* Posts by ratfox

3465 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Spies still super upset they can't get at your encrypted comms data

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"privacy is not absolute"

Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,

sie fliegen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.

Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger sie schießen

mit Pulver und Blei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Oracle trying hard to make sure Pentagon knows Amazon ain't the only cloud around

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Re: Oh! Oh! A Star Wars reference!

I think Jabba the Hutt is a better fit.

A decade on, Apple and Google's 30% app store cut looks pretty cheesy

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Re: Microsoft ?

They used to take 30% everywhere, but they have recently reduced it to 15% or 5%... Except for games: Announcement here.

This probably reflects how desperate Microsoft is to attract developers. As to why the article did not mention it, I can only assume they thought it was irrelevant.

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What's the situation in China?

Seeing as Google is blocked out, there should be a lot more competition between app stores. How many are there? What percentage do they take?

I heard there's more malware in China, which might be a reason for the rise of super-apps like WeChat: the app becomes the app store.

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Re: But we're taking about games here

I don't know about proportions, but games have a special place. This year, Microsoft have reduced their cut on apps from 30% to 15%... Except for games.

To foster app store competition, maybe the EU could just force Android to include as first-class citizens a couple of other app stores, like Amazon's and Samsung's. The tricky part is that for them to be successful, they need to give incentives to developers and users. Meaning, the developers need to take a bigger cut, and yet the apps themselves need to be sold cheaper; which would mean the app stores would have to massively reduce their own cut.

US watchdog OKs robo-doc AI that spies eye disease all on its own

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The device has up to to 87 percent sensitivity – patients who did have the mild diabetic retinopathy were correctly identified; 90 per cent specificity – patients who did not have the disease and were correctly identified as having no eye damage

Meaning that 13% of patients with the disease are not detected. That's not great, and I'm surprised they are proposing to remove the doctors entirely. Could it be that the doctors are even worse?

I think that typically, these detection systems err on the safe side – reduce false negatives as much as possible, even if that raises the false positives – and then all those detected as positive go through a more precise and more expensive screening with a human doctor. Maybe here the 10% false positives are already so numerous that they don't want to be more aggressive.

No do-overs! Appeals court won’t hear $8.8bn Oracle v Google rehash

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8 billion dollars?

Holy shit. This doesn't touch the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement at $206 billions (yes), but as a payment of one company to another, it might be a record. Yet it is only 1% of Google's market cap, and about 4% of Oracle's.

Huawei elbows aside Apple to claim number-two phone maker spot

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Re: Semi-Captive Chinese Market

The people who spend that much aren't looking for a six-fold increase in utility, they're looking for a six-fold increase in self-image.

Indeed. Sports cars are also sold for double or triple the price of a bog-standard car. They are not bigger or more comfortable, and you can't even drive them faster because of speed limits. They do give you a faster acceleration, but considering most driving is done either in the traffic waiting to move or on the highway waiting to arrive, this hardly seems rational.

And note that the sums involved are two or three orders of magnitude higher than mere cell phones. Whenever El Reg describes the price of the iPhone X as "eye-watering", car businessmen have a long and hearty laugh.

None too chuffed with your A levels? Hey, why not bludgeon the exam boards with GDPR?

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Paris Hilton

What about HR records?

There are countries, like Germany, where employees can request their complete file from HR, including interview results and peer feedback. Does GDPR mean anybody in Europe can do that now?

Ah, um, let's see. Yup... Fortnite CEO is still mad at Google for revealing security hole early

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Re: I learned something

Where have you been? All the big app stores take 30%, Apple and Amazon included. Apple has set the pace by taking 30% since the beginning of the App Store; the others have just followed. It's slowly changing though: Microsoft also takes 30% for games, but starting from this year, they only take 15% for other apps. Google has also reduced some of their fees to 15%.

I've heard the argument that it would also cost developers a lot to maintain their own website and payment systems. And in a sense, it's because the app stores exist that users are not just copying every single app under the sky without paying. That said, it does seem that the percentages are going down, so the app stores might have realized they are charging too much.

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It was a one week delay from the moment the patch was released, not from the moment the exploit was reported. Google claims they publish after 90 days or a patch is available, whichever comes sooner.

The 90 days period is well-known, because so many companies fail to release a patch. It's the first time I hear the second part though. Apparently, Epic didn't know either. It might be in their guidelines and all, but it seems to me that next time, Epic will simply fail to tell them the exploit was fixed until the very last of the 90 days.

Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

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Paris Hilton

If he doesn't have an account, it might be difficult for Facebook to identify his data, though. They might well have a complete history of what AnonymousUser142857 has done the web, but I'm not sure how they could connect that with Joe Bloggs from Ipswich. Google certainly also creates a profile of users that have no account, but the My Activity website only works if you are logged in to a Google account.

