248 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009
@ James Pond
Or get one of those old style jetpacks. Disguise it as a large rucksack containing beer. Get it ready before deploying your drone and as the plod come for you, shoot up to the top of the stadium. Extra bonus points if you keep the drone under control and in the air showing off its banner etc thoughout! Supreme kudos award (and probably get invited to a chat show) if you also manage to ride rodeo on a stadium camera unit that is meant to record the match!
In somewhere like Belgrade, the plod would probably 'solve' the problem by shooting you and your drone out of the sky. For more civilised locations I expect netting to suddenly become quite popular. Whether someone will propose something that can be aimed to shoot netting at an offending drone is also a distinct possibility.
Or maybe you could do it the old fashioned way and actually try to penetrate those suspect organisations that want to do 'bad things' using humans? When not having children with the greenpeace hippies they might actually be able to give you valuable intelligence of the sort you cannot get from intercepts? There is a reason why the Russians and the Israelis are considered to have the best domestic intelligence agencies in the world and it isn't because they rely on expensive high tech to do it.
Policing used to be about people. That is why Peel was so adamant it had to be part of the community, not shut away in buildings dealing judgement from afar. Seems like those in the police and at the top have significantly lost sight of that.
Re: The problem with this article...
You shouldn't be thinking about the existing rigs. Those are sunk costs so in that respect, reducing demand would not increase the price. The issue comes with finding more oil fields and moving or building more rigs. This is very expensive and justified by the fact that the companies will get a huge quantity of oil, thus making the costs of getting new sources of oil worth it and thus spreading out that huge initial cost. Reduce the demand and that initial investment has to be paid back sooner as the business case for taking a decade or two to recoup the cost is not as strong as it was.
Other factors include logistics. Oil is transported in massive supertankers because you get economy of scale benefits even though those tankers can be pretty expensive to build and run. Double the size of a normal big tanker, but not double the costs sort of thing. Now there is less demand, so the operators fill the super tankers up (not worth ordering the smaller ones until the super tanker has to be replaced), but instead of doing 1 or 2 stops to unload, it now does 5 stops to 5 different ports. Every time you go into a port you pay fees, plus that super tanker had to travel more, pay crews to be out for longer etc. That increased cost comes right back into the oil price.
This does not take into account any tax or subsidy changes that might result from governments believing oil is no longer as important as it was. Tim Worstall might be able to explain it in something smaller than a full blown thesis, but right now I don't have enough background knowledge to cover what is a very complex area.
Re: The problem with this article...
Yes Tony I think you are right, but the issue is that wider economic changes would result. Hence those arguing that any kind of move to reducing the use of fossil fuels (including going for hydrogen) will lead to significant economic re-adjustment may have a point.
Those plastics and chemicals made cheaply using oil benefit from being a tiny fraction of the total oil use. Oil is cheap because it is pulled out of the ground in enormous scale. Now I never think we would stop burning fossil fuels in reality (classic car drivers unite!), but the minute you massively reduce the scale, the per unit costs go up. So all those plastics and chemicals present affecting so many things important to daily life will increase in costs. Some people argue this would be a good thing, go back to getting your fruit and veg in biodegradeable paper bags instead of landfill plastics for example.
Hence there is an enourmous vested interest in continuing to drill for oil even though, from an individual economic point of view, going for some kind of renewable tech would be much better. £5000 to power my house for 10 years without paying those utilities more than a token connection charge? Yes please. Run a car from that too? Why not? The answer, as always, lies in finding that very practical (and cheap) technology and bringing it to market despite all the people that don't want it to succeed.
Re: Desk Jockey The pimps!
Come on, lighten up. I have always wanted to call journos a pimp, don't deny me this wonderful opportunity! As the freelancer did get paid for his pimping efforts (albeit by a different client) I still maintain he is a pimp!
"could you imagine the possible damage to the country if this twit had got to the position of making really important decisions up against really experienced and immoral politicians like those" Like a certain Dr Liam Fox when he was a SENIOR Minister in the Ministry of Defence? Put the sarcastic laugh on because the Mirror has not done us a favour, that horse has well and truly bolted and a whole load of incompetents are in charge. Just remember that unlike any other industry, politicians don't need qualifications or to pass a formal job interview to get the job! This story/expose is effectively pointless and does nothing more than wreck one family and humiliates a Swedish model, there are far worse offenders for corruption and stupidity that the papers should be exposing (not literally!).
"You may also want to consider that the British Secret Service (allegedly) randomly test their employees, members of the armed forces, senior civil servants and senior MPs with such entrapments". Needless to say I will not be going into details of what I may/may not know allegedly happens, but believe me this does not happen. The British security service does not need to bother doing it because plenty of other foreign governments are trying it. In this case, resources are better spent watching the spooks rather than the MPs. (google Mike Hancock, former MP for Portsmouth and the case of his 'assistant') Something even junior ministers are briefed about when they first start their ministerial job...
