344 posts • joined 19 Dec 2012
I cannot figure out from either the Met spokesman quote or the rest of the article whether the wrongly disclosed data were kept by the plod, or "returned to Vodafone" (huh??? they have it already...). It does not look like they were deleted though, and though I have trouble parsing the information snippets I suspect the plod retained the data, which seems to me the most troubling aspect of the story.
Anyone can make a mistake (and this was a real blunder on Voda's part), but retaining what should not be in their possession looks quite intentional on the part of the plod.
And do I understand it right that the metadata the Met sought was a part of this "corrupted" set? So they got nothing, since the source of the data (Voda) said that "any assumption that meaningful conclusions could be drawn from any aspect of the corrupted dataset was highly questionable,”
I am inclined to infer that the rationale for keeping the data must be "let's see if we can start more investigations" rather than "let's see if we can use the info we asked for in court".
1) The various Terminators should be in the list, especially since the poll seems to be about androids.
2) Fembots from Austin Powers deserve at least an honourable mention...
3) Surely the movie called "Android" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083557/) should be mentioned for a) title, b) androids interested in sex?
Re: In defense of data slurping
I am happy to hear arguments why there should be no logging at all despite any benefits that may have;
I would agree with you that consulting historical data may make solving crimes a little bit easier in some cases. This benefit is very small while the potential for abuse is huge, which is why we have various legal obstacles, such as court warrants, in the way of investigators eager to collect data. Spy agency data slurping bypasses such checks, which is the problem. Police work is easy in police states, and I cannot regard it as a benefit.
just don't call meta data logging spying.
Collecting and storing metadata is surveillance (as opposed to eavesdropping, which is interception of data). I refuse to argue whether surveillance == spying. I do not want to live in a total surveillance society, and that is enough.
I am against the misuse of logged data and what does amount to spying.
Good. Do you feel safe that the logged data won't be misused, ever? I don't.
We do need to be sure we have nothing to fear from our logged data
I am quite sure I have a lot to fear. Don't ask me why, it's none of your (or anyone's) business. No, it is not because I am a criminal or a terrorist, and I do expect you to believe this statement without analysing the collected data.
unless we do turn up dead
I have a particular fear that the logged data will be made public and (mis)interpreted after I am dead and not able to defend myself against any unwarranted accusations that twisted minds might come up with.
Thanks but no thanks...
I suspect I would find Z Launcher incredibly annoying. I most certainly do not want a phone or a tablet to guess what I am trying to do based on what I did in the past (or, extrapolating just a bit into the future, based on what others did in the past, just as Google do with their search "suggestions" that I always switch off) any more than I want Amazon to suggest I should buy stuff that I have already bought from them.
I don't want the phone to suggest that I should fire up The Register because I do it every day. It is highly unlikely that I will unintentionally forget a regular activity. And if I am in a habit of calling my mom daily on the way to work I will set a reminder to do so, thank you very much. And, crucially, delete or modify the reminder when I want (or when we find ourselves in different timezones).
In fact, any uncontrolled initiative on the part of my phone is NOT welcome. It should do what I tell it to do, period.
"a long-held view within the Internet Engineering Task Force articulated in 1986 in RFC 1984"
First reaction: Wow, someone really had a clue back then!
Then checked the RFC - it is from 1996, not 1986, which makes it slightly less impressive (IIRC, even the infamous "clipper chip" was dead by then).
Re: What's a female BOFH?
Cricket.club, Nudist.club, Football.club, Chess.club, Old Etonian.club, Gentlemans.club, Photo.club, Model Railway.club, Trainspotting.club, Night.club, Computer.club.
You forgot Fight.club. Oh, wait, you can't talk abut it, can you?
Wouldn't it be easier...
...to check what books people buy as dead trees on Amazon? What are the titles that generate the most profits and have not been e-published yet seems a direct question to ask (and a simple enough DB query?). Letting the public review excerpts looks a really inefficient and error-prone approach in comparison.
I did manual backtesting on my own Amazon purchase history a couple of times. So far, at most 25% of the books I actually bought had a Kindle edition. I can't remember a single case where the price of a Kindle edition was more than a penny lower than that of a dead tree. So I concluded, more than once, that getting a Kindle would not be worthwhile on those grounds only (there are other reasons).
Of course, my reading preferences may be totally weird...
Re: Can't believe that I agree with Balmer
@Alan Brown: "a company's share valuation is supposed to be based on its expected annual dividend payouts"
So how will you price shares in a company that does not pay dividends? Are you saying they are worthless?
