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* Posts by Vimes

486 posts • joined 3 Dec 2012

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What happens in Europe, doesn't stay in Europe: US giants accused of breaking EU privacy pact

Vimes
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Re: Meh....

Try getting the ICO to comment on the suitability of exporting data to the US given the lack of rights foreigners have over there. Go on - have a go.

I did as part of my inquiries related to the gathering of personal data by political parties. The question of suitability was repeatedly ignored.

Both the government and most of the media (one report on C4 news a few days ago being a notable exception) seem to do their level best to pretend that the question doesn't even exist, much less require an answer.

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EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder

Vimes
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Re: Don't even mention PAYG

You could always try writing to the MD.

http://ceoemail.com/s.php?id=12015

ceoemail.com has always been useful for looking up email addresses for people like this in my experience.

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ICO: It's up to Google the 'POLLUTER' to tidy up 'right to be forgotten' search links

Vimes
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Re: Yes, there are several years of case law. @Tom 35

Who said that the court told Google that they had to come to these conclusions themselves?

If there is any doubt the solution is simple: forward the complaint to the ICO and let them determine if it should be removed. Job done. No need for a single lawyer in that case.

All this 'too much work' crap is a red herring put out by Google who would presumably rather have no legal obligations whatsoever if it means interfering with their business.

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Vimes
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Re: No re-writing history?

Google is not going to be able to adequately process all of these requests, especially given how unclear and subjective the criteria are.

Talk about processing 'all of those requests' is a red herring put out by Google who'd rather not have any obligation whatsoever to remove results, even when there is a clear reason to do so (and in any case it shouldn't be up to Google to decide what's in the public interest or not - if memory serves the court never said the Google had to fulfill this role either).

If something is unclear then the solution is simple: get Google to instruct the complainant to take the matter to the ICO. *THEY* are the ones that should be coming to such conclusions - not Google, or any other search engine.

The ICO and the technologically inept idiots employed there just don't want to do so - it might shine a light on their own incompetence on anything IT related after all.

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Vimes
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The polluter pays, the polluter should clear up.

Except that it's not clear what's pollution and what isn't. Coming to those sorts of conclusions should be up to the ICO. Good luck to anybody trying to get them to do it though given their complete inaction in the past over anything google/search related.

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UK's emergency data slurp: IT giants panicked over 'legal uncertainty'

Vimes
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Re: Hasty ?? @ Titus Technophobe@Dave Bell

but I'll concede the need for some legislation

Only if the aim is to allow the government to continue as before.

Incidentally RIPA has been in effect for 14 years now so they've had more than enough time and opportunities for reviewing it, but putting this to one side for a moment: if it takes up to 2 years to review RIPA properly then what's the bet that a law published and passed in less than a week with no real scrutiny will end up being badly executed and dangerous for all of us?

The government keep on shouting 'terrorist' but always seem to fail to actually provide anything that actually justifies what they want. Anybody that wants another example of this should look to the other side of the pond. The story put out started with dozens of plots being foiled by all their pet programs and projects - then that number started to mysteriously shrink rather suddenly.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/2/nsa-chief-figures-foiled-terror-plots-misleading/?page=all

Don't forget that Cameron is somebody who seems to think that the likes of NCIS:LA show why we need this. Taking him seriously is extremely difficult sometimes.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10608439/David-Cameron-TV-crime-dramas-show-need-for-snoopers-charter.html

Would anybody care to bet on the likelihood of people in the UK being just as economical with the truth?

The new legislation doesn't even properly address the legal problems raised by the judgement (blanket as opposed to targeted surveillance for one thing). We could as country still end up in court at the European level thanks to this bill, sunset clause or no sunset clause.

This law will operate until 2016, and then it stops working.

So it might be one almighty cock up but we'll only have to live with it for 2 years so that's OK then? (assuming of course that they don't just pass another 'emergency' measure since the election would have already taken place by then and MPs minds will be elsewhere).

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Vimes
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Re: Oi Clegg, You Having A Laugh?

Clegg promised that "civil liberties would be properly considered"

'I pledge to vote against any increase in fees'.

'nuff said.

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Vimes
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Re: Update Model Broken

Tossed mental coin, system was patched at about 2:45 p.m. we all had a nice Christmas break, billing work system worked no breakdowns.

So you were lucky. If government has to act like that then they're doing it wrong. The judgement was announced two months ago. A more appropriate analogy would be getting the patch in October before tossing a coin and blindly hoping that the shit won't hit the fan when it gets applied on Christmas Eve.

