* Posts by Conrad Longmore

376 posts • joined 3 Apr 2008

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Pitch Black: New BlackBerry Classic is aimed at the old-school

Conrad Longmore

The company that won't seem to die..

By all logical reasoning, BlackBerry should have crashed and burned after the Z10 and Playbook fiascos. Luckily for them, they had an enormous cash pile to burn through first.

It seems that BlackBerry have given up trying to recreate the days when they shipped more smartphones than anyone else (excluding Symbian). Being smallers and more focussed might ensure survival of some sort, but it remains to be seen if BlackBerry can thrive again.

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London teen pleads guilty to Spamhaus DDoS

Conrad Longmore

Cannot name for legal reasons?

Let me name names instead, he is ████████ ██ ████████

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Dr. Dobb's Journal sails into the sunset - yet again

Conrad Longmore

Re: Ah the nostalgia!

I miss Byte. And PCW.. that didn't even get the chance to say "goodbye".

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Conrad Longmore

Too much whitespace

Things are all too far apart, there's too much whitespace.

I think you had it right in 1998 - https://web.archive.org/web/19981206084318/http://www.theregister.co.uk/

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Sony cuff-puter to do one thing smartwatches can't: Give you DAYS of hot wrist action

Conrad Longmore

FONE

I bought a FONE when it first came out. People were amazed that there was still writing on the screen when you took the battery out. Of course, things like the Kindle are now quite common so people are used to the display staying on.

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Technology quiz reveals that nobody including quiz drafters knows anything about IT

Conrad Longmore
Coat

Re: 10/12

Even on an ancient system you could probably UUENCODE it and send it in the body text.

I think I am being pedantic though.

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Fake antivirus scams: It's a $120m business – and alleged ringleaders have just been frozen

Conrad Longmore
Mushroom

Floriduh

Florida again. Can we just nuke the whole state from orbit? It would make the world a better place.

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YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins

Conrad Longmore

One trick I heard of..

One trick I heard of (and I cannot remember where I heard it, it may be apocryphal) was that a large organisation wanted to fire a sysadmin, but they needed a few hours to make sure that all the passwords could be changed and accounts disabled.

So, they made up an excuse to get the employee on a LONG flight to another location (I think this was in the US) where they would be completely out of contact with everything and everyone. When they got to the other end, they were met by management and HR and then terminated.

I don't know if this story is even true, but it does demonstrate the lengths you might have to go to if you need to fire a potentially rogue sysadmin. Alternatively giving them a large pile of cash on a smooth transition might also work..

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NOKIA - Not FINNished yet! BEHOLD the somewhat DULL MYSTERY DEVICE!

Conrad Longmore

It's the Z Launcher..

It's a hardware platform to promote the Z Launcher, isn't it? And then presumable a raft of HERE apps and other Nokia technologies.

It looks pretty decent, but it won't be in the shops in time for Christmas. :(

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Could YOU identify these 10 cool vintage mobile phones?

Conrad Longmore

Re: What about the Siemens SK65

I have.. two. Which is two too many really.

Siemens were masters of industrial design, but they were really not very good when it came to quality (especially for a Germany company). Remember the SL55? That was a cool device.

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Conrad Longmore

A cheap thing to collect

It you're interested in this kind of retro stuff, a lot of it can be picked up very cheaply for around £30 or so on eBay. Some things are very rare (like the MPX300) or sometime very expensive (Nokia N950). They're all far more interesting to look at than what you get today, although my dull slabby Android easily beats them when it comes to features.

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Conrad Longmore

Re: 6 out of 10

I've been trying to get hold of an MPX300 for my collection for a while. Very rare. Not as rare as the Sendo though.. another very rate one of those is the Symbiab-based Sendo X2.

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WinShock PoC clocked: But DON'T PANIC... It's no Heartbleed

Conrad Longmore

Easier to patch?

Easier to patch in most cases, although reportedly there are issues with some systems that rely on TLS 1.2 connections.

Also, this is a remote code execution flaw, so if it does get exploited it has a far worse impact that Heartbleed.

