* Posts by Wicked Witch

37 posts • joined 9 Aug 2018

Former BAE Systems contractor charged with 'damaging disclosure' of UK defence secrets

Wicked Witch

Re: A common misconeption

Top Secret is about how the information is handled: what IT security, how thoroughly checked people need to be, which rooms it can be in, which locks, and so on. There are, or were, special handling instructions beyond those but I think most of those have been absorbed into one of the standard classifications, at least outside SIS etc.

"Eyes Only" is about who can be told, on top of whatever restrictions apply to you telling people in general.

UK Home Office: We will register thousands of deactivated firearms with no database

Wicked Witch

That law was removed in the 19th century in general and in the 1960s where there was a specific local requirement, mostly left over from the Marcher Lords.

There was also a victorian case in which a totally ignored law was ruled as inoperable because literally no one in the court was obeying it (not even the person who brought the prosecution, which was blatantly malicious) and virtually no-one in the country was, and there had been no prosecutions for centuries.

Senior GitLab exec resigns over plan to stop hiring engineers in China and Russia

Wicked Witch

Re: Security

He did but they kept giving him matches.

Wicked Witch

Re: Security

Purchasing power matters a lot to crimes like that. The data's value is global, but your living costs are local, so you need to steal a lot more to earn you enough not to care about being fired and blacklisted in America than in a cheaper country. Also, in America you'd expect to be prosecuted, while in Russia or China you're not going to be extradited to America for ripping off an American company, especially for their own favoured companies' benefit.

Wicked Witch

Re: Thumbs up

From one of the other comments on the issue thread, they had hired a Chinese or Russian worker whose contract began on Monday, and this policy would have meant withdrawing the offer. Instead they've decided to carefully restrict his access to customer data.

Boffins blow hot and cold over li-ion battery that can cut leccy car recharging to '10 mins'

Wicked Witch

If the switch is inside there's little risk of theft. The vandalism risk depends on where you are, though if you're allowed to hang an arm over the footpath the risk would be slightly higher (unless it is high enough kids can't swing on it) but the repair cost would be smaller.

Wicked Witch

By cutting the price of taxis self-driving taxis would increase the area where a car isn't worth owning for those occasional trips to the country or awkward tangential journeys around the city. Given the high labour cost of a taxi (minicab, etc.) if you need a car for an hour or two each week its likely to be cost effective, and then once you have a car the marginal cost of use for local journeys is relatively low, so you'll probably see car ownership collapse across Zone 3 and corresponding areas of other cities. (On the downside, it will make long-distance car commuting less unpleasant and so increase the rate of sprawl across rural areas.)

I think the reason people conflate self-driving with taxis that don't want to be regulated shared cars is their much higher capital cost, so they'll be much more common in taxis than personal vehicles for many years. The idea that individual buyers will own cars and add them to the pool is probably just Uber et al fantasising about not having to pay for drivers or fleet maintenance, but people have been mugs enough to lose money driving their own car in person for decades (before Uber, pizza delivery was the preferred way to wreck your car for someone else's profit) and it's quite possible that they'll continue to do so.

Wicked Witch

I would expect future self-driving cars to be very cautious about road rules, just as they are now, because any manufacturer who can be shown to have deliberately programmed a car to break the law is painting a big "sue me" sign on themselves.

However, I can also foresee car manufactures and taxi companies lobbying for draconian enforcement of the road rules. That would mean that their cars are not disadvantaged by having to obey the law because so would human drivers and might even make them more cost effective overall, but it would also be something the cyclist and pedestrian lobby groups have been wanting for years so at least the business lobbying would do some good.

Not just adhesive, but alcohol-resistant adhesive: Well done, Apple. Airpods Pro repairability is a zero

Wicked Witch

Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

I've had a few el cheapo US$5-10 earbuds, and they last less than a month of everyday use. Some I've been able to repair but if i'd been valuing my time even at minimum wage and had been paying for supplies that would have been a waste of money. A set of mid-market wired ones would probably work better (even apple wired ones, which sound OK but don't fit my ears) would be cheaper, but US$7 per month for that kind of usage isn't all that extravagant.

Come on, you can't be serious: Now Australia mulls face-recog tech for p0rno site age checks

Wicked Witch

> We can see how an extensive database of its citizens masturbating could be a powerful investigative tool in all sorts of other crimes: public exposure, sexual harassment, even child abuse investigations.

