* Posts by Slx

440 posts • joined 5 Jun 2010

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Everything at Apple Watch is awesome, insists Tim Cook

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I got the Huawei Watch (in black) and it is a stunning bit of kit.

Absolutely useless, but stunning.

My 18 month old niece loves sliding the menus around though, so I suppose it's useful for something!

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UK's new Snoopers' Charter just passed an encryption backdoor law by the backdoor

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Brexit for IT companies

It's quite likely this is in gross violation of European Data Protection legislation, so it more or less will end the ability of UK ISPs, telcos or UK businesses hosting data in the UK or passing it through the UK from doing any sort of business in the European Union and possibly also in the associated EEA countries too.

To me, this looks like it will sink the UK's thriving telco and ISP business and end your role as a hub of communication in Europe.

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Jeremy Hunt: Telcos must block teens from sexting each other

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How???

Short of banning <18s from using mobile phones, or pretty much any internet-connected IT device, I cannot see how this could possibly be achieved.

You might as well be trying to legislate to get the wind to stop blowing from the northeast or the rain to only fall on Tuesdays between 8:00 and 10:00pm.

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UK cops spot webcam 'sextortion' plots: How vics can hit stop

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This really can only be tackled by education, education and more education.

If you're using a webcam to communicate with anyone, but particularly with a stranger online, anything you present to that camera is at risk of being published or used against you.

On the other side of it, maybe we will just have to ensure nobody ever feels totally humiliated if something like this does happen. Yes, it's embarrassing but it shouldn't be life-endingly embarrassing.

Strong supports need to be there emotionally but also strong supports in terms of an IT-savvy crack squad who can ensure that damage limitation is done i.e. help with getting as much of the offending media removed from sites as possible.

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Vegans furious as Bank of England admits ‘trace’ of animal fat in £5 notes

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If you're a vegan just pay with your phone, which is in most cases will contain at least some components made from sweat and the odd bit of blood and tears.

Cash is so 1990s anyway.

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Huawei Mate 9: The Note you've been waiting for?

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It looks like an evolution of the Nexus 6P, but without the freedom of stock Android.

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UK Parliament waves through 'porn-blocking' Digital Economy Bill

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Don't worry it'll be just like Dad's Army soon

Relax and don't worry about a thing.

You're being rapidly spun back to a sort of Tory Utopian fantasy 1950s (dystopian to anyone sane) where you can all dress in suits and ties or pearls and twinsets, sexuality will be declared unmentionable once more, and you can look forward to village fetes, strawberries and cream, censored films, no smut on the television, people attending church out of sheer boredom, a complete collapse of the creative industry, exit of all the interesting people to Berlin or even Dublin.

I speak as an Irish person, be very wary of this kind of level of conservatism and censorship wrapped in nationalism and protectionism.

We had a dose of it here in the mid 20th century and it did horrific damage that has only really been undone in the last 20 years and hopefully will never be repeated again.

The US is also going head first into this kind of weird conservative, authoritarian mess and an even worse one as it's being driven by religious extremism.

It seems nobody's shouting stop, the labour party is currently totally useless and you are just going to sleepwalk the UK into undoing 50 years of progressive liberalising.

I'm just very wary of any party or government that goes on moral crusades.

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Investigatory Powers Act signed into UK law by Queen

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At least you won't have to worry about all that awful red tape from Brussels protecting your privacy anymore.

Just lie back, think of England and all the freedom and the greater efficiencies you can now enjoy.

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Encrypted email sign-ups instantly double in wake of Trump victory

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People still use email?

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Trump's plan: Tariffs on electronics, ban on skilled tech migrants, turn off the internet

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Re: And we thought BREXIT was bad

No, you're just the court jester now which is a major improvement.

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Ireland to fight against billing Apple for back-taxes

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Both the UK and US governments massively facilitate such gaming themselves. The City of London didn't grow so large due to the lovely weather and excellent housing in Greater London, I can assure you. It is a handy, English-speaking financial hub in Europe with light touch regulation and relatively low tax / no tax options and has operated like a money laundry.

Same goes for Switzerland.

