* Posts by Marketing Hack

4350 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

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

Marketing Hack
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Facepalm

I'm really, really (really, really, really) hoping that this stymies forced software telemetry...

I'm fine with my software validating that it is properly paid for and valid. I'm fine with the option to send telemetry data that may be useful in bug fixes and customer support tickets. However, the idea that MS is storing sections of documents because they are being spellchecked is just nuts.

Look at your average couple page word-processed document. You probably spellcheck it in 5-10 places, maybe more. If those sections are being stored, then you have a significant security risk, because I could piece together a good deal of what a competitor is doing if you were to give me 20 or 30 sentences from said couple-page document.

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Windows XP? Pfff! Parts of the Royal Navy are running Win ME

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Windows

The Royal Navy--when we say "blue screen of death"...

We mean it!!

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Dell upping its margins again: Precision 5530 laptop will sting you for $13m. Yep, six zeroes

Marketing Hack
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If you don't like those prices El Reg...

I'll sell you however many you need for a measly $5 million each. I'm giving them away!! My prices are so low that people think I'm crazy!!!

(At least I believe that my bargain-basement largesse is why people think I'm crazy.)

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Lucky, lucky, Westminster residents: Who better to look after your housing benefits than Capita?

Marketing Hack
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Mushroom

Re: Fewer Things Better

You'll notice that "better" is a highly subjective term. Technically, if you were on The Hindenburg when it blew up your chances were "better" than if you were on the Titanic's maiden voyage. That doesn't mean that you still weren't in for a horrific, painful, traumatizing experience.

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European Union divided over tax on digital tech giants as some member states refuse free money

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Holmes

How about fixing the existing tax code to cover this??

I don't want to add a tax to large companies that are not or barely profitable. So how about fixing the existing tax laws to get rid of shady tax strategies such as the "Double Dutch Debit", the "Irish Shower", "Lax in Lux(embourg)" and "Nobody ever goes to Jersey, but somehow our multi-billion dollar company is headquartered there"??

If nothing else, pass an EU wide corporate income tax for specific types of companies that are problematic, so that wherever you operate in the EU these companies pay the same tax. Then we can have companies locate their HQs based on the quality of the local workforce and the local infrastructure and culture.

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Icahn't let you do this: Stock botherer fires off sueball to scupper Dell's 'coercive' deal

Marketing Hack
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I'm actually with Carl on this one

Carl Icahn is never going to win any humanitarian of the year awards, but I think that in this case the DMVT share owners should get proper financial information so that they can value their shares and confirm whether or not Dell's proposed price is reasonable.

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Now Europe wants a four-million-quid AI-powered lie detector at border checkpoints

Marketing Hack
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Facepalm

Well, if flagged travelers didn't have EU-related mayhem in mind before their selection

They probably will after getting strip-searched by the EU border rubber glove brigade!

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Swedes grumbling about Apple Store in their park are lucky – in Toronto, Google eats all your data

Marketing Hack
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Big Brother

I have seen the future....

And its your Google urban smarthome charging another box of laxatives to your Google Pay account every time you have to strain on the toilet.

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Devil

Apple has responded to criticism....inviting people to think of an Apple Store as a "public square"

Yes, a public square. The people who want to be able to replace the motherboard on their laptos are in the stocks over there. And tomorrow we will be beheading a guy who cracked his iPhone X.

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Need electric propulsion for your satellite? Want a 'made in Britain' sticker? Step right this way...

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Alien

Don't be too hard on British space industry's lack of creativity, El Reg...

What with Scotty off on the 51st or 52nd year of his 5-year mission, it's like asking for the Renaissance to start without Leonardo de Vinco or Michaelangelo.

But once Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott is back in town, he'll just reverse the polarity on this-or-that and come up with a simple analogy to make his technical wizardry understandable to us cretins, and we'll have warp drive online before you can say "Aye, Capt'n"!

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Supreme Court raises eyebrows at Google's cozy $8.5m legal deal

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Headmaster

You should get off the soapbox, El Reg....

