* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

12,000 chopped: Intel finds its inner paranoid

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Re: Citation needed

"I was specifically interested to know what was transformed in the auto industry"

Replace simple contact breaker & carburettor by ECU?

How innocent people 'of no security interest' are mere keystrokes away in UK's spy databases

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"Have you tried removing data, such as records of dead people from a CRM system?"

Removing data should be a design requirement. If it was and the implementation was competent then removal shouldn't be difficult.

In this case we're dealing with public servants who in positions of trust. That means they should be able to show that they deserve our trust. If it's difficult or impossible to remove the data of innocent people then we can reasonably infer that they didn't include that in the design, that they didn't intend such data should be removed and that maybe we can't trust them.

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A subject request under the DPA would be the appropriate route. You might need an FOI request to find out where to send the DPA request.

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Re: Very Sloppy Headline Writing

"Sadly some may break the rules, that is what supervision, management, the police and other agencies are supposed to be there to control"

True. And those who break the rules, at least those rules which are part of legislation, can be prosecuted. But are those who break this set of rules prosecuted? If not why not? People have been asking "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" for a very long time and with very good reason.

Kent Police handed domestic abuse victim's data to alleged abuser – a Kent cop

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"The force has not responded to questions from The Register as to whether it anticipated allegations of corruption as a result of a victim's private data being passed to a suspect employed by it."

Did you ask whether disciplinary action had been taken? It's one thing to have procedures, it's another to follow those procedures without engaging brain. There should have been a "this doesn't seem right" moment.

Intel told Irish council all was well just before 12k job cuts announced

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Re: Why does this always come as a surprise to politicians?

'Listed companies are obliged by law to release "price sensitive" information to the markets in a controlled manner'

It depends when the last meeting with the council was but it seems dubious whether 'at the last meeting between Kildare County councillors and Intel, the company claimed things were picking up' is a controlled manner.

Magnitude malvertisers spew 400 attacks from abused Scot ad firm

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Re: People who work in the ad industry

I'm sure that as soon as they've had their morning coffee the usual suspects will be along here to tell us that it's only the ad industry that keeps the web running - and to prove your point.

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"When the advertising industry gets its own house in order"

When? Don't you mean "if ever"?

Qualcomm channels Star Trek's Scotty as it faces a mobe chip wreck

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When making projections, don't mistake sigmoidal growth curves for exponential.

FBI's Tor pedo torpedoes torpedoed by United States judge

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Re: Stable Doors

"The FBI clearly messed up and need a telling off, but it can't be in the public interest for this many convictions to go down on a technicality."

That technicality might one day protect you against a false accusation.

Along with "if you've nothing to hide"* we keep hearing "nobody is above the law". Well, that one is right, nobody should be above the law and that includes the law enforcers.

*Which is too close to abandoning the presumption of innocence and should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

Prof squints at Google's mobile monopoly defence, shakes head

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"Neither the article author nor the EU have come up with any solid proposals as to how their idea of a mix-and-match phone would actually work."

If the finding goes against Google that's Google's problem. But one solution seems clear enough from reading the article - remove the restrictive terms on licensing the APIs.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Maps, etc.

"Google is trying to control the Android stack, that much is undeniable, so the question is whether that control is ultimately harmful to such an extent that it is illegal"

And determining whether it's illegal is the outcome of legal processes such as that which the EU is launching. If they're doing that they must have a basis for believing it to be so and the present article presents informed opinion that supports such belief.

As you say, it's a question. Don't you agree that it should be answered by the appropriate mechanism?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Maps, etc.

"zero substantive rebuttals."

The case was stated in the article based on someone who's actually read some of the licensees' contracts. I look forward to reading your substantive rebuttal of that.

Official: EU goes after Google, alleges it uses Android to kill competition

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Re: The EU ins in Apple's pocket

"why is the EU picking on Google"

It was explained in the article. It was explained in replies to other comments asking the same question. You should read them.

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Re: Others?

"Paradoxically, the best course of action is for them to just close up the platform and turn the whole thing into a binary blob."

That would require them to replace all the GPL-licenced stuff with something else, probably BSD.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Ubuntu Phone

"Can I go into a phone shop on the high st and buy one?"

Do you have to go into phone shops to buy phones nowadays? Last time I looked you could buy them online.

Tweak Privacy Shield rules to make people happy? Nah – US govt

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The fig-leaf is starting to curl at the edges already.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The problem is that they can't .. at least not without falling foul of US law when the feds come a-knocking."

There are ways. Microsoft think they've got one with the data trustee set-up they're putting together in Germany. An alternative would be to have EU nationals set up an EU corporation to run the operation in the EU in data centres owned by the EU corporation under EU law as a franchise with the terms of the franchise specifically preventing the US parent from accessing the data.

