24/06/2011 Newsnight


As European leaders struggle to contain the Greek debt crisis, we ask if this is the moment Britain should redefine its relationship with Brussels.

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Tonight, inside the almost impenetrable world of the hackers


who claim to have taken down the CIA, Sony and a string of other


high-profile targets. We engage the self-styled pirate hacker group


LulzSec in an exclusive online conversation. Is the idea mayhem or


moral purpose? We discuss with the man who was America's top security


chief, and a person who calls himself a hacker with ethics.


Also, George and Michael go mad in Brussels.


Also tonight, we reveal details of the threats made to Syrian


activists here in Britain. And is it all over for Habitat, the


brand that spread its magic in the Swinging Sixties?


Tom Dixon, who was at the helm for ten years, and the editor of Elle


Decoration are here, sitting Good evening. It's been a long time,


if ever, since a group of hackers has got up the noses of so many


people in authority. The CIA, the US Senate, Sony, the Serious


Organised Crime Agency, and just today the Arizona police joined the


list. All have enjoyed the unwelcome attentions of LulzSec, a


hackers' collective who have been breaking into computer systems


around the world just for the "lulz", internet slang for laughs.


Across the online world, they are asking, who are they? And what do


they really want? Susan Watts has managed to track them down online


Until now, everything about the LulzSec hackers has seemed to be


about taking the mickey, from their pirate ship the into their slogan.


Laughing at your security since 2011. But recently, their targets


have become more high profile, claiming the US Senate, Sony online


accounts and an American TV station among their victims. Anonymous has


joined corrective forces with LulzSec in our newest operation.


first, they said all this was just for laughs, the "lulz" in LulzSec.


But now they seem to have joined forces with other online groups,


notably Anonymous, the group that launched revenge attacks in support


of Wikileaks. There is a definite movement of people working together


for a common cause. We have yet to see a published manifesto to the


best of my knowledge, but it seems that their mission is to fight


against what they perceive to be injustice, censorship and


unnecessary restrictions on freedom, and using any tools at their


disposal to do that. A LulzSec are remarkably open. They taunt their


victims on their Twitter feed, but who are they? Whirlpool, their


spokesman, describes himself as captain of the boat. We were not


able to talk in person, but set up a Q&A in cyberspace in a private


online chat room. It is almost impossible to be certain who we


were speaking to, but we did verify that he had access to the LulzSec


Twitter feed. First, we asked about Operation anti-sex, the movement to


LulzSec has aligned themselves with. But with the FBI and CIA amongst


their targets, is the outcome for LulzSec inevitable? If you were a


law enforcement agency, it is inevitable that the law when


Feldman agency will fight back through due process. Arrests will


follow. Everyone knows that the police will look after their own.


So there is no surprise that law- enforcement will keep up a gear the


moment that law enforcement agencies are under attack,


irrespective of the quality of information in those websites for


the harm that might be suffered. LulzSec's targets are wide-ranging,


Today the group released confidential documents from the


Arizona police department. It is causing chaos, and it is meeting


their agenda. When they are releasing the kind of information


they have, they are putting individuals' safety and privacy at


risk. So having released user names and passwords, they have moved on


now to releasing things like names, addresses and family details of


serving police officers. And people involved in undercover operations.


That could endanger someone's life. It does not seem to be for laughs


any more. The in the hacking world, white hats are out to expose


security weaknesses and get them fixed. Black hats are more


malicious and out to make money. Where does Whirlpool C LulzSec


In our online chat, Whirlpool told us the group trades in online


currency and claims that LulzSec has received over $80,000 worth of


donations. With 270,000-odd followers on Twitter, someone is


interested in what they are doing. We have had personal data loss


events in government. We have had Wikileaks. We have even had the


phone hacking scandal. This tells us that we have serious issues in


this country about security and confidentiality of information in


computer communication systems. If we do not see LulzSec in the proper


context, we will not develop the right kind of policy framework and


legal framework to derive the correct behaviours that society


needs. If he is right and LulzSec seeks to be more than just funny,


who has to change what as everyone comes to terms with the broader


challenges of cybersecurity? With us now from Washington is


Michael Chertoff, the US Homeland Security Secretary and George Bush.


