* Posts by Loyal Commenter

2453 posts • joined 20 Jul 2010

BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Loyal Commenter
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Re: RE: Sabroni

Sorry, you're seriously claiming that making a vote advisory in some way prevents people from participating? That has to be the most ludicrous sour grapes comment on the referendum that I've seen so far.

No, I'm claiming that the government justified excluding those couple of million ex-pats from the vote on the grounds that it was advisory and non-binding, so they didn't have to act on the result. If they had passed legislation form the start to make the vote binding, they would have had to include all British citizens, not just those it was convenient to poll. Arguably, they may also have had to include other EU nationals resident in the UK too, who also got no say in a major decision that directly affects their future.

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Loyal Commenter
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What, like the £1 billion that the Tories found in their 'magic money tree' to bribe the DUP.

It is worth noting that the DUP have not yet received their windfall from the magic money tree, and that it will require an act of parliament to shake that tree so that they get it. IIRC, the bill for this is due to be debated next month. No doubt this will pass, as the DUP aren't going to vote against Christmas, but it should be interesting watching the Maybot trying to justify it in the House.

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Hey downvoter - read this, and then show me where the Tories costed their manifesto promises:

Manifesto costs

Otherwise, you're down-voting me simply because you don't like being told inconvenient facts that risk invalidating your world-view...

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Re: Journalists

Having another election any time before Brexit along with the uncertainty of our position changing and possibly having to restart some of the negotiations would almost certainly be far worse than leaving the existing crowd to muddle along as they are.

Personally, I'd far prefer Kier Starmer (a man actually qualified for the job) to be negotiating with the EU than the total imbecile that is David Davis. Davis has made no noticeable progress in the negotiations, so even if we started again in a years time and rewound the negotiations right back, Starmer would probably get us more progress in a week than Davis will have managed in a year.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: RE: Sabroni

If you claim that the numbers make the result invalid, then you must accept that most UK elections in the past 100 years were even less valid.

AFAIK, general elections don't tend to exclude people from voting on the grounds that the vote is only advisory, despite the fact that those people are likely to be the ones most affected by the outcome of the vote.

The referendum was, however, conducted on these terms (the bill for the referendum itself says it is only advisory, and referendums in UK law cannot actually be legally binding) and British citizens resident overseas for more than a certain amount of time (I think it was 8 years, but stand to be corrected) were excluded from voting.

So no, I'm not claiming it's the numbers that make the referendum invalid, I'm claiming that the referendum itself was defined as being invalid, and that the result was skewed by excluding a couple of million people who would almost certainly have voted the other way. To top that, I'll add that the leave campaign was based on a set of lies that those promoting it had been practising for 30 years or so, whilst the remain campaign was so ineptly run (through central Tory government) that there was never any possibility of most people being properly informed about what the vote actually meant in the first place.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: RE: Sabroni

Which bit do you think is undemocratic?

I'd go for the bit where our parliament gives us very little say (one vote every five years or so) and no control over how our money is spent. A parliament which is arguably much less democratically accountable than the institutions of the EU, as it is currently led by a monomaniac who is hell-bent on subverting the representative democracy of the parliament and ruling by edict.

Of course leaving the EU will make this more democratic. I am also the last Tsar of Russia, and have this lovely bridge to sell if you're interested...

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For some value of "properly" that translates to "with imaginary money from my very own magic money tree", that is.

I seem to recall at the not-so-distant last election, that one party had a fully costed manifesto, and one did not. The party that did not then proceeded to pull a billion quid out of their collective arse to gift to a bunch of science-denying cultists in order to desperately grasp onto the last threads of power.

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Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel were both research chemists.

And Thatcher, for all her faults, stuck to her beliefs, and was at least largely honest, unlike today's politicians.

Her failing wasn't that of all the bullshitting PPE graduates we have now, it was that she was a ruthless capitalist and believed only in the market, whilst claiming that there was 'no such thing as society', thereby doing a pretty damn good job of breaking society for the advantage of the well-off. In other words, a Tory.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: 2 percent

Why dont we just watch what the old agency in the EU does and go off their ruling?

That would presuppose that drugs being sold in the UK post-brexaster will all be approved in the EU. In reality, if there isn't a sufficient regulator in place in the UK, it will mean the market being flooded with unregulated and/or untested pharmaceuticals.

