Part One of an occasional series of hateful images.
Part 3 of an occasional series of videos about the Darkweb, hidden services, anonymity… all the good stuff that we need, and need to know about!
Excellent Defcon presentation by Adrian Crenshaw detailing how some Tor users got caught. TL;DR: it’s all down to faulty OpSec. Be careful all the time, use your common sense, and all well be well. So long as there aren’t 0days in Tor Browser that the Man knows about and the devs don’t…
But this isn’t too long to watch. So watch it! Even if you don’t use the darknet it is hugely informative and entertaining. And if you do use Tor or otherwise have an interest in anonymity (which means you!), it is doubly informative and entertaining… in fact it is essential for everyone to watch. So watch it!
The 12 boys in the football team and their coach have all been rescued from the Tham Luang cave they were trapped in for 2 weeks. So now might be a good time to ask: why were they there in the first place?
According to Ben Reymenants, one of the rescue team, the football team were in the caves as part of an initiation ritual.
The boys left their backpacks and shoes “before wading in and trying to go to the end of the tunnel, sort of like an initiation for local young boys to… write your name on the wall and make it back”, said Reymenants. But then a flash flood locked them in.
Reymenants said that the boys were weak owing to lack of food, but stable and mentally fit. This might have been thanks to Buddhist meditation techniques.
Ekapol Chanthawong, coach of the football team, trained to be a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a football coach. And he taught the boys how to meditate, which helped keep them calm and preserve their energy for the two weeks they were trapped in the cave.
He went to live in a monastery after being orphaned age 12. he trained to be a monk for 10 years at a monastery in Mae Sai, Thailand, but left to care for a sick grandmother. He then was hired to be the assistant coach of the team, known as the Wild Boars.
“He could meditate up to an hour,” Ekapol’s aunt, Tham Chanthawong, told Associated Press. “It has definitely helped him and probably helps the boys to stay calm.”
In a cartoon that’s been circulating in Thailand, an artist shows Ekapol with a lap full of tiny boars, peacefully meditating. The team is known as the Moo Pa, or Wild Boars.
Chanthawong might need to keep meditating to keep himself calm in the days to come. Ekapol apologized to their parents in a letter delivered by the Royal Thai Navy on Saturday. “To the parents of all the kids, right now the kids are all fine, the crew are taking good care. I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible. I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologize,” Ekapol wrote.
But it will probably take more than a letter of apology to make this right. After all, a former Navy SEAL diver Saman Gunan died while taking part in the rescue mission. And the mission has been a huge endeavour which has involved pumping water out of the 6 miles long cave, among other monumental achievements, and a global marshalling of expertise and resources, including the .two specialist cave divers from the UK who actually located the Wild Boars sheltering on a ledge 2 km from the main entrance and 1 km under the ground.
It’s far too early to start apportioning blame – let everyone have a chance to bask in the achievement first. But at some point people will begin talking about “blame”. And when they do, Ekapol Chanthawong is going to be a handy scapegoat.
Thank goodness, MEPs voted against the Copyright Directive! The insane ideas, to create a “click tax” and to create automated censors to filter uploaded content, have been beaten.
Julia Reda, MEP for the Pirate Party, tweeted: “Great success: Your protests have worked! The European Parliament has sent the copyright law back to the drawing board.”
But that makes it sound far too permanent. The truth is, this subject is going to be revisited sooner rather than later – thee full European parliament will debate amendments to the copyright directive in September, which is just 2 months away! And while 318 MEPs voted against the Directive, 278 voted in favour and 31 abstained. That is not a huge majority. And it could all be turned around if the press insist on reporting this as a big money-saver for the big internet companies as the Guardian has.”Youtube and Facebook escape billions in copyright payouts after EU vote,” their headline says,
Google, YouTube and Facebook could escape having to make billions in payouts to press publishers, record labels and artists after EU lawmakers voted to reject proposed changes to copyright rules that aimed to make the tech companies share more of their revenues.
The paper did report the other side, how high-profile figures like Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, world wide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, net-neurality expert Tim Wu, and internet pioneer Vint Cerf claim it would transform the internet from a platform for sharing and innovation into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.
Put simply: we’ve won this battle, but the bureaucrats who were pushing the copyright directive have a habit of revisiting subjects time and again until they get the result they want. And they want the copyright directive. We have to remain alert or they may still destroy our internet!
Well what a surprise: a politician has told lies!
