Feeds

* Posts by Vimes

507 posts • joined 3 Dec 2012

Page:

Microsoft may be leading the charge against US data grabs

Vimes
Silver badge

@heyrick

You'd think so, but then you'd be forgetting the safe harbour (or harbor?) agreements that exist.

The safe harbour scheme been accepted by the EU commission as something that provides an acceptable level of protection for personal data belonging to EU citizens despite the likes of the PATRIOT act, FISAAA, and the Reagan-era executive order 12333 amongst others.

In reality though they provide even less protection for our information than the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties that the US government seems to think it ought to be able to ignore with impunity.

Oh, and the safe harbour scheme itself is overseen by the very people that want unquestioned access to all data. Everywhere.

Politicians on our side of the pond still wonder why some of us might have an issue with that.

There's talk about changing such arrangements of course, but at this point that all it is: talk.

0
0
Vimes
Silver badge

@kmac499

Which major project was that?

According to the government's own G-cloud records there seems to be plenty of SaaS activity that involve US companies. Try looking up all those huddle licence records as one example - a range of different organisations use them, including the likes of the CPS and DWP. The following type of line seems quite common in the CSV based records too:

Software as a Service (SaaS),01/06/2012,1494.8,Health,Large,SharePoint Online (Plan 2),MICROSOFT IRELAND OPERATIONS LTD,West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust

So the NHS also seems to be using Irish based services? There's also a number of references to EMERGN LTD elsewhere in the CSV file (filed under 'Specialist Cloud Services'), which seems to have a US presence and therefore would be presumably open to attack from the US legal system too. Such entries exist for Department for Work And Pensions & Ministry of Justice amongst others.

There's probably others, but personally I don't believe things are as strictly implemented as you have been lead to believe.

1
0
Vimes
Silver badge

Remind me where the house of commons here has located its email systems? Oh, that's right: servers in Ireland.

Under Microsoft's control too.

You really couldn't make this stuff up, and what's even worse is that the likes of William Hague still seem to cling to the rather quaint belief that the US will stick to its international obligations, even after the blatant display that shows that the rules only hold up as long as US judges want them to.

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240230372/Hague-reassures-MPs-on-Office-365-data-storage-as-Microsoft-ordered-to-hand-over-email-data

It's just a pity that somebody in his position can't do better as a response than sticking his fingers in his ears and shouting 'LA-LA-LA!!!-I-can't-hear-you-LA-LA-LA!!!'

7
1

Pay a tax on every gigabyte you download? Haha, that's too funny. But not to Hungarians

Vimes
Silver badge

Re: Are you a slave?

Except that taxes don't stop you from working, nor do they limit your ability to communicate or associate (if anything they're used to make it easier - most state funded libraries in the UK have free internet access for example) so the analogy doesn't really work IMO.

1
0
Vimes
Silver badge

Just curious. IANAL...

Wouldn't a tax that charges people for expressing themselves or associating with others (and thereby potentially hinder such association or speech as well as limit it to wealthier segments of society) go against the ECHR?

I'm thinking of articles 9,10 and 11 in particular.

2
0

Apple KILLS SUPER MARIO. And Zelda. And Sonic

Vimes
Silver badge

Re: Nintendo

Never mind iOS - I'm still waiting for GBA/SNES titles to appear on Nintendo's own 3DS.

Their obsession with Wii/Wii U really needs to stop if they want to survive in the long term...

3
0

Three UK fined £250,000 for customer complaints COCKUP

Vimes
Silver badge

If you have a problem...

...then take things higher up.

Personally I've always found ceoemail.com useful for finding the email addresses of those in charge of the company. You'd be surprised how quickly things can be fixed once they get involved...

3
1

Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights

Vimes
Silver badge

Re: Here We Go Again. @Charles 9

Perhaps you haven't noticed that by simply making the haystack bigger they're not making it any easier to find the needle?

If memory serves one of the 7/7 bombers was under surveillance beforehand, and this had to stop because of lack of resources and a need to target what they had elsewhere.

Unless there is a vast increase in funding and manpower to mirror the increase in what they're gathering then surely they'll just end up making things more difficult for themselves? Rather than minimising the risk they'll end up making it bigger?

4
0
Vimes
Silver badge

Re: Here We Go Again.

@tom dial:

One example is the nasty habit of the NSA sharing information gathered illegally on US citizens with the likes of the DEA and then having said agencies engage in 'parallel reconstruction' (i.e. lying) to hide the true origins of the information.

Then there's the freedom to run your business without hindrance. Industrial espionage has already been discussed as a result of the NSA programs.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/09/nsa-spying-brazil-oil-petrobras

One can only wonder how many things have been going on behind closed doors. The people within the NSA aren't above using their access for their own immoral purposes either (look up the term 'loveint' for one such example).

It's not just the five eyes countries you have to worry about either - the US has given access to data gathered to the Israeli government and for all we know other governments too. Do you trust all of them?

4
1
Vimes
Silver badge

Re: Here We Go Again.

'Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.'

11
1
Vimes
Silver badge

Re: Lest We Forget.

...but limited in application of course just among these Anti's, that would exempt them from any protections enabled by all such GCHQ and NSA careful electronic surveillance?...

