Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Life Spy


The Spectre of Hope

The 'Spectre of Hope' is a documentary based on the latest work of photographer Sebastião Salgado.

Salgado spent 6 years travelling to over 40 countries, taking pictures of globalisation and its consequences - most notably, the mass migrations of populations around the world. In the film, Salgado presents his remarkable photographs in conversation with John Berger.

Go and watch LENGTH 52 min :)

Life Spy

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Love in central Stockholm

Love in central Stockholm, originally uploaded by Jnana-ruddha.

"Homeless also have a sex-life" was their message. They put a bed in Sergels square in central of Stockholm and made out.

Just goes to show the power of the flickr comunity, do you think an editor could ever get such a picture via a professional photographer?

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

100 Journalists aressted in Pakistan

Journalists arrested in Pakistan
Protesting Karachi journalist
A journalist recovers after the confrontation with police
More than 100 journalists protesting against media restrictions and emergency rule have been arrested in Pakistan, eyewitnesses say.

Most were held in Karachi and several detained in Hyderabad.

Police baton-charged the Karachi journalists after they tried to stage a protest march. Some of them were hurt.

When President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule on 3 November, radio and TV news was banned, as was criticism of the government.


Heavy contingents of police were deployed on roads to the Karachi Press Club to stop the rally there.

Police and journalists clash
Police stopped the marchers going to a TV station

It was part of a country-wide protest organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) against the media curbs.

The journalists were planning to hold a demonstration outside the Karachi offices of the ARY TV channel, one of half a dozen news channels that cable operators stopped airing after the emergency was imposed.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Karachi says police beat up a number of journalists in front of the press club entrance.

The arrests came shortly after the government said it released some 3,400 people jailed under emergency rule.

The release of political opponents has been a key demand of opposition parties who are threatening to boycott parliamentary elections in January.

A number of leading political figures are still being held.

Monday, 19 November 2007

US Plans Case Against AP Photographer

The U.S. military plans to seek a criminal
case in an Iraqi court against an award-winning Associated Press
photographer but is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations
would be presented.

The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months and there have been many calls and petitions on Lightstalkers for his release and calls for his freedom have been backed by groups such as the Committee to Protect Journalists.

An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a "sham of due process."

The military has not yet defined the
specific charges against Hussein. Previously, the military has pointed
to a range of suspicions that attempt to link him to insurgent

The AP rejects all the allegations and contends it
has been blocked by the military from mounting a wide-ranging defense
for Hussein and claims that Hussein was interrogated at Camp Cropper this year without legal counsel.

Hussein was part of the AP's Pulitzer Prize-winning photo team
in 2005

More information on AP Website

Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Yahoo settles its China lawsuit

Source ::BBC
Yahoo's Michael Callahan and Jerry Yang at the House committee hearing
Yahoo senior officers were criticised in a congressional hearing
Yahoo has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought against it on behalf of several Chinese dissidents, according to papers filed in a California court.

No details have been given of the settlement but Yahoo will be covering legal costs.

The case alleged that Yahoo had provided information to the Chinese government that had then been used to prosecute the dissidents.

Yahoo said it had to comply with Chinese laws to operate in the country.

A statement released by the World Organization for Human Rights USA, which brought the case, said Yahoo had decided to settle the case following criticism at a US Congressional hearing on 6 November.

'Inexcusably negligent'

A Congressional panel criticised Yahoo for not giving full details to its probe into the jailing of a reporter by Chinese authorities.

Yahoo had been "at best inexcusably negligent" and at worst "deceptive" in evidence given to the House Foreign Affairs Committee last year, the panel said.

One journalist cited in the case, Shi Tao, was tracked down and jailed for 10 years for subversion after Yahoo passed on his e-mail and IP address to officials.

He was convicted in 2004 of divulging state secrets after posting online a Chinese government order forbidding media organisations from marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Yahoo's original response to the lawsuit acknowledged releasing information to the Chinese government.

But it argued that there was little connection between the information the firm gave and the ensuing arrests and imprisonment of its users.

Michael Callahan, Yahoo's executive vice-president and general counsel, then told a congressional panel in February 2006 that he did not know why the Chinese authorities wanted to trace Shi Tao.

Last week, Mr Callahan wrote to the committee admitting that other Yahoo employees had a document saying it was to do with the "suspected illegal provision of state secrets".

Mr Callahan said the information only came to his attention months after he testified.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Dutch government admits spying on journalists

5 November 2007

The Dutch government today admitted officials hacked into a media agency's
computers to find out what stories were being written about them.

The GPD news agency only discovered what was going on when one ministry press
officer rang up to complain about a story that had not even been published.

Marcel van Lingen, editor-in-chief of the agency which serves more than a
dozen newspapers in the Netherlands and Belgium, accused the government of

The Social Affairs Ministry "used stolen information to influence (our)
reporting," he said.

The ministry confirmed in a statement some of its employees had accessed
GPD's internal site and apologised.

"It is not our policy and we reject it. The department will investigate the
matter and take steps to prevent it happening again in the future," said a

It invited public prosecutors to investigate whether any criminal acts were
committed. Other news outlets criticised the ministry's action, and The
Netherlands' Union of Journalists' chief Thomas Bruning called it a "kick in the
shins for the independent role that journalism plays."
source :: Press Gazette

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Plodshop Creative Suit 3

First strike software have just launched the latest version of Plodshop Creative suite CS3

by Warren Terror Software Plodshop is intended as an image verification
and anti manipulation software for digital images and is to address
major security issues in the industry standard Adobe Photoshop, Picnik,
Tesco Photo ReStyle and Piccasa2

You can see the full product review by EPUK (who are press and editorial Photographers discussion group) here:



at least they see it for what it is

Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Richard Branson

_GMA1095, originally uploaded by Radical_Images.

Richard Branson was in Derby, UK today to open the new Arts, Design and Technology building, built at a cost of £21 million pounds by the University of Derby for its new education centre

Monday, 29 October 2007

The Duty of the Photographer

Out From Behind a Camera at a Khmer Torture House

When I read this I have very mixed emotions, looking at images of people who were tortured just after they had their photo taken. Most look as if they are posing for the family album, but they dont smile, others look afraid...and others have been tortured! (Lifespy)

Published: October 26, 2007

NYTimes story here

the photos are here

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Oct. 25 — He had a job to do, and he did it supremely well, under threat of death, within earshot of screams of torture: methodically photographing Khmer Rouge prisoners and producing a haunting collection of mug shots that has become the visual symbol of Cambodia’s mass killings

Back Story With Seth Mydans and Graham Bowley (mp3)
Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide

Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide

Before killing the prisoners, the Khmer Rouge photographed, tortured and extracted written confessions from their victims.

“I’m just a photographer; I don’t know anything,” he said he told the newly arrived prisoners as he removed their blindfolds and adjusted the angles of their heads. But he knew, as they did not, that every one of them would be killed.

“I had my job, and I had to take care of my job,” he said in a recent interview. “Each of us had our own responsibilities. I wasn’t allowed to speak with prisoners.”

That was three decades ago, when the photographer, Nhem En, now 47, was on the staff of Tuol Sleng prison, the most notorious torture house of the Khmer Rouge regime, which caused the deaths of 1.7 million people from 1975 to 1979.

