Censored! Viz Kicked off Facebook

viz

Cheeky comic Viz has fallen foul of Facebook censors this morning. The top shelf Beano famous for the outrageous antics of Roger Melly and the Fat Slags announced via Twitter that their page had been banned for polluting Facebook’s “welcoming, respectful environment.” The same environment that saw hundreds of paedophile groups allowed to post sick images and perverse comments, and gave SNP cybernats a platform to share their bullying videos during the election. Guido is sure Viz will take this threat with its usual solemnity

Before You Go Incognito…

It’s gone midnight and before readers, er, go incognito, they might be interested to learn the government is going to make it harder. DCMS today launch a public consultation to require porn websites to ensure all their viewers are over 18. The plan is that Jack Dromey et al will have to sign in to an identify provider such as their bank or mobile operator before they open up the “private browsing” section. Sites that do not abide by the new law will face civil action or even be blocked, Chinese-style, which seems unworkable at best and draconian censorship at worst. No technology has been or ever will be invented that can stop teenage boys looking at pictures of naked girls…

Amazon’s Lawyers Prepare for Zombie Apocalypse

AMAZON+APOCOLYPSE

Amazon has released a beta of Lumberyard, a free game engine and software development tool that runs on Amazon’s AWS cloud computing platform. AWS is a multi-billion revenue generator for Amazon and most tech start-ups use it.

aws

Clause 57 of the terms and conditions deals with a common video-game scenario. It has a few acceptable use exceptions that don’t read like the usual legalese:

However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.

It seems that in the event of a properly certified zombie apocalypse the platform will be available to actually shoot ’em up… 

Happy ‘I Heart Unions’ Day

Hundreds of unionised Luddites in black cabs bring Millbank, Whitehall and Parliament Square to a stand still this afternoon. Doing Uber’s marketing for them…

Labour’s Consistent Flip-Flopping on Surveillance

flipflop

Labour have put out a statement boldly claiming they have “consistently” raised doubts about Theresa May’s Investigatory Powers bill. According to Sir Keir Starmer:

“Labour has consistently argued that the extension of surveillance powers can only be justified if accompanied by much improved transparency and ever-more robust oversight and scrutiny.”

Have they really “consistently argued” this?

This is what Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham said about the bill in November. He gushingly gave Labour’s full support.

We support the Government in their attempt to update the law in this important and sensitive area. We share the Government’s goal of creating a world-class framework…

From what the Home Secretary has said today, it is clear to me that she and the Government have listened carefully to the concerns that were expressed about the draft Bill that was presented in the last Parliament. She has brought forward much stronger safeguards, particularly in the crucial area of judicial authorisation. It would help the future conduct of this important public debate if the House sent out the unified message today that this is neither a snooper’s charter, nor a plan for mass surveillance…

In conclusion, the issues the proposed legislation seeks to tackle go way beyond party politics. Any Government will face a difficult task in balancing the security of the nation with the privacy and liberties of individual citizens… Having listened carefully to what the Home Secretary has said today, I believe that she has responded to legitimate concerns and broadly got that difficult balance right.”

So Labour hasn’t “consistently argued” that the bill was only justified if accompanied by other amendments. They previously gave it their full, unequivocal support.

Days later, of course, Burnham flip-flopped and decided he didn’t support the government after all. As if he would ever be “consistent” about anything.

Uber Tries To Kill Hailo

App War

Uber have offered black cab drivers the chance to use the ride sharing app for no fee for the first twelve months. It’s a move unlikely to placate all the irate cabbies, 5,000 of which plan to protest in the capital on Wednesday over the deregulation of the industry. But could this “olive branch” actually be part of an attempt to kill off the black cab apps Hailo and Gett?

The most telling part of the press release states:

While both black cab and licensed Uber drivers go through exactly the same background checks, taxi drivers have additional hoops they have to jump through. The Knowledge, for instance, is rightly legendary. But it means memorising 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks – a skill that can take up to four years to master.

In the age of GPS and live traffic apps, is such an onerous test still needed? Could a modern version of The Knowledge that took advantage of new technology and only took a year to complete be just as effective? And when a black cab typically costs more than £40,000 to buy and thousands a year to run, shouldn’t taxi drivers be given a broader choice of cars, including green and hybrid vehicles?

Somehow Guido doesn’t think that Uber suggesting abolishing the knowledge is about altruistically helping out the cabbies and leveling the competitive playing field. It looks like bringing Black cabs onto the app is more an attempt to standardise the qualifications required for Uber drivers and cabbies, and destroy Hailo and Gett in the process. We wait to see how many cabbies will be tempted…

Labour’s Digital Revolution Will Not Be Shared

digital-tom

Tom Watson is one of the more savvy digital operators and he is promising to revolutionise Labour’s digital campaigning in this video released on YouTube. Unfortunately it has – after being up over a week – only managed to chalk up 748 views. This is despite Labour’s YouTube channel having 16,279 loyal subscribers. Why?

