* Posts by alain williams

1024 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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Kid found a way to travel for free in Budapest. He filed a bug report. And was promptly arrested

alain williams
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Gary McKinnon

This is much the same thing. Guy discovers gaping hole in computers, is held to blame and arrested - this is an attempt by the site owners (in this case USA military) from having to admit that their own staff are incompetent. It is called saving face that just ends up showing the site owner to be arrogant & stupid.

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Moneysupermarket fined £80,000 for spamming seven million customers

alain williams
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Re: £80,000 for sending 7.1 million

Fine £80,000 - new business as a result £xxx ??? The fine should be in excess of what they gained otherwise fines will just be seen as an extra cost.

Also: 1/2 the fine should be paid by board members, personally - out of income after tax. Unless it hurts someone in authority: behaviour will not change.

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School of card knocks: Russophone criminals offered online courses in credit card fraud

alain williams
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I hope that PC Plod ...

will pay up and send a delegate on this course. Probably nothing new for him, but there might be a novel trick. Next Plod should have a publicity campaign on how to avoid being duped by the new crims who learn their trade on this course.

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Nearly three-quarters of convicted TV Licence non-payers are women

alain williams
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Re: How can they make a profit from it?

The website where you can register as not having a TV asks for too much information.

Why do you need to register that you don't need one ?

If you really do not need one, then just don't buy one. If they come round, just say that you don't need one. You don't need to tell M&S that you do not need any new shirts.

If you are feeling nice you could write them a letter, but I cannot see why you are under any obligation to do so.

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Wi-Fi firm Purple sneaks 'community service' clause into its T&Cs

alain williams
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Re: Form Gov.UK

So unfair terms are not enforceable if you want to challenge them. AKA call trading standards.

Good luck with that. If you 'phone them these days you are generally routed to Citizens Advice. Neither of these have much money and tend to ignore what you tell them.

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alain williams
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I am a nerd, I read T&Cs before clicking 'agree'

I have not taken some 'services' because I did not like the T&Cs.

Some, unfortunately, one does not have the choice - like some government sites where the T&Cs are complete cobblers.

The clause that I hate the most is the one that says ''we may change these T&Cs at any time, you agree to check for updates'' - how often am I expected to read umpteen pages of drivel with no indication of if (and where) changes have been made?

These clauses should be outlawed.

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Slower US F-35A purchases piles $27bn onto total fighter jet bill

alain williams
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How many hospitals is that ?

If we spent 1/2 of that money on the NHS instead how many more lives would we save ?

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Better mobe coverage needed for connected cars, says firm flogging networking gear

alain williams
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Re: STOP this nonsense forthwith ...

it won't have a kill switch in it

A few minutes with a pair of pliers will soon fix that, or wrap its aerial up with a bit copper sheeting.

I'll probably need to re-enable once a year as the tossers will likely make their spy system part of the MOT.

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FREE wildcard HTTPS certs from Let's Encrypt for every Reg reader*

alain williams
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What is the GCHQ/NSA take on this ?

Given the ongoing set of wikileaks revelations I would be surprised if they did not have a means of subverting Let's Encrypt.

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While USA is distracted by its President's antics, China is busy breaking another fusion record

alain williams
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Who still uses farenheight for things like this ?

and giving both Kelvin & Centigrade is really not needed. I might understand if this was Fox News or The Sun ... but I most El Reg readers are reasonably bright, I doubt that anyone would not grok Kelvin.

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Civil rights warriors file US lawsuit: Let us see Five Eyes agreement

alain williams
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And if they get something ...

how good a description do they expect it to be of what actually happens ?

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Feelin' safe and snug on Linux while the Windows world burns? Stop that

alain williams
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They backport security fixes so that holes get closed without affecting any of the functionality of the software in question.

All decent OS vendors do that. RedHat do the same (Red Hat Enterprise, CentOS), as do Suse and, I suspect, other Linux/Unix distros. Microsoft seem to as well ('seem' - this is what I read, I don't use any MS product).

Where they vary is how quickly they backport fixes and how far back they do it - ie how long something is supported for.

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CityFibre snaps up Entanet for £29m and plans to raise £185m

alain williams
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Oooh, errr

I have been with Entanet for 8 years ... maybe time to start looking at jumping elsewhere.

