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Vacation: We’re back. Well, technically, my body is back, but the silver thread is reeling in somewhere over Greenland. So I’m pre-classifying my mail and looking for urgent stuff with my eyes glazing over instead of doing anything more useful.

Scams: Interesting Wired News article: ‘Cyber-blackmail artists are shaking down office workers, threatening to delete computer files or install pornographic images on their work PCs unless they pay a ransom’. ‘The e-mail typically contains a demand that unless a small fee is paid … they will attack the PC … or download onto the machine images of child pornography.’

Of course, it’s simply spammed out, and they phish in anyone who is dumb enough to take it seriously and reply. But it does raise an interesting point, which I read about last week in this interview with Pete Townshend:

‘Perhaps Townshend (was) thinking of a case at Southwark Crown Court in 1998, in which the judge made it clear what constituted possession: that you were in possession of child pornography not just if you actively downloaded it, but if it appeared on your computer screen at all.’

So that sounds like, if child-porn images are found on a PC — and it doesn’t matter how they got there — the PC’s owner is liable. So theoretically this could be exploited to cause serious legal difficulties to a UK resident with a lack of computer literacy, or a bad email client that displays images in messages from unknown senders without user approval first. Another bad law.

Funny: Andy Kershaw in North Korea: songs about revolutionary cabbage-growing.