That prescription you just picked up from your pharmacist - is that actually what it says on the label, or is it a knock-off tablet imported from China made from talc and formaldehyde? Is it a well-tested drug that has been evaluated for safety, or is it something your GP prescribed you because he/she got a kick-back from a pharmaceutical rep so that they can gather data using you as a guinea-pig?

I think most people would agree that medicines need regulating, and that the regulator needs to have the remit to regulate those medicines within the jurisdiction that they are being used. This basically leaves us with two choices - regulate those drugs ourselves, or join in with the EU regulator, which enjoys economies of scale, and harmonisation across an entire continent. I know which one I'd opt for...

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UK's new Data Protection Bill will be 'liberal' not 'libertarian', says digi minister

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Facepalm

"For starters, we have equalled the penalty for copyright infringement to be the same online as offline. We are supporting further copyright reform to support rights holders and help close the value gap."

Yeah, lets start protecting British citizens, by protecting the IP rights of multinational corporations! Yay!

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Google to relieve HTC of its phones biz – report

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Re: Screw HTC, buy Wileyfox instead

...I refuse to ever buy a HTC phone ever again... they promised updates and then backtracked...

Which phone was that - I only ask because my HTC 10 got its fourth or fifth update yesterday.

The only thing I could fault it on is its propensity to heat up if you use it as a sat-nav for more than half an hour, so that it gets almost too hot to hold and it occasionally freezes up.

Other than that, I can't fault it - nice screen, good UI, solidly built, decent camera and sound...

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It's official: Users navigate flat UI designs 22 per cent slower

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Re: Personally

Hot and cold taps (or hot & cold on a mixer tap) where the colour or letter is hidden, near invisible or ambiguous. Grrrr!

A tap with the letter 'C' on it, in a country with a mix of English and French speakers. Do you feel lucky? Chaud or cold?

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Re: Personally

If the menus on my Freeview box are anything to go by, the time isn't spent trying to find the information on the screen, it;s spent waiting several seconds for the button press on the remote to register. I can only assume the processing power in these things is akin to that of a small legume. Either that, or the programmers are so bad that they are writing massive nested loops into their code just for shits and giggles.

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Smart meters: 'Dog's breakfast' that'll only save you 'a tenner' – report

Loyal Commenter
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Want to get your Bristish Gas bill sorted out?

Write to them and ask for the final bill.

Switch supplier to literally anybody else.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Benefits

Although to think about it this is the first vote on our membership of the EU

*cough* 1972 *cough*

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FAIL

Re: Benefits

What scares me is the nutters demanding democracy is overthrown because we didnt vote their way!

You, sir, need to read up on the meaning of that word.

Or maybe you believe that one vote at a single point in time should stand for all time, even if it has been shown to be based on lies and fiction, and promises of something undeliverable, in which case may I introduce you to our supreme eternal leader Saint Theresa May...

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Private sub captain changes story, now says reporter died, was 'buried at sea' – torso found

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Occam's Razor

The simplest explanation here doesn't involve some bizarre accident, 'burial at sea' somehow while the sub was already crippled, and then a changing story.

The simplest explanation I can think of involves the age-old bad things that can happen when a man gets a woman alone in a place she can't escape from, and a fracas ensues, followed by a panicked disposal of a body and deliberate scuttling of the sub.

Not that I'm saying that's what actually happened, its just the simplest sequence of events I can think of that fits the known facts. His (current) story may indeed by true, although if this is the case, he has done nothing to help himself by initially lying.

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Chap behind Godwin's law suspends his own rule for Charlottesville fascists: 'By all means, compare them to Nazis'

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Re: The thin line between right and wrong

mtDNA contains 37 genes. That's three-seven, thirty-seven, of around 19,000 coding genes in the human genome.

Unless those genes differ significantly in function from one haplogroup to another, there's very little in them that you could claim distinguishes one human from another. Given that mtDNA codes for proteins used by your cells' mitochondria, which concern themselves with energy production, I am also going to assert that if you have a variant of one of these genes that differs significantly in function to anyone else's then you are going to have a very serious disease (think Charlie Gard).

mtDNA differs from nuclear DNA in that it is conserved unchanged from mother to child. Nuclear DNA undergoes mixing of genes from mother and father (with exception of the sex chromosomes).

