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* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1857 posts • joined 22 May 2007

IBM is trying to throttle my age-discrimination lawsuit – axed ace cloud salesman

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Nope

I've Been Moved is run by PHBs who fail to realize you need a mix of people with varying levels of experience. The idea is the more experienced mentor often informally the young'ens. When the greyhairs do leave, the young'ens are now well trained and can take over without missing a beat.

Also, as a general rule, the young'ens bring a level of enthusiasm (or lack of cynicism) to the role, along with a willingness to ask questions and innovate. The greyhairs can temper than enthusiasm, encourage an appropriate level of cynicism, answer the questions and filter and refine the innovations. A young/old (experienced/inexperienced) mix can result in a powerful team.

Simply replacing all the BOFHs with PFYs if as much a recipe for disaster as not taking on any PFYs, just keeping the BOFHs...

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

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Re: Interesting idea

The fast way to convince Greens is to ask them to calculate how much electricity is needed vs how much "renewables" can produce

Most will come back with "We need to use less electricity, then the renewables will work"...

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Interesting idea

Another difference is that climatology is a science, where evidence makes or breaks theories. Not like pseudosciences, where "researchers" concentrate on confirming the particular fallacy.

I agree. However, I was pointing out the danger of using the "99.9% of X researchers think X is real" argument. It can easily be quashed, especially by those who have a strong disbelief in X, by saying "they are all in it to save their jobs". There are other arguments to be had, this one doesn't really help the cause.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Interesting idea

I find it completely absurd to believe 99.9% of climate researchers have been persuaded to join a global conspiracy promoting a fake climate change problem

While I agree with you, you could use the same reasoning as proof that homeopathy was valid: "I find it completely absurd to believe that 99.9% of homeopathic practitioners have been persuaded to join a global conspiracy...."

It becomes more likely when you realise that, without climate change, most climate researchers would not have a job (in that field), just as homeopathic practitioners would be out of a job if they admitted they were peddling bovine excrement of the highest order.

I still, like I said, believe man-made climate change is happening.

Privacy, security fears about ID cards? UK.gov's digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'

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Re: another iteration

a candidate's IQs should be visible on the ballot paper

Given the public's disdain for "experts", that would likely lead to even dumber politicians than the current batch (if that's even possible...)

UK taxman told to chill out 'cos loan charge is whacking tax dodgers and whoopsies alike

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Re: @DavCrav

That was the first link I clicked on that found legislation tackling these schemes in 2010

Well, in that case, go back to 2010 when dealing with this. However, HMRC are going a loooong way further than this (I've heard of people being pursued for taxes going back to the early 2000s), and going after the individuals while taking no action against the providers of the schemes, the advisors, the QCs who said they were all above board etc (which many continued to do even after 2010).

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: @DavCrav

Yes, low paid workers were forced into these schemes by their employers. On top of this, senior legal professionals advised that they were legitimate and legal, so many of those who weren't forced into them thought that they were a safe and legal way to minimise their tax burden.

In fact, AFAIK, they WERE legal at the time. Whether they were moral or ethical is another matter, but if something was legal when it was done it should not retrospectively changed. What if the government decided that the national speed limit on motorways should be changed to 50mph, and every motorist who had done more than that over the last 10+ years should be done for speeding?

So, the main points here should be that:

a) Those who were forced onto these schemes with no understanding should not be targeted, and

b) Laws should not be made retrospective, they should apply only from the point they come into force.

He's not cracked RSA-1024 encryption, he's a very naughty Belarusian ransomware middleman

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Dr Shifro, a Russian-language organisation presenting itself online as a ransomware decryption agency, claims that it's "the only company that specializes in decrypting files", urging users: "Call – we will help!"

While I admit that I've not seen the full claims directly, from this quote it doesn't appear that he is making any false claims. He is not saying that he cracks the encryption, but that he decrypts the files. This is what he does: he buys the keys from the ransomware creator and decrypts the files for his client.

What he is doing is still sort of unethical (he's not very clear about what he does, and it would be understandable for the client to assume he was cracking the encryption), but he is basically acting as a consultant. The client pays him to procure the keys and decrypt their data with them, just as a person may pay someone to buy the components and build a PC for them. It's dodgy only because he's not up front about how he decrypts the data.

