Oxford, I'll see you tonight on the Walkaway tour (then London, Liverpool, Birmingham...) (!)

I'm in the UK for the British Walkaway tour, which kicks off tonight at 7PM in Oxford where I'll be in conversation with Tim Harford at Blackwells. Read the rest

Burbank: I'm coming to you today on the Walkaway tour! (then Oxford, London, Liverpool...) (!)

I took great advantage of my 36 hour hiatus from the Walkaway tour, but I'm back at it today, with a 2PM appearance at Burbank's Dark Delicacies, before I go straight to the airport to fly to the UK for my British tour. Read the rest

Theresa May promises a British version of Iran's Halal Internet

UK Prime Minister and noted authoritarian Theresa May has promised that if she wins the upcoming general election, her party will abolish internet access in the UK, replacing it with a government-monitored internet where privacy tools are banned and online services will be required to vet all user-supplied content for compliance with rules about pornography, political speech, copyright compliance and so on -- and search engines will have to emply special British rules to exclude banned material from their search results. Read the rest

UK prison deploys active anti-drone countermeasures to fight contraband smuggling

A UK weapons company called Drone Defence has sold an anti-drone product to Les Nicolles prison on Guernsey that will use 20 nonspecific "disruptors" to do something to drones that will stop them from overflying the prison and smuggling in contraband. Read the rest

Insider whistleblower says London police hired Indian hackers to surveil journalists, politicians and activists

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating a tip-off from a current or ex-London police officer that the London Metropolitan Police's National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit asked Indian police to use their hacker contacts to break into the private communications of hundreds of British people and groups, from journalists to Greenpeace. Read the rest

Poll has Britons in full-throated approval of Corbynism (if not Corbyn)

Ever since he became leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has faced bitter attacks from the "left-wing" establishment, the press, and his own party, despite his repeated, unprecedented landslide victories in party leadership races. Read the rest

Ransomware hackers have stolen hospitals and doctors' offices across the UK, using a leaked NSA cyberweapon

25 NHS trusts and multiple doctors' practices in England and Scotland (but so far, not Northern Ireland or Wales) report that they have had to effectively shut down due to a massive Wcry ransomware infection that has stolen whole swathes of the English healthcare system in one go. The infection appears to exploit a bug that the NSA discovered and deliberately kept secret, only to have it revealed by the Shadow Brokers. Read the rest

Announcing the official UK Walkaway Tour!

My UK publisher, Head of Zeus, has published the official tour schedule for the British tour for Walkaway, with stops in Oxford (with Tim Harford), London (with Laurie Penny), Liverpool (with Chris Pak), Birmingham, and the Hay Literary Festival (with Dr Adam Rutherford). Hope to see you there! Read the rest

Theresa May says she won't debate party leaders before election

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who surprised the world yesterday when she broke her own promise and called snap elections for June 8, has said that she will not debate the other party leaders before election day. Read the rest

Aga added networking to their super-high-end cookers, integrating them into the Internet of Shit

Aga is an iconic European over-maker famous for a longstanding, ostentatious design that required the owner to burn fuel around the clock to maintain temperature across the cooker's titanic thermal mass, so much so that owners of British country homes integrated them into their household heating systems. Read the rest

MEP to Commission: World Wide Web Consortium's DRM is a danger to Europeans

German Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda (previously) has published an open-letter signed by UK MEP Lucy Anderson, raising alarm at the fact that the W3C is on the brink of finalising a DRM standard for web video, which -- thanks to crazy laws protecting DRM -- will leave users at risk of unreported security vulnerabilities, and also prevent third parties from adapting browsers for the needs of disabled people, archivists, and the wider public. Read the rest

Britons! Ask the W3C to protect disabled access, security research, archiving and innovation from DRM

With two days to go until the close of the World Wide Web Consortium members' poll on finalising DRM and publishing it as an official web standard, the UK Open Rights Group is asking Britons to write to the Consortium and its founder, Tim Berners-Lee, to advocate for a much-needed, modest compromise that would protect the open web from the world's bizarre, awful, overreaching DRM laws. Read the rest

Even by the standards of tax-havens, Gibraltar is pretty sketchy

As Brexit shambles on, UK Tory Parliamentarians and Theresa May are spoiling for a re-run of the Falklands Island debacle, this time over Gibraltar, a British outpost at the tip of Spain. Read the rest

First non-white judge at top UK court used to be mistaken for defendants

Anuja Ravindra Dhir, the first non-white circuit judge at the Old Bailey, says "she was often mistaken for a witness or defendant when she started working as a lawyer" in the 1980s.

The 49-year-old said at first, most clients did not want to be represented by a young Asian Scottish female.

She also said that, when she wanted to go to university in the 1970s, she was told to be a hairdresser instead. ...

Judge Dhir said she once had to produce her wig and gown before security allowed her into court. "I got used to turning up at courts and people saying to me 'Witness? - no - Defendant? - no' and looking rather surprised when I said I was the advocate," she said.

Now the youngest Central Criminal Court justice, she talks of the "incredible changes" over the last 30 years.

"There is one glass ceiling that's in our minds, that's what we think we can achieve so perhaps we impose our glass ceiling and that has happened to me several times."

The Old Bailey houses 15 judges, of whom 10 are men and five are women, including one who is due to start soon. And of the recent intake of Old Bailey judges, three out of six are women.

Judge Dhir said: "Child-friendly policies I think are important. As a society we are better at raising that now than we ever have been before."

She praised the Recorder of London, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, for his commitment to change at the Old Bailey, a building steeped in history and tradition dating back to medieval times.

Read the rest

"Global Britain": the plan to turn post-Brexit Britain into the world's money-laundering arms-dealer

UK Prime Minister Theresa May says that post-Brexit Britain won't rely on the EU, but will become a "Global Britain," turning to the rest of the world to bring the the billions the UK will lose when it departs from the European Union. Read the rest

The linguistic backflips used by Deliveroo to pretend its employees are independent contractors

Deliveroo is a "gig economy" company that hires people to cycle around big cities, delivering meals, while pretending that all their riders are actually "independent contractors" running their own businesses through which they subcontract to Deliveroo, thus dodging any need to pay benefits or comply with basic labor, health and safety rules. Read the rest

UK court upholds fine against parent who took child out of class "without authorization"

Upholding a £120 fine levied against a parent who took their child on vacation mid-semester, England's Supreme Court—backed by the Prime Minister—ruled that parents should not be allowed to remove children from school without "authorization."

In her judgement, Lady Hale said it would cause unacceptable disruption if parents were able to withdraw children whenever they wanted.

"Unauthorised absences have a disruptive effect, not only on the education of the individual child, but also on the work of other pupils, and of their teachers," she said.

Allowing parents to decide when they took their children away would be a "slap in the face" to parents who kept the rules, said Lady Hale.

Punishment for disobedience justified by the presumed insult to the obedient. So very English!

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "We are pleased the Supreme Court unanimously agreed with our position - that no child should be taken out of school without good reason.

(You can home-school kids in the UK, but the authorities can serve mandatory school attendance orders if they don't like the look of your curriculum) Read the rest

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