#Vodafone #EE and 3 (#ThreeUK) give police mobile call records at click of a mouse

October 10, 2014
Shush!  They can hear you!

Shush! They can hear you!

Mobile phones outnumber land-lines massively. In the UK, there are 82.7m mobile subscriptions in the UK; compare that to 24.4m home landlines and a total of 33.1m fixed landlines (including landlines used for broadband connections). In the UK, 15% of people live in mobile-only households. And that’s the UK, a developed world nation where substantial land-line infrastructure already exists. Think about developing world countries where low rural population concentration and large distances make mobile networks a necessity. An awful lot of business is being carried out on these mobile networks: both private and commercial, on phones or online. You’d think all this communication would be protected by law, right? Duh! wrong answer. According to The Guardian:

Three of the UK’s four big mobile phone networks have made customers’ call records available at the click of a mouse to police forces through automated systems, a Guardian investigation has revealed.

EE, Vodafone and Three operate automated systems that hand over customer data “like a cash machine”,as one phone company employee described it.

Of the 4 big mobile networks, only O2 manually reviews Ripa requests (Ripa is the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which governs who can access systems like the phone networks). EE (the UK’s largest network, consisting of Orange and T-Mobile), Vodafone, and 3, all use systems that largely bypass any need for human intervention, basically meaning that access to these sensitive records is automated. With no manual oversight, mistakes or loopholes in the automated systems will not be detected, and can be misused deliberately.

Privacy advocates are also concerned that the staff within phone companies who deal with Ripa and other requests are often in effect paid by the Home Office – a fact confirmed by several networks – and so may, in turn, be less willing to challenge use of surveillance powers.

According to the Guardian article:

Several mobile phone networks confirmed the bulk of their queries were handled without human intervention. “We do have an automated system,” said a spokesman for EE, the UK’s largest network, which also operates Orange and T-Mobile. “[T]he vast majority of Ripa requests are handled through the automated system.” The spokesman added the system was subject to oversight, with monthly reports being sent to the law enforcement agency requesting the data, and annual reports going to the interception commissioner and the Home Office.

A spokesman for Vodafone said the company processed requests in a similar way. “The overwhelming majority of the Ripa notices we receive are processed automatically in accordance with the strict framework set out by Ripa and underpinned by the code of practice,” he said. “Even with a manual process, we cannot look behind the demand to determine whether it is properly authorised.”

A spokesman for Three, which is also understood to use a largely automated system, said the company was simply complying with legal requirements. “We take both our legal obligations and customer privacy seriously,” he said. “Three works with the government and does no more or less than is required or allowed under the established legal framework.

Only O2 said it manually reviews all of its Ripa requests. “We have a request management system with which the law enforcement agencies can make their requests to us,” said the O2 spokeswoman. “All O2 responses are validated by the disclosure team to ensure that each request is lawful and the data provided is commensurate with the request.”

Mike Harris, director of the Don’t Spy On Us campaign, said the automated systems posed a serious threat to UK freedom of expression. “How do we know that the police through new Home Office systems aren’t making automated requests that reveal journalist’s sources or even the private contacts of politicians?” he said.

“Edward Snowden showed that both the NSA and GCHQ had backdoor access to our private information stored on servers. Now potentially the police have access too, when will Parliament stand up and protect our fundamental civil liberties?”

So much information goes over mobile networks nowadays. Not just phone calls and text messages – there’s also the high volume of data transfer over mobile broadband systems. All this information is available to “investigators” who can interrogate the computer systems directly, with no need to go through a middle-man.

If you use a trustworthy VPN service, and encryption, you may be able to keep the data traffic somewhat more private. But the very action of encrypting your traffic attracts investigators’ attention. And voice and text message data does not even have that limited protection.

A solution, so far as computer and smart phone data is concerned, is available, at least in theory. If we all opted for mobile mesh networking, we could cut out the mobile networks entirely. And it wouldn’t be hard to include traditional speech (and sms) in such a system. And the software is already out there – for example Open Garden. These enmeshed systems are probably the future of mobile connectivity. The only question is: when will mobile users take to it by default? Most people don’t think the government snooping into our communications is a major problem (The “if you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about” min-set). Will this apathy win out? I hope not. When I use a 3G modem or tethered smartphone I generally use a VPN. But I haven’t fully checked out the various solutions available – or their pitfalls. And I’m more aware of these issues than average. There’s a good chance we’re trying to tackle a problem that’s already out of control. Do yourself – andf everyone else – a favour. Do a web search for “mesh networks” and the other subjects I’ve mentioned here. Did you know that when you send an email, the message is only as secure as what you might write on a postcard? And things can only get worse.

