basically tech

125 GCHQ has probably spied on you

Wednesday 30th September, 2015

The article itself, from The Intercept, is sadly unsurprising. It has been covered on various other Tech/Security sites across the Internet, such as Ars Technica, BoingBoing, Slashdot, Bruce Schneier's blog, etc.

What did surprise me is GCHQ's classification of what is metadata and what is content. Your userid and password * are classified as metadata. That's a bit like handing your house keys to a complete stranger who has been known to break the law (and who still has no visible controls or accountability) and thinking, "Well, it's just metadata, what can they do?"

(* Just think - this applies to any website or online service you login to - banking, emails, shopping, forums, social websites ...)


124 UK surveillance worse than anything Orwell could have foreseen

Tuesday 25th August, 2015

Article from The Guardian.

The first UN special rapporteur on privacy Joseph Cannataci ...

... added that he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter, and said it was regrettable that vast numbers of people sign away their digital rights without thinking about it.

The article has also been picked up by Ars Technica.


123 Proposed EU Data Protection amendments taken word for word from US Lobbyists

Tuesday 12th February, 2013

An interesting article by Glyn Moody reveals that certain MEPs are putting forward changes to the proposed EU directive on Data Protection which are taken word for word from amendments suggested by US Lobbyists.

According to the website LobbyPlag, there are four British MEPs involved:

Malcolm Harbour
MEP West Midlands Region, Conservative
( Amendments with lobby content: 14 of 55 (25.45%25)
Giles Chichester
MEP South West Region, Conservative
( Amendments with lobby content: 10 of 44 (22.73%25)
Sajjad Karim
MEP North West Region, Conservative
( Amendments with lobby content: 13 of 55 (23.64%25)
Emma McClarkin
MEP East Midlands Region, Conservative
( Amendments with lobby content: 1 of 8 (12.50%25)

If they happen to represent the region you live in ...

... you might ask them who exactly they think they represent: you and the other 500 million EU citizens that pay their salary, currently running at around £80,000 per year, or a bunch of extremely rich US companies that are intent on taking away our privacy so that they can get even richer?

Read the original article for more details.

Someone has already suggested that Europe requires it's own version of the zero rupee note.

related links


122 Refuse to be terrorised

Sunday 29th July, 2012

I found some interesting links recently, while searching for more information about Privacy International's challenges about the sales of surveillance equipment to irresponsible governments. Of course there are levels of irresponsibility, but I don't think the UK government comes out smelling of roses.

The next four links came via the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

And finally in refreshing contrast - how the Norwegians react to terrorism. Refuse to be terrorised by anyone, not even the State!


121 Battle for the Internet

Wednesday 18th April, 2012

The Guardian newspaper website has an interesting series of articles running through this week called the Battle for the Internet. It is governments and organisations which are eroding our freedoms, and they're not just the usual suspects.


120 PCI Lawsuit

Tuesday 17th January, 2012

This is interesting.

... the McCombs allege that the bank, and the payment card industry (PCI) in general, force merchants to sign one-sided contracts that are based on information that arbitrarily changes without notice, and that they impose random fines on merchants without providing proof of a breach or of fraudulent losses and without allowing merchants a meaningful opportunity to dispute claims before money is seized
"It’s just like Visa and MasterCard are governments," said Stephen Cannon, an attorney representing the McCombs. "Where do they get the authority to execute a system of fines and penalties against merchants? That’s a very important issue in this case."

Shades of Wikileaks, perhaps?


119 30 online sources for Linux/Unix documentation

Monday 9th January, 2012

NixCraft is an excellent source of Linux/Unix documentation in itself, but this article lists 30 offsite sources of technical documentation. Some old, some new, most are good!


118 Lessons from Wikileaks

Tuesday 7th December, 2010

An interesting article by Simon Phipps, discussing the implications of actions of Paypal, Amazon, and others, namely blocking Wikileaks from their paid services without judicial review, useful explanation or workable recourse.
While the Internet itself may have a high immunity to attacks, a monoculture hosted on it does not. We might be able to survive a technical outage, but a political outage or a full-fledged termination of service are likely to put a company that's relied on the cloud for critical infrastructure out of business ... a sales system hosted in the cloud can be taken offline instantly by someone we will never discover, for reasons we can't determine and with no way for us to get them back online.
Amazon and PayPal shouldn't be boycotted; they are just reptiles, after all. The problem is that we have a society with the governments that it deserves, ready to encourage summary judgement rather than consider matters deeply.


117 "Apple has declared war on the tinkerers of the world"

Monday 1st February, 2010

The first link below has sadly disappeared. Here is a related commentary.
Rob. April 2015.

When DVD Jon was arrested after breaking the CSS encryption algorithm, he was charged with “unauthorized computer trespassing.” That led his lawyers to ask the obvious question, “On whose computer did he trespass?” The prosecutor’s answer: “his own.”

If that doesn’t make your heart skip a beat, you can stop reading now.

Or you can read the whole article.


116 London Stock Exchange moving to a GNU/Linux-based system

Wednesday 7th October, 2009

There are various news sources which are reporting that the London Stock Exchange is moving from the Microsoft .Net-based TradElect to the GNU/Linux-based MillenniumIT system. In fact not only are they moving to this new system, they appear to like the company that produced it so much that they are actually buying it. As usual, the comments contain some of the more interesting viewpoints:
TradElect never met its goals for trading speed, never managed to achieve its availability goals and indeed, managed to shut the LSE for an entire trading day, (this) was a complete disaster for both the LSE and for Microsoft, who had invested considerable time and expertise in underpinning the installation.

TradElect has now been surplanted by a Linux + Solaris setup which has already met the latency goals that TradElect was supposed to provide is a massive loss of face for Microsoft in this area. Those who point to Accenture and assume they carried the can for this alone are ignoring reality.
I'd be willing to bet that the decision to deploy TradElect was one of those crazy decisions, where the techies were all saying, "No, don't do it, it won't work," and the management just ignored them and implemented it anyway. As usual.