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One thought equivalent to less than a single proton in mass

alain williams
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Does is depend on who's thought ?

Does an Einstein thought weigh the same as a Paris Hilton thought ?

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GnuPG crypto library cracked, look for patches

alain williams
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Re: "“We show for the first time that the direction of the encoding matters:"

It's a library specifically labelled for cryptography. It's likely to have been high on their study list.

And they probably found it and would have known that their counterparts in <insert name of currently despised foreign power> would probably have also found it. But rather than protect us by having a quiet word with the GnuPG maintainers they chose to not tell anyone -- presumably hoping to break crypto on messages.

One does wonder which side the TLAs are on ? The general population or some shadowy masters ?

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NASA: Bring on the asteroid, so we can chuck a fridge at it

alain williams
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Re: Perhaps...

I read the article hoping to see that they were going to use that fridge for something really important, like keeping their beer cool ... but no :-(

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Kaspersky repeats offer: America can see my source code

alain williams
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Re: America can see my source code

Besides, if you take your argument into its logical conclusion you should not buy Windows either, in which case you no longer need Kaspersky, solving two problems at once.

1) I don't buy (or use) MS Windows

2) I don't need (or use) Kaspersky

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Oh my Word... Microsoft Office 365 unlatched after morning lockout

alain williams
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Please explain to me ...

how running an important application ''out in the cloud'' is better than running on your own machines ? It is not just subject to failures of the cloud provider, but also vulnerable to that man who goes round the country in a JCB randomly digging up network/broadband cables. Not to mention the privacy/security aspects (who does the cloud provider share your data with ?)

OK: you can save a bit by not employing a sysadmin or bothering to do your own backups, but how much does it cost to not be able to do anything for 1/2 a day (or more) ?

BTW: this is NOT a flame against Microsoft, but any vital cloud based service.

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HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

alain williams
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Don't need an Internet connection

Somehow I don't think warships are connected to the Internet

The SS Yorktown in 1998 was not connected to the Internet, but a rogue packet in the ship's intranet took the MS Windows XP machines down and it needed to be towed back to port.

Maybe the Royal Navy wants to shows that it is also capable of gross cock up ?

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Tech giants flash Russia their code blueprints in exchange for access

alain williams
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This is why it is so stupid ...

of the likes of GCHQ and the NSA to hoard vulnerabilities that they find. The Russians, and likely other ''bad guys'', are probably going to find the same set of vulnerabilities.

If they really wanted to do their job of protecting us they would tell the vendor and we would all be a lot safer.

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Google to remove private medical data from search results

alain williams
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Removed from search results ...

but no comment about removing it from the profile that is built about you to help google target you with more adverts.

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IoT coverage for 95% of UK by 2019? We can't even do 4G, Sigfox

alain williams
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I can see myself buying

lots of copper sheeting with which to wrap aerials for things that I buy that do not come in non IoT versions.

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Operators and vendors agree that Europe is falling behind in 5G

alain williams
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Does anyone really care ?

Good, reliable 3G connectivity everywhere that I go is what I want.

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I still haven't found what I'm malloc()ing for: U2 tops poll of music today's devs code to

alain williams
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No vocals

I find that words distract (maybe uses the same part of my brain that I use for coding), so pure instrumental works for me - classical is great, baroque is best (most modern/pop is crap anyway).

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Five Eyes nations stare menacingly at tech biz and its encryption

alain williams
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Re: the genii has been out of the bottle for DECADES

Except any form of transit can be snooped. Dead drops can be watched, mail intercepted, and so on.

You are talking about Traffic analysis, this is very different from breaking encryption; it is an important tool as it gives clues on who fellow terrorists/crooks/... may be. By nobbling encryption those being watched will use different communications, some of which will not be so easy for traffic analysis.

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alain williams
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Re: Politicians are like journalists...

Politicians are used to a world where there is no such thing as a real binary choice: true or false and nothing in between. They come up against someone of a different opinion and argue, push, cajole, entice, bribe, blackmail, ... and a 'no, never' will turn into a 'maybe'.

They don't really accept that there no such thing as a safe back-door in encryption, or anything else.

Their reasons for doing this do not add up: they will catch a few low level crooks/terrorists/bogey-men but not the competent ones, IsisSoft Inc will not put back-doors in their code. So what is their true motivation ? It is appearing to me as increasingly totalitarian.

