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Comments

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Dutch Court Says Government Can Receive Bulk Data from NSA

cardpuncher Re:Just wow. (109 comments)

In 2004, the Court of Appeal in England ruled that it was OK to admit evidence obtained under torture into English trials, provided that the torture had been carried out elsewhere. David Blunkett, the Home Secretary at the time said:

"We unreservedly condemn the use of torture and have worked hard with our international partners to eradicate this practice. However, it would be irresponsible not to take appropriate account of any information which could help protect national security and public safety"

The Appeal Court ruling was finally overturned by the House of Lords the following year.

However, given the enthusiasm of the original judges and the Home Secretary of the time and the ever increasing use of the "because terrorism" excuse, I'm not sure that there would be similar hope of justice prevailing in the future. It's not just privacy on the line.

about a week ago
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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

cardpuncher Re:Correlation is not causation (613 comments)

Indeed. Look in awe as the honest citizens of Greece and Italy pay their taxes without demur.

about a week ago
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Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

cardpuncher Re:more leisure time for humans! (530 comments)

I think you'll find that the concept of "country" and "citizen", insofar as it applies to people and not capital, is what got us to this point.

about three weeks ago
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Google and Facebook Can Be Legally Intercepted, Says UK Spy Boss

cardpuncher Re:So, why pay UK taxes? (104 comments)

>You should not be allowed to just arbitrarily decide which countries laws apply

It's a long-established principle that you should be able to decide, as part of a contract, how disputes relating to the contract should be resolved. That includes things like alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, clerical courts, spinning a bottle...) as well as a national jurisdiction.

However, this only applies to the two parties.

You can't arbitrarily decide how a third party (such as the government of the country in which the contract is effectively executed) should treat you. Google, Apple, et al, can shift their earnings around the globe because of international accounting regulations to which governments, including that of the UK, have subscribed. Partly, they did that because they hoped that by competing with each other to offer favourable tax treatment, they could get international companies to relocate and make up in volume what they were losing in margin by dropping rates.

Surprise, surprise, small countries which get the greatest proportional benefit from headquartering multinationals are able to offer the lowest rates.

Blame your politicians, not the companies they are actually encouraging to behave in this way.

about a month and a half ago
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The Coming IT Nightmare of Unpatchable Systems

cardpuncher Re:This "nightmare" rigns a bell (240 comments)

Don't worry. IPv6 will solve the problem by ensuring those end-of-line internet-connected systems aren't internet-connected any more...

about 2 months ago
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Declining LG's New Ad-friendly Privacy Policy Removes Features From Smart TVs

cardpuncher Does a manufacturer have the right? (221 comments)

No. Not in UK law, I'm pretty sure, though IANAL.

The Data Protection Act (DPA) means you have to be able to opt out of this kind of intrusive data harvesting and if the disabling of advertised functionality isn't covered by the Sale of Goods Act, it would seem that the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations would apply. The DPA applies to your relationship with the data processor (LG) while the functionality of the TV is the responsibility of the retailer.

The correct remedy would be to return the TV to the retailer and demand a refund or a "repair" and to go to the small claims court if they refuse. LG won't be happy when retailers start pushing back.

about 2 months ago
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New Zealand Spy Agency To Vet Network Builds, Provider Staff

cardpuncher Re:Majority Rules (92 comments)

You could certainly argue this where the legislation, as in this case, has passed through a legislature.

The way this would play out in the UK (and appears to have happened in the US) is that you get invited to a meeting in a government office and some people whose exact role is not clear will explain how important they feel it is for you to co-operate in the interests of national security. They might hint at the unfortunate consequences of being unco-operative or of letting anyone know that the meeting has taken place. You then leave and do as you're told.

