'United States must renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks'
Plus: 'We are frankly shocked' – Vodafone clutches pearls over EE's 4G monopoly
Quotw This was the week when the UK's telecoms regulator Ofcom decided it totally wouldn't make any difference to competition if it just went ahead and gave Everything Everywhere a 4G monopoly. Plus the fact that Britain wants to be seen as a modern country worthy of bucketloads of investment even though it still doesn't have an up to date network was kind of embarrassing so EE can help with that.
Naturally, EE was totally delighted with the decision, but the other rather-left-out telcos were kinda ticked off.
Vodafone indignantly spluttered:
We are frankly shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision. The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy.
And Three complained:
Liberalisation of 2G spectrum to date has distorted the competitive landscape in the UK, which ultimately harms consumers. Further liberalisation without addressing competition issues could make that distortion worse.
But then EE had to offload some of the spectrum it's going to use for the 4G network because of EU rules and it gave it to Three, which should make Three happy and at least give the UK a duopoly for a while... but no, because EE doesn't have to hand the spectrum over right away.
Three will have to wait until September next year to get its hands on the 4G capable frequency. So it could only say:
Acquiring this spectrum will more than double the capacity available to customers on our network. We have seen a huge growth in data consumption with average customer usage now more than 1GB per month.
This was also the week when, even though Julian Assange got asylum last week and should be in Ecuador already, he's still hanging out at their embassy in London.
Just in case people stopped paying attention to him, Assange stepped out onto the balcony of said embassy on Monday to natter on about free speech and WikiLeaks even though they have nothing to do with the alleged crime he's actually supposed to be getting questioned over.
We must use this moment to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America.
Will it return to and reaffirm the values it was founded on?
Or will it lurch off the precipice dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?
So, just to be clear, Assange wants the US to "return" to a world where if people ever do any good things that are also legal - like be a journalist and uncover truths - they can't be arrested for anything else they might have done that's not good and illegal - like crimes. Not sure when such an American nation actually existed, but anyway.
While he was up there, he called on President Obama to "do the right thing" and this time explicitly said that people who work for WikiLeaks or even organisations like it should have diplomatic immunity:
The United States must renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks. The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation. The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters. The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful. There must be no more foolish talk about prosecuting any media organization, be it WikiLeaks or the New York Times.
That's right folks, if you work for WikiLeaks or read it or like it or in any way support it, the US shouldn't seek to prosecute you. Not only should it refrain from prosecuting you, it shouldn't even start the investigation. At the beginning of the murder probe, when Horatio Caine/Richard Castle/Jessica Fletcher draws up the list of suspects, their first thought should be: "Does this person have any connection to WikiLeaks? Cause if they do, we gotta cross them off the list right now".
Anyway, according to a former MI5 chief, Assange and his WikiLeakers didn't actually uncover very well hidden truths because if they were really secret, no one would have found out about them.
Dame Stella Rimington opined:
If it is all such sensitive stuff why was it available to a young soldier [like Bradley Manning]?
If you do have secrets you must look after them and limit access to them. That's coupled with the vetting of your people [because] if you have incredibly top secret information you must protect it.
It seems to it seems to me that there was a so-called secret database was enormous and available to a huge number of people.
Over in the States, security researchers discovered that the US presidential campaign apps of hopefuls Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are really just sneaky attempts to get at voters' privates.
Yep, POTUS and the GOP nominee have apps on iOS and Android that ask for access to services, data and capabilities far outside what they're supposed to be doing. The apps hoover up personal information, go around posting on voters' behalf and even track the electorate.
Randall Griffith, junior threat researcher at GFI Software, warned:
The lesson here for users is that it’s their responsibility to know what the apps on their mobile devices are doing and what personal information they are divulging about themselves and potentially their contacts and social network connections. Even reputable sources like the official presidential campaigns may encroach on what many of us consider a reasonable expectation of privacy and limitations on data collection.
Finally, NASA's rover Curiosity has had a busy week on its way to finding that elusive evidence of current or past life on Mars: water.
And all of this is only possible because of the amount of work the space agency put into getting the bugs out of its code. Andy Chou, chief technical officer of Coverity, said:
For typical software (which this clearly isn't), it's not unusual to find approximately 1 defect for every thousand lines of code. For a project with 2 million lines of code, it would therefore not be unusual for Coverity to be able to find about 2,000 defects. ®
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