There is no 'system' and the powers that be have all been lobbied extensively to ensure that nobody upsets the status quo. If the US and EU really wanted to close those loop holes that allow money to disappear into mysterious virtual lands that only exist on paper, they could have done so decades ago at the stroke of a pen. However, they didn't and probably won't really do anything serious about it in the future.

The simple reality of it is that big corporations have all of us, from Ireland to the UK to the US, to even moralistic claiming to be high tax France, by the short and curlies . Nobody can be the first nation to innovate on tax as the inward investment (foreign or domestic) simply runs away or they cut jobs and damage your position.

So, yeah we're all being gamed but until there's a properly global taxation system to prevent (which as yet simply does not exist), the game just goes on and on and on.

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Fairly simple really:

1) It would involve an admission of wrong doing by the Irish Government or at best incompetence by the tax authorities. They are not going to do that.

2) It would potentially unravel a whole load of very long term Irish policies that were used to attract FDI and could cause massive numbers of job losses.

3) There's a significant possibility that the €13 billion would be uncollectible anyway as other states may seek to apply taxes and then Apple would not pay them in Ireland under double-taxation agreements.

4) There's a distinct possibility the figure is grossly over estimated and Apple's liability could be significantly smaller anyway.

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The Irish arguments are pretty simple too:

1) The EU has no jurisdiction on tax policy and is using competition law as an backdoor attempt to expand its powers.

2) This is a competition law case and EU would need to prove that Ireland gave Apple a deal that was unavailable to other companies. If it were available to other companies, the EU has no case.

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Re: Irexit

"Traditional open borders for Paddy to the UK - Good, English speaking labour for the UK"

I think that's pretty much defined why Ireland would be extremely unlikely to leave the EU and end up riding on the UK's coat tails again. It's not something most of the electorate here would be prepared to do and, perhaps unlike our British cousins (or should I use some kind of pejorative?) we are not as keen to shoot ourselves in both feet and isolate ourselves from a massive market.

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Siri, clone yourself and dive into this Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone

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Maybe it'll be as good as TouchWiz and made from pure explodium ?

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McDonald's sues Italian city for $20m after being burger-blocked

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I don't get it!

Why do people want to go to an amazing city in a country with one of the best cuisines on the planet and eat a Big Mac and drink a Starbucks.

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China passes new Cybersecurity Law – you have seven months to comply if you wanna do biz in Middle Kingdom

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China's actually not in *that* strong a position.

Multinational companies will only hang on in there as long as the country is friendly to them. If it starts imposing onerous and intrusive regulation that is impacting their products and security, you may find the attitude changes very rapidly.

There are other places these things can be made and all it takes is a big shift in attitudes. It won't necessarily be the American Government who make this kind of decision. They're not a corporate dictatorship that tells companies what to do. However, if the Chinese grow openly hostile to things like this, you are going to see companies looking elsewhere. It's just inevitable.

Chinese companies can potentially be major competitors, Huawei, ZTE and a few others have shown this is most definitely the case. However, if one side enters into protectionist policies, the other side will reciprocate. It's a two-way street where China is getting access massive consumer markets which it simply does not have internally.

For all the openness to business, China is not an open democracy and is unlikely to become one anytime soon. Its default reaction to free flow of information is to immediately censor it and filter it while all of these IT products and services are designed to maximise free-flowing exchange of ideas and knowledge and come from places that foster that kind of approach to life generally.

It would suit the Government and the companies to just exclude foreign IT companies and products so that the Chinese domestic market was running on some kind of controlled platform that allowed the Government to control the message and probably opened up levels of Big Brother spying and tracking that would be the wet dream of Western spy agencies who could never go that far, even if they wanted to.

You can't really square the circle and there isn't really a compromise position on this. You can't have unfettered media and social sharing and extreme state control just co-existing without problems.

China will have to decide does it want continued unfettered access to global markets?

Or does it want to crack down on internal free flow of information using restrictive IT ?

You really can't have both.

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I could see this coming to major blows with the US on trade.

This could effectively kill Apple and Google and other US IT companies and consumer product companies in China.

