Uber and TFL – Power to Individuals? Not under Labour

September 22, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Posted in Musings | Leave a comment
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So, to the surprise of no one who pays attention to City Hall in London the TFL has banned Uber for reasons which to be frank are petty to say the least. Especially as many of the reasons that they state for blocking of Uber are actually the responsibility of the TFL themselves under the relevant acts of parliament.

However, with the Taxi Cab Unions putting Labour in control of City Hall this decision does not surprise me.

With 3.5 Million people using Uber and over 300k people having signed a petition against the ban already in just four hours.

However, one thing this does expose is the current Leadership of the Labour party’s distaste for ordinary people.
If there is anything that puts power to individuals to have freedom of choice and a choice of power away from the state is to Ban it.

The Labour party believes that the state is the solution to everything.

It is not, if the state is the answer to every problem then why can’t it rise to the challenge of adapting to new solutions and industries?

Because it cannot and today’s decision is a reminder of Labour’s gut instincts when it comes to any challenge and it is to Ban it. If Labour wins the next election expect your freedom of choice to slowly vanish starting with services such as Uber, Netflix and JustEat.

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More Authoritarianism in Venezuela & lack of condemnation from Labour Leadership

September 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on More Authoritarianism in Venezuela & lack of condemnation from Labour Leadership
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Venezuela’s descent into tyranny and oppression continues at a startling pace. With Starvation increasing to the point that the leadership are now urging people to breed Rabbits to eat after all they have raided the Zoo’s already for food. 1

How much more will it take to get a condemnation from the leader of the Labour party?

Despite international condemnation, the leader of the Labour party all he could do was to do a Donald Trump and condemn both sides, despite clear evidence of this coming from one source.

In the case of Venezuela, it is the government, in the case of the incidents in Charlottesville it was the Far Right.

My previous post on Venezuela did get some comments regarding Saudi Arabia and Apartheid South Africa and Conservatives failure to condemn them.

Again, this rises the point of the insufferable feeling of being “right” on the left wing.

This fact remains, the Leader of the Labour Party saw Venezuela as the way forward and that we should be emulating it.

There is no one in the leadership of the Conservative Party who wanted or wants to emulate Apartheid South Africa or Saudi Arabia.

We now know that behind the Scenes the UK government under Margret Thatcher did more than any other government to end Apartheid, and to quote Nelson Mandela himself to the shock and dismay of Labour party leadership of the 80’s and 90’s.

Mrs Thatcher is “An enemy of apartheid”

Yet the leadership of the Labour party commended Venezuela as a beacon and now refuses to formally condemn now it has become an Authoritarian state.

1: As an aside eating Rabbits is a terrible idea and one that could only come from a Socialist government as Rabbit is not a good eating meat and can lead to Protein poisoning.

The First Hack – 1903

September 5, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Cyber Security, Musings | Comments Off on The First Hack – 1903
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A Bit of a History lesson today, following a conversation with some of the recent graduates receiving a briefing on cyber security and hacking of communications in general. One of them asked a fateful question.

What was the first recorded hacking? Communications deception goes back millennia to the era and writings of Sun Tzu. In the modern parlance, however we need to go back to the dawn of Wireless communication in 1903 with John Fleming and Guglielmo Marconi and the rival to Marconi’s company Nevil Maskelyne.

Now Maskelyne’s company was struggling with the upstart Marconi company threatening market share and beginning to take the market in wireless communications with them able to demonstrate trans-atlantic wireless communication earlier in 1903. It in June 1903 that Fleming and Marconi set up a demonstration at the Royal Institution theatre in London of their secure wireless communication over long distance.

Fleming was presenting the lecture and Marconi was three hundred miles away in Cornwall getting ready to send the message.

Maskelyne however, learned that the demonstration would not be using specific tuned equipment and so he enacted his plan.

By setting up his on transmitter, a short distance from the Theatre he was able to overpower the communications from Cornwall and the printer in the Theatre began to print insults and limericks that had been sent by Maskelyne.

The First hack of radio communications has been completed.

The incident did little to harm Marconi and Fleming however, with Radio communication evolving to the modern internet of today.

