* Posts by Barrie Shepherd

214 posts • joined 6 Feb 2008


Is Oppo short for Opportunistic? BBK opens UK doors

Barrie Shepherd

"......no opportunity to root your phone or even to install an alternative message app."

"......I wonder if this is something the EU insist on."

I think it's more a case of don't want people poking around in the phone and finding the code that calls back to China and the extra code they were forced to implant by the Australian Government.


"Under Australia's legislation, police can force companies to create a technical function that would give them access to encrypted messages without the user's knowledge."

Romford Station, smile! You're in London cops' final facial recog 'trial'

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Orwell ain't seen nothing yet

Wait for the new law that will make warning people that a face scanning operation is in place ahead of them an illegal act - much like warning motorists that a speed tarp is ahead is.

Parliament should call a stop to the whole thing until some agreed operational rules are established.

Google settles Right To Be Forgotten case on eve of appeal hearing

Barrie Shepherd

"Google settled the case out of court"

Probably a smart move. They just delete the links to the specific material NT1 did not like and that's it.

Having no judgment probably stopped NT1 widening the censorship and means that a search for NT1's real name will still bring out other links and new links can be added in the future.

It also keeps the matter running as thousands of inquisitive people are searching the Inetrwebs to discover who NT1 is

Who's watching you from an unmarked van while you shop in London? Cops with facial recog tech

Barrie Shepherd

...following on

(Sorry for typo in previous post - ANPL = APNR)

So how long before we hear that the National ANPR camera network is to be upgraded to include facial recognition?

Barrie Shepherd

Big 'secret' Brother

'Overtly' haha - unmarked vans, small signs, no proactive leafleting. The Police have learnt from the privacy invaders who run the ANPL cameras at shopping centre car parks!

Why have the Times, Independent and Guardian not included cut out Teresa May masks with today's paper?

This sort of tech has a place but not in the high street. By all means use it post event on recorded video to track suspects. Maybe very 'overtly' for 'at risk' public events - but not Jo public going around his normal daily business.

Our complaints won't be heard however. The tech will get approval - wait for some Press Release along the lines of "Facial Recognition stops a terrorist attack in Oxford St." (but no real supporting evidence).

The Tech will go into use by the police then, like mobile speed cameras, will be handed over to some PPP type organisation. They will then operate for the police. This will be justified as "freeing valuable police resources". The PPP operator will be on some detection target and will find ways to monetise it. How about a subscription service to warn shops when a known shoplifter has been 'detected' in the locality?

Minority Report is just around the corner hand in hand with 1984.

Taylor's gonna spy, spy, spy, spy, spy... fans can't shake cam off, shake cam off

Barrie Shepherd

An associated story: https://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/police-going-test-facial-recognition-13735265

Perhaps one of the Newspapers, who are often screaming about privacy etc, could print a cardboard face mask of Teresa May and distribute it in their copies on 16th & 17th, we could all walk around Soho giving the Police trail a good work out.

Oz opposition folds, agrees to give Australians coal in their stockings this Christmas

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Visibility

"I can understand the Australian opposition being weak and naive enough to be convinced that these (ultimately ineffective) powers are important. I can't understand them not requiring the removal of the secrecy as their price for approval."

It's simple the opposition will most likely be in power soon so will benefit from secrecy.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: It's not encrypted...

"In the USA, we can exercise our 5th amendment privilege, thankfully."

You can but that won't stop the Australian government sharing what they know about you with the US government - they have been sharing like this for years. Nor will it stop the Australian government 'accidentally' issuing a TCN for your phone to be 'compromised' even if you are not in Australia.

And I would not expect you would ever know nor, if you did, get any assistance from the US government.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: "Not available in this country"

"What I predict is that sophisticated criminals and people who are concerned about privacy will just use their own encryption and stop relying on the crypto built into comms applications"

That wont help if Android and iOS have been required to provide an access portal to the devices keyboard and screen. Qualcomm could be building such a door in its 5G chips right now ready for the AUS TCN to arrive.

As for Aus backdoor'ing encryption I shall not be using Apple Pay or Google pay (not that I do) in Australia any day soon. It will probably soon be a requirement to switch your phone on at the Arrivals desk so that the carriers can 'update' your phone for "Australian Networks".

