iPen Ain’t Gonna Happen

apple_haptic_stylus

Tech journalists have been lapping up a report by analysis firm KGI Securities that confidently predicts Apple will unveil a Stylus for its iPad in the second quarter of this year. It would be quite a change of philosophy for Apple whose entire empire is now built on screens you jab your finger at, so you would have thought KGI had some pretty explosive evidence upon which to base their prophecy. But no, it turns out Apple has filed some patents for stylus type devices over the last few years.

headlines

As every Apple geek knows, the Cupertino giant patents anything remotely related to their products – they even have a patent for sensors that will tell your iPhone when your shoes wear out. It’s become a rule at Apple to be prepared to fight a patent war with anyone after they got stung for $100m by Creative who claimed the first iPod infringing its patents. And Steve Jobs did have quite strong feeling on styluses:

Techno Guido will eat his Nexus if they actually make an iPen…

How’s That Social Media Thingy Working Out For Ya?

Remember when Labour tried to boost party morale by claiming that they may be outspent at this election, but at least they were winning the internetz? Well Facebook has not gone very well for them today. #CameronMustGo

Billionaire Tech Titan Shows HS2 How It’s Done

hyperloop

Dastardly billionaire Elon Musk, the mastermind behind Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has announced he will be build a test track for his fabled Hyperloop transport system. Described by Musk as a “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table”, the Hyperloop will propel capsules through a partial vacuum inside a continuous steel tube at 700 mph. It was proposed by Elon as a cheaper and faster alternative to California’s hugely over-budget high speed railway. Theoretically it would cut the 354 mile journey from LA to San Francisco down to 35 minutes. Musk’s initial estimate for the Hyperloop’s building costs were $6 billion – some $60 billion cheaper than the proposed railway. 

evil elonIt makes you wonder about our very own unloved and over-budget high speed rail project. Maybe if HS2 Chief Executive  Simon Kirby, the anonymous corporate drone earning £750,000 of taxpayers’ money a year, had a bit more entrepreneurial spirit, we wouldn’t be about to face a £50 billion bill for a slightly faster train to Birmingham. Phase one of of HS2 is due to be completed by 2026, which coincidentally is the year Elon Musk has promised to land humans on Mars.

TechnoGuido has the feeling Mr Musk might beat Mr Kirby to it…

Digital Dave Isn’t Working

dave 1776

The Prime Minister was keen to show off his enthusiasm for all things digital today when he stopped by 1776, a “global platform for connecting entrepreneurs”, in DC. “So how do we un-encrypt this…”

Left Swipe: Government Deny Tinder Voter Registration Drive

This curious profile on the dating app Tinder has been raising eyebrows among Londoners looking for love:

Despite its mysteriously official appearance, both the Cabinet Office and the Electoral Commission have denied they are behind the profile encouraging people to register to vote.

tinder2tinder3

If, like Reg, high turnout turns you on, swipe right…

H/T @nero

Digital Dave Wings Policy

cameron obama

Digital Dave might have jetted off to the US to try and sign up his bro Obama to his crusade to outlaw encrypted communications, but it seems that the PM hasn’t been reading his Government’s own policy.

A key objective of The Cabinet Office’s UK Cyber Security Strategy (updated in December) is to “to help shape an open, vibrant and stable cyberspace that supports open societies” by ensuring “members of the public know what they can do to protect themselves, and are demanding good cyber security in the products and services they consume”. IE using encryption…

In fact the Home Office funded CyberStreetWise blog advises people to use encrypted websites when buying and selling online.

“It’s always best to use a major site which will use ‘https://’, this means they protect the information you send across their website. It’s easy to spot too, just look for ‘https://’ at the beginning of the web address and a little green padlock at the top of your browser.”

It’s almost as if the PM doesn’t know what he’s talking about…

 

Theresa May Thinks Something Might Have Happened

Theresa May has told the House of Commons that while she doesn’t really know whether it’s true or not, the Charlie Hebdo shooters where probably located by tracking their communications data. Because the Home Secretary feels like something might have happened, it is now apparently necessary for the government to listen to our phones and see our Snapchat naughty pics.

