* Posts by Vimes

1017 posts • joined 3 Dec 2012

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

Vimes
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This makes the Sheinwald report - and the efforts that they've gone to in order to withhold it - all the more interesting.

https://patrick.seurre.com/?p=372

Fobbing people off with 'have this thing we'd rather you'd see rather than what you asked for' then shrieking 'national security, national security!' when they were challenged on that point is hardly encouraging.

There is something Monty Python-esque about the whole fiasco. The reactions given by civil servents when they talk about FoI tend to be very similar, with responses tending to follow the lines of 'help, help! I'm being repressed! Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system! Come see the violence inherent in the system!!!'

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Safe Harbor crunch time: Today's the day to hammer out privacy deal

Vimes
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Re: It should never have exsted!

It's non-US citizens who are outside the US who have no rights.

Which is pretty much the group I was referring to (or was intending to anyway considering that the discussion involves the location of data rather than physical presence). Consider the original post suitably modified (I can't do it myself since it's now older than the magical 10 minute limit).

My original point is still valid IMO though: if we have issues with how our data is being handled within the EU then we at least have a chance of being able to change things. That chance drops to zero when it involves the US.

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Vimes
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Re: It should never have exsted!

The point is not that the EU is perfect, only that it is better than US in protecting privacy.

Perhaps more importantly those living in the EU also actually get some sort of say over what goes on in the EU. We at least have the opportunity to change the rules if we don't like them, even if change is far from certain.

Compare and contrast that to how EU citizens are dealt with by the US: when it comes to rights we don't even exist as people (or at least have next to none of the rights afforded to those people fortunate enough to be US citizens).

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Vimes
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If the fundamental problem is the access granted to information to US agencies by US law, then surely the very nationality of the companies involved should be under closer scrutiny, and not just where they store the data?

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UK.gov plans to unveil a new Digital Bill

Vimes
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...and trade groups are being canvassed

Note the lack of any mention of the general public.

Again.

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Safe Harbor 2.0: US-Europe talks on privacy go down to the wire

Vimes
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growing acceptance by governments that bulk collection of data is necessary...

And the public? What about them?

Why is it the term 'stakeholder' never seems to include members of the great unwashed?

In any case I call bullshit on this. If it were really necessary then the likes of Theresa May would not have such a big problem justifying need to spy on all of us, instead of deflecting questions with promises of written answers at some vague point in the future.

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Microsoft legal eagle explains why the Irish Warrant Fight covers your back

Vimes
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Re: @doctor syntax

From what I hear going through the MLAT process can sometimes take up to a year. I still wouldn't support the idea of ignoring the MLAT in any sort of routine way, but that sort of delay would certainly show why they're keen to avoid it.

Of course some might suggest the best solution is to reform the processes used when making requests that involve using MLATs, but nobody seems to be interested in that.

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Vimes
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@doctor syntax

One has to wonder why the US doesn't use the MLAT.

If memory serves the words used at the time by those in charge of the case was that the process involved in using the MLAT was 'too slow and cumbersome'.

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Vimes
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Wait a minute...

He's trying to give the impression that they can't access files ('They’re not ours. We don’t have access to them') but at the same time appear to support MLATs?

For MLATs to have any meaning Microsoft would have to be both able and - in some cases at least - willing to access that data he claims they never touch in order to comply with any request made under the auspices of said MLAT.

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New Forum Wishlist - but read roadmap first

Vimes
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I can appreciate that in some cases moderation is necessary or simply wanted for whatever reason (any article by Andrew Orlowski comes to mind, where moderation always seems to be switched on) but some people, myself included, have been around for some time now and it would be nice to think that we have in most cases proven ourselves to be reasonably responsible individuals.

Is it really necessary to moderate everybody proactively? Can't you allow some of us to be moderated on a reactive rather than proactive basis even when moderation is switched on for everybody?

This might minimise the moderation queue and give you less work to do too, so there would be a benefit for you as well (not to mention everybody else whose posts get approved more quickly because they're seen more rapidly).

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Vimes
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It's what one of my former colleagues would probably refer to as 'mystery meat navigation', only in this case it's even worse. There is no indication there is a hyperlink there, much less where it leads to (do the staff here really expect people to randomly hover over elements in the hope of finding what they're looking for?).

Personally I wouldn't mind seeing the forums occupying it's own site so it can have a completely different layout. It's as if they're trying to shoe horn in elements of design from the main site here and it just doesn't work particularly well with regards to the forums. A site for a forum that been designed to be just a forum though would probably work much better - and might end up being more frequently used too.

