Civil Liberty

Sure, thy could

Companies could use Facebook pictures to discriminate against employees with genetic diseases using AI, scientists fear, after showing that algorithms can spot rare conditions.

Developers at US biotech company FDNA have developed a programme which outperforms humans at diagnosing genetic syndromes by looking at slight variations in face shape.

The face analysis programme, known as DeepGestalt, could in future assist the diagnosis of rare disorders such as Fragile X which brings a long narrow face and prominent ears, or angelman syndrome which is characterised by a prominent chin, deep set eyes, wide mouth.


If it’s rational for people to so discriminate then they should. If it’s irrational, mere taste discrimination, then that’s costly to those who do it.

And? We all have to gouge our eyeballs out so that we don’t discriminate on the basis of melanin?

Be a bit more careful matey



To borrow from Oscar Wilde, it would take a heart of stone to read about the fall of Milo without laughing.

Milo, if you’re lucky enough to be unaware of him, is a vicious right-wing troll (and former Telegraph journalist) who managed to build a very lucrative empire by saying and doing hateful things. “Feminism is cancer” was one of his hits.

Milo discovered that the more hateful your views, the bigger your profile becomes – and the bigger your profile, the more money you can make.

His rise demonstrated that despite what people in the media may have you believe, terrible views don’t die when you expose them; the people with those views just gain some more followers and make the world a slightly worse place. The same trick is working for the stupid man’s philosopher Jordan Peterson, and for former Trump strategist and human bin fire Steve Bannon.

Milo was kicked off Twitter, the no platforming worked.

Well, yes. And to take an example which isn’t personal here. It really wasn’t all that long ago that society said that the promotion of homosexuality was something that shouldn’t have a platform. Not long before that the act itself was a crime. And it was only two centuries ago – a blink in real terms – that this country executed more men in one year for buggery than murder.

A reasonable lesson from this being that no, we don’t want to no platform. Because if that power is around then it might well be us subject to it.

Once it’s made possible it does appear to become probably, doesn’t it?

We’ve seen this case before:

Dutch officials are set to prosecute a nursing home doctor for euthanising an elderly woman with dementia, the first time a doctor has been charged since the Netherlands legalised euthanasia in 2002.

Dutch prosecutors claimed in a statement the doctor “had not acted carefully” and “overstepped a line” when she performed euthanasia. Officials first began probing the case in September, when they allegedly found the doctor had drugged the patient’s coffee and then had family members hold her down while delivering the fatal injection.

The doctor said she was fulfilling the patient’s earlier euthanasia request and that since the patient was not competent, nothing the woman said during her euthanasia procedure was relevant.

But Dutch prosecutors argued that the patient’s written euthanasia request was “unclear and contradictory.”

“In her living will, the woman wrote that she wanted to be euthanised ‘whenever I think the time is right.’ But after being asked several times in the nursing home whether she wanted to die, she said, ‘Not just now, it’s not so bad yet,'” according to an earlier report by one of the Netherlands’ euthanasia review committees.

Murdering someone is “overstepping the line” these days.

Who could imagine this from a bloke called Lenin?

Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa, who is wanted in his homeland on suspicion of kidnapping, has requested political asylum in Belgium, two well-placed sources told AFP.

Correa has lived near Brussels with his family since 2017, and requested asylum on 25 June this year. The request has been under consideration since August by Belgium’s CGRA refugee agency, one source said.

A leftwing former economist, Correa was president of his Andean nation between 2007 and 2017. On Wednesday, an Ecuadoran judge demanded he return home to face charges related to the 2012 kidnapping of an opponent.

Correa insists he is innocent, and on Thursday in an interview with AFP he accused the new authorities in his homeland of “political persecution”, and his successor Lenín Moreno of a plot against him.

Do recall that absolutely every right on leftie was demanding that Moreno should win.His opponent being someone who would plunge Ecuador into a violation of civil liberties.

Freedom is often vicious and ugly – but it is still freedom

Five men have been arrested after a video showed a group of people laughing, cheering and mocking residents of Grenfell Tower while burning a cardboard effigy of the block of flats.

The “sickening” video, which was described by the Prime Minister as “utterly unacceptable”, was shared on the instant messaging service Whatsapp and appears to have been taken over the weekend.

Scotland Yard said on Monday they were investigating the video. The force said early on Tuesday that five men, aged 49, 19, 46, 55 and 49, had been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

The group handed themselves in to a south London police station at 10pm on Monday, police said.

Posting on Twitter, Theresa May said: “To disrespect those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower, as well as their families and loved ones, is utterly unacceptable.”

It may well be socially unacceptable. Even rude, crude, disgusting and lots of other things.

But should it be illegal?

Free people possibly having the right to be unacceptable, rude, crude and disgusting?

