* Posts by John Smith 19

9880 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Privacy watchdog ICO slashes its fines in half

John Smith 19
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Start putting *senior* people in prison.

Once the first ICO does some serious time the rest of them will start paying attention.

After all it's not the UK has any problem putting people in jail with, IIRC, proportionately the highest number of people in prison of any country in (at least) Western Europe.

Except the last attempt to get this activated (I believe it's in the relevant legislation) failed because, once again, the Home Secretary was clueless ar***ole irresolute.

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UK govt spied on human rights warriors at Amnesty International

John Smith 19
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Bet this claim won't end up in the Sunday Times.

Unlike the claim Edward Snowden (while working for the NSA) managed to get hold of the MI6 list of officers and assets not working at British Embassies.

Difference is this one is probably true, given the UK governments "friends" in The War On Terror (TM).

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It's all downhill from here: Avalanche spins STT-RAM

John Smith 19
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Go

Staggering

If it works.

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China's best phone yet: Huawei P8 5.2-inch money-saving Android smartie

John Smith 19
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"demand far more privacy and security features "

Perhaps Western buyers should do that too?

Do you want a valuable comms device or a spy-in-your-pocket.

I know which I prefer.

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Universal Credit white elephant needs 'urgent breakthrough' says MP

John Smith 19
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15 benefits (on how many mainframes?) integrated together in a single big bang

What could possibly go wrong with such a mad bold plan?

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Revive the Nathan Barley Quango – former Downing Street wonk

John Smith 19
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Coat

Shoreditch

It's well weapon. *

*No I don't think this is a "market failure." The market thinks the idea is crap.

The idea is crap.

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Smart meters set to cost Blighty as much as replacing Trident

John Smith 19
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Of cours most of the cost will be recouped from the customers.

That's you that is.

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John Smith 19
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"The only rationale is to do time of day charging or remote cutoff."

Why did you think they are called "smart."

That's what they're for.

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John Smith 19
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Re: Question for Kat Hall

"You have mentioned how high the cost is in the U.K., but what about the U.S.? Is there any major difference in the meters?"

Where do you think he UK will buy most of these meters from?

Info sec researches got some 1 off's for penetration tests but that stopped when they found how s88t the data security was on them.

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Boffins set networking record with marathon 12,000 km fiber data run

John Smith 19
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Yay. Transatlantic High Frequency Trading.

Oh joy.

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LG's six-sided battery to take smart watches into new timezones

John Smith 19
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Re: award to LG for best photoshop ever?

"Still trying to work out if any of the elements in shot were actually in the same place at the same time....."

Probably from the photoshop "Generic Korean Ladies" library.

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Turnbullnomics trashed as Oz regulator cuts telecoms prices

John Smith 19
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In the UK you can't even get that good an arrangement

Most of the copper is still owned by BT Openreach IE BT, after 35 yeas.

Fair deal for new entrants?

Yeah right.

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KRAKKOOM! SpaceX Falcon supply mission to ISS EXPLODES minutes after launch

John Smith 19
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Keep in mind Congress wanted to down select to *one* supplier by now.

So all US flights to the ISS would have been ended if Orbital had been that supplier.

Redundancy.

Quite useful a lot of the time.

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Q: What's black and white and read all over? A: E-reader displays

John Smith 19
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Nice round up

I did not realize there were any other technologies out there.

I'll be looking up ore "e-paper" in future.

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Hated Care.data scheme now 'unachievable', howls UK.gov watchdog

John Smith 19
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One of those strange ideas that *sounds* good (to certain civil servants and politicians)

But is actually s**t.

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Space station cabbage: To boldly grow where no veg has grown before

John Smith 19
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more important than I realized

Both the "salad box" experiment and attempted 1st stage landing.

Seriously is it a good idea to plan to explore the universe by leaving a trail of ready meals behind you?

Veggies turn CO2 and water into food.

On a space station that's better than trying to chomp through the cardboard on a take out pizza (although those packing some hardware comes in aren't too bad).

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Gates: Renewable energy can't do the job. Gov should switch green subsidies into R&D

John Smith 19
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BTW the US Govt pumped *billions* into PV tech in the late 70's and early 80's

It did lower the cost of the panels somewhat.

