842 posts • joined 6 Jul 2009
UK.gov denies data processing framework is 'sinister'
“I hope that by the end I will be able to convince noble Lords that this is not quite as sinister as has been made out,” Ashton said in his opening remarks in the discussion.
To be pedantic, this is not a denial. "I hope that by the end I will be able to convince [you]" isn't the same as "it's not true". The sentence simply expresses the speaker's aspiration to make the listeners believe something, regardless of whether it is true or not.
And as Teiwaz has already pointed out "Not quite as sinister" still means it's sinister, just a tiny bit less than supposed.
I hope he was very much clearer in denying it during the rest of the debate.
Re: Non-timing side channels?
There are plenty of applications that need high-precision timers: media synchronisation, in-process threading, etc.
They may need high precision timing, but perhaps not with a resolution of one clock cycle. And the register would not be removed, but just having access limited to it so that timing side channel attacks become harder.
Re: Minor problem
Isn't it under warranty? If I bought a dingy and it leaked, I would expect the shop I bought it off to fix it for free. Doesn't it work the same way if you spend £3.5 billion?
"Shield Studies must be approved by
- a Firefox Product Manager
- Data Steward
- Release Management
- AMO review
- a member of the core Shield Team."*
Did none of these people see a problem with this?
Re: Keep feeding the terrorists
Keep feeding the terrorists with all the info they need. Why do we in the West keep on blabbing about everything that would do the West damage, inspiring generations of terrorists.
Does this not appear to anyone as being particularly stupid????
You mean does the first paragraph of your comment appear to be particularly stupid? Definitely.
I could try to explain to you that as an innocent bystander, you are more likely to be killed by a bee than a religious or politically motivated murderer (if that is what you mean by a "terrorist"), or I could talk about the physiological phenomenon of social amplification of risk which makes negligible risks appear important just because people talk about them, and the related concept of the availability heuristic in decision making which helps drives it, but I suspect there is very little point in trying to drag you from the world as fed to you by tabloid newspapers and Donald Trump into reality.
Re: get that nipple off the screen
Heaven forfend that vulnerable minds ("Of course, it doesn't affect ME") should see other humans having it off, but at least they'll still be able to watch atrocious violence, abuse, terrorist executions and the rest on all the other non-porn websites
I've always been a bit skeptical about the vulnerability of those minds. Humans have been around for 200,000 years, and our human-like ancestors living in similar conditions for about 3.5 million years. And those conditions weren't suburban terraced houses.
There must have been a lot of public shagging going on when we lived in caves, and mud huts usually have just the one room. So that's about 140,000 generations exposed to public rumpy pumpy before it was declared harmful. I would have thought that natural selection would have long since eliminated any debilitating sensitivity.
Re: Oh, wow...
And there was I mistakenly thinking it was the parents role to educate the children, both morally and intellectually.
This isn't about parenting. Most parents are competent enough to look after their children properly, including dealing with this sort of issue.
It's about retaining the votes of both the "something must be done" blue rinse brigade and the ardent feminists who believe that even gay porn objectifies women (except when they are watching it themselves). Neither group can get it banned outright, but "think of the children" is an obvious lever to restrict it as much as they can. The endpoint is making age verification so costly and inconvenient that it has much the same effect as a ban.
'The government said the BBFC had "unparalleled expertise" in classifying content'
Why is that relevant? Does it mean that they are going to be classifying web content then?
If so, who is going to be paying for that? Let me guess, they will be saying to website owners "if you don't want your website blocked, then give us lots of money for classifying it".*
A bit like the traditional "if you don't want your windows broken, then give us lots of money for insurance".
* Current rate varies between £2.91 and £7.16 per minute of video. Plus VAT of course, since the Treasury wants its cut too. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/industry-services/additional-information/fee-tariff
Re: long-term reserve
Never mind long term reserve, if MoD ordered 54, now have 45, and have been very reluctantly forced to admit they've broken four, what of the 5 unaccounted for?
Spare parts to keep those 45 drones flying?