In other words, any differences in these genes may be conserved from mother to child, and can therefore be used to determine the matrilineal ancestry to a group of individuals with the same variants. It isn't going to define 'race'.

The vast majority of what defines us as human is a mix of DNA from mother and father, and unless you come from a population that has been isolated from the rest of humanity for thousands of years (and if you're a non-native North American this isn't you), it is going to be a pretty good mix of many people from different origins.

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Police camera inaction? Civil liberties group questions forces' £23m body-cam spend

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Re: Two sides to every argument

As normal we also know that the images will be scanned with face recognition and so on to track people 'to stop terrorism' (yeah, yeah, more like to stop the population getting fed up of what the rich and government are doing so the top dogs can keep us plebs under their feet). We also know the data will be stored indefinitely and shared with anyone and everyone they want (especially the USA)

Do you have any evidence for this? A simple thought experiment about the processing power (and cost) required to scan all footage and identify faces would seem to suggest that this would be impractical, compared to the old-fashioned methods of intelligence-led observation, tapping and tracking of mobile phones, etc.

Not to mention that the people under observation might get a little bit suspicious if they're followed around all the time by a copper, pointing a camera at their faces, which is what would be required to make this actually possible.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Could save money ?

Bristol police save money and resources by ignoring cannabis use

Yup, they spend their money more effectively going after the growers and dealers, who they can then often put away on a mandatory sentence for firearms offences as well. Oddly enough, going after serious and organised crime is more beneficial to society than arresting the druggies in the bearpit or moving them on.

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Loyal Commenter
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There is a certain kind of person that studies Civil Liberties, the same kid of people that want to give paedophiles protection and radicalists rights to stay in the UK

Yeah, look at all those thugs with their jobs as Human Rights lawyers.

You, sir, are an idiot alt-right scrublord. You might like to try visiting reality one day and making some trivial observations as to how people actually behave.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: "the data wasn't collated or held in an accessible format"

"Okay, so here we have different police forces that have spent valuable money on recording equipment, then state that said equipment is either not used, records not kept or not accessible, or records even not made."

No, what you have here is the police not being able to answer questions as to what the CPS and the court system are up to. Given that the CPS, courts, and police are three separate things, who would you expect to be paying for this data collection? Whose stretched-to-breaking-point-by-a-idealogically-led-austerity-drive budget does that come from?

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Loyal Commenter
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Just because the numbers aren't available.

It should be pretty obvious why these things are useful. They keep both the police and the public honest in their interactions.

If they are mandatory for a force, then an officer will have difficult questions to answer if they are turned off, especially if during an arrest.

Conversely, if someone is arrested and claims the police acted improperly, the footage can show whether this is true or not. This is especially true in cases where mobile phone footage turns up on YouTube showing police restraining someone forcefully, but mysteriously doesn't show the run-up where the person being restrained is committing the act that led to their restraint.

Obviously they have limitations - they can only record what is in their field of view, and anything happening off frame is open to interpretation. Overall though, I think their use is a positive influence on justice.

The flip-side is that people have legitimate concerns about being filmed. I'm not sure why this should be different because it is the police doing it, rather than anyone else (it is perfectly legal to record in public places, with some exceptions around sensitive areas). I'd suggest that the footage from these things should be properly kept, and be available to FOI requests. Obviously, there are considerations here where it may be evidence in a court case, and releasing it publicly before that case is concluded would be prejudicial to the case, but I don't see any reason why forces shouldn't eventually release all the footage into the public domain. If nothing else, it would give people a good education as to what the majority of police work involves, because I bet you it's not what most people think.

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Blighty’s beloved Big Ben bell ends, may break Brexit bargain

Loyal Commenter
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That would inconvenience Nasty Nige, given that his wife is German.

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We'll deliver 'in a few weeks' says troubled ZX Spectrum reboot firm

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Indie-no-show...

When it does arrive will it be powered by Mr Fusion?

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BOFH: Oh go on. Strap me to your Hell Desk, PFY

Loyal Commenter
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Re: Benedict who?

Most people will know what a quisling is without knowing who Quisling was...

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: This

Is that psychopathic robot still in the basement?

