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Category: Internet

Government Ignorance, Technical Illiteracy & Control Freakery

David Cameron has proven himself to be as useless and pathetic a Prime Minister as Gordon Brown was.  Politicians govern in ignorance; it is their duty to make sure they get the best advice from the best advisors.  So one could possibly understand (if not forgive) Cameron’s ignorance.  But to choose the technically illiterate Claire Perry as his internet advisor is beyond ignorant, beyond stupid and almost beyond non-offensive pejoratives.

Cameron and Perry are using the emotive phrase “think of the children” and the guise of blocking child pornography to rail through the kind of censorship that would not be out of place in China.  It was typical politician soundbite without thinking through what was said: “One click to protect your whole home and keep your children safe”.  An impossible claim.  One which, if he didn’t already know it, his advisors should have told him it was impossible.

This isn’t about porn.  It’s about control freakery and censorship.  Porn is merely the paint job on this wagon of control freakery and censorship.

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Tinfoil Hats Anyone?

The recent revelations exposed by Edward Snowden about the NSA’s PRISM scheme may have shocked many people.  Sadly they did not shock me.  What the NSA decides to do is its own business, but the revelations that GCHQ is engaged in a mass wiretapping scheme of its own show that the UK government is either complicit in a surveillance society or utterly clueless.

William Hague’s claim that “If you are innocent you have nothing to fear” is the kind of thing that comes straight out of 1984, Fahrenheit 451 or other works of that ilk.  Of course, the news that Ian Livingston, the BT CEO and exec who authorised the illegal and secret tests of Phorm’s technology on over 20,000 BT Internet customers is now to work as a government advisor shows that if you’re the right kind of criminal, you can get a job in high places.  The Spectator asks some questions that Mr Hague needed to answer in the House of Commons.

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Phorm For Phones 2: EE & Ipsos Mori Updated

An article in today’s Sunday Times, highlighted by SpyBlog and Ben Goldacre has revealed what the Sunday Times describes as the “discreet monitoring” or “snoop(ing) on the habits of millions of EE phone customers” as they came out of London’s Oxford Circus station. In other words, EE were monitoring and recording the actions of their customers and giving the data to Ipsos Mori in what is, no doubt a potentially very profitable enterprise.

Ipsos Mori was delighted with the results. In a deal with EE — Britain’s biggest mobile phone company, formed in 2010 from a merger between Orange and T-Mobile — the polling firm had purchased the exclusive use of the phone data and the test run in central London had shown its potential.

There are some serious echoes of Phorm here.

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