Re: Just curious
The Airwave system is an old creaky thing that runs the TETRA system. The system they are moving to, eTETRA, runs on a modified LTE specification that adds the bells and whistles that the emergency services need.
The Airwave systems is an old and creaky thing that works. The system they are moving to has fancy bells and whistles which are less useful than the core functionality of voice communication, and the price they are paying is that they lose that core functionality, along with all those fancy things, in many locations.
It's a bit like swapping the old bicycle you use to get to work for a car with a CD player, air conditioning and go faster stripes but which only starts some of the time. If you absolutely must get to work, then you are better off sticking with the bicycle until someone offers you a reliable car.
Re: Post-pub car downside
Okay. It's 7.00am, and my driverless car arrives from the depot to drive me to work. Due to an oversight, cleaning did not happen and the part digested kebab helpfully left there by a 3am clubber is still on the seat. And the floor, and the door. Oh, and a used condom... Meatware will always be a factor.
That's why it is called a Johnny Cab.
Will also pretty much dispense with the need for a personal vehicle since you just 'call' one on demand, so in theory, less traffic, more parking, less accidents.
I am not sure I want to share a car with the remains of the previous occupant's kebab or worse, as it looks like the major use case is taking pissed people home. At least a taxi driver cares passionately about keeping his vehicle clean because he has to sit in it too.
I wish we were able to examine it.
I wish we were able to examine it. Such an endeavour would have required a small automated science craft, atop of a very powerful rocket, ready for launch at a very short notice. IMO it is unlikely our governments would choose to spend tax money this way, if they can buy votes instead
I think these objects are rather common, it is just that only within the last few years have astronomers had the motivation and equipment to look for small objects outside of the solar system's orbital plane. Computer simulations of the Oort cloud show that the majority of comets are ejected from it, and it most solar systems have an Oort cloud, then interstellar space must be teeming with comets. So, a bit like buses, there will be another one along in a minute.
Re: Naive hippy nirvana
Those protestors were probably damaged goods long before the undercover cops showed up.
damaged goods: (noun, infomal) a person who is regarded as inadequate or impaired in some way.
I can see you don't particularly like people protesting and expressing alternative views. But how do you think democracy works? Have you ever campaigned for or against anything? Perhaps you would really would be more comfortable living somewhere where people can't protest, like China or North Korea.
Naive hippy nirvana
So? How well do you think undercover ops would work if the undercover officers had to tell the truth? Time for you to climb down out of your naive hippy nirvana and rejoin the real world.
Well, there is telling the truth, and telling the truth. "Two undercover police officers secretly fathered children with political campaigners they had been sent to spy on and later disappeared completely from the lives of their offspring" https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/jan/20/undercover-police-children-activists Perhaps those children and their mothers wouldn't have been so damaged if the Police had been a little more honest.
Privacy of DNS requests
If it's storing personal data (or anything linkable to an individual) then you'd have recourse via the GDPR if you can enforce against IBM's lawyers. But not in the UK against City of London Police because policing is one of the many opt outs taken by the UK government.
All Internet activity in the UK (and US) is monitored. The various state security actors probably can't routinely read encrypted content, except for some automated traffic analysis and the various protocol and implementation flaws that keep cropping up, but everything else belongs to them, including public DNS lookups regardless of whose DNS server you are using.
A particular aptitude
Has anyone worked out what the government does have a particular aptitude for? Something good I mean.
Well, they seem to be mostly seized by inaction, what with the distractions of Brexit and trying to control the bag of fighting cats that is the cabinet etc. Just think of all the things they could royally screw up if they had the time and ability to pass more legislation. Let's spin their aptitude as "masterly inaction".
Re: Stunning Logic here
You might have thought the CAA would be motivated to try to increase the proportion of drone owners who are properly qualified to fly drones. If I was interested in taking it up as a hobby, then I would be inclined to get properly trained and licenced even if I had no interest in flying them commercially, just to improve my own skill, ability and safety. But the CAA seem to be going that extra mile to discourage this sort of behaviour.
The concern is that drones may be dangerous - mostly because they risk crashing on people or objects and causing injury or damage, and partly because of the risk of collision with manned aircraft.
