* Posts by John Smith 19

13614 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Wanna exorcise Intel's secretive hidden CPU from your hardware? Meet Purism's laptops

John Smith 19
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Open message to Intel. Security by obscurity does not work. C'n'P chip design is bad too.

This laptop looks like the best that can be done about an idea that might have been done with good intentions but whose implementation has been a complete clusterf**k.

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Canadian govt snoops emit their own malware detection tool, eh

John Smith 19
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Canada. What all North America could be like..

Without a huge herd of drug addled gun toting trigger happy loons living down South..*

*The US definition of "mass shooting" is "more than 5 people involved." So far the US has had 326 mass shootings this year. I think the US will do something about this quite soon.

They will probably raise the number of people you have to shoot to qualify.

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John Smith 19
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"automatically recognizes the various file formats.. and triggers the analysis of each file.”

Errm.

Should that not read "reads file name and checks claimed file type against internal evidence" to start with?

Otherwise it seems a tad trusting.

Cautious thumbs up, provided a)It's available in source code b) No hidden functionality in library "black boxes" and c) 3rd party libraries sent with it can be swapped out with own (or freshly downloaded) copies of them (and compared with them).

Sorry to sound paranoid Canada, but y'know, signals intelligence agencies have a bit of a reputation.

Nothing personal. It's just people don't trust them. :-(

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National Audit Office: We'll be in a world of pain with '90s border tech post-Brexit

John Smith 19
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But, but, but

<gollum>

We wants it.

We needs it

We must have hard Brexit.

</gollum>

I think the UK has found it's next Foreign Secretary following the reshuffle.

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John Smith 19
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"It's going to be a total failure."

Correct.

Aside from the 70's era ICL mainframe CHIEF system and it's almost unknown 4GL (how tough can that be?) the big joker in this pack will be the fabled border-without-checkpoints that will be the Republic/NI EU/UK border.

Apparently it will use "technology" to stop any unauthorized crossings without needing people to be stopped.

I have no idea how this can be made to work.

Unfortunately I don't think the UKG has either (certainly not by March 2018).

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We talk to Tron artist Syd Mead: On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy

John Smith 19
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"was invented at Sanders Associates "

Didn't they do a lot of deeply classified DoD stuff? Radar, ECM, Elint?

Not surprised they are got taken over by BAe.

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John Smith 19
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"My recollection is that they were using first generation Cray computers to do the work. "

Actually TRON predates that.

OTOH "The Last Starfighter" was essentially done on a Cray 1, at a phenomenal (for the time) 1/24 of real time.

Which saved the film makers a ton of cash.

A magazine article of the time said basically all the systems for Tron were (more or less) bespoke (or heavily moded) number crunchers.

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Pixel 2 tinkerers force Google's hand: Secret custom silicon found

John Smith 19
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Custom silicon of unknown purpose, made by Google. Hmm. 3 little words.

Intel Management Engine.

And 3 more

F**k right off.*

*Today it's Google brand phones. Tomorrow....

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Do fear the Reaper: Huge army of webcams, routers raised from 'one million' hacked orgs

John Smith 19
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Code monkeys X don't-give-a-f**k PHBs X time to market --> IoT

It's not that this s**t is so insecure.

It's that it's so easy to make it significantly more secure (EG change the standard install build, remove default passwords etc).

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Plants in SPAAAAAAACE are good for you

John Smith 19
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There's got to be a lot more of this if humans want to live on other planets.

And it's well past time this research was started.

Face it. The human race is not going to spread across the universe on an endless supply of MRE's*

Officially "Meal, Ready to Eat," unofficially "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians." Not exactly a promising sign of quality Cuisine.

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The case of the disappearing insect. Boffin tells Reg: We don't know why... but we must act

John Smith 19
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"Now, if GM could develop some pest-resistant crops, that would serve much better"

Funny you should say that....

There are really 2 use cases for GM.

1) Monster agribusiness (whatever Monsanto are calling themselves these days, but also people like Bayer and a fair few other chems companies who happen to be located in Germany) wanting to lock farmers into their seeds, but with their seeds "Special Sauce" (C Andrew Orlwski), usually higher yield (if you use their brand of insecticide/fungicide/herbicide/anythingelse-cide).

