* Posts by The Mole

191 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

Page:

Welsh council rapped for covert spying on sick leave worker

The Mole

I'd expect my private company to expect a sick note (or nowadays a fitness for work note) detailing from a doctor that in the doctors expert medical opinion the employee needs to be signed off for whatever reason. Once they have that note I'd expect them to either trust that doctors note, or if they have doubts (and as most contracts explicitly allow) request a second opinion paid for by the company. That is the correct process to investigating suspect sickness leave. Jumping to intrusive (and presumably expensive) surveillance within 4 weeks certainly isn't the correct appoach. More advanced employees may would instead spend that money on looking at what it is in their processes and workplace that is causing the stress and/or providing counselling/stress management resources to the employee to help them cope.

Certainly I strongly doubt public and private companies differ greatly in how they handle stress and other long term sickness - though from personal experiences I know the stress placed on public employees is often much higher and there seems to be (on average, etc etc) less capable managers.

18
0

El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

The Mole

Re: Is the story photo selection automated?

In that case they need better training to pick ones that are an appropriate size and quality not stretched and distorted like the eu flag.

Better still make their lives slightly less busy and don't force pictures in for the sake of it. Its an old journalism adage that the picture should add to the story, just because you are digital doesn't make it any less true.

All a massive picture of the EU flag (or other stock photo) does at the top of an article is waste space and forces immediate scrolling to read more than a line of the story - meaning you now only have 1 line to get my interest not the whole paragraph. It also pushes adverts off the screen reducing views and potential clicks.

Currently I've not installed any ad-blocking and even occasionally click the adverts to support el reg. These images are annoying me so much that I'm seriously tempted to block out all images to make the site usable again.

8
0

EU VAT law could kill THOUSANDS of online businesses

The Mole

Agreed, what the original poster was forgetting is that delivery is part of the service you are buying (it may be 'free' but it is still part of the contract you have formed with them. So by shipping it they have accepted the delivery part of the contract and thereby the whole of it.

Of course they could still call the delivery driver and get him to return and just breach the contract - if they refund you the money you're generally going to struggle to get anything else out of them beyond 'good will' gestures for their breach of it.

0
0

Firms will have to report OWN diverted profits under 'Google Tax' law

The Mole
FAIL

Roy-Chowdhury said: "It's a bit like reporting yourself to the police and then having to defend yourself."

He added: "It seems strange that multinationals would have to report themselves and the the onus is on them to defend their [tax activities.]"

My understanding is this is exactly what self employed/small business owners/contractors have to do whenever they fill in self assessment/tax forms and are trying to claim a reduction on their taxable income (ie expenses).It must be so hard for this struggling multinationals that only employee a few hundred accountants and lawyers to do the same.

16
0

BORGED! Expat moves from New Zealand to Norway to be acquired by Cisco

The Mole

Re: The second thing...

Speaking from experience that may not be a bad conclusion to draw...

2
0

As-a-service upstarts will KILL OFF THE CORPORATES?

The Mole

From the workers perspective

Of course there are also benefits of firms from a workers perspective. Being a lone trader is risky with an uncertain and unpredictable cashflow, a firm provide continuity of income spreading the risk across multiple workers. Firms can also much more efficiently get professional indemnity and other types of insurance and delegate tasks so the worker can do the work they enjoy and not the admin. Hence why lots of people prefer to work for a company rather than have higher but riskier income contracting.

13
0

Amazon: DROP DATABASE Oracle; INSERT our new fast cheap MySQL clone

The Mole

Latency

I'm sure that AWS may be faster for queries that requiring a lot of composition and processing time. However for many queries/applications (particularly ones using libraries like spring) it will be latency and round trip time which will dominate the operation and there is no way AWS will be able to compete with that.

2
0

Yes, Samaritans, the law DOES apply to you. Even if you mean well

The Mole

Re: stop their Radar app from processing your tweets

If they were able to predict suicide with an incredibly high accuracy, and if they were then passing the information to somebody in authority then perhaps they could argue it. But they aren't. They are passing incredibly sensitive and probably inaccurate personal data to random strangers with a strong potential to harm the interests of the data subject.

14
0
The Mole

Re: stop their Radar app from processing your tweets

The twitter comments may be public which means Samaritans may legitimately collect them.

However the processing of these public comments is another issue. By processing them, the Samaritans are generating new information - an assessment of the individuals mental health, they are then storing and publishing this new information to third parties. The new information under the DPA would be classed as sensitive personal data ((e) his physical or mental health or condition,) which requires explicit and informed consent of the subject being processed. The fact that the information is likely to be inaccurate makes the processing and distribution of it even worse.

