back to article Brexit trade deal advises governments to use Netscape Communicator and SHA-1. Why? It's all in the DNA

People are pointing to the inclusion of Netscape Navigator and SHA-1 in the newly-minted British Brexit trade deal – yet no one seems to have realised part of the text in question is a treaty underpinning an EU-wide DNA database. Buried in the 1,000+ pages of the UK-EU trade deal are references to the obsolete Netscape …

  1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

    Ms paint

    Should be a required skill for all IT staff. Shows you've suffered in the trenches

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ms paint

      Visio for wizards.

    2. IWVC

      Re: Ms paint

      I believe said regulation is probably the EU adoption of one of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s standard for vehicle safety. The original working draft was prepared by the UK using our most capable computer, a Pentium 60 running Windows 3.1 for workgroups (this was around 1993 and we had a few PCs networked). We assumed that the United Nations secretariat in Geneva would have the ability to prepare more sophisticated diagrams but they didn’t as MS Paint and Wordperfect 5 were already cutting edge…. The UN-ECE reg was published in 1994 and adopted by the EU in 2002. It was expected that the technical standards would be revised and improved over time but this obviously hasn’t occurred.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Ms paint

        I guess a Mac would have been a much better choice back then for document publishing. Aldus FreeHand and Adobe Illustrator were available from the 1980s.

        1. iron Silver badge

          Re: Ms paint

          By 1993 they were both available for PC as well so there was no excuse for using Paint.

  2. Psmo Silver badge

    Re: Dull and not immediately obvious

    Indeed, while many news sources fall over themselves to get a half-story out the door for clicks, I tend to wait a couple of days for El Reg's take: a deeper analysis with a different angle.

    (Hey, is that worth a discount on my subscription?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dull and not immediately obvious

      "(Hey, is that worth a discount on my subscription?)"

      I just wish they'd do a two-year deal - is half a new-born son really a discount?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "cat GIFs" if that's what you're calling it.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      pussy cat? Closer?

  4. Tim 49

    Brokenshire

    ... Sounds like the place I live, these days. Especially after Jan 1st.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brokenshire

      You Kent be serious?

  5. chivo243 Silver badge

    Fare Thee Well

    See ya Netscape! Maybe soon from the sound of it!

    1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Re: Fare Thee Well

      There is an opportunity here for someone to rebrand a modern browser and sell it to EU members as Netscape.

  6. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Pint

    So no-one's....

    Going to say anything about the "Mozilla Mail"? There's Mozilla's Thunderbird, there's Apple/Windows Mail but no Mozilla Mail.

    And thats before we get into issues of encryption etc.

    Also fascinated to hear what a 'Prüm Application' is... I understand that there's a Prüm Convention but not Application.

    Finally raise a glass to the bods at El Reg still posting articles even when it's so close to 24 hours of beer (formally known as new years celebrations)

    1. luminous

      Re: So no-one's....

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Mail_&_Newsgroups

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: So no-one's....

      Mozilla Mail was part of the Netscape suite of apps in the 90s and later included with Netscape Navigator by AOL. It was a decent enough mail app but part of the decline of Netscape as they fell foul of the delusion that they would replace all operating systems. Silly boys.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It illustrates at least two well-known principles: (a) there's [at least] one on every committee and (b) nobody gets round to updating the documentation.

    It's not too difficult to visualise the sort of thing that must have happened. A working group is appointed and deals with all the techy bits around data representation with the actual communication being dealt with on a level of "Just email it, encrypted and signed". Then some pedant says "No, you need to specify that" so some poor soul gets the job of writing it up.

    The draft of that addition goes back to the committee and some PHB pipes up with "Ooh, that sounds very complicated. Won't it cost a lot of money?". It gets explained that Outlook, Netscape or whatever he's using handles that already. "Well put that in, then." And so the document ends up with an explanatory paragraph that didn't need to be and shouldn't have been in there and which has aged to the point of ridicule. But, of course, nobody wants to revisit it to take it out; as the article indicates, when the documentation is an international agreement the inertia is a few orders of magnitude worse than what most of us experience in this respect.

