* Posts by JohnG

1349 posts • joined 27 May 2007

Google dismisses engineer who violated privacy policy

JohnG

Security Manager

"..but who issues/hands out the passwords?"

An organisation in which I worked had this system. The passwords were under the control of a Security Manager. He had no role as a systems or network administrator - his role was solely to control and monitor access and changes to operational systems.

To the person who suggested many people would have backdoor access: not likely. Regular audits would uncover this and anyone found to be accessing systems in this way would be subject to instant dismissal and possibly, legal action.

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Tinfoil 'radiation shield' maternity wear hits 'Frisco

JohnG

Proving a negative

"So I would not shoot this one off with silly arguments, but rather see some scientific evidence that this protection is crap."

We keep on having studies which report that "no correlation has been found between <some type of cancer or other condition> and EM radiation from <mobile phones, WLAN access points, cellular base stations, etc.>" but the tinfoil hat brigade always say something like "just because you haven't found a link yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist".

Nobaody seems to care much about microwave ovens though, despite these having quite high power transmitters of the sort of wavelengths that will warm up your eyeballs.

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JohnG
Joke

...vested interest

It isn't really a vest though, more of an apron.

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ACPO defuses impending photo row with police forces

JohnG

Evidence

" If they give the photographer 48 hours with the evidence before it is presented to them its value is considerably diminished - to the point of uselessness - by the lack of an evidence-standard audit trail"

I don't buy this. The video and photos that showed the events in which a newspaper vendor met his death after being struck by a policeman at a demonstration in London were not retrieved within 48 hours. Some of the evidence turned up considerably later but was significant in the events that followed.

For any professional or amateur journalist, having your coverage of a newsworthy event confiscated for 24 hours would mean you have nothing to sell. When attending demonstrations and similar events, why don't the police carry some devices with which to copy a wide range of storage media? Their confiscation would then only last minutes rather than hours.

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McKinnon family welcomes extradition treaty review

JohnG

Crimes committed in another country

Given that burning the Koran would be a crime in many middle eastern countries, I wonder if the Americans would extradite Pastor Terry Jones to one of their allies in The War Against Terror (maybe Saudi Arabia) upon request.

As I understand it, the Americans have refused several offers for Gary McKinnon to be tried in the UK, despite the fact that he was in the UK when allegedly committing the crimes in question.

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HP sues Hurd to keep secrets from Ellison

JohnG

Sued for future breach of an agreement?

Whatever this guy may or may not have done and regardless of his alleged ethics, greed, etc. - if I have understood this correctly, HP are suing him for something he has not done yet (but they believe he will do in the future). Additionally, they also want the court to arrange for someone to follow him about, spying on his every move, just in case he breaks an agreement with them. Seriously, WTF?

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German kiddies punted porn-projecting pens

JohnG

Church?

"Like a day trip to church?"

A German by the name of Karl Marx wrote something along the lines of "Religion is the opium of the people"

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General Motors bitchslaps Tesla with Range Anxiety™

JohnG

Horses for courses

Electric cars available at present are suited to a limited market, mostly because of their limited range. I know a few people who use electric cars, all of them from different manufacturers. In all cases, they use them for a commute to work of known fixed distance, park them in the underground car park (and charge them from regular 220V power sockets at the company's expense). They also use them for their weekly shop, where the distance is again, known and limited. They all have somewhere to park and charge their cars overnight.

Another point to consider about electric vehicles is what happens in winter time. De-icing or demisting windows and keeping the interior at any kind of sensible temperature usually means burning something to generate enough heat.

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JohnG

Chinese and rare earth metals

"Yeah, 'cos the Chinese are *so* well known for driving prices up and introducing scarcity into the market, aren't they?

Oh, hang on a second, they aren't? Damn, looks like you're wrong."