And in the studio, James Lyne, an ethical hacker and Director of


Technology Strategy at the computer security firm Sophos. Michael, you


are involved in cybersecurity. James, you could be called a white


hat in computer terminology. Michael Chertoff, you heard the


words spoken online from Whirlpool. "we want to bring in the higher ups


down, the police, bank and governments." how dangerous is


LulzSec? First of all, their stated rationale is nonsense, because if


you are invading databases and publishing private data and


invading people's privacy, putting out their addresses, in some cases


taking personal identifiable information and putting innocent


people's financial reputations at risk, that is not doing a white hat


or ethical hacking. That is destructive and thuggish hacking


and can also be a mask for criminal activity. So we have to take this


seriously. As we heard from the lawyer in the report, is it


something that agencies like the FBI will try and track these people


down and they will be subject to criminal prosecution? We have seen


cases recently where there have been charges brought against people


around the world. I expect to see more of those. Ironically, the


people who are pursuing this wave of hacker attacks are likely to


spur greater cause for control over the internet and security. So they


may well wind up triggering an increase in security, which is the


opposite of what they profess to be looking for. But on the other hand,


they are probably so skilled or they will increase their skills to


get around that anyway. You might put a block up, but they will get


around it some way? It is a dynamic process. As one group attacks using


a particular set of tools, there is a response. When it becomes


effective, that prompts a different attack. So it is an on going back


and forth. But I think this will have the consequence of spurring


more investment into the security dimension. James, is it about


throwing money at it? I do not think it is all throwing money at


it. Businesses have spent a lot of money on security. It is about


building awareness and ownership of the internet. You started when you


were 13, increasing your computer skills. You know how to hack. You


are a white hat, so you are encouraging people to be aware of


hacking. But you will never get one passed them. This will always be a


battle. There is always a way around a system. I would encourage


people to get onto the white hats. This is the most critical resource


we will have in our lives. But how attractive is it to young teenagers,


men in their early twenties sitting in rooms, getting up their skills


and making them do something that makes them seem like rebels? This


is the core of the issue. I was a teenager playing with technology,


and I was lucky. I ended up being encouraged in a positive direction


in cybersecurity and had a positive sentiment about wanted to help the


world be secure. But imagine if someone had come along, a Russian


criminal gang, and recruited me at that age when I was naive and tried


to get me to do something bad for money. How many people are there


being tempted down that path? tell me. I think many. We have seen


95,000 pieces of malicious code every day. Michael Chertoff, can


you see a way in which hacking is for the ethical good? If you are


talking about corporations which are perhaps acting unethically in


terms of the age of their employees and so forth, it hackers are the


ones that can get to the heart of the story rather than others,


shouldn't that be applauded? problem is that everybody is the


judge of their own cause. What one person may consider unethical,


another may not. We are getting personal information about people -


home addresses, financial information. You are trying to


damage them in their personal and financial lives. You cannot pass


that off as simply making a political point or transparency.


That becomes the online equivalent of attacking somebody physically


and marking them. We have to not glamorise this idea of hacking for


political ideological motivation as something good. LulzSec said they


were just doing it for fun in the beginning. And now they have


adopted a more purpose, as they call it. That is about power, isn't


it? They feel they are gaining power and can exert it. I cannot


claim to understand their motivations, because it is so far


from a world of values. There is never an excuse to put people at


risk and to compromise websites. We should all be tried to make the


internet more secure. So I cannot claim to understand their values.


But it is certainly drawn attention to the issue. We are seeing more


cases now of these high-profile hackers who are drawing attention


to this. They say there is more coming out on Monday. It is a daily


occurrence at the moment. It is, and part of the plan here is to


keep the story going by adding new dimensions. But this will


underscore the need to be aware of security. I hope it does not chase


people of the internet and undermine the trust that many rely


upon when they go on their computers.


In a moment, is Habitat on its last chair legs? We will move over to


our lounge to talk to its former design director and the editor of


Elle Decoration. David Cameron has been asserting


himself at the EU summit in Brussels today, emphasising that


the UK will not pay the bill for a second EU bail-out for Greece.


European Union leaders have agreed in principle to the bail-out


package if Greece imposes the necessary austerity measures. With


Europe at a turning point, is it time for Britain itself to redefine


its relationship with the EU? Our political editor has spent the day


in Brussels. The European Council meeting here


in Brussels broke up today, with Downing Street claiming victories


for Britain in two areas, firstly over not having to contribute to


the Greek bail-out. The second was over asylum rules. But the quick


crisis has dominated this meeting, a crisis which has ramifications


both political and economic. Indeed, a crisis that could mean that the


For David Cameron, keeping Britain out of the Greek bear out was


something to crow about this morning. I sought assurances that


Britain would not be pulled into a eurozone package for Greece and I


have received those assurances. many say the Prime Minister should


exploit this crisis to be bolder. Aren't you missing a huge


opportunity here as many in your party are saying, to reshape


Britain's relationship with Europe and reshape the European Union?


