Archive for October, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election Part 4 – Embargo day

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election Part 4 – Embargo day

Media Embargo

The day before an election sees a ban on election reporting and advertising in the media. This does not apply to the online world and in reality can never do so since you might be able to embargo Irish websites but not websites outside of the country. The Embargo module will be used to leak a sensational story about a competitor which can be perpetuated online but cannot be covered in print or on radio and TV. Every gaff and inconsitency from a candidate should be lined up and ready to go. One page fact sheets on the parties should will be sent out to all cell members and sympathetic bloggers which contain information on “flip flopping” and scary facts on parties. The Embargo module can suggest create draft blog posts to cell members with blogs and can be lined up from 10pm before the embargo. The module will also send automated emails and text messages out to people with details on controversial stories with the return address of the cell members. With a traditional media blackout, it means that there is no ability for a candidate to counter these claims until the morning of an election.

Advertising should be ramped up on Embargo day too since people will probably be going online that day for election information. Ads connected directly to the candidate can be released as well as ads not connected to the candidate at all. This is for ads linked to search results. However Google and the other online ad companies list which sites are part of their advertising networks and so you can line up 24hour only campaigns to start on embargo day with ads tailored to youth sites, health sites, babycare sites and so forth. These ads would concentrate on issues which will influence these audiences. Politics sites themselves should be avoided for advertising as they are full of politics junkies and their self-indulgent fantasies.

This is Part 4 of the Rigging the Irish Election series. You can also read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Rigging the Irish Election Part 3 – Manipulate the media and blogs

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election Part 3 – Manipulate the media and blogs – True Voice

astroturfing via SMS

The E.A.B. system’s True Voice module makes it much easier to manipulate call-in shows, letters to editors and blog comments. True Voice is of course connected to the Tracker system and the Reach system. The True Voice module itself is split into various submodules which allow the easy manipulation of opinions. First it has a detailed database of the contact points for every media outlet both email, post and text number and can send opinions to all of these outlets automatically.

The True Voice application can randomly generate hundreds of opinions ranging from semi-neutral to very pro-candidate and pro-party. An easy drop down list allows you to generate opinions on specific topics but an AI like engine can also take a human typed opinion and from it create dozens of opinions along the same lines but rewritten to be practically unique. It can do this for text messages, for emails and for letters to the editor which are printed out and posted. The module generates fake names and locations but it also relies on real email addresses so that if a media outlet replies, they will not be told the email account does not existing. The True Voice system will rely on gmail, yahoo, Hotmail, and addresses. It is intelligent enough to not use the same email address when sending opinions to news outlets again and again. Meaning the Last Word won’t see John from Sligo emailing in every second day.

The SMS module:
It is scarily easy to fake text messages from anyone. The SMS protocol is as insecure as the email system. As a result True Voice randomly generates mobile numbers which look valid and send messages from these numbers to the various call-in shows on Irish radio and TV. For some shows that send an auto-reply, a bank of numbers of real numbers are instead used. These numbers are taken from sim cards purchased from all 3 mobile phone companies from dozens of outlets around the country.

The Email module:
Like the SMS module, this takes the autogenerated opinions and sends them into the call-in shows as opinion. In addition this sends letters to the editor of all the print publications.

The Voice module:
Using new phone technology, this system will ring volunteers through an automated system, will explain what the show is about and what opinions are needed and then will give the option of connecting to the show or declining the invite to give an opinion. “Press 1 to connect to Right Hook or press 2 to decline”.

The Web module:
Something like the text module but instead for leaving blog comments and also comments on discussion forums. The Tracker module will alert the system as to what blogs and discussion forums are currently discussing your candidate. Since those wiley bloggers are a clever lot, the web modules will have a list of IPs/proxies that can be used so as not to bring suspicion to the automated system. The web module will have a database of discussion sites available as well as up to half a dozen usernames which can be used on that each site. While opinions are autogenerated, it will still need a human to press the publish button here to ensure that what is being posted appears to be natural and is being posted in the most appropriate area.

This is Part 3 of the Rigging the Irish Election series. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2.

Facebook will kill your kids – Ah no it’s just another bullshit survey from Sophos

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Panic panic panic. First, think of the children. Then think of the implications of them sharing stuff. Oh my god, there are evil people on the web, evil people who don’t exist in the real life, despite the fact that most kids that are abused are directly related to their abusers.

In most cases, Freddi was able to gain access to respondents’ photos of family and friends, information about their likes and dislikes, hobbies, employer details and other personal facts.

Like stuff you see on a blog or normal website so then? Employer details, like LinkedIN so?

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, has this to say about the experiment: “What’s worrying is how easy it was for Freddi to go about his business. He now has enough information to create phishing emails or malware specifically targeted at individual users or businesses, to guess users’ passwords, impersonate them or even stalk them.

