* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Academics: Shutting down Facebook API damages research, oversight, competition

veti Silver badge

Because it would be insanely stupid for an academic at a university to do that. These people have pretty good jobs already, don't particularly want a massive payday (they are in academia after all, not known for its inflated salaries) and it would be fairly easy to trace it back to them.

That's the fallacy of homogeneity. This may be true for many academics, maybe even most, but there will always be exceptions. And it only takes one bad actor to compromise millions of accounts.

C.f. Cambridge Analytica, which did exactly this.

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If you think it through, there's no reason why the political/brainwashing classes can't work just as well with anonymised data. So long as there's enough of it, they can still aim a campaign at "all people who live in $AREA, visit $SITE more than once per week, and 'Like' stories about cars and immigration." You don't need to know names to do any of that, just numbers.

If it's the political abuse we're worried about (and for the record, I am), then anonymising the data is no help at all.

You say Halo and I say goodbye: Microsoft has a word with unauthorised mod devs

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Whenever there's a lot of people who think that a company has decided against exploiting its digital assets, some of them will take matters into their own hands. Always happens, and usually nothing happens to stop it. That's what "abandonware" is - and by using the word in their own official statement, 343 Industries acknowledges that legally murky fact.

So at the very least, they should have seen it coming. It would be nice if they'd made a statement on the subject earlier.

There's just one month left 'til the big day: May 25... but don't panic!

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Marvin is never pleased, but he'll do it anyway.

Oh dear... Netizens think 'private' browsing really means totally private

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Re: Logging into accounts "privately"

Actually, there's a good bit of overhyping going on here.

If you're logged in to Google, and you open an incognito window - even while keeping your regular browser session still open - the incognito window isn't logged in to Google, or any other accounts for that matter. So any searches you do in that window - unless you log in again - will not be recorded against your account profile. I know this is true in Chrome and Firefox, it's probably also true in the others.

Of course Google will still know it was you making those searches, but frankly if there's anything you don't want Google knowing about you, you're best off not doing it on a computer at all. But (unlike Facebook), Google don't tell.

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Re: re Long version

It says "Chrome won't save" all those things. It very clearly does not say that anyone else will. And considering who publishes Chrome, I'm pretty sure that's deliberate.

Do you think the naive user understands the role of each party involved in their internet browsing? Seriously, if they realise that their ISP is separate from Google, it'd be more than I expected. As far as they know, if "Chrome", whoever that is, forgets these things, then they're forgotten.

Good news: AI could solve the pension crisis – by triggering a nuclear apocalypse by 2040

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Nice try

... but headline misses the mark.

Nuclear war won't solve the pension crisis, because the hit to GDP would be greater than the hit to population. Given the distribution of wealth, it may well be that the older population survive in disproportionate numbers.

Even assuming some means can be contrived to keep paying pensions, and even if there isn't a complete breakdown of money and banking, they'd still be worthless because nobody would be making Tetley's and carpet slippers and the Daily Telegraph any more.

IETF: GDPR compliance means caring about what's in your logfiles

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Re: Why are people finding this difficult?

How is "your intrusion detection policy" a "service" (that you are providing)?

I'm inclined to think that the EU has completely lost the plot at this point, and maybe Brexit isn't such a bad idea after all.

Revenge pornography ban tramples free speech, law tossed out – where else but Texas!

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Re: Education, education, education

So your argument is, "we need better people, these ones are defective"?

If we lived in that world, we wouldn't need laws at all.

As for the "old playground lessons" - I remember those. But I don't remember that people were particularly more virtuous in those days.

It's not you, it's Big G: Sneaky spammers slip strangers spoofed spam, swamp Gmail sent files

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Re: Once again, Google pissing all over RFC standards

It's the other way round - they store sent emails in the inbox. Or rather, they store all emails in one big folder. When you "change folders', all that really changes is the filter applied to your view.

I don't know if that violates any RFCs, but nobody seems to have noticed until now.

'Your computer has a virus' cold call con artists on the rise – Microsoft

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The option to spoof the calling number is a feature, not a bug. It's something that, historically, companies have gone out of their way to enable people to do.

