Tag Archives: Gordon Brown

Phone hacking

I watch the phone hacking scandal with disbelief. I can understand how average joe gets hacked, especially with regard to answerphones: the pin is four digits, and though it may take some time, this is guessable (why isn’t a text sent whenever there is an incorrect pin entry, with 5 wrong guesses causing a lockout for two hours?)

What befuddles me most of all is that Gordon Brown is concerned about phone hacking:

  1. If the PM (for he was once) is using a mobile, and worried about interception of signal, why isn’t it encrypted by default?
  2. If the PM is worried about the voicemail being hacked, then why is the default orange voicemail being used (or vodafone, or O2 or whatever) – have they checked the security? Are they sure no rogue telecom employees can listen?
  3. Most importantly, why on earth is there an automated system for voicemail at all? The phone isn’t answered because the PM is busy (a real possibility, surely) – but the phone call might be important (also a real possibility). In that case, forward the phone call to PMs private secretary who will take the message in a more secure way. If the phone is the PMs private number, then this can still be done by a professional and discrete secretarial service.

The focus of the ‘phone hacking’ story is all wrong. Right now, it shouldn’t be on ‘Did the News of the World’ indulge in hacking the PMs phone?’ – but it should be ‘Why are our communications so weak that there is even the risk that a tabloid journo could hack the communications of the Prime Minister?’

None of this is to diminish the naughtiness of hacking into the phones of other individuals, and that investigation should run its course; but right now, I’m mostly wondering ‘Why was the PMs phone so insecure?’ and ‘Could this apply to the current PM?’

One-Eyed Scottish Idiot

Jeremy Clarkson is again the target of politician’s ‘outrage’. Whilst in Australia, he referred to Gordon Brown as a ‘One-Eyed Scottish Idiot’.

If you analyse the statement carefully, there is no problem. He had not said that Scottish people were idiots, or One-Eyed people were idiots. That would be illogical.

‘Gordon Brown has one eye’. A factual statement, if you mean one working eye.

‘Gordon Brown is Scottish’. Another factual statement.

‘Gordon Brown is an idiot’. The only part of the statement that can be reasonably contended. Funny how the politicians raising objections are both from Mr. Brown’s party. Odd, that.

The Australian is owned by Rupert Murdoch, he of BSkyB. BSkyB is a direct competitor of the BBC. Make of that what you will.

I freely admit that Clarkson was unwise to prefix ‘idiot’ with ‘one eyed’ and ‘scottish’ due to the fact that it will inevitably be read as ‘Clarkson thinks Scottish and Visually Impaired people are idiots’.

Now That’s British!

“When Gordon Brown called on the British Library to stage an exhibition about Britishness he perhaps envisaged a patriotic celebration of the national identity. ” begins the story in The Telegraph.

It continues to tell of the new exhibition called ‘Taking Liberties‘ – which is a very British response to such a request from a Prime Minister seeking a publicity tool. It’s an exhibition looking at Civil Liberties in the UK, and how they’ve been slowly but steadily eroded since 1997.

David Davis, the former shadow Home Secretary who recently stepped down from the Parliament to force a by election on the issue of civil liberties, said: “It is an astonishingly good idea but is clearly a snub to the Prime Minister and must be accurately embarrassing for him. Gordon Brown likes to talk about Britishness a lot without understanding that liberty is at the core of Britishness. It is our institutional DNA. Our history and tradition of freedom run longer and deeper than any other country.”

(snip)

Iconic objects such as the Magna Carta, the death certificate of Charles I and Cromwell’s Oath of Loyalty from 1857 will be on display among less well known items some of which have never been on display before.

The exhibition will open on the 31st October and end on the 1st March 2009. Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it.

The British Library is at St. Pancras – very convenient for tube and rail connections.