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* Posts by ExpertSkeptic

7 posts • joined 16 Sep 2009

Climategate ruling: FOIA requests cover backup servers too

ExpertSkeptic
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What is "Global Warming"

In the last few months and in the minds of the general public, the phrase "Climate Change" had become indistinguishable from "Global Warming" which itself was shorthand for "Anthropogenic Global Warming" (which is the IPCC usage). I suspect this is because of the amazing degree of synchronicity of the BBC's use of the phrase and the newspapers' need to abbreviate headlines.

Even if the terms are used inclusively, without pre-judging whether the change, whichever direction it is in, is influenced by humans, there is little agreement on whether the Earth is (a) cooling (b) warming (c) can't tell. Much of this argument stems from the choice of starting points and the averaging periods and would be present even if the data fraud were not to have been perpetrated. It's quite easy to construct dummy test data consisting of the summation of a small underlying trend (either up or down) plus a much larger random fluctuation. If you give that data, or part of it, to an Excel-phreak with a serious mission in life, or just for a bet or fun, they can easily generate curve-fits, smoothing, or data selection and truncation, that can illustrate warming/cooling/stasis at will, unconnected with the original source, even though the dummy data was created with a known up/down/zero trend. But if you can do that easily with dummy data with *known* properties, how can one have any confidence in any result that claims to find a "trend" in the real data. ?

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UK.gov rejects calls to open up on ContactPoint security

ExpertSkeptic
Big Brother

Who is the real data subject?

ContactPoint is not about safeguarding children, full stop. That is merely a marketing ploy. It is an extremely rapid way of locating information about adults, namely the parents of the children and the acquaintances of those parents, by providing links into other databases which contain all the gossipy jottings by social workers, their managers, and health visitors and teachers, thus enabling the local authority to acquire and maintain the ability to monitor and control family structure, adoptions, social groupings and other inter-personal relationships. Assuming that a parent or `professional' or public employee acting `on behalf of' a parent is even allowed access to ContactPoint, you can bet that any information it links to will be heavily redacted. Try asking your GP to access ContactPoint for you and see what the response is!

Any serious report on security is inevitably going to allow at least one paw of the cat out of the bag.

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UK.gov hoovers up data on five-year-olds

ExpertSkeptic
Alert

But who is the data subject?

The data on you is not stored against your name. It is stored against your children's names, otherwise you would be able to access it. That is why this system has been set up! It is the file on "Little Abigail" which says in SW-speak, after being redacted by access-to-records munchkins: "There are concerns that little Abigail Doe, John Doe's daughter, is at risk of receiving inappropriate interaction with his daughter who has not yet disclosed. John Doe is also believed to be linked to international terrorism and satanic ritual abuse networks, and is suspected of being a serial rapist and drug-dealer, even though he was found not guilty at all trials. His credit card details were stolen and sold to NotVeryDodgyVideos.com, which is believed also hosted on the same system that runs a portal to XXXXExtremePort.com", although we are told that no transactions were recorded. Also John Doe bought Abigail a lollipop and crisps and lets her have use her account on Facebook without parental supervision. Clearly there is no smoke without fire but we can't prove anything. I am only a social worker so I have had to pay lots of IT experts to explain all this to me. All this must be true because ████████ told me."

John Doe has no right of access to Abigail Doe's records (except by a successful application and execution of a court order), so the first he hears about the records is when he fails an ISA vetting procedure because the LA records have been ported to the ISA system.

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Home Office: El Reg may be right on vetting figures

ExpertSkeptic
FAIL

CRB/ISA fail

It's all very well saying "No problems there at all and took all of 5 minutes or so" (200910272014GMT) but what if you "fail"? The fallout is enormous.

As a result of "mission creep" one of my local voluntary amateur music groups decided it wanted everybody CRB checked in order to appeal to the parents of 14-18 year olds. (The average age currently is around bus-pass level, so the objective was to get the new blood in before the undertakers move in.) Astonishingly, everybody enthused over this, and any dissent was met with the usual "if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear". I wasn't even likely to have contact with this age group except for occasional lift provision to concerts. I also had an agency contract for private tuition with the same age group as my main income source.

I didn't expect trouble, merely an hour filling in forms and hunting round the house for random bits of paper, so I agreed.

