Monthly Archives: April 2009

Laaaaaadon bound

I’m off to the London Hilton on Park Lane tomorrow.  That’s posh init?  Norf a the river and near the most expensive hotels on the Monopoly board.



Filed under Reasons to be cheerful

Right to Privacy

Internet data-retention law comes into force

Internet service providers will have to retain details of Internet communications, including email, under UK law which came into force on Monday.

The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 require service providers to retain details of user Internet access, email and Internet telephony for 12 months. ISPs must also be able to respond to access requests by law enforcement and other designated authorities.

The details of UK citizens’ communications to be retained include which websites people have visited or attempted to visit; the sender, recipient, date and time of emails; and the caller and recipient of Internet telephone calls.

Read more

What this means is that every web site, email and telephone call that you make not only can be monitored if you are suspected of some heinous villainy but will be monitored and retained for 12 months. 

Quite how this will help to stop terrorism or organised crime escapes me.  I could take a laptop to a Witherspoon’s pub or other free Internet access location such as almost anywhere where people have set up free wifi access points for me to use. (Thank you).  I could use a free Internet mail account with some bogus details to plot my nefarious activities.  If I wanted to I could set up a simple device on my laptop to mask my network card’s MAC address.  A simply dongle, router or disposable mobile phone would do.  I would be anonymous again.

Presumably the EU is operating on the assumption that people who want to blow things up are stupid as well as misguided.  The two do not automatically go together. 

I wonder what happens when I email one of my American, Canadian or Australian chums?  They can track my sending an email but not what happens to it?    If I send it to a googlemail account it could literally go anywhere and remain private.  Actually I could set up my own email server, dial into an Australian ISP and route messages that way.  I believe that there are still Aussie Internet hosts that operate out of remote sheep farms and such.  I don’t want to stretch the bounds of national stereotypes too far but I’m sure there are a few.

This law is simply an invasion of my privacy and the privacy of anyone else in the EU.  I will be writing to my MP and MEPs (you can find your’s here and here) asking them to campaign to repeal this pointless and intrusive law.


Filed under Bad things happen, You decide


I’ve just read about NoGodTube on the Friendly Atheist.  Apparently this is a response to the repeated complaints of theists and suspension of atheist’s YouTube accounts.  The beauty of YouTube is that you can reach the whole world with your opinions.  I understand the need to police these views and maintain certain standards but I would think that discussion would be something that YouTube would want to promote.

While it is a shame that some people seem to want to silence opposing views I find it more of a shame that the opposing views feel it necessary to retreat.  I don’t feel that it aids the debate any more than idiotic flaming or attempts to ban contributors. 

With NoGodTube, we can continue to debate, but on our terms. Theists will be able to present their arguments based on reason, but if they disagree with our responses, they won’t be able to get us banned or flame us.

I disagree that you can set the terms of a debate and have an open and honest discussion in a public forum.  In a structured debate this is fine but YouTube offers a chance to have your say about anything and invites response from everyone.  Removing yourself from that whether to GodTube (now Tangle) or NoGodTube is to cut yourself off from the marketplace of ideas.

The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there’s no place for it in the endeavor of science. We do not know beforehand where fundamental insights will arise from about our mysterious and lovely solar system. The history of our study of our solar system shows us clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong, and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources.

— Carl Sagan


Filed under Atheist, Bad things happen