* Posts by Red Bren

1218 posts • joined 17 Oct 2007

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HORRIFIED Amazon retailers fear GOING BUST after 1p pricing cockup

Red Bren
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Mushroom

Re: Shurely

I'm sure my IT contractor friends have professional indemnity insurance in case things go...

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Car-crash IT: HUGE write-off for Universal Credit - PAC

Red Bren
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Unhappy

Re: Hold on a second

I thought the problem with public sector management was quite the opposite. All the experienced staff get made redundant and are promptly hired by the private sector consultants, who then run rings around their former employer when bidding for the outsourced work.

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Red Bren
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Re: Pretty good for public sector IT

Thanks for the link

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Red Bren
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Windows

Re: Pretty good for public sector IT

"a simple website that allows anyone to tap in their numbers and see what, if anything, they are entitled to."

And send the welfare bill through the roof? The system is designed to make it as difficult as possible to claim what you're entitled to. The last thing the government wants is to give more money to poor people who were previously denied benefits because of some minor error they made on a 156 page application form supplying information the state already has.

If you really want to simplify the benefits system, just give everyone a minimum income of £100 a week. No application form, no means testing, just register on the electoral roll and with HMRC as a UK tax payer. The savings on beauracracy, premises,fraud investigations, appeals, etc would probably cover it. And if you want more, get a job.

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GCHQ, police to team up to hunt down child abuse on the darknet

Red Bren
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Black Helicopters

Re: RE. Hah!

>> I'd'love to shoot them all, and the people that put/keep them in office

You've just admitted you want to destroy America. Step this way, your flight to rendition leaves imminently...

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Red Bren
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Joke

@Seanmon

And now you're a girl? You must have been gripping too hard...

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Red Bren
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Big Brother

Retrospective legalisation

"developing technology capable of scouring the underbelly of the internet"

Does anyone doubt that they already have this technology, they're just creating a legal fig leaf to justify its existence? As ever, there doesn't appear to be any mention of judicial oversight or any other checks and balances to prevent scope creep or misuse.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Red Bren
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Happy

Re: My tuppence worth

It looks nice on my mobile though...

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Red Bren
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Facepalm

My tuppence worth

I read El Reg for entertainment and enlightenment, so I'm prepared to put up with advertising so that the staff can eat. Sometimes the ads have even worked! However, top banner and sidebar advertising selling the same thing? I don't need to see it twice, I'm not going to think "I wasn't sure about that product when I saw the banner ad, but now I've seen the portrait ad, I'll buy five!". Can you drop the Top banner ad, so we can see some more headlines? You can show me more ads once you've drawn me in!

The Top Stories are in the wrong place and take up far too much room with the large picture - you could fit a thousand words in that space! What I want to see when I open El Reg are the Latest Stories at the top of the page, without having to scroll down for them.

There's too much repetition on the page. Is there that much difference between Top Stories, Most Read and Spotlight? Just keep Most Read but with the format of Spotlight

Finally. For the love of all that is holy, can you switch off the Expanding Nav Bar? Or at least put a delay on it so the menu only pops up if I hover over it? I don't want it jumping up at me every time my mouse goes near it, especially if it covers over the very thing I want to click on, so I have to move the pointer down past the unwanted pop-up, then back up again once it disappears.

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US Congress in cash freeze bid to DERAIL global DNS handover

Red Bren
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"There's not a lot of democracy in most UN countries"

Isn't that due to the number of CIA backed coups overthrowing democratic governments that put their own countries' interests ahead the USA's?

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The Great Unwatched: BBC hails glorious digital future for Three

Red Bren
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Joke

Re: TV used to be good

Nonsense! The rot set in when they added moving pictures!

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Red Bren
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Save BBC3

About the only things I watch on BBC3 are Russell Howard's Good News and music festival coverage.

The rest of it is of no interest to me, but that's fine because it means its leaving room for the stuff I do want to watch.

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DNA egghead James Watson sells Nobel prize for $4.8m, gets it back

Red Bren
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Re: in my opinion

You're getting confused with his brother John.

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How HAPPY am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Where do I click PISSED OFF?

Red Bren
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Re: A word of warning

I'm not a frequent flyer so if I'm struggling to jump through all the latest bizarre security hoops and you start getting arsey, I'll quietly inform "the goons" that I was threatened by the agitated man behind me when I refused to carry a package through security for him...