    As to levels of encryption maybe reality has already replaced that specified. Presumably keys will have expired and been reissued using later releases of PGP the S/W. Of course, as diplomats will have been involved there might have been undue influence of the US who don't like the rest of the world using encryption at all. And on the subject of keys - the document is, as far as I can make out, quite bereft of any mention as to how these will be managed. That's consistent with the committee considering that the whole communication issue was outside its scope.

    Netscape Navigator, of course, lives on. It's now called Seamonkey. It's what I'm typing on right now.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      Presumably keys will have expired and been reissued

      In the good old days, the keys would have been in a briefcase left in the back of a taxi.

      Now they are usually left in unsecured S3 buckets or public git repos

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      The fundamental rule of committee is that its easier to exercise a veto power -- to say "No" -- than it is to provide positive contributions so you'll always have a preponderance of people acting as dead weight on the decision making process. Its something we all know about but its difficult to verbalize, perhaps the best description of the mindset are the Auditors that turn up in some of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.

      This little gem does reveal a lot about the ages and backgrounds of the people involved in cooking up this agreement.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Long experience of project teams & the like is that you roll up at the first meeting, look round, spot one or two people and know that between you you'll be doing the work. Some will be problems and some dead weights. A few may be new but you'll come to categorise them as the project proceeds.

        The sub-set doing the work should bear in mind another rule: it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission, especially when it's up and working.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
          Angel

          How to get useful meetings

          When I was a security consultant, I occasionally had a client where I was the secretary for the meetings, recording the minutes. My technique was to write down what everyone said, in the order they said it, only occasionally paraphrasing for readability. After receiving the first set of my comprehensive minutes, it was amazing how well prepared everyone was for the next meeting, and also how punctual. My client contact said he liked it when I turned up for meetings because we got things done, decisions made, etc. Result - project completed on time and to budget.*

          (I will now polish my halo and preen my lovely wings ;o). )

          *OK, I cannot take all the credit, the main contractor knew what they were doing as well.

          1. MisterHappy

            Re: How to get useful meetings

            Had a very good departmental admin a good number of years back, after sitting through various project & team meetings that overran by hours she started bringing a cassette recorder to meetings with "If nobody objects I will tape this so the minutes are accurate".

            Amazing how on-track that kept the meetings.

    3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      "(b) nobody gets round to updating the documentation."

      That's why I work so hard to get our Parish Council documents to specify outcomes not methods. And that's sometimes a hard task.

      Me: Recommend a total number for the borough such that our town is allocated an whole number.

      Q: What would that be?

      Me: Something between 45 and 49.

      Q: So we're going to pick a number between 45 and 49?

      Me: No! We're recommending that *they* pick a number which would give our town a neat whole number, which would be between 45 and 49 for the whole borough.

      Q: So, we're recommending between 45 and 49?

      Me: No! We're recommending that *THEY* pick a number that gives *US* a *WHOLE* number, *NOT* what that number should be.

      Q: So what number are we recommending?

      ARRRRFGFGGHH!!!!

      1. tip pc Silver badge

        why don't you just write the words down for them?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    20 year old tech...

    It will seem like amazingly advanced when we cut ourself off from the rest of the world at midnight and go back to the dark ages.

    Welcome to Borisstan 2021., or maybe that should be Borisstan 0000, as no doubt someone will think we should start from fresh and re-invent our own calendar.

    1. John 110

      Re: 20 year old tech...

      You have a calendar! We have to make do with marks carved into the side of a standing stone...

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: 20 year old tech...

        This post sent from 50 years in the future, when we finally see Brexit's benefits.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: 20 year old tech...

          So you decided you'd get in a time machine and live in 2020 instead...

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            No its a Brexit time machine - it only goes backwards...

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: 20 year old tech...

          Best laid plans of mice and Permanent Secretaries...

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFBgQpz_E80

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 20 year old tech...

        You know how to engrave a stone? You don't know how good you've got it. They deported the last person here who knew how to engrave stones so we have to make do with markings in the mud.

        1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: 20 year old tech...

          At least you have mud. We're knee deep in water...

          1. Psmo Silver badge
            Pirate

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            You have knees? Mine are getting knocked by companies jumping the gun on their 'outside EU' charges.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 20 year old tech...

