* Posts by JohnG

1421 posts • joined 27 May 2007

Unpaid tech contractor: 'I have to support my family. I have no money for medicines'

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Cash in reserve

"It's the world of contracting and business in general... Especially for freelancers and privateers."

For some years, I have been sub-contracting from large companies, on frame contracts with European intra-governmental organisations - they regularly pay from three to six months late. On the other hand, these are lucrative and long term contracts.

Homes raided in North West over data thefts from car body repair shops

JohnG Silver badge

Re: oh great.

"I have had a couple of calls from a London (02) number about accidents that I never had, and once accidentally pressed the redial option and found it was a non-existent number."

Spoofed caller id.

Evil ISPs could disrupt Bitcoin's blockchain

JohnG Silver badge

"I mean, what country is going to charge someone for stealing BC anyways lol Bitlanders and the Bitpolice, in their bitmobile, and put me in bitcell hahahaha"

For starters, the USA:


Whilst HMRC acknowledges that VAT is not due on bitcoin mining and similar activities, they have pointed out that capital gain, income and corporation tax rules do apply. This would suggest that a bitcoin thief could not assume that the UK authorities would be uninterested.

IT contractors behind IR35 calculator to leave HMRC... because of IR35

JohnG Silver badge

Re: "Departments have been told to arbitrarily rule that far more are inside IR35."

If HMRC thinks IR35 applies, are they implying that they are, to all intents and purposes, the employer?

Euro Patent Office puts itself on Interpol's level, demands access to staff phones and laptops

JohnG Silver badge

Re: I voted to Remain, but...

"Are you aware of how many times it has been pointed out that the EPO is not an organ of the EU?"


"That this has absolutely nothing to do with the EU?"


"That if it was an EU body the issue would have likely been resolved long ago?"

No. EU institutions and their staff enjoy similar privileges and immunities as at intra-governmental organisation like the EPO. Whilst only Director Generals enjoy full diplomatic immunity, staff members have immunity from national law in member states during the performance of their duties.

An example of this in action was what happened when Han-Martin Tillack exposed corruption in the EU and notably, by those supposed to stop it, at OLAF.

COP BLOCKED: Uber app thwarted arrests of its drivers by fooling police with 'ghost cars'

JohnG Silver badge

"If your wife or daughter was raped by an iPhone owner you would want the police to have their location - so it's vital for all phones to be tracked 24x7 by the police."

We aren't talking about the authorities routinely tracking everyone, we are talking about deliberately falsifying information (in this case, tracking information) when it is being sought by the police. Deliberately misleading police conducting an investigation is a criminal offence in many countries.

if Uber wanted to remain legal, they could simply withhold the information, with a message about their Ts and Cs.

Hacker: I made 160,000 printers spew out ASCII art around the world

JohnG Silver badge

You can just Google for stuff like:


...and then just select "Print" from the menu.

Ex-soldier pleads guilty to terror crime after not revealing iPhone PIN

JohnG Silver badge

Re: WTF!

"The Kurds are the enemy of our peace-loving democratic NATO allies Turkey "

On the other hand, there are known to be US special forces training/supporting the Kurds and thought to be British special forces helping them as well. Which all rather complicates things.

Prez Obama expels 35 Russian spies over election meddling

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Choice of words

"Cold War deja vu"

"The USSR lost that one as I recall."

Yes - but this time around, they aren't supporting an unsustainable empire and political system - and they aren't broke. The Russian Federation happens to be one of a rather select group of countries which have a positive net international investment position.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Even *if* it was the Russians that leaked the information

"That said, it's a novel situation for a US president to be elected with help from a country that he supposedly wants to have an arms race with."

Bill Clinton's campaign saw some illegal donations from China. An English language newspaper owned by the Chinese Communist party has talked of war with the USA being "inevitable, if the US government does not concede China's reasonable demands in the South China Sea".