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Vimes
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When replying to a post, would there be any chance of the reply displaying a hyperlink back to the post that has been replied to, with the text reading something like 'In reply to [USER]' (and possibly add the subject in brackets if the original post had one). It would add a little more structure to the conversation IMO. Also reverting back to timestamps and including them in the link would also help.

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Twitter is down.

Vimes
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Twitter is down.

It has been since 8AM apparently

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/twitter-down-social-network-breaks-with-website-and-mobile-apps-inaccessible-a6820481.html

Now what am I going to do with the rest of the morning? :)

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Hacking The Register

Vimes
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Re: Hacking The Register @diodesign

Nobody said it couldn't be a combination of both: keep things as they are for most people but strip the ads out of the page for anybody that has paid for that.

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Vimes
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Re: Hacking The Register @diodesign

My rent, the food I eat, the vacations I take with my wife, are paid through advertising. Same goes for everyone contributing. Give that at least a little thought as you browse the site through a text terminal. It's not about the numbers - some people use ad-blockers and that's just the way it goes - it's the principle I'm talking about.

It would be nice if I could view the site minus the intrusive & sometimes excessively big ads - and potential for malware that comes with them amongst other things - *and* still see that the people working here still get paid for their hard work.

Advertising isn't the only option available to you. Is there really no possibility of some sort of paid option for those of us willing to go down that route?

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UK Home Sec stumbles while trying to justify blanket cyber-snooping

Vimes
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She probably has to go back to Charles Farr for a reminder on why they need it. Wasn't he in a position of influence already when the whole 'Mastering the Internet' thing kicked off under the last Labour government?

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Vimes
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On the subject of government and transparency...

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/103051182896/the-transparency-party

Somehow I can imagine the following strip happening in a meeting somewhere in the Home Office. I wonder what Theresa May's 'biggest obstacle to success' happens to be?

http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-10-22

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Vimes
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'Greater transparency' on the reasons for surveillance?

To paraphrase Pratchett, when reasoning is said to be 'transparent' it normally means you can see right through it or not see it at all...

For that matter why refuse access to information like the Sheinwald report on data sharing if they truly want to be more open, instead of relying on a summary that amounts to the government's own interpretation of the report?

It's difficult to take them seriously when on one hand they tell us they want to be more transparent when we can easily see them busily trying to hide information from us.

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ICO: You call that a sentence? Courts need power to hit data thieves harder

Vimes
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The ICO would do better asking themselves whey they fail to take appropriate action so frequently rather than complain about others.

Just look at what's happened with Safe Harbour up til now: they're far more intent on legitimising the activities of the companies exporting our data rather than actually ENFORCING THE LAW (apparently expecting them to do their job is a 'knee-jerk reaction').

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UK digital minister asks for input on strategy, lauds 'sharing economy' biz success

Vimes
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Re: Easy Peasy

Didn't those regulations originate from the EU commission rather than the UK government?

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Vimes
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American VCs aren't always that intelligent either...

http://www.theverge.com/2015/12/29/10642070/2015-theranos-venture-capital-tech-bubble-disruption

Where governments & getting in the way of 'innovation' is concerned, there are often reasons for that too. From the article:

Personal genetic testing at that time didn’t explain the limitations of what was happening; like, you’d get a breast cancer risk assessment — but the most important genes for it, the BRCA genes, were left out. But 23andMe did get FDA approval this year, and their new site really nicely explains some of the uncertainty in genetic testing and the limitations of their tests. The FDA stepped in to make the tests safer, and 23andMe is selling a better product now! Imagine if they had sold that product from the very beginning.

Sometimes slowing things down and making sure things are done properly benefits everybody with the exception of those seeking profits at our expense.

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Vimes
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Re: Sure ting, Ed ... @moonunuit

Just out of curiosity what sort of 'innovation' are you trying to promote? What does your startup do?

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Vimes
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Too many people asking to see Theresa May's browsing history?

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Vimes
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He could try starting by opposing unwarranted and unnecessary spying powers that will end up killing the digital economy in it's infancy.

Or does he honestly believe that the snoopers charter (or whatever it's formally referred to these days) is really a good idea?

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

Vimes
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Re: the TPS is not worth the paper it is written on

2) I will never answer a phone survey into my lifestyle. My lifestyle is for me and not you bunch of morons

3) I will continue to tell these callers what I think of them.

You could however resist the temptation for (2) long enough by providing blatantly false answers. If you can do that then you might be able to get them to give you the company details, so you can engage happily in (3), safe in the knowledge that you now have enough information to take to the ICO...

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Vimes
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Re: Debt to Society

Compare and contrast with the paltry £30,000 'fine' handed to the Daily Telegraph sending out emails in the hundreds of thousands urging people to vote tory (the first such fine handed out to a part of the mainstream media).

