Order, Order: Table of Contents

Here you’ll find our blog entries arranged in a more orderly manner. First some specific topics:

Introduction

Welcome to the Future
Privacy: A Pain in the Derrière

Principles behind the Practice

Hiding Information: A Typology
Janography
Aleatography
Dual-Purpose Software

Buggarium Bigus Brutium

I Tor to Tiffany! Do You?
“No Keys” Campaign

How Tos

E-Currency: Opening an e-gold Account

Humorous (well, we think so!)

Can you trust the PGP Corporation with your Data?
“Butcher Blair” and “Bubba Brown”
Children’s Section: A Just Reward!
Geekshonary: Ageek—Billy-Boy
Job Advert: Competent Tester? Pecunix needs You!
Scams: Idle Thoughts

And then a table of contents:

Campaigns & Issues

Extraordinary Rendition

Council of Europe Report
Children’s Section: A Just Reward!

RIPA, Part 3

RIPA Part III - Again
Your Keys please: RIPA, Part 3
“Butcher Blair” and “Bubba Brown”
Crime and Punishment
Punish the Innocent
Exonerate the Guilty
“No Keys” Campaign

E-currency

E-Currency Exchange: Profitable New Horizons - Addendum
E-Currency Exchange: Profitable New Horizons
Which E-Currency Issuer?
Digital Cash: Or how to make Big Brother ...
Where E-Currency and Digital Cash Meet
Micropayments, Micropublishing, and E-Currency

Pecunix

Job Advert: Competent Tester? Pecunix needs You!
Feedback from Pecunixie Land

E-gold

Opening an e-gold Account
My first E-currency Account
Charges
Don’t verify your Client
On being economical with the Truth!

Encryption

PGP

Can you trust the PGP Corporation with your Data?

Proxies

General

Why your Browser is cheating on you

Tor

I Tor to Tiffany! Do You?

Scams

Idle Thoughts
A Known Quantity
The Scam Ratio

Tiffium & Morphium – Bigus Brutium-Absentium Zonium

Contact Us: Bouquets and Brickbats!

Your “Oeuvre” lovingly fondled by Maria?

No such Number, no such Zone

M: If you want to contact us—I can’t think why—then send your comments, thoughts, or philosophical speculations on the origins of life to the following address:

  • returntosender@addressunknown.com

but only after replacing “returntosender” by “tamjgp” and “addressunknown” by “nerdshack”.

If you’re an unintelligent robot prowling these pages in order to harvest email addresses so that your lord-and-master can send us spam, then we must advise you that your efforts will be in vain, and your spam-master’s emails will disappear down that great, big black-hole that lies at the centre of cyberspace—not that you will understand any of this, of course. If, on the other hand, you’re an intelligent robot, then, “Have a nice day!”

Maria: I’ve just met a girl called … Ouch!

M: JG has his own custom, deluxe, anti-spam filter, a stunning piece of software—one which I, unfortunately, am never allowed to get my hands on! Ouch! She’s JG’s factotum, and her name’s Maria! She trashes any incoming spam with great gusto, and discretely disposes of emails from persons even “weirder than we”—they do exist! Maria will—or at least so JG informs us—forward a sample of the “interesting” emails for our attention. So, if you have something worthwhile to say, Maria might just send your email on its way, metamorphosing as it passes through an infinite chain of “nym” remailers, being temporarily reabsorbed into the vacuum state as it jumps across innumerable quantum bridges, and being squashed to nothingness as it slithers through a quorum of worm holes that provide hyperspace links through universes unknown. Of course, by far the biggest obstacle to a successful delivery is that Maria might forget to press “Send” if she’s late for her aerobics class—you know how women are!

Feminist Fantasy

T: But don’t send us any “brickbats”. Why? Well, Maria has strict instructions from JG to file anything negative in that small, round filing cabinet in the corner of her screen­—the one marked “Trash”. You see, Morpheus—like all men—has a very delicate ego, and we must shelter the poor dears from too much negativity. Of course, we women are made of sterner stuff!

M: Ha! Another feminist fantasy! Apologies, if we don’t have time to reply personally. But we’ll blog on the feedback we receive every now and then. So, if you say something very profound or very witty then you just might find yourself blogged about!

Want to be a Lab Rat?

You-Pay-Me-Mail

T: Now “paid-for” email systems are in the pipeline. These systems involve one big business charging another big business for the privilege of disabling your spam filter and allowing reams of spam into your in-box—we gather the internal AOL memo read, “Strategic Planning: How to reduce our Customer Base.”

