* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Awkward. Investigatory Powers Act could prove hurdle to UK-EU Privacy Shield following Brexit

veti Silver badge

Re: No, it's about humans, not citizens

Actually - little-known fact - the same applies in the US. The law makes no distinction between citizens and non-citizens, except on the very narrow subject of who is allowed to enter the country, and who is allowed to vote in federal elections. The 14th Amendment is admirably clear on this: laws that discriminate on the basis of citizenship are unconstitutional.

US lawmakers hate this so much that they make every effort to obfuscate it. For instance, they fund the NSA on what amounts to the pinky-swear that "they won't use their powers against US citizens". And we've all seen what comes of that.

veti Silver badge

Well, obviously your British customers have to give you their national identity number when they sign up (and also specify whether they want porn). If they fail to do that, they're guilty of identity theft and probably tax evasion and money laundering charges thrown in.

Then your non-British customers are easily sorted out.

Pence v Clinton: Both used private email for work, one hacked, one accused of hypocrisy

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Re: Fail on El Reg's part.

If you wouldn't expect this from El Reg, you can't have been around here very long. Or you've got a very selective memory.

And if you would have expected it from a "typical Mainstream Media rag", I can only assume you've got a very strange idea of what those look like, too. For your information:

Here is the Guardian's coverage

Here is the BBC's

Here is the "failing New York Times".

All of which go out of their way to make the same points you made.

My guess is that your only exposure to "Mainstream Media" is what various probably-right-wing tools tell you they're saying.

Smart meter firm EDMI asked UK for £7m to change a single component

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Re: The pi-zero w is less than £10 and I bet it would do all they need and more.

My answer about the possibility of hacking the on/off function seemed to be a new one to him.

Assuming you live in the UK, that's a bit like "refusing to go outside on the grounds that you might be eaten by a tiger".

Look, there are reasons to dislike smart meters, but most of those talked up here are pure FUD. With hundreds of millions of the things installed worldwide for years now, there have still been zero, count them, zero credible reports of remote hacking. I'm not saying it's impossible - just that the people who enjoy doing that kind of thing simply have much softer and less boring targets to go after.

Germany, France lobby hard for terror-busting encryption backdoors – Europe seems to agree

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Re: #OscarsSoWhite, really?

Look, when I call Trump a fascist, I'm not trying to insult him. I'm just calling him like he very clearly is.

"Fascism" has many definitions. For instance, Umberto Eco lists 14 characteristics:

- "The cult of tradition" - four words, "Make America Great Again"

- "The rejection of modernism" - "global warming HOAX", removal of experts from council of advisors

- "The cult of action for action's sake" - as in, hastily and poorly written executive orders

- "Disagreement is treason" - "the dishonest media is a great danger to our country"

- "Fear of difference" - Google "Mohammed Ali Jr"

- "Appeal to a frustrated middle class" - "The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again"

- "Obsession with a plot and talking-up of an enemy threat" - "bad hombres", "figure out what's going on over there"

And so on. The man ticks at least 12 of the 14 boxes.

Or to consider another definition (Roger Griffin):

[F]ascism is best defined as a revolutionary form of nationalism, one that sets out to be a political, social and ethical revolution, welding the ‘people’ into a dynamic national community under new elites infused with heroic values. The core myth that inspires this project is that only a populist, trans-class movement of purifying, cathartic national rebirth (palingenesis) can stem the tide of decadence

Ernest Nolte:

"Fascism is anti-Marxism which seeks to destroy the enemy by the evolvement of a radically opposed and yet related ideology and by the use of almost identical and yet typically modified methods, always, however, within the unyielding framework of national self-assertion and autonomy."

Kevin Passmore:

Fascism is a set of ideologies and practices that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and/or historical terms, above all other sources of loyalty, and to create a mobilized national community. Fascist nationalism is reactionary in that it entails implacable hostility to socialism and feminism, for they are seen as prioritizing class or gender rather than nation.

Robert Paxton:

A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity

Seriously, how can you claim he's anything but a fascist?

