* Posts by Smooth Newt

691 posts • joined 6 Jul 2009

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'I feel violated': Engineer who pointed out traffic signals flaw fined for 'unlicensed engineering'

Smooth Newt
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Re: Self description

Reading the court order it seems that he was prosecuted fir describing himself as an engineer. If he had written exactly the same email with the same work but described himself as a mathematician there would be no case.

No, he was also being fined for doing the maths without a licence. The Order confirming the fine says things like:

"Jarlstrom applied special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such creative work as investigation, evaluation, and design in connection with public equipment, processes, and works. Jarlstrom thereby engaged in the practice of engineering under ORS 672.005(1)(b). By doing so through the use of algorithms for the operation of traffic control systems, and through the use of the science of analysis, review, and application of traffic data systems to advise members of the public on the treatment of the functional characteristics of traffic signal timing, Jarlstrom engaged, specifically, in traffic engineering under OAR 820-040-0030(1 )(b) and (2)."

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Smooth Newt
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Blue flashing lights

Part of the problem there are the modern discharge tube or LED strobe lights. With the old rotating mirror lights, it was easy to see on the photo if the lamp was on and hence the vehicle was exempt* from the normal rules. With the strobe or LED lights, what they were finding is that there's nothing to show during the "off" periods which are considerably longer than the "on" periods. Round this way, I;ve notticed that the ambulances now have static blue LEDs on their rear number plate lights - which means there's an indication on the photos that they are on a blue lights call.

I think I would characterise the problem as "not buying equipment that is fit for purpose". If a speed camera is unable to produce an image which shows the blue flashing lights of an emergency services vehicle, then it is a problem with the camera rather than with the emergency services. The camera should never have been granted type approval by the Home Office.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: Not regulated?

Actually you have to have studied engineering and get a degree in order to be allowed to call yourself an engineer. You know, like it should be. And in the civilised world it is.... ;)

I don't give a damn about job titles. It is what the person actually does that counts. There are plenty of people who don't have degrees in engineering, or degrees at all, who actually do real engineering. Generally by physically making stuff like boats or buildings or writing software.

And if having the legally protected title of "engineer" stirs the same feelings of admiration, veneration and respect that it does for "solicitor" and "accountant", then I'll give it a miss.

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Last year's ICO fines would be 79 times higher under GDPR

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Re: Yes, but...

The fines are applied to the ultimate parent entity. Shift it through as many layers of subsidiaries as you like - it's the parent company that will take the hit.

That is way too simplistic. Company structures often separate ownership from control, since liability follows ownership, as you have suggested here, when it is control that often counts.

As a simplistic example, what if the "subsidiary" doesn't have any direct connection to its actual "parent", but is an independent entity whose sole relationship is that it shares a few of the directors and its operation is funded by a contract to supply services with the "parent"? The shareholders can be a trust with some random beneficiaries since it is never going to receive any profits from the "subsidiary" because there aren't going to any.

For a real life example see http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2007/09/17/northern-rock-the-questions-needing-answers/

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Smooth Newt
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Re: Yes, but...

GDPR applies *organisation-wide* requirements to any organisation that either handles data within the EU or handles data from an EU citizen regardless of where that citizen is. Penalties are applied against the ultimate global entity.

But presumably not subsidiaries etc, which is how companies will handle this. They will move their data processing activities to a separate subsidiary, or some other wheeze, and say "nothing to do with us Guv, fine this completely separate company that was doing all our data processing. The one without any assets."

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Insuring against a future financial crisis

Smooth Newt
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Re: How about

Until there's proper punishment for creative workarounds of the rules (fraud to anyone not a banker), then the next crisis is inevitable.

Yes, it's all very well having lots of rules. I am sure it keeps plenty of banksters searching for imaginative ways around them, and plenty of others just ignoring them. If it's hard to prosecute, then make the standards needed for prosecution lower - e.g. strict liability instead of having to prove mens rea (a guilty mind). They do that for most traffic offences and sex crimes, so why not financial crime?

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China launches aircraft carrier the length of 2.1 brontosaurs

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Not bollocks at all

An aircraft carrier is something like 200-300 metres long. There's no way a Brontosaurus was 100 metres long. You're thinking of a Bolloxosaurus, surely?

