* Posts by alain williams

810 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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Another failed merger, Carly? Ted Cruz to bring in ex-HP boss Fiorina as running mate

alain williams
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Re: Cruz and Carly?

It looks as if there will be a contest between Trump and Clinton. Of the two Clinton would frighten me most, so I would favour Trump.

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Colander-wearing Irishman denied driver's licence in Pastafarian slapdown

alain williams
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Where he must wear the colander ...

Shurely he should point out that the ultra-orthodox pastafarians believe the holy colander(*) is only to be worn at home?

In that case he does not need to wear the colander for his driving license - unless he lives in a motor-home.

Surely everyone can see that a colander is a holey item!

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Microsoft headhunters seek Linux folk for secret open source unit

alain williams
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API Shim

I would like that - it would mean that all laptop hardware would have a Linux driver that worked (or at least provided by the manufacturer, so could be improved on).

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Official: EU goes after Google, alleges it uses Android to kill competition

alain williams
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Alternate operating systems

with a bit of luck this will open up phones so that it will be easier to either order them with a different OS or install one - so things like CyanogenMod will become more common and easier to install.

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They Came From Beyond Our Galaxy And Landed In The Ice!

alain williams
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Brexit

I am waiting for some politician to tell us that we have less to fear from this if we leave the EU, or maybe that we will be able to get them from anywhere and ignore 2,000 pages of EU rules on neutrino quality.

It would make as much sense as the other things that they are saying.

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Brexit would pinch UK tech spend but the EU wouldn't care – survey

alain williams
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There is so much bollocks ...

being spouted as truth by both sides of this that I am struggling to not switch the radio off when discussion starts.

This is a shame as it is important, but the 'debate' seems to be more a matter of using dubious extrapolations to beat up emotional froth. Finding hard facts or good analysis is almost impossible.

Politicians: a pox on the lot of them !

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UK web host 123-Reg goes TITSUP, customer servers evaporate

alain williams
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I left them years ago ...

I used to use them as a DNS tag holder, but departed after yet another screw up. Some companies you learn to avoid.

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Flying Spaghetti Monster is not God, rules mortal judge

alain williams
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The judge will soon be in hot water ...

to which tomatoes, spices, herbs and all manner of tasty things are added as he is slowly cooked to become a pasta sauce.

That will teach him!

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How to not get pwned on Windows: Don't run any virtual machines, open any web pages, Office docs, hyperlinks ...

alain williams
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I am told ...

that keeping it switched off keeps it secure.

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Feature-rich Vivaldi rolls out, offering power users a choice

alain williams
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Been using for a bit

as a secondary browser. Can be nice to have something different when debugging web pages (javascript). I also use it as a browser where I regularly trash all remembered data (cookies, etc) when I can't be bothered working out what I need to enable with adblocker, etc, to see some site.

I can't understand why they want to put an IMAP client in it .... it is a web browser; please stop the bloat!

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UK Home Office seeks secret settlements over unlawful DNA retention

alain williams
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Documents not deleted ...

just been moved to Panama

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UK.gov watchdog growls at firms that pass off advertorials as real opinions

alain williams
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Nothing new with web sites

this sort of thing has happened for years in print (newspapers) - and still does. Advertise enough and you get to write your own articles, or at least heavily influence them.

Something that this will not stop is suppression of stories, I remember many years ago talking to a local newspaper about a local shop who had rooked us, it never went anywhere - they were honest enough to admit that they did not want to risk their weekly adverts.

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Bash on Windows. Repeat, Microsoft demos Bash on Windows

alain williams
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How complete will it be ?

I wonder if someone will be able to port and run WINE into this environment.

Why ? Because it should be possible!

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Adblock wins in court again – this time against German newspaper

alain williams
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£15bn in advertising revenue was lost

I think that the correct wording must have been lost in translation from German, surely it should have been ''£15bn was saved by companies in useless advertising costs''

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Closing courts to fling £700m at digital stand-ins will fail, MPs snarl at UK.gov

alain williams
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Totally barmy

This was talked about a couple of times in El-Reg in 2014, one here. The Ministry of Justice is sending 65,000 jobs to India. This is simply stupid:

a) Data protection. A lot of very sensitive information going overseas - what could possibly go wrong ?

b) Loss of skills in the UK, helping another country get skills.

c) Look at the numbers: save "£100m over the next few years" - that means 10 years. So, £10m a year.