Look for recent news items concerning the Chinese and rare earth metals. You will find the story of how they dumped product on the world market in the 1990s to push other producers out of business. Now they have a monopoly, they are hiking the prices to the rest of the world. The Yanks reckon it will take them 15 years to rebuild their rare earth mining businesses, during which time the Chinese can charge what they like or use scarcity to drive manufacturing competitors out of business.

The Japanese spotted the potential problem and have been stockpiling rare earth metals for some time.

So, the other bloke was not wrong.

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Superhuman Chinese monk does a bunk

JohnG

He disappeared into thin air!

Famous vanishing trick.

However, when the Chinese authorities catch up with him, no doubt they will be testing his ability to withstand electricity by passing some through his nuts whilst questioning him about what he has done with the money.

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Nigerian man gets 12 years for $1.3m 419 scam

JohnG

419eater

Have a look at www.419eater.com - the folk there use the greed of the scammers to get them to waste their own time and money. One of my favourites is getting them to go on a trip to another African country, where they are lead to believe, they will receive money.

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Ex-spook jailed for selling secrets

JohnG

Not even 12 Months

He has served about half that time on remand, so they are apparently going to release him soon.

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JohnG

The Dutch

That's because he holds both British and Dutch citizenship.

Are they now going to revoke his British passport, like they did for Anna Chapman? Unlike Houghton, she had not attempted to pass on any British secrets to anyone. EU rules allow EU nationals to be barred entry for criminal offences or matters of national security.

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German gov pooh-poohs biometric ID card hack

JohnG

Re: Is it so bad?

Note that the card holder can opt out of the fingerprint bit - leaving only the PIN to deal with. Also, the German welfare system may be more generous than you think - but you don't have to go and collect cash, they pay it into your bank account. Is it so bad? I guess it depends how many IDs can be stolen/faked.

About the cling film/rubber gloves...... CCC also did this :-

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/30/german_interior_minister_fingerprint_appropriated/

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Symantec Snoop Dogg rap contest site rickrolled

JohnG

Symantec dan wif da yoof

But I'm not sure if Mr Dogg and his musical genre are the right choices to target those youngsters who might be thinking of engaging in hackery.

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Wikileaks founder blasts reopening of rape probe

JohnG

WWII

"There's speculation that Churchill began bombing civilian German targets to suck the Luftwaffe into atacking London in 1940"

There maybe such speculation but it is untrue. Firstly, a German bomber first bombed London in error after failing to find their target. The RAF responded with a bombing raid on Berlin a few nights later.

However, this is irrelevant as Hitler and Mussolini are known to have discussed (in the 1930s) the bombing of the civilian population of Britain, in order to bring Britain to surrender terms.

The Japanese gave themselves their reputation by treating all non-Japanese as animals, not least Chinese civilians, for whom WWII started in 1935.

I agree with your main point though.

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JohnG

Biting the hand that feeds you

Assange has made some comments that he questions the integrity of the Swedish legal system but this is the same system that he hopes will protect him from the wrath of the USA. Maybe he would be better off NOT giving any more statements to the press and letting his lawyers sort it out - but I guess that is not his style.

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Boris bikes for tourists delayed till year end

JohnG

Works in Germany

In Germany, Deutsche Bahn operate a system in several cities which uses mobile phones. You can locate the nearest bike using the Internet, using specific apps for iphone or android or by calling an operator. You unlock a bike and pay for it using your mobile. No registration, no fuss. Simples.

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India gives BlackBerry reprieve, eyeballs Google, Skype

JohnG

Encryption

In most email setups, only the connection between the client and the server is encrypted (SSL). Emails sent between mail servers are in the clear and governments typically have the authority to demand access to the contents of mail servers, if armed with the correct warrants.

If you are exchanging encrypted emails, are you sure that the government does not have a backdoor to the algorithm you are using?

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Porn-browsing Oz minister quits

JohnG

NSFW in NSW

The minister may have been familiar with the abbreviation NSW but perhaps not with NSFW.

