In a year where you can’t help but rather it wasn’t, the snoopers bill was passed into UK law. The government has been trying to put this through for a long while and although there were changes, its still really bad. Dare I say chilling effect.
The Bill will mean the police and intelligence agencies have unprecedented powers to surveil our private communications and Internet activity, whether or not we are suspected of a crime. Theresa May has finally got her snoopers’ charter and democracy in the UK is the worse for it.
I wrote the following post last night and I know it was posted because its on my FB wall (friends have commented too) and posted to twitter correctly. I even found a Google Cached version of it here. But looking at my WordPress install there is no sign of it at all!
Since yesterday I tried to call O2 to say there was a problem but line went quiet for 10mins and I got more text messages.
1:30 PM1:37 PM
Every once in a while you feel like the something is emerging, like skynet is reaching centennial status or something. Or more likely GCHQ and others have made some kind of mistake. Its almost like those number counting stations.
A friend who I haven’t heard from in almost 2 years suddenly got in touch. It was so weird and the caller ID was unknown to my work mobile phone, which was forwarded to my personal mobile phone. I briefly spoke to my friend but the line was terrible (but I was in starbucks to be fair so thought little about it) she called me back from another number – This time 07490170731 (which I added to her contact). I could hear her but it was weird like there was a crossline or something. Like somebody was listening and I could hear their breathing. On both times I could hear her but she couldn’t hear me much. I said about the heavy breathing and coughing which was male. She said she could hear it and would give me a call back another time. She also said I had called her…?
I got a text from that number at 6:38pm (23rd dec) saying it was her and at 6:48pm the same day. “Sorted had a cross line..”
I replied saying something like… Ummm I dont think you can crosslines on a digital siginal?
Which prompted this tweet, after some searching…
Can you get “cross lines” on today’s game/4g network I thought not but it happened a few times it would seem?https://t.co/mbCX76rSWY
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) December 24, 2015
It was so weird but things got weirder…. after calling the friend on the mobile number again and texting. Going to a voice mail machine of as it sounded like a vehicle recovery centre or something. I then got another call with her and the rough man coughing. She could kind of hear me and I said about the man and that somebody was listening in before hanging up. It was her and she responded like she would, so no recording or someone putting her up to it as such.
I got more texts asking if I’m ok, and what was I doing tomorrow? This is when I decided to not text back and contact her via Facebook and Twitter DM. With every message that came through, I replied saying look at your twitter dm and fb.
In the morning I got messages from the same number this time saying it was ******* from **** shop. I said wtf? I’m sorry ****** has been using this number to contact me. This was about 10:10am.
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) December 24, 2015
Then while sitting in the Arnolfini cafe, I got messages saying…
Did you just tex a lady called ****** .and who areYOU
****** is my wife..and who is **** ..and where is the shop..please
I then got a call from David ******** telling me to take him off speaker phone and stop messing about. I obviously didn’t have him on speaker but he was distant like the calls previously with my friend (no man coughing though). After putting down the phone I got…
After a while I got this…
Ive reported to my service provider.my name is david ****** and an gonna block your number
Nothing since, but I’ve not called or texted that number since. Also nothing from my friend but I did text her old numbers just in-case.
Finally I spent some time researching online 07490170731. Out of the stuff I found, this was the most interesting and confirmed the apps which forward my sms’s, the phone provider and my friends wasn’t having a laugh.
In the last 3 days…
Jessica 3 daysI’m looking for the name of the owner of the number 07490170731?
Alfie 3 dayswho is the owner of this number 07490170731 ?
Chloé 3 daysCan you help me to find out who owns this number 07490170731 ?
I still don’t know whats really going on behind the number but I’ll be recording the next call if I get one. I have a log of all my text messages anyway and use a app to log calls times to my google calendar anyway. The audit trail is all there at least. I removed identifiable names, just incase its one massive prank or some kind.
