US Surveillance Revelations Deepen European Fears

On the plus side of the Prism mess, which continued to unfold over the WE, it seems that the EU might get its act together.

A tiny detail is missing in Reuters’ piece: the debate on the Data Protection Directive has been raging for some time now. But what should have been a no-brainer piece of legislation is being subjected to the largest lobbying effort (in French; Google translation) ever known in the EU parliament. US firms have been busy writing our privacy laws, spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt.

If you are an EU citizen, I’d like to invite you to email your EU member of parliament, and chime in on the matter. You’ll find each member’s email on their respective page. In the event you’ve never contacted them to date, you might be interested to know that some of them actually read their emails and reply.


Edward Snowden: The Whistleblower Behind Revelations of NSA Surveillance

The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows.

It looks like someone’s in Iceland is willing to help out.

Update: the White House petition to pardon him.


Many denials, in recent days… Much like last year… And let’s not forget murky justifications.

May I volunteer a quote?

“First rule of politics: never believe anything until it’s officially denied.”


Saudi Prince Launches Libel Action Against Forbes Magazine Over Rich List

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s wealthiest businessmen who owns assets including London’s Savoy hotel, has launched a libel action against the business magazine Forbes over claims it underestimated his fortune by $9.6bn.

You just can’t make this up…


A Better Git Log

Sweetness, by Filipe Kiss:

git log --graph --pretty=format:'%Cred%h%Creset -%C(yellow)%d%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr) %C(bold blue)<%an>%Creset' --abbrev-commit

US Mining Data from 9 Leading Internet Firms; Companies Deny Knowledge

Yesterday’s story continues to unfold in the Washington Post:

The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.

Honestly, I’m not surprised the slightest bit. Anyone following this stuff over the past decade has at least run into the bits and pieces summed up by Bruce Schneier in The Atlantic:

We don’t know a lot about how the government spies on us, but we know some things. We know the FBI has issued tens of thousands of ultra-secret National Security Letters to collect all sorts of data on people — we believe on millions of people — and has been abusing them to spy on cloud-computer users. We know it can collect a wide array of personal data from the Internet without a warrant. We also know that the FBI has been intercepting cell-phone data, all but voice content, for the past 20 years without a warrant, and can use the microphone on some powered-off cell phones as a room bug — presumably only with a warrant.

There is more. Just read the whole piece.

His conclusions is quite apt, too:

Knowing how the government spies on us is important. Not only because so much of it is illegal […] but because we have a right to know. […] Otherwise, we’re living in a police state.


IMF ‘to Admit Mistakes’ in Handling Greek Debt Crisis And Bailout

The International Monetary Fund is to admit that it has made serious mistakes in the handling of the sovereign debt crisis in Greece, according to internal reports due to be published later on Wednesday. […]

“From what we understand the IMF singles out the EU for criticism in its handling of the problem more than anything else,” said one well-placed official at the Greek finance ministry. “But acknowledgement of these mistakes will help us. It has already helped cut some slack and it will help us get what we really need which is a haircut on our debt next year.

Seems like a step in the right direction, but it also begs the question: who will to take the losses when they do?

Update: The admission is now official.


Chinese Firm to Raise the World’s Tallest Skyscraper in 90 Days

The firm in question is the one that raised a 30-story building in 15 days two years ago:

Here’s to hoping that it won’t ever fall over.


NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions of Americans Daily

Glenn Greenwald, for The Guardian:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

Shocking! Or maybe not.


Back to Blogging…

And… back online.

Lots of things have changed since I first installed WordPress 8 years ago. Some have not. An invariant seems to be WordPress. Because, you know… everything else still… well… sucks.


As for what this blog will be about, only time will tell. Off the top of my head, I imagine some tech, marketing and finance. With quite a few links.

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