* Posts by Vimes

520 posts • joined 3 Dec 2012

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Microsoft, rivals together fight US govt's cloud data snatch

Vimes
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Except that this isn't real change - it's superficial, and what's more Microsoft probably know this.

It's not just the companies that have to change but the legal framework that they operate in too. On our side of the pond as much as theirs. The idea that the US legal system can even get to the point it has managed to find itself in - regardless of whether Microsoft are appealing the decision or not - is a matter of some concern.

The likes of MLATs and the other agreements we have are meaningless if a US judge can decide to ignore them at will. At present we continue to pretend that the laws we have in our own countries are fit for purpose, but this isn't the case and Microsoft know that. They want to hold onto the current status quo where the legal arrangements are concerned.

Anything else would mean destroying any ability to do business outside the US unless the US itself substantially changed it's laws, which is in itself highly unlikely.

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Vimes
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If Microsoft win then it means that they get to keep the illusion that our details really are protected, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

I never thought I would say this when it came to any organisation fighting for privacy, but I for one hope Microsoft lose this one.

Then perhaps people will finally come to realise how pointless our legal arrangements are when it involves a country that chooses to ignore them at will.

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Vimes
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And in all the time *before* Snowden? Was privacy not worth fighting for then too?

Perhaps if Microsoft had spent more time standing up for users in that time rather than spend their efforts building in backdoors into their products (or as the FBI would have us say 'front doors') then perhaps they would have a bit more credibility now?

For anybody that needs a reminder on how Microsoft really view privacy:

http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/06/skypes-suspicious-absence-from-microsofts-anti-nsa-promises/

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-07/12/microsoft-nsa-collusion

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This Christmas, demand the right to a silent night

Vimes
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Re: Morlocks and the Eloi?

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1994-10-13/

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EU law bods: New eCall crash system WON'T TRACK YOU. Really

Vimes
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Re: Lies, Lies and Politicians

Presumably if they get to an accident more quickly then they can clear the road more quickly too.

Imagine the congestion that can occur from an accident on the likes of the M3 once the hard shoulder has been removed, or on a minor A road somewhere where an accident would mean the road being completely blocked...

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Vimes
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Oh good - another bit of technology to go wrong.

Cue the false alerts where notifications of emergencies are sent even though none exist because something in the system isn't working.

Ambulances will get to these non-accidents more quickly, but take longer getting to those in real danger since by that point in time they're in the wrong place.

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Virgin Media customers suffer YET MORE YouTube buffering blues

Vimes
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You could always email the MD. Sometimes the loyal peons working for him won't always let him know what the problems are after all.

*cough*ceoemail.com*cough*...

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Plusnet customers SWAMPED by spam but BT-owned ISP dismisses data breach claims

Vimes
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Has everybody here forgotten the 'stealth' BT trials of Phorm and the way in which they even went as far as concealing the truth from their own customers? Even their own support people seemed to be in the dark.

How on earth can BT or any BT-owned ISP be trusted now?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/17/bt_phorm_lies/

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Vodafone eyes up Liberty Global – report

Vimes
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Re: retail communications

ceoemail.com is useful for this sort of thing. Make a note of any failures then ask the MD why he/she thinks that this is an acceptable response from their company.

In the case of VM:

http://www.ceoemail.com/s.php?id=9632

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Vimes
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Given the legal situation in the US with regards to laws like FISAAA, would this mean that all Vodafone customers in the UK would also potentially be shafted by US as well as UK authorities?

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Vimes
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Re: No thanks!

To be fair uninterested reps are fairly common across the board - most these days are just salesmen, and if you go in there for anything else you'll get the default 'call our phone number' response.

I had this problem when dealing with 3UK and filtering, as I wanted it removed and the website tells me that this can be done from within the shop (I see no reason to hand over additional credit card information just to prove my age - especially to stop something I never asked for). Even then they refused to help.

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Questionable ads

Vimes
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Questionable ads

There is a McAfee video ad for one of their products that seems to play with sound enabled by default.

Unwanted video ads are already obnoxious enough already, but to play with sound turned on without asking first really is beyond acceptable. Please take a look into this and stop it from happening again.

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Schneier, Diffie, ex-MI5 bod, privacy advocates team up on Code Red

Vimes
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Re: Long overdue

Except that in the case of Bruce Schneier, he didn't complain about such surveillance when it was his employer doing it.

I guess spying on people is OK if it's for profit and not for the government.

And as for Simon Davies, does anybody here remember the consultancy 80/20 Thinking that he set up and the apparent attempt to legitimise Phorm through the PIA released by his consultancy?

Personally I'd like to see what they actually get up to before deciding whether it's anything worth supporting.

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Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data

Vimes
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@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.

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Vimes
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@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.

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Vimes
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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!!!'

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

Vimes
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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.

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Vimes
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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.

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Apple KILLS SUPER MARIO. And Zelda. And Sonic

Vimes
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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...

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Three UK fined £250,000 for customer complaints COCKUP

Vimes
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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...

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

Vimes
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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?

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Vimes
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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?

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Vimes
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Re: Here We Go Again.

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

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Vimes
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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

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Vimes
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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?

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

Vimes
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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.

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

Vimes
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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...

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

Vimes
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Re: Is it triple irony?

@Al Black

You can still drown...

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Badges for Commentards

Vimes
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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).

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

Vimes
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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)

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

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

Vimes
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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.

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

Vimes
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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?

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

Vimes
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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?

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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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