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Slapping crap bosses just got cheaper: Blighty's Supreme Court nixes tribunal fees

Loyal Commenter
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"If Grayling et al aren't cringing in embarrassment when they read it, they are not fit for public office."

You could probably lose the 'if' from the beginning of that sentence, and it would still be perfectly valid.

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Loyal Commenter
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Observations of what is going on in Poland at the moment only serve to reinforce the fundamental principle that the justice system has to be kept separate from politicians.

An argument I heard made by one Polish minister was that the courts could send a politician to prison if they broke the law, but that politicians cannot do the same back. How this is anything other than a good thing in anyone's eyes other than those of this particular politico baffles me.

Our own government hasn't got much of better record in eroding the separation of legislature and judiciary. This ruling today is amazingly good news for everyone, with the exception of those who seek to abuse the rights of employees with no recourse. No prizes for guessing which colour tie those people tend to wear.

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Judge used personal email to send out details of sensitive case

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The email addresses of concerned parties probably aren't though

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Constant work makes the kilo walk the Planck

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Re: Lego?

I thought the Planck was just a really large ruler.

Nah, it's really small ruler, the Planck length being 1.6 x 10-35 M.

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Loyal Commenter
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Remonds me of this...

A Story about Magic

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The 'DUP' joins El Reg’s illustrious online standards converter

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Re: Dane Geld

I have no idea why you got down-voted for making a helpful and factually correct statement.

Why let those pesky facts get in the way of uninformed opinions, eh? Isn't this why Gove hates experts?

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Dane Geld

...oh, and the SF MPs (who refuse to take their seats in Westminster) also don't get paid.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Dane Geld

At least SF have enough integrity to not take their seats in the commons because they won't swear an oath of allegiance to the crown.

Both sides in NI have a shady history, but I would cast the DUP as the most regressive of the lot just because of their science-denying, women's-rights denying, gay-rights-denying backwards religious fundamentalism, which is ironic since SF are nominally the party linked to the Catholics, but appear to be more progressive in these regards.

The history of Ireland (both Eire and the North) is long and complicated, but it does essentially come down to the fact that English/Dutch protestants invaded the island in the 1680s, and despite being pretty much clearly in the wrong for doing so, the UK still wants to cling onto the parts of it that it managed to colonise.

This is, of course, a massive oversimplification, and the thing that can be said about Westminster's involvement in the politics of NI is that it should be done at arm's length, and not with one arm around one involved party, whether it be the DUP, SF, UUP, SDLP or any of the other minor parties.

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Loyal Commenter
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She'll get pushed first, as soon as the brexit negotiations get far enough, they'll either be too 'soft' for the 'hard' backbenchers, or too 'hard' for the 'soft' backbenchers, and there'll be a vote of no confidence.

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Men charged with theft of free newspapers

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Re: Possible reasons

What about if I used aluminium oxide paste as a bonding agent to hold the papers together?

It would be significantly more flameproof. You were probably thinking of iron oxide and aluminium powder, which are the ingredients of thermite. Bonus points for knowing that aluminium is highly flammable if you can get it hot enough to melt the oxide layer, which is another reason a sandwich of polyethylene between sheets of aluminium is really not fire proof.

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Loyal Commenter
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In England a man was successfully prosecuted for a related offence. He would read his home snailmail on the way to work - and put any unwanted items in a litter bin en route. The local council tracked him down through the addressed items. Apparently it is not allowed to dispose of household waste in a public litter bin.

A woman was recently given an on the spot fine of GBP80 for emptying the remains of her drink of coffee down a street drain - before putting the disposable cup in a litter bin. Her alleged offence was "polluting a water course".

[[CITATION REQUIRED]]

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Loyal Commenter
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Reading comprehension 101

There will be no jury, it will be dealt with by either a Judge or some Magistrates.

In the article:

Larezserrano and Mejia are due to appear before Central London Magistrates’ Court this afternoon to answer the charges.

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BOFH: Halon is not a rad new vape flavour

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Ask them to hold while you connect them to your boss who can authorise the purchase, and then forward the call to the police non-emergency number (101 IIRC)

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Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs

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Re: "error in line 123, colum 43"

If you can't figure out the error by reading the whole line of code, your line of code is too long. Come to think of it, you're probably using linq.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Bad Surveys

ObCrustyOldGit: Real Programmers don't waste bytes on spaces or tabs. Fancy layouts are for quiche-eaters. Unless your entire language is quiche (FORTRAN or Python).

