If you would like to clean up the internet, do it properly.

Note, this is my first political post, I try hard not to politicise most of my subjects (partly because there are far too many people doing that for disability anyway, but also because I don’t think it’s that helpful…) However this is a technology (ish) focused post….

I used to work for a forensics analysis company, processing hard drives of people that the police had arrested for various horrific child-related things. I lasted about two months and it was deeply deeply awful.

The area (enforcement of the law around making indecent images of children) is massively understaffed, and it’s massively underfunded. Particularly because it’s one of those ‘invisible’ crimes. Public outcrys happen at the wrong time – when someone is caught, rather than when the crime is committed and there is never the money to do proactive enforcement of the law.

So if someone wanted to ‘clean up dark corners of the internet’, then the thing to do is to properly enforce the existing laws. To fund the teams that can protect children, to get those teams enough staff that they have time to arrest people. That would make a genuine difference.

Or, if you wanted to save some money, you could announce that you are making something else illegal as well. Yes I’d like to see *that* vanish entirely. But it’s an empty law. There simply isn’t the police staff to enforce it. Yes, a tiny fraction of people who distribute rape porn are going to be arrested (which is a good thing, no question) but for every one of them who gets arrested, someone who distributes child porn won’t be arrested.

If you want to deal with problems like rape porn and child porn then the thing to do is to fund the agencies that deal with it. If, on the other hand, you want votes from people who don’t understand the internet, then keep going as you are.

Apropos of nothing…

Yesterday I overhead the following snippet of conversation…

“Really nice bloke, I mean, he’s a bit racist, but not he’s not crazy about it. He doesn’t go on matches and there’s no throwing bricks through windows or anything…”



U.S. Religious Zealots Sneak Into Scottish Schools Without Parents’ Knowledge to ‘Help’ With Lesson Plans

U.S. Religious Zealots Sneak Into Scottish Schools Without Parents’ Knowledge to ‘Help’ With Lesson Plans.

“British newspaper the Daily Record just revealed that a U.S.-dispatched group of Christians, affiliated with the Church of Christ, has been helping out in Scottish schools. Head teacher Sandra MacKenzie (pictured below) of the 400-pupil Kirktonholme Primary School in East Kilbride knew what the missionaries were up to — the paper says she even invited them – but the kids’ parents were left in the dark. They only realized what was happening when their children came home with Creationist books they had been given at assembly. “


I recommend reading the rest a U.S. Religious Zealots Sneak Into Scottish Schools Without Parents’ Knowledge to ‘Help’ With Lesson Plans.

Let’s be clear about a couple of things…

I’m okay with religion, I’ll happily give a spirited defence of someone’s belief in a supreme being. I’m more uneasy with the idea of presenting religion to children before they have shown an ability to distinguish between differing philosophies. I’m very uneasy about religion being presented as fact. I’m generally incensed by the idea of religion flat out contradicting scientific evidence.

To give the balanced view – this is external group helping out at a presumably short-staffed school, who handed out some books on Monday, presumably the teachers at the school, had a quick glance at them (the article commically mentions a parent saying “They looked fair enough at a glance and one had a dinosaur on the front”) and though ‘isn’t it lovely that these volenteers even bring materials for kids’) So I’d like to hesitate a little before we take torches and pitchforks to the teachers.

The thing that sticks in my mind here, is that when I was at a (Catholic) primary school, my class was given a copy of the New Testament each. If this Christian school in predominately Christian Scotland had given each kid a little copy of the bible, which (read literally) includes a range of things on which children can ask awkward questions of their parents, then I don’t believe that parents, papers or public would have batted an eye. You can certainly imagine a confused North American Missionary being deeply mistifed by the idea that the UK is fine with Leveticus, but fiercely objects to putting the message of gensis into a children’s book…

Orginal story in this piece…


There’s lots I don’t understand about copyright enforcement…

Regardless of your stance on Copyright infringement, it’s worth following Torrentfreak’s News feed for some fairly well-researched journalism relevent to technical and security issues.

Today, their story is the treatment of a UK man who is currently bailed for videoing  films at the cinema… and there is so much I don’t understand about the story.

From the article: 

Five unmarked police vehicles were sent to arrest a man in the UK following allegations that he ‘cammed’ the movie Fast and Furious 6 and put it online. After being banned from every cinema in the country the 24-year-old was released on bail.

But now, three weeks in advance of his bail date, things have started moving again with yet another surprising turn of events.

Earlier this week police and FACT turned up at the man’s home in the West Midlands armed with a new search warrant issued by a magistrate, this time in relation to the camming of the movie ‘Epic’.

First of all, I wasn’t actually aware that filming in a cinema was still a thing – I understood that the piracy that can believably affect Box office and DVD sales is the copying of DVDs and the leaking of early screeners and preview copies. I can completely understand why that’s a problem – and given that such things are widely leaked I can’t quite see why its worth somebody’s time and effect to go to the cinema with a camcorder.  More to the point – surely it’s in FACT’s interest that movie piracy is flooded with poor quality rubbish because then people have a greater incentive to buy DVDs? is that not right? So I don’t understand either the motivation of a guy recording in the cinema, or the guys stopping him.

After being taken to a police station at 8am the man was questioned and held for more than eight hours. Interestingly and despite significant resources invested in the original raid, the police informed the man that charges against him in respect of Fast and Furious 6 had been dropped. There would, however, be new charges.

“When I was eventually interviewed at 4pm I was questioned again by FACT in relation to the Fast and Furious 6 cam, which I ‘politely’ declined to answer any questions about,” he told TorrentFreak.

I’m also deeply confused by police procedure here – if someone has recorded a video at the cinema and uploaded it somewhere, and you have enought evidence to arrest them, then I’m somewhat confused as to why you get held for eight hours.  There isn’t a public safety justification for a start, but more to the point, the evidence would all be electronic anyway – and the electronic evidence would make this pretty open and shut – either there’s a evidence trail on a laptop somewhere or there isn’t – and that makes it pretty open and shut in either direction. Can someone give me a clue as to why he’s held for 8hours instead of a 30 minute, set of ‘Was it you?’ questions and the police sending his electronics to one of the digial forensics teams?