So you can fly as an amateur, with lots of restrictions designed to make things safe, or you can get training and a license and insurance and fly as a professional with less restrictions.
Motor vehicles can also be dangerous, and so training is mandatory to drive one on the public highway. But I don''t have to pay the DVLA to renew my driving licence every year.
Reviving the name 'HMS Devastation' would be more fitting for our new our new aircraft carrier than naming it for old big ears.
HMS Terrible, last used in 1944, would be more appropriate - at least until the ship gets some sort of offensive armament.
Facial recognition software
It really does mean that a policeman might arrest you because your eyes are too close together.
The idea is that letting the driver in your house (under strict observation!) is less risky than leaving the goods on the stoop all day.
A parcel safe works well enough for me.
Re: "The idea is that letting the driver in your house"
just about as sensible as uploading your naked selfies to Facebook to protect against people blackmailing you.
Which suggests that there is a huge market out there for this product then.
Fake news is unregulated advertising
Fake news has one real purpose and that's to obfuscate real news.
At least that's how I see it.
It's purpose is to influence people's perception and consequently their actions. News stories can be invented to encourage people to do certain things. It can be about anything - vioting, buying stuff. It's just unregulated advertising, no different from how advertising worked before it became regulated.
Most of the time people judge the accuracy of an assertion by how often they have seen it, and whether it confirms their world-view, and confirmation bias means they don't bother looking for counter-evidence but keep an eye out for anything that confirms it. That's why you believe Napoleon was short, the Vikings wore helmets with horns, and coffee is made out of beans.*
* Equally, I don't have much idea how advertising worked before it became regulated, but my comment sounds plausible enough to be believed.
Scenario that springs to mind is for those whose meds counteract seriously violent psychosis. Court order: take your verifiable meds. Open to abuse, sure, but what if the alternative is prison for public protection?
It's always possible to dream up some scenario which covers 0.0001% of cases and use it to justify taking everyone's rights away. That's how we ended up living in a surveillance state - 0.0001% of people are terrorists, so let's carefully watch everyone. Next thing is the Government will extend this sort of monitoring to everyone because of supposed "health benefits".
Re: While were at it....
..all cyclists over 18 to be insured.
Why not just all cyclists - if you cycle on the road then you should be insured. Children can injure people and damage cars just like anyone else.
Enforcement would be the problem, given that the Police don't even enforce riding without lights on the roads and that is both life-threateningly dangerous and trivial for them to spot.
Re: No problem ...
Possibly the same deluded remainers who told us Europe would never have a joint armed force
The UK has always blocked military integration amongst EU countries, which it has seen as a competitor to the influence that NATO has. So, now we are not going to be in the EU, the UK has been sidelined and the rest of the EU countries are doing what they like. This is an inevitable consequence of the UK's departure. What's your problem?
I cannot help feeling that it might be a really good idea to buy in a year's supply of cans in time for Brexit day.
That will cost maybe one or two thousand pounds, and if the Brexiteers are right then I'll get to eat the food over time anyway. But if, God forbid, all those economists are right and we don't enter this new golden age that the Brexiteers have promised, but instead see our economy collapse to Venezuelan standards, then at least I won't starve before I can get out of the country.
Re: Politics is nothing to do with it.
"By then the MS lock in will be total" - when you're a city council it doesn't matter if you're locked in. Had they got the Linux project to work, they'd be locked into that. It's not like they'd be able to change distros or something at the drop of a hat.
They have been using it for well over a decade. If it had "not worked" then they would have given up after a few days. It fact, rather than complaining that Linux "didn't work", a 2012 report commissioned by the city boasted that adopting it had saved them 11.6 million Euros over the preceding years.
Re: Hardly a shock.
They couldn't make things work (within the budget, or at all). Endless failed projects and not delivering on providing the stuff people need to do their job.
That sounds perfectly normal for a public authority in the UK, irrespective of any operating system. I don't know if they do things differently in Germany, but somehow I doubt it.
