Feeds

* Posts by alannorthhants

127 posts • joined 23 Dec 2009

Page:

European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive

alannorthhants

Re: Good!

But European law allows individual countries to say what constitutes "personal use". Customs & Excise simply put a threshold figure on what you can import based on what a person is reasonably likely to smoke in a year; try to import significantly more than that and they (reasonably) get suspicious that you are planning to sell them. They are flexible however; prove that you are a heavy smoker and then adjust the threshold accordingly.

2
0
alannorthhants
Pint

Re: Good!

Well the court clearly said that the directive violates Euro Human Rights law, so anything put in place under the directive would also be presumed to be a violation of that law unless the Euro courts say otherwise (not likely in my opinion.

Of course someone is still going to have to take UK Gov to court to force them to obey.

Glass raising as well.

4
0

Boss at 'Microsoft' scam support biz told to cough £000s in comp

alannorthhants

Re: "From Luton" - surprise! (NOT!)

I lived there for about 8 years - it's not as bad as they say, it's worse! Getting married and moving away was probably the best thing I ever did, even if it did cost me £30K from the drop in house/flat prices in the area,

2
0

Judge throws out lawsuit lobbed at Facebook for using kids' pics in targeted ads

alannorthhants

An odd case to bring against Facebook

I have to admit to feeing pretty bemused about this whole case. Facebook has <u>always</u> stated that they are allowed to use any information, photos, or whatever you put on Facebook in whichever way that Facebook wants. Basically they can sell everything about you to whoever they want, whenever they want; if they want to use your picture in an ad then they can do so. On the face of it then the judges ruling (parking to one side issues relating to minors) is completely correct.

1
1

Inmarsat: Doppler effect helped 'locate' MH370

alannorthhants

Re: Truly astonishing amount of information stored

I know the people who did this work, and also know a lot about the Inmarsat systems. Basically when Inmarsat receives a message over their satellites, the radio management system forwards it with an additional header that includes (among other things) the frequency that the message was received at. Inmarsat know the nominal frequency that is used for the messages, so they are able to work out the Doppler shift. The final step is to construct a flight-path model that reproduces the observed Doppler shift - this took a lot of number crunching but was relatively straight-forward.

17
0

Bitcoin bust litigants fling sueballs at Japanese bank

alannorthhants

Re: Justified?

This is going to turn out very bad for many other Bitcoin businesses, as potential banks will now look more than twice if they should accept a Bitcoin business as their client, as "these people" seem to be quite sue-happy.

The person launching the sueball is an American - they always seem to prefer to sue first and spit on your corpse later.

0
0

That NSA denial in full: As of right now, we're not pretending to be Facebook or Twitter

alannorthhants
Headmaster

Re: Denial or something more bizarre

"The NSA is doing a poor job at denial given the tenses used and numbers."

Probably because the NSA is trying to make sure that it's denial is plausibly deniable. Remember President Clinton arguing that the meaning of a sentence depending on the meaning of the word "the"?

3
0

It's 2014 and Microsoft Windows PCs can still be owned by a JPEG

alannorthhants

Re: Microshaft whould just give up

Small point but important: Apple used a BSD Unix kernel. Linux was banned because Apple's lawyers could not find any way around the GPL.

0
0

X marks the... They SAID there was a mystery planet there – NASA

alannorthhants

Re: Don't see how this helps any

But a star that close to the Sun, even if it is class Y brown dwarf it would have showed up like a bright beacon to the IRAS and/or ISO missions, let alone any of the terrestrial IR-sensitive telescopes. Also the theoretical orbital parameters for Nemesis (consistent with the extinction pattern) has been worked out a long time ago, and we know in what part of the sky we should be looking, but nothing is there!

BTW, the extinction pattern data is based on a very small sample set that is statistically not significant. Basically the uncertainties outweigh the conclusions.

2
0

Google facing $5 BEEELLION antitrust fine in India

alannorthhants

Breaking Google Up!

"The CCI also has the power to order a company found to be too dominant to be broken down into smaller businesses."

If this means that the CCI could order Google's world-wide operations to be broken up, then I foresee some interesting times ahead (i.e. when the US gov launches some serious trade sanctions against India on behalf of Google).

3
0

US judge Koh won't ban old Samsung gear, tells Apple: Your patents aren't that amazing

alannorthhants

Re: "Your patents aren't that amazing"

But to the US Patent Office, concepts such as round corners are obviously so innovative that whoever invented them should be allowed to exploit the idea until the end of the world.