I think you will find that the Chinese have been building a "pocket aircraft carrier" reminiscent of the German pocket battleships Deutschland, Admiral Scheer and Admiral Graf Spee of the Second World War.

A brontasaurus was about 20 metres long. Whilst a 40 metre long ship might be big for Western pockets, the Chinese have very deep pockets these days.

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SourceForge: Let's hold hands in a post-CodePlex world

Smooth Newt
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Business model

Nothing in life is free - someone has to pay for the repo. There are three business models:

1. It is free for users, who are not customers, but they are the product being sold. Sourceforge (and Facebook etc.)

2. A proportion of users pay for it for it, with a limited, free version to hook paying customers into it. GitHub funds itself through its premium repo services?

3. As an advertising strategy, in the same way that companies sponsor sports teams and charity events. Unfortunately there is no kudos from hosting code repos any more, so these are dying. Google code, Codeplex

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Jimbo announces Team Wikipedia: 'Global News Police'

Smooth Newt
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Wikinews

So will Wikitribune be competing with Wikinews for volunteers who want to work for nothing on a news wiki?

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Northrop Grumman can make a stealth bomber – but can't protect its workers' W-2 tax forms

Smooth Newt
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Now part of your job?

The letter includes lines like "To order your free credit report..." and "We encourage you to remain vigilant by reviewing your account statements and monitoring your free credit reports."

So the employees have to actively obtain and monitor their credit reports etc. Isn't that like a work-related safety activity since it is effort expended by the employee to prevent harm to themselves or their family as a consequence of their employment at Northrop? If my job required regular medical examinations (for example), I would expect to get those in the company's time. So, shouldn't the employees be compensated with extra pay or time off in lieu to cover this too?

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While Facebook reinvents Sadville, we still dream of flying cars

Smooth Newt
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The only answer is yes

The only answer from following the link to the study abstract, http://www.umich.edu/~umtriswt/PDF/SWT-2017-8_Abstract_English.pdf is a screen demanding a Login ID and Password.

Or as they apparently say in Michigan "your Uniqname or Friend ID". Does this mean that if I had a friend with a Michigan ID I could use that?

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Stanford Uni's intro to CompSci course adopts JavaScript, bins Java

Smooth Newt
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Re: Is there any correlation between "popularity" and

As it's a computer science course, the actual implementation language used should have no bearing on the overall objectives.

It is better to walk away after the course knowing a computer language which is actually useful. e.g. if two introductory courses teach the same computer science, but one incidentally teaches students Oberon-2 and the other JavaScript, then students from the first course will now have to go out and learn a useful programming language to catch up with the people who took the second course.

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Ministry of Justice scraps 'conviction by computer' law

Smooth Newt
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Victim surcharge

The victim surcharge pays into a fund that pays out to victims of crime under the appropriate class. It does NOT go to compensate the victim of YOUR crime.

The Victim Surcharge certainly doesn't pay out to victims. It goes into a series of funds, like the ones behind the National Lottery, that worthy victim support groups can apply for money from. It seems to be extremely difficult to find out where the money goes, since most of the figures on the MoJ website1 are several years old. Personally, I doubt it does much to benefit victims, since it looks as if it raises about £20million, for about 6.2 million incidents of crime experienced just by adults, although it probably keeps plenty of Social Justice Warriors in employment.

1https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/victims-and-witnesses-funding-awards

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30,000 London gun owners hit by Met Police 'data breach'

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Re: The Met is helping a commercial advertising campaign

I think the Met, and the NPCC, should clarify whether they have any financial, mutual or commercial agreement with Smartwater and if so explain how this leaflet fits into that.

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Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

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Fixed-term Parliaments

Or a vote of no confidence. Or repealing the Act. Or a new law (Statutory Instrument, anyone?) to amend it and effectively neuter it.

Also worth bearing in mind the Tories created the Act too, but now find it inconvenient.

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 was a condition demanded by the Liberal Democrats in forming the coalition government with the Tories in 2010. Their concern was that as soon as the polls shifted a little in the Tories' favour, the Prime Minister would call a snap election to jettison their unwelcome bedfellows. Before the Act was passed, the Prime Minister alone had the authority to ask the Queen to dissolve the Government and thus trigger a general election, so the Lib Dems would not have been able to stop it.

