* Posts by Nick Kew

1261 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007

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Tech bribes: What's the WORST one you've ever been offered?

Nick Kew
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Peter, is that illegal now?

I guess that means they must've done away with that most corrupt of kickbacks, airmiles and frequent flyer programmes, that involve personal kickbacks for spending company money.

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Nick Kew
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Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

Jake, are you the hero of a comic opera?

Or even just a limerick. One lurking in a distant memory:

There was a young fellow from Johns,

who attempted to fondle the swans,

Whereupon said the porter,

Sir, pray, take my daughter!

The swans are reserved for the dons.

(St Johns College famously being the only people in Blighty other than Her Majesty with license to eat swans. I dined there as guest once or twice in my student days, but never on the big birds).

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Nick Kew
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Re: T-shirt

Among my collection of conference-freebies is a TripAdvisor T-shirt.

One to wear when checking into a hotel for the next conference!

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EU under pressure to slap non-compliance notice on Google over pay-to-play 'remedy'

Nick Kew
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Re: Blocking Comparison Web Sites And Foundem

Kelkoo still alive? Wow, my blocking of their annoying crap must've been entirely successful over [mumble] years. Something works!

The others you mention don't even ring a bell. Except sue, grabit and foundem: evidently the nastiest of all!

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ID theft in UK hits record high as crooks shift to more vulnerable targets

Nick Kew
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There are documented cases where it *did* work against TFA.

Fraudster walks in to victim's mobile 'phone supplier, claims to be victim, blags a SIM card with the number used for TFA, gets the code. Job done. And variants on the theme.

AIUI, this became such a problem that one bank was persuaded by consumer groups to abandon TFA.

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Nick Kew
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Some companies go out of their way to help phishers. See for example here where someone tries to verify a 'phone number.

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Oracle demands dev tear down iOS app that has 'JavaScript' in its name

Nick Kew
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Could it be that this is a red herring? Apple taking down a dodgy app (perhaps after complaints) and asserting the TM thing as an excuse? Or even the purveyor of the dodgy app inventing the whole excuse?

Just a thought. It would explain why JavaScript is just fine in other places[1]. If I google, apple's app store tops the results, but their page wants me to open it in itunes (sod that) and I don't see any review pages.

[1] That is, the word is just fine. The script itself - well, the less said, the better.

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Guess who's still most moaned about UK ISP... Rhymes with BorkBork

Nick Kew
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Re: "31 complaints per 100,000 customers"

I'd take a reliable 6Mb/s over a notionally-superfast-but-dysfunctional service any day.

I'd even take an unreliable 6Mb/s over Virgin cable, provided only I could contact the provider and get things fixed when it goes wrong. As in the difference between this story of BT (copper) failure vs this story or this story of Virgin failure.

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You're a govt official. You accidentally slap personal info on the web. Quick, blame a kid!

Nick Kew
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Unauthorised access

Looks like he did something unauthorised, in the same sense I'm about to when I walk out of my front door to go to Sainsburys. No-one has authorised me to walk the scenic route there, nor the straight route back with a laden backpack. It's just something we do without question.

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ZTE now stands for 'zero tech exports' – US govt slaps 7-year ban on biz

Nick Kew
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Re: I wonder how this affects me...

I expect you're running much the same risks as I am with a Motorola. Or others with the rest of the Usual Suspects.

Except, if you're at risk of being snooped on by spooks, they'll be foreign spooks. With no interest in what you're doing, and a very high hurdle to coming after you in the unlikely event that they do find connections between you and suspected terrorists, child-molestors, or general dissidents.

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Google to add extra Gmail security … by building a walled garden

Nick Kew
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Devil

Embrace and Extend

Back in the '90s, the previously-dominant players (like Compuserve and AOL) had to move away from walled gardens to survive, and Microsoft abandoned its walled-garden plan in favour of a 'net presence with soft-walls ("embrace-and-extend"). MS's captive market crumbled over time leaving them to compete on more-or-less equal terms.

What has google learned from history that has led them to an embrace-and-extend plan?

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What a time to be alive: LG and Italian furniture-maker build smart sofa

Nick Kew
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Anyone else remember a Dave Allen sketch involving a voice-activated smart home?

He's suitably impressed of course. After a few sample commands (lights on, door close sorta thing) during which he sits on the sofa, he exclaims "well, bugger me". Whoops!

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Total WIPOut: IT chief finds his own job advertised

Nick Kew
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Re: "staff are meant to be protected against retaliation for cooperating"

@Gordon Pryra - the ideal whistleblower is someone with no stake in the job continuing. Someone looking to make a new career, or someone on the brink of retirement (and whose pension is safe).

