412 posts • joined Thursday 17th May 2007 12:18 GMT
Re: just ban premium rate
There are some circumstances where premium rate services provide reasonable value for money. But there are certainly some services which should be banned altogether.
* Hijacking by third parties. The "services" which Ofcom is complaining about here seem to be either an unrelated organisation using a service already being provided free or at the normal rate and front-ending the service with a premium rate number, or using the NAME of an existing service to hijack calls to a premium rate number of a different business that may or may not provide an equivalent service.
Saying the number is premium rate is NOT the proper answer to hijacking. The PROPER answer is to ban premium rate numbers from being used for hijack purposes.
* Customer contact numbers. Yes, its OK for companies to provide an "extra" service on a premium rate number, such as helping people use equipment they have bought. But, such companies should be absolutely required to have and to publish a freephone number for dealing with complaints and product defects, both of which should be prohibited on premium numbers.
Ofcom also needs to understand that to all intents and purposes, any number which costs users more to call than normal numbers (eg by being excluded from their call allowance) is DE-FACTO a premium rate number and again, companies which have them should be specifically required to publish a "normal rate" number for complaints, product defects and all other services which do not provide quantifiable additional value to the caller.
Aren't there too many unnecessarily pointless TV channels anyway?
If people really want to watch ITV one hour behind the original schedule, they can program their video recorders to save it. The same with numerous repeats of programs like Coronation Street. If you don't like its original transmission time, record it -- retransmitting it is a horrendous waste of the spectrum.
If people really want to watch products being auctioned, they could go to an internet auction site.
If people want to watch "Gone with the Wind" for the 23rd time, why don't they record it to play whenever they need, or download it from a site like itunes?
Phase down the number of channels to half of the present and insist that bidders for new or renewing licenses must broadcast 90% original content. Designate some channels to be shared for specific minority interests, but have an annual poll of the others with the least popular ones losing their licence.
Re: Anyone thinking about shopping there
I noticed a cafe the other day, with a sign in the window that non-customers must pay £1.50 to use the loo.
I can understand why the owners might need to do this in a high tourist area without adequate facilities, but this was an ordinary high street so I can't imagine more than a very small number of non-customers would even want to go there.
I'm sure too that if I was considering being a customer there for the first time, that sign would put me off and I'd take my business elsewhere.
Interestingly, in the next town a number of shops have signed up for a "community convenience" scheme, where they advertise that their loos are available to non-customers. I'm sure they do so because they think many of the extra people that come into their shop will become customers too.
"and is then amazed when the police discover a rubbish bag full of weed in the boot"
Yes indeed. How could he possibly not know it was there?
You would have thought he would have at least read the script, before taking on the part.
Too little, too late
Do I understand this correctly?
I visit a site. Let's call it nosuchsite.co.uk.
nosuchsite.co.uk has a lazy webmaster, who uses google APIs instead of writing his own code. So, firefox is saying that because I've previously visited google, firefox thinks its OK to send google my cookies.
It sounds like they've got this completely wrong. It's precisely *because* I've previously visited google that google should *not* be given my google cookie when I visit a third party site. If I had never visited google, either directly or indirectly, then the cookie would contain no information so there would be no harm in giving back the cookie.
Third party cookies should be accepted but automatically converted to session cookies and never shared with other tabs that might be open in the browser at the same time. To every third party site, the user should appear to be making their first visit, no matter whether or not they have visited the site as a first party.
And what's the point of having the exemption for sites that promise to respect Do Not Track? Cookies are for tracking. So, if the site is not tracking, then it needs at the very most a session cookie.
Another big advantage ...
would be that buttons with the piezo electric backing would probably have a much more positive feel than those nasty, spongy buttons that infest far too many modern devices and you can never tell for certain exactly when they have been pressed.
Re: the 'expected distance' for car keys would be very small
Not entirely, because one of the functions of a remote keylock is to help locate your car in a big car park or long street.
Thought having said that, you would only need that capability when the car park has a substantial number of other cars in it, which implies that there is probably another car near you which could mesh with the others and pass the signal to your own car even when you're too far away from it.
"you might be better off selling them with a years free supply of petrol"
And there was me thinking that nokias ran on diesel.
Before issuing replacement sims, how about sending a text message saying so to the original sim. If that sim is still in use, then the recipient gets the chance to prove ownership and prevent the replacements from being activated, or, at worst, to amend any security that relies on the associated mobile number.
Longer term, banks should work with the mobile telcos and come up with a service where the IMEI and/or the sim are validated before delivering the PIN, so that a replacement sim or in a different phone does not deliver the PIN.