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Underweight passport pic left traveller stuck in Amsterdam

JohnG

They thought the passport was not his

We haven't seen photos to compare but I guess the Dutch authorities and the British Consulate were fairly convinced that he was not the person in the photo and therefore that the passport was not his. In that event, they would seize the passport on the basis that it was being used fraudulently.

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JohnG

@Andus McCoatover

"What, 150 squids"

A passport renewal costs 77.50 GBP, unless you want it in a hurry - the one day option costs 129.50 GBP

Dogs RFID chips are actually injected into the neck but can sometimes migrate around the body. They can also fail, which could make things rather complicated.

There have been some experiments with retina scans but these are actually a bit slow and unreliable (from my own experience).

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Once-prolific Pushdo botnet crippled

JohnG

Re: Browsing in Chrome...

Don't panic - they've generated their own certificate. You can remove the "s" from "https" in the URL and everything will work (but without the encryption).

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Euro bell tolls for UK's data protection regs

JohnG

Negotiations :-)

Yeah - they are pretending there are some negotiations to hide the fact that they just received a kicking.

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Drunken employee pops cap in server

JohnG

Gun Control

"Gun control = limiting arms of law-abiding citizens."

No, gun control is an attempt to restrict the acquisition of firearms to law-abiding citizens and ideally, to those law-abiding citizens who are mentally competent for such responsibility.

If your argument held water, then firearms fatalities per capita in the USA would be similar to European countries with gun control (because gun control would have no impact on the ability of criminals to acquire firearms). As it is, firearms fatalities statistics in the USA place it alongside the crappiest countries in West Africa. This may be because criminals in the USA can acquire weapons with relative ease from others, who originally purchased them as apparently law-abiding citizens. In countries with gun control, lawful owners of firearms take care not to let their weaponry fall into the hands of criminals because they may be held partially responsible for the crimes that ensue.

Anyway, each to their own. I'm sure the Yanks will continue to enjoy living with the consequences of almost unbridled gun ownership and Europeans will continue to live with the life-impairing bureaucracy involved in gun ownership.

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WikiLeaks readies next release

JohnG

Allegations in Sweden

It is possible that the two women concerned did not actually know the name of Julian Assange until it was plastered around the world's press. Maybe it was actually having a name to give Police that made the difference in deciding to make a complaint.

However, this case should be the definition of why anonymity should be mandatory for accused and accusers in similar cases.

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LucasFilm sets lawyers on Jedi nameswipers

JohnG

Religion, pretend religion and death

Not sure if it would be a definition but one distinction between a pretend religion and religion might the willingness of followers to die for their faith. I doubt that any of the Jedi religion's followers would die for their beliefs but followers of the major religions have been often been willing to kill or be killed in the name of their religious beliefs and continue to do so today.

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Government calls for intellectual property evidence

JohnG

Fixed it for the IPO

The IPO said it wanted to answer some basic questions like how much British businesses spend on lawyers protecting their intellectual property, how much patents help lawyers make money, which firms make money out of intellectual property without using lawyers (so the IPO can stop them).

In short, a bunch of lawyers at the IPO wants to make sure their colleagues can milk any remaining UK innovation out of existence.

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It's time to presume the web is guilty

JohnG

Whitelists, authentication

The snag with whitelists is that they assume you know who you want to be in contact with, whether it is for email, P2P or anything else. Of course, that is typically not the case. The whole point of the Internet for most users is the freedom to communicate with any other user, regardless of their location and whether or not you know them.

The idea of authentication mechanisms run by government bodies might appeal to the governments themselves but probably not to many of their citizens. Didn't the last UK government have some idea of organising everyone's keys for email authentication and encryption? I seem to remember this idea was about as popular as a fart in a spacesuit.

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Woman sues to force exposure of YouTube bullies

JohnG

Free speech, libel, etc.

