Tag Archives: Smart Economy


[A screengrab from the Fine Gael website last night]

Fine Gael’s website published has published a piece by Patrick O’Donovan, a Fine Gael TD on the Communications Committee, about the future…

Robert Synnott writes:

Go read it; it’s really quite an amazing piece. I believe it’s supposed to be about the Silk Road, a seller of illegal materials, largely drugs, on the Tor network, and possibly also about Freedom Hosting, also on the Tor network and formerly one of the world’s larger distributors of child porn. It could even be about Tor itself.

The reason for my uncertainty is that it is utterly incoherent. It talks about open-source browsers, and “replacement” open-source browsers quickly appearing to continue the illegal trade. But this is nonsensical. The only non-open-source browser in common use today is the much-in-decline Internet Explorer; while Chrome and Safari are technically closed source, they are substantially open source. Firefox is entirely open source. And there’s nothing illegal about open source browsers. I can only imagine that by “open source browsers” he means “Tor network sites”.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for the recent shutdown of the Silk Road and Freedom Hosting. Freedom Hosting was indeed a big child porn distributor, and Silk Road’s operator was a very nasty piece of work.

I’m not even worried that the government will make bad legislation off the back of this. When it comes to it, the government will not be banning Google’s browser on the say-so of an obscure TD.

My issue is more the amazing carelessness. It would have taken O’Donovan five minutes of reading Wikipedia to, if not have a clear picture of what was going on, at least know better than to write what he did. The computer-machines seem to be a strange focal point of governmental cluelessness; while TDs writing on other subjects are hardly perfect, you’re not going to get James Reilly writing a piece advocating the use of radium to cure The Humours, or something, nor will you find Alan Shatter extolling the virtues of the Freeman on the Land philosophy. This isn’t the first time, though, that a TD has spouted complete nonsense about computers.

It makes it all the worse that O’Donovan is on the Communications Committee. You’d expect he could at least put in a little effort on what his job is supposed to be. I don’t really expect him to know this stuff, though it’d be a nice bonus, but you’d think he could look up what the words mean. I mean, what are we paying him for? Is this all a backbencher does, write nonsensical letters about something they half-remember from a tabloid?

It’s also, of course, embarrassing; you can’t really go on about the Knowledge Economy on the one hand and do this sort of thing on the other. Not really good enough, Fine Gael.


O’Donovan calls for crackdown on internet browsers and payment systems which facilitate illegal activity (Fine Gael)

The government’s IT credibility problem (Robert Synnott)

Previously: Fidema: The Frape Tape


YOU decide.

Jane Ruffino writes:

I know you don’t normally do this, but. I’m off to London on Monday with this software startup I’m working with.
We’re going to pitch to VCs, in the hope that they will give us a pile of money to build out our product (i.e., buy luxury yachts*) and hire a team and keep making stuff that keeps the Hardy Bucks off the streets.
So we had a Hardy Buck and friends help explain exactly what it is we do. Only one person got hurt in the making of it, and it wasn’t a lot of blood at all, and was nothing to do with us anyway.




Liam Young (Vimeo)

Taking part in the BT Young Scientist Exhibition at the RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin, were:

1.  Patrick Whelan, 16, of Ard Scoil Na Trionoide, Athy, Kildare. Project?  ‘To Investigate the Best Conditions for Sucklers to Thrive’.

2.  Daniel Duffy,13, Rathmore Grammer School, Antrim. ‘Investigating the Exothermic Nature of Worms in Varying Temperature of Soil’.

3. Deirdre Harford 17, Loreto Balbriggan, Dublin. ‘A Search for Genes Associated with Drought Resistance in Potatoes’

4. Aisling Shalvey, 17, Mercy Secondary School, Tralee, Kerry. Project unknown.

5. Deirbhila Ni Ghearbhain, Colaiste Chomain, Mayo. ‘Tinfoil for Brains: An Investigation into the Release of Everyday Aluminum Tinfoil on Contact with Food’.

(Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)