'That time I hired a call girl to do my taxes while I f****d my accountant'
Plus: 'The police database is one of the least transparent operated by the state'
QuotW This was the week when international fugitive, criminal suspect and self-described eccentric millionaire John McAfee released a tongue-in-cheek video explaining how to uninstall the security software of his one-time company.
Riffing on his, shall we say, unpredictable reputation, McAfee had the following to say on the NSFW video:
Something went wrong. 15 year ago I had some beautiful software and they took it over, I don’t know what they did but it was like that time I hired that Bangkok prostitute to do my taxes while I f**ked my accountant.
Plus much more in the same vein. Whether his intention was to once more tick the McAfee firm off with his rather outlandish behaviour or not, he was probably thinking that he just hadn't had enough attention lately, security columnist Graham Cluley suggested:
My guess is that it’s designed to boost his fan following for his blog and Twitter account, rather than to give more headaches to the marketing team at McAfee (the company, not the man) to consider changing their brandname.
There’s no doubt that John McAfee loves to manipulate the media, and be the centre of attention. This video won’t do him any harm at all in that regard.
Speaking of eccentric former tech firm bosses, download kingpin Kim Dotcom has vilified a Dutch hosting firm for erasing piles of Megaupload data, which he claimed amounted to destroying evidence in the US case against him.
Using his favourite method of communication, Dotcom lambasted Leaseweb in a series of tweets for the "data massacre":
Leaseweb says: "After a year of nobody showing interest in servers & data we considered our options." Data preservation emails say otherwise.
Plus, I'm sure @LeaseWeb followed the case with interest. They knew how important it was for us & @EFF to return data to #Megaupload users.
#Leaseweb could have waited for the US court to decide on #Megaupload user data. They knew of our desire to pay if the court released funds.
Nobody should believe for a second that we haven't tried everything to convince #Leaseweb not to delete #Megaupload user data.
The #Leaseweb servers contained my personal files on #Megaupload. Important evidence destroyed. How is this justice?
The FBI seized all my data and hasn't given me a copy yet. And now my backups on #Megaupload are gone too. How convenient.
This was also the week when HP rather cynically decided to sack a load of workers in Sheffield so it can shift their jobs to Renfrewshire in Scotland in order to bag a £7m grant from the Scottish government.
Around a third of support workers, 124 staff, will lose their jobs in the move. HP said:
We have informed our employees recently about some work that will transition from our Sheffield site to our Regional Delivery Centres in Newcastle and Erskine [in Renfrewshire].
The industrial officer of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) trade union, Alan Brown, said that its concern was that experienced employees, many of whom transferred over from the civil services, were working on maintaining systems for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). He said:
HP is taking jobs elsewhere from the country to get £3.5m of taxpayer money to do work in the public sector, that is an issue for me. Pitting one area of the country against another sounds a bit sleazy.
Meanwhile, the number of Metropolitan Police officers investigated for misusing the controversial Police National Computer database has more than doubled in the past five years, El Reg discovered.
Since 2009, a total of 76 officers in London have been investigated. The Met is currently probing five officers; two police workers last year "resigned/retired" after investigations and in 2011, two officers were dismissed without notice.
A Met spokeswoman said:
The MPS expects its staff to behave professionally, ethically and with the utmost of integrity at all times. Any instance where the conduct of our staff brings the MPS into disrepute is treated extremely seriously in line with MPS policy.
But privacy groups are concerned that the nature of the database leaves it open to abuse. Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said:
The police national computer is one of the least transparent databases operated by the state, with much of its contents never proven in court. It offers a detailed insight to people's lives, so it is hardly surprising that it is prone to abuse.
The broader issue is that without any real audit process, these figures are likely to be the tip of the iceberg.
And finally, if you want to really talk tech business, you should take a leaf out of WD SVP and general manager of data centre storage Rich Rutledge's book:
The large data centre operators can split atoms of value. They can literally measure the molecular weight of the distinct value proposition offered by different solutions.
Deploy the Large Value Collider! ®