As always, consider the source when they tell you anything about advantages...

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

5
2
Vimes
Silver badge

Do MPs really care?

They already have their parliamentary web access 'filtered' thanks to Bluecoat (thereby copying in servers in the US in all requests made) and apparently last year moved their mail so that it would be hosted by Microsoft on servers in the Netherlands and Ireland (given recent stories regarding the US government, Microsoft and - funnily enough - Irish servers this seems like a particularly poor decision).

If they can't understand the sheer lunacy of not having complete control over their own IT then what hope is there for any of us?

15
1

Why does it take 8 hours for my posts to be approved?

Vimes
Silver badge

Have you considered allowing contributors that have a good reputation in your view to serve as volunteer moderators here?

I'm not sure I would have the time to do this myself - or even if I would qualify in your eyes - but it wouldn't surprise me if some of the other regulars would be willing to serve such a role.

0
0

Huawei prez: A one-speed internet is bad for everyone

Vimes
Silver badge

Re: Airlines are a poor analogy

A better analogy in any case IMO would be a little different.

It would involve paying Ryanair or BA for the flight and then having to pay again a second time - either in lost time or increased costs based on whose airspace they fly through.

And worse: not being able to know beforehand whether it will be slower or more expensive before you actually fly...

4
0

iPhone 6: Most exquisite MOBILE? No. It is the Most Exquisite THING. EVER

Vimes
Silver badge

Re: Is it triple irony?

@Al Black

You can still drown...

1
0

Badges for Commentards

Vimes
Silver badge

I'm wondering how many upvotes I need before I'm upgraded with silverly goodness.

The current tally shows the total me as a user but not the current alias I've been using, so finding this out does not seem to be currently possible since badges are associated with aliases not actual members (unless of course I've missed a link or something that could answer this question for me).

0
0

Apple's Cook: We have never allowed g-men access to Apple servers

Vimes
Silver badge

Re: "Well you'd expect him to say that ..." - MRD

I'm not quite so sure that anybody can be forced as such to tell a lie - just hide the truth.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/sep/09/nsa-sabotage-dead-mans-switch

(Note the 'FBI has not been here' notice aspect of the link above)

0
0
Vimes
Silver badge

One problem with this: FISAAA section 702. That and other laws render any privacy policy and/or assurances from Cook meaningless.

3
1

Apple tells devs: NO slurping users' HEALTH for sale to Dark Powers

Vimes
Silver badge

Would anybody trust Apple given the games that they've played in the past with the likes of location data? And for that matter why trust any US company with health data when they've already been accused of ignoring the safe harbour provisions that they're supposed to be abiding by?

And don't get me started on 'medical research' and the ways in which that term can apparently be stretched into meaning almost anything people want it to.

8
9

'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder

Vimes
Silver badge

Tin foil hat time?

- Google escapes enforcement action over the whole street view wifi slurp fiasco

- Google then also seems to get off scot free when it changed it's privacy policy.

- Ex-ICO staffer whose name was associated with the initial wifi slurp investigation moves to Google.

- Now Google supports pet projects partly funded by the government.

This would be the same government that seems to have rolled over and not investigated Google as thoroughly as it should have. Coincidence? Or just quid quo pro for past inaction by the ICO?

7
5

Racing Post escapes ICO fine after leaking info of 677K punters

Vimes
Silver badge

Compare and contrast with the £180,000 handed to the MoJ for failing to encrypt hard drives. Funny how the fines skyrocket when public authorities funded by the tax payer are involved. The more cynical amongst us might be tempted to come to the conclusion that the ICO is little more than a mechanism for the government to claw back funding.

How is failing to secure a website any better than failing to secure the hardware?

2
1

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

Vimes
Silver badge

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.

5
0

EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder

Vimes
Silver badge

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.

0
0

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

Vimes
Silver badge

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.

3
2
Vimes
Silver badge

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.

1
3
Vimes
Silver badge

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.

3
1

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

Vimes
Silver badge

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).

0
0
Vimes
Silver badge

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.

10
0
Vimes
Silver badge

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?

3
0
Vimes
Silver badge

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.

10
0
Vimes
Silver badge

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...

11
1
Vimes
Silver badge

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.

9
0
Vimes
Silver badge

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).

16
2
Vimes
Silver badge

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

12
2
Vimes
Silver badge

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.

27
2

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

Vimes
Silver badge

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.

0
0

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

Vimes
Silver badge

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?

8
1

New Russian law punishes online 'extremism'

Vimes
Silver badge

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?

2
1
Vimes
Silver badge

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.

2
1
Vimes
Silver badge

Re: This is news? @ossi

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

2
0
Vimes
Silver badge

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?

3
2
Vimes
Silver badge

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

5
1

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

Vimes
Silver badge

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?

6
1

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

Vimes
Silver badge

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).

4
0
Vimes
Silver badge

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

5
0
Vimes
Silver badge

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?

5
0

Sci-fi series withdrawal

Vimes
Silver badge

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...

0
0

EXPOSED: Massive mobile malware network used by cops globally

Vimes
Silver badge

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

3
0

Coulson GUILTY of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006

Vimes
Silver badge

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...

5
0

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

Vimes
Silver badge

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.

2
1

Page: