* Posts by alain williams

1085 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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MPs draft bill to close loopholes used by 'sharing economy' employers

alain williams
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Flexible working

The meme seems to be that the only way to get flexible working hours is by being self employed. This is rubbish. There is no reason why you cannot be employed (maybe with more than one employer) and also have flexible hours; it should not really be much more difficult for the employer to manage.

Workers benefits (holidays, etc) are then pro-rata on the number of days actually worked in the last year (or something similar).

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Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped

alain williams
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Rip off on car sales ...

you used to sell the tax disk with the car, now you need to buy a new one with the car. In spite of it being done on-line you need to buy one from the start of the current month, but the refund only starts from the start of the next month - so double taxation.

It is bad enough to have corporations screwing their customers, but I don't like my government to screw their tax payers.

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alain williams
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Re: No car tax?

Thats where the tax disc was brilliant as it was a visual reminder. Now we don't have it.

How hard would it be for DVLA to generate a PDF with a tax disk in it that the car owner could download & print ? This would have no legal standing but it would serve as a reminder. It could even be a money spinner ... there are enough people who would pay an extra 50p car tax in exchange for a personalised tax disk: picture of your cat, iconic background (Buck house, ...), slogan (my other car is a ...).

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Windows Update borks elderly printers in typical Patch Tuesday style

alain williams
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Picture of man smashing printer ...

surely it should be of a man smashing a computer showing a Windows logo?

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Inside Internet Archive: 10PB+ of storage in a church... oh, and a little fight to preserve truth

alain williams
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NSA & Internet Archive

the NSA would have no qualms whatever in hacking in and changing the data, or simply ordering them to change it and forbidding them to say anything about it.

Correct: so any second copy must be more than a backup copy of the ''master'' in the USA. It must have a certain amount of USA-hands-off autonomy so that it would verify updates from the USA and also scan web sites independently so that it is not blind to the sites that the USA government/judiciary says that the USA archive must not see.

The big question is where to place the second copy ? The UK is likely too close (politically) to the USA, much of Europe is not a huge amount better. I have China and Russia popping into my head; sure they will censor things but likely in a different way than the USA/Europe.

Why stop at two backups, if funds allow the more the better.

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alain williams
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Archive vs right to be forgotten

How do we square off the two ?

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It's 2017 – and your Windows PC can be forced to run malware-stuffed Excel macros

alain williams
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What Munich has to look forwards to ...

if they follow up on the Microsoft office move bribe and ditch LiMux.

Still: I suppose that it will increase local employment as this will provide work for more system admins.

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Astronomers find bizarre 'zombie supernova' that just won't die

alain williams
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More than one sun ?

If there have been multiple explosions then maybe each explosion has been a separate sun. Close enough to the original to be detonated by it.

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Facebook's send-us-your-nudes service is coming to UK, America

alain williams
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Re: Only someone as disfunctional as Zuk could have come up with this

The Common Naked Photo Interchange Protocol

Is that a point-to-point or a broadcast protocol ?

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SCO vs. IBM case over who owns Linux comes back to life. Again

alain williams
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Just in time for Halloween ...

the un-dead rising again.

Someone: get some sharp wooden stakes and some garlic.

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US voting server in election security probe is mysteriously wiped

alain williams
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Get it back: easy - peasy ...

Load the backups.

Oh, what do you mean that they were wiped as well or they did not back the machine up ?

.

.

What is that nasty smell in the corner ?

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Happy New Year! Love, Microsoft: Price rises? Aw, you shouldn't have

alain williams
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TCO reports

I understand that, for some strange reason, the price that MS charges in Munich is not going up.

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HMRC boss defends shift to AWS, says they got 50% knocked off

alain williams
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Where will AWS get the other 50% from ?

Is the NSA paying the other 50%, if so will they get a sly copy of all HMRC data in the AWS cloud?

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HMRC's switch to AWS killed a small UK cloud business

alain williams
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How long UK before tax records taken by the USA

What's changed is AWS and Azure now have environments rated to OFFICIAL and OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE on the G-cloud pricing book. That means they can now be used by central government departments.

