* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Let's be Frank: Bloke drags Google to the US Supreme Court over $8.5m privacy payout

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Re: Been in a few class actions without knowing it...

"Ok maybe the company was punished?"

It's the criminal law's job to see a company is punished if they have broken the law. It's civil law's job to see the victims are compensated. In any given situation one or both might apply. But if there is compensation the calculated amount should go to the victims. The cost of administering the payment should be paid by the perpetrator. If that came to more than 56 cents it shouldn't be anybody's problem but the airline's.

Firefox to feature sponsored content as of next week

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The Mozilla Foundation has revealed that links to sponsored posts potential malware vectors have started to appear in its Firefox browser and pledged to deliver them without invading users' privacy.

Anyone shoving something into my browser other than what I requested is an invader.

North will remain North for now, say geo-magnetic boffins

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Re: Wow

"Apart from 'their' being the the correct word, plenty of evidence exists that climate change is actually happening"

As a geologist you'll be aware that climate is always changing as are relative sea levels. The entire climate change debate seems to be between two sides one of which believes that this isn't happening and the other that it is but shouldn't and either we can prevent it or could have except we're too late. Neither PoV seems quite well founded.

Escape from the Zuckerborg: WhatsApp founder legs it

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"everything you've taught me, including about encryption and its ability to take power from centralised systems and put it back in people's hands."

Translation: You've taught me this encryption stuff lets little people hide stuff from me if I let them use it.

AI boffins rebel against closed-access academic journal that wants to have its cake and eat it

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The present commercial academic publishing model is surely one whose time has gone.

It's perfectly possible for an academic society to do all the editorial work needed. I was on the committee of one which did this. As our membership included all the staff of the local University department and the public sector body in the field there was no problem of recruiting well qualified people to do that. We did, however, have to carry the cost of typesetting and printing so although we sold copies to libraries etc. - at nothing like the current subscriptions - it was our major cost of running the society.

Now the typesetting and printing costs have gone the equivalent would be hosting costs and it would certainly be cheaper for libraries to get together and share those than continue to pour huge sums into the coffers of Elsevier.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Research

"While Nature is an esteemed publication, one has to wonder how it got that way. Was it because they had well-known and peer-evaluated reviewers looking at articles, or was it because they slowly clamped down and monetized what the publishers thought were best."

It got that way by being very early into scientific publishing. If you couldn't get into Proc. Roy. Soc. you wanted to get into Nature although in my field New Phytol. or Proc. Roy. Ir. Acad. were pretty good.

However I do recall being told that just before I started out as a researcher that a journalist on Nature rung up my boss and my predecessor to check a report he'd written about someone else's paper and it was so bad that they more or less rewrote it for him over the phone.

It wasn't just refereeing that got farmed out, it was also proof-reading. Hot metal printing meant both galley and page proofs. For an author it was a chance to change your mind providing it wasn't a big change and fitted into exactly the same space as the text you'd changed. It was intended, however as means of picking up typos which really required a new set of eyes so the authors needed to rope in another academic colleague to assist in that.

Brit healthcare system inks Windows 10 install pact with Microsoft

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Re: M$ should be paying us!

"Since I'm not seeing the symptoms that Isces wrote about, I am inclined to believe that the update problems he faces are down to laptop models (drivers) or some esoteric configuration."

It's quite likely that in the NHS there are plenty of machines running what would be esoteric configurations to you and, indeed, to Microsoft but that esoterica is the core application for them. It explains, for instance, why some of them are still on XP.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Is this one of those things where UK means England

"may $DEITY have mercy upon Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland"

From experience, mercy is needed for anyone having to arm-wrestle data from several of those. I managed to avoid NI and Scotland was different enough not to be a problem but the distance between English and Welsh data sources was pessimal.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Speaking as an insider ...

"CERNER requires IE, it was designed that way."

It's things like that that are part of the problem, not part of the solution. It makes for a monoculture in which everything goes down together.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Speaking as an insider ...