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Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

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Re: what...

There are specific laws about discrimination on grounds of race/religion/gender/sexual orientation. If the algorithm used any of those factors as inputs then it would be at odds with those laws. Care would be required for anything which might be a proxy for those attributes (such as surname).

It's not that simple. A set of features which individually weakly select for particular characteristics can be combined together to strongly select for race/religion/gender/sexual orientation and thus inadvertently discriminate against these groups. As a trivial and rather obvious example, a retailer might use information on, amongst many other things, makeup and clothing colours purchased. But I bet there are some really subtle things that are not at all obvious because individually they only have a weak effect.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: what...

If the process is illegal, that's hardly the fault of the programmers is it?

It would be so simple if there is was line in the code which said, e.g.

if (sex == MALE && skinColour == WHITE) price *= 2;

You might expect that such an algorithm would be illegal. (Or maybe not, since discrimination is generally a one way street, but that is another discussion).

However, AI isn't like that, generally the programmer doesn't design the algorithm. The computer learns the algorithm itself, in the case of neural networks by adjusting internal weights to optimise the results towards the desired outcome. It is hard to understand what the effects of the individual weights are, and the bigger the network the harder it is. In any case, few legal professionals have the necessary graduate level mathematical training. So the "algorithm" is a black box, which has tuned itself to maximise the number of desired outcomes in a large sample of test cases, with perhaps a dozen factors (and often many more). You can't easily work out how it is operating internally, and the only way to find undesirable outcomes from specific combinations is to test them. Which is going to take a while if you want to fully explore the 12-dimension (or whatever) space.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: what...

"But if he had been 36 instead of 19, he would have received a more lenient sentence, though by any reasonable metric, one might expect a 36-year-old to receive a more punitive sentence."

Because ageism rocks!

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Burger King's 'OK Google' sad ad saga somehow gets worse

Smooth Newt
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Re: American phrase book

Hey, no one is forcing that "food" down their throats. Besides, it reduces end-of-life costs to society.

Twenty years of diabetes, with all the treatment and disability that entails, doesn't save anything.

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Intelligent robots can walk the walk – but if they can't talk the talk, we can't get along

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Re: Not truly intelligent

But these kinds of things usually aren't learned in the way we think learning to be. They're SUBconscious in nature, picked up in ways we don't acknowledge. IOW, how can we teach a computer intuition if we don't understand it ourselves?

That's pretty much how the supervised learning algorithms behind neural networks, support vector machines and so on work. You give the computer a pile of test cases with the results and it works out the rules itself. That's what makes these algorithms so useful - you don't have to know the rules, you just have to have a lot of examples.

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Google fumes after US Dept of Labor accuses ad giant of lowballing pay for women

Smooth Newt
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Re: Are Women Paid Less

Are women paid less than H1-B visa slaves?

H1-B visa slaves don't count because they don't have any political clout. They don't get to vote, and there aren't any H1-B visa slaves with political influence. Their role in American politics is to be demonised for stealing jobs and being potential terrorists. Some H1-B visa slaves are also women. I don't know how their pay compares to male H1-B visa slaves.

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It's not just Elon building bridges to the brain: The Internet of Things is coming to a head

Smooth Newt
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Re: You humans think very highly of yourselves

You can learn algebra, French, astophysics, poetry, origami ...

That is true, but they are all much of a sameness. They are all governed by more-or-less fixed rules, and they are all human inventions. You might argue about astrophysics and algebra, but they are rule-based models that humans have invented to help them to, respectively, describe things and manipulate numbers. People have much more trouble where the rules aren't clear cut, or vary, or are very complex, although people have specialised abilities relating to language, which makes poetry and French easier.

As a concrete example, we might be able to make accurate predictions in astrophysics, but doing the same in macroeconomics seems to be beyond us.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: You humans think very highly of yourselves

"The brain is the most powerful form of generalized intelligence in the known universe"

Perhaps that should read:

"The brain is the most powerful form of generalized intelligence known in the universe"

It is not even a "generalised intelligence".