So what happens when the U.S.A. Supreme Court decides that law enforcement officials can access data on USA corporation owned servers in other countries ... how long before the USA slurps up all UK tax data on some pretext.

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NetBSD, OpenBSD improve kernel security, randomly

alain williams
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it is a good start ...

yes: more to do, but follows in the Open Source philosophy: release early. They can get a next step done in the next months, then release that. Eventually they will have something that will please even you!

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MEPs vote to update 'cookie law' despite ad industry pressure

alain williams
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Session cookies

The big problem with the current legislation is that it does not distinguish between session and other cookies.

Session cookies are used to tie together the pages viewed on one visit and are auto-destroyed by the browser some 20-30 minutes after the visitor has left the site - these are reasonably benign.

Other cookies have a long life, potentially years.

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Yes, British F-35 engines must be sent to Turkey for overhaul

alain williams
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Total cost ...

Multiply $123m unit cost by 138 quantity and I get $17 billion (£13 billion). How many hospitals is that ?

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Samsung to let proper Linux distros run on Galaxy smartmobes

alain williams
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Does that mean that I can get a root shell

on the 'phone and remove all the rubbish & spy-ware that I do not want? Or will I still need to replace the Samsung supplied OS to do that ?

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Man prosecuted for posting a picture of his hobby on Facebook

alain williams
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Ian Rankin is dangerous!

Beware discussing an Inspector Rebus novel on a public forum. If you do so then you risk McCopper deciding that you are researching how to carry out some heinous crime.

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Supreme Court to rule on whether US has right to data stored overseas

alain williams
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Interesting tussle coming up ...

between the supreme court of the USA and the Irish courts.

IMHO it is all in Ireland, so it is up to their courts.

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Ernst & Young slapped with £1.8 MEEEELLION fine for crap accounting

alain williams
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Rather than a fine ..

should not the FRC have insisted that all of E&Y's work was checked by another auditor for a couple of years ?

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Customers cheesed off after card details nicked in Pizza Hut data breach

alain williams
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Re: Surely they don't store payment card details. So wtf?

I presume they don't store payment card details.

See their T&Cs section 3.2: "We will not charge your credit or debit card until we despatch your order." which means that they do keep your card details ... I would not be surprised if, once they have them, they keep them for a lot longer.

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Microsoft faces Dutch crunch over Windows 10 private data slurp

alain williams
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Re: Irony

Why can't Micro-shaft JUST COME CLEAN on what they're collecting on everyone?

That could be fixed by the Dutch legislators insisting that Microsoft provide a tool that will show everything that has been slurped in the last couple of months -- complete with an explanation of what the tool shows.

After all: it is (supposedly) your Personal Computer and thus you should be able to find out anything that relates to you or the operation of the PC.

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Fear the SAP-slap? Users can anonymously submit questions about licensing naughtiness

alain williams
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Who owns the data ?

SAP or the company/customer ?

So if a company exports all the data, say every night at 4am, into a MySQL database then SAP can surely not demand $$ for queries against the MySQL database ?

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Russian telco backs up North Korea's sole Internet link

alain williams
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Re: Comments?

Will JC or BOJO be the next PM ?

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Forget the 'simulated universe', say boffins, no simulator could hit the required scale

alain williams
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Re: Simluator

Coat has Occam's razor in pocket.

Don't cut your fingers on it when you reach for your bus pass.

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UK lotto players quids in: Website knocked offline by DDoS attack

alain williams
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'Gamble' not 'play'

Please do not use the Camelot marketing department's word 'play' - which implies that the lottery is a bit of fun, not serious. For many, reasonably well off, el-reg readers that might be true, but I have seen people at my local newsagent gambling money that it was plain that they could not afford -- it is harmful.

People are taken in by the con that they will get rich - the adverts try to convince people that they will be more lucky than their neighbour - clearly that cannot be true.

Would you make an investment that returned 25% of your original stake ? That is what you are likely to get when gambling on the lottery.