“While accepting friend requests is unlikely to result directly in theft, it is an enabler, giving cyber-criminals many of the building blocks they need to spoof identities, to gain access to online user accounts, or potentially, to infiltrate their employers’ computer networks.”

But am sure they have a security solution they can sell us for all of this. The real danger though is this story in the Indo where civil servants are prying into our data and passing it on to the highest bidder.

The Irish Independent can reveal the brother used the key information, which is held by the Government, to burgle one man and attempt to extort money from three businessmen. The mole worked in the Data Protection Section of the Department of Family and Social Affairs and broke the Official Secrets Act by passing on the details. He later admitted to officials that it is common practice amongst civil servants to check up on the financial status of friends, family and acquaintances.

This is the same department that did this:

Two years ago the Sunday Times revealed that at least 72 civil servants accessed the social welfare details of Dolores McNamara, the EuroMillions lottery winner. The department’s system logged over 125 hits on McNamara’s files after she scooped a €115m jackpot. Her social welfare details were subsequently published by a newspaper.

Why isn’t Sophos warning us about that? Afraid of pissing off those with the purse strings?

Fluffy Links – Wednesday October 17th 2007

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Via Nialler, MIA remixed into Battles. Brilliant.

So obviously Microsoft has something with “Hyper” in the name, either a programme or a product.

Via Tom Murphy, some backlash for one PR person.

A startup weekend in Dublin, I wonder will it flounder as much as the dumbass Mashup camp. Free clue people, engage the bloody locals when planning these events.

Check out Cork band Hooray for Humans.

That auld fella on YouTube is now going to be talking at the World Economic Forum. User generated content and people power, nah. A new way of gaming the public is all, the marketers will soon catch up and spam the new genuine web.

If you not done so, check out Play Rewind.

Another Sony Bravia ad, this time with the Pyramids:

The Top Ten Reasons why Rick O’Shea should come back to Facebook early

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

He’s taking a week off. Why am I reminded of “The Contest“?

So, why not give reasons, silly and otherwise for why he should come back early to Facebook. The sillier the better. Rick will read them out on Friday on his show. Or maybe he won’t. What do you think Rick? Oh and Rick, don’t read the comments please as it’ll be a nice surprise.

Any comments like “It’s shit, he shouldn’t go back” while true, are redundant for this argument. Meanwhile if you are on Facebook. Please read this note.

Rick, this is for you:

Update: Facebook Status from Suzy. Rick on Facebook

Rigging the Irish Election Part 2 – Profile your candidates and the opposition

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election – Profile your candidates and the opposition – Tracker

tracking candidates

Software solutions exist which allow you to monitor the web for people. Sites like track TDs and candidates and monitor the web for what is being said about them. The engine behind PoliticsInIreland can be used as a white label Web monitor for existing TDs as well as candidates. The Tracker Module of E.A.B. does something along the same lines as PoliticsInIreland but also has a manual input for non-Internet tracking which still comprises the majority of coverage, especially in local papers and local radio. The Tracker system builds a profile of a candidate which includes a timeline. Auto and manual tagging also allows you to read their views on all the policies of a party and issues the public care about. Some manual intervention is needed to point out the inconsistencies from a candidate and how their views change over time.

Radio and TV: The Tracker system records all news current affairs radio programmes on national and local radio. It does the same for news and current affairs TV shows. These are all kept for 3 months before being archived out of the system. All of these shows can be tagged manually and the timelines also can have notes attached to them. If they are tagged, they are kept in the main system and linked to the party and candidate profiles.

Papers and pamphlets: Local papers, freesheets and even pamphlets will not be in electronic form. Here volunteers will either scan in articles from or by candidates as well as their pamphlets or else they can post them off to someone else with a scanner. When scanned in using a local version of E.A.B. Tracker, the images are uploaded to a central E.A.B. server which runs character recognition software and creates an electronic text version of the articles. Again, all of these can be auto and manually tagged and are linked to the profiles.

The Tracker module and the profiles it creates is linked to the Reach module and so it will automatically send updates on candidates to each cell member. When policy inconsistencies and gaffs are spotted a special alert is sent out. The Tracker database can also be used to supply sympathetic media outlets and bloggers with “attack” information on opposition candidates.

Part 1 of the Rigging the Irish Election series is here.

By the time you read this …

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

I’ll be in a meeting with some nice people from the EU in ComReg Headquarters. I’ll be sharing it with the NON-Independent ComReg Consumer Panel, who, going by past experience will be telling the EU how great Ireland is for broadband and prices because ComReg told them that. ComReg also gave them 1500 euros each when they were told how great telecoms in Ireland is. As they do for every Consumer Panel half-day meeting.

