* Posts by Vimes

1237 posts • joined 3 Dec 2012

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100k+ petition: MPs must consider debating Snoopers' Charter again

Vimes
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Re: People. The person you need to write to is your MP. @John Smith 19

Sadly when I chose to write to my MP about this when it was still being debated, his reply consisted of a large think envelope containing all the forms that have to be filled out when undertaking surveillance.

Of course this ignores the way in which the various services effectively self-authorise what they do making this whole thing a monumental waste of time but he didn't seem to be interested in hearing that.

Too many MPs are blindly following the government and have done so repeatedly in the past. For them to change course now would involve the acceptance that they had previously made mistakes, and most people should know how difficult it is to get an MP to actually do that.

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Make Christmas Great Again: $149 24-karat gold* Trump tree ornament

Vimes
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Re: Drumpf was the grandfathers name

Neither Trump nor Farage are anti-immigrant. Both their politics and personal life clearly show that.

You just had one advocating the building of a wall to stop immigration, and the other posing in front of a giant billboard showing a poster eerily similar to ones shown in Nazi Germany. Nothing anti-immigrant about that all. Nope. Nothing...

They are against the "wrong sort" of immigrant.

You mean Muslims? Wasn't Trump supporting the idea of implementing a registry of them at one point? I'm only surprised they're not going to be forced to wear yellow crescents.

For that matter, when it comes to the 'wrong sort' of immigrant, does anybody else think it's rich of Farage to complain about of freedom of movement? He's given up on dealing with the clusterfuck he helped create so now he decides to take advantage of that freedom himself and bugger off to the US.

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Vimes
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Re: Conclusive proof

That speaks against theories he's susceptible to money corruption

Seriously?

Do you honestly think there would be no temptation to follow certain courses of action as President if doing so appears to benefit his business interests?

He's not, unless he's stupid as a box of rocks.

...or thinks the laws don't apply to him?

Some of what he has been quoted as saying (“The law’s totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest”) sounds very Nixonian in my opinion and doesn't bode well for the future either.

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Vimes
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http://boingboing.net/2016/11/24/funny-reivews-pile-up-for-dona.html

"It called Mary a nasty woman, told Joseph to go back where he came from, built a wall around the manger, and then when you press it it sings "I'm Dreaming Of A Totally White Christmas."

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Vimes
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Re: Conclusive proof

Having large amounts of money doesn't necessarily mean that you have good taste.

No, *THIS* is conclusive proof:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/p3-johnston-view-from-osaka-a-20161120.jpg

Ever get the feeling he's trying to overcompensate for something?

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Vimes
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Looks like with a little care somebody could come up with a cut-out design that could be printed out from a colour printer and folded together. It might not be shiny but then the gold content on the real one isn't that high anyway. And make the document freely downloadable.

Oh, and change the caption on the hat to 'Make Donald Drumpf Again' too...

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Merkel calls for balanced approach to data protection

Vimes
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Big data often benefits big business.

Why should we give a shit about their needs, much less spend any time 'balancing' them with ours?

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TfL to track Tube users in stations by their MAC addresses

Vimes
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...will enable us to provide customers with even better information for journey planning...

If that truly is one of their aims then why have they been busy closing ticket offices, where people could get that information?

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Vimes
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which is expensive, time consuming and limited in detail and reliability

Whereas this still costs money, and is probably just as limited in detail and reliability. 'Time consuming' appears to be the only issue this trial deals with and even that is debatable.

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Vimes
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Even if you take out of the equation the fuzziness of detail of what goes on within a station, doesn't the fact that they won't be tracking everybody reduce the whole thing to a pointless exercise in futility?

Not only will a lot of phones have Wi-Fi switched off but it's entirely possible some people won't even have Wi-Fi enabled devices with them in the first place.

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Ye Bug List

Vimes
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If you're going to insist on moving the top advert down as the user scrolls down the page, perhaps you could include the links at the top of the page in the part that gets moved? Otherwise the advert ends up covering useful links, including the one for these forums.

I note after all that you make sure that moving the advert doesn't cover up the main menu bar directly underneath the main logo image on the page (which funnily enough is where the forums link was until recently)

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Shhh! Shazam is always listening – even when it's been switched 'off'

Vimes
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'Shazam takes user privacy very seriously'

Funny how this term is abused so frequently.

Phorm, BT, 3UK, Vodafone, even the UK government when it was begging the EU commission not to sue them over 'implied consent'...

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Cynical Apple gouges UK with 20 per cent price hike

Vimes
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The price on the French site is slightly higher than the new British price once the price in Euros is converted back to Sterling, so either this is down to the exchange rate or we're not the only ones who've had price rises.

