* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Data flows in a no-deal Brexit are a 'significant' concern – MPs

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"cannot seriously constitute the policy of any responsible government"

That's going to cut no ice. We haven't had a responsible government for years despite having had governments that have been responsible for all sorts of problems.

'Numpty new boy' lets the boss take fall for mailbox obliteration

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Re: "He knew the VP's password..."

Obviously a true BOFH. Was he called Simon?

Gripe to UK, Ireland, Poland: Ad tech industry inhales, then 'leaks' sensitive info on our health, politics, religion

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"we would take immediate action...."

... by charging more for the data.

UK-EU infosec data sharing may not be KO'd by Brexit, reckons ENISA bod

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Re: Remember the vote!

"We voted to leave EU control, and return to a model based upon agreed co-operation"

There's your problem right there. The EU is a complete package - "control", co-operation and everything. Did you vote to leave control or did you vote to take part in co-operation - the two are alternatives.

Once we're out - and fully out which seems increasingly likely - you're going to find out just how much "control" we exert out in the big wide world. It's going to be less than we exerted within the EU and less than the EU exerts in the rest of the world.

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Re: Remember the vote!

"Hell, all the PM has to do at this point is mollify a small group of loonies from a marginal part of non-mainland U.K. that probably won't be part of the country in forty to sixty years."

Do NOT minimise the difficulties. here. You may think "loonies" and you may well be right but nevertheless the divisions run deep. Rather deeper than, say, the divisions between the ERG and the EU. We can well do without the consequences of stirring that up again. And as to "forty to sixty years" - they were thinking in terms of fewer than that number a undred years ago.

Let's be clear about this. The UK entered into an international agreement about this and the Brexiteers seem quite prepared to break that in order to get their way. One of the things that they claim to want to do is set up individual trade agreements outside the EU. If they start off by breaking an agreement like the Goof Friday Agreement who's going to trust them with new agreements?

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Re: Remember the vote!

You all voted to "leave" all this co-operation behind.

No we didn't "all" vote as you well recognise. You shouldn't be baffled - there are too many people going round spouting the this sort of rubbish and you've just added to their number. Don't do that.

Open sourcerers drop sick Fedora Remix to get Windows Subsystem for Linux pumping

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"It is funny how they call it Linux subsystem"

They don't they call it Windows subsystem for Linux which is exactly arse about face to what it is. Very strange people there in Redmond.

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Re: Seriously ...

"You get all the security, integration, perfomance and management advantages of Windows"

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Re: Seriously ...

As I read it, folk in Indonesia. Which is a populous country. And maybe by extension, folk in other 3rd world countries. Who again account for a large slice of the world's population.

Yes, I can see how that goes - who cares, they're shit poor.

And if they adopt low cost, ARM-based computing running Linux to make themselves sufficiently not shit-poor then maybe we'll find that a new dominant mode of computing has crept in under the MS radar.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"The existing Linux distros and a lot of mainstream companies approach WSL as kind of a novelty."

I'm not sure about novelty but it's a rather excessive overhead just to run Linux.

Six Flags fingerprinted my son without consent, says mom. Y'know, this biometric case has teeth, say state supremes...

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Re: fingerprinting children

"Such a weak response from the parents"

I don't suppose many parents can afford to start a lawsuit against a large corporation. At least not until someone who can has tested the water.

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Re: Thank you!

"So going forward, companies will need to perform that much more paperwork to be in compliance, but only in the State of Illinois."

Yup. It's a shame other states don't value citizen's privacy over intrusive corporations. At least not yet.

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Re: Companies will always push the privacy barriers because money is to be made from it.

This is why we need legislation such as GDPR and this Illinois Act. If selling on data or holding it in excess of immediate functional needs becomes toxic eventually companies will stop doing it. Some will work it out for themselves when the legislation is passed or when first challenged. Some will learn by seeing the mistakes of others. Some will learn the hard way. Six Flags should be applauded for selflessly volunteering to be held up as an example from which others can learn.