The cost - 65,000 jobs[**].

£10m/65k = £154.

So, MoJ is saving £154/year for every job lost to the UK economy. It might save MoJ, but UK Plc loses big time.

An analogy would be: a plumber getting in another plumber to fix his bathroom tap as the other plumber has a B&Q discount card & so can buy the washer more cheaply - the job still ends up costing the householder plumber more.

[**] That is jobs paid for by MoJ - there will be other jobs lost in: infrastructure suppliers, office cleaners, ...

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Three-bit quantum gate a step closer to universal quantum computer

alain williams
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BBQ ?

Am I the only one who sees two components on the left hand side labelled 'BBQ' ?

I think that this is the result of too much Fosters at barbies over the Easter weekend!

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Comms 'redlining' in Brussels as explosions kill up to 30 people

alain williams
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I lived in London in the 1970's ...

when the IRA set off dozens of bombs. We got on with life without the current brouhaha. Yes: it was occasionally inconvenient and a few people got killed, including an MP (Airey Neave).

We were not terrorised because we did not let it dominate or significantly change our lives.

Today: the recent governments are reacting badly, causing/attempting changes (no liquids on air-planes, snooping, ID cards, ...) It is them who are doing the terrorist's work for them.

I looked up how many incidents in London, remarkable that the IRA was responsible for far, far more in the 70's to 90's than ''Islamic terrorists'' in the last few years.

So: why is the government trying to get us to cower under the kitchen table ?

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Labour: We want the Snoopers' Charter because of Snowden

alain williams
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Re: A necessary evil?

This is, of course, a good argument against Brexit - Brussels will probably torpedo this assault on our liberty, which our spineless parliament proposes to rubber-stamp.

I was wavering - your comment clinches it, I'll vote to stay in.

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Lessons from history for UK Home Sec Theresa May's Investigatory Powers Bill

alain williams
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Unworkable law - when has that stopped them in the past ? You can present them with all the evidence backed information that you want - they will simply ignore it and do what they want.

I just wish I knew why they are doing this ? Is it megalomania ?

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Swedish publishers plan summer ‘Block Party’ to thwart ad blockers

alain williams
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Temporary permissions

Sometimes a bit fiddly when I have to give temporary permissions to sites/domains in order to make something specific work.

Easy: I run a different browser with no controls at all. I will use it to see something if tweaking settings seems as if it will take more than a few seconds. After viewing I clear all private data (cookies, etc) and view something else. Not perfect, but easy.

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Only 12% of UK thinks Snoopers' Charter is 'adequately explained'

alain williams
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Impact explained ?

It is the need that I want explained... and please don't bring out the tired rubbish about: paedophiles, terrorists, drug barons and master criminals - we have heard that all before and it does not hold water; yes: they may catch a few low hanging fruit (the simpletons); but the big boys are not going to stop using good encryption just because it becomes illegal - that is even assuming that we are really at real risk from these people or that open-to-government encryption will let them be stopped.

So: why does she want it? She is either stupid or has some other, hidden, purpose.

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Australia to capture biometrics at the border under new law

alain williams
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Another country will soon be ...

on my no-visit list.

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Microsoft adds 'non-security updates' to security patches

alain williams
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Re: It didn't happen to me

Yesterday I was teaching Javascript, delegates ran a mix of Apple and MS Windows machines. Someone's PC (running MS Windows) decided to update and was unusable for 1.5 hours. The lady just accepted it - 'it happens'.

How on earth are you supposed to run a business when some of the kit randomly goes on strike ?

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Behold, Microsoft SQL Server on Linux – and a firm screw-you to Oracle

alain williams
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More spyware ?

Given that MS Windows 10 'phone home a lot and MS can upload any file that it wants from your machine; can we also expect that MS SQL server will behave likewise and give MS/NSA access to any records that it wants from your database ?

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German lodges todger in 13 steel rings

alain williams
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Would our junior doctors (on strike today) have regarded this as an emergency and done something, or told him that he must wait until tomorrow ?

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Investigatory Powers Bill to be rushed into Parliament on Tuesday

alain williams
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Re: Oh no I don't....

In that case Mr. Raab needs to be voted out at the next election.

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Reminder: How to get a grip on your files, data that Windows 10 phones home to Microsoft

alain williams
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Re: Remote control?

"..they can request extra data from your machine, which Windows 10 will hand over under remote control if management approves."