I don't see any public interest defence in this case at all. The newspaper just went out to cause serious embarrassment to an MP, not to find out if there was a genuine story about illicit children and affairs etc.
Having not read of the details of what that rag did, it would be amusing if they implied 'sexual' favours using that image? If so, surely they makes the journo a pimp? Worse still, a pimp promising sexual favours without the consent of the person being pimped! Isn't that a criminal offence?
Whether from comitting a civil copyright offence or a criminal 'soliciting' offence, that paper deserves to be in trouble...
Re: I respawn my case
No sports people SELL their image through their agents so that they can get revenue from product endorsements etc. IF EA use their image without their consent, the sports person can sue them for loss of revenue on a marketable commodity. A newspaper using an image to highlight the same sports person scoring the winning shot etc as part of its reporting of a game does not have to pay them. I can't claim to be an expert in this area, but this is a commercial transaction and while EA might try to get away without paying, the potential hassle is not worth it and the cost is pretty small in comparison to all their other costs.
Noriega has not marketed his image like a sports person and in view of the fact he is a part of history (and his image in itself is not considered to have commercial value) he would be unlikely to make a case that he should be paid for it.
Re: I respawn my case
We are talking about the US here. You can (and people do) stand on a street corner yelling obscene things like "I hate n****rs" and your right to free speech is protected by the 1st Amendment.
Remember the film U571? The one where Hollywood gave the credit to capturing the enigma machine to US sailors completely ignoring the historical fact that British sailors did that and several died in the process. Artistic licence, 1st Amendment and all that so the families of the sailors had no legal recourse for this tactless re-writing of history.
So saying that someone who is a convicted murderer might have indulged in a bit of kiddy fiddling and satanic rites isn't exactly going to pass the threshold if the examples above are anything to go by. On the other hand saying the respected CEO of a company who has not been charged or convicted of anything has defrauded investors probably would land you in the dock for reputational damage. The point being that he actually had a reputation to protect!
Noriega on the other hand...
Re: I respawn my case
Ugh no, if you are/were a public figure (being a despot counts) then you pretty much give up your right for your image to be used in material. That is the price of public office and/or being a celebrity. The exception is where you might have an expectation of private life, for example being in the garden spending quiet time with your kids. Why do you think there is such a big deal about celebrity wedding photos? If a paparazzi gets an unofficial photo of a celebrity wedding, that couple will struggle to drag that paparazzi to court even though they did not give their consent.
How else can you tell history (even in an entertainment setting like a video game) if you can't use an image of the person? They are hardly likely to give their consent! Since he is a part of history, using that history to create a story or put forward a point of view is a legitimate part of free speech under the US constitution. In the UK, the court would say he gave up his right to not having his image used when he became a public figure and famous.
European data protection
I would have appreciated an explanation of how Euripean data protection laws have failed in this case?
If the data is held/owned by a European citizen in a European country then one would assume that the US government forcing disclosure through its US arm would put that company in breach of the European law. I would guess because this qualifies as the company giving data to a third party without the user's consent (the US Govt counts as a 3rd party because it is not a legitimate authority for forcing data disclosure in a European jurisdiction hence it needs to ask a legitimate authority to do so on its behalf). You would have thought Mircrosoft would argue that a US court cannot force it to break the law in another country.
However if a US citizen's data is stored in a European jurisdiction, is their data afforded the same level of protection under European law? Of course the US Govt would be able to make a request to that European Govt for disclosure and as it was on a US citizen I would guess it would be amenable to that request, but does the US Govt still have to make that request or is it assumed that the data (by virtue of belonging to a US citizen) comes under US jurisdiction?
No matter to me, I still wouldn't store any sensitive stuff on US servers, but I curious to know where the law stands on this. We all alreadt know the US courts have a very loose definition of jurisdiction when it suits them, it is the European side that counts.
Incompetence all round
I don't condone police abuse of power or their complete farce of safeguards when using RIPA, but in a lot of the cases mentioned by the author he overlooks the fact that journalistic incompetence and high level politics at newspapers is also a significant factor.
The journalist profession needs to take a long hard look in the mirror when asking the question of why the police and those in power are not being held to account. Politically biased editors and owners of newspapers are one obvious reason. Another is the unhealthy relationship of the media with the police and those in power. Also a significant is fact that too many journalists are downright incompetent (I speak from experience not just reading about it). If you are going to take evidence from a police whistleblower then they should bloody well take steps to protect their source, use encryption etc. they should also actually do some proper investigative journalism so that they find additonal evidence which helps to hide the source of the initial information.
Funny enough, giving information to the press as a police officer or civil servant in itself is breaking the law. Can this be used to stifle legitimate whistleblowers? Absolutely. But in either case, the journalist should assume the police may investigate and take the appropriate steps and do a proper bit of investigative journalism. If you can't do that, you don't have much credibility for accusing the police of abuse of power.
Excessive state surveillance/control and piss-poor journalism. That is why those in power are not being exposed or held to account.