Kenya Election Result Overturned – Electronic voting Part 2

September 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Cyber Security, Musings | Comments Off on Kenya Election Result Overturned – Electronic voting Part 2
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It has been a month since I posted previously about electronic voting and my preference for pen and paper as it is more challenging to compromise that method.

https://guygrandison.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/electronic-voting-its-hard-to-hack-a-piece-of-paper/

Today it has been announced that the Supreme Court of Kenya has overturned the election result of the recent presidential election due to failures in the electronic voting system.

Now the court has not revealed if this was a result of a Cyber Attack or Data Breach and whether it was malicious or not. However, it has revealed that one of the reasons for the overturning of the result was the failures of the electronic voting system.

Given the history of “rigged” elections in some African countries I can understand the desire to go to electronic voting as it is easier than filling ballot boxes with false ballots and the mantra of “vote early, vote often.” It seems though in this case that this has failed to move by as well.

I will read the full report from the Court with interest.

Importance of Multi-Factor authentication

August 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Cyber Security, Musings | Comments Off on Importance of Multi-Factor authentication
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Yesterday it was announced that the Scottish Parliament was under a cyber-attack similar to the one that targeted Westminster earlier in the year.

The Attackers were trying to gain access to the email systems of MSP’s and Staff members of the parliament for their own gains. This time it looks as if the attack was stopped in its tracks.

I am fortunate enough to have worked with the Scottish Parliament closely in a previous role and I know a bit more about their security infrastructure than most. And, I am assuming that their methods of security have not changed to radically in the last three years.

The Scottish Parliament does use multifactor authentication for the majority of its users.

The importance of multifactor authentication is key to as to why this particular brute force attack was not as successful as previous one that hit Westminster as there was an added layer of security beyond that of username and password.

It still affected the Scottish Parliament but it is better to have some minor disruptions as opposed to having data stolen.

Australia vs New Zealand – Citizenship rights.

August 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on Australia vs New Zealand – Citizenship rights.
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It is all kicking off in the Southern Ocean, and it is not being friendly.

Over the last few months there has been a story rumbling of various members of parliament having to resign their seats due to having dual citizenship.

Under Australian Law, it is illegal to stand for Parliament if you “knowingly” hold dual citizenship and across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand automatically grant’s citizenship if one of your parents is a New Zealander. Although you have to apply.

This Scandal has now affected with government with the Deputy Prime Minister being informed that he holds New Zealand citizenship. Something that he claims not to have known.

However, this story has taken a more interesting term as it turns out that the Labor Party in Australia instigated the investigation into his citizenship working closely with the Labor Party in New Zealand.
This story will rumble on.

One thing that is slowly being agreed on though is that the Australian Law needs to be changed as currently almost half of all Australian citizen’s hold dual citizenship of some form or another.

Labour Leadership & Venezuela – “Many people died on both sides of the Battle of Yavin – I condemn both the Death Star and the Rebel X-Wings.”

August 8, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on Labour Leadership & Venezuela – “Many people died on both sides of the Battle of Yavin – I condemn both the Death Star and the Rebel X-Wings.”
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The pressure that has been mounting on the Leader of the Labour party to condemn the actions taken by the Venezuela government and that I wrote about last week. Now that Jeremy Corbyn has returned from his holiday the statement came.

Moreover, he failed to do so in a spectacular fashion.

Within the statement, he condemned the violence of both sides.

However, there is no equity in the violence here. The United Nations has now spoken out and lays the blame of the issues and unrest of Venezuela at the highest levels of the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan government is oppressing human rights of its citizens.

You also get within the statement, that the economy was “too dependent on oil” and that there were “effective and serious attempts at reducing poverty.”

This is an effective attempt at reducing Poverty? Where over three in four people now live in poverty and where food now costs three times the minimum wage.
Any progress that has been made to reducing Poverty in Venezuela has now moved it back to levels not seen before the 1950’s.

As for dependency on the Oil, that is true but surely that should have been for the government of Venezuela to deal with they own the oil company. Instead, due to pricing controls manufacturing in the country collapsed by a third.

I condemn the Labour Leadership for their stance on the Venezuela Crisis and commend those in the Labour party that are taking a stand against it as many around the world are.

Jeremy Corbyn once said that by being “neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”

So yes Mr Corbyn, you have chosen the side of the Oppressor.

PS: Credit to Tom Harris, former Labour MP for the Death Star line.