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The reason we have "wannabe Trumps" now popping up all over the place is, Trump has shown them all that it can be done. Fascism does work.

That man has done real, quite possibly terminal, damage to democracy as practised in the Western world for the past 75 years.

Post-Brexit five-year UK work visas planned – report

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Re: Immigration

Net immigration is a very new phenomenon in South Korea, which only (officially, according to the UN) became a net 'receiving' country in 2007. Previously it was exporting people, so its population density was actually dropping, and is (probably) still below peak levels.

Currently, about 11% of Britain's population are first-generation migrants. That's about the same as the Netherlands, France and Greece. A bit less than Germany, Canada, the USA or Spain, but all those countries have vastly more land area to work with. Of those 11%, two-thirds are from outside the EU.

In absolute numbers of immigrants, though, Britain is 5th in the world - 3rd, if you exclude Russia and Saudi Arabia on the grounds that they're hellholes that nobody in their right mind would want to move to without powerful independent incentives. This matters because it means Britain looms disproportionately large in the minds of potential migrants - meaning, poor people in whatever country who simply want a chance of a better life - who are, all other things being equal, proportionally more likely to head for Britain than almost any other country except (until very recently) the USA.

At least some of the anti-immigrant talk in the UK is consciously aimed at those "potential migrants", to discourage them from coming. So it's not quite as irrational as it might appear.

veti Silver badge

Re: If only..

@druck: maybe you missed the Facts Of Life lesson as applied to migration:

Getting out of a country is easy. "Leaving the UK" is no problem. Likewise, leaving any other country.

The problem is that there has to exist another country that will let you in. And the UK has no power or authority to force them to do that. (At least, not any more. It used to have the authority to grant you automatic entry and rights in 27 other countries, but then some idiots voted to give that up, so here we are.)

Even Hitler was all for Jews leaving Germany. But after a short while, no other country would let them in, and so they were stuck.

Ad men hope blocking has stalled as sites guilt users into switching off

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Re: Can they detect when ad blocker blockers are disabled?

The relation between ads and Javascript is not quite that simple.

Sometimes the ads themselves rely on JS to download and/or render them.

Sometimes the site itself depends on JS to download and/or render its content, so if you have JS disabled you won't see anything, or at least anything you wanted to.

And sometimes JS is sneakily used to arrange the content around the ad - such that if you have JS disabled, the ad will block the content. Or it shows you an ad, and uses JS to replace that with content after 5 seconds or so. Basically, there are lots of ways to use JS, some of them more evil than others.

(But even at its worst, JS still beats heck out of Flash...)

Get this: Tech industry thinks journos are too mean. TOO MEAN?!

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As usual...

... there's actually some kind of reasonable point being camouflaged by the stupidity.

I completely agree with El Reg that the bulk of the tech press is, basically, lazy. That is to say, they're quite willing to publish dross that's actually written by someone else's marketing or sales department, lightly edited, and then pretend it's their own findings/opinions. I have no doubt that happens a lot. Always has.

But on the other hand, as well as being lazy, journalists are also stupid. (I'm talking about the aggregate here. Obviously some journalists are brilliant. But remember, the most inexperienced and cheapest journalists have to go somewhere.) Those ones tend to go with the herd, so the herd mood/instinct is a thing that matters.

This is a real problem in the media, caused - like most online problems - by overcapacity. Simply put: the number of stories that the world's journalists (in aggregate) are required to file every week, massively exceeds the number of stories that actually need to be written. This is a hangover from the days when every newspaper/channel had its own coverage, for its own readers; the industry hasn't caught up to the point that on the Internet, a story only has to be published once, then it can be linked from anywhere.

And that herd instinct, for the last ten years or so, has been increasingly technophobic. Some luddism, as always, comes from people who feel their jobs are threatened. Some is actually well founded (think IoT security, punitive EULAs, licensing terms). But a whole lot more comes either from people who've only recently become aware of what's been going on since long before they were born (government spying), or from those who just plain don't know what they're talking about, but instinctively distrust those newfangled Things. And let's face it, if you want to rubbish a new Thing it's not hard to come up with arguments that look plausible to an uninformed eye. (Look at any online forum touching on climate change, for instance.)

