Tag: cameron

“Sky’s the limit” as it starts UK censorship of the Internet

cameron_pigGateDavid “I love bacon” Cameron’s dream of censored internet in the UK is going ahead, despite his 10exit from Downing Street.

Cameron felt that the UK would be a happy place if the great unwashed were not allowed to watch internet porn, making it available only to those who splash out on a VPN.  The move was also supposed to protect children who, rather than seeing porn on the PCs, would be free to be abandoned by their parents in pubs.

Murdoch’s Sky is enabling adult content filtering by default for all new customers. This means that if you want to see porn you have to specifically ask the nice woman who signs you up for the service “yes I want to see donkey porn”.

Murdoch, who is not normally a fan of censorship, claims that Sky wants to “help families protect their children from inappropriate content” even if the service is not being flogged to families or is going to a family which has parents who take their responsibly seriously.

The government has proposed that all money-making porn sites that operate in the UK need to have an age verification system in place, and in many ways Sky’s scheme is just an extension of the idea.

Sky’s approach, however, the reverse of similar systems used by other ISPs, Rather than asking customers if they want to enable the content filter, the question is flipped on its head so they are asked if they want to disable the option.

Announcing the filtering, Sky’s brand director for communications products, Lyssa McGowan, said: “From today, Sky Broadband Shield will be automatically switched on the moment a new customer activates their Sky Broadband. At the end of last year, we said that we wanted to do even more to help families protect their children from inappropriate content. The first time someone tries to access a filtered website, the account holder will be invited to amend the settings or turn it off altogether. It ensures a safer internet experience for millions of homes, while still giving account holders the flexibility to choose the settings most appropriate for their households.”

What though is being missed is that the decision to enable the filter by default was taken because only 5-10 percent of customers made use of the option when it was off by default. This would suggest that 90-95 per cent of Sky customers did not want censorship.  Imposing it would surely cost the outfit business.

 

Cameron rushes to save publishing companies

cameronBritish Prime Minister David “bacon sandwich” Cameron’s government is rushing to protect his publishing company mates by drafting a law to prevent people using ad-blocking software.

UK’s culture secretary John Whittingdale claims that ad-blocking is a ‘modern day protection racket’, and a bit like piracy.

 Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, Cameron’s government is furious that outfits such as Adblock Plus, which charge up to 30 percent of revenue in order to ‘whitelist’ advertisers, than on the users who are employing browser plugins to remove networked ads.

Whittingdale promised to set up a round-table between social media groups, online publishers and adblocking companies in order to discuss the ‘problem’.

Whittingdale said: “Quite simply – if people don’t pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist… And that’s as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the new album from Muse.”

Of course this might cause a few problems if the UK stays in the EU. In Germany, the home of Adblock Plus, it is the one country which has explicitly ruled adblocking to be a legal practice.  It might be worth remembering when you cast your EU vote, that it is the community which prevents a lot of Cameron’s attempts to turn the country into a poor version of the US from happening.

Currently publishers think that the only way around ad-blocking is to have software which blocks  viewers unless they subscribe for a dollar a week.  Although that has the effect that people don’t bother with the content.

Of course adblocking would not be a problem at all if publishers did not use adverts which fill your screens with rubbish when you want to read the content.

China gets around Cameron-style monitoring with word-play

cameronWhile David Cameron is confident that he can stamp out porn and terrorism with Chinese style monitoring and censorship, he should know that the Great Firewall of China has been bought to its knees by word play.

According to the BBC the Chinese have worked out that you can defeat the filter by replacing words which the firewall is looking for with words that it isn’t.

For example if you want to say that the government is a bunch of capitalist, corrupt, bribe merchants you use the word “Zhao.”  Zhao is the most common Chinese family name so the filters can’t pick it up, otherwise they will become completely clogged up in seconds.

But Zhao also happens to be the name of the Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang who died in 2005. So you can say A “Zhao family member” to refer to someone with a vested interest, someone who holds actual power.

Vincent Ni of the BBC Chinese Service says the way social media users are using “Zhao” is in line with a Chinese linguistic tradition which pre-dates the internet. “Chinese people have long used what are known as ‘oblique accusations’ which enable them to express their opinion when it would not be possible to make a direct criticism of those in authority.”

The method can be easily adapted on western social networking and has actually been used on satirical magazines like Private Eye where euphemisms “tired and emotional” replace more litigious phrases like “drunk in public” or “bacon lover” becomes Tory British Prime Minister with a tendency to try to control things he shouldn’t.

Cameron’s internet law has huge loopholes

cameronThe Draft Investigatory Powers Bill presented by the UK Home Secretary Theresa May to parliament earlier this week has a loophole so wide you could park a 747 in it, sideways.

