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back to article Lords look again at internet security

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has announced a follow-up inquiry to its 'Personal Internet Security' report. It said it has taken the measure because of its disappointment in the government's response to the report, which was released in August 2007. The government rejected many of the committee's …

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The Lords looking more competent than the Commons once again...

Meh, It's depressing that the level of debate and general analysis of what is put before them is better in the un-elected chamber than the elected one.

Well, I suppose they do have more time and fewer Whips on their backs to push the Government's next favoured piece of legislation through unread and unaltered.

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Bent...

"he requirement that victims of online card fraud report the crime to their banks rather than the police"

This desperately needs reversing. Since the change was introduced some police forces have reported card fraud stats of zero! Clearly the banks aren't passing on the reports of card fraud and are skewing fraud figures in their favour.

No surprise here, Labour need crime reduction stats like this to cover their abysmal handling of... well.. everything!

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well done, me noble lords!

clear evidence that retaining a bicameral legislature is an absolute necessity

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Dan
Paris Hilton

Lords

This is why it would be a bad idea for the labour gov to change the house of lords. The idea of abolishing hereditary peers sounds good (get rid of the toffs born into it - class war, hurray!) but in practice it will remove those Lords who couldn't give a monkeys what the government thinks of them and who are not afraid to tell them where to stick their daft ideas.

Paris because she has more of a clue about security and tech than the gov.

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"abolishing hereditary peers"

But why are peers independent of the government at the moment? Because they are born. And, as you can tell by the existence of Wedgie Ben, you have no control over how a peer thinks because birth is VERY accidental.

However, El Tone wants or wanted to be able to nominate peers so that he could select the right people to become the balance to the commons. I.e. people who think like him.

And that's definitely not a good idea.

The poor have numbers on their side.

The rich have money to do their talking.

The gentry are often (in the UK) sodding poor (compared to their status peers) and are an easy target to attack. And at the moment, these unrepresentative toffs have been the ONLY ones to protect the ordinary populace from the government exercising what they see as their mandate from the people (about 25% of the people...).

Removing the toffs so that we get anti-hunting legislation through more easily isn't a good tradeoff for losing what competency seems to be there at the moment and has NO guarantee of staying there if we change it.

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You get what you measure (and reward)

It's very simple really. More or less any unelected group, provided they were reasonably well educated, intelligent, and of inquiring mind, would do better than the House of Commons. Why? Because they get there by being elected, so that's what's bound to be on their minds most of the time.

Plato pointed this out in "The Republic" (fascist as it gets later on). What sort of person would we prefer to be ruled by? he asks. Clearly, the sort of person who does not want to rule, has no intention of running for office, and would refuse if invited.

For millennia, the ordinary people ("citizens") have been fairly lucky in that their rulers were pretty amateur in their approach. Roman emperors, for example, typically spent a few years leading armies in the field, or lolling around eating nightingales' tongues and having orgies, before taking over a post in which everyone told them they were doing a great job (until they were assassinated). What chance did they have of running things efficiently? Two centuries ago, or even one century, most British MPs had useful (or at least lucrative) other lives, as doctors, lawyers, soldiers and sailors, merchants, etc.

Nowadays, a few thousand years into the game, politicians have finally done what would have taken a more competent bunch a few years at most. They have started applying state-of-the-art know-how to getting what they want - namely, getting elected, staying elected, avoiding any undue work or career risks, and making the populace shut up and do what it's told. Where did they learn all this? Basically, by copying business - they have adopted spin, PR, marketing, advertising, and above all the common approach that underlies all of these - lying.

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re. Bent

The "victims" of card fraud ARE the banks; reporting card-fraud to the police on an individual basis is a waste of police time. The card user needs to alert the bank so that the card is cancelled and the user is refunded. The bank then needs to submit the report as part of aggregated data regarding card fraud. If 10,000 people report the loss of £100 to their local police it will result in zero action, the crime is too minor to investigate. If a bank submits a combined report of £1,000,000 lost to card fraud, there will be some justification for the police to put some effort in.

The only way to get the banks to come clean about the levels of fraud is to require mandatory reporting in financial-reports; investors and customers would learn to steer clear of banks with poor security.

Card fraud is not really a problem that the police can tackle in any effective way; often it is occuring over national boundaries and in such small amounts, but large numbers of them, that police resources cannot be brought to bear on the perpetrators (its a bit like trying to control tens-of-thousands of teleporting pick-pockets that live in a different country to their victims). Where the banks have evidence of systematic card-fraud (i.e. organised crime in this area) then there is more chance that the police can be interested and effective, but only the banks have the aggregated data for the police to use (unless you want to have the government "IT experts" put a reporting system together for this).