Sorry, all you honest politicians out there! I really shouldn’t imply that all politicians are liars. Of course that isn’t the case. I know there must be politicians out there who have never told a lie, ever. If you are one of these politicians, please leave me a message – in Comments below or the contact form here.
Anyway, Esther McVey appears to be a liar liar pants on fire. And it isn’t some lone kook making the allegation – it is the National Audit Office (NAO): “an independent Parliamentary body in the United Kingdom which is responsible for auditing central government departments, government agencies and non-departmental public bodies” (from Wikipedia). Would a Parliamentary body with such an important remit knowingly make accusations like this if those accusations were untrue? Would a government minister tell lies to cover her own ass and that of a bumbling Tory government? Hmmm…
Sir Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, wrote to McVey on the “misleading statements” (aka lies – why are civil servants and politicians so civil and polite when they are trying to kill each other?) because he had not been able to make an appointment to meet her face to face. And this frustration has led to him making public the content of his letter – the first time that Morse has released personal correspondence with a minister, and is a reflection of the tension between the DWP and the NAO over McVey’s statements.
Okay, so what has McVey been lying about? In June the NAO released a report about Universal Credit, the Conservative government’s flagship welfare “innovation”, which squeezes 6 other benefits into one, and is supposed to make it easier for unemployed people to get back into work. It is paid monthly (while other benefits are normally paid fortnightly), and all claims and enquiries are handled online.
McVey claimed that the NAO report said Universal Credit is being rolled out too slowly, that it was working successfully in those areas where UC has been introduced, and that any criticism of UC was because the report had failed to take into account recent improvements in the payment of benefits.
Sir Amyas Morse said McVey has “misinterpreted” the report “to make it look as if the new welfare system is working well.”
Does the report say that Universal Credit is being rolled out too slowly? Sir Amyas says No!! In fact the report recommended that the DWP should ensure it was working properly before transferring any more people from previous benefits.
Did the report say that Universal Credit is working? Sir Amyas says No!! In fact the report says Universal Credit has not been proven to work.
Did the report fail to take into account recent improvements in welfare administration and payment timeliness? Sir Amyas says No!! He wrote to McVey:
Our report was fully agreed with senior officials in your department [on 8 June]. It is based on the most accurate and up to date information from your department … it is odd that by Friday 15 June you feel able to say that the NAO “did not take into account the impact of our recent changes.”
Although Morse didn’t say “You’re a liar,” that is clearly what was meant. So, will McVey survive this assault on her credibility? Of course she will. For those who refuse to vote Conservative, McVey and her colleagues lost their credibility a long time ago, if they actually had any credibility to start with. For those who are willing to vote for those awful people, McVey automatically is seen as the victim.
McVey apologised for her “misinterpretation” of the NAO report just hours after the release of Morse’s letter.
“The NAO report did not say that [it wanted Universal Credit to be rolled out more quickly] and I want to apologise to the House for inadvertently misleading you. What I wanted to say was that the NAO said there was no practical alternative,” she said.
She also told MPs she was “working on setting up a meeting with the NAO” about other matters, but that she stood by her claims that the auditors’ report did not take into account recent changes to universal credit. “The impact of these changes are still being felt and therefore, by definition, couldn’t have been fully taken into account by the NAO report,” she said.
So really her apology is meaningless as it makes no real difference. Fundamentally she stands by her previous statements.
She is expected to face further parliamentary scrutiny over the debacle after Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, asked the Speaker, John Bercow, for an urgent question as early as Thursday. Field said to the Guardian: “The secretary of state needs to be questioned about the three mega-Trumpisms which the NAO says are untrue.”
Of course he wants her to go, as does every other opposition MP and some Tory colleagues. But will that mean anything? I suppose it comes down to this: does prime minister Theresa May need a blood sacrifice? If she does, McVey is finished. If not, this story will be forgotten soon enough. At the end of the day, no one in power cares about benefit claimants. The welfare minister least of all.
On 5 July, the European Parliament is voting on a copyright directive that, if passed, threatens the existence of the internet as we know it. This isn’t hyperbole:
These are only a few of the harmful effects of the copyright directive. We all need to protest this bill as it threatens the open internet, not only in Europe but world-wide. Changecopyright.org are helping us oppose the directive, by giving us all free telephone calls, to call the European Parliament and tell them to vote against Article 13. They even provide callers with a script, if you don’t know what to say. Go to changecopyright.org for information. And don’t delay: the European Parliament votes on this on 5 July!!