My favourite whistleblower has to be the former spy known as John le Carré, whose subsequent career proved very successful for him and enriched the world in general. Never even revealed specifics, just blew a whistle on the culture of the spooks and their masters. And he's never stopped blowing that whistle!

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Fear the Reaper: Man hospitalised after eating red hot chilli pepper

Nick Kew
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Mushroom

Re: To be honest

@Grunty - Agree, birdseyes are a bit bitter. A decade or so ago they were the only generally-available hot chillies, and I used them a lot. Then came the bonnets and habaneros to a shop near me, and the sweeter flavour of my curries, soups and stirfries was a revelation - though a half a bonnet could substitute for half a dozen birdseyes in terms of heat (sadly not true of the much more bland scotch bonnets which are all I can get now).

You do get desensitised. So an upper limit beyond which things become pure machismo is entirely subjective.

Icon for dragonsbreath. Chewing a habanero raw would be pure machismo for me, though I've chewed birdseyes for medicinal purposes (when I had a concert to sing and a nasty cold).

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Great Western Railway warns of great Western password reuse: Brits told to reset logins

Nick Kew
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Rebellion

Prompted by this story, I've just realised I must be one of the vast number of users whose passwords just got reset (albeit against my will and better judgement).

Well, I for one won't be resetting my password. Sodthat.

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Nick Kew
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Re: They should at least stick to one domain name

I expect that'll be down to their half-baked rebranding exercise.

And of course, nowadays whois is no longer much help. Though firstgreatwestern.co.uk still has an oldfahioned entry naming the registrant as FirstGroup PLC and dating back to 1998 (a much longer lifetime than one might expect of an imposter).

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Nick Kew
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Get rid of passwords - yes.

x509 Client Certs: problematic. You need to map certs to people, not to browsers, systems, installations. Even if you introduce technology that works like that, you're up against a legacy of certs deployed with entirely different policies.

Not insurmountable, but not straightforward either. I'd use PGP in preference, on the grounds that it's always been associated with people, and has 25 years worth of WoT infrastructure.

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El Reg needs you – to help build an automated beer-transporting robot

Nick Kew
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Reinventing the wheel

Why are you looking to reinvent a 100-year-old wheel?

You need look no further than the inventions of William Heath Robinson.

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They're back! 'Feds only' encryption backdoors prepped in US by Dems

Nick Kew
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Re: Criminal Defence

In the case of those accused of terrorist-related offences, troublesome lawyers won't be troubled in the first place. Just kill them, or ship them to Guantanamo Gulag.

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Gmail is secure. Netflix is secure. Together they're a phishing threat

Nick Kew
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Deja Vu

I'm sure I've seen this issue reported before. Right here on El Reg.

More broadly, it's an instance of a whole class of issues arising through different agents interpreting standards in different ways[1]. In some cases the standards themselves are at fault: when the HTTP standards RFC723x came out, they gave rise to some security reports to BOTH the major web proxies I'm involved with, changing SHOULD in RFC2616 (and earlier HTTP standards) to MUST NOT.

[1] Or in the case of Microsoft's products that kicked off the whole email-virus thing twenty years ago, deliberately violating a security-critical standard and opening the gates to attacks described in some detail in the informational security discussion in RFC1341 (1992).

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Lib Dems, UKIP's websites go TITSUP* on UK local election launch day

Nick Kew
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Need? That's not a need, it's a niche. If your objective is to find customers who'll pay for a service, then you market yourself to whoever is likely to buy. As for Wordpress: do we know whether NationBuilder is anything more than wordpress (or other mature open-source system) under the hood? In this day and age, how many wheels should they reinvent?

I first released software to power interactive parts of a website back in December 1995. Sometime in 1996, a search revealed my first declared user. It was the BNP. Not what I'd have chosen, but the software was GPL so they had every right to use it.

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Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte creating app to register 3m EU nationals living in Brexit Britain

Nick Kew
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Re: Cheaper Option:

Going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're taking the piss

Indeed, I read it as tongue-in-cheek.

There's another AC below for the real downvotes.

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Nick Kew
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Re: Seems they've overlooked a supplier with experience of large scale categorization and tagging

or is IBM sitting this one out...

It's Being Mended.

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Nick Kew
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Re: confused

1) Started building an app without the policy it needs to reflect...

Where've you been this past nearly-two years? It's the new normal now.

Just look at the Northern Ireland border: technology will provide a solution, no political agreement required.