Thumb up because that's where it will be going!

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Red Bren
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Reflexology with a happy ending?

I'll accept that feet can be an erogenous zone for some, Mr Dabbs, but to that extent? What happens to you when you stub your toe?

P.S. Why was El Reg pushing a pop-up survey in my face when reading this article?

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Cops accessing journo sources with RIPA? Use your powers properly, moan MPs

Red Bren
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Pint

Define "Measures"

"There are measures in place to ensure that police powers to access this data are not abused." said security minister James Brokenshire. His words would be a little more reassuring if he explained what these measures are, along with examples of when they have been used. Otherwise, based on previous failures of the establishment to regulate itself, it's reasonable to assume the penalty for being caught abusing these powers is to buy the first round of drinks at the secret policemen's ball. And the measures are trebles all round.

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Brit smut slingers shafted by UK censors' stiff new stance

Red Bren
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Childcatcher

Instead of criminalising the acts of consenting adults, perhaps the UK parliament should concern itself more with the criminal acts against non-consenting children committed by those within their own ranks?

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Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix

Red Bren
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Pirate

Re: Makes sense

"Because there is only one person listening to the music, I should only have to pay once."

I played a CD in the car while my family were travelling with me. Where do I send the money I owe?

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Yes, UK. REST OF EUROPE has better mobe services than you

Red Bren
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Re: Can't trust the survey

Greater Manchester is a metropolitan and ceremonial county that encompasses more than one city, so you can't call it "the second largest city after London". With a population of 2.685 million, it's less populous than the West Midlands (Greater Birmingham) at 2.738 million. With an area of 1,276km^3 it's smaller than West Yorkshire (Greater Leeds) at 2,029km^3 or South Yorkshire (Greater Sheffield) at 1,552km^3.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ceremonial_counties_of_England

The only measure where Manchester comes second to London is for it's own self-importance... (ducks for cover!)

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Red Bren
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FAIL

Can't trust the survey

How can you trust a survey that defines Manchester (pop 420k) as a "big" city and Leeds (pop 720k) as a small city. What about Sheffield, Bradford and Liverpool?

http://www.ukcities.co.uk/populations/

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Red Bren
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We want a common industry approach so we can game it.

FTFY

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MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'

Red Bren
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Big Brother

Re: Jump on the privacy bandwagon

Isn't the answer to get MI6 to apply for a search warrant from the relevant US court? Of course that would involve due process, probable cause and an undeniable audit trail, and if there's one group keener than terrorists to hide their tracks, it's spooks.

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'Snoopers' Charter IS DEAD', Lib Dems claim as party waves through IP address-matching

Red Bren
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Re: Blind leading the blind

I find it distasteful that you're condemning Ms May on the basis of her appearance, when you could be condemning her for her words and deeds!

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Useless 'computer engineer' Barbie FIRED in three-way fsck row

Red Bren
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Re: Barbie films are just as bad

It's a typo. I meant "lead" role, but my phone had other ideas and I didn't spot it.

Don't give up the dream. I still want to be an astronaut when I grow up!

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Red Bren
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Barbie films are just as bad

Innacurate retellings of classic fairy tales with Barbie playing the kead role. The moral of the story always seems to be with hard work and quick thinking you can overcome adversity to become a princess, because anything else is a failure.

My 4 year old daughter is obsessed with these films but thankfully wants to be an astronaut.

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LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball

Red Bren
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Joke

Re: They may be rocket scientists...

Are you familiar with the Birmingham Screwdriver?

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MYSTERY Russian satellite: ORBITAL WEAPON? Sat GOBBLER? What?

Red Bren
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Re: Bah!

Objection Mr Chairman

A constellation can refer to a collection of related objects.

As to the reference to geological time, the constellations in the night sky are slowly but constantly changing due to the proper motions of their constituent stars. In a timescale as short as 50000 years, many of today's constellations will be unrecognisable.

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Red Bren
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Mushroom

It's fluoridating the atmosphere

They're polluting our precious bodily fluids!

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Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'

Red Bren
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Pirate

Re: Why can't we have this in real life?

