Category Archive: Security

Why making a call-centre worker say “poopsy-poo” will strengthen your security

By Simon Davies I spent nearly twenty years as a university lecturer unsuccessfully trying to figure a way to make authentication a fun and popular topic, and only now have I cracked the problem. It’s all about “pull” and “push” and making people in call centres read out hilariously stupid words from their screen. I …

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After the Nice killings we need to think rationally – so let’s start by pressuring the intelligence chiefs

By Simon Davies If you ever needed to gain an understanding of Europe’s mindset on the protection of internal security, you need to look no further than the Swedish border. Here, in this former warm-blooded bastion of humanity and freedom, you will see how the future of this region is unfolding. Do what I did, …

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Why the Thalys rail attack is a gift to idiotic security barons

madrid train bombing

By Simon Davies This weekend’s thwarted attack aboard a high speed train in northern France has raised the spectre of a further disintegration of civil liberties and privacy across Europe. Belgian and French authorities have already stepped up rail security, with increased baggage and identity checks and an escalation of armed security at rail terminals. …

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How a dog and some chocolate biscuits reveal an identity crisis in America

By Simon Davies Overpriced bourbon isn’t the only reason why San Francisco’s International House of Wine & Liquor is noteworthy. The last time I was there a year or two ago, anyone of any age who buys a packet of cigarettes there is forced to disclose an identity document. A slightly luminescent pink sign on …

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Why political solidarity at the Paris Hebdo rally has become the most dangerous threat ever to privacy

 By Simon Davies Anyone concerned about the future of privacy protection should take careful note of the fallout from the Charlie Hebdo shootings in France. The rapid chain of events in the days since then has triggered a domino effect of intrusive proposals and inflammatory rhetoric that could imperil the right to privacy for decades …

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What the Italians can teach us about home security

By Simon Davies For some decades, many Americans have felt deeply anxious about their personal security. This anxiety became so embedded that by 1980 two-thirds of the nation reported feeling “highly fearful” of becoming a victim of violent crime. You might imagine that this fear would be reflected in an obsession with proven and robust …

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It’s official. Terrorism tweets are now the lèse majesté of the West

By Simon Davies A 14 year-old Netherlands girl was arrested yesterday for posting a Tweet that was claimed to be a terrorist threat against American Airlines. “Hello, my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan”, the Tweet began, in classic Bin Laden style, concluding with: “I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m going …

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Why it’s time for citizens to take direct action over GCHQ

By Simon Davies I am making an appeal to everyone who has used a webcam over Yahoo in the past six years to consider making a formal complaint to UK police over unlawful interception by Britain’s communications intelligence agency, GCHQ. This action has become necessary because of the continuing refusal by the British government to …

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Why privacy campaigners for NSA reform must be uncompromising

By Simon Davies Thailand’s tourist authority is fond of marketing its country as the “Land of Smiles”, however in recent years the place has been anything but. “Seething cauldron” might be a more apt slogan. Widespread anger at alleged corrupt activities of former Prime Minister Thakskin Shinawatra has fueled a mass movement against the military …

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How a hacker congress in Hamburg shows that activism is the new political currency

By Simon Davies It became one of the most magnificent misjudgments of recent British political history. In October the notorious UK satirist and comic Russell Brand tapped the national psyche with a passionate call for a “revolution” of the political system – and then in the space of ten minutes spectacularly detonated his credibility. According …

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