Once the name of the individual behind the 3 online identities is revealed, they will probably have the opportunity to argue in court that their comments were free speech and not libel. If they have tried to remain anonymous and pretended to be three different people, I guess their credibility will be called into question.

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Air steward resigns via emergency chute

JohnG

Red mist

He could try the red mist gambit and claim he was so angry that he felt he needed to remove himself from the situation for the good of his passengers. That might fly even if he doesn't.

I hope he gets a few paid TV appearances to compensate for any fines, legal costs and lost pay.

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Tory MP's email fail stirs up bloggo-fury

JohnG

Constituents vs. lobby groups and others

An MP is responsible to his or her own constituents not to lobby groups or others with an axe to grind. AFAIK, each MP is obliged to answer written correspondence from their own constituents, meaning letters or faxes from addresses in their own constituency. They do not have to answer every lobby group that tries to push their particular issue(s). Thankfully, our democratic system has not yet degraded to the level of that in the USA where lobbying is at levels where individuals and their issues no longer matter.

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Wikileaks falls out with human rights groups

JohnG

Responsibility

"Pentagon wants to bankrupt us by refusing to assist review. Media won't take responsibility. Amnesty won't. What to do?"

So, having obtained a load of documents that belong to someone else, Wikileaks folk are worried that if they make the documents public, a number of people may die as a result. They believe that the responsibility for any such deaths will lie with the military from whom the documents were stolen, Amnesty International and/or the Media (who knows which media) - they believe that anybody but themselves will be responsible for the results of actions which they take.

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Google experimenting with spy drones, says German maker

JohnG
Paris Hilton

Viagra

"A battery-powered md4-1000 quadcopter can stay up for over an hour..."

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Corrupt repair engineer jailed for bank fraud attempt

JohnG

Entrapment?

It was not entrapment (under law in England and Wales) as he was not encouraged to commit a crime - he chose to look in the passwords file and then he tried to use those passwords, neither of which actions were necessary to the completion of his work.

What might be interesting is whether he had a reasonable expectation of privacy as he worked. More to the point, if the journalists performed covert surveillance of other people, who did not break any laws, those individuals might be able to make claims against the organisation(s) concerned.

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BlackBerry bows to Saudi Arabia

JohnG

Obvious solution

This was always the obvious solution - giving other countries what the USA and many others already have: servers in their own country and under their jurisdiction.

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Hack uses Google Street View data to stalk its victims

JohnG

More compelling than you think

Whilst many people will have changed the default router password, many people also allow their browser to store the router password, which achieves the same result.

The network does not need to be completely open, all that is required is for the victim to visit a web site which includes the malicious code.

The WiFi network also does not need to be open to be geoloccated - Google just needs to have captured some packets - all of which will include the MAC address of the router, regardless of any payload encryption.

Lastly, Google's geolocation is not the only game in town - there is also Skyhook. Whilst country folk may have their houses too far enough from public roads for their WiFi to be geolocated, this is less likely for city dwellers.

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India bags BlackBerry interception rights

JohnG

unparalleled security

"BlackBerry users enjoy unparalleled security in their email services, with email stored on RIM's servers and encrypted all the way to the handset. If you want to intercept mail you need access to the handset, or the servers, which is difficult when the former is in the hands of the user and the latter is in a different country."

Unless you happen to be the authorities in the countries where the relevant servers are located (e.g. srp.eu.blackberry.net, srp.es.blackberry.net, srp.na.blackberry.net, srp.cn.blackberry.net,....)

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JohnG

Re: where are the servers ???

Blackberry's connect via the local mobile operator back to RIM (encrypted). At RIM, traffic can go either to the Internet (unencrypted) or back to the Blackberry Enterprise Server on a corporate network (encrypted). So - having a BES would not help, as the devices go to RIM first.

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UAE sees security threat in BlackBerrys

JohnG

Daniel B.'s Geography FAIL

".. except they don't, because those servers are in Canada."

srp.na.blackberry.net seems to be in the USA, not Canada.

