back to article It's not just antivirus downloads that have export control screening

Export control screening for individuals hoping to purchase everyday consumer technologies extends beyond just antivirus software downloads, according to several sources contacted by The Register. Those who share the name of someone on a blacklist have to go through secondary screening (a bureaucratic process generally …

  1. Pen-y-gors

    How do names get on these lists?

    Obviously no self-respecting trrrst would use his real name when buying online, but what would happen if some moronic jihadi started posting inflamatory messages on facebook under the name of 'David Cameron', or 'Theresa May' or "Barry O'Bama"? Would those names be added to the blacklist?

    Just curious...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: How do names get on these lists?

      Or, better yet, the names of all Harvard students... I'm sure someone at MIT could come up with a way to do that. I think that would be funnier that a weather ballon on the 50-yard-line.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: How do names get on these lists?

      They are on the list of "politically exposed persons" which presents a separate set of difficulties.

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: How do names get on these lists?

      "Obviously no self-respecting trrrst would use his real name when buying online,"

      Pick the likeliest scenario:

      At Megaware's online software store:

      "Hello, My name is Abdul Akabar, noted terrorist. I would like to order this restricted highly sensitive software. Please send it to 120 Bombed out Lane, Hot Spot, Middle East. My credit card number is... "

      Or on IRC:

      "Dude, 4k484R here, Where can I get a torrent for Restricted Software?"

      This crap only makes life harder for normal guys, and amuses the miscreants.

  2. Trollslayer


    Some is more interested in getting to the pub than doing their job, scribbles down a three line procedure which then cannot be altered because it is 'security'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Idiots

      Since it covers far more than anti-virus software I wonder how much in total it costs the economies of Europe and US for companies to comply with this pointless nonsense.

      1. Mpeler

        Re: Idiots

        Cost of compliance?

        Right up there with stinky SOX, methinks...

      2. Charles Manning

        Re: Idiots

        You see compliance costs, someone else sees revenues.

        The reason these daft things keep progressing is that they slosh more swill in the trough for the 'experts". The "experts" are never going to say we don't need these measures, because they're the people gaining from it.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Christoph

      Re: One solution ..

      Mr Globally Unique? Doesn't that get him teased at school?

    2. Uncle Slacky
      Thumb Up

      Re: One solution ..

      Little Bobby Tables?

    3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: One solution ..

      Yeah, I called my first "threey" (short for 3e6af845-4fa9-4a59-bb7a-326e29e03121.)

      The second's due soon and I thought we needed something a bit more complex. Maybe a sedenian?

      1. Mpeler
        Paris Hilton

        Re: One solution ..


        Anything other than a Kardashian...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How exactly do names get put on and taken off these lists?

    In a democracy, one would hope it has to be ordered by a court that has considered the evidence against the individual and determined that they deserve this punishment - and that the individual would have an opportunity to defend themselves and a right of appeal. But most likely it is just arbitrarily decided by a junior employee at some government agency.

    1. Trollslayer

      And cannot be questioned because it's security.

      Of course only a terrorist would query this.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        A: They are no Witches.

        B: He is a heritic for saying there are no witches, or indeed a witch himself - so stake him and burn him

        C: But we know there are no Witches! Shush its Dogma (security) do you want to be burned?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In a democracy, one would hope it has to be ordered by a court that has considered the evidence against the individual and determined that they deserve this punishment

      Ah, but that's exactly the massive problem with all of these sorry excuses for security: they avoid even the most remote semblance of democratic process.

      For a start, this declares you guilty until you can prove your innocence, there is no accountability or transparency whatsoever and, most crucially, it doesn't appear possible to kill off this nonsense via democratic processes as it's "secret".

  5. Sureo

    Shine the light

    Reg needs to shine a light on where this comes from. Who thought this was a good idea? It's a lot of bureaucracy for little or no benefit. Let's give credit where it's due.

    1. Nunyabiznes

      Re: Shine the light

      It is hard to shine a light where this comes from because the back of someone's head is blocking.

  6. John G Imrie

    but to unstick the order I had to send a copy of my birth certificate,

    Which shows how total bollocks this is as anyone can get hold of a copy of your birth certificate.

  7. David Pollard

    It's just as well ...

    ... that trrrsts never use false names.

  8. Stevie


    So you are supposed to park your birth certificate on some publicly accessible website?

    Hmm, can't see a down side to that.

    In other news, a web-vendor I use for PDFs has just informed me I need to destroy my credit card, phone my bank and start watching my statements because they were infiltrated by sneaky hackers doing something clever to capture incoming purchase orders (I imagine this was on the order of running stdin through tee).

    No connection between the two stories. Just thought I'd mention it.

    1. Small Furry Animal

      Re: Bah!


      "a web-vendor I use for PDFs"

      What the hell are you doing using a web-vendor for this simple task? LibreOffice can export to PDF and it's free; it's also secure.

      No down-vote; I'm just genuinely puzzled.

    2. Samuel Penn

      Re: Bah!

      Not DriveThruRPG by any chance? Just had a very similar message from them.

      1. Stevie

        Re: Not DriveThruRPG by any chance? Just had a very similar message from them.

        Oh yes me old beauty, I should say so.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of the No-Fly list first iteration

    Back in 2004, I went to Seattle on a Sunday and by the time I went to return on Friday night, I had my passport seized and was flanked by two armed men in black suits for 20 minutes. When I had my passport returned, I was apologised to and informed my (very generic) name (akin to John Smith) was now on the no fly list and they had to cross reference my passport details to ensure I wasn't <I>the</I> John Smith.

    I couldn't check in online for the next 7 years and got 'randomly' selected for extra screening on most flights I took in that period. Since then, I've been able to check in online (I presume due to a removal or improvement in the no-fly list) and those high volume of 'random' extra screening requirements have miraculously dropped off the face of the planet.

    1. Camilla Smythe

      Re: Reminds me of the No-Fly list first iteration

      Presumably they found 'The Real John Smith' and terminated his use of oxygen.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Reminds me of the No-Fly list first iteration

        Just for a laugh a friend looked up my name on line. There are a lot of us about, several in the same age range and with exactly the same initials.

  10. John Tserkezis

    What does it take to get ON the list?

    Call George W Bush a screwball? Or the best president ever? Or both?

    There we go, I've done it this time, I won't be flying to the US anytime soon.

    1. Vic

      Re: What does it take to get ON the list?

      There we go, I've done it this time

      I'm quite surprised I'm not on a no-fly list. I suspect I'm one of a very few here who actually has been arrested for terrorism[1]. But I've never had any problem getting onto flights, nor downloading software from the Internet.


      [1] Of course I'm not a terrorist. At the time, I was a very hung-over service engineer trying to get back home from Munich. The anti-terrorist cops saw the oscilloscope in my hand, didn't know what it was, but is had lots of switches and a screen, so it must be expensive - why wasn't it in a fight case - it must be a bomb!. They were quite apologetic once they found out what was really going on, but that didn't prevent the properly sphincter-puckering moment as three germans pointed guns at my head...

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Your names on a list, and you will not be missed, tra-laa

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