I'm off to start a One Time pads company!

OM5G... Qualcomm teases next Snapdragon chip for phones: The 855 with a fingerprint Sonic Screwdriver, er, Sensor

Barrie Shepherd

Security / Backdoor

Great that mobile phone chip development continues but, given the recent 5Eyes/Australia/GCHQ, pressure for 'backdoor/compromised" access who will be independently determining that Qualcomm will not be engineering covert access to the chipset ready to be enabled when Canberra or Cheltenham send in their Technical Assistance notice?

ICO to probe facial recog amid concerns UK cops can't shake their love for unregulated creepy tech

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Significant effort and investment to make it work consistently

"Do this AFTER a proper public debate and a solid set of ethical rules are arrived at."

Snowballs chance in hell of that happening

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Significant effort and investment to make it work consistently

"Do this AFTER a proper public debate and a solid set of ethical rules are arrived at."

Snowballs chance in hell that that will happen!

Analogue radio is the tech that just won't die

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Analogue Radio Must Never Die

"Now, no paper charts...thats because updating them was a huge manpower drain. Its all e-charts now, he said.."

.......will be useful when the ship has been hit and looses power or if the crew need to get in the lifeboats!

Barrie Shepherd

Re: No radio at all

"....but it's a lot more helpful to hear from an announcer if I'm coming up on a breakdown that is just being cleared from the road or a major accident where it's worth the time to get off of the motorway and find another route."

Agree, but it's a service the old FM broadcasts delivers well but the new DAB does not (even though technically possible)

DAB, Smart Meters, Smart Motorways and Smart cars and most other "Smart" things are generally "fails" in my view.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: FM vs DAB

"Ours are never used on DAB as it is constantly dropping out and is an abomination to listen to."

....and the absence of RDS traffic services - DAB is 'digital' but the broadcasters do not support the most useful car based feature of the 'old, out of date analogue' FM RDS.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

Barrie Shepherd

Real reason for Smart Meters?

Am I alone in thinking that the real push for smart meters is so that at a date in the future our electricity usage will be measured in Apparent Power (taking power factor into account) as opposed to the current Real Power.

One reason for this is the appalling power factor of modern electronic units - ironically one being LED lights!

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Not so smart!


I have written twice to the ASA complaining about the darn right misleading adverts on radio and TV about smart meters. To date nothing heard, probably because the ASA remit does not cover political advertising and they don't want to upset their Downing Street paymasters.

Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info via Office

Barrie Shepherd

Re: What about Windows 10 that Office is sitting on?

Off topic but....

"If I, say, accidentally exceed the speed limit because I didn’t spot a sign, no amount of explaining will make any difference if I get caught."

Even more unfair if the speed limit is not related to any accident black spot, road safety or road condition but because it's a 'smart motorway' and they can, in an attempt to get air pollution down to EU requirements. Millions spent on smart motorways and we have to travel at 60 mph. (South Yorks., Notts, and Derbys.)

Back on topic.....

In my view the GDPR failed because it did not mandate a users right to clearly say NO to all this data snooping. The rule still seems to be "If you want to use my SW you have to accept me snooping, I just have to ask you to note that I do these things - even if it's not relevant to the SW operation" Android Apps being the worst offenders.

GDPR USA? 'A year ago, hell no ... More people are open to it now' – House Rep says EU-like law may be mulled

Barrie Shepherd

"Incidentally, if you're interested, the ICO has a survey to collect views on privacy for children."

Why single children out ?- lets us all have the same level of privacy.

Barrie Shepherd

Will I be safer?

As I see it rather than limit the data and tracking collected about us the GDPR has just allowed organisations to 'legitimately' hold that data. When a data breech occurs yes there may be large fines BUT our data has been swiped - a large fine does not help the individual. It may focus the minds of companies but they will balance the potential fine against cost of Lawyers to avoid the fine.

What we needed was the GDPR to STOP irrelevant data collection and tracking. I should have the ability to say NO you don't need my DOB to sell me a camera NO I don't want your tracking cookies on my computer, I don't ant my browsing experience 'enhanced' as I don't want to receive targeted advertising and the like.

Barrie Shepherd

All I have seen the GDPR do is litter my mailbox with companies wanting me to confirm that I agree to them continuing to send me junk, and that they can collect all sorts of data from me not relevant to their business together with web pages wanting the same with little or no option to opt out of the tracking and info snooping they bury in their page. It has not stopped anything as far as I can see only legitimatised it.

My life is not simpler with the GDPR nor do I consider I am safer from unnecessary tracking and snooping, just that it's all done 'legally'.

UK rail lines blocked by unexpected Windows dialog box

Barrie Shepherd

They are information displays, for staff, and while they take data from the signalling control systems they cannot interact with the control equipment.

In the rail industry these secondary displays are considered non vital.

What do Zuck, Sergey, @Jack and Bezos have in common? They don't want encryption broken

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Hmm

"I think I'll stick with government in this one, at least theoretically it can be reelected."

That won't make the matter go away, just leaves a nice platform for any new government to play with. An incoming government will not be repealing any laws soon

".......it does not try take over all aspects of life, censor everything it does not like and sell your information to the anyone ready to pay."

Maybe not yet, but when they can they most likely will.

Oi, you. Equifax. Cough up half a million quid for fumbling 15 million Brits' personal info to hackers

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Gob = smacked

What in seven hells¹ were they doing with driver numbers? More to the point, how did they get them?

I'd very much like to know that as well.

I'd also like to know how an American ID checking company, used by Air B&B, are able to use your UK Driving License number to confirm your ID - "just send us a hi res photo of both sides of your license and we will confirm your ID to Air B&B so your rental booking can proceed"

Barrie Shepherd

"It's being held on machines accessible from the internet so you can make credit reference enquiries over the internet."

Not wholly true - I can't make a credit reference check over the internet (even of my account) to the the depth that other 'trusted' organisations can. It's held on servers connected to the internet so that Equifax can sell the data to third party organisations for credit checking, identity checking etc. - that's their business.

As they get a fee for each check, a fee that I'm sure is greater than 3 pence, then the fine is just pure noise and in no way forces them to improve their systems.

Lets face it in the scale of things it's simper to pay the odd fine of £500,000 than spend that much on additional staff, consultants, servers and SW upgrades to rectify poor IT security.

I'm sure the CFO will report it to the board as "The cost of doing business"

Rights groups challenge UK cops over refusal to hand over info on IMSI catchers

Barrie Shepherd

"I have a budget, and a valid use for IMSI's at work,"

Try some Googling - GSM in a box IMSI sniffer.

Barrie Shepherd

"If anything, that would be a private contract matter between the seller and the plod, but neither of them can subtract themselves from compliance with the law ,,,,,,,,,,"

I appreciate this, but non-disclosure agreements may explain why the plods are not easily revealing anything and are stalling. They are no doubt hoping that the matter will never get to a Court with the power to force them to disclose the information.

This is just another example of the police (or at least their senior staff) believing they are above accountability to the people they serve and who pay their salaries. Facial recognition is another example. Technology is advancing so fast that the law is out of date or never catches up, and when attempts to catch up are made it's too late - the cat being out of the bag.

Barrie Shepherd

Most units are probably supplied under strong "Non Disclosure" contract terms. Some information here;


and some other info here;


UK.gov commits to rip-and-replacing Blighty's wheezing internet pipes

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Backhaul

"As long as we have ISPs racing to the bottom of the "unlimited 80Mb/s for just £XX per month" we'll have congestion, packet loss, latency, not to mention crap service when faults develop from ISPs who get the runaround from BTOR and just pass it on to their customers."

You could be describing the Australian NBN !!!!

Barrie Shepherd

Others have tried

The accountants and economists will get in and scupper the plan.

I suggest people look to the disaster that is the Australian NBN which started life with a similar 'optic fibre to every home' mantra. As soon as costs were on the table the cost cutters crept in. Now it's a mixture of fibre, re-use of pay TV coax, satellite and fibre to the basement-copper to the user. User costs have gone up, speed in some cases is no better than ADSL2. People expecting a cabled connection are on satellites and the boxes in homes that allow phone service have life expired batteries - which users have to replace.

Service providers are mean in the capacity they buy from NBN making speed more restricted at busy periods as data gets divided around. The whole scheme is horrendously over budget and years behind schedule.

Facebook sends lowly minions to placate Euro law makers over data-slurp scandal

Barrie Shepherd

Re: I've said it before, I'll say it again.

"If you block your citizens from accessing FB at all (except via VPN) then you stop FB from being able to make any money off them."

Inevitably FB will be fined by the EU for something, they will scream but eventually get the cleaning lady to pay up from the Petty Cash box they keep for other cleaning products.

As Shadow Systems says above far far better to block Facebook, sort of equivalent to the removal of liberty of a prison sentence, for a number of consecutive days. That will make all the users aware of the bad things they have done, allow the addicted ones some cold turkey and probably increase productivity in the EU overall.

People will scream "but you are hurting the innocent users" - good! that's the idea as it will only be the "innocent" users who can bring pressure on FB and the like to change their ways.

Governments need to get some 4/3 Pi R[] and hit organisation where it hurts, fines have no clout.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Facebook's chief privacy officer Erin Egan

"The fact that Facebook actually has a "privacy" officer is laughable."

Perhaps we misunderstand the underlying/undocumented function of the Facebook Privacy Officer.

Maybe his role is to protect, at all costs, the Privacy of Facebook and it's Executive staff from the probing of EU and UK Government departments. Given the current position he seems to have been very successful so is probably sleeping very soundly.

Trademark holders must pay for UK web blocking orders – Supreme Court

Barrie Shepherd

Media companies face the same issue in Australia, they have to pay the ISP's when they apply to the Courts for a web site to be blocked. The advantage (some claim) is that the list of sites has to be made public in the Court notice giving those naughty boys with VPNs somewhere to go to look for their knock off films!

ISP's are in these cases no different to a postal service, a conduit for delivery of material produced by others. No one would expect the 'Royal' Mail to be responsible for the contents of envelopes it delivers for others so why should an ISP?

Shock: Google advises UK peers against more legislation

Barrie Shepherd

"......femdroid voice that sounds like C3PO's inbred half sister."

ROFL - very good

Barrie Shepherd

Google should charge to upload a video. $10 via PayPal or Credit Card.

If the video is clicked by many the 'per watch' money paid to the uploader will offset the cost. If no one watches people will soon get fed up with paying for their cat/dog/budgie/silly-prank to be uploaded. The reduced number of uploads will allow the hard pressed Google monitors to focus on the really nasty stuff which I have no doubt is there.

Oh and a further $5 if your video uses a robotic voice or has inane background 'music'.

UK digital secretary throws cold water over bid for laws on kids' use of social media

Barrie Shepherd

"The parents have a responsibility to ensure that children use technology appropriately. For instance, I allow my children to do their homework online, but I don't let them on to social media," Hancock said."

What has gone wrong in government? A spokesman speaking common sense - must be a first. Hancock for PM!

Sorry parents, you decided to have children get to grips with your parental responsibilities instead of expecting government to do it. Maybe talking to your children at an early age about the birds and bees would be a start. As would not projecting horror at the sight of a naked body and making looking at one "naughty" - which will make kids want to do it even more.

Australia wants tech companies to let cops 'n' snoops see messages without backdoors

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Benefit of the doubt?

"I think he may be talking about thrashing out metadata and grey areas like the FBI-vs-IPhone case here."

Aus authorities already have access to all communications Metadata. Like all politicians he is just a mouth piece to spout the words others write without understanding the context or meaning. A spin projector ejaculating infertile ideas into the air.

It's an on-going mantra from the Aus Police, ASIO, AFP etc. (and their UK equivalents) that they need to be able to get to the content - in their position why would they not?.

Against all the technical evidence they continue, probably to mask the fact that they can already access quite a lot more than they want us to know, and are just trying to hoover up the last bits.

Of course they are also preparing their defense for when a terrorist attack is successful " Well we have been saying for years that we needed to get to message content. had we have had that facility this terrorist act would have been prevented"

Google listens to New Zealand just long enough to ignore it

Barrie Shepherd

NZ Government should make their request via the EU System which seems to be able to stop us sheeple seeing thing governments, rich people and offenders don't want us to see on Google.

