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* Posts by Smooth Newt

940 posts • joined 6 Jul 2009

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UK.gov to press ahead with online smut checks (but expects £10m in legals in year 1)

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Re: They just block them.

Remember, this isn't about age controls to protect children from pornography, it is to appease the Traditional Tory Voters and Social Justice Warriors who want to ban pornography outright. Of course, it won't appease them at all, only move the ball a little closer to their goal posts ready for the next turn of the ratchet.

If the Government actually gave a damn about children, a third of British children wouldn't be living in poverty - up 100,000 on last year.1 Chronically not having enough food, or decent food, is a lot more damaging to a child's development than accidentally stumbling on some slap-and-tickle.

1https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/child-poverty-increase-children-family-benefit-households-a8268191.html

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HMRC rapped as Brexit looms and customs IT release slips again

Smooth Newt
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Happy

Don't worry. Be happy.

Relax. If the hard Brexit goes to plan, the collapse of our manufacturing industries coupled with the pound being so far down the toilet that it will be out of sight means that the UK probably won't be importing very much at all for the foreseeable future.

Happily, this means that the total failure of the customs declaration system will have a barely detectable effect.

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What do Zuck, Sergey, @Jack and Bezos have in common? They don't want encryption broken

Smooth Newt
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Happy

Re: Dabbb

For all retarded downvoters who think that it's better to deal with transnational corporation not accountable to anyone than with your local governments - smash that button on the right as if your life depends on it. It will make you feel better and you clearly need it.

It's difficult to bring people around to your point of view by insulting them. And, as others have pointed out, not trusting governments doesn't automatically mean you trust everyone else.

“Ad hominem is a notoriously weak logical argument. And is usually used to distract the focus of a discussion - to move it from an indefensible point and to attack the opponent." - Jim Butcher, Furies of Calderon

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Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Re: Hmm

From one side there's not many reasons to trust government, on the other side it does not try take over all aspects of life, censor everything it does not like and sell your information to the anyone ready to pay.

I am struggling to think of any area of life that governments such as that of Australia do not legislate on. Answers on a postcard please.

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Manchester nuisance-call biz fined £150k after ignoring opt-out list

Smooth Newt
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Stop

Re: overnment is planning to make directors personally liable

See also the proposed death by cycling laws. This ignores the fact there are a minuscule number of deaths attributed to cycling each year contrasted with over a thousand caused by motorised vehicles.

Why do you think the penalty for killing someone should be linked to the novelty of the method used?

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Oi, you. Equifax. Cough up half a million quid for fumbling 15 million Brits' personal info to hackers

Smooth Newt
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Happy

Re: 30 quid per victim?

15 Million victims, £500k fine

That's not £30 per victim - it's thruppence.

And a massive 0.1% of profits. That'll teach 'em not to mess with the ICO.

With the supercharging of these sort of fines post GDPR, I imagine there was a big sigh of relief in the executive board room that the hack didn't happen later than it did.

The corollary is that we'll now see a small industry of trying to backdate hacks. "they hacked into our system years ago and were still using those credentials, so last week's hack was really years old", "The dog ate our latest log files, but we've still got the ones from two years ago", etc.

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'Men only' job ad posts land Facebook in boiling hot water with ACLU

Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Girls are made of sugar and spice, and all things nice.

No wonder we need women only spaces, given the state of the comments here...

Women are no different to men when it comes to being vicious, intolerant and unpleasant. Maybe you should look at at Mumsnet more often.

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Git it girl! Academy tries to tempt women into coding with free course

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Just lie back and think of England

It's not our concern whether this would be a rewarding career choice for you personally, it's just that the UK needs you to become a programming nerd to help the economy cope with Brexit.

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Boffins ask for £338m to fund quantum research. UK.gov: Here's £80m

Smooth Newt
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Re: Funding based on historical precedent

Because Britain has a long and honourable tradition of beating the world through boffins tinkering at the bottom of the garden equipped with nothing more than bits of an old radio, some sealing wax, a garden shed and a bottomless supply of hot, sweet tea; government funding is proportional to the current cost of a shed and Morrisons own-brand teabags.