A case of good intentions but a failure to understand the implications of what is being performed. It shouldn't detract from the dedicated work the Samaritans do do though.

39
2

Warning to those who covet the data of Internet of Precious Things

The Mole

"Assuming that all data generated by IoT devices is personal data is too simplistic and unhelpful insofar as it transfers the burden of proof onto data controllers to demonstrate otherwise,” data protection law specialist Marc Dautlich of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said. “A better approach for all would be to undertake a considered analysis of the data generated by IoT devices, including analytics derived from their output, and use that as the basis for the organisation’s privacy strategy."

Um, presumably it is the data controller who is doing this considered analysis? Therefore starting from a position of assuming it is personal data until the considered analysis shows otherwise is a far better strategy than assuming that it isn't and then (eventually) doing the considered analysis which then shows you are breaking the law.

6
0

Computer misuse: Brits could face LIFE IN PRISON for serious hacking offences

The Mole

"It also does not enable UK law enforcement agencies to take action against UK citizens committing cyber crime offences whilst physically outside the UK on the basis of their nationality alone."

Good, and that is the way it should stay. Whilst I quite agree that some really really serious crimes should allow extra-territorial jurisdiction (crimes against humanity for instance), hacking certainly isn't one - let the country where you perform the act in prosecute the act.

2
0

NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code

The Mole

"It also does not enable UK law enforcement agencies to take action against UK citizens committing cyber crime offences whilst physically outside the UK on the basis of their nationality alone."

Good, and that is the way it should stay. Whilst I quite agree that some really really serious crimes should allow extra-territorial jurisdiction (crimes against humanity for instance), hacking certainly isn't one - let the country where you perform the act in prosecute the act.

1
0

LTE's backers vow to KILL OFF WI-FI and BLUETOOTH

The Mole

Re: O/T: Mountain Rescue

I'll add in and point out there are also Lowland Search and Rescue teams who provide very similar coverage in areas lacking mountains.

4
0

Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important'

The Mole

DPA vs EULA

That EULA certainly wouldn't stand up in the UK courts against the data protection act. They admit they are transmitting a user id which is connected to billing information. They therefore need explicit and informed concent given they are collecting and processing *sensitive* personal data for at least some users. Sensitive because page and chapter reading statistics give very precise details of what part of a medical text book, guide to obscure religious rituals, sexual handbook someone is interested in, and therefore what medical conditions, religious views or sexual life they may have.

7
0

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

The Mole

No your honour we can't tell you why it was necessary to kill that person all we can say it was in the interest of national security, contempt of court? no your honour us refusing to tell you is in the interests of national security, no your honour there's a risk to national security if we told anybody our secrets, (we may be sent to prison and then who would stop the terrorists and protect national security...)

11
0

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

The Mole

Re: It ought to be banned!

You missed a few things:

* Writing in abbreviations or code on pieces of paper

* Hiding things and not telling the police where they are

* Making plans as a group face to face in locations where there is no-one to listen

* Making plans in your head and not telling the police

41
0

Congratulations the register for your TV appearance...

The Mole

I was thinking exactly the same

1
0

Windows 10: One for the suits, right Microsoft? Or so one THOUGHT

The Mole

Re: Can't wait

What lack of clipboard support? Enable click edit mode by default and then left mouse button copies, right pastes. Not particularly complex, although having keyboard shortcuts is a useful improvement.

5
6

As bankruptcy looms for RadioShack, we ask its chief financial officer... oh. He's quit

The Mole

Re: Maplin is likely next.

RS Components in the uk (Radio Spares, no relation to Radio Shack) have branches still - screwfix/argos style rather wall cabinets.

1
0

Drones CAN'T deliver goods ... oh. Air traffic control system backed by NASA, you say?

The Mole

Re: Worrying

Given that there will be birds flying in the area I'd imagine that certified drones will have to have sufficient autonomous collision avoidance sensors on them to cope sufficient with most negative scenarios. Pretty much like autonomous cars will have to cope with kids stepping out in front of them.

7
0

Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International

The Mole

Re: Sauce for the goose

Well given Privacy International is a None Government Organization by definition the FOI doesn't apply. If you want to know who they are or what they are trying to achieve have you thought of looking on their website?