Re: Problems to overcome
This, lets see metal lab reports on samples showing the yield points and microscopic grain structure of the dendrites before we get too excited with how its going to sweep traditional machining away. How those dendrites form as the metal recrystalizes makes a massive difference to the final material properties.
Most metal things aren't made from metal because they need to be immensely strong or tough, it's because they need to be a bit stronger, tougher, stiffer or just nicer looking than plastic. My toilet roll holder isn't loaded to anything approaching its ultimate tensile strength.
Men are mostly ugly naked! and Women mostly ARE NOT UGLY when naked!
So speaks the voice of evolutionary biology. Male cockroaches find female cockroaches physically attractive too.
Similarly, many times I have heard women remark of small babies "what a beautiful child", when plainly they all look the same and none is remotely pleasant to look at. But if mothers didn't think neonates look beautiful, then the human race wouldn't last a single generation.
Paris, obviously, because evolutionary biology.
"Humans rather than algorithms will view the naked images voluntarily sent to Facebook in a scheme being trialled in Australia to combat revenge porn."
Hopefully, Facebook are providing them with plenty of boxes of tissues.
Winning the next round of contracts
Limiting the length of contracts offers little reasonable benefit when the same people will simply win the next round of contracts.
At least they will then have to justify why they should keep the contract, especially in the light of any major screw-ups. It is work and cost for the Government to pro-actively terminate a large contract, so the threshold for that is very high.
On the other hand it is far easier to assign a contract to someone else when it comes up for renewal, and there is usually a queue of others suppliers happy to get the business instead. Even if the original supplier still gets the renewal, it does put them under some pressure.
most of our scientific knowledge has been paid for by the public
In the end, most of our scientific knowledge has been paid for by the public - ie by all of us - so we need to find a way of making it available as widely as possible, while still somehow paying for its dissemination, maintenance, and conservation. Neither Elsevier's not the sci-hub's models appear to be the right answer.
Most of our scientific knowledge has been paid for twice, in fact. The first time to do it and the second time for other researchers to have access to it (and the public don't get access to it).
I am wondering just how much it costs to publish a scientific journal, given that you don't have to pay for the copy or for the peer reviewers, and the authors are usually expected to do their own layout. So you need a web server with some backup strategy, a couple of high level editors, and someone to liaise with the peer reviewers. All it requires is that academia goes the last mile in the research process and take on responsibility for dissemination.
Our laws and regulations that weak?
Why on earth is Equifax allowed to come with this feeble, insufficient, late, lacking response? Our laws and regulations that weak - or are we just going to believe Equifax when they say: Sorry, but there wasn't really anything there.
Because the FCA have no big stick with which to beat Equifax Inc with, since it is not a UK company? I imagine the FCA only has powers over the UK subsidiary, not the far more substantial US corporation. It's probably a bit like having the power to summon your pet hamster to answer for your activities. Possibly quite scary for the hamster, but it isn't going to hurt you much.
Re: Oh fuck off ...
It's not necessarily robots getting "better treatment". The whole point of robots is to make life easier for us, including the less able.
No, the whole point of robots is to make money for the investors in the technology. Social benefits are neither here nor there in the calculation. In fact, I expect there to be vast numbers of unskilled and semi-skilled workers chucked onto the midden heap with no replacement jobs to go to. Perhaps they can use all that free time to take up some financially rewarding hobby to partly offset their poverty, like begging or crime.
karma balancing restitution
Surely it would be better for society all round if our justice system acted instead of leaving it to each and everyone of us to seek our own karma balancing restitution?
But what's in it for the people in Government who control the justice system? How would it help them to become even richer and more powerful? Generally speaking, it's the wrongdoers in the corporate world who have the dosh and directorships to splash around, not "society as a whole"
Re: Good luck with your beacon
As for regular maintenance - it is a very simple device which can be swapped out ever five years or so, it 's not a complex piece of kit there would be minimal maintenance. It could be added to new planes only, retrofitted over time etc. It isn't a complex problem. It seems the entertainment systems can be fitted and upgraded quite regularly.