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British hostage released in #Libya… so why not #ISIS hostages?

October 5, 2014
British teacher David Bolam, released after ransom paid to kidnappers

British teacher David Bolam, released after ransom paid to kidnappers

The Guardian tells us that David Bolam, a British teacher kidnapped in Libya, has been released. The UK government pointed out that the release was arranged by local factions and that the UK did not pay or facilitate the ransom that was paid. Because the UK government refuses out of principle to negotiate with terrorists and criminals. They prefer to let hostages be murdered, then launch air strikes on targets that lead to further civilian deaths, as has been the case recently with the murder of Alan Henning.

The US government also refuses to make deals with terrorists, as the recent murders of American hostages by ISIS have shown. But it seems the USA’s principles are adaptable. Five senior Taliban members were released from the US prison at Guantanamo in exchange for the US Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who had disappeared from his post in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan on 30 June, 2009.

In August, Bolam’s captors released a video in which Bolam pleaded for Cameron to do something similar to secure his release. Cameron refused, and if someone hadn’t paid for Bolam’s release he might well have been murdered.

It’s difficult to rationalise this situation. The American government refuses to negotiate with terrorists to get its citizens back, but it was willing to release five high-ranking Taliban prisoners in exchange for Sgt Bergdahl. The UK government seems to have similar principles. How can they justify these principles, which have resulted in the murders of several American and British hostages this year? Especially when this principle is negotiable?

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55% of Scots vote No – 100% of Scots lose

September 19, 2014

RIP Scots Pride, 19 September 2014

Hee hee! Hah hah! Hee hee!
The Scots dinnae want to be free!
They’d rather go on under English yoke
And they’ll be obliged with that; what a joke
Scots nationalism has turned out to be.
Hee hee! Hah hah! Hah hah! Hee hee!

(Only kidding, Scotland. Didn’t mean to tread on your bruised dignity.)

"Och, we've been foch't"

“Och, we’ve been foch’t”

So, nearly half of Scots voted Yes for independence. Scottish population is estimated at 5,254,800 in 2011. So, 2365000 Scots have had their dreams shattered. Winston Churchill allegedly said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. And yes, there are worse ways of governing. But when you’re dealing with a large population, you can end up with large numbers of people losing out. No, I don’t know how to run things better. But I don’t need to be a Jack Russell to know when I smell a rat…

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Jennifer Matthys – BNP’s own soft porn starlet!

September 9, 2014

Jennifer has been a nazi for a long time, having been groomed for the BNP and its leader and her father Nick Griffin. And here’s some crap so-called sexy shots of the mule!

If you want to hook up with the fascist, I think this is her facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.matthys.923 – but please please PLEASE don’t send her any nasty messages, ha ha ha!!!

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Boycott of Israeli goods is not antisemitism

September 9, 2014

Since Israel and Egypt sealed the Gazan borders and besieged the Heights, an increasing number of people have started boycotting goods from Israel. And if you scrupulously sift your shopping for Israel-grown olives and Uzi machine pistols, British government members think you’re an anti-semite!

Warning of a “resurgent, mutating, lethal virus of antisemitism”, the Conservative chief whip Michael Gove also claimed those who compare Israel’s actions to Nazi war crimes are engaging in a form of Holocaust denial.

Gove made his intervention in a speech at the Holocaust Education Trust on Tuesday night, in response to findings that there had been a fivefold increase in antisemitic incidents in the wake of Israel’s latest conflict with Hamas.

Citing a historian, Professor Deborah Lipstadt, Gove said there appeared among some opponents of Israel’s actions to be a “deliberate attempt to devalue the unique significance of the Holocaust, and so remove the stigma from antisemitism”.