          There's a lovely bit of filth here, Dennis!

    2. H in The Hague Silver badge

      Re: 20 year old tech...

      As John Donne put it around four centuries ago (for 'man' read 'country'):

      No man is an island entire of itself; every man

      is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

      if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe

      is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as

      well as any manner of thy friends or of thine

      own were; any man's death diminishes me,

      because I am involved in mankind.

      And therefore never send to know for whom

      the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

      1. First Light Silver badge

        Re: 20 year old tech...

        How can you dislike John Donne? It's litracher, innit!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 20 year old tech...

      And let's then make sure that our new calendar doesn't translate one-on-one with existing global calendars (367 days in a year?) so anyone who wants to deal with the UK will have to jump through hoops. Just to inconvenience as many people as possible.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: 20 year old tech...

        OK, but when does it start? We left the EU at 23:00 one night, so is that 'Zero-Hour', or are we going back to good old Greenwich Mean Time midnight?

        (Boundary conditions are always tricky.)

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: 20 year old tech...

      Well, get used to eating cake...

      "Boris Johnson has claimed his post-Brexit trade deal with the EU allows the UK to have its cake and eat it."

      whilst filling out the mountain of new paperwork.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-55486081

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: 20 year old tech...

        And the EU and China have just sorted a trade deal and the US is not happy at not getting input. So our sovereignty on a China trade deal just went west. Literally!

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: 20 year old tech...

          We won't go hungry - in addition to stuffing ourselves with Brexit Cake, there'll be plenty of cheap chlorinated chicken and hormone fed beef to look forward to then

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            We won't go hungry - in addition to stuffing ourselves with Brexit Cake, there'll be plenty of cheap chlorinated chicken and hormone fed beef to look forward to then

            Chicken is weird. So when the chlorine thing became a thing, I figured I'd check the process.. And basically the 'chlorine wash' has much the same level of chlorination as tap water. So I guess some objectors may only drink bottled water, but it does mean you can experience US-style chicken at home.. Which also seems to have become a thing. So washing a chicken under the tap, drying it, and increasing risk of contamination in the process.. Instead of just roasting it at 150C.

            But people are weird. As are crazy mutant US chickens forced to grow at unnatural rates that can't walk. But then the US also figured washing eggs was a GoodThing(tm) so they then have to be refrigerated.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: 20 year old tech...

              "Chicken is weird. So when the chlorine thing became a thing, I figured I'd check the process.. And basically the 'chlorine wash' has much the same level of chlorination as tap water. So I guess some objectors may only drink bottled water, but it does mean you can experience US-style chicken at home.. Which also seems to have become a thing."

              It's not about the chlorine washing itself. Washing with chlorine is a good thing. Unfortunately, there's a reason why US farmers wash with chlorine, and that's because the meat is so insanitary and the animals kept in such awful conditions that it is necessary to make it fit for human consumption.

              By banning chlorine washing you force the farmer to improve sanitation, as otherwise they cannot sell their meat. That's the European approach, and the reality behind the slogan 'chlorine-washed chicken'.

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: 20 year old tech...

                As a (not unimportant) side effect, animal welfare is improved too by banning chlorine washing.

              2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: 20 year old tech...

                By banning chlorine washing you force the farmer to improve sanitation, as otherwise they cannot sell their meat. That's the European approach, and the reality behind the slogan 'chlorine-washed chicken'.

                But that's incorrect, and more to do with messaging & lobbying. So a handy slogan raising fears of the UK (or EU) being flooded with masses of Chlorochickens.. And undercutting EU poultry producers. The reality is a bit different, eg

                https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32008R0543

                Article 7

                1. In order to be graded as classes A and B, poultry carcases and cuts covered by this Regulation shall meet the following minimum requirements, i.e. they shall be:

                (a) intact, taking into account the presentation;

                (b) clean, free from any visible foreign matter, dirt or blood;

                (c) free of any foreign smell;

                (d) free of visible bloodstains except those which are small and unobtrusive;

                (e) free of protruding broken bones;

                (f) free of severe contusions.