This leads to a lot of hacks who don't have any better ideas - basically, rehashing FUD, because if you're a journalist you gotta write something. And most of the time, these hacks know nothing about the subject - they're literally just paraphrasing what they've read elsewhere. So these "stories" become memetic, repeating the same tired old talking points (and if they were paying any kind of attention they'd know most of them were debunked decades ago, but even if they do know that they choose to ignore it because it would spoil their "story").

Software glitch, not wind farms, blacked out 60,000 in South Australia

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Re: It's nothing but money!

IMO, a good compromise is to bake fixed financial penalties into the regime. For a domestic consumer, there would be a clause saying something like:

- if you ever lose power for more than 15 minutes, you automatically get $10 off your next power bill

- (if the outage persists for 1 hour, make it $20. 2 hours, $30. 3 hours, $50. And so on.)

(Exception: suppliers can avoid paying compensation if they give notice of a cut, up to 2 hours duration, at least 1 week in advance, specifying the date and time of the outage to within 1 hour.)

Who, specifically, has to make the payment for each outage would be determined by an independent tribunal (in Australia's case, probably convened by AEMO).

What this would mean is, if 10,000 homes have to go without power for 2 hours, then somebody in the industry is out of pocket to the tune of $300,000. It may not completely eliminate the gains of price spiking, but it would put a thumb on the right side of the scale. As well as giving some compensation to the long-suffering consumer.

veti Silver badge

Re: It's nothing but money!

GP is incorrect, but not as much as you think. The actual peak spot price was around $14,000 per MWh, not kWh. So "only" $14 per kWh. (Source: AEMO report, here.)

These sorts of price spikes are actually not uncommon. I first observed them in the UK industry in the early 90s, a couple of years after it was privatised. In Australia, they've been occurring periodically ever since the early 2000s. This event was mostly unusual in that the "spike" lasted more than half an hour.

And GP is correct in so far as it is - as far as anyone can tell - caused by generators gaming the system. As you correctly observe, they're in business to make money. And it turns out that supplying 2800 MW at $14,000 per MWh is more profitable than supplying 3000 MW at $100/MWh. Who'd've thought.

veti Silver badge

All you really need to know about the industry is (1) a lot of Australians work in coal mines, and (2) China has recently sharply reduced the amount of coal it imports, meaning that the Australian mining industry now has massive overcapacity.

Everything else follows from these simple facts.

'Hey, Homeland Security. Don't you dare demand Twitter, Facebook passwords at the border'

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Re: This has been a policy since at least 2008

Arnold wasn't required to hand over his social media passwords. That is new, and it's all Trump.

UnBrex-pected move: Amazon raises UK workforce to 24,000

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Re: What's the Brexit angle?

Since the referendum, the pound has dropped about 10% in value against the euro. That is to say, everyone in the UK has had a pay cut of about 10%, even though some of them haven't quite noticed yet.

Makes the UK a more attractive place to employ people, if the jobs are portable. (And they still are, for at least the next two years.)

In colossal shock, Uber alleged to be wretched hive of sexism, craven managerial ass-covering

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Not a steady state

One point that everyone seems to be missing here is, this was a changing situation.

When this woman joined, they had 25% women. When she left, it was down to 6%. That implies that the culture shortly before she arrived can't have been that bad, or else that reduction would already have happened.

So something changed at Uber, probably shortly before she joined. What was that? Any guesses?

Is your child a hacker? Liverpudlian parents get warning signs checklist

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Re: Being a criminal has little to do with the list as given.

It says "has multiple social media profiles on one platform".

I'm fine with ridiculing the advice, but at least ridicule what it actually says, not what you hallucinate it to say.

Florida Man jailed for 4 years after raking in a million bucks from spam

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Re: "He will have to forfeit all of that ..."

And it's worse than that, because this is only what happens if you get caught and convicted.

How many other spammers are there who haven't been caught? You need to divide the penalty by that number to get an "expected cost of doing business".