The real solution to card fraud is better authentication systems. The convenience of credit cards is a two-edged sword; I can make purchases in almost any country in the world, so its hard for the banks to know if its me or a fraudster buying goods overseas. Maybe the banks could issue cards that only work in the user's home country unless prior notification is given (e.g. vacation)? For some people this would be an inconvenience, but they could be issued with an international card, but with the penalty of mandatory fraud-insurance or some other mechanism to cover misuse.

As long as I can use a card in any country in the world for a CNP (card not present) transaction, the system is open to abuse.

As far as "internet security" is concerned, the government has no business debating it; they'll only use it as an excuse to lock down the internet. At the end of the day we're really talking about fraud here, not GBH and murder! Fraud is just the exploitation of weak financial security systems, that's a problem for the banks to deal with. The only role that the government could legitimately have is to prevent the banks passing on the cost of fraud to the customer instead of addressing the problem of weak systems properly.

And bollocks to unelected representation (oxymoron)!

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Reforming the Lords?

Yet again, the upper house demonstrates more common sense than the elected chamber, but that's not to say it isn't in need of reform. The back-scratching system of ermine robes in return for donations/loans or other perks needs to be stopped and life long peerages brought to an end. Instead, peers should serve a single seven-year term and be a mix of people chosen at random from the electoral register in the same way as jurors, or nominated by particular interest groups such as the CBI, TUC, Universities, El Reg readership, etc

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Re. Reforming the Lords?

Why not try democracy!

Elect a second house, but with the provision that members of political parties are not allowed to stand; that way party-politics is eliminated in favour of people being elected to represent the people who know them (you'd have to be known to the electorate to be voted in or have an amusing name to pick up the random-voters).

Limit candidates to small campaigning budgets and encourage the use of interactive media like the internet rather than television, politics would have to go back to grass roots and away from expensive advertising campaigns.

Above all, if parties aren't allowed into the second house, the people elected will actually have to DEBATE and THINK about the issues in front of them!

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"The "victims" of card fraud ARE the banks"

No, that's why they made Chip and Pin: they were told if they didn't get something more secure then they'd be liable. Until then the merchant was liable for any loss. Now with CnP, it's either YOU or the merchant.

Still not the bank.

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Re: Reforming the Lords

> Yet again, the upper house demonstrates more common sense than the elected chamber, but that's not to say it isn't in need of reform.

I consider the house of lords to be doing a good job. They are the *only* part of our governmental system that represents my interests as far as I can see and I would prefer they aren't replaced with a rubber stamping service. Thats what the house of commons wants.

If it ain't broke don't fix it. If anywhere is in need of reforming then its the house of commons. What we don't need is the house of commons removing safeguards against their power. I mean, why are they allowed to do that?!

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@Mark

Maybe for CnP (Chip'n'PIN) transactions, but what about CNP (Card Not Present)? I think this is why Halifax stopped paying the fraudulent WoW subscriptions...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/15/halifax_blizzard_block/

As far as penalising merchants, this may well be a good thing as it will discourage poor security at their end; many years ago as a student I worked for a high-street shop that sold TVs, videos and Hi Fi. At the time there was a £50 bounty on retrieving stolen cards so everyone checked signatures (pre CnP) and held onto the card until telephone authentication was obtained (for large amounts); in the last few years, before CnP came in, most retail staff didn't even check the signature and would even hand the card back before I'd signed the transaction slip!

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Re: 13:41

Excellent idea. We would still have a party system, because humans are instinctive pack animals and getting into power by creating a group identity and convincing large amounts of the population to buy into it is much easier than relying on your own ideology, intelligence and integrity. It would just have to be run in secret, requiring a lot of money spent on consultants and lawyers while the usual dirty business of politics carried on as usual on a nodding and winking basis.

There's only one way to get better government. Remove it.

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House of commons

I hear Castro is at a loose end this week, he can't do much of a worse job than the house of commons. Maybe we should invite him over :-P

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Anonymous Coward

The usual burble

Is is not time for "the people" to take charge of the government and hgive them a shaking in regard to it's ignorance of the problems they have with computer technology? Time after time we see the elected representitives failing to understand the complexities and falling prey to their own ignorance whilst putting the rest of "at risk" from their decisions. Enough is enough and they MUST be divorced from any contact with technology of which they have no understanding.

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