I could have knocked something up in SurveyMonkey.
89 posts • joined 10 Sep 2008
I don't do this anymore. I feel much better now.
I used to work in Tech Support for a major PC manufacturer. When nothing else added up the question to go for was:
"Is it plugged in?"
Invariably, people got upset, made wild proclamations about their immense intelligence, grumbled when you tried to placate with them reassurances that you really didn't think that would be it, but y'know it's best to check just in case and a few moments of silence whilst they crawled under the desk, followed by a "oh, well, someone else must have unplugged it".
Re: This nothing new by HMRC
I have had this twice.
The first time I was a PAYE employee with straightforward tax affairs. The demand was for a preposterous five-figure sum, payable immediately.
The chap I spoke to at HMRC was incredibly belligerent and simply said I owed them money (I didn't) because the computer said so and I should pay up, or else. He wasn't joking. I wasn't paying anything I didn't owe. I dug my heels in and said that if they could demonstrate how they had arrived at the figure and it was valid, I would gladly pay it, otherwise they could go whistle for it. They couldn't, it got ugly and protracted but eventually, after several unannounced home visits, which scared the daylights out of my wife, they conceded that I didn't owe anything at all. I never got any kind of apology from them and consider that what they were attempting was simply extortion.
The second time, the amount was a less scary but not insignificant 4-figure sum. I spoke to a very helpful lady at HMRC, who, after a few days of investigation admitted it was an error. Having been through this once before, I demanded and received a letter confirming same.
Having mentioned the above to numerous friends and colleagues, several of them received similar letters. Most paid up without question.
Re: As usual, the intel community lies to the people in order to protect itself.
They set up their database so that they can go on fishing expeditions, and they don't want to give that up, so they will fabricate any lie they need to in protecting their right to surveil whoever the hell they want to.
Their ability to surveil, not their right. They don't have this right and they know it.
Civil unrest is not a joke
I think the fragility of both our food supply chain and civilised society is underestimated.
If we abandon Brexit, a few EDL-types will kick off somewhere for a few hours and probably torch a some buses.
If we leave with no deal, under DExEU's own scenario planning (and not the worst case) the port of Dover will collapse on day 1 (i.e. 30 March 2019). Why? Because there simply isn't space to process the volume of trucks going through the port. Just a few minutes of processing time per truck rapidly adds up to a 20-30 mile queue.
Supermarkets will start running out of food within days, starting with the extremities in Cornwall and Scotland. This will spread nationally.
The above isn't my assertion, it comes from the Department for Exiting the EU.
The gridlock that began at Dover will extend to all ports of entry within a couple of days. At that point we are in serious trouble and it cannot be rectified quickly.
If the above is seen to begin there will be panic buying on a massive scale. That will cause the supermarkets to run out of food nationally within a matter of hours. Supermarkets in Britain rely on multiple JIT deliveries per day. Once those trucks stop arriving, the entire system breaks down.
You know what it's like at Christmas when the supermarkets are closed for one day - the shelves are often empty of basic staples. We have seen natural disasters such as the flooding in New Orleans have similar repercussions. This is far more serious.
Once they have gone without food for a couple of days, hungry people are going to become angry people and they are going to take to the streets in groups, either to look for food, or in more central locations, to look for the people that caused this to happen. Virtually everyone is going to be hungry. I in no way advocate this, but I predict that the life expectancy of certain politicians might be measured in hours in this scenario as the mob goes hunting.
Is the Government planning for this? Yes, they claim to be.
Are they stockpiling food? Yes, they claim to be or claim they are about to.
We haven't had emergency stockpiles of food since the Cold War. All of the MAFF Buffer Depots and the food stocks were sold off in the 1990s. Sure, the Government can lease warehouse space, but the Buffer Depots were positioned in locations where they would be less at risk of looting, i.e. generally not in towns or cities.
There has been talk of using the RAF to fly supplies around the country. Frankly, this is pissing in the wind. There are 66 million people that will need food. The military are not going to be able to supply even a fraction of 1% of the population - and they will be busy keeping their own supply lines open.
Hungry people aren't likely to go to work, because they will be more interested in finding food, or figuring out whether mayo or ketchup goes best with shoe leather. Once people stop going to work, non-essential services start to break down. Food supplies will be provided for essential personnel such as the military, police, ambulance, fire, etc. but not for their families - this will cause familial difficulties and reduce effectiveness of the personnel involved.