Only in this case it wouldn't be luck - it would be plain old incompetence.

What were they doing during the last two months, especially when there were allegations of a zombie parliament, a lack of legislation and generally a surplus of spare time?

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Vimes
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Re: Update Model Broken @AC

Interesting to see how files from 30 years or more are now so important but phone records from a few months ago MUST NOT BE KEPT.

The former tends to deal with governments acting in our name. Only the latter deals with what should normally be private communications. Trying to make the two sound like they're equivalent is ludicrous.

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Vimes
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Re: Hasty ?? @ Titus Technophobe

Section 1(3): the 'I'll-do-what-I-want-to-thank-you-very-much' clause.

Because discretion has worked so well when it comes to overly broad warrants and ministerial authority up til now...

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Vimes
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Re: Let's see if they do retire it in 2016.

Which brings up an interesting question: how much time were the spooks and other civil servants involved in this allowed to draft it before making any of it public?

Anybody that wants to know how well sunset clauses work need only look at the US. The PATRIOT act has been around for ~13 years now.

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Vimes
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Re: Hasty ?? @ Titus Technophobe

Funny how it takes a week to put this in place but we have to wait until 2016 for any meaningful review (let alone changes to the legislation).

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Vimes
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Re: Hasty ?? @Titus Technophobe

You might want to also take a look at section 1(3) through to section 1(7) of the proposed legislation. It would appear to give the secretary of state far too much power and leeway.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/328939/draft-drip-bill.pdf

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Vimes
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Re: Hasty ?? @Titus Technophobe

What's the emergency? And how does this legislation address this in any meaningful way? At best communications data can help clean up the mess after something has happened. It's unlikely to stop anything though.

The Data Retention Directive was itself pushed through Europe largely at the behest of the home office here during the UK's presidency of the EU, and that was in response to the 7/7 and Madrid bombings. If memory serves the coroner at the 7/7 inquest basically said that any additional data would have been useless with regards to preventing that particular atrocity given the way in which they communicated, so even the DRD failed to achieve any of it's aims.

And as far as oversight is concerned, following the US model isn't going to do us any good. This has been implemented over there is one form or another since 2004 and they still manage to get the NSA abusing their powers.

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DATA-SWAP SHOCK: A YES to bill that lets big biz, govt share user info

Vimes
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https://www.robtex.com/dns/www.gov.uk.html#whois

Does this mean that any traffic to/from a large chunk of UK government websites will end up passing through the hands of a US company - 'Fastly' - and often through their servers located in the US?

We all know what sort of attitude the US government has to data held abroad. 'Safe harbour' only has any meaning until a federal judge decides it's getting in their way.

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Report: UK.gov wants to legislate on comms data BEFORE next election

Vimes
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If all those GCHQ/NSA programs that we keep on hearing about really are legal then why the need for new laws? Don't they already do most of this anyway? (3 days for full content of communications and up to 30 for meta data if memory serves)

Is this perhaps an implicit admission that some aspect of what they've been up to - whether publically known or not - is not quite as legal as they would have us believe?

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New Russian law punishes online 'extremism'

Vimes
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Re: Vimes This is news? @Matt Bryant

Also from the article:

The Met added that the domestic extremism database is maintained in accordance with a code of practice. It said it had recently deleted a large number of files on individuals after Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary found that there appeared to be no justification for keeping some records.

So an unspecified number of people have been put onto a list for an unspecified amount of time and they were only removed once an investigation took place (an investigation that for all we know was initiated for unrelated reasons and may not have taken place as a matter of course).

This doesn't concern you?

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Vimes
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Re: Vimes This is news? @Danny 14

Britain isn't that bad yet.

I never claimed it was, but I equally don't think that we should wait for things to deteriorate that badly before we do anything about it.

Freedoms are easily lost and infinitely more difficult to win back.

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Vimes
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Re: This is news? @ossi

You don't necessarily have to be arrested to have your freedoms interfered with.

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Vimes
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Re: This is news? @ossi

The idea that we should all be treated as extremists where surveillance is concerned because we *might* do something bad isn't of concern to you?

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Vimes
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Re: This is news?

Funnily enough there has already been talk of extending the online porn filters in the UK to include 'extremist' material (those home office civil servants must love those vague definitions).

And in other news...

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/15/green-party-peer-put-on-database-of-extremists-by-police

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BT at last coughs to 'major outage' after broadband went titsup across UK on Sat

Vimes
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Re: Wasn't a DNS issue...

