* Posts by Malcolm Boura

29 posts • joined 20 Feb 2009

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

Malcolm Boura

They will give it to the yanks for a bad trade deal and sell it to China.

FYI NASA just lobbed its Parker probe around the Sun in closest flyby yet: A nerve-racking 15M miles from the surface

Malcolm Boura

Units

Please use sensible units as the primary unit for temperature. Farenheit is a quaint archaism that should be in a museum. Also when converting please pay attention to the significant figures. Quoting the temperature to one degree accuracy, four significant figures, is ludicrous.

Woman scales Ben Nevis wielding selfie stick instead of ice axe

Malcolm Boura

Not new.

It was in about 1973 that my wife and I helped a bloke off Ben Nevis. Fur coat, gym shoes, umbrella. Hadn't told anyone where he was going. He was lost, well off any path, on scree slope, it was starting to rain and it was getting dark. (We were going to camp the night as soon as we were low enough to find water so unlikely to be anyone else around). Put him back on the path where he couldn't get lost again and pointed out how upsetting it was for people who carried bodies off mountains and it could easily have come to that.

Closing courts to fling £700m at digital stand-ins will fail, MPs snarl at UK.gov

Malcolm Boura

Is the real motive denying justice?

There is a stripe of politician that believes that the police are always right, that the CPS never make a mistake, and that magistrates are completely free of all prejudice. Hence anything that makes defending against a charge even remotely possible is inherently wrong. I know a number of people who have defended successfully against ludicrous charges but the cost, risk and stress is enormous and that means that far too many people just give in. In one case the defendant had to start judicial review against the CPS before they would pay attention to what the defence solicitor was telling them. The charge was dropped.

Consider a very minor offence, maximum penalty a small fine, perhaps £100. The cost of defending can easily exceed £10,000. Lose and lose it all, and pay a fine, and pay a surcharge, and pay court fee, and ... Win and you will probably be a few thousand out of pocket. No wonder so many innocent people just role over and plead guilty.

Former US anti-terror chief tears into FBI over iPhone unlocking case

Malcolm Boura

Re: Kind of what I said a couple weeks ago.

I would expect pass/fail determination and counting, and encrypt/decrypt to all be in hardware both for speed and so that no part of the process can be hacked from software. That only leaves hardware vulnerabilities and techniques such as chip shaving but I would have expected the chip designers to have designed so as to make that difficult. There is a lot of money tied up in both providing and breaking DRM systems so making it as difficult as possible to break the security has had a lot of effort.

If is even conceivably possible to break security using a custom OS then the design is inadequate. The OS can provide another layer to protect against hardware flaws but the hardware should be designed to be secure without additional software.

NSPCC: Two nonces nailed by cops every day

Malcolm Boura

First, define child pornography properly. The legal definition is vague and much wider than just pornography.

Second, count photographs properly. Number of photographs seized includes legal photographs as well. A single picture of a child in a paddling pool,can result in every photograph in the house being seized and destroyed.

Third, the NSPCC has a conflict of interest. They are part of an industry.

Chinese bloke escapes execution for Forbidden City nude photo shoot

Malcolm Boura

Censorship Bill

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2015-2016/0008/16008.pdf

Is The Register going to register as a pornographer? And in every country in the world that enacts anything similar? Criminal penalties if not. This Bill looks like it will happen now that the political brakes are off.

The bill has extra-territorial measures and if other countries enact similar laws then international travel will become a nightmare but not even staying at home will protect you from European Arrest Warrants or countries with no safeguards extradition arrangements like the USA.r

Google patents DEVIL TOY which will BRAINWASH KIDS

Malcolm Boura

Patent madness

That's not a patent! It's a statement of the bleeding obvious.

Porn on Blogger – Google takes stiff action

Malcolm Boura

The title of this article is misleading. Google is censoring far more than just pornography. British Naturism is receiving reports of naturist blogs being told to shut down. (Going private defeats the object). It is another example of USA big business imposing their prudery on the UK. Freedom of speech is worthless if the means of expression is denied.