High Court agrees to hear full legal challenge of Blighty's Snooper's Charter

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Re: At least in the UK...

I'm not expecting miracles, I'm expecting the people we vote for to do what we want them to do.

Unfortunately it's not even as simple as that. Many of the voting public are afraid enough of terrorism etc that they are willing to allow these massive invasions of privacy. They'll speak of protecting us, say "if you have nothing to hide...", speak of protecting children from paedophiles. Basically they will buy all the bull the government use to sell this ****.

So, they are doing what the voting public want, but only because they have tricked the voting public into wanting what the politicians wanted to do in the first place.

Manchester man fined £1,440 after neighbours couldn't open windows for stench of dog toffee

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

If you can't look after a dog, and that includes picking up after it then you really shouldn't have a dog.

I agree.

You do need to look at the larger picture, of course. For instance, if the diabetes was causing depression, which then caused him to be unable to clean up, taking the dog away is counterproductive and would probably make him even more depressed.

Morrisons supermarket: We're taking payroll leak liability fight to UK Supreme Court

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

I'm far more concerned that KPMG felt entitled to an entire copy of the company's payroll, without any form of obfuscation, and that their request went apparently unchallenged.

Ditto. Did they need the payroll in it's entirety? I doubt it, but it is easier to ask for that than it is to ask for only certain parts, with obfuscated/anonymised fields, and request specific additional data later if needed.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: I expect to be flamed

If your payroll data is internal then your... admin can probably get at it.

That depends on the setup.

While not trivial, it is possible to make a system which will not allow the admins access to full plaintext data. Data security concepts require restricting the data to only those who need access.

As I said, though, this is non-trivial and there is an implicit trust placed in IT personnel. The implication is generally that a skilled admin will never be able to work in that field again if he wilfully and maliciously abuses that trust, so the risk is considered small.

In this case, the only way I can see that this could have been prevented would have been to make the export encrypted using a key known only to the auditor: Maybe using asymmetric encryption, or just a passphrase entered directly by the auditor. However, you still have to trust that the auditor won't leak the data...

I agree with the above comments: As long as Morrison's data protection policies, procedures and systems are good, the fact that the employee criminally stole the data should at least reduce their culpability in this matter. Reading between the lines, there is no suggestion that their procedures and systems were not up to scratch. The vast majority of the blame should lie with the thief, and Morrison's should learn from this incident and improve procedures to make it more difficult in the future.

UK.gov withdraws life support from flagship digital identity system

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Does anyone, anywhere have any confidence whatsoever in the government to get any "digital" project off the ground successfully and reasonably close to initial budgets and timelines? In fact, does anyone expect any one of those 3 to be achieved, let alone all 3?

Nvidia promises to shift graphics grunt work to the cloud, for a price

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Re: latency down to a blazing 3ms

"I imagine what's fired down the network is effectively a video stream downstream and key presses upstream!"

That's precisely what it is.

I used it on my Shield tablet, and it was pretty good. My main issues were the limitted number of games available at the time and the fact I had to use a game pad (no keyboard/mouse for FPS or wheel for driving games).

However, the games feel as playable, if not more so, than on a console. IIRC the latency (given a good internet connection) is lower than that experienced in a console. Ignoring the 5G aspect, using decent fixed-line broadband, it's a very viable alternative to spending thousands on a high-end gaming rig (or even spending hundreds on the latest console every time a new one is released), and the hardware is kept up to date for you.

UK taxman told: IR35 still isn't working in the public sector, and you want to take it private?

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"A contractor is not their company. their company provides sick pay, holiday pay etc. You are why IR35 exists."

You miss the a major part of IR35: If you are found inside, you must take all of the money your company receives as salary. There is nothing left to provide sick/holiday pay etc, and the client doesn't have to provide it, either. AFAIK, you can't even deduct the company running costs (accountancy, insurances etc), so you have to pay for all of these, essentially, out of your post-tax income.

So, no, your company cannot pay holiday/sick pay, and on top of your tax you still have to have all the relevant insurances, still have to file company accounts etc. It really is the worst of all worlds.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: The Tool Works Fine:

So, a small shop keeper with no employees should be liable for full UK income tax, including employers contribution of NI, on all sales (not profit, and with no allowances for cost of goods or expenses)?