It is highly specialised towards certain tasks needed for the survival of humans in the Serengeti and their ancestors, such as visual processing and some types of pattern matching. There are plenty of very simple tasks that it is rubbish at, e.g. give me a list of a hundred random numbers, find all the spelling mistakes in the posts in this forum, and memorise and recite the complete works of Shakespeare. Even quite simple computers can do those things, but people can't.

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'No deal better than bad deal' approach to Brexit 'unsubstantiated'

Smooth Newt
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Re: Choose your statistic...

@Smooth Newt,

Talk about twisting someone's words to mean something completely different!!

What threat? At no point was there a suggestion that it can or should be used as a negotiating tactic. Some people seem to think the no-deal scenario is a good thing - it isn't for anyone.

Of course it being suggested!!! There are plenty of statements here and elsewhere about imposing tariffs on EU imports in response to tariffs imposed by the EU on UK exports - such as "I don't think French farmers will be happy at the loss of trade with the UK", ad nauseum. Collateral damage to consumers is inevitable when you impose import tariffs.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: Unforseen consequences of Brexit, number 93

The Spanish don't have a leg to stand on considering their autonomous outposts of Ceuta and Melilla on the north coast of Morocco - they are part of the EU, being Spanish, but the Moroccans want them back.

The other thing it would be local area Spanish economy that would take a beating if the border was closed because of the number of people from there that work on the rock.

Winning the moral argument is nothing in politics, clout is all that counts, as the Moroccans have discovered, as have our own Diego Garcians. Gibraltar is very important to the Spanish, and Spanish politicians will win far more votes across the country by steps to gain Gibraltar than they will lose from the people who live just next door to it, plus it will only actually screw one or two seats in the Congress of Deputies. A bit like losing the parliamentary seat in Bristol North West, but gaining many others.

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Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Re: Choose your statistic...

"or German car workers who get laid off because the UK no longer buys BMW/Audi/Mercedes in such numbers will be happy, and all because EU Politicians put idealism over common sense."

So our threat against the EU is to punish UK residents by making these products more expensive - sort of cutting off British noses to spite German faces. Can you run the benefits of Brexit past me again?

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Smooth Newt
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Unforseen consequences of Brexit, number 93

Just waiting for France to start making noises about the Channel Islands just to watch the UK press meltdown yet again.

There are 27 separate shopping lists, and we now know what is on Spain's. Brave talk comes cheap, but is the UK really going to die in a ditch in these negotiations over a population the size of Chichester, especially as Gibraltar's economy is shafted if there is no open border with Spain. If I lived in Gibraltar, I would be starting Spanish lessons.

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Europe supplants US as biggest source of child abuse hubs

Smooth Newt
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Re: Hosted or placed on someone elses system

Denmark should be bluntly telling the UK to fuck off.

I think Denmark + 26 other European countries really will be bluntly telling the UK to fuck off within a couple of years.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: Hosted or placed on someone elses system

It also says that Holland has 20972 abusive (under UK law) URLs representing 37% of the total

Presumably, this is just the opinion of the IWF. For a URL - is it URLs or websites - to definitely be abusive under UK law would require a UK court to find it so, or is just the word of the IWF good enough?

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Drone complaints to cops are up twelvefold in three years

Smooth Newt
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Re: Utter Bilge

Total and complete garbage. The number of drone related crimes or incidents is so tiny to be completely irrelevant.

3456 complaints is a negligible amount. Between Oct 2015 and Sep 2016 there were 3,574,049 victim based crimes reported in the UK. 1,075,511 were violence against people (including 695 homicides), plus 37,813 rapes and 74,208 other sexual offences, 402,048 burglaries, 548,674 criminal damage and arson offences. There were even more than 25 bicycles reported stolen (87,470) for every complaint about a drone.

Oct '15 to Sep '16 crime statistics are in https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingsept2016/pdf

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Europe to push new laws to access encrypted apps data

Smooth Newt
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Re: And how exactly will this stop unmonitored random nutters driving cars at people again?

What it will do is make it harder for the guys who groom and coerce vulnerable people into doing things like this getting away with it.

Like money laundering legislation, it will just affect normal people, and not make a jot of difference to the bad guys, since they will just put a little effort into circumventing it. And at the same time make us all a little bit less safe from unconstrained government snooping.