At the best they're going to end up with special China editions of devices that are providing a narrow subset of services available elsewhere.

China expects to have unfettered access to the US and EU markets but at the same time is quite happy to impose extremely serious restrictions on US exports in this case. So, I could see this turning relatively nasty as the months and years roll on.

Fundamentally, it looks like China isn't really compatible with a modern information society type economy as the government is just unwilling to let information flow.

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Unstoppable Huawei draws level with Apple

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The reality is that they're almost two parallel markets because of the differing ecosystems.

Huawei is more likely eating other android OEM's dinner. I would suspect those growing Huawei sales are in reality coming from Sony, HTC, LG and even Samsung's market share.

I'm not being an Apple fan in saying this, but the two business models are very different. Apple makes far more profit from a smaller market share than any of the Android OEMs ever can because it owns the entire ecosystem and can sell services in or take % cut on services sold through the AppStore.

When an Android OEM sells a phone, they're making money on the hardware and are often selling in services that aren't all that great or don't hold their own against Google. So, the majority of the potential revenue streams are going to the Play Store and Google Play services.

Apple's in a very unique position in the mobile market at the moment. Whether they can maintain it long term is another question, but for the short to medium term they look pretty much a safe bet.

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Cynical Apple gouges UK with 20 per cent price hike

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Re: Isn't Apple an Irish company?

Same applies against the Euro.

€1.00 cost about 75p a few months ago.

€1.00 costs about 90p now.

Whether you're paying in $ or €, the £ is significantly weaker against both. So, you're really not paying more (or at least not much more). You're just paying the same price with a weaker currency.

Companies cannot afford to give the UK a 20%+ discount. It doesn't work like that. You're just going to have to either cough up or start running your economy sanely again.

The uncertainty is absolutely killing the British economy. You just haven't felt the real pinch yet, but believe me ... it's coming!

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It's OK Sterling plummeted again today due to the Northern Irish court decision that they had no jurisdiction over Brexit.

Don't worry though. You'll be able to use those lovely БЭСМ computers as soon as your Russian trade deal is ready.

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James Dyson's new startup: A university for engineers that doesn't suck

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Is this not just a way for companies to effectively get 'free' or almost free R&D?

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FBI reopens Hillary spillery

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Re: Going French

That's all very well, but their titles are utterly meaningless.

I might as well call myself the Arch Duc du Frufru of Haute Picardy for all the titles in France mean.

In the UK you still have the remnants of the feudal system alive and well and preserved for some odd reason.

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It is such a joke of an election.

You could adopt the French approach when you're left with a choice between a dodgy candidate and Le Pen, you wear rubber gloves when voting as a protest.

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I'm not a Hillary fan but if Trump's elected is likely we all may vanish.

She's not ideal and I have lots of concerns about her, much like using Gmail, but the alternatives is just horrible.

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No spin zone: Samsung recalls 3M EXPLODING washing machines

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Re: US Washing Machine Arms Race - Big ≠ Better

There is literally only one main-stream company still building them like a tank - Miele.

However, when you look at the cost comparison of a modern machine vs one from the 1980s (most of which were pretty well built), they were simply way more expensive (closer to modern day Miele prices).

That's why a lot of UK and Irish households in the 1970s still had really primitive washing machines in the 1960s-1970s - They were coming in at nearly the price of a small car for an automatic.

If you pick up a washing machine for €299, you can't really expect it to be built out of the same kind of components that its €1299 ancestor was built out of or to be comparable to a modern Miele or comericall-type machines.

What annoys me though is Samsung tend to just whack a fancy display and control panel and a load of polished chrome and bells and whistles onto a pretty cheaply constructed washing machine and sell it for Miele-like prices.

If you're going to spend a grand on a machine, you're better off going for the boring looking German one that's built like a tank than the one that's more or less a Galaxy phone beautifully embedded in a bog standard washing machine.

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Eye-wateringly! (Damn autocorrect!)

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US Washing Machine Arms Race - Big ≠ Better

Part of the problem with this is that American consumers (and European Consumers to a lesser degree) are demanding bigger and bigger drums in washing machines.