They do plenty of campaigning about privacy issues in totalitarian regimes, but just because there are places that are worse doesn't mean you should ignore significant problems closer to home. Particularly given that a democracy where its own governments isn't following the rule of law, or being open and honest can't actually be classed as a fully functioning democracy. The wisdom of the democractic crowd can only happen if the crowd has accurate information to base their votes upon.

2
0

Crack team weighs LOHAN's substantial box

The Mole

Weight of the box?

So how much of that 41.5kg is just the weight of that rather heavy looking wooden shell? Depending on how much shipping costs it might be worth looking at whether hiring/buying an aluminium flight case can be justified.

1
0

iOS phone phlaw can UNMASK anonymous users on social media

The Mole
FAIL

This seems to be a bog standard variation of cross site scripting and not trusting your input from Apple. It's basic security that operations that could potentially cost money should be authorized and that you can't trust the calling app to do so. Never mind privacy I'm off to setup a few premium rate phone numbers to force apple users into calling...

4
0

Siri: Helpful personal assistant or SERIAL APP KILLER?

The Mole

To be fair for most of those examples (except perhaps interactive navigation) you don't need an app beyond a web browser anyway, they are just information retrieval operations.

Apps will still come in useful for interactive applications like video chat, navigation, and of course gaming - though I'm sure html5 will be able to perform some of those tasks.

3
0

Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen

The Mole

Poorly written franchise agreement

"Dean Peters has since said it was difficult to determine if breaches occurred at any of the franchised stores which were independent and not required to report security lapses"

Sounds like they need to rewrite their franchise agreements (or just read them?). I would have thought any half competent lawyer would have put clauses in requiring the reporting of any events or actions that are likely to be potentially compromising to the licensed brand if reported on.

3
0

Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious

The Mole

All not having a SIM card will do to your average smart phone is stop you authenticating your phone to a phone network, everything else will generally work fine - they just become small tablets..

2
0

Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?

The Mole

Agreed, and the answer is likely to be the same as the dragon attack - they would put in place the same major incident plan that they use for natural disasters, terrorism or civil unrest.

2
0
The Mole

Re: And what was Rossendale Council's response?

It does seem a perfectly legitimate inquiry to me - particularly if it was requested by a journalist who already knows it has happened at least once and was therefore trying to ascertain how often it happens in order to report the matter accurately.

6
2

Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media

The Mole

Re: GIF's?

IANAL but is it actually a breach of copyright? There are narrow exemptions in UK law for fair dealing particularly for news reporting. If they were posting the entire match then that would clearly be a breach, but given they are only posting 6 second chunks that is about 0.1% of the copyrighted product.

30
1

What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this

The Mole

Re: Just a personal feeling

I agree about the itchy feeling, then I looked at how long in real time these images took to make.

I'm not currently worried about a swarm of robots that can form a shape in little under 12 hours!

0
0

Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'

The Mole

Indeed, but it provides evidence of increased likelyhood that the owner (who hasn't reported it stolen) is likely to have been there along with the phone. If the owner wasn't with the phone then they'd be expected to give evidence in their testimony of why the phone wasn't in their possession and apparently wondering round the city - if it was with a friend who, if it was stolen then how did they then get it back again.

1
0

UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom

The Mole

Re: Hope not.

Using a mobile which is not attached to the dashboard with a hands free kit is illegal whilst operating a car. If you are using a handsfree kit it is legal - and with voice commands you can send texts and do data tests as well.

0
0

Twitter can trigger psychosis in users

The Mole

" If Twitter didn't exist, likely something else would have caused this woman to have this delusion."

And that is why this report started with the line "Twitter can trigger psychosis in predisposed users". "Predisposed" means that other things may also trigger it. The point of the report is that Twitter is one risk factor that should be considered, and the report provided evidence and explanation of why Twitter may more likely to do so than other activities (such as reading El Reg comments for instance).

8
1

Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch

The Mole

Re: I don't get the moaning

The moaning is simple. A patant should be for something novel and non-obvious to someone skilled in the art. Companies should only apply for patents if they believe this is true and the patent office should only grant patents if they believe this is true.

Unfortunately what the patent office thinks is novel and non-obvious appears to differ wildly from those who consider themselves skilled in the subject matter at hand. The moaning comes from observing companies appearing to take advantage of the discrepancy and with the money to be able to afford to do so.

Pebble (for instance) probably wouldn't have spent vital start up money patenting something that isn't novel or non-obvious - putting more advanced electronics into smaller form factors and talking to your wrist is something talked about in both fiction and non-fiction for decades.

