Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wonderful Quote

From the usually very interesting (even though she works for the Borg) Danah Boyd:

And since I spend most of my days in front of my computer or on my phone, it’s often hard to distinguish between labor and procrastination.

Of course, from my point of view, the difference is whether somebody is paying you for it or not. So, this week, reading "Arms Commander" (L E Modesitt) was very definitely work. Whereas, last week, it would have been procrastination.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Just a wee note

This blog will be even quieter than normal over the summer. Unfortunately, not because I am enjoying a massive lottery win on a Caribbean beach.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Things that don't surprise me: China moans about cyber-spying accusations

DoD report (see p36, as well as p11-13 and p51-52.)

Commentary from al-Beeb:

China's government and military have targeted US government computers as part of a cyber espionage campaign, a US report on China says ...

Well, yes. Many governments have electronic espionage programs - the US even admit it. But the Chinese, for some reason, seem to resent being called out on what they actually admit to doing in their military doctrine.

China called the report "groundless", saying it represented "US distrust".

A report from state news agency Xinhua cited Sr Col Wang Xinjun, a People's Liberation Army (PLA) researcher, describing the report as "irresponsible and harmful to the mutual trust between the two countries".

What "mutual trust"? Seriously?

Both China and the US were victims of cybercrimes and should work together to tackle the problems, the agency quoted him as saying.

Deliberate, even malicious red herring (or red snapper, if that's the Oriental equivalent :) ). Organised government intelligence operations and cybercrime are completely different things (even if they might look similar on a tcpdump.)

Monday, May 06, 2013

You do really expect better

Of Private Eye*:

After three years' work, and undisclosed costs, a team of two-dozen NATO-funded legal experts has completed a set of guidelines, the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare

Okay. So far so good. Except for the bloody 'C' word. But that is mere reportage, not their fault. Here's where it goes wrong:

on how to deal with hostile attacks on a country's computer systems

Ah, no. Not quite. It is a bit more than that. Journowankers may abuse the term "cyber warfare" for everything from simple criminality to Anonymous to Foreign and Hostile Intelligence Services but, here, it is being used explicitly. In terms of the conduct of military and para-military operations over the inter-tubes.

And, the Tallinn manual covers a lot more than simply dealing with hostile attacks. And this is where they (PE) get it badly wrong in their punch-line:

So there you have it: if your country finds itself under cyber-attack from the other side of the world, the first and most important thing is to find out what they are wearing.

No. If your country is going to conduct an attack, then it needs to be soldiers in uniform (update) if you want it to be covered by the international law of armed conflict**. There is no legal exception for 'cyber'. Simples. Too simple, clearly.

* Once you realise that they are a bunch of soft-left Islingtonia dinner-party habitues. Therefore are prime useful idiots for the LHTDs of this world.

** There is no applicable or agreed law on the conduct of intelligence operations. They tend to be covered by the law of the countries operated by. In countries operated in, active intelligence officers are usually acting as criminals, although they may have diplomatic immunity..

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Schnaudenfraude strikes me down


QinetiQ (or, if you want to wind them up "quin-ti-queue") are the bit of DERA that the Yanks would let Blair flog off. They used to have some really sharp folks who traded the lack of money for a decent pension and loads and loads of toys.

Since then, they've been a bit of a blind, drunk asperger's gorilla in the industry. Lots of money to invest, lots of people to schmooze your directors, all of the artistic competence of a toddler with a paint-ball gun.

So, snurk. Yes, sorry, I just can't stop grinning.

Things that don't surprise me: Nonsense in the Guardian

I was sent through a link with the interesting snippet:

Security alert: notes from the frontline of the war in cyberspace
Jon Ronson

The battle for control of cyberspace is turning nasty, with young hackers, pirates and activists facing long prison sentences. We report from the frontline ...

So, I thought. Great. Let's read it.

OMFG. What a lot of nonsense.

Some semi-anarchist troll, Kimble, various Anonymous.

It's not "war", never mind "the frontline". It's barely even "crime fighting". Yes, we know US law is a crock of shit, idiotic politicians, extraordinarily well financed pressure groups, elected prosecutors. But ...

Kimble is a fraud and a crook - whether what is being done to him is 'fair' in terms of what he is actually currently charged with is almost irrelevant.

Trolls are, well, trolls. And then "resisting the man"? Dissing the judge who is going to be sentencing you? Well, okay. 41 months to grow up ...

Anonymous know what they are doing - it's civil disobedience and, together with the plaudits they need to learn to do the time. Some of them appear to realise this. But the lawyer? Perhaps the lass should be better off asking how many of his clients actually get off?

Friday, May 03, 2013

Things that do not surprise me: Sunny Hundal gets it wrong


Its American edition this week illustrates the Boston bombers.

Note their skin tone: it isn’t white. They look brown, even though US authorities describe them as white.

Sighs, theatrically.

Okay. In USA terms they are 'white'. That is that they are not Black, Hispanic, Asian or, since 9/11, Arab.

Of course, they are Caucasian. Hell, part of the Caucasus Range is in Chechnya. But, then, not all Caucasians are white. See Spain, Italy, Portugal (hell, anywhere there is a bit more sun than the UK).

And, of course, Sunny's own post shows their photos. The elder brother clearly has a bit of tone to his skin and even the younger brother, photographed in front of a white backdrop, which bleaches anybody out, is clearly several tones more tanned than the Nordic 'paler shade of white', never mind the traditional Jockanese blue.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Taking it a bit far?

Lunacy Party tax dodging MP Lady Margaret Hodge today denied that she had hit a cyclist with her car door because she suspected him of complicity in personal and corporate tax avoidance.

She didn't tell our intrepid reporter, "It's the voices that tell me what to do who are to blame. Especially that one that sounds like the Lord High Tax Denouncer. I was just following orders!"
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