The laws of physics come into play. When you have an object being rotated about an axis at a speed, the g-forces increase massively the further away from the centre it is.

So, as you expand the radius of the drum, you increase the forces at play by a huge amount.

You've also got a lot of machines on sale in the US that are ludicrously oversized as consumers have some notion that they need to be able to wash 400 towels at the same time or ALL their bed linen simultaneously. In reality, they never do and you end up with a few pairs of jeans or a normal sized load being flung around this huge drum which will inevitably have issues with balance.

Where as an older machine (even in the US) would typically have a much tighter packed drum, with smaller diameter which is much easier to balance.

Modern machines rely on sensors and software to ensure they don't go out of balance, and this has allowed cheaper machines to be made with much bigger drums. However, if the sensors and software don't work correctly, the machine will go catastrophically out of balance and fall apart.

Also the build quality of these machines is not always totally comparable. I opened our Miele and it has a smaller drum, surrounded by a heavy stainless steel outer rub, huge cast iron weights and shock absorbers that look like something out of an industrial machine or a car and will take stuff up to 1600 RPM without even noticing.

In the past it was only these kinds of machines that dared to push the speeds up that high.

Nowadays, a lot of the other manufacturers are selling the same kind of high speeds, but with plastic tubs outer, far flimsier suspension systems and much weaker internal drums.

Washing machines are probably one of the only appliances in your home that have to contain serious forces. Other than your car, they are the only device that really does need to be built very well to avoid a catastrophic mess like this.

I think people are going to have to accept that unless you buy a very much more expensive machine like those made by Miele or a semi-commercial machine, you can't really safely do some of these kinds of speeds. Those machines have always been eye waveringly expensive for a good reason.

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Living with the Pixel XL – Google's attempt at a high-end phone

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Sorry, but this phone just looks dull.

The Nexus 6P may have been a little weird looking but at least it was kind of an eye-catching device.

To me this looks like a rather boring and slightly bad impersonation of an iPhone body.

If I'm going with Android, I think I will be sticking with the OEMs.

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Teen in the dock on terror apologist charge for naming Wi-Fi network 'Daesh 21'

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It seems a bit harsh!

Wouldn't telling him to "cop the feck on!" and leaving it at that be more than enough ?!

I thought France was supposed to be all about freedom of speech and satirising these organisations?

If you start putting words like this on some kind of pedestal, you're giving those organisations way too much power and respect.

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Computer forensics defuses FBI's Clinton email 'bombshell'

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What it looks like to me is the fundamental stumbling block here was the State Department itself. It should have a very, very clear and rock solid internet security policy and apply it to everyone from the Secretary of State to the President as a matter of national security policy.

I would expect all of the key cabinet members to be issued with ultra secure phones and laptops that are deeply encrypted, using the very best technology available. To me, it looks like at the time this scandal was going on, that certainly was not happening.

To me, this whole fiasco strikes me as a politicians' office probably staffed largely by political science / legal types and PR / marketing people and probably not the most IT savvy group in the world implemented a solution that was aimed at convenience and mobility.

A lot of people are grossly over-estimating the IT skills of a political office. They're usually full of very enthusiastic, often very academically qualified people but I wouldn't really rate them for their natural ability to implement complex security to fend off hackers.

I would suspect that you'll probably find tons of people using personal email accounts for business or public office email. A lot of people simply aren't aware of the risks involved and a lot of the actual infrastructure in some of these public offices can be horrifically dated or not particularly secure itself.

I know I've seen public sector email systems that were still running on ancient versions of Lotus Notes and Exchange.

To me this scandal is about a systems administration / security policy failure that has turned into a political witch hunt. The whole thing is absolutely nuts.

At the very worst, Clinton and her office did not appreciate the risks involved. That to me sounds like a massive lack of IT support from the department itself.

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Belgian court fines Skype for failing to intercept criminals' calls in 2012

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I suppose the simplest solution would be to stop offering the service in the legally incompatible country. There's very little Skype or Microsoft can do to comply with this and the ruling is simply ignoring reality.