Re "A wireless car, for example, becomes useless if it moves beyond range of a base-station."
Since this is supposed to be Machine to Machine, not Machine to base station, the implementation should surely be that which maintains its usefulness so long as the two *machines* that wish to communicate are in range of each other.
All of which makes perfect sense. Only the particular traffic light I'm approaching (and maybe the next one down the road) needs to know that I'm approaching and in which direction I'm heading. That's enough tor it to optimise the junction priorites (no more long green lights to the only route that doesn't have any traffic) and tell my car it should slow down to conserve fuel, so that it doesn't reach the junction before it turns green. And traffic lights are rarely so far apart that they can't pass on messages about jams further along my route and suggest a better route.
What's that I hear? Even though its supposedly M2M, it has to be designed to go via a base station so that some mega corporation can *charge* for the service?
Re: " The world has a solution, it's called first to file."
First to file is not the real solution, by any stretch of the imagination. It should be first to *prove* and file.
No matter whether its hardware or software, it should not be possible to patent something just on the basis of "I think this might be possible". If you cannot yet *do* it, then you should not be able to patent it -- leaving the field open for somebody else to come up with a similar idea, make it work and win the patent.
I'd go one further -- if, one year after applying for the patent, you do not yet have the product on the market at an affordable price, then the patent becomes public domain for anybody to use royalty-free. This prevents patenting (or buying patents) purely to prevent a better product from competing with an established market.
Similarly, if at any time during the next 10 years you cannot satisfy the market demand -- then you should be obliged to make the patent available at peppercorn cost to anybody that wishes to market it.
Re: Firstly I can read a URL but I can't read a QR code.
When I scan a QR code, the app that reads it pops up "Do you wish to visit www.whatever.co.uk" and gives me the choice to go there or not.
So, I can effectively read a QR code just as well as I can read a URL.
Re: fraudulently manipulated the data
Purely for research purposes, of course.
Good, but why only text messages?
As the report states, automated marketing is also illegal. And I'm sure not all automated marketing is being performed from outside the UK.
Calling people on TPS is also illegal and has been for many years longer than sending text messages. So when are we going to see prosecutions of the tens of thousands of people who seem to be doing this on a regular daily basis.
Re: Next step, get schoolchildren to wear them
Yes, that could save five minutes of valuable lesson time calling the register, or whatever they call it these days.
Unless, that is, the teachers look up and notice that they are actually teaching to just one person who is being paid 5p per head to smuggle in the smelly socks of the rest of the class.
Re "encryption really should go without saying"
It should, of course. Except that although one of the widely recommended backup services is using encryption, it is apparently only encrypted while in transit and gets decrypted again once it arrives at their server. It is, nevertheless, misrepresented as an encrypted service and the service provider deliberately fails to point out that its not actually stored in encrypted form.
So, how do you feel?
"I'm Over the Moon", maybe ?
Re: "Facebook needs to get a direction "
But downwards IS a direction, isn't it ?
Facebook does have a non-electronic precedent ... the South Sea Bubble http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sea_Company.
Re: He's already been turned into a turtle.
A *mock* turtle, presumably.
" if the temperature changed unpredictably"
OK, so which days of the year does history show have never *previously* changed unpredictably?
And how many frogs do you know that actually tune into BBC weather on a regular basis anyway?
Global warming may only be a lot of hot air, but most of it comes from the so-called experts and not from the weather itself.
Yes, plain English please
In many business, the biggest cost of complying with the law is understanding it in the first place.
The law should exist for the benefit of everybody in general, whether an individual or in business, not for the primary benefit of the legal profession that has its sole interest in keeping it incomprehensible.
So, what next after windows 9 ?
Windows 0 springs to mind -- ie, no windows at all. Well, 0 *is* the next key after 9.
No windows would be ideal for people who wanted to make documents they didn't plan to release, because it would cause some terrific drafts.
What are we talking about here?
If its Tesco Bank, then yes, emailing passwords which could allow a third party into your bank account is improper and there is cause for concern.
But if it is just access to your grocery list, then its a storm in a tea cup. Is anybody really going to break in to your account just to look at your clubcard points and order you a milliion teabags?
I have a better idea
I have the heating in the office on a plug with a countdown timer. Cost was about a fiver from somebody on ebay.
It doesn't come on at all until I arrive in the office, and it stays on for just 30 minutes (but is also on a thermostat, so probably goes off much faster). Thereafter, it only gets turned back on if I'm feeling cold. Which, often, isn't for several hours.
