* Posts by Vimes

1280 posts • joined 3 Dec 2012

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European Commission refers Ireland to court over failure to collect €13bn in tax from Apple

Vimes

So: Amazon owes 250m, Apple billions... and all enforced by a European system on rules limiting state aid. Rules that Corbyn wants to ditch.

I bet the tax dodging corporations will love having him as PM...

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Ye Bug List

Vimes

Re: Edit Forum posts

While we're on the subject is there any chance of increasing the length of the editing window for people that have proven themselves in your eyes to be reasonably responsible? There have been a few occasions where I wanted to make some innocuous changes after the 10 minutes - typos mostly - but have been unable to do so because of this rather arbitrary limit.

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Re-identifying folks from anonymised data will be a crime in the UK

Vimes

De-anonymising data and then using it already seems to be a crime?

From the ICO's own guidance:

If you produce personal data through a re-identification process, you will take on your own data controller responsibilities. [Link - section 2]

Also from the ICO on the subject of what a data controller is:

8. The DPA draws a distinction between a ‘data controller’ and a ‘data processor’ in order to recognise that not all organisations involved in the processing of personal data have the same degree of responsibility. It is the data controller that must exercise control over the processing and carry data protection responsibility for it. This distinction is also a feature of Directive 94/46/EC, on which the UK’s DPA is based. [Link - page 4]

So if you de-anonymise data & use it you're responsible under the DPA already, and since consent is supposedly already such an important part then it's difficult seeing how using de-anonymised data could be used legally today (assuming no legitimate interest case could be made)

Like I said before: don't expect things to change.

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Vimes

Existing law is rarely enforced in the UK. Just look at the farce that was the Google/NHS trials if you want one example, or the ICO's failure to act when 3UK proposed giving Shine/Rainbow the browsing habits of their customers.

Huge fines have already been available for quite some time but the ICO seems to prefer using their toothless 'undertakings', and even getting that far seems to take an inordinate amount of effort.

As for criminal offences, it might be worth remembering that the City of London Police were wined and dined by the very people that happened to be the subject of one of their investigations (Phorm) before conveniently closing it without prosecuting anybody.

Forgive me if I fail to see anything changing any time soon.

Why should those flouting the rules now be any more less confident about breaking them when GDPR/data protection bill comes into force? The price of avoiding justice seems to be little more than that of a good meal. We also have a regulator so keen to avoid enforcement that it's difficult to stop from asking ourselves why we should bother with them.

P.S. 'cmomitting'?

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Former GCHQ boss backs end-to-end encryption

Vimes

"I don't advocate building in backdoors," Hannigan said. "It's not a good idea to weaken security for everybody in order to tackle a minority.

Odd, given the events back in 2010. It might be worth noting that whilst he wasn't in charge of GCHQ at the time, Hannigan still held a senior position within the Foreign Office (Director-General of Defence and Intelligence from March onwards that year).

Some people here might also recall that GCHQ were spending their time seven years ago trying to hack the SIM card manufacturer Gemalto and effectively install their own backdoors by attempting to steal the encryption keys.

So much for playing nice with the telcos.

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Twitter will no longer snaffle data allowances on Virgin Mobile

Vimes

Presumably this involves continual examination of what sites/services are being used so they know which traffic to exclude from the total?

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Another career suicide as reporter leaves The Register for broadcaster

Vimes

The J is important? But no dot I notice...

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Half a million 'de-identified' patients records to be shared in Bradford

Vimes

Why do any charities need to have access to data, regardless of whether it has been 'de-identified' or not?

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Governments could introduce 'made by humans' tags - legal report

Vimes

Re: Illogical conclusion @Charles 9

If the value of that wealth plummets then even the rich can end up being in trouble (just look at what happened in places like Zimbabwe when it suffered a financial collapse).

Even if that doesn't end up being the case you only need to look as far as countries like France & Russia to see what happens when the poor are pushed too far and for too long.

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Vimes

Re: Illogical conclusion

If we take this to its illogical conclusion, where all jobs will be performed by machines, then there will be no consumers to generate demand for the products and services performed by those machines. Obviously, this doesn't make sense and isn't going to happen, at least whilst the motivation for producing goods and services is wealth.