Because some script kiddie will hack it so it moves away from your hand or to swap the buttons' functions. And they would upload the video that they recorded with your hacked webcam, so the whole internet can laugh at your frustration and humiliation.

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It's space WAR: Comet launches fireballs at space-invading EARTH

Red Bren
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Re: The Leonid shower in full swing here

So you're proposing a twist on the hypothesis that the oceans were seeded by comets?

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Red Bren
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The Leonid shower in full swing here

What do you mean, I'm supposed to see meteors? Through these rainclouds?

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Sky: We're no longer calling ourselves British. Yep. And Broadcasting can do one, too

Red Bren
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Pirate

Pirate TV

Until the merger with BSB, Sky were broadcasting to the UK without a licence, effectively making them a pirate TV operation. But Uncle Rupert was such a generous supporter of the government, so it was ok for him to unfairly compete with the legitimate operator.

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BOFH: SOOO... You want to sell us some antivirus software?

Red Bren
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"have them keep all their work on a file server."

That's been the policy at almost every company I've worked for. Along with the policy of giving staff terabytes of unusable storage on their local machines, while refusing to invest in disk space on the file servers. And the network hasn't got the capacity to cope with more than one person at a time moving data about.

Has anyone invented network RAID yet? If every desktop in my office could contribute 1TB to a massively mirrored and striped array, I'd be delighted, even if the resulting shared drive was only 1TB. Although the network would still be a bottleneck.

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Doctor Who trashing the TARDIS, Clara alone, useless UNIT – Death in Heaven

Red Bren
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FAIL

I'm with Brid-Aine on this

Her review sums up almost all my frustrations with this anti-climatic end to the series. But I'd like to add another.

Unless the whole of humanity have been burying their dead in metal coffins, how did the corpses all reanimate with full cyberman armour? I'll give the writers the benefit of the doubt over the whole cyber-pollen thing, even though it's a blatant rip off of borg nanites, but I'm not having this conjuring up armour from thin air.

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BBC clamps down on ILLICIT iPlayer watchers

Red Bren
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Re: Where's my TV license rebate

You've already had it. Without the revenue from content sales and international syndication, the licence fee would be higher.

Personally, I like the idea of overseas viewers subsidising BBC content.

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Red Bren
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FAIL

A rock and a hard place

The BBC are in a difficult position. On one side, they have licence fee payers who want to access content on multiple platforms and may not be satisfied or even catered for by the official iplayer app. On the other side they have rights holders to negotiate with, and one of the elements of the negotiation will be the security of the delivery mechanism from "piracy" or out-of-region distribution.

This isn't just about the BBC, it's a symptom of the conflict between producers and consumers over how content is accessed and paid for. The ideal solution for the consumer would be an open, common API used by all content providers, that anyone could build a player to access, with a payment model that would support TV licences, Satellite/Cable TV subsciptions, or Pay Per View. Sadly it appears that the industry is going down the path of repeatedly reinventing the wheel, releasing own-brand incompatible apps with limited lifespans and support, and creating built-in obselesence that benefits the hardware manufacturers.

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NHS quango fatcats spend £2m tax dosh on iPads and iPhones

Red Bren
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Facepalm

How many of these devices will be left on public transport?

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Reg hacks see the woods or the trees In the Forest of the Night

Red Bren
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Was it just me?

Or was anyone else hoping the earth (or at least humanity) would be destroyed? At least that way, we might get an episode where an alien, who can travel to almost any time or place in the universe, might do something that doesn't involve humans. But no; it seems that the rebooted Dr Who universe is so small and empty, that anything of any cosmic consequence has to happen to the earth, or it's dominant species.

I wasn't convinced that Peter Capaldi was the right choice to play the Doctor, but he's grown on me. However this incarnation of the Doctor seems stunted and diminished - despite his 1300 years of experience and timelord intellect, it's his female, human companion who solves everything now. It feels like a clumsy attempt to overcompensate for the passive, intellectually limited companions of the past. If they wanted a strong and smart female character, why not be bold and cast a woman to play the Doctor? I'd find him losing his testicles more believable than losing his character. There's nothing to suggest a regeneration couldn't result in a swaping of gender, it's even been hinted as a possibility, it just hasn't happened yet in the same way that tossing a coin can give you a run of the same result.

I like much of Moffat's work, including some of the Dr Who episodes he's penned, but it seems he's at his best in small doses - Sherlock and Jekyll being my favourite examples of where he delivers small, self-contained masterpieces. But under his long-term stewardship, Dr Who seems to have run out of ideas. Even the opportunities offered by later scheduling are being squandered; every ending is a happy one; every problem can be solved by love, rather than (or in preference to) science; and nothing has to be explained, be it extinct-bar-one creatures that can lay eggs bigger than themselves without losing their virginity, or missing siblings that turn up out of the blue in a magic shrubbery.

I know this is supposed to be a kids show, but there are plenty of shows that explore the human relationships. This show should be opening young minds to questions about the universe and our place in it.

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Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech

Red Bren
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Stop

Re: Mission Shift

"The mission shift presumably happened because of the threat shift”

But when the mission shifts to spying on your own population, that suggests a government that regards its own people as the threat.

“[the terrorists] killed less than the weekly toll from smoking, but so what? The victims didn't choose to risk their lives, as smokers essentially do.”

The victims of reckless drivers didn’t choose to risk their lives either, and they also outnumber the victims of terrorism. If you want to save innocent lives, there are better ways of doing it than blanket surveillance.

“I can't imagine they could even attempt to listen to or read that many phone calls, emails and banal facebook postings.”

That only proves you have a limited imagination! Sorry, that was a cheap shot, but how much resource is required to hold a picture of who communicated with whom, or to apply Bayesian analysis to flag communications as “interesting” (in a similar way to spam filters) and then focus on the communications between groups of “interesting” people, where “interesting” could mean paedophiles, terrorists, or peaceful protesters being a thorn in the side of a corrupt and authoritarian regime.

“I don't give a stuff if they hold metadata on me, after all the [assorted corporations] do”

How private companies collect, store and use data about you is subject to various legal protections, you generally have to opt in (sometimes just by using their services) and are free to opt out. I never opted in for state surveillance and I’d like to know how do I opt out?

“The cops have ANPR to read my number plate as I drive around. So what? I'm glad they do - those systems bin the info as long as it's no longer needed”

As I recall, the cops also have a DNA database with a sample from everyone ever arrested for a recordable offence, even if they were never charged, let alone convicted and they are VERY reluctant to “bin the info”. I would wager they have the same attitude about any data they collect.

"I guess it's hard to find a needle in a haystack unless you're actually allowed to look in the haystack.”

Adding more hay doesn’t make finding the needle any easier, and asking for permission to look for the needle would be fine. The problem is the security services don’t want the oversight of asking for permission, justified by probable cause. They want the ability to go on warrant-less fishing trips, where they can redefine the needle based on whatever they find.

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Red Bren
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Mushroom

Re: "British values"

For most of its history, British values consisted of going round sticking a flag in the ground, stealing all the resources and oppressing and enslaving the local population, all under the guise of spreading civilization and culture. Only through blinkered, Daily Mail tinted spectacles was it ever about freedom, fair play and community spirit, which sound rather similar to those pesky French values.

But that's all in the past - now we can bomb freedom and democracy into our enemies. After all, an enemy is just a friend who stopped doing what you want.

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Vanmoof Electrified Bike: Crouching cyclist, hidden power

Red Bren
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Trollface

Re: Sadly lacking two fairly essential features

- cup holder

- iDevice mount/charger

- fat chance of obeying red lights or behaving considerately

You're describing a car

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SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION

Red Bren
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Trollface

Shale gas in the ground

Isn't doing anything to meet the over-optimistic ROI figures I gave the shareholders! Screw this long term planning of energy requirements, I'm trying to make a fast buck!

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Protesters stop ground breaking on world's largest telescope

Red Bren
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Mushroom

Religion or Extortion

Mauna Kea is already host to 13 big telescopes and they are listed as a tourist attraction!

An article written around the time that the Sub-millimeter Array was built in 2002 calls into question how sincere the spiritual grounds for these protests are, when some of the protesters demands are financial. There may be a legitimate argument for renegotiating a monetary settlement, but playing the religious card undermines it. After all, why do gods need money? If they didn't like telescopes being built on an active volcano, wouldn't they have done something (see icon) about it?

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Britain’s snooping powers are 'too weak', says NCA chief

Red Bren
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Re: Humint

Wasn't there a little too much penetration when Plod went undercover with the hippies?