FCC Republicans slam brakes on net neutrality, but this wagon ain't slowing

Malcolm Boura

Strange how the republicans are so keen to censor the Internet when it is something that they disaprove of like body honesty and sex education but put such high value on freedom of expression when the principle can be hijacked to help their corporate sponsors.

Australia's PM says data retention laws think of the children

Malcolm Boura

I have assisted in a number of child pornography cases, both defence and police, in the UK. Communications data has not featured in any of them.

In the UK illegal photographs of children is very vague and includes far more than just pornography. That makes conviction easy and miscarriage of justice probable. I don't know the definition in Germany but it is almost certainly more sensible. Tony Abbott has forgotten that the objective is justice, not convictions. Justice is what really protects children.

This is yet another example of "think of the children" being shouted in the hope that all thought will stop.

'Revenge porn' law to arrive in spring – MoJ

Malcolm Boura

The Register, please read the relevant part of the Act and then correct the above article.

Facebook kills pic of Mohammed weeks after Zuck's Je suis Charlie!

Malcolm Boura

Facebook censorship is appalling and much wider than just what may be illegal. Consider the fight over breast feeding photographs. It was not until it started losing revenue that it did the right thing, and then only as little as they could get away with. Their prudery is causing harm, and it is chiłdren who bear the brunt of that harm. Despicable.

Malcolm Boura

Re: Facebook, mwah. BBC, huh ?

The BBC quite shamelessly self censors, despite the harm that it does, but much of it is invisible because they do not have the honesty to own up. They are systematically falsifying one aspect of history and anthropology, and unless you have expert knowledge there is no way to know that they are doing it. NB that is not just my opinion, I have correspondence from the BBC confirming that they are doing it.

GCHQ, police to team up to hunt down child abuse on the darknet

Malcolm Boura

Undemocratic

This is at least the second time that this bill has been used to bypass most of the checks and balances of the democratic system. It is extremely difficult to get legislation right, particularly when the issues are emotive, but there has been no consultation and it has been introduced at such a late stage in the parliamentary process that there will be little or no opportunity for anyone to even read it carefully, and certainly no time to suggest improvements. What could possibly go wrong?

Boffins 3D-print biomimetic shark skin

Malcolm Boura

The Olympics is supposed to be about who can swim fastest, not who can afford the best swimsuit. Nothing for it, ban swimsuits. Lots of other benefits as well as ensuring fair competition.

MPs blast HMRC for using anti-terrorism laws against whistleblower

Malcolm Boura

Re: Lawmakers and the law

If I had a pound for every time I have read "it is not our intention that" from the Home Office when proposed legislation does do exactly that then I would by now be very much richer.

Malcolm Boura

Re: Lawmakers and the law

That has been blatantly obvious from the proceedings over the Anti-social Behaviour Bill which recently became law. Absolutely no comprehension that if laws can be abused then they will be ahused. Combine that with the absurd notion that the High Court is an option for anybody other than those on legal aid and the super rich ant it is a recipe for injustice. Have they learnt nothing from the Andrew Mitchell affair and all the other abuses?

Licenses blocking third-party emergency warnings

Malcolm Boura

I cpuldn't give a damn if anybody makes money from it. Information saves lives, and if the government can't deliver it, and manifestly it can't, then let others do it.

Google to pay laughably minuscule fine over Wi-Fi slurp across US

Malcolm Boura

Fine in understandable units

States 7M$ is about 20 hours profits.

FCC 25k$ is about 5 minutes.

France 100kE is about 20 minutes.

5,000 UK pubs get free Wi-Fi... and they're not even all in London

Malcolm Boura

Filtering or censorship?

These "family friendly" filters are anything but. They are based on perceived popular prejudice, not objective evidence of harm and be benefit. They encourage attitudes that result in widespread and often serious harm, mainly to children and young people. It is censorship and it should be called censorship. Mary Whitehouse would be proud of them.

Snake-fondling blonde nude punts Polish coffins

Malcolm Boura

Censors

Has El Reg become a censor? Those pasties send completely the wrong message. Does El Reg support the body-attitudes that result in such appalling outcomes? It is social irresponsibility.

