* Posts by silverfern

46 posts • joined 1 Jan 2017

Oh boy: MPs prepare to probe UK.gov's digital prowess and tech savvy

silverfern

I agree that voting should be made compulsory (as the lesser evil) but this would not stop those who suppress the votes of minorities.

Swiss cops will 'tolerate' World Cup rabble-rousers – for 60 minutes

silverfern

Here in Germany you're "allowed" to shower (and presumably have a bath) any time day of night and the neighbours (presumably on the same floor of your block of flats) have to put up with it. This has been confirmed several few times by court decision (Germans just love going to law!). Reason: cleanliness is a "higher good". I am not exaggerating: judges have said this.

Similarly, other court decisions have decided that as a source of noise, childrens' playgrounds do not need to be subjected to "quiet times" or be otherwise reined in because young children have to be free to jump around and yell and do all those things that young children do during childhood. Not unreasonable.

And the court cases that are conducted over next-door neighbours having a barbecue (cooking odours) have to seen to be believed.

But otherwise people do seem to be particularly allergic to noise here.

The only explanation I can think of is that with 60% of Germany's population having to rent (population density: about 200 / sq. km) and therefore living - mostly - in blocks of flats, you've got more people breathing down your neck and you don't have the luxury of your own back yard where you have more latitude to do your own thing.

So it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Switzerland and Austria have fairly similar rules for pretty much the same reasons. But that's only an educated guess.

Potato, potato. Toma6to, I'm going to kill you... How a typo can turn an AI translator against us

silverfern

Where's Stanley Unwin when we need him?

Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops

silverfern

Re: Just Wait till NZ gets the bill

1. If that girl's mother had shot this prick back home (New Zealand), she'd have been arrested and charged with various firearms offences in spite of the sympathy of the general public. And she'd have had to use a rifle or a shotgun because handguns are generally illegal except for handgun club members, collectors and dealers.

2. Just for the record, we have no free medical care in NZ. Never did. Our "social system" (medical care, pensions etc. etc.) is financed by the taxpayer but there are basic charges for most services, including prescriptions. And all dental care is fully private after age 15.

3. And like the UK, our police are routinely unarmed, although there are exceptions.

National ID cards might not mean much when up against incompetence of the UK Home Office

silverfern

I've said this on El Reg. (nice that other contributors agree with me) before but it could probably stand repetition: If the UK had had a decent immigration system with properly-functioning immigration legislation and regulations etc., the Windrush affair would never had happened.

Clock blocker: Woman sues bosses over fingerprint clock-in tech

silverfern

Re: Stupidity

Exactly.

The saying "Trust but verify." means nothing more or less than "I don't trust you."

Google listens to New Zealand just long enough to ignore it

silverfern

Re: Why not go the whole hog NZ?

Not really. Because, you know, "Rainbow Warrior".

And why would France want us anyway? We speak English.

silverfern

1. I did say I am a non-techie.

2. But I happily stand to be corrected.

silverfern

As a non-techie, may I naively suggest that all Google into New Zealand be blocked until Google comes to heel?

I'll get my coat...

WikiLeaks a 'hostile intelligence service', SS7 spying, Russian money laundering – all now on US Congress todo list

silverfern

Re: Do you realize...

Re: Do you realize...

"If Snowden would come back and do this... and win, then he'd be considered a hero"

There's no way Snowden would get anything even resembling a fair trial with even a remote chance of winning.

Windrush immigration papers scandal is a big fat GDPR fail for UK.gov

silverfern

Re: Windrush & Co.:

I'm talking about the Scottish National Entitlement Card (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_National_Entitlement_Card) which, while voluntary, entitles holders, e.g. pensioners, to free use of some services such as bus transport. There are fears that it will over time effectively become a (form of) ID card in that some or many services will be unavailable without it. All Scots are also assigned a Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN) which is linked to the Card. (See same link.)

The Republic of Ireland has recently introduced a Public Services Card which, while voluntary, is required if one wishes to obtain a driving licence and a passport. (I am not talking about the Irish passport card which is an adjunct to the Irish passport and is genuinely voluntary.)

Northern Ireland has had a Northern Ireland Voter’s Card since (I think) about the 1980s but I stand to be corrected on that date/period. Unsurprisingly, this card does not appear to be controversial.

silverfern

Windrush & Co.:

@ Dan 55:

If the UK had had a decent immigration system with immigration legislation, regulations and procedures etc. back then, such legal immigrants would have been registered on entry and their details securely recorded. They may even have been issued with residence permits, although as British citizens, that might not have been necessary.

But had such records been recorded, stored and not "accidentally" destroyed, this scandal would never have occurred in the first place.

@ anonymous coward:

Whether tracking citizens and other legal foreign residents is "mediaeval" is debatable. I accept – and have said elsewhere on El Reg – that ID cards and compulsory residence registration are, as they were originally intended – merely, i.e. primarily, instruments or public administration. The trouble is that they are a two-edged sword that lends itself to abuse ("Papers, please!") – especially if you were born with a serious suntan.