                So the EuroChicken is already washed.. And the marketing slogan also de-couples the welfare issue, ie it's not the farmer who does the washing, it's the poultry processor. The farmer simply follows the orders of whichever agribusiness giant is specifying how their product should be readied for market, which often isn't great for anyone, except the agribusiness. Ok, so politicians sometimes stick their beaks in specifying things like maximum densities in grow sheds, but that's often more for corporate welfare than consumer or chicken.

            2. RegGuy1 Silver badge

              Re: 20 year old tech...

              But people are weird. As are crazy mutant US chickens citizens forced to grow at unnatural rates that can't walk.

              There, FTFY.

            3. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: 20 year old tech...

              The issue isn't the chlorine wash but that it needs washing AT ALL due to wildly unsanitary animal husbandry with amazingly high levels of both camplyobacter and salmonella along with slaughterhouse conditions that allow fecal matter to come into contact with meat (yes really), so the wash pushes e.coli into deeper crevices than it would otherwise be in

              The rates of chicken-related food posoning on each side of the atlantic underscore differences in food standards

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: 20 year old tech...

        1:10:

        - "And if you remember Laura, what they said was, you couldn't have free trade with the EU unless you conformed with the EU's laws, do you remember that? ... Now that has turned out, I think you will concede, not to be true. ... I want you to concede this is a cakist treaty."

        - "So you are having your cake and eating it?"

        - "You said it." (smug smirk)

        - "Well done Laura K, well done. Who's a good reporter? Who's a good reporteeeer. You didn't ask about divergence and the big fucking tariffs the EU would wallop the UK with if it does diverge. Well done! (head pat.)" [Editor's note: this section was cut from the video]

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: 20 year old tech...

          It's unlikely that they will diverge. No govt. is going to want to do that. Any rational govt. will understand that this is already the best of a bad job and no Brexiteer govt. is going to want to expose the hollowness of the whole thing. Meanwhile we've now got a boundary in the Irish Sea (imposed by a PM who professes to be unionist and promised such a thing would never happen) and over time the little problems will creep out; the fact that Scottish producers can't sell seed potatoes to Europe nor, it's reported, to N Ireland.

          1. Dr_N Silver badge

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            Forget NI and seed potatoes. UK Sausages and other uncooked speciality meat products are now banned.

            Weep.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: 20 year old tech...

              Not sure if it's right but according to The Black Farmer the ban applies t chilled products but not to frozen so that'll be the way round that.

          2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            It's unlikely that they will diverge.

            But how is Boris and his government going to deliver these supposed "opportunities" if they don't?

            I fear this is a deal which will soon become no deal.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: 20 year old tech...

              By definition the opportunities now exist. Don't you see them? You're freed from all the EU red tape!

          3. Mage Silver badge
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: a boundary in the Irish Sea.

            And one between GB and Gibraltar!

            Imagine if UK had agreed that Irish Gov would manage all NI airports and ports?

            UK Sovereignty.

            Yet Spain is to manage Gibraltar's Port and Airport. They are joining Schengen, so an even closer EU relationship than NI & EU. Talk of the fence between Spain and Gibraltar being removed.

            Meanwhile some companies with European or Irish HQs in Ireland have moved to Jersey. The UK isn't implementing much of the banking, tax and transparency stuff agreed by 2016, and even made law in Switzerland in 2019 and 2020. I can't see the EU adding Finance & Banking to the trade deal when the UK was already in default over Channel Is, IoM, Cayman, Bermuda and British Virgin Islands etc.

            Even Singapore & Panama are going to reform. Luxembourg, Monaco etc have reformed. The Dutch-Irish Sandwich is history.

            UK is set to be the Money laundering, offshoring and tax evasion capital of the world. Already diverged on EU standards. That's what UK excels at, so perhaps the goods exports to EU won't diverge.

            Farage and the Brexiteers wanted to attack and split EU. Seems they are splitting the Union and also Gibraltar (which is a colony or Overseas Territory, like IoM and Channel Is, doesn't return MPs and isn't in the UK) from England and Wales.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Facepalm

              Re: a boundary in the Irish Sea.

              Thank goodness. It's the only thing left propping up the pound.

            2. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: a boundary in the Irish Sea.

