Monthly Archives: August 2013

In the nick of time, a Hero arose (II)

Yesterday was an important day in the British History.

If you don’t know the story, David Cameron, the Tory Prime Minister, had recalled Parliament, two days early to get permission to ‘intervene’ in Syria and punish the Syrian government for their alleged use of chemical weapons and the British Parliament said “No!”.

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Announcing the end of my snipsnap/aws bliki

Earlier this month, I completed the migration of my snipsnap bliki to Most of the blog articles are in this blog, and most of the wiki articles are in my wiki. I have set a 303 on the old site and shall turn it off in about a month’s time.

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Hyperloop and Hope

In California, they have been planning a San Francisco – Los Angeles bullet train. This was brought to my attention by a story by Molly Woods at CNET, which points at an alternative, the Hyperloop.

For some reason the politics of developing infrastructure in the USA is tortured and this project is no exception. It has the economic and environmental objections which we have all begun to get to grips with as the national debate about HS2 begins to take off. In California this debate is exacerbated by the US’s unhinged dislike of government and taxes.

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About the mobile operating system market

While considering the Mozilla foundation’s entry into the mobile phone market, I came across Seth Rosenblatt’s article, “Firefox OS faces brutal road ahead” at CNET News, but they have Telefonica signed up and are launching in Spain, and Latin America; they’re made by Alcatel. Will open-source and privacy be the competitive weapons it needs to succeed where Blackberry and Nokia are failing? Quartz argues that real web services will be the competitive advantage, creating the largest developer community. Actually I doubt it; the carriers will insert their spyware and closed garden stores, it’s too hard to avoid Google and despite Blackberry’s last wrong turn they competed and lost on privacy.

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An honest man

Earlier today, BoingBoing broke the story that Ed Snowden’s secure email provider, Lavabits  was shutting up shop. The BoingBoing story has Ladar Levison’s words of non-explanation. He was made an offer he had to refuse. This was covered by arstechnica, in a story called “Lavabit founder, under gag order, speaks out about shutdown decision”, dated 14th August.

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Citizens not Suspects

The Guardian reports that Privacy International are going to court to get the UK Government banned from using the USA’s ‘intelligence’ obtained via their Prism programme, and to suspend the UK’s equivalent programme, the GCHQ’s Tempora programme.

Privacy International argue that the UK agencies’ use of NSA supplied data is illegal since there is no warrant and no notification and no appeal; which is a problem when there is no ‘probable cause’. In order for GCHQ to intercept someone, they’d need a warrant issued under RIPA. This looks to be  an example of the two agencies outsourcing the surveillance of their own citizenry, since they are prohibited from doing so. i.e. GCHQ is spying on Yanks, and the NSA returns the favour by spying on Brits. Both agencies need a warrant to spy on their own citizens, but not on foreigners.

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