The Long Weekend

Hiya. If you haven’t dropped in to I.Doubt.It over the weekend, it was a busy one. Thanks to everyone who made Saturday a record day for visitors. Here’s the best of what the rest of you missed:

What Phone Is Right For You? 7 – I, Android

Latest in the ongoing series of articles aimed at helping you pick the best fruit in the smartphone jungle. Today I look at Google’s Android and ask if it is a better alternative to Apple’s iPhone.

Don’t Trust The Data Protection Commission

The agency charged with keeping us safe from the likes of the News Of The World’s “phone hacking” has a suggestion to prevent the same thing happening here. Unfortunately, it’s wrong.

Expel The Papal Nuncio

Join the campaign to tell the Vatican that canon law is not above the law of the land.

They Really Are Out To Get You

Despite ever more excruciating cuts into Ireland’s budget, no matter how much we reduce health and social spending, the US-based agencies continue to revise our credit rating down. Could there be a hidden agenda?

Your Morning Monkey

Just a picture of me. With a monkey.

Some Of Last Week’s Highlights

Stuff you might not have seen yet if you’re new to I.Doubt.It

Good Morning, Euro. Euro?

I come up with a brilliant solution to the currency crisis.

The George Michael Revelations

Disgraced Murdoch minion Rebekah Brooks admitted her papers got celebrity news from police informers – or so George Michael claimed on Twitter. I edit his tweets together to make his allegations clear.

The World’s Greatest Secret

Before she was fired herself, when Rebekah Brooks made the entire staff of the News Of The World redundant, she told them that when the full story comes out in a year from now they would see she had no choice. I think I know what the terrible secret is.

First Impressions of Google+

Is it the new Facebook? Is it the new Twitter? Is it the new Twitface?

Don’t Trust The Data Protection Commission

A printed circuit board inside a mobile phone
Can't find any messages here

It’s extremely worrying when the national Data Protection Commission doesn’t seem to understand the basics of phone security. Moving swiftly to unbolt a horse, they have found a way to protect us against the News Of The World: Asking phone networks to turn off remote access to voice messages.

But remote access itself was never the problem, it was access using a default PIN such as 1234. The existence of this useless PIN gave an impression of security, while providing absolutely none – surely the worst possible combination.

And the misunderstanding goes even deeper than that. To quote from the above article:

Deputy Commissioner Gary Davis confirmed his office had been in touch with the providers since the details emerged last week.

“Who does it serve to be able to access the messages left on your mobile phone?” he asked.

The messages are not on your phone. They are held by the network. So this service is useful when your phone is lost, stolen, left behind or simply turned off. You can use another phone to access the messages left by people trying to call you. It’s the kind of service that will not come in useful very often, but once in a while could be a complete life-saver.

The obvious solution, and the one the Data Protection Commission possibly should consider, is to not allow remote access unless a real PIN has been set, so that strangers can’t access it but you can. That would be all you needed to do to allow us to enjoy the service while protecting everyone against the predations of tabloid journalists.

But that’s the thing. Do we all need protection against the predations of tabloid journalists? I don’t really think we want to start living our lives as if we do. I haven’t set a PIN on my voicemail. You can access my voice messages any time you like. You will find that they are so boring that, frankly, I never listen to them myself. (Really, it’s much better to call me back.)

Don’t turn remote access off by default. I am never going to think to turn it on just in case. So when the day comes that I do need it urgently, I’ll have to call up the phone company to request the service using someone else’s number, and they’ll have to establish my identity over the phone, which will mean they’ll have to ask me for another PIN, which I also haven’t set up…

And all this to prevent papers doing something that’s illegal anyway? Fine them, jail them. Don’t protect me with bars.

Murdoch’s Apology

Here, according to sources, is the full-page advert that will be carried by all UK daily papers tomorrow.

Was the News Of The World “in the business of holding others to account”? I didn’t realise. I thought you bought it if you wanted to read about famous people having sex.

Press versus Politics

Murdoch's papers actually boasted that they could decide elections

What’s happening in Britain today is pretty damn exciting. Bluntly put, politicians have been running scared of Rupert Murdoch for decades. He has been a kingmaker. He owns enough of the media, including dailies and sundays in both the broadsheet and tabloid markets, to influence the entire political agenda, arguably even deciding the outcome of elections.

Politicians have feared him, politicians have tried to appease him. And not just because he could shape the agenda of public debate. He could also use his papers, and the people employed by them, to exert personal pressure. The man who owns the London Times also kept a couple of rottweilers, and had no qualms about using them to intimidate.

The more success he had at pushing politicians around, the softer they went on media regulation and ownership, so giving him more power. His ownership of leading names in all the paper markets was leveraged into a major interest in Sky, the biggest money-earner in UK TV. Money which helped further increase his market dominance and so his ability to push politicians around.

This was never going to end well.

And it looks likely to happen all over again in the US, where his Fox News has helped shift the debate drastically towards the right – and indeed away from debate at all, to a place where actual democratic politics is paralysed by polarisation and shouting. Murdoch is a businessman willing to damage the public cultures of countries within which he operates in order to profit.