This is legislation that will force UK ISPs to keep an Internet Connection Record for a year and force Apple and Google to abandon consumer level encryption.

But the entire law fails to mention the one thing which makes the whole law pointless – Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

For a few pounds a year you can install some ‘customer-friendly’ VPN software which makes every transaction show up as encrypted traffic.  This makes them the tool of choice of any paedophile child sex ring and practically mandatory for terrorists.

It is surprising that May didn’t think of these. Other control freak politicians like  Vladimir Putin are obsessed with them. So why didn’t the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill mention them?

Under proposed changes to the law as described in the bill, no-one will be able to offer an encrypted service for which it cannot provide a key, as is the case with local encryption on iOS. It is possible that May believes her law can force foreign VPNs to hand over encryption keys in advance (in order not to be blacklisted by blighty-based ISPs.

It seems unlikely that it would happen, besides avoiding blacklists is easy – just ask anyone who uses Pirate Bay in the UK.

UK developers will not need to build backdoors

back-door-to-hellThe UK government is unlikely to force developers to build backdoors in their software so that its spooks can snoop on users’ doings.

The move had been expected since Prime Minister David Cameron said that “in our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?” Of course he thought that most people would answer no, when the majority think “yes David I don’t want you reading my emails”

Baroness Shields said the government has no intention in forthcoming legislation either to weaken encryption or provide back doors to it. Instead government wants companies to decrypt ‘targeted’ data when required, and provide access to it.

In other words, David is saying “you don’t have to build backdoors, but if the only way you can do what we want is by building one, you better get your skates on, or let us in through the front door.”

The difficulty is that the Conservative government has a lot of backers who are in big business and they want strong encryption to stop the Chinese stealing their data.  But Current law requires that companies must be able to provide targeted access, subject to warrant, to the communications of those who seek to commit crimes or do serious harm in the UK or to its citizens.

Baroness Shields said: “It is absolutely essential that these companies which understand and build those stacks of technology are able to decrypt that information and provide it to law enforcement in extremis”.

Confused?  Yeah.  It appears that this is yet another technology issue that Cameron’s government has not thought through.

Wales dubs Cameron’s encryption blocking “moronic”

David-Cameron-at-the-EU-s-007Moves by UK Prime Minister David “I love bacon” Cameron to block the use of encryption have been dubbed “moronic” by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Cameron thinks that by ending end-to-end encryption terrorists will have nowhere to hide and MI16 will know where they are going to place the bombs and have the coppers in place to stop them.

Wales is less impressed saying it was far too late for Cameron to stop end-to-end encryption and it was “a moronic, very stupid thing to do.”

It would be a bit like leaving your daughter in a pub we guess, but no one would ever do anything at stupid.

Wales called on internet users around the world to use end-to-end encryption, to ensure that their personal data and habits cannot be spied on.

Speaking at the IP Expo in London, Wales said that all major traffic will be encrypted soon – and that’s a good thing.

Wikipedia has adopted SSL encryption technology for all of its sites around the world, which means that the browsing of users can now not be detected by agencies or governments.

He said that there was a trend towards SSL as people have a higher understanding of a safe and secure public internet. It was no longer cost-prohibitive to encrypt all your data, thanks to advances in Moore’s Law advances and increased consumer understanding of the need for security, he said.

Efforts by governments and other agencies around the world have actually made it harder to track individuals, as major news stories such as the Edward Snowden revelations have heightened the public’s sense of the need for security.

Cameron’s lock up pirate’s law is risky

cameronDavid Cameron’s plan to lock up pirates for 10 years to keep Big Content happy has been slammed by those who know a little about how the law works.

Cameron wants to increase the maximum jail term for online piracy from two to ten years because… claiming that only people who make money out of piracy need to worry.

The law concluded that the criminal sanctions for copyright infringement available under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) could be amended to bring them into line with related offenses, such as counterfeiting.

However legal experts say that the law as worded will end up locking up file sharers and the proposed extension is disproportionate and ineffective.

The British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association (BILETA) has said that changes to the current law were not needed.

BILETA argues that the proposal is not affordable, not feasible and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

“The freedom of expression may be interfered with if there is a ‘pressing social need’ and is proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued,” the group notes, adding that the standards for a pressing social need are often not met in piracy cases.

The Open Rights Group Executive Director Jim Killock warned Torrent Freak that the law wraps up businesses and people who ‘affect prejudicially’ a copyright owner.

“There is no requirement of intent to harm, merely that the user should have known that they were violating copyright law.

This means that anyone who uploads to Pirate Bay uploaders or even those who merely share files could potentially be targeted.

“The result is that people who are not really criminals, but are rather just naive users, may face punitive claims. At the very least, the risk of criminal claims means naive infringers can be pushed into accepting heavy punishments to remove the risk of long jail sentences,” Killock said.