The motive is to create wealth for themselves, not society. The company doesn't care how well society is performing as long as the company is doing OK.

It's only once the damage has been done that they'll be forced to think otherwise.

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Vimes

It seems more likely that governments will find a way of taxing robots labourers in a similar way to their human counterparts (maybe by taking the average salary of the human counterpart and using that as a basis for example).

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Your internet history on sale to highest bidder: US Congress votes to shred ISP privacy rules

Vimes

What about traffic passing through the US in relation to services provided outside the country such as consumers in the EU? Won't make this development weaken Privacy Shield even further?

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Hutch's Three UK users ripping through over 6GB a month

Vimes

Re: @Vimes

The important point is that it's a foreign company outside the control of the regulators here, and once we leave the EU will probably be even less willing to pay any attention to what the likes of the ICO have to say on the matter.

Sometimes it feels like the government here is making every effort to either sell out members of the public or let the private sector do it. If it wasn't Russian made spyware being inserted into our national telecoms system then it was the excessive surveillance and cooperation with the US and the NSA.

Americans on one side, Russians on the other, with the Chinese often interested bystanders with the likes of Huawei. Next to no thought seems to be given to the interests of the little people...

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Vimes

All that lovely data - soon to be shared with the Israeli company Rainbow (previously named Shine) who just happens to count the owner of 3UK as an investor...

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Sources: Liberty Global, Vodafone take seats at negotiating table AGAIN

Vimes

They are interfering with the operation of a PC. I wonder what the Computer Misuse Act has to say about that?

They are intercepting traffic in a way that appears to go beyond what the law demands of them and clearly without consent. What would s.1(1) of RIPA have to say about that?

They are processing data in a way that appears to be excessive amongst other things, so it would be interesting to hear what the ICO has to say on the matter with regards to the Data Protection Act.

Sometimes intent is irrelevant and doesn't make it any less potentially illegal. I wonder if this is one of those times?

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Vimes

If that's all it was why haven't Vodafone done anything about fixing it?

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Vimes

Vodafone already seem to be playing silly buggers with some of their customers. I dread to think what will happen if Liberty Global and Vodafone end up merging...

https://twitter.com/NoDPI/status/831638918340734976

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Oxford Uni boffins say internet filters probably won't protect teens

Vimes

Scott Adams knew this 20 years ago

http://dilbert.com/strip/1996-01-24

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EU privacy gurus peer at Windows 10, still don't like what they see

Vimes

Re: No company has done more than MS[...] @bombastic bob

it can't legally be used against you in court.

Two words: parallel reconstruction.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-dea-sod-idUSBRE97409R20130805

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Vimes

Re: What information does Win 10 slurp? @LDS

From the privacy statement:

'We also obtain data from third parties.'

I wonder who these 'third parties' are and what data is being shared with them? For that matter has consent been gained from the user to share it with Microsoft in the first place?

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Vimes

Paradoxically, no company has done more than Microsoft to challenge antiquated laws that provide insufficient personal data to users

And to government too.

They were amongst the first participants in PRISM, and the current fuss over legal niceties regarding Irish servers only started *after* their shady dealings with the US government were revealed by Snowden. They had to resist this in court. They simply had no other choice. They have known for years that this was an issue but did nothing until they were forced to do so.

If Microsoft cared so much about how their customers are treated why did they fire Caspar Bowden?

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'We need a new Geneva Convention to protect all citizens from snoops'

Vimes

@Nick Kew

I'm not sure I would be so forgiving, especially when Caspar was so open about his own views on Brad Smith. A quick search on Twitter can be revealing.

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Vimes

You need only look as far as Caspar Bowden and how he was treated by Microsoft to know how they really feel about privacy. It would be interesting to hear what - if anything - Brad Smith has to say about it.

They only started caring when they were given no other choice but to do so.