"Brett Kavanaugh – who has been credibly accused of sexual assault"

He wasn't "credibly accused"--he was accused by someone who could not provide a place, time or corraborating witnesses of the alledged attack. Now, I am not saying something did not happen, it might have. However, there is ZERO evidence to support the charge, and I am not in favor of suspending assumption of innocence or bringing back "She's a witch! Burn her!!"-style criminal justice.

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Unsure why you can't log into Office 365? So is Microsoft

Marketing Hack
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Windows

So the 365 in Office 365 means...

The number of hours between submission and resolution of your tech support ticket??

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Watch closely as NASA deploys the world's biggest parachute at supersonic speeds

Marketing Hack
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Paris Hilton

They could have chosen a better backronym

Parachute

Attitude

Research

Impact

Stoppage

(Just throwin' that out there)

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McAfee says cloud security not as bad as we feared… it's much worse

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Re: You can solve all these issues by....

Getting people to buy more (preferably McAfee) security is of course the goal of this survey. "Cloud is dangerous! If only you had us by your side (for a very reasonable fee, of course), you would be so much safer!!" is a fair method of promoting McAfee's offerings.

And yes, I can definitely see how poorly secured cloud instances can get out of control in the era of "I'm just going expense this at the end of the month. I'm already an Amazon Prime member, so I can totally get us a great deal on a few AWS instances, plus I get boucoup points using this credit card!"

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Devil

Re: So who's buying all these unsecured cloud instances?

At that point, I grab the guy next to me on the tracks and sacrifice him to the dark gods of management, but then I may be crap co-worker...

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So who's buying all these unsecured cloud instances?

Just to set the stage, I'm a business user, not a techie. So I understand not wanting to wait on IT for some things that you can get through the cloud within your own business unit budget. However, I also understand the value of business and customer data.

Who is buying all these instances? I don't know if BU people would buy lots of IAAS instances themselves, that is a little too technical for most BU users I know. Buying cloud storage maybe, but not really server time. Are there members of the IT team that are buying IAAS instances because they are cutting corners on provisioning services, without taking proper security and change management into account? Are coders buying these instances on their own, for Q/A and test & dev, also without properly securing their instances?

Also, I find this bit about the average company having 1900 IAAS instances to be a bit fishy. Does a Dropbox account count as an instance? And define "average company". Is that the average publicly listed company? The average company that buys enterprise firewalls, log analysis or managed firewall/network security from McAfee and therefore provide data that McAfee uses to make these reports? Because companies that buy those bells and whistles are not "average" in any real sense of the word.

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Britain's rail ticket-booking systems go TITSUP*

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"Vulture's efforts to procure tickets to Birmingham online....all failed"

Yes, but we are talking about traveling to Birmingham here, so perhaps these offline systems are doing you a favor :)

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Microsoft to staff: We remain locked and loaded with US military – and will keep adding voice to AI ethics debate

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Windows

FTFY?

"we believe in the strong defence of the United States and we want the people who defend it to have access to the nation’s best technology, including from Microsoft,”

I think that bit after "nation's best technology" should read "and also stuff from Microsoft"

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The 'roid in Spain drills mainly on the plain: Plucky Brit Mars robot laps up sun, sand and, er, simulated science

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Alien

Re: Make Mars Great Again!

So that's why the Mysterons were asking for my credit card data? They said they wanted to get humans to pay for something-or-other.

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Official: IBM to gobble Red Hat for $34bn – yes, the enterprise Linux biz

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How do you say "Red Hat" in Hindi??

You're going to be hearing that phrase a lot in the next couple years, as IBM moves huge chunks of RH's support and development teams to India or Bangladesh.

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Our brave El Reg vulture sat through four days of Oracle OpenWorld to write this cracking summary just for you

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IT Angle

I give them credit for trying to differentiate on security.

But I am not sure I see a real strategic vision here. It sounds to me like they are basing their strategy on what they have (applications, legacy on-prem customers, systems) rather than developing a strategy and then creating/buying the stuff they need to execute it.

And Oracle burned a number of bridges from back in the days when they were basically it for 80% of database applications and one of two choices for ERP/backoffice (Oracle or SAP--talk about "damned if you do, damned if you don't"), and put the screws to customers with their expensive and rather domineering license business.

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Should a robo-car run over a kid or a grandad? Healthy or ill person? Let's get millions of folks to decide for AI...