This proposal set us thinking that if anyone should be paid for receiving spam, it should be “you”, the person who receives it. So we’ve invented our own version of “paid-for” email. We call our hypothetical system “you-pay-me-mail”, which is what you say to all those spammers out there. Now a generic “you-pay-me-mail” system would admittedly require some infrastructure. But, in special cases—for example, where you wish to post your email address on your web site or on a newsgroup that accepts HTML and not be deluged with spam—the existing e-currency micropayment systems can be used.

Unvetted by Maria!

T: We’ve constructed a prototype system below using e-gold, in which it costs 50 cents (USD) to send us a plain text email of up to about 4000 characters. For a very small amount of work, e-gold (and the other e-currency issuers) could remove the size limitation and add a facility to include attachments (with, of course, a corresponding adjustment to their commissions for lengthy emails). We’ll write a blog entry on how to code it sometime (but for those of you familiar with the e-gold payment interface it’s trivial—just one long “baggage” field to hold the message text; feel free to lift our code and modify it as you wish).

Anyway, if you want to be a “lab rat” and be part of our experiment you can try out our “Heath Robinson” version by following the instructions below. As a bonus, Maria has promised to pass on “paid-for” emails unvetted, so you can be certain we’ll get to read whatever it is you’ve written!

You-Pay-Me-Mail – Delivery Guaranteed

M: You'll need an e-gold account with the equivalent of at least 50 cents (USD) in it.

Enter your message in the text-area below. The limit is about 130 lines, but that should suffice—after all, no matter how creative you are, there are still only a limited number of ways in which you can say, “You Suck Big Time.” Then press the “Send Mail” button.

When the payment order screen appears, check that the details following “Pay” are “3038638 (Nearly Perfect Privacy)” and that the “Amount” is “0.5 US Dollars”—just in case someone has hacked into www.blogger.com and changed the account and the amount; or, even more likely, just in case Tiffy has decided she just must have that pair of silk undies! Enter your e-gold account number in the “From” field, your passphrase in the “Passphrase” field, and, enter the verification number displayed on the screen in the “Turing Number” field—assuming, that is, your neural net can extract it from the mangled image on the bottom right. Then press the “Preview” button.

When the verification screen appears check that it contains the same information as its predecessor and then—provided you’re really, really sure you can’t think of a better way to spend your 50 cents—press the “Confirm” button.

A payment confirmation screen will appear to announce that it’s now too late to change your mind. And you’ll kick yourself for not spending your money more wisely by making a donation to Tor or by contributing towards an “EFL class” for “Dear George”. But, alas, it’s no use contemplating what might have been. Just press “Continue” and you’ll be taken back to our fireside, where we’ll say something profound…such as…“A fool and his gold are easily parted!”



That pair of…hint, hint!

T: Our email filter—when we get it working—will automatically flush any emails that have forged headers or don’t have a payment for at least the correct amount into the bit bucket. Fingers crossed, it’ll mean no spam, and a reduction in emails from people with nothing worthwhile to say! Now that, you must admit, makes for a welcome change! And, of course, when my birthday next comes around there just might be enough money in the kitty for Morpheus to buy me that pair of…hint, hint!

We can guarantee that your comments will be appreciated irrespective of which route you take: after all, a “paid-for brickbat” is as welcome as a “free bouquet”. Of course, a “paid-for bouquet” would be ever so much nicer!

For the Attention of Big Brother

M: If, perchance, you’re filtering these witterings into your ever growing database, then don’t contact us, we’ll contact you: somewhere out there in the far reaches of cyberspace is an IP packet with your name on it!

T: And please remember, there are two “f”s in Tiffany!

Our PGP Public Key

Cut and paste the entire contents of the following display box into a text editor, such as “Notepad”. Save it to a file, and then import that file into your keyring using your PGP software.


-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.2.1 (MingW32)

mQGiBBpVl68RBACBSLUG+Wc6WJtZsWQfTeYwU/xRsr39IA9XurmzolShYnYZjv+v
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QehWENCfmYqyy7kHcC8EeJMD/0UFhmNuF+Tgd4Qr3TjdQBMWzr8X9cDKK6YTu39w
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Bm0KA/95fk79W/S6jeqAs9tNM9g39pg3l2u+4kJi+h9P5h7V/Rz8KmP3sxBRcdKV
fUl6SYdqZPIJZeITvMZsFZp+qgIzO2Rliq8hGDFyUGPEdNjvKzTkTXqFoBwKI8av
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x65bvlsJZJa5Ag0EGlWXuxAIALECBhq46hrXHlIXkDW/uPJwHtNmfhelRUZNZuDj
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kg80o+aYsGq5CrcyWZ7SeyIc0+qKKg9EZ12AQ5b2ymqpK79gzQ2hgRk1/y6wkuyS
boA18BamilKQxqKgrhUg5j3TZadB2SY5rK+i9+57MXWiHVMAAwUH/iFQ/oltiJ69
f+pkiWRs6jBpU9HwDGC0mNQJE1oDihuJ2NxRkpGJI7ZBYr/VhEFwYXeYg+yeUWZH
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Cw3G0NB0WWMIugCfSc9mQtJQtyTqW+e/NlypPGdsdbk=
=GE04
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

Tiffium & Morphium – Bigus Brutium-Absentium Zonium

About Us: If you really must know!