Errors in Australia's Centrelink debt recovery system were inevitable

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AI my arse

I may be missing something here... but isn't this the same problem that basically every utility company already solves with a common-or-garden SQL database?

A webcam is not so much a leering eye as the barrel of a gun

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If your camera had a separate "hardware" power switch, would you trust it?

I wouldn't.

OK, it's time to talk mass spying again: America's Section 702 powers are up for renewal

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14th amendment

And this, dear Americans, is what you get - and frankly, what you deserve - for trying to bypass the constitution.

Seriously, which part of "nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" was not clear? You cannot pass laws that protect American citizens, but not non-citizens in the same situation. It's unconstitutional, and rightly so. This is what happens when you try.

Rasputin whips out large intimidating tool, penetrates uni, city, govt databases – new claim

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Re: Stored Procedures

I suggest reading up on the basics of SQLi here.

Kremlin-linked hackers believed to be behind Mac spyware Xagent

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The Russian apologists seemed to have gone dormant back in January - presumably on their Christmas holidays - but now they're back with a vengeance, I've noticed on several sites.

It's really annoying. Web forums were always pretty limited in usefulness, but thanks to the Olgino brigade they're becoming actively malign now, at least towards those of us who give a damn' about the survival of peace and democracy in this world.

Roses are red, violets are blue, fake-news-detecting AI is fake news, too

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We expect too much from "news"

All the discussion over "fake" vs "real" seems to miss a fundamental point:

Journalism isn't magic.

Journalists don't know any more what's "true" and what's "bullshit" than the rest of us.

The only thing a journalist can reliably tell us is "so-and-so said this". The verb, 'said', being the all-important part of the story, the actual news content. Everything else is "analysis" or "speculation", not "news".

If a story says "Theresa May is about to declare Trump's visit a national holiday" - that is Not News. There's no "said" in that story. If we choose to take a stance (believe or disbelieve) on that, then we are taking a position on the journalist's ability to foresee the future. Which is obviously bullshit.

But if the story is "Cabinet official says Theresa May is about to declare Trump's visit a national holiday" - that's a story. It may be true or false - and unrelatedly, the story that the cabinet official has told us may also be well or poorly founded - but it is at least capable of being actual news.

If we all kept this much more clearly in mind when reading, we would be better able to separate the news from the bullshit masquerading as news.

No crypto backdoors, more immigration ... says Republican head of House Committee on Homeland Security

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Not all politicians are the same. Film at 11.

The Powers That Be have always found it useful to keep a few nutters around, that way the general populace feels better represented. It's called "the big tent".

Doesn't mean those people will win the debates. The thing to watch next is how hard they try to win this particular fight. And what they do about it if/when they lose.

However, I must point out that - this is Comey's "adult conversation", right here. "Backdooring - no. So what else is there?" - is quite an adult thing to say.

GoDaddy CEO says US is 'tech illiterate' (so, yeah, don't shut off that cheap H-1B supply)

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Re: I agree that these concerns about H1Bs are about suppressing wages

Nah, the first thing that would happen is, they'd be required to work 90 hours a week instead of just 70.

I say, abolish the H1B program entirely. None of this "reform" bullshit. Then let America sink or swim with its homegrown talent, and do whatever it takes to raise its next generation of programmers.

I smell lots of opportunity for us foreign techies in that scenario.

veti Silver badge

Bombastic Bob, I actually agreed with your basic point. Until you derailed it into ranting about liberalism. The first two sentences of your post are reasonable, but thereafter you're more interested in MAKING yourself look like an IDIOT who can't get himself out of CAMPAIGN MEGAPHONE MODE.

Which is not really helpful for debate.

The real reason college degrees aren't everything is because there are many ways to learn things. College is usually the easiest, but that doesn't make its graduates any better than those who learned their stuff the hard way.

And indeed sometimes the opposite is true, because the college was more interested in ticking boxes and cashing checks than teaching anything. (See: Trump University.)