What about all the Euro-sceptic things he said in opposition?


said in opposition that we would stay out of the euro, we have. I


said as soon as I became Prime Minister I would examine the


situation we had. We had to get out of the European financial stability


mechanism for the future. We have achieved that. I think I can point


to a good list of achievements in Europe. Or so I can point to the


Budget or think we can make progress in terms of cutting back


what the Commission and Parliament have been suggesting. Reporters


heard the Greek Prime Minister saying this crisis is a chance to


build a new Europe. But what of a new Greece?


Wins it be better for Greece and the European Union if you were to


leave the euro or be expelled from the year in an orderly fashion?


Isn't it true that your economy was never strong enough to be a member


of the euro in the first place? This has been a long-standing


debate and their arguments pro and con but if you put down the


arguments, there are many more negative than positive. I


understand, for example, we do not have the tool of devaluation. That


is something other countries do have when they are not in the


common currency. There are so many negative affects also to leaving


the euro which would create huge problems. For example, this would


mean an immediate default. Are you confident of winning the vote next


week? I answered that. Do you think what happened here would help you


win the vote next week? He told me he had had a vote of


confidence here from EU leaders. While the banker England Governor


in London was saying this morning that the eurozone's debt crisis


poses the biggest threat to Britain's financial stability, back


here in Brussels, the UKIP leader was proclaiming the death of the


Europe -- the euro. The euro will not survive in its current


Configuration. It may become in a few years' time the greater


Deutschmark zone. There is no prospect that Greece will stay part


of this eurozone. The fault is inevitable. How big a crisis is


this? We invited two leading Brussels watchers to a local Greek


taverna. I have to say objectively, this is one occasion when you might


say what the Euro-sceptics have been saying all along is true.


Economically, one size fits all does not seem to match Europe. I


think Euro-sceptics will make hay, even if the Greeks do not fall out


of the euro. There will be a perception of a changing mood in


Europe and the fact that these people do not necessarily know what


they are talking about. They are as baffled as we are. This is the


point when people say maybe they are not right when they say more


and more integration, onwards and onwards. A but they are tied in


together and they have discovered if one of them meltdown, they all


meltdown. That is certainly the fear. The danger is, as they are


compelled to integrate economically, they will disintegrate politically.


You have southern Europe and Spain in Greece. You have the indignant


in the north who do not want to pay more. Politically, it is getting


harder and harder. And that is what makes this so


distinctive, compared with previous European crisis. Economic problems


and political problems feeding off each other.


Activists in Syria set least 15 people were killed when security


forces opened fire on demonstrators after Friday prayers. This week,


Newsnight has reported a undercover from Syria and also on the


allegations of threats being made on opposition supporters here in


the UK. Tim Whewell has an update on that tonight. We have heard


attempts to intimidate them. What we have now has further evidence


that behind those intimidation is. There is one official, Mohammed Al-


Samouri. We have heard he is the main representative of Syrian


intelligence and he has tried to blackmail or threaten people into


giving up their support for the opposition and working instead


informally for the regime. One activist here, Mahmoud Hamad said


he was called in by Mr Al-Samouri when he went to renew his passport


at the embassy earlier this year. He was blackmailed on the basis,


supposedly, that he had been working with the police here as an


expert witness in counter-terrorism cases. I got a phone call asking me


to go to the Office of Mr Mohamed Al-Samouri. Knowing what my work


was, for the police and the defence on terrorism cases, I was under the


impression that Mohammed Al-Samouri was trying to blackmail me. He


asked me to write a letter and e- mail it to him saying I was


prepared to collaborate with the Syrian intelligence. I think he


meant to become an informer on my fellow Syrian residents here in the


UK. What is the reaction from the embassy? We have tried repeatedly


to talk to Mr Al-Samouri or the ambassador. They have never been


available. The embassy denies all allegations and says they all force.


They say all diplomats here work in accordance with diplomatic rules.


So far, they have not been any formal complaints to the police


here about possible intimidation. Nevertheless, what I understand


tonight is the Foreign Office is investigating anyway and it may


well speak to the embassy about this issue in due course. Thank you.


If Mary Quant and Ossie Clark were the epitome of fashion in the


Swinging 60s, Terence Conran's Habitat transformed the interiors


of thousands of bedsits and flats during those heady days. Paper


lanterns, chicken bricks, cork place mats, brightly coloured rugs


and Robin Day furniture were the height of cool. But four decades


later, the shop that spawned thousands of imitators has almost


been engulfed by them. Habitat has been in serious financial trouble


fall while and it has been bought. All but three of the country's jobs


are set to close with the loss of 700 jobs. Bleak picture is rosier


in other European countries. Is it the death of an brand? We look at


I am joined now by the designer, Tom Dixon, who was creative


director of Habitat for many years and by the editor in chief of Elle


Decoration, Michelle Ogundehin. First of all, your first memories


of Habitat? When I went for my first interview! I did not have any


connection with it before. Were you aware that it was ground-breaking?