If they do push ahead with then we need a mass revolt by techies - all at once. They can pick us off one by one, but not by the thousand.

.

This comment alone probably puts me on the terrorist watch-list - the idea that normally meek geeks will stand up is one that politicians must find terrifying.

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Capita call centre chap wins landmark sex discrimination lawsuit

alain williams
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Management speak ...

Please can someone explain to me how:

Capita Customer Management said: "We ... as an organisation that takes equal opportunities very seriously"

and:

Capita has lodged an appeal against the tribunal's decision.

are consistent ?

Why is it that women, supposedly, receiving less pay is screamed about in the media but men being disadvantaged is largely ignored ? Kudos to El-Reg for reporting it.

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Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report

alain williams
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Price per page view ...

Ha, ha, ha, whoo, ha, ha, ....

Very few sites that I visit have content that I cannot easily find elsewhere. So if you want to charge me I'll just go elsewhere.

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Goodness gracious, great Chinese 'Fireball' malware infects 250m systems worldwide

alain williams
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What operating systems ?

The Checkpoint page only mentions MS Windows and Mac OS; I searched and various other pages said the same. I run neither, but it is a browser probem: so am I safe ?

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Crapness of WannaCrypt coding offers hope for ransomware victims

alain williams
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Hope of what ... ?

The implication is that putting this together was not too hard a task and did not need an expert programmer.

So are we being hinted that next time some better programmer will get hold of the source and do a proper job ?

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NHS U-turns on blanket IR35 tax crackdown

alain williams
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Locums and PFI

Locums don't rent accommodation to work at a different place. They are brought in for a day or a few days to cover staff shortages.

A lot of locums are brought in to cover pregnancy-leave/queue-bust/job-advertise-interview-cycle/... and can be at one place for a few months. Often this will not be commutable (especially for specialists), if, as employees, they cannot recover: travel, hotel/b&b, cost of eating out, then they will be considerably worse off.

This is a case of government labeling hard working, medium earning locums as people sponging off the NHS because it is a cheap way of shifting the spotlight of NHS funding blame away from politicians.

The NHS would be much, much better off if the trusts had not been forced into very expensive PFI contracts. This was initially a fudge brought in by John Major to cook the books so that government borrowing could be seen to be lower; the cost was to boot the debt repayment into the future; NOW is the future, this is part of the reason why the NHS (+ schools, etc) are running out of money.

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Lexmark patent racket busted by Supremes

alain williams
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Re: What about other measures?

How is this not a form of racketeering ?

How is this not a form of dumping ?

Both are illegal (criminal). How have these companies been allowed to get away with it ?

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EU pegs quota for 'homegrown' content on Netflix at 30 per cent

alain williams
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Lots of peaceful footage ...

of parts of: the river Thames, the Avon, the Seine, the Rhine, ... showing the fish leaping (or not) and pretty flowers on the banks. Quick and cheap to make in bulk.

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DJI: Register your drones or no more cool flying vids for you

alain williams
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DJI are ripping off open source

I was given one of these ... it would not talk to my Linux machine, I then found that the firmware and MS .exes were built on Open Source (GPL) software. I asked for a copy of the source, they did not reply. this is all that I can find now.

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7 NSA hack tool wielding follow-up worm oozes onto scene: Hello, no need for any phish!

alain williams
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It ought to have a pay-load

A dialogue box that pops up every 5 minutes that says:

You stupid pillock - you still have not applied the update from Microsoft. Do you want to be owned by something really malicious ?

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Biz overlords need to give a stuff about what they're told by IT crowd

alain williams
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responsibility to control access to data

only 46 per cent of CMOs and 44 per cent of IT staff thought that they had a responsibility to control access to personal data.

Maybe these people should look at the 7th Data protection principle:

Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.

It would be interesting to see how many organisation break the 8th principle by exporting data to the USA - which does not have adequate protection in law of personal data.

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Windows 10: Triumphs and tragedies from Microsoft Build

alain williams
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Putty ....

You generally install it. But if you do so on Window 10 then you are compromising the *nix systems that you login to - that telemetry that can log all your key strokes.

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Great Ormond Street children's hospital still offline after WannaCrypt omnishambles

alain williams
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Any idea total cost ?

Anyone any idea of the total cost to the NHS of this debacle ? Human as well as financial.

