* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Pasties in SPAAAAACE: Cornwall hopes for slice of £50m spaceport cash

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"considerable investment from the European Union in the form of projects such as high-speed internet connectivity."

Cornwall should have rather a lot of internet. Porthcurno is still the landing point for trans-Atlantic and other cables,


Suspected drug dealer who refused to poo for 46 DAYS released... on bail

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I suppose they decided they might need to use the cell again and if they didn't get him out of there in time the next prisoner might complain of cruel and unusual punishment.

UK.gov cooks up code of conduct to enforce a smidge of security on Internet of S**t kit

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Problem of definition

What's a connected device?

On the face of it my laptop is a connected device. Am I to be supplied with a unique password by the manufacturer which I can't then change?

What about something like a Kodi box? I can build one of those with a Raspberry Pi and as everybody but possibly Matt Hancock knows those can be given entirely new OSs simply by swapping the SD card. Is someone taking the Pis?

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"The code states that all passwords on new devices and products are unique and cannot be reset to a factory default"

Not the best solution I'd have thought. A better one is that the out of box state is non-functional and requires a password to be set to become functional. A reset reverts it to out of box state.

I take Pen-y-gors' point about a remote reset by a hacker. The solution there would be that setting the password requires physical access to the device, say press a button on the device and you have a minute to set a password.

Someone places the device where they can't reach it and it gets remotely reset? There problem which is considerably better than being everybody else's.

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Re: No password reset

"4) Owner stuffed."

Not necessarily the worst outcome. If Owner stuffed happens often enough and publicly enough we then have:

5) Vendor gains poor reputation.

6) Vendor fails to sell product in the future.

There is then an incentive to produce secure stuff.

US Army warns of the potential dangers of swarming toy drones on US soldiers

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Re: Fixed wing drones

"The limit for number of simultaneously engaged targets in the most advanced missile systems out there is 40."

And against pump action shotguns?

Hackers create 'ghost' traffic jam to confound smart traffic systems

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And in Norfolk...


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Re: Spoof traffic entering the Intelligent Traffic Signal System

"It's not really user generated data; it's data generated by the vehicle system, and there's no reasonable presumption such a system would wilfully lie if working as intended."

There is, however, an unreasonable presumption that the system will work as intended and that nobody will get at it to make it lie.

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Re: Braking News !!! :) <==== NOT a Typo !!!

"snarl up the Roads as a diversionary tactic "

Sounds like an Italian Job.

Women of Infosec call bullsh*t on RSA's claim it could only find one female speaker

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A token male?

15 speakers, 14 of whom are women

ESA builds air-breathing engine that works in space

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Re: Ionospheric ramjet...

"a) Who has sats that need to keep station around this height"

Without the ability to sustain them at that height there'd be no point in even considering something that would need it.

Microsoft builds Uncle Sam custom versions of 365 and Azure Stack

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Re: Do some reading!

"Azure Stack is about havine MS Azure in your own data centre. "

And Windows 10 is about having Windows running on your own PC.

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"Microsoft already have a security model that blocks the ability for their US employees to access data in other jurisdictions without local data custodian approval"

The only place I've read of this being used is in Germany. If it's deployed elsewhere they seem to have kept quiet about it. There's also a question of whether it would survive the CLOUD act whose purpose appears to be to make extra-territorial jurisdiction explicit.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

They may be going after the US govt market but if they've any sense (admittedly a tall order) other govts world wide will be looking elsewhere, especially if the CLOUD act is passed.

Sacked saleswoman told to pay Intel £45k after losing discrim case

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"Was she overconfident, a bit greedy"

She worked in sales.

MPs lay into UK.gov's planned immigration data exemptions

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Hancock also shrugged off Cherry's statement that legal opinions suggested the immigration exemption would not be permissible under the GDPR, saying simply that "there are always legal opinions about everything".

Indeed there are and the place where these get resolved is in court. Maybe the prospect of a fine of 4% of HMGs revenue ought to concentrate his mind. Perhaps someone should ask the Chancellor if his budget contains provision for this.

Half the world warned 'Chinese space station will fall on you'

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Re: Just an idea

"This thing should never have been allowed to be on an uncontrolled re-entry trajectory in the first place."

Given that the owners lost control of it and presuming this wasn't intended, "allowed" doesn't seem relevant. The situation is what it is, not what it ought to be.

Open source community crams itself into big tent

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I wonder how many of the great and good at these dos write code themselves. I see Linus wasn't quoted.

UK data watchdog's inaugural tech strategy was written with... *drumroll* Word 2010

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Re: Really?

"I really, really hope that English isn't K's first language."

I was wondering what word processor they were using. Probably one with rickety bearings and a few bits broken off.

Boffins discover chemistry that could have produced building blocks of life in space

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Re: Very old news

"basic proteins required for DNA"

DNA is built from nucleotides, not proteins.

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Re: Oh, the hyperbole

"Earliest forms of life on Earth had very little to do with oxygen, IIRC."