You also seem to be under the delusion that this will be used just for counter-terrorism. I suppose it is understandable since that is all the Government ever talks about, but if so, then why do you think that dozens and dozens of bodies, such as the Department of Work and Pensions, the Competition and Markets Authority, and the Gambling Commission, can legally access your communications data? Do you think that the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust really have a role in "making it harder for the guys who groom and coerce vulnerable people into doing things like this getting away with it"?

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Smooth Newt
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WTF?

Nowhere for terrorists to hide

What she can decree and what she can refine the requirements towards providers for legal intercept to make Telegram, iMessage and Facebook chat in its current form illegal. That is perfectly achievable technically and that is something a politico can and should do.

As long as they outlaw whispering too. I am sure terrorists whisper to eachother. And curtains. Who knows what people get up to behind closed curtains.

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UK's 'homebrew firmware' Chinooks set to be usable a mere 16 years late

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Re: Of all time?

Surely the badge of "most incompetent procurement of all time" belongs to the Nimrod MRA4

A close runner up would be the Nimrod AEW 3, which I suppose was the prequel to the Nimrod MRA4 fiasco. Project started around 1974, expected to start entering service around 1982, cancelled in 1986 after £1 billion (say £3 billion now) had been spent. See http://www.spyflight.co.uk/Nim%20aew.htm

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US Customs sued for information about border phone searches

Smooth Newt
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Re: Plausible deniability

Time to start developing a phone with built-in plausible deniability...under-duress password...alternate filesystem

Visiting the USA in the 2010s now has the same flavour as visiting the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It's not worth the hassle of playing stupid games with US Authorities, and it could backfire on you rather nastily. Unless you have to go there for work, just avoid the hassle by going somewhere else. There are a lot of other countries to choose from, and many of their governments encourage tourists.

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UK Home Sec: Give us a snoop-around for WhatApp encryption. Don't worry, we won't go into the cloud

Smooth Newt
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Re: Colour me surprised

Don't forget, the UK food standards agency will require a copy too.

And all the other organizations listed in the appendices to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016...

That will be all UK police forces, MI5, MI6, GCHQ, Ministry of Defence, Department of Health, Home Office, Ministry of Justice, National Crime Agency, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Department for Transport, Department of Work and Pensions, all ambulance trusts in the UK, the Common Services Agency of the Scottish Health Service, the Competition and Markets Authority, Criminal Cases Review Comission, Department for Communities in Northern Ireland, Department of Justice in Northern Ireland, the Financial Conduct Agency, all fire and rescue authorities in the UK, Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, Gambling Commission, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Health and Safety Executive, Independent Police Complaints Commission, NHS Business Services Authority, the Office of Communications, Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Serious Fraud Office.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: understand the necessary hashtags to stop this stuff

"The best people who understand the necessary hashtags to stop this stuff even being put up" is quite impressive, even for a Tory minister.

I assume this was "file hashes" starting in Cheltenham and going through too many civil servants before getting to Amber Rudd.

Perhaps the Internet being something to do with "hashtags" is a simplification for those who cannot grasp the complex technical intricacy of "a series of tubes". After all, Twitter wouldn't work properly without them, so they must be pretty damned critical to the operation of the Internet.

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Inside OpenSSL's battle to change its license: Coders' rights, tech giants, patents and more

Smooth Newt
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Re: Re NickHolland

A good fraction of the non-respondents are going to be from people who are deceased, retired, disinterested, suffering from dementia, etc who can't or won't respond.

None those things mean that they consent to a license change to their intellectual property.

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After London attack, UK gov lays into Facebook, Google for not killing extremist terror pages

Smooth Newt
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Holmes

Re: Letter to Google.

But the fact that the most senior officials in the UK government have made a point of publicly criticizing social media companies just a day after such an attack does not bode well.

They have to blame someone other than themselves. I doubt ISIS propaganda would fall on such fertile ground if it were not for UK foreign policy over the last few years, or if successive British governments had not worked so diligently to widen the gulf between the 'haves' and 'have nots'.

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UK.gov confirms it won't be buying V-22 Ospreys for new aircraft carriers

Smooth Newt
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Planeguard

It might be better not to pick up any F-35B pilot who bails out, since he will have just pissed away £70 million. Pour encourager les autres.

