* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Canada asks citizens: How would you like us to spy on you?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Straw Man

"if cops want to read my email" then they are welcome, it's boring.

And what if the email is something like a link to reset a password to a site which has access to your bank for instance? Maybe not the best way to reset a password but it happens. Would you want this to be available to 48 different official and semi-official bodies as in the UK? Even if you think you've nothing to hide or that it's boring you probably have a great deal to hide and you're probably contractually obliged to hide it - just check the T&Cs of any online accounts.

The UK's Investigatory Powers Act allows the State to tell lies in court

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Section refers 56 refers to interception not to equipment interference

"The position of intercept material is relatively unchanged from RIPA and indeed IoCA, Intercept material is inadmissible and can't be used by the prosecution as evidence; only for intelligence purposes."

If you look at the example quoted about the DEA it becomes clear that a rule on parallel construction could be used to hide all sorts of goings on. The agent in that case had no information as to how the SOP knew that a given vehicle should be searched. If he thought that an intercept was the basis for it legislation such as this would inhibit him from saying that there was any sort of prior information but the truth might be that he was being directed to planted evidence.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Reasonable Doubt

"At which point he is arrested under this act"

Actually the prosecution would object, the jury would be ushered out of court and there'd be a legal argument culminating in the question not being allowed. Then the jury would be brought back in. A persistent defence barrister might well be able to try to put the question a number of times until such time as the jury worked out that there was something fishy going on.

A repeated blocking of defence questions might well be the basis for appeal, maybe as far as the ECHR (no, this is not affected by Brexit).

Another tack might be to get a copy of the relevant bit of the Act introduced as evidence.

Hackers actively stealing Wi-Fi keys from vulnerable routers

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The words "TalkTalk" and "hacked" tend to crop up quite a lot in the same sentence."

And a small number of customers tend to be mentioned a lot in the same articles.

Sony kills off secret backdoor in 80 internet-connected CCTV models

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Hardcoded passwords...

"That's just stupidity, and the manufacturers should be sued into oblivion for it."

This is Sony. They have form with rootkits and didn't get sued into oblivion then.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Sony has killed off ... a debug backdoor

Killed off in what sense? Killed off as in taken it out of current production, killed off as in made an upgrade available to punters who actually know an upgrade's available and will install it or killed off as in pro-actively upgraded all vulnerable devices exposed to the net?

Bloke sold cash register code to restaurants that deliberately hid sales from taxmen

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"to give businesses a leg up" does seem a curious turn of phrase coming from a US Attorney. It implies that payment of taxes presents a barrier to businesses that they need to surmount if they're to succeed. It's almost an official admission that tax rates are too high.

Printer security is so bad HP Inc will sell you services to fix it

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Good to know they don't update firmwares...

No, but it'll probably be added any way because, well, you know, security.

If your smart home gear hasn't updated recently, throw it in the trash

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Preaching to deaf numpties

"The originating ISP won't be able to detect it, and the target will have to send as many reports as it receives attacks, which isn't much help."

Change the emphasis a little. Tools such as Shodan enable the net to be searched for vulnerable devices. So instead of treating harbouring of attacks as the reason to blackhole ISPs, transfer attention to exposing vulnerable devices.

Take that, creationists: Boffins witness birth of new species in the lab

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

There is a clear historical instance of a new species being created by natural processes. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartina_anglica

Species with extended geographical ranges can have infertility between the populations at the ends of the distribution most clearly demonstrated by ring species where the population extends round some obstructive feature and where the two "ends" have met up and do not interbreed. Such populations could be split into two species by exterminating it in the middle part of the range. The obvious ethical considerations prevent this as a deliberate experiment but it could happen as a consequence of human interference with the environment for economic purposes.

King's College London staggers from outage, replaces infrastructure services head

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: there but for the grace of God...

"And have a DR that actually works.."

..and you know it works because you test it from time to time.

Icelandic Pirate Party asked to form government

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Enquiring minds want to know..

.. what's the impact on the dispute with Iceland the shop?

Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Setting passwords for international users

"except for USAians where it as read as C-Pound"

or C-octothorpe if you follow the Bell Labs version.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Be honest, do you know how to type?"

I bought my typewriter over half a century ago. I think I've got the hang of it by now although the onset of arthritis in my fingers isn't helping.

"People who know how to type don't need to see what they are typing, helps proof check, but it's not required."