Because clearly anyone running a CP site will decide that they need to add facial recognition and forward that data to the AFP. Its not like they're breaking any serious laws so they probably don't want to risk upsetting the Australian government about anything really important, because then they might get banned and have to use TOR or something.

Your kids will be glad a UK government-funded robot will be changing your nappy and not them

Wicked Witch

Re: Immoral fuckers!

There are only really a few other options.

1. Keep going as at present: allow immigration to supply enough warm bodies to care for OAPs on top of everything else people want done that's being done by everyone who isn't caring for the elderly. The catch is that those immigrants also get old so now you've got even more old folks to take care of, so you need even more immigrants.

2. Have more babies, and get them to work in aged care. That has all the problems of 1, but takes 20 years longer to produce workers and costs more, thought it reduces the cultural change that upsets certain parties.

3. Like 1, but use guest workers who leave when they retire. This can work, albeit with a pay premium which may or may not be cheaper than paying for their care, but you've got to be careful to make sure they don't form attachments (marriages, children, etc.) that would be politically impossible to break up (or even forbidden by a treaty such as the ECHR). For an example of that plan not working, see Germany's Turks.

4. Abandon other activities (easily achieved by paying more for carers so people choose that instead of the careers). Doesn't do the economy much good, but it works.

5. Don't provide care. Politically unbelievable

6. use "robots" remotely operated from abroad: could work, but probably more expensive in the long run than using real robots, and not noticeably more "good".

7. increase working hours, reduce holidays, and so on. Its happening but is politically unpopular and I'd prefer holidays now and a robot to wipe my arse later than no holidays and some overworked minimum wage person who couldn't find a better way to avoid benefits sanctions.

8. Find a way to stop wasting the potential of unemployed, underemployed, and inefficiently employed people (car wash attendants, a lot of warehouse hands, and anyone else who's doing machine's work) and so get more useful work without making anyone's lives worse or adding more workers. This is the only one that's a good idea and politically realistic, but no government in the western world has been able to solve that problem for decades and the solution found in the east block was so badly implemented it made the problem worse.

Which do you prefer?

Wicked Witch

Re: "make robots better protected against cyber-attacks"

And all the Japanese companies already working on this problem for much the same reason but with a 10+ year head start will just vanish.

I'm not Boeing anywhere near that: Coder whizz heads off jumbo-sized maintenance snafu

Wicked Witch

Re: Ah yes ...

The old scilab manuals were pretty bad for that: it was almost easier to try to puzzle out the french documentation with only half-remembered schoolboy french than to read the english, which looked like it was translated by someone who didn't speak english.

Wicked Witch

Re: Good to know

That's what happened when you let vendors get involved in writing standards: Def Stan 05-21 and 05-24 had the extra requirement that the processes and standards had to be approved by the MoD.

Traffic lights worldwide set to change after Swedish engineer saw red over getting a ticket

Wicked Witch

Re: Not quite

AIUI you can go to court and argue that you couldn't safely stop even beyond that, but unless the magistrate really likes you that's just going to end up with you getting penalised for driving without due care and attention (going too fast for the conditions) or driving an unroadworthy vehicle (ie one that can't brake).

Y'know how everyone hated it when tuition fees went up? Cutting them now could harm science, say UK Lords

Wicked Witch

Re: Arts subsidises STEM already

My alma mater did that a good few years ago. Rooms had a price per square metre depending on type and equipment, and obviously staff had a cost, and the course coordinators (the person in charge of a single subject, e.g. Maths 101) had a budget to spend on university or external resources. Labs and workshops (and oddities like the moot court) were assigned mostly to schools, with a few owned by faculties instead, but they weren't billed to courses yet because they couldn't work out a reasonable structure. Still, the schools mostly only taught one or two specific degrees, so the uni knew roughly how much, say, a law degree actually cost them.

Come to think of it, maybe the franchise model would work well for HE: each university could bid for a certain number of a particular degree and be advanced the money to teach them, but have to pay back the advance for anyone who doesn't earn an average of £50000 taxable income (which is what the government reckons is the point you'll make the treasury a profit) until they reach the pension age (except years they work for the government).

Wicked Witch

Re: Bah!