Time and Materials

When, on this blog, we use the word “we”, we really do mean “we”. Editorially speaking, there are two of us. Now, in keeping with this site’s raison d’être, we couldn’t possibly divulge our real names, so you’ll have to make do with our pseudonyms instead.

M: I’m Morpheus and she’s Tiffany.

T: Or, to put things in the correct order, I’m Tiffany and he’s Morpheus! In short, we’re T&M. I’m “time” and he’s “materials”. If you put the two together in the right way, then “There will be light.” At least, we hope so!

M: Thanks for that little peroration Tiffs. As you can see, I’m an old fashioned kind of gentleman, the sort who let’s the ladies go [T: and also come!] first, spoil them a little, and let them have there way—be it wicked or otherwise! As we couldn’t possibly provide photos for a profile, you’ll have to make do with some word paintings instead. So Tiffs, describe me to our honoured guest.

Morpheus: A Harbinger of Sweet Dreams

T: Well, imagine Neo (Keanu Reeves). Inject some steroids and a sense of humour. Then add a big smile. That’s our Morpheus: the kind of man to warm your heart, and not just that other part! This son of Somnus will certainly put you to sleep, but only as a consequence of first making you very, very wide awake! All in all, a harbinger of sweet dreams. Now Morpheus, how about me?

Tiffany: Iridescent and Compelling

M: Well, what can I say about Tiffany? In keeping with the fons et origo of her name, I think “favrile glass” describes her well: freely shaped, iridescent, compelling. Or, to change the metaphor, a sports car that purrs silkily most of the time, but demonstrates the amazing amount of “Oomph” that lies under the bonnet whenever she decides to “put her foot to the floor”.

Her choice of pseudonym is rather appropriate, for she looks not unlike that other T-lady, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), only an improved version, the Mark II! Think back to the first time you saw The Matrix. Remember that opening scene, where Trinity—clad in a wonderfully tight, black, leather cat-suit—despatches half a dozen opponents, sprints across rooftops, jumps a yawning chasm, dives—à la Superwoman—through a window, rolls down a flight of stairs, and then elegantly uncurls, two guns at the ready. Suddenly, you realise you haven’t been breathing for the last few minutes, and you feel, rather than say, “Wow! Oh! She’s hot! Weak-kneeingly hot! Tom-cat-who-got-the-cream hot!” Well, that’s our Tiffs. ’Ot she be! And she sizzles in many delightful ways, be they little or large! [T: Ah! Flattery will get you everywhere I want you to be!]

Don’t panic!

T: If you belong to that very tiny minority who likes our irreverent, idiosyncratic, and eclectic style, then—don’t panic—we can recommend a good shrink. Or, at least we know a Man who can. For, as Big Brother continually reminds us in ponderous and solemn tones, “Not appreciating the Great and the Good is not only a symptom, but also the very definition, of mental illness.” In so-called democracies, such a diagnosis provides a useful excuse for locking up dissidents and throwing away the key. In attested tyrannies, there is, of course, no need to avoid wasting the resources of the State in such a frivolous manner; in these countries a summary execution followed by a roadside burial proves both an exemplary and a cost-effective alternative.

M: Well, did I lie, dear reader? As you can well imagine, when Tiffs gets going she’s all hot metal and sprung steel. Just be thankful she’ll never have the opportunity to wrap her thighs around a delicate part of your anatomy when her passions are running high!

Cyberspace Gypsies

M: As we have the misfortune to be a freedom-loving pair of cybernauts, we’re sure to offend Big Brothers, both East and West. So our existence may well prove to be a peripatetic one of cyberspace gypsies. But just Google our signature line to find us—assuming, that is, we’re not one of those 50,000 souls about to be sacrificed by Google on Big Brother’s high altar!

<BloggerNotToBeReadByGoogle>

T: Psst! Psst! Have you forgotten that Blogger is now owned by Google?

M: Oh! Bug——r! You don’t mean the same crowd that sold out to Big Brother in Beijing?

</BloggerNotToBeReadByGoogle>

M: Well, as I was just saying, our existence may well prove to be a …. Down boy! Nice Google! Nice Google! Well, to be fair to Google, they do put up at least some resistance—unlike others, Billy Boy! As I recall, Google did recently make a token challenge to BB in the courts. And our Chinese friends can at least see that www.tibet.com exists and have the benefit of a short description, even if when they click on the link the contents always seems to be “lost in cyberspace”.