2) The kind done in what are basically the "National Laboratories" of various third world and Far East countries to hard wire infection resistance, insect resistance and improved nutrition into the crops themselves (while preserving their fertility).

One is aimed at improving the lot of the farmers in those countries, the other improving the dividend to the companies shareholders.

Same techniques, rather different goals, and rather different outcomes.

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BlackBerry Motion lurches into UK stores

John Smith 19
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"removing Facebook extends battery life, just as removing a tapeworm..people require less food."

My point exactly.

But my suspicion is people will go with the phone with the pre installed data slurping, battery draining app because they simply cannnnn't live without it.

But then I'm just not one of those people who feels the need to post a status change from "sitting at my desk" to "taking a dump" while it reports my location location every second

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John Smith 19
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Let me suggest "Exciting" is not something you want in a phone?

How about

Long battery life

Good call quality

Reasonably dust and fluid resistant

Not to heavy.

Standard headphone jack.

Just a thought. No doub most people will prefer the umpteen megapixel camera and the permanent FB connection instead.

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NYC cops say they can't reveal figures on cash seized from people – the database is too shoddy

John Smith 19
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" toss the whole rotten law, but I feel a favorable outcome is far from guaranteed."

Not a new observation.

Remember folks most people don't want to govern others.

So it's a question of who do you get to do it to you?

Unless you're prepared to carry out Plan B

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John Smith 19
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Re: How seizure laws ever stood -- -- the test of constitutionality is beyond me.

Easy.

They just invoked the "Four Horseman." * and y'know, public outrage did the rest.

Naturally with the implied (but not actually stated) "promise" that "We'll only do it to bad people."

But hey, in times of budget cuts how you gonna keep the doughnuts supply coming?

*Drug dealers, money launders, paedophiles and terrorists

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Japan finds long, deep tunnel on the Moon

John Smith 19
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Go

it's a 50*kilometre* tunnel.

And it's under 10s of metres of rock.

So a) Living room should not be a problem and b) Radiation protection should be more than adequate away from the entrance (which I'm guessing could be quite big as well).

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Red (Planet) alert: Future astro-heroes face shocking adventures on Martian moon Phobos

John Smith 19
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Joke

"But like my man Fiddy said..."

"Get settled or die trying."

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John Smith 19
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Guessing it's worse than a spark off a nylon carpet on a dry day.

By quite a lot.

AIUI all the Apollo expeditions were during the 2 week lunar day, hence no chance to observe "charge separation" in action.

It sounds spectacular.

But not in a good way.

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Facebook tackles race hate problem head on with programming tool

John Smith 19
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"shifted their focus to proving the opposite –..data races under specific circumstances."

A nice demonstration of the "Other way around" principle. Nice work.

As for

"but this kind of concurrency problem has been sidestepped altogether decades ago"

I might agree.

But how many people use "Erlang, Rust, Go, Scala." ?

And which ones will still have a developer pool you can actually recruit from in a decade?

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ARM chip OG Steve Furber: Turing missed the mark on human intelligence

John Smith 19
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Spikes and timing. This was worked on by Carver Mead's team in 1989

But it seems no one has taken this work any further

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Review: Magic Leap and Fantasy Funding Fiasco

John Smith 19
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WTF?

Wow. Such epic BS.

And remember supposedly competent investors have p**sed away > $1Bn (probably not theirs of course) on this bu***hit.

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Mohawks fling patent infringement sueball at Microsoft and Amazon

John Smith 19
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Trollface

Red man speak with forked tongue. *

Remember MS's bankrolling that decades long Linux troll suite?

*Yeah, not in the least PC I know.

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Yes, British F-35 engines must be sent to Turkey for overhaul

John Smith 19
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"Must listen to Captain Lockheed again"

I have not heard of this item before.

Intriguing.

The Register. Come for the IT, stay for the album recs.

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John Smith 19
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"The Starfighter to Germany, "

Made by the predecessor to LM, mfg of the F35

In fact LM (and it's predecessors) has something of a record where (whoever won the contract) they ended up building the aircraft that flew (starting with the F104 and the SR71).

Funny how that's worked, is it not?

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John Smith 19
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"Oddly it seems the Take Back Control brigade are the ones most in favour of that."

Funny how that works, is it not?

This is another example of how "The Special Relationship"* works

*(C Rabid Xenophobia Publications T/A The Daily Heil)

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John Smith 19
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"With the F-35 I'd imagine the flight control system masks any issues from the pilot."

