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February 02, 2014


nick s

There's a broader shift globally towards comms platforms that at least carry the illusion of privacy and impermanence, from Snapchat to Viber to old-school small-group email.

It always surprises people to learn the popularity of WhatsApp and Viber in the Middle East, especially in autocracies like Saudi Arabia, although their continued presence reflects some kind of deal with the local censors. I suppose the thinking among users is that while you're monitored no matter what, you're not as likely to draw attention to yourself on a popular private-ish platform, as opposed to a public one or one that's more obviously designed for privacy.


What's the latest on Instagram in China? ISTR when Facebook bought Instagram one of the reasons suggested by media types was that it wasn't banned in China and offered FB a way into the Chinese market - with the added attraction that, if you uploaded text as images, it was harder (although given other app developments not impossible) for censors to do the keyword censoring stuff. Haven't heard anything since.


Meanwhile, it seems that our former prime minister seduced Rupert Murdoch's wife while pitching Murdoch for a donation to his charidee: http://www.vanityfair.com/society/2014/03/wendi-deng-note-tony-blair

"“What’s interesting is that her husband had been trying to reach Tony on a different subject and ended up speaking to him the next week by phone. But he didn’t mention that he had seen Wendi, as you can imagine. Around this time, Blair was actively and successfully soliciting funds for his foundation from her husband.”"

There's being a chancer...and then there's this. At this rate we'll have to give him a dukedom.



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