And not forgetting that the other part of the tradition is to lead the world for a short time, and then at a critical moment have the Government chop away the funding, allowing another country - usually the US - to profit from it. See the early history of nuclear power stations, gas turbines, supersonic aircraft (I'm thinking Miles M.52), digital computers, radar etc. etc.

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UK.gov finally adds Galileo and Copernicus to the Brexit divorce bill

Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Re: TL;DR

On the bright side - the hard line marxists like Corbyn and McDonnell are also old - hopefullty they'll be dead soon too

Downvoted. I vociferously oppose Jeremy Corbyn's political ideas but I would not wish a human being dead just because I disagree with him.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: TL;DR

And if the result changed to remain. a lot of people would demand a best of three - demanding more votes until the "correct" result is returned is unreasonable.

I am trying to understand why having a vote on something of enduring public interest every few years is a bad thing. Why shouldn't people be able vote periodically on, I don't know, what sort of Government should be in power?

But this misses the point about the "Peoples Vote", which is not a simple rerun of the referendum, but is about voting on the terms actually negotiated by the Government versus sticking with the status quo.

The first vote was about a lump of vague and contradictory options - was become like Norway, or was it Canada, or was it a free trade agreement - the easiest in Human history - or was it “no-one is talking about threatening our place in the single market”. In a few weeks we will know which particular one of those it was, or maybe - almost certainly - none of the above.

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MPs' proposal to cash in on public-private algos given a solid 'maybe'

Smooth Newt
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GDPR

One small point, all this data they have collected, cannot be used, as no informed consent obtained under GDPR for third party usgae and collected explicity for the function intended !

That won't stop them. They already don't ask your permission before flogging your driver details, which you must provide by law, to those car park bandits. And in the JRM Nirvana that is a No-Deal Brexit, you will have exactly the same level of data protection that the poorer citizens of any other third world banana republic have.

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Sextortion scum armed with leaked credentials are persistent pests

Smooth Newt
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These exploits only work...

The scammer's only weapon is the degree to which the social culture would punish the victim.

Not quite, it is the degree to which the victim believes the social culture would punish him or her.

They might or might not be correct in their belief but they will act on that rather than whatever the reality is.

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5G can help us spy on West Midlands with AI CCTV, giggles UK.gov

Smooth Newt
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Black Helicopters

Fortunately, I suppose,

there aren't enough police to respond to all incidents even now. Increasing the number of incidents that the police are expected to respond to would probably have little effect.

Many years ago, before Austerity was a thing and I was a local councilor, I was shown around the council's CCTV facility. The operators showed us some of the local ne'er-do-wells, who were well known by sight to the operators for their frequent dreadful behaviour, and who helpfully gave the camera the finger. It was explained that even when the operators saw people whom they knew had outstanding arrest warrants against them, unless it was a Friday or Saturday night there were usually insufficient police available to do anything about it. So they didn't even bother notifying the police. Austerity is now government policy, and so there are even less police, and in fact the council-funded cameras, and their control centre, have gone.

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Anon man suing Google wants crim conviction to be forgotten

Smooth Newt
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Re: Let me get this straight...

If the conviction is "spent" under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, then yes, I do think it is reasonable to ask for it to be removed from search results.

There is no "spent conviction" in an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service. Everything gets dredged up for the employer to make an informed decision about whether the individual may be a danger to vulnerable people.

The same should be true for making an informed decision about whether someone can be trusted with your life savings. Even if the investor doesn't make the decision, then someone, somewhere should be vetting people setting up investment and similar companies.

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UK getting ready to go it alone on Galileo

Smooth Newt
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Re: That is going to be one hell of an expensive failure

They didn't forget the catapults, they just had nothing to power them with, catapults need steam, the carrier is powered by gas turbines, no steam, they needed a nuclear reactor.

No, they don't *need* steam. It was just that between the 1910s and the 1970s high pressure steam was readily available because the usual way of propelling a large warship required lots of boilers. The first aircraft carrier catapults were actually powered by compressed air, not steam, and presumably something similar is still possible. There are chemical solutions too - e.g. German V1s, amongst other things, were launched by steam generated from hydrogen peroxide.

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Self-driving cars will be safe, we're testing them in a massive AI Sim

Smooth Newt
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Re: L5

I’m comfortable on single track country roads and passing places.....but most London drivers will likely cause an accident if given the passing place problem.