Also, the way they were set up made the payments from students count as government spending in England, which meant Scotland got extra money too even though the extra revenue was only being raised in England. That helped get a few more votes from Scottish MPs.

The eagle has handed.... scientists a serious text message bill after flying through Iran, Pakistan

Wicked Witch

Re: My Favourite Birds

So long as it is a grey squirrel, since red squirrels are protected as endangered animals.

Yay! The ozone layer hole the smallest it's ever been seen. That's not necessarily good...

Wicked Witch

Re: @ Symon and M Thatcher

That's easy: just try to get agreement with those people on the definitions of "own" and "people", let alone the added complexities of "own people". Then apply the different definitions to northerners, miners, poor people, non-Etonians (or maybe Harrovians), Scots, inhabitants of Ireland, colonials, natives (in all its many meanings and connotations), immigrants, "immigrants",…

Plan to strip post-Brexit Brits of .EU domains now on hold: Registry waves white flag amid political madness

Wicked Witch

Re: Let me sort this out for you all

It's not Corbyn's fault that his support in the party membership doesn't give him control over the parliamentary party in practice or over the party machine, meaning he couldn't do anything except with his shadow cabinet's own resources for the first few years unless the right agreed with it.

What is probably his fault is that he didn't take advantage of that support to perform the kind or purges the right did before and during the time Blair took over the party and so secure control of the party machine and ease out as many of the parliamentary right as possible.

Wicked Witch

Re: Does the UK require citizenship for .uk domains?

>The UK wants to keep it’s cake having eaten it?

Apparently it was originally "eat your cake and have it too", but somehow became flipped, a bit like the way many people say "could care less" instead of "couldn't care less".

Wicked Witch

Re: Does the UK require citizenship for .uk domains?

>I know it's said a lot that the UK must be punished to discourage the others. But I don't think it's true. I've even heard it said approvingly by people arguing we should remain in the EU, in a sort of "Good on 'em sock it to us nasty British!" sort of way.

Junker definitely said pretty much that (paraphrasing from memory, he said that deterrence was worth whatever it cost so long as it made an example of Britain and stopped any future talk of leaving), but he said that at a time when Le Pen had rather a lot of support even outside her own voters for policies which were incompatible with EU directives (not unlike Corbyn in that respect), and her platform included polices which could have triggered the sanctions which Lord Kerr designed to force A50 the the rest of the Council wanted to, while at the same time there was much more hostility from the V4 and the Swiss federal government was forced to undo popular policies which violated their web of treaties with the EU.

We're going deeper Underground: Vulture clicks claws over London's hidden tracks

Wicked Witch

Re: Why obsolete?

The H&S issues would be somewhat reduced by the trains being driverless (they always were, they were originally controlled like a giant model railway), so the only people in the tunnels would be maintenance staff.

ISTR there was a plan to extend the line to the then-new London distribution centre (now the Princess Royal Distribution Centre), which would have made it worthwhile, but shifting fashions and lack of ready money meant no solid plans had been prepared before the switch from rail to road transport for long-distance post.

Google lashes out at DoJ, Oracle as it asks US Supremes to sniff Java suit one last time

Wicked Witch

With no copyright everything would be effectively under CC-SA (or CC-SA-BY in countries with "moral rights"). That's weaker than the GPL because it doesn't include the "preferred form for modification" and weaker than the GPL3 because it doesn't include the anti-TiVoisation clause, and the common F/OSS patent protection clauses wouldn't work (but presumably there would be no applicable patents either).

However, you can also fake copyright, by releasing something subject to an NDA that the recipient will undertake not to redistribute it except as listed, with their ability to access your secret literature as their consideration to make a valid contract. The major difference is that it would only allow you to sue the first person to release your item, not all the subsequent redistributors who never agreed to your contract.

Wicked Witch

In the UK the Authorised Version of the Bible also has indefinite copyright, and the proceeds from that go to Oxford and Cambridge universities.

Not a death spiral, I'm trapped in a closed loop of customer experience

Wicked Witch

Re: "change the old paper driving licence for a photo card."

If you managed to hang onto an old paper one you didn't need to pay to renew it.

Hundreds charged in internet's biggest child-abuse swap-shop site bust: IP addy leak led cops to sys-op's home

Wicked Witch

Re: Good work by the IRS

The rest of the crimes seem to have mostly been conducted by non-Americans outside America. Also, the BTC payments were the bit that was vulnerable and relatively easy to trace, at least before the South Korea police arrested the owner and grabbed the server (which would allow them to insert malware and hope for idiots).

