine for TRUANCY. How are they going to know wether or not you and your child are truant? Why, they will consult ContactPoint in real-time, phone the school your child is attending and ask if you have the school’s permission (in itself, utterly absurd) to be away from school. That is why they have given access to ContactPoint to so many people; in the context of this, it all makes sense.

This is what Cameron has utterly failed to address.

Unless the apparatus of the Orwellian State is removed in its entirety, the reins of authoritarianism will simply be handed over to other, even more brainless people.

The first group of people in the right place to stand up and say this will collect the light of the incandescent rage that is coming off of the British public, and that light will turn them into a shining beacon around which everyone on this island will rally.

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.

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.

Dark Knight is Not a Long Way From Homeland Security

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Batman fails it, as does Lucius Fox, or rather we should say the Nolans fail it.

The Dark Knight obviously wants to comment on the nature of contemporary policing/governmental security and the portrayal of Batman as a hot headed vigilante on the side of ‘good’ has parallels with leaders of various western governments.

But the failure is not so much the vigilante/unilateral actions of Batman which include unlawful extradition, money laundering to amass an armoury and numerous traffic offences. Thanks to Bruce Wayne’s R&D department Lucius Fox has developed a technology which uses cellphone tracking technology to create a sort of sonar system for the caped crusader to use in his exploits.

Towards the end of the film we see this technology has been reconfigured by Wayne to make every cellphone in Gotham act as a sonar device giving him, actually Fox, the ability to track the movements of everybody in Gotham. Quite rightly (for it is Morgan Freeman and he usually represents ‘truth’ wherever he lands) Lucius Fox tells Bruce Wayne that this use of technology is horrendous and evil. So far so good, but then the Nolans make him fail it by saying ‘OK, but just this once’.

However, ‘just this once’ is not a stand, it is a fall. and if you are indeed sending a message to millions of people about Bush on a futile hunt against Osama Bin Laden by indiscriminantly unfair means you have to portray it as such. To have people think that ‘Just this once’ is either a principle or a way to counter wrong headedness is dangerous, irresponsible and part of the problem.

It is also irresponsible to allude to the generalised surveillance which has happened over over a period of years to no good result with an evening of Batman/Fox surveilling the population with a known and credible pay off.

Anyone can say ‘just this once’ which then slides into ‘the end justifies the means’ and ‘if I don’t do it someone else will’, bad attitudes one and all.

Ignorant sharia bashers to the fore please

Friday, July 4th, 2008

From today’s Daily Mail:

Sharia law SHOULD be used in Britain, says UK’s top judge

The most senior judge in England yesterday gave his blessing to the use of sharia law to resolve disputes among Muslims.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips said that Islamic legal principles could be employed to deal with family and marital arguments and to regulate finance.

He declared: ‘Those entering into a contractual agreement can agree that the agreement shall be governed by a law other than English law.’

In his speech at an East London mosque, Lord Phillips signalled approval of sharia principles as long as punishments – and divorce rulings – complied with the law of the land.

But his remarks, which back the informal sharia courts operated by numerous mosques, provoked a barrage of criticism.

Lawyers warned that family and marital disputes settled by sharia could disadvantage women or the vulnerable.

[…]

Daily Mail

Of course, the hoards of ignorant pigs like the first commenter on this story:

UK, I am so sorry for you. That is incredible.

– Susan, Colorado, USA, 03/7/2008 20:14

are coming out howling about how this is such a terrible thing. What is the most terrible thing of all is that these people cannot think.

What this judge has said is that for private contracts people should be free to choose a Sharia court for resolutions of disputes.

Do you understand what that means?

It means that if you choose to be governed by Sharia Law in your financial or marital dealings, you should be free to do so.

There is absolutely no problem with this whatsoever. HSBC already offer Sharia Compliant bank accounts, and Mick Jagger excused himself from paying extortion money for his divorce since his marriage was governed by a different law to UK law. The article itself says that, “Orthodox Jews operate Beth Din courts which operate according to ancient Jewish Law”. And allow me to digress, but why do they not call Sharia Law, “ancient Sharia Law”?!?! Sharia Law is many things, but modern is not one of them!

What this judge is suggesting is a great thing.

It means that you are FREE to obey your conscience in whatever way you like, as long as you do not break the law of the UK. This judge is actually expanding the freedoms of the British, against the current trend of Parliament legislating away everything, every liberty that has been built over the last 1000 years, and the judiciary backing them up to the hilt.

What he is NOT saying is that Sharia Law should be incorporated into British law, and that everyone, muslim or not, should be made to obey it. That would be and should be completely unacceptable. Sadly, many people out there, like this ignoramus from Colorado, do not understand anything about their rights, the rights of others, and the many options you have as a free human being.

People who want to follow Sharia have the right to do so. That is none of my, or your business. They can get married in whatever way they like, divorce in whatever way they like, lend and borrow money in whatever way they like and pray in whatever way they like. That is what it means to be free, and anyone who is against that is not for Liberty. In fact, true libertarians hold that the state has no business sanctioning and regulating marriage in the first place.

Lawyers are against this because by settling disputes without them, they are cut out of the loop. The same goes for all the other professions that leech off of the law; anything that undercuts them and causes them to lose status and money is a threat. People solving their own problems privately and at liberty are a threat to the system. This judge, by going against that grain is actually demonstrating a great deal of wisdom and even handedness. He will be boiled in oil for it of course.

Now, the ignorant amongst you will say, “but what about women’s rights!??!” We are not talking about women being forced by religious dictate to do anything that is illegal in the UK. We are not talking about illegal and repulsive Sharia punishments being legalized either. What we are talking about, and what this judge is talking about, are consensual contracts only; everything else to do with the ‘clash of cultures’ is completely covered by the law in the UK, the UK law takes precedence at all times, and the objectionable elements of Sharia law have absolutely nothing to do with the subject we are discussing right now.

There seems to be no end to the hoards of people eager to cut their own heads off in this insane hatred for all things Islam. Even when something comes along that increases freedom, real options (in this case, opt outs) people rail against it reflexively without THINKING and applying these scenarios to themselves.

This is our greatest problem today; the absence of THINKING.