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Microsoft should starve on radical penguin diet

JohnG

@dz-015

"But why shouldn't Microsoft develop their own Linux distributions for server and desktop?"

Because such Microsoft Linux distributions would need to run MS Office and that would potentially allow other Linux variants to do the same and therefore, present viable alternatives to a windows desktop for corporate use. That may be for the common good but it would be suicide for Microsoft.

MS Office is often a key reason why corporates reject alternatives to a Windows desktop and, with this reality, it is difficult for competitors to get to the critical mass needed to get their products in the door. Having said that, Microsoft seem to be keen to annoy their users, if recent versions of MS Office are anything to go by.

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Nude trampolinist bounces free from court

JohnG

What is it with the Scots?

Here's another one:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-10818168

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UK privacy watchdog clears Google Wi-Fi slurp

JohnG

@spodula

"Remember, all google were doing was recording network IDs."

You haven't been paying attention. Associating SSIDs with location data was NOT the issue under discussion. Along with the SSIDs, Google were "accidentally" capturing payload data. Apparently also by accident, they discarded encrypted payload data, only storing unencrypted payload data. It's really funny but my notebook won't do by accident - I have to run some fairly specific software to capture other people's payload data - and, AFAIK, that would be illegal if I did not have their explicit permission.

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JohnG

It was only capturing for 20 seconds, officer

I can't find any piece of legislation that would allow me to intercept someone else's communications for up to 20 seconds.

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Fragrant tech thief stalks Whitehall

JohnG

Alternative to expenses?

The rise in "loss or theft" seems to coincide with changes to the expenses gravy train. I'm sure that's pure coincidence.

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Apple sued over hot iPad shutdowns

JohnG

Who the hell wants to sit in the sun in 95 degree weather and read?

My wife and any of my former girlfriends do/did exactly this on holiday: Lie on the beach or next to the swimming pool in a bikini, reading some book.

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Police chief: Yes, my plods sometimes forget photo laws

JohnG

Who pays?

One method to help polarise the thinking of police officers when they are making up laws as they go along is if they are personally made to pay at least some of the compensation to those they harass. As long as the Police force pays (i.e. the tax payer pays), the individual officers have no incentive to stop.

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Broadband advertising speed gap widens

JohnG

Sale of Goods

"I don't expect to get 60mpg just because the car brochure says so."

I do and so does UK law. If the car gave me 55mpg, I would probably put it down to driving style but if it gave me 30mpg instead of an advertised 60mpg, I would be complaining to the dealer and manufacturer and then trading standards.

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CTIA claims SF phone radiation law unconstitutional

JohnG

Scientific evidence?

I had no trouble finding the relevant SAR declarations for several phones online - and I seem to remember seeing a hardcopy of this in the documentation supplied with my phone. I guess the phone manufacturers have no problem with supplying the SAR info (AFAIK, they are obliged to provide this) but they may have a problem with placing a sticker on the outside of the box which amounts to some kind of health warning when no causal link has been proven between mobile phone use and harm to users. Given the prevalence of litigation in the USA, the phone manufacturers may also be concerned that the presence of the stickers will be seen as some kind of admission of harm caused by their products and therefore, liability.

You also mention the use of Bluetooth devices but why shouldn't these devices also be subject to the same constraints? Bluetooth operates closer to the frequencies used by microwave ovens than mobile phones. Surely Bluetooth and WLAN devices, microwave ovens and any other RF emitting device should have to be labelled in the same way?

One option for the phone manufacturers would be to refuse to supply phones in SF, forcing residents to buy phones elsewhere (without any extra labels).

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PC consultant pleads not guilty to malware 'sextortion' plot

JohnG

Juveniles?

One would have thought that, if he really had imagery of juveniles in various stages of undress, he would be facing child porn charges and that hacking would then not be his biggest problem.

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