Apparently subverting our democracy by trying to distort the results of a general election carries less weight than merely using an auto-dialler (note to the ICO: nuisance calls aren't the only criminal activity you're supposed to deal with, even though that's the only one you ever seem to highlight).

And with a small fine like that there's nothing to stop the media from simply repeating the same thing again during the next general election.

The ICO comes across as being more interested in helping those working in the industry (some of whom seem to have also worked at the ICO and in my opinion appear to be that little bit too chummy with the people in Wilmslow) than they are in actually ENFORCING THE LAW.

Don't believe me? How many fines (or 'monetary penalties' if you want to give them their proper name) have the ICO handed out to the media? For that matter have they actually taken action against TalkTalk, or are they finding excuses to avoid taking action yet again, despite this not being the first time TalkTalk have got into hot water with their mistakes?

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

Vimes
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Withdrawing from the ECHR isn't going to happen any time soon given the impact it would have on devolved governments and even the NI peace process itself. It's a mess and they haven't got a hope in hell of sorting it out to their satisfaction. You only have to look at how they've dealt with this to see that it's clear they know this too.

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UK ISP Sky to make smut an opt-in service from 2016

Vimes
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Re: @Vimes - Ambivalent @Graham Marsden

... this will just be awkward for some call centre drone...

Even if I decide to call the MDs office?

Incidentally in the case of Sky, the main switchboard number for head office appears to be 0207 705 3000.

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Vimes
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http://dilbert.com/strip/1996-01-24

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Vimes
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Re: Ambivalent

I don't use Sky, but I have had problems in the past with Virgin Media nagging me repeatedly via email about their filter despite opting out.

Personally if I was faced with this I would be strongly tempted to call up customer services and make things as awkward for them as possible: 'What did you do to my porn?? Where's my porn??? Why can't I view grannyfanny.com???'

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

Vimes
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But they don't; they get in the rip-off merchants. And now the country is going to spend £1B largely to counter that decison...

Which is also a valid point to some degree, but even with cheap telephony I could still think of at least two good reasons to have wifi (checking my own results & entertainment both come to mind). Then there's also video calling which would not normally be covered either by any 'normal' phone service. For that matter general web access gives people ways of communicating with the outside world not possible over the phone. This thread here would be a good example of that.

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Vimes
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Never heard of a mobile phone?

I just hope you're lucky enough to get a good reception if you're ever unlucky enough to be stuck in hospital. I certainly don't, at least in the part of the hospital where I spend most of my time.

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Vimes
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Re: Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't.

I wouldn't necessarily disagree with the need to share information further, but I would take exception to the idea that filtering itself is required. Most systems - and a quick check tells me that iOS is one of them - have built in parental controls that the parents ignore. Parents are giving children internet enabled gadgets when they neither know nor want to control them properly, and instead expect other people - notably the ISPs - to do that job for them.

Putting aside for a moment the argument of whether or not the connection should be filtered though, shouldn't they be highlighting this data sharing a bit more at the point people are choosing whether or not to use the service?

It's all very well saying that if you don't like the terms and conditions then don't use it, but some of the small print seems to require a magnifying glass, and that can't be right either.

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Vimes
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did you really expect full fat Internet with access to the tor network to be available

Ummm... Yes?

As a 37 year old I think I'm clearly identifiable as an adult.

As for 'bomb making guides' I suspect that would be illegal both in and out of hospital.

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Vimes
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Re: Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't.

You're assuming that the only things that should be filtered are filtered.

This often isn't the case, and trying to get anything changed is just as much a PITA, with 3rd party (4th in this case?) list providers being blamed for any issues with the internet providers refusing to do anything about it themselves.

And filtering often results in the sorts of data collection that can be quite invasive. From Wifi Spark's ToS page:

WiFi SPARK collects information on your usage of this Service including web pages visited, domains and email traffic. WiFi SPARK will not disclose personal information collected in conjunction with the provision of this service to a third party without consent, except to companies with which we have contracted for the provision of the Service

I'd be interested to hear how this can be accomplished without the sorts of tactics that are questionable to say the least. The term above also implies that they share your traffic with 3rd parties involved in the filtering. A lot of these are US based.

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Vimes
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Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard

it comes down to legality

I agree. And whatever the ISPs want us to believe filtering without consent is illegal.

if you actively type something into a box you are aware you are doing it

Checking a checkbox and clicking 'I agree' seems a lot simpler, but then I'm not the ones apparently more interested in harvesting email addresses than providing a clean interface.

if you start torrenting or porning

'Porning'. Interesting new verb there.

In any case porn - regardless of whether it's wanted or not - is for the most part COMPLETELY LEGAL.