“It is too soon to say for certain, but it is highly probable that communications data was used in the Paris attacks to locate the suspects and establish the links between the two attacks. Quite simply Mr Speaker, if we want the police and security services to protect the public and save lives, they need this capability.”

Because policy based on intuition always works out well…

No, Copies of Charlie Hebdo Aren’t Selling For £500 on eBay

mo

Just about every media publication in the country ran the seemingly irresistible story this morning that people on “prophet-eering” on the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo. According to the Independent,  Mail, Telegraph, Express and the BBC sellers are flogging copies of the satirical magazine for insane prices on eBay. Unsurprisingly a cursory glance at the online auction site reveals things aren’t quite what they seem: half of the highest bids are from buyers with zero feedback, while others buyers are the top bidder on multiple identical items, strongly indicating that the bids and inflated prices are not genuine.

zero bids

As with every other “topical item selling for a crazy amount on eBay” story, something smells fishy about this one. Indeed, most of the sellers admit they don’t yet even have the magazine themselves. Even TechnoGuido’s mum knows not to trust an eBay seller with zero feedback…

Exclusive: Massive NHS Network Failure: “Most Users Affected”

nhs

Another day, another NHS crisis. TechnoGuido can reveal there has been a massive internal IT failure causing chaos in hospitals across the country. The NHS internal broadband network known as N3 has gone down with most users affected nationwide. The N3 network connects over 1.3 million NHS staff and supports both the Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions and the NHS Care Records Service. It is also the means by which NHS staff connect to the internet.

An NHS source tells TechnoGuido the problem “seems to be nationwide and most users are affected”There are rumours NHS staff are resorting to fax machines…

Digital Dave Threatens to Ban Snapchat

David Cameron has revealed his latest master plan to undermine online terrorism – he wants to ban Snapchat, an application widely used by young people to securely share saucy pictures. The PM wants to ban any form of communication that the police and GCHQ aren’t able to crack. Mobile phone applications such as Snapchat autodestruct messages after they have been read, making them perfect for the Brooks Newmarks of the world.

Presumably Dave also wants to outlaw out all form of encrypted communication, an essential tool used by journalists, whistle-blowers and dissidents to safely communicate.

“In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which even in extremis, with a signed warrant from the Home Secretary personally that we cannot read…. My answer to that question is no we must not.”

It seems “what’s the Buzzfeed” Dave still doesn’t know how the internet works.

We Want Our Website Back!

Amateur hour over at UKIP HQ, who seem to have forgotten to renew the domain name of their official website. Which doesn’t augur well for this afternoon’s whelk stall. Someone stick 50p in the meter…

UPDATE: A closer look at UKIP’s domain details shows the domain expires on March 22, 2016, but was mysteriously changed yesterday. Were UKIP hacked?

UPDATE II: It is a technical fault according to UKIP, “It is all paid for and will be up soon”. Have they tried switching it off and on again?

UPDATE III: Six hours later, it’s back up.

Social Media Sentiment is Mythical – Just Ask Alex Salmond

Labour are playing the best of a bad hand by bleating on about being outspent by the Tories, but they should be careful to avoid choking on their own Kool Aid. Pretending that Twitter can level the playing field did not work in 2010…

Guido has warned before, and will say it again; Twitter is just an echo chamber, not a voter battleground. Anyone following politics closely on there has already pretty much made up their mind how they are going to vote. Whilst it might be good for Labour morale, it’s not going to help them in the long run. 

There are 45.5 million voters in the UK, yet only 15 million people on Twitter. Only a fraction of those active users actually follow politics, so to pin your hopes on swinging an election by targeting this already partisan demographic is at best naive…

And it goes badly wrong. Alex Salmond was drafting his victory speech at 10 p.m. on Referendum Day because he was relying on social media sentiment analysis over reality based numbers. Euan McColm reports in the Scotsman:

“But, still, Salmond believed he had won. This was because of his secret Canadians. At huge expense, and amid considerable secrecy, the former SNP leader had brought in polling experts from across the Atlantic. With their new methodology, they’d be able to give him the most detailed predictions yet seen in political analysis. Or something like that.

The reason I mention these secret Canadians, apart from the fact that their existence remains a fascinating, if little known, aspect of the referendum campaign, is that unlike most traditional operators in their field, they placed great store on the use of social media among voters. By monitoring interactions on Face­book and Twitter, a fuller picture would be painted.

