'I got a little bit upset by that Register article...' says millionaire model. Bless!
Plus: MI6 spook 'I must slurp ALL of YOUR data. Ahahaha'
QuoTW This was the week when millionaire supermodel Lily Cole told the papers how saddened she was by The Register’s coverage of her taxpayer-funded wishing well, Impossible.com.
El Reg previously revealed that Cole was given £200,000 of public money for the website but hardly anyone was using it, which the socialite didn’t take too kindly to. She sniffed to The Times:
I got a little bit upset by that Register article.
I really don’t mind if you want to call it a failure before it’s even a few months old. But basing that on factual inaccuracies?
The Reg had said that she got more funding than any other applicants to the Innovation in Giving Fund from Nesta, while hundreds got nothing, but she said she’d done her bit for that money:
Well, they definitely didn’t give me an easy time getting the grant. I can’t take any salary from it. And it had to be match-funded. I put in close to £200,000. I will probably have to put more into it in the future.
We’d also pointed out that in the four months it had been up, it only had 3,000 Twitter followers and 1,300 Facebook Likes, which she scoffed at:
We have invested less than 0.0001 per cent of our budget in thinking about Facebook Likes. Success can only be measured in time. I wouldn’t have spent my own money if there wasn’t real value to come from gift culture.
She also claimed that she was worth a fraction of the £7m The Reg put her at, even though she said she didn’t know how much that was. Then she later claimed that she worried about money:
I made very good money modelling, but I have done a million art-house films, which didn’t pay me anything. I certainly didn’t get paid to go to Cambridge or do my A levels. And impossible.com has cost me a lot of money. I mean, I have a mortgage. I worry about money sometimes. I am very human. And that is part of my thing with impossible.com – I get how challenging it can be to live in our society nowadays. To have that feeling that you might run out of money and be really screwed.
Meanwhile, a source told The Reg this week that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was almost snatched by a US government aircraft when he made his escape to Russia a year ago.
The Gulfstream V business jet, tail number N977GA, which is known to have been used by the CIA in “extraordinary rendition” flights which result in terror suspects disappearing into places like Guantanamo Bay, was spotted in the skies on the same night Snowden was in the air – despite not having a flight plan for the journey. Our source said:
The plane showed up on our system at 5:20 on 25 June. We knew the reputation of this aircraft and what it had done in the past.
The jet, which was also used to collect radical cleric Abu Hamza after a US extradition order was filed, was spotted over Scotland – but the US Department of Justice did not respond to requests for comment on what it was doing there that night.
Across the water, top British spook Charles Farr was telling the country that their Facebook posts, tweets and YouTube videos were all fair game for the intelligence services to hoover up because they’re “external” comms. Internal communications from Brits to fellow Brits in Blighty need a warrant to be spied upon, according to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
However, because stuff like Facebook posts and tweets are hosted outside the UK, the sneaky spooks get to squeak them past the letter of the law. Justifying the practice, Farr said:
Within the British Islands, the government has sufficient control and considerable resources to investigate individuals and organisations and it is feasible to adopt an interception regime that requires either a particular person, or a set of premises, to be identified before interception can take place.
Outside the British Islands, the government does not have the same ability to identify either relevant individuals or premises… the government is in many cases not aware of the precise location and online identities of members of Al-Qaeda around the world or of cyber criminals, Taleban insurgents, proliferators of weapons of mass destruction or precursor chemicals or of other similar individuals or organisations whose activities pose a threat to national security, the prevention and detection of serious crime or the economic well-being of the United Kingdom.
'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. ®