Marketing Hack
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Devil

We're going about this moral question the wrong way....

Perhaps we should be "white-listing" people who deserve to be hit. I'm sure we can all come up with some contributions to that list!

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US congress-critters question prime directive of Pentagon's $10bn JEDI cloud contract

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Mushroom

Hey, if you are going to name a $10 billion project JEDI...

Then obviously to maintain narrative consistency, you have to single-source it and include a catastrophic single point of failure. Something like an un-shielded server heat exhaust port out of the data center. That way a teen-ager can take out the whole server farm by throwing a pipe bomb in the vent!

(Seriously guys, am I the only one who actually watched these movies?!?)

/sarcasm off

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Cops called after pair enter Canadian home and give it a good clean

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The only thing that could make this story more Canadian...

Is if the cleaners profusely apologized to the homeowner for coming on his property and cleaning his house.

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Happy 60th birthday, video games. Thank William Higinbotham for your misspent evenings

Marketing Hack
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Alien

Re: Would he have bothered?

If he had reservations about shark-jumping in the genre he created, I am sure it would have happened way back when with "E.T.: The Video Game"

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Brit smart meter biz blamed Apple's iPhone 7 launch for its late taxes

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I prefer the old days...

When you could just say that "My dog ate it."

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London flatmate (Julian Assange) sues landlord (government of Ecuador) in human rights spat

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WTF?

In guess Julian wants to double down on his reputation for being self-indulgent

You're supposedly afraid that if you get expelled from your current embassy nesting place, you will be extradited to the U.S. and spend the rest of your life in Club Fed. So what do you do? Naturally you sue the country who's government is sheltering you.

Yes, some of the particulars of Ecuador's rules about visitors needing to give mobile device codes and such are a bit much, but to the point that you would really feel this intolerable and you have to sue them?

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UK defence secretary ponders £50m hit to terminate Capita recruiting contract

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Mushroom

Ah, Capita. The gift that just keeps on giving...

"The gang that couldn't shoot straight" is placed in charge of mission-critical recruitment systems for, of all things, the British Army.

Ironic.

(Icon is artists concept of results of Capita taking over a gas station.)

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Tech hub blames tech: San Francisco fingers Uber, Lyft rides for its growing traffic headache

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Just using Uber and Lyft as whipping boys

I'm not a fan of Uber's corporate behavior, but this is unfair. All these "TNC" trips would still be happening if the TNCs didn't exist. Except now, they would be in private cars or taxis.

The issue is crowding in San Francisco. Business is growing, some residential development is happening, tourists are still in town, and all these people need to get where they are going.

And I don't agree with the idea that mass transportation in San Francisco is that bad. Some parts, like the Portal tunnel are a bit of a problem, but there are lots of bus routes and they mostly go where people live and work.

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Virgin Media? More like Virgin Meltdown: Brit broadband ISP falls over amid power drama

Marketing Hack
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Coat

So Virgin's internet service is TITSUP?

Total

Inability

To

See

Usual

Porn

?

(Mine's the leather catsuit with ball ga......Well, never mind which one is mine.)

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Leaked memo: No internet until you clean your bathroom, Ecuador told Julian Assange

Marketing Hack
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Is Julian's cat leaving little "presents" on the carpet in the Ecuadorian embassy?

And what happens to Mittens if Julian is thrown in a British pokey??

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RIP Paul Allen: Microsoft cofounder billionaire dies at 65 after facing third bout with cancer

Marketing Hack
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He didn't die...

He was uploaded to the Microsoft Cloud!! RIP

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Alexa heard what you did last summer – and she knows what that was, too: AI recognizes activities from sound

Marketing Hack
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Big Brother

Alexa, you perv....

"On Tuesday, August 24th, I logged Mr. and Mrs. Marketing Hack having marital relations. Based on the excited chipmunk sounds Mrs. Hack made during this encounter, I sent a recommendation to our ad servers that in the future she be served with the commensurate battery of online pet store advertising."

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Mobe networks battle to bring comms back after Hurricane Michael smashes US Gulf Coast

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WTF?