This is all interim

Shock, horror, disaster:

A leading businessman has been granted an injunction against The Telegraph to prevent this newspaper revealing alleged sexual harassment and racial abuse of staff.

The accusations against the businessman, who cannot be identified, would be sure to reignite the #MeToo movement against the mistreatment of women, minorities and others by powerful employers.

Yes, terrible behaviour. Undoubtedly.

It’s an interim injunction until the matter has gone to full trial. Back to sleep everyone.

What a good idea

Domestic abusers and stalkers should be forced to sign a national register like sex offenders, a cross-party parliamentary report has said.

They should be monitored under the same arrangements as rapists and paedophiles, giving greater protection to victims who live in fear of their tormentors.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee backed calls for a register of serial stalkers and domestic violence perpetrators to be introduced “as a matter of urgency”.

The perpetrators would have to register with the police within 72 hours of being convicted or cautioned and have to notify officers if they intend to move house or travel abroad.

A domestic abuser – the clue’s in the description – is going to be such a threat to all those foreigners on her hols, isn’t she?

But on the other hand if we expand the surveillance and monitoring powers of the state then we’ll have expanded the powers of the state, won’t we? Which is why politicians propose it.

On a more technical point, do we actually have a list of rimes by incidence of recidivism? Logically we might assume that such registers start with those crimes most likely to be done again. Do they?

You’re not going to like the effects of this

Millionaire owners of so-called ‘ghost homes’ in Britain’s richest borough could be ordered to fill them with families to cope with the housing shortage, The Telegraph can disclose.

The Conservative-led Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is lobbying ministers to change the law to allow them to move tenants into private homes which have lain empty for years in the borough.

However, the council needs the Government to make a small change to its powers so they can take action because they currently only relate to vandalised properties rather than those lying empty.

Campaigners welcomed the idea. Chris Bailey, of the charity Empty Homes, said: “We need to find a way to bring all England’s 205,000…

The effect of abolishing private property isn’t going to be limited to housing a few more people…..

Care in the community is modern slavery now, eh?

A suspected modern slavery victim has been rescued from a garden shed where he has lived for more than 40 years.

The 58-year-old was found at a mobile home site north of Carlisle in Cumbria in a dawn raid on Wednesday by officers from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

The potential modern slavery victim was taken by specialist trauma officers to be medically examined and assessed, said GLAA.

A 79-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences.

Terrors. And this might be an unkind reading but:

It was reported that the arrested man lived in a mobile home and the shed stood outside it.

A member of staff who helps run the site said: “Most people were aware that he was living there, he was a nice enough man.

“I used to say to him “you’ll have to get yourself a flat” but he didn’t seem to want to move, the shed was where he lived as far as he was concerned.

“He was free to come and go, he’d get lifts into town and that kind of things.

“The thing is that he seems to have learning difficulties and people thought he was being looked after and seemed pretty happy with that.

“They used to feed him and treat him well he was never abused by them, he was treated like one of the family, but lived in the shed.

Well, care in the community or modern slavery, your call.

This is interesting from Nick Cohen, isn’t it

The fight against lethal bigotry is as feeble as the fight against money laundering. Whether they are banks handling looted resources or Silicon Valley companies resisting demands to spend a portion of their profits on hiring editors to moderate content, the guilty parties can rely on governments to regulate them with the lightest of touches.

At the level of traditional policing, few can fault the state’s vigilance. The British neo-Nazi outfit National Action celebrated Jo Cox’s murder – “only 640 MPs to go”, it declared. The government banned it and in July a judge jailed two of its members for plotting the murder of another Labour woman, Rosie Cooper MP. In a pattern familiar to watchers of Islamist groups, National Action rebranded itself as NS131 (National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action) and the government had to ban the reincarnation too.

Yet as far as the online world is concerned, NS131 remains an active propagandist. Google it and you reach its site as you can reach the sites of Bomb Islam, God Hates Fags, the American Nazi party and many another incendiary organisation.

National Action is guarded by the San Francisco company Cloudflare, which serves about 100,000 of the million most-visited sites. The first amendment to the US constitution gives vast protections to freedom of publication, which are extended to the extremists whose content Cloudflare holds. So vigorously does it seek their business that Wired magazine described Cloudflare as “acting like the muscle guarding the podium at a Nazi rally”. No global tech conglomerate can operate with a base in just one country, however.

To speed up downloads, Cloudflare has built “edge servers” – data centres that store content locally. There are 30 in Europe, including one in London and one in Manchester. The British government cannot regulate the worldwide web, but it could enforce the law in Britain. The anti-fascists at Hope not Hate begged ministers to make Cloudflare’s British operations comply with anti-Nazi legislation.

You see what’s done there?

