Monday, October 20, 2008


As a joke more than anything, I thought I would compare the results you get when you type different things into the search engine. I started off with terms like "Authoritarianism" - 0 results, "Totalitarian" - 0 Results, "Coercion" - 0 Results, "Deceptive" - 0 Results, "Honesty" - 3 Results, "Data loss" & "Apology" - 238 results and finally I tried "new powers" - 500 results. Bingo.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Identity documents required to purchase mobile phones!

As I perused the newspaper online, I was saddened to learn that GCHQ wants a database of all mobile phone owners. I have two words to say to this: "Low Battery".

Here is a list of reasons why it might be a good idea:

1) When your calls are intercepted and your location identified, GCHQ will also be able to determine who you are and who the person you are talking to is. So if you are a criminal/terrorist then beware... unless you got your mobile second hand... or swapped with a friend... or found a way to unlock the phone... yeah...nevermind then.

Here is a list of reasons why it might be a bad idea:

1) If you are innocent the state will be able to track your movements. Wherever you carry your phone, it sends out a signal, even when switched off. With the authorities now able to track a mobile phone's location very accurately (within 100 yards), if you're travelling, you can wave goodbye to privacy.

2) If you are innocent it will now be possible for the state to have a complete record of all your phone calls and identify it to a person, much in the same way as they do for land lines.

3) If you are innocent, it's another nail in the coffin for your privacy. When coupled with all the other surveillance legislation and proposals, such as the database of all communications, it makes it harder to live life without being spied upon constantly. Whereas government departments previously have had to ask for your mobile phone number, now it won't make the slightest difference.

Alas how now can one travel without being continually monitored? Trains/stations have CCTV and ticket tracking, buses have CCTV and, if using Oyster, ticket tracking as well. Car number plates are recorded by the vast ANPR surveillance network cameras, all airports already have very sophisticated surveillance systems.

This measure is further authoritarianism in an age when liberty should be flourishing. Why is the government so happy and willing to throw away the freedom of its innocent citizens? Specifically show me where I consented to this severe breach of trust. We wouldn't tolerate it if a business was this intrusive, so why can the state get away with it?

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Outlining a vision

Today I want to explore what it means to have a vision.

To explain this, I am going to talk about what makes people successful. In the majority of cases they start creating a new mental realm - it might be a new business idea or a book or an interest and then either alone or with others begin pursuing the growth of the project, investing energy, time and resources.

This applies across history, whether a business leader like Bill Gates, a military leader like Napoleon, numerous inventors and artists and so on.

So what determines the success and realisation of a vision?

Firstly is its viability. If it is a good idea then it has a good start, but also do you have the means necessary to get it moving - can you spare the time, do you have sufficient finances and so on.

Secondly do you have support for your vision? Other people helping make it much easier and more likely to go forward. This is not to say that other people are always right - Harry Potter may never have got published were it not for J.K. Rowling's persistence (her book was rejected many times over before Bloomsbury accepted it), though they can sometimes be making a valid point. Many ideas presented on "Dragon's Den" are clearly not viable and the people should try something different.

Thirdly, how does it fit into the world? A new supermarket chain might be an excellent idea, but given the level of saturation of such shops and the dominance of a big few, is it viable and/or will it be viable at some later date? Will your insta-toasta be welcomed? More importantly does it add something new and of value to people. If your vision is a negative one, it is possible that the smaller positive elements and resources you invest may sustain it in the short term, but long-term it isn't going to get very far unless you make modifications. The best visions should create win,win scenarios.

Having a vision means knowing precisely what your end position will be, the time it will take to reach that state and an idea of what it will take to accomplish such a goal along with a commitment to get there.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My post was intercepted... what should I do?

Today I received a letter from my bank which had been opened. I know this because there was a small tear in the envelop and two identical claw-like tears on the edge of the balance sheet. Now as you might imagine, being a student, I'm not amongst the wealthiest of people, but I do know that my financial information should be confidential, and even more than that, I think there should be common courtesy in not opening other people's mail. It's called respect.

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