Any idea of the cost world wide ?

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Do we need Windows patch legislation?

alain williams
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The blame here is firmly on those still using an operating system that is 16 years old.

Today is some 16 years after Windows XP was first released, but the important date is when machine were last sold with Windows XP - this was some time near 2010; so for those machines XP is only about 7 years old, but support ended in 2014 - when those machines were 4 years old. It seems to me that a computer that is 4 years old is still quite young, support should have continued longer.

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While Microsoft griped about NSA exploit stockpiles, it stockpiled patches: Friday's WinXP fix was built in February

alain williams
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Blame those who did not replace ancient kit

*all* systems are capable of being 'owned' - assuming anything else is reckless. If you use such a system then you must accept that something bad could happen; air-gapping will provide a degree of protection but not a guarantee.

So: who uses ancient hit ?

* old desktops - not excuse; replace them

* embedded kit (eg ATMs, Point of sale terminals, MRI scanners). How long is this expected to work for ? If the manufacturer of a £150,000 MRI scanner gives the expectation that this will work for 20 years then they *must* provide security updates for all of those 20 years - no excuses. They will provide hardware support but just shrug their shoulders when asked about operating system updates. So the needed updates do not happen and they leave their customers open to the sort of thing that happened last week. Part of the reason is that they cannot update an old operating system - they do not have access to the code to do so.

Building long lived kit on top of Open Source software (eg Linux or a BSD) does give the maker the ability to back-port fixes to vulnerabilities. This is the only sane way of building kit that is expected to work for more than a few years.

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UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

alain williams
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Re: Using Windows?

We use Windows PCs because a lot of the dedicated software we use won't run on anything else.

Aw, come on! The NHS is a large enough customer that if they wanted it on a Linux or BSD system the supplier would do the port.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 ARM-twist comes closer with first demonstration

alain williams
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Oh goodeee

it looks as if this will result in the market coming up with a better choice of ARM based laptops that I will be able to install Linux onto.

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Beeb hands £560m IT deal to Atos. Again

alain williams
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Cost of divorce

which is why when considering marriage, be that outsourcer, software supplier, ... part of the calculation should be: what will it cost to move away at the end ?

The supplier will, however, be doing its best, once the deal has started, to ensure that the divorce costs just rise. Think of the numbers who would like to move away from Oracle or Capita.

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Just 99.5 million nuisance calls... and KeurBOOM! A £400K megafine

alain williams
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0.4p per call ?

How much were they paid per call - the fine should be closely related to that.

Getting the fine from the directors: how about using the proceeds of crime act ?

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Realistic Brits want at least 3 security steps on bank accounts

alain williams
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Stop using your mobile 'phone

Not using a mobile phone would figure highly on my list of how to keep my bank a/c safe. Next: not to login there from a MS Windows machine.

It would help a lot of the banks stopped 'phoning their customers about whatever and as a first step ask the customer to verify who they were by answering security questions!

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We are 'heroes,' says police chief whose force frisked a photographer

alain williams
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Legislation will never be abused ...

we are always told. So why is anti terror legislation being used to terrorise photographers, I wonder what plans are being drawn up on who to abuse with the Investigatory Powers Regulations 2017 ?

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Leaked: The UK's secret blueprint with telcos for mass spying on internet, phones – and backdoors

alain williams
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1 in 6,500 real time snooping

comms providers will be required to make bulk surveillance possible by introducing systems that can provide real-time interception of 1 in 10,000 of its customers. Or in other words, the UK government will be able to simultaneously spy on 6,500 folks in Blighty at any given moment.

That makes the assumption that each person only has one Internet connection. For many it is 3: home, work & mobile. So double that number - at least.

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Just delete the internet – pr0n-blocking legislation receives Royal Assent

alain williams
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Anything in there about religious sites ?

Religion screws up far more young, impressionable minds than does porn.

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Hackers uncork experimental Linux-targeting malware

alain williams
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Run nmap occasionally ...

just in case you forgot to close that port that you opened for a 5 minute test last month:

nmap -A -T4 my.host.name

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Uber cloaked its spying and all it got from Apple was a slap on the wrist

alain williams
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Honesty

seems to be considered optional by many CEOs these days. However if you, as an individual, breach their terms of service they see no problems in acting against you.

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