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Retaliation coming in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Actually, the Russians have not done nothing - whilst Obama has been on his "the Russian did it" campaign, the Russians (along with Turkey) have apparently brokered a peace deal in Syria. The funniest part is - the USA were neither invited to participate nor even told of the deal. It is almost as if some parties believed the US was only helping to fuel the war.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Retaliation coming in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

"So, we already have reports of an English-language school used by US, Canadian, and UK diplomatic staff in Moscow closed down as a retaliation."

Yes - and the reports are fabrications. The story about Putin/the Kremlin closing an English language school in Moscow is fake. So much for "the liberal media" combating fake news - they seem to be sources of fake news.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Evidence it was the Russians what dunnit

There is absolutely no evidence that any Russians had anything to do with the Wikileaks leaks. The emails concerned were obtained in a person to person exchange made in Washington, between a disenchanted democrat staffer (who had legal access to the emails) and a former British ambassador. There was no hacking and no Russians involved.

Wikileaks have a history of leaking information in small chunks, not least to retain the interest of the news outlets who publish their material. No doubt those affected by the leaks would rather everything was leaked in a single batch, to get all the bad news out on one day - but that is a selfish goal.

The story that "the Russians did it" has been presented without any evidence and seems mostly designed to deflect attention from the content of the leaks and from criticism that a number of Democrats have been discussing government business using free commercial email services e.g. Gmail.

Feel free to come up with any evidence that "the Russians" were involved.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Evidence it was the Russians what dunnit

"Under the American political system there can only be one ... president at any given moment in time. Obama is still president and has the power to issue orders like this ... and in time, Trump will gain the same power."

It is, to say the least, unusual for any outgoing president to make significant changes, like the expulsion of Russian diplomats and the sudden withdrawal of support for Israel in the UNSC.

It seems hard to justify a sudden change in what has been a forty year policy of support for Israel. Why wasn't this done earlier in Obama's presidency and why did neither Obama nor Clinton signal their intentions to the electorate? It looks as if Obama is trying to do damage to Trump's presidency (and, by implication, to the USA), simply for revenge.

I am not commenting on the rights and wrongs of either the expulsions or the withdrawal of support for Israel, simply the timing and intentions of these actions. Maybe these ideas looked good amongst a group of dedicated Democrat believers but I believe the US public with not see them in the same light.

Hackers actively stealing Wi-Fi keys from vulnerable routers

JohnG Silver badge

Re: MAC filtering, all that does is create trouble for legit users.

"The idea is not that your lock will be inviolable but that faced with a rank of bikes a thief is going to go for the easiest locks first."

Yes but like thieves, the intentions/ambitions of the thieves may vary. Faced with a row of bikes, some thieves may ignore them and go for a nearby Mercedes. More effort may be required but reward vs effort vs risk calculation is different. Some hackers may see increased security as a challenge and imagine the promise of something more worthwhile than access to someone's willy photos.

Navy STEALS? US sailors dispute piracy claim

JohnG Silver badge

Re: They won't win.

Given that the USA is generally the instigator of tighter intellectual property legislation/treaties/rules and enjoys significant income from the export of software and related services, this doesn't look like a winning strategy for the USA. They already lost the battle about the resale of secondhand software licenses in the EU - allowing Europeans to legitimately buy MS Office Professional Plus 2016 for £20 or less.

Some! at! Yahoo! knew! about! mega-breach! as! early! as! 2014!

JohnG Silver badge

Re: It! Hurts! To! Read! These! Titles!

I guess the Reg will stop when Yahoo stops (using exclamation marks in an unnecessary fashion).

Internet handover is go-go-go! ICANN to take IANA from US govt

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Doom I tell you

Under "the repressive regimes that dominate the UN", the ITU has managed to have international direct dialling between countries around the world for decades - even when some US politicians would have happily seen some countries isolated.

It wasn't Snowden's revelations that altered the situation - it was the declarations from both Russia and China that they would go their own way and ignore ICANN/IANA if the US control didn't end. The Russians are apparently going ahead with measures that will allow the Russian government to control routing and DNS within the country. This includes maintaining their own IP allocation and DNS databases. It would allow the Russian government to isolate the country's Internet or to severely restrict traffic heading in or out of the country.