As for "a tonne of software companies whose names will never be remembered,"

We could start with Go Corp, Novel and Netscape for starters.

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Capita: Call centre workers, can you fall on your swords? Please?

John Smith 19
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Bury

What quite a lot of people who've been on the wrong end of this companies "service" would like to do to its senior management.

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Killer ChAraCter HOSES almost all versions of Reader, Windows

John Smith 19
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@Ken Hagan

"Curiously enough, Microsoft's own secure-coding processes, introduced with much fanfare around the time of XPsp2, do exactly that, which makes it all the more mysterious that this kernel code managed to get through the safety net. What's the betting that the handling of Adobe Type 1 fonts gets a special exemption from modern coding standards on the grounds that it seems to work, no-one has touched it for a decade and no-one wants to?"

Indeed much fanfare on that re-write.

You do have to wonder how deep it went.

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John Smith 19
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Let's see if I've got this straight

C is dangerous because of it's memory handling.

C is powerful and flexible because of its memory handling.

Bad developers shouldn't write operating systems.

Bad developers do write operating systems.

Pascal is a poor model for secure OS writing as it's not got enough features to write an OS.

Now let me remind people of a few bits of history.

C was developed to allow Unix and other system apps to be written easily in a time of constrained resources both on the hardware to be supported and the compiling process itself (although I think the DEC Proprietary language "Bliss" was better at optimization it retained the single data type "word" and everything had to built on top of that. Not fun).

C was written by and for the staff at Bell Labs, who included some of the best software developers in the world. Key apps for them included the software to control the US telephone exchanges. This must be reliable.

Nicholas Wirth did not write an OS in Pascal. He and his team at ETH did write an OS in follow on languages Modula 2 (for Lilith workstation) and A2 for the Oberon language. Embedded development could be done on Turbo Pascal because it supported access to the whole memory and IO address space as 2 special arrays with no safety net of any kind.

Ada was specifically written to support real time embedded software development. AFAIK most of the 20 000 different languages the DoD supported, a statistic that got DoD in getting "1 language to rule them all" (to coin a phrase) were assembler languages, followed by things like Jovial, developed exactly for those functions.

But Ada's design-by-committee design stuffed everything but the kitchen sink in and made compiler development a royal PITA.

And all (except Bliss, which is contemporary) were developed after C. A live compiler on the terminal beats a dead tree standard any day. :-( .

The automotive and other industries (medical products IIRC) do have secure C coding standards.

They typically work by assigning all the necessary memory at start up. From then on everything is static allocated.

C & C++ are very powerful. But do you need that power? My experience of embedded was a lot of the time it was "write a hex value to this location and read something at this location."

On that basis being able to specify (at some level in the language) specific hardware addresses (with a bit of in line assembler) were the key needs for those functions.

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John Smith 19
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Does anyone think he's really the first person to have discovered these?

In a very secure office somewhere in Maryland....

"That sneaky little f**ker has f**ked us good. Now we'll have to find more ways in that most people haven't thought of. We've been using those for decades. Ba***rd."

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Stealing secret crypto-keys from PCs using leaked radio emissions

John Smith 19
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Re: @Hadrada - Thanks

" have a couple of books that cover a subset that - Wayne R. Moore's Foundations of Mechanical Accuracy for microelasticity, and Eric Marsh's Precision Spindle Metrology for capacitance micrometry in that setting - "

The book is a retrospective of his work. Key features of his approach were the use of unbalencing sensors driving null reading bridges. The first makes one output bigger as the other side gets smaller while the second keeps the scale quite short as all you need to know is wheather or not the reading is at zero.The system output is the error signal needed to cancel the sensor output.

Today such sensors can measure a 2000 tonne tank or powder silo to within 1Kg (1 parts in 2^21). They are also quite beautiful, being laser cut from a single piece of steel.

It's also good on the design of various flexure bearings that eliminate the sudden "jerk" when applied force overcomes static friction for the first time and an object starts to move.

This is stuff that's used in the design of semiconductor mfg equipment but a lot of Jones work comes from the 1950's. Being able to generated nm displacements by hand is very tricky, but his papers show how it's done.

Jones was active in WWII in what today would be called electronic warfare and ECM, which is a rather tenuous link the original topic.

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John Smith 19
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Hackers Handbook, 1st edition??

ISTR a dumb version of this.