Except the reports seem to be saying the handling turns to s**t around this range.

Which for what is a 4th (or 5th) Generation supersonic vehicle does not sound good.

Let me guess the RAF advice will be "don't get into situations where you fly at prolonged periods at transonic speeds "

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John Smith 19
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"But probably not for much longer."

Ho ho ho.

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John Smith 19
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Re: Turkey is a NATO country. But probably not for much longer.

Texit?

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EU: No encryption backdoors but, eh, let's help each other crack that crypto, oui? Ja?

John Smith 19
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WTF?

f**k me sideways. "EU Commisioner accepts backdoors weaken everybodies security"

Shock horror.

I'll leave aside how long it's taken the EU to accept this fact and note that IRL Euro plods have always had multiple ways to compromise crim comms (at different levels) provided they had actual evidence of a crime being committed.

Actual secure comms within a criminal group is very difficult if you're

a)Involved in large scale crime

b)The authorities are aware you are involved in large scale crime.

Once that happens using cheap PAYG phones won't cut it.

Don't expect any change from the data fetishists of the centre for most evil in government UK Home Office any time soon, who will continue not to give a f**k about privacy or (personal) security.

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The Google Home Mini: Great, right up until you want to smash it in fury

John Smith 19
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"According to a presentation from Amazon I attended, the Echo does process the trigger word locally

using a cyclic 20 second buffer "

Well that does sound reassuring.

Except that Googles implementation sometimes doesn't quite match their stated goals.

Remember the driverless cars and their ability to collect WiFi network IDs as well?

They didn't happen to mention how long the raw voice data is retained for, did they? Or how long it keeps recording before it cuts off, deciding you are no longer talking to it?

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John Smith 19
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"You guys should maybe stop doing things like voting for Brexit."

but

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WPA2 security in trouble as KRACK Belgian boffins tease key reinstallation bug

John Smith 19
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" Fucking nonces."

Probably best not to.

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DNA as storage? Old and boring. Boffins now chaining monomers

John Smith 19
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"worth pointing out,,RAM, from magnetic core days onwards..generally had destructive reads"

Although IIRC most core systems did not.

Personally I see this for archival purposes, hence like tape or backup disk, not real time updates or live DB storage.

That said if you wanted to make multiple copies of really large chunks of the entire human knowledge base you're going to need something very compact.

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John Smith 19
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A final point on storage systems.

At the molecular level light is huge 100s of nm, when the molecules are a few nm, or 10s of nm at most.

That is part of what makes the readout problem so tricky. Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy might get the job done.

There have been various projects to build miniature mass spectrometers but again, they all destroy the input medium by definition.

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John Smith 19
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"To succeed there, you need flashy publications. "

Indeed.

Thus does Science embrace celebrity culture and "superstar" researchers with a talent for very positive PR--> raises lots of cash --> gets more PR.

Anyone remember the much publicized MIT "Micro Engines" project and it's "Micro rocket" engine sub-project?

No? I'm not surprised.

Targeted at a rocket engine the size of an SD card with a planned T/W ratio of 1000:1.

Completely failed to deliver the pumps to do so.

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John Smith 19
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IT Angle

"chemically interesting but digitally useless."

Which (since El Reg is about IT) is kind of the point.

Technically it's sort of a block co-polymer (different side chains).

But yes the MS size relative to the polymer is enormous and I very strongly doubt it can do that analysis off 1 copy of the chain only. And of course it's a destructive read out process, and mfg is probably using a mod'ed version of the Merrifield protein synthesis method. Not exactly compact either.

Basically all these "chemistry/biology + storage --> super duper new storage medium" suffer from the same problem. Good (possibly very good) science but p**s poor engineering. :-(

Hints.

It's only useful if the read/write package is even close to the same size, cost and speed of existing systems to the end user, and microSD is pretty small.

Non destructive read out is a good thing.

No chemical reagents needed is a good thing.

Basic physical structure unaltered by the "drive."

But engineering a "tape" (for example)a few atoms wide and a "write head" that can change the side groups on it as it moves (literally 1 bit being a few atoms) and a drive that can position the tape to that accuracy are very formidable multi-disciplinary tasks.

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Ex-TalkTalk chief grilled by MPs on suitability to chair NHS Improvement

John Smith 19
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FITTYHS? Failed in Tech, Try Your Health Service.