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/oct/23/police-spy-tricked-lover-activist

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'Cops and public bodies BUNGLE snooping powers by spying on 3,000 law-abiding Brits'

Red Bren
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Re: @ Red Bren

I think I'm saying almost the exact opposite of you. While we agree that extraordinary powers should be available and that there should be severe punishment for their abuse, we disagree fundamentally disagree on how they should be granted.

You don't object to the police deciding for themselves when it is appropriate to use their extraordinary powers to investigate what they consider to be terrorist activities. What if you/I/the general public disagree with their definition? One person's civil rights march is another person's rioting in the streets. I find the idea of the police making these decisions without any judicial oversight to be undemocratic and open to abuse. Unless they volunteer the details of all their investigations, how are we supposed to know when they have abused their powers?

You are content for the police to justify their actions after the fact where as I want them to provide just cause for their actions before hand. Otherwise what is to stop them going on a fishing expedition for one purpose (no matter how noble) and when finding no admissible evidence, claiming that something (possibly trivial) they did discover was what they were looking for all along, just so they can "Get the bastard for something" and justify their actions.

As for making illegally obtained evidence inadmissible in court, that doesn't address the possibility that the data collected could be used in other ways, to coerce an informer or to silence a critic. It's not illegal to have a mistress, or a prediliction for S&M, or to be a closet homosexual, but you may not want your wife, or parents, or parisioners to know it.

Extraordinary powers require extraordinary circumstances and extraordinary oversight. This manufactured climate of fear is not enough to justify turning the country into a police state.

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Red Bren
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Big Brother

@ Rolf Howarth

"I don't have a problem with giving the police extraordinary powers to infringe people's privacy to tackle what they see as genuine terrorist threats."

I have a massive problem with giving the police extraordinary powers to infringe people's privacy to tackle what they see as genuine terrorist threats.

For a start, where is the judicial oversight? Without having to at least notify some other external agency, you're giving the police carte blanche to go after anyone they take a dislike to. Down that road lies corruption and blackmail to silence critics.

If lives are genuinely and immediately at stake, it's probably too late to start snooping on emails, and if the risk isn't immediate, then there's time to apply for a court order.

"any abuse of those powers beyond the limited scope of what parliament granted them for should be severely punished"

Very often, the powers granted by parliament are not of limited scope, or are so loosely worded that they can be subverted to a completely different purpose, e.g. siezing the assets of a bank from Iceland - that infamous hotbed of terrorist extremism. As for being severely punished, when did you last hear of a senior police officer get severely punished? In the aftermath of the shooting of an innocent Brazillian electrician, the officer in charge was promoted

"By all means let the police intercept and read any email or other communication they feel they need to, as long as they're absolutely confident they can legitimately justify having done so after the fact, otherwise all hell will let be loose."

You can be damn sure the police will crow loudly about any successful fishing trip they go on, and how it justifies giving them increased blanket surveillance powers, but do you honestly expect that when finding nothing, they will hold up their hands and say "Sorry, we had a hunch but it turned out to be nothing." If they're that confident of finding something, they can apply for a warrant, otherwise, the number of intercepts that result in prosecutions will be dwarfed by the number of wasted ones, all paid for by us.

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Red Bren
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Re: No words

"The process is supposed to be awkward, expensive, time-consuming to cut out trivial use and ensure it's only used when necessary."

There is no matter too trivial for an agency of the state to abuse anti-terrorism or child protection legislation to investigate. Thankfully, the Tories will address all the problems this causes by repealing the Human Rights Act so you can't complain about it.

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Red Bren
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The security services can't be trusted not to abuse the powers they already have, but the government is always ready to give them more.

They must have blackmail dossiers on all MPs

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Man brings knife to a gun fight and WINS

Red Bren
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Racist police robots

Of course they're racist. They despise the human race!

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Apple, Google mobe encryption good news... for TERRORISTS – EU top cop

Red Bren
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Knowing the difference

"People don’t know the difference between privacy and anonymity, says EU top cop"

Perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation if law enforcement agencies had learned the difference between

legal and ethical behaviour

proportionate and disproportionate reactions

targetted and blanket surveillance

scrutiny and accountability

innocence and guilt

right and wrong

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