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Re: So I gather

"But then they have your photo, which is private biometric data and right there on the pass is proof they saved that data."

As you say, "right there on the pass". The pass which is under the control of the customer not the vendor. The pass which the customer can destroy when it expires.

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Re: So I gather

"It isn't clear what the risk of that would be, since you can't reconstruct the actual fingerprint from that data, but the type who will sue over this would not find that reassuring."

The obvious risk is that the hash can be passed or sold on. It then becomes identifying information if the recipient acquires, surreptitiously or otherwise, a fingerprint.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Wrong end of telescope

"Or, businesses in Illinois will be trusted more as they subject to higher regulatory standards regarding people's biometric data."

Only if they follow the law. Making determined attempts not to are counter-productive. The fetish of acquiring as much data as possible seems to override mere self-interest.

Facebook didn't care if your kids ran up gigantic credit card bills – lawsuit

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I suppose this is yet another issue he's not going to come and explain to the Commons Select Committee amongst others.

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Re: Is there a scammier corporation

"but thanks to my family I can't avoid WhatsApp."

Yes you can. You just dump it and tell them they have to find another way to communicate with you. I have a family. I don't have WhatsApp. I have POTS, mobile and email; even snail mail . They're more than sufficient.

Whats(goes)App must come down... World in shock as Zuck decides to intertwine Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp

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Here's an alternative

For a modest cost of £2.17 per month I subscribe to a service which lets me set up multiple identities for myself and SWMBO, multiple so that I can use different IDs for different people with whom I communicate. The service allows for some online storage of messages but I prefer not to use it as anything more than a buffer because I store the messages locally once I've received them. I have a choice of client software and devices.

Friends and family don't need to subscribe to the same service to communicate with me as the folks who run the server will look after all that providing friends and family use a similar service - and if they don't want to pay extra they'll probably find it bundled in with services they already pay for. They can even use a free service if they don't mind being slurped. The reason I pay is that I have a bit more flexibility and I can move my set of IDs to another provider if I become dissatisfied which I can't with a bundled service. In fact, I've done that in the past.

OK, you've all recognised it. It's plain old email. But just what additional steps would be needed to make it easily usable as end-to-end encrypted messaging? Not, I suggest, very much. Add a public key server to the existing smtp server. Add PGP functionality into the mail client that will upload the user's public keys, download those for received messages and locally share private keys if a user wants to use multiple devices for running clients.

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Re: Let's see here...

"unless you block its script that is"

Standard operating practice.

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"everyone has WhatsApp"

No they don't. Even the bragging statistics in other posts were less than 100% so quite clearly it's not everyone. It might be everyone you know but that doesn't make you a group to be emulated.

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Re: Strange

"It's annoying as hell to include them in organising something with a group of people."

I'd find it as annoying as hell to be included in something organised by a group of people on what I regard as anti-social media.

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Re: Damn

"I can't however imagine you would do that"

I can't imagine why he would either. Why should he as, like myself, he manages perfectly well without. Perceptions of the indispensability of such things are entirely an artefact of their use. There are alternatives. The alternatives need cash payment but the, of course so do FB and the rest in addition to the cost in slurpage - you pay for the communications platform itself don't you?

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Re: Damn

"84% of 24 – 35 year old Britons use WhatsApp dropping to 78% for 35 – 44 year olds."

Sez who?

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Re: Damn

"Everyone has Wattsapp"

I don't so not everyone has it. What's more "everyone" could replace it with something else if they chose, then no one would have it. Free will is a wonderful thing.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Signal

"network effects"

Presumably these friends communicated with each other before Facebook even existed. If networks effects are so powerful how did Facebook replace those? If a sufficient subset replace FB with something they feel comfortable with and agree on then if the rest want to remain in touch they will have to add that something to their own repertoire in exactly the same way as they joined FB in the first place.

