Monday, 30 June 2014

We’re Watching You…So There!!

Social Media Mass Surveillance is Allowed in UK

The officials have officially confirmed the true extent of the government’s interception of social networks, including private messages between citizens. It was confirmed that searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and exchange of emails abroad can be monitored by the local security services.

British government has finally admitted that communication of its citizens in private channels like Twitter direct messages are considered as legitimate targets that can be intercepted without a warrant.

The document representing defence of mass monitoring developed a legal interpretation,
provoking calls for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to be overhauled urgently and the allegations that the authorities are exploiting loopholes in the law of which parliament was unaware.

The paper was released in response to a case brought by civil rights groups before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which deals with complaints against the intelligence services. The case was launched in the wake of revelations from Edward Snowden about the monitoring program dubbed Tempora operated by the British monitoring agency GCHQ. This program taps into the network of fiber-optic cables that carry the phone calls and online traffic worldwide, recording up to 600 million phone events daily.

According to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, traditional interception of internal communications within the country requires an individual warrant. The authorities argue that in a technologically-fast moving world, identifying individual targets before monitoring is too difficult. The external one, in the meantime, can be monitored without an individual warrant. The document explains that searches on social networks involve communicating with a web-based platform abroad, and are therefore external communications, not internal. Emails sent or received from abroad could also be intercepted in such a way.

The statement also points out that the issue was raised during the passage of the law a decade ago, implying that parliament knew about the difficulty of distinguishing between internal and external communications when it passed the bill.

Indeed, the Section 8 of the law reads that the internal communications between UK residents within the UK may only be monitored pursuant to a specific warrant, and if there’s a reason to suspect the individual in unlawful activity. But external communications may be monitored indiscriminately under a general warrant.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Speeding? A Good Excuse!

Baby born during 100mph motorway chase

Man helps his daughter deliver baby girl on side of road after seven police cars chased his car at speeds of 100mph along the M275 in Portsmouth

A group of police officers who pulled over a speeding car were confronted by a newborn baby instead of a criminal after a grandfather helped to deliver his granddaughter at the side of the road.

Lola Mia Rose was born just as seven officers in four unmarked cars, who had chased her grandfather Colin Ellmore at speeds of 100pmh along the M275 in Portsmouth, surrounded the car.

Her mother Tiffany, who has three other children, described the experience as ''quite scary'' and said she was ''very proud'' of her dad for delivering baby Lola.

After suffering some ''niggling pains'' throughout the day the 26-year-old, from Fareham, said she realised at around 9.55pm that she needed to get to the hospital.

Accompanied by her partner Steven Read, their seven-year-old son Ralphy, and her parents Colin and Elaine, the family made their way towards the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

'My dad came to pick us up and before I got into the car I said to him 'I need to push','' said Tiffany, who was 38 weeks pregnant when the birth happened on Friday night.

''As the car was moving my waters went, then the police pulled us over and my dad came round and opened the door. I knew she (Lola) wasn't going to wait and then suddenly her head started to appear.

''The whole thing was quite scary.''

Lola, who weighed 6lb 4oz, and her mother were transferred to the hospital by ambulance soon after and discharged on Saturday.

Despite her dramatic entrance into the world, Ms Ellmore said her fourth child is doing well.

''She's doing great,'' she said. ''She's been very good.''

Sergeant Simon Goss, of the road policing unit pro-active team, said they thought the car might have been stolen because it was being driven so fast.

''We initially thought it was a stolen vehicle so put our lights on to flash it down. But it kept going at the high speeds,'' Mr Goss said.

''We boxed it in, forcing it to stop, and when it did the driver got out and we thought he was running off.

''But he ran around the car to the passenger side and shouted something about a baby. When we got to the car, we saw the baby in the man's hands. I have never experienced anything like it before.''

Police said no action would be taken over the incident.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

A Long Pee??

Man trapped in plane toilet during 15 hour flight

Fire brigade frees American man's finger from lavatory rubbish bin after it became stuck during long flight

A 15-hour flight to Hong Kong proved a particular ordeal for one US passenger who accidentally trapped his middle finger in a lavatory rubbish bin early Wednesday, police said.

Police said in a statement the 32-year-old suffered the accident on a Cathay Pacific flight.

The passenger on the flight from Newark became trapped more than one hour before landing when he threw away some garbage, the South China Morning Post reported.

He had to stand alone in the washroom during the landing after flying for over 14 hours, it said.

Police said the man was able to free his hand with the help of firefighters after the plane landed and did not need hospital treatment.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Read All About It!!