If this is going to be a regular thing, then the only solution would be to conclude that Skype can't operate in Belgium.

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How Google's Project Zero made Apple refactor its kernel

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I don't really see the big deal to be quite honest.

Most complicated software, including operating systems, will inevitably have potential security holes that, despite tons of very competent developers, will go unnoticed.

The key thing here is Apple closed the security hole and it does not seem like it was an easy fix by any means. You can't really go mucking about with a fundamental issue in a kernel and expect to be able to release the finished product to millions upon millions of devices without going through a whole load of testing and polishing.

I know people like to bash Apple, MS, Google and other big IT companies but it gets a bit tiresome at after a while.

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Apple’s macOS Sierra update really puts the fan into 'fanboi'

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I'm posting this on Siri as a test, well on voice recognition anyway. It's genuinely useful, if, you can't type for some reason. It's also handy for setting alarms and voice dialling!

Their voice recognition is actually very accurate.

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That UK law that'll share Brits' private info among govt departments? Yeah, that'll need oversight

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Don't worry they'll fix that by just deleting that awkward data protection legislation that has been in the way of such efficiencies for decades thanks to those meddlesome Eurocrats.

You'll now have the freedom to allow the paranoid security state led by Big Sister to monitor your every move.

Orwell was right on most things. He just got the date a couple of decades wrong and, given the era he was writing in and the gender biases of the time, didn't predict it could be Big Sister.

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Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

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My one question on this is legal.

If the car maker is taking over the driving, it's very likely that they'll also be taking on some or all of the liability for accidents caused by the car when it is driving.

I could see this stuff getting very legally complex and expensive.

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French programmers haul Apple into court over developer rules

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I think Apple are being a bit ridiculous keeping other rendering engines out of iOS. I'm not sure why they even bother. It would be a far more vibrant platform with Chrome and Firefox properly on board.

I can't really see any advantages to forcing everything into WebKit / Safari.

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Don't panic, but a 'computer error' cut the brakes on a San Francisco bus this week

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Application Brake.exe has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down.

If the problem persists, contact the vendor or crash slowly into a wall.

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Is Apple's software getting worse or what?

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There was a glitch in the previous version of OS X where the launchpad (iOS style rapid launcher which is genuinely useful for launching apps by typing a couple of letters of the name rather than trawling through the Applications folder or wherever you've put them).

I constantly had an issue where icons from the launcher would get "stuck" permanently on the screen over the top of every bomb else. The only way to reset it was to use the terminal and KILL the Dock process or log out and reset everything.

That bug persisted trough multiple versions of OS X and I definitely reported it,

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EU turns screws on Android – report

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It's not quite the MS case.

There's a huge difference between Android's distribution and Windows in so far as the majority of Android installations are actually skinned versions of the OS that are highly customised by manufacturers and most of them bundle huge amounts of their own apps.

So, basically all that Google would have to do is not require bundling of the their own apps?

Most of them are pretty excellent, especially Gmail and Google Apps etc, so I would imagine a lot of people will download them anyway.

I can see there's an issue for app developers competing against Google, or Apple for that matter on iOS (but it has a far smaller market share in most of Europe - exceptions being Ireland and Britain).

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USB-C is now wired for sound, just like Sir Cliff Richard

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Just as long as they don't have all the "fail-dangerous" electrical mismatches with the current USB-C cables and devices!

I don't want my ears blown off because some manufacturing error misidentifies the USB-C headphone jack as a USB-C tumble dryer power supply or something like that.

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Apple moving to scrubbed up London's Battersea Power Station

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That move was planned long before Brexit. They're just consolidating a load of offices scattered around London as it makes a lot more sense to have everyone in one place for a whole load of logistical reasons.

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Shopkeeper installs forecourt khazi to counter mystery Dublin dung dumper

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Re: Will the wee fecker...

Meh! Sure half of you lot pronounce "th" as "f"

As in "Arfur is having a barf"

People in glass houses ...

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We certainly do except it's called CrimeCall... Same concept almost exactly though.

