Clouded Oversight

GCHQ-ALWAYS-LISTENING-TO-OUR-CUSTOMERS

The Intelligence and Security Committee is finally investigating what GCHQ has been up to and will report in due course that everything is fine. It always does.

GCHQ’s operations are technically complex, and during this week’s session with the Shadow Home Secretary one committee member displayed the sort of technical prowess that we’ve come to expect from the political guardians of our liberties from over zealous spooks. On distinguishing between “internal” and “external” interception under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Lord Lothian (Michael Ancram), highlighted exactly the sort of insight you would expect from someone tasked with oversight of GCHQ, whose projects include the subtly named “Mastering the Internet” programme – the £1 billion digital mass surveillance programme that would have made Big Brother’s eyes pop with jealousy. Ancram has been thinking:

“I thought, until about three months ago, that I understood this, until suddenly I start reading about cloud and wondering whether anything sent to cloud, whether its from here or anywhere else, is actually external because cloud is based somewhere in California.”

How will GCHQ pull the wool over his eyes?

Snapchat Now More Popular Than Twitter Among 18-34s

Remember those crazy Snapchat guys who turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook for their zero revenue firm? Bloomberg reports they are now in funding talks which value the app at $10 billion. Data from Business Insider shows that 1 in 3 US smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 34 are using Snapchat, twice as many as nine months ago and considerably more than Twitter. If Facebook had bought them out Mark Zuckerberg’s company would now own the three most popular social networks in America…

Why Do App Developers Prioritise Apple?

android

Given Android has shipped three times as many units as Windows or Apple’s iOS you have to question why so many app developers choose an iPhone first strategy. Apparently iPhone owners are bigger spenders more willing to pay for apps. Are they 4 times as willing to spend? Old media often goes for an iPad conversion of their dead tree product first. This is not a mass market solution, it excludes 80% of the operating systems shipped annually. The coming ubiquity of HTML5 cross compatibility will bring this to an end hopefully…

Hat-tip: Business Insider

I’m Supporting #PositiveTwitterDay

Guido is supporting #PositiveTwitterDay today. Twitter, especially the political Twittersphere can be a horrible nasty place, well today Guido will do his Christian best to be nice to all in his tweets. The idea comes from the invariably polite Sunder Katwala.


A number of well known Twitter curmudgeons have already re-tweeted the hashtag #PositiveTwitterDay and entered into the spirit of the day. Guido for his part is determined to have civil, positive discussions today with the likes of Polly or Mehdi. The power of positive tweeting…

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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.”

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