What we’re getting to watch here is the worm finally turning. And it’s wonderful to see. Realising that public opinion might for once be on their side, cowed politicians are beginning to get a gleam in their eyes. They are imagining a world where they are not afraid. And they are thrilled by what a better world that could be.

For once, you can sympathise with the politicians. The press must be powerful, it must be free and strong. But dominance by one man and his organisation is every bit as pernicious as dominance by government.

The George Michael Revelations

George Michael has claimed on Twitter that Rebekah Brooks told him her paper got celebrity dirt first and foremost from the police. Now it seems investigators want to interview him about this. He’s delighted to help…

I’ve edited his tweets into continuous prose and skipped a couple of remarks on other topics, but that aside these are his words unadulterated. It began on July 7th:

Hey boyz and girls, a message to my English fans in particular. Today is a fantastic day for Britain. Those of you that have wondered why I have had nothing to say this week about Rupert Murdoch, all I can say is that the time will come. But this much is worth saying now. Rebekah Brooks sat two feet from me in my own home and told me that it was never the public that came to them with information on celebrities, and that the Police always got there first. I think that’s enough to be going on with.

Don’t ask me how she got there. Believe me I didn’t invite her.

Rebekah, glad to help 🙂 How does it feel?

By the way, the things I have to say on the NOTW’s corruption of the British justice system are by way of a public warning. These beliefs are in no way an excuse for any of my behaviour in recent times. I was happy to do my time, because I was so ashamed. But I believe every individual, whether privileged or the average citizen, deserves the law. And many of us rich or poor have been denied it by News International. For many, many years. Like I said, today is a FANTASTIC day for Britain. XXX

You gotta have faith in Karma. Today it’s very real. And I hope the families of Milly Dowler and all the others who died Get way more than an apology. God bless them x

It continued Sunday evening:

Good evening everyone……still basking in the fire that’s been lit under News International….very tempted to go out and buy the NOTW so I could put it to good use, but I’m pretty sure it would leave ink on my backside! BOOBOOM!

One thing puzzles me, why is nobody talking to or about Sir Ian Blair? The man was obsessed with celebrity scandals. And he was in charge at the time that the so called ‘list of victims’ was discovered along with the names of the Royals hacked. Why has he disappeared into thin air? Isn’t it possible that he had something to do with the decision NOT TO INFORM the hundreds (thousands?) of citizens of the danger? And we all remember his economy with the truth when it came to the poor Brazilian man who died on the tube post 9/11… Just a thought you understand. But the implausible becomes more plausible hour by hour as this all plays out. I just want to know… Why did the Metropolitan Police choose to hold on to the list for MORE THAN THREE YEARS?

And today, it reaches the dramatic climax:

So sorry to bore those of you who live outside of the UK, but the phone hacking scandal is so important to the future of Britain. Ed Milliband doing a great job at the moment on TV, he can see that Cameron’s relationship with Coulson and Brooks could actually threaten his position as Prime Minister. And in doing so he keeps mentioning JOHNATHON REES ! Finally !!! Rees is the ex-jailbird hired after his release by Andy Coulson when he was still working at the NOTW, paid hundreds of thousands of pounds in return for private information, and perhaps most importantly HACKED INTO COMPUTERS all the time. The two photographers who sat outside my house in their cars night after night for several years were regularly seen with computers open on their laps. I presumed for years that I was under surveilance. In fact, one night in particular, I strolled over the road to one of them and tapped on his window….. 🙂 ‘I hope you like my taste in men.’

So you see people, in  years it’s gone way further than phone hacking… Google JOHNATHAN REES, particularly the Guardian’s articles. The Guardian are the true heroes in all of this. No question. Respect 🙂

[Tweet from a] Daryl Photoshop @GeorgeMichael: This article?

Yes daryl but there are “related articles” about him in the Guardian that tell you about the computer hacking. This thing is going to have legs, people. And not the pretty kind. 🙂

Just spoke to my lawyer…. apparently they want to interview me about my comments on Rebekah Brooks here on Twitter. Like I said, glad to help… 🙂 I have way more to tell the police than I can tweet to you here…

Unfortunately, the Weeting Enquiry doesn’t cover those years after Johnathan Rees was employed by Andy Coulson and the computer hacking began. From a personal point of view, those are the details I’m interested in. Not that any of it is likely to surprise me. From the very beginning of my self made introduction to the police and the crown prosecution service, my main outrage was not for me, it was that I had been as naive as most of us who find ourselves dealing with the justice system for the first time… I really thought the law was the law.

Don’t get me wrong, I met (a lot !) of perfectly decent policemen and women in my darkest, most shameful hours, but I knew that the press would get to my house before I did. On every occasion, some little creep in that police station would have called the press, cap in hand, and made a nice little wad of cash. I just became resigned to it. Perks of the job in the Met.