While you could capture a signal it was never quite clear what you could do with it.

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John Smith 19
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@Hadrada

"Any thoughts?

Cheers :)"

Yes.

RV Jones "Instruments and Experiences"

He spent a substantial part of his career doing this. It's also called "Capacitance micrometry."

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John Smith 19
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Re: ...since the 1980's

"My father bought an electric screwdriver just to work on the ZDS machines because their RF shield, inside the case, was attached with more then a dozen screws."

Maintaining a solid RF join between the parts of the casing tends to need a lot of connectors.

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John Smith 19
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Note the *low* frequencies they are talking about.

The processor may be clocked at GHz, but they are looking at signals in the low MHz range.

And note once you've got someone's private key you've got their whole secure email back catalogue as well.

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Oi, UK.gov, your Verify system looks like a MASS SPY NETWORK

John Smith 19
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Gimp

Just *addicted* to the centralized, encryption stripped, way of doing things.

Your data in their hands.

Forever.

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Cupertino GIVES IN to Taylor Swift, will pay Apple Music royalties

John Smith 19
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Young, tall, blonde, female and given Apple some discomfort.

What's not to like about her?*

*Although I keep hearing a line from that Jay Z track "Holy Grail" in my head for some reason.

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John Smith 19
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Joke

"any port in a storm, I'll take it where I can get it, a wink's as good as a nod.. "

Careful.

Her lawyers will be hunting you down for copyright infringement.

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NIST issues 'don't be stupid' security guidelines for contractors

John Smith 19
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Joke

Re: "Prohibit password reuse for a specified number of generations"

"Will be my grand-grand-son able to reuse my passwords?"

The "prohibit password reuses by your descendents while you are still alive*" feature was going to be in the UK identity card NIR schema but was put back to V 2.0.

*There's only so much useless s**t you can put on the first version of system before it gets cancelled.

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John Smith 19
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"Headings" list has probably already sent senior managers to sleep.

Which is a pity as only their involvement is likely to get this done.

So they will palm it on on some minion who will, in turn, palm it off on a minion until....

And henceforward that person will be "responsible" for system security.

Responsibility without authority is bul***it.

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Dev probes bad proxies, writes white hat checker, black hat DIY guide

John Smith 19
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Headmaster

Is this the 3rd not spell checked ElReg article I've read today?

I think it is.

Spell check.

Quite useful for reports read by one other person.

Very useful for stuff read by thousands.

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US is the world's botnet mothership, says Level 3

John Smith 19
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As a sysadmin should you not *know* what apps are calling outside?

If you do, good.

Now do they have a legitimate reason for doing so?

If you don't know it why are are you allowing it?

If you don't know what apps are calling out perhaps you should find out.

Curiosity may be the best weapon.

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Police robot duo storm Colorado house, end four-day siege

John Smith 19
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WTF?

Indeed. 1 man +1 weapon +*no* hostages = 4 days x 30 officers + 1 house destroyed.

Yes I think a WTF is warranted.

Several explanations for why they should decide to emulate the exploits of "Key Stone" division.

None of them good.

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The insidious danger of the lone wolf control freak sysadmin

John Smith 19
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@AC

"Overall the article seems a bit of a management cop out looking to pin blame on someone rather than take responsibility or learn from their own doing :("

You probably had most people's sympathy till this paragraph.

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John Smith 19
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"To paraphrase Feynman, "If you can't explain it to a complete newbie, you don't understand it."

IIRC Jon Bently called it the "Telephone test"

Can you explain your code and it's algorithms to someone on the phone when they can't just look at the code?

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John Smith 19
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Re: Lone Wolf..

"Personally I've tried to stick it out in this kind of situation, hoping that the person in question would change, but it wore me down and in the end for my own sanity I had to quit."

You're missing the point.

They see no reason to change.

This system works just fine for them.

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John Smith 19
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Sometimes 'Tims' are created by incompetent or corrupt management.

"'Tims' are always created by incompetent or corrupt management.

FTFY.

Smart managers don't fall for their BS.

Tough managers know how to either put them on a leash or get rid of them.

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John Smith 19
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Pour petrol on it.

""That xxx? Oh Tim's dealing with it. Project Y? Tim's dealing with it. Bog's blocked?- go and see Tim."