UK website data insecurity worries: Users in bits over car break-up emails

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Re: Nothing new under the sun

You can't very well use your real middle initial for those purposes, because it's not a secret to begin with. There are lots of places where the poll tax bods may have researched it from. (E.g. passport office, DVLC.)

As for "ways of spelling 'Road'" - look, the database I work with contains a lookup table of all 'road types' ("road", "street", "way", "highway", "crescent", "avenue", etc. - there are about 400 entries altogether), and lists a standard abbreviation for each of them. What that means is that an address on "Bloggs Road" will be abbreviated in some correspondence as "Bloggs Rd" - regardless of whether it's entered as "Bloggs Rd", "Bloggs RD", "Bloggs Rd.", or "Bloggs Road". I hope this illustrates (one of) the problems with using this information this way.

Grumpy Trump trumped, now he's got the hump: Muslim ban beaten back by appeals court

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Well, what this shows us is that the man has no interest in governing. He's still campaigning.

Remember, he doesn't have to answer any difficult questions about what he does. Because the only media his base believes is the media that he, or his henchmen, directly and personally control. They've been taught that everything else is fake and lies, so it simply doesn't matter what any half-way neutral reporter or outlet says.

Samsung battery factory bursts into flame in touching Note 7 tribute

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Re: Ironic

However, for all we know (to the best of my knowledge there's no good research on the subject) - unbuckling your seatbelt may also drastically reduce your chances of having an accident.

When I was in school, I had "roadcraft" lessons given by an insurance investigator. He liked to say that if you really wanted to cut the accident rate on the roads, what you should do is (1) ban all drivers'-side seatbelts, and (2) mandate instead a six-inch spike sticking out of the steering column at the driver's chest. That, he opined, would cut the total accident rate by at least 90%.

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Want to come to the US? Be prepared to hand over your passwords if you're on Trump's hit list

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Re: Banking passwords!

When Obama came in, I waited hopefully, although to be honest not that hopefully, for him to repeal the rule (introduced by Bush) about fingerprinting all visitors on arrival.

Still waiting.

It's going to take more than a change of management.

veti Silver badge

Re: no more trips to the US then - settled

If you've set foot in the US since 2002, then you've already given your fingerprints to those same people.

Me, I've been avoiding the place ever since then.

This measure? Well, you could have a talking point in that it's a violation of the Terms of Service to disclose your password to anyone - therefore they are asking you to commit a felony ("trafficking in access-control devices (namely, passwords)" under 18 USC 1029).

Humanity needs you... to build an AI bot that can finger rotten headlines

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Re: There will be shortcuts

Your prejudice is showing. The Mail has some very high calibre journalists.

It also has an unspeakably horrible editorial spin. But there's nothing wrong with the quality of the research or writing - just the choices of what to report and how to spin it.

But there's a difference between "misleading" and "false". Read the Mail's stories for what they actually say, not what they imply or hint or "try to lead you to conclude", and you can get a lot out of it. (In that regard it's actually better than the Independent nowadays. The Indy has some great writers, but its editorial spin is just as shameless as the Mail's, and it doesn't have anything like the resources the Mail has to check its facts.)

veti Silver badge

Re: How can this work?

Well, if Paul Ryan was going about saying something like that, it would be mentioned in several places. And pretty soon Ryan himself would put out a statement through official channels, either confirming or denying or "clarifying" what he said. Ditto if it's attributed to "his staff".

If it refers to "Todd Hays (R-KS)", then you look that person up. Pretty sure it's not too hard to find a directory of congresscritters.

Yes, the story will be retweeted and spread quickly. But within 2 hours, tops - which is to say, long before most people have actually seen it - it will have been either debunked or "clarified". And the simple rule is: if Ryan himself denies the quotes that are attributed to him, then they're false. End of story.

If it's attributed to "sources close to the House of Representatives", that comes under "unverifiable sources". In that case a human fact checker would try to verify them, using their own "sources" in that position: how plausible is it that someone in a position to know something would have said these quotes? I don't know how to get a bot to make that assessment, so just flag it "unverified".