That's the equivalent of being hit with an inside IR35 decision.

Bank on it: It's either legal to port-scan someone without consent or it's not, fumes researcher

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Re: Code

I'm not defending the port scanning but every web page that has Javascript is running code in your machine without your explicit consent.

Most of that is to operate the site itself: To handle interactions, make things pretty, create a better user experience. Some is about adverts, but we have to accept that as part of the site, too. The parts which are part of the site have implicit consent in that you are wanting to view the page, and I think that's good enough for that. Some is about tracking etc., but that's more controlled than it once was and requires a greater level of consent.

This is a scan of private resources without consent. I think that's a very different thing.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: They are running code in my machine without my explicit consent for their own benefit...

I agree that this is a simple matter of consent.

Most pages now have JS running, but this is mostly in order to do what the visitor is there to do (view/interact with the page). There is implicit consent, as vague as that might be.

In this, they are performing a scan of your private resources without consent. It would be easy enough for them to add a "we must scan your computer for security reasons" page before doing so, get consent, and even allow storage of that answer to avoid it in future.

If it's fine for the banks to do this without consent, it should be fine for security researchers (which, IMHO, it should). If it's not allowed for security researchers to do so without consent, the banks should need consent too.

The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs

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Currently SSDs are eight to ten times more expensive per GB than harddrives, so the cost of making an SSD is going to have to drop by more than half.

Not necessarily.

The lower the price of SSDs go, the more people will use them instead of a HDD. This should lead to better economies of scale, reducing the price of SSDs further (unless we hit a problem with supply, real or manufactured).

Conversely, as demand for SSDs increases, demand for HDDs drops. Initially this would result in reduced prices, but it will lead to fewer and fewer people making them, and the price eventually rising.

So, we are likely to hit a critical point where SDDs wipe out HDD sales before they hit the crossover point, and even that crossover point could well be at a higher price than we currently pay for HDDs.

Amazon meets the incredible SHRINKING UK taxman

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Re: Just say No to Amazon

"As a former small business owner, HMRC seem to take a perverse delight in putting you under their rectal exam spotlight"

This is one thing which, I think, pisses everyone off.

Individuals, except those with massive resources, and small businesses have little choice but to pay exactly what they are told in tax. Try to hedge just a little, push the rules just a tiny amount past what HMRC deems reasonable, and you are whalloped with a bill and must find a large amount to pay for lawyers and accountants to prove you are acting within the law (i.e. innocent).

Large corporations, however, get away with murder (as do the extremely wealthy, in many cases). Yes, they are acting within the law, but they take it all to extremes and pay a pittance, never seeming to be questioned by HMRC who are just happy they pay even that trifling amount.

It's quite obvious that, although the payout would be greater, HMRC would much rather challenge the little guy who can't afford an army of lawyers and accountants. IR35 is a great example of this, although HMRC's dismal record with tribunals (9 of the last 10 lost, IIRC) suggests that you may not even need an army of lawyers to defeat their incompetent arses...

Dear alt-right morons and other miscreants: Disrupt DEF CON, and the goons will 'ave you

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"Simply put: if you're an asshole, you'll get thrown out."

Very good rule to have.

I often wonder at events and private organisations making law-like rules and court-like procedures. While the nightclub bouncer methodology (our word is law, chuck out anyone who we even think is causing trouble, with no right to appeal) can be frustrating when you end up innocently on the wrong side of it, it's better than having an event like this spoiled by a small group of dickheads.

Politicians fume after Amazon's face-recog AI fingers dozens of them as suspected crooks

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"I find my facial recognition ability quite useful, and as far as I know it hasn't caused any harm - yet"

Depends on how many of those facials ended up in someone's eye, I've heard that can be quite painful...

Do Optane's prospects look DIMM? Chip chap has questions for Intel

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Re: i've been waiting for this since the first experimental Dimm loaded scsi SSDs

We could have a little hole on the side of the device to poke a small pen into. Naturally, the first product will be from Apple who will claim to have invented the idea.