Actually, when a company pays a dividend its stock price drops by the amount of dividend (per share) paid. This should be obvious if you consider buying a share just before or just after a (certain - announced, etc.) dividend payment.
The actual share valuation is supposed to be based on one's estimate of the company's value (assets, projected income, etc): price=(value-debt)/#shares. Obviously, if the company has cash assets that's a part of the value. If some of the cash is paid out as dividends then the company value drops by that amount, and so does the share price. If the company announces a dividend or issues a statement that no dividends will be paid next year that does not change the company's value or share price. Your decision to buy shares should be based on your expectation that the company's value will increase in the future (it may, instead, be based on your expectation that in the future idiots will value the company higher than you do, but that's another topic).
Re: Such hatred
Sorry, but I am not prepared to. Having dealt with sysvinit, systemd, and upstart in both development and production environments I must say I am not at all impressed by the last two. In my experience, upstart is too flaky and systemd is just too complex and opaque.
Reading or writing sysvinit scripts is not difficult at all if you are literate. I myself banged up a fair number of upstart->sysvinit replacements for custom daemons without any significant effort (main distros provide libraries of very useful shell functions out of the box, and once you familiarize yourself with a few of those any difficulties go away). In every single case the switch led to much improvement in reliability and to much reduction in the frequency of puzzled WTF expressions on the faces of developers and QA folks, which was the main purpose of the exercise to start with.
Re: Too much of a good thing
"the best thing you can do to boost your per-capita GDP is have a car crash"
Might be the worst example of the broken window fallacy I have ever seen. Please re-read what Tim had to say about opportunity cost and then think what would have been bought with the many that was spent on newer cars and doctors and lawyers without the car crash.
5TB files? Seriously?
I guess it's a good solution for encrypted off-dorms backups of 5TB disks. Oh, wait, how long will it take to upload it?
... to even consider the possibility that there will be a cornucopia of benefits for all of us from all those data we are urged to surrender until Internet advertising becomes demonstrably relevant to me.
It sounded like they had trouble scaling - probably a major reason for the "invitation only" policy. Thus even a relatively small DoS attack by someone who just saw one of the media reports and did it for lulz could push them off the intertubes.
How about some investigative journalism?
I find the article quite limited in scope, frankly. All the theoretical postulates can be argued about as much as you like (and I find some missing even from the comments). The empirical part seems to be inhibited by the particular procedure of ripping to a lossless format on a Mac (no criticism of Apple intended). Chris, how about you do some empirical research that goes beyond your own set of speakers and your own Mac and report on the results? Let's devise a few experiments you can do as a journalist.
1. Have you got an audiophile friend with high end equipment? Rip the CDs to FLAC and MP3 and listen to the originals and copies on his equipment and see if you can tell the difference. Intuitively, low end equipment has a bias in favour of lower quality codecs, so high end equipment makes a better experiment in this sense. Whether you can or cannot hear the difference, that will not tell you much about the reasons why, so move to the next phase.
2. Find a decent, professionally staffed audio equipment store and tell them you would like to get a reasonably good, better than basic consumer level shit, but not outrageously expensive audio setup. In my experience, what they will do (after some general questions and a discussion of what you are looking for, budget limitations, etc.) is invite you back with your own CDs. Ask your audiophile friend to help you pick a couple of CDs that are not completely lousy to begin with, and also bring a CD with FLAC and MP3 of the same music - ripped from the same original CDs - on it. They will line up a few decent receivers and a few sets of speakers and will start switching between them while playing the same tracks. My guesses are (assuming your audio perception is not completely degenerate): a) the same digitally recorded music played on different equipment combinations will sound completely different; b) some combinations - not necessarily the more expensive ones - will sound rich in texture and great overall while others will sound flat and poor. That's with the original CDs, no lossy codecs or anything.
[Disclaimer: This item is based on my own experiences choosing audio equipment. YMMV.]
3. Tell the store guys that you do listen to downloaded music and not just to original CDs and you would like to test how the various combinations handle that. Chances are that their DVD player will handle the formats natively. Try to listen to FLAC and MP3 on those combos that sounded great and on those combos that sounded poor. See if you hear the differences in either case.
4. If you can, bring your audiophile friend along for the experiment ("to help you make a choice") as well, as his ears are probably better trained. Don't worry if he likes a different receiver/speaker combination - this does not mean you have a hole in your head, it is very individual. The point is, whether or not he tells you that he hears a difference where you don't, it will be significant.
Report here. The results of the experiments above cannot be published in a peer reviewed journal (small sample, no objective measurements), but will be quite suitable for El Reg, IMHO.