"avoiding the monumental scream-fest if people have to cope with a particular screen no longer looking like it did before"

That describes the evolution of Windows and Office fairly well. And yet there seems to be a perceived problem with making a one-off move to something that would offer the prospect of a stable user interface. One of the aspects of open source is that a change in UI is apt to prompt work by refuseniks to maintain the original.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: M$ should be paying us!

"An upgrade breaking some slightly esoteric piece of software Im running I can accept"

Why? Surely the whole purpose of the system is to enable you to run your choice of software, whether it be common, slightly esoteric or full-on left field. That's what you bought the kit for. Surely you didn't buy it because you wanted a Windows paperweight.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: M$ should be paying us!

"nor should any customer with common sense conclude that such an expectation was reasonable."

If a customer has a version of a system running and a vendor does their utmost, sneaky utmost in this case, to push a new version on it it's very reasonable to expect that the new version (a) continues to work on the hardware onto which it was pushed and (b) continues to support the application that the system was purchased to run.

Perhaps it's time to step back and remember that an operating system is not an end in itself, it's a platform to support the application on owner's hardware.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: upgrade' the PC's to run ChromeOS

"So.... where are all the myriad of VB6/VB-Net applications going to run then?"

I see you've spotted the advantage.

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Re: Half solved, you mean

"Don't forget the several billion you'd have to spend retraining everyone"

What do you mean retraining?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: The Trust I work for didn't fail...

"The assessor didn't actually understand what InfoSec were telling them."

Been there! The assessor had been drafted in from perimeter security.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: How Long?

"Would it not be simpler (and cheaper) to standardise all IT equipment across all NHS trusts directly from Whitehall? Think how Maersk dealt with NotPetya, by replacing all servers and desktops/laptops."

Either (a) Maersk had a very small variety of tasks for their IT estate or (b) they didn't update anything with a very specialised control function.

If you look at the NHS you'll find a lot of machines that could be updated to a current version of W10 and a lot running lab and other diagnostic kit that depend on specific drivers that either aren't going to be available for W10 or possibly not for the H/W on which W10 will run. Identifying those that couldn't be handled like that will not be a trivial project.

But take it a step further. If a lot of PCs are simply running office suites, email and browser why not introduce extra resilience? A monoculture of Windows PCs of any single version could be taken out by an exploit of some zero-day*. So for such tasks add a mixture of Mac, Linux and xBSD, say 25% of each, to minimise that risk. And Linux and BSD for servers.

* This also applies to Maersk of course. They may be protected against the last variant of NotPetya. But what about the next?

DRAM makers sued (yet again) for 'fixing prices' (yet again) of chips

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The complaint, put forward by named plaintiffs Michele Jones, David Laietta, Kimberly York, Benjamin Murray, and Wanta Dureya on behalf of anyyone in the US who purchased something containing DRAM from one of the three companies from July 1, 2016 through the February 1, 2018 lawyers and their friends


Windows USB-stick-of-death, router bugs resurrected, and more

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"So unless you're willing to kill people"

I thought we were talking about the Pentagon. Where's their problem in that?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

A worth-while moratorium?

Rather than the moratorium ICAN'T keeps asking for how about one on new features? Spend a development cycle or two just fixing bugs in existing features.

Tick tock data-muncher: UK to let info commish demand faster access

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Re: 24 hours

"24 hours isn't enough time to do it properly. To do that you'd need a team, all properly trained and kept up to date on every database change across an entire organisation, with an on-call rota."

As far as I can make out this isn't about routine subject access requests. This is about ICO investigations and the week-long stand off at CA. Even 24 hours is long compared to being able to roll up at 5am with a sledgehammer.

In fact, I'd go for the ICO being able to turn up at 5am with a sledgehammer.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Making what is clearly covered by existing statutes for fraud, perverting the course of justice or other serious criminal offences into something you can get away with using a good lawyer."

I don't see any rush to bring CA to book for deleting data, nor is it clear what basis there may have been under existing law for doing so if the only thing affected is an ICO investigation.