Which leads to the depressing idea that you have to create an account with them so that they can tell you exactly what they know about you. On the other hand, depending on what the law says, that might mean that they are not allowed to create a profile of you if you don't have an account with them. Hmmmmm...?

Muslim American woman sues US border cops: Gimme back my seized iPhone's data!

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Can I also have my drawing of a spider back please?

That's the way the cookies crumble: Consent banners up 16% since GDPR

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Paris Hilton

Some sites simply refuse to work if you don't accept their cookies

"Our sites need to collect and process data to deliver a compelling user experience and to support our business. Since you’ve withheld your consent for those activities, we can't provide you the full Healthline experience."

In my understanding, this is completely illegal under the GDPR, but if they don't have an office in the EU, I guess they don't have to care?

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Oh, and if I understand correctly "opt-out" of data gathering is a no-no under the GDPR as well, it has to be "opt-in"

I think that websites get around this by putting one big OK button for opt-in, and otherwise present you with the list of thousand cookies they intend to give you, all checked. Basically, you cannot access the website until you tell them which cookies you want to accept, but since they are all prechecked on the form it takes you an hour to say you don't accept any.

I'm sure this will eventually ruled to be illegal (at least it should), but in the meantime they get to keep tracking you.

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As far as I can tell from my experience, the net result is a massive increase in "We use cookies [blah blah blah] OK" popups that users click on without reading. I think the one time I decided to check what choices I had, I found a list of hundreds of tracking options which I was supposed to turn off one by one.

I think a lot of the websites are probably illegal because they bar access to people who don't accept the tracking, but there's so little chance of people complaining that they do it all the same. Maybe we'll eventually get to a more private internet, one lawsuit at a time, but it's going to get decades if we ever get there before the laws are changed,

Bloke hurls sueball over Google's 'is it off yet?' location data slurping

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Napoleon Patacsil is a pretty awesome name. I wish him luck.

DeepMind AI bots tell Google to literally chill out: Software takes control of server cooling

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Are the controllers able to escape the building, say if the AI decided to get rid of the meatbags?

Google risks mega-fine in EU over location 'stalking'

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Paris Hilton

Google is creating a highly personal virtual profile of you accessible to advertisers

Does "accessible to advertisers" mean that Google uses the highly personal profile to choose which ads to show to the users, or does that mean that advertisers can read the highly personal profile of the users?

If you drop a tablet in a forest of smartphones, will anyone hear it fall?

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Paris Hilton


"As the market has become increasingly dominated by Apple and Microsoft, and consequently more premium-focused..."

Really? I know Windows is doing rather well on tablets, but I wouldn't have thought they were even above Android, let alone dominating the market...

Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to: Maps, Search won't take no for an answer

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Re: Haven't updated G Maps for more than a year

There's an option in Google maps to automatically share your location with somebody else (e.g your wife).

Windows is coming to Chromebooks… with Google’s blessing

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My, my... Cats and dogs living together!

I wonder whether they are trying to convince people who need windows applications, or if it's a competition thing.

Well, this makes scents: Kotlin code quality smells better than Java

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Is it that Kotlin is a better programming language, or is it that people who suck at programming don't use recent programming languages?

Amnesty slaps Google amid crippled censored China search claims

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Don't be evil

But... Money...

Think tank calls for post-Brexit national ID cards: The kids have phones so what's the difference?

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It's quite funny

In all of Europe, the British are arguably living under the most intrusive surveillance by their own government, even though they're the only country in Europe not to have ID cards.

I would argue that by this point, people are in so many database systems already that you have all the lack of privacy of an ID card system, without any of the advantages...

The internet's very own Muslim ban continues: DNS overlord insists it can freeze dot-words

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"We want more money"

I don't think there is any process issue that icann cannot address, given enough brown envelopes.

This is the contract you've been looking for: Pentagon releases JEDI bids

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Re: Didn't DARPA already do this?

// TODO: Add some kind of security

2FA? We've heard of it: White hats weirded out by lack of account security in enterprise

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Re: Extortionate costs

YubiKey fobs are around $50, I find that a pretty reasonable cost to pay.

On Android, US antitrust can go where nervous EU fears to tread

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It seems you can hardly expect US federal regulators to do anything about big corporations these days. If anything, they seem to be concentrating on preventing state regulators from acting on their own.

Google Chrome: HTTPS or bust. Insecure HTTP D-Day is tomorrow, folks

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Paris Hilton

Yay... maybe?

On one hand, yeah security is good.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if the people at Google were completely living in a bubble and did not understand multiple valid reasons for which websites have not switched to HTTPS. I can't even even figure out a dark ulterior motive for Google to do this, but it might simply be out of touch with reality.

Why Google won't break a sweat about EU ruling

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Re: Another Appstore?

Actually, one of the explicit points of the ruling is that manufacturers should be allowed to have the Google Play store on their phone without Google telling them what they're allowed and not allowed to do.