Well it doesn’t help that the video is unlisted and  hidden from search traffic, with sharing on social media actively discouraged. Doh! Clearly the revolution will not be shared… 

Uncharacteristically Guido will offer some digital campaigning advice for free. Spend more money on targeting online advertising during campaigns. It works. Don’t rely on tweeting to your most dedicated supporters in the Twitter echo chamber. Also, this chap is right:

Hope that helps…

French Cabbies Protest Uber With Smoke Bombs and #JeSuisTaxi Hashtag

Uber Je Suis

Paris taxi drivers have brought the French capital to a halt in another protest against Uber. Some 300 taxi drivers blocked major roads, lit fires and threw smoke bombs during the ugly scenes. Even worse, the Luddites are protesting under the banner “#JeSuisTaxi”:

Such bad taste is reminiscent of London cabbies’ exploitation of the Leytonstone jihadi incident last month. Stay classy.

BT Forgets to Hang Up

Could have been a lot worse…

Victory! TFL Scraps Silly Uber Crackdown

Uber Wait

Victory for progress as TFL climbs down and drops the most punitive regulations imposed on taxi firm Uber. Gone is the dangerous stipulation that customers would have to wait five minutes for a ride. As is the proposal that locations of Uber cars should not be visible in the app to customers. Making private hire vehicles pay the congestion charge and raising minicab license costs is being considered instead. Boris has embraced technological progress, too:

“There were some ideas consulted upon that did not find widespread support and I think are not sensible. They’re trying to turn back the clock on technical progress, we cant disinvent the internet or apps, they’re making things much easier in our city”.

Increasing regulations on Uber was never the solution, relaxing rules for cabbies is the only sensible way to level the playing field…

Tory Boob: I Was Hacked!

Rushton

Yesterday Guido revealed how Tory councillor Nick Rushton had boobed by following an assortment of Twitter accounts dedicated to well-endowed ladies. Today naughty Nick has called in the police claiming he was hacked, telling his local paper:

“My Twitter account was hacked by someone with malicious intent. Whoever has done this changed my password, as I was unable to log onto it for a considerable period of time.”

Guido can help the police with their enquiries.

The screenshot of Rushton’s ‘Following’ page was taken over the weekend, after which Rushton’s account continued to tweet a series of selfies showing the man himself.

Either Nick’s long-lost identical twin changed his password or the hacking story doesn’t quite add up…

Ask Jez: Why Could Labour Be Fined Up To £500,000?

Lab Comms

Jeremy Corbyn has revolutionised PMQs by outsourcing his questions to members of the public. Voters are able to send in their question by supplying their email address and filling out an online form with their suggestions. Guido would like to remind everyone to use this form responsibly…

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear Labour have complied with the regulations laid out by the Information Commissioners Office’s on online communications, with the ICO stipulating that there must be an opt-out option for receiving future e-mail communications from the party. This option is noticeably absent on Labour’s forms. Fines for such breaches can run up to £500,000…

Hello From the Dark Side

Adele Vader calls…

Exitism: Labour Departures

balls-spads

Dan Hodges flouncing out of the Labour Party (again) is no surprise, though he joins a steady stream of people resigning from the people’s party. If not formally resigning they are just quietly (or not so quietly) not renewing their memberships. Exitism by high-calibre moderates is on the rise as the once entryist crypto-commies and toytown trots are welcomed into the party by Corbyn…

Former candidates, bag-carrying opposition PAds and other greasy pole climbing careerists are re-evaluating their prospects. Talk to them and they candidly say that they fully expect another decade of Tory rule. Do they want to spend their best years arguing with lobotomised lefties in CLPs or making some money in the private sector? Labour’s departure lounge is busy…

One-time leadership contender Ed Balls himself looks like he has had enough and his praetorian guard of former advisers have already made the move to the private sector. His former policy chief Karim Palant has joined Facebook as UK public policy manager. Alex Belardinelli, long-time Balls SpAd in government and opposition, is now spinning for Uber, the multi-billion dollar ride-sharing corporation, as their UK head of communications. Do let Guido know of any more examples of exitism…

Star Wars Politics

STARWARS-SIE

Everyone seems to have a take on the politics of Star Wars, was it a Cold War allegory, with the Empire as the Soviet Union? Now that death star has been destroyed the Empire is being re-cast by some as the European Union – after all Princess Padmé Amidala (played by Natalie Portman) in Revenge of the Sith is engaged in a trade treaty dispute at the Galactic Parliament. Her people of Naboo, a small constitutional monarchy, could perhaps be the British, which makes Nick Clegg a political Jar Jar Binks.