The use-case is for - yes, call centres, but also other types of offices, where people make outgoing calls but want the return call routed to somewhere else.

Of course, scumbags quickly came up with another use for it. But that's true of approximately every feature ever added to anything. Scumbags are inventive.

British Crackas With Attitude chief gets two years in the cooler for CIA spymaster hack

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Re: According to the BBC, at least, he's autistic.

Look, autism is a real thing, and it's not the same as psychopathy. It doesn't help anyone to paint every criminal with the same brush.

True, some people are just plain fucked up and need to be kept away from us all for everyone's safety. But for a lot of them, the only reason they do what they do is that no-one has ever taken the trouble to explain to them why it's bad, or how to determine what is bad. (Because you're expected to know that instinctively, or something. In practice nobody does, but the autistic kid - knows that they don't, and therefore has a compulsion to find the limits by testing them.)

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Re: Another Perspective....

According to the BBC, at least, he's autistic. That's not the same as psychopathic.

I think the sentence is about right in this case. I'm heartily glad he wasn't extradited to face US "justice". The sentence is enough to show the crime is being taken seriously, but not enough to ruin his whole life. Good.

Yahoo! webmail! hacker! faces! nearly! eight! years! in! the! cooler!

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What strikes me is the closeness between proposed sentences. One side wants him to get 94 months, the other 45 months? That's - really not a very wide difference of opinion.

If I were employing the defense team, they should be seeking a writ of "boys will be boys" and arguing for a six month suspended sentence, or whatever it's called in California.

Facebook puts 1.5bn users on a boat from Ireland to California

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Re: Who 100% trusts American Firms to know which countries are European?

Since Slovenia and Slovakia are both in the EU, it doesn't much matter...

I've never opened a Facebook account, but I assume it asks you what country you're living in (if not your whole street address). And I would also assume that's a lookup table thingy, you can't just type "the Moon" or something. So further looking up who is and isn't in the EU can't be all that hard.

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Re: It goes from bad to worse.

@Ken Hagan: An Australian Facebook user would be having their data moved, and they could try making their case against Facebook Ireland.

Not sure how far they'd get, but I don't see why they shouldn't have standing.

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

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A backup battery should last several days easily, unless you spend an inordinate amount of time on calls. If you reserve it for emergencies, there's no reason it shouldn't be good for well over a week.

Facebook admits it does track non-users, for their own good

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Re: Why?

In the old days, you may remember, they used to send someone out into the streets, complete with microphone and camera crew, to interview random passers-by about $NEWS_STORY_THEY_KNOW_NOTHING_ABOUT. It was called "vox pop" interviewing.

Trawling Twitter is the 2018 equivalent, it's a helluva lot cheaper.

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Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

2) The reality is that Facebook has photos of him, and are using them for commercial gain. It doesn't matter who gave them to Facebook, in order to use photos of people for commercial gain you need the explicit permission of everyone involved except in very restricted circumstances (e.g., news reporting). Holding the copyright is not enough.

Under what law, exactly?

I'm asking as a (admittedly, long ago) trained journalist who's never heard of this particular law.

Granted, there are risks to using someone's image without their permission, particularly if you insinuate that they endorse some product or message. But I've never heard of a law that says you have to do it every time. If you can cite such a law, you could probably make a strong case for having Facebook firewalled entirely from that jurisdiction.

Example: do you think anyone asked for or got a signature from the two ladies standing in the bus shelter in the right in this photo?

The only way is Ethics: UK Lords fret about AI 'moral panic'

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"Personhood" in this context is mostly about liability for damage. It doesn't mean actual humanity, any more than a corporate "person" is human.

UK health service boss in the guts of WannaCry outbreak warns of more nasty code infections

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No, a shot across the bows is a threat, or warning. It's not a miss, because it's not intended to hit.

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Re: Pay and respect

And ten thousand other companies that don't do any of those things will be hit as well. Lots of people think they know a foolproof way to secure a network, but every single one of them is wrong.

That's why I'm delighted to see them talking the language of containment and mitigation, not prevention.

veti Silver badge

Well, yes, that's what they're saying. You should be delighted, not sighing.