No and I lived down the road from it in the late 60s. I did not know


a great deal about it a tall but when I got there, I researched it


and found the extraordinary history which you have just seen. Did you


find things in the archives which you could pull out and revisit,


even in 1998? The problem was, when it started in the 60s, there were


so many things that people needed and had never seen before. By the


time I arrived, they had seen it all before. It is getting harder to


find original things which people do not have already. What are your


earliest memories? One of my earliest memories is the store was


fun. It was an experimental activity to go shopping there. It


is something that Sir Terence was keen on. You were buying into the


idea of sexy modern living, it was not just about furniture. A lot of


that is around us now From Robin -- Robin Day chairs to velvet chairs.


My favourite piece was a sofa divined by Robin Day which Habitat


bought into production -- designed by Robin Day. They took a piece of


classic design and offered it at an affordable price. This is your


favourite piece you brought in with you? It is a quintessential Habitat


piece because it is utterly functional. It is a teapot. It


works well but it is given a twist by being coloured gold. It makes


something every day a bit more luxuries. When you came in and you


had a chance, even then you were brought into up the ante, what was


the premise that you're going to produce stuff which was different


that you could not get in any other store? Not really. I'm not sure why


I was Broughton. It was not clear even at that time. I think Habitat


wanted to improve its design credentials. I think it struggled a


lot to really invest in design in the way that it needed all the way


that it did write in the beginning. Terence Conran was a designer.


the time Tom Dixon came in, the point was there were a lot of


imitators already. Do you think Habitat got left behind or swamped?


I think they forgot that creating a good design is more than just the


product. Tom brought in a freshness and new vitality but other things


got left behind. I would say the quality of service and the


knowledge and experience of the staff. It was not driven purely by


a passion for great design any more. And arguably, the prices became a


little volatile. And were they not producing things which people


wanted all things which people could get elsewhere more cheaply?


would say they lost their unique standpoint. Other places of the


things which seemed similar enough at different prices. There was also


the launch of Ikea. At the time, the modern furniture industry was


on its knees in gratitude but that was never meant to last. By the


late 80s when Ikea came along, there is a more homogenised idea of


what is fashionable and what you should be buying? No, there were


excellent prices for much better design. I think the middle market


became harder and harder to really occupy. Habitat never really


decided whether it was going to go up and be innovative in design or


go down in price. Without knowing that, it was always going to fail.


What did you think it should be? think it should be real design at


affordable prices. Is it that the problem that particularly in this


time, when people have to think three or four times before they buy,


they either want something incredibly cheap or totally


fabulous? I think the consumer is much smarter today. They want cheap


but they know that will not last. They might buy an heirloom peas.


The middle market have got crushed. Now, if you can buy everything


online, why would you going to a shop? Ironically what --, what is


surviving is the Habitat website. I would like to suggest your pieces


are expensive. What is affordable now and who is able to create


fabulous design at cheap prices in this country? Very few people in


this country because there are not so many manufacturers here. The


shame is that Habitat had a fabulous distribution network and


what they produced were things like that. Pass the pineapple. This must


have been -- this must have been bought in Shepherd's Bush today by


the BBC but I think this is a perfect example of where Habitat


should not have gone. Because you could get this in any stock as you


could get this in a 99 p store down the Uxbridge Road. I think it is


possible to do good design at affordable prices. Particularly in


a world where there is a global market. You have a folding chair in


the Argos catalogue which is less than �15 and a chair that does not


look so different in Habitat costs �90, that is the problem, isn't it?


No one will make the decision on anything other than price, will


they? I think on the consumer level there has been a misunderstanding


about what designers. Quite often, good design, you cannot see it


because it is the way it works. Maybe they look similar but I


guarantee the �90.10 will work better but arguably, the question


is, can you make a good looking workable chair for �50. Will we be


a poorer place for not having a Habitat on the high street? I think


it is a sad loss of a British icon. There are three stores left, how do


you think they can get up off their knees again? Personally, I do not


think they can. The new owners have not bought a brand, they have


bought a logo. Without going back to the original concept that Sir


Terence had, I cannot see a future for it. You will not go and have


another go at rescuing them? not sure they will have me! Thank


you. Just one more thing from Newsnight


tonight. Peter Falk, best known for playing the detective Columbo, has


died aged 83. He is known for his raincoat and that catchphrase.


As European leaders struggle to contain the Greek debt crisis which is threatening the stability of the 17-nation eurozone, we ask if this is the moment Britain should redefine its relationship with Brussels.

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