Some 20+ years ago I was amazed that beach side residential communities in California - not just individual billionaires - could have effectively private (residents only) beaches by the simple device of providing free access, making every empty space within walking distance from the beach a public parking lot with meters, and limiting the meters to 20-25 minutes. No one can enjoy a beach if one needs to feed the meter every 20 minute to avoid a hefty fine, so beaches were deserted, pristine, and beautiful.
I was assured by aborigines that it was both legal and common. It was much closer to LA than SF, as I recall, not sure if local by-laws weigh in differently...
Maybe that's the rich guy's next recourse?
IANAL, but it looks like a well reasoned comment. What is not clear to me is what Mr. Comey is complaining about then?
You really don't get it, Matt
Why baristas need to encrypt stuff is none of your business. That's the whole point, really.
500 trucks a year?
That's all that bothers them? That's 2 trucks per working day, roughly. Is this really worth the trouble of running a whole new pipeline under the city?
Is it really 500 lorries a day?
Re: "key server under the customer's control"
[replying to my own post - bad form, I know...]
Maybe crooks who don't need the NSA kind of scale will feel a tad happier though?
"key server under the customer's control"
It looks genuinely interesting. While GCHQ/NSA/etc. may have a much easier time hacking the customer's key server and stealing the private keys they'd have to do it individually for each customer, I assume.
Don't see how it mitigates MITM though, but maybe I am missing something - I only skimmed the "technical details" blog.
Prior art candidates - in fiction and in real life
Fiction: Certainly either the late Desmond Llewelyn or MI6 or maybe Eon Productions have a reasonable claim to prior art because of that ill-fated - but remotely controlled from a cell phone - BMW Series 7 in Tomorrow Never Dies? Wheels or screws - there is little conceptual difference. The villain in Speed 2 only used laptops to control a luxury cruise liner, not cell phones, right? Disqualified, then.
Reality: Jim Clark's Hyperion was completely controlled by a network of SGI servers, and the interface was LCD touch screens. The touch screens were not called "tablets" at the time - so? The network was wired, I assume, but is it reasonable to insert the word "wireless" into something completely obvious and claim to have invented something?
Joking aside, whatever "innovation" Apple may claim here I can't see how this can conceivably be qualified as an invention. And you need to invent something for a patent, don't you? Oh... Sorry...
A single group of 87 schoolchildren and 9 adults from the same organization on the same plane? Were there any special insurance arrangements? Just wondering...
The preferred method of getting an iWatch without standing in line?
So the new tech czar is a former veep of innovative total surveillance, notably including video, and the deputy used to be a public policy big wig at the biggest factory of meaningless soundbites? Emphatically not someone who can run a datacenter and/or a scalable web/database server farm for, I dunno, health care? It all seems fitting, if ominous.
A story told by a (former) scientist at a (former) chemical research facility in the (former) USSR: auditors were asking about an abnormally high rate of consumption of ethanol at the facility - this was in Soviet Russia, alcohol was the universal currency, but they were still making a stink about it. Wait, maybe that's why they were making a stink?
The records showed that vast quantities of ethanol were used regularly "to clean the optical axis of the radiometer". OK, said the auditors, would you please show us the radiometer and its optical axis that requires so much cleaning material - it must be huge? - Oh right, would you come with us please? After a trip through a basement maze, in front of a huge lead door with a big, bright, shiny, and glowing in the dark radiation hazard sign on it: "Oh, you do have clearance to inspect this secret facility, don't you? We will need a copy for our records, please, otherwise no one is allowed inside." No auditor has ever returned with such clearance.
Repeated many times over the glory years, or so I was told.
What am I missing?
So how will the three people in different countries learn about a secret warrant served? Even if all three are the designated recipients of such warrants in their respective countries, arguably the one who learns about a warrant and leaks it, even if only by inaction, may be liable under the law. And they won't even learn of any secret warrant in a fourth country without someone breaking the law - and risking severe punishment - there.
A flaw in his argument
It is natural that Zimmerman focuses on encryption as the main means to ensure privacy. However, encrypting one's communications is a means against eavesdropping, but not against surveillance. Surveillance is about gathering metadata - who is talking to whom - and not (so much) learning the contents of the conversations.
Since calls need to be connected, emails need to be delivered, packets need to be routed, IP addresses need to be assigned to physical locations, and even mobile phones need to talk to towers, metadata can be gathered, stored, and analysed, if deemed necessary. This is surveillance, and encryption will not help against it.
PIN lengths here are variable... 4 digits is pathetic.
So what do you do when you travel outside of the enlightened Canada and are presented with a prompt for a 4 digit PIN? Will the first 4 digits work?
And what if 4 digits are not enough? I saw that at a petrol station in Italy once. Around midnight it was dark and empty, so it was self-service or nothing. I stuck my card into the slot at a pump and was prompted for the PIN. I punched my 4 digits in only to notice that there were 5 positions, and the device did not allow me to proceed with just 4. I turned to my Italian friend who was with me in the car and asked, "This is weird. Do your credit cards have 5 digit PINs?" She looked at me and said, "I wouldn't know. I have never had a credit card in my life."
Re: US Tech Companies
@Trevor_Pott: "I sometimes go a little far in having fun or asserting my independence. But I'm not a threat to anyone."
Hmm... Trevor, can you spot a contradiction in what you wrote?
Seems like any assertion of independence by anyone - a person, a company, or a country - is now treated as a threat.
Obligatory Donald Knuth quote?
"Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it."
It really sounds to me like Netflix have a very popular product and a model for delivering it to the customers. One may argue advantages, disadvantages, "fairness", "wastefulness" (caching/no caching/whatever), or other features and qualities of this model, but let's assume for the sake of this discussion that the model suits Netflix's current business needs. That is really all that matters.
The ISP's customers want that product. Delivering it to the customers costs the ISP extra compared to the rest of the content it carries. IMHO, the ISP has two choices: say, "we don't carry it" and hope not too many will care, or pay the price and pass it on to their customers one way or the other. It is not fundamentally different from a local (brick) store whose clientèle wants products from (say) an overseas manufacturer. It would also fight an uphill battle with (e.g.) major chains that have the infrastructure and relationships and economy of scale in place.
[The direct comparison with the brick-and-mortar world tells me the situation has little to do with "net neutrality".]
It is perfectly legitimate to complain about the situation, of course. Complaining, however, will not be a viable third choice *unless* a lot of people will forego Netflix "because it is unfair to small ISPs" and thus force Netflix into revising the distribution model, rather than switch to a different ISP that has the goods.
Not only Blacks and Latinos are under-represented
Twitter is a US company, right?
According to the same 2010 US census cited in the article, 72.4% of the US population is white. So only the top leadership of Twitter has roughly the average proportion of whites, while in all the lower layers whites are horribly under-represented. Probably indicating a discriminatory practice.
a list of *smaller* phones
My current phone is 4in, and it is way too big for a phone, IMHO. Are there phones on the market that are less than 4in, say in the general 3.5in area, but with a decent screen resolution?
Priorities: GSM, call quality and reliability, battery life, texts, contacts + calendar + call reminder, occasional web and email, alarm clock. No need at all for any kind of apps (well, a calculator and a trivial memo app would be useful, but not essential), social networks, games, camera, music, bells or whistles. The only reason to have a smartphone over a "feature phone" is screen resolution adequate for the aforementioned occasional web/email usage.
Dear Reg, pretty please? A review of a few of those? Are there any?
Re: Sued over Model E?
@MrDamage: There already has been a big issue in Europe about a complete zero. Do you know how the iconic Porsche 911 got its model number?
Re: Best practice
This industry is in such a great shape because everyone follows the best practices.
Internet-connected locks, each with its own IPv6 address?... What could possibly go wrong?
The 21st century version
of MAD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_assured_destruction). Maybe not such a bad idea - after all, the world is still here...
[Choosing the most appropriate icon from the list.]
I mostly noticed the part that says
"The system would sense a device's proximity to other devices, networks or locations, before deciding the level of security that is required."
For the last, I don't know, ~15 years my mobile phones stopped locking the screen when "sensing proximity" to the car's BT hands-free kit. In a sense, it is a location determination: I am in my car, so I don't want to punch in my password and I am reasonably safe. If I forget the phone in the car but the engine is switched off the screen will be locked - smart, eh?
[Aside: my current "smart" phone can't do it out of the box, but there is an "innovative" app for that.]
Will all that start infringing on Apple's IP once they are granted the patent?
Re: Epic Fail
@Adrian 4: "is it the case that MPs are more likely to be acting criminally than the average MOTP ?"
Here are some plausible hypotheses for your consideration:
1) we mostly/only elect crooks;
2) only crooks ever want to be elected, hence #1 above;
3) neither #1 or #2, but power corrupts;
4) #3 or not, investigating MPs is so much more juicy than investigating MOTP that we tend to catch them with a higher probability;
5) maybe not even #4, but a crooked MP is more likely to hit a front page than a crooked MOTP.
