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James Firth

Watching Westminster and beyond as governments grapple with thorny issues around internet regulation

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James Firth

James is CEO of the Open Digital Policy Organisation which he co-founded to promote the importance of data ethics and open networks for a sustainable digital economy. Policy areas of particular interest include privacy, cyber security, fair market competition, internet governance and free speech. He's a recognised innovator with an accomplished software career designing radar and secure comms for military and government use, before launching a company developing budget and finance analytics.

What the Letzgo Hunting vigilantes can teach the Home Office

Police should consider using the internet via the front door instead of this obsessive focus on blanket surveillance

by James Firth

One of my many criticisms of this and recent governments' obsession with online snooping is that it diverts resources away from other policing methods.Governments are obsessed with creating (or restoring, depending on who you talk to) a power...

April 25, 2013 11:43:03 AM Read Full Post

Keith Vaz is wrong, the O'Dwyer case is not at all like Gary McKinnon's

The US claim of sovereignty is far weaker

by James Firth

Last week the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz wrote to the Home Secretary over the case of Sheffield student Richard O'Dwyer, currently facing extradition to the US on copyright charges relating to a website he ran from the...

October 19, 2012 12:36:54 PM Read Full Post

The Huawei risk should be managable

Pwning portions of our network is a one hit wonder of limited value

by James Firth

Last week the US House Intelligence Committee declared Huawei a "national security threat".  The damning indictment came in a year the Chinese telco equipment manufacturer was banned from tendering on a large national broadband contract...

October 15, 2012 10:45:03 AM Read Full Post

Chancellor's Shares for Employee Rights Swap is not as mad as it sounds...

... But is ripe for abuse

by James Firth

A pretty contentious policy was announced today by the Chancellor.  Employees will be able to forfeit some employment rights in exchange for a stake in the firm they work for. The BBC's Robert Peston was quick to point out:Note that G...

October 08, 2012 3:06:56 PM Read Full Post

The big 4G win for UK Ltd

A year after publishing a report on the economic benefits of 4G, James Firth praises a speedier timetable for fast mobile data in the UK

by James Firth

Almost exactly a year ago I pressed a short paper I co-authored into the hands of my MP and then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt at a meeting in the constituency about rural broadband.Estimating the cost to UK businesses of slow mobile...

October 03, 2012 10:42:03 AM Read Full Post

MP confirms government to repeal website blocking provisions of DEA

There are plenty of reasons to cheer this small but positive step in the right direction

by James Firth

To be brutally frank I was contemplating a hatchet job on LiCambridge MP Julian Huppert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)b Dem MP Julian Huppert's announcement today that the government was pressing ahead with its plans to repeal the website blocking...

September 25, 2012 3:27:57 PM Read Full Post

The misplaced trust in VPN providers: there's no honour amongst cyber-thieves

As netizens become wary of government interference and network monitoring, James Firth charts a dangerous trend towards use of untrusted VPNs

by James Firth

I wouldn't say you have to have actually worked with ISPs at a network level to understand how vulnerable your data is in the hands of your ISP, but it certainly helps.Until fairly recently one could set up a network analyser and watch the...

September 25, 2012 10:05:48 AM Read Full Post

Megaupload/Dotcom case gets even weirder as NZ PM calls for inquiry into use of NZ security services and wiretaps

Mission creep: copyright protection = cyber-security = national security?

by James Firth

Overnight, a freaky press release that, if it wasn't hosted on the official government website (named after the 'Beehive' government building in Wellington) I would have immediately dismissed as fake:Prime Minister John Key today announced he has...

September 24, 2012 9:42:48 AM Read Full Post

Now Facebook wants YOU to grass-up friends not using their real name

Freedom to go under a pseudonym is, miraculously, one freedom to survive the security lock-down of the previous decade. Now Facebook wants to change this.

by James Firth

My friend and IT, IP and Media Law researcher specialising in privacy and autonomy Paul Bernal has a very good blog on what seems at first glance to be a crazy move from Facebook in their ongoing war on pseudonyms.Facebook has, from multiple...

September 21, 2012 12:29:25 PM Read Full Post

UK.gov NOT squatting on £1bn unused IPv4 addresses

Twitter provides likely answer before the ink sets on MP's Parliamentary question tabled on the subject

by James Firth

The Register today ran an interesting article highlighting emerging evidence that the UK government may be sitting on an unused block of over 16 million (IPv4) IP addresses in the 51.0.0.0/8 address block.The block was noticed by...

September 18, 2012 4:28:25 PM Read Full Post


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