'It’s called capitalism. We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this'
Plus: 'The Snoop Charter is a paranoid fantasy'
Quotw This was the week when the Snoop Charter to implement 1984 conditions on Brits online was scrunched up into a tiny little ball and punted out the door by MPs and peers.
After being roundly criticised by pretty much everyone, Theresa May's plan to give
thinkpol law enforcement and spooks access to Blighty's internet activity was further lambasted by a Home Affairs joint committee.
The committee said there was a case for some additional laws to deal with the rise of the internet, but the proposed bill was "too sweeping" and "suspicious".
It is acknowledged on all sides that the volume of communications data now available is vastly greater than what was available when RIPA [the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000] was passed. The much quoted [Home Office] figure of a 25 per cent communications data gap purports to relate to data which might in theory be available, but currently is not.
The 25 per cent figure is, no doubt unintentionally, both misleading and unhelpful:
It also reckoned that the potential bill of £1.8bn was a "fanciful" sum:
The Home Office gave a figure of £859m over 10 years for reimbursing the additional costs to the private sector.
This is nearly half of the overall figure of £1.8bn. However this figure must be highly suspect, because it was calculated with little or no input from the CSPs.
It was no surprise that the MPs kicked the bill to the kerb, as the charter has consistently been criticised. Back in 2010, the former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald was asked to review the plan, after which he said:
[The project] is a paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. This database would be an unimaginable hellhouse of personal private information. It would be a complete readout of every citizen's life in the most intimate and demeaning detail.
Meanwhile, the saga of John McAfee continues, with the antivirus pioneer lined up for a movie about his life.
McAfee started out the week in Guatemala, where he said that he wanted to go to the US or Blighty, not back to Belize where police are waiting to question him in connection with the death of his neighbour. But he doesn't think the manhunt has anything to do with his neighbour, it's actually a conspiracy against him and his 20-year-old girlfriend Samantha:
The odyssey that Samantha and I have been on did not begin after the death of Mr Faull. It began on 15 October after an abortive raid by the police of San Pedro and Belize City and since that time we have been on and off the run. After the death of Mr Faull we went underground in earnest."
"Our intent is to return to America, if at all possible, and settle down to whatever normal life we can settle down to under the circumstances. The intent to question me has nothing to do with Mr Faull's murder.
Since April of last year the Belizean government has been trying to level charge after charge against me, all of them groundless. This is simply the latest in that chain. The government is however getting very serious. While I was in hiding there were eight raids on my property.
Whether anyone believed him on that or not, McAfee got his wish and was on his way to the US yesterday, but without his girlfriend. On his blog, he wrote:
I have been forcibly separated from sam.
Amy is with her
Both are coming as per sam’s request. Amy fears for her life in Belize. More in Miami. Taking off
In Linux news, the kernel has stopped supporting Intel's 80386 microprocessor chips, according to Linus Torvalds, who doesn't seem too broken up about it (understatement). The penguin daddy said:
This tree removes ancient-386-CPUs support and thus zaps quite a bit of complexity, which has plagued us with extra work whenever we wanted to change SMP primitives, for years.
I'm not sentimental. Good riddance.
In Austria, a sysadmin has had his flat raided and equipment seized by the cops for hosting a Tor exit node. The police descended on William Weber after someone allegedly distributed child abuse images over one of the Tor exits he was managing.
Weber has started a PayPal plea for funds for a legal defence and is appealing to the internet community to help him out:
I got raided for someone sharing child pornography over one of my Tor exits. I'm good so far, not in jail, but all my computers and hardware have been confiscated.
If convicted I could face up to 10 years in jail (minimum six years), of course I do not want that and I also want to try to set a legal base for running Tor exit nodes in Austria or even the EU.
Sadly we have nothing like the EFF here that could help me in this case by legal assistance, so I'm on my own and require a good lawyer.
And finally, the fight to stop multinationals from getting away with the tax-dodging corporate structures no one was really bothered about until the global financial crisis dropped us all into a brutal recession carried on this week. Microsoft became the latest tech firm to have its name attached to tax shenanigans, when it was reported that the firm was diverting Windows 8 profits from Blighty to Luxembourg.
Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD's centre for tax policy and administration, weighed in on the rising indignation:
Guess what? The location of the economic activities is in higher tax jurisdictions, but the location of the profits is in lower tax jurisdictions.
What's new is that this has been acknowledged, recognised, and it has become a political concern.
Just in case folks weren't peeved enough about the whole thing, Eric Schmidt made sure Google moved firmly from the 'Do No Evil' category into the 'capitalist b*****d' list.
Schmidt said that the Chocolate Factory's corporate structure was actually awesome and didn't everyone know that dodging tax was a capitalist right and what's everyone getting their knickers in such a twist for?
We pay lots of taxes; we pay them in the legally prescribed ways. I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate.
It’s called capitalism. We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.
That's right Reg readers, unless you're some sort of a dirty socialist, you should be totally cool with firms avoiding any sort of payback to the customers, economies and countries that guarantee their success. ®