This week he was called to be a witness at a coming trial of Khmer Rouge leaders, including his commandant at the prison, Kaing Geuk Eav, known as Duch, who has been arrested and charged with crimes against humanity.

The trial is still months away, but prosecutors are interviewing witnesses, reviewing tens of thousands of pages of documents and making arrests.

As a lower-ranking cadre at the time, Mr. Nhem En is not in jeopardy of arrest. But he is in a position to offer some of the most personal testimony at the trial about the man he worked under for three years.

In the interview, Mr. Nhem En spoke with pride of living up to the exacting standards of a boss who was a master of negative reinforcement.

“It was really hard, my job,” he said. “I had to clean, develop and dry the pictures on my own and take them to Duch by my own hand. I couldn’t make a mistake. If one of the pictures was lost I would be killed.”

But he said: “Duch liked me because I’m clean and I’m organized. He gave me a Rolex watch.”

Fleeing with other Khmer Rouge cadres when the government was ousted by a Vietnamese invasion in 1979, Mr. Nhem En said he traded that watch for 20 tins of milled rice.

Since then he has adapted and prospered and is now a deputy mayor of the former Khmer Rouge stronghold Anlong Veng. He has switched from an opposition party to the party of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and today he wears a wristwatch that bears twin portraits of the prime minister and his wife, Bun Rany.

Last month an international tribunal arrested and charged a second Khmer Rouge figure, who is now being held with Duch in a detention center. He is Nuon Chea, 82, the movement’s chief ideologue and a right-hand man to the Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, who died in 1998.

Three more leaders were expected to be arrested in the coming weeks: the urbane former Khmer Rouge head of state, Khieu Samphan, along with the former foreign minister, Ieng Sary, and his wife and fellow central committee member, Ieng Thirith.

All will benefit from the caprice of Mr. Nuon Chea, who complained that the squat toilet in his cell was hurting his ailing knees and was given a sit-down toilet.

Similar toilets are being installed in the other cells, said a tribunal spokesman, Reach Sambath, “So they will all enjoy high-standard toilets when they come.”

It is not clear whether any of the cases will be combined. But even if the defendants do not see one another, their testimony, harmonious or discordant, will put on display the relationships of some of the people who once ran the country’s killing machine.

In a 1999 interview, Duch implicated his fellow prisoner, Mr. Nuon Chea, in the killings, citing among other things a directive that said, “Kill them all.”

Mr. Nhem En’s career in the Khmer Rouge began in 1970 at age 9 when he was recruited as a village boy to be a drummer in a touring revolutionary band. When he was 16, he said, he was sent to China for a seven-month course in photography.

He became the chief of six photographers at Tuol Sleng, where at least 14,000 people were tortured to death or sent to killing fields. Only a half dozen inmates were known to have survived.

He was a craftsman, and some of his portraits, carefully posed and lighted, have found their way into art galleries in the United States.

Hundreds of them hang in rows on the walls of Tuol Sleng, which is now a museum, their fixed stares tempting a visitor to search for meaning here on the cusp of death. In fact, they are staring at Mr. Nhem En.

The job was a daily grind, he said: up at 6:30 a.m., a quick communal meal of bread or rice and something sweet, and at his post by 7 a.m. to wait for prisoners to arrive. His telephone would ring to announce them: sometimes one, sometimes a group, sometimes truckloads of them, he said.

“They came in blindfolded, and I had to untie the cloth,” he said.

“I was alone in the room, so I am the one they saw. They would say, ‘Why was I brought here? What am I accused of? What did I do wrong?’”

But Mr. Nhem En ignored them.

“‘Look straight ahead. Don’t lean your head to the left or the right.’ That’s all I said,” he recalled. “I had to say that so the picture would turn out well. Then they were taken to the interrogation center. The duty of the photographer was just to take the picture.”

View the Khmer Rouge photographs (TuolSleng.com)

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Whistleblower? Journalist? Citizen journalist? or just Censored?


Whistleblower? Journalist? Citizen journalist? Wikileaks writer,
volunteer, supporter or techie? Get advice and talk with other people
like you on the Wikileaks secure chat (also good for safe interviews
with anonymous sources).

Goto https://secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/Wikileaks:Chat

Click "chat" to the right. Click into the box at the bottom of the
chat page and and start typing. For greater reliability and ease of
use, you can install a chat program as described below. Our chat
system is designed to work on almost any browser in any country. It
has minimal bandwidth requirements and will even work over dialups or
mobile phones.
We will create sub-channels (e.g for the Kenyan election) if there is
sufficient demand (let us know!).

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Yahoo accused of misleading Congress about Chinese journalist

DSC_0630_en, originally uploaded by Radical_Images.

CNN) -- Yahoo misled Congress regarding information the Internet company gave to Chinese authorities about the journalist Shi Tao, Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos said Tuesday.

Yahoo officials have been asked to testify before a House committee in November about a Chinese journalist's case.

Lantos, a California representative and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, asked Yahoo Inc. officials to testify about the company's role in a case that sent Chinese newspaper writer and editor Shi to prison on a 10-year sentence.

Lantos asked Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang and Senior Vice President and General Counsel Michael Callahan to appear November 6.

"Our committee has established that Yahoo provided false information to Congress in early 2006," Lantos said in a written statement. "We want to clarify how that happened, and to hold the company to account for its actions both before and after its testimony proved untrue. And we want to examine what steps the company has taken since then to protect the privacy rights of its users in China."

The newspaper reporter had posted information under a pseudonym on an overseas Web site called Democracy Forum about a government crackdown on media and democracy activists, Lantos said.

Shi was later arrested in his home in Beijing after Yahoo gave Chinese authorities information about his e-mail account, his computer address, his log-on history and the contents of several weeks of his e-mail, Lantos said.

Lantos said a Yahoo official testified last year that the company knew nothing "about the nature of the investigation" of Shi, a pro-democracy activist now serving time on what Lantos called "trumped-up charges."

Don't Miss
China puts the squeeze on Web controls
"We have now learned there is much more to the story than Yahoo let on, and a Chinese government document that Yahoo had in their possession at the time of the hearing left little doubt of the government's intentions," said Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey.

"U.S. companies must hold the line and not work hand in glove with the secret police."

In a written statement, Yahoo spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Yahoo representatives have been truthful with Congress. He called the House committee's accusation "grossly unfair" and said it "mischaracterizes the nature and intent of our past testimony."

During a February 2006 subcommittee hearing on limits to freedom on the Internet in China, Lantos and Smith questioned Callahan about Shi.

Callahan testified to the subcommittee that Yahoo handed over the information to Chinese authorities at a time when it knew nothing about the investigation, Lantos said.

But the San Francisco, California-based human-rights group The Dui Hua Foundation released documents in July indicating police in China had written to Yahoo saying they were seeking evidence about Shi for illegally "providing state secrets to foreign entities," a charge frequently levied against political dissidents in China.

"This new documentation suggests that Yahoo's Beijing office was at least aware of the general nature of the crime being investigated in the Shi Tao case," said Joshua Rosenzweig, manager of research and publications for The Dui Hua Foundation.