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Burgundian iPhone wrecker hit with damages, suspended sentence

Vimes
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EU law demands a minimum of two years for guarantees? If bought in January 2015 he should have been able to demand a replacement for a faulty unit until January 2017?

Under EU rules you always have the right to a minimum 2-year guarantee at no cost.

This 2-year guarantee is your minimum right. National rules in your country may give you extra protection: however, any deviation from EU rules must always be in the consumer's best interest.

If goods you bought anywhere in the EU turn out to be faulty or do not look or work as advertised, the seller must repair or replace them free of charge or give you a price reduction or a full refund.

http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/shopping/guarantees-returns/index_en.htm

Apple seem to have form with this one though...

https://gigaom.com/2012/11/13/apple-decides-to-comply-with-italys-free-two-year-warranty-policy/

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Early indications show UK favouring 'hard Brexit', says expert

Vimes
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It's gone from January/February (according to Donald Tusk's account of conversations with Theresa May) to March in a couple of weeks. At this point given how things keep on changing the only meaningful thing will be the actual act of invoking article 50.

Anything else just amounts to meaningless words that seem to change on an almost daily basis.

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Germany calls halt to Facebook’s WhatsApp info slurp

Vimes
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This only applies to Germany though? What about the rest of the EU?

A month on and the best the ICO can do is regurgitate the same press release from back in August.

https://twitter.com/ICOnews/status/780746235082862592

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Vodafone UK blocks bulk nuisance calls. Hurrah!

Vimes
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Meanwhile over at Three they're apparently more concerned with their attempts to push targeted advertising and promoting it as ad-blocking, rather than provide anything really useful such as this...

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Samsung wants your exploding Galaxy Note 7. Have a new one instead

Vimes
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Any word on when we'll actually be able to buy one of these in the UK?

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EU 'net neutrality' may stop ISPs from blocking child abuse material

Vimes
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Re: @Alexander Hanff 1 @Charles 9

Perhaps I should have phrased things more carefully. What I was intending to refer to was the part of the process that involves the transit of communications on systems outside the local network being used by the end user.

Such 'clueless users' would presumably be content to simply use the router provided by the ISP.

There is nothing to stop the ISP from setting up their equipment to stop adverts at the router level, and any information generated by the blocking need never leave the router or be sent back to the ISP (nor would there be any need for the ISP to either intercept or analyse traffic passing through their network).

In any case it might be worth noting this:

http://www.threemediacentre.co.uk/news/2016/shine-announcement.aspx

From the blog entry:

Our objective in working with Shine is not to eliminate mobile advertising, which is often interesting and beneficial to our customers, but to give customers more control, choice and greater transparency over what they receive.

To me personally that sounds very similar to the sorts of things Facebook have been coming out with recently.

Shine seems to be another type of Phorm, just dressed up differently.

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Vimes
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@Alexander Hanff 1

it is absurd to suggest that publishers should have a veto over a citizen's choice to block ads

I don't think anybody is suggesting that.

What is being suggested however is that getting the network operator involved in the process is a bad idea, and one that will be unnecessarily invasive and inefficient given the alternatives available.

The likes of ad-block plus is presumably run locally without the involvement of 3rd parties and without the need for any company having direct knowledge of where you've been or what you're currently doing.

Why then should the prerequisite for the network operator to see your traffic be changed to fit the need for blocking anything? Would blocking at the router not be a better alternative, since like the ad-block plus solution this would prevent the need to make your communications viewable to 3rd parties?

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Vimes
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@Ken Hagan

Knowing that it's happening makes zero difference to the legality - or the ethical situation surrounding the activities (IMO at any rate).

Interception is interception.

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Vimes
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@Preston Munchensonton

Basically, ISPs aren't allowed to manage their networks with these rules

Clauses b & c in the paragraph quoted in the article would seem to contradict your conclusion.

ISPs are not always stopped from doing this, they're just stopped when it doesn't fit into one of the categories they specify (and the first one relating to national legislation would seem to allow for even further wiggle room depending on how far national governments want to take things).

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Vimes
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"It makes far more sense from a privacy and security perspective to be able to manage all these devices from a single point and an ISP service is a sensible approach because it blocks these risks before they ever reach the customer's home network," added Hanff.

And if the device is used on another connection that isn't filtered?

Managing each device might be more of a hassle but it's still better than merely securing the connection that the device is uses most frequently if we're talking about devices that won't always be using the same connection.

Why has Hanff changed his tune from 2008 after the Phorm trials when he was busy proclaiming that consent from both sender and recipient was needed to make any interception legal?