But you won't be able to just use any pen, it will have to be an Apple iPen with security keys, costing £000s. There also won't be a hole, the iPen will operate wirelessly, and not work with anything but Apple products.

Facebook's React Native web tech not loved by native mobile devs

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Shock horror: You announce that you are changing to something an employee doesn't know and he doesn't like it. This comes down to people being scared for their jobs. It's a universal reaction to a change which could make them (or at least some of them) redundant. Especially, in this case, because there are more JS devs willing to work for less money than native mobile devs (with no comment made about their abilities).

2FA? We've heard of it: White hats weirded out by lack of account security in enterprise

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I agree 2FA should be implemented by organisations, but getting the bean-counters to understand why it's so important is another matter.

The biggest push back I have seen to new security measures has always been from upper management.

I remember enforcing password strength, expiry and lockout rules in a previous job. While this had been clearly communicated (and had approval all the way from the top) I had to roll it back within a week because one of the directors kept getting locked out. As she was the wife of the MD, he got an ear full and graciously allowed the excrement to flow downhill to me.

That said, the same company had no antivirus when I started (in the late 2000s) and it took an infection to get them to take me seriously about implementing one...

On Android, US antitrust can go where nervous EU fears to tread

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The problem I have with much of this is that Google succeeded in one of the areas I found most irritating about the early smartphone environment.

Back in the day, the software you received on your (non-Apple) smartphone was dependent on the mobile network you subscribed to. The amount of bloat pre-installed was phenomenal, with the network's own apps being both inferior to other offerings and difficult to remove (i.e. you had to root). When combined with the phone manufacturer's own services, on top of Googles, you had a complete mess. I spent a lot of time back then installing custom ROMs to get back to a more pure Android experience.

By requiring a consistent approach, Google has just about fixed this. OK, they may have gone too far (i.e. not allowing use of forks of Android alongside Googley Android, and moving far too much into Play Services etc rather than being in Android, crippling non-Googley Droids), but I prefer the current state of play to that of a decade ago.

UK.gov commits to rip-and-replacing Blighty's wheezing internet pipes

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Re: Not wanting to state the obvious

Almost everyone told BT that this is what they should do 10 years ago. Instead, they've flogged the dead horse (copper/aluminium) as far as it will go, and will continue to resist a full FTTP rollout as long as they can.

AR upstart Magic Leap reveals majorly late tech specs' tech specs

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Re: Should have been pretty obvious

The only place I see AR having much of a future is in warehouse fulfillment and roles of that nature.

I see it being of more use in non-consumer environments, too, once it is smooth and detailed enough.

Warehouse roles, as you say, are an obvious fit even with current technology. However, engineering roles could benefit, viewing details of internal structures and even controlling machinery. Once the tech is up to scratch, it could have huge benefits for medical purposes, too. Augmenting reality to assist in real-life work would be a great bonus in many fields.

However, for gaming most people want to escape reality and I believe that VR will be more successful. A fully immersive world where you can shoot bad guys, or drive like a nutter, or fly through space is much more attractive than overlaying a few sprites on the real world. Other than something akin to Pokemon Go (eurgh!) I don't see a huge consumer market...

UK.gov agrees to narrow 'serious crime' definition for slurping comms data

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The usual threshold of serious crime is one where the case is heard in the crown court in front of a judge rather than a magistrates.

I would accept that as the minimum bar for a serous crime. If a crime would normally be heard in front of a magistrate, without a jury, then I would say it's not that serious.

However, I think we could deal with this by judges discretion. If the crime goes to court and the judge thinks it's not a serious enough crime to have warranted the intrusion (and that's looking at the original reason for the intercept, not anything uncovered since, as well as whether they had a reasonable enough suspicion in the first place) then they should apply something similar to the "fruit of the poisoned tree" doctrine the US have: ALL evidence gathered off the back of that "invalid" intercept is chucked out. This would certainly make the cops think long and hard (teehee) about using the powers!

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: I'm Guessing...

They know they'll lose but want to do it as slowly as possible.

Or maybe they're just delaying until we leave the EU, so they can do whatever the hell they want...

Seriously, this is (for me) the scariest part of leaving. There will be noone to hold our government to account*. They will just pass whatever laws they want, gradually eroding our freedoms and rights until we have none left. Yes, there is likely to be chaos in many other areas, but the loss of oversight from an external body is terrifying!

* Before anyone says it, I know that Voters should be able to hold their government to account but, when both major parties have the same track record on privacy etc. and most people don't care enough** to let it affect their vote anyway, the government are going to have a free hand to do whatever the hell they want.

** Until it affects them directly, by which point they won't have a leg to stand on. "First they came..."

CEST la vie, IR35 workers: HMRC sets out stall for ignoring Mutuality of Obligation

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Re: where does MOO fit in?

It's a shame that HMRC don't relise the slightly better paid contractor pays more tax than being employed on a lower salary. There are ways to clamp down on some of the shenanigans that some contractors perform that doesn't require everyone paying even more.

This.

If all contractors (or a large proportion of them) suddenly decided they were fed up of the HMRC's crappy treatment of them and decided to go perm, the tax take would plummet. (Also, businesses would suffer and the economy would take a hit).

Some contractors play fast and loose with the rules. Some even break the rules. Most, however, play within the rules in a fair manner and pay huge amounts of tax compared to an equivalent employee. Every contractor who decides he's had enough of this bullpoo cuts the exchequer's take by a fair whack.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: where does MOO fit in?

@AC

Some aspects of the rules are described at

https://www.gov.uk/employment-status

Due to the way the system works in this country, those rules do not apply in tax law/IR35. A person's employment status is completely separate to their IR35 tax status. You can be taxed as an employee but not be employed in terms of status. This is where the unfairness comes in, and why tax and employment law needs to be harmonised.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: So...

You are entitled to holiday and sick pay. YOUR company, of which you are most likely the sole employee and owner, pays it to you. You are not your consultancy company. The company money is not yours until you take it out paying the appropriate taxes. You are why IR35 exists.

That's the point, though. If you are found to be inside IR35 (i.e. the client should have hired an employee, but instead chose a contractor), then you are forced to draw all earnings as a salary. Your company must pay the employer's NI, and you must pay all income tax and NI on those earnings. There is nothing left to pay holiday or sick pay after that, or either your own expenses or the company operating expenses, like accountancy or insurances. There are also no consequences for the company who chose to take on a contractor for a staff role.

IR35 had very little to do with contractors themselves. It was aimed at people who were in a staff job, left, and came back the next day as a contractor doing exactly the same job. This was often at the employer's request rather than the employee's.

Contractors know that the money isn't ours until we draw it (at least all those I have spoken to). We keep some money in the company to use for company benefit, and/or to cover time out of contract. We pay a lot of tax, and a lot of additional expense in order to operate our own consultancy services. We accept the loss of employment rights and a lot of extra responsibility in return for greater flexibility and a higher rate of pay. We are not the problem, companies who take on contractors for staff roles are.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Poor old HMRC...

They have spent that time with their fingers in their ears singing "la la la, I'm not listening".

The courts have sorted "this shambles" out for them, but HMRC continue to ignore their rulings. Try asking HMRC for IR35 advice, and you'll get a very different answer to a competent Tax lawyer (or even what you would come up with yourself by a brief skim of the rules and associated cases).

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Fine HMRC...

That's what would happen: You would be forced to take your entire gross earnings as PAYE income. As this is an expense, your company would make no profit (or even a loss, considering there may be other expenses which you are not allowed to take into account), so would pay no corporation tax.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: So...

In fact, as it is generally accepted that a contractor's rate is higher mainly to cover the uncertainy and the lack of employment rights, those things can be said to be valued at the difference between the rates of a contractor and a permie.

Let's say that a contractor charges twice the permie rate, and that for the permie we talk of earns £40k. This means the permie pays £5628 in income tax and £3789 in NI, for a total tax of £9417 or 23.5%.

The contractor earns £80k, and pays £16k in corporation tax and around £8k in dividend tax, for a total tax of around £24k or 30%.

If you were to take the difference as the benefit of stability and employment rights, this makes them worth £40k, and that puts the employee on a very attractive sub-12% tax rate.