Even if Yahoo was unaware of the specific circumstances of the Chinese government's inquiry, "One does not have to be an expert in Chinese law to know that 'state secrets' charges have often been used to punish political dissent in China," said Rosenzweig.

Shi has appealed his 10-year sentence for divulging state secrets, saying he did not know the information he shared was classified. He accused the police of using improper procedures in the investigation and arrest.

In addition, he has filed suit in U.S. federal court against Yahoo and its Hong Kong-based subsidiary.

Yahoo's spokeswoman said the company is working with other companies and the human rights community "to develop a global code of conduct for operating in countries around the world, including China."

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Menezes picture 'was manipulated'

A composite image of Hussain Osman and Jean Charles de Menezes
The defence said the image was to show identification problems

Police have been accused of manipulating a photo of Jean Charles de
Menezes so it could be compared to that of one of the 21/7 bomb

The image had been "stretched and sized" to form a
composite image of the Brazilian and Hussain Osman to show the jury,
prosecutors told the Old Bailey.

Mr de Menezes was shot dead after being wrongly identified as one of the men who targeted London's transport system.

The Metropolitan Police denies breaking health and safety laws.

Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head on a
train at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005, after being wrongly
identified as Osman.

The Met Police said the composite picture was created to
illustrate the difficulties officers would have had in differentiating
the two men.

'Serious allegation'

But Clare Montgomery QC, prosecuting, told the court it
had been altered "by either stretching or resizing so the face ceases
to have its correct proportions".

The judge, Mr Justice Henriques, told the jury: "A
serious allegation has been made that a picture has been manipulated so
as to mislead."

Making the image brighter has changed the image

Michael George, forensics consultant

Forensics consultant Michael George told the court that
the police composite appeared to have a "greater definition" than the
two images used to produce it.

He produced an alternative composite, shown to the jury,
in which the two faces have different skin tones and their mouths and
noses are not aligned.

Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, asked Mr George whether there had been any manipulation "of the primary features of the face".

Mr George replied: "I don't believe there has been any... but making the image brighter has changed the image."

The court heard the composite was compiled using a 2001
identity card photograph of Mr de Menezes and a photo of Osman taken by
police in Rome, where he was arrested.

Immigration records

Earlier, Mr Thwaites cross-examined immigration official
Paul Roach over a counterfeit stamp found in the Brazilian's passport,
asking if this meant he had been in the country illegally.

Mr Roach told the court Mr de Menezes first entered the
country on 13 March 2002 and was given six months' leave to remain,
before extending his stay, as a student, to 30 June 2003.

The next record was of him arriving in Ireland from
France on 23 April 2005 but there was no notification of when he
returned to the UK.

The court heard how as a person entering Britain from
Ireland, he would have had an automatic three-month leave to remain
which at the earliest would have run out on 23 July, the day after he
was killed.

A counterfeit stamp found on his passport may only have been added after he entered the UK, Mr Roach said.

The trial continues.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Interpol reverse photoshop to reveal face of sex offender


Interpol have released a photograph of a suspected sex offender after
managed to undo Photoshop actions designed to obscure the man's

Interpol has launched an unprecedented global public
appeal to help identify a man shown sexually abusing children in
photographs posted on the internet.

The man appears in about 200 images depicting the abuse
of 12 boys, which police said were taken in Vietnam and Cambodia,
possibly in 2002 and 2003.

The pictures had been digitally altered but police computer specialists have produced identifiable images.

Interpol says the man is a danger to children while he remains at large.

Interpol chief Ronald Noble said: "We have tried all other means to identify and to bring him to justice.

"We are now convinced that without the public's help
this sexual predator could continue to rape and sexually abuse young
children whose ages appear to range from six to early teens."

Image database

The first pictures of the man were found three years ago in Germany, Interpol said.

The pictures had been manipulated to disguise the man's
face with a swirl pattern, but computer specialists at Germany's
federal police agency, the BKA, worked with Interpol's human
trafficking team to produce identifiable images.

They show a man with slightly receding dark hair, aged 35 to 40 years old.

Despite extensive efforts through Interpol's network of 186 member states his identity remains unknown.

Interpol maintains a database of 520,000 images of child sex abuse submitted by 36 member states.

Using sophisticated software, investigators have identified and rescued nearly 600 victims from 31 countries.

Read more about it on EPUK

Powered by ScribeFire.

Bush’s torturers follow where the Nazis led

By Andrew Sullivan

10/07/07 "
" -- -- I remember that my first response to
the reports of abuse and torture at Guantanamo Bay was to accuse
the accusers of exaggeration or deliberate deception. I didn’t
believe America would ever do those things. I’d also supported
George W Bush in 2000, believed it necessary to give the
president the benefit of the doubt in wartime, and knew Donald Rumsfeld as a friend.

It struck me as a no-brainer that this stuff was being invented
by the far left or was part of Al-Qaeda propaganda. After all,
they train captives to lie about this stuff, don’t they? Bottom
line: I trusted the president in a time of war to obey the rule
of law that we were and are defending. And then I was forced to
confront the evidence.

From almost the beginning of the war, it is now indisputable,
the Bush administration made a strong and formative decision: in
the absence of good intelligence on the Islamist terror threat
after 9/11, it would do what no American administration had done
before. It would torture detainees to get information.

This decision was and is illegal, and violates America’s treaty
obligations, the military code of justice, the United Nations
convention against torture, and US law. Although America has
allied itself over the decades with some unsavoury regimes
around the world and has come close to acquiescing to torture,
it has never itself tortured. It has also, in liberating the
world from the evils of Nazism and communism, and in crafting
the Geneva conventions, done more than any other nation to
banish torture from the world. George Washington himself vowed
that it would be a defining mark of the new nation that such
tactics, used by the British in his day, would be anathema to

But Bush decided that 9/11 changed all that. Islamists were
apparently more dangerous than the Nazis or the Soviets, whom
Americans fought and defeated without resorting to torture. The
decision to enter what Dick Cheney called “the dark side” was
made, moreover, in secret; interrogators who had no idea how to
do these things were asked to replicate some of the methods US
soldiers had been trained to resist if captured by the Soviets
or Vietcong.

Classic torture techniques, such as waterboarding, hypothermia,
beatings, excruciating stress positions, days and days of sleep
deprivation, and threats to family members (even the children of
terror suspects), were approved by Bush and inflicted on an
unknown number of terror suspects by American officials, CIA
agents and, in the chaos of Iraq, incompetents and sadists at
Abu Ghraib. And when the horror came to light, they denied all
of it and prosecuted a few grunts at the lowest level. The
official reports were barred from investigating fully up the
chain of command.

Legally, the White House knew from the start that it was on
extremely shaky ground. And so officials told pliant in-house
lawyers to concoct memos to make what was illegal legal. Their
irritation with the rule of law, and their belief that the
president had the constitutional authority to waive it, became a
hallmark of their work.

They redefined torture solely as something that would be
equivalent to the loss of major organs or leading to imminent
death. Everything else was what was first called “coercive
interrogation”, subsequently amended to “enhanced
interrogation”. These terms were deployed in order for the
president to be able to say that he didn’t support “torture”. We
were through the looking glass.