  • At the meeting I’ll be explaining how fucked over customers of 3 Broadband have been and how ComReg, the National Consumer Authority or whatever they’re called and others blindly ignored all the issues and how ComReg are now telling people that they don’t regulate broadband.
  • I’ll be pointing out how ComReg since 2001 (when they were the ODTR) required all telcos to have complaints procedures in place for all of their services and how all providers were meant to supply ComReg with these procedures but have they? No. Do Comreg inform consumers how they can lodge a complaint and what the procedure is? No.
  • I’ll be pointing out how the ComReg spectrum people in there are complete muppets and their rules on frequency, such as the ComReg donut rule make sure small wireless ISPs are unable to give broadband to people because of stupidity of the highest order.
  • I’ll be pointing out that the Government are still lying about broadband, even with an “honest guv” Green Party Minister in charge, I’ll be pointing out how his Department is bankrupt and I’ll be pointing out how their solution (national broadband tender) to the last 25%, which they say is 10% is a total farce.
  • I’ll also be point out what a limp, flaccid Data Protection Commissioner we have who allows the likes of Carphone Warehouse to get away with harassing 1000s of people and even those with ex-directory numbers. Yes folks, they repeatedly called ex-dir people and still called when told not to. The Commissioner said “ah sure it was their first offense.” My own extended family were getting 3-4 calls a day from these fuckers but sure they didn’t know any better says the DPC.

WTF: Mickey Martin looks like chump as Irish Taxpayer money given to UK companies?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

A seriously What The Fuck moment. So after all the hype from Enterprise Ireland and the Govt and so so many more folks, that investment fund of 175 Million that EI had to dole out to the large VC companies is now being spent on investing in UK companies? Delta got 15 Million of essentially OUR money and stuck it into their own fund and now part of that is being invested in a UK company from what I read from the link above.

I’m sorry but that’s utter bollox. While I don’t like the EI fund anyway for a few conflicting reasons:

1. I’m truely wondering is the handout mentality a good thing for Irish Companies.
2. I really think giving massive sums to VC funds means the money is just another pension fund for the Govt and given the ultra conservative criteria from EI it encourages the VC funds to only invest in sure things. Sure things are not YouTube or Facebook. In my view the 100M should instead be split into tiny pieces and invested for equity in small startups.

I don’t think any Irish money should be invested in anything but Irish companies.

Some quotes:

Making the announcement the Minister said:

“I am delighted to announce the creation of the new €100m Delta Partners fund. This fund will significantly increase the availability of early stage capital for Irish companies. I would like to congratulate Delta Partners on their success in attracting such significant investment in bringing this fund to first closing.”

Ian Paisley, who Micky Martin does a great impression of by the way, will not be happy with the Govt now saying UK companies are actually Irish.

Enterprise Ireland invested €15 million in Delta’s fund as part of the state agency’s new €175 million seed and venture capital scheme.

It has agreed funding deals with a number of venture capital companies, which are expected to announce details of new funds in the coming weeks. The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) is also understood to have invested €15 million in the Delta fund.

The bloody pensions fund us investing it them too, arghhh. In the States they do some clever social justice stuff using pension funds. They will only invest in companies that respect privacy properly, will only invest in companies that promote full equality etc. etc. With the clout of the EI money and the pension fund money, surely it should be invested in Ireland or is this a sign that EI and the Govt believe that Irish companies are just not worth investing in?

Fluffy Links – Tuesday October 16th 2007

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Rick has banned himself from Facebook for a week and so is full of creative ideas, like a cinema blog. Meanwhile can everyone txt and email in to his show pointing out really cool stuff (make it up) that just has to be seen on Facebook this week. Can’t make it too easy can we?

The Irish School of Motoring has a blog. Stick me on the blog roll! What a great domain –, wonder do they have any unusual subdomains. 🙂

Gay Priest gets found out because of his Interior Decorating. Of course.

After many a long year, the Golden Spiders have released their criteria.

Fantastic post from Joe on Getting an R&D Equity grant from Enterprise Ireland. Brilliant comments after the post too. Loving Joe’s transparency about his business.

UCC are doing some good Chinese movies on Wednesdays.

Via Shel. Nice map of top level domain extensions relative to population.

Shitty vid with annoying fanboy at start and end but still, wow. Bruce Springsteen & Arcade Fire live: “Keep the Car Running”

Via You Ain’t No Picasso: Seabear – Teenage Kicks:

Seabear – Hands Remember:

Free el cheapo wine – Ideal Christmas presents for relations you dislike

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Off you go and register, they aren’t allowed to spam you and if you do you can blog about it and get free extra traffic too!