Anti-incitement to violence legislation, sure, why not? Anti-bigotry legislation? Hmm, well, maybe. But what a nice twist to turn that into anti-Nazi legislation. As if Nazis are the only people capable of bigotry or incitement….


My mum was an anti-racist activist in the 70s and 80s. She fought the National Front in Newham, Wood Green and New Cross; she helped organise marches after the murder of Altab Ali in Whitechapel; she participated in neighbourhood police-monitoring groups, at a time when the Metropolitan police faced intense criticism from black and Asian community groups for its failure to adequately investigate racist murders, its protection of the NF from counter-protesters, and inflammatory “swamp” style policing. I grew up listening to her stories with the sense of awe you might feel when hearing about the labours of Hercules: these feats are impressive, but ultimately consigned to the past. Skinheads, swastikas, Paki-bashers – such monsters had long been laid to rest. The past felt so distant, it may as well have been myth.


its protection of the NF from counter-protesters

The police should not protect people going about their lawful business from the attentions of the mob?

This isn’t modern slavery

Traditional Turkish barber shops are using slave labour, the police officer behind the UK’s first child modern slavery prosecution has warned.

Detective inspector Charlotte Tucker said, “There are barber shops setting up now where people live above the shop and customers pay in cash. Owners are looking to exploit workers and make money.”

Capitalists profiting from the surplus value of labour just isn’t modern slavery.

Deeply unconvincing argument

The language of “free speech” and “censorship” is old, but the fervour of this panic is new. Of course, this could be entirely due to a sudden rise of censorious behaviour. But this explanation is hard to credit for one obvious reason: the current wave of “free speech” advocacy has coincided directly with the rise of social media, amateur publishing and the “citizen journalism” that is now possible at virtually zero cost. The proliferation of platforms that grant anyone a public voice should, in principle, have put concerns about censorship to rest. After all, even very bad writers with offensive opinions can now see their words published – or broadcast their voices via YouTube and podcasting. By any measure, speech is less regulated or inhibited than ever before. This has spawned some ugly argumentative tactics, including the hostile mobilisation of online supporters against opponents, which have made public debate angrier and less inviting to many. But, as unattractive as this is, it is not censorship. The claim that free speech is under attack is often a mask for other political frustrations and fears.

The complaint isn’t about censorship, it’s about the censoriousness. Say something the mob don’t like and watch as the pitchforks wave to silence that view. Sure, that is rather what free speech is meant to be about, we all get to say and suffer the consequences. But the real complaint is about eh smug self-satisfaction pf those doing the shouting……

So, abusive monk


He would like the privately owned island to be taken from the monks and handed over to a conservation body. “The island and the monastery should be given to the National Trust so visitors can appreciate the natural beauty of the island without the spectre of child abuse.”

We should steal an entire island therefore?

No, I don’t see it really

Theresa May has warned that giving suspects anonymity will hamper police investigations after Sir Cliff Richard won a landmark High Court privacy battle against the BBC.

The Prime Minister said that publishing the name of a suspect “enables other potential victims to come forward” in some cases and therefore “strengthens the case against an individual”.

I do understand the argument. Just as I also understand the one where anonymous accusers, who stay anonymous for life – in the absence of conviction for false accusations – might be tempted to accuse out of malice and thereby cause problems for those publicly named.

Given human nature I regard the second as the greater risk of the two.

Where accuser gains privacy protection, so should accused.

Quite so, quite so

Supporters of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) should not necessarily be criminalised, because it impinges free speech, a joint parliamentary Committee says.

A report released today will say that the bill “may criminalise curious minds and expressions of belief which do not carry any consequent harm or intent to cause harm.”

The Joint Committee on Human Rights says it has “serious concerns” with the new powers the government is proposing in the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill currently going through parliament.

The Committee, chaired by Harriet Harman MP and made up of MPs and Peers, is concerned that some of the new powers are too vaguely defined and do not have sufficient safeguards to protect human rights.

Yes, yes, of course it’s Harry Harbird. But think on a little. We think that a government is going to pass a law that imposes he correctly strict punishments for actions and yet leave that speech as gloriously free as it should be, do we?

Sure they do

The church brutalised Ireland. People have a right to protest against the pope’s visit
Emer O’Toole

You’ve a right to say anything and protest anything you wish.

And also to accept what people think of you, consider you to be, as you do. Get on with it and accept whatever consequences there may be.

Well, yes, didn’t we say this?

First they came for the hoodlums. Now they’re after you
Zoe Williams

Asbos were once used to clamp down on unruly teenagers. Now they are being used in petty disputes between neighbours

I’m sure we did you know. Allow the State power and it will, in the end, be used against you. It’s rather the liberal argument against the entire Guardian project, isn’t it?