But note what the story actually says. Specifically, it does not say "Trump is about to be impeached", and anyone who reports it that way falls immediately into the "analysis or speculation, not news" bucket. What it says is "such and such a person says this is about to happen".

That's what I mean by all *news* being about what people say. Not about "what is really happening" - because, turns out journalists don't have any direct hotline to Ultimate Truth. All they can report is what they're told. Anytime we ask or expect them to do more than that, we're asking them to make stuff up.

veti Silver badge

We're doomed

"Truth by consensus" will work for a while, until someone - probably the Russians - work out how to game it. Won't take long. Just ask Google, they spend beeellions in keeping just one step ahead of the "optimisers" (read: liars).

I think the only sensible way to try to distinguish fake news is to follow up the references. Because, and it's important to remember this, all news stories take the form "A says X". If your story isn't syntactically equivalent to "Bob says 'It's raining'", then it's Not News.

References support the full story? Then, and only then, is it "real news". Of course the quality of news is only as good as the references, but that's always been the case and always will be. Repeated references acquire Reputation.

Story has references, and they're verifiable, but the references only confirm a small part of it? Flag as "analysis or speculation, not news".

Story has references, and they're verifiable, but they don't say what the story says they do? Flag as "bullshit".

Story has no references? Flag it as "creative fiction". This works for any story whose author doesn't explicitly say how they learned these things they're telling you.

The tricky case is: story has references, but they're unverifiable. Then you would want to cross-reference, and it's hard to do that without introducing guesswork. How plausible is it that these people exist, and would do or say these things? I can't think of any procedural way to make that assessment.

More tech companies join anti-Trump battle, but why did some pay for his inauguration?

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A partial transcript of The Donald's early meeting with tech CEOs has emerged. This line might throw some light on why the tech leaders came out smiling:

"So it's agreed, then. You'll give me what money you can spare to make me look good, and whenever you decide to build anything or employ anyone in the USA over the next four years you'll give me credit. In return, I'll implement my immigration policies in such a haphazard and random way that they'll never stand up in court. All you have to do is challenge them, they'll be tied up for years and have no net effect. Do we have a deal?"

(Note: this is not true. The above quote is crude satire and obviously fabricated, although equally obviously it really does reflect what's going on. But please feel free, Democrats, to "leak" it, and Republicans, to blog about how Democrats are making up news.)

Conviction by computer is go, confirms UK Ministry of Justice

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Tell that to the 36 million Americans who have fishing licenses.


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I think a more detailed translation would be:

"We think it's a cool idea, so we're going to do it anyway. The fact that my son-in-law runs a database company is neither here nor there."

Data breach notification law finally makes it to Australia's Parliament

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Well, no. The test is:

the access or disclosure would be likely to result in serious harm to any of the individuals to whom the information relates;

Note, any of the individuals - which means you have to consider the worst case, not the best.

Of course it's incredibly vague and clearly designed to enrich lawyers. But what else is new.

RAF pilot sent jet into 4,000ft plummet by playing with camera, court martial hears

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Re: “teapots”

It's a freakin' Airbus, not a Tornado. Why shouldn't it have teapots on board?

(Plus, presumably, a pressurised container to boil the water. 'Cuz making tea at regular cabin pressures, that's be a travesty.)

UK uni KCL spunks IT budget on 'reputation management' after IT disaster headlines

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Re: Reputation Management

I don't think £1,000 would buy much of a club dinner. Consider how many people they would have to cater for...

I also don't think it would run to kneecapping, or threats of kneecapping. Or even, for that matter, a single hour of lawyer time.

For that kind of money, I would expect someone to Google the story, and send off polite emails to everyone they find who's covered it - and that's about it. Even calling it "reputation management" is a stretch.

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Or maybe they should spend a few grand on Dropbox. Just sayin'.

It's strange, when outsourcing goes TITSUP, commentards are quick to point the finger. But when an in-house service explodes in far more costly and spectacular fashion, it's "maybe you should spend more money on it".

Well, maybe they should. But they should also consider the possibility that, just maybe, someone else could do it better.