Barrie Shepherd

Please can I have access to Google's uncensored search results. :-)

Will be far more interesting than all the other Google sites with their missing results because of EU law disclaimer.

The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB

Barrie Shepherd


Hardly and "Audiophile scam" - the audio quality of DAB is far from audiophile.

VHF/FM is far superior assuming you have a decent signal, and even a poor signal creates a better listening experience than the gaps warbles and glitches of a poor DAB signal.

Sir Clive Sinclair dragged into ZX Spectrum reboot battle

Barrie Shepherd

Re: But Sir Clive is dead

There is a Mark Twain quote that applies in relation to reports of Sir Clive's (the inventor, as opposed to the author) death.

BTW my 1970's Cambridge calculator still works :-)

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Solution for POTS

"Isn't the idea to supply a "POTS converter" to every premises? In other words, standard analogue equipment will connect to this in-house device which does all the conversion for you."

I believe that will be the end solution BUT the equipment 'at your end of the line' will require you to provide power and if you want resilience from mains failure an associated battery back up unit. The difficulty for emergency phones,and the like, is that the intermediate street equipment, that delivers the Ethernet stream, also requires power, which will have limited reserve battery and therefore could also run out of power.

So in addition to BT having a large very resilient power supply at the exchange location every telephone user will require an additional power supply at their home. As another poster said how green is that?

Barrie Shepherd

I use VoIP services from 3 VSPs (2 in Australia and one in UK) in addition to my UK POTS line. I don't understand those saying voice quality on VoIP is worse than POTS what they have probably experienced is the 'VoIP' solution they get from the likes of WhatsAPP and SKYPE which don't emulate a true VoIP connection..

My understanding is that in a POTS call only the last leg (exchange to subscriber house) is true POTS all the intermediate switching and routing is VoIP. I'm pretty satisfied with my VoIP connections they sound better than the POTS, as there are no crackles and clicks and, as I run my own modest Raspberry Pi VoIP server, I benefit from lots of Value Added Features and the ability to manage my own least cost routing.

I only ask that in whatever final solution BT propose they don't lock it down to their own 'approved' equipment like some Australian ISPs have done with their National Broadband Network VoIP services.

The UK should adopt a standard VoIP solution AND customers should be allowed to have their login credentials so they can connect to the widest possible selection of terminal equipment. With the right thinking the solution could also provide a 'number for life' meaning when you move home you don't have to change your telephone number.

What we don't want is BT repeating the telephone socket fiasco, inventing a completely new connection plug just to frustrate people wanting to do their own house wiring. Most of the world manages reasonably well with the RJ series of connectors. (yes I understand the 'bell wire' ring detect capacitor and anti tinkle but that could have been handled in a RJ solution.)

The real challenges are provision of services at distant locations, where no internet reaches, and solutions for the probable thousands of legacy POTS installations for base alarms, emergency alerts emergency phones and the like. Education is essential as people will need to understand that the old way of providing extensions phones at home by plugging them in parallel won't work for VoIP unless the VoIP modem provides a POTS simulated connection.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Elevators?

"There is NO WAY I'm going to have anything other that a proper POTS line serving the phone. "

If the Australian model is anything to go by you will not have an option to retain the central battery POTS line - the equipment will just not exist. The Australian NBN (BT Openreach equivalent) propose that in addition to a VoIP line, with local back up battery, you also need an additional 3/4G mobile interface to overcome problems should the intermediate carrier equipment fail. All this adds cost for lift owners / operators and of course assumes you are in a mobile phone coverage area!

A simple description with photos at https://mrtelco.com/blog/nbn-lift-phone-emergency

Barrie Shepherd

Australia is currently ripping out the copper and it's not a smooth process. Customers wanting resilient service have to buy a PSU/battery back up unit https://www1.nbnco.com.au/learn-about-the-nbn/what-happens-in-a-power-blackout.html

PSU has sealed lead acid batteries some of which now need replacing as they were bought via the lowest bidder system - much debate about who should pay.