I don't know if you have visited London recently, but there are plenty of narrow streets with cars parked down both sides so that the space in the middle is far less than two car widths wide.

But more to the point, human beings are very mentally adaptable. That isn't really true of AI, which can make very circumscribed judgements within tightly defined problem domains and based on previous training, but lacks any proper understanding of anything.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: L5

My dad gave up driving at 86. Even with today's level of automation I would feel safer with an automated car approaching than one with him at the wheel.

The market for autonomous level 5 vehicles isn't octagenarians. For the first decade or two it will be taxi and lorry drivers. The incredible cost of the vehicles and their sensors, and probably the insurance policies, will be offset by chucking paid human drivers onto the scrap heap. An autonomous taxi can "save"* the cost four shifts of human taxi driver since they can be used 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

* "save" in quotes because society as a whole will be paying for their dole and the social consequences of treating human beings as disposable commodities.

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Criminals a bit less interested in nicking Brits' identities this year

Smooth Newt
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Re: Time the government / companies house woke up to the problem

As a matter of government policy, companies house publishes documents online for the whole world to see. As I was an IT contractor at one time with my own limited company, that means my full name, address, date of birth and even scans of my signature are freely available online. A gift to would be ID thieves.

Since the Companies Act 2006 came into force, they don't publish date of birth, only the month and year, nor do they publish the usual residential address unless the person also makes it their service address. And there is no reason why you have to use the same signature on company accounts as your cheques. Many people just type their name rather than sign it anyway.

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May the May update be with you: OpenSSL key sniffed from radio signal

Smooth Newt
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Re: Sidechannel attacks

Doesn't seem too serious even without the fix. The paper says "in our experiments we place probes very close, but without physical contact with the (unopened) case of the phone," and in the picture the probe is only a couple of inches from the phone. If it could be done from across the street then I would be more worried.

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UK cyber cops: Infosec pros could help us divert teens from 'dark side'

Smooth Newt
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Re: Not much hope for the rozzers, it seems

Maybe the team could work out what proportion of publicly quoted statistics are plucked from somebody's arse?

No need, it is generally quoted as 77.4%.

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Emma's Diary fined £140k for flogging data on over a million new mums to Labour Party

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Re: 14p?

So the fine for misusing my personal details is 14p?

Not necessarily. If a company receives £X for your personal details and has to pay the ICO £Y as a penalty, then if £Y > £X it is a fine; but if £X > £Y then it is just a business expense.

It is slightly more complicated than that, since being fined isn't very tax efficient - they can't offset it against tax, but I'm sure a company can factor that into their pricing and they will be minimising their tax bill anyway. e.g. if the ICO can only fine £0.5M (not sure if that is true going forward with GDPR) then they are probably OK if they never sell anything for < £1M. i.e. to be profitable their misuse, in this scenario, should always be substantial.

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No more slurping of kids' nationalities, Brit schools told

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Re: Killing the patient

The way to prevent the inappropriate use of the data is to stop using it inappropriately; not, to stop the data being collected in the first place. That is backwards.

It's actually the same argument as gun control. Yes you can try to stop people using guns inappropriately, but it is far more effective to not give them guns in the first place. And especially not give guns to people who already have a lengthy history of using them inappropriately.

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Um, excuse me. Do you have clearance to patch that MRI scanner?

Smooth Newt
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Thumb Up

Re: obvious solution ...

Smooth Newt - are you serious? A huge amount of effort has gone on over the years in networking scanning equipment such as this. They use a standard called DICOM?

The problem addressed is that the diagnostic equipment is on the Intranet and so is exposed to security risks, possibly via something else on the network getting compromised. Mitigating these risks seems insurmountable if the code cannot be regularly updated. By far the best solution for keeping a system secure is to air gap it. It isn't perfect but it is the best there is.

I am sorry if it is "sheer drudgery" to vastly decrease the likelihood of the devices being compromised, but it is hardly a "waste of time". And it is less tedious than many other activities which take place in hospitals.

How would you propose to do this? Writing DICOM studies to removeable media then a radiographer puts the media in another terminal and reads it in to the PACS system?

Yep, pretty much.