Seven years to the day that they tested Phorm (and lied to their own customer service department about what was going on too if memory serves). Their own internal documents referred to the whole business as a 'stealth' trial.

I wonder what has really been going on here?

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Super-snoop bid: UK government hits panic button on EU data retention ruling

Vimes
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Re: Here we go again

As always, if you want the real reasons then try following the money:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/06/deep-packet-inspection-soon-to-be-15-billion-business/

There seems to be a revolving door between government and business when it comes to careers (just ask Patricia Hewitt or Ian Livingston, both of whom have been connected at some point with BT as one example).

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Vimes
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Re: Dear all home secretaries

The real problem is the legion of Sir Humphreys working in the background 'advising' ministers with vaguely ominous comments like 'that's a very courageous decision minister' whenever the ministers dare to suggest something that goes against what the civil servants thinks is best.

Just look at Charles Farr. He was active during the last Labour government and was one of the supporters of the snoopers charter. He's still around too, but working as the head of the OSCT at the Home Office.

An article you may find interesting:

Only those who have tarried in the foggy corridors of the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Metropolitan police can have any notion of the Orwellian extravagance of these places. Agencies, units and groups cruise shark-like round the feet of terrified Home Office ministers. Their staffs, expenses, overtime and accommodation are crammed into London's Scotland Yard and Tintagel House. If challenged, they incant their motto: "We keep you safe."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jan/11/police-reform-mark-stone-terrorism

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Vimes
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Re: « [...] claimed that Brits were in danger of being "misled". »

Things seem to have worked so well with that undersea cable tapping and so forth when it came to predicting or just limiting the violence in places like Iraq...

Perhaps somebody ought to remind her that the coroner at the 7/7 inquest basically came to the conclusion that any additional information at the time would have been useless given the way in which the terrorists were communicating?

What has changed since then I wonder?

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Sci-fi series withdrawal

Vimes
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In my view, SG1, B5 and Andromeda would all have benefited by being properly terminated at least one season early.

B5 was actually changed because they thought they might be cancelled at the end of the 4th season and they wanted to get the important parts of the story arc dealt with before then.

The 5th season ended up being rather unexpected from the sounds of things.

From the wikipedia page on B5:

Ratings for Babylon 5 continued to rise during the show's third season, but going into the fourth season, the impending demise of network PTEN left a fifth year in doubt. Unable to get word one way or the other from parent company Warner Bros., and unwilling to short-change the story and the fans, Straczynski began preparing modifications to the fourth season in order to allow for both eventualities. Straczynski identified three primary narrative threads which would require resolution: the Shadow war, Earth's slide into a dictatorship, and a series of sub-threads which branched off from those. Estimating they would still take around 27 episodes to resolve without having the season feel rushed, the solution came when the TNT network commissioned two Babylon 5 television films. Several hours of material was thus able to be moved into the films, including a three-episode arc which would deal with the background to the Earth–Minbari War, and a sub-thread which would have set up the sequel series, Crusade. Further standalone episodes and plot-threads were dropped from season four, which could be inserted into Crusade, or the fifth season, were it to be given the greenlight.[70] The intended series finale, "Sleeping in Light", was filmed during season four as a precaution against cancellation. When word came that TNT had picked up Babylon 5, this was moved to the end of season five and replaced with a newly filmed season four finale, "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars".[71]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon_5

Personally I wish more comic books could be released for some series. Imagine how the B5 universe could be expanded for example...

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EXPOSED: Massive mobile malware network used by cops globally

Vimes
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Re: Warrantless search for $500?

Look up 'parallel reconstruction'. This is a method already used by the DEA when trying to hide the fact that data used to support arrests had originated from within the NSA.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/08/07/uk-dea-irs-idUKBRE9761B620130807

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Coulson GUILTY of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006

Vimes
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Apparently Cameron is due to issue an apology for having hired Coulson in the first place. It's just a pity that we probably won't be getting something similar with respect to him hiring Ian Livingston as trade minister and giving him a seat in the house of lords in late 2013 (*after* being forced to get rid of Coulson).

This is somebody who was closely involved in the Phorm/BT trials from 2006 to 2008 that intercepted the traffic of anything up to hundreds of thousands of BT customers.

Any apology is meaningless if the same mistake is made again and again...

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It's a Doddle: Amazon inks train station parcel deal with Network Rail

Vimes
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Re: Wonderful Idea

Personally I'd be more interested in a cut in train ticket prices, since the train companies are unlikely to allow their stations to be used for free.