              "The UK isn't implementing much of the banking, tax and transparency stuff agreed by 2016"

              No, but that's actually because the UK already had on the books essentially all of the anti-laundering provisions contained in the EU directive. This is another of those conspiracy theories that has been doing the rounds recently, I'm afraid, that Brexit happened to avoid implementing the EU anti-laundering directive. That was to bring the rest of the EU up to UK standards. Which, given UK standards, tells you something about the previous EU minimum!

              1. Mage Silver badge
                Coffee/keyboard

                Re: UK already had on the books

                But refused to apply them to UK controlled territories such as IoM, Channel Is, and the Overseas Territories. Also refused to put them all into UK Law. The EU agreements applied till 31st December 2020 and the UK was in violation, even for IoM and Channel Is. Also even the US has fined UK Finance operating out of the City of London.

                The other alternative for Tory & Rich People led Brexit is total stupidity if it's not about Banking & Finance. If you look at the names of big donors and supporters to Brexit etc, are they people wanting the best for Joe Public, or people with Offshoring, tax avoidance, Hedge Funds and wanting Currency speculation. We won't say actual tax evasion and money laundering, but…

                1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

                  Re: UK already had on the books

                  They aren't UK "controlled". Crown dependencies are self-governing, setting their own laws, taxes, and so forth. Jersey and Guernsey didn't join the EU or EEA, which is why duty free was available on journeys to and from the Islands, and why they don't follow the same financial regulations as the UK.

            3. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: a boundary in the Irish Sea.

                We've been close to being the money laundering capital of the world for some time. HSBC got a massive fine for laundering and even Coutts has been fined for significant and widespread” failings in its money laundering controls. Those were historic though but last year Mr Green owned by William Hill was fined for amongst other things failings with anti money laundering checks. Others have covered the Crown Dependencies/ Overseas Territories.

                What you're referring to with the Dutch Irish sandwich is tax dodging not money laundering. The Swiss haven't really reformed much either despite claims to the contrary. I would suggest reading the book by whistleblower Bradley Birkenfield - Lucifer's Banker. Occasionally the Swiss fine a bank a token amount for breaking the rules to keep everything looking kosher.

            4. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: a boundary in the Irish Sea.

              " I can't see the EU adding Finance & Banking to the trade deal when the UK was already in default over Channel Is, IoM, Cayman, Bermuda and British Virgin Islands etc."

              Cayman, BVI, Bermuda and Bahamas are all getting out of the tax havening/shell company games

              Something about American sanctions being applied to their oil supplies if they didn't....

        2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

          Re: 20 year old tech...

          Quote:

          "you couldn't have free trade with the EU unless you conformed with the EU's laws"

          Funnily enough, the stuff we send abroad has to comply with US* regs.... or it does'nt go

          we have no say on what those regulations are, nor any vote on who gets to set the regulations in the first place, and yet we trade with the US very successfully

          We make the product(well part of it) it gets assembled, tested, exported. And hopefully money comes back.

          If the product goes into the EU (which it does), then it has to comply with EU rules, if they change the rules to specifically exclude the product, then they will be excluding 2 or 3 rival US products as well....

          *insert any number of countries here

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            "and yet we trade with the US very successfully"

            I work for a company which creates products that are sometimes breathed on by US staff. The US government decided where we can sell those products. Sovereignty doesn't just take a back seat. It's trussed up and put in the boot. Along with a shovel.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            "Funnily enough, the stuff we send abroad has to comply with US regs.... or it does'nt go

            we have no say on what those regulations are, nor any vote on who gets to set the regulations in the first place, and yet we trade with the US very successfully

            ...

            If the product goes into the EU (which it does), then it has to comply with EU rules,"

            What you don't say is that whilst there was no say on the US regs we did have a say on the EU rules. Since last year we haven't.

            The US market was your export market. The EU was your home market. Now the EU is an export market and your home market has shrunk to just the UK. If the UK deviates from the rules the EU makes then you have three sets of rules where previously you had two. If it doesn't then the home market rules are set by the EU with no UK input into making them. It's called "taking back control".

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: 20 year old tech...

              @Doctor Syntax

              "What you don't say is that whilst there was no say on the US regs we did have a say on the EU rules. Since last year we haven't."