Is it worth it for such a rare event - if you decided to force airlines to spend, say a billion pounds total, on some safety improvement, would this represent the best value, especially as it could never save a single life?
And we are talking about this sort of cost - whilst it might be conceptually simple, it could fall on someone, damage the airframe, or get sucked into an engine if inadvertently activated at altitude and has to work reliably first time after many years of storage. None of these things is true of the inflight entertainment.
Safety related aircraft parts are extraordinarily expensive - whilst you can buy a simple mechanical altimeter to walk up a mountain with for about £50, if you want a flight qualified one it will set you back at least a thousand pounds.
The beacon might end up costing about £10,000, and the replacement panel with the tube that it will be ejected through might cost several times that - you can't just hack a hole in an airliner. Tens of thousands of pounds per aircraft, and nearly 24,000 aircraft means hundreds of millions of pounds expenditure.
Calling it AI is a bit premature but calling it "automated algorithmical processing of data" is a bit clumsy.
How about "self-optimising pattern recognition algorithms". That's what neural networks, support vector machines etc boil down to.
Re: What's the point?
The point is a positive press release - ministerial announcement that the Government is "determined to be one of the first countries in the world to use <insert sexy buzzword here>".
It is the service seen by the customer that counts, not how sexy the back end technology is.
Perhaps a threat to invest £25m in investigating the tax compliance of whichever mobile phone company is found to have the shittiest coverage in six months time would be better value.
"explore and understand"
For a legal department this might be a synonym for "learn to drive a coach and horses through". Call me cynical, but for an ethics unit like this, it could mean "shape the public debate". Whatever becomes the established consensus of what is or is not acceptable in the world of AI ethics is clearly something which could have a big effect on the future profitability of Google. So why wouldn't they want to set up some well funded big hitter that could nudge the goal posts in the direction that they want.
Re: Did I understand this right?
IBM sold to the Nazis ????.....please explain more
Perhaps rather than expecting other commentards to do your research for you, you could try using a search engine yourself?
Re: sounds like a joke but...
There is a justification for discouraging drinking and canoeing, although not necessarily through fines. About a quarter of all adult corpses pulled out of the water have alcohol in their bloodstream. http://www.rlss.org.uk/about-us/campaigns/dont-drink-drown/
There is much scientific evidence that alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for drowning, e.g. http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/10/2/107.short
The problem explained to me when I was learning scuba diving it is that even quite moderate amounts of alcohol attenuates the gag reflex and so taking water into the lungs becomes much more likely.
Re: Only $500k...
$500K to spend 9 months in a small box cleaning yourself with wet wipes. Not that it will be that cheap.
There certainly won't be the payload capacity for hundreds of boxes of wet wipes. You'll get one wet wipe and have to make it last the whole trip.
Re: Pot... Kettle ... Black... hmmm I know there's a sentence in there somewhere...
If Bombardier collapses, then Boeing will probably be in line to buy up the remains for the patents and intellectual property associated with the C Series jets. That would be a win-win situation for them, i.e. Boeing wins twice.
Re: "Consultation" my arse.
I didn't see a link to them in either the article or the Government's cover note. They are at:
They do ramble on a lot. e.g.
"You must be transparent about your use of the powers so citizens can understand what data is being shared, the bodies that are disclosing or receiving data, and why. Unless there are particular national security or other sensitivities which would outweigh the public interest in disclosure, information about information sharing agreements should be published in a searchable electronic public register. You must also adhere to the ICO’s codes of practice such as the one on privacy notices."
Whereas they could have just written
"You must dream up some reason why your information sharing agreement needs to be kept secret."
"There are quite a lot of people in NSA who think their job is to subvert standards"
There are quite a lot of people in NSA who's job is to subvert standards. It doubtless says so in their job description, and like the Stasi and the KGB before them, they harm their fellow citizens with the religious zeal of someone who believes they are performing a patriotic duty.
There is no point blaming these moral simpletons though, as they work for a thoroughly poisonous organization whose priorities are set by the political leadership. And we know what ethical characteristics you need to get to the top of that greasy pole.