Bloke jailed for being unable to use BlackBerry Messenger freed

Malcolm Boura

Big society

I have almost completely stopped my voluntary work for youth organisations. The stress caused by the fear of allegations, and the frustration from not being able to do what is right, is too much. Kid walking home in torrential rain withou a coat on a dark night from the school I taught at. Give them a lift? You must be joking!

Child beside a country road bawling their eyes out? If it looks serious, 999, and ask if they are going to see to it or should I? If it doesn't look that serious then ignore it. That is probably an over- reaction but I would certainly think very, very carefully before offering assistance. If a parent turns up they are likely to blame you, they call the police, and you end up with a load of grief. That sort of thing does happen.

It is terrifying what knee jerk reactions to a comparatively small number of bad cases have done to society. Dave Cameron's Big Society is a very bad joke.

Facebook digs in over Jill Meagher page

Malcolm Boura

Two faced?

Facebook are more than willing to censor stuff they don't like despite the evidence of the harm that they cause, so why do they take exception to this request? Anyway, I thought that hate posts were against their TOS.

UK.gov's web filth block plan: Last chance to speak your brains

Malcolm Boura

Re: Green Cross Code (Why shouldn't kids be looking at porn?)

But it is not just the hard-core porn that they want to filter. By the definition used in the Perry report when polling how many children have seen pornography, a picture of a toddler waste deep in the sea with a caption indicating that they are not wearing a swim suit is pornography. A photo of the statue at the entrance to Hammersmith Underground Station is pornography. The Cranache poster on the underground is pornography. The National Trust, the BBC, Marine Conservation Society, nearly all newspapers, etc etc are all pornographers. It is fraud, pure and simple. http://www.bn.org.uk/campaigning/censorship.php

NASA funds sexy, stealthy, sideways supersonic flying wing

Malcolm Boura

Eccentric engines

Either the whole area with engines rotates or they rotate individually and one engine is mounted further forward/sideways than the other. I suspect that the latter is a lot more feasible. It makes the structural problems easier, it makes the plumbing and wiring easier, and it reduces the space requirements.

School worker jailed for abuse images

Malcolm Boura

Spin or facts

The report follows the usual identikit format. Is it one of these forms that the police (with some justification) get so annoyed by? A fill in the blanks press release?

Now consider what the report actually says rather than what it implies.

62,000 images and 1,585 videos of children. It does not say that they were pornographic. I have a large collection of press cuttings so it would not surprise me if I have a similar number of images of children. The BBC vastly more of both.

The offence includes far more than just pornography. It is likely that many of the images he was convicted for were not pornographic. Indeed (although unlikely) it is possible that none were. Many, perhaps most, family photo albums contain photographs of dubious legality.

From the information available we do not actually know that any of the images and videos were pornographic and we do not know how many were found to be illegal. The definition of the offence is vague and the exact nature of the offence committed is inherently secret. That is inherently dangerous.

Put down your pens: Cartoons next on censor block

Malcolm Boura

Present legislation is harmful

If you actually want to achieve something write to your MP. It can be surprisingly effective, especially if a lot of people do it. What is absolutely certain is that complaints and comments not made will be totally ignored.

Just to clarify one misconception. Photographs of children are not illegal because they are pornographic. They are illegal because a jury, or more likely one or two strong personalities on a jury, think that they offend against commonly accepted standards of propriety. The threshold for conviction is both incredibly vague and set so low that it encourage attitudes that are known to be harmful. It is not coincidence that the UK has the worst teenage pregnancy rates in Europe.

It is inherent in the nature of the offense that the public are not allowed to know what a person has actually been convicted of and that is a very dangerous situation. I have provided a statement to the police as an expert witness so I have seen some low level stuff that the police thought was illegal and I am absolutely convinced that the present law is harmful to children, harmful to families, harmful to adults and harmful to society in general.

Scotland Today in news nipslip outrage

Malcolm Boura

What a fuss about nothing

The comments betray a number of common misconceptions.

1. Children are completely oblivious to nudity, both their own and other peoples.

2. Most teenagers have been taught to be silly about nudity, both their own and other peoples.

The consequences of point 2 are predictable. The UK has the worst figures for teenage pregnancy, abortion and STIs of any country in Europe. Prudery is child abuse and no amount of misplaced moralistic hand wringing can change that simple fact.

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