Do you think the USA would not do likewise, if IANA and ICANN were sitting in some foreign country?

Apple's Breaxit scandal: Frenchman smashes up €50,000 of iThings with his big metal balls

JohnG Silver badge

This nutter claims to have been fleeced by the Apple store at the Golden Fleece shopping centre.

He is previously unknown to police,a 30 year old local man, unemployed and living alone. He was arrested Thursday and remained locked up through Friday and is under psychiatric assessment.

Penalties for this sort of offence could range from probation to two years in prison.

I doubt this episode will increase his chances of finding gainful employment or a girlfriend.

The guy who took the video was just some customer and found to have no connection with the nutter and his metal ball.

JohnG Silver badge

Like Kristallnacht?

Self-stocking internet fridge faces a delivery come down

JohnG Silver badge

In the middle of Gloucestershire

"I might also make the switch to Apple Maps, despite its inexplicable obsession on geolocating me somewhere in the middle of Gloucestershire when I’m in central London."

Anywhere near this lot?


Delete Google Maps? Go ahead, says Google, we'll still track you

JohnG Silver badge

Geolocation spoofing

Given that there are several means by which your location can be determined, if you are paranoid about Google and others knowing your location, you might consider spoofing your location, instead of hiding it. If your phone is reporting that the GPS is turned on and giving a good location, Google et al are unlikely to double check.

Great British Block-Off: GCHQ floats plan to share its DNS filters

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Who uses the ISP DSN anyway?

"The first thing I do on any setup it to ditch the ISP DNS servers and use multiple DNS servers from different organizations. Google, OpenDNS etc."

Some ISPs (e.g. BT) intercept DNS requests (regardless of their destination) and redirect them to their own DNS servers, supposedly to improve performance. This becomes apparent if you try to reach a website on their naughty list: the IP address returned from a DNS query (directed to DNS servers at OpenDNS or Google) will be to the BT server hosting the message about this site being "blocked by order of the high court". In summary, regardless of what DNS servers you set on your broadband router or your local PC, BT will intercept all your DNS queries.

You might consider using DNSCrypt instead.

Web meltdown: BT feels heat from angry punters

JohnG Silver badge

Whilst I can resolve names to IP addresses and I can connect to some websites (gmail, the Register, Guardian, Telegraph), the routing for others seems to get lost in Telehouse (including my VoIP phone service with Sipgate). When connected via a VPN out of Italy, I can access most but not all of the stuff not accessible via BT.

JohnG Silver badge

Maybe the Chinese are testing the remote control features of Huawei's equipment or GCHQ has screwed up an upgrade of their interception kit.

JohnG Silver badge

"So they're now awaiting an engineer visit. Should be fixed by next Friday."

However, the engineer will not show up but they will subsequently be told that they will be charged if the engineer is to return and that there is no availability of an engineering appointment for another couple of weeks.

Torrent is a word, and you can't ban words, rules French court

JohnG Silver badge

"...a trio of French artists – Kendji Girac, Shy’m, and Christophe Willem. SNEP wanted to use Article L336-2 of France's intellectual property law to force Google and Microsoft to delete searches that included both “torrent” and any of the artists' names."

If Google and/or Microsoft were feeling vindictive, they might choose to simply fail to return results of searches for the names of the three artists concerned, just to be on the safe side. After all, that would encompass the request of the SNEP.

414,949 D-Link cameras, IoT devices can be hijacked over the net

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Your wifi cam is not directly accessible from the internet

"These devices (and I have some myself) are behind firewalls -- so they are not that easy to access unless you are already on the wifi where the device is running."

And the punter follows the manufacturer's instructions so that he or she can view their baby/pet/nanny from work and bob's your uncle, their webcam is exposed to the Internet.

Facebook ‘glitch’ that deleted the Philando Castile shooting vid: It was the police – sources

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Guns don't kill people....

