This story confuses me; are Google soon to to drop XMPP (and/or GTalk) entirely?

…if – IF – so, then it will be very very bad for the future of private communication:

Talk, for example, was built to help enterprise users communicate better, Singhal says. “The notion of creating something that’s social and that’s always available wasn’t the same charter as we set out with when we created Talk.” With Hangouts, Singhal says Google had to make the difficult decision to drop the very “open” XMPP standard that it helped pioneer.

via Exclusive: Inside Hangouts, Google’s big fix for its messaging mess | The Verge.

Saudi Arabia may try to end anonymity for Twitter users

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia may try to end anonymity for Twitter users in the country by limiting access to the site to people who register their identification documents, the Arab News daily reported on Saturday.

Last week, local media reported the government had asked telecom companies to look at ways they could monitor, or block, free internet phone services such as Skype.

Twitter is highly popular with Saudis and has stirred broad debate on subjects ranging from religion to politics in a country where such public discussion had been considered at best unseemly and sometimes illegal.

Early this month, the security spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry described social networking, particularly Twitter, as a tool used by militants to stir social unrest.

The country’s Grand Mufti, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, last week described users of the microblogging site as “clowns” wasting time with frivolous and even harmful discussions, local newspapers reported.

Yes, of course, it is the function of discussion and humanity never to be frivolous, never creative, never wasted, never to be fun; there is only a limited amount of speech that is available to humanity, and it must be treated seriously, controlled carefully and rationed because speech is a non-renewable resource.

Or, that’s what they want you to think.

via Saudi Arabia may try to end anonymity for Twitter users: paper – News – AM 590 – FM 96.5 | WKZO Everything Kalamazoo.

UK Bloggers & Tweeters: Be aware that the Royal Charter re: #Leveson is also aimed at regulating *you*

I mentioned this last night, but just for the sake of clarity:

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 09.11.02

Don’t say that you weren’t warned.

You do know what will happen to you if you are sued and have not signed up to the voluntary regulation scheme? ‘Course you do!

A New Role for Muffett: Facebook

Back in June 2011 I joined Surevine – a company of great people whom I cannot commend highly enough* as a excellent working environment, as promoters of open source, and of people who care about software and security and about doing both right. I am pleased to have helped cause some beneficial change at Surevine – including, but not limited to, security awareness, operations architecture and obtaining ISO27001 certification.

All this said: I’ve been offered a really exciting prospect which I’ve decided to pursue.

Thus: I shall shortly be joining Facebook as a software engineer and will be working out of the London/Covent Garden office.

What happens after that will be interesting in a whole variety of ways. 🙂

* If you’re a UK-based security geek or Java developer then go look Surevine up. Send them a resume. Say that “Alec’s blog sent you”; I get no money for this, it’s just a really great company that deserves good people.

Welcome to / is an infinite virtual corkboard. Collaborate with friends, family, or colleagues…

Welcome to

Welcome to is an infinite virtual corkboard. Collaborate with friends, family, or colleagues in real time in any way you want. Make plans, share ideas, play games…

Donate is currently a free service. If you like our application please donate to help keep the service online and ad-free.

Contribute is an Open Source project. The application source code is freely available on GitHub.


YouTube vs: BBC Video Embed HTML Code; a comparison # Does anyone have website contacts at the BBC?

YouTube Video-Embed HTML:

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 08.06.11

BBC News Video-Embed HTML:

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 08.06.05

…and you have to delete all the stuff in the red boxes to get it to work on a modern browser under WordPress.

tl;dr – The BBC system needs work if it wants to be seen to be taking sharing and embedding seriously.

Craig: “Are you a libertarian or something, because I’m not sensing any clear political philosophy behind your position?”

Alec: “No, I’m not a libertarian. I’m from the Internet. I’m here to help.


Kevin & Kell on reputation management – #linkedin #security

Kevin & Kell – Mon – February 4, 2013.

Egypt Court Orders Block on YouTube Over Anti-Islam Video –

CAIRO (AP) — A Cairo court on Saturday ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing Web site YouTube for 30 days for carrying an anti-Islam film that set off deadly riots last year, but the ruling can be appealed and, based on precedent, may not be enforced.

Judge Hassouna Tawfiq described the video as “offensive to Islam” and to the Prophet Muhammad. The first protests against the film erupted in Cairo last September, before spreading to more than 20 countries, leaving more than 50 people dead.

The 14-minute video, said to be a trailer for a movie called “Innocence of Muslims,” portrays Muhammad as a religious fraud, a womanizer and a pedophile. It was produced in the United States by an Egyptian-born Christian who is now a United States citizen.

Egypt’s new Constitution includes a ban on insulting “religious messengers and prophets.” Broadly worded blasphemy laws also were in effect under President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular revolt two years ago.

YouTube’s parent company, Google, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

continues at Egypt Court Orders Block on YouTube Over Anti-Islam Video –

Mumble and the Bandwidth – Anonymous CB radio with Mumble and Tor /ht @runasand

Mumble and the Bandwidth – Anonymous CB radio with Mumble and Tor.

Latency in human speech transmision has deep psychological impact on a conversation. A Japanese research project called SpeechJammer exploited this part of our senses by inventing a “shut up gun.” When pointed at a person it makes them immediately stop talking. Everyone who has used a cell phone knows the frustration of “echo” where you hear your own voice, slightly delayed. The delay is caused by the network latency of the cellular carrier.


Here in the USA, some prowords evolved into a coloquial language, complete with slang thanks to the Citizen Band radio boom of the 1960s and the truck driving culture that used it to communicate while on the road. The 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit is more than just a touching love story with world class actors, it is an amazing dramatization of an information culture that resembled pre-Internet BBS systems and current day Internet Relay Chat (IRC) networks around the globe. The truck drivers portrayed in that movie have a mobile, decentralized information sharing network that is anonymous. The users have pseudonyms and a language of their own. Many of them have never met their CB radio friends IRL. They are invisible companions on the lonely road of the US of A.

Old ideas are worth bringing back if they have strong roots. CB and general purpose radio telephones have a long history, unlike the standard the standard of tody, VoIP. Perhaps these features are thought of as obsolete or not cutting-edge enough to model into a digital system. Regardless of the reason, if you are looking for a mobile and open source PTT solution to use on the Internet with anonymity and security, Mumble over Tor is currently the state of the art. All you have to do is throw in some prowords to keep the conversation flowing.