Don't diss quiche. Made properly, it is basically a bacon and egg pie. And what, may I ask, is wrong with bacon, eggs, or pie?

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Look who's joined the anti-encryption posse: Germany, come on down

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Re: Short memories

It is to give normal policing a chance of actually tracking down paedophiles, people who convince young men to become terrorists, drugs dealers, financial fraudsters, etc, before they cause too much harm to others, or at least make it considerably harder for them to carry out their acts unidentified or undetected.

The thing you need to combat those is not mass surveillance, it is evidence and intelligence-led policing. Mass surveillance of mobile phones would give you a very narrowly focused, but very large volume of mostly irrelevant data, which is essentially useless for 99.9% of police work. Much better value is to spend money on policing itself. In this country, there have been large cuts to police budgets, resulting in fewer police working longer hours who are also responsible for a wider range of tasks. There have also been cuts to police staff, including analysts who are the ones who can actually look at patterns of behaviour and evidence and direct the investigations towards the right people.

The important distinction between the police and the security services, is of course, that the work of the police is open to public scrutiny, whereas the security services are not. You can apply right now to your local force to go on a 'ride-along' with officers. You can go and attend court sessions and see what goes on. Complaints are investigated by an independent body (the IPCC), and warrants are issued by a court. There may be flaws here, and arguments that the system is not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than the mess that politicians want, who seem to be hell-bent on eroding the distinction between judiciary and legislature, and on doing things in secret with no oversight.

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Loyal Commenter
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Re: Short memories

You are seriously deluded if you think this gets anywhere near as bad as the STASI were. Read your history.

Unlike you (I suspect), I have actually been to the museum in Berlin built in the headquarters of the Stasi, and seen the equipment they used en-masse for steaming open envelopes and reading the contents. If you are unable to see the parallel, I can draw you a picture.

It was very enlightening, you should go.

Stasi Museum (Wikipedia)

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Loyal Commenter
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Holmes

If it is "via access to device" that is only on individual subjects and most likely authorized by court order or an equivalent procedure as required by the local legal intercept laws. This is not breaking encryption in general and mass surveillance. So it does not do anything to Internet banking, etc.

In practice, law enforcement agencies won't know what devices a 'terrorist' is using until after the fact, so what they must want, in order to be able to do this, is to install this software on all phones, and then have a court order to use it (or to use the evidence gathered by it). There are myriad technical and practical reasons why this is fundamentally insecure, not least of which is the fact that if there is a 'master' key that allows access to unencrypted data, the most efficient way to obtain that key is not by hacking, but by repeated application of a short length of rubber hose tot eh right person until the key is obtained. In other words, there is always a weakest link, and criminals tend to have a much lower threshold of what is considered acceptable in order to break that link.

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Loyal Commenter
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That stance reflects a very similar one taken earlier this week by Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who told Parliament: "The privacy of a terrorist can never be more important than public safety – never."

There was this guy you might have heard of, called Benjamin Franklin, who said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

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Life is... pushing all the right buttons on the wrong remote control

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I think you have bigger problems if she's moved on to "fucking Lovejoy" Mr Dabbs.

Or as he is now known, 'Mr Wednesday'.

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El Reg straps on the Huawei Watch 2

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Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

Well they certainly shouldn't be on the fucking pavement, like most of the idiots round here!

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Sysadmin finds insecure printer, remotely prints 'Fix Me!' notice

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Re: Never do this

"To give you an analogy: if you notice someone's bag is open with a visible wallet inside, it's OK to tell them that they left the bag open and that you advise them to close it. But it's not OK to take the wallet yourself just to prove the point."

That's a bad analogy. A better analogy would be to slip a piece of paper into said wallet pointing out that they have left it on view and someone could have nicked it. Would that be a crime? I don't think it would, which illustrates a flaw in the Computer Misuse Act (and analogues in other countries, such as Eire in this case).

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Juno's first data causing boffins to rewrite the text books on Jupiter

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Re: "as well as knuckleballs and sliders"

I assume any US English I don't understand (or indeed British English) is to do with sport.

Sport, or guns / the military.

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