"In the UK they prefer Brazilian Plumbers."

In the UK, one Brazilian electrician was shot dead by police in 2005. The annual toll of people shot by police in the USA is quite different:


Bomb-disposal robot violently disposes of Dallas cop-killer gunman

JohnG Silver badge

Re: AC @YetAnotherLocksmith ... It makes sense, but...

"He claimed to have a bomb."

So, we are afraid he will detonate a bomb, so we will send in a robot with a bomb and detonate it (to kill him), thereby risking the detonation of the bomb we are afraid of. This makes no sense whatsoever.

Telia engineer error to blame for massive net outage

JohnG Silver badge

No change management at Telia?

Do Telia not operate some kind of change management or is their change management system inadequate (e.g. checking the results of the change)?

Do they really let individuals make it up as they go along, rather than stick to changes that have already been discussed?

Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

JohnG Silver badge

The EU and the Cold War

"Before the Cold War ended I was regularly scared about the four-minute warning, and my parents' generation were tangled up in WWII, foreigners were frightening, different was bad."

The EU had nothing to do with the end of the last Cold War, just as they have little to do with the new Cold War that is now in the making.

The end of the Cold War came with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, as they were unable to match the defence spending of the USA.

Mikhail Gorbachev said of the EU "The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe."

JohnG Silver badge

" my a la carte EU feast ..." won't happen

" my a la carte EU feast ..."

There is no prospect that the EU will reform itself to correspond with any of the ideas to which you aspire.

Anyone you ask will agree that regularly moving the European Parliament between Brussels and Strasbourg is silly and a huge waste of effort and money - but the same people also say that it cannot be changed "because it is in a treaty". If the EU cannot change something on which almost all EU politicians agree, what chance is there to address any of the more difficult issues?

For example, recent moves to make lobbying (of the European commission by multinational corporations) more transparent, along the lines of US rules, have been quashed. The EC's position is that there is no hard evidence of the sort of corruption that brought about the transparency rules on lobbying in the USA (as if the Santer Commission never existed). All the while, the majority of EU citizens are unaware of lobbying or of the associated transparency issues.

Euro Patent Office prez's brake line cut – aka how to tell you're not popular

JohnG Silver badge



JohnG Silver badge

"It is worth explaining that EPO has been granted sovereignty status by the European Comission, hence no local laws apply"

This is the norm for international public organisations of this type. Typically, the Director General will have full diplomatic immunity, other staff members enjoy some immunities (notably, from local tax/fiscal law) and even contractors may have certain immunities when working at/for one of these organisations. Staff members and their family members are given special identity cards (Sonderausweiss in Germany) which can be shown to police, immigration or customs officials and the like.

Premises will normally have a status like that of a foreign embassy i.e. inaccessible to local national authorities, police, etc. without permission from the ruling council or DG and each organisation will have their own legal system. Of course, this means that staff and contractors are subject to the law of the institution, whilst on the premises. However, as the institutions need to be able to sue their contractors after they have left, their contracts are typically under local national law, unlike those of staff members.

Microsoft and Facebook, swimming in the sea,

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile

"but there's only so much space in landing stations"

"GCHQs tapping bays are full to capacity?"

Luckily, the US end is in northern Virginia, which should keep this sort of thing fairly simple.

Are EU having a laugh? Europe passes hopeless cyber-commerce rules

JohnG Silver badge

Re: looks good to me

"At the moment the catch is always that the vendor won't deliver to anywhere other than the cardholder's address, nor to anywhere outside of Blighty."

This varies, depending on the vendor. Some UK vendors will send an invoice to the cardholder's address and the goods elsewhere. Some vendors will take orders and deliver to addresses outside the UK, although they usually want the card and delivery addresses to match.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: creating a website that will attempt to list all those rates

"It's be best for the EU to refrain from passing on any new legislation, or even proposals, until the day of the referendum in the UK ;)"

They have delayed the announcement of proposals for a European Army until the day after the Brexit referendum. Apparently, those involved in discussions of this topic have not been allowed to take any electronic devices or storage media in the meetings. Nothing like a bit of open democracy, eh?