Anon biz bloke wins milestone Google Right To Be Forgotten lawsuit

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Re: I think that this judgement is pretty fair.

The "right to be forgotten" is based on what someone at Google had for breakfast.

You're thinking of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, which is based on duration of sentence. An offense that results in a sentence of more than 4 years is never "spent". But that doesn't necessarily intersect with the "right to be forgotten", which is a whole separate thing.

Cryptocoin investors sue Chase Bank for sky-high credit card charges

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Re: The Bank is RIGHT

I agree with the bank's classification.

But changing the rules without notice - even if the former rules were "clearly wrong" - may still be illegal. I'm no lawyer, so nobody's paying me to read the Truth in Lending Act, but to me it seems at least superficially plausible that there may be a case to answer there.

British government to ink deal for yet another immigration database

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Re: Very happy that we are allowed to exist without needing the permission to do so.

@codejunky: how quickly we forget, the Blair "ID cards" proposal was inherited from the previous Tory government. It was Michael Howard, as home secretary in John Major's cabinet, who first floated it in that form.

The Tories remained so wedded to it that they promptly made that same Mr Howard their leader. It took two terms in opposition for them to see the error of their ways.

'Dear Mr F*ckingjoking': UK PM Theresa May's mass marketing missive misses mark

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Re: They're working on this bit...

I find stories like this reassuring.

Precisely because it means that the much-vaunted data scooping apparatus... is either still pretty crap, really, or it's kept secure enough that the party in government can't access it.

Either way, that's a slight comfort.

Great Western Railway warns of great Western password reuse: Brits told to reset logins

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Why in the name of Brunel

... does anyone need a password for a railway system anyway? Why do you need an account with them?

All you need is some way to buy tickets and know about services. Both of these functions are best served by a public portal that operates on the basis of anonymity. There is zero reason for GWR to know anything about its users except what journeys they've bought and what trains they're riding on. Name, sex, age, address, nationality, employment - no, no, no, no, no, no. None of your f***ing business.

This fetish for "knowing your users" is creating bazillions of points of failure in our world that just don't need to exist.

While Zuck squirmed, Reddit revealed it found and killed 944 Russian troll factory accounts

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Re: I don't believe it.

@Mark 85: there's no point trying to strike a "balance' between truth and falsehood. That's what "in the middle' does for you - it hands victory to whichever side is prepared to lie most outrageously.

Reading multiple news sources is good, certainly. But don't go attaching equal weight to all of them. Instead, look for the little wriggly facts swimming in this sea of comment and analysis - you may find they are very few and far between, you may often find whole front-page stories without a single citable "fact" reported in the whole thing, but they're there. Check those facts with other sources. If they agree, then there's a reasonable chance it's actually true.

Then look at how those "facts' are spun into the multiple narratives that these outlets are pushing. It's the process of this spinning that tells you what those people want you to think. Usually their motives are obvious, but sometimes you'll learn something new.

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Re: I don't believe it.

There's no evidence that the post you linked to is state-sponsored. Sure it pushes the Russian line, but there are real people who honestly hold those views, and they're as entitled to them as you or I are to yours or mine.

And even at the most uncharitable reading - it is, at worst, a strident defence of Putin and Russian policy. It's most emphatically not a false flag. Unless, of course, it's actually posted by some drone in, I dunno, Canberra as part of some elaborate triple-bluff operation to make it look like there are more Russians around than there are.

Rudd-y hell, dark web! Amber alert! UK Home Sec is on the war path for stealthy cyber-crims

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Re: Kingpin or strike.

The trouble is that, while we can generally reach some kind of consensus as to which "symptoms" are bad and should be opposed, there is no general agreement about what is the "cause" of those symptoms.

People who firmly believe that they know the root of problems are called "radicals" (from the Latin 'radix', meaning 'root', referring to the 'root cause'). Radical feminists think "patriarchy" is the root of all injustice, radical Islamists think it's "failure to subject ourselves to divine law', radical Christians think the same but differently.

Most reasonable people, frankly, don't think they can identify a "root" - and will strenuously resist the efforts of those who say they can, because for the most part those people are nucking futs.