Parents have no idea when kidz txt m8s 'KMS' or '99'

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Re: teen/tween slang has half-a-generation lifetime anyway

Considering that the whole point of slang is to differentiate between generations, and not coincidentally to exclude the parents' generation from their talk - that suggests a system that's working exactly as designed.

Comcast staffers join walkout over Trump's immigration crackdown

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Re: War is fine, closed borders are not

Obama didn't start the war in Syria. That was part of the Arab Spring, which is generally laid at the door of Wikileaks - Trump's biggest backer.

Trump, in his first two weeks, has authorised military operations killing American citizens in Yemen, threatened to invade Mexico, and hung up the phone on the prime minister of Australia because the latter wasn't showing proper respect when hearing about the hyoooge crowds at his, Trump's, inauguration, which he totally should have been awed at because I'm sure the PM of Australia doesn't have anything more important to think about.

So I'm not holding my breath for him to bring about world peace.

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The workers have X days per year of paid leave. If they want to spend that time demonstrating, that's their choice entirely. To stop their pay for it would be the act of a fascist.

Brexit White Paper published: Broad strokes, light on detail

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Unfortunately, you're still in denial.

You say you're "accepting we need to leave. But only if we get a good deal."

It's been made very clear - and if either party in the referendum had been honest, they would have told you about it beforehand - that you need to commit to leaving, before you know what sort of a deal you get. You may not want to buy the pig in a poke, but that's the pig's packaging and all you get to do is take it or leave it.

In retrospect this seems like quite an unfair condition in the Treaty of Lisbon, but since the whole idea was to deter people from using it, I don't think there's much chance of getting it renegotiated now.

Netherlands reverts to hand-counted votes to quell security fears

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Re: Wait... Wut?

It bears repeating every time "voting machines" comes up...

The purpose of a democratic election is not to make decisions quickly, or clearly, or consistently - it's a terrible way of doing any of those things. The purpose is to convince the losers that they've lost.

And to that end, the most important aspect of the whole thing is transparency.

If you open-source your platforms, release every line of code and complete circuit diagrams of all hardware and a complete list of system users with access privilege levels... then there may be perhaps half a dozen people in the Netherlands who would have the ability, the time and the willingness to look at all that information and saying with confidence "yes, it's fair". (Of course they may be wrong, or they may be compromised, or they may simply be trolling us. Who knows.)

But if you mark votes on paper with pencils, seal them in boxes, unseal the boxes and count the votes in front of witnesses - then practically all the adult population can understand that, and can see that you're doing it fairly.

There's no comparison. Pencil and paper is several million times better than any voting machine.

IETF 'reviewing' US event plans in the face of Trump's travel ban

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Re: Hey Chirgwin...

That's right BJ, keep it classy.

Note that Vaseline is made by Unilever, a non-American company, so you might want to research alternative products to suggest.

Cyber-spying, leaking to meddle in foreign politics is the New Normal

veti Silver badge

Re: Wonder

Have you actually read any of the leaked emails? In full, I mean?

I have, and I'm here to tell you that "truth" and "fiction" don't separate out that easily.

For instance, there's quotations from third parties - a lot of those, often reported in the press as if the author of the email was saying these things, when in fact they've just copied and pasted a whole article from somewhere else. Are those things true or false?

Then there's places where the email author has added their subjective opinion about something. By nature, "subjective opinion" is neither true nor false. But it can be embarrassing or compromising, particularly when taken out of context.

Then there's stories where some "journalist" has cobbled together extracts from dozens of separate emails to tell an overarching story with much personal interpretation and innuendo by the author. (I put "journalist" in scare quotes here, because I think there's a better-than-50% chance that any given one of these stories was actually written by a Russian propagandist.) The quotes may all be genuine, but that doesn't mean the story is even remotely valid.

Then there's things like "The Real Fake News List". How do you even grade that? (Hint: try clicking on a couple of the links.)

Bottom line is, if you even try debating this stuff, the best possible outcome is that you'll generate another round of headlines about it, and everyone who already thinks you're crooked will walk away with the impression that you're trying to obfuscate things. Because it's complicated, 'mkay?

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