JohnG Silver badge

Re: They aren't entirely mad.

"So how come all the cheap crap in the shops managed to get here all the way from China and still be cheaper than all the other tat?"

China Post.

The Windows Phone story: From hope to dusty abandonware

JohnG Silver badge

Pocket PC

Microsoft had cornered the market in the early 2000s with Pocket PC running on MDA/XDA devices. Then they somehow managed to lose the plot, allowing Apple and others to takeover.

BlackEnergy malware activity spiked in runup to Ukraine power grid takedown

JohnG Silver badge

Re: MBR?

"This suggests that the Ukraine is using Windows boxes to control their infrastructure."

...also, don't have adequate antivirus, configuration control, security and they don't believe in backups.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Power cuts caused by destruction of two pylons

Where are the affected remotely operated breakers? In a country with such an archaic electrical supply infrastructure, it seems unlikely that any of it would be modern enough to be hacked.

Coincidentally, they had limited coal supplies and problems with their nuclear power stations.

UK govt admits it pulled 10-year file-sharing jail sentence out of its arse

JohnG Silver badge

Maximum sentence for theft: 7 years

Offence: Theft - General

Legislation: S1 Theft Act 1968

Mode of Trial: Either way

Statutory Limitations & Maximum Penalty: 7 years


FBI's Tor pedo torpedoes torpedoed by United States judge

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Yet more evidence

"Root problem is that judges and courts have geographically-based jurisdiction, and of course the Internet isn't geographically-based."

Those in the FBI who are in the habit of writing trojans which they subsequently install on suspects' systems probably ought to understand the Internet and the laws pertaining to obtaining evidence, warrants, etc,

Kent Police handed domestic abuse victim's data to alleged abuser – a Kent cop

JohnG Silver badge

"Not to mention what the law society should be doing to the solicitor."

Standard practise for the Law Society is to close ranks and state categorically that their member is an upstanding individual who has done nothing wrong.

Google's 'fair use' mass slurping of books can continue – US Supremes snub writers' pleas

JohnG Silver badge

Project Gutenberg

Long before Google existed, Project Gutenberg started digitizing books in 1971 and has been making them freely available to everyone in long-lasting open formats. They deserve the title of "humanity's last library".


So you’d sod off to China to escape the EU, Google? Really?

JohnG Silver badge

Re: So you’d sod off to China to escape the EU, Google? Really?

In the EU, companies falling foul of the law can be fined and their directors/managers might suffer some impact to their finances and/or career progression. In China, some businessmen have been executed for breaking the law.

Putin's Russia outlaws ECHR judgments after mass surveillance case

JohnG Silver badge

Re: If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

"If Russia's surveillance is incompatible,

...why is the UK's going to be OK?"


The UK government will probably take the stance that matters of national security interests are excluded, quoting The War Against Terror. I imagine the Russians will do something similar.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: This could get rather interesting ..

"as Russia has placed itself in a position to derive benefits from its EC membership without having to meet any of the commensurate obligations."

EC : Russia is not a member of the European Commission

CoE : Russia is a member of the Council of Europe, although their voting rights have been suspended.

European Patent Office heads rapidly toward full meltdown

JohnG Silver badge

"Wait... the EPO is its own f-cking country?? WTF?"

This is the case for most intra-governmental organisations. To avoid undue interference from the country (or countries) where they have offices, they are treated rather like embassies. Authorities from the local country (police, tax/customs officials, etc.) are not allowed on the territory of the organisation, unless with permission from the director general or governing council. The director general usually has full diplomatic immunity, while other staff members typically have partial immunity (which includes immunity from local taxation and privacy in their financial affairs).

You may recall that Dominique Strauss-Kahn (at the time, head of the IMF) tried to claim diplomatic immunity when he was arrested in NY (the police chose to ignore it).

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019