Digital News in UK Are Read on Mobiles

UK citizens seem to be abandoning PCs as their main method to access news, switching to updates on various mobile devices. According to the research carried out by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute, the proportion of readers who mostly rely on a desktop PC to get news on the Internet has fallen by 23 percentage points over the year and totaled to 57%.

Now smartphones are used to access digital news for 24% (which is up 11 percentage points over the same period), and tablets for 16%, which is also up 11 percentage points. The authors of the report admit that such shift in hardware is part of a broader change, which may have potentially profound effects for society.

The results of the research point out that there was a so-called “echo chamber” effect, because mobile consumers tend to rely on increasingly narrow sources to make sense of the explosion of choice on the Internet. According to Dr David Levy, director of the Reuters Institute, in some countries, including the United Kingdom, the established news brands have retained their loyalty in the more competitive web environment. However, the rapid growth of social media may be the way to discover and consume news content, which would have a range of possible ramifications.

The research points out that while choice proliferates, news consumption may narrow. The matter is that reliance on recommendations from like-minded friends could result in people being less exposed to a broad news agenda.

According to the report, some UK readers are increasingly committed to news providers amid the rapid change. Of those consumers who buy digital news, 63% do so via a recurring subscription – this figure was only 42% last year. In most cases, a selling point is the reputations of individual reporters and commentators.

Friday, 20 June 2014


Vet Shot Zoo Worker Pretending To Be An Escaped Gorilla

IN preparation for the event of a gorilla escaping from Tenerife’s Loro Parque Zoo, a man pretended to be an escaped primate. He was spotted by a vet who shot the man in the furry suit with a tranquilliser dart containing enough medicine to down a 450lb gorilla.

The shot man, a 35-year-old zoo worker, was taken to the University Hospital of the Canary Islands.

Says Loro Parque Zoo:

“Last Monday, Loro Parque simulated the escape of an animal from its enclosure in the gorilla park. As part of the simulation, which took place in the security zone of the area and was attended only by authorised personnel, they set off the emergency alarm. Once they had carried out the various procedures, one keeper in the wild mammals team was accidentally struck by the medical tranquilliser that vets use in these instances. As a result, emergency services were called and he was taken to Hospital Universitari de Canarias, where he was treated. He recovered and is now in good health… Loro Parque, like all zoos and animal parks, regularly carries out this kind of emergency drill. The measure is designed to improve security, emergency procedures, and to train staff who work in these enclosures.”

That’s the trained staff who think a man in a monkey suit is a real gorilla..? The staff you give guns to..?

Unless all the zoo’s animals are just people dressed up..?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Well….It Works??

Man Who Bought Penis Enlargement Machine Received A Magnifying Glass

TO Malaysia, where Ong from Seri Kembangan is opening his new penis enlarger. The device has set him back RM450 (£83, $140).
Malaysian Chinese Association Public Service and Complaint Bureau chairman Datuk Seri Michael Chong explains what happened next:
“When he received the package, he was shocked to find a magnifying glass inside. The instructions that came with the package merely read ‘Do not use in sunlight’.”
Lawyer Alex Kok says it’s hard to get satisfaction:

“It is especially hard if there is no proof of purchase, such as receipts. We wouldn’t know who to sue or where and how to sue them.”
File under: well and tuly shafted.

Monday, 16 June 2014

For The Wine Buffs??

‘Great with roadkill’: Prankster replaces wine labels with hilarious alternatives

A prankster has decided to make wine a bit more interesting in his local shop.

Because the drink is pretty boring these days, isn’t it? We’re no longer swishing glugs about our tongue like mouthwash, pondering the aromas of a playful little Chenin, or spending anything more than a fiver on a bottle.

Regions of choice like the Loire valley, Provence, and Burgundy, have been replaced by Costcutter, the 2-4-1 section, and Strongbow. And if your bottle is determined by more than colour or price then you certainly aren’t buying it in Tesco.

The self-made labels were inserted under various bottles at a Tesco in Brixton, south London, and they do a good job of poking fun at those strange people who don’t just buy wine because it’s the cheapest.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Ice Cream Problem??

Woman dials 999 in row over ice cream sprinkles

The woman called West Midlands Police saying it was a 'bit of an emergency' as she only had sprinkles on one side of her ice cream

Police have released a recording of a woman who dialled 999 to request help in a row over the number of sprinkles on an ice cream.

The caller, who was not named by West Midlands Police, contacted emergency operators yesterday while arguing with the owner of an ice cream van.