Re: Passive resistance @Gene Cash
That is piss poor advice that would not work well in this country so I would strongly advise you NOT to follow it.
If a police officer stops you in the street and asks questions, act polite and helpful and answer their questions directly with no extras. Don't volunteer stuff, but don't appear unhelpful. Being confrontational is what gets them interested in you and you should assume that if they want to, they can take you in for any damn reason they please so don't give them that reason. Yes you may feel it is an invasion of your privacy and that they are being a racist ****, but getting riled about it makes it easier for them not you.
If you appear helpful (even if in reality you are not being helpful at all) it makes it harder for them to charge you with anything. If they then ask you to come to the station (don't assume you actually have a choice by saying no!) just politely say you would like to help them, but could they call the duty solicitor please. You will only help them with their enquiries after you have got legal advice. Stay polite and watch them grit their teeth in frustration.
Being hostile just encourages them to put the handcuffs on you. Being polite and watching them grit their teeth in frustration is far more fun! This advice comes from police bloggers and lawyers so I suggest you follow it, not some bullshit about carrying a card and being passive aggressive!
Re: sick of it all
You should care even if you don't get to vote in it.
If Scotland votes yes, YOU (the taxpayer) will have to foot the bill for moving stuff around, relocating Trident etc and a whole host of economic changes. There might even be some implications at a European level too. For all we know, the Scots might even try to dump all their debt (a large chunk created by Scottish banks) over the arguments about currency union. Either way, the British economy (both Scottish and the rest) will take a hit as people get jittery feet and various sectors have to be re-organised.
If Scotland votes no, the Westminster politicians on your behalf (and not giving you a say in it) are going to offer them all sorts of sweeteners, quite likely involving taxpayer money.
So yes, directly or indirectly your life will be impacted by the results of this vote. Which is sort of ironic really because this is what Scotland has been complaining about in regards to Westminster politics. They get shafted and don't have a meaningful say in what happens. Now they have found a way to do it to those south of the border. Who knows, it might just make people realise how terrible our politicial system has become and actually campaign to do something about it.
The US tried this about a decade back under the Future Soldier concept. After the usual insane amount of money was poured in and using excessively expensive components that makes this tech look last century, they junked this idea. Probably for a good reason.
If this company has not figured out the reason why the US military junked it (despite the hype, it made shooting accuracy worse?) and fixed it then this product isn't going to last very long or make any meaningful impact. Except possibly more people get shot instead of the deer by the incompetents trying to use it!
Actually this theory put forward by the naval officer is highly credible. What you have to remember about underwater acoustics is that they are heavily influenced by currents and warm/cold water layers and so pings can bounce between the layers for a very long way. With several ships and subs in the search area, presumably using their active sonar to try and find the wreckage, the pings are likely to get transmitted a long way and distorted so someone else could pick them up thinking they were the jet's black box.
When they announced nothing had been found in the promising search area I did think to myself that I bet it was a case of the search ships and subs running interference with each other.
Re: altitude overflow?
And for every other air traffic controller in the world they make a habit of checking the secondary radar returns from the aircraft to make sure its altitude is ok. Failing that they radio it and ask. In all circumstances a human brain is keeping an eye on the airspace and making sure everything is safe. Including the air traffic that doesn't really file flight plans or generate large radar returns like gliders.
Meanwhile somewhere in the US some moron decides that computers should do this job which means that finding a parameter that the computer cannot handle in an airspace environment was all but inevitable. No doubt the air traffic controller at LAX knew the altitude of the U2 and knew it was not a problem for them, but entered the altitude into the system because they are meant to otherwise the system does not know where its logged aircraft is at. And so the mayhem began!
I have a mental image of the controllers yelling at the computer, "Noooo, stop doing that. Shut up you f****** thing! Oh f*** it, turn it off."
Never send a computer to do a human's job.
It would have been helpful if this article had made clear which part of BT Ofcom were referring to. Technically there are at least two different companies with BT in the name that are heavily involved in broadband provision, let's call them BT Retail and BT Wholesale.
I don't subscribe to BT, but they p*ss me off all the same. That is because BT Wholesale (Openreach) wrecks my line on a regular basis and I have to hassle my ISP when then has to hassle BT and pass back all their pointless questions before several days/weeks later they send an engineer to fix whatever stupid thing the previous engineer had done. It almost tempts me to go with BT Retail in the vague hope that as they are sort of related to BT Wholesale, they might be able to fix the problem faster and at least I can just clearly blame BT rather than the ISP who has not done anything to wreck the line.
If the Ofcom findings include BT Wholesale then that is not a surprise as no doubt a large number of complaints is being generated by ISPs. If it is BT Retail, this just shows how crap they are and that using them to beat up Wholesale is pointless.