Apple: Trust us, we've patented parts of Swift, and thus chunks of other programming languages, for your own good

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Re: SUN once said the the same positive things about Java Patents and licensing structure

"Even if they are currently stowed in the basemant of a presumably well-meaning company. Once they get out of that basement, for whatever reason, they are ready to kill."

To say nothing of what can happen if the well-meaning company gets taken over. True, Apple might be too big for that to be feasible now but the future is terra incognita.

Straight outta Blighty: Readers, if you were a tech billionaire, what would you do?

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Re: Let's have another go

"Well, immediately post-Brexit-vote, he'd immediately move everything offshore."

He'd moved manufacturing off-shore pre-Brexit-vote so the stuff he flogs here is already imported from outside the EU. At least to a first approximation Brexit doesn't affect his UK business at all so it's no skin off his nose if all the businesses still manufacturing in the UK for EU customers start facing tariff walls. Of course when their former employees stop buying his products it might make a difference.

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Re: Dyson

"So if the UK doesn't provide the best environment to grow businesses then move the business to somewhere that does.

And at the moment, UK seems to be determined to be as hostile as possible to enterprise."

The issue with Dyson is moving the manufacturing part of his business out of the UK; then advocating a change which, as you way, makes the UK as hostile as possible to enterprise, shafting those overseas investors who set up enterprises in the UK because it was part of the EU*. Only now do we see the pretence of being a Great British Business being dropped.

* Along with those of his customers employed in the UK by those enterprises.

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Re: If I were a tech billionaire...


Plural of "thou" is "you".

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Re: If I were a tech billionaire...

"which ones could kill me"

You could always move to Australia and take "all of them" as a safe first approximation.

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Re: Dyson

"Dyson the company has been moving its production to Singapore for yonks and now makes nearly ALL its stuff there."

Quite so. You should take account of that when you work out just how much skin in the game Dyson the man in charge of the company has when it comes to UK manufacturing industry.

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Re: Opertunity

"The last time somebody made so much money out of British politicians stupidity was when my friend George Soros got John Major to hand him a billion pounds by selling Sterling short."

You didn't buy gold from Gordon Brown at the bottom of the market? Some people just can't see opportunities when they're in front of them.

Is your kid looking at GCSE in computer science? It's exam-only from 2022 – Ofqual

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"I am the only teacher at the school to have the license to make gunpowder and demo in the lab."

License? How times have changed.

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"So students are going to be taught how to pass the exam."

Inevitable given that schools have contrived to foul the nest in the past. I suppose it's a consequence of league tables.

Just keep slurping: HMRC adds two million taxpayers' voices to biometric database

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"thousands of people are reclaiming their rights by getting their Voice IDs deleted,"


We did Nazi see this coming... Internet will welcome Earth's newest nation with, sigh, a brand new .SS TLD

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Re: terminology

Julius Caesar arriving in "Great Britain"?

I wouldn't think so either. He arrived in Britannia - a Latin name because Caesar, being Jonny Foreigner, didn't speak English. There are a couple of versions of why the island is called Great Britain.

One is that is was a coinage to include Scotland after the Act of Union.

The other is that it distinguished the original island from Little or Lesser Britain, Brittany which Caesar didn't call Brittany, either, he called it Armorica. It got its later name because it was settled by refugees from Britannia after the Anglo/Saxon[/Jutish/Frisian] settlement.

Sprint subscribers: What do your updated iPhone and Tonga have in common? Both are cut off from the world

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Re: Break?

How does one "break" an undersea cable?

Police are looking for a ship with a large back hoe attachment.

Or a trawler.

World's favourite open-source PDF interpreter needs patching (again)

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Re: Alternatives


Google faces another GDPR probe – this time in the land of meatballs and flat-pack furniture

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Re: The Swedes

"man on couch at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London"

According to the Grauniad he's come up with yet another wheeze to get his name in the papers.

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Re: Why not also look at.

One at a time. Combine too many things and they can put the brakes on the whole case by quibbles on each issue in turn. And besides, multiple cases means multiple fines.