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Lenovo's tablet with a real pen, Acer's monster laptop, Samsung Galaxy S3 watch

Vimes
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Re: Yoga 'virtual' keyboard

Toshiba also tried something similar in 2010

https://www.engadget.com/2010/09/08/toshiba-libretto-w105-review/

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Vimes
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Re: Yoga Book

If I understand the new Yoga laptop correctly you're supposed to be able to use the space used by the keyboard as a graphics tablet with the input being shown on the screen?

But why would anybody want that when they can draw directly on the screen itself with something like an ipad pro or surface pro?

As for this:

Another twist is that the pen includes actual ink, allowing you to write or draw on a paper notepad clipped to the device. Your input is automatically transferred to the tablet.

Wacom already tried this concept with the Bamboo Spark. Reviews weren't that good if memory serves. Why would this pen be any better?

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Making us pay tax will DESTROY EUROPE, roars Apple's Tim Cook

Vimes
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Re: This:

'Preparing to leave is probably' the best way of putting it.

And we'll probably never get past the 'preparing' stage...

http://jackofkent.com/2016/08/brexit-a-story-of-a-brainstorm/

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Vimes
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Re: This:

they said no to Europe

Given the arguments in the cabinet it seems that they can't even decide what saying 'no to Europe' even means, let alone how to go about implementing it.

The furore around ministers getting upset with civil servants not acting on Brexit would be funny if the implications weren't so serious, and ignores the fact that they haven't even given the civil servants a policy to start implementing.

It seems odd that those that complained the most loudly about unelected bureaucrats before the referendum now expect those same unelected bureaucrats to do the job of government ministers.

It must be OK though - at least they're OUR unelected bureaucrats...

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Vimes
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Maybe the 2013 change enabled this:

If that's the case then if anything it strengthens the case against Apple IMO. The majority of the complaint seems to be around behaviour in 2014. If the change was introduced in 2013 and Apple had competent accountants working for them at the time then they should have been aware the deal wasn't tenable and was likely to be challenged.

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Vimes
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retrospective taxes

I don't recall the definitions of what constitutes illegal state aid changing very much over recent years, so to me it would seem likely that whatever arrangement they had was just as unacceptable then as it is now.

Personally I fail to understand how this is a retrospective tax when the rules seem to have remained pretty much unchanged, and the only difference between now and then is the willingness to enforce them.

Add to the mix the fact that large corporations often have access to well funded and competent legal & accounting teams. When you take that into account it ends up being rather difficult to believe that somebody in one of those teams didn't raise the questionable nature of the arrangements *before* the investigation even started.

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Vimes
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Their HQ in Cork apparently has 4,000 people working there.

The technology giant’s Cork base now employs 4,000 people with a further 2,500 people employed indirectly “in the local area”, according to Apple. Only the UK has more Apple employees than Ireland, although this is due to its 37 Apple retail stores, which employ an average of 100 retail staff per store.

The Cork office, which has been open since 1980 and was once primarily a manufacturing site, is Apple’s only global corporate headquarters outside the US. The majority working there are now engaged in non-manufacturing roles such as finance, supply chain management and customer support.

http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/25pc-of-apples-european-workforce-based-in-cork-30487720.html

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Vimes
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I wonder how the Irish government will explain to it's own people that it doesn't need that extra €13bln when austerity has already caused so much damage and is continuing to do so?

And if this sort of ruling applies to the whole of Europe, will large corporations really bother moving when the advantage in doing so is likely slim to non-existent? The process of moving people and facilities represents a big cost in itself and one they'd have to justify to their own shareholders.

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UK watchdog: You. Facebook. Get over here now. This WhatsApp privacy update. Explain

Vimes
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Given the lack of action from the ICO in the past I'm not hopeful.

There's a hell a lot of inertia there against taking action that she'll have to confront within her own organisation before she gets anywhere with this.

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NHS slaps private firm Health IQ for moving Brits' data offshore

Vimes
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Why are they allowed to continue to provide services to the NHS at all?

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WhatsApp is to hand your phone number to Facebook

Vimes
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Re: The only surprise

Maybe your old colleague had your phone number in his phone too and did use Facebook themself?

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Vimes
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Re: Facebook Phone number @mage

they make bullying and spreading lies too easy.

Isn't that a large part of what the 'old' media do anyway, with or without social media?

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Vimes
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I've already sent an email to the ICO asking about this.

If anybody here needs to write to them for whatever reason they can be contacted using this email address:

casework [at] ico.org.uk

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Vimes
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Re: To FB or not FB, that is the question.

You do realise don't you that Facebook puts a lot of effort these days into tracking non-users as well as users?

You don't have to have an account for Facebook to have information on you.

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Vimes
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That won't stop the sharing of data, just limit how it's used?

From the article:

Users are not able to opt out of this data sharing, although you can choose not to allow to be shared for the purpose of improving their experience with advertisements and product experiences on Facebook.