No. But the contract might have specified the applicable jurisdiction (Washington in this case) in advance. Many contacts do. This is in general to the company's advantage, since in case of a dispute the employee, who normally has limited resources, will have to arrange for legal representation (and maybe appear in court) in a far away and often foreign land with unfamiliar laws.
... utterly insignificant ...
... little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.
I really, really could not resist... I'll get my towel now, thank you.
Those lusers will believe anything...
"Inbuilt stupidity limiter" in Excel? Who would ever believe THAT?!?!?
I have never heard of that particular dark corner of the Internet.
Now I find myself wondering if one could find a link to Yentl over there...
@Sander van der Wal: This is about galaxy clusters, as in "clusters of galaxies". What you mean is star clusters. The term "supercluster of galaxies" is very recent and refers to "clusters of cluster of galaxies" - this is not what the Bulbul et al. paper studies.
I wonder if there is a lawyertard lurking here to provide an explanation.
My layman's understanding is that illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible in court only in some jurisdictions. I am not sure whether it is a purely American notion, but I suspect that it might be, popular TV shows making it seem more widely applicable than it actually is. I am not sure whether it is, in fact, the norm in British courts (luckily I have not had sufficient experience). I think the prevailing notion on this side of the pond may rather be that evidence is evidence and if it was obtained illegally it's a separate matter from guilt or innocence that it proves. I may be horribly wrong and I will gladly be educated on the subject.
This layman's conviction that warrantless untargeted surveillance is evil and must be made illegal in any country that pretends to care about individual rights and freedoms does not conflict with the feeling (disclaimer: I am not familiar with the case) that the chap deserves a very long time in jail. But then, I am not American. If I were, I might think longer about what the implications are for the foundations of my country's legal system.
@Nick Ryan: I am with you. The only question is how your suggested enhancements will benefit from Internet connectivity. If someone leaves a fridge door open, how will an email or text to your cell phone in the middle of a working day facilitate closing it? And wouldn't it be better if the fridge just beeped if the door was not closed properly (after a certain short timeout maybe?) - before the guilty party leaves the house?
And as for midnight fridge raids, do you mean when you are on vacation with your other half and your teenage kids are home alone? Which of them are you going to call and scold at 3AM when your phone wakes you up in a hotel bed? Oh, I forgot: the fridge will take a picture of whoever opens the door at night and post it on Facebook, right? In a nightgown. Hopefully.
Re: There is very little doubt
<<That this "Internet of Things" is a totally unnecessary solution in search of an as-yet-non-existing problem - at least as far as the consumers are concerned.>>
It s not about the consumers' problems. The manufacturers will be thrilled to get together and agree to push only Internet-enabled household appliances emphasizing that, though they are a bit more expensive, your home and health insurance will be cheaper if you have full-on IoT. The insurance companies will monitor your consumption of everything at all times, and at some point down the road you will find that you are not covered because your family of four bought, put into the fridge, and took out (and thus presumably ate) 5% more processed read meat than the national average per person. Your car insurance will also go up because your fridge and your shelves figured out how many alcohol units you consumed every night (they'll know how many people were present at dinner, too), and whether or not your car was driven afterwards.
The possibilities are endless, but consumers are not the ones to enjoy them.
Re: Like Linux....
@ckm5: "you do realize the MSFT was one of the largest contributors to the Linux kernel at one point?"
You do realize the above statement, as worded, is basically a headline? Do re-read the article. At that point (2011) MSFT were the 17th largest *corporate* (i.e., not overall) contributor to the kernel, and that was right after their Hyper-V drivers, that had previously violated GPL, were accepted. About 7KLOC out of the total of about 15MLOC at the time.
MSFT do contribute to the kernel. Not enough to be counted as a top dog though.
Re: Named by whom?
@Malc: And what was the 'name' of the proto-Earth before the collision that went on to form the Earth and Moon?
Do you mean in Greek Mythology or in science? Might be the same, actually...
Selene's parents were Theia and her brother Hyperion. Their parents were Gaia (rings a bell?) and Uranus. So whether you stick to mythology or go all "scientific" (and adopt the view that Selene was born out of a chance encounter between Theia and... hmm... Gaia) it gets incestuous really fast. Nothing particularly unusual for Greek Mythology, mind you.
The scientific version will have less trouble with biological impossibility of Gaia and Theia producing offspring (consider Selene adopted by her grandmother) than with genealogy of Selene's brother Helios. Thus full reconciliation between science and mythology will require a bit more ingenuity.
*Pulling tongue out of cheek*
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