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The Great Smartphone Massacre: Android bloodbath gathers pace

Conrad Longmore
Thumb Up

Re: When I started in the phone business

If you go back between five and ten years ago then there was much more variety in physical design and features. Nokia, Siemens, Motorola and Ericsson came up with different features, form factors and designs that were much more interesting than what we see today.

Then Apple came along and designed what was basically a good looking touchscreen with an enclosure around it.. and that really is all everybody has done since.

I do own one of those flagship phone thingies. It's a OnePlus One. If they are building that and making a profit, then really everything else is completely overpriced.

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Ad-borne Cryptowall ransomware is set to claim FRESH VICTIMS

Conrad Longmore

Re: AdBlocker / NoScript

NoScript is very effective in blocking this sort of thing, but it does break a lot of things in the process. And as Charles 9 says, AdBlock and similar tools are only effective against known ad networks, although often those are the networks being abused.

Ultimately the problem is that ads are what makes the web go round. If everybody blocked ads then a lot of sites would become uneconomical to run (there are of course other ways of displaying ads other than using an ad network).

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Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar

Conrad Longmore

Re: Photos don't work

Oooh.. I hadn't noticed "live check" before. But otherwise it has been proven that you can unlock the device with a photograph..

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Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author

Conrad Longmore

The Symbian Error

When Elop took over they had Symbian (ancient but selling well), Series 30 and 40 (selling in the billions but for very little profit) and the stalled development of MeeGo from the Maemo / Moblin merger mess.

I seem to remember that before Elop the plan was to move Symbian downmarket to replace a lot of the Series 40 devices with ultra-cheap smartphones and build up the top end with MeeGo. However, MeeGo was a bust and Nokia instead had to keep Symbian at the top end of the range where they kept polishing it just enough to be acceptable.

So, when Elop came in he made the very wise decision to kill MeeGo which was going exactly nowhere. But he also made the mistake of saying that they were going to phase out Symbian which had the effect of making the market collapse completely. It was the way that Symbian was treated (and not the Windows tie-up) that in my opinion was Elop's key error.

Had he stuck with the the plan and simply shifted Symbian downmarket then that might well have protected sales. Remember, Nokia ended up spending a lot of time pissing around adding smartphone-like features into Series 40 (e.g. Nokia Asha) when they already had those feature in Symbian. Yeah, the Asha range sold pretty well but it was completely and utterly pointless to develop *those* when Symbian could do the job much better.

Nokia's fall from grace started before Elop took over, and Nokia is hardly the only mobile firm to suffer such woes. Motorola and RIM/BlackBerry made pretty much the same errors.

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Renault Twingo: Small, sporty(ish), safe ... and it's a BACK-ENDER

Conrad Longmore

Re: Fiat 500?

The clever folks at BRABUS can tune the smart rear engines to produce 120HP (or possibly even more), and the ew ForFour is the same basic platform as the Twingo III. And the folks at RenaultSport are not slouches either when it comes to tweaking engines.

I think the best thing to do is wait and see.

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Conrad Longmore

Re: All Very Well..

I own a four-year-old Twingo II RS. It hasn't had any major problems (apart form split balljoint sleeves in the suspension) and a trim issue. Everything else has been rock solid.

*However*, the Twingo II follows the Dacia approach of using tried-and-tested bits from the Renault parts bucket. It's quite a simple thing, with a buzzy 133HP VVT engine shoved in, these new Twingo IIIs are more complex beasts.

The Novo Mesto plant seems to have a good reputation for quality, so I suspect that this will be much better than the Renaults of old..

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FBI boss: Apple's iPhone, iPad encryption puts people 'ABOVE THE LAW'

Conrad Longmore

Re: And all completely irrelevant to us right-pondians...

Erm well you could also encrypt it twice instead. One person has one key, the other has the other.

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Yahoo!... Our Alibaba stake's worth BILLIONS. Oh – our shares are in the toilet

Conrad Longmore

Re: Troubled Cambridge Micro Maker....

I was thinking of exactly the same thing when I read the article. What ultimately killed Acorn was (perversely) the significant value of its shareholding in ARM. A bit of research indicates that Acorn was bought for £270m to gain access to the shares, with the rest of the company broken up and renamed.

Sure, Acorn was probably doomed anyway. Even RM couldn't hack it from selling PCs to education markets in the end, the esoteric ARM based devices would probably have gone the same way.