In the end, the fuller picture turned out to be a fake, but the fact that Salmond was willing to invest so heavily in his secret Canadians shows us how seriously the SNP – and, naturally, all other political parties – take social media as a campaigning tool.”

Has Douglas Alexander hired the same Canadian voodoo pollsters? 

WATCH: I’m So Ronery

After Sony cancelled the release of The Interview – a film about the assassination of North Korea’s leader – amid threats from hackers that they would target the company further, now Paramount has ordered US cinemas to cancel screenings of Team America, famous for its homage to Kim Jong-Il. Don’t let the cyber-terrorists win…

Read more about the Sony hacking story here.

UPDATE: The scene from The Interview the hackers didn’t want you to see:

Come See CITIZENFOUR TonightChristmas Drinks / Movie With TechnoGuido

techno-guido-citizen4

We’ve added 40 More Seats for tonight’s showing!

Guido presents a special readers’ screening of CITIZENFOUR, the new film starring Edward Snowden from Academy Award nominee Laura Poitras, next Wednesday, 6.30pm, December 17 at the crumbling old Guardian HQ on 119 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3ER. Come and see inside the Lubyanka-like former headquarters of the Guardian, watch the movie and enjoy a drink before Christmas.

This is a free screening for Guido’s readers and Techno-Guido will be supplying the drinks!

In January 2013, Laura Poitras several years into the making of a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America when she started receiving encrypted emails from someone identifying himself as “citizen four”, who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

In June 2013, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her. The film that resulted from this series of tense encounters is absolutely unique in the history of cinema: a 100% real-life thriller unfolding minute by minute before our eyes.

Warning: this movie has strong libertarian undertones…

Tickets available below:

MPs Warned to Disguise PM’s Number Over Security Concerns

Tired and emotional MPs stumbling into cabs late at night have been warned to change the Prime Minister’s name in their phone contacts to something inconspicuous, amid fears his mobile number could fall into the wrong hands. Many MPs – and researchers too – sync their mobile phone contacts to their Outlook email accounts, meaning the personal phone numbers of Cabinet members all the way up to Cameron are automatically in their phonebooks. Gavin Williamson, the PM’s PPS, has advised MPs not to have his number saved as “David Cameron”, replacing it with something less identifiable. As a Guido reader discovered over the weekend, this is probably a wise move:

GCHQ would need a full team working round the clock to keep safe the mobile phones of pissed up MPs…

Nigel Mills MP Opens New Westminster Office

Well it is very addictive…

Rifkind Defends Tech Giants

This week’s Speccie cover on the state’s war on tech is well worth a read. Its author wisely warns against heading down the slippery slope of surveillance:

“There’s no means of monitoring terrorists that doesn’t leave every-body else thinking you’re monitoring them, too… Think of Britain’s experience over the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa), which was introduced to allow the surveillance of serious criminals, and expanded, chaotically, to enable councils to spy on people suspected of fiddling school places. Make it much, much easier for Special Branch to read Geoffrey Al-Wannabi-Jihadi’s email, in other words, and how long until the local council can read yours, and use the fact you booked a rafting holiday as an excuse to cancel your disabled badge?”

In the end, he concludes attempts by the government to crack down on the likes of Google and Facebook are futile and disingenuous:

“If these vast new media empires were railroads, or sewage systems, or fibre-optic networks, then the clamour from governments would be to counter their own impotence by nationalising them… If Google and the like cracked on encryption and rolled over for every state demand, would that make us safer? Perhaps, but only for a week or two. For as long as there are other services more secure, or even just more obscure, those who do not wish to be seen will use them. The security services must know this, and increasingly I struggle to comprehend why they pretend not to.”

Malcolm Rifkind, chair of the Intelligence and Security committee, could do worse than heeding the advice of his son, Hugo…

Nameless ‘US Internet Company’ Blame Game

Malcolm Rifkind, the chair of the Intelligence and Security select committee, is seeking to blame an unnamed ‘US internet company’ for failing to pass on suspicious online behaviour by one of the suspects to MI5:

“What is clear is that the one party which could have made a difference was the company on whose system the exchange took place. However, this company does not regard themselves as under any obligation to ensure that they identify such threats, or to report them to the authorities. We find this unacceptable: however unintentionally, they are providing a safe haven for terrorists. There is then a significant possibility that MI5 would have been able to prevent the attack.”