I can't think why they haven't done this already - I'm sure there's no shortage of legal expertise in setting up franchises when it comes to tax arrangements - unless they don't want to share the money with their franchisees.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"or US companies operating in the EU the solution is simply making a sincere effort to abide by the law there."

No. The solution is simply to abide by the law. Sincere efforts are not enough. It will take a serious reorganisation of how they do business. If the Microsoft data trustee scheme proves effective then that sort of solution would suffice. If not then they'll have to resort to a franchise operation where the entire operation is hands off for the US parent.

Sneaky Google KOs 'right to be forgotten' from search results

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If they can handle stuff they don't want to be found like this it makes a mockery of any claim that RTBF would be too difficult to implement.

Are bearded blokes more sexist?

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Re: Sometimes I'm just lazy

"I spend about half the time clean-shaven and half bearded"

You could try both at the same time. Just shave one side...

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I don't like to generalise but I think surveys with questions like those quoted will be biased to people who tend to generalise.

Google's 'fair use' mass slurping of books can continue – US Supremes snub writers' pleas

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Re: Here's the test case.

Google could claim copyright on the scan - and on the OCR. Some of the OCRs are certainly creative - nobody could accuse them of plagiarising the original author's words.

Catastrophic 123-reg VPS cockup deletes Ross County FC website

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I don't know the ins & outs of this particular site* but I suspect in a lot of cases the business has no IT knowledge whatsoever. They found somebody local who could "do" them a website for some amount of money. The somebody has then arranged to host the site and moved onto the next client. The client may not even have seen the T&Cs, much less read them, much less understood them. It wouldn't surprise me if there were e-commerce sites there where the business's only copy if its entire transactional history is the website's database complete with customers' credit card details.

*It's football - my personal view is that anything involving 22 men chasing a bag of wind up and down a field could be removed from the planet with no loss whatsoever.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Once again, a clear demonstration that a belief

"without the IT they had NO business at all."

I've often thought that the best way to deal with PHBs who want IT to justify itself is to offer to switch it all off for a day to see what happens.

European Union set to release anti-competition hounds on Google

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Re: Once was Microsoft, now it's Google...

"others such as Cyanogen use to provide their own version of Android without google included."

And remind me again who was it who put a big investment into Cyanogen?

Translated: BlackBerry CEO John Chen on cops-snooping-on-BBM

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Re: Look at it from a Contract perspective

' people doing things that they know in their real heart of hearts is a "bit dodgy" need to bear this in mind'

Do you, in your real heart of hearts, know that it's a "bit dodgy" to order you groceries online and pay through online banking? If not then, by your own arguments as far as I can follow them, you are entitled to best security to protect that transaction and your bank account.

Your phone, tablet, laptop or whatever can't have two automatically selected encryption modes, one for dodgy and one for not dodgy.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: So, what are YOU doing to protect yourself?

"you should assume that when the Feds arrive with the proper papers they'll be given what they ask for."

Barry, sit down before you read the next bit, it might shock you.

Sitting comfortably? OK.

There are other governments in this world besides the US.

Some of them might not have human rights policies that you agree with. Who makes the call when one of those rocks up to $vendor with proper papers? Does $vendor let them all in? Or none? Or should they call you with your great powers of judgement of who's right and who's wrong?

Stay sitting down because the next bit might shock as well.

In addition to governments there are also criminals who might want to break encryption.

If you've given out the keys to legitimate requests (whatever those might be) how do you control them so that the criminals don't get them? Or if you tackle the issue by installing back doors you do you prevent the criminals from discovering them?

Belgian boffins breed 'digital canaries' to test your random numbers

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Re: I won't even begin...

"Probably by way of skimming only a low bit count out of the generator"

You still have the problem of ensuring that the low bit count numbers repeat any patterns in the high bit count. To take an extreme example you take the low 8 bits, they look random but the top 8 bits are cycling through a short repeated sequence.

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Re: I won't even begin...

"There are two sets of random numbers generated, one with high entropy and one with low."

I get that. But why should the latter tell you anything about the former? Or, given that they're talking about TRNGs based on noise sources, how do you get two sets of numbers out of them other than by diverting every other number (or some other percentage) from one set to the other in which case how do you have different entropies for the sets?

In short, this seems like a remarkably low content article.

Idiot millennials are saving credit card PINs on their mobile phones

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Re: Obfuscation

'but if you bank had a more obvious name, "O NatWest" might give it away too easily.'

Nathaniel North?

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Re: Offline device

"what happens when you add or change an entry, forget about it then change another entry on another device"

I think I can see where your problem lies.

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Enduring power of attorney

"More reliable than knowing a password which might change, and has the advantage of being legal!"

But reportedly beyond the comprehension of many bank staff.