After Abu Ghraib, some progress was made in restraining these
torture policies. The memo defining torture out of existence was
rescinded. The Military Commissions Act was crafted to prevent
the military itself from being forced to violate its own code of
justice. But the administration clung to its torture policies,
and tried every legal manoeuvre to keep it going and keep it
secret. Much of this stemmed from the vice-president’s office.

Last week The New York Times revealed more. We now know that
long after Abu Ghraib was exposed, the administration issued
internal legal memos that asserted the legality of many of the
techniques exposed there. The memos not only gave legal cover to
waterboarding, hypothermia and beating but allowed them in
combination to intensify the effect.

The argument was that stripping a chained detainee naked,
pouring water over him while keeping room temperatures cold
enough to induce repeated episodes of dangerous hypothermia, was
not “cruel, inhuman or degrading”. We have a log of such a
technique being used at Guantanamo. The victim had to be rushed
to hospital, brought back from death, then submitted once again
to “enhanced interrogation”.

George Orwell would have been impressed by the phrase “enhanced
interrogation technique”. By relying on it, the White House
spokesman last week was able to say with a straight face that
the administration strongly opposed torture and that “any
procedures they use are tough, safe, necessary and lawful”.

So is “enhanced interrogation” torture? One way to answer this
question is to examine history. The phrase has a lineage.
Verschärfte Verneh-mung, enhanced or intensified interrogation,
was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what
became known as the “third degree”. It left no marks. It
included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep

The United States prosecuted it as a war crime in Norway in
1948. The victims were not in uniform – they were part of the
Norwegian insurgency against the German occupation – and the
Nazis argued, just as Cheney has done, that this put them
outside base-line protections (subsequently formalised by the
Geneva conventions).

The Nazis even argued that “the acts of torture in no case
resulted in death. Most of the injuries inflicted were slight
and did not result in permanent disablement”. This argument is
almost verbatim that made by John Yoo, the Bush administration’s
house lawyer, who now sits comfortably at the Washington think
tank, the American Enterprise Institute.

The US-run court at the time clearly rejected Cheney’s
arguments. Base-line protections against torture applied, the
court argued, to all detainees, including those out of uniform.
They didn’t qualify for full PoW status, but they couldn’t be
abused either. The court also relied on the plain meaning of
torture as defined under US and international law: “The court
found it decisive that the defendants had inflicted serious
physical and mental suffering on their victims, and did not find
sufficient reason for a mitigation of the punishment . . .”

The definition of torture remains the infliction of “severe
mental or physical pain or suffering” with the intent of
procuring intelligence. In 1948, in other words, America
rejected the semantics of the current president and his aides.
The penalty for those who were found guilty was death. This is
how far we’ve come. And this fateful, profound decision to
change what America stands for was made in secret. The president
kept it from Congress and from many parts of his own

Ever since, the United States has been struggling to figure out
what to do about this, if anything. So far Congress has been
extremely passive, although last week’s leaks about the secret
pro-torture memos after Abu Ghraib forced Arlen Specter, a
Republican senator, to proclaim that the memos “are more than
surprising. I think they are shocking”. Yet the public, by and
large, remains indifferent; and all the Republican candidates,
bar John McCain and Ron Paul, endorse continuing the use of

One day America will come back– the America that defends human
rights, the America that would never torture detainees, the
America that leads the world in barring the inhuman and
barbaric. But not until this president leaves office. And maybe
not even then

Andrew Sullivan is an author, academic and journalist. He
holds a PhD from Harvard in political science, and is a former
editor of The New Republic. His 1995 book, Virtually Normal: An
Argument About Homosexuality, became one of the best-selling
books on gay rights. He has been a regular columnist for The
Sunday Times since the 1990s, and also writes for Time and other

Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, 5 October 2007

UK Can now Demand Data Decryption on Penalty of Jail Time

By Ken
| Published: October 01, 2007 - 10:20PM CT

New laws going into effect today in the United Kingdom make it a crime to
refuse to decrypt almost any encrypted data requested by authorities as part of
a criminal or terror investigation. Individuals who are believed to have the
cryptographic keys necessary for such decryption will face up to 5 years in
prison for failing to comply with police or military orders to hand over either
the cryptographic keys, or the data in a decrypted form.

Part 3, Section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)
includes provisions for the decryption requirements, which are applied
differently based on the kind of investigation underway. As we reported last year, the
five-year imprisonment penalty is reserved for cases involving anti-terrorism
efforts. All other failures to comply can be met with a maximum two-year

The law can only be applied to data residing in the UK, hosted on UK servers,
or stored on devices located within the UK. The law does not authorize the UK
government to intercept encrypted materials in transit on the Internet via the
UK and to attempt to have them decrypted under the auspices of the jail time

The keys to the (United) Kingdom

The law has been criticized for the power its gives investigators, which is
seen as dangerously broad. Authorities tracking the movement of terrorist funds
could demand the encryption keys used by a financial institution, for instance,
thereby laying bare that bank's files on everything from financial transactions
to user data.

Cambridge University security expert Richard Clayton said in May of 2006 that such laws would
only encourage businesses to house their cryptography operations out of the
reach of UK investigators, potentially harming the country's economy. "The
controversy here [lies in] seizing keys, not in forcing people to decrypt. The
power to seize encryption keys is spooking big business," Clayton said.

"The notion that international bankers would be wary of bringing master keys
into UK if they could be seized as part of legitimate police operations, or by a
corrupt chief constable, has quite a lot of traction," he added. "With the
appropriate paperwork, keys can be seized. If you're an international banker
you'll plonk your headquarters in Zurich."

The law also allows authorities to compel individuals targeted in such
investigation to keep silent about their role in decrypting data. Though this
will be handled on a case-by-case basis, it's another worrisome facet of a law
that has been widely criticized for years. While RIPA was originally passed in
2000, the provisions detailing the handover of cryptographic keys and/or the
force decryption of protected content has not been tapped by the UK Home
Office—the division of the British government which oversees national security,
the justice system, immigration, and the police forces of England and Wales. As
we reported last year, the Home Office was slowly building its case to activate
Part 3, Section 49.

The Home Office has steadfastly proclaimed that the law is aimed at catching
terrorists, pedophiles, and hardened criminals—all parties which the UK
government contends are rather adept at using encryption to cover up their

Yet the law, in a strange way, almost gives criminals an "out," in that those
caught potentially committing serious crimes may opt to refuse to decrypt
incriminating data. A pedophile with a 2GB collection of encrypted kiddie porn
may find it easier to do two years in the slammer than expose what he's been up

Source: ars technica

Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

ABC to send Digital Reporters Abroard

ABC News announced today that it would dispatch digital reporters to seven foreign cities, a move meant to give the network a broader global presence without incurring the cost of opening full-fledged bureaus.

The reporters will serve as their own producers, bookers and assistants, filing reports for all ABC News platforms. Two people will be posted in India, and one each in South Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, United Arab Emirates and Kenya.

“We don’t need old-style bureaus with a bricks and mortar office, editing suites, and full-time camera crews,” said Marcus Wilford, the London bureau chief for ABC News. “We can shoot video, edit it and feed it over the Internet now.”