And even as this relativisation, trivialisation and perversion of the Holocaust goes on so prejudice towards the Jewish people grows.
The Tricycle theatre attempts to turn away donations which support the Jewish Film Festival because the money is Israeli and therefore tainted. In our supermarkets our citizens mount boycotts of Israeli produce, some going so far as to ransack the shelves, scatter goods and render them unsaleable. In some supermarkets the conflation of anti-Israeli agitation and straightforward antisemitism has resulted in kosher goods being withdrawn.

We need to speak out against this prejudice. We need to remind people that what began with a campaign against Jewish goods in the past ended with a campaign against Jewish lives. We need to spell out that this sort of prejudice starts with the Jews but never ends with the Jews. We need to stand united against hate. Now more than ever.

Gove referred to a number of antisemitic incidents that have occurred across Europe over the past few months, and complained that there had been been “insufficient indignation” about growing anti-Jewish prejudice.”
boycott-israel

I understand where Gove’s saying, up to the point. If a bunch of anti-semites are inspired to have a go at Jewish communities around the world, that is of course anti-semitic hate crime and should be punished. But equating the movement to boycott Israeli goods with antisemitism is flawed and insulting. The fact is, Israel and its “defence force” are committing outrageous attacks on those trapped in Gaza, and a number of fair-minded citizens of other countries are joining in the boycott – not because they hate Jews, but because they are disgusted at the way the Israeli government is acting. If Israel stopped its surprisingly Nazi-like attitude towards Jews in general and Gazans in particular, the so-called “anti-semite” boycott would largely end. Of course there are some more hard-line protesters, just as there are prejudiced IDF members who kill young Palestinians because they would “otherwise become Hamas or Islamic Jihad members.” FFS.

If Gove wants the boycott to stop, he will get the government to harden its line against against current Israeli anti-Palestinian activity. But remember, this is the same Michael Gove who approved three schools run by creationists leading to concerns about whether Department for Education (DfE) requirements not to teach creationism or intelligent design as science would be met. The same Gove who claimed more than £7,000 on a house bought with his wife Sarah Vine in 2002; shortly afterwards he reportedly ‘flipped’ his designated second home, a property for which he claimed around £13,000 to cover stamp duty. Gove also claimed for a cot mattress, despite children’s items being banned under the Commons rule. Gove said he would repay the claim for the cot mattress, but maintained that his other claims were “below the acceptable threshold costs for furniture” and that moving house was necessary “to effectively discharge my parliamentary duties”. While he was moving between homes, on one occasion he stayed at the Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa following a constituency engagement, charging the taxpayer more than £500 per night’s stay. Gove’s second home was not in his constituency, but in Elstead, in the South West Surrey constituency. The same Gove who has been the subject of repeated criticism for alleged attempts to avoid the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. The criticism surrounds Gove’s use of various private email accounts to send emails that allegedly relate to his departmental responsibilities. The allegations suggest that Mr Gove and his advisers believed they could avoid their correspondence being subject to Freedom of Information requests, as they believed that their private email accounts were not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. In September 2011, the Financial Times reported that Gove had used an undisclosed private email account – called “Mrs Blurt” – to discuss government business with advisers. In March 2012 the Information Commissioner ruled that because emails the Financial Times had requested contained public information they could be the subject of a Freedom of Information request and ordered the information requested by the paper to be disclosed. Gove was also advised to cease the practice of using private email accounts to conduct government business. Gove disputed the Information Commissioner’s ruling, something that cost taxpayers £12,540, and proceeded to tribunal, but the appeal was subsequently withdrawn. The same Gove who, with his advisors, destroyed email correspondence in order to avoid Freedom of Information requests. The allegation was denied by Gove’s department who stated that deleting email was simply part of good computer housekeeping. Yeah right.

He has also used social netwoking websites to smear opponents anonymously. In February 2013 The Guardian launched investigations into connections between Gove’s ministerial advisers and what they described as “allegations that members of his department have used the social networking site Twitter to launch highly personal attacks on journalists and political opponents and to conduct a Tory propaganda campaign paid for by the taxpayer.” The article suggested that an anonymous Twitter account called @toryeducation was regularly used to attack critical stories about both Gove and his department and to launch highly personal attacks on opponents of Gove and his policies.