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Smooth Newt
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Meh

Re: obvious solution ...

The article conflates confidential data on hospital networks with remote access to diagnostic equipment, and these should be separated.

I don't see why the MRI machine needs to networked. Transferring the data from the MRI to the hospital Intranet via sneakernet makes it significantly harder for hackers to gain unauthorized remote access to the machine, and is the work of a few moments. Securing the data on the hospital Intranet is then a different issue that is simplified because it doesn't involve trying to get the MRI scanner to issue security related patches.

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Scrapping Brit cap on nurses, doctors means more room for IT folk

Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Any jobs for a PhD in red herrings?

No it isn’t - the whole point of this story is that the NHS isn’t capped.

There is no shortage of STEM grads, there are 100 PhDs chasing every post-doc position let alone professorship.

<sarcasm>

That will be because every STEM graduate is a PhD and every PhD is a STEM graduate. And the only jobs that STEM graduates want are in academia. Plus, STEM graduates are completely interchangeable - someone with a biochemistry degree is highly skilled in areas like mathematics, chemical engineering and psychology.

</sarcasm>

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Smooth Newt
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Facepalm

Fishy logic

So let me get this straight. Brexit will destroy jobs. But because Brexit, we need loads more workers. Something seems fishy.

Different types of workers obviously aren't equivalent or interchangeable. If you are an experienced automobile component production line worker, then you are surely screwed. If you are a company insolvency practitioner or an experienced Jobcentre worker then you might want to start thinking about asking for a rise.

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The only way is ethics: UK.gov emphasises moral compass amid deluge of data plans

Smooth Newt
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WTF?

The Department for Bad Grammar

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's (DCMS). So "digital" is now a noun?

i.e.

Some culture

Some media

Some sport

Some digital?!!???

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Smooth Newt
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Black Helicopters

Blind keeping the public in the dark

It concerns me that there are questions in the workbook like:

Have you spoken to your organisation to find out if you can speak about your project openly?

The question seems framed by the assumption that everything should be secret unless there is some reason for it not to be. Why isn't the question the other way round, e.g. any reason why your project should not be spoken about openly?

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Tesla undecimates its workforce but Elon insists everything's absolutely fine

Smooth Newt
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Headmaster

Re: Undecimate?

decimate - remove one in ten (decem)

undecimate - remove one in eleven (undecem)

But that immediately causes the problem that there is now no verb for reversing a decimation. Even worse, a company which announces a decimation, followed shortly by one of an undecimation, is announcing that things are even worse for the their serfs. Whilst El Reg readers are clearly clued up on Latin, the same cannot be said of Sun and Daily Mail readers, or even parliamentarians, so this neologism will serve to have catastrophes praised as U-turns.

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AI built to track you through walls because, er, Parkinsons?

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Bone-breaking falls

Having an elderly relative who has had a number of serious bone-breaking falls but seems to be wilfully courting further disaster on a daily basis, having a reliable means of knowing when to summon another ambulance that doesn't depend on having the entire house under video surveillance would at first sight seem like a wonderful idea.

This sort of stuff has been around for years, albeit without the new added artificial neural networkTM that seems obligatory these days as an alternative to any sort of statistical analysis (because that would involve actually thinking about the problem and gaining insight into it from the data instead of just pumping loadsadata into a neural network). See for example http://www.jpier.org/PIERB/pierb20/09.10022206.pdf

As for detecting when your granny has fallen over, as opposed to having a sit down or crawl around, false positives are a big nuisance and false negatives a disaster. Neural networks need to be trained with a great many test cases. So unless you are prepared to push your granny over a few thousand times to generate the necessary training data, making it reliable is going to be problematic. Getting some poorly paid PhD student to pretend to fall over a lot is unlikely to work either, since real falls don't look anything like pretend falls.

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UK's first transatlantic F-35 delivery flight delayed by weather

Smooth Newt
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Facepalm

Re: Carriers??

This is not the case with a single-seat, single-engined fighter jet, which, aside from having no creature comforts except for a seat and an air supply, is a lot riskier (from the planning point of view) to fly over the sea for long periods of time.

But don't carrier-based aircraft have to spend a lot of time flying over the sea?