Not that this would be likely of course, but I can always dream - we already have one of the most expensive train systems in Europe after all so anything would be welcome.

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DISPLAY DESTRUCTION D'OH! Teardown cracks Surface Pro 3 screen

Vimes
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Re: Sad

From the article:

All Surface products come with a one-year limited hardware warranty and customers have the option of additional warranty protection with Microsoft Complete, which gives customers two years of limited hardware warranty coverage that includes accidental damage protection.

Doesn't EU law require a 2 year guarantee for this type of thing? If memory serves Apple got in trouble for selling this as Apple Care so why should Microsoft be allowed to get away with it?

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Congress passes crackdown on NSA surveillance

Vimes
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What about the FBI? Presumably they will still have the right to make the sorts of demands for back doors currently being made by the NSA?

And if for the sake of argument the FBI - or any other TLA agency - do make such demands then what will be done to stop said back doors from making their way into the hands of the NSA?

It's like trying to fight a Hydra - cut off one head and two grow in it's place...

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Auditors blast Blighty cops over binned multi-million pound IT project

Vimes
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The chief constable that was around at the time this project was approved now works for the met, and his responsibilities include 'digital technology'.

And the police wonder why people have so little faith in them...

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Say WHAT? ATVOD claims 44k Brit primary school kids look at smut online each month

Vimes
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Re: And yet....

Come to think of it, where are the parents in all of this? And why on earth are 6 year olds using the internet unsupervised?

We jail parents when their kids start truanting, so why shouldn't they be jailed for something that seems to amount to child abuse?

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EE...K: Why can't I uninstall carrier's sticky 'Free Games' app?

Vimes
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Re: Again..

Samsung are also bad at this. Each time I updated my 1st gen unlocked Galaxy Note I ended up with a large number of unwanted apps getting installed too - and all of them German since this is where it was imported from so I couldn't even use them if I wanted to.

In any case EE and Samsung deserve each other...

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Star Wars movie to start shooting in UK this summer

Vimes
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'PLEASE... NOT Jar Jar Binks'

That might not be so bad. It would depend on why he was included.

For example: a scene that has Jar Jar Binks accidentally getting trapped in a proton torpedo case - one that then gets fired out when they have to destroy <insert name of bad guy here>.

Now THAT has a certain appeal to it...

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Amazon wants me to WEAR NAPPIES?! But I'm a 40-something MAN

Vimes
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It's no worse than some of the spam I've been getting.

'Are you unhappy with your breast size?'

I'm a man not a woman, and whilst I know I'm overweight this is pushing things a little... :)

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UK's CASH POINTS to MISS Windows XP withdrawal date

Vimes
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I'd be more worried about this bit:

Physical attack is an option: NCR’s newest self-service ATMs have a USB slot for engineers, but NCR reckons this is an encrypted slot that’s hard to access.

'Hard to access'. So that's OK then. Except that 'hard to access' hasn't really been defined.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25550512

If the need to drill holes is the same thing as 'difficult' in their minds then we're all screwed...

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Vodafone Germany looks to provide end-to-end encryption with SIM signatures

Vimes
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@Skelband Re: The service will not be offered to individual subscribers

If it's a service that people want and they can offer it at a price that people will pay, why on earth wouldn't they do it?

Perhaps because big corporate and government contracts will generate more money for them at the beginning of this scheme than a handful of customers that happen to be early adopters?

The various companies seem to have profited quite nicely from the spying. Why else would some of them be so willing to go further than the law demands?

If they can similarly profit from giving people a sense of privacy - that they helped to strip away in the first place - then no doubt they'll do this too.

Follow the money. Commercial organisations are there to generate profit, not to serve the public good.

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Vimes
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Re: The service will not be offered to individual subscribers

It's worth nothing as far as the authorities are concerned. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nada.

As for phone hacking, if you intercept the calls of a handful of people you get - albeit reluctantly - taken to court. If you do the same to hundreds of thousands of your own customers across the country as part of a senior role at a national telco then you end up in government.

Just ask Ian Livingston. He was heavily involved in the Phorm trials involving illegal interception of communications and yet he was chosen by Cameron as a trade minister.

Not that I have any more respect for Labour - they were in power at the time of the trials and one of their own was a non-executive director at BT - but shouldn't something have been learned from the mistakes made in hiring Coulson?