Your point above is very incoherent. First you say human rights should not be used this way and then you say it should be there to protect freedom and ensure due process. Right to property (intellectual and physical) and not having it arbitrarily taken away from you is a fundamental human right. Without it, you might struggle to make a living and feed yourself and thus your right to life can be infringed. This is not abusing the human rights laws because it is a well known and much used tactic for the political types to take away the money and propoerty belonging to the opposition so that they are trapped/imprisoned by poverty and thus unable to cause political disruption.
The legal points raised by Monsieur Legal, if true, are bloody important points. You can't deprive someone of their livelihood by doing a piss poor implementation of what could be a valuable service. Thousands of disabled people are wrongly denied benefits because the UK Government gave a piss poor contract to ATOS and told it to do a crap job. Imagine this being done on a European level, it would be awful. Having said that I get her pionts about going over old ground over and over again. European negotiations are like that, you just have to suck it up and prove to the legal types that you have addressed that issue in section X of the bloody document and if not, what wording do they suggest please. A common complaint I can relate to is that legal types too often tell you what you can't do and not enough time being helpful by suggesting a good way forward.
On a wider point, the European Convention on Human Rights was written by a British judge because the judges from the other European countries at the time didn't really have a clue. (this topic is basic history for all law undergraduates) Therefore the Brit position that it is not suitable for Britain is very hypocritical because it was the Brits who wrote it! There is nothing wrong with the principles outlined in the ECHR. But there are a lot of lawyers making a lot of money abusing those principles and driving through bad national laws or policies as a consequence. Remember that when you next read a Daily Fail article on this or hear yet another politician/pundit spout off complete rubbish about human rights. It is British law that is the problem, after all the Scandinavians, Germans etc don't have big problems with it.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or human rights advocate.
An example of Noise Cancelling would be for example cutting out wind when you are outside. Otherwise you end up with that sound like someone blowing into a microphone pretty constantly. That wind noise stops you hearing the person trying to talk to you or pretty much anything else!
Unfortunately NC when activated also seems to stop most sounds from more than 2 meters away or anything quiet or high pitched. It is a bit of a bugger in busy traffic and any other noisy environment when you need to have situational awareness. I don't know if very high end machines have solved this. Sensible hearing aid users turn it off and if they want to cancel noise they do it manually or wear a woolly hat to get rid of that wind effect.
The benefit of a smart phone controlled hearing aid would be that you could set profiles. For example one profile for outside with NC on, another profile for a quiet indoor environment with noise gain turned up high. Thus adapt your settings to your environment rather than letting the NHS set the environmental parameters for you (often badly!) as with the current set of machines.
At bloody last!
Digital hearing aid wearers have been waiting for this for ages. At the moment they have to go to the hospital to have the hearing aid adjusted or tweaked which is done by physically plugging it into a computer. A process that involves wasting a lot of time because the NHS keep rotating in nurses with little experience who just follow the handbook and seem incapable of getting the settings right, necessitating several time wasting visits to the hospital. They get mortally offended when the users suggest giving them the equipment and software so that they can go home and do it!
Getting a smart phone to interact with the hearing aid is a no brainer, not only for tweaking settings but also to let the phone pipe the audio directly into the aid, and it is frustrating the manufacturers have taken so long to even think about it. I think Apply will have to up their game for making the two different technologies work though. Modern aids can last up to 2 weeks on one battery because they are amazingly power efficient. Adding more wireless tech will probably drop that somewhat if they are not careful.
Better security in-house
I actually read that statement from Huawei to actually mean, "We know the NSA have penetrated Blackberry because that nice Mr Snowden told us. So instead we will develop our own secure systems, with the help of the nice chaps from the Chinese Interior Ministry, which the NSA will then have to develop a lot of time and effort into penetrating."
I think the spooks might actually be disappointed. No easy backdoors into the Politiboro.
Re: Vote with your wallet
"I think you'll find that Ryanair operates within the same safety and operational framework as the other Airlines in Europe...have addressed allegations in these areas which have been shown as unfounded"
You don't work in their PR department do you? Sounds like it...
I actually work in an aviation environment so I have a bit of a better clue than most. Ryanair may be comliant with the regulations, but their attitude and certain practices leave a lot to be desired. Meeting the minimum standards does not a safe service make. By the same token throwing lots of money in with little detailed thought also does not guarantee safety.
Threaten litigation all you want. Most of the people I know who can be considered experts in aviation matters make a deliberate point of not flying with certain airlines, especially those with bolshy hard nosed CEOs who somehow make a supposedly sustainable business model out of treating both their customers and suppliers rather badly!
Vote with your wallet
I actually pay more to avoid flying with Ryanair. I cannot stand the way they make travel feel so uncomfortable and I know enough about their cost cutting techniques to know that their flights are barely safe, particularly when it comes to pilot rest and having enough reserve fuel. No sane person should want to get on their planes!
If people want Ryanair to change, there is no point complaining about it, they don't care. The answer is to fly with someone else until Ryanair lose so much money they change their ways. Unfortunately people are too fixated on the price or simply too dumb to realise this. Sometimes it is cheaper to pay more up front so that you spend less on transit costs, lost baggage etc.