Watch the burnout.

Mwahahaha!!"

Nice.

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Airbus to build 900 mini-satellites for OneWeb's orbital internet system

John Smith 19
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IT Angle

A note on Iridium

Which this system will be compared with.

They guy who built the Iridium satellites came from Apple.

His approach was the nearest thing ever seen in satellite mfg to an actual production line (for both the bus and the payload).

Brought next sat mfg to months, not years.

But that still leaves getting them to orbit.

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The Hound of Hounslow: No $40m Wall Street wobbler

John Smith 19
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Meh

Hmm. I wonder who voted me down.

So who is the HFT apologist we haven't heard from yet?

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John Smith 19
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IT Angle

A note on "Galloping Gerty"

What finally destroyed Tacoma Narrows was the fact the wind was gusty, hitting it with high amplitude pulses of energy,

Since narrow enough high energy pulses fourier analyze into a broad range of frequencies this is a great way to find what frequencies a device or structure resonates without having to "sweep" the excitation signal (a variable speed wind is difficult to arrange).

Which it did.

Theo von Karman did the analysis on Tacoma Narrows should anyone want to find out more.

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John Smith 19
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Boffin

Hounslow to New York distance roughly 3450 miles.

Or about 27 milliseconds at the 2/3 of light speed inside a fibre.

It's estimated HF traders need delays of 320 micro seconds or less to work.

Not in the race.

Not even close.

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John Smith 19
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"well-known to be using exploits in the trading systems,"

These are not exploits.

They rely on the use of special order types.

With a separate order sent on every share being traded.

How the exchange responds to this order tells the organization sending the order IE the HFT company,

These are not real orders.

They are in effect "pings" to the market to detect what is going on.

Apparently there are 150 order types supported by some (if not all) exchanges. These order types would not exist without the express support of the exchanges involved.

Once you're read "Flash Boys" you realize, this is no accident.

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Sunday Times fires off copyright complaint at Snowden story critics

John Smith 19
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Re: "fair use rights s"?

"That would be the "fair dealing" clauses in the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1990, then..?"

Thank you . That's a useful comment that tells me something I didn't know. I'll have to check into that one.

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John Smith 19
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@Smudge

I think you'll find Wales and England are treated as one group. Scottish law is somewhat different and Scottish lawyers (or advocates) can study in the Netherlands as well, for reasons I'm not really sure about.

If you'd bothered to look at the blog, you'd have seen that it appears to come under the laws of the state of New York. So El Reg's comment is valid and yours is irrelevant.

The ST can argue the offense was committed against them and they are based in London.

With something like this you always argue where the case should be tried. In the US courts ever notice how many patent litigation cases end up in Texas, despite neither party being based there?

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John Smith 19
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Headmaster

"fair use rights s"?

Sorry to be a bore but I'm not sure that applies in British law.

IANL

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It's curtains for you, copper: IBM boffins push the LIGHT FANTASTIC

John Smith 19
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Boffin

Re: Silicon versus GaAs

"GaAs is faster than Silicon. "

Not it's not. Electrons move faster in GaAs. Holes (+ve charge carriers critical for CMOS) move slower.

SiC is better and IIRC so is SiGe.

But the core issue is that effectively you're needing two chips in the same package.

The real break through with Silicon Photonics is a)Making Si emit light in the first place. b) Incorporating those structures into chip mfg process straightforward enough to use in a conventional production line.

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Indie review of UK surveillance laws: As you were, GCHQ

John Smith 19
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Gimp

@JP19

"The whole basis for the need for mass subservience is made up, made up by politicians trying to fool us into thinking they do something useful and supported by the hundreds of thousands who's jobs depend on it. "

Interesting miss spelling.

This is what the ninth Home Secretary to spout this line.

I'd suggest the entrenched cabal of senior civil servants who want this.

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John Smith 19
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Big Brother

Re: Yeah, but...

"And so can the 'royal' mail - are they planning to open every letter?

And so can cars and bicycles - are they planning to track every vehicle and put CCTV inside?

And so can old-style dead-letter drops - are they planning to have a plod watching every tree and litter-bin in every park in the country?

Terrorists and kiddie-fiddlers have to eat - are they planning to track every purchase of food?"

Patience suspect citizen.

We're working as quickly as possible.

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