It's not fair that such an amazing, valuable benefit is not taken into account when talking of tax. Employees get this benefit tax-free, whereas contractors must pay tax on giving it up. Looking at similar role/level of experience/ etc, the permie gets a much better deal in terms of tax.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: So...

Contractors already pay a very similar amount of tax to permies, when you take into account the new dividend taxes. We pay around about 26% basic (20% corp tax, 7.5% dividend tax), where a permie will pay 32% (20% income, 12% NI). The big differences are in employer's NI and employent rights (if they were classed as taxable and a value put on them, you'd probably find actual pay and tax levels weigh in favour of the permie).

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: @Herring: Just a question

The problem is that, strictly speaking, your employer is still once removed from the client or agency: Either your Ltd company, or the umbrella company. So it is they who would need to provide you with sick/holiday/etc pay, and it still comes out of your gross earnings.

What is needed (and this has been said many times over) is a harmonisation between employment and tax law. If you are deemed to be "inside IR35", you become an employee of the client. They become liable for employers NI, and you for employee taxes on gross earnings. You gain the same rights as any employee. That way, fairness and shared liability is seen. In addition, companies would stop taking on contractors for roles which are clearly employee roles (permanent or temporary) as they wouldn't want to risk the increased tax bills (just as contractors don't, now).

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: where does MOO fit in?

IIRC, from case law, MOO for IR35 purposes is that the "employer"/client is required to provide work, and the "employee"/contractor is required to accept it.

Typically, if the client has no work for the contractor, they can tell them to come back next week, or just terminate the contract. They are not obliged to provide work during the contract length, and (even with clauses for notice periods, which are pretty meaningless unless you are prepared to shell out a lot of money in court to enforce them) can just tell you on a Monday morning that they no longer require your services, Similarly, a contractor doesn't have to request leave, they can say "I'm not working tomorrow" (or even, by contract, just not show up, although this is discourteous to the point that the client may just tell them not to bother coming back).

By ignoring MOO (or redefining it), HMRC are ignoring many years of case law. They will find themselves slapped down in court over and over again. CEST is not fit for purpose on this one point alone, and that aside still fails to correctly classify most of the cases brought to court against them in the past.

They remind me the record exec in the Chef Aid episode of South Park:

https://youtu.be/ZNJDV1XoEpw

National ID cards might not mean much when up against incompetence of the UK Home Office

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An ID card is a long way from an extensive database, and it's a shame that Labour tried to conflate the two

Indeed.

As you said, a pure ID card that confirms the identity of a person ONLY would be a wonderful thing, as long as it was either optional or free (or both).

If it was mandatory (either legally or effectively, as in you couldn't access things you need without it) and they charged for it, you have basically a regressive stealth tax. If it is optional, and this included a legal mandate to accept other forms of ID instead, then charging for it would be OK.

There are a few things which could be done to sell it to the country (and I don't understand why noone suggested this at the last attempt to introduce them). For instance, it could be made to allow you to incorporate your bank cards on it. Electronic cash could be implemented on it. A user-defined area could be set up to store things like club membership cards, loyalty cards, employee ID. It could be able to be used by your phone and/or PC etc to provide proof of ID over t'interweb.

All in, it could be implemented in such a way that everyone benefits from it. I doubt it will ever be: the Govt of the day will just keep trying to bring it in as a vast overarching surveillance mechanism, and a way to control the population, all the while charging them for the process.

Apple hauled into US Supreme Court over, no, not ebooks, patents, staff wages, keyboards... but its App Store

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Re: That's not how apple store works...

When you purchase "Avengers Infinity War" at your local Walmart, are you trying to tell me that Warner Brother's is selling you that DVD / Blu-ray? No you are purchasing it at Walmart.

Surely that is an argument in favour of it being sold BY Apple. Apple is Walmart, in this case, and the developer is Warner Bros.

As things stand in the UK (I don't know about the US), if you buy something from a high street store, your contract of sale is with the store. That store has bought it from the supplier. If the item does not work, for instance, you go back to the store and they deal with the problem.

I would say that the same should hold true for the App Store(s): You buy the software/license/whatever from Apple, who have (effectively) bought it from the developer while keeping their cut.

No fandango for you: EU boots UK off Galileo satellite project

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Re: Well

It's obvious that we aren't going to agree, so I will just leave one final comment then stop looking back here:

If we are in the EU, there is no problem because there is effectively no border.