              For what little say we had on EU regs we had to apply them domestically as well. The good news with the US regs is we dont have to apply them domestically, the norm for every country we trade with except members when we were in the EU.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: 20 year old tech...

                I do like the idea of Brexiteers peddling the ability to trade special "better version" goods or services (food, drink, financial services, data processing, whatever) with foreign countries but have "worse version" of the same things for domestic consumption as an advantage for the UK's population.

                It gets right to the heart of cap doffing and forelock tugging that establishment figures expect from the rest of us. You remember, those establishment figures from monnied families who proclaimed they were solidly anti-establishment to the downtrodden working class and persuaded them to vote for an idea of Brexit that had no downsides.

                Later on when Brexit turns out to be something completely different, the downtrodden working class can't complain when it later turns out a bad idea because they wanted Brexit in the first place, they voted for it.

                See also, Thatcher's council housing sell-off.

                Let's look at what we've got with Johnson's Brexit... the same SM rules applied domestically only with far more paperwork which makes it more difficult to import from the EU and puts EU customers off from buying British goods, NI pushed away from the UK and more towards Ireland and the EU, Gibraltar pushed away from the UK and more towards Spain or independence and the EU, overseas territories like the Falklands can't sell to EU countries without huge tariffs, no seat at the table where rules are made, British citizens have a harder time settling in other countries in their own continent, constant future negotiations with the EU over services, data protection, fishing, energy just like the Swiss, and the threat of tariffs and an annoyed electorate if the UK diverges.

                Why on earth bother? All this four-and-a-half-year exercise has proven is it's not possible to live in splendid isolation from one's neighbours. It's just a good-old classic fuck-up in a long line of fuck-ups brought to you by the British political class.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                  I do like the idea of Brexiteers peddling the ability to trade special "better version" goods or services (food, drink, financial services, data processing, whatever) with foreign countries but have "worse version" of the same things for domestic consumption as an advantage for the UK's population.

                  Why would there be a worse domestic version? Ok, so UK kettles are better than French ones, but only because 240V vs 110V. And possibly vacuum cleaner-style maximun power edicts that waste time, kind of defy physics, but give EUrocrats a sense of self importance.

                  Otherwise, it kind of defies the benefits of standardisation and globalisation to end up with export and domestic product lines. Which is why a lot of electronics standardise around the good'ol kettle cable and PSUs that don't care if they're being fed diet voltage, or proper full-fat volts. And given globalisation, international standards are set by global standards bodies.

                  But there are other oddities.. Like inability for Scotland to export real haggis to the US due to their food regs objecting to lungs.. Which I guess is also odd given the way the US pioneered stuff like MRP.

                  1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                    Re: 20 year old tech...

                    Ok, so UK kettles are better than French ones, but only because 240V vs 110V.

                    FYI: Both France and the UK use 230V, just like the rest of Europe.

                  2. Dr_N Silver badge

                    Re: 20 year old tech...

                    Jellied Eel> Ok, so UK kettles are better than French ones, but only because 240V vs 110V.

                    Whatever are you talking about?

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: 20 year old tech...

                      Whatever are you talking about?

                      Err.. The French! Or possibly French Canadians. Been doing some work with a company based in Quebec, and confused my voltages. On the plus side, once life gets back to normal(ish) I might get to go there and binge on poutine.

                      Otherwise, Directive 2009/125/EC

                      https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:285:0010:0035:en:PDF

                      or this-

                      https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/20375

                      Where EUrocrats created an "Ecodesign" commissariat to muck about with stuff. So deciding on a maximum power for vacuum cleaners, then moving on potentially embugger other small appliances. Things like kettles, toasters & hair dryers were obvious targets because resistive heating elements. So cut kettles from 3KW to 1KW would save 2KW with every cuppa! But that 'consultation' has been on/off again for some years.. Possibly due to people trying to explain to EUrocrats that the energy required to boil 1l of water is constant(ish).

                      But then so long, and thanks for all the Directives. Should "Ecodesign" stuff come to pass, the UK can choose to adopt it, as it has done via various SIs, or ignore it, and leave it to manufacturers to create conforming CE products for the EU market. Then again, there has been some good stuff coming out of Ecodesign, like right to repair, clearer product marking etc.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: 20 year old tech...

