Thursday, 25 December 2008

aaahh Christmas!

A time of good cheer where family, friends and colleagues gather together, eat, drink, get tipsy...

And discuss confidential information loudly in Very Public Places.

Last month I wrote about an incident involving the area manager of a well known high street retailer and an open window. Those of you who missed it can catch up <here>.

Well, it seems that the young lady on the receiving end of that rather unfortunate misunderstanding is in fact working with the company's security department to investigate significant losses relating to lottery scratch cards. Furthermore, the principle suspect in this investigation is none other that the real culprit responsible for the incident which led to last month's hullabaloo. A fact she is well aware of.

All of which suggests a rather different motive for her actions.

I’m reminded of an espionage case in the US where the mole’s handlers panicked and arranged for a message to be sent implicating someone else, thus proving conclusively that the Soviets knew that particular communications channel had been compromised and that the investigators were on the right track.

Oh Grandmother, what a big mouth you have.
Yes my dear, all the better to put my foot in it!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

It's just a mobile phone officer

Last Friday I wrote about the PRS attempting to extort money from yet another Dover business on the obviously specious grounds that their radio could be heard on an extremely busy road below.

Well it seems that my title implying the use of an artificial aid was rather closer to the truth that I realised.

I am indebted to a group of local amateur radio enthusiasts for drawing my attention to a formerly classified radio detection technique code-named "Rafter". Striped of the technical details, of which there was a considerable quantity - Thanks Guys - Rafter enables anyone with the proper equipment to detect an operating radio receiver at a distance and is the basis of the T.V. detector vans which once prowled our cities in large numbers.

The modern digital equivalent is a hand-held, portable device not much larger than an old style mobile phone and just as easily concealed. It is capable of detecting an operating radio or television receiver at up to twenty metres and can identify precisely which station - radio or T.V. - is being received.

Now all I need is for someone to email me a copy of the receipt and/or delivery note showing how many of these things the PRS have bought and where they got them from.

Friday, 12 December 2008

If you stand on the table and use these binoculars

If anyone needs further proof that the Performing Rights Society are running what amounts to an extortion racket then the case of a Dover business threatened with prosecution for having a radio on in a private office should be sufficient.

The PRS rep claimed that he could hear the music clearly as he passed underneath the open window. Quite apart from the rather dubious claim of an open window in this weather, anyone who knows London Road can testify it is often difficult to hear what the person standing next to you is saying, never mind music from an allegedly open window fifteen feet above the pavement.

Most of us are now familiar with the PRS’ increasingly bizarre interpretations of what constitutes a ‘Public Performance’, there’s certainly been enough media coverage of it recently. From a group of school children singing Christmas carols at a private function, to Kwik-Fit staff playing a radio too loud and a police canteen to which members of the public are rarely, if ever permitted access.

So what's next - my neighbour's summer barbecues? His son's birthday party? I'm fairly certain I will be able to 'hear the music clearly' from my side of the fence on both occasions.

Even more worrying, how long before we have to pay a license fee to listen to music in the privacy of our own homes? Will we have to switch it off before answering the door or pay an increased license fee because the caller can 'hear the music clearly' through the open door?

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Peter Mandelson

The Guardian published an interview with Peter Mandelson, now Lord Mandelson of Foy, on Saturday in which he suggests he was surprised to be invited back into the Cabinet in October.

Not half as surprised as some of us in the local party were I can assure you!

Getting caught taking a bribe to sidetrack an investigation – sorry, interest free loan from a friend who's business dealings were, by pure coincidence, under investigation by Mr Mandelson's department – is usually by itself quite sufficient to exclude one from the Cabinet, but Tony went ahead and re-appointed him anyway. Then our Peter got caught attempting to arrange a British passport for one of the Hinduja brothers who's involvement in the Bofors scandal was under investigation by the Indian government.

Being unable to re-appoint him to the Cabinet a second time, Tony sent him to Brussels as EU Trade Commissioner where, a mere five weeks later, he spent New Years Eve 2004 on the luxury yacht of Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft – which, by a strange coincidence, was the subject of a major EU investigation.

Does anyone else notice a pattern developing here?

So why did Gordo invite him back into the Cabinet? Who is under investigation and needs our Peter to rescue them from the consequences of their own greed and stupidity?

But then again, Gordo also appointed Ms. Waccy-Baccy to the post of Home Secretary despite her known 'eccentricities' which would, in anyone else, be referred to as 'Mental Health Issues'.

So perhaps the forthcoming list of businesses which should be rescued in the event of insolvency is simply that...