Hold the phone: Mystery fake cell towers spotted slurping comms around Washington DC

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Calling all software engineers!

"An app on your phone has a list for all official fixed cell towers in your region."

Problem is maintaining the list. Networks are bringing new cells on line, taking old cells down all the time. The stinger type devices spoof a network to sniff the IMSI, so could spoof a genuine cell tower ID.

For those interested in how easy these things are go Google "GSM in a box download". A PC (not high spec) and a SDR transceiver and you can build a basic system yourself in an afternoon, complete with SMS, authentication HLR and VLR facilities and with Asterisk added it can be your own private GSM system! Highly illegal as you would need to transmit on carrier frequencies but an example of how simple things can be.

Granted the 'professional' stinger system are able to do more but I'm sure a dig around the WWW would enable a competent Linux person to build one.

Products like this pose a greater risk to protection of personal data https://www.radio-tactics.com/index.php/portfolio/9-mobile-data-extraction/100-the-toolkit-solution

Traffic Cop " Good evening sir, I suspect you were using your mobile phone, please let me plug my analyser in to check"

Driver " I was not using my mobile phone, but OK if it gets me on my way"

Traffic Cop " Thank you sir, it will only take 30 seconds"

In that time your whole phone contents are compromised and currently (in the UK) with no oversight or protocols in place.

BT to slash landline rentals by 37%... for the broadbandless

Barrie Shepherd

New Article not clear

The article refers to BT i.e the overarching company that holds BT Retail and Openreach.

It is not clear but one explanation for the apparent leaking of info is that it will be Openreach who determine if the line has an internet connection. If no Internet connection (from any ISP) Openreach will then bill BT Retail a reduced cost for the line which BT Retail will pass onto their customer.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Here's Ofcom's little but significant (weasel) words...

"{facepalm} Given the "lines only" BT rental goes to the house/premises in question carrying those third-party services,"

Don't doubt it, my point was that the data set BT/Openreach has will not identify houses additionally served by infrastructure installed by other ISPs (i.e.Virgin).

I suspect that BT Retail will be charged for the telephone connection by Openreach, BT Retail will then bill the customer accordingly.

I suspect that Openreach will be the party who is distinguishing between Internet connected / not connected and will be passing the appropriate (reduced for phone only) charge to BT Retail. For Internet connected lines that charge should be the same as Openreach charges other ISPs.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Here's Ofcom's little but significant (weasel) words...

"Should BT even be accessing/recording such data regarding rival ISPs in order to differentiate on pricing?"

Is it BT or Openreach? That aside I don't think the issue is so simple and the BA analogy is not similar as the database BT/Openreach has will not, I'm sure, have details of other ISPs direct customer lists. I doubt that Virgin would advise BT/Openreach of their directly connected customer base.

My take is as follows;

BT/Openreach have invested in the infrastructure both in the street and in the exchanges where the third party ISP equipment is connected. To enable and maintain the connection of third party ISP equipment will add to BT/Openreache's maintenance costs, hence it's appropriate that, where BT/Openreache's infrastructure is used to carry other ISPs customers internet traffic, the discounted phone line cost should not apply.

My gripe is where BT/Openreaches infrastructure is not used for other ISP traffic because those ISP's have their own infrastructure connecting to their own customers. For BT to claim that means no telephone line discount is very sharp practice.

Barrie Shepherd

"BT monthly landline costs are to be trimmed by £7 from this weekend but only for customers who don't buy fixed-line broadband from any provider"

I would like to think that BT saying you have to pay a higher landline (standing) charge, if you also have a completely (i.e via a non BT pipe) Internet service from another provider, can be legal. It must be against some unfair trading practices act. It is none of BT's business what other fixed line connections I have to my premises.

I doubt that an electricity company could get away with saying your standing charge will be more if you also have a gas supply to your premises.

Yes it costs BT (should that be Openreach?) more if their copper connection to your house also carries a BT or a third party ISP Internet connection but it costs them nothing more if a third party ISP has run their own infrastructure to your property.

Seems like BT are smarting because they have been forced to behave in a socially aware way and make the provision of basic telephone services affordable.


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