The consultation is open until this coming Monday and the Government will release the individual responses and publish a summary report afterwards.

Cameron pledges to spy on everything

David Cameron, July 2015British Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured) is utterly convinced that the good people of Britain want every aspect of their internet use monitored by his secret service spooks.

Cameron has a point, if they didn’t want the idea then why did they vote for him when he did say he had such a crazy plan before the election.

Cameron is to remove all “safe spaces” on the Internet, apparently for terrorists to communicate with each other.  This means removing British people’s right to use encryption

Replying in the House of Commons to a question from the Conservative MP David Bellingham, who asked him whether he agreed that the “time has come for companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter to accept and understand that their current privacy policies are completely unsustainable?”

Cameron replied: “We must look at all the new media being produced and ensure that, in every case, we are able, in extremis and on the signature of a warrant, to get to the bottom of what is going on.”

Of course this move is causing some problems for British business who really do not want Cameron reading their emails or forcing them to give the government cryptographic backdoors.  Some apparently are thinking of leaving the country altogether out of a fear that they will be handing over technology secrets to MI6.

To be fair, Cameron insists that Britain is not a state that is trying to search through everybody’s emails and invade their privacy, although so far he has shown that with its chums in the NSA that is exactly what he has been wanting to do.

The key issue is now whether the proposals will be realistic about what can and can’t be done when dealing with modern encrypted communications.  Our belief is that if Cameron wants to keep businesses on side, then this is something which will be mysteriously dropped or replaced with a licencing programme which will allow encryption for registered companies which pass a security screening and can make guarantees that their encryption keys do not fall into the wrong hands.  This is of course incredibly socialist of Cameron.

* Yesterday it was revealed that GCHQ had been spying on Amnesty International, an allegation that had been denied.

 

 

Europe tells Cameron his porn filter is illegal

David-Cameron-at-the-EU-s-007An attempt by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to control what Brits see on the internet is facing a common sense challenge from the EU.

Cameron wants everyone to be forced into using “porn filters” installed at an ISP level. Of course he says porn, but it can also be anything else that David does not think British people should be watching or reading about.

A leaked document from Brussels dated May 17 proposes to make it illegal to try to ‘manage’ web traffic, including by automatically applying parental controls.

Instead, officials want internet service providers to have to ask parents or account holders to opt-in to pornography filters.

Those who believe that children need to protected at all costs, and if possible wrapped bubble wrap until their insecure parents die of old age, claim that the move would endanger children by putting another barrier in the way of parents wanting to keep internet usage at home free from hardcore material.

For some reason they have forgotten that if kids want to watch porn then an ISP porn filter is not going to stop them.

The rule change is sneaked into a net neutrality document banning mobile phone companies or internet service providers from restricting or managing any legal content on the internet.

Of course the Daily Mail is furious and is thundering that it is terrible that these nasty smelly Europeans are stopping us have an autocratic censored internet.

It is just as well that our glorious government is going to make sure that British never see porn and is free to protect their children by leaving them with caring staff at the local pub when ever they like.

Cameron leaves government computers open to hackers

 David-Cameron-at-the-EU-s-007While David “One is an Ordinary Bloke” Cameron is trying to save children from internet perils with censorship he is opening up government computer systems to hackers by starving them for cash on upgrades.

Countless government computers are still using Windows XP under a £5.5 million contract with Microsoft to prevent them getting hacked.  Now it seems that Cameron’s government has decided that it is too expensive to keep paying Microsoft for the upgrades and simply hopes that no hackers will attack the systems.

This is the first time that prayer based security has been attempted in Whitehall and is being seen as cheaper than upgrading the ancient computers.

The government has not renewed its £5.5 million Windows XP support deal with Microsoft despite thousands of computers across Whitehall still running the ancient software, leaving them wide open to cyber-attacks.

The contract was negotiated last year between Microsoft and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which is part of the Cabinet Office, to provide one year’s additional support after the general support deadline for XP expired.

To be fair, the CCS made it plain at the time that it would not renew the deal, and urged all departments to ensure that they migrated in time.

Of course they didn’t and many government departments are still in the process of migrating, or are still running Windows XP and risking the inherent security threats.

No one is able to talk about it because everything is shut down with the election.  Microsoft has confirmed that the deal will end on 14 April 2015.

Microsoft will not offer more custom support deals, and the company said that this might be an option for any department still struggling to migrate. It will just have to be for the new government to decide.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is currently negotiating a support deal after it was revealed that the organisation still has 35,000 laptops and desktops running XP.

What this suggests is that for all Cameron’s banging on about internet security, and protection, under his watch the security at Whitehall has dropped down the loo, just as his surveillance of ordinary citizens and internet censorship has escalated.