Tag Archives: bullying

Jeremy Duns, ‘Maria James’, and Julian Assange

It will surprise no one to know that I am a firm and fervent supporter of the right to pseudonymity on the Internet.

Maria James “jerermyduns-watch” 12th September:

It is probably not a surprise that Jeremy Duns and his little club of right-wing thriller writers have accused me of being a man.

Duns has stated clearly that I am Steve Roach.

I guess in his public school/spy circles, a women’s place is in the kitchen, or the bedroom. It obviously has not occured to him that a mere women might be capable of having a debate, and even questioning a man on points of principle.

I note with interest that “Maria James” has a profile on her blogspot, and that links to GooglePlus and doesn’t share anything with anyone. I find this of interest because if I wanted to set up a fake profile for myself that’s exactly what I’d use:

Because they’re worried about trolls faking up Google Plus identities, the folks behind Google Plus have set up a mechanism to report suspect accounts, have them frozen, and demand verification of identity in order to unlock them. Gary Walker went to work and tested this, with predictably hilarious results (well, hilarious if you haven’t just had your GMail account deleted for the temerity of having a name beginning with Mac- or O’-):
I’m not going to give you a TL;DR summary of Gary’s findings; let’s just say they’re extremely alarming. Send a poison pen email and you can get an account suspended until the owner verifies their identity by sending a scan of some ID. Use Photoshop to bolt together a fake driving license with a fucking spree killer’s face on it and you can get an account re-enabled. I’m willing to bet that the process for hijacking someone else’s account is not much more complicated.

Now let’s move on to the Twitter conversation today.
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Filed under In The Media

Hacked Knightmare

A few years ago, Sarah Rees Brennan, fantasy author and charming blogger, had her blog and email hacked the day before her first novel was due to be published:

I was very lucky. My friends all leaped into action like an army of trained tech ninjas. As such, I have decided to give them titles. Eimear the Bold, Charlotte the Gentle, Chiara the Resourceful and Bob the Extremely Tall told me exactly what to do, and soon recaptured my email and my livejournal for me.

At that point I discovered that all my emails and contacts had been deleted, along with the seven years’ worth of posts and comments on my livejournal. Not only that, but given timing and other details that I (tech savvy of a lizard!) do not understand, it looks likely that this was malicious.

I have absolutely no idea why anyone would want to hurt me like this. (Why people might want to thump me in the back of the head for laughing like a hyena during a movie, well, that’s less of a mystery.) I feel crushed, dismayed and a little tottery on my feet still, but can only resolve to be brave like my ninja friends.

Some people may have wondered whether this was a joke or some strange flight of fancy of mine: let me be very clear. I love this livejournal, and respect and value those who read it, far too much to dream of ever doing such a thing. I don’t make jokes like this.

2,267,233,742 people use the Internet: 32.7% of the world population. Given the numbers, it should surprise no one that though most people are not malicious assholes, some people on the Internet suck.

On 29th July, Santiago Zabala, the ICREA Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona, mused on the New Statesman blog:

Today if you are not often wired, you do not exist. Like radio and television in other times, the internet has become not only an indispensable tool but also a vital component of our life. It has become so useful, significant, and meaningful for variety of administrative, cultural, and political reasons that a life without it seems unimaginable in the twenty-first century. But the ownership of this interactive life is troubled: when you start seeing interesting advertising on your Gmail banner, personalised ads aimed just at you, your existence has begun to belong to others.

It’s not even been 22 years since Tim Berners-Lee gave the World Wide Web to all of us as the best Christmas present ever.
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Sporty kids aren’t bullied

Between twelve and sixteen I was a junior member of the British Sub-Aqua Club. We met at Portobello swimming pool – back when there was a salt-water pool. For years, every Monday night, I spent a couple of hours learning how to swim underwater with a snorkel and mask and fins. I played underwater hockey. We did a week up on Skye where we learned how to dive off a boat, and wear wetsuits, and knife discipline.

All divers carry knives, because you may get tangled in seaweed or a net: knife discipline was the senior instructor informing us, in a tone that made clear he meant what he said, that we were each being issued with a knife, that this knife was to stay in its sheath, that if any of us ever EVER took the knife out of its sheath without a good reason or above water AT ALL or were seen messing about with it, that was IT, the kid who did it was never going back in the water again. A dozen teenage boys and two girls listened with awed attention and you better believe that we never did. (That I still remember that lecture thirty years later – he was memorable.)

I loved it, and I was good at it. Women have a slight genetic edge over men in learning how to dive and to swim in cold water, but I mention this just for the sake of smugness: most of it is training. I loved being able to use my fins to zip through the water like a fish. I loved being able to see underwater. Snorkelling was great. I had huge confidence in the water and would have liked to learn how to use an aqualung. It was an entirely new experience for me when the other kids started demanding to be on my team when we played underwater hockey, because my team usually won.
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Filed under Childhood, Education, Jane Austen, Olympics, Other stuff on the Internet I like, Women

Our constitution, July 2012: Economic rights

The previous constitutional posts have been based on a short list of things pretty much everyone agrees you should have in a functioning modern democracy. Politicians in government (or with hopes of being in government soon) may be less enthusiastic about some of the provisions, which are explicitly intended to restrict their power. But most of them are provisions that even the UK’s unwritten Constitution allows for and that even governments with a thundering huge majority will think carefully before overturning.

What follows is a series of ideas that would

“create a constitutional order that reflects a broad public commitment to a more inclusive, egalitarian, and communitarian way, and to mark Scotland out as a ‘progressive beacon’, the following additional provisions might be considered:”

1. Enhanced constitutional rights

Beginning with the most commonplace:

(a) Economic rights (minimum wage, right to collective bargaining)

Cait Reilly has received widespread ridicule from the right-wing press (and Iain Duncan Smith called her “snooty”) for saying her human rights were breached by being forced to work for her benefits in Poundland: I don’t know who first referred to this as “slave labour”, which is banned by Article Four of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but we can agree that being required to work 30 hours a week for £2.30 an hour may be illegal, but it is not literally slavery.

Articles 23-25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, however, were clearly breached:

Article 23: (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
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Filed under Benefits, Elections, Human Rights, Poverty, Scottish Constitution, Scottish Culture, Scottish Politics, Supermarkets

Harm and serious offence

As I noted two weeks ago:

You can’t “cure” someone of having a sexual orientation.

Individuals and groups who claim they can cure a person of being gay are either bigots or frauds or, quite possibly, both.

But from Monday 16th April, Anglican Mainstream and the Core Issues Trust will be running this ad on the side of 26 London buses:

Ex-Gay Advert - misleading & harmful
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Filed under Education, LGBT Equality