Someone had better want these bands and pay good money for them considering how much pain Ofcom have gone and put all the aviation radar users through. A goodly number of aviation radars (the ones that stop planes crashing into each other) operate witihin the 2.4ghz to 3.1Ghz band and quite a few have needed modifications to allow this spectrum to be sold off. I just hope those modifications work as advertised otherwise there will be more pain to come...
Re: Unrealistic target
Ah that much abused system used by several high profile individuals, including upper management in the BBC and local councils, to help them minimise their tax? The one where Treasury has banned Whitehall departments froms using?
Of course those Whitehall departments are not going to be anywhere near the 25% target by 2015, it was a pile of crap to start with.
For starters they are still locked into huge contracts with the big usual suspects that are too expensive and traumatic to get out of. It takes time to migrate the whole thing over which can only start towards to end of those contracts. Then the civil service don't have the manpower or the knowledge (no decent IT person works there on that salary) to be able to undertake the migration and so they need to draw up a new contract with a big trier 1 suppler and mandate that the supplier funnels 25% of the work to SMEs, which they will find all sorts of creative and self benefitting ways of doing.
Having tried to use those 'centralised services' I can promise you they are anything but quick and easy. The bureaucrafic hoops are horrendous and so why would anyone bother? They will just find other ways of getting hold of what they need, usually in a hurry, from an established route where some other poor sucker went through the pain of sorting out the red tape.
Government IT is a mess and the politicians are not making it any better. Maybe if they stopped taking bribes from the big companies they would look at the problem more objectively?!
In the real world...
Civil servants are forced to combine requirements due to inadequate resources, a vague hope of getting economies of scale and because politicians don't understand what complexity means. This leads to a monster requirement that only a big provider can deliver and even then it still ends up being a mess.
Said big provider cannot be properly punished for poor performance because they donate to political parties and so the government will never actually give itself the commercial means to beat those companies with the ugly stick (ie. big fines). Worse, those companies are able to implement technical strangleholds on those IT systems so civil servant cannot give the next contract to someone else without having to buy a totally new system.
The procurement laws are so ridiculously complex and convoluted that civil servants are not allowed to do small and simple procurements that a normal private company can do. This means they have to go back to creating big contracts because the small companies cannot or will not do the stupid dance (it costs them ruinous amounts of money) to satisfy those procurement laws.
Break up those contracts into smaller chunks, ensure all equipment and software is compliant with common standards and properly train and then trust the civil servants to be allowed to do small scale procurements rather than the jack of all trades, master of f**k all stuff and then maybe the benefits outlined by this policy exchanged can be realised.
You can't blame the civil servants for not delivering when the same sort of idiots who know nothing about how to actually run things keep being voted in charge over and over again!
Re: Not necessarily good that it was privatised.
"As I never tire of saying - the public sector can outsource financial risk, but it can't outsource the risk of failing to deliver the service."
Not just you. The junior and middle rank civil service has been saying this for years, but no one at the top, in Parliament, the Media or even the General Public wants to bloody listen.
Even in the private sector the message is not going out very well which is why those banks suffered those massive IT failures and suddenly realised that outsourcing their tech support to India was not that good an idea after all. Only such private banks are meant to be allowed to fail, no wait...
It is a big club
Which big/major power with a seat in the UN doesn't attempt to hack and eavesdrop on the UN's calls? Will all the true innocents please put their hand up! Nope, don't see any hands. Will any of the UN staff who are surprised by this put their hands up. No don't see any hands there either!
This is not exactly a well kept secret. Everyone just pretends they are being good. I think the NSA would do it just to keep in practice and to make sure there are very few systems they cannot crack if they need to. Come on, they even put a lot of effort into trying to crack their own systems.
Planting a bug in the General Secretary's office would be seriously bad form however. Best not get caught doing that...
As for the Americans stealing trade secrets, nooooo, it is those pesky commies that do it, American capitalism is so good it does not need to stoop so low. Honest!
Went and checked the relevant DPA bit quoted (Section 55). Subsection 1 clearly states accessing when you are not meant to while subsection 2 clearly states disclosure is justified where the individual is doing so as part of their job, to assist detection of crime and court proceedings or has a reasonable expectation that the data controller would approve the disclosure.
It is very hard to pin a criminal prosecution on someone for being stupid as opposed to wilfully malignant!
Unlawfully accessing personal data..." As it reads either this story is total b*ll*cks (because it misses out key details) or the rent a quote lawyer doesn't understand what unlawful accessing means!
She was a probation officer, possibly looking after the case mentioned and thus one assumes had a lawful reason to access that database for carrying out her job. As I read it even if she was not supposed to access those details on that database, she did not access those details in a personal capacity (helping out a mate, being curious etc) nor did she give her login details to an unauthorised user to access the details thus she was guilty of gross misconduct and being a complete idiot rather than committing unlawful access. She made a serious error in judgement and was sacked for it. Unless the story is missing something, she did not hack the database to access details she was not allowed to see which is closer to what I consider 'unlawful access'.