0
0

Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax

The Mole

Re: Price isn't based on cost

But supply should be based on cost, and if there is a large differential between cost and price then supply should go up, driving down cost until they balance out.

Unfortunately we don't have a pure market and it is artificially distorted - one of the most significant being the restrictions on 'grey market' imports.

2
0

Presto! After Supreme Court loss, Aereo says it's a cable company now

The Mole

As a cable company with a paid for license does that mean they get the rights to start 'regionalized' adverts into their broadcasts (which previously they couldn't do as they would have been infringing the copyright)? If so they may actually be able to recoup at least some of the costs from the advertising

0
0

Vid shows how to easily hack 'anti-spy' webmail (sorry, ProtonMail)

The Mole

Being too generous

I think El Reg is being way too generous on protonmail. How and where the email is composed and encrypted is irrelevant. The web based client shouldn't be trusting what is sent to it and should have been written from the ground up to be secure against malicious input.

1
0

Lords try shoehorning law against REVENGE SMUT into justice bill

The Mole

Re: Stick

And as a counter post I'd point out Paul Chambers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter_Joke_Trial) who got convicted of sending menacing emails for a joke on twitter. It was eventually overturned on the THIRD appeal but it is cases like that why the majority of the El Reg readership wants laws that don't require sensible people to selectively enforce them.

7
0

New MH370 search zone picked using just seven satellite 'handshakes'

The Mole

Re: What about those black-box locator pings?

News just in: things don't always perform to specification.

2
0

Physicist proposes 1,000-foot state-sized walls to stop tornadoes

The Mole

But how long? Building a wall the same height as the comcast tower may be simple if it is also the same width as the comcast tower, start building a wall multiple miles long and I'm sure complexities start to happen (roads, wildlife and existing buildings for a start).

The maths on a "mere" $160 million per mill also don't stack up particularly well, just 10 miles is 1.6 billion, three 33.3 mile stretches are 16 billion, (see comparison to costs of tornadoes here http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/damage$.htm).

Perhaps if they built more houses out of bricks not sticks then the hurricanes wouldn't blow them all down? This is likely to be far far cheaper and have many health and other positive benefits to the poor in those areas as well!

9
1

Google adds 'data protection' WARNING to Euro search results

The Mole

What adwords

The interesting question is what adwords are shown alongside the results on google.com. If they are adwords were sold by a European based division of Google then the EU will probably conclude that the results on the google page are still in the remit of the EU (as per the original judgement). If they are not then whether google.com has to be impacted is more difficult to call - though the Canadians have ruled that the answer is yes (probably fairly given how much geolocation adjustments google do).

2
1

You're inventing the wrong sort of tech for bad people who want to buy it. Stop it at once

The Mole

To me the issue isn't that the Yo app was created (the inventor obviously has a far better understanding of the market than me to predict that such a simple and limited app can be sufficiently valued for people to download and use. And I don't disagree that there is some level of value there for some people individually - though very limited value to society as a whole.

The issue is that some venture capitalists believe that value can be realised into tangible hard currency..That they believe that that inspiration and 8 hours work is worth investing $1 million dollars and that somehow they expect significant returns to justify that gamble. Perhaps the inventor is really a genius as I (and most reg comentards) fail to see a business model which could possibly come close to doing that (given the barriers to entry is 8 hours work if not less). The company is therefore perceived as being blatantly over valued in a dot com 2.0 bubble. That million dollars is likely to be spent on operations such as marketing which add little value.

Captial is finite, there is an opportunity cost of that million dollars being invested in company A rather than company B. Both may produce value but in a rational market if company A produced less long term value than company B then company B should get the money not A. The professors argument would seem to be that there are far better businesses that have the potential to provide far more value not only to the end users, investors but also externalities benefiting society as a whole.

At some point this dot com bubble will burst (valuations are clearly excessive compared to projected income and a business plan of make big losses and then be brought at an overinflated price isn't sustainable). When the bubble bursts investors will loose money meaning they can't invest in other stuff, or get hesitant and invest in 'less risky' markets. In both cases firms producing products with real tangible long term value are also going to suffer and fail to get the necessary investment to bring that value to fruition.

15
4

Coulson GUILTY of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006

The Mole

Re: Brooks is FOUND innocent

"Brooks has not been found innocent. She IS innocent. It sticks in my craw to say it, especially after the witch hunts against innocent people that occured under her watch. But the principle must stand that it is the job of the prosecution to prove guilt, rather than the defence to prove innocence. Hence innocent unless proven guilty."