You'd think the Air Force would move the $150 million apiece fighters out of the storm's path

They knew the storm was coming. Just move the fighters to another airbase within a few hundred miles, and fly them back once the storm has passed. I realize these planes have lots of complex logistical requirements, but you aren't going to be flying missions in these planes from their home base in the middle of the storm, so you might as well have them sitting on the tarmac at a base where they can't be damaged by the storm. Nor can you fly missions right after the storm has passed if the planes at the home base have been damaged, so its not like you can argue that "We needed to keep the planes at home so we could resume operations immediately after the storm had passed."

Fly them to Homestead or some other nearby air base when the winds start picking up at their home base, have the pilots hang out at the officers club at whatever base they are staging at, and fly them back once the weather clears up and the home base can handle landings again.

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The march of Amazon Business has resellers quaking in their booties

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Alien

So I guess WALL-E was a documentary?

If you notice that Amazon is changing it's name to Buy-n-Large, then it's time to get off this rock :)

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It is 2018 and the NHS is still counting the cost of WannaCry. Carry the 2, + aftermath... um... £92m

Marketing Hack
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Well, the good news for the NHS is...

That it is pretty much the only game in town in the UK, unless you are at least upper middle class.

So I guess they didn't lose many patients over the Wannacry debacle.

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GDPR stands for Google Doing Positively, Regardless. Webpage trackers down in Europe – except Big G's

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Google is headed for a Republican beatdown

The company and its employees are no friends of the Republican party, so now you have political appointees from the purportedly free-market party saying whatever they have to in justifying more scrutiny and perhaps enforcement action against Google. And why not? It's not like Google is going to do the Trump administration or congressional republicans any favors, regardless of what the republicans do.

The only thing that will save Google from a regulatory colonoscopy is if the Dems take the house and senate in the upcoming mid-term elections.

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On the first day of Christmas my true love gave me tea... pigs-in-blankets-flavoured tea

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Alien

"Tea. Pigs-in-a-blanket flavored. Hot."

I doubt Jean-Luc would approve...

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US may have by far the world's biggest military budget but it's not showing in security

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Flame

"instructing them to insert two quarters to continue operating.”

Damned inflation. I remember when one quarter was plenty, or even buying 5 tokens for $1.

(Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to go back to playing Defender on my Atari 2600.)

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Pentagon's JEDI mind tricks at odds with our 'values' says Google: Ad giant evaporates from $10bn cloud contract bid

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Re: The bad news...

Which is part of the reason why these companies would cost more than Amazon/Google/Microsoft. They have the certifications and the relationships with the DoD, but they would have to reinvent a good chunk of the wheel that traditional commercial cloud computing providers already have.

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Marketing Hack
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The bad news...

Is that this increases the the chance that this contract will end up with some beltway bandit defense contractor, like the system integrator arms of Northrup or General Dynamics. That will most likely drive the costs up significantly. However, I don't think that the DoD would want to rely on Google anyway, given that it has a large insurgent group of employees who are hesitant to deliver JEDI per the DoD's requirements.

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Super Micro China super spy chip super scandal: US Homeland Security, UK spies back Amazon, Apple denials

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Black Helicopters

The only problem is the national security angle

Yes, if these companies were lying about not having found or been impacted by the alledged backdoored hardware, then you could expect an investor lawsuit.

However, you could also see the Feds moving in during such a suit and filing motions to suppress the relevant evidence on national security grounds. I've never heard of this being done during an investor class action, but it certainly is done during other civil actions (Recent suits to gain access to FISA court rulings and to divulge national security letters being served to various parties, for example), and in those cases these motions are most often accepted.

Its sad that in this day and age we have o worry so much about who is lying to us. However, these major tech companies created these problems for themselves, when they failed to stand up to federal orders in the past.

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Decoding the Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip super-scandal: What do we know – and who is telling the truth?

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Sad to say, but this story is probably true...

1) Everyone knows that China loves to acquire/steal/copy other countries intellectual property. They aren't the only ones who do this, but I think I am safe in assuming that most Regenistas would agree that they at least have the public reputation of being the worst actor in this area. There is a reason why if I were to use the phrase "Chinese knock-off" when talking about a product, pretty much every Regenista would pretty much know what I was saying

2) Like every sigint/intel community, the Chinese want to know what target governments/militaries/companies/organizations are doing.

