* Posts by Archtech

397 posts • joined 9 Jul 2016

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Ministry of Justice scraps 'conviction by computer' law

Archtech

Re: the government's aim...

Cheap for the government, perhaps. But the main objection to the "justice" systems in all Western nations is still that justice (such as it is) is available to the rich only. You can't get justice without one or more clever and tricky lawyers, and they cost real money.

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Archtech

Re: Still "be able to" attend court?

Exceptional circumstances that are mitigating?

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Archtech

"Victim"?

TV Licensing collected £3.7 billion in revenue in 2013/14.

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Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

Archtech

Mortgage

That's quite a good case in point - precisely because it is so simple. For a start, as soon as the bank people said anything like, "The computer doesn't think you can afford the payments", they revealed their utter ignorance of what was really happening.

Computers do not think. One day they possibly might, but as of today they don't. What they should have said was, "We have done some predetermined sums on our computer, and we don't think you can afford the payments".

The decisions were all made by bank staff - probably managers - and then programmed into the software. If any mistakes (or legal offenses) resulted, they were the fault of those people.

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Archtech

Re: Even if

It's certainly true (or very plausible) that some neural networks or even computer programs may reach reasonable decisions by methods that no human being can ascertain (or understand).

But anything arising from such automated decision-taking is still entirely the responsibility of whoever used the computer to make decisions. It can't be any other way.

If you can't be sure exactly how your decision-making system will work in ALL circumstances that might possibly arise, don't deploy it. If you do, you are like someone firing off a gun in random directions and hoping you never hit anyone.

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Archtech

Re: what...

Nevertheless, however the computer works and regardless of whether any human being can understand how it arrives at decisions, the people responsible for using it to make decisions must carry the can legally. The buck cannot stop with a machine, so it must stop with the people who installed the machine as part of their system. In principle, I suspect it's not very different from hitting someone with a spade. It's not the spade's fault!

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Archtech

Re: I am not a lawyer but...

Can a computer break the law? Literally speaking. I don't think any inanimate object can be treated as capable of understanding the law. (Neither is any human being, but that's another rant).

This is actually a very deep and potentially very embarrassing inquiry. Seeing how many human systems and organizations - such as governments and corporations - are largely designed to diffuse blame and prevent any specific person or people from being held legally responsible.

When decisions are embodied in a computer program, they become definite, exact and undeniable. But the program, and the computer that executes it, are not the kind of entities that are capable of legal or illegal behaviour.

So the computer program becomes a kind of "confession in advance" by those who can be held legally responsible if anything goes wrong. Once this doctrine becomes established and widely understood, there may be a very noticeable decrease in the amount of automation.

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'Nobody's got to use the internet,' argues idiot congressman in row over ISP privacy rules

Archtech

Editor strikes

"The FCC acknowledges that around 75 per cent of US consumers do not have more than one choice of high-speed internet provider..."

The FCC acknowledges that around 75 per cent of US consumers do not have a choice of high-speed internet provider...

FTFY.

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Who really gives a toss if it's agile or not?

Archtech

Re: Government still spends an outrageous amount of money on IT

I hope you were joking. If not, try reading the classic book "The Mythical Man-Month".

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Put down your coffee and admire the sheer amount of data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC

Archtech

"Me Mam used to call me a mardy-arse bugger when I was a lad".

But what did she call you when she got cross?

(And by the way, shouldn't that be 'when I were a lad'? Just asking).

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Archtech

Re: no edge cases for MS

"... kinda like the issue with the US border people".

Gee, I wonder if there could be some kind of common factor at work here?

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Archtech

Re: I thought

When did playing some childish game become a reason for making a committal decision that could destroy your privacy and eventually cost you a lot of money?

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Archtech

Re: Why can they not grasp

"Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad".

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Archtech

Re: BongoJoe

But then the NSA and the CIA would be cross with them. And experience shows that isn't good for your business. (Or your health).

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Archtech

Re: "T he owner of the documents agreed to the privacy policy.." (sic)

"What assurances do I have that my medical records are not currently being shown on some screen in Redmond?"

Well, you do have an assurance that your medical records are currently being stored on some server in Redmond... and on a few others belonging to the NSA. (Just in case they ever want to look you up, indict you, frame you, blackmail you...)

"... and how is it that this *ISN'T TOTALLY ILLEGAL !!*??"

That's slightly harder to explain. The simplest way I can put it is this: It's what the US government wants, and therefore it doesn't matter whether it's totally illegal under anyone else's laws.

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Archtech

Unfortunately that turns out to be a misunderstanding, not an understanding.

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Archtech

Re: "Make sure you don't put Windows 10 into Full telemetry mode"

It certainly dovetails admirably with the NSA's requirements to record and store everything.

Probably just coincidence.

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WWW daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee stands up for end-to-end crypto

Archtech

Think it through...

Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast– man's laws, not God's– and if you cut them down—and you're just the man to do it—do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

- Robert Bolt (“A Man For All Seasons”)

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Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

Archtech

Goodnight, sweet prince

Well, this story should do more to kill their sales than any number of bad reviews. "Buy our gadget and have your car locked in your garage".

Who could resist such an offer?

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Archtech

Re: Re:Sounds completely - completely - pointless

I do that with the knob on my thermostat in the hall.

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Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it's scarcely fit to fly

Archtech

Re: $ 391,000,000,000

Yup, Eisenhower was a commie.

Compared to the Dulles brothers, perhaps.

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Archtech

Re: Because of the risk, the Services decided to restrict pilots weighing less than

No problem. They'll just shoot it on a table-tennis table with a table-tennis net and ball.

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Archtech

Re: Phew, bullet dodged.

Although, of course, it's lucky for us that our carirers won't be able to do any harm. Because if they did we just might end up at war with someone. And then we'd all be sorry, wouldn't we?

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Archtech

Depending on topography

Or just one Sherman if it could get behind the Tiger. On at least one occasion an American armoured car knocked out a Tiger with its puny 50-mm gun. The two vehicles were travelling down a sunken road where the Tiger couldn't turn, or even rotate its turret. And, as Fate would have it, the Yank was behind.

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Archtech

Re: The music has stopped ....... and the party's over. What do imagine comes next?

The point that everyone seems to overlook consistently is that there is no earhtly need for the F-35. It is a project without a role, without a mission.

The continental USA does not need manned aircraft to defend it. And the USA will never fight an overseas war against any nation with aircraft better than the F-15, F-16, etc.

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Archtech

Re: There have been planes like this before.

And once the top brass gained complete control, from 1945 onwards, they completely wiped out the British aircraft industry. (See "Empire of the Clouds", passim).

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Archtech

Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

That reminds me of the story that Bismarck's AA guns couldn't successfully engage the attacking Stringbags, because the highly efficient German gunnery computers couldn't hack such a slow flight speed.

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Archtech

Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

But the lumbering, big-bomblaod carrying planes probably missed the bright markers by a mile or so anyway - just as they missed everything else.

The safest place to be during a thousand-bomber raid was the shop floor of a German ball-bearing factory.

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Archtech

Re: There have been planes like this before. -De Havilland Mosquito

"...the Mosquito was nearly 6 times as effective as the Lancaster bomber".

Not when it came to dropping Tallboys and Grand Slams, it wasn't.

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Archtech

Re: Oh wonderful

It looks as if a lot of Remainians are frightfully hacked off that we are leaving the EU. Unable to find any solid arguments against it, and unable to find any facts to support their case, they vent their frustrated feelings by awarding downvotes on The Reg.

Go for it, people! It's a lot less harmful than violence.

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Archtech

Re: Oh wonderful

So far TheVogon's comment has attracted 26 downvotes - and no rebuttals. Hmmm.

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Archtech

Re: The largest and most successful Russian covert hacking campaign is continuing as planned, then.

"Model C uses licensed Russian technology".

And I bet that technology works smoothly and reliably.

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Archtech

Not necessarily bad

Which is no necessarily a bad thing IMHO, if it prevents them from flying off in the direction of the USA...

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Archtech

Re: Dare I say, Brexit?

According to Fletcher Pratt, "[a] man who attacks stone forts with wooden ships is a fool; Lord Nelson said so". (It detracts little from the truth of this remark that Nelson found out the hard way, at the cost of certain body parts).

Consider then that Spain constitutes a very large, more or less unsinkable aircraft carrier. To fight it from an actual aircraft carrier seems the height of folly.

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Reg now behind invisible HTML5 Bitcoin paywall

Archtech

Most ingenuous

It's nice to see you guys can still hatch a cunning plan.

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Archtech

Re: Side effects

More ordinary blokes than usual still sleeping off last night?

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UK.gov confirms it won't be buying V-22 Ospreys for new aircraft carriers

Archtech

Very much in the whole spirit of the exercise

I would have liked to see the Ospreys shipped. They look even more exciting than Chinooks, and from what I've heard they are a great deal more unreliable. That will make plenty of work for the mechanics, so they won't get bored and stroppy.

Besides, just look at that picture! Those Su-35s won't dare to tangle with a contraption like that.

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Archtech

A traditional point of view

That's almost exactly what the Captain of HMS Glorious thought back in 1940. Unfortunately for him and his crew, HMS Glorious was an aircraft carrier. Because it didn't have an air patrol up, when the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau appeared over the horizon there wasn't much to do but wait for the first big 28-cm shells to come hurtling down. Two hours and ten minutes later. HMS Glorious and her two escort destroyers had been sunk.

On the bright side, there were a few survivors. Forty-three, to be precise.

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Microsoft cloud TITSUP: Skype, Outlook, Xbox, OneDrive, Hotmail down

Archtech

Re: There seems to be something wrong with your computer . . .