Put these two together and you have – especially if both are compulsory in law, as here in Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere in continental Europe – a small-scale surveillance state. Where such a system makes it illegal to live under the radar, you do not, in my view, have a full democracy.

@ anonymous cowards ("is not being challenged for our 'papers' ") & MonkeyCee & DavCrav ("Papers please")

I happily stand to be corrected but I wouldn't mind betting that UK law requires you to give the police your name, address and date of birth.

Being the cynic I am, it's entirely conceivable to me that someone engineered this "Windrush" affair in an effort to spur the introduction of a national ID card and compulsory residential registration, the way the Scots, possibly the Northern Irish and (latterly) the Irish have done by subterfuge.

The irony is that as a result of the Windrush affair, these measures could – conceivably – be introduced after the UK leaves the European Union. In both cases, time will tell.

@ Wapiya: ID cards

Pedantry on:

A German ID card is actually useful: (i) for keeping the cops off your back and (ii) for proving that you are who you claim to be, which in 99.99999% of all cases is the same as your true identity.

If you live in Germany, you will know that most Germans carry their ID cards or passports with them voluntarily as a matter of convenience. (By the way: are you a German citizen?)

Pedantry off.

As far as your family book was concerned, I suspect that the bureaucrat you were dealing with was either deliberately giving you the run-around, was incompetent or both.

Any social media accounts to declare? US wants travelers to tell

silverfern

Not really. Do you seriously think Uncle Sam gives a shit about the US travel industry?

silverfern

1. If I were a cynic, I would surmise that, as with the US-Visit scheme generally, Uncle Sam is requiring all this - mainly useless - information on purpose in order to deter all those from coming to the US except those who really want/need to come.

Reason: to reduce the risk of terrorism by keeping out the wackos. (This is also why they ask you if you have ever been a member of a Communist party: it keeps out all the nutcases, dangerous or otherwise.)

But as someone once said (it may even have been here, too), if you're looking for a needle in a haystack, you don't keep piling hay onto the stack.

2. But as I really am a cynic, it's clear that the US-Visit scheme is, in fact, not designed to prevent terrorist attacks but simply to show the American people, i.e. the voters, that Uncle Same is "doing something" about 9/11. It's not supposed to "work", it's just window-dressing. (How many terrorists have been caught as a result of the US-Visit programme?) Not that any of this is news but it's worth re-stating for the record.

And Uncle Sam can get away with it because foreign visitors have no lobby in the US. But if it gets votes, well, hey, I guess that "works" too.

Commonwealth Games brochure declares that England is now in Africa

silverfern

What's wrong with Africa? The weather there's better.

Machines making music, translating Chinese, self-driving trucks, and more

silverfern

The music sounds like something by that German group Kraftwerk.

'A sledgehammer to crack a nut': Charities slam UK voter ID trials

silverfern

Re: Just stop it already

I really ought to bite my tongue in saying this but having an ID card with your address on the back (the way it's done here in Germany) would solve most of these problems.

Don't get me wrong: I still don't like ID cards but as instruments of public administration, I have to admit with gashed teeth that they do have their uses.

Yorkshire cops have begun using on-the-spot fingerprint scanners

silverfern

See my earlier comment.

silverfern

@ dave 81:

Not quite.

The principle of "If you have nothing to hide, you gave nothing to fear" only works if those in power can be trusted.

Digital version of Universal Credit still pricey, wobbly, failing to deliver – MPs

silverfern

I'm not a techie but at a rough guess, I'd say the system in Estonia works because that country has a compulsory ID card system (gotta have) that everyone carries with them anyway because they need it so often: -ID, -digital signature, travel (EU), healthcare, electronic banking, use of public transport (ticketing), encrypting mail & voting.

There may even be more functions.

Accused Brit hacker Lauri Love will NOT be extradited to America

silverfern

Re: The intersting question is...

I suspect what pissed Uncle Sam off the most was the fact that he got caught with his pants down and was mightily embarrassed - as in the Gary McKinnon case.

This is more a case of revenge than justice, but then the US justice system is mostly about revenge anyway.

You can find me in da club, database full of faces… but this ain't privacy watchers' jam

silverfern

Re: Its neither the App Vendor or the Clubs fault

I must be missing somthing here.

Why do the police and licensing authorities need to know post facto who goes into clubs? Surely it's enough for the door staff to know that all guests are over 18.

This is massive overkill.

The Reg visits London Met Police's digital and electronics forensics labs

silverfern

Re: A question for all my fellow (and fellowess) El-Reg readers.

Innocent of guilty, we all have something to hide - our privacy.

Geddit?

'Australia Card 2.0' is dead: Government ditches plan for one ID to rule them all

silverfern

Re: Robo Debt

If memory serves, John Howard tried to introduce an ID card for Australia back in about 2006 or so and the country - fortunately - told him where to shove it.