During a minute-long call, the indignant woman told the operator: ''It doesn't seem like much of an emergency but it is a little bit because I've ordered an ice cream and he's put bits on one side and none of the other.

''He's refusing to give me my money back and saying that I've got to take it like that.''

Urging the public not to misuse the 999 system, Chief Superintendent Jim Andronov said: ''If someone is trying to get through to report a genuine life or death emergency, then a minute is a very long time to wait.

''I cannot stress enough that the 999 number is for emergencies only.''

Police forces often shame callers who clog up the emergency number with ridiculous calls.

In April, Police Scotland revealed a list of strange 999 calls, including a man who wanted two seagulls charged with a breach of the peace, a woman who was scared of foxes and a Christmas cook who wanted to know how long his turkey would take.

Last year, West Midlands Police ran a 24-hour tweetathon to highlight abuse of the emergency line which revealed that they had been called by a man who was having trouble being served at McDonald's, while another called for advice about retrieving a laptop password.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Strip Off!!

Woman scares off stalker by stripping

A woman being followed by a man on a motorbike in China discovered a unique way to get rid of her stalker - by stripping off her clothes.

People who witnessed the incident were initially baffled by her motives, but it did the trick as the unwanted visitor was embarrassed away before the police turned up in Dongguan city, Guangdong province.

Wang Chen-Lai, an eyewitness, said: "The woman appeared to be agitated by a man following her on a motorbike. There is a stage in a square where concerts and plays are held. She went on the stage and took off her clothes to lie down naked, and then the man left.

"It seems she tried to shock her pursuer into leaving her alone. She said 'Is this what you wanted to see? Have a good look'. It certainly worked."

When police arrived she calmed down and told them: "This is not a protest or an act of exhibitionism. A guy was following me around and I didn't know what else to do. I thought if I could shock him he would back off. That is the only reason I did this."

A police spokesman said: "Normally an act of this kind would be punishable with a fine but on this case, as she got dressed when officers arrived, we took no further action."

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Wot Yr Sa??

Watching too much porn shrinks men’s brains and makes them stupid – apparently

Heavy use of pornographic material can make men stupid, apparently.

New research suggests that men’s brains shrink as a result of watching too much adult material.

German researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development found that men who watch a lot of porn tend to have smaller striatum.

The stratum is a region of the brain concerned with ‘rewards and motivation’ so the researchers believe watching porn damages their brain and makes them lazy.

There is a chicken and egg debate regarding these findings as to which came first, the smaller brains or the heavy usage of porn.

One conclusion is that less intelligent men love pornography.

Last year, a survey by the University of East London reported that 97% of boys and 80% of girls between the ages of 16 and 20 have watched porn.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Who Says Fairies Aren't Real??

‘The Weed Fairy’ is handing out free marijuana in Seattle

Recreational Marijuana is legal in the state of Washington, and one woman is taking advantage of this in the most altruistic way possible.

Probably because stoned people can only communicate with other stoned people, Yeni Sleidi, aka ‘The Weed Fairy,’ is intent on helping her fellow citizens get on her level – by giving them free marijuana

The trailblazer pins nuggets of the good stuff to lamp posts around the city, encouraging the people of Seattle to swap neurons for Netflix, friends for Family Guy, and rationale for a passing knowledge of Rastafarianism

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Piss Off??

The case of the urine splasher: Tokyo police hunt bizarre serial offender

Tokyo police are hunting a motorcyclist who has splashed urine over at least six young women.

The serial splasher’s modus operandi is to speed by young women in their teens of 20s on his motorbike and throwing liquid in their faces or over their heads before speeding away.

The first case of the splasher happened in April in the north of the capital when a man threw a cupful of urine over a woman in the street before racing off, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

Police knew it was urine from the colour and other features, the paper reported.

Five similar incidents have occurred within a mile of the first splash and police believe it is highly unlikely they were not carried out by the same man.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Data Removal..Good Or Bad??

Dark Side of New “Right to Be Forgotten”

Some industry experts argue that the recent EU judgment was a dangerous step in the wrong direction. The judgment in question was delivered by the European Court of Justice and allowed anyone to demand that a search engine remove unwanted data from its index, even if the data remains legitimate and publicly available online.

Once this ruling was made, people started to send their individual takedown requests to Google. Among them there were an ex-politician who seeks re-election, a pedophile, and a doctor who seeks to remove negative reviews from his patients. No-one denies that privacy is a universal right that must be protected at all levels, but this judgment may just aid the powerful to rewrite history, rather than afford individuals more influence over their online identities.