The reporters will be supported by ABC’s five fully-staffed bureaus (in London, Moscow, Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Beijing) and by the network’s partnerships with other news organizations.

ABC and other networks have been cutting back on their overseas infrastructures for decades, as have newspapers and other news outlets. Their budgets have benefited, even if viewers and readers probably haven’t.

For the latest generation of journalists, conducting interviews, operating a camera, editing video clips and filing stories have turned into common skills. The old norm — of four-person network news crews — is rapidly growing extinct.

One of the new ABC digital reporters, Dana Hughes, formerly an investigative producer, was in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday looking for an apartment, which will also serve as her office.

“I’ve been given the assignment to, more or less, cover the entire continent of Africa,” she said by phone from Nairobi.

Ms. Hughes started gathering news before she even arrived in Kenya. The musician John Legend was on her flight, en route to support a United Nations project and record a music video, and he consented to an interview once the plane landed in Nairobi.

Mr. Wilford of ABC News said he saw this round of foreign posts as the first phase of a broader deployment, adding that he would especially like to add a reporter in Tehran.

Mr. Wilford recalled that when he was hired by ABC News 20 years ago, the news division’s Paris bureau had three camera crews, three producers, two correspondents, drivers, and a chef in a house with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Today the ABC News presence in Paris consists of a lone staff producer.

“It was a palatial establishment,” Mr. Wilford said, “and it wasn’t sustainable.”
Source: New York Times
By Brian Stelter

Free Burma

Free Burma!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Phonecalls and Texts to be Logged

Man using mobile phone

Mobile phone data can be used to pinpoint a person's location

Information about all landline and mobile phone calls made in the UK must be logged and stored for a year under new laws.

Data about calls made and received will also be available to 652 public bodies, including the police and councils.

The Home Office said the content of calls and texts
would not be read and insisted the move was vital to tackle serious
crime and terrorism.

But critics said it was another example of Britain's "surveillance society".

The new law, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, was signed off by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in July.

It requires phone companies to log data on every call or text made to and from every phone in Britain.

'Different uses'

Since 2004, companies have voluntarily provided data,
where available, if it was requested, but now they will required by law
to retain it for a year.

Minister for Security and Counter-terrorism Tony McNulty
told BBC Radio 4 that the data could provide three levels of
information, the simplest being about the phone's owner.

"Say some old lady has got difficulties with someone
who's repaired the gas in her house and has a mobile phone for somebody
who's clearly dodgy," Mr McNulty said.

"The local authorities can just get the subscriber information next to that number.

"The second level of data is not simply the subscriber, but also the calls made by that phone.

"And the third level which is purely for the security
forces, police, etc, is not just the subscriber information and the
calls made, but also the calls coming in and location data - where the
calls are made from."

Personal 'profile'

A person's location can be pinpointed to within a few feet by identifying the mobile phone mast used to transmit their call.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group
Liberty, said people were more concerned than ever about their personal
privacy, especially how many bodies had access to their phone records.

"There are actually a very broad range of purposes for
which this information about who we've been phoning and when can be
revealed," Ms Chakrabarti said.

"It includes, for example, the Gaming Board, the Food Standards Authority and every district and county council in the country."

She said requests for information would not be limited to those concerning serious crime and national security.

"We're talking about a profile that can be built of your
personal relationships on the basis of who you've been speaking to and

Public consulted

Mr McNulty said local councils would only have access to data on "a legitimate and proportional basis".

"(To say) that all of a sudden anyone and everyone's
information is available, that all these authorities somehow have the
right to go fishing and snooping, simply isn't the case," he added.

Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman,
said: "Once again this government has been caught red-handed creating
new surveillance state powers with no meaningful public or
parliamentary debate.

The Home Office said the plans had been through a public
consultation and said a senior police officer would have to approve any
request for phone data.

Councils would only be able to use the powers to
"prevent and detect crime - not for the collection of taxes", the
spokesman added.

The new law brings Britain in line with an EU directive on the retention of phone data.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Whats Burma realy like

Monday, 17 September 2007

Police blogger revealed

The identity of a police constable whose internet
diaries lifted the lid on modern-day policing has been revealed for the
first time by the BBC.

Stuart Davidson risked dismissal from his job to write The Policeman's Blog.

He has told BBC One's Panorama that officers were often
stuck doing paperwork and chasing targets, and not out arresting

Police and government officials say they accept there is too much bureaucracy involved in the job.

Not even the 36-year-old's closest colleagues knew he
was responsible for the blog, which was written under the pen-name of
PC David Copperfield and has received over one million hits since he
started it.

'Waste of time'

In his blog Mr Davidson outlined the "madness" of his
target-driven duties in a place he called Newtown, which he has now
disclosed was Burton-on-Trent.

Speaking openly for the first time, he told Panorama he was frustrated with bureaucracy and paperwork.

"The public think that we solve burglaries, the public
think that we're actually on patrol accosting thieves and people who
are up to no good," he said.

"But what we actually do is attempt to meet government statistics by solving trivial crime."

Staffordshire police said analysis showed officers spent
62% of their time out of the station, but it accepted they have to deal
with too much bureaucracy and they're working to change it.

Mr Davidson, who received two commendations during his
four years in the force, said about 80% of what he did "was a waste of

"I thought nobody else can be doing things that are so insane," he said.

"But it transpires that there are thousands and
thousands of other police officers out there doing exactly the same
kinds of things

Quitting force

"It depends on the nature of the offence of course, but
you arrest somebody and it'll take you the rest of the shift - say
eight to 10 hours - to deal with that if it's even remotely

Mr Davidson said he was sometimes tempted not to make an arrest because processing it would mean so much time off the street.

He is quitting the force in Britain to join the police in Canada.

Panorama filmed with Mr Davidson over six months, including his last days on the force.

It also spoke to other officers up and down the country
who feel their job is being undermined. They said they believed the
very foundation of police work - that of preventing crime - is being

And all of them spoke of their frustration at the sheer volume of paperwork.

"We are never there on the streets to provide
reassurance, to provide a deterrent and to prevent people from becoming
a victim of crime," a former officer told the programme.

Many of their concerns were supported by the Chief
Inspectorate of Policing's interim review into policing in England and
Wales, which was published last week.

The views are also echoed in responses to a
questionnaire distributed to 2,000 beat officers across the country by
the Police Federation, which represents 140,000 officers.

The Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Ronnie
Flanagan, said police officers in England and Wales are bogged down in
red tape and "excess bureaucracy" must be cut to free up police time.


Mr Davidson's blog was dismissed last year by Tony McNulty, Minister for Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing.

But Mr McNulty told Panorama that he had shifted his
position and, while he did not concede everything that Copperfield said
was true, things could be improved for officers.

He also said that, while targets are crucial for
accountability and measuring performance, they should not get in the
way of officers doing their job effectively.

"I want there to be accountability, I want there to be a
robust performance framework... but I do not want that getting in the
way of effective policing and crucially restoring some discretion to
the frontline".