Yahoo! would require significantly deeper pockets. One possibility of course is that Alibaba might make a bid to liberate their shares..

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Leak of '5 MEELLLION Gmail passwords' creates security flap

Conrad Longmore

You can check..

You can check if your password is in the list using https://isleaked.com/en

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Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?

Conrad Longmore

OnePlus One

I have a OnePlus One, it has specs pretty much as good as any of the flagship competition but it is priced at only £269 SIM-free, the competition costs around twice that. Presumably they make a profit out of that price. So I would say that.. yes.. margins for these sorts of device must be pretty sweet.

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Fiat Panda Cross: 'Interesting-looking' Multipla spawn hits UK

Conrad Longmore
Happy

Re: Car?

Some of us have to get to work, you know.

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14 antivirus apps found to have security problems

Conrad Longmore

Which is why..

Which is why you shouldn't answer about the products you use when you received a cold call from someone claiming to be an AV vendor.

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Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate history' story made into TV series

Conrad Longmore
Coat

Re: Tachovsky would be best for this task. But he's dead.

"Scanner" is definitely the closest adaptation of a book, and not the easiest book to film. And it has the advantage that it looks amazing too.

I was disappointed that the remake of "Total Recall" wasn't actually a make (?) of "We Can Remember it for you Wholesale" which is an intriguing story in its own right.

Actually, the best PKD adaptation that I have seen recently was "Oblivion"*

*yes, I am aware that it is not a PKD movie. It just feels like one.

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Conrad Longmore

Re: Only in the Hollywood version

SPOILER ALERT (although this is actually printed on the back cover of some editions of the book).

In reality, the Allies *did* win.

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Brandon Gray aka Namejuice suspended by ICANN

Conrad Longmore

Re: Wow..

I haven't had one for a while, but the early ones were certainly attempting to gain sales through deception in my personal opinion. These people don't need an ICANN suspension, they need a visit from the police.

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

Conrad Longmore
Facepalm

Ban? What ban?

I still regularly see erratically driven vehicles being driven by someone with a phone clamped to their ears. Unless you have a policeman on every street corner then it is hard to get these morons to stop.

However, it might help if people refused to talk to drivers without a handsfree kit, in the same way they you'd hope your friends wouldn't let you drive home pissed..

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Software giant CA Technologies dumps arcserve biz

Conrad Longmore

Another product ruined by CA

ArcServe is another product ruined by CA. Sure, when they took it over to begin with it all looked good and of course one thing CA does well is management tools.. but as usually they did a fatal combination of both mucking around with some parts of the product and completely ignoring other parts until they drove pretty much the entire customer base to the competition.

Nice.

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Remember the turbo button on PCs? New AWS instance has one for CPU burst

Conrad Longmore

Re: For those damned yoof amongst us:

I worked with students around the time these buttons were popular. And OF COURSE they are going to press a button with TURBO written on it. But the problem was that they'd tend to fiddle with it and leave it in non-turbo mode instead which slowed the machine to a crawl.

The other way around it was to let the students use the Amstrad PC1640s we had which were just slow all the time..

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Fed-up bloke takes email spammers to court – and WINS PILE of CASH

Conrad Longmore

Self regulation

The DMA in effect acts as a self-regulator on many of these issues, and they also run the TPS (which is widely abused). Of course, putting marketers in charge of regulating themselves is a bit like putting a paedophile in charge of a school.

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French IT giant Atos is officially full of Bull.... and €620m lighter

Conrad Longmore
Big Brother

A good match

Given Atos's appalling reputation in the Work Capability Assessment programme in the UK, and a criminal investigation in France into allegations of Bull being complicit in torture, then I think these two companies are a good match.

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Stephen Elop: I was RIGHT to BURN the PLATFORMS

Conrad Longmore
Meh

It's.. complicated.

Elop was right to kill MeeGo and replace it with Windows Mobile. Although Nokia's Maemo looked promising, trying to merge it with Moblin to create MeeGo was a complete waste of time which prevented Nokia coming up with a much-needed replacement for the N900. Sure, the Nokia N9 is a nice bit of kit, but it was two years too late.

