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.
Category Archives: technology - Page 2
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.
I have finally been published on my employer’s web site blog. The article, Conflicting Data Requirements: Privacy versus Transparency looks at the countervailing tendencies by governments legislating for citizen privacy and tax transparency. The article concludes with a series of technical challenges to meet the needs of both political initiatives. The article was syndicated on the Tabb Forum, and you can read that here. The article was originally provoked by a Gartner Press Release which suggests that location and the need for specific jurisdictional compliance will reduce as costs and
Eric Raymond, wrote a short article on his blog, “Commoditization, not open source, killed Sun Microsystems”, which I commented on. This blog article says a little bit more than I felt I had room for on someone else’s blog, and I probably abused his hospitality there. I have thought long and hard about this, because I worked there and thought it i.e. the company was worth saving. Here’s what I said on Eric’s blog, and a bit more. I start by saying that the first thing about Sun’s failure is that it all depends on where you want to start; Sun’s failure was baked in long before the 2000 fall from profit.
I and others have written about the spy’s pursuit of meta data. It’s not a problem, it’s not the content you know. This is an image from voice comms; once known as telephone conversations. If you believe this, I suggest you watch “The Wire”. Meta data means “about data”, and consists of the from where, to whom, at what time. With mobile phones, your location can be tracked whether making a call or not. This is meant to be fine, because they don’t review content, i.e. what was said; so that’s OK then. However, the spies think that meta data is the person. An important and wilfully forgotten fact is that with email you can’t separate meta data from content. With web mail, the real meta data is all about the mail provider and maybe the mail client, which is a piece of software; again the meta data they want doesn’t exist as meta data, it is content!
On Tuesday, the Labour Party’s preferred web hosting site, nationbuilder suffered a DDOS attack. It seems UKIP was the target and while Nationbulder state that a botnet was used, other’s accuse a ‘lone nut’. Obviously a sign of things to come, but it’s the second thing I’d think of in designing infrastructure for a political party. The first would be defence against a graffiti attack. These plans are often left till later as everyone concerned concentrates on functional requirements, Having said all this, I hope that my hosting provider is good enough.
The BBC ran a story yesterday about the impending agreement between the UK based industrial content and the ISPs to adopt a warning system whereby the top four ISPs, will on notification from the industry trade associations write and warn their customers who allegedly download potentially copyright infringing material. The BBC covered this scoop in the morning on the Radio 4 today program and later in the evening on News Night.
The Labour Party’s proposed policy programme only mentions the digital economy once, and this is to promise more speed, everywhere it can go. There are two internal pressure group style swarms/groups/initiatives looking to do better. The first is launched by the front bench incubated if not commissioned by the impressive Chi Onawaruh MP, currently shadow spokesperson for the Cabinet Office. This has it’s home at this site, Chi publicised the initiative at in an article at Labour List called How can we make Digital Government work better for everyone?. A great deal of thought has been undertaken in launching this initiative. The second initiative is @LabourDigital,
Microsoft have just ended support for XP; there are to be no more updates which means it’s a growing security threat! Not all organisations have moved forward yet, and probably even less home user including me. Microsoft’s behaviour over the last two years has not been helpful to consumers. Firstly, the ‘upgrade’ to the new look and feel of Windows 8 trashes consumer’s self administration skills. Making new systems do what they want and knew how to do on XP is hard. Secondly, moving forward using virtualisation technology as advised by this article at hongkiat remains difficult, partly because of Microsoft’s aggressive digital rights enforcement . Microsoft’s behaviour is not unusual, nor illegal, but there’s a lot of people who aren’t happy and Microsoft’s historic success is based on consumer adoption. They’re changing up, we probably need to also.
Mike Masnick writes a little article forecasting the engineers re-writing the single points of failure out of the internet. He entitles his article, Building A More Decentralized Internet: It’s Happening Faster Than People Realize. He cross references to two articles written by himself back in 2010, Operation Payback And Wikileaks Show The Battle Lines Are About Distributed & Open vs. Centralized & Closed and The Revolution Will Be Distributed: Wikileaks, Anonymous And How Little The Old Guard Realizes What’s Going On in which he, more accurately, recognises the current and future power of distributed and private networks. It should be remembered that these predictions all occurred before the Arab spring and the recent protests in Turkey and the state responses to the use of networks. One of the key initiatives proposed in my mind, is to develop a P2P name service resolver, while others propose a P2P file system. I wrote a wiki article, called “Ruggedising the Internet” which points at several further resources and projects. I might even join in.
I read Privacy and Big Data by Craig and Ludloff towards the end of 2013. The first chapter is called “The Perfect Storm”. The book lists a number of consumer and corporate computing trends, from Google’s search solution and their clustered file systems, the consumer adoption of cloud storage and the realisation of parallel computing models. There is no question that data is growing at an explosive rate and that new computational models are being developed to use these new volumes of data in timescales appropriate to the human. These new models are of interest to both the new internet companies and to Governments yet because of both social media and the distributed nature of modern computing raise questions of privacy.
The Parliamentary Internet Communications and Technology Forum held a meeting entitled “The Europe Debate” and headlined it by inviting Bill Cash MP, not some one who I’d identify as an expert on ICT nor on the European Union. The three speakers were Julian David of “tech UK“, Graham Hobbs and Bill Cash MP, Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee . The key questions asked, were to be, Do UK technology companies benefit from EU membership? Is the Digital Single Market good for UK business? They also produced a Briefing Paper for delegates.
An internet safe for kids, plebs and Tories
The phone companies’ Tory inspired “safe content” filters are coming online. While the road to and strong arming of the ISPs into voluntary agreement was well covered over the summer, although not be me, it seemed the Surveillance stories were more important, the New Statesman in an article published last week by Martin Robbins, entitled “Cameron’s internet filter goes far beyond porn – and that was always the plan” shows the bleeding obvious that it’s not possible to build “safe” filters for other people. The article has provoked some noise on twitter since these privately implemented filters are a non-accountable overreach, there is no appeal, no democratic oversight and they are implemented using crude ineffective technology which reinforces such overreach. Taken in conjunction with the Gagging Bill, also known as the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill currently going through Parliament, this should be seen as an attack on our democratic systems in that it will deprive citizens of the information and evidence that they need to vote.