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'Tesco probably knows more about me than GCHQ': Infosec boffins on surveillance capitalism

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Re: Tesco Does Not Know More About Me

Tesco would know more about me than GCHQ because they are more interested in me than GCHQ.

You have no idea how much GCHQ know, or do not know about you. Perhaps they know at least as much as Tesco as they can bulk purchase data from the same commercial sources as supermarkets do, and then add their drag-net surveillance to that. "Know" is also a very loose term, in this case it is about data pertaining to you spread across databases rather than, e.g. collated information in a written document.

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UK judge appears in dock over Computer Misuse Act allegations

Smooth Newt
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Happy

There are good reasons to do this

Please note... even a judge has a barrister.

There are good reasons to do this.

The main one being that only judges get paid enough to afford a barrister?

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The glorious uncertainty: Backup world is having a GDPR moment

Smooth Newt
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Facepalm

Re: Blockchain ?

Worth noting that once data is in a blockchain, it's there forever, unless the blockchain was designed to remove data before creation.

Yes, all the banks and other people getting excited by blockchains recently mostly haven't considered this at all. Other than suggesting that blockchains should be exempt from GDPR!

https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/5/17199210/blockchain-coin-center-gdpr-europe-bitcoin-data-privacy

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Britain mulls 'complete shutdown' of 4G net for emergency services

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Re: Im confuzzled

One option would be for all existing mobile networks to be forcibly merged into a single national network, and every provider (Vodafone, EE, etc) becomes a virtual network on top (like Tesco, GiffGaff are OTT providers on someone else's network). That would give you "operator agnosticism" simply by making it so that there is only one physical network, really.

4G simply cannot provide excellent coverage, especially inside buildings, without a high density of base stations. Physics. The signals have to reflect and diffract through small openings within buildings having already been attenuated. You need long wavelengths, high power and low data rates. 4G uses short wavelengths, low power and high data rates.

I am not sure why the Government ever thought this was a good idea. Maybe they should have had a word with an RF engineer first.

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Softbank's 'Pepper' robot is a security joke

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Re: Default password ?

Wrong question. How did they fix the OS so that the root password was unchangeable? They made a very special effort to mess it up this badly!

If there is all this obvious stuff, then what more subtle problems will remain after these have been fixed? If there really has been little thought of security in the software, then bolting it on later is probably not going to be successful without considerable re-engineering.

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Smooth Newt
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Meh

Re: Security is critical, but

I don't want to be called a "Tech Lead" when this crap exists. I don't want the FBI holding me for questioning when all the data and money is gone.

Document it and forget about it. If you have told your management, in writing, and they decide to do nothing about it then it is not your problem any more. They can do the explaining.

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Ongoing game of Galileo chicken goes up a notch as the UK talks refunds

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Poor relatives

Then the other f*ckers (to use your language) invited a load of their poor relatives along and told me I had to pay the lion's share for a bigger pool because I had more money than them. I couldn't believe it when they started telling me I had to had to let them and their mates use my house for parties.

We were the "poor relative" when we joined, described at the time as the Sick Man of Europe.

And you conveniently forget that existing EU rules allow states to deport citizens from other EU countries if they have become a burden on the welfare system of the state.

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Smooth Newt
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Meh

Re: Or more accurately..

4. UK tries to come to sensible agreement to the benefit of all parties

Who could possibly not want sensible? It's like motherhood and apple pie.

The problem of course is that "sensible" is such a loaded word. What is "sensible" depends on where you are standing. As far as the EU is concerned, the UK agreed that third countries should not be allowed to develop the system or have privileged access to it, then decided to become a third country and now wants to renege on that agreement.

As far as the UK is concerned, it paid towards it, so it should use it.

But in most negotiations, including Brexit, the party with the biggest stick wins. So from all that has happened so far in the Brexit negotiations, the UK will huff and it will puff, and then accept the EU decision. That's what the sovereignty that the Brexiters want actually means - the EU, the US, and China get to shit on us, and we get to shit on Tuvalu and Tonga.

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UK's Royal Navy accepts missile-blasting missile as Gulf clouds gather

Smooth Newt
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Happy

Re: Anti-missile missile at home?

But it's OK because we will soon be able to deploy a single very nice aircraft carrier, as long as the entire RN combatant fleet's available to protect it, for the vital defence task of... uh...

