UK govt: no crypto back doors, just repeal the laws of mathematics


The UK government continues to exhibit its historic, dangerous cluelessness about crypto. After promising to ban working crypto in the previous election campaign, the Tory government has advanced a nonsensical compromise: apps can use working crypto, but also have to be able to break that crypto on demand, without using backdoors. Read the rest

David Cameron promises law to force ISPs to censor a secret blacklist


The UK Prime Minister has doubled down on his Great Firewall of Cameron, which is an arrangement whereby the UK ISPs "voluntarily" agreed to block websites that had been secretly ruled to be pornographic, unless customers specifically asked them not tp. Read the rest

Realistic chocolate dinosaur fossil teeth: choco-megaladon/T-Rex


Sarah Hardy's megaladon (£28) and T.Rex (£28) teeth are full size, convincing, and made from gorgeous, single-origin chocolates. Read the rest

Putting your kettle on the Internet of Things makes your wifi passwords an open secret


The $150 Smarter Ikettle lets you start your water boiling from anywhere in the world over the Internet -- and it also contains long-term serious security vulnerabilities that allow attackers to extract your wifi passwords from it. Read the rest

A beautiful data-driven Tube ad from 1928


This 1928 London Underground ad is a beautiful and witty example of using data to help people get the best use out of public services. By listing the tube's load at different times of the day, LU helped riders figure out how to avoid crushes, and by making the descriptions funny and insightful, the poster's creators created memorable hooks for putting the info in context. Read the rest

Read: Laurie Penny's BLUE MONDAY, class war and cute animal videos


Laurie Penny's science fiction story "Blue Monday" is a mean little kick up the ass. I workshopped this story with her last summer at the Clarion West workshop in Seattle and it doesn't get any less punchy on subsequent re-readings. Read the rest

UK "anti-radicalisation" law can take kids from thoughtcriming parents in secret trials


The Conservative Party's "anti-radicalisation" laws call on teachers and other public servants to report brown children who espouse "radical" ideologies -- and now the other shoe has dropped, with the Family Division of the Judiciary promising to steal those children from their parents. Read the rest

ORG celebrates its tenth birthday: a decade of UK digital rights!


It's been ten years since Danny O'Brien, Suw Charman and I announced the formation of the UK Open Rights Group at the 2005 Open Tech conference and asked the assembled people to pledge to pay £5/month to help fund a UK-based digital rights group that would fight for their rights online -- and everywhere. Read the rest

UK MPs learn that GCHQ can spy on them, too, so now we may get a debate on surveillance


In 1966, UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson told MPs that the UK spy agencies weren't allowed to tap their phones and that if that changed, he'd tell them about it first. In 1997, Prime Minister Tony Blair asserted that this applied to electronic communications. This Monday, UK Home Secretary Theresa May asserted that the "Wilson Doctrine" still applied to MPs. Then, on Wednesday, the investigatory powers tribunal ruled that this was all rubbish. Read the rest

Balloon-twisted lungs and guts


UK artist Kerry Hughes made her Pneumatic Anatomy series of detailed anatomical replicas out of twisted balloons. I love the bronchioles in the lungs especially. (Photos by Aaron Tilley) (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Police end round-the-clock Assange detail at London's Ecuadorian embassy


Three years and £12 million later, London's Metropolitan police has ended its 24/7 surveillance of the Ecuadorian embassy, through which officers kept vigil for the day that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange would leave the building. Read the rest

Funny because it's true: "Tories to build thousands of affordable second homes"


The UK humour site Daily Mash nails the UK's transformation into a Torified, bank-centric place where the need for shelter is a vulnerability to exploit in order to enrich yourself at the expense of the people around you with a brilliant short piece: "Tories to build thousands of affordable second homes." Read the rest

Jimmy Wales calls UK's proposed crypto ban "moronic"


The Wikipedia co-founder is also the UK government's special Internet advisor. In the previous election cycle, Tory PM David Cameron promised to ban strong crypto if re-elected, and when the US surveillance establishment dropped its demands for a ban on crypto, Cameron doubled down on the proposition. Read the rest

Shaken: cocktail kits by mail


Shaken is a UK startup that sells subscriptions to "the best cocktails you've ever made." Every month, they send you a handsome box with several bottles of rare and delicious booze, small-batch bitters, and a cocktail recipe explaining the history, chemistry and practice of some classic or novel cocktail. Read the rest

UK top government official: human rights no longer a "top priority"

The royals with Sir Simon McDonald.

Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office -- the country's most senior Foreign Office official -- told MPs that his department had sidelined human rights work in favour of global trade agreements (the same agreements that allow sovereign wealth funds from the world's most brutal, oppressive states to buy huge swathes of the UK's public institutions at knock-down prices in the Tories' great sell-off of public assets). Read the rest

Brass cuffs decorated with vintage maps, anatomy, science and math


Kate in Dorchester, England makes gorgeous brass wrist-cuffs decorated with vintage literary, cartographic and scientific imagery: there's Poe's Raven; the periodic table; anatomical dentistry drawings; Newton's laws of motion; the human spine; a map of the Thames and the Tower of London; a tape-measure; the human foot's bones; and headlines from Jack the Ripper's killings and much, much more. Read the rest

Fun Palaces: locally made art, science and play, for participants, not audiences


The idea of Fun Palaces has been incubating among radical librarians for more than half a century, and now it's bursting open as a full-fledged movement. Every library in the Lambeth Borough of London will be a Fun Palace this Saturday, with a wide range of participatory activities ranging from zine and science workshops to participatory theater to kids' games from the amazing Code Club. Read the rest

More posts