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Vimes
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And the 2nd data protection principle? How does this comply with that?

Facebook is not needed in any way to run the service offered by WhatsApp (the spam argument IMO is a red herring) so presumably informed and *FREELY GIVEN* consent would be required for this data sharing.

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Privacy advocates rail against US Homeland Security's Twitter, Facebook snooping

Vimes
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I'd say $300M for all the visitors coming to the US is high, but not so bad.

For what benefit though?

Terrorists are just as likely to give out the accounts with all the nasty stuff as spies were likely to say 'yes actually, I *am* working for my government!' when presented with the old style green visa waiver forms. Or for that matter communists ticking the wrong box on said form.

This will have zero benefit whilst at the same time costing huge amounts of money.

It took me something of the region of one and a half to two hours to get through immigration at San Francisco last time. Add on the extra minutes for each person in front of me to deal with this and I'd probably have had to wait at least another hour.

And that doesn't even begin to cover old people who barely speak English and have trouble understanding what Twitter is, much less whether they have any account details to hand over.

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Vimes
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Re: I did Nazi that coming

Personally the only problem I've ever had with immigration when entering the US was the way in which they didn't filter out the non-ESTA travellers from the ESTA flights and travellers. If they're going to make things even worse then they really ought to look into changing that first

(there was a separate queue for ESTA visitors, but there was one rather big limitation: it was only for those that had their passports stamped within the last year - most hadn't been it seemed).

This meant when I got off the flight last year I was stuck behind a plane full of what I'm guessing were Chinese nationals (and the language issues many of the older people passing through seemed to have didn't help either). It seemed to take forever to get through, made even more annoying by how quickly me and those like me passed through when we finally got to the front of the queue.

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Vimes
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Potential solution:

1.) create dummy social media accounts

2.) leave the accounts empty

3.) hand these over to DHS

...with an option of leaving a single post in each account telling the DHS in no uncertain terms to go f*ck itself (and/or goatse related images if you want to make them seriously regret going anywhere near your profile)

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Beardy Ed Vaizey: 'I can't let go. I like the tech sector'

Vimes
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Re: "I like the tech sector"

Mediocrity breeds more mediocrity. When it comes to that sort of thing the situation tends to move in an ever downward spiral.

In that respect Cameron wasn't the first and - god help us - he won't be the last.

How else could you explain the likes of Boris Johnson getting as far as being appointed Foreign Secretary?

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Vimes
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Vaizey may or may not be right with regards to the need for a new digital ministry, but if one ever does come into being then he's certainly not the man to lead it.

He voted *for* the Digital Economy Act, and then subsequently feigned confusion when the ISPs dared to object to it.

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BT best provider for 10Mbps USO, says former digi minister Ed Vaizey

Vimes
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Re: Sadly he may be talking sense

How about a £5 ukp a month levy on ALL domestic broad band connections (including mobile data) and pro rata on business data connections to directly fund fibre to the wilderness? Spread the pain for national gain?

If you could guarantee the money would be all spent on infrastructure, of course.

You could do that by re-nationalising it?

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Vimes
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Re: Has-been talks bollocks.

Has-been looking for directorship at BT talks bollocks.

FTFW

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Vimes
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I wonder if he's after a non-executive directorship, much like Patricia Hewitt before him? Or maybe his view has been shaped by Trade Ministers like Ian Livingston (who themselves used to head BT)?

On a note entirely related note, it's funny how there seems to be revolving doors between big business and government.

Even within government itself there are moves that seem a bit doogy. Take IoCCO and the more secretive Intelligence Services Commissoner for example: Jo Cavan used to head IoCCO, now she's moving to NTAC at the same time that both IoCCO and the Intelligence Services Commissoner are merging. NTAC is run by GCHQ. GCHQ is supposedly overseen in part by the Intelligence Services Commissoner.

So at the same time that IoCCO is merging with the government regulator overseeing GCHQ, the head of IoCCO effectively moves to GCHQ.

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How Brussels works: if you can’t beat them, join rewrite an EU directive

Vimes
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regulations based on preventing ex ante anti competitive behavior should become LESS relevant not more.

This has absolutely nothing to do with competition, unless you see privacy as something that should only be enforced when particular types of services are being used.

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Vimes
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described earlier this year as “the Daily Mail of the Europhile elite”

By whom?

In any case what exactly is wrong in extending rules that cover telcos to other organisations?

Those other organisations provide much the same service as the telcos, and the only real difference is the manner in which the service is provided.

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Facebook to forcefeed you web ads, whether you like it or not: Ad blocker? Get the Zuck out!

Vimes
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Is this even legal?

https://twitter.com/alexanderhanff/status/725670443185790976

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