Where Elop when wrong was shitcanning Symbian. Yeah.. I know it's not the greatest OS in the world, but at the time it was extremely popular. Sales collapsed, taking Nokia's profits with it. Nokia then had to retro-fit Series 40 to include some of the features that Symbian already had, and it even ended up using Android to fill the gaps.

So.. not the greatest decisions in the world, but not the worst either. It wasn't really Elop's fault that Nokia was in such a bad way.. and at least it probably won't follow the anticipated fate of BlackBerry either.

Nokia is one of those companies where people like to pretend to be armchair CEO. Elop didn't do too badly IMO. And we still need an Elop icon :)

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In three hours, Microsoft gave the Windows-verse everything it needed

Conrad Longmore

Re: None of this changes anything

Windows Phone is far from dead, but it has a long way to go. Sure, if Nokia wasn't on board with Windows then it would have gone the way of the dodo. Take a look at the Lumia 930 if you want to see where Windows is going.

As for Windows 8, it's a sound and very capable operating system which has been substantially spoiled by having two interfaces glued on top. Microsoft need to find a way to make the UI function more like Windows 7, without Metro apps cropping up when you least expect them.

As for Office.. I don't think any other application comes close to the capabilities of Office 2013. Yes, things like LibreOffice aren't bad for free, but the real thing is more capable.

Xbox One. What's that?

What Microsoft are trying to do here is play the long game. Kids these days are being brought up on the conventions of smartphones and tablets, the Win 7 desktop UI will eventually become a relic. Only Microsoft.. well, perhaps Microsoft and Canonical.. have an idea of how it will all fit together five or ten years down the road.

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ICO decides against probe of Santander email spam scammers

Conrad Longmore
Boffin

I have this argument over and over again..

I have this argument over and over again when email addresses leak out. Usually the people who've been hacked are either too stupid to understand the problem or are in denial.

Let's take an example of how unlikely it is that an email address like this has been guessed at random. If you use a 10-letter unique email address comprised just of alphabetic character then there are 26^10 possible combination to guess, which is about a 141 quadrillion to one against probability. And when multiple people report the same problem that it should quickly become apparent that the only explanation is an email address leak, everything else is statistically impossible.

Just to ensure that the email address cannot be guessed, you can combine it with a secret word (e.g. tribbles-santander@mydomain) and apply a filtering system to look for the secret word. That's quite a simple system that will cut down on directory harvesting attacks and should be within the capabilities of any El Reg reader to do.

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Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

Conrad Longmore
Thumb Down

Java on the desktop is dead

Java on the desktop is dead, it's primary use these days seems to be to infect your computer with malware. The best thing to do is deinstall it. I bet about 99% of people will never need it.

Servers and mobiles seem to be a success area, but really it's depressing to see smartphones running Java apps..

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Dell charges £16 TO INSTALL FIREFOX on PCs – Mozilla is miffed

Conrad Longmore

Perhaps..

Perhaps they could charge you £16 in order to ship you the actual goods that you ordered, rather than randomly substituting it with other crap from their inventory.

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Mens sana in fibro sano: Virgin Media network-level smut filters are ON

Conrad Longmore

DNS based?

DNS based? I don't use Virgin's DNS servers on my VM connection anyway, using either OpenDNS or Google as the mood suits me.

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Loki, LC3 and Pandora: The great Sinclair might-have-beens

Conrad Longmore
Thumb Up

Rick Dickinson's Flickr

There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it link to Rick Dickinson's work on Flickr in the article, worth reposting because it's so awesome.. http://www.flickr.com/photos/9574086@N02/collections/72157608812198325/

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Life support's ABOUT to be switched off, but XP's suddenly COOL again

Conrad Longmore

Re: XP machine to live for as long as the hardware works.

If you're not connected to a network the there's really nothing to worry about. Even if it did get infected somehow (a USB stick perhaps) then the machine isn't really exploitable as it isn't connected to anything.

You might well have some stubborn XP systems on your network which will happily run if you just disconnect them from said network..

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It's Satya! Microsoft VP Nadella named CEO as Bill Gates steps down

Conrad Longmore

Not Elop then.