James Delingpole makes some sound points about the Star Wars fight for freedom, Tyler Durden too over at Zero Hedge makes a case for Star Wars being an example of libertarian myth-making. The New Statesman’s Stephen Bush seems to accept that the heroes are counter-revolutionary freedom fighters against an oppressive galactic state. He even calls the Jedis “Tories”…

One thing is for sure, these are not the Jedis you are looking for:

corbynista-jedis

YouGov have asked the British public which Star Wars character political leaders identify with:

Clearly they think politicians are baddies…

Taxi Union Weaponises Leytonstone Terror

The anti-progress Licensed Taxi Drivers Association are really angry about the Leytonstone stabbing… because it seems the knifeman may have once been an Uber driver:

Who knew cabbies had such advanced Photoshop skills?

H/T @jimwaterson

UPDATE: The LTDA probably shouldn’t be so pious:

Parliamentarians Warned of Cyber Phishing Surge

parliament-cyber-phishing
Joe Connolly, the security geek in parliament’s digital service, has just sent an email to all MPs and staff warning that

A large number of fraudulent emails have been sent to Parliamentary email addresses today.  … These ‘phishing’ emails look authentic, as if they relate to invoices, payments or transfers. They are designed to persuade you to click on a link in the email or to open a Word attachment which will then deploy extremely malicious software onto your machine.  Please be aware that criminals are targeting parliamentary email addresses and look out for any emails of this kind. Some users have also received fraudulent phone calls (from callers claiming to work for companies like Microsoft) in which they have been asked to disclose personal information or to grant the caller remote access to their computer.

Shouldn’t be a problem, Parliamentary staff are well used to dealing with sophisticated liars…

Snoopers’ Charter Explained: All Your Data

SNOOPERS

Big Brother Watch have released a series of fact sheets explaining the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, better known as the Snooper’s Charter. The principal areas of note are as follows:

Internet Connection Records: • Telecommunication Services will be asked to keep a log of all of our online activity for 12 months.

• Every website you visit and the time, location and information about your device will be stored.

• ICRs will be used on production of a warrant by the police, intelligence agencies and other organisations including HMRC and the NHS.

• There are no specific requirements regarding how securely the information must be held.

Equipment Interference: • Your computer, phone or tablet could be made vulnerable by malicious software.

• You will never know if you have been the target of a hack.

• Even if you are not hacked a business or organisation you have innocent dealings with may be the target of a hack.

Communications Data

• Whenever you make a call, send a text, send an email or go online you create communications data.

• Your communications data can reveal every aspect of your online life.

• The Government wants Telecommunication Services to keep all your communications data for 12 months.

• The police, the tax man, the NHS and local councils can all request access to your communications data.

Interception: • Interception is the process of spying on texts, emails and internet activity or the listening in on telephone calls.

• Targeted intercept is specific, bulk intercept is broad.

• Without an indication of who bulk interception will be used against, anyone who uses the internet or a telephone could be vulnerable to their data being looked at or listened to.

• Any evidence gathered through intercept cannot be used in a court of law. It can only be used as part of a secret investigation.

Bulk Personal Datsets: • Bulk personal datasets are files of information on all UK citizens.

• Very little detail is provided about what datasets can be requested and used.

• BPDs contain information and details about people not suspected of terrorism or crime.

• The Home Secretary will sign warrants for use, Judicial Commissioners will only have the opportunity to review the decision.

Authorisation:• The Home Secretary already signs an average of 6 warrants a day on top of her other Ministerial duties.

• The “double lock” is more of a “rubber stamp” as the decision to authorise a warrant will be made by a Secretary of State and the Judicial Commissioner will only “review” the decision.

• We will be the only country in the “Five Eyes” alliance which will not have true independent authorisation. • Judicial authorisation rather than review will prevent any political abuse of the warrantry process.

Warrants: • A warrant is needed before any of the powers can be used.

• The detail of a warrant, including the operational purpose can be changed after a warrant has been approved sometimes without any further approval.

• Each request must be seen to be“necessary and proportionate”, but these terms are broad and open to interpretation.

Big brother is hacking…

Drone Home

Amazon have unveiled their latest plans for hybrid drones for rapid parcel delivery in a new advert narrated by Jeremy Clarkson. The drones are expected to be capable of flying 15 miles at speeds of over 55mph. Guido has no doubt they will be coming to an Amazon Original TV series near you soon…

Socialist With An iPad

socialism-with-ipad-john-mcdonnell

John McDonnell has had his Harold Wilson moment today, or at least he wants you to think he has. The Shadow Chancellor is unveiling his latest plans for a technological revolution in socialism, moving on from Wilson’s “white heat of technology” to the slightly less inspiring “socialism, but socialism with an iPad“:

“How we work is changing.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Matt Zarb-Cousin cracks a good ideological joke…

“Conservatives don’t like a ‘robot tax’ because it means they’d have a tax on their own leader – the Maybot.”

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