I have a similar arrangement at home, though in this case its a scheduled 30 minute warmup early in the morning on the coldest part of winter and an hour on demand but only when it feels cold. The heating engineer looked at me most bemused when I insisted on him wiring it in to the circuit, but it does the job a lot better and a lot cheaper than fixed time slots.
Google -- incompetent, or just a cowboy?
If google cannot design a web page that works with any W3C-compliant browser, then that is incompetence and its webmaster should be instantly dismissed.
If google is deliberately creating web pages that don't work, or is deliberately using scaremongering tactics to pretend that other browsers will not work, then that is deliberate cowboy behaviour and the top men in google need to be sent instantly to jail, without passing go, and instructed to stay there for a very long time.
Google's new motto: we ONLY do evil.
Re: Turkeys voting for Christmas
"It gives Google the keys to shows ads based on nearby shops and your location. "
And yet, many many webmasters *already* give google and the like the ability to track their customers and offer the adverts of competing suppliers, by incorporating externally hosted third party code and spyware services in their sites.
I suspect the webmasters' bosses never bother to look at their own company's site with noscript and are therefore completely oblivious how good their site might be at introducing their potential customers to their other competitors.
They could actually SAVE a lot of money.
Simple -- don't collect unnecessary data in the first place. If you don't collect it, then you don't have to delete it.
I suspect more than 90% of data collected comes under the "unnecessary" heading. Result -- far far more money saved by *not* collecting the data, and no cost to delete data you don't have.
Re "undisclosed tablets"
So, these are to be used by the drug squad ?
It is actually the most UNpopular browser
Because it installs itself surreptitiously and by default alongside other products, its actually the most *hated* of all browsers. And its also probable that most people who have it installed only have it because they don't know how to remove it.
And its from google, so it's probably stuffed with spyware.
"If they were more open about it less people would book"
I'm not sure about that. If I had the need for an aircraft seat, a hotel booking or any other service, the ones that promise "the prices we advertise are the prices you will pay" would be the ones I'd look at first.
Some car dealers are starting to understand this. Why not airlines, hotels and telephone companies too?
Yes, *especially* telephone companies. Advertising "phone, broadband and TV for a misleading "just £xxx" which "excludes line rental" serves only to prove how completely and totally *dishonest* and untrustworthy you *all* are.
And how incompetent Ofcom and ASA both are, but you already knew that anyway.
How about re-opening phorm too ?
Now that the precedent of re-opening incompetently performed previous investigations has been set, surely the ICO's phorm investigation was even more incompetently performed.
Maybe it is also time to reopen that one -- and this time, ensure that top people in both BT and phorm are properly and severely punished.
What's "significantly" lower ?
If you listen to those who speak either for or against global warming, "significantly" can mean as little as a tenth of a degree, buried under daily fluctuations of more 5 degrees or more and averaged over only exactly as many years as fits their preconceived ideas of whether they are trying to prove temperatures should be rising or falling.
With science like this, its not surprising that people think most talk about global warming is just a lot of hot air.
"If there is an exemption for cookies from Google"
I don't think its an actual "exemption", merely a statement that because Google isn't an EU company it doesn't have to comply with the legislation.
But if *you* are a EU company, then you do -- and surely nobody with a grain of common sense would agree that asking a third party to perform something on your behalf exempts you from your legal obligations. "It wasn't me that run you over on the pedestrian crossing, it was my car" isn't going to be accepted by any court. Similarly, if the code that *calls* some third party code (whether google or otherwise) is on your site, you *ought* to be accepting legal responsibility for what it does and making sure that what it does is legal. Which, quite possibly, means not using it if you cannot be certain.
Equally, I'd disagree that google is not subject to EU jurisdiction. The EU certainly seems to think it is. So why the ICO should think otherwise only goes to question the competence of the ICO.
Its OK to accept cheques, but ...
Why are there still businesses belonging firmly the 19th century that insist on cheque as the *only* possible method of remote payment?
Cheques are absolutely the most user-hostile payment method and should only be used by those over 75 that cannot get their head round other methods. And they should certainly not be involuntarily forced on people that are perfectly capable of using more convenient payment methods.
If you can accept cheques, then you can accept bank transfer and standing orders -- and can probably do it faster and cheaper than cheques.
Its high time that it became a legal requirement for businesses of all sizes to be able to accept bank transfer.
Re "and probably should, in certain scenarios."
In those certain scenarios, appropriate officials already can and do ask and get permission to monitor certain people. This doesn't require a change in the law. It is already legal and it is already happening.
The proposed change is that monitoring should not be restricted to "certain scenarios" but should allow monitoring even without the slightest suspicion that a person has or even might have committed an offence.