The whole point if this is that when you're entering a password you can't see what you're typing

It matters not whether you can type or not. The only feedback you might get is that you entered a character by having an asterisk or a blob appear. If you're logging in at a standard Unix command line you don't get anything back at all (and if, as in a previous comment, a key isn't working, you're SOL).

Because you can't rely on visual feedback to tell if you're entering upper or lower case the only sure way to be sure is to hold down the shift key or not. The only way.

As someone has pointed out, if someone enters a different password than they thought they were entering when encrypting a disk in the first place there's no way back. It's not like getting an ordinary password wrong when setting it up; you can't go to the help desk for a password reset. Your options are limited to reformatting the disk.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Isn't that what the Caps Lock LED is for?"

The moral of the original story was watch the screen, not the keyboard.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Password?

"The number of times someone is looking over my shoulder is tiny. The number of times I make a typing mistake is comparably huge. Please write for the common scenario, rather than assuming the worst case."

So do you just open any enclosure in a spam email rather than assuming the worst case?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"So by disabling the capslock you can guarantee that the user can't tell if caps lock is on or not."

No it means the user can guarantee that it isn't on.

" Surely every single password entry should disable capslock?"

An excellent idea.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"If you actually know how to type, caps lock throws a flag in your mind when you see consecutive capitals. Seems like the aystem is designed for people who can't type"

Read this very carefully.

We're talking about entering passwords where the letters aren't echoed back.

You can't see consecutive capitals when you type them.

It makes no difference whether you can type or not.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"why? because fsck you that's why"

No, because it's the sensible thing to do.

With the characters not being echoed back to you you can't see whether the caps lock is on or off. It's all too easy to repeatedly fail at entering a password because the caps lock is on and you didn't know it. Requiring the shift key for upper case means that the user knows when they're typing upper case and when they're not. It should be foolproof - with the usual proviso.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Bless....

"but I may need to break out the letraset transfers"

Can you still get them?

Google turns on free public NTP servers that SMEAR TIME

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Sub-second accuracy

"If they don't do the time smearing, then events can get out of order and applications end up having incorrect data."

AFAICS they could still order events by using a 61 sec minute.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: We have also a Google time now?

"Google could well have added its servers to the NTP time pool

No, no, and thrice no! Because Googles NTP servers will be telling the wrong time for about a day after every leap second."

I think the assumption in this is that Google could have done that and then implemented the leap second along with everyone else instead of having the Google Second.

Brexit means Brexit: What the heck does that mean...

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

"However parliment voted to let the people decide in a referendum."

No, it allowed people to vote in an advisory referendum.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Relevant to the story

"I've actually read Article 50"

Well done. It seems a great number of Brexiteers have never even read the start of it and wondered what might be the appropriate constitutional process for deciding to invoke it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

"She epitomises the Mummy-knows-best attitude of EU politicians that led to the leave vote winning."

ISTM that she is asserting the sovereignty of Parliament which has been established, sometimes with a great deal of bloodshed, over the course of the last 1/3rd of a millennium. Some of us think that's worth keeping.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

"Labour and the Conservatives didn't put up a candidate"

Half right. From the results as tabulated by Wikipedia

Labour Christian Wolmar 1,515 votes 3.67%

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

"And caused by an MP who resigned on principle (far too uncommon these days) over the Heathrow expansion, so nothing to do with Brexit."

Credit to him on resigning on a matter of principle. However he found himself fighting against opposition who were also against the Heathrow expansion but differed from him on Brexit so it appears that the latter was the main issue.

Considering the previous election result the outcome was a massive swing.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

"No matter what happens, though, I'm fairly certain a majority will be unhappy with the result."

Printing stickers saying Don't blame me, I voted Remain could be a nice little earner in a few years time.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge


Not necessarily. It will have lost them the electoral support of many who voted for them in the past but no longer. Brownomics and then Corbyn have seriously damaged Labour. UKIP will get their comeuppance when the economic costs of Brexit start to bite. This could be the start of a Lib-Dem revival.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Codification of existing practice?

"There is an argument that the Snoopers' Charter is 'simply' codification of an existing practice that the UK authorities ... have been carrying out covertly for some time"

Such practices ignored the presumption of innocence which was part of Common Law. The Act now says, in effect, that innocence need no longer be assumed. It's a major step. Unfortunately the petition didn't say this. It should have concentrated on that single point and left the govt. no room for the anodyne reply it came out with.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Codification of existing practice?

"I see no justification whatsoever for the rest to have access, especially without a warrant."

