July 14th, 2012
Olympic Mascots Wenlock Policeman Figurine: Amazon.co.uk: Toys & Games:
- Hello, I'm Wenlock! Don't I look smart in my police officer's uniform?
- I have the important job of protecting you on your journey to the London 2012 Games.
- Take this figurine on a journey to the London 2012 Olympic Games – we can have lots of fun together! [...]
The customer reviews are all you'd expect and more…
[Via Charlie Stross, commenting at Making Light]
February 2nd, 2012
The very definition of irony.
[Via Memex 1.1]
August 15th, 2009
There's caring about the Eurovision Song Contest, and then there's this:
Rovshan Nasirli, a young Eurovision fan living in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, says he was summoned this week to the country's National Security Ministry — to explain why he had voted for Armenia during this year's competition in May.
"They wanted an explanation for why I voted for Armenia. They said it was a matter of national security," Nasirli said. "They were trying to put psychological pressure on me, saying things like, 'You have no sense of ethnic pride. How come you voted for Armenia?' They made me write out an explanation, and then they let me go."
Don't anyone go giving Andrew Lloyd Webber ideas…
[Via A Fistful Of Euros, via No Rock and Roll Fun]
April 12th, 2009
Statebook: what do you want to know about $CITIZEN now?
[Via Open Rights Group]
September 15th, 2008
Henry Porter reminds us not to blindly trust the promises of politicians:
Police officers keep on insisting that [powers of surveillance] will not be abused, but revelations made by another FOI request last week show that the police use surveillance techniques to bully and harass citizens. In Wales, a team of 11 officers took part in a surveillance operation against a 49-year-old police dog handler who claimed he was suffering from depression, a fact established by the Police Medical Appeal Board. Officers from two forces watched his home for months and filmed him at a cost of Â£100,000.
But remember, folks: if you've nothing to hide then you've nothing to worry about.
May 27th, 2008
Further to the previous post, it looks as if having your PDA confiscated could become a commonplace occurrence if the RIAA get their way:
A TOP-SECRET DEAL being ironed out by G8 nations will give the Music and film industry a state-paid force of copyright cops with the same powers of customs officials.
The copyright police can seize your mp3 player or laptop to see if it contains pirated content and can order ISPs to turn over personal data without the need for proof.
G8 members, at the request of those wonderful examples of humanity at the RIAA, are agreeing to turn tax-payer paid customs officers into boot boys for the record and music business.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), will be discussed at the next G8 meeting in Tokyo, in July. [...]
Just one small, practical question: if I hand my iPod over to a customs officer, how exactly will he or she be able to tell which tracks I downloaded from iTunes and which ones I ripped from my CD collection? On my (fairly old) iPod, there's no way to tell at a glance, since the software doesn't visibly distinguish between AACs and MP3s. There is a 'Purchased' playlist, but that only shows files purchased on my current Mac; it doesn't pick up purchases made on my previous Mac and transferred over to this one. Will I be OK as long as I refrain from setting up a playlist called 'Illegal copies', or do I have to start carrying copies of my invoice emails from iTunes around with me if I want to leave the country?
[Via Memex 1.1]
May 25th, 2008
Do you feel safer?
A masters student researching terrorist tactics who was arrested and detained for six days after his university informed police about al-Qaida-related material he downloaded has spoken of the "psychological torture" he endured in custody.
Despite his Nottingham University supervisors insisting the materials were directly relevant to his research, Rizwaan Sabir, 22, was held for nearly a week under the Terrorism Act, accused of downloading the materials for illegal use. The student had obtained a copy of the al-Qaida training manual from a US government website for his research into terrorist tactics.
My favourite part of the story comes later, when a university spokesperson, explaining that it was perfectly reasonable to report the downloading of the document to the police, observed that "there is an expectation that you will act sensibly within current UK law." It's a shame we can't expect the same of the authorities.
[Via Progressive Gold]
April 22nd, 2008
Needless to say, this arrangement is justified using the magic phrase "anti-terrorism":
THE UK Home Secretary secretively signed a "special certificate" last year that gives foreign security agencies real-time access to traffic camera images and related data monitoring British motorists on highways throughout the UK.
Under the authorisation signed last July 4 by Jacqui Smith, video feeds and still images captured from roadside TV cameras, along with personal data derived from them, can be transmitted out of the UK to countries such as the US, that are outside the European Economic Area.
Not just images of traffic, but 'personal data' derived from them? I wonder how far that goes. The name of the vehicle's registered keeper? Their address? National Insurance number? Police record? DNA information? It all depends upon how elastic the term 'derived from' proves to be in practice.
An anonymous Home Office spokesperson commented:
"We would like to reassure the public that robust controls have been put in place to control and safeguard access to, and use of, the information."
Not to worry, then.