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ICO issues guidelines on #FOI #requests through Twitter, Facebook

Vimes
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Surely by releasing something under the Freedom of Information Act they are telling us that it is suitable for publishing it online? Otherwise what are they doing releasing the information in the first place?

This just sounds like a get out clause that they've added for authorities that don't want to release anything embarrassing or incriminating via sites like whatdotheyknow.com. A bit too convenient if you ask me...

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CIA snoops snooped on Senate to spy spy torture report – report

Vimes
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Almost as worrying is the reference to 'improperly' spying on senators. To me that implies that they have a proper way of going about such activities and may even be a regular occurrence for all we know.

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NHS England DIDN'T tell households about GP medical data grab plan

Vimes
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Re: Perhaps it should be renamed...

Meanwhile in other news:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/24/hospital-records-nhs-patients-insurance

Still trust the NHS?

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Top Brit docs wade into GP data grab row, demand 'urgent' NHS England talks

Vimes
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I'm still waiting to be told about this, despite going to see the consultant and doctor on a fairly regular basis.

Now they claim they're going to wait 6 months so they can communicate the advantages more effectively (note the convenient lack of any mention of the disadvantages nor any attempt at fixing the holes - it's difficult to see how this whole mess could ever be in our best interests).

More effective communication? Don't make me laugh - so far in my case there has been zero communication (effective or otherwise).

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Crafty French hackers tweak 'My Account' page, slurp 800,000 Orange users' details

Vimes
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Presumably working practices don't suddenly magically change in a multinational from one part of the world to another, so how can we be certain that the same weaknesses didn't exist at some point in the UK based systems too? And might still exist if not dealt with properly?

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DEA: 'To use it, we must properly protect it'

Vimes
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DEA: 'To use it, we must properly protect it'

Compare and contrast this with the DEA's involvement with the NSA and their information gathering...

Drug Enforcement Administration training documents released to MuckRock user C.J. Ciaramella show how the agency constructs two chains of evidence to hide surveillance programs from defense teams, prosecutors, and a public wary of domestic intelligence practices.

In training materials, the department even encourages a willful ignorance by field agents to minimize the risk of making intelligence practices public.

The DEA practices mirror a common dilemma among domestic law enforcement agencies: Analysts have access to unprecedented streams of classified information that might prove useful to investigators, but entering classified evidence in court risks disclosing those sensitive surveillance methods to the world, which could either end up halting the program due to public outcry or undermining their usefulness through greater awareness.

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2014/feb/03/dea-parallel-construction-guides/

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Orange hacked?

Vimes
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Orange hacked?

The official Orange website was breached by unknown hackers who have stolen 800,000 customer records including names, email addresses and phone numbers.

Orange, the world’s largest mobile operator, suffered a data breach. Another clamorous case, after the one occurred to Vodafone in Iceland, according first information, data of more than 800,000 customers of giant has been exposed. Orange publicly announced it was targeted by unknown hackers last 16th January 2014, the attackers gained access to the accounts of the Orange website.

The news was issued by different media, PCInpact reports that the “My Account” section of the website was the target of an attack Thursday, January 16 and added that the site is back to normal.

http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/21886/cyber-crime/orange-hacked-800000-records.html

(the PCInpact article is in French - so probably not worth including directly here)

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New Forum Wishlist - but read roadmap first

Vimes
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A few requests:

Please could you consider extending the number of supported HTML tags. The 'u' tag for underlining doesn't seem to be supported.

A wysiwyg HTML editor?

At the moment when you reply to a post it starts off by showing the post you're replying to above the form. When you preview your post however this gets replaced with the preview of what you've written. Sometimes I copy and paste bits from the post I'm replying to into my own post when I'm trying to address certain points made by the previous poster, and having this replacement going on makes any referring back to the original more awkward if I want to make any further additions after previewing the post.

If the user is replying to a post please consider always displaying the post that is being responded to, even during the preview of a post. The user may still want to refer back to it and make more changes.

Come to think of it. If you have a thread of replies and can link them together then it might be even better if you just showed that thread of replies within the form, so you also have the opportunity of seeing what the previous poster replied to if there is more than one reply in the chain.

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Anonymous means NO identifying element left behind – EU handbook

Vimes
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Re: Always tricky

it becomes hard to leave any value in anonymised data

Value for whom? Advertisers and marketers?

You want Post Code for geografic analysis?

Again - geographic analysis - who is this being done by? If it's done for commercial purposes by the company that has actually been selling items or services then presumably they have access to all their own sales records. This only becomes a problem when you start handing data to 3rd parties, often for questionable purposes.

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