Why blog this, especially in the early hours of Christmas day? No idea, I find it slightly bizarre like I scratched up against the side of the matrix or something. Too weird to explain to the people I have including my parents and friends.
As the year draws to an end, there is one thing which stands out well in front of all other things which happened in 2013.
Edward Snowden coming forward as a whistleblower and releasing globally critical information. There is literally no bigger event which happened in 2013 like Edward Snowden’s mass leak of National Security Agency documents. Frankly Edward Snowden deserves he’s own day, to remind us of this turning point.
Yes I am saying he’s not just a hero but deserving of many achievements including Time’s person of the year.
Just today in the Guardian, Snowden said how he had won.
The whistleblower Edward Snowden has declared “mission accomplished”, seven months after revelations were first published from his mass leak of National Security Agency documents. The documents, which were passed to the Guardian, as well the Washington Post and other publications, revealed how technological developments were used by the US surveillance agency to spy on its own citizens and others abroad, and also to spy on allies, such as the US on Germany and Australia on Indonesia.
In 14 hours of interviews with Washington Post journalist Barton Gellman, Snowden said: “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished.” He continued: “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. “All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed.”
Channel4 have also gotten in on the action by getting Snowden to deliver the alternative Christmas message.
Six months ago, Snowden, a computer analyst turned whistleblower, brought to global attention top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents leading to revelations about widespread United States surveillance on phone and internet communications.
Snowden lays out his vision for why privacy matters and why he believes mass indiscriminate surveillance by governments of their people is wrong.
Something I will not be missing! Even if it means firing it up on my tablet or phone. Maybe I could hijack the TV via the newly bought Chromecast I installed on my parents TV?
Now down to business…
I’ve been watching the coverage of Edward Snowden’s leaks and watching how the NSA, GCHQ, etc have all come out and denied most of whats come out. But the sheer amount of data and facts is just so overwhelming. Even the embarrassed Cameron started to hit back at the media saying they are irking it out slowly for higher audiences.
What ever Cameron… The thing which has shocked me the most is with these super high profile leaks, most still don’t know who Snowden is or connect what this means with there own lives. If you were paying attention you would support the Open Right Group.
I asked my family if they knew who Edward Snowden was. Mum and Dad said no, sister said yes. Once explained who he was, (the NSA whistleblower) a little discussion erupted. Only a short one because there was some crap on TV which everyone was watching except me. My dad declared whistleblowers should be put to death for treason against their own country.
Now I’m sure there are many people who have this view. Although I’m angry at this view, I’m equally angry at ourselves for not making the connection with their own lives. The same people who think a porn filter will stop pedophiles from using the internet to share media and don’t really care that people might actually need the help of the resources its actually blocking.
These things all seem disconnected but actually they are connected in ways you don’t want to know.
2014 will mark the post Snowden era and a new era of data privacy and transparency. The question is if the every day person will get it? And when? Maybe some parts of the media end up boiling it down to a non issue between what Nigela’s done to her face and a stupid campaign to save the young from the evils of p0rn. As my dad said, “we all thought the government was spying on us” but to know it and have it spelled out so graphically is something else all together.
On the eve of Christmas I should be more happy, but I can’t help but feel 2014 is going to highlight the widening digital literacy gap between those who understand and those who don’t. The true digital divide…
You think 2010-2012 with Anonymous, The Pirate Party and Lulzec was crazy, you seen nothing yet! Before it was paranoia, now its really happening and at a level which shocked all of us.
It couldn’t get any more epic unless on the other side it said “ALL YOUR BASES BELONG TO US… signed NSA” Unfortunately although great in one scope, but not so epic is Heisenberg from Breaking Bad instead.
There is so much I want to say about whats going on with our data ending up in the hands of the NSA and ultimately the US government but to be honest the Open Rights Group have got this much better covered. If your not already a member, for goodness sake be one! The war for a open and free internet has stepped up a gear.