After a few days of no food in the shops, widespread looting will occur as panic starts to set in. This will not be limited to shops. Any source of food will be a target: houses, corner-shops, supermarkets, petrol stations, warehouses, etc.
At this stage martial law will be declared, possibly localised to large towns and cities, under emergency powers granted by the Civil Contingencies Act and a curfew will be imposed.
If all active service personnel and reservists are mobilised in a policing role and combined with the total police manpower, they are outnumbered by civilians by over 200:1, which rises to over 400 : 1 if one assumes they operate a 12-hour shift (eg. 4-on, 4-off) . Those aren't good odds. Even well armed, they do not have the capacity to control every street in the country. As a result, they are likely to try to contain key installations, towns and cities. Most medium sized towns and smaller may be unprotected, which will result in total anarchy in more densely populated locations.
What about that stockpiled food? During the height of the Cold War when food stockpiles were at their largest, we had 6.5 million tons of food in 136 stores dotted around the country. The expected ration supply was 1200 calories per day, and for a greatly reduced post-nuclear-attack population. If supplies were at this level they could last for about 2 weeks, assuming that they could be distributed effectively. That might be enough time to restore the supply chain.
Do I think this will happen? No, because the Government knows this is the risk they are taking and they won't go through with it - possibly for reasons of personal safety.
Do I want this to happen? Absolutely not, this would be the worst possible outcome, but there are some cavalier attitudes out there thinking this scenario is impossible. It isn't.
Re: Excuse to strip privacy, end of story
You said it yourself:
"... and then the security services finally have what they want in the ability to spy on anyone they please. However as we all know if you push the nutters too hard off the mainstream sites they have enough nous to set up their own networks, develop their own encryption tech and online meeting places"
This is not about preventing terrorism (or nutters, to use your phrase).
This is about spying on whomever they please and suppressing political dissent.
Re: Let's mention Microsoft's Policy of hoarding patches unless you pay up.
Or the NSA was preventing Microsoft from releasing a patch for this until the exploit appeared in the wild.
I'd imagine the NSA would want to keep harvesting as much data as possible from their use of the exploit, for as long as possible. They would only have given Microsoft a green-light to release the fix once the situation had reached a crisis point. As Microsoft will be legally prevented from ever revealing if this is true or not, we will never know.
74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+
Re: Conflict of interest
In the case of the NSA (i.e. the original source of this exploit), there is no cyber security mission and they are not responsible for providing advice or guidance to businesses or individuals. Their primary remit is to gather information and to use it as a weapon.
I really don't think they care that the weapon can be turned on friendly assets. They think they can know everything by capturing all the data in the world. It's a seductive theory. Seductive but wrong.
Laptops are still going to be on the aircraft, just in the hold instead of the cabin - well, assuming their owner doesn't care about keeping the laptop that is. If someone has made a laptop bomb having it in the hold doesn't make it much less of a threat.
In the Daallo incident the laptop had been through security and reportedly used a timer device. The laptop could just as easily have been in the hold. Furthermore, that incident happened at Mogadishu, an airport which is conspicuously absent from the list.
Re: The list of airlines
And by way of follow-up, now that the full list of airports and airlines is available I have done some quick research and noticed that no US carrier flies to any of the airports on that list (meaning the operating carrier, not codeshares). Therefore no US airline is directly affected. Coincidence?
This appears to be an easy way of discouraging the use of non-US airlines when travelling to the USA from the Middle East.
Re: Based on bad assumptions
I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Governments need to stop acting like the enemy.
They are perpetrating massive acts of hostility against all of us and fail to comprehend why this is wrong, unjustified and unreasonable (or maybe it's the population that fail to comprehend). Any rational person will take steps to protect him/herself from such hostile actors.
Re: TL:DR We want it all but we want to keep the same prices as now from the EU.
So spake John Smith the 19th:
To keep the Conservative party together.
To stop supporters going to UKIP
May can try keep the Conservative party together all she likes. It won't help her.
May desperately wants to be seen as the rightful successor to Thatcher. The problem is that public opinions of Thatcher are extraordinarily polarising.
Millions of Labour supporters despised Thatcher with vehement intensity since the miners strike, which was acceptable, to Thatcher, because they would never have voted anything but Labour anyway. The approach to Brexit risks a similar turning point in popularity for May, only this time many Tory voters will be alienated too.
The Conservative Party is doomed.
Some important fire safety advice
I wouldn't normally take the role of fire warden, but... never leave your washing machine or tumble dryer running unattended or running overnight. They are one of the leading causes of domestic fires.