She was guilty of not protecting someone else's data to which she was responsible for protecting and I suspect that is what the fine was about. But then this term includes muppets leaving documents on trains or thowing them into bins etc and hence is not as harshly punished as unlawful access. If you want to punish someone for stupidly handing over data to the wrong person then put them in an appropriate category rather than trying to make the unlawful access charge stick which is something completely different.
Of course there is no way the RSPCA could be infiltrated by the animal rights/Greenpeace nutters who then use their access to the police databases to help their group conduct better 'direct action' campaigns! Knowing where the fox hunters or the scientists working in animal testing labs keep those shotguns is in the public good don't you know!
OK, enough with the sarcasm, but it can hardly escape anyone's attention how inherently dangerous this level of access could be in the wrong hands.
Public bodies have 20 days to provide a response. If they decide that there is a case for refusal, they can respond saying they are doing a public interest test and thus have another 20 days before they have to provide the next response, thus in reality they have 40 working days for complicated FOI requests.
They can legitimately go past that 40 day deadline if there are good reasons, for example having to consult with a foreign government or a company before releasing a document. They need to try to avoid having to do this though and at all times they should be telling the FOI requestor what is going on.
An open and transparent government is great until you realise that you actually need to pay for it! Cutting the staff means people actually doing the work have to stop and deal with the FOIs. Morally fine from a transparancy point of view, but in reality FOI is much abused by journos and other interest groups who are trying to get civil servants to do the bulk of the work for their benefit. The whole process is bureacratic as hell. Having said all that, the Home Office is notoriously incompetent and no doubt deserves the kicking it is getting from the ICO.
Don't know what the US is complaining about, the UK has about 20,000 wrecks in its waters with the possibility to pollute. No that is not a typo or made up figure! Sorry, not allowed to give you the source either although maybe the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will have it on thier website?
This is an old problem that many countries have been dealing with for years. It is quite an interesting area of work though.
Re: Fun fact
Unfortunately the risk of explosion is not as remote as they might wish... It would also be a total nightmare to fix the problem as most of the city of London would have to be evacuated just in case thus the problem has just been ignored. Not the best idea in the world...
Re: @zmodem (Ugh!)
You are right, he is a moron. I hope he is not in charge of anything more dangerous than a computer attached to the internet!
Don't bother taking my word for it, use a search engine like google to search for in depth articles on how people make guns. Stick to concepts about using steel, anything more complicated is a bit beyond you at this stage...
You have gone off on a tangent irrelevant to this article as the previous poster was trying to tell you.
Whether you make a CAD file for a CNC machine or a 3D printer, it can still be controlled by ITAR if it is about making a weapon and trying to send that file abroad. Anyone in the US can send each other CAD files (free or for a fee) and make their own guns. They need a particular licence to sell that gun, they need an export control licence to sell that gun or send the CAD file abroad.
Not any CNC engineer can make a gun or gun part that a professional would trust. Making such items that wont fail on you at a really bad time requires a certain level of skill and very accurate dimensions. This is because even after a part comes out of the CNC machine, it still needs to be checked or adjusted by hand (scraping edges off for example). Any skilled gun maker has that knowledge, a normal CNC engineer does not although it should not be too hard to teach them.
Re: ITAR is evil
Yep, you are entirely correct. I spot a fellow sufferer!
The extra-territorial thing is a complete farce as well as being a complete nightmare for those trying to comply with the rules. The fact that the CAD files are being distributed via torrents would make it completely un-enforceable, but I bet it does not stop the State Department from trying! The US can be surprisingly flexible on which parts of ITAR it wants to enforce if you are able to push the right buttons... For all other times, it suffers from OCD!
ITAR is evil
Nice try there, but I think you will find that weapons design is still controlled by ITAR no matter what medium is used to transmit it in. The damn guidance book on ITAR is an inch thick and can be used as a bludgeoning weapon in itself! You can bet they will get him on something.
Very good point on the personal responsibility though, export licences are very much like that in all countries and deliberately so to stop people selling stuff with an, "I don't ask and you don't tell" policy. In the old days, that was how the dodgy arms dealers avoided going to jail for breaking UN arms embargos.
The correct phrase you are looking for when needing export licences for stuff like zirconium is 'dual-use'. Military use (eg weapons, their parts or design documents) come under military list export controls and are slightly different from dual-use which tend to be a bit more opaque and more about how the item can be used rather than what it was designed for. There was a famous case of exports of Xboxes being blocked from sale to Iraq under dual-use as it was suspected Saddam wanted them to power computers for nuclear weapons manufacture.
Fun to read article though.
Out of sympathy
I don't believe we have a free press. It is nearly all owned by a small group of rich, white men and while this should not matter, in reality it means that those (rather unpleasant) men are pushing their own political agendas through their newspapers. Everything else their newspapers produce are just made up, quite literally.