Panorama's Wasting Police Time will be broadcast on BBC One on Monday September 17 at 2030 BST.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Thirteen Ways to be a Green Photographer

I remember sitting in a lecture and being amazed at the beautiful printed landscapes of the Peak District that had been taken by the lecturer. Then being equally amazed at his next statement. I no longer make images of landscapes as they are being trashed and I feel it is wrong ethically (he was referring to the fact that it encourages tourism) I was impressed with his stance to say the least. But it has led me to consider how “Green” my photography is in a digital world when I found this article on PopPhoto

The good news: Digital photography has taken huge amounts of chemicals
out of our waste stream, including bleach and silver, not to mention
millions of plastic-coated prints. The bad news: Digital sucks down a
lot of electricity and requires new equipment, which consumes lots of
resources and creates considerable eco-impacts, usually far away. Here
are a few things all photographers can do to be greener.

1. Watch the Power Meter

With digital, you'll need to keep your power consumption under control
if you don't want to warm the planet: Every kilowatt-hour you use
produces about 1.4 pounds of the greenhouse gases that cause global
warming. Choose Energy Star-certified equipment, and turn off or put to
sleep your computer, display, printer, and scanner when you can. Invest
in a power meter like the Kill A Watt to keep tabs on your usage -- you
may be in for unpleasant surprises.

2. Choose Your Power

A digital studio, including your Mac Pro computer, your Epson Stylus
Pro 3800 printer, and your Nikon D80 charger, will consume hundreds or
thousands of kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. Make sure that power
is coming from renewable, non-carbon-polluting sources. Through your
utility, switch to wind, hydro, or other sources; it may cost a little
more, but rebates can help with that, and you're making a difference
where it counts, at the source.

3. Recycle Everything

A digital studio will still produce paper waste -- it makes up about a
third of our trash. Recycle every scrap; making a ton of paper from
waste requires about two-thirds less energy than from wood pulp.
Recycle ink cartridges (office stores and online retailers will give
you credit for empties) and, when necessary, electronics. Electronic
waste has harmful metals and chemicals; give it to a recycling plant
that will salvage for useful parts and not just dump it in a landfill.

4. Shoot Locally

Transportation accounts for one-third of the average American's "carbon
footprint" -- the CO2 and other greenhouse gases that contribute to
global warming. If you're typical, you're responsible for about 15,000
pounds of CO2 a year. One round trip to shoot
Maui's jungle could
account for half of that.

5. Offset Your CO2

Can't stay home? Can't get your computer, scanner, and printer off the
grid? You can help offset your footprint by buying carbon credits via
companies such as CarbonFund.org and NativeEnergy. Your money will help create renewable-energy sources and meet other conservation goals.

6. Conserve Energy

The basic energy tips you're practicing in your nonphoto life will work
in the studio, too. Using compact fluorescent bulbs and taking a degree
or two off the thermostat in winter (and adding a degree in summer)
will save energy and keep hundreds of pounds of CO2 out of the

7. Unplug It All

Rechargers and other equipment left on standby create phantom loads
that waste megawatts every year. Unplug rechargers and power down
anything you're not using that has a little green or red light on it.
You'll save money and keep CO2 out of the atmosphere.

8. Watch the Chemicals

Processing in a darkroom? Use chemicals less harmful to the
environment, such as Kodak's Xtol and other ascorbate (vitamin C)
developers. Manufacturers say quantities you use at home can be
disposed via your sewer. Check silvergrain.org for nontoxic solutions.

9. Find Greener Options

Explore recycled papers such as Red River Paper's Green Pix, use
rechargeable batteries (NiMH is better than NiCd), and, if you print a
lot, buy ink in bulk rather than blowing through plastic cartridges.
Extra credit: Get a solar-powered battery charger.

10. Be a Responsible Consumer

Vote for the environment with your wallet: Ask camera, paper, and film
manufacturers about environmental efforts, from recycling to energy use
to materials.

11. Shoot the Change You Want in the World

It's not just how you shoot, it's what you shoot. Think about how your
images can represent solutions or illuminate a new angle on an
environmental problem.

12. Spread the Word

Small steps add up when millions join in. Tell two friends about your
new, greener way of looking at photography. They'll tell two friends,
and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on...

13. Make It Last

A long-lived camera is environmentally friendly. Do your research, buy
great stuff, and treat it right: It takes a great deal of materials,
energy, and pollutants to make a new camera, and pretty much zero to
keep your current one in tip-top shape.

Assignment: Earth Portfolio

New Networks for Conservation Photographers

Inside the Green Studio

2 Ways to Shoot a Landscape

Edward Burtynsky's Silent Persuasion

Monday, 27 August 2007

Phones for the Photojournalist and Documentary image maker

I have been testing a couple of phones a Sony Ericsson K810i which has quite a powerful camera at 3.2 mega pixies and providing you use it within its limitations it provides reasonable quality images, especially for web and urgent news.

The other and at the moment my favourite is the Fujitsu Siemens Loox T830 the built in 2 mega pixies camera is not up to much but as a photojournalist who has a camera with him 99% of the time this is not a problem for me.
It has a voice recorder that you can use to record telephone conversations ideal for interviews.

It also has:
Video recorder
Video phone
Push email
All the things you get on Windows Mobile
Sat Nav

The Sat Nav is also a bonus as it allows you do embed location information into the images as well

As well as my favourite, the software I have put on is Pocket Phojo, this allows me to attach my Nikon D2x and plug it into the Smart Phone and upload pictures via FTP to anywhere I want. It connects to 3G networks and WiFi hotspots and any other that is open. as soon as i have taken an image on the camera this combination of phone and software uploads it as soon as it is taken. Pre captioning and image editing can also be done prior to upload too.

Now that is an awesome phone for a photojournalist or documentary photographer

Some accessories I have brought so far for it is an in car charger and a solar powered Freeloader
for charging the Loox T830 in remote places like in a field! The Freeloader also powers up mobile phones as well and you can get disposable one shot batteries for a couple of pounds if there is no sun or I am in a heavy urban environment. I also intend to get a rugged weatherproof case for it too like the Otterbox 1900

Update 1st September 2007
There is also an extended battery available which will make the Loox T 830 last an extra 140% taking it to 8-10 hours continuous talk time and another one that's a slimline one and will give you an extra 20%
as well as dual sim cards so if you can't get 3G network on one service provider you can switch to another

My D2X lasts for a considerable time on its own rechargeable battery and I also have a spare, this combination should allow me to keep shooting from just about anywhere

While the K810i will cover me for the 1% that I don't have my camera

Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Mobile tools for reporting

THE pen may be mightier than the sword but Fairfax is betting the multimedia-enabled mobile phone is the mightiest implement of all.

The company has launched an ambitious plan to put an iMate Jasjam mobile device in the hands of every reporter and photographer at its Herald and Age publications, as well as Fairfax Digital, to enable them to file video, audio, still images and copy on the fly.

The plan is largely aimed at generating video and other rich media material to populate the company's smh.com.au and theage.com.au websites as Fairfax reinvents itself as a digital media company and audiences and advertisers migrate to the internet.

It could eventually be used to generate material for the former Rural Press publications following the two companies' merger, and Southern Cross' metropolitan radio stations including 2UE, 3AW and 4BC, which Fairfax hopes to acquire.

