CRACKING DOWN ON CYBER CRIME
The chance of me making a living out of computer crime is pretty slim, as I sometimes have trouble remembering how to open an envelope! Yes, I can send emails and I've even worked out how to use my mobile phone, but my knowledge of technology only amounts to what is necessary to do my day job.But people with far greater expertise than I could dream of are out there, making a packet at the expense of people who don't have the know-how to steer clear of them.Almost every day I get an email telling me; "after three unsuccessful attempts to enter your pin number, your account at NatWest has been frozen and you need to get in touch…blah, blah, etc". The fact that I don't have a NatWest account is a good clue that something dodgy is going on but I wonder how many of those who do have one, fall into the trap.Last week, customers of Lloyds, TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland were fuming at being unable to use debit cards as the result of what the Lloyds Banking Group called 'a computer glitch'. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I have a hard time believing that four banks had the same problem all at once, even if they do belong to the same group. What's the old saying about all your eggs in one basket? My interpretation of 'glitch' is 'hacked' and in my opinion, it's much more likely that the system had to be shut down in order to keep the criminals out. Of course, no bank would ever admit to that, so we'll never know for sure.So what's all that got to do with Gloucester? Well, it seems that, according to Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner, most people questioned in a survey identified cyber-crime as a priority and said they would be prepared to pay more council tax if it helped the police tackle it. There's no doubt that it is a growing problem and it's not going to get any better if your average copper has no more computer skill than I do. We're told the proposed increase will equate to eight pence per week on an average council tax bill. If that's all it takes to improve Gloucestershire Constabulary's cyber-crime capability, count me in.
COIN OF THE REALM?
Republicans will no doubt be rejoicing over the news that Her Maj has gone a bit over the top in her spending recently and see it as an excuse to renew their calls to dump the Monarchy. I reckon she's worth every penny. What else have we got to shout about on the world stage? Our chances of winning the World Cup in Brazil? Er – no. Our world beating cricket team? Uuummmm…. The only thing we can beat the whole world at is putting on a Royal ceremony, so let's not get bogged-down with the Queen's temporary cash-flow problem.Still, the idea of hiring-out some of the Royal palaces for commercial use is not so daft. It would mean beefing-up security if, for example, civil wedding ceremonies were to be held at Buckingham Palace, but these could easily be arranged around the Royal schedule. In future, we could be seeing TV programmes such as 'My Big Fat Buck-House Wedding' or how about booking Balmoral for your Hogmanay bash? It could be a whole new earner for Her Majesty. Luvvly Jubbly!
A HEAVENLY EXPERIENCE
Whatever else you think of the GODS (Gloucester Operatic and Drama Society) you have to give the GODS credit for staying power. There can't be many amateur theatrical companies still going strong after 100 years and as part of its centenary celebrations, the group has achieved another first. The GODS, with the help of some professional performers, will be putting on a mammoth production at Gloucester Cathedral in March. It will be the first time that Jesus Christ, Superstar has been performed in its complete version, in a UK cathedral, by a full adult cast. Well done, all involved.