There is nothing wrong with an arbitration service to settle disputes about contentious speech. But a compulsory arbitration service is an oxymoron. It is state licensing of publishing. Leveson wants that but never dared say so because every autocratic regime since the invention of movable type has wanted it too. Instead, Leveson said that publishers that do not register with his quango would face exemplary damages in the courts if they lost. The Labour party wants to say that even if a publisher is successful in court it will have to pay “all the costs of proceedings”. Even if you win, you lose.
Think of that and then think of the web revolution. I hope you can remember it, because it seems to have passed the learned Lord Justice Leveson by. To take an example from the last decade, Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue, son of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea, sued Global Witness for running an investigative piece on its website into his family’s lavish corruption. Could it face exemplary damages now? Leftwing blogs such as Left Foot Forward or their rightwing counterparts such as Conservative Home are as much news producers as the Observer – will they face them?
1. For the purposes of this Charter:
a) “Regulator” means an independent body formed by or on behalf of relevant publishers for the purpose of conducting regulatory activities in relation to their publications;
b) “relevant publisher” means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom:
a. a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material, or
b. a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine)
Sign up for regulation or be face court-cost oblivion.
Contrary to much of the fear-mongering that has been spreading through the nation’s capital on cybersecurity matters lately, the director of national intelligence bucked that trend on Tuesday when he told a senate committee that there was little chance of a major cyberattack against critical infrastructure in the next two years.
DNI James Clapper was a singular voice of reason when he told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that lack of skills on the part of most attackers and the ability to override attacks on critical infrastructure with manual controls would make such attacks unfeasible in the near future. He also said that nation states that might have the skills to pull off such an attack lack the motive at this point.
“We judge that there is a remote chance of a major cyber attack against U.S. critical infrastructure systems during the next two years that would result in long-term, wide-scale disruption of services, such as a regional power outage,” Clapper said in his statement to the committee. “The level of technical expertise and operational sophistication required for such an attack — including the ability to create physical damage or overcome mitigation factors like manual overrides — will be out of reach for most actors during this time frame. Advanced cyber actors — such as Russia and China — are unlikely to launch such a devastating attack against the United States outside of a military conflict or crisis that they believe threatens their vital interests.”
Firstly, disclosure: from April I will have an interest in Facebook’s wellbeing* but I don’t think that skews my perspective on this matter; I have a long and documented history of laying into politicians and journalists who are swept up in the mythology of cyberspace and the fearmongering around it.
I have no idea how I missed this yesterday, but it’s truly perfect. He loses his composure but rationally I am right there behind him on this one; my reason especially for my posting it is that apparently it aired at 3am and therefore will receive almost no viewership as a result, especially since the BBC will bury this.
Sometimes security events are bad — well, rarely are they ever good — but those which are contained are not a problem, and no longer are they even a story unless they impact other people.
tl;dr — If security works, then why is it a story?
This is how the fad of cybersecurity will end: by its becoming mundane, its practitioners criticised and ridiculed.
Lars Hedegaard, founder of Denmark’s Free Press Society, speaks from a secret location after an attempt on his life
But what of those who say, ‘Well, he ought to have known. This is what happens if you upset or provoke people’?
‘I don’t want to brag and put myself on a level where I don’t belong, but you could have said the same thing about the White Rose in Germany, the resistance group. They ought to have known that if they said something about Nazism, they would be killed. Or you could say the same thing about the Danish resistance movement during the German occupation. It was said to them: do not go out and sabotage. Collaborate and shut up, otherwise you’ll get to a concentration camp and you’ll be executed. You could have said the same thing to Winston Churchill or the British Army — why the hell make trouble? You know what’s going to happen if you resist — you’ll be killed. Yes, and many of them were.’
‘It’s not because I’m a hero or I want to be a martyr. Far from it. I take it seriously that people, Danish taxpayers many years ago, paid for me to get a university education at a very good university in Denmark, where I learnt about history, humanities, logic and philosophy, and English by the way. I feel an obligation to use my education for what it was meant to be. If not, then you don’t deserve to be educated. If your education is to be used to shut up, placate, downplay, sweet talk, then you are better off being a carpenter.’
The British police officers that raided Ian Driscoll’s Tewkesbury home found the mortar they were looking for. They just didn’t expect it to be plastic. Or a model.
“The Action Man looked a bit like me, so I decided to put it as my Facebook picture,” Driscoll, who makes models for a living, explained to the Daily Mail. “I didn’t even notice the mortar in the background.” But someone else did and promply reported him to authorities.
Not to be accused of being soft on gun crime, the police obtained a search warrant and sent officers round to Driscoll’s home to investigate. Five vans-worth of police—armed with real guns—apparently without bothering to actually look at the photo. Otherwise, they’d probably have noticed that the mortar in question is just slightly larger than an action figure and roughly as long as the remote control also pictured.
“It’s tiny and quite clearly a toy. I can’t stop laughing. I think it’s hilarious,” Driscoll said. The raiding officers were understandably chagrined at the mix-up but defend their response.