So yeah, the Google Play store is a must on Android phones, but that shouldn't give Google the right to dictate anything.

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Re: competing products and services beyond Google Maps, Google Play Store and Google Search

Google search and Google Maps are not quasi monopolies everywhere. In some countries, like Japan, South Korea and Russia, they are second fiddles.

One of the point is the ruling is that manufacturers should be allowed to make phones with, say, the Google Play store, Here maps (or Open Street maps), and Yandex. Without Google maps, without Chrome, without Google search. Up to now, they couldn't, Because in order to have the Play store, they had to include Chrome and Google search (and possibly Google Maps).

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Re: Some change is inevitable

If I understand correctly, the correct argument as to why Apple hasn't been bothered is: Apple only limits choices on their own products.

Apparently, you can put as many restrictions on your own products, even if this theoretically makes it more difficult for your products to be competitive. On the other hand, it's not allowed if you (Google) put restrictions on other people's (phone manufacturers) products (phones).

Because Apple creates both the software and the hardware of the iPhone, there is no third party who is limited to what they can do.

Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

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Re: Apple

It's not about forcing users to buy Android phones. It's about forcing phone makers who want to sell Android phones to include Google apps.

You might say: Nobody would buy Android phones if they didn't contain Google apps! But if so, why does Google force phone makers to include them?

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Re: Where does the fine go?

Users benefit from more competition generating better products. The point of the fine is not to compensate anybody for anything, it's just to force Google to pay attention.

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Re: Choice on Apple?

Apple do their own phones, they can apparently do what they like there. The issue with Google is that they are forcing other companies to do what they want.

Google to build private trans-Atlantic cable from US to France

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Re: How many repeaters?

Undersea cable was about $7 per meter for the deep sea stuff a few years ago. The real cost is the repeaters that are every 100 to 200 km along the line and used to cost about $1,000,000 each.

If your numbers are correct, the cable costs as much as the repeaters. Since $7 per meter for 100 to 200 km means $700,000 to $1,400,000 of cable between each repeater.

Speaking of which, it got me interested in where repeaters get their power from (the undersea cable includes a power cable, apparently), and how the repeaters work at all (I got as far as "Solid-state amplifiers" and gave up on understanding the rest).

Y'know... Publishing tech specs may be fair use, says appeals court

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Ignorantia juris non excusat

But you have to pay to know it.

'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey

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Re: Same in Canada

They advertise fiber, but actually that's a fib.

Tim? Larry? We need to talk about smartphones and privacy

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Hanlon razor applies

The reason Apple appears in that reference is that somebody did a search-and-replace on the letter for Google to create the letter for Apple. They even botched the job because the quoted title does not correspond to the URL...

FBI for the Apple guy: Bloke accused of stealing robo-car tech

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Xiaolang is said to be looking to wash its hands of the matter, denying all knowledge of Zhang's plans

That would be quite an accomplishment, considering Xiaolang is his first name, and Zhang his last name.

Google offers to leave robocallers hanging on the telephone

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a couple of people I know, including my girlfriend, have no caller ID for good reason.

I'm curious; what's the good reason? Why would you call someone if you're not willing to let them know who you are?

iPhone 8 now outsells X, and every other phone

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Luxury vs volume

The iPhone X is a super expensive luxury item people buy to show how much money they have. It is not surprising it is not the best-selling item; but that doesn't make it a failure.

ICANN't get no respect: Europe throws Whois privacy plan in the trash

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Good for regulators

Couldn't happen to a nicer ineffective and corrupt organization.

European Parliament balks at copyright law reform vote

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Does this only cover the article 13 about filtering user content, or also the article 11 about press ancillary rights?

Uh-oh. Boffins say most Android apps can slurp your screen – and you wouldn't even know it

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Re: Purism (real linux based) phones cannot come soon enough

Just saying, Android is Linux-based, too.

Call your MEP! Wikipedia blacks out for European YouTube vote

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Paris Hilton

I'm confused

On one hand, the article says that this would finally stop YouTube from ripping off artists. On the other hand, a lot of people are calling this "Content ID for the web", meaning that everybody would need to have a system similar what YouTube already has. Which would mean that YouTube would just carry on exactly as before.

Not API: Third parties scrape your Gmail for marketing insights

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What's "private email" (unless you're running your own mail server)?

Not sure if serious, but: Private email as opposed to work email.

Many people have an email account provided by their employer, and only use it for work. They have a separate "private" account, which they use for their communicating with friends and family.

Some people even have a "work" mobile phone, and a "private" mobile phone.

New Android P beta is 'very close', 'near-final' but also just 'early'

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What we do know is that Android P's features were frozen

Android Popsicle it is, then

Google weeps as its home state of California passes its own GDPR

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@Charles 9: That's precisely why this law was passed in record time, in order to avoid the same rules being forced through a ballot initiative. They can amend the law much more easily.

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