In 2002, Caspar left FIPR and joined Microsoft, where he became chief privacy adviser for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Microsoft was originally keen on privacy, and Caspar got the company to sponsor privacy research in various ways. But the company’s direction changed as cloud services became important and as the Bush surveillance laws gave the agencies access to cloud data. In 2011 Caspar left. As he told the story, he was responsible for briefing Microsoft’s government sales managers in 40 countries about privacy, and told them that if they sold Microsoft cloud services to non-US governments, the US Fisa court (the Foreign Intelligence Surveilliance court) would give the FBI, NSA and CIA unfettered access to everything. For this, he was fired.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/13/caspar-Bowden

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Google mistakes the entire NHS for massive cyber-attacking botnet

Vimes

I used to have to go to hospital regularly for my pre-transplant appointments. It seemed at the time that they couldn't even keep track of the paper records, never mind deal properly with anything of a technological nature (they managed to lose my notes on a distressingly large number of occasions).

Incidentally, it may have been my imagination but I could have sworn the last time I saw a PC in hospital a few weeks back it was running XP...

Mind you at the time the whole place seemed to be poorly run (this is getting on for 20 years ago now). I recall having to stay overnight after a biopsy on a ward. The bathroom was located at the end and was a large room obviously intended to deal with disabled people too. I remember how the elderly man next to me had to get up in the middle of the night to use the toilet. All I could hear was a series of heartfelt faint 'Oh dear's repeatedly coming from the bathroom at the time.

I had to get up myself a while later, probably ~6-8 hours later. When I went in there I saw a series of dry brown puddles leading up to the toilet.

Nobody had noticed in the intervening time and nobody had bothered to clean it up.

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Microsoft's Cloud UI brings Windows full circle

Vimes

I recall my old HP 320LX. Problems with the design seemed in some instances to be entirely avoidable too.

I don't recall offhand which version of Windows CE it ran but the start menu structure was rather odd: it seemed some of the entries were recursive and you could end up going round endlessly from one menu to another if you really wanted to.

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Brexit, schmexit: Christmas sales up 4 per cent at Dixons Carphone

Vimes

Revenue for 2015/16 rose 3 per cent to £9.78bn for the full year, while sales in Blighty increased 1 per cent to £6.4bn.

3% growth internationally but only 1% within the UK?

Perhaps a more accurate headline would be 'Growth in the UK is only a fraction of what the rest of the EU is experiencing'?

Maybe it's just me, but only seeing 1/3 of the growth seen elsewhere isn't really something to shout about.

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Vimes

Does this have anything to do with the falling value of the pound by any chance and that most IT kit seems to come from abroad?

In such situations sales could be falling but profits could still end up higher than before...

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Lords slam 'untrammelled' data sharing powers in Digital Economy Bill

Vimes

Re: @ZanzibarRastapopulous

Again: no it isn't. Anybody who has made FoI requests will tell you that, especially when the private sector organisation doesn't actually give that information to the department they report to (with regards to transport, it's not just NATS, but also National Rail that would fall into this category for example)

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Vimes

Re: Multiple Disadvantages

It seems that if all else fails they just flat out lie

https://twitter.com/IamMrJ/status/822397067540635648

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Vimes

@ZanzibarRastapopulous

I don't think you do. At least nowhere near as much as the public sector. My own attempts for example to get information from NATS - despite it being a quasi-governmental body - have completely failed precisely because this did not appear to be the case.

From the ICO's website:

The Act covers any recorded information that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Information held by Scottish public authorities is covered by Scotland’s own Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces. However, the Act does not necessarily cover every organisation that receives public money. For example, it does not cover some charities that receive grants and certain private sector organisations that perform public functions.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-freedom-of-information/what-is-the-foi-act

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Vimes

Some of them still seem to manage to talk about things about which they have no understanding. Look at Floella (sorry, 'Baroness') Benjamin and her support for age verification on the internet for example (all 'for the children' of course).

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Vimes

If they're looking to extend access to the private sector when they provide services to government, then perhaps they can extend the responsibilities when it comes to those same activities too?

Freedom of Information comes to mind for example: if government bodies have to comply with demands for information, then why not the private sector when acting on behalf of government bodies?

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Microsoft sued by staff traumatized by child sex abuse vids stashed on OneDrive accounts

Vimes

Re: @Pascal @Paul 195 @ac

Here's the fun bit: it's also actually illegal in Europe

In that case, this is also from the services agreement:

The laws of the country to which we direct your Services where you have your habitual residence govern all claims relating to paid Services. With respect to jurisdiction, you and Microsoft agree to choose the courts of the country to which we direct your Services where you have your habitual residence for all disputes arising out of or relating to these Terms, or in the alternative, you may choose the responsible court in Ireland.

