Uber and TFL – Power to Individuals? Not under Labour

September 22, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on Uber and TFL – Power to Individuals? Not under Labour
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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.

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.

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.

Electronic Voting – It’s Hard to Hack a piece of Paper

August 1, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Cyber Security | Comments Off on Electronic Voting – It’s Hard to Hack a piece of Paper
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One topic of conversation that comes up quite regularly for me is when people discuss electronic voting machines or voting online. With arguments in favour such as it will increase turnout and that it is more accessible. However, while I work In Cyber Security I will always be against electronic voting for the simple reason of, nothing is 100% secure.

Anyone in the security industry who says that a technology is 100% protected is lying.

There are still accusations that the US elections were tampered with and those rumours will continue for many years unless evidence is found. While it is possible to commit fraud using the UK’s traditional methods of pen plus paper and postal voting. The scale and the difficulties of doing it on a large scale is incredibly difficult.

This past week has reinforced my opinions on the weaknesses of electronic voting machines. At the Ethical hacking conferences in the USA this past week, various ethical hackers and researchers were invited to try and compromise the electronic voting machines used in past elections as recent as 2015.

Within 30 to 90 minutes, every machine type gifted to them was compromised with the researchers able to change hypothetical votes, play minesweeper and have the machines play videos.

Some of the machines could even be compromised remotely via wireless networks. It has been a pretty damning set of research and reinforces the point that with current technology no electronic voting machines cannot be 100% secure.

The ability to change thousands of votes just by messing with a spreadsheet and given the risk all organisations have against insider threats these machines cannot be considered physically secure either when not used in election season.

I’ll stick to my pen and paper for the time being.

Is a Data Breach going to bring down a Government?

July 29, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Posted in Cyber Security | Comments Off on Is a Data Breach going to bring down a Government?
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Earlier this week news came to light that information from the Swedish Transport Agency that a database containing the registration numbers of hundreds of thousands of Swedish citizens had been subject to a data breach.

Within this data was details of if people were in a witness protection program, armed service personal and police information. In short information that should never have been accessible by non-authorised parties.

However, unlike many data breaches this was not the result of a Hack but due to a lack of awareness and proper safeguards and oversight of an outsource project. The former head of the Agency has been found guilty and fined for negligence in the handling of this project and the data by the courts.

(The Maximum penalty in Sweden is just half a months’ Salary)

Now, this has taken on a political field.

This is one of the largest data breaches ever taken please in Sweden and it has emerged that Government ministers were aware of the breach happening last year but did not inform the Prime Minister for months and that when the PM did find out, this was also kept from both Parliament and other ministers.

Now the news has broken the Ministers responsible have been fired, resigned or moved. However, the threat of no confidence remains in both the Prime Minster and the ministers still in situ as it is going to be months before the data is fully secure.

This story will rumble on over the next month or so as the Swedish parliament is in recess at the moment but it is entirely possible that as more information becomes clear then a no confidence motion in the Swedish government might pass.

The Election Result, Conservatives Largest Party and in Majority (for the areas that count)

June 13, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on The Election Result, Conservatives Largest Party and in Majority (for the areas that count)
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The Votes have been counted and I must admit I was shocked at the Election results, but then again I really should not have been. As the Conservative Party was going up someone who has never held a real job outside of political campaigning in his life and has spent his life Campaigning.

What did surprise me was the return to two party politics with both Labour and the Conservatives securing around 82% of the vote. It also ensures that the process of leaving the EU will go ahead as both Labour and Conservatives pledged to honour the referendum and leave the single market.

However, one thing needs to be made clear.
The Conservatives still won, they secured the largest amount of Seats and the largest amount of Votes.

The Conservatives will remain the government for several reasons.
The First is the parliamentary arithmetic, as you only need 320 seats to hold a de-facto majority in the House of Commons. The Conservatives hold 318 seats which is just enough once the speaker is taken into account.

The second is that Labour cannot pass any legislation regarding England, Wales and Northern Ireland due to the Grand Legislative Committees.
The Conservative party has a Majority of 60 in England, 36 in England and Wales and 18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As such, the Labour party cannot pass a single act if it did somehow succeed in becoming the government.

The Conservative party is angry at the result, but as usual that anger will fade and turn into determination and when the next election is fought in about four years’ time the Conservative party will be better prepared.

For now, its time for the Government to get back to work.

Coffee-Cup Reflections – The Decay of Left Wing Parties?

May 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on Coffee-Cup Reflections – The Decay of Left Wing Parties?
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Having sat down over lunch and reflected in a coffee-cup, the realisation began to dawn.

The Great Left Wing political parties of the west are dying, and if not dying in terminal decline. In their place, populist, nationalist and conservative parties have risen in their place to take advantage of this collapse.

Why has this happened? Why did the traditional base of blue-collar workers that for decades supported the Labour Party in the UK, the democrats in the USA and the Socialists in France?

Since the turn of the decade, the moderate Left Wing of politics has been in full retreat as their base withdrew its support. The Socialists recently came 5th in Elections in France having controlled the presidency previously. In Greece, Holland, Iceland & Ireland the traditional centre left parties vote collapsed to below 10% share having previously dominated those countries.

The answer that came to me is not a conquest of ideology but rather the conquest of Technology. Since the turn of the decade, society and individuals have become far more demand orientated. The rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime thanks to the digital revolution have enabled much greater choice, competition and self-selection.

In other words perceived greater control over our lives. The on-demand economy responds to our whims and not the whims of others. This change is fundamentally against the thinking of moderate left wing parties as Social Democrats since the time of Beveridge.

“Vote for us and we will do things for you”

What happens when individuals want public services to serve them as individuals rather than as a collective?

This is fundamentally incompatible with the top down statist model that the moderate left wing parties have been pitching to the electorate for decades and something that all political parties need to be aware of that a top down approach from the state can and will backfire.

The Slow Death of the UKIP

May 10, 2017 at 10:18 am | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on The Slow Death of the UKIP
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In my Opinion, there are three core types of political party, Ideological, Mass and Protest Parties. Today most political parties have elements from these three core types but you can trace individual political parties in the UK to one of these core areas.

Until last June, UKIP I would argue as an example of a Mass Protest party, with the objection of protesting against the UK’s membership of the EU.
The SNP I would argue are an Ideological Protest party, with the Ideology of Nationalism and the protest of Scotland being part of the UK.

However, what happens when the Raison-d’etre of being a political party ceases to exist?

We are seeing this with UKIP following the County elections, their principle purpose of the UK leaving the EU is being realised. What reason is for them to exist?

The Electorate appear to have reached the same conclusion at the local elections with UKIP having lost every seat they were defending. Their share of the Vote has collapsed to around 5% from where three years ago they topped the Vote at the European Parliament elections.

A Protest party without its main protest ceases to have effective meaning. Its message loses meaning with the electorate and for UKIP their message has been taken away from them due to last year’s referendum.

The electorate that supported them for the purposes of leaving the European union have moved their support to candidates and parties that are bringing about their goals while those that voted for them purely out of protest are moving their protest to other parties of protest such as the Lib Dems & Greens.

The General election results will be interesting as in terms of votes over four million people voted for UKIP last time round; if three quarters of them break to the Conservatives then it will be a Conservative Landslide.

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