Fairfax online editor-in-chief Mike van Niekerk said 12 reporters and photographers were using the devices at present, but the plan was to give all staff training and access to them.

"We are still trying to understand how best these kinds of tools can be used in the newsroom," he said. "We tested an earlier model a year ago and we've been using it purely within the online editorial breaking news team. Now we're buying a lot more of these ones and making them available through the newsroom."
Fairfax would not say how many staff could be affected, but a source from the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance estimated the plan could involve 400 reporters and photographers.

At the recommended retail price of $1300 per device, the move could cost the company more than $500,000 before data charges and training costs are taken into account.

Mr van Niekerk said a Fairfax Digital reporter used a mobile device to conduct a video interview with a witness to an accident in the Sydney suburb of Kogarah earlier this year, in which a woman was killed when a car ran into a crowded bus stop.

"The reporter was on the scene within 20 minutes," Mr van Kiekerk said. "That video, which was actually quite dramatic and newsworthy, was on the site within 15 minutes of the reporter arriving at the scene of the accident."

Web-quality video, stills and audio of live incidents, press conferences and sit-down interviews can be captured on the devices, but photographers are also using them to file print-quality images taken with high-resolution digital cameras.

"You'd probably find two years down the road that everyone would have something like this," Mr van Niekerk said. "They're an all-in-one reporting tool."
It's unclear if staff can be forced to use the technology.

According to the MEAA, once staff have been given training on how to use the devices, they can be asked to file multimedia material but the company may not use the technology to reduce staff numbers, or as leverage to deny promotions.
Mr van Niekerk said: "We'd like for reporters to have the training and the skills to be able to (file in as many media as possible)."

News Limited is running limited tests of similar technology in its Sydney metropolitan dailies.

Nationwide News photographic manager Steve Grove said staff in the Canberra bureau of The Australian were using the pocket-sized Canon TX1 camera to file video and stills for the web.

He said high-speed mobile networks were crucial to moving the amount of data required: "It's also about the uniqueness of the video."

Dallas Morning News new media producer David Leeson told newspaper publishers at the recent PANPA conference that new content formats were still developing to meet online demands.

Mr Grove said edited first-person interviews, in the vein of ABC television's Australian Story, were one possible format.
source: The Australian

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Test post

Hi all ignore this post

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Why documentary photographers and photojournalists should protect their privacy online and how

Picture this:
A controversial and major political social group suddenly decides to have their annual outdoor event down the road from you. You start to think things over and wonder if you can get access to cover the event without getting lynched by the group, you have done work for other political social groups that blatantly oppose the group you are now considering.

Normally this would not be a problem, but you are aware that due to the group’s reputation, they do check out who is who. It is here that the fun starts; I can type in my name to a search engine and it appears all over the web. I have also done research on the controversial group by visiting their official web site and non official sites. But I failed to stop to consider what my innocent little surf has just divulged about my computer and my location?

It is not unusual for a photographer to research material gleaned online from email and other sources, often on sensitive subjects. By mixing work and pleasure you are opening up to the world who and what you do. If part of your online life is compromised - all of it may be threatened. My Photography website has my name all over it and my home address with all the contact details to pinpoint to where I live and who I am.

If part of your online life is compromised - all of it may be threatened.

The answer is of course to have a dual identity with a false/second web site, but caution needs to be considered as your PC leaks information all over the place, the ideal would be to use a computer solely for the alias identity. This means all login’s email are kept separate, the site is built from the alias computer, all images are kept separate (remember the exif details and file naming etc. that are attached to your images when you make a picture, might need to be changed) all software registration needs to be under a separate identity, too so it is quite a head ache, What you can’t do is book your holiday stuff one minute with your real ID then go back to your alias in the next breath researching some dodgy individualall on the same PC.

You can use things like Virtual Privacy Machine or a live boot version of Linux to browse but your ISP will still stay the same.

Have a quick look at Browserspy or Showmyip to understand what website owners can find out about you using nothing more than your internet connection. Defending your privacy is not something that can only be achieved through the right software and a good firewall. Often your best defence is common sense and a canny understanding of hacking and criminal technique. Criminal networks are increasingly using 'social engineering' to trick internet users into divulging passwords and security information. In 2006, Myspace users who clicked on what they thought were legitimate links were actually carried to a criminal site designed to obtain personal data.

You probably have had the email asking to verify your details of from a bank you don’t use, but what about an email from the one you do bank with? A slip you make in your lunch hour on a social networking site or careless lack of interest from an email could see your money plundered and may therefore compromise months of painstaking research in to the barging or worse yet put you, your family at risk.

Bear in mind that you may not be the only person with a stake in your privacy and security. "When a reporter or photojournalist promises confidentiality to a source, he or she should be prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that the identity isn't revealed, whether deliberately or through carelessness.

Remember it’s not just computers that have identity, mobile phones, PDA, wallets/purses, mail and your rubbish and you, also need to be taken care of and you can still bump into someone who knows you for who you really are and blow your cover; it’s a small world. How small, quite a few years ago I was in the middle east with the military, no wars or conflict were happening then but I did bump into a neighbour from across the road who was on holiday, it can be that small…! How easy is it for an operator to search for a mobile phone number on their network and see who it is registered too?

Meanwhile, staff at an Orange call centre were found to have shared log-ins, meaning customer information could potentially have been accessed by unauthorised workers. When you think of social movements they have a large number of supporters that are not paid staff, how many work for utility companies, phone companies, councils etc. that may have access to finding your name or address to verify who you are and how you pay for the service and what bank!

Bear in mind that you may not be the only person with a stake in your privacy and security. "When a reporter or photojournalist promises confidentiality to a source, he or she should be prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that the identity isn't revealed, whether deliberately or through carelessness.

A series of remarkable challenges to the principle of freedom of online expression have been made in the US in the form of lawsuits known as 'cyberslapps'. This occurs when corporations or public figures attempt to intimidate or reveal the identity of people who criticise them online. These lawsuits tend to work because they target people who cannot afford the legal costs of opposing them. It will probably be happening in the UK sooner or laterThe subpoenas involved often require ISPs to reveal personal information.

According to cyberslapp.org, a coalition involving the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Citizen among others, ISPs may reveal your personal information in response to a subpoena before you know about the legal action.

Privacy International and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) state that the 'current privacy picture in the UK is decidedly grim' yes you heard ‘grim’. This is partly down to the electronic surveillance allowed under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), which places an obligation on 'Communication Service Providers' to provide 'a reasonable interception capability'. In 2003 there were 1,983 warrants for interceptions issued in England and Scotland under the Act. Privacy International says these surveillance powers, coupled with moves towards a national ID scheme and weak Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation, mean the UK is the worst-performing western democracy in its 'surveillance league table'.

Your privacy and professional security may be vulnerable in ways that were scarcely imaginable just a few years ago. Do you think you can be traced by a simple document from your office? Most people would not think so. But the reality is that the US government managed to persuade many desktop printer makers to deploy technology that encodes documents (using tracking dots) in a way that identifies individual machines. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, no law exists to prevent authorities from using the technology to compromise privacy. It also says that other governments are using the technology in surveillance operations.

