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Plus: MI6 spook 'I must slurp ALL of YOUR data. Ahahaha'

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'When someone offers you something for free, generally most customers are smart enough and realise they are paying for it somewhere else'

He also said that really, if you wanted to be practical about it, since electronic messages online could go by any number of routes, the best thing for the government to do was just to take all the information it could find and then sort it out later. If it turned out that they shouldn’t be looking at that bit of data, they’d just close their eyes real tight:

The only practical way in which the government can ensure that it is able to obtain at least a fraction of the type of communication in which it is interested is to provide for the interception of a large volume of communications and the subsequent selection of a small fraction of those communications for examination by the application of relevant sectors.

Anyway, even if analysts accidentally saw or read stuff that should have needed a warrant to see, they’d probably just forget what they saw a wee while later – so don’t worry folks!

Unsurprisingly, advocacy group Privacy International, which is behind the legal challenge that forced Farr into making a statement, was unimpressed by these reassurances:

Such an approach suggests that GCHQ believes it is entitled to indiscriminately intercept all communications in and out of the British Isles.

British residents are being deprived of the essential safeguards that would otherwise be applied to their communications - simply because they are using services that are based outside the UK.

Also in Blighty, Virgin Media boss Tom Mockridge has claimed that BSkyB’s broadband service is “lousy” – despite the fact that he used to be deputy chairman of the firm. Mockridge said that BSkyB was trying to con folks into signing up to its inferior web service by offering it for free to people who signed up for its sports telly package. He said:

When someone offers you something for free, generally most customers are smart enough and realise they are paying for it somewhere else.

You’ve got to think, if someone is going to give you their broadband for free, it means their broadband is maybe not that good. If you are putting up with a lousy broadband service, and you can’t get a good connection, maybe you should go to a proper broadband operator.

And still in the UK, a British photographer has said that popular movie star Tom Hanks is claiming copyright for a pic that he actually took. Tim Martindale says that an image he snapped last year featuring his father’s war medals on a Cornish beach is up on Hanks’ WhoSay page – complete with a copyright mark attributed to the actor. The photog says it’s likely that it was WhoSay itself that slapped the attribution on the snap, but he still wants to raise awareness of digital property theft:

It’s received around 2 million views, but overall I’m £20 worse off. I haven’t earned a single penny. I’m simply hoping that the press pick this up. I’m not out for personal gain, I just want to raise awareness that a photograph posted on the internet is not theirs to do what they want with.

Finally, billionaire rocket tycoon Elon Musk has said he’s aiming to get boots on the ground on Mars in just ten years’ time, with a happy Martian city of settlers to follow:

I'm hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's certainly possible for that to occur. But the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multi-planetary.

Aside from the fact that it would be deeply cool if humanity spread out amongst the stars, Musk reckons that getting out there in a sustainable way is essential to the survival of our species – unless we’re happy to be wiped out by an Earth-obliterating catastrophe. ®

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