Nor do I see the ICO's remit overlapping much if at all with what's covered by existing law (statue and common) so why should adding provision for prosecuting destruction of evidence for investigations within that remit affect existing criminal provisions.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

It looks like a batch of good amendments and recent events should have made it easier to get them in.

"Events, dear boy, events."

‘I broke The Pentagon’s secure messaging system – and won an award for it!’

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I like the regular feature but maybe it should be retitled Testing In Time: Scheduled & Unscheduled Proving

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Re: Work ethic

Then we have to craft an ever-fscking "vision" statement in yet another demented "all-hands" group grope.

Insist on working some - no, make that all - your gripes into the "vision". Even if they're off-topic. Eventually I found manglement got a good idea about what it was best to leave me out of.

Supreme Court to dig into Google's very cosy $8.5m deal with lawyers over web search leak

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"You never pay every class member. On small dollar settlements there is 0.25 per cent claim rate, so even if you quadruple that rate, you can still pay people $5 or so."

Simple solution. Make the damages per claimant realistic and publicise them.

Facebook furiously pumps brakes on Euro probe into transatlantic personal data slurping

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Just wait a few more weeks and then just start another case under GDPR about SCCs tying consent for data slurping to provision of a service.

Windrush immigration papers scandal: What it didn't teach UK.gov about data compliance

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Re: Not just immigrants

"If we accept this, at the very least we should get id cards and have less hassle."

"If". Big word for only two letters.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

It's a great pity that successive DPAs haven't included an offence of misusing data protection as a convenient excuse because this is just another attempt at it.

GDPR allows data to be kept as long as it's required for its original use. Assuming that the records' original purpose was to prove legality of residence then they remain a required document for the life of the individual to whom they apply. If they were needed to prove that legality for a dependent then they're required for the life of that person too. There's anecdotal evidence that they were still being referred to which should have clarified the matter.

One aspect that's not been mentioned is whether these were statutory records. If they were not only might there have been a statutory requirement to keep them but GDPR wouldn't apply, at least not until any statutory requirement had lapsed. Perhaps this aspect should be looked into further as whoever took the decision to destroy them might have committed an offence.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Not just immigrants

"That's because UK administration is still stuck into the Doomsday Book era. In other countries were the X century ended many years ago, you need a single ID document."

I assume that you're not from these parts or are very young because a few years back when a previous Home Sec wanted to introduce ID cards it very quickly became clear that this was politically unpopular. Even the disk drives used for the pilot scheme had to be destroyed.

We don't like such things. It smacks too much of population control.

By the way, it's the Domesday Book. Same root as "domestic".

Javid's in, Rudd's out: UK Home Sec quits over immigration targets scandal

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Re: Aside from the usual noise

"You know of whom I speak."

No. I can think of several who'd want the job. When the opportunity comes up they'll end up stabbing each other in the back again with any luck.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Fuckety bye...

"the poor schmuck in charge of the Home Office?"

"Poor schmuck" seems a reasonable description of the fate of anyone appointed Home Sec but Home Secs are in the charge of the Home Office, not in charge of it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Diversity in action ...

"At the core is the previous Home Secretary policy, so this will change nothing."

It's not previous Home Secretary policy. It's standard Home Office policy. Home Secs come and go, the Home Office just goes on.

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Re: Sajids little helpers

"He did used to run a bank so SHOULD be OK"

There's evidence that that's not a much of a guarantee of competence.

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Re: Either a liar or incompent

"There is no scenario where such an individual is suitable for such a position."

The HO would disagree. Someone as deeply ignorant as that could repeat anything they told her without showing any signs of disbelief because she didn't have the knowledge that would have caused her to disbelieve.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What's the IT Angle?

"The IT angle is that there is no effing IT in place that would have avoided this whole fiasco!"

Nor any possibility of one after the data's been destroyed.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "In the world of technology policy, Rudd will be remembered"

"In which case, all of the Remaniacs who would ordinarily be highly critical of the moronic Rudd will suddenly declare her a saint."

Personally I'd have liked to have had David Davis replace Rudd as Home Sec and then Rudd appointed to take his place..