It was further suggested that the knowledge of imminent but unpublished government policy demonstrated by the Twitter account called @toryeducation indicated that it was very likely to come from within the Education Department, implying the involvement of special advisers paid for by taxpayers.[103][104] Issuing party political material and indulging in personal attacks would both be clear breaches of the special advisers’ code and the civil service code

Evil Michael Gove.  Starve his supporters please

Evil Michael Gove. Starve his supporters please

Ignore Gove. Boycott Israel. Here’s an unfortunately small list of Israeli goods affected:
boycott-Israel-1

Check out the site – http://boycottisraeltoday.wordpress.com/boycott-israel/ – for more info on Israel’s products to boycott. And remember, it’s not antisemitic to oppose Israel’s “foreign policy” (basically bullying its enemies). Some Jews are good, some are bad. It’s just a shame that Israel is led politically by vicious, cruel people.

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New powers to seize terror “suspects” passports… yet another thought crime…

August 29, 2014

On the Guardian website today (29 August 2014) is a top-of-the-page headline: “New powers to seize terror suspects’ passports”. Now maybe that seems fine to you – can’t have terrorists suicide-bombing their way around the world on British passports, can we? But that is not the intent of prime minister Cameron’s plan, and by wording their headline as they have, the Guardian (and, I expect, other newspapers) are deliberately misrepresenting what the government are up to.

christian-burka

The current law already allows for the confiscation of terror suspects’ passports – “terror suspects” meaning people who are suspected of engaging in terrorism. This new law is rather an extension of the old, much-criticized “control orders”, which allowed the authorities to keep people under virtual house arrest because the police think the individual might engage in terrorism. The law allowed for control orders to be imposed on individuals without telling the “suspect” what evidence existed. If you’re put under a control order as a result of evidence that you and your legal representatives aren’t allowed to see, how are you supposed to effectively defend himself? What if the evidence is faulty? How can you appeal, when you don’t know what lies the authorities are using to impose the control order?

And now the thought crime is going one step further. “Oh look, there’s a British Muslim trying to leave the country. He’s got a return ticket to Paris on the Eurostar, but maybe he isn’t really planning to return. Maybe he’s going to travel on to Syria or Iraq and behead people. After all, that’s what Muslims do, isn’t it? Look on Youtube, you’ll see a video of an American journalist being beheaded by a British Muslim. Bloody British Muslims, all the bloody same. Better take away is passport.”

Secret evidence, secret courts, all makes me think “secret police”, and “police state”. Maybe you don’t care because you’re not a Muslim? Well, who do you expect to come rescue you when the authorities decide that people like you might be a threat? Pull your head out of your butt; and don’t give me any of that “Can’t happen here” crap, because it is happening here, now.

Incidentally, the UK terror threat was raised from substantial to severe for the first time since 2010. This means that an attack is deemed to be “highly likely” – although not necessarily imminent. Who decided that? Them. And you must never question what they say or do…

***TOTALLY OFF-TOPIC ANNOUNCEMENT***
According to WordPress, this is my 399th post. Which means the next post will be #400!! That’s got to be a cool anniversary, yeah? So get in touch, tell me what you’d like me to write about, and I’ll try to please you all. If you’re familiar with I HATE HATE!!! you know I’m perfectly capable of writing about anything, even stuff I know absolutely nothing about. And if no one makes any suggestions, I’ll pretend someone did and write some drivel about something no one knows or cares about. Something else you know I’m perfectly capable of, if you are at all familiar with this blog…

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Why don’t you love me any more?

August 29, 2014

Just checking out my blog’s visitor counter, and discovered a horrible truth: you don’t love me any more!

Oh Goddess, I'm so very very sad.  Why doesn't the internet love me any more?

Oh Goddess, I’m so very very sad. Why doesn’t the internet love me any more?

2013 was my best year. Thousands and thousands of visitors, so many it made my head spin (like that nice little girl in “The Exorcist”). But this year the stats have taken a dive. I still have regular visitors, but not as many as I used to. And drive-by hits have plunged. You seem to hate I HATE HATE!!! And I don’t know why

So, those few of you who still read my blog: please please please let me know through Comments or the Contact link, and tell me what I can do to win back my beloved users. Porn? Online gambling? Role-playing games in which you can be a hobbit, lightly toasted by a dragon for its supper? I’m open to all ideas. Well, maybe not all ideas; but you get my drift, yeah?c

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