This DDOS has saved many people money that they could not afford to loose.

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Ex-sperm-inate! Sam the sex-droid 'heavily soiled' in randy nerd rampage

alain williams
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Re: Gimmi!

compared to what some long term XX wetware require.

Married for 7 years, been paying alimony for 22 years; spent a fortune in the courts just to see the kids - one of who now lives with me, another I'm paying Uni fees (mature student).

At $3,000 it would have been cheaper to buy several a year - and less emotionally stressful.

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SQL Server 2017: What's new, what's missing on Linux, and what's next?

alain williams
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''Various flavours of Linux''

and then mention a few distros; no mention of hardware platform. Red Hat, for instance, runs on x86, power PC, IBM mainframe, ARM -- is it available on all of these or just Intel compatible ?

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HP denies rumours Elite x3 is for the axe, admits coveting neighbour's OS

alain williams
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Multi-OS

LineageOS would be nice.

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Brit broke anti-terror law by refusing to cough up passwords to cops

alain williams
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Re: Possible Solution?

Your destination has been changed to this holding cell: you may 'phone your colleague now.

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alain williams
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What a good thing that he was not coming into Catalonia

where they might have wanted to search his laptop to look for illegal opinions such as wanting to separate from Spain. At least the UK law is only used to stop people who might kill people; they will never use it to search people who have political opinions that the government of the day does not like.

</sarcasm>

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alain williams
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Re: Defeating Draconian laws

I have a second Apple account

Are you saying that Apple are not subject to the Patriot act ?

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Insteon and Wink home hubs appear to have a problem with encryption

alain williams
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What do we care ?

Putting in proper security will just cost us to no benefit - ie we will not make more money.

It will cost us developer time & make our products more complicated so that we will have to deal with extra support calls from the Muppets who buy our stuff - someone has to pay for those support calls y'know!

If some of these do get cracked, they probably won't blame us, if they do we will just send out our press release blaming ''the bad guys'' - we have is already written, it just needs the date putting on it. After a fortnight the broohaha will have died down and our sales will just continue.

If the law were change to make us liable for customer losses we might take notice, we have our lobbyists ready just in case legislators think about this.

Love & kisses: Insteon PR department.

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iPhone 8: Apple has CPU cycles to burn

alain williams
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Please explain to me ...

why I need all of this to talk on the phone and send/receive text messages ?

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Sysadmin tells user CSI-style password guessing never w– wait WTF?! It's 'PASSWORD1'!

alain williams
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Re: "They looked for the password on the CD . . ."

Some 8 years ago I opened a bank account with Santander, they did not understand security:

* they sent the username for on-line banking in a clear text email; the password was in another email sent 1/2 second later.

* we went in, took all the documents needed to open a bank account (passport, etc); they took a copy; a month later ''we have lost them, please scan and send the images by email". (I refused to do so)

* I complained that important, security related documents were lost. They assured me that they were quite safe: but were unable to explain how they knew so since they did not know where they were.

And so it went on. The account has been closed for many years, final statement showing a NIL balance - but every 6 months I get a letter telling me that there are a couple of quid there (I have checked - there is not).

Muppets

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IT plonker stuffed 'destructive' logic bomb into US Army servers in contract revenge attack

alain williams
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Where to hide a logic bomb?

Unless you are of the mindset of a suicide bomber the most important thing is plausible deniability. Make it look like a logic error -- a bug.

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Ah, good ol' Windows update cycles... Wait, before anything else, check your hardware

alain williams
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Re: I'm confused

I don't understand how the security of a device is dependent upon its bus width.

More room for ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomisation), which makes buffer overflow attacks harder to exploit. Windows 10 uses so much RAM that there is not much left over for ASLR if all that you have are 32 bits of virtual address space.

My guess anyway.

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Researchers claim ISPs are 'complicit' in latest FinSpy snooping rounds

alain williams
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Re: Certificates

But were the packages not signed with the public key of the software vendor/distributor ? Or are we dealing with a bunch like slack ?

