Now, Marcus is in the business of stopping programmes of this sort – so-called “malware” – so it is not surprising that he would have some interest in Kronos. However, from what I can gather, people who know him, including those who know him personally and those who know him by working in the same field, find it incredible that he could be guilty of these charges.
I, too, would be very surprised if Marcus is guilty of the crimes with which he is charged for one very simple reason. Shortly after Kronos was released into the criminal world, Marcus went on-line to ask if anyone could let him have a copy. This is a matter of probably indisputable record. Given that his business lies in countering malware, it would be entirely legitimate for him to do so. However, why, if he created the Trojan, would he then ask for a copy? It is hardly likely or possible that he could have lost it!
Marcus has now officially pleaded not guilty and a trial date has been set for October. However, his passport has been confiscated and so he cannot leave America and return home, which must be a considerable blow to him and his friends and family.
Guilty or innocent, Marcus and his family now face an extremely difficult and expensive time. My thoughts are with them and I wish Marcus good luck. From my own experience, I can tell you that US lawyers tend to be hard working and well qualified. However, they are also very expensive. If you would like to give Marcus more than good wishes, you could do as I have done and go to https://secure.lawpay.com/pages/torekeland/hutchins-internationalldf, where you may make a contribution to his defence costs.
An American law professor has said that Marcus’s best hope may be to plead guilty in exchange for a light, hopefully non-custodial, sentence, even if he is innocent. That, surely, is the worst possible indictment of American justice.
Last week, I mentioned a planning application for a mobile phone mast outside the home in Hillington of an 87 year old lady. The Ilfracombe Town Council voted against the plan, but their view is only advisory, and North Devon District Council rode roughshod over this opinion and voted to allow the application. So the views of our Councillors, who know the town intimately, count for nothing, while those of Barnstaple residents, who probably don’t even know where Hillington is, count for everything. This is ridiculous.
What is more, although, had the application been refused, the applicant could have appealed, opponents cannot appeal if the application is granted. Is this British justice? It stinks.
I went to a party in Cheltenham at the weekend. Many thanks to Mike and Tony of Mike’s taxis who took me there and back safely despite the many dangerous drivers on the road. It makes me more convinced than ever that there are some people driving who should never be allowed behind a steering wheel!
Driving back in the southbound carriageway of the M5, we passed the 5 vehicle pileup in the northbound carriageway of which you may have read. Of course, drivers on our side slowed down to rubberneck, leading to delays southbound, but this was as nothing compared to the delays northbound. By the time we were there, it looked as though at least one northbound lane had reopened, but the queue on the M5 stretched at least to the Barnstaple turn-off and probably much further.
But that was not all. The queue on the A361 trying to join the M5 was longer than I or Tony, our driver, had ever seen, stretching back over most of the length of the dualled section! Traffic trying to join the M5 did not seem to be moving and, of course, once on that road there was no escape. A dire end to the holiday for many.
How many of the holidaymakers caught up in that will decide that North Devon is no place for a holiday in future?
The problem is that there are only really two main routes into the Southwest, the M5 and the A303, which was overdue for up-grading a decade ago. Even if both of these routes were up-graded, this would only be a sticking plaster on the real problem, which is that we need an integrated transport policy which recognises that road, rail, water and air all have a part to play in transport in and around these Isles. In the very long term, I suspect that driverless cars and possibly a move away from individual car ownership will play a large part in solving the problem, but we need a much shorter term solution.
Rail travel, the most expensive in Europe, is far too expensive and getting more so. Something must be done to make rail travel much more competitive on price with road travel. We also, at a minimum, need to encourage the use of rail or water for as much freight as possible.
Finally… On Thursday, I will announce on Facebook, Gossip Around Ilfracombe, that The Tubby Foundation will be open for applications for a bursary to students going to University for the first time to study a scientific subject. Applicants must have some connection with Ilfracombe or surrounding villages. I will put up more information in the blog next week, or you can find out more at mrtubby.online/rules from Thursday.