The EU ruling in a case brought by a Spanish individual, who wanted links to the auctioning of his home to disappear from search results, allows everyone to petition search engine operators, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yandex, and others. Moreover, the ruling puts companies in a close to impossible position of deciding what data can be deemed irrelevant enough to take it down from search results.

However, the suspicion is that people that have motivation and resources to pursue complaints will largely appear political and business elites who wish to hide their past. As a result, the search engines will face pressure to delete what they want or face the legal costs of challenging illegitimate requests.

The most serious implication of the court ruling is its impact on political speech and processes. Observers predict a wave of potential candidates for public office trying to curate their own bespoke search results to make sure that only flattering data remains readily available. In the meantime, the EU judgment exempts data processed “solely for journalistic purposes”, but this term lacks definition and therefore will fail to protect the practice of journalism.

Worse still, the industry experts point out that the ruling in question will have global implications, because European action is normally borrowed as a model by other countries across the world. According to Google’s content removal transparency report, there have already been some government officials seeking to remove search results and other information which could threaten their position.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Email In Secret?

Encrypted Services Developed by US Universities to Protect against NSA

After the American spooks effectively closed Lavabit email service back in 2013, a really secure email system, unhackable by the surveillance agencies, has remained a holy grail for many. Now fresh experts from Harvard and MIT have created a new system dubbed ProtonMail. They claim that their new email service will be even more secure than Lavabit and 100% unhackable by the National Security Agency or other spy agencies.

Lavabit became popular after being promoted by Edward Snowden, who used to leak all the secrets in the world via Lavabit mailbox. However, soon the US authorities put an undue burden on the company and were forcing its founder, Ladar Levison, to hand over the SSL encryption keys. Unlike all other companies who did pass their users’ identities under the government’s request, Levison preferred to refuse and shut down his service. Litigation is still ongoing, where lavabit founder complains that the authorities violate a Fourth Amendment right which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

New service, ProtonMail, is based around using special codes or keys. In fact, such system is known as PGP and has been around for almost twenty years. The problem was that it was too complicated to gain widespread adoption. As for ProtonMail, not only does it offer end-to-end encryption, but is also based in Switzerland. The latter means that the service will not have to comply with US courts’ request to hand over user information. Even if a Swiss court ordered information to be revealed, the email service could only hand over piles of encrypted information because it doesn’t have an encryption key and never sees the user’s password.

ProtonMail launched as a public beta a week ago. Before, it was online for two weeks as an invitation-only private beta. Now anyone is offered to use ProtonMail to a limited extent for free. Harvard and MIT students also add that “power users” will be charged $5 per month to use the service.

According to Jason Stockman, a co-developer of ProtonMail, the service aims to be as user-friendly as the major commercial services, but will differ by its extra security. He explained that multiple users from China, Iran, Russia, and other countries worldwide have already shown in the past months that ProtonMail became an important tool for their freedom of speech. The team of developers is therefore happy to finally be able to provide their services to the whole world.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Trolls Are At It Again!!

Streaming App Users Sued by Copyright Trolls

Earlier in 2014, the Popcorn Time app brought easy downloading to the masses, though its sleek interface hid away the way it works. Nevertheless, its presentation made some users believe that it offered legitimate streaming technology – an illusion that recently shattered, with users starting to receive warning letters from copyright trolls.

Popcorn Time is known to many as an app massively simplifying the viewing of videos online through a Netflix-style interface. At the moment, the software exists in various forms, and one of the more successful ones is Spanish version called Cuevana. Now a few German users faced issues arising from its use.

A few days ago, German law firm GGR Law reported that it has three clients who had received demands for cash settlements based on allegations of copyright violation. All of the recipients insisted they had never installed any BitTorrent app on their devices but used only streaming services.

Industry experts confirm that the use of illegal streaming websites came to the forefront in the country last year, when RedTube users began receiving cash settlement demands from a law firm. As a result, a government had to announce that viewing pirated streams is not illegal. This makes some wonder whether the latest settlement demands over use of Popcorn Time is each just another effort of copyright trolls.

The problem is that the approached Popcorn Time users believe the content in question had been accessed through streaming rather than BitTorrent, which is not exactly true. Although the app interface gives the impression of server-to-client streaming, it in fact uses BitTorrent. In other words, while streaming video to the inbuilt player, the file is also being uploaded to other users. This explains why the warnings received from the plaintiffs accuse app users of uploading the file via BitTorrent without mentioning any streaming. Apparently, the law firms do not even know that the download was made over the streaming app.