Want to terrify a city with an emergency broadcast? All you need is a laptop and $30

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Or alternatively

You could always save your $30, and just make one phone call.

Social engineering, the most powerful of all the engineering disciplines.

'Our way or the highway' warranty scams shot down by US watchdog: It's OK to use unofficial parts to repair your gear

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Re: @AC

At least with Apple (and Microsoft, for that matter) you have an option to be the customer, not the product.

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Re: Secret?

From Nintendo:


Moral: don't let Google do your reading for you.

Huawei P20 Pro: Triple-lens shooter promises the Earth ...

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Three lenses?

All the better to surveille you through, my dear.

Ob. Onion.

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Re: Smartphones are SOOOO over

The very best camera imaginable for taking a photo right now - is the one that you actually have with you right now.

Of course cameras are a key differentiator between phones. Let's face it, the rest of their hardware isn't that interesting.

They're back! 'Feds only' encryption backdoors prepped in US by Dems

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Yeah, because I'm totally going to spend my time reviewing my own devices' firmware.

And I'm sure I'm so much more expert than the hackers who originally threw it together. Bearing in mind, as Brian Kernighan says, "debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place". And that's even assuming there hasn't been a bad actor deliberately inserting a stealth vulnerability at some stage in the project.

veti Silver badge

Re: Too late

Chances are if you know what you are doing you can find a device with open firmware

In the first place, "firmware" is not enough. You'd also need to redesign the hardware.

In the second place, 'open' != 'secure'. Plenty of vulnerabilities go unnoticed for years in open-source software. I would assume that in either Chinese or Russian OS firmware, at least some vulnerabilities would be added deliberately (and well hidden, to make them hard to discover without very close examination).

Others are presumably included by sheer incompetence, same as in every other piece of software ever.

COPPA load of this FTC complaint: YouTube accused of collecting children's data

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Personal information

COPPA only restricts the collection of personal information. There's a list of what qualifies as "personal information", only one item of which is remotely relevant:

(7) A persistent identifier that can be used to recognize a user over time and across different Web sites or online services. Such persistent identifier includes, but is not limited to, a customer number held in a cookie, an Internet Protocol (IP) address, a processor or device serial number, or unique device identifier;

So if a cookie is set by YouTube and only ever accessed while the user is on YouTube, they're in the clear - it's not being used "across different Web sites or online services".

My Tibetan digital detox lasted one morning, how about yours?

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Re: Facetimers

Exactly, because Producers forbid that reality TV audiences should be forced^H^H^H^H^H^H allowed to draw inferences from partial information. If that happened, why, you might see them start to form their own opinions, to realise how inane the "judges" are, or even - worst case - how many more interesting things they could be watching. Like reruns of Columbo, for instance.

Mind the gap: Men paid 18.6% more than women in Blighty tech sector

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The aim is to motivate companies to pay more attention to what they're doing, when they make decisions about staff promotions and retention.

Statistically, there's no argument that men, in aggregate, get more attention in these decisions. Of course every case is unique and there are always special circumstances; but it's also at least possible that there is some level of systemic bias.

But no one will ever detect or resolve that bias unless they look for it. This exercise gives them a reason to do that.

Don't want to alarm you, but defence bods think North Korea could nuke UK 'within a few years'

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I'm quite sure a country with the resources of Russia (not to mention the history of spy/KGB cloak and dagger bullshit) could devise a hundred ways of killing this bloke without the apparently ridiculously obvious trail.

Yes, of course they could. But that would miss the point.

Rubbing out one measly agent, who has long since shot his payload and done his damage, was not the point. The point was the message it sends: to other defectors ("you're not safe, we can get you anywhere"), to potential defectors ("we do not forgive"), and to Russian voters ("we're so strong, you're only safe in Russia"). The message to the UK public ("your crappy 'democracy' can't protect you") was a bonus.

*Thunk* No worries, the UPS should spin up. Oh cool, it's in bypass mode

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Re: Infestation-

Hey, beans don't count themselves, you know.

Beancounters are not your enemy. They've got a job to do, and it's a real (mostly boring, mostly thankless) job that needs doing.