Investigative journalism is far from dead as a result of these reforms, in fact I rather hope that it will have a revival. A proper investigation by a journalist is usually done by someone with good knowledge, with lots of preparation and research and who knows what line they can and cannot cross. They will be able to prove their work was in the public interest and the regulator will respect that and throw out challenges. It will also throw out challenges by PR companies.
The press right now, is not only a rabid dog that any sane person would stay away from, they actually cause unbelievable hardship. They should hold those in power to account, not camp on victims doorsteps or even impede public services (mention child abduction and watch the press bombard police switchboards while the police are racing against time to try to find the child). While I respect freedom like any other person, I have no respect at all from the press and they should stop whinging and get on with proving that the whole industry is not a complete make-work, that only markets to the lowest demoninator and is capable of properly reporting news. They brought it on themselves.
Re: The elephant in the room @NSLD
I pretty much agree with you about the wrongdoings of the Met, but this regulator actually would have nothing to do with that. In a proper world, this would still be a crime for the police to deal with, all the regulator would do is refer the matter to the police. Despite the FUD being put out there, the regulator is not going to decide whether what the press did was illegal or not, it is not within their remit nor should it be.
Unfortunately we do need a statutory body even we would rather we didn't. As someone who has had to deal with the press, I can tell you that you would be amazed by just how much fiction they write. I am not talking about opinions or the government is wrong/corrupt sort of stuff I do mean outright fiction about people and events and basic stuff that should be factually reported. Any professional in any other kind of organisation would be fired for such poor quality work. You cannot legislate this sort of thing and you definitely cannot have politicians acting as judges. The whole issue is influenced too much by politics and a small group of rich white men. The whole rotten mess needs a kicking because the newspapers have to get their act together on this, you have no idea just how damaging it is.
Remember when Russia split up and went 'capitalist' after the Berlin Wall came down? (Damn I am old!) So many people in Russia suddenly started acting like gangsters and paying for illegal goods, buying up state assets on the cheap etc because that is what they thought capitalism/democracy was all about thanks to Soviet propaganda. It almost caused a major collapse in their fledging democracy (arguably it did as it created a situation where Putin had to act like a dictator to sort it all out). Our own press are creating the same sort of environment, history has plenty of examples. It is all because too few people have too much control over the information being put forward to the public.
I have sympathy for the concerns of The Register and Private Eye etc as they are getting caught up in this for no fault of their own, but the current situation is simply unsustainable. This problem was first flagged up over 40 years ago and politics and the media did nothing to fix it. Thus the chickens have come home to roost and something has to be done to counter both the power of the media and the politicians.
Re: The elephant in the room @NSLD
What various police officers did was illegal. Some of them have been arrested. What you are inavertedly suggesting in your post is that the police arrest journalists for doing things like claiming that Jefferies guy was guilty of murdering that girl in Bristol when he was 'helping police with their enquiries'. This one act was completely wrong, everyone knows that, but it is not illegal. What the police did can be fixed by improving the culture and by enforcing the law properly. It has nothing directly to do with journalism.
I would not want the police to be arresting journalists for bad articles because this IS when you end up with a police state. But by the same token, you can't have a situation where the papers can get away with this every day, and they do. Jefferies was probably able to get a lawyer on a 'take the fee out of the big fat winnings' basis, not everyone can do that. Thus some kind of system is needed and it can't be as toothless as the old PCC was.
Re: Pile of c**p being disseminated by the media
Whilst I would agree with the sentiment that the politicians are cocking everything up, my response is that they have not done so 'yet'! The devil is in the details and so when the dust settles a bit, the smaller outlets will need to put representatives forward who will scrutinise the wording and make sure the idiots do not write something completely contradictory or stifling.
Just because something may be done badly, does not mean you should not do it at all. And while it would be unfair to punish the smaller outlets for the sins of the bigger ones, they still have to obey the rules. As they pretty much do so anyway, it should not be hard to keep them 'within compliance' as long as they make sure they are represented when drafting the legislation. That is democracy these days.
Pile of c**p being disseminated by the media
Bloggers will not be classified as news organisations, that is just a load of rubbish being put forward by a press desperate to avoid being held to account for their actions. Bloggers, like any other idiot on the web, can be taken to court for committing libel. The regulator is not going to bother getting involved. Granted, the law will have to get decent wording to clearly define what is an online news publication like El Reg, and what is just a site or blog for the online ravings of an enlighted/fruitcase individual or small group. This should not be difficult as long as the idiots are kept away from doing the defining.