How the other half surfs!

By the way, whilst I’m on the topic, do you want to see how the other half lives? Or, should that be surfs? Then try exiting Tor through a Chinese node. We’ll show you how, day jobs permitting.

The Great Google!

M: So, to all you detractors of the Great Google we say, “Have a heart!” After all, once Big Brother knows who you are and where you keep your assets only a token resistance is possible. We, on the other hand, being mobile, pseudonymous entities are free to “take the piss” as, and when, we please. And now it’s time to party!

<BloggerNotToBeReadByGoogle>

T: Oh! That’s a clever ploy! Criticism, with a complement in its tail. Saying nice things about Google means they’re sure to promote this blog.

M: Yes, brilliant isn’t it. I’m sure we’ll come up as the first hit whenever anyone searches on “privacy”. No need to create dummy links to promote this blog. All we have to do is a little unctuous crawling instead!

T: Why, it’s a ploy worthy of BB himself. You worry me at times Morpheus. Sometimes I think you’re in danger of selling out to the other side. Are you sure that navel of yours is still as Mother Nature left it?

</BloggerNotToBeReadByGoogle>

Big Brother’s Coffin: Nails needed!

T&M: Well, as a certain rabbit says, “That’s all folks!” Oh! And, as to “The One”? Well, we’re still looking for him. Who knows, it could be you!

Confucius, he say: “Gold very welcome!” T&M, we say: “Confucius, he very wise man!”

Every donation is a nail in Big Brother’s coffin. True, the coffin may be of Brobdingnagian proportions, and we are but two Lilliputians! But, it’s the principle that counts: even if we’re all dead men walking, we can still choose to walk that “Green Mile” with dignity.

M: A bit heavy don’t you think? T: Yes, don’t you just hate those types who’re always serious when faced with disaster? M: I can’t stand people who’re always asking for money. T: I agree! Who is this grubby little pair? M: I certainly wouldn’t give them any money. T: Especially with all that “school boy” punctuation; far too many inverted commas and exclamation marks for my liking!

Tiffium & Morphium – Bigus Brutium-Absentium Zonium

About You: Do you pass our Test?

No, not You!

Now pay attention! This blog is not intended for just “anyone” with an interest in privacy. After all, we have standards to maintain! So, do you qualify? Well, here’s a simple test. Whilst idly browsing some web site, a banner ad annoyingly intrudes into your field of view. You haven’t had enough coffee that morning to activate the centres of higher intelligence within your forebrain, and, shepherded by some primordial reflex response, you click on it—almost always a mistake! At the end of the link you find, amongst other disagreeable things, the “thoroughly” informative statement, “This product employs SOCKS4a to prevent DNS leakage.” If your response is “Hmm…interesting!” or “Well…of course!”, then you probably know far more about privacy issues than we do, and you’ll find it far more diverting to digest the contents of those abstruse technical white papers published by symposia on computer security than to browse the contents of our far more modest and less technically challenging pages.

Yes, you’ll do Fine!

If, on the other hand, “DNS” is just one of those horrid acronyms that pop up in menacing hordes whenever computers are under discussion; if, when you see the word “leakage”, the first thing that comes to mind is the water that, on occasion, mysteriously appears from underneath your washing machine; if “SOCKS4a” sounds like just another designer brand name for items of apparel destined to cover your lower extremities; if your eyes glaze over and you quickly push the back button on your browser, then “Welcome”, for this is the site you’ve been looking for!

What we’ll blog about is largely determined by you, the reader. Maybe you’ve already made a start, but are struggling to understand some topic or other. Or maybe you’re a know-nothing beginner. If you fall into the latter category, then just ignore anything that seems like a “techie tip” for the moment. Some day you’ll look at one and it will actually make sense. That’s when you should start to get worried, for you’ll be well on your way to becoming a “preek”—a privacy geek for those of you who aren’t one, yet that is!

Now blogging doesn’t produce a structured list of topics, arranged in an appropriate reading order. So we’ll try to provide something structured, somewhere in the sidebar. You see we understand what you really want: you look back with nostalgia to your school days, when Miss Boomer—who always had the top two buttons of her blouse undone—would lean over your desk, would smile at you in what you most sincerely hoped was a come-on manner, and would tell you what to do next!

The Susie Test

Now given the vast number of sites on the Internet that have something to say about privacy why should you “loiter with intent” around this blog. Well, we’ve a secret weapon that helps us ensure that everything we say is comprehensible. It’s called “The Susie Test”. Susie’s my niece, and she’s six, and she asks an awful, awful…awful lot of questions. So we reckon that if we can explain something to Susie, we can probably also explain it to you!