The organic compounds which living organisms are built of do contain oxygen. What the earliest forms didn't do was use molecular oxygen as part of their energy systems until, as you say, the blue-greens evolved photosynthesis which produced it as a by-product.

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"After these molecules build up on PAHs like pyrene, if they’re exposed to ionizing radiation it can fire up another series of reactions to create amino acids, peptides and sugars."

Can this process produce the chiral asymmetry of these compounds that we see in biology?

Miner vs miner: Attack script seeks out and destroys competing currency crafters

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"It seems as if it is the taste of things to come."

OTOH it seems like the sort of script for the user to run periodically. It would just need to be kept up to date.

Swiss see Telly Tax as a Big Plus, vote against scrapping it

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Re: Short term vs long term

"One example is the BBC scrapping their weather website for the utter dumbed down crap run by a third party."

Cough. https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

BOFH: Honourable misconduct

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Re: who would play BOFH and PFY?

"Boss: Stephen Fry"

Given the rate at which Bosses are introduced to rolls of carpet and quicklime this would need to be a series of guest appearances.

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Re: I think I even have a script for that.

"No unsolicited scripts. What a surprise."

Now think what the BOFH would do in that situation. He'd tell a Brit commissioning editor that Netflix were interested but taking their time and there was a small window of opportunity if the editor could make up their mind before the pubs open.

Knock, knock. Whois there? Get ready for anonymized email addresses after domain privacy shake-up

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Re: fob off comlaints

"So how does normal people with a complaint about a website or something on it trace the owner ?"

Through the registrar and/or the hosting company. However, to get them to take notice the matter would have to be illegal in which case the police could take it up or contrary to the registrar or hosting co's T&Cs. In the latter case you'd almost certainly also need to be lawyered up to have an effect.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Clicked their link to view the changes, and got asked for personal details (with no apparent way to skip), so I'd not (until now) seen what the cretins were planning on doing."

Are they keeping that running until after GDPR becomes operational? AFAICS that will be a breach in its own right.

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Re: So UK addresses require UK residency?

"Can't speak for .org.uk though."

My registrar seems to think either applies. I'm not sure what happens if .co and .org have different owners. I have a .org and the corresponding .co is owned by a completely unrelated business. However, if they want the .uk they're welcome.

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"not-quite-global businesses would be having you declare that you are not an EU resident and make it a condition to let them know if you become one (possibly causing a termination of your business relationship). "

I think such weaseling behaviour would increase the fines.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Am I still covered by GDPR even though the address is in the states and I am in Europe"

The GDPR protects the personal data of people resident in the EU to the answer would appear to be "yes".

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Re: I'm all for it

So at what point are you a real web publisher who should a public address and "just a individual website" ?

There are quite a few issues wrapped up in that.

If you are an individual registering a domain you will be entitled to keep your details confidential. You're not obliged to do so.

If you register your site for commercial purposes you lose the entitlement. That would, AFAICS, include operating as a sole trader. On the whole you'd probably not want to hide your identity unless you're a cowboy; regular traders want people to contact them.

If you're operating a business as a Ltd company you'd register under the company name and the registered address would be the appropriate address to use. However Companies House would register the names and addresses of the officers of the company (director, company sec etc) although the addresses given are often enough the registered company address. Even if you want to keep your identity confidential you can't if you're an officer of the company; it has to be on the company returns, those are public as a matter of law and as such they're excluded from any protection GDPR provides.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: So UK addresses require UK residency?

"Perhaps now is not the time to tell someone that I own a second-level .uk address"

If you're setting up something like example.uk there's supposed to be a UK residency requirement. Presumably it's up to the registrar to check. example.co.uk wouldn't need residency. Ownership of example.co.uk would give you preference in gaining example.uk if you wanted that as well.

Maybe you owned the .co.uk or .org.uk version and then gained the .uk on those grounds and nobody thought to check?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"How would icann know to hide the information?"

You wouldn't be dealing with ICANN, you'd be dealing with a registrar. It's up to the registrars as to whether they hide everyone's data by default but if they restrict that to the EU the address you give should be a big clue.

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Re: I'm all for it

"Can companies and publishers decide that it is outragous that the address of the manufacturer of something you bought be available to you or the address of a newspaper office be available to complaints"

This has nothing to do with addresses of manufacturers or newspapers. It's to do with personal information, the addresses of individual people who have their own domain, that's all.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: A bit more protection for the black hats

"go ahead and pretend to write from Microsoft while sending from GMail, I dare you"

Even Microsoft seem to have caught up with this one. They've finally stopped coming into my Hotmail dustbin.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"What bothers me is how can the EU dictate how ICANN runs the global internet?"

Look at it from the rest of the world's point of view. How can the US dictate how the internet is run within the EU borders or, indeed within the borders of non-US countries in general?

ICANN depends more on global consent than it does on the US's contract. The RotW could, if it so wished, get together, clone ICANN's root registry and then treat the clone as definitive. Given ICANN's governance problems which have been reported here a number of times it's slightly surprising this hasn't happened already.

