QuoTW This was the week when millionaire supermodel Lily Cole told the papers how saddened she was by The Register’s coverage of her taxpayer-funded wishing well, Impossible.com.
El Reg previously revealed that Cole was given £200,000 of public money for the website but hardly anyone was using it, which the socialite didn’t take too kindly to. She sniffed to The Times:
I got a little bit upset by that Register article.
I really don’t mind if you want to call it a failure before it’s even a few months old. But basing that on factual inaccuracies?
The Reg had said that she got more funding than any other applicants to the Innovation in Giving Fund from Nesta, while hundreds got nothing, but she said she’d done her bit for that money:
Well, they definitely didn’t give me an easy time getting the grant. I can’t take any salary from it. And it had to be match-funded. I put in close to £200,000. I will probably have to put more into it in the future.
We’d also pointed out that in the four months it had been up, it only had 3,000 Twitter followers and 1,300 Facebook Likes, which she scoffed at:
We have invested less than 0.0001 per cent of our budget in thinking about Facebook Likes. Success can only be measured in time. I wouldn’t have spent my own money if there wasn’t real value to come from gift culture.
She also claimed that she was worth a fraction of the £7m The Reg put her at, even though she said she didn’t know how much that was. Then she later claimed that she worried about money:
I made very good money modelling, but I have done a million art-house films, which didn’t pay me anything. I certainly didn’t get paid to go to Cambridge or do my A levels. And impossible.com has cost me a lot of money. I mean, I have a mortgage. I worry about money sometimes. I am very human. And that is part of my thing with impossible.com – I get how challenging it can be to live in our society nowadays. To have that feeling that you might run out of money and be really screwed.
Meanwhile, a source told The Reg this week that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was almost snatched by a US government aircraft when he made his escape to Russia a year ago.
The Gulfstream V business jet, tail number N977GA, which is known to have been used by the CIA in “extraordinary rendition” flights which result in terror suspects disappearing into places like Guantanamo Bay, was spotted in the skies on the same night Snowden was in the air – despite not having a flight plan for the journey. Our source said:
The plane showed up on our system at 5:20 on 25 June. We knew the reputation of this aircraft and what it had done in the past.
The jet, which was also used to collect radical cleric Abu Hamza after a US extradition order was filed, was spotted over Scotland – but the US Department of Justice did not respond to requests for comment on what it was doing there that night.
Across the water, top British spook Charles Farr was telling the country that their Facebook posts, tweets and YouTube videos were all fair game for the intelligence services to hoover up because they’re “external” comms. Internal communications from Brits to fellow Brits in Blighty need a warrant to be spied upon, according to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
However, because stuff like Facebook posts and tweets are hosted outside the UK, the sneaky spooks get to squeak them past the letter of the law. Justifying the practice, Farr said:
Within the British Islands, the government has sufficient control and considerable resources to investigate individuals and organisations and it is feasible to adopt an interception regime that requires either a particular person, or a set of premises, to be identified before interception can take place.
Outside the British Islands, the government does not have the same ability to identify either relevant individuals or premises… the government is in many cases not aware of the precise location and online identities of members of Al-Qaeda around the world or of cyber criminals, Taleban insurgents, proliferators of weapons of mass destruction or precursor chemicals or of other similar individuals or organisations whose activities pose a threat to national security, the prevention and detection of serious crime or the economic well-being of the United Kingdom.