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Vimes
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A book or an MP3 device of some kind fits the bill

And that would handle skype/whatsapp/<insert messaging app of choice here> how exactly? The telephones they provide are ludicrously expensive.

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Vimes
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Re: Your just a complainer who jumps to their keyboard @patrick_bateman

No person information is required.

[...]

To connect to our wifi, simply enable wifi on your device, select the Wifi Spark SSID, your device will then load a portal page where it asks for a name and email address

...which most people would just enter without questioning it.

You don't see the contradiction there?

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Vimes
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I've recently bought a new router that includes the functionality to set up multiple hotspots. It would appear to be possible therefore to use the same hardware to run two different hotspots with their own keys.

As for hardware, I have yet to see a single doctor using their own laptop.

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Vimes
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Re: Silliest thing I've read in a long time

When you're in the hospital it's the NHS staff who are supposed to look after you, not Dr. Google.

'Online health tools' probably includes tools they run themselves. I've already joined one such scheme to track my own blood test results, and given that doctors are not always available being able to check this sort of thing myself can sometimes be reassuring.

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Vimes
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I can't speak for others, but having some forms of entertainment in hospital - which wifi would also contribute to - is invaluable as a patient (kidney transplant in my case). For that matter it also means people stuck in hospital can talk to others without being charged exorbitant fees.

The help that gives on a more mental & emotional level when it comes to stress is difficult to measure but trust me: it's there.

Just because it can't be easily quantified doesn't necessarily mean it's without value.

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Vimes
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How much of that wifi will require handing over personal details first and having the connection monitored so it could be filtered, even if you were never asked whether the filtering was wanted in the first place?

On the rare occasions I've seen wifi in hospitals it has always been filtered and never has the option to switch the filtering off. I'd be interested to know the proposed standards behind what should happen with the filtering and what options - if any - people can expect to switch the filtering off.

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Skilled workers, not cost, lured Apple to China says Tim Cook

Vimes
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Re: Utter horsefeathers

China is also the only country where 'suicide nets' placed around the bottom of buildings seem to be necessary to catch all the jumpers.

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Hillary Clinton says for crypto 'maybe the back door is the wrong door'

Vimes
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@Dave126

Perhaps it was poorly phrased and I should have said 'any *additional* door'. People like Clinton seem to think they can add one without weakening things (and that's being charitable and assuming she believes in what she says).

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Vimes
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Re: Clueless is an understatement @Dan 55

Services that offer end-to-end encryption with the server unable to decrypt the data would become illegal.

How, where & when something can be decrypted is just as important as to how strongly it was encrypted in the first place. In that regard any demand to drop end-to-end encryption is effectively an attempt to weaken encryption.

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Vimes
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Re: Clueless is an understatement

Somebody ought to remind the government to be careful what they wish for. They might just get it.

One U.S. official described it as akin to "stealing a master key to get into any government building."

...and said without any sense of irony too & a straight face too...

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/18/politics/juniper-networks-us-government-security-hack/

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Vimes
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She still wants a door though.

*ANY* door is a problem, since the effect is the same. A door is a door. It doesn't matter if it's a back door, side door or front door.

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ICO slaps HIV support group with £250 fine following email blunder

Vimes
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The problem is the ICO only seems to show the carrot to the very people that need the stick.

Look at Talk Talk and the repeated problems theere, and the lack of action from the ICO as a result of the issues.

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No Safe Harbour

Vimes
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Re: No Safe Harbour

Would we need to replace Adobe Photoshop?

Quick answer: no.

Safe harbour is about being able to assume authority & permission to export data, nothing more. Nothing is stopping companies from *ASKING* for permission. Getting such permission would allow transfers outside the EU to continue with or without safe harbour.

The continued refusal by so many to consider such a path is revealing however.

In any case in the case of Adobe any problems would presumably be created by their newer paid membership model as opposed to the older perpetual licence model they used to have. Paying continually for software is one of the least welcome developments of recent years as far as I'm concerned, and I certainly wouldn't mind seeing the back of it.

Would we see a better IT industry with non-American software developers or face disaster in a stagnant pond of inexperience?

I don't think we'll see any significant difference. US corporations will be forced to face the situation of either giving up all those profits from EU customers or ask those same customers for permission beforehand. Want to take a bet which choice they'll make?

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Strict new EU data protection rules formally adopted by MEPs

Vimes
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Re: EU fanboi in the making

Companies seem to think that adding the word 'innovation' to anything they do makes what they do morally and legally acceptable. It doesn't, and terms like 'data innovation' - something they claim that they won't be allowed to do in at least one article - really make my skin crawl.

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