                        If the UK ignores it then manufacturers won't be selling kettles to the EU. So the UK will adopt it. And as they're all off the same assembly line in China, they probably won't have a choice anyway.

                  3. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: 20 year old tech...

                    >>> "Why would there be a worse domestic version?"

                    You bexitters cite breaking with EU (minimal) requirements as an advantage of brexit.

                    If you want to know why the other anon wrote what you are replying to, see the post from Codejunky that he/she's replying to..

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: 20 year old tech...

                      @AC

                      "You bexitters cite breaking with EU (minimal) requirements as an advantage of brexit."

                      But that doesnt explain why we would have a worse domestic version.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: 20 year old tech...

                        What's the advantage of breaking with requiring to adhere to minimum standards unless you intend on reducing them?

                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                          Re: 20 year old tech...

                          @AC

                          "What's the advantage of breaking with requiring to adhere to minimum standards unless you intend on reducing them?"

                          Ahhh I see the mistake. The assumption you make is that the EU minimum standards are better. The problem with that is every country has its own standards (in the world) and a lot of conflicts in those standards. For developed countries we have different standards so the idea that by reducing from one set of standards automatically means 'worse' is not guaranteed by far.

                          1. Roland6 Silver badge

                            Re: 20 year old tech...

                            > The assumption you make is that the EU minimum standards are better.

                            Err no, the assumption is that they set a default minimum in the absence of a (better) UK standard...

                            The UK government has much to do in the coming years, and I expect it won't want to spend £350m a week on the civil service putting in place all the regulatory stuff that we previously pooled with the EU, so don't expect many new UK standards - creating a standards void...

                            1. codejunky Silver badge

                              Re: 20 year old tech...

                              @Roland6

                              "Err no, the assumption is that they set a default minimum in the absence of a (better) UK standard..."

                              This again has the same assumption. That the EU minimum is better. It might be more restrictive but that itself doesnt equal better. Which brings us back to every country having its own restrictions, often conflicting with other countries.

                              "The UK government has much to do in the coming years"

                              Absolutely. The people we vote in to do their jobs will now be responsible for doing them. For example when women march on London against the 'tampon tax' because they didnt realise they needed to march in Brussels as the UK couldnt do anything about its own taxation!

                              "and I expect it won't want to spend £350m a week on the civil service putting in place all the regulatory stuff that we previously pooled with the EU"

                              If they are gonna just copy EU regs then no. But it could be worth it to slash unnecessary regs. This is an amusing one I read this morning-

                              https://www.expunct.com/covid-19/your-papers-please/

                              "so don't expect many new UK standards - creating a standards void"

                              Fingers crossed. Innovation allowed.

                              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                                Re: 20 year old tech...

                                >This again has the same assumption. That the EU minimum is better.

                                You're getting fixated on 'the EU'.

                                Where standards exist, having a minimum standard is better than having no minimum standard.

                                Yes, I agree there are games being played over vacuum cleaner and kettle power consumption in the name of 'greenness' within the EU standards-setting forums, which actually suggest that some business interests are having undue influence over matters - it is notable that there seems to have been an absence of UK political will to support Dyson's reasonable objections...

                                >If they are gonna just copy EU regs then no.

                                No, the UK is going to have to onshore, much of the work it had previously offshored to Brussels. Whilst good for UK jobs, not going to help UK exports.

                                1. codejunky Silver badge

                                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                                  @Roland6

                                  "You're getting fixated on 'the EU'."

                                  Not at all. The AC claimed worse (using the EU as the benchmark as leaving is the change). That is where I disagree because by what measure is it worse? I then point out that globally everyone has their own standards even in the first world.

                                  "Where standards exist, having a minimum standard is better than having no minimum standard."

                                  The minimum standard typically exists in law. Dont lie, dont harm your customers, etc. Then let people try stuff out and figure out what works. Your idea of a minimum standard being better than no minimum standard is flawed. If the minimum standard is set too high the economy collapses which is worse than the terrible anarchy of no standards.

                                  "Yes, I agree there are games being played over vacuum cleaner and kettle power consumption in the name of 'greenness' within the EU standards-