When the government's policies (and, indeed the laws) are secret, you can't blame the voters, because they don't get to find out what the government is actually doing, as opposed to what it says it's doing. There is an elected government and an unelected shadow government - which, by means of a similar process of nods and winks, makes sure that no-one who stands for election is a threat to them.

about 3 months ago
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Nintendo Apologizes For Not Allowing Same-Sex Relationships In Life Sim Game

cardpuncher Look at it from a different perspective (384 comments)

These are just avatars in a game. Someone actively decided that certain rules would apply to their interactions - there was no necessity to impose any societal values on those interactions, players would simply have applied those values they felt appropriate for themselves. In other words, the developers decided to impose their own vision of societal norms when there was no real need to do so.

This is a very similar issue to the "emoji racism" campaign - someone actively designed the almost-exclusively-white characters, even though there was no functional or other requirement to exclude black faces. It almost certainly wasn't concious racism - they just failed to think beyond their limited personal experience and reflect the wider world.

That's a reasonable thing to call out.

about 3 months ago
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London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber

cardpuncher Re:Buggy whips (417 comments)

Actually, up until 1976 it was a legal requirement for taxi drivers to carry hay in case their horses got a bit peckish. It's an area in which regulations seem to change very slowly.

There's been a (decades-) long ongoing war between black-cab taxis (which you can hail on the street) and minicabs (private cars you book by phone) and this is merely another phase of that battle.

There is a genuine issue of ensuring standards (for example, disabled accessibility to vehicles), but these are things taxi drivers have historically resisted themselves. As taxi drivers tend to be one man bands in London their earnings are also somewhat opaque and I'm sure they're not only concerned about competition, but also about a growing expectation that your journey can be recorded by a third party llike Uber whose records might be available to the tax authorities.

about 3 months ago
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Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected

cardpuncher Re:Screwed the Pooch (477 comments)

I did buy a Blu Ray player, because it was being heavily discounted and had streaming built in (and, more importantly for me, it was at the time the cheapest way to add BBC iPlayer to my TV). I've never bought a Blu Ray disc - the cheap ones seem to be forgettable Hollywood potboilers and the films I might want to watch I already have on (ripped) DVDs and I don't personally see the value in reacquiring them for the modest increase in quality that's possible in the averagely-sized living room. In fact, I've barely used the disc drawer. And I'm hardly "younger people"...

about 3 months ago
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Why Microsoft Shouldn't Patch the XP Internet Explorer Flaw

cardpuncher Re:Microsoft Has These Patches (345 comments)

Additionally, a chunk of those end users who still have XP machines and obey the call to replace them are going to go out and buy iPads or Android tablets because they'll do the job well enough and be a lot less trouble. You'd think Microsoft would have an interest in keeping people on planet Windows until they're ready for their next fix.

about 3 months ago
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One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

cardpuncher Re:Huh? (230 comments)

>terminals and PCs w(h)ere common in 1983

No they weren't.

The IBM PC was introduced in 1981. You couldn't do much with it, certainly not much related to mainframe programming. They were very expensive for what they did. Minicomputers existed, but they also didn't cross over mainframe territory.

People with heavy data processing requirements were mostly using DOS/VSE on S/370 and 4300 mainframes. No timesharing in DOS. It was still extremely common in industry to have people sitting with coding forms that were then passed to data preparation teams for punching. I've sat with teams painstakingly writing DOS JCL onto coding sheets.

If you were a larger user that could justify the investment in MVS, you could potentially use the Time Sharing Option, an interactive environment with a reputation for being cumbersome and inefficient - you'd only extend the "luxury "of using it to a comparatively few select people.

Computer time was also extremely expensive. Cambridge University wrote their own version of timesharing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_%28computer%29) for their (early) S/370 in order to support a larger number of users and time on it was still so restricted that usage was "priced" to reflect demand at different times of day and CS students would either have to work at 3am or make extensive use of cards or other offline data entry to get their projects completed within the allocated budget.

Whereas there were minicomputers and early personal computers around, they were scarcely to be seen in what was still the predominant environment of the computer industry - the (IBM) mainframe shop.