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Re: Hitting those notorious targets of illegal immigrants

" letting the ... ladies of negotiable value stay."

Maybe that's the value of negotiation.

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Re: "Assuming May lasts that long and we don't have another General Election first."

"She's got the support of that nice Mrs Foster of the DUP, and her other 9 stout hearted Ulstermen."

For as long as it lasts. She's made contradictory promises on the Irish border question. At some point she's going to have to resolve that one way or another. If the DUP don't like the choice she has to make then the No 10 gardeners had better start planting fruit bushes so Corbyn will have something to make jam with.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Diversity in action ...

"They usually last about a year regardless of whether they are from the Blue, Red or Yellow parties."

The HO manages to shed those it can't house-train. Those who are house-trained are usually suspected by the PM. In Rudd's case the last didn't apply as the PM is also a house-trained Home Sec.

IBM Australia to end on-shore software support

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Re: Worldwide support out of India?

"breach of contract"

That was my thought. Possibly those who signed the contracts for the customer are reluctant to involve their legal department on the basis that if they were to look carefully they might find a brief clause around page 288 that lets IBM do this and legal will send them back with their arse in a sling for signing such a contract.

Exposing 145m Equifax customer deets: $240m. Legal fees: $28.9m. Insurance: Priceless

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Did I miss anything?"

Probably more like $25.5 million to people doing the work, $20 top management bonuses for telling someone to get it done.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Equifax clawed back some $10m from insurers in the quarter, taking the tally to $50m since the embarrassing incident. The company noted that it maintains $125m of cybersecurity insurance."

I wonder what their premium's likely to be in future.

Europe fires back at ICANN's delusional plan to overhaul Whois for GDPR by next, er, year

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"It's going to be a mess, and there really does need to be some kind of grace period where companies can get caught and told to sort things out, but not necessarily get stung for the fine, because those fines could cause some serious damage if they're doled out to every offender from day one."

In practice regulators aren't going to be able to follow up all complaints so they'll have to make choices. Hopefully it'll be a case of chase a few particularly egregious examples first and have a warning letter system for the small fry. When they have the resources they can then follow up on the warning letters and see if they've got into compliance.

But on the wider issue of not being aware etc. companies, charities, societies etc. generally have a good idea of the accounting, statutory reporting and other rules that apply to them. When you ignore the hype this is just another of those rule sets to be incorporated into BAU. As with the other rules some organisations will fail, deliberately or otherwise; of those that fail some, as with the other rules, will get lucky and not be caught while others are penalised. It will all become the new normal.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's always fun when organizations pretend that the law doesn't apply to them

"They just decided waste the majority of that time doing nothing"

I don't think they were doing nothing. I think they were actively pretending it didn't exist.

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Re: You simply do not understand how EU stuff works

"Guys please come down to us from your EU Olympus and explain how to implement what you've invented."

It's very simple. You do one of two things. One is you look at the rights it says data subjects should have and give the subjects those. The alternative is that you pay the fines.

If you weren't abusing the data subjects in the past option one isn't that onerous. If you find it difficult it says a lot more about the operation you run than it does about the EU being out of touch.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"just exactly how do you use the information to check on anything?"

Big hint: you can whois IP addresses as well as domains.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: EU-only root servers

"While that allows EU citizens to look up EU addresses, .eu would cease to exist for the rest of the world"

Who said anything about EU-only root servers? The rest of the world would be free to use them. And why would they set themselves up as just for EU domains? If the rest of the world decided to treat a non-US server as the definitive global root then either the US follows suit or .com etc, as you put it, ceases to exist for the rest of the world.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "Europe is scarcely at the forefront of anything any more,"

"Jet Engine?"

Cough. Frank Whittle. Cough.

Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie, oi oi oi! Tech zillionaire Ray's backdoor crypto for the Feds is Clipper chip v2

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"That report concluded that law enforcement demands ... pose problems for human rights."

Not surprising. That's the objective when stripped of all the rhetoric.

ZX Spectrum reboot firm's shareholders demand current directors go

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Re: "between May 8th and 12th"

"Of what year ?"

And how many?

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