Black Hat vs White Hat

August 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Cyber Security, Musings | Comments Off on Black Hat vs White Hat
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This Blog is entirely my own opinion and is no way tied to my employer. 

Last week, news broke that the cyber security analyst who stopped the Wannacry cyber security incident in May had been arrested in Las Vegas while attending the ethical hacking conference. He was accused and charged with having previously creating a piece of banking malware that gained notoriety around 2014.

Now, in this case as always the presumption is innocent until proven guilty.

However, it does pose significant questions as to those researchers who were previously wearing the “Black hat” and facing off against the security industry and later chose to go legitimate and become “white hats” in security industry.

If there is a sword of Damocles hanging over them about their past then it adds a further question as to if they want to go legitimate.

It all boils down to the principles of Sun Tzu and the Art of War. How far are States willing to overlook past crimes for the greater good.

Sun Tzu says on spies, in chapter 13 of Art of War
“Having CONVERTED SPIES, getting hold of the enemy’s spies and using them for our own purposes.”

Converted Spies are deemed the most useful by Sun Tzu as it enables other spies to be brought in based on the knowledge of the converted spy.

A thousands year old text still has relevance today and in the cyber security industry chapter 13 is especially relevant. As the knowledge that those researchers who were formally on the other side of the battle is extremely valuable.

It is entirely possible that regardless of whether the Wannacry researcher is guilty or not that the actions taken in the US have potentially put off future Black Hats from becoming White Hats and that the knowledge they would have brought is now lost.

Labour Leadership silence – Venezuela a better way of doing things?

August 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on Labour Leadership silence – Venezuela a better way of doing things?
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In the past Week, the failing state of Venezuela finally took the steps to throw off the idea of democracy and finally descended into an Autocracy. With opposition leaders arrested by the secret police and parliament having now been effectively bypassed.

International condemnation has been swift from the US, EU and the UK.
However, the UN has been strangely silent on these matters.

Individual Labour party MP’s including the shadow foreign secretary have joined condemnation from other left wing parties throughout Europe in condemning the leadership of Venezuela. However, there has been largely silence from the Labour Leader’s office.

The Reason, because I fear that this is what the Labour Leader wants society to be like.
Corbyn & his leadership team have been praising Venezuela for the better part of two decades. Corbyn himself is quoted as saying of Venezuela.

“Showed us there is a different and better way of doing things. It’s called Socialism”

Well let us see what socialism has done to Venezuela?

  • 3rd Highest murder rate in the world.
  • Inflation at 2000%, shortages in basic food and medicines.
  • Bribery and corruption rampant.
  • Freedom of the Press destroyed with protests now going on three years.
  • Tampered elections and opposition politicians arrested and banned.
  • Poverty increasing dramatically.

This is a better way of doing things?
No its not, since the fall of the Soviet Union in the 90’s brought about a decrease in absolute poverty by nearly two thirds and Venezuela is now trying to reverse that statistic.

The Labour Leadership who have for nearly the past twenty years praised Venezuela now need to come out and condemn it and stop trying to claim that what Venezuela did was the right thing to do as it has been proven, as has been proven every time before it.

Socialism doesn’t work.

The Current Parliament Length

June 23, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on The Current Parliament Length
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There is a train of thought that the next general election is only months away due to it being a hung parliament.
However, the parliamentary arithmetic makes this in reality a significantly more stable government than the results following the 2010 General election.

The Conservatives hold 318 Seats combined and given the fact that Sein Fein do not take their seats in addition to the speaker these results in the effective number of MP’s to govern a total majority of the commons being 320, the closeness of this number means it is quite easier to pass measures in the Commons in reality.

There is also the additional factor of the Grand Committees of England and Wales where the Conservative party commands an absolute majority.

There is also the factor of the fixed term parliament Act, which has now set the date of the next election of June 2022. It is my opinion that it is impossible to get through in the current circumstances to call an early election, as the SNP do not want another one as they have numerous MP’s on small majorities now and the same can be said of the Lib Dems and Conservatives.

A no confidence motion is unlikely to pass in the next few months, as it is unlikely to pass again given the arithmetic of the Commons.

My view is that this Parliament will last for the next three to four years with the next election to be held in the next decade.

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