12
0

Winklevoss twins say their Bitcoins will take them to SPAAAAACE

alannorthhants
Pint

Re: Bye, chaps

A one-way ticket would be better.

7
0

Dropbox erects sueball shield with new T&C and privacy legalese

alannorthhants

Re: question

"Either make your service such that is is unavailable in the EU or to any EU citizens, or comply with our rules about jurisdictions: if you make the data available in the UK and I want to sue you in the UK, I can. Doesn't matter what your T&Cs say, especially if they are manifestly unfair (or US centric)."

I think it goes even further than that. According to UK contract law (the EU has nothing to do with it in this case) a contract that contains unfair T&Cs cannot be enforced. Saying that you can only bring legal action in the US courts (which are prohibitively expensive even for 'Merkins) can only be deemed to be unfair, so cannot be enforced.

4
0

Bosses to be banned from forcing new hires to pull personal records

alannorthhants

Re: I'd pass that test

Sorry but on one part of your statement you are very wrong.

My company is just getting List-X status which means we can hold classified documents on site. Anyone who has access to the secure area has to have security clearance, however everyone else who works for the company must have at least a Basic Disclosure that proves who they are. No basic Disclosure, no job! We have not made up those rule, HMG has imposed them on us.

0
0

Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

alannorthhants

I certainly don't qualify as an idiot - I don't have a Facebook account (and have never had one, so Facebook have absolutely nothing on me) and have disabled the Facebook app on my phone so that we don't have any "accidental" data slurps.

7
6

Snowden journo boyf grill under anti-terror law was legal, says UK court

alannorthhants
Mushroom

France

EU ....

2
0

Imprisoned Norwegian mass murderer says PlayStation 2 is 'KILLING HIM'

alannorthhants

Re: If they were serious about punishment

Even better - Windows ME

0
0

Plan 9 moves out from Lucent licence space

alannorthhants

Re: Synchronicity

Many years ago (some many I can't remember when) I went to a lecture given by Ken Thompson (Unix & Plan 9 guru) about the (then fairly new) Plan 9 OS. He interspersed the lecture with clips from Plan 9 from Outer Space much to everyone's amusement. One of the things he mentioned was that they adopted the Plan 9 name because management could take the project seriously (it got funded simply because people like Ken & Denis Ritchie through their weight behind it).

Saying that it was a seriously good lecture - Ken could really keep the audience entertained while discussing a pretty complicated topic.

5
0

US Appeal Court slaps Apple for trying to shake antitrust monitor

alannorthhants

Re: And the merry go round...

More like Prenda Law.

I suspect that Apple will start to complain to the court about every request, claiming that none of them are necessary for the antitrust monitor to do his job. Eventually the courts will get fed up with all of this nonsense, and will punish Apple by saying that they have to comply with all of his requests, regardless of what they think. Apple will appeal, the Appeal Court will turn them down (probably with an additional bitch-slap just to make the point to Apple's legal department) and at that point the antitrust monitor will probably start finding some really interesting things.

14
0

Think British weather is bad? It's nothing to this WOBBLY ALIEN planet

alannorthhants
Mushroom

Re: Whereas our weather...

... its the only way to be sure

2
0

Multi-platform Java bot marshals ZOMBIE FORCE against spammers

alannorthhants

Linux should still be pretty secure

The blog entry mentioned in the article mentions how the bot arranges to have itself executed at start-up. Windows is pretty conventional (registry hacks), I can't comment on Apple, but on Linux it attempts to add stuff into the bootscripts in /etc/init.d. Made me laugh that - any sysadmin worth their command prompt will have ensured that /etc/init.d cannot be added to by normal users (pretty standard security measure), and unless they are complete idiots they won't put themselves in a position of receiving the bot when they are logged in as root (they should log in as a normal user first of all, then elevate themselves to root privileges via "su".

Saying that, hats of to the guys who took this thing apart and worked out how it works - they really had to sweat that one.

3
1

Facebook bots grope our 'privates', and every wronged user should get $10,000 – lawsuit claims

alannorthhants
Thumb Down

Personally I have never trusted Facebook, which is why I have never, and will never, have an account with them.

8
2

'Copyrighted' Java APIs deserve same protection as HARRY POTTER, Oracle tells court

alannorthhants

Re: If they allow copyright on APIs ...

The US judges find it very difficult to understand that anywhere outside of the US actually exists, so they are hardly likely to pay any attention to a non-US court.