And it seems the EU now agree: they've joined wholeheartedly in the Russian spat designed to distract attention while the "transition" agreement was put through.

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Police chief wants citizens to bring 'net oligarchs to heel

Nick Kew
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Re: Not really dispelling the idea that generally the police are a little dim ..

@JimmyPage - nicely put. With or without the extra dig at Southern Rail.

I saw the article headline and thought for a glorious moment I was being encouraged by the region's chief cop to go after Virgin Media. But no such thing: just another bit of irrelevant nonsense.

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Twitter whacks 270,000 terror accounts, majority flagged by internal tools

Nick Kew
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The real bot army

Surely what would really redeem twitter is to take down the 'bot army that powers the Inquisition in cases like this.

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£12k fine slapped on Postman Pat and his 300,000 spam emails

Nick Kew
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Re: Their reply was that they are required by law to deliver the spam

@Andy: Why are Royal Mail so incompetent nowadays?

'twas ever so. Try living somewhere with a similar name to a town big enough for the posties to have heard of it. Back in the 1970s my family lived in a place called Horam, and most of our (correctly addressed and postcoded) mail arrived redirected from Horsham.

@10forcash: Not true, they are required by law to deliver addressed mail

Hmmm, now that you mention it, that figures. I think I may have been particularly concerned with vast volumes of mail addressed to a previous occupant of my address, who appeared to have been running some kind of postal business from home.

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Nick Kew
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Flame

I've tried to take that up with the post office.

Their reply was that they are required by law to deliver the spam. Failure to do so would be a criminal offence: something along the lines of tampering with the mail.

I gave up.

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O2 wolfs down entire 4G spectrum as pals fiddle with their shiny 5G band

Nick Kew
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Cheap at the price

Compared to the 3g auctions, these sums look pretty modest.

So I guess the telcos won't have losses to offset several years of tax out of this. Though the one domiciled in the UK (and therefore most visible) will no doubt continue to attract protestors.

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Britain's 4G is slower than Armenia's

Nick Kew
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Monopolies?

BT and Virgin have monopolies on their respective turf.

The mobile providers don't. Which is no doubt why they compete, and provide a much better service than the monopolies.

Similarly, the regulatory scrutiny on BT will no doubt be why they are nowhere near as bad as Virgin, despite still being worse than the mobile telcos.

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Nick Kew
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From experience

My connection from home/office these days is 4G.

It's a comparable download speed to Virgin cable, and much faster upload. And that's when Virgin is working, which it hasn't for some time: the 4G is a lot more reliable.

I posted a comparison back when I first had both connections.

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Shhh! Don’t tell KillBots the UN’s about to debate which ones to ban

Nick Kew
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Re: Cynical? Moi?

Let's hear more voices raised against May and the Tories helping to kill children in the Yemen.

The UK, as the world's second-largest arms exporter (and with an economy proportionally *more* reliant on it that the US at #1) will be sure to veto anything that damages vital national (economic) interests. Governments of both colours have mongered war after war since the end of the Cold War threatened our vital industries, and with brexit we're looking to double down on it.

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*Thunk* No worries, the UPS should spin up. Oh cool, it's in bypass mode

Nick Kew
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Is it Friday already?

... Or has El Reg expanded its entertaining anecdotes beyond Friday (and the new Monday slot) to all-week?

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Brain monitor had remote code execution and DoS flaw

Nick Kew
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Re: It definitely takes

Um, the article talks of the threat as stealing information.

A threat against someone's vital life-support make a serious (and plausible) story, but it's not actually *this story*.

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Danish Navy expert finds no trace of exhaust gas in private submarine

Nick Kew
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So an ideal candidate for the UK government.

It seems the Danes, unlike the Brits, believe in real evidence when they publicly accuse someone of murder.

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Commonwealth Games brochure declares that England is now in Africa

Nick Kew
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The Gold Coast

Am I the only one to have had an atlas old enough to show a country called the Gold Coast, before it was renamed Ghana? Also in West Africa.

[mumble] brexit, brafric,

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Who had Intel in the 'discrimination lawsuit' pool? Congratulations

Nick Kew
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or perhaps not tell the whole story

That they should underpay someone for either good or bad reasons - entirely plausible. As in, for example, a "nudge" to seek employment elsewhere.

Happened to her, it seems. I expect it could very well happen to a white male, too.

I expect Intel have some of those seemingly-mandatory forms on which employees declare their race and sex. That could help produce some statistics as to whether there really is pay gap based on race or sex amongst colleagues in the same job and level.