Actually, the British government tended to prefer homegrown procurement and more of its staff were likely to be working with George 3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GEORGE_%28operating_system%29), which had a far better interactive environment than IBM offered.

about 3 months ago
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Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

cardpuncher Re:Time to move into the Century of the fruit bat. (1198 comments)

For the same reason they're so keen on guns and against healthcare - the populus been induced into a state of perpetual fear so that it might more easily be manipulated. And fear needs to be fed.

about 3 months ago
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Mathematicians Push Back Against the NSA

cardpuncher Re:+1 (233 comments)

And even for the unwilling, there's very little moral determination that can't be diluted with sufficient money.

about 3 months ago
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Amazon Embodies the Gender Gap in Tech

cardpuncher Re:And this is just fine. (302 comments)

Of course, if women don't have children, the near future for most of us is pretty bleak - no income, no services, no food.

There's a clear societal benefit in both enouraging women to work and to have children - until such time as they're grown in jars.

The issue here seems to be that the necessary cost of doing that is unfairly and randomly dumped on employers who will likely, whatever the legal position, attempt to minimise their exposure to risk. It's really a cost that needs to be born from general taxation.

about 3 months ago
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TCP/IP Might Have Been Secure From the Start If Not For the NSA

cardpuncher Re:Flamebait (149 comments)

This is the same Vint Cerf who opined recently that "privacy may be an anomaly" and "[our] experience with privacy is a result of our own behavior".

It's precisely because such people are so keen to work on stuff they "couldn't share ... with friends" that their friends find themselves the target of what they've developed.

about 4 months ago
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US Intelligence Officials To Monitor Federal Employees With Security Clearances

cardpuncher Re:And the obvious result is... (186 comments)

And people who are secretly resentful, and people who are keeping their noses clean until they have worked their way into a position useful to their foreign handlers.

The more you seek to eliminate the people of whom you might be suspicious, the greater becomes the proportion of the people left who are either disaffected or "not suspicious" as a result of knowing how your "suspicions" are aroused.

about 5 months ago
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Metadata and the Intrusive State

cardpuncher Re:Who believe "just metadata" reassurances anyway (66 comments)

Merry Contemporary England still has a system in which the power of the government is theoretically delegated from the Sovereign whose authority is established by divine right.

The Founding Fathers' descendants still have a system based on the quasi-divine right of the constitution.

One has GCHQ, the other has the NSA.

Using only one side of the paper, explain how the "US Concept" to which you refer makes a material difference to "The People".

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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UK Plans Secret Trials

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  about 2 months ago

cardpuncher (713057) writes "According to the BBC , the UK is planning its first entirely secret trial in which the defendants are unnamed, all "evidence" will be heard behind closed doors and reporting will banned. Media organisations, who were not originally permitted even to report the existence of an order barring them from reporting the trial, are appealing against the banning order."
Link to Original Source
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Metropolitan police drag feet on terror detention complaints

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  about a year ago

cardpuncher (713057) writes "At the end of a week in which oversight of the securocracy has been a prominent issue, Britain's Independent newspaper reports that London's Metropolitan Police Service has consistently refused to investigate complaints over border detentions such as that suffered by David Miranda, despite allegations of ethnic profiling and quota-filling. Although the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) used its powers to force belated investigations to take place, the Met is apparently refusing to hand over the results to the IPCC, resulting in the IPCC having to threaten the police with court action."
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Heathrow closed by "Dreamliner Fire"

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  1 year,18 days

cardpuncher (713057) writes "The BBC reports the closure of London's Heathrow airport allegedly as a result of an "internal" fire on an Ethiopian 787 "Dreamliner" aircraft. The incident follows closely on the 787's re-introduction to service on April 27th after modifications to its battery system."
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British government to grant warrant-free trawl of communications data

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  more than 2 years ago

cardpuncher (713057) writes "Having opposed the previous government's attempts to introduce mass surveillance of Internet communications, the Conservatives are planning to introduce the very same policy they previously described as a "culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter terrorism and serious crime". So no surprises there.

The plan is essentially to allow stored communication data to be trawled without the inconvenience of needing a warrant or even any reasonable suspicion.

More information from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17576745."

Link to Original Source

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