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Vimes

Re: @Pascal @Paul 195

It's not spying if it's a machine doing it? Seriously?

Microsoft employees are not going through everyone's files to do this

It's irrelevant if it's a person or a machine doing it. At the end of the day Microsoft is putting every single private file under the microscope. That's wrong.

Oh, and their services agreement also states that:

[...] When investigating alleged violations of these Terms, Microsoft reserves the right to review Your Content in order to resolve the issue. However, we do not monitor the Services and make no attempt to do so.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/servicesagreement/

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Vimes

@trevor_pott

They'd spend too much time looking through customer files for golden shower pictures and wouldn't get anything actually done.

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Vimes

Re: poor widdle snowflakes... wait, what? @Mark 85

Forget for a moment the claimed reason for going through private content. 'For the children' has to be one of the most widely abused excuses out there.

What is their LEGAL justification here for invading privacy?

The stated law doesn't appear to imply any requirement to actively scan content. Assuming for a moment that I haven't missed anything then however traumatising this task may be it still doesn't tell us by what right they're doing this or what legal requirement they're relying upon to justify this.

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Vimes

Funny how 'Forget privacy: we want to shaft you and your quaint notion of privacy - for the children!' never seems to make it into the sales pitch...

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Vimes

... following a federal requirement that unlawful material like child pornography must be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

A requirement to report something as and when it's found as a result of a support call or other associated activity is one thing, telling companies that they have to actively go out and find things to report is quite another. It's difficult to believe that the latter is really a requirement.

I won't shed any tears for any perverts caught out by this, but all the same: by what right have Microsoft been rifling through the private files belonging to their users?

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Clone wars: Wrestler sues Microsoft over Gears of War character

Vimes

At least one other case seems to suggest he'll have an uphill struggle.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-09-01-lindsay-lohans-grand-theft-auto-lawsuit-rules-in-rockstars-favour

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'He's taking the piss'

Vimes

'He's taking the piss'

Google 'Trump' and 'Golden'. Go on. I dare you.

I can imagine his associates desperately trying to avoid using bad puns all day today like 'urine denial about this'...

You know things are bad when we're only 2 weeks into 2017 and 2016 already looks tame by comparison.

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You have the right to be informed: Write to UK.gov, save El Reg

Vimes

Re: Except the new regulator must be approved

The possibility nevertheless remains for the media to come up with their own regulator. It just has to satisfy the conditions laid down by the PRP and be more responsive than the currently useless IPSO.

Assuming.for a moment that the PRP isn't making unreasonable demands then one wonders why the media has not done so, especially if the failings of Impress are so obvious.

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Vimes

Even the NUJ think that IPSO is a waste of space. Mind you this is an organisation that counts Trevor Kavanagh as a member.

https://www.nuj.org.uk/news/nuj-condemns-ipso-decision-on-describing-migrants-as/

As for a regulator that hates the mail and the sun, have you seen the crap that they put out on a daily basis? It's their sort of xenophobia that helped to bring about the killing of Jo Cox. Perhaps we could do with a regulator that hates the tabloids for once. Maybe they'll actually take substantial action against them.

I'm also curious: if IPSO is bad then why has nobody either here or elsewhere in the media made suggestions on how to improve it? People have legitimate concerns about how the media behaves and it's only the repeated failures to either recognise or significantly deal with those failings that has lead to this situation.

Personally I think section 40 is an overreaction too (SCO is a good example of how litigious a company can be for example) but it was the sort of thing that sooner or later would have come, and frankly it's difficult to have any sympathy for a press that has been given decades to sort things out and repeatedly failed.

Incidentally Impress will be enforcing the same editors code as IPSO, so the accusations that they will end up being biased seem more than a little overblown. So far all I've seen is Mosley's name mentioned and hyperbole. Is there anything of substance to that fear?

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Has the British Library started scraping this site?

Vimes

Has the British Library started scraping this site?

Log entries from the access log for my own site are included below, but you'll note that it's likely the only reason they came to my site was because of a posting here.

This is the first time this has happened, even if I have posted other files located on my site before.

