The KARMA POLICE program is detailed in newly released Snowden docs published on The Intercept; it began as a project to identify every listener to every Internet radio station (to find people listening to jihadi radio) and grew into an ambitious plan to identify every Web user and catalog their activities from porn habits to Skype contacts. Read the rest
Well, for one thing, it's pretty weird that as soon as the story that UK Prime Minister/hereditary toff David Cameron allegedly stuck his penis in the mouth of a dead pig in a college initiation for a secret society of the ultra-rich, the UK's top establishment figures leapt to his defense, saying that even if he face-fucked a dead pig, it wasn't such a big deal. Read the rest
The US government has given up on demanding backdoors in cryptography for now (advocates have announced that they'll wait until a terrorist attack and then use that as the excuse for fresh demands), leaving the UK government as the last man standing in the race to compromise the security of the technologies with the power of life and death over us. Read the rest
I'm a visiting professor at OU, and dearly love the institution. It's a remarkable, multidisciplinary institution with a long history of educating people who've been excluded from the traditional university system.
The regional call centres are hugely important to the OU's success. They are the university's front line, staffed by dedicated, local people who help their neighbours to navigate the OU system, and connecting current OU students with alumni and prospective students, acting as a force for social cohesion in the OU's community.
My OU Computer Science colleague, Ray Corrigan, has written a stirring and important piece about the OU regional call centres' role in the OU system:
Read the rest
Understanding the OU deeply takes a long time. It is full of incredible people who care deeply about our students and who have repeatedly shown they will go to the ends of the earth for this place, even to the point of putting their own health and welbeing at risk. Staff in the East Grinstead regional office which was shut down by the University at the end of November 2014, worked evenings and weekends, even in the knowledge they would be unemployed by Christmas, to ensure the students were settled with experienced, well qualified-tutors for our courses starting last autumn. In the thick of all the complexity and accommodation of massive structural changes of the past few years, though, it's worth noting that fundamentally the OU is simply about putting people in touch with people, people who care.
Historically the OU turned a discredited education method - correspondence courses - into hugely effective supported open learning at a distance which, for over 40 years, has outstripped the personal support provided by most of the conventional university sector by a street.
Whole regions of England are now owned by holding companies in tax-havens "from Panama to Luxembourg, and from Liechtenstein to the South Pacific island of Niue." Read the rest
After decades of Blairite, New Labour politics that catered to banks, built out mass surveillance and attacked unions and the working poor, the UK Labour Party has elected a genuine left-wing leader, by a landslide: democratic socialist Jeremy Corbyn. Read the rest
Simon Perry froze a can of Diet Coke solid and took it through security at London's Heathrow Airport to see whether he could find a loophole in the "no liquids" rule. Read the rest
It's a complex story -- partly about the Beeb facing privatisation and being required to bid out its work; partly about the Met having made some spectacular recent blunders in providing the weather. Read the rest
Hugh writes, "The whisper is that Banksy is involved in the staging of some sort of pop-up show/exhibition/thing called Dismaland -- apparently a swipe at Disneyland. Read the rest
Jim from Open Rights Group writes, "Should file-sharers be threatened with up to 10 years in prison? The UK's Intellectual Property Office are consulting on this idea." Read the rest