They forgot to add: or any file that the NSA/FBI wants and asks us to collect.

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Google human-like robot brushes off beating by puny human – this is how Skynet starts

alain williams
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Scary!

I found myself wondering if I would see a glimpse of Darth Vader in that video

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Wi-Fi operators must notify device users of potential data processing

alain williams
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Must notify ... except ...

for the data feed to GCHQ/... ordered with a secrecy clause. Hmmm airport data, they would want that data (and probably already get it), great for knowing what phones are moving in/out of the country.

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Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

alain williams
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Why not sell it to you ?

Reminds me of the early days of mobile phones where you could only get one on a contract.

Their monthly fee feels like lock in; probably expensive; maybe OK for those who buy iPhones, but not me.

The design: to me looks like the child of a VW beetle and a Citroën 2CV

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alain williams
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Re: Sounds great !

I don't think that it did sound great. Why can't they make promotional videos without having some noise as backing ? Just show the car - don't hurt our ears with rubbish!

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Ordnance Survey unfolds handy Mars map

alain williams
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prime meridian

I notice that the Mars prime meridian is based on Airy-0, a crater named after a British Astronomer Royal, the choice made by someone from Stanford University.

Do the French have a different prime meridian for Mars ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airy-0

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Brit spies want rights to wiretap and snoop on US companies' servers

alain williams
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Please save me from terrorists!

This terrifies me, I worry about it, I am afraid of the spooks in the NSA & GCHQ.

Who will save me from terrorists ?

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Official UN panel findings on embassy-squatter released. Assange: I'm 'vindicated'

alain williams
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The USA has won ...

They have succeeded in making Assange the story and not what he revealed through Wikileaks.

We seem to have forgotten that this was started when evidence of USA government wrongdoings was published; so standard procedure was activated: discredit the messenger, something that they have done many times before - Bradley Manning for one.

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TalkTalk admits losing £60m and 101,000 customers after THAT hack

alain williams
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Doing security properly costs ....

but is often cheaper than screwing up and having to pay the cost of the f**k up.

The problem comes when a bean counter wants to know if a few £k can be shaved off some budget or a marketing manager wants something delivered a couple of weeks earlier - so security is not done properly. After all: you can have a system that appears to work well even if the security is paper thin.

By the time the short cuts come to light: those guilty of forcing the change are forgotten, but just in case the universal 'hacker' bogey man is invoked/blamed.

This is not just a Talk Talk problem. I recently saw some email from https://references.clearviewtr.co.uk/ to someone wanting to rent a house. Login details all in clear text, one email: URL, username, password - this is somewhere where a lot of financial data is entered (bank a/c details, home + work address, ...) just what you would want if you wanted to spoof someone. Management at clearview should be shot.

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HSBC online banking outage: Moneymen are 'still under attack'

alain williams
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How can you defend against a DDOS ?

If all the traffic comes from somewhere that you can put into a firewall you might have a chance with some kind of attacks, but not all.

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Windows Mobile users suffer backup super-slurp as Redmond forgets Wi-Fi switch

alain williams
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You get what you pay for ...

is what Microsoft says when trying to tell people that Linux is pants. That doesn't seem to have worked here does it ?

So: will Microsoft do the honourable thing and pay consumers for their excess data charges ?

While at it: also pay for people who's broadband limits were blown by them shoving MS Windows 10 at them without asking.

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Show us the code! You should be able to peek inside the gadgets you buy – FTC commish

alain williams
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The code is not enough

You also need the ability to replace the compiled code that comes on your device with code that you have inspected and compiled. The point is that how can you be sure that the code running in the device corresponds to the source code that you have been given ? - Especially if the likes of NSA/GCHQ are around with laws that can compel vendors to silently subvert their own products.

The ability to extract the installed code and check that you can build something bit wise identical would also be good.

OK: it will not be for everyone (recompiling) but being able to reinstall firmware should not be too hard.

Also: knowing that someone has verified the manufacturer's binaries will reassure the many for who reinstalling is too hard/much-effort.

If this were to ever happen, then NSA/GCHQ will set up organisations to do the recompiling/checking but lie about the results and so give a false sense of security; so it is not as easy as you might imagine.