So the British Library think that they are entitled to a copy of this website, as well as anything it links to Their own page effectively says they'll only respect robots.txt when they feel like it. And paid for content? They can force access there too

(not that this is new admittedly - it's been like that since 2013 where the law is concerned apparently)

Time to block that user agent and any remote host ending in *.bl.uk I think...

crawler04.bl.uk - - [12/Dec/2016:02:46:15 -0700] "GET /robots.txt HTTP/1.0" 404 277 "-" "bl.uk_lddc_bot/3.3.0-LBS-2016-02 (+http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/websites/websites/faqswebmaster/index.html)" patrick.seurre.com

crawler04.bl.uk - - [12/Dec/2016:02:46:20 -0700] "GET /wp-content/uploads/2016/04/register_ad3.PNG HTTP/1.0" 200 168523 "http://m.forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2016/04/05/Alistair_Hey_what_is_that_oddball_box_on_the_left/" "bl.uk_lddc_bot/3.3.0-LBS-2016-02 (+http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/websites/websites/faqswebmaster/index.html)" patrick.seurre.com

crawler04.bl.uk - - [12/Dec/2016:02:46:33 -0700] "GET /favicon.ico HTTP/1.0" 404 278 "https://patrick.seurre.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/register_ad3.PNG" "bl.uk_lddc_bot/3.3.0-LBS-2016-02 (+http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/websites/websites/faqswebmaster/index.html)" patrick.seurre.com

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100k+ petition: MPs must consider debating Snoopers' Charter again

Vimes

Re: People. The person you need to write to is your MP. @John Smith 19

Sadly when I chose to write to my MP about this when it was still being debated, his reply consisted of a large think envelope containing all the forms that have to be filled out when undertaking surveillance.

Of course this ignores the way in which the various services effectively self-authorise what they do making this whole thing a monumental waste of time but he didn't seem to be interested in hearing that.

Too many MPs are blindly following the government and have done so repeatedly in the past. For them to change course now would involve the acceptance that they had previously made mistakes, and most people should know how difficult it is to get an MP to actually do that.

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Make Christmas Great Again: $149 24-karat gold* Trump tree ornament

Vimes

Re: Drumpf was the grandfathers name

Neither Trump nor Farage are anti-immigrant. Both their politics and personal life clearly show that.

You just had one advocating the building of a wall to stop immigration, and the other posing in front of a giant billboard showing a poster eerily similar to ones shown in Nazi Germany. Nothing anti-immigrant about that all. Nope. Nothing...

They are against the "wrong sort" of immigrant.

You mean Muslims? Wasn't Trump supporting the idea of implementing a registry of them at one point? I'm only surprised they're not going to be forced to wear yellow crescents.

For that matter, when it comes to the 'wrong sort' of immigrant, does anybody else think it's rich of Farage to complain about of freedom of movement? He's given up on dealing with the clusterfuck he helped create so now he decides to take advantage of that freedom himself and bugger off to the US.

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Vimes

Re: Conclusive proof

That speaks against theories he's susceptible to money corruption

Seriously?

Do you honestly think there would be no temptation to follow certain courses of action as President if doing so appears to benefit his business interests?

He's not, unless he's stupid as a box of rocks.

...or thinks the laws don't apply to him?

Some of what he has been quoted as saying (“The law’s totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest”) sounds very Nixonian in my opinion and doesn't bode well for the future either.

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Vimes

http://boingboing.net/2016/11/24/funny-reivews-pile-up-for-dona.html

"It called Mary a nasty woman, told Joseph to go back where he came from, built a wall around the manger, and then when you press it it sings "I'm Dreaming Of A Totally White Christmas."

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Vimes

Re: Conclusive proof

Having large amounts of money doesn't necessarily mean that you have good taste.

No, *THIS* is conclusive proof:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/p3-johnston-view-from-osaka-a-20161120.jpg

Ever get the feeling he's trying to overcompensate for something?

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Vimes

Looks like with a little care somebody could come up with a cut-out design that could be printed out from a colour printer and folded together. It might not be shiny but then the gold content on the real one isn't that high anyway. And make the document freely downloadable.

Oh, and change the caption on the hat to 'Make Donald Drumpf Again' too...

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Merkel calls for balanced approach to data protection

Vimes

Big data often benefits big business.

Why should we give a shit about their needs, much less spend any time 'balancing' them with ours?

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