I also take exception to this inflammatory statement "Yesterday Parliament voted to end over 300 years of freedom from political interference in the published word" No yesterday Parliament fudged a way to try and stop big newspapers from excercising uncontrolled power with no accountability, no understanding of their responsibilities in a demoncratic society and no recourse for the victims of their excesses. The law already exists to stop hacking etc, but the law does not stop newspapers from persuing a political vendetta, printing a load of garbage as news and causing distress and hardship to innocents under the label of "in the public interest". Causing hardship to politicians and doing investigative journalism can be easily defended as in the public interest so the whinges of the press about these reforms is a threat to lazy journalism rather than a genuine grievance. They are trying to scare the small outlets and bloggers by making up a load of threats that don't exist to those not in the 'big news provider' category.
Re: Decaying infrastructure
Rather ironically I bought a second O2 sim only contract a whle back and then gave it to my girlfiend. Thus I have been able to compare the amount of service she gets with mine at the same locations and times etc. She has signal and 3G in some locations, I don't so that is pretty simple.
The thing is that I live in a city and the 3G connection seems to always collapse around lunch time of the working day now. Pretty good clue that they are skimping on capacity. I fully accept other people might have different experiences in different places.
Their 3G network is collapsing under the strain, they are just about competitive in the consumer market and they really do not offer anything particularly exciting product wise. As a current Vodafone customer, these are the reasons I will probably soon be giving to why I have shifted over to O2! Their customer service has been reasonable, but the increasing unreliability of their network is starting to significantly annoy me.
Bernard Gray seen as a procurement genius by Whitehall? Where the hell did you get that stunning bit of insight? As far as Whitehall is concerned, he is a political appointee who wrote several reports (with big holes in) before he got given the procurement job. A lot of people also forget that he, in conjunction with some rather expensive consultants, set up the procurement structure back in early 2000s. As defence projects take decades to wind their ways through the red tape, the fact that things are a mess now would perhaps indicate that his reforms were not as clever as he likes to make out...
As for blaming the current lot for less than adaptable carriers, the answer is sort of a 'no sh*t sherlock'. The current lot are being castigated for trying to change the requirement while the things are being built. If you wanted carriers capable of launching CV F35s, they should have made that decision a long time ago, changing it all back and chopping off large chunks of metal from the new carriers was bound to cost a fortune. That sort of revisionism is what got MOD into trouble in the first place.
Final point - there are only three full blown carrier nations in the world - Russia, France and the US (China does not count, not for several more years at least). However, there currently are an equivalent number of STOVL (India, Italy, US marines) and quite a few helicoper carrier (France, Italy, India, US marines, Russian, Australia and a few more I can't remember) around. Thus if you want to be interoperable, STOVL is actually more interoperable with other nations than carrier variant. If your carrier gets sunk, your STOVL can land on the decks of the other nations or in an emergency on the deck of a destroyer. Lose a CV carrier and if your jets cannot get to land they are all lost. As the Russians (and others) are making and selling supersonice ship killing missiles, and as the carrier is always the no.1 target... Maybe, just maybe being able to disperse your naval airforce on the assumption there is no such thing as a perfect defence, might be a good idea. It is not as if we have a hundred destroyers handy to protect carriers now is it?
Re: Frankly don't believe a word of it
I have not voted you either way, but two big flaws in your argument.
The Arab spring and kiddie grooming have no link whatsoever. The people in charge of stopping 'threats to the state' have no professional interest in chasing down kiddie fiddlers. They leave that part to the police who are under-resourced and pissed-off at being screwed over their pay and pensions by the coalition. Don't expect them to help the government stamp on political dissent because they won't.
As for kids never committing sexual acts on a phone, you really have no clue how stupid kids can be do you? Someone can groom them on a chat site, get their phone numbers, exchange lots of saucy texts and then 'persuade' them to send revealing pictures of themselves, probably by first sending a picture of 'themselves' (probably from an earlier mark). Dumb little Johnnie/Gilly will then send something back. Rinse and repeat and before long the peado has a nasty photo library to dribble over and to share with their mates. Not only is this scenario likely, it is well documented to have already happened.
Surely CEOP are meant to be saying this is a success story rather than the usual scaremongering. Did the press officer get sent the wrong instructions?
As the number of peados trying to meet the kids has reduced from 12% to 7%, this would indicate that they are scared of being caught thanks to recent high profile operations etc. Thus they have switched tactics to just grooming kids online for pictures which, bad as it may be, is less harmful than any kind of physical contact. The police are doing their bit, now the parents need to do theirs as the police isn't going to monitor their kids' phones/internet. (we hope!)
Rather difficult to 'force' anyone to do much online without use of blackmail material. The journo is being a bit loose with the wording there!. I think the proper phrase is 'coerce'.
Just another pipe (ahem) dream
Until hydrogen is able to be manufactured and distributed in a more economic, efficient and sustainable way it won't happen. We can run cars off chip fat and chicken dung if we really wanted to, but the economic case for its demand and supply don't stack up. Hydrogen is very much in this boat and this report is a load of fiction without the technical breakthrough that makes its use practical.
Electric cars, for all their many faults, at least can obtain access to electricity relatively easily compared to hydrogen. The petrol companies would prefer that we went hydrogen for their own obvious commercial reasons...
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