Besides, Susie, like all children, is a never ending source of profundities, such as, “Well, if Big Brother is so nasty then why don’t people just put him in prison?” Why indeed? Now we’re not suggesting you encircle the headquarters of the NSA, drag its director out by the scruff of the neck, and then do onto him as he does onto you—now, that would be just too cruel, wouldn’t it! But you could indicate to your would-be representative that he’s not going to get your vote next time around unless he decides to pension off the NSA top brass, so that they can all go and become vice-presidents of big business or engage in some other slightly less nefarious activity! Now, how about it?

The Four Privateers

You know those films where a number of strangers meet and exchange stories, and you find yourself identifying with one of them—well, try!

Mr. N. Boodie

Perhaps you’re a person of no particular importance, a nobody you might say. This is actually a very good sort of person to be. Why? Well, no one is going to target you specifically, that’s why! Now it’s true that Organized Crime, Big Business, and Big Brother will all try to profile you: the first to clean out your bank account and steal your identity, the second to pester you by trying to sell you things no sane person could possibly want to buy, and the third to persecute you should you turn out to be a “rebel with a cause”—the kind of person who doesn’t approve of Big Brother persecuting people who don’t approve of Big Brother!

Madame H.A.P. Rapet

Perhaps you’re a celebrity—well, a celebrity of sorts. Maybe you’re a Hollywood film star, or maybe you’re one of those politicians who “can’t be bought”—assuming, of course, that the existence of such politicians is more than just another urban myth! Maybe you’re an investigative journalist, or maybe you just wave a banner for some environmental pressure group who doesn’t like “Oozy Oil Inc.” despoiling whatever little wilderness still remains. No matter, but for some reason or other you’ve got your head above the parapet, with the result that Big Brother or Big Business, or even some “bottom-dwelling” member of the general public might just decide to take a pot-shot at your pate.

Well, clearly you need either a suit of armour or an invisibility cloak. If you fancy the suit, then Big Brother has just what you need. On the downside, it’s a one-size-fits-all suit; but on the upside he does offer a free fitting service—he will very carefully take your measurements, and then adjust you to fit the suit! And, as to the colour—why, you can have any colour you like, as long as it’s black. But should Madame prefer the cloak, then we just might be able to fashion a garment that meets your exact requirements!

Herr W.S. Blooer

Yes, you’re a nobody: but you’re a nobody who wants to tell everybody about a somebody, without that somebody finding out that you were the nobody who “done” the dastardly deed of exposing his inequities to the world at large. In short, you’re a whistleblower. Now you’ve a big problem. At best you risk loosing your job or your home. At worst you risk being imprisoned, tortured, or executed by way of reparation for the sin of exposing other people’s sins.

Ms. D.S. Dent

As a dissident you live in the worst of all possible worlds: your head’s above the parapet and you’d also like to be a whistleblower. But “they” know who you are. They’re already watching you. So you’ll have to be very, very careful.

Horses for Courses

Now when it comes to privacy, people have a bad habit of moving from one extreme to another: from a state of clueless pillockdom to a state of quivering paranoia.

Clueless Pillockdom

You start off your existence as a clueless pillock: you use your pet’s name as the common password to logon to every web site that needs one—amongst them your Internet bank account and www.wecollectpasswords.com; you scatter your one-and-only email address all over the web with the gay abandon of revellers showering confetti at a wedding; and in registering a domain name you enter your real name, address, and telephone number into the global whois.

But then things start to go wrong: one day you discover that your bank account has been cleaned out; you receive, in ever increasing numbers, harassing emails from weird people who didn’t appreciate the comments you posted to that newsgroup; and you discern that there’s always that same shadowy person with a pair of binoculars loitering out there in the bushes every evening when you go to close the curtains.

Quivering Paranoia

That’s when you become paranoid: now you take half-an-hour to negotiate the cascade of password screens that protect your PC from snoopers; you’ve added so many nodes to your remailer list that snail mail would get there quicker; you’ve created a proxy chain of such length and complexity that in the interval between pressing “Enter” and the web page displaying in your browser you have enough time to make a cup of coffee, to fill in your tax return, and to take the medication that has become essential to soothe those oh-so tattered nerves; and you absolutely insist on using a one-time pad whenever you want to tell the dog it’s time for walkies!

Different Strokes…

Now privacy is a question of horses for courses, or, if you prefer, of different strokes for different folks. If you’re a Mr. Boodie, as almost everybody is, then only a very modest effort is required to keep most of the web hounds at bay. If you’re a Madame Rapet, then—depending on the size of your head and the amount by which it protrudes above the parapet—it would probably be worthwhile establishing an anonymous online identity for yourself, so that you can browse and email without having your activities traced. But if you’re a Herr Blooer or a Ms. Dent? Well, that’s when the paranoia is justified. For you’ll need to be very, very well prepared: your adversary only needs to be lucky once; you, however, must hit the jackpot every time.