18
1

That toolbar you downloaded is malware? Tough, read the EULA

alannorthhants

Re: Meh… EULAs

Under UK contract law there is a clear statement that an "unfair" contract, even if it has been voluntarily agreed to by all of the parties, cannot be enforced. The gotcha here is that what constitutes "unfair" has to be left to a judges discretion; he might agree that these terms are unfair (on the basis you are having your processor, and hence electricity, used for a purpose that you cannot gain any material or immaterial benefit from), but there again he might decide otherwise.

4
0

How do spooks build surveillance rigs? In Oz they TENDER for it

alannorthhants

Re: "The appliance"? WTF is AFP babbling about? It's not an espresso maker ...

<sigh>Standard terminology for this sort of tender</sigh>

4
1

You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

alannorthhants

A weakness in the forensic tools

One thought occurred to me reading this article, all of these forensic tools no doubt assume that the file system is a FAT or NTFS variant. I wonder what would happen if they tried them on (for example) a Linux system used ext2/3/4, XFS, JFS or even ReiserFS. I can just about see the plods assuming that the disk is encrypted, demanding the keys and then getting upset when you say that the disk is not encrypted, and you have no legal obligation to tell them what file system(s) you are using.

Lets make it even better - have a 4-disk system running a mixture of the above layered on LVM2 which is in turn layered on a RAID-6 array. Guaranteed to screw the system.

6
3

Wanna sell a phone in New York? Better have a receipt

alannorthhants

Re: Is it really that hard to ID a phone?

IMEI blacklisting systems are already a part of the 3G standards and gave been for a long while (back to the GSM days). The problem is no operators (AFAIK) have implemented the systems since they are expensive to run due to the cross-operator links that they require (or of the blacklists have to be synchronised, otherwise a stolen mobile could still slip on to the network). Centralised blacklisting systems do not exist; they are not a part of the 3G standards.

0
0

Assange: 'Ecuadorian embassy staff are like my family'

alannorthhants

Re: can someone please shine a light on this for me

You can only add someone to a diplomatic mission with the permission of the country hosting the mission. So if Ecuador did try that (not that I think that they would be so stupid), the moment Assange stepped out the door the plods would be able to nick him since the Vienna convention would not apply.

3
0

Facebook RIPS away your veil of privacy, declares NO MORE HIDING

alannorthhants

If anyone does not like Facebook's increasing intrusion into your private lives then do what I do - don't touch Facebook with a bargepole.

3
0

So, Linus Torvalds: Did US spooks demand a backdoor in Linux? 'Yes'

alannorthhants

Re: Linux backdoor?

In theory this is possible, in practice it would be hard to do and harder still not to be disrupted tomorrow by the latest patch set.

3
0

Korean stealth-scraper plans will turn 450 metre tower INVISIBLE

alannorthhants

Can I just point out that aircraft fly between skyscrapers on their approach to Hong Kong airport (residents actually look down on the planes as they pass). Not many accidents that I recall in that part of the world.

1
0

Headmaster calls cops, tries to dash pupil's uni dreams - over a BLOG

alannorthhants

Re: Just who does that headmaster think he is?

"I'm surprised he didn't get done for wasting police time."

The police probably fell over laughing at him once he walked out of the cop shop.

3
0

Microsoft's Nokia plan: WHACK APPLE AND GOOGLE

alannorthhants

"A major theme of the presentation is that owning Nokia makes Microsoft more relevant on more platforms"

Not for long.

5
2

WTF is … Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks?

alannorthhants

You mean they haven't already?

0
0

UK gov dials 999 over Serco prison escort fraud claims

alannorthhants

Re: Why are they being given chances?

OK, we heard you out, now you are crazy

1
1

Why Teflon Ballmer had to go: He couldn't shift crud from Windows 8, Surface

alannorthhants

Oops, for "we" read "he"

0
1
alannorthhants
FAIL

"For Gates & Co, the reorganisation would also have seemed the right juncture to remove Ballmer in order to avert a second lost decade and protect their company from a supremo seemingly unable to change his ways

Of course Blamer never changed his way, we was never wrong. It was the rest of the world that failed to see his absolute brilliance and kept on making serious mistakes.

3
0

Screw you, Brits, says Google: We are ABOVE UK privacy law

alannorthhants

Re: Nuts

Actually no can refuse to accept a summons. Does not invalidate it however, and provided that there is proof that you refused to accept it then the courts are free to draw their own conclusions.

A major tactical and strategic mistake by Google's legal eagles.

1
0
alannorthhants

Re: Nuts

Basically they refused to accept the paperwork when someone tried to give it to them. Of course this, and their public statements, is likely to go down really well with the UK courts!