She has been found NOT GUILTY (beyond reasonable doubt) and therefore must be presumed innocent. Whether she is truly innocent or not we can't say; not if they want to avoid a libel suit anyway but interestingly if that happened I believe they would only have to prove that she was guilty on the balance of probabilities not beyond reasonable doubt.

1
0

Snowden defends mega spy blab: 'Public affairs have to be known by the public'

The Mole

Re: Snowden is neither a whistleblower or hero

"Snowden revealed what most people believed anyway so he wasn't a whistleblower. A whistleblower discloses what you don't know and cannot guess for example that the tobacco industry knew in the 50s that cigarettes killed people."

Interesting definition, but I'm clueless as where you got it from.

"A person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity." (Oxford English Dictionary:)

"a person who tells police, reporters, etc., about something (such as a crime) that has been kept secret" (Merriam Webster)

"a person who informs on another or makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing." (dictionary.com)

In none of these definitions does it come close to adding criteria that it is something that you "cannot guess". Suspecting what the NSA/CIA/GCHQ were up to is meaningless, I can guess at lots of things they were doing, some of them would have been right, some of them wrong, what Snowdon provided was whistle-blowing evidence as to which of the guesses were on the mark. Before the relevations most guesses would just have been dismissed as conspiracy theories and couldn't have been printed seriously in reputable sources such as newspapers or academic papers (editors like a level of proof).

As for your other comments, I'd need a whistle-blower to confirm it but I'd assume both China and Russia already knew all the details of what the US and UK were up to, they have decent intelligence agencies after all doing much of the same stuff (probably even more in reality) I doubt anything that Snowden revealed is news to them. The only people who didn't know is the public who payed for it and are violated by it. It would be fantastic if we got visibility of what the other countries are also doing but lack of that visibility shouldn't mean that we don't know about what our own governments are doing.

As to damaging the national security, I agree the national security has been damaged, the people who allowed such broad unrestricted spying, particularly the reciprocal relationships designed purely to get round the letter of the law should be brought to justice for breaking those laws, not the person who reveals the wrong doing.

22
3

If Google remembers whom it has forgotten, has it complied with the ECJ judgment?

The Mole

Flawed article

The premise "Google is violating this right to be forgotten in order to remember who it has been asked to forget" is overlooking the fact that this isn't about the right to be forgotten. The judgement was made under the data protection direction that a person has a right to have accurate and up to date information being processed about them. They are therefore allowed to store the fact that a person has requested to be removed (it's essential to process the request and it is valid data anyway).

2
0

Yes. App that lets you say 'Yo' raises 1 MEEELLION DOLLARS

The Mole

Bubble.

4
0

FBI arrests claims NullCrew hacker in Tennessee takedown

The Mole

But are they going to prosecute those hackers in the NSA/CIA/GCHQ who steal (sorry 'lawfully' intercept) private business and personal information?

7
0

British boffin tells Obama's science advisor: You're wrong on climate change

The Mole

Any scientist who knows that they are only working with (competing) theories and not proofs would use the words "I believe" as a shorthand of saying "Based on the evidence I have observed, the analysis and reports of experiments that other scientists have reported and that I have read, my judgement on the quality of those scientists, experiments and analysis, and my own mental ability the conclusions I personally have tentatively reached as to the implications and meaning of that works is the following.."

Science is made up of beliefs, good science is when scientists will change their beliefs when new data arrives. Bad science is when scientists through pride, funding concerns, vested interests, snobbery or group think refuse to change their beliefs in the face of new evidence.

0
2

Has Google gone too far? Indie labels say it's crunch time for The New Economy

The Mole

Capitalism 101 assumes a perfect market place with perfect knowledge. Whilst you are right to a degree on the power that independents have on the supply side you are forgetting that Youtube has large control of the demand side - the large proportion of people who use Youtube to browse and view music they know of and then stumble across music they don't. The music they know will predominantly be from the major labels and music they don't know is the music they won't stumble across so won't know they are missing out on so won't go looking on other music services*.

Don't forget the major labels may only be 20% of the workforce but a much larger proportion of the market viewings.

* some will of course, but the majority won't

2
0

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

The Mole

Next case

Looks like his next case should be a libel case against the DMA then? If the judge had thrown the case out they probably could get away with claiming that, but given a judge has already rules his case has merit I think they'd struggle to justify calling him a troll.

27
0

Page:

Forums