If we were both outside the EU, then there would be no problem because Ireland would be free to strike it's own deals.

However, Ireland wants to remain a member of the EU and, in doing so, accepts that such deals are handled by the EU and all members jointly. We want to leave the EU, and must accept that (through rules which we helped create) such deals are handled by the EU.

With Ireland in the EU, it is likely that it will be a matter of having the same border and trade arrangements between NI and RoI as exists between UK and the rest of the EU. How those border arrangements look will be a result of the trade negotiations.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Well

So the EU is incapable of trade deals?

Of course not. However, they take years to agree and it's what we are currently working towards. We are also asking for a form of freedom of movement between RoI and NI, but not the rest of Europe. That's a lot more than a trade deal.

"Do you really think that the other 26 countries (who all have to agree) would be happy with and accept that one particular country in the group gets to put special rules in place which disadvantage their own citizens?"

That must be the first time you have acknowledged (at least to my memory) that brexit is an advantage.

No, actually I didn't. I was talking of the other 26 vs RoI. If RoI has a different deal to the rest of Europe, including free movement to the UK and free trade with the UK, how happy are the other 26 nations in the EU going to be about that discrimination against their companies and their citizens? Why should Irish citizens get a better deal, and Irish companies be able to undercut their prices?

The trading block trades and negotiates as a block. What is available to one is available to all. So, if we want free trade and free movement with Ireland while it remains a member of the EU, we would have to accept the same terms with the rest of the EU (unless they make a very big, very public exception to their rules AND convince all of the other 26 nations within the block to agree).

Remember, though, that the EU has already offered a solution to the Irish border problem which we can do while respecting the outcome of the referendum: Remain a member of the EEA/EFTA/Customs Union. We would still leave the EU, as stated on the ballot, but the Irish border problem would be solved (as would the matter of a free trade agreement, rights of EU nationals in the UK, rights of UK nationals in the EU, and pretty much every other stumbling block in the negotiations). That "we" reject the only solution available within the existing framework make's it our problem to find an solution acceptable to the 27 other nations in this negotiation.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Well

How can the EU's border control be the UK's problem?

We are asking them to create an exception to their rules which doesn't exist anywhere else, and providing no realistic way in which it could be implemented while still keeping control of their own borders, migration, standards etc, and not discriminating against the rest of their population (part of the treaties and rules in place). Do you really think that the other 26 countries (who all have to agree) would be happy with and accept that one particular country in the group gets to put special rules in place which disadvantage their own citizens?

I can say "I want a car which produces 300BHP, does 100mpg, and costs £10,000 new. The car dealer down the road wants one to sell to me, too." Is it the manufacturer's problem to try to build one? Is the manufacturer being difficult or unfair when he tells me it's impossible?

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Well

@codejunky

Just one final point by way of an example.

Let us say that Wales wanted to establish a deal with, say, Canada. They wanted people and goods to move freely between Wales and Canada, with no border checks, and relying on "technological solutions" to ensure all standards were met. Canada wanted that, too, but only with Wales not the rest of the UK.

What do you think the UK government's response would be?

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Well

@codejunky

"Solutions have been proposed by the UK but the EU want a harder border so nuff said."

The solutions I have seen so far have either been rejected by Hard Brexiteers or Loyalist parties in NI (e.g. NI remaining in CU, moving the border to between NI/RUK) or depend on coming up with some magical new technology/systems in a very short space of time. In short, there have been no realistic solutions put forward. I think we can be pretty sure that there are some clever people involved on all sides trying to come up with a solution, and none have been found (or at least publicised) which would be acceptable to all involved. It will be interesting to see whether any does emerge...

You also forget that the EU, just as the UK, wants to have control over it's borders. If there is an "open" border between RoI and NI, the EU lose that control (as, incidentally, does the UK). To maintain proper control of the border, they would need a harder border between RoI and the rest of the EU (as they would be dependant on whatever customs, migration controls and standards the UK chose to implement, not those of their own policies).