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Wanna work for El Reg? Developers needed for headline-writing AI bots

Nick Kew
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I'll do it

Sounds like a good project, stitching together the relevant open-source components.

Couple of conditions, though:

* All work to remain fully open source.

* I also get the commission for the time machine that used it to write the last decade's headlines.

* I get to present it as a PhD project, the year El Reg was launched.

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Brit Lords start peer-to-peer wrangling over regulating the internet

Nick Kew
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Re: Do they all think they can command the tide?

If you read beyond the headline, they're not prejudging that question. Rather they appear to be asking sensible questions, not least that of whether and in what sense the 'net can be regulated. It might even be worth submitting comments, if you can get past the kneejerk reaction.

Once they've taken evidence, they might even come up with proposals that look better than the status quo. For example, could the Great Firewall (aka IWF) be made more accountable? To what extent does GDPR look fit for purpose, and can lessons be learned from abusers ranging from oldfashioned spammers to Cambridge Analytica? Can we flesh out a policy on encryption that'll stamp on any proposals to damage it?

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Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

Nick Kew
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It's not in anyone's interest to b***er up existing legitimate users.

I expect this one will be relaxed as part of an eventual deal. At a guess, what'll happen is that the criteria for qualifying will require only token EU presence for existing good-faith users.

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Parents blame brats' slipping school grades on crap internet speeds

Nick Kew
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Re: Whaaat...

3.9 hours probably mixes young kids (no homework) and older kids (with homework). An example of the meaninglessness of statistics with insufficient context. As is indeed the whole of this article.

Maybe it's just something like 3.9 hours of homework online? Excluding offline homework, and excluding online non-homework. A figure like that coming from just asking parents would tell more about the parents perceptions than the kids, but if it came from logging in to a schools' IT system it could actually mean something.

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Nick Kew
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Indeed. The article seems to be more about sneering than informing. WTF is wrong with kids using wikipedia? We don't all have luxuries like physical libraries, or even textbooks. Well, maybe that last one has changed since my day, but I can't imagine they have textbooks that'll actually satisfy the curiosity of any but the dullest kid in a subject that interests them.

Besides, a slow internet connection is something specific. No connection, you don't waste time on it. Fast connection, you don't waste time unless by choice. But a poor connection can waste an awful lot of time.

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Slap visibility beacons on bikes so they can chat to auto autos, says trade body

Nick Kew
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Re: Wait a sec

That this is being proposed strongly implies that autonomous vehicles are a long way from being safe and reliable enough to trust on public roads.

Nonsense.

It's just someone opportunistically looking to create a market in a new snake-oil flavour.

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Nick Kew
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Stop

Bricked

OK, I put a beacon on the bike.

Not quite sure where/how to attach it: the attachable places of maximum visibility are taken by the lights. But let's assume I find somewhere, and it doesn't fall off.

Now it's a piece of electronic kit with which I don't routinely interact. As a bike accessory it's lightweight and flimsy. It's getting exposed to the elements and shaken up whenever it's used. How the **** do I know when it's working and when it dies, or just needs jiggling to fix that dodgy connection?

When a light fails, at least you can see it (though maybe not immediately in the case of a rear light). No such easy clues for your anti-victim-blame device.

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UK.gov unveils cyber security export strategy – only thing missing is the strategy

Nick Kew
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Re: Why would anyone else trust UK cybersecurity firms?

Companies aren't the same as government. I wouldn't let a company's nationality have very much effect on whether I trust them. I'd put much more weight on management and track record.

And I'd be inclined to treat politicians acting against a security company as a vote of confidence in a company that isn't their puppet. C.f. Kaspersky.

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Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough

Nick Kew
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Re: #headdesk

Well, we now have a company with the classic anglo-saxon name "De La Rue" throwing a tantrum because it is (probably) not getting a free hand to name its price from the UK taxpayer. Something of the Ryanair business model.

Didn't the old passports have some kind of inspirational slogan on? "Dieu et mon Droit" springs to mind.

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April FAIL as IETF's funny-but-dodgy draft doc arrives a week early

Nick Kew
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Cambridge Analytica seeks data protection assistant

Nick Kew
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Re: Sure you can

Blame is a regular concept in software management. It's even part of the tools: cf "svn blame".

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Surprise UK raid of Cambridge Analytica delayed: Nobody expects the British information commissioner!

Nick Kew
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Re: All that hard work...

Normally one asks, what are they distracting attention from?

The ICO may be small fry compared to, say, the government and navy, but the Russian spat and Boris's gratuitous invocation of Godwin's law are by no means small. Is the other story going wrong already?

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