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Re: Best option

"There is always the option of writing security details down in lemon juice invisible ink and then revealing the writing later by holding it near a candle. "

Anthracene solution and a UV lamp?

Furious customers tear into 123-reg after firm's mass deletion woes

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Re: M-Web

"They couldn't even roll back because the backups were deleted as well."

It sounds as if they didn't have backups, just online copies. A backup is on removable media. In a firesafe. In a different building. On a different site.

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Re: Takes courage

"That's why you write the resulting commands into a file, which you inspect before running it. I also mentioned checking the results from the database for sane values"

And take the path variable that you've constructed and feed it to ls, just to see if what you expect happens.

UK web host 123-Reg goes TITSUP, customer servers evaporate

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Re: The National Enquirer of Technology

"How long will it take to be fixed"

To which the answer is "It depends how long I have to spend answering your questions".

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Re: In related (hoax) news

"That was a hoax"

Are you absolutely sure?

Woz says wearables – even Apple Watch – aren't 'compelling'

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"Human-controlled cars will one day be driven only on special tracks;

Cars will predominantly be semi-autonomous because human intervention to avoid accidents will remain necessary for the foreseeable future;"

Maybe it's the autonomous cars that should be on special tracks.

Admin fishes dirty office chat from mistyped-email bin and then ...?

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Re: How about if ...

"And he'd have known as much from the legal disclaimer text that every company insists on putting at the bottom of its email."

An example of the idiocy of company lawyers. Or do they think everyone but themselves reads backwards?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Alternatively...

"While I agree that catch-alls can be a problem, in small service companies they can be a life (company) saver."

There's a difference between external mail and internal mail in this respect. And the larger the company the greater the probability that there will be legitimate internal mail that's above the monitor's level of responsibility.

If you think you need a catch-all make sure everyone knows about it and whose will be reading it. At least anybody who's sending anything sensitive (personal or business) can either take extra care with addresses or choose not to use email. Shock-horror - other methods of communication exist!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Suppose the emails contained evidence of some crime that was later committed?"

I'll see your straw man and raise you. Suppose they contained confidential company information that would affect share prices? Difficult to avoid suspicion, even if innocent, if there were then suspicious share trades.

The fact is that intra company email can contain all manner of confidential information. It could be customer or employee personal data. It could be product plans. It could be results of clinical trials. All sorts of things above a support desk pay grade and operation of the email system shouldn't depend on such an employee opening it to route it correctly. It should bounce and give the sender a chance to re-route it correctly, sight unseen by anyone else.

AMC sobers up, apologizes for silly cinema texting plan

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"You won't go again.

They get less money in future."

I think the chain got the message that if the kiddywinks piss off a larger number of punters it's the larger number of punters who won't go again. And they get even less money in future that way.

Why we should learn to stop worrying and love legacy – Fujitsu's UK head

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Re: Translation

'If you mentally block out the word "digitalising" and replace it with "computerising" then it all works so much better.'

That doesn't work here.


'the company is also winning "digital" contracts, too – including the digitisation of a number of train companies' front-end ticketing systems.' Aren't these systems already computerised and, therefore digital?


"we have a lot of demand to digitalise the front end of those legacy systems – rather than full legacy modernisation."

and especially:

"Moran believes digital and legacy are not mutually exclusive."

In order to make sense of this one has to assume that either these systems aren't already running on digital computers or that she has some previously unknown meaning of "digital" in mind.

Did she get parachuted in from some entirely different industry?

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Re: Legacy Code

The trick is to recognize when one is reaching this point and to stop fiddling with it.


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Re: Translation

"I wish there was an antibiotic for cynicism. I need a large dose."

No you don't. Cynicism is the antibiotic against marketing, management stupidity and a great many other modern ills.

Australia's Dick finally drops off

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Re: Next on the list

"I assume most of their customers are reasonably tech savvy"

Maybe not. And for those who are - you need something NOW, a spare drive or whatever, so your local Maplin can provide it a lot quicker than any remote supplier.

BOFH: If you liked it then you should've put the internet in it

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Re: Bosses need to be tracked.....

Upvote for "often times".

Windows 10 Mobile races to summer with useful facelift

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Re: Yes, we get it. MSFT BAAAD!

@ David 132

You have to cut JJ Carter some slack. Now that Microsoft are releasing stuff on Linux and/or open sourcing it and even putting Linux runtime into Windows life must be awfully confusing for him, poor soul.

NZ hotel bans cyclists' Lycra-clad loins

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"the pedestrians should be walking on the side facing traffic"

Common sense needed here.

On a blind corner walk on the outside of the band irrespective of whether you're facing the traffic or not. Cyclists, of course, have their own technique in this situation. They just barrel round the corner in the middle of the road.

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