In reply to your question, what the EU can dictate is what businesses, including registrars, can do with respect to the privacy of individuals within its borders. It can levy fines on any entity with a presence within its borders for breaching its legislation. That affects all EU registrars. It also affects any multinationals with offices within the EU. There's nothing in the EU legislation which would effectively prevent a non-EU registrar from publishing PII information on whois; nothing, that is, except it would then be competing with other registrars who don't and it would limit any subsequent expansion into the EU itself. So, although the EU can't dictate how ICANN manages the internet globally the control it exerts within the EU means it has to be respected. ICANN has finally faced up to that.

UK peers: Is this what you call governance of facial recog tech? A 'few scattered papers'!

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"Private companies cannot arrest me and throw me in jail by mistake."

They may not be able to throw you in jail but google kingdom litter fines and wonder what might happen if that lot got hold of the technology.

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Fear that you can be wrongly recognised by the mostly shite low quality cctv available in the UK.


Another day, another meeting, another £191bn down the pan

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Re: "all a meeting achieves is a mass downing of tools"

The Managers solution? 4 "Progress" meetings a day, designed to distract your train of thought and waste 2 hours a day.

At the first meeting ask (bulldoze your way into the talk if necessary) "Do you want me to stay in this meeting or do you want me to get the job done? Yes or no."

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Re: The Dilbert Principle

Let me park this one here.


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Re: Nobody meetings....

"Like the civil service. ... meetings to rewrite the minutes for the meetings"

No, as Sir Humphrey explained, the minutes are written up in advance.

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Re: Missing the point

"The really good ones even have doughnuts."

Not the really, really good ones. Once upon a time in more generous days my team occupied the area next to a meeting room which was extensively used for lunch-time meetings. We became connoisseurs of meeting menus. The high point was one provided with Cointreau crèmes brûlée which had gone untouched.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Possibly you are under the inexplicable supposition that your attendance at a workplace meeting serves a useful purpose. Yet in practical terms, all a meeting achieves is a mass downing of tools by its participants for the duration."

In the case of some participants having them down tools for the duration is a useful purpose.

I always found that the meeting at the start of a project was the most useful one. It enables you to look round, identify the (maximum) two other people in the project with whom you'll get the actual work done, identify the several other people who'll be in the way and wonder who the rest are.

So the suits swanned off to GDPR events leaving you at the coalface? It's really more IT's problem

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"Technically, it is possible, as in restore every backup to a machine environment capable of understanding the data structures (both in database and application terms including all business logic) and then removing the offending data and then rebacking up the data."

Alternatively, take m0rt's excellent advice, posted an hour earlier. Or mine saying much the same thing with less detail posted some weeks earlier. Why does this chestnut keep coming up? The solution should be obvious.

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Re: ITs job but not IT's problem

"Except in the marketing analytics teams where all the toys are going out of the pram!"

I'm firmly of the opinion that their toys should be taken away from them and only given back when if they can prove they can be trusted with them. That goes for the whole of marketing, not just analytics. Toys, of course, includes anything on which data might be stored, including phones and paper notebooks; note Mr C's comments about checking for unstructured data. And insist that any future projects be only granted funding when detailed plans have been scrutinised by a grown-up.

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Re: B2B vs B2C

"Do you need to get explicit consent from each of those employees to hold their data? Do your customers' employees have the right to be forgotten with respect to your help desk system?"

It might not be authoritative legal advice but CYA: assume "yes". The same thing applies to you customers, of course. Have they thought about such things? Have you prompted them to do so?

UK's Dyson to vacuum up 300 staffers for its electric car division

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Re: Dyson ain't quite wot it used-er to be

"Even a remainer should be able to understand that"

Oh, we understand all that. We just don't believe that the pixies will be along immediately afterwards to scatter the magic dust to ensure that lots of people don't lose their jobs. It might even work out after a decade or so but by then we'll be a decade or so behind all the other economies.

Alternatively we'll have been let back in on condition we give up the £ and a few other concessions which will be seen as worthwhile. There'll be no Leave opposition to that as nobody but nobody will ever admit to have voted leave and the outcome of the referendum will be seen as a huge statistical puzzle. BoJo and the like will be insisting that this was their essential idea all along.

A third alternative is that it won't happen as either it will mean the collapse of the Good Friday agreement with a hard border in Ireland or a collapse of May's agreement with the DUP as the alternative is a hard border down the Irish Sea.

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Re: Dyson ain't quite wot it used-er to be

"I also guess that Dyson himself has a lot of money stashed in tax havens, judging by his enthusiastic support of Brexit."

Dunno about his stash but his manufacturing is done overseas. Why should he worry about any problems Brexit causes British manufacturers? SEP.

Equifax peeks under couch, finds 2.4 million more folk hit by breach

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Analysing data is supposed to be what they're good at. If they keep finding these errors in their initial analysis of the breach what does it tell us about their competence to carry out their basic business?

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