Tiffium & Morphium – Bigus Brutium-Absentium Zonium

In Depth: Just over the Horizon

Meet the People

Now, if you’re really “nice”—and can stomach an endless succession of awful puns—then

“Nice”: adjective

A term of endearment applied to a person who has just made a donation of gold to our e-currency account—so that we can give up our day jobs and spend all our time writing rude things about Big Brother.

we might introduce you to:

  • The Prof—He helps us with our research: why, he can tell you what the squiggly “h” in Schrödinger’s equation means; how to calculate the covariant derivative of the Ricci tensor; and why colliding hashes are not such a good idea—together with a whole host of other things you don’t want to know anything about, in any way whatsoever.
  • Luigi—Our Italian friend, who finds learning about how to keep his affairs private—the business kind, of course—somewhat of a trial
  • Boris—Our friend from Eastern Europe, whose solution to every problem is to “blow something up”
  • Valdomir and Oozebucket of Improper Ideas Inc.—Consultants to Big Brothers worldwide, they’re always thinking up new ways to help their clientele to…well, as the song says, “Every move you make … I’ll be watching you!”
  • Mr. Gosport—Psst! Psst! It’s really an alias, so ingenious that only a spymaster could have invented it!
  • Morpheus’ Geekshonary—A collection of light-hearted definitions of technical terms, among them “Our Father Above” and “Our Father Below”. And yes, Billy Boy, you’re defined in there too!

Visit Foreign Lands

For those of you who didn’t pay attention in geography class, we offer you the opportunity, as mature students, to catch up, and study what’s going on in the following countries:

  • Mupoobay Land—Out of darkest Africa! A strange land where people behave like bats…well…at least when being “entertained” at the local police station!
  • The People’s Republic of All-Seeing Eyes (PROASE)—No, it’s not a problem down there! Though it can feel like it at times if you’re a citizen!
  • The United States of Big Business (USOBB)—Not to be confused with U-SOBB: “You…Servant of Big Brother”, or even in certain Middle Eastern countries—where difficulties in transliteration result in the penultimate letter being alphabetically demoted—to U-SOAB “You…Son of a B——”!

Keep it Simple, Stupid!

For those of you for whom “convenience is king”, and who just want to know “what you need”, but not “why you need it”, we’ll provide simple answers to simple questions; for example:

Security Suite: ZoneAlarm
(www.zonealarm.com)

Disk Scrubbing: Window Washer
(www.webroot.com)

Email: Hushmail
(www.hushmail.com)

There, you see, we do occasionally make practical suggestions. But if you have a little patience we’ll explain the problems: ZoneAlarm is a little too keen to phone home to mother; Window Washer forgets to wash behind your ears; and Hushmail—well, privacy comes in two flavours, and Hushmail, at present, is plain vanilla and not a raspberry ripple! If privacy is really important to you, we’ll show you how to do better.

It’s up to You!

Let us know what you’d like us to witter on about, from the amusing anecdote to a piece of serious polemic (well, we’ll try…the “serious” bit that is…but not very hard!). How about:

  • Binary Glitching: A Big Brother Special—The good guys publish both binaries and source code on their sites. But all is not as it seems when Big Brother cuts the “hard-line” and rearranges the furniture!
  • Borganization: Your Destiny!—Perhaps not in your lifetime, but sadly it’s inevitable. Meet Big Brother’s Big Brother!
  • Calling All Firefox Developers: How to Make a Million!—There’s a great demand for it, but no one is satisfying that demand. Not yet that is. Are you the One? [T: Morpheus! That’s hype! I’ll not share a site with someone who’s going to impugn my integrity—of course, I’ll still share your bed!]

    Correction, dear reader, theoretically you could make a million. But in practice, as soon as you’d done the work, your idea would be stolen and commercialized by some hard-nosed corporation with much deeper pockets than you. So you’d only be helping to make rich men richer! Doesn’t sound so attractive when I put it like that, now does it? But still, it might prove an interesting programming exercise.

As Pure as the Driven Snow!

Perhaps we can help you with your laundry:

  • The Consummate Scrubber—No! Not the kind found down dimly-lit side streets near train stations. But the kind that will eradicate all traces of the love affair you’ve just had with your browser. Clean sheets guaranteed when Big Brother arrives to clean-out your room! Not even the best boffin with his spin-polarized scanning tunnelling microscopy will find any traces on your disk!
  • The Dance of the Qubits: The Death of Encryption—The boffins have been beavering away at it for decades. Now, they are actually close to achieving it. If so, everyone’s a loser—though, of course, Hillary may finally be able to decrypt those videos Bill made of Monica!

With a Little Indirection, find Direction Out!