Hmm.

Definitely better, but not quite there yet. If only you had a vowel or two after the Y.

I'm convinced there is a term that will perfectly sum up the PHB who's f**ked up publicly and jumped ship into a cushy little number in some part of the public sector.

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Hackers can track, spoof locations and listen in on kids' smartwatches

John Smith 19
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Helping you keep an eye on your kids when you're not around.

And by the sound of things the whole f**king internet can watch them as well. *

I wonder if they are playing the VTech game of T&C that tell you all data sent at owners risk to their privacy etc etc.

*So handy for the organized nonce planning their "cruising schedule" for them and their van.

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John Smith 19
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"here is no financial incentive for any firm to implement IoT security : "

Actually there is.

Because if enough people are aware just how unsafe any of this s**t is they will stop buying all of it.

The smart move is not to trust any of it.

When mfg start going out of business the smarter one might decide that perhaps some of there code monkeys should start doing something about this.

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'Cyber kangaroo' ratings for IoT security? Jump to it, says Australia's cyber security minister

John Smith 19
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Jeez, nearly a page in and no one has pointed out that a self policed standard is.....

A reverse kangaroo court.

Just popping on the bush jacket to get some tucker.

G'day.

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Look, look, we've done a driverless AI hype paper thingy, says Mobileye

John Smith 19
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Holmes

"the hype cycle..robots being able to run the world for humanity.collapsed in the 1980s "

And they are afraid the same could happen again?

As they should be. Results talk and bu***hit walks.

But speaking personally as some who's vested interest in this tech is precisely zero.

"Do I look like I'm giving a f**k? Do I look like I'm going to give a f**k if your wannabe future business goes down the sh**ter of history before it starts?"

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Elon Musk says Harry Potter and Bob the Builder will get SpaceX flying to Mars

John Smith 19
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"I'd say that the Moon is harder to colonise because of the regolith/dust. That stuff is awful."

Mars dust is not much (if any) better. It's got superoxides (like scouring powder), is pretty fine so an inhalation hazard and potentially as dangerous as Asbestos.

Keeping dust out of the settlement, and neutralizing it's effects of it when it does get in, is going to be a fairly important task.

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John Smith 19
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It's there. That's all the motivation humans used to need to go somewhere

Of course they could either build their own transport or walk "there" wherever it happened to be.

And expedition <> settlement.

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Brit spooks 'kept oversight bodies in the dark' over data sharing

John Smith 19
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Gimp

Remember, to a data fetishist it's *all* "targetted data,"

Where the definition of "target" is anyone who lives in the UK.

They might call it a policy.

I'd call it a personality disorder.

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John Smith 19
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"how the hell do they search it efficiently? "

A very good question.

"Free text searching" is (technically) what Google does.

Various obvious tactics are to build dictionaries of common words and phrases and build a DB of who uses them (something dating back to the NSA's speech work in the 1970's). Likewise tracking "likes" and downvotes on different sites. So using a not entirely random example "how many times did Ahmed and Abdul use the word jihad since the 7/7/5 attacks"

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John Smith 19
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Gimp

How is this "oversight" If the only way you knonw what they are doing is what they tell you?

Even log in credentials can stop users seeing either all of the structure of a data base or limit them to seeing a very small part of a much larger design.

We all know that the structure of the data is just as important as size of the database, especially the cross referencing of data sets within the DB and across multiple DBs.

Let's see how well this Commissioner responds to the fact they seem to be being played by the snoops.

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Europol cops lean on phone networks, ISPs to dump CGNAT walls that 'hide' cyber-crooks

John Smith 19
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Gimp

" a serious online capability gap in law enforcement " What he really means....

"I want an evidence free way to go on fishing trips, rather than have to develop suspicion, conduct an investigation and get a warrant so I can approach the ISP formally."

Shocking news. Police work is (and should only ever be) easy in a police state.

I'm quite sure there are ex members of the STASI who are thinking "Himmel. If we had this sort of tech in the GDR we'd still have a GDR"

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Combinations? Permutations? Those words don't mean what you think they mean

John Smith 19
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actually are true combination locks, can press the buttons..in any order

So are the "key safes" used for emergency access to peoples properties with dementia.

They many know the numbers, they just can't recall the order.

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