But it was the first court trial that blew my mind. Right now I am trying to get together transcripts and other information. Not because it will make any difference to me. It won’t. In fact I can safely say that I am one of the few people amongst the thousands of News International’s targets to have genuinely benefitted from Murdoch’s attempts to destroy me. No, if I decide to say anything about how my first conviction came about, besides the fact that I was an idiot, it will be because I love my country, and I believe its judicial system MUST be trustworthy. And I’ll leave it at that for now. Have work to do for my lovelies.

Sorry, one last thing, I am NOT trying to exonerate myself of anything, I did something bad and got my Karmuppance, as i like to think of it. Its just that the sequence of events between my being arrested and finally convicted for sleeping pills and exhaustion seemed extremely… Well, let’s just call it… illegal. I was going to say odd, but sod it, they seemed at the very least, outside of normal legal procedure 🙂

These are only my suspicions, but I think that if they hold water, then it’s very important that they come to light for everyone’s sake. And now, I REALLY have to go to work. Thanks for listening to me rambling on boyz n girls xxx

“I have way more to tell the police than I can tweet to you here.” Oh this is fun.

Beginning Of The End Of An Empire?

Detail from photographic portrait of Charles D...
"Let me see, what to call a tedious, overweening news editor... Evertrue Pratthandle? Raphael Trundlethroat? Ted?

Like many others, I bought the News Of The World for the last time today. Like many others, I also bought it for the first time today. Morbid curiosity. Of course this issue is hardly representative. It’s devoted to showing what a loss it is to the news publishing world.

To this end they reprint their very first front page from 1843. It sets out the paper’s stall in prose which, if you didn’t know was the real thing, you’d take for a parody of long-winded Victorian pomposity:

The general utility of all classes is the idea with which this paper originated. To give to the poorer classes of society a paper which would suit their means, and to the middle, as well as the rich, a journal, which from its immense circulation, should command their attention, have been the influencing motives that have caused the appearance of “NEWS OF THE WORLD”. We shall make no apologies for these motives, because, we conceive, that in their accomplishment we shall attain an end, that in the present state of England is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary. Journalism for the rich man, and journalism for the poor, has up to this time, been so broadly and distinctly marked, as the manners, the dress, and the habitations of the rich, are from the customs, the squalor, and the dens of the poor.

Can’t seem to decide there whether the poor are objects of pity or their market. Maybe the adverts said “Read it in the comfort of your own hovel!” And what was, with all of those, freaking, commas?

It carries on in this vein for – Christ – over three thousand constipated words. You couldn’t make it up. Hell, Dickens would have had trouble making it up. All reprinting this seems to establish is that the News Of the World was every bit as much a piece of unbearable crap 168 years ago as it was, for the last time, today.

Though presumably it was at least less criminal.

Speaking of which, Murdoch may be in even more trouble than previously thought. As the Telegraph points out, his News International is a US-based corporation, and the US has a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) outlawing bribery payments abroad. If found guilty of making payments to British police, News International may be facing fines of hundreds of millions of dollars.

It will be interesting to see how that gets reported on Fox News.

Beginning Of The End Of An Empire?

Detail from photographic portrait of Charles D...
"Let me see, what to call a tedious, overweening news editor... Evertrue Pratthandle? Raphael Trundlethroat? Ted?

Like many others, I bought the News Of The World for the last time today. Like many others, I also bought it for the first time today. Morbid curiosity. Of course this issue is hardly representative. It’s devoted to showing what a loss it is to the news publishing world.

To this end they reprint their very first front page from 1843. It sets out the paper’s stall in prose which, if you didn’t know was the real thing, you’d take for a parody of long-winded Victorian pomposity:

The general utility of all classes is the idea with which this paper originated. To give to the poorer classes of society a paper which would suit their means, and to the middle, as well as the rich, a journal, which from its immense circulation, should command their attention, have been the influencing motives that have caused the appearance of “NEWS OF THE WORLD”. We shall make no apologies for these motives, because, we conceive, that in their accomplishment we shall attain an end, that in the present state of England is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary. Journalism for the rich man, and journalism for the poor, has up to this time, been so broadly and distinctly marked, as the manners, the dress, and the habitations of the rich, are from the customs, the squalor, and the dens of the poor.

Can’t seem to decide there whether the poor are objects of pity or their market. Maybe the adverts said “Read it in the comfort of your own hovel!” And what was, with all of those, freaking, commas?

It carries on in this vein for – Christ – over three thousand constipated words. You couldn’t make it up. Hell, Dickens would have had trouble making it up. All reprinting this seems to establish is that the News Of the World was every bit as much a piece of unbearable crap 168 years ago as it was, for the last time, today.

Though presumably it was at least less criminal.

Speaking of which, Murdoch may be in even more trouble than previously thought. As the Telegraph points out, his News International is a US-based corporation, and the US has a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) outlawing bribery payments abroad. If found guilty of making payments to British police, News International may be facing fines of hundreds of millions of dollars.

It will be interesting to see how that gets reported on Fox News.