Maybe you’d fancy having a “little something” on the side:

  • Doxies: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly—Many will reduce, rather than enhance, your privacy. We’ll tell you about the jewel in the crown. And like all the best things in life, it’s free! … Ouch! Okay Tiffs! Excluding you! … Oh! I see what you mean! Sorry, Freudian slip. That should, of course, read “Proxies” and not “Doxies”. Dear! Dear! What was I thinking about? Well, I know what I was thinking about, but I couldn’t possibly tell you about it on this blog!
  • Domain Name Registration—You’ve set up that whistleblowing site, and now find that BB has leaned rather heavily upon your web hosting company. Not only has your “hard-line” been cut, but, even worse, the web hosting company won’t allow you to transfer your domain name elsewhere. We’ll show you how to manage your own domain!

God we Trust! The People we …

You no longer recognize the country you live in? Welcome to the “real world”:

  • Give us Back our Constitution!—How interpretative justice dispensed by political appointees is putting a smile on Big Brother’s face
  • E-Currencies & Micropayments: A Missed Opportunity—Time for the e-currency issuers to get their skates on before they’re overtaken by the Telcos
  • Encryption: Out of Africa—Hide from Big Brother with the help of this open-source beastie!

All that Glisters is not Gold!

How you spend your hard-earned money is your business, not “His Business”:

  • E-Currency for Cash—Want to purchase e-currency anonymously for cash so that you can start up that whistleblowing site without having Big Brother knocking on your door? No, not the sort of transaction where you walk into a bank and make a cash deposit whilst smiling sheepishly into Big Brother’s spy camera. We mean a genuinely anonymous transaction made by snail-mail! There are very few players in this market. We’ll risk our money on your behalf and tell you which e-currency exchangers are operating scams, and which are not!
  • A Golden Sunset 12/16?—Will e-gold recover? Will it lead to Costagold Mark II? Will it be Paypalized? What should you do with your e-gold: spend it, transfer it, cash it, or—horror of horrors—lose it!

Got Ya! … By the Short and Curlies!

“I have a dream!” you say. Well, let’s make it a reality:

  • How to Grasp Big-Brother by the Short and Curlies!—May I squeeze, you ask? Oh Yes!
  • The Great Firewall of China—We think we've found a few loose bricks, or should that be a few open ports?
  • There’s a Hole in my Bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza!—Call it your bucket, or call it your browser…if there’s a hole in it, then we’ll show you how to fix it.
  • Hushmail: The Fly in the Ointment—A good service that brings strong encryption to the masses. But it’s far from being as private as they would have you believe. But it could be! We’ll petition for some additional functionality.

Trying to say something, Mr. Anderson?

Perhaps you’d like to gather around the sofa with T&M, and listen in on some real-life confessions:

  • JAP: The Sin that Dare not Speak its Name!—A salutary tale of Big Brother in action: the gagging order; the compromised software release; the suspicious users; the smoking gun; the collective “Phew! That was close.”
  • Keyboard Profiling: Every Hacker’s Dream come True!—They suggest you put your password on sticky-notes and then leave them on every computer you visit—or, at least, the digital equivalent! We say, “Some mothers do ’ave ’em!”

Cybernauts Seek Shelter Offshore!

Perhaps, you can help us, to help you:

  • Offshore Hosting—The offshore hosting services that don’t want to know your name or take your credit card details. Instead, a little gold will suffice! As we’re looking for a permanent home offshore, we’ll tell you, dear reader, who we select and why!

Call for Proposals

M: If you run an offshore hosting company and you think you’ve got what it takes to host Tiffany & Morpheus, then let us know. Email your proposal, signed with your PGP key of course, to blackhole@centreofcyberspace.com (but only after replacing the word “blackhole” with “tamjgp” and the word “centreofcyberspace” with “nerdshack”), marked for the attention of our agent, John Grant.

T: That’s a bit pretentious, isn't it, calling him our agent?

M: Ah! Tiffs clearly intends to keep me on the straight and narrow—women are like that, God bless ’em! Take two: JG’s the bloke, the guy, the man—the financial pimp if you like—who “looks after us”, so that we can prostitute our meagre talents, with as little effort on our part as possible. Psst! If you pay JG vast sums of money, we’ll abandon our principles and say nice things about you and your site.

T: Correction, Morpheus might say nice things about you, but I’d call you a miserable little scumbag, so don’t you dare try to bride JG. Now, a discrete “Hosted by Henry” on our web site in exchange for some free hosting is a possibility. But, beware: if you’ve any skeletons in your closet you can be sure I’ll “out” them!

There be Klingons on the Starboard Bow!