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Confirmed: How to stop Windows 10 forcing itself onto PCs – your essential guide

alain williams
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Re: Paying for Windows 10 after July

AFAICR Microsoft, as one of the settlements of one their regulatory run-ins, have to share details of the SMB protocols so unless this settlement expires your scenario seems unlikely.

That is true. But when will they release the spec ? "Sorry guys, we forgot to put this on our web site. This is why Samba has not been working for 4 months." They won't need to do this very often to give the Linux desktop a bad reputation. Do they care if the EU fines them a few hundred million ?

Also have you looked at some of these things ? Not examples of clarity.

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alain williams
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Re: Paying for Windows 10 after July

If anything was ever going to usher in the Year of the Linux Desktop, having Microsoft basically act like the Mafia demanding protection money to maintain access to one's files would be just that.

And once the use of Linux desktops gets to the magic 15% all sorts of nice things happen:

* hardware vendors need to release specs so that Linux support becomes a no brainer

* software vendors will start to feel the pressure for that Linux port

However: I dread what MS will be able to do once it has all MS Windows machines being updated within a few weeks to their latest release. Consider the following:

* MS quietly release protocol update to SMB (file sharing), all machines are capable of the protocol, but none use it; use older protocols.

* 3 months later: new update, that protocol is now mandatory (excuse is a security flaw in the old protocol); will no longer work with old protocol.

At a stroke any machine using Samba (ie Linux, BSD, ...) cannot do file sharing with MS Windows machines. MS announces that "Linux is broken, come back to Microsoft, it just works"

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Irked train hackers talk derailment flaws, drop SCADA password list

alain williams
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Re: Who the fuck ...

... would put this kind of kit on a network available to the general public?

It has been known for a long time that SCADA systems tend to have poor security controls; many are ancient having been built in an era before today's world where everything is connected. Plenty of time to address the issues but this has not happened.

So: regard this as a boot up the backside, not just to the vendors but also the users who have been reluctant to invest in upgrades. Granted that upgrading a rail system is not an overnight job.

Hopefully the result will be more secure infrastructure in a few years time.

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Forget anonymity, we can remember you wholesale with machine intel, hackers warned

alain williams
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Code layout

About 30 years ago at a LUUG (London Unix User Group) meeting in a pub DT asked how an if/else should be formatted. There were 14 of us and 13 different answers; we were all prepared to defend our own style as being the best - all their arguments were wrong since it was obvious that my own style was the only good one.

Many preferences seem to depend on which languages you cut your programming teeth on, how they were laid out.

As regards your examples:

* the opening '{' should be on the line with the 'if', the '}' ends the 'if' the '{' is less important and just makes the if body multi statement.

* there should not be a space after the 'if' - why, in my case, because snobol did not allow it.

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Watch out, er, 'oven cleaners': ICO plans nuisance call crackdown in 2016

alain williams
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Pity no one honours the TPS, especially cold callers !!!!

The TPS is a subsidiary of the British Direct Marketing Association, so of course they do as little as possible - this is the fox in charge of the hen house.

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Apple on the attack against British snooping bill. Silicon Valley expected to follow

alain williams
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Will terrorists, etc, quake in their boots ?

Oh, no - we can't plot to blow up the UK any more since we cannot use outlawed technology!

Of course they won't -- who does Theresa May think that she is kidding ?

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Free Wi-Fi for the NHS, promises health secretary Jeremy Hunt

alain williams
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Re: Self-monitoring for patients

Provide instructions for patients to perform their operations while you're at it.

Brilliant: then any complaints about delay can be blamed on the patents.

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UK government names Cloud Foundry Her Majesty's preferred PaaS

alain williams
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Self hosted can be:

* More secure. Good, I want my government to keep my data secure (and inside this country)

* Cheaper. Government will be a *big* user, economies of scale could work in their favour

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Apply online to go to Mars. No, seriously

alain williams
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Why the ungenerous salary ?

There is every likelihood that they won't collect ...

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Typo in case-sensitive variable name cooked Google's cloud

alain williams
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binary OR with 00100000

Well, that might have worked in times past, but now non ASCII characters are being used - case folding is more complicated. Think Unicode.

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Putin's Russia outlaws ECHR judgments after mass surveillance case

alain williams
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Re: If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

Because no one has (yet) complained to the ECHR.

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Russia's blanket phone spying busted Europe's human rights laws

alain williams
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What is the difference ...

between what Russia is doing and what Theresa May wants to be able to do (or legalise what GCHQ is already doing) ?

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