I then failed the CRB. Or rather I passed it, but a "secret" communication was made to my *employer* who disengaged me and to the group who then suspended me, despite the clear CRB. After a dozen court hearings, an ombudsman inquiry, three formal statutory complaint applications and four disciplinary hearings with different organisations, the truth at last began to crawl out. The police had got on their records an allegation that I had raped a minor, together with the result of their own immediate investigation, which was that the allegation was (a) false (b) either malicious or delusional, having been made by a compulsive attention-seeking false-allegationist with strong ties into local government. Consequently the police decided not to proceed with an investigation against me and never told me about the matter, but "forgot" to delete the annotation "Suspect #1 in undetected crime" on their record. However, under the e-CRB and VBS, the computer record was *automatically* and secretly transferred into the CRB/VBS machinery which is not allowed to tell employees that the police have passed information to their employers.

The result has been about £20000 in legal fees, five years off my normal work (no employer which "expects applicants to share our commitment to child safeguarding" will now touch me) and loss of contact with my own children after intervention from the local authority who were also alerted to the record --- and this was a case where the police knew from the outset that the allegations were false.

I don't know how many other people have unknowingly having incorrect police or other records which might be disclosed to the CRB/VBS or if the above figures are typical in getting the matter corrected. Even if the percentage of false information is as low as 1% (and I suspect the figure is nearer 90% in the ECRB case), and ten million vetting applications in the pipeline then one arrives at a figure of 100000 situations like this, which will contribute of the order of billion pounds to the pension fund of lawyers, even before the derived ECHR1 and ECHR8 cases come to court.

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DVLA pledges investigation over Castrol spy posters

ExpertSkeptic

Castrol/Facebook/DVLA pretty girl number plate telno plug-in

Anonymous Coward's reg-to-paedo and RotaCyclic's pervy key-to-pretty-girl-phone-number system could be improved, as keying in the number while accelerating away up the A13 will trigger the mobilePhoneWhileDriving alert or even cause a rear-end shunt as first encounter. Wait until the entire AND system is available as a Maplin electronic kit incorporating a camera which scans the reg of the car in front and some image processing software linked to mobile phone technology. Then one click on a button passes the reg to the DVLA/ISA/CRB/MI6/PaedofinderGeneral/Childline/Facebook/whatever and you get back the CRB check , wall, profile, perfume, typing speed and perfume of the driver in front texted to your mobile or to your Facebook e-mail. Brilliant!

The system also doubles up to automatically recognize "How's my driving? Phone 0800 123456" on the livery and send random offensive allegations of crappy driving to the boss -- all at the touch of a button.

Of course this all depends on the ISA and Facebook details being accurate, which depends on a subtle interplay between the accuracy of CRB checks, DVLA records, Facebook profile creators, and that of assorted social services snitches.

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Government swiftly backpedals on vetting scheme

ExpertSkeptic

Malleus, 1692, McCarthy, CPC, ISA

The latest draft of the ISA guidelines[1] is essentially the 1692 Salem protocol but re-phrased in NewSpeak and ported to Windows. I suspect that the e-Reports of ISA barring hearings will be much the same as reports of CPCs and will read much the same as those in 1692, but with more stringent threats of penalties for disclosure. The issues will be the same: mis-interpretation of malicious, deranged or standard gossip, normal childhood scatalogical behaviour and language as being evidence of adult malfeasance, and with the each meeting resulting in progressively more widespread and lurid phantasy. (One can create a first draft of the new reports by taking the witness transcripts and contemporaneous newspaper coverage then replacing all occurrences of Satanism with paedophilia and all occurrences of indigenous population with terrorists. What you get is a climate of fear building up and manifesting itself with suspicion that one's neighbour, rather than the clan over the hills, is an immediate serious threat.)

One of the most alarming prospects is paragraph 5.6.1: "...A barring decision can, therefore, be

made, having regard to all the circumstances, if the ISA is satisfied that the

events concerned happened, on the balance of probabilities, notwithstanding

an acquittal at court...." So if you are genuinely innocent, and have had that assertion upheld in a criminal court (or family court or civil court or "other competent body", apparently), the verdict (or finding of fact) can be overturned by three bloke(tte)s in Darlington, leaving you with something like an ISA appeal (£10000???) or judicial review (£100000??) as your only recourse.

[1] http://www.isa-gov.org.uk/pdf/GuidanceNotesforBarringDecisionMakingProcessweb.pdf

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ExpertSkeptic

Thought police, competent bodies, witchhunts

The ISA "Guidance Notes for the Barring Decision Making Process" is well worth trying to read (with a glass of whiskey, revolver or passport to hand), notably the "thought police" at paragraph 6.4.1, and the list of "Competent Bodies" who deem whether or not an "event" took place (and whose opinion cannot be challenged in the decision-making process) at Appendix C.

Incidentally, para 4.6.10 seems to be having a fight with 6.3.1 over paraphilia.

Who on earth peer-reviewed this document? Oliver Cromwell? And it seems to be cribbed from the Malleus Maleficarum.

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