Snowden’s statement to European Parliament Surveillance Inquiry (Read it for yourself)

In situations like this, I like reading the original statement. Available here as a PDF via the European Parliament. (Drop me a line at the email address here if this suffers from link rot. I have made an archive copy.)

A good review (with an appropriate amount of modulated outrage) from Glyn Moody here: Snowden Gives Testimony To European Parliament Inquiry Into Mass Surveillance, Asks For EU Asylum (TechDirt)

Click to read Glyn Moody's article at TechDirt

Click to read Glyn Moody’s article at TechDirt

This is an issue of our times. Governmental overreach, what Snowden calls ‘suspicionless surveillance’, makes us all ‘targets’. As he says, mass surveillance ‘violates our rights, risks our safety & threatens our way of life.’

- P

Read this: Did the NSA write John Key’s spy bill? — No Right Turn which highlights a wee mention of ‘faraway New Zealand’ in Snowden’s testimony … see page 3. Ooops.

faraway_New_Zealand

    What could be behind Apple’s unwillingness to pass the ‘Spy Lockout’ shareholder resolution?

    See:

    click to read this at firedog lake.com

    click to read this at firedog lake.com

    Now, I hadn’t upgraded to OSX Mavericks, so the ‘GotoFail’ bug didn’t affect my desktop, but it appears that ‘error’ was a factor in my iPhone and iPad since iOS6 sometime.

    The awful coincidence of Apple appearing (according to Edward Snowden’s ground-shaking disclosures) to have joined the NSA’s PRISM ‘direct access to user data’ programme about that time certainly shakes my confidence in the security of my data.

    I read Apple’s recently-released explanation about just how wonderfully secure iMessages actually are (with diagrams! …and caveats) but, really, if something Apple does but can’t disclose gives the NSA ‘access’ to the data on my iPhone, what’s to stop them reading the message logs on my phone?

    As gut-wrenching now as it was in June last year when we first saw it.

    As gut-wrenching now as it was in June last year when we first saw it. (But notice ‘messages’ aren’t on the list.)

    There’s some defensive commentary that Apple’s directors vetoed ‘Spy Lockout’ shareholder’s floor motion because they saw it as an attempt to drag Apple into ‘politics’. Well, so what? Apple’s call on the Arizona governor to strike down the anti-gay/religious-freedom (you choose) bill recently was politics, wasn’t it?

    I’m troubled. Is that the ‘crisis of trust in US companies‘ that some talk about? Well, yes, I guess it is.

    - P

      What? A headache warning for Google Glass?

      Google co-founder Sergey Brin wears Google Glass (pic: NY Daily News - click)

      Google co-founder Sergey Brin wears Google Glass (pic: Daily News – click)


      See this article Google Glass enthusiast: It’s not worth the headaches by C|net’s Chris Matyszczyk recording PR man Chris Barrett’s falling out of love with the Google Glass … in fact suggesting they should carry a health warning (!) …

      I think there should be a warning that comes with Glass; that if you start to get a headache, you should limit your use. Not everybody who wears Glass will make the connection, especially people who are prone to headaches. I can’t imagine the effect Glass could have on migraine suffers or those with other neurological conditions.

      Golly. And this, in the context of the still-not-really-clear-why-she-was-videoing-people-in-a-bar episode: Google Glass-wearing woman posts video of alleged S.F. bar attack (LA Times)

      Creepy.

      - P

        Kinda funny

        Selfie

        via TechCrunch (click)

          Internet commenters as psychopaths (also applies to ‘blogsters’)

          Troll-shadowFrom an article you may have already seen at Slate magazine by Chris Mooney:

          Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People — Narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic.

          Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called Internet trolls (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.
          That’s bad, but it’s nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of trolls themselves. The research […] sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
          It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.

          In my observation, people whose peak of personal expression and identity is based on social media ‘combat’ — like hate bloggers and comment trolls — will frequently be slanderers, liars, bullies and deceivers.

          They can be fixated and egotistical, lacking normal human empathy, apparently delighting in abuse of their ‘enemies’, and seemingly relish hurting others. Their activities: abusing, mocking and denigrating (say) road accident victims or people on a different ‘side’ of political debate to themselves or their ‘tribe’ reveal their character. Continue reading →

            Pepsi paying the price of admission …

            This works.

              Ah! Another very funny 404 page-not-found-page {cringe}

              Over at The Paepae’s Facebook page* I have a little collection of images (in a photo album I call ‘Quirkiness‘) which includes funny ‘Page-not-found’ error pages. I’ve just added this one (below), from The Daily Show today which caught me by surprise (as intended, no doubt):

              Say, what?  No, I never did!   (click to visit The Paepae's Facebook album of more of these.)

              Say, what? No, I never did! (click to visit The Paepae’s Facebook album of more of these.)

              Bwhahaha.

              - P

              * Feel free to ‘like’ it (cough) if it suits you.

                The challenge for big-J journalism: Distinguishing itself from untruthful wannabes and partisan blogsters

                kitten-lion-mirror

                This article from internet thinker Marc Andreessen (ex Netscape) is worth a read — and then worth working through for implications about the changing media landscape … whatever your role in it.

                The Future of the News Business

                I am more bullish about the future of the news industry over the next 20 years than almost anyone I know. You are going to see it grow 10X to 100X from where it is today. That is my starting point for any discussion about the future of journalism. Here’s why I believe it, and how we will get there.