We keep arguing round in circles, and we're obviously not going to agree here. I cannot see how the Irish border is not a problem of the UK's making for the UK to solve, and I also can't see how you would disagree. I'm pretty sure the same can be said of you in reverse. None of your arguments have made sense to me, and if mine haven't made sense to you so far then there's little point continuing the argument.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Well

@codejunky

So in your scenario we are better off after a few years. And then you ask how that is good for anyone? I think I will refer you to what you just said and hey presto we are better off out.

No, in my scenario we are worse off for AT LEAST a few years. If this has affected our growth during this time, which it will, then the repercussions last at least until our growth offsets the reduction in growth over those few years. Any improvements after that, which I again stress may or may not happen, are playing catch up. If the improvements you predict don't happen (or take even longer to happen), we are worse off for even longer.

"and forcing there to be an external EU border between RoI and NI"

And that is the EU's problem. Ireland doesnt want a border. UK doesnt want a border. If the EU wants one they can do it. Not our problem.

Ireland wants to remain a part of the EU, and the EU has rules to control it's external border. This has never been an issue, because the UK was part of the EU. However, now the UK want's to leave the EU, so the external border becomes one between NI and RoI. How is it not our problem? We are causing it! The EU doesn't want a border between the UK and the rest of the EU, but we are insisting on it and then saying "Except that bit, we don't want one there, we never meant that bit" (a common theme throughout Brexit negotiation so far).

Are you telling us what we wanted or interpreting the worst you can think of or what?

I'm not telling you what you think, nor interpretting the worst I can. I am following a logical path:

- A main part of the campaign to leave was removing freedom of movement.

- Freedom of movement exists between NI and the rest of the UK.

- Freedom of movement exists between RoI and the rest of the EU.

- Therefore if freedom of movement exists between RoI and NI, it exists between UK and EU.

Btw can you use a single comment to reply instead of multiple for the same thread. It wouldnt be fair for us to spam the boards.

I was replying to individual comments, of which there are a lot. You could have done the same, but decided to reply to each of the comments I made separately...

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Well

"Firstly, one of the main themes of the Leave campaign was control of our borders. So, having "no border" between NI violates that."

I dont understand how people can get this simple concept so wrong. Control of our borders means our own choice over the border.

For one, we don't have a border with Ireland (when we leave). We have a border with the EU (as the trading block maintains it's external border as one). If you would like to have no border with the EU, we can always remain inside the EEA/EFTA/EU...

Secondly, if there is no hard border between NI and RoI, there is no hard border between UK and EU (as there is no hard border between RoI and EU, and none between NI and the rest of the UK). Isn't that one of the main things which leavers wanted?

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Well

That would make the RoI/NI border an EU issue then

The RoI/NI border is an RoI/NI problem, hence and RoI/UK problem. The UK has decided to leave the EU, and they knew that there is an external border to the EU which is controlled. The UK was a party to the Good Friday agreement, and is now reneging on it's commitments in that by leaving the EU (and EEA/EFTA etc) and forcing there to be an external EU border between RoI and NI, so it's the UK's responsibility to find a way to resolve this.

The EU didn't kick us out, we chose to leave, and must accept all the consequences of that.

Dr. Mouse Silver badge

Re: Well

The good news for leave is that the EU failing to make a deal gives us a hard brexit

I don't understand how anyone can think this is a good thing. In the short term AT LEAST this is likely to be damaging to the UK: We would leave with no trade deals with RoW, isolated on WTO terms. All the external deals we already have are through the EU, so they would cease, and negotiating new ones would not happen over night (they typically take years). So at least the first few years would kill our export market.

Then you get the fact that the rest of the world can see this and knows how desperate we will be to form new agreements, and they will take liberties with terms. We have already seen this with, for example, India: They would want vastly increased numbers of visas for their people to come to the UK for any trade deal. America have shown that they won't allow trade deals which would rule out their inferior food markets, and would want a serious slice of our NHS pie. The same goes for everyone else: They would be like vultures circling.

Then there's all the other bits of the EU (or satelite organisation) which are currently vital to the countries operation, like Euratom. Setting up our own versions of these will not happen overnight, nor will they be internationally recognised overnight.

Hard Brexit is likely to damage us severely in the first few years, and any improvements (which may or may not happen) will start to build after that. How is that good for anyone?

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