The end of (British) privacy

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As the dust settles in Paris after the attack on “Charlie Hebdo”, politics in Britain returns to posturing as normal. Cameron states that the Tory Manifesto for the General Election in May will include promises to increase the legal powers of surveillance by MI5 to cover all communication. Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group writes a considered piece on what this might mean. The end of this road is prohibiting encryption for the use of ordinary law abiding citizens.   … » Read more …

Is I.T. a utility?

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The power companies are starting to enable homes to act as power sources as well as consumers. People can sell back any surplus. In the UK, about ⅓ of the power generated is lost during the distribution. The UK consumed[1] 647 Terawatts (1012) in 2013. This implies that 219 Terawatts are generated and lost p.a. with a market value[2] of £20bn. The loss is dependent on the distance travelled and so one policy response would be to build community micro- or meso-generators. On the whole older power stations are   … » Read more …

Too much power

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The Dark Knight was released in 2008, five years before the Snowden leaks in 2013.  It was on UK TV last night, and I have referred to the surveillance machine that Batman built to fight the Joker. There were stories at the time that the US Federal Government were tapping everyone’s cell phones, and my reasons for quoting this piece of fiction is the conversation had between Batman and Lucius Fox on the latter’s discovery of the machine built by Batman. Listen to the dialogue in this you tube short cut.   … » Read more …

Grandstanding

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The gall of Julian Huppert and the LibDems beggars belief. Computer Weekly report that he is campaigning for a Digital Bill of Rights to be included in the LibDem manifesto.  I covered his intervention at OrgCon14 earlier this year. The LibDems have a serious problem in that they made a number of promises which they have broken, most obviously on tuition fees, but others have problems with some of the government reforms on welfare, the bedrom tax, and judicial administration, the introduction of secret courts for cases involving intelligence material. In the policy area of surveillance and digital politics, the LibDems are not as strong as they might like. The computer weekly article states that Huppert is looking to mandate encryption and ban “revenge porn”.   … » Read more …

Britain’s over reaching content filters

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The UK’s Web site blocking rears its ugly head again. I was pointed at Der Spiegel who reports that Three and Vodafone are blocking the Chaos Computing Club‘s domain. The Chaos Computer Club is a grass roots technology association most well known outside Germany were it is based for its annual Congress held in Hamburg. Equally well known for not being a porn site. The Spiegel article is in German and I translated it using Google translate. I have hosted a copy here, and you can see google’s rendering here. The remainder of the article looks at over-blocking, including IT security resources as obscene, and the market share of the various UK carriers.   … » Read more …

Gordon Brown steps down as MP

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Gordon Brown announces his retirement to the clash of views from the press and the Labour Party. To be accurate, he has announced that he isn’t standing for re-election as an MP. He leaves a mixed legacy, well summarised by the Telegraph of all sites, who list his contributions to New Labour and the ’97 landslide, economic stewardship until 2007, his opposition to the UK adopting the Euro, his leadership in response to the 2008 global liquidity crisis and his critical contribution to the Scottish Referendum debate on the No side.  … » Read more …

London Labour in Europe

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I attended the lunchtime meeting hosted by three of London’s Labour MEPs. They started by saying thank you to the members at the meeting for the efforts made to secure London’s fantastic result in the Euro elections. The meeting was framed as “How to fight UKIP?” The old canard, started by Farage that London is inoculated from UKIP, because we’re young, liberal and cosmopolitan, the truth in my mind is that London’s multi-culturalism is its UKIP anti-body. One of the attendees, spoke on dealing with UKIP, which I summarised in this tweet,  … » Read more …

Going to London Labour’s Regional Conference

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Lewisham Deptford’s delegation to the London Labour Regional Conference, held at Hammersmith & Fulham’s Town Hall was reduced through illness but there were a couple of us who made the journey.The morning consisted of awards, keynote speeches from Harriet Harman & Sadiq Kahn and motions on Health and Economics. Sadly I didn’t get to read the Conference Arrangements Committee report which explained why many of the proposed Emergency Motions weren’t emergencies, were contrary to the rules, contrary to the law or, and my personal favourite, silly. (I might have made the last one up.)  … » Read more …

Coming Privacy Law

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Yesterday, attended a session convened by the BCS North London branch, called “Data Privacy – How Private is IT?” The presentation was given by two PWC staff members in two parts, the first was a forward looking review at the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation by Kyrisia Sturgeon and the second part a scenario based exploration of good data protection practice led by Pragasen Morgan. To me the coming key changes in the law are that all companies will need to have a qualified data protection officer, and it implements a right to be forgotten, or more accurately a right to be unindexed.  … » Read more …

Campaiging with Politicians

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Still at orgcon14, the first session in the afternoon was titled “Campaigning with Politicians”. I wasn’t going to report this since on the whole it wasn’t that good, but it does set the scene for what may be coming and so I changed my mind. The chair opened the session by stating the session would be best used as a campaigning symposium and not treated as a hustings, he might have saved himself the trouble. The three speakers, Jullian Huppert MP (LibDem), Natalie Bennett (Green Party) and Claude Moraes MEP set out their (Parties’) stalls.  … » Read more …