OK: I don't know how this is done in the windows world, and if you have never installed anything from the vendor you will not have the key (so getting it could be spoofed) ... but Skype is from Microsoft and so the Windows machine will have their signing key ... so if the installer does not complain we need to ask how the spooks got their malware signed to make it look legitimate.

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You lost your ballpoint pen, Slack? Why's your Linux version unsigned?

alain williams
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It isn't that hard to do

Even I do it for the tiny repo that I have created - mainly for my own convenience.

Words are always cheaper than actions; so do they have a blame-someone-else script already written if/when it is hacked again? I notice that it was hacked in February 2015.

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UK Prime Minister calls on internet big beasts to 'auto-takedown' terror pages within 2 HOURS

alain williams
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Please start with all T May utterances

because, by gum, she sure terrifies me. If she wasn't a woman she would be wearing a Joe Stalin moustache by now. She is not called the Pry Minister for nothing.

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More data lost or stolen in first half of 2017 than the whole of last year

alain williams
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What do you mean by ''lost'' ?

I suspect that you mean ''laptop left on train'', or similar, ie misplaced - and possibly in the wrong hands.

This is very different from ''data accidentally deleted''. There is sometimes a requirement for data to be kept for certain periods. I observe that embarrassing data, especially when asked for by a subject access request, has a propensity to become ''lost - accidentally deleted''.

These two should be counted separately.

Could we please start calling the ''left on train'' incidents ''misplaced'', not ''lost''.

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Black screen of death after Win10 update? Microsoft blames HP

alain williams
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Rather than blaming each other ...

Microsoft and HP should get together and produce a fix. Customers don't care who broke it.

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What's that, Equifax? Most people expect to be notified of a breach within hours?

alain williams
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Words are cheaper than sysadmin time

'nuff said.

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123-Reg customers outraged at automatic .UK domain registration

alain williams
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Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

This makes unsolicited goods something that the supplier cannot demand payment for. This is 123reg trying to indulge in inertia selling ... so if they renew the domain without the customer saying they want it: then they are acting illegally.

Not that acting illegally seems to bother many businesses these days.

If they grab the money from your bank account: just get the bank to reverse the charge and let 123reg whistle for their money.

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How alien civilizations deal with climate is a measure of how smart they are. Just sayin'...

alain williams
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What is meant by 'advanced civilisation'

Most people think that this means that the boffins has worked out how to do all manner of technical wonders.

Just as important is: have the politicians grown up enough to not destroy the planet. I used to think that this meant not throwing nukes around, but increasingly realise that it means controlling expansion and population growth to what the ecosystem can sustain.

Of the two: the harder is the politics. Politicians are just big children who have the gift of the gab and persuade the rest of us to vote for them (or self interested psychopaths who become dictators). They have little interest in the long term of anything (including the ecosystem) as long as they get what they want now.

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Close Encounters of the Kuiper Belt kind: New Horizons to come within just 3,500km of MU69

alain williams
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It is a long way away from the sun

how much light is there there for taking pictures ?

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80% of IT projects in public sector delayed due to IR35 – report

alain williams
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The duty to pay taxes ...

is something that middle class people must do. It is not a burden that is to be felt by the very rich or by large corporations.

If large corporations were made to pay taxes just like the rest of us: where would all those nice consultant type jobs come from once MPs and top civil servants retire ?

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Chinese smartphone cable-maker chucks sueball at Apple

alain williams
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I can see the value in certification

to assure users that the the cable/... will not damage their expensive iBling.

I cannot see why Apple would want a chip in the cable ... to me this smells like printer vendors putting chips in printer ink cartridges - as a means of trying to stop perfectly good independent suppliers from undercutting their overpriced stuff.

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US government: We can jail you indefinitely for not decrypting your data

alain williams
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There is an easy way out ...

He needs to get a diagnosis for Alzheimer's disease -- hard for the prosecutors to then show that he can remember any passwords. Once he is released he just needs a quick visit to Ernest Saunders' physician and can resume his life.

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