+I’m thinking I ought to start a new website, which would be called ‘Ask Me Anything.’ In case you haven’t guessed, this name is based on the invitation which emanates from Microsoft’s Bing AI chat application. I seriously wonder if Microsoft have copyrighted (or whatever) the phrase ‘Ask Me Anything.’ So if all the traffic for Ask Me Anything were redirected to me I could have a wild time, although I imagine it could be a bit overwhelming—but with ad revenues exploding I guess I could employ a bot factory in China or Russia to answer the millions of questions flowing in. Or perhaps I could create a backdoor of some sort to the real Bing AI chat outfit and simply pass off its answers as my own, whilst retaining the ad receipts. Is this possible? Yes, it is! As with cryptocurrency, these days on the internet you can create any scam you like and get away with it (on this theme somebody could call a website (or whatever) ‘Get Rich Quick’ and people would be queuing up to see how it’s done). Since the technology develops faster than the law that might control it, scamsters are onto a winner.
+The government’s current Online Safety Bill aims to drill down on the naughty side of the internet. But its approach seems doomed to fail, whilst opening up a whole new world of state surveillance. It’s been called a ‘policeman in your pocket’ by around 70 cyber security experts in a letter to the government. They say
“There is no technological solution to the contradiction inherent in both keeping information confidential from third parties and sharing that same information with third parties,” the experts warn, adding: “The history of ‘no one but us’ cryptographic backdoors is a history of failures, from the Clipper chip to DualEC. All technological solutions being put forward share that they give a third party access to private speech, messages and images under some criteria defined by that third party. On client side scanning, they point out that routinely applying such a tech to mobile users messages is disproportionate in a democratic society — amounting to surveillance by default — aka “placing a mandatory, always-on automatic wiretap in every device to scan for prohibited content”, as the letter puts it.” (https://techcrunch.com/2023/07/05/uk-online-safety-bill-risks-e2ee/)
Now who would be inclined to want to see the content of your emails? I can imagine one person, already fixated with trawling through social media postings to see if they contain thought offences being quite relaxed about the demise of end to end encryption. No guessing who.
+I’ve enjoyed a quick gallop through Tam Dalyell’s autobiography, The Importance of Being Awkward, bought in a secondhand bookshop. I rather get the impression that given his world travels, Tam was a bit of a self-appointed foreign secretary. Local embassy officials may have been nervous of his visits, in case he upset some local diplomatic understanding. On his own account, ministers sometimes were. In his afterword, Dalyell says
‘One thing is for sure and that is, whereas it was possible in 1962 for a constituency Labour Party to adopt a Tam Dalyell, 50 years later in 2012 a Tam Dalyell-type would not stand a cat-in-hell’s chance of being selected.. The current rules and vetting would see to that. If there are awkward candidates, it is a great disservice to democracy if they should feel the need to dissemble their awkwardness throughout the selection process.’
These days I doubt that many candidates will have to dissemble their awkwardness. Such a tendency will have been drummed out very early on, if it even existed in the first place.