Rifkind is effectively saying it is the responsibility of every app, website, email provider or social network to monitor every single word written by its users for anything that could be at all suspicious, then pass the messages directly on to the security services. A cynic might say the implication is that if they do not, the security services should be allowed to do it themselves. Pure coincidence that today’s report was released the day before the government’s new counter terrorism bill tomorrow..

UPDATE: This is the verdict of civil liberties campaigners Big Brother Watch:

“The conclusion that a failing of an unnamed technology company should determine future legislation, whilst the catalogue of errors by the intelligence agencies is all but excused, is of grave concern.

The report revealed multiple failures by the intelligence agencies to use the powers available to them to monitor communications. The government should use this report as a blueprint to re-evaluate the decision making and record keeping processes of the intelligence agencies, as well as the training and resources allocated within the counter terrorism community.

It is vital that existing powers to combat terrorist activity are used effectively before any further intrusive legislation is considered by parliament. Failure to do this will merely increase the burden on the agencies whilst unnecessarily intruding on the public’s civil liberties.”

Democrats Bullying Voters With Big Data

Is this rather menacing letter being pushed through doors stateside evidence of the Democrats resorting to bullying voters with big data? Worth having a read of this passage from Sasha Issenberg’s “The Victory Lab”, the seminal text on Obama’s digital campaigning. Issenberg writes that the Democrats previously considered the exact same tactic, but “no candidate or group wanted to be associated with a tactic that looked a lot like bullying – and a bit like blackmail”.

This time round it seems they’ve decided to play nasty…

Apple’s Tim Cook: iGay

Apple’s Tim Cook has confirmed the obvious:

“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”

Never mind his private life, what about fixing the battery life?[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Dr Alexander Kogan, the app developer who originally harvested the Facebook data, said…

“I think what Cambridge Analytica has tried to sell is magic and made claims this is incredibly accurate and it tells you everything there is to tell about you. But I think the reality is it’s not that. If you sit down and you really work through the statistics and you think what does a correlation of point three means, those claims quickly fall apart. And that’s something any person with a statistical background can go and do.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Sunday Shows Highlights Sunday Shows Highlights
Mogg and 13 Other MPs Write to May Declaring Transition Deal “Completely Unacceptable” Mogg and 13 Other MPs Write to May Declaring Transition Deal “Completely Unacceptable”
Corbynistas Hold Boozy Victory Party as Moderates Vacate HQ Corbynistas Hold Boozy Victory Party as Moderates Vacate HQ
Gloria De Piero’s Office Manager Still In Job Despite Defecting to Tories Gloria De Piero’s Office Manager Still In Job Despite Defecting to Tories
Fake LibDem Newspaper Lies to Richmond and Twickenham Voters Fake LibDem Newspaper Lies to Richmond and Twickenham Voters
Inside the Freer Launch Inside the Freer Launch
Labour Head of Broadcast Now Working For BBC News Labour Head of Broadcast Now Working For BBC News
Owen Jones’ Viral Fake News Owen Jones’ Viral Fake News
Hawking on Corbyn Hawking on Corbyn
Tory Website Down Tory Website Down
Labour Outsources Flashy New Website to Bernie’s US Consultants Labour Outsources Flashy New Website to Bernie’s US Consultants
AOL IM R.I.P. AOL IM R.I.P.
Paul Mason: Ban Uber & Airbnb Paul Mason: Ban Uber & Airbnb
Mini-Nuclear Plants Produce Cheap Energy Mini-Nuclear Plants Produce Cheap Energy
Greens Live in Most Expensive Homes Greens Live in Most Expensive Homes
Why Transition Must Be Short Why Transition Must Be Short
PICTURES: Seumas’ Temper Tantrum PICTURES: Seumas’ Temper Tantrum
Don’t Believe ‘Victory For Hammond’ Spin Don’t Believe ‘Victory For Hammond’ Spin
Freedom From Abuse Not Abuse of Freedom Freedom From Abuse Not Abuse of Freedom