Wicked Witch

Re: Blaming the tools

>film cameras, for the people who had a trusted developer (My brother worked, briefly, in a photo-development store, and would regularly turn over photographs of illegal activity to the police.).

So, was there one of them working there and these people just gave their films to the wrong person, or are there just far more brainless criminals out there than I'd previously assumed?

Wicked Witch

Re: Fair play to the authorities

The TOR foundation themselves say that research and development are funded by US Navy grants. They don't say it is navy intelligence, but I don't think i'm taking an excessively wild guess to suppose that it isn't being funded by the navy's entertainment officers.

Well, well, well. Fancy that. UK.gov shelves planned pr0n block

Wicked Witch

Re: What About Filtering?

Just ask them to set the evil bit if it is illegal :)

Wicked Witch

Re: don't trust the government

If a VPN is cheaper than an official wanking permit, a hell of a lot of people will use one, even if they end up running some botnet node to get it.

Wicked Witch

Re: The EU is not a wet dream..

It looks like there's a few ways to weasel out of it, aside from the classic approach of ignoring it until the Commission or an affected business (in this case just MindGeek) starts proceedings. The simplest is to decide that it isn't "appropriate" to use anything except a free web filter supplied by the government or ISPs or someone.

Wicked Witch

Re: Yay!

So far there has only been one instance of a country being sanctioned for defying the ECHR, and that took years even though the country was Russia and they were being sanctioned for using blatantly dodgy judicial proceedings to forcibly nationalise a company (one which had significant foreign shareholders too). Since the biggest porn companies were in favour of smashing out the competition, the only reason I'd expect for other Council members to get upset about a porn ban would be as a pretext.

Inside the EU, the much faster internal sanctions process (designed to punish Austria for electing the FPÖ, which looked likely at the time) can be used to eliminate all benefits of EU membership while keeping all the downsides. The EU also doesn't have anything allowing the signatories to exempt arbitrary regions at will, put in for Algeria and which the UK government forgot to invoke in NI.

There's also no real penalty for leaving the Council of Europe, especially if you're planning a lot of ECHR violations (in which case you probably don't care about the cultural and community aspects of the Council), whereas it is generally expected that the next EU treaty will fix the EU's rules to make Council of Europe membership an ongoing rather than instantaneous requirement.

Tearoff of Nottingham: University to lose chunk of IT dept to outsourcing

Wicked Witch

Re: The peril of getting your wish granted by a very exact genie

And even when you get the contract almost right, you'll get the cheapest possible implementation of the literal text, if you're lucky. Sometimes you get a malicious literal genie trying to make you pay for a variance. If it is a terrible solution that no sane person would choose, hard luck.

Wicked Witch

Re: RE: And this means

"My contract is ending in 5 minutes time and I estimate that I will not be able to complete the listed tasks, but you may be able to obtain suitable services from Wicked Witch Consulting at £££££££££££ per hour on an as-needed basis."

Conspiracy loons claim victory in Brighton and Hove as council rejects plans to build 5G masts

Wicked Witch

Re: Local Authorities

S106 payments (and various similar provisions before and since) were there to stop the opposite problem of someone adding a big out of town shopping centre or housing estate (with no schools etc.) on a back road and expecting the council to pay for all of that.

Top Euro court: No, you can't steal images from other websites (too bad a school had to be sued to confirm this little fact)

Wicked Witch

Re: Also

Imagine a camera which is moved by someone who doesn't realise it was recording, without the intent of the person who originally set it up. The resulting images were not the result of any creative decision of the person who activated the camera, because they did not intend for it to be moved, nor by the person who moved the camera, because they didn't even intend to produce a picture. Whose creativity exists there?

Relatedly, there is the possibility of accidentally activating a phone camera, just as one can butt dial someone.The chances of that collecting anything interesting are remote, but there's no conscious decision involved.

Another example of a video created without any creative step would be any footage from a mandatory dash cam or similar configured according to mandated specifications (eg on trains). Unless the route and timings are chosen for the sake of the recording (which isn't plausible) no aspect of the video is the result of any creative step from the operator of the vehicle. If there is any creativity, it is on the part of the person who specified the camera.

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