Well, actually, it’s not the Klingons, it’s AOL—is there a difference, you ask? Like to put an end to spam:

  • Paid-For Email: Spam the “Next Generation”?—AOL is proposing to allow businesses—who pay AOL—to send you unfiltered spam. Not on your Nelly! We propose a different system: “you-pay-me-mail”—where it's you, the email recipient, who gets paid, sets the price, and decides on who pays and who doesn’t!
  • Passport Mark II—Yes, Billy Boy’s at it again. Disappointed with the world’s lack of enthusiasm for leaving their personal details in Microsoft’s database, he’s trying a different tack. Nothing new, just good old public key encryption, rebranded under the Microsoft name! It could eliminate some types of scam—well done, Billy Boy. But, it could also eliminate everyone’s anonymity—well done, Big Brother!

Like a Thief in an Empty House!

Ever thought about what you’d like to say to Big Brother? How about Na!…Na!…Na! Na!…Na!:

  • The Perfect Intermediary—Our specification for the ultimate private data processing centre. Even if Big Brother cannons through the door, he’ll find nothing worth taking away.
  • Pretty Good Pecunix—They’re a star, shining brightly in the firmament of the great god Zimmerman—at least in this respect.
  • Pecunix: Not with a Bargepole—Not, at least, until they make one small change! They stand head and shoulders above the competition in every other respect, but this one defect brings all their other good works to naught!
  • Revocable 1mdc!—They used to say e-currency transactions were irrevocable. Well, think again!

Monday…Tuesday…Everyday is Washing Day!

Well, Madam, could we help you with some of those domestic chores:

  • Some Bleach in the Wash—Well, dear diligent housewife! As you know so very well, when it comes to washing day it can be so very difficult to completely remove all those stubborn stains. But, don’t worry. Recent research has demonstrated that “NPP Bleach” will remove even those hardest-to-clean stains, leaving your wash sparkling clean: swap files, deleted files, temporary files, directory entries, alternate data streams, system restore copies, free space, slack space, unallocated space, and Tiffy’s undies. Yes ladies, all these garments can be restored to the crisp, pristine condition they possessed before you pressed “Enter”, or before I started whispering “sweet somethings” in Tiffy’s ear! [T: I’m going to delete that, and don’t you dare put it back in again!]
  • Voice Recognition: Shouting your Password from the Rooftops!—They claim it’s a replacement for passwords. We claim it’s April 1st!

On the best-laid Plans of Mice and Preeks!

Perhaps you’d care to take a deep breath, count to ten, and then let loose with an: Oops! Oh! No! Sh——t! Bugg——r! Fu——ety-Buckety! or whatever your favourite expletive happens to be:

  • And you Thought you were Safe!—You’ve installed that proxy chain. You've shooed away the two Jays—those attractive, brightly coloured birds that prove just that little bit too inquisitive for comfort. You’ve done everything correctly—by the book. So you call up your favourite search engine, enter your favourite topic, and soon you’re clicking away on one link after another, sure in the knowledge that Big Brother doesn’t know what sites you’re visiting. Right? … Wrong! Some of those clicks will be putting a smile on Big Brother’s face. And no need to feel so smug, all you Tor users—yes, we mean you too! We’ll tell you why you're suffering from a touch of incontinence, and we’ll explain how to fit a browser-shaped pair of diapers to your…ah!…fu—ety-buckety!
  • Your Fingerprints, Please: Digital of Course!—It’s getting very difficult to surf without leaving your fingerprints behind. We campaign for a solution, and offer an interim one.

We could also get down and dirty (Tiffs is really good at that sort of thing. Ouch! Why did the Good Lord have to give women such powerful finger muscles? I bear the scars!): want to know the difference between SOCKS4 and SOCKS4a? No! We didn’t think so. But we’ll tell you in any case!

Tiffium & Morphium – Bigus Brutium-Absentium Zonium

In Brief: Enter T&M, Stage Left

If you believe that personal privacy is one of those things that make life worthwhile, and that “small government” is the bedrock upon which rests all that can be called “good government”, then “Welcome Home”, for home is not the place where you live, “Home is the place where they understand you.”

We’ll help you avoid being mugged online by scammers. We’ll show you how to prevent your identity being stolen by spyware that secretly sidles in from the dim, dark, dank dungeons of cyberspace. And we’ll explain how to avoid hanging out your washing—be it dirty or not—on Big Brother's washing line, so that he can ogle your “informational undies” with his Sauron-like eye!

We’ll opine upon e-currencies and encryption; we’ll dissect viruses, spyware, and firewalls; we’ll sift through the serried ranks of disk scrubbers; we’ll anatomize browsers, anonymous hosting, and proxies; we’ll peruse web email and remailers; we’ll expose the machinations of the “Evil One”, and we’ll thoroughly ventilate any other topic—be it relevant or not—that commands the popular vote!

Tiffium & Morphium – Bigus Brutium-Absentium Zonium