No change in the law is needed, except possibly to tighten up the rules and ensure that permission to monitor is only granted when a judge has examined the evidence for suspicion and agreed that there is a strong probability of guilt.
"Google has been fined $25,000"
I'm sure that will put a huge dent in its balance sheet and act as an incentive to promptly co-operate with future requests.
I'm not sure that even putting another 3 zeros on the end would have the slightest impact. For a company of that size, it needs to be at least 6 more.
Google Analytics is NOT a first party
"we are highly unlikely to prioritise first party cookies used only for analytical purposes in any consideration of regulatory action"
So -- if you are Google -- then you can use Google Analytics. Perhaps -- because even then, Google analytics is a completely separate domain to google.com so technically its a third party even when visiting one of google's own pages.
But -- if you are *not* Google -- then its definitely a third party, so not exempt from being "prioritised" so you'd better stop doing it if ICO ever gets round to working out what a third party cookie really is.
Plants can talk actual words
I know that for certain because I once overheard a theatre usher mentioning to the manager that tonights comedian was getting a lot of heckling. "You don't need to worry about that", the manager said, "its because there's a plant in the audience".
"Abuse of a dominant position"
Why is google allowed to get away with things like this?
This sort of thing *should* come fairly and squarely under Abuse of Dominant Position legislation.
However, I'm not sure that it's the supplier that should decide how customers should pay. The *customer* should always have a choice of payments and be able to use whichever is most convenient. There's nothing worse than the idiot company that decides the only acceptable payment method is obsolete, user-hostile cheques.
So, how about :
* A customer must have a choice of at least *three* reasonable and appropriate payment methods.
* One of them must be bank transfer, which must be free to the customer.
* The supplier may nominate one or more *additional* payment methods
* Where a third party (eg google or ebay) provides a significant contribution to the service, the third party may nominate one or more *additional* payment methods.
But above all else, neither the supplier or the third party should be allowed to influence which of the above the customer chooses to make payment through.
Re "regs already exist for brightness and clarity".
Regulations and enforcement are, sadly, two different things.
We already have a regulation which says (probably in more technical terms in the official version) that dipped headlights should not dazzle a person whose eyes are 3 feet from the ground. Yet many many times I've seen the bright and sharp silhouette of my head projected against the sun visor from the dipped headlights of the car behind. That clearly wouldn't be happening if the anti dazzle regulation had been enforced. But I've never heard of a single instance where a driver has been prosecuted for doing it.
We should be installing headlight sensors on stretches of straight road.
"Websites ... offer you free content and services because they are supported by advertising"
One major flaw in that argument is that many of the sites where they track visitors are *business* sites whose primary source of income ought to be the actual products and services they are selling or providing, not the sale of tracking information or advertising.
If tracking and displaying of adverts were restricted to sites where the owner has no other income whatsoever there would be less of a problem.
Re "They still bundle the toolbar with Firefox"
The toolbar that's bundled with Firefox is a *universal* search toolbar. Google is its default, but it is preconfigured to work with a number of other search sites (including yahoo) and you can add others with an addon.
That's one of the reasons why foisting unwanted yahoo toolbars on people is unlikely to have achieved more than aggravation. Anybody who wants yahoo as their search only has to click the *existing* dropdown and configure it there. Anybody who didn't want yahoo as their search engine is likely to keep on using the original firefox toolbar (and, if they don't know how to remove it, moaning about the space the unwanted toolbar is using).
I reckon they're an ANTI-social network,
They have contracted with far too many software vendors to "accidentally" install unwanted Yahoo toolbars.
That by my definition is highly ANTI-social.
If the only way you can get people to visit your site is to foist unwanted toolbars on them, then its pretty much a confirmation that you don't think your site is good enough for people to want to visit purely on its merits or lack thereof.
Re "But I was hoping to go beyond"
I've never been there myself, but I'm told that if you go beyond infinity you might never look back.
I can't speak for Canada, but in the UK there's a part of the authorisation that's invisible to the customer -- CCTV logging of your registration plate, often followed by a 10 second delay which is quite possibly long enough for an automated validity and/or reported stolen vehicle check.
"if they think a review is fake, say so"
I can see it now.
Reviewer: A magnificent place, fantastic staff, I enjoyed every minute of it.
Hotelier: You couldn't possibly have been staying at *our* hotel then.
2% is not enough
It should be "2% or the amount of your turnover that involves privacy invasion".
Otherwise, phorm-like companies will say "I can do whatever I like, knowing that even if I'm found guilty, 98% of my income will be untouchable".