                Journalism has changed
                There has been a fascinating change in the traditional journalistic press over the last several years. Take corrections as an example. It used to be that corrections to printed news stories were a really big deal. There was a high bar to get a correction accepted in a newspaper or magazine. The story as printed was the permanent record.

                That was then.
                Continue reading →

                  A State Sector guide to maintaining political neutrality

                  Everything you need to know, including not responding to bloggers.

                  - P

                  PS Vote Blobby!

                  Election_Guidance_for_State_Servants

                    It’s not age that makes you old … it’s a state of mind that makes you old

                    “Inactivity and the thought process is what makes you old … If you start thinking you’re old … you’ll start acting old, feeling old … and you’re old.”

                    via Savraj Singh on Twitter and Business Insider

                      Breathtaking actions by a lawyer, now ex-lawyer

                      I only know what’s been reported about this case, but it makes the point, doesn’t it?, that lawyers and their ethical standards fall on a bell-shaped curve, like the rest of us.

                      For the Law Society (which can often be perceived as taking a ‘circle the wagons’ approach to criticism or complaints against dodgy lawyers) to act so harshly, this must have been an exceptional case. Overcharging a client for incompetent service, or failing to disclose a conflict of interest must be among the cardinal sins of the legal profession.

                      Guilty_lawyer_struck_off__ordered_to_repay__500k_-_National_-_NZ_Herald_News-2

                      Click to read at nzherald.co.nz

                      The ripped-off client’s lament about his former lawyer’s timely bankruptcy (last Friday!) is familiar too.

                      - P

                        A beautiful, inspiring speech, and person: Ellen Page.

                        I would be so proud if I had any even vicarious association with this brave young woman who has overcome her struggle. Alas, I’m just another unconnected viewer who appreciates her courage and the way she delivered this message.

                        - P

                          Gerry Leonard guitarist

                          After watching that guitarist with Suzanne Vega in yesterday’s post about her new album, Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles, I got thinking, Gerry Leonard … Gerry Leonard … hmmm … and look:

                          Aha! He’s David Bowie’s guitarist/collaborator on The Next Day, Bowie’s excellent album released in 2013 (discussed here and here: Bowie ‘Lost is Love’ remix) as well as on Bowie’s albums Heathen & Reality and musical director on Bowie’s highly-rated Reality tour & DVD.

                          Of course.* Small world. Wikipedia says:

                          New York’s East Village was the next stop for Leonard, where he established himself as a solo performer, producer, and as an in-demand session player. He has recorded and toured, usually as lead guitarist, with Duncan Sheik, Laurie Anderson, Jonatha Brooke, Cyndi Lauper, Sophie B. Hawkins, Avril Lavigne and Chris Botti, among others. He works a lot with Suzanne Vega, touring with her effectively as a duo. In addition to playing guitar for Rufus Wainwright, Leonard was the musical director for Wainwright’s Milwaukee at Last!!! tour and subsequent live album.
                          As a producer, Leonard has worked on albums for artists such as Donna Lewis (In the Pink), Ari Hest (The Fire Plays), Donnie Mortimer (Ten Eventful Years), the Czech band Čechomor (Mistečko), and Pamela Sue Mann. Of his playing on the latter’s L’Oeuf, Laurie Anderson said “I’ve always been a fan of Gerry Leonard’s lush and groovy parts so that makes the listening experience even deeper.”

                          Nice to see Laurie Anderson mentioned. I saw her Live in the Wellington Town Hall, when I only knew her for ‘O Superman’. Great concert. Later connections to Peter Gabriel and Lou Reed felt circular and on that note … here’s a nice video of Suzanne Vega opening for Lou Reed at Montreux in 2004 … ‘Small Blue Thing’

                          - P

                          * Rolling Stone Feb 2013: David Bowie Guitarist Gerry Leonard: ‘Odds of a Tour Are 50-50′ (Worth a click for the embedded videos.)

                          Quirky note from Wikipedia: “In 2013, [Gerry Leonard] participated in an April Fools’ Day spoof involving an announcement that Bowie would be representing Germany in that year’s Eurovision Song Contest.”
                          Nice one.

                            New Suzanne Vega

                            I just got Suzanne Vega’s new album Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles (iTunes… it’s very good — my early favourite track: ‘I Never Wear White’) … it led me to visit her website where this video NPR Tiny Desk Concert from a few days ago features as news.

                            I enjoyed it, and seeing/hearing her links … and her live, pared-back version of ‘I Never Wear White’ – 9’40″ on video above. (Album version even better IMO.)

                            This woman is a poet, and, along with contemporary Edie Brickell, reminds me of a time in my life. It’s very cool to see her new work is as good as ever.

                            - P

                              I guess it depends what you mean by ‘highlights’ Eddie. (Wonderful!)

                              BBC_Radio_4_PM

                              Broadcaster Eddie Mair.

                              I’ve expressed before my enormous respect for broadcaster Eddie Mair who hosts BBC Radio 4′s PM news hour. He is silky smooth, a highly capable radio host and an intelligent, persistent interviewer whose voice often betrays a delightful sense of humour, a warm chuckle, and occasionally, gentle mockery, as in his interview with a squirming Boris Johnson (see: Boris Johnson plays the ‘What people really want to know’ card — futilely.)

                              This morning (NZ Time) he introduced a two-way report by PM’s business editor on the latest Bank of England quarterly inflation report (kind of like the Reserve Bank’s interest rate guidance statement).

                              The segment is (in my view) a comedy classic, paying tribute to a former BBC colleague who now works as media liaison for the Bank. It’s wonderful. Listen here: Continue reading →