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TRAPPIST-1's planets are quiet. Quiet as the grave, in fact

Smooth Newt
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Re: "tidal locking" seems like a pretty big problem if you want to live there.

"But just imagine: if Star Trek tech were a reality, not only could we go there but they would speak English as well."

The wackiest part of Star Trek are the aliens themselves. A fruit fly shares well over half its genome with humans but isn't a bit like a person. Yet, whilst the aliens in Star Trek share no evolutionary history at all with humans, and may not even have a DNA-type genome, they are physically identical to human beings except for a few extra bumps on the head. Compared to the likelihood of that happening, finding that they can speak English too must be a trifling matter.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: Intelligent(?!) Design

If you are claiming Intelligent Design, then I challenge you to explain who designed your $DEITY$.

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Smooth Newt
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Re: "tidal locking" seems like a pretty big problem if you want to live there.

I think it's pretty clear no one will be visiting any of these places without an uncrewed probe first.

Or at all. They are 40 light years away and Star Trek isn't a reality TV series.

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FYI anyone who codes outside work: GitHub has a contract to stop bosses snatching it all

Smooth Newt
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Re: Interesting, but..

It may be unenforceable period but one has to file a lawsuit and hope the bench warming shyster actually pays attention. Not a good situation for an employee.

You would have to find the money to challenge your employer in court, who then may find grounds for discovering that he doesn't want to promote, or even employ, you anymore. So you end up with a huge legal bill and no job.

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Confirmed: TSA bans gear bigger than phones from airplane cabins

Smooth Newt
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Re: Safer Baggage

Time to bring back steam ships and horses. Horses seldom complain about the contents of baggage as long as they are not too heavy.

I don't think that would stop the TSA since a large and powerful organisation's main priority is to continue to exist. Please open up all your luggage and step into the full body scanner, this is just routine, you could be a terrorist armed with poisoned sugar cubes for the horse.

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GCHQ dismisses Trump wiretap rumours as tosh

Smooth Newt
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Re: They didn't deny it though, did they?

Everybody in America is under surveillance by the NSA and their friends and I don't see why Donald Trump and his colleagues would, or even technically could, be left out of that vast dragnet. Although the amount of surveillance every American suffers is grotesque and a serious long term threat to American democracy, he is arguing that it was even greater for him than for most other people.

Whatever the truth of it, the British are in a vulnerable position. If President Trump believes GCHQ specifically targetted him then he can retaliate quite easily and at little political cost since the British are so dependent on American goodwill that they could not do anything back. The British can rubbish the claims, but it would be impossible to disprove them since evidence either way cannot be put into the public domain, and anyone sufficiently security cleared and senior enough to carry out a proper investigation clearly wouldn't be the sort of person who was in the habit of embarrassing the British Government.

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UK.gov gears up for IR35 private sector crackdown – say industry folk

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Re: Soooooo

For those of us that don't give a toss right now and just want to work when do all these vacancies open up?

If you don't care how much you earn, you can find the ideal job filling shelves at your local supermarket instantly.

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More Brits' IDs stolen than ever before

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Re: It's NOT "identity theft"

This is old fashioned fraud - a criminal goes to the bank (physically or digitally) and pretends to be someone else. When the bank falls for the scam and hand out the money they blame the person who the criminal impersonated.

Yes, it's their money that has been stolen, not your identity.

You can't really steal someone's identity anyway, since a person doesn't cease to have an identity when a criminal impersonates them. They are still the same person.

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Zombie webcams? Pah! It's the really BIG 'Things' that scare me

Smooth Newt
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Re: Access Denied

Sounds good in principle, but difficult to implement this late in the day. Imagine the cost of directly wiring every electrical substation in the UK to all the relevant control centres.

It would be possible to run a VPN and not connect that to the Internet at all. But more importantly, electrical power is part of the critical infrastructure since no electricity for a week and we are in serious trouble as the supply of pretty well everything is dependent on it. I can't help thinking that making the resilience of the electrical supply dependent upon the broadband infrastructure and sundry telecoms companies seems like a really bad idea. So, whilst it might be very expensive to build a private wired network incorporating every electrical substation, it does seem a very prudent thing to do. Certainly a better thing to spend money on than on smart meters.

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