6
0

'First' 3D-printed rifle's barrel splits after single shot

alannorthhants
Thumb Down

If it's in the US, you might as well ban 3D printers since just about everything out there is covered by at least 1 patent (and some things by dozens).

1
0

O3b's satellites on launch pad, ready to bring cats+porn to billions

alannorthhants

Re: I'm curious: ground station cost?

... plus foundations, buildings, cables, customer equipment located at O3b's anchor stations, the ground you need, etc. These are not your normal terminals, they are lot bigger (practically a small ground station in the case of the high-availability configuration) and a lot more complex.

0
1
alannorthhants

Re: I'm curious: ground station cost?

There were only ball park "finger in the air" costs, but the minimum price tag was several million US$. Has probably changed since the last time I looked.

0
0
alannorthhants

But, a "standard" O3b "terminal" requires two fairly large (3m) antennas (one tracking a satellite, plus one ready to pick up the next satellite when it pokes it's head above the horizon) plus all of the motors, gearing etc in order to slew them. If any part of the slewing system breaks, that antenna is out of action, and a terminal with only antenna cannot give an unbroken service. Note that the slewing system is in use practically all of the time, so there is going to be significant wear and tear there. A "high availability" terminal requires 3 antennas, basically two working plus one in standby. You also need the concrete foundations for the antennas, support buildings, frequency converters, filters, LNAs/HPAs, etc - all this makes even a standard terminal an expensive option, and a high-availability one much more so.

The high frequencies allow good data rates, I totally agree, but they are also really prone to rain/dust fade. O3b have had to incorporate Active Gain Control loops into their modems to handle this - makes them even more complex and expensive.

Oh yes, I am speaking from personal knowledge here having done a considerable amount of work for O3b.

5
1

Ecuador: All right, Julian, you CAN stay on our sofa - it's your human right

alannorthhants

Re: What happens

But the embassy stops at the front door. If they come out into the street (e.g. to get away from a fire) then they are no longer in the embassy.

0
0

SCO vs. IBM battle resumes over ownership of Unix

alannorthhants

Re: Hurrumph

SCO are now saying that IBM developed a competing product that was more successful. They want to courts to declare that it was unfair and that IBM should be punished.

Personally I'm looking forward to Groklaw's coverage on this. Pass the popcorn!

3
1
alannorthhants

Jarndyce vs Jarndyce is not that fictional

I resently heard of a court case (a real one) regarding a will that actually ran for 110 years, and then collpsed because all of the money ran out. I can't remember its name at the moment, but will probably try to look it up later.

1
1

US judge revives lawsuit vs Baidu and China

alannorthhants

Re: Huh ?

Much more importantly, it does not apply to foreign governments or foreign companies. However US judges have long had the opinion that the US owns the world ...

1
0

Press exposure of Federal data security hole leads to legal threats

alannorthhants

Re: Methinks they do protest too much

You obviously have a minimal understanding of what a robots.txt file does. It is aimed at the web crawlers that (for example) search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing use to locate and index the web, and is used to specify what information a web crawler is (or isn't) allowed to see. Web browsers do not pay any attention to this file, so you can still retrieve content even if Google has no idea that it is there.

0
4

Prenda lawyers miss sanctions deadline

alannorthhants
Thumb Up

These guys certainly deserve it

They've been bring any number of court cases claiming people have been downloading porn films via BitTorrent - films that they (through a number of shell companies) own and have been placed to tempt people. Their typical strategy is to threaten (claiming that it is necessary as a part of the "discovery" process) to tell a suspect's neighbours, friends and employees of their alleged activities. They finally got caught out when one suspect pushed back, and the judge in charge of the case got suspicious and began digging a lot deeper than they wanted to. Turned out that some of the documents they had supplied the court had been forged, and when the judge hauled the smug legal-eagles in for some very pointed questioning they immediately took the 5th and clammed up.

Have a look at the Popehat blog (www.popehat.com) which has been following this case.

9
0

Pyongyang to unleash NUKULAR horsemen of the Norkocalypse?

alannorthhants
Mushroom

More likely scenario

If the North Koreans really intend to cause problems for the 'merkins (or anyone else over the horizon) then it would be far easier to put a nuke into the bottom of the cargo hold of a ship destined for, let's say, San Fransico harbour. Use the ship's GPS position to trigger the nuke, or if that's too complicated just use an old-fashioned timer of some form. The crew would, of course, not be made aware of the special cargo that they are carrying.

0
0

Page: