New anti-hacking laws

It looks like the proposed new anti-hacking laws might do some good for prosecuting offenders – Denial of Service attacks are now classified as offences, but then it might also outlaw legal uses of hacking tools.

More on Spy blog and The Register

There’s a link to the text of the new bill here

Wikipedia has an article here

What is this monster that we have created?

A dangerous sign when carrying an A4 sign can get you banned from an airline, but if you have a sign with the word “Oiligarchy” on it, then it appears that threatens the air crew so much that you are not allowed to fly.

What price are we willing to pay for our freedom, and have we lost that freedom already, when you have to apply for a license to protest? And if you don’t you risk arrest for eating a cake at a picnic.

The simple fact that the legislators attempted to pass a law banning Brian Haw and his display from Parliament Square, and have managed to pass a law that means that he is the only person in the world that can legally demonstrate there without permission just displays their complete incompetence.

Binary liquid explosive

It’s really annoying me at the moment – I might want to fly somewhere, but I won’t be able to take a drink on the plane – why? Because the media have somehow convinced the “authorities” that I could take a bottle of something from my bathroom, and one of my fellow passengers could take on another, and if I retired to the bathroom for 5 minutes could mix them together and blow up the whole aeroplane!

Now this is sensationalist nonsense, but it appears that somewhere along the line the police, secutriy services or whatever have forgotten that (excuse my shouting) MOVIES ARE NOT REAL LIFE!

I’m not a chemist – the last real chemistry I did was in school when making sulphuric acid in my parents garage by electrolysis of copper sulphate solution, but I do think that maybe umm the Journal of the American Chemical Society might have something to say on the matter.

TATP is the most widely quoted binary liquid explosive, and in the 4th February 2005 issue published a piece Decomposition of Triacetone Triperoxide Is an Entropic Explosion on the synthesis of TATP. Dick Destiny has an article on the journal piece, and I’m not going to repeat what he said so go read it here.

Look, my favourite news source, The Register has also done a piece illustrating how difficult it would be.

And Dick Destiny has been busy on since then with more and more on the subject.

I’m glad I’m not the only one that it’s annoying – Ryan Air have something to say on the matter about the new secutiry measures, but if you’re at work you might not want to click here (NSFW).

Even if you’re not blowing up aeroplanes, you will get into trouble if you’re plaing with chemicals – the 20 year old in Manchester has shown that – but again, the media appears to have blown it all out of proportion, and completely lost any sense of reality.

Is it just me or are the power that be getting better at controlling us through fear – or are they getting more desperate and more obvious?

I’m guessing that this blog is now going to be watched on some list by the number of references to explosives and bombs and aeroplanes and aircraft and security services… maybe they’ll conclude that the welly wanger is the new Welsh weapon of mass destruction and confiscate it before Wednesday. 😉

Crossing borders with laptops

Next time you cross a border with your laptop, don’t be suprised if they want to examine the data on it.
Ars Technica have just posted an article about examination of data in the US at international airports and borders. Don’t think that you’re safe in the UK either – they’ve been doing it since at least 1998 as reported by the BBC

CentOS threatened with FBI for “hacking” a web site.

A Jerry A. Taylor appears to need to get a clue – despite the fact that he has “22 years in computer systems engineering and operation” , when his hosting provider mussed up, he decided to threaten CentOS, as obviously the fact that the web server was displaying a nice message from them it was their fault.

You really can’t make up stories like this, and this guy is set to become an internet legend.

One of their websites still hasn’t been fixed when I write this.

I actually can’t believe how civil the guys at CentOS kept being in the face of a complete and utter… I would have probably taken them up on thier offer to send in the FBI, and let them be had for wasting police time.

Centos full email exchange

When does historical start?

When does history start?

According to the US goverment, under a millisecond ago… Technically I suppose this is correct, but the implications for personal privacy, the implications are huge.
For example, the US law enforcement agencies can demand historical records like telephone billing information with nothing more than a subpoena (no probable cause required), and the court as to comply.
Now, that is all fine and dandy, because things like telephone records are historical and technically can be treated as though they are merely records of the telephone company. (You can argue about the ethics of this one)

The real problem appears to start when intercepting slightly historical data. For example if a telephone company uses it’s masts to determine where you are. If the data is stored on the phone company’s computers to monitor any of a number of things (historical trends for marketing, billing advertisers, monitoring the infrastructure), then this is historical data. But this data is being added to in “real time” – when does history start? Where you were an hour ago? Where you were a minute ago? Where you were a second ago? a millisecond?
Technically these are all historical records, and the US law enforcement agencies appear to think that there is no such thing as “now” except as an excuse to make everything past into history.

Somehing similar applies to “data in transit”, this is protected by wiretap restrictions, but if the agencies intercept electronic data using a store, capture and forward, then surely the data is no longer current – it has been stored for a microsecond or more… Say goodbye to privacy of VOIP calls, or any electronic communication.

More can be read on The register. And the article on wiretapping on Arstchnica.

And just because we live in the UK doesn’t mean we can rest easy – the UK Police Chiefs want to monitor all of our movements using roadside cameras with automatic number plate recognition.

Analog copy protection legislation

Buy your dvd recorders, capture cards and other recording devices before this new US legislation gets passed. The Digital Transition Content Security Act of 2005 (PDF) introduces a video and audio rights signalling system embedded into analog media, which means that all new recorders will be able to identify the source of material and make the decision on whether you can record it or not. This must make those hollywood type wet themselves with excitement, as the prospect of having complete control over what we watch, where and when comes ever closer. Of course, the hardened pirates out there will make even more money out of removing the copy protection, and the genuine buying public will be even more inconvenienced by not being able to make a copy of their CD to listen to in the car, because no-one wants their favourite CD to get scratched to death because it gets dropped on the floor of the car.

It will be something to keep a close eye on – remember that they tried to tie us down with Region Encoding on DVD and CSS. It’s a good job I don’t plan on travelling to the USA, they’d probably lock me up for this post. For a more rational commentary see the Ars Technica posting. Just don’t get me started on what I’m paying for when I buy an album, and how many original Compact Cassettes and Vinyl LPs and Singles I have in my loft. :-S