I fear that any potential savings from smart meters could be easily offset by a significant increase in fires caused by people setting appliances to run when they are not in the house - or worse - when they are asleep.
Re: "get senior management to take the issues seriously"
Repeated requests for more memory turned down until an OS upgrade put the system into severe thrashing at which point the vendor was summoned to add more memory PDQ and promises made to be more responsive to requests in future.
Sounds like your Change Management process was borked as well.
I've said this before, but I think it's worth repeating...
The motivation of a commercial enterprise is patently obvious. They want your money and want information about you in order to exploit you as a resource. I make judgements about which commercial enterprises I choose to engage with.
The motivation of state actors is considerably less transparent and offers no choice.
Screwfix have gone the same
It can only be a while months before they decide to relocate the Screwfix counters into B&Q stores to "make things more efficient and lower costs"
It went the other way here... they closed a B&Q and opened a tiny Screwfix nearby. Its like a DIY version of Argos and is virtually impossible to get served in. In a vain attempt, I tried using click & collect, but it turned out that provided zero benefit in store as I still had to join the massive queue.
Application I/O Demand
All manner of technology solutions are available, but none will help unless there is a thorough understanding of the problem to be solved, namely: very few people really understand the I/O requirement of their application. Start there.
Then think about what technology you need and what tools and processes must be in place in order to manage it properly.
Re: Keyboard-warrior outrage
I think the problem of what the Security Services should do is actually quite clear to most people. They are there to protect Us Good People from The Bad Guys, to paraphrase what you wrote. They do not appear to be actually doing this.
The number of Bad Guys is infinitesimally small. The drag-net approach being used at present hoovers up everything belonging to Us Good People. Pretty much all of that is material that no Government has any business collecting. Even if they do nothing with the information, the problem is: they still have it.
We have, in most, if not all Western countries, a basic presumption of innocence and a right not to have our lives and correspondence interfered with by the State. These basic tenets of law appear to have been trampled in the rush to find Bad Guys. Any surveillance action which finds itself suspecting the entire population of the planet is very clearly mad, out of control and a long way down a very dangerous path.
It must be stopped.
Re: Wel, F***k me....
It was put into place without proper government oversight, without parliamentary assent, without the mandate of the nation.
I held this view until today.
I think it had all the oversight the Government wanted. None.
And that is the problem.
The Government should not have the ability to anything except in full view of the public. They repeatedly demonstrate that they cannot be trusted. They are supposed to be acting in our interests - and if they are not, that makes them the ENEMY.
@NigelD Re: Curious
I also do not buy this sort of argument. It seems to go hand in hand with the 'you should not mind being spied on if you have nothing to hide' view. No. Enough.
The question is now how do we overturn this nonsense?
The traditional way of resolving this is: a revolution.
And that is precisely why the Government want to keep tabs on all of us. They are probably already making a league table of my past, present and future indiscretions, that will
be ready for publication ... be left on a train ... be inadvertently photographed in the hands of a Government minister as he walks into No. 10 ... mysteriously appear in the public domain should I ever decide to step out of line.
In the mid-90's, when leased 64k lines were still ridiculously expensive, we set up an inter-office mail relay using ISDN. The hardware was Sonix (became 3com) Intermezzo ISDN30 concentrator at the central office and Sonix Arpeggio Lite ISDN2 routers at the branch offices. The arrangement was brilliant. The mail gateways would transfer any waiting mail once an hour (ha!) and then drop the line - the ISDN circuit then being idle and therefore not costing anything - but the routers would spoof packets to make it look like the line was always up. A nice, cost-effective solution, for the time.
However... a firmware issue on the Sonix Arpeggio Lite caused it to bring up the link for just a second and then drop it again immediately. Every minute. Nearly 1500 calls a day. From every branch office. I don't think we had per second billing on our Telecential (remember them?) ISDN circuits. Nobody noticed until the rather large bill came in.
Get me a hazmat team - the whole thing is contaminated!
By the sound of things, we have to consider every ISP and CSP to be potentially compromised by state actors - if not GCHQ, then the NSA, PLA, FSO, RSPB or whomever.
By their own admission, they engage in CNE against deliberately nebulous targets and without proper judicial or ministerial oversight whilst simultaneously failing to keep adequate records of who or what they were exploiting or to what end.
Therefore, any device which has ever been connected to the internet must be assumed to be compromised; any data contained therein could have come from anywhere and could not be considered as evidence in court. Seems like an own-goal to me.