Could there be a reason why some people refer to it as "Outhouse"?

I know I always have.

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Archtech

Re: Nah

All true, but, er, Microsoft decided to hitch its wagon to the cloud. So to speak.

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Archtech

A familiar pattern

Nothing new here to anyone who has observed the corporate IT scene for a few decades.

IBM took fright at the threat from Apple (which was never any kind of threat to it) and created Microsoft, the most dangerous rival it has ever had.

DEC, facing serious difficulties, chose to continue as a hardware company while more or less killing its software business - presumably because, as software manager David Stone told the board, software made profits and hardware made none.

And now we see Microsoft looking around for new worlds to conquer, and choosing the cloud. "Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first send mad".

Although right now it seems as if it's the customers who are really mad. At Microsoft.

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National Audit Office: Brit aircraft carrier project is fine and dandy... for now

Archtech

Re: So not enough planes to fly off the carriers, not enough escorts to protect them,

And nothing for them to do that is not either immoral or suicidal - depending on whether they attack people who cannot defend themselves or people who can.

But never mind: Mission Accomplished, they created some temporary jobs and brought in some votes.

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Russian! spies! 'brains! behind!' Yahoo! mega-hack! – four! charged!

Archtech

Re: "spy on ... and computer security professionals, we're told."

But you can easily see the underlying logic. They really aren't even trying to fool people like the Reg readers (let alone the highly sophisticated Reg staff). 8-) 8-)

Their aim is to persuade as many ordinary people as possible that Russia is a menace in every possible way. So, on the predetermined theme of "Russian hackers", the ideal message is that the Russians have hacked whatever the most people use and depend on. I'm slightly surprised it wasn't Facebook or Twitter, but they will probably come next.

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Archtech

Re: "Russian Federal Security Service"

Talking horses - that's nothing! In Soviet times there was a joke about an old peasant who visits the big city for the first time. He goes to the zoo and marvels at all the strange creatures. When he comes to the giraffe, he stands in amazement for a long time, just staring at it. Then he exclaims, "My God - just look what those Bolsheviks have done to our horses!"

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Archtech

Who IS this person who apparently knows EVERYTHING???

"If you seriously, honestly doubt that, I've got an internet to sell you".

I do seriously, honestly doubt that. Partly because I have no idea who you are, and how you are privy to the inmost secrets of "the Russians" and "the Chinese".

Your contention seems to be that all the foreigners - and especially "the Russians" and "the Chinese" - are working for their governments in heavily-funded, highly-coordinated state attempts to harm America.

Whereas the American hackers who seem to form the majority of dangerous black hats are OK, because they are doing it individually in a spirit of carefree enterprise. It's not as if any of them worked for the NSA or the CIA or any of the rest of the alphabet soup.

And by the way, I don't want to buy "an internet" from you. Because, of course, there is by definition only one Internet, and I am already using it.

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'Password rules are bullsh*t!' Stackoverflow Jeff's rage overflows

Archtech

Re: Sometimes I can't use a long password

Oh, now you did it - you got me started on banks...

Like the ones that talk big about "security", then ask you to download and run an app about which you know absolutely nothing - supposedly to "enhance your security".

Like the ones that are wide open to MITM attacks, as Firefox warns me...

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That CIA exploit list in full: The good, the bad, and the very ugly

Archtech

Re: Democracy has ended

"To have functioning democracy the citizenry must be informed, the government transparent, and voters free from manipulation, fear, and government reprisals..."

Hahahahahahahahahahaha! I thought we were discussing the USA - why have you suddenly switched to Russia?

As for the USA, it's been ready for the proverbial fork for a few decades now.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/GOVERNMENT-WOLVES-JOHN-W-WHITEHEAD/dp/1590799755

https://www.amazon.co.uk/CIA-Organized-Crime-Illegal-Operations/dp/0997287012

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devils-Chessboard-Dulles-Americas-Government/dp/0008159661

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brothers-Stephen-Kinzer/dp/1250053129

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Archtech

Country A = USA

We were talking about Country A (i.e. the USA) being spied on by its own "intelligence agencies" (aka "criminal enterprises"). And not being able to do anything about it, because:

1. The American voter has no influence whatsoever over either the President or Congress;

2. Neither the President nor Congress has any influence whatsoever over the alphabet soup;

3. If any mere politician (or anyone else) looks like being too much of a nuisance, the agencies just kill them. (Cf both Kennedys, MLK, etc. etc.)

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Archtech

Re: "Nothing to see here, folks, move along..."

"What the US and EU are getting upset about are active information warfare operations designed to influence domestic politics".

Well, in that case they should tell the CIA and NSA to stop doing it.

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Archtech

Re: 5 cents off wax paper

I think you will find that this is in fact their job description:

https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/todays-cia/what-we-do

It's rather different from what you allege.

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