Mr Nadella seems to have the right credentials for the job, and I would certainly have been shocked if Stephen Elop got the job instead.. not because I think that Nokia's woes are all Elop's fault, but it was hardly the sort of turnaround success that Microsoft needs now.

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Nokia's Android? It's not for the likes of us…

Conrad Longmore

Ditching Symbian was a mistake

I've owned a few Maemo devices and they're OK, but Nokia never really gave them enough resources to succeed and the attempt to transition to MeeGo was suicidal as it meant the not-too-bad N900 never got a proper successor (until the N9 and that was too late).

Elop was right to look at the MeeGo mess and kill it off as it was never going to build back market share. Despite claims of nepotism, Windows was an obvious choice.

However, I think Elop and Nokia made a huge mistake in getting rid of Symbian. The Asha range is all very impressive for an inexpensive device, but Nokia have stuggled to squeezed features into Series 40 that Symbian already had. Symbian's hardware requirements are pretty low, and it could certainly run on an Asha-class device. So, if Nokia simply moved Symbian downmarket (which was the plan in any case) then they would have had a better Asha range and Symbian sales would probably have not collapsed in the way they did.

As for Nokia and Android.. well, if there was an Android version of the Lumia 1020 then I would buy it. Simples. But although Windows is a good platform (I use it on my work phone) I'm not tempted to buy a WinPho device with my own money. If Nokia introduced Android devices then it is quite likely that they'd badly hurt Windows sales, and for that reason I would be very surprised if the Normandy ever comes to market (or at least to most markets).

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Oi, bank manager. Only you've got my email address - where're these TROJANS coming from?

Conrad Longmore

Re: The answer is obvious

Abso-fragging-lutely. The simplest answer is the most likely one - Santander has been compromised, or one of firms that they outsource to (which I count as the same thing).

Like a lot of El Reg readers, I come across this sort of thing a lot because I also use a unique address for everything. And most of the time the people who have leaked out the information flatly deny it despite the evidence, and are often rude and hostile. And stupid, which probably explains why they got leaked in the first place.

This should probably be dealt with by whatever the current toothless watchdog that oversees the banking industry is.

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Unlocking CryptoLocker: How infosec bods hunt the fiends behind it

Conrad Longmore
Facepalm

Russia or Eastern Europe?

Russia or Eastern Europe? Really? Who would have guessed that?

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London plod plonks, er, pull request on EasyDNS

Conrad Longmore

83.138.166.114

83.138.166.114 is the IP address of rnbxclusive.com, taken down last year (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17039722)

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Java updates too much of a bother? Maybe online banking's just not for you

Conrad Longmore

Most people do not need Java

Most people do not need Java, the safest thing is to deinstall it. If you're a techy then there's a good chance that you might need it from time-to-time, but you always help to mitigate against threats with Firefox + NoScript.

Keeping Java up-to-date is essential but also futile. There's usually an unpatched vulnerability in it. It really is a heap of crap.

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Infosec analysts back away from 'Feds attacked Tor' theory

Conrad Longmore

Re: yossarianuk

Well, except that Eric Eoin Marques of Freedom Hosting does actually appear to have been busted by law enforcement, so I think the exploit should be regarded in this context.

Also, the analysis I've seen of the exploit indicates that it simply collects data and sends it back , and doesn't leverage the vulnerability to install any malware on the machine. I would have thought that skiddies would do a lot more damage than that. Also, skiddies would almost definitely not be corporate customers of Verizon in the DC/VA area. It looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck..

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Conrad Longmore

Re: I did some of the debunking on that one

The NSA is certainly a candidate for the organisation involved, or equally as well it could be another three-letter agency or a contractor working for them. The whole approach could be a multi-agency thing anyway.

Just at a guess on the very little information we have to go on - I would think that the FBI would have worked with local law enforcement (the Garda, for example) to go after the obviously illegal content. They then may have worked with other agencies (NSA / CIA are candidates) to set up the "torsploit" and access other data (Tormail for example) that might have been seized. Different agencies would be interested in different aspects of the data collected.

If Tormail is involved then that in itself is not an illegal service, but it is exactly the sort of thing that has been out of reach of law enforcement and intelligence services for some time.

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Conrad Longmore

Re: I did some of the debunking on that one

Shhhh... that's a secret.

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