I can see no justification for any of them having access without a warrant. This law simply assumes guilt until proven innocent.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

GDPR comes into force automatically. AFAICS the general plan is to have a single Act to adopt all the EU Regulations until such time as the UK Parliament can decide which to repeal or amend. Unless that Act specifically excludes GDPR nothing changes at Brexit. It would then take a further Act to repeal or amend it. Such uncertainty as exists depends on whether GDPR would be excluded under the proposed Act. The industry ought to press the govt. on its intentions in this regard so that it can plan accordingly.

I assume that at some point Max Schrems or AN Other will have caused the ECJ to tear off the Privacy Figleaf. Even if it doesn't GDPR is going to make relying on it somewhat risky.

The data repatriations which make sense are US to EU/UK and UK to EU, the latter on the basis of the IP Act). Anyone repatriating data EU to UK would be signalling that they expect the UK to repeal GDPR locally and that they intend to take advantage of that to adopt a cavalier approach to their customers' data.

Microsoft, IBM, Intel refuse to hand over family jewels to China

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"It is understandable why China doesn't trust US software companies, it is also logical that those companies also doesn't trust China."

The rest of us don't trust the US govt. with our data.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: How about domestic software?

'PS. where is here in "as long as I have been here".'

PPS How long is "as long"?

'Toyota dealer stole my wife's saucy snaps from phone, emailed them to a swingers website'

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"However what expectation of privacy can you expect if you voluntarily hand over said phone for somebody else to try to find something held on it, and then let it go out of your sight?"

It was handed over for one purpose and one purpose only. There is every reason to expect privacy. Even from a car salesman. Would you also expect that the salesman might have made used it to call his aunt in Australia and cousin in Ireland?

Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Oblig XKCD

"And a fair number of birds."

Nor the nematodes.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Perhaps we just need to point out that the RIPA contains traces of beef."

And huge amounts of bullshit.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Has anyone investigate the level of animal products in the paper fivers the vegans have been happily using all these years?

It’s Brexploitation! Microsoft punishes UK for Brexit with cloud price-gouging

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Everyone seems to have missed the obvious reason why they've increased prices: because they can.

It's called lock-in.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Forward planning?

"It's very embarassing to raise prices every three months."

Embarrassed about taking money? This is Microsoft we're talking about.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"said equipment and service management, excluding local employees and datacenter location costs are in USD"

You omitted the most important $ factor: PROFIT.

LeEco Le Pro 3: Low-cost, high-spec Droid takes on the big boys with a big fat batt

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Some points

As regards battery, let's try a car analogy. Non removeable wheels and tyres. If you have a puncture or a worn tyre you're obliged to have the manufacturer's agent service them, assuming they haven't decided to end the service life of that model, or replace the car whichever is cheaper.

As to the software phoning home, after recent revelations about Chinese Android builds, like you, I'd expect this to be part of any review from now on.

Renewed calls for Tesla to scrap Autopilot after number of crashes

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Statistically....

"It isn't self-driving and the term autopilot is simply being misunderstood by people to think it does mean self-driving."

That's the problem. It immediately suggests two solutions. Improve understanding or drop the name. Which is the more practical?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: 98%

"Uhm, so 2% of users do NOT understand that they are supposed to maintain control of the vehicle at all times?"

I wonder how that compares with the percentage who think it's OK to drive singlehanded whilst holding a phone to the ear. Or zero handed whilst texting and checking emails, Facebook & tweeting "I think I just hit something".

PC sales outlook improves: Now terrifying instead of catastrophic

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Lack of variety

"Win 10 is probably responsible for more sales of Macs than PCs."

And reportedly the recent Mac announcement resulted in a surge of enquiries for venrods of pre-installed Linux.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'Convertible and slim, sorry, “ultra slim” laptops will make up 63 per cent of notebook shipments by 2020'

If these are the ones with non-serviceable parts that's hardly surprising.

American supremacy, space, liability, funding, openness – AI gurus lay it all out to US senators

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The technology is still in its early days"

And has been for decades.

Still too much discretion when it comes to that 'terrorism' stuff, repeats David Anderson QC

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Huh ?

4 It counts as business as usual.

Clients say they'll take their money and run if service hacked – poll

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: We have just all been hacked

"The offshore VPNs will be blocked soon, leaving you with no choice but the hacked ones."

The Mayfly's team might find such a move makes life difficult when they try to negotiate access to Europe for service industries.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Walked from one, stayed with another.

"I on the other hand moved to TalkTalk as they were investing in security"

Is that something you know of your own knowledge or what they told you?

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019