Management, there's your enemy. Not your line manager, although they may become so if you don't cultivate them properly, but the real management. You know, the ones who take decisions about what risks are "acceptable" and what memos to ignore.

On a related note, another enemy is Chicken Little employees and consultants who send scaremongering memos about every conceivable risk, without properly quantifying it. When you tell the boss "a power cut will CRASH THE COMPANY", make sure you include quantitative assessment (likelihood per year of unscheduled power outage in this location, likelihood it will occur during business hours, and a specific projection of likely losses). The beancounters can actually help you with that: get them on your side.

And a proposal to mitigate the effect using a UPS, obviously, needs to include an allowance for maintenance of said UPS.

UK.gov: We're not regulating driverless vehicles until others do

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And electric charging points aren't going to be very useful. They will either be very slow (and hence not very useful), or very expensive to install due to the supply upgrade that will typically be needed.

The "supply upgrade" would indeed be fairly expensive if you were installing it in your house. But there's no need for fast charging there, you can take hours to do it.

If you're installing it in a place like a motorway service station, or even a mid-sized petrol station - then this "very expensive" upgrade would probably be comparable with the cost of your EFTPOS equipment. Not quite "negligible", but certainly not something to choke on.

"Keeping the lights on" is a separate question, this is really not the time or place for that discussion.

As Zuck apologizes again... Facebook admits 'most' of its 2bn+ users may have had public profiles slurped by bots

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Re: Would someone in charge call this lying zuck of shit out

I have never chosen to share so much as a single keystroke with Facebook.

It follows that if Facebook knows anything about me, this statement is false, at least as far as it applies to me.

And I'm pretty sure that even Facebook users did not make anything that could meaningfully be called a "choice" to share their phone and SMS metadata, every link they click, every newspaper article they read...

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He could always try "not selling it".

Commonwealth Games brochure declares that England is now in Africa

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Re: That's Brexit for you

There's one part of the UK that is very close to Africa.

Gibraltar voted by 96% to Remain in Europe. When my colleagues in the office saw that (it was the first result to be announced), they thought the result was a foregone conclusion - I had to explain quite forcefully that Gibraltar was not exactly typical...

Here's the list of Chinese kit facing extra US import tariffs: Hard disk drives, optic fiber, PCB making equipment, etc

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Re: Even American military arms suppliers can't compete in the US market

Then he'll slap the same tariffs on Mexico.

Trump's rules are very simple: importing is for losers, winners (or "cheats", if they're foreign) export.

If the country as a whole is idiot enough to give him his head (which currently I wouldn't bet a groat against), I'm sure he can, in time, foster a thriving US domestic industry in manufacturing everything on the list, no matter how obscure or mundane. Of course they'll be more expensive and lower quality than the imports, but they'll be AMERICAN, dammit!, and that's what matters.

The depressing part is, this will actually create jobs. Incredibly wastefully, but still - jobs. The economy as a whole will be trashed (in much the same way, and for much the same reasons, as the Soviet Union's economy was during the Cold War), but everyone will be working, and it will take a long time for the reality to percolate that the whole country has been basically frozen in time while the rest of the world moved on.

I've known this whole century that we were seeing the end of American power. I'm just amazed at how quickly it's happening now.

Tech’s big lie: Relations between capital and labor don't matter

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Re: Takes two to tango

Students don't worry about what a company is going to do with them in ten years, because they know long before then they'll have moved on to their real dream job which is just around the corner.

Unions are a mixed bag. In the US they've historically been a vehicle for organised crime, run on very much the same lines - and in some cases, by the same people - as the Mafia or similar groups. In the UK they grew into a political movement, which meant that their focus on "their members' interests" was diluted by all kinds of other agendas and dodgy ideology.

As far as I understand it, the Germans and the Japanese have organised their unions rather better. Don't give them too much money, and keep them away from politics. But is it even possible to run a union on that basis in the UK or US?

Mad March Meltdown! Microsoft's patch for a patch for a patch may need another patch

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Re: For crying out loud...

They're trying to fix a hardware vulnerability using software. That's - basically impossible, I would have said.

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