Of hosting cocktail parties. An aircraft carrier without any aeroplanes isn't much good for anything else.

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Brit water firms, power plants with crap cyber security will pay up to £17m, peers told

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Legacy

There should be no legacy systems anywhere near the internet, that's just standard best practice.

"Legacy" is a word invented by salesmen who want to sell you some expensive new bit of crap. "Older than something I'm selling" is not a justification on its own for replacing something.

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Within Arm's reach: Chip brains that'll make your 'smart' TV a bit smarter

Smooth Newt
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Meh

FTFY

Within Arm's reach: Chip brains that'll make your 'smart' TV a bit smarter even more creepier

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Wah, encryption makes policing hard, cries UK's National Crime Agency

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Data-slurp grepping

P.S. How about trying good old detective work instead of lazy data-slurp grepping.

Remember who it was that broke this - encryption became the default when the public found out about huge and outrageous abuses done by the same sort of people who are now whinging about it.

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Navy names new attack sub HMS Agincourt

Smooth Newt
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So sad

That the Ministry of Defence still uses such outdated, uninspiring names for its warships.

Agincourt for a warship dates from the fashion for all things medieval and classical heavily in vogue in the 18 and 19th centuries. It actually meant something to Georgians and Victorians brought up on tales of English medieval daring do. But how many 21st century crew etc are going to be inspired by an obscure six hundred year old battle that almost no one has ever heard of. Might as well call it HMS Dull. Was going to write we should be grateful they didn't call it HMS Agamemnon (who the hell is he?), but then I noticed that they have one of those already.

e.g. If they wanted something that begins with an A, then e.g. the battle of Arnhem has modern resonance and there are enough films, books and memorials that people will have some clear idea about what it was like to be there. But it is hopeless for Agincourt unless you are a medieval historian.

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Ubuntu sends crypto-mining apps out of its store and into a tomb

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Re: But what happens to the existing installs?

Can Canonical push an update? Surely there's no way of informing the victims.

And do Canonical know enough about the identity and location of this individual for some chance of prosecution under the Computer Misuse Act or similar? If not, then why not?

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US Congress finally emits all 3,000 Russian 'troll' Facebook ads. Let's take a look at some

Smooth Newt
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Meh

Decades of experience

The "fake news" theory accounting for Trump's victory requires us to believe that voters discarded decades of experience of the two national figures leading the race, and have their minds changed in an instant by something they saw on the internet.

Where does the decades of experience come from? Most people don't spend decades assiduously following politics, usually they don't give a shit until election time and then get quickly bored, and many haven't even been alive long enough to accumulate decades of anything.

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Consent, datasets and avoiding a visit from the information commissioner

Smooth Newt
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Meh

GDPR Nirvana versus reality

The reality of the GDPR is that there will just be a whole load more terms and conditions attached to every website and every agreement that no one will ever read, at least past page 97.

The same as the EU Cookie Law, loaded with good intentions but the actual result is just a rather pointless click through message on most websites.

And around page 390 it will say something like "please note that if you withdraw consent for data about you to be processed by ourselves and the people we have flogged it to, and the people they have flogged it on to, it may take up to a millenium for this to be actioned". I paraphrase, of course, as it will all be in the most impenetrable legalese.

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UK age-checking smut overlord won't be able to handle the pressure – critics

Smooth Newt
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Happy

Re: Sex Education

Please explain why only schools can educate children about sex & relationships. What about these things called "parents".

There is no intellectual capacity or social responsibility needed to become a parent, so you can't assume they are willing or capable of anything apart from the ability to shag.

There is even less required of a voter, since they don't even have to be able to attract a solitary member of the opposite sex and be able to shag it. Hence stupid government policies designed to appeal to narrow-minded dolts, like this (and Brexit).

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Password re-use is dangerous, right? So what about stopping it with password-sharing?

Smooth Newt
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Re: Sites sharing passwords with each other?

Why it is necessary for sites even to know what the user passwords are?

Why do they store the password and not just its hash? That's just asking for trouble, i.e. screwing all their customers at the same time, as someone can steal the file containing all the passwords.

But maybe there is some psychological profiling data to be extracted from people's password choices and monetised.

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