While there are good reasons why journalists and photographers need to take even more care online, there are also ways they can take advantage of new services and technology to defeat the crooks and avoid surveillance. One way of combating laptop theft, for example, is subscription to a service that helps you recover your stolen computer when it is next connected to the internet.

See the Undercover service for Macs and the PCPhoneHome equivalent for PCs. A better way is to have the whole hard drive encrypted, with password access at boot up (see truecrypt link below regarding being forced for password retrieval)Another remarkable service that enables Mac users to detect unwanted outbound connections and 'network parasites' is Little Snitch.

Other helpful tools and sites are listed below.

Most people are surprised about how vulnerable email is to eavesdropping and surveillance. While it is very hard for an 'outsider' to access your mail while it is in transit, your email is at risk at both ends of its journey.An 'insider', such as someone at ISP level or in one of the networks through which your email travels, can access and even edit email content.

Through 'social engineering', someone may gain access to your ISP account or access an unencrypted WiFi network. The recipient of the email may be equally vulnerable and any interception will access the 'plain text' content of ordinary email.One of the best things you can do, therefore, is to encrypt your sensitive email communication and one of the best solutions is the desktop package for home offices available from PGP. It is PC and Mac compatible and works with a range of popular email clients such as Microsoft Outlook 2007, Qualcomm Eudora 6.2 and Apple Macintosh's Mail.

Unencrypted WiFi
If you set up a wireless network and a wireless internet connection, then your router will probably give you an option of encrypted access. Use it. Unencrypted or poorly configured wireless networks are frighteningly common. "Most people who buy a WiFi router for home don't bother to set up strong encryption," says Stephen Doig. "When I turn on my laptop at home, I can see half a dozen other WiFi signals nearby, most of them wide open."You should also never use an unencrypted WiFi connection that you stumble upon by chance when you are on the move. These can be 'honey pot' networks that are left open with the aim of luring people into using a conveniently open connection. While your connection is free, your traffic will have no privacy.

Search engines
Most people are surprised to learn that all of the major search engines maintain a record of your search string history. If you have an account with a search engine (for example if you use Google's Gmail) then your history will be directly linked to your name. But even if you do not have an account, your history may be linked to your IP address.

In 2006, AOL accidentally disclosed the records of more than half a million users long enough for the data to be copied and made available from a variety of sources. Some companies defend the logging of search strings, claiming they are developing 'hyper personal' search results based on your interests. But privacy campaigners say the safeguards and privacy policies are far too lax.

Shock and horror
Major companies in the UK have been breaching data protection act

Mr Thomas, the UK’s information commissioner told the BBC there were concerns about internet search engines which keep detailed histories of each individual's online activity.
"We're leaving these electronic footprints right through our lives these days," he said.

The annual report also highlighted a recent glitch on the Medical Training Application Service website which left trainee doctors' personal details open to public view.

A total of 12 high street banks were guilty of discarding customers' personal details - including bank statements, cut up credit cards and loan applications - in unsecured bins outside their premises, the commissioner found. Source BBC
To avoid compromising your privacy:

• Do not put personal information in search strings. For example, do not search for your own credit card number or your address.
• Be aware that your search history will be logged to you personally if you create a search engine account. If you do create an account, modify your search behaviour and delete your search history if you can.
• Consider using other tactics such as blocking cookies or browsing anonymously (see below).

For more information on protecting your online search privacy, see the EFF page on search engine privacy.

Social networking
Networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook are grist to the mill for people involved in the media industry, but you need to maintain your caution to defend your privacy. Social network sites are increasingly being targeted by attackers who set up 'phishing scams' (see below). You need to configure your privacy settings carefully or avoid adding any sensitive information and be careful about how much you reveal to new 'friends'. A common 'social engineering' form of industrial espionage is to befriend someone online just long enough to get them to reveal insider information, the EFF says.

The practice of defrauding people by tricking them into divulging access passwords to banking sites and other private information has seen phenomenal growth. The number of unique phishing sites detected by the Anti-Phising Working Group rose to 55,643 in April 2007. These phishing scams hijacked 172 different brands as cover.Typically these scams involve fake emails inviting people to change their passwords or PIN numbers either in direct response to the email or via counterfeit web pages. These attacks have grown in sophistication and complexity and sometimes involve very detailed counterfeit websites that mimic banks, credit card companies and other organisations. What surprises many people is that this counterfeiting can, and often does, involve a fake URL - in other words the URL that appears in the browser looks perfectly normal but, in reality, takes the user to a scam site. If you fall victim to these scams, your entire online identity can be put at risk. For information about how to spot phishing emails and fake websites see:
Get Safe Online and follow the links to Avoid criminal websites.

• The Anti-Phishing Working Group consumer advice page.

Avoid monitoring and surveillance
Marketing firms monitor web use using 'cookies'. These are small text files that sites place onto your computer that can enable the site owner to monitor your web activity. Most are only accessible to those site owners who placed them; others can be used by marketing companies to track your general web browsing.While it is tempting to block all cookies in order to defend your privacy, cookie use is so widespread that many sites are difficult to use without them. EFF recommends configuring your browser to allow only 'session cookies'. This means that the useful cookies are enabled while the ones that can be used to track your history will expire at the end of your browsing session. But you must remember to quit your browser regularly. For more information about configuring your browser to disable cookies, see this EFF page.

If you do not set your computer to allow only 'session' cookies, then Stephen Doig recommends purging them on a daily basis using your own browser's tools. For more options for managing cookies see this page. But managing or blocking cookies does not hide your IP address from website owners.

One way to defend your work is to find a secure way to browse anonymously. Two of the best options are Tor and Anonymizer.
Both have plug-ins for Firefox browser that is considered less leaky than Internet explorer.

TrackMeNot is a lightweight browser extension that helps protect web searchers from surveillance and data-profiling by search engines. It does so not by means of concealment or encryption (i.e. covering one's tracks), but instead, paradoxically, by the opposite strategy: noise and obfuscation. With TrackMeNot, actual web searches, lost in a cloud of false leads, are essentially hidden in plain view. User-installed TrackMeNot works with the Firefox Browser and popular search engines (AOL, Yahoo!, Google, and MSN) and requires no 3rd-party servers or services.

How it worksTrackMeNot runs in Firefox as a low-priority background process that periodically issues randomized search-queries to popular search engines, e.g., AOL, Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. It hides users' actual search trails in a cloud of 'ghost' queries, significantly increasing the difficulty of aggregating such data into accurate or identifying user profiles. As of version 0.4, TMN's static word list has been replaced with a dynamic query mechanism which 'evolves' each client (uniquely) over time, parsing the results of its searches for 'logical' future query terms with which to replace those already used.

Journalists are also advised to view:
Hints and Tips for Whistle-blowers at
http://p10.hostingprod.com/ @spyb...lowers_hin.html

and Security and Encryption FAQ at
http://www.panta-rhei.eu.org/ pan...ndEncryptionFaq

Some more web sites worth visiting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Off...ecord_Messaging
http://www.securstar.com/ product...rivecryptpp.php
http://www.panta-rhei.eu.org/ pan...ndEncryptionFaq
http://www.panta-rhei.eu.org/ pan...thTorAndStunnel