Nothing 'unites teams' like a good relocation, eh Vodafone?

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Re: reasonable commute

"M62 commute (especially in peak rush hours)"

And even that assumes there are no road works, accidents or jumpers from Scammonden bridge.

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Re: Relocation sux

"My advice to any company considering relocation, make certain you have rational reasons for the relocation, and count on losing all of your experienced staff, as they are the ones who find it easiest to get another job."

One of the rational reasons is getting rid of staff. Projected move from central London to outside the M25 a bit further round from Watford - 80% of staff said they'd move. Suddenly the price of the projected new premises went up and the move was to Leeds instead. Very few staff went. It fitted well with schooling - timed nicely for daughter's change to 6th form college - and it was back to God's own county so I was one of them.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"saving £21m over the next three years.”

Those who were there will remember the savings total announced when their rival moved from Euston to Leeds. They will also remember that the breakdown of the projected savings fell a million short of the claimed total. The accountant responsible should have realised that quoting a series of numbers with one significant figure was almost guaranteed to produce a rounding error if the total was quoted to two and that everyone would instantly notice.

They'll also remember that out of about 5 of the management team who made that decision only one of them actually made the move. I wonder if Voodoophone's management will be similarly enthusiastic.

The BMC in OpenBMC stands for 'Burglarize My Computer' – thanks to irritating security flaw

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Re: "Burglarise" ?

"In American English, the verb burgle, meaning to rob, is regarded as a humorous backformation from burglar, and burglarize is the preferred term in serious contexts."

I've always assumed it was coined by a US lawyer who was on piece work rates and it allowed him to charge for four extra letters every time he used the word.

Fake broadband ISP support scammers accidentally cough up IP address to Deadpool in card phish gone wrong

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Re: Who is to blaim for being taken by scammers?

"he advice from your bank is always the same."

No it is not.

Or at least the bank might always give the same advice but they expect you not to follow it, even to the extent of sending pseudo-phishing emails to tell you that.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Who is to blaim for being taken by scammers?


Banks, building societies, insurance companies etc. regularly send out phishing emails. Or at least emails that look like phishing emails.

- They don't come from the claimed sender's domain or if they do it's from a sub-domain that resolves to an address owned by someone else.

. The return address is noreplay@overweeningly_important_bank.co.uk so you can't reply to check.

- The emails themselves are stuffed with links that as untrustworthy as the sending domain.

Forwarding to their scam reporting address brings no response. Such emails even include those that purport to warn against phishing. The only way I can be reasonably sure they're genuine is that they're sent to an address set up specifically for that business but most people who only have a single email address can't take that precaution. My bank no longer get such emails through to me: I told them a few years ago that unless I got an explanation as to what they were going to do about the last such message I'd discontinue the address; they didn't so I did.

I've had a similar experience with phones and banks. When I had a business account I would periodically receive phone calls claiming to be from the bank and asking me to verify who I was by telling them about a recent transaction. I told them that they couldn't possibly be my bank as I'd previously made it clear to my real bank that I wouldn't accept such calls if they couldn't verify themselves first and I wouldn't even confirm whether or not they'd guessed the right bank. This was invariably followed up by a plaintive letter on the bank's headed paper asking me to contact them so they could sell me something see if their was anything they could do to help my business.

As long as banks etc. continue to do this they should be held fully responsible for any successful scam against their customers. It is, of course, their marketing departments who do this; marketing departments are apt to be the biggest threats to a business.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Who is to blaim for being taken by scammers?

"If some stranger walked up to you in the street, dressed as a banker, would you give them your bank details"

Unfortunately, at least in email and phone terms, the banks do just this. It makes it difficult to put the entire blame on the victims if the banks themselves are training their customers to be scammed.

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Re: Useful telephone number.

In the UK the name, address and phone number of the Information Commissioner is handy to have.

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Re: Dirty Scammers

"Put them on a real technical support desk."

I think that was in implication of "in the cubes".

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