As you can see, it is very important that you have at least a cursory understanding of how software you use operates. The rules are simple: streaming video server-to-client or server-to-browser is either legitimate or non-detectable in most Western countries, while uploading video to others without permission is normally against the law.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Sing Along On Train

Please Release Me??

People Want Their Details Wiped from Search Index

Google has received hundreds of requests from people seeking their details be wiped from the search index following a recent landmark ruling in the EU. The list includes an ex-politician who wants to re-elect, a pedophile and a doctor.

The recent decision by EU highest court stated that the right to privacy of individuals can outweigh the freedom of search engines to link to information about them. In other words, the information may remain online, but the search results should not show it.

Since then, Google was hit with a huge number of applications to remove links to outdated or irrelevant information: for example, one of them is a former British politician who is now seeking office and wants Google to remove information about their behavior while in office. The next applicant is an individual convicted of possessing child abuse images, who demands links to pages about his conviction be taken out of the search index. Finally, one of the doctors didn’t like negative reviews from his patients and wants them be not searchable either.

Google admitted that the court decision would have significant implications for the way they handle takedown requests. The company is already busy enough with removing millions of links every month from its indexes under requests from copyright holders over infringing content. At least, this kind of work is largely automated. But when people demand removal, the company has to consider each request individually.

The European court claimed that search engines must remove links to “irrelevant or outdated” data, while the original information itself can remain. The problem is that it can cause tensions between the search engines and news organizations, which may argue that links should not be removed. In result, the search engines face a risk of being sued by both the complainant and the original source of the information.

Apparently, all search engines that have operations in Europe, including Bing and Yahoo, will have to devise procedures to accept requests for link removal from people. As for Google, the company may consider offloading the task of taking decision on such requests to the local data protection commissioners – this would add significantly to the commissioners’ caseload.

Monday, 2 June 2014

What….No Chips??

Eight-foot shark caught off north Devon coast

A shark weighing 450lb (204kg) and stretching to eight feet (2.4m) in length was reeled in by a stunned fisherman less than a mile out to sea

An angler fishing for pollock was stunned when he instead hooked a 450lb shark less than a mile off from a popular beach.

Graeme Pullen was plundering a large shoal of the small white fish off the north Devon coast when the eight-foot porbeagle shark took his bait.

As his rod bent over, he shouted to friend Wayne Combe for help, telling him: “Never mind the pollocks”.

Mr Pullen then embarked on a half-hour battle to reel in the monster fish which was so heavy it sent his 17-ft fibre-glass boat spinning in circles.

The shark left a bit mark on the side of the vessel after opening its jaws right in front of Mr Pullen exposing its razor sharp teeth.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Italy Against Pirates?

Italy Started Torrent Tracker Blackout without Trials

A few months ago, the country introduced new regulations enabling a telecoms administrative body to decide whether websites should remain accessible. Before, a number of “notorious” websites like The Pirate Bay were blocked by court order, and now the local regulator ordered to block its first 4 torrent websites, without legal wrangling.

An Italian breakthrough occurred under intense and sustained pressure of the United States to change its attitudes to online piracy. Italy was put on the USTR’s Watch List in 2013, but was notably absent from this year edition.

Industry experts had to admit that the removal of the country from the Special 301 List indicated significant steps the local authorities have taken to tackle the piracy problem. Indeed, Italy did something extraordinary. Instead of introducing laws to make a piracy crackdown easier, the authorities simply granted the local regulatory the power to deal with copyright infringement.

This means no need for costly legal cases and court-ordered injunctions. Since April, 2014, the Italian regulator can order to remove violating material or block the allegedly infringing domains. Everything is done under regulations, not legislation.

Now the regulator focused on the framework’s primary targets – torrent trackers and websites. According to the first 4 decisions of the authority, torrent websites LimeTorrents,,, and were labeled infringing and will be blocked by the Italian Internet service providers. The decisions reveal when the complaints were made and by whom.

For instance, the LimeTorrents was reported to the regulator by anti-piracy group that represents Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music – all those labels provided links to torrents which linked to their content without their consent, and the body had to agree the complaints were genuine. LimeTorrents’ operators were disallowed from involvement in the process. Finally, in the beginning of May the Italian broadband providers were given only 2 days to block subscriber access to LimeTorrents.

The other sites saw similar procedure after being complained about by anti-piracy groups working on behalf of the studios. All of those sites will also be blocked by ISPs.