3) Unlike most sigint/intel community members, the Chinese have a very large portion, and perhaps most of the sub-assembly and component supply chain in their own country.

4) The Chinese government is very authoritarian, and will openly throw up regulatory/legal/political roadblocks against companies that don't do what the government wants. I've seen this first-hand, and of course there are barge-loads of news stories about this.

5) The Chinese culture also has a higher-than-normal tolerance for bribery.

6) Thanks (once again!) to Edward Snowden, we know that both the U.S. and British intelligence communities have the capability, operational authorization and much past experience with intercepting and backdooring electronics shipments when they are in the supply chain. It is pretty much certain that the other members of the 5 Eyes agreement either have this capability in-house, or they subcontract this kind of work through relevant requests to their U.S. and British partners.

7) Given their reputation for corporate and governmental espionage, I would assume that at the very least France and Russia also have and use these capabilities in-house.

So why wouldn't huge, powerful and increasingly global China do this? It's not like China is morally like a giant version of Sweden or Switzerland. They have no compunctions about being very tough and aggressive versus potential regime opponents, ethnic and religious minorities, journalists and whistle-blowers, companies that want to invest in or export to China, neighboring countries that are not overt allies, etc.

So given that China and others are almost certainly doing this, then I guess the real issue is what do IT and tech professionals do about it? One, make sure that you have elaborate network monitoring, data and firewalls if you are dealing with strategically valuable or sensitive commercial or government information. Your average small/mid-sized business can get away with basic antivirus and email filtering, but once you are dealing with data where you can look at it and objectively say "I could see how country X would like to get this info to give an advantage to their government or corporate sectors.", then you should probably start pressing your management to get very serious about network security.

Two, give as little cover as possible to national security/intel agencies that try to get involved in standards-setting. Assume that they do not want secure IT for anyone but themselves. In fact, truly secure IT would tend to dramatically reduce their usefulness to political and strategic decision-makers, and therefore negatively impact the future of those agencies and the careers of their employees.

Three, if you are dealing with the kind of valuable information that I discussed above, and you have the resources to really audit and inspect your hardware, do that.

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The fur is not gonna fly: Uncle Sam charges seven Russians with Fancy Bear hack sprees

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Re: Distraction has made its masterpiece

@AC

Can't be, otherwise we would have heard about it...SQUIRREL!!!

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Screwed SAP salesman scores $660,000 jury award

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Headmaster

Re: Hard to know what to think here...

Payment upon revrec is common, especially when selling longer-term contracts with periodic payments. The alternative is payment upon booking, but if your client goes into delinquency for some reason, then the employer has to "claw back" the compensation already paid for revenue not received.

(And I haven't really used SAP products for 8 years now, but my experience back then was rather miserable.)

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Civil rights group Liberty walks out on British cops' database consultation

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IT Angle

The good news is that HM government has hired Capita to design, build and run the database

"...and as in the past, another threat to freedom in the British Isles was defeated. This time with the fortuitous aid of soul-crushing incompetence."

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US JEDI military cloud network is so high-tech, bidders will have to submit their proposals by hand, on DVD

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IT Angle

Government contracting....

What you are buying may change with the advance of technology, but the form you receive it in is set by law, and the law seldom changes.

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Curiosity's computer silent on science, baffling boffins

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Go

Curiousity is obviously having a mid-life crisis...

After lonely years of crisscrossing the Martian surface gathering science, it realizes it was happiest back when it was an adolescent in a Def Leppard cover band.

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Adobe forks out $4.75bn for Marketo in massive marketing mashup move

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Happy

I'm not sure I see the business synergies between Adobe and Marketo....

However, I am sure that price made Marketo investors very happy.

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Big Cable tells US government: Now's not the time to talk about internet speeds – just give us the money

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Unhappy

Sad, and nobody is going to do anything about it...

Our choices on this issue is one party who is the submissive loveslave of big cable and telecoms firms, and the other party that swims wherever Google/Facebook/Apple decide to spit. It doesn't even matter if I name the parties, they are functionally interchangeable, except that they are beholden to different corporate masters.

It would be really nice if one party could realize that both telecoms and Silicon Valley need some vigilant oversight.

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