Digital mortgage service sounds handy, right? Oh, it's through UK.gov's Verify

silverfern

Re: Limits of digital identity

They seem to like it in Estonia.

Irish priests told to stop bashing bishops

silverfern

Re: Helpline for priests who feel bullied or depressed, as their faith communities melt away

Let them turn Church of Ireland. You get a better class of bishop.

Surveillance Capitalism thinks it won, but there's still time to unplug it

silverfern

Re: 'Surveillance capitalism, that’s on us'

Yup.

And the surveillance starts with national ID cards and compulsory residents registration (reporting your address - and moves - to local authorities).

But to be fair, this goes on all over Europe, not just in Germany.

Australia approves national database of everyone's mugshots

silverfern

What's next, then? National ID cards?

Accused hacker Lauri Love's extradition appeal begins

silverfern

Re: Weid Legal System

Yebbit the state National Guards can be fedderized. Lookit WWII.

silverfern

Re: Commit the crime, then do the time...

Nope, Uncle Sam prefers the Old Testament principle of the punishment of sinners, not reform and correction. It's about revenge.

US govt's 'foreign' spy program that can snoop on Americans at home. Sure, let's reauth that...

silverfern

Ah, yes, but has Uncle Sam signed up to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights?

silverfern

Re: to be the last country in the world to have a written constitution

And Israel, I believe.

Germany slaps ban on kids' smartwatches for being 'secret spyware'

silverfern

Re: But the reason

Indeed.

This is why you cannot even get telephones capable of recording calls: they, too, are illegal.

It's called "Informationsselbstbestimmung" / informational self-determination" over here.

Personally, I suspect it has more to do with not being obliged to incriminate yourself.

This why you cannot - to give just one example - record in any way whatsoever (film/sound/whatever) neighbours who dump their rubbish over the fence onto your property. All inadmissible in court.

Childrens' watches capable of recording what teachers should be banned but not being able to record neighbourhood squabbles goes too far: loony tunes.

Manic miners, hideous hackers, frightful flaws, vibrating mock cock app shock – and more

silverfern

"teledildonics"?

Really?

Let's make the coppers wear cameras! That'll make the ba... Oh. No sodding difference

silverfern

Re: solely from the deployment

Which means that enforcement (or not) of the use of bodycams is a management issue and until police management itself is straightened out, not a lot is going to happen. (Ditto police murders of African Americans in the US.)

Do cops need a warrant to stalk you using your cellphone records? US Supremes to mull it over

silverfern

Re: What a Mess

Yeah, except that, in practice, the police in the US don't agree with that that philosophy and apply it in the converse.

Remember that justice and penal policy concentrates on punishing the guilty.

silverfern

Re: What a Mess

This is a bit late. Sorry.

I'm not a lawyer but this throws up a broader question: what about the right to not be obliged to incriminate yourself?

Don't misunderstand me: I have no wish to defend the guilty.

How bad can the new spying legislation be? Exhibit 1: it's called the USA Liberty Act

silverfern

Like everybody else in this world I have only one thing to hide: my privacy.

Coding is more important than Shakespeare, says VC living in self-contained universe

silverfern

Re: A Comment by Mark Twain

In principle I agree entirely with you and Mark Twain.

Unfortunately there are some people in this world for whom travel would only confirm their prejudices, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

Sad but true.

US vending machine firm plans employee chip implant scheme

silverfern

I think I read in an article (might even have been in this organ) that a Swedish company is doing something similar. Sorry, no link/ref.

Look who's joined the anti-encryption posse: Germany, come on down

silverfern

About 20 years ago, someone seriously suggested that all residents here in Germany be legally required to hand a copy of their house-key to the local law for emergency entry during absence. The idea was dropped after a howl of public protest.

We are 'heroes,' says police chief whose force frisked a photographer

silverfern

@ Christoph:

"There is no law that you are required to identify yourself to every puffed-up busybody who demands it."

What about the police in general? Do you not have to give them your name, address & DOB if required to do so?

Tangentally, you are required to identify yourself to the police here in Germany with an official picture ID (they will accept DLs unofficially.) If you refuse to cooperate, you can be taken down to the local police station where other methods, such as fingerprinting, can be employed to establish your identity. And if you refuse to hand over your fingerprints, force can be used. Charming. (They seem to have a thing about knowing who you are here.)

Germany gives social networks 24 hours to delete criminal content

silverfern

As a translation of "Volksverhetzung", "sedition" would be closer to the mark.

The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

silverfern

Re: Don't accept it, act on it

If your employer finds out that you've got an age-old drug conviction that would prevent you from entering the US and if he is looking to downsize, then it's still P45-land, mate: "Employee not able to perform his job."

US healthcare under siege: Got good insurance?

silverfern

@vogon: "... the U.S. ranks last overall among 11 industrialized countries on measures of health system quality, efficiency, access to care, equity, and healthy lives" !

Agree. The trouble is, they don't give a shit.

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