Any similarity is mere coincidence!!

http://www.rte.ie/tv/crimecall/

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British unis mull offshore EU campuses in post-Brexit vote panic

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Over here Ireland we have kilometres and Euros but we also have pints of beer and enormous 3-pin fused plugs. The sacred plumbing tradition of these islands has also been preserved - usually keeping the hot and cold water carefully separated for absolutely no logical reason!

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iPhone 7's Qualcomm, Intel soap opera dumps a carrier lock-out on us

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Dual-SIM phones are fairly unusual in Europe too but I think it's largely because (with a couple of exceptions) in the vast majority of countries you'd typically buy a network subsidised phone. So, naturally enough they're usually SIM locked to their original network until you pay down a minimum term contract.

EU voice and text roaming is increasingly just included in your typical "bill pay" plan but, data is still a bit stingy and expensive.

For example I'm using Meteor (Eir) in Ireland:

€35 / month : 30GB 4G data (as well as absolutely unlimited data to Facebook, Instagram and Pokémon Go... Which is a bit pointless), unlimited calls, unlimited texts, 50 minutes of international calls to most destinations (including mobile) and unlimited EU voice/ text roaming but only a stingy 1GB of EU data... So, when I roam I usually bring an unlocked android phone to use as a mobile WiFi hotspot with a local SIM.

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It is dying because the telcos can't get access to the same range of network equipment that their competitors using open GSM / 3GPP standards can and they've all sorts of hassle getting first shout at handsets and other gear.

Also CDMA One (IS-95)/ CDMA 2000 (IS-2000) should be confused with the generic cover of CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) which was around as a concept before either Qualcomm system for example it is used by GPS satellites and is also uses in 3GPP standards like UMTS (also known as W-CDMA).

Where the GSM family is standards absolutely won out is that they are an open, totally modular system where you can easily implement multivendor platforms using all sorts of equipment from loads of different companies without that much difficulty.

The other system is far more proprietary at least at the radio interface level. (Switching and data centre stuff is more or less the same for any telco network).

ALL of the CDMA One / CDMA 2000 systems will cut over to pure LTE eventually with VoLTE for voice. That finishes their dependency on proprietary gear.

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CDMA isn't really used at all in Europe other than a small Nepal on the Czech Republic. CDMA2000 on 450MHz was used for data only in a few countries where analogue NMT-450 was used but, it's largely been replaced by much faster LTE.

Also, a few places use it for machine to machine stuff; mostly almost closed networks owned by utilities to read meters.

But, in general European spec handsets don't have any reason to support CDMA, so given its a huge market, I'm guessing we'll be seeing more Intel radio chips sets here than you'll see in the USA.

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Apple's tax bill: Big in Japan. Like, $120m big

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Not really, I just think that it's very easy to go after consumer product companies while absolutely ignoring the 400 ton home-grown elephants in quite a lot of rooms around the world.

The fact that these companies get away with not paying tax in the first place is political. The fact that certain companies are selected to pay tax all of a sudden is political.

What would be non-political would be uniform and proper enforcement and proper international taxation arrangements.

The Apple and Ireland ruling still has to show that it can prove that the taxation regime Apple received is selective. If the ruling was available to any company / broad category of companies, it won't be a competition case at all. So, there's still quite a way to go with this in terms of appeals before it's over.

If you want to resolve tax planning though, you need international treaties and some degree of harmonisation to stop companies from just sailing between jurisdictions, which is effectively what Apple was doing, between the US and Ireland.

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Swedish appeals court upholds arrest warrant for Julian Assange

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I still think It's odd one as you wouldn't really rank Sweden's judiciary as highly corruptible or politically influenced. One would assume it's likely to be a model of jurisprudence?

I mean, there's a long list of countries that I would consider far more likely to have a risk of political interference in court cases. In general though, most of the small, fairly neutral, Northern European countries tend to be the most likely to actually give someone a fair trail.

Surely his biggest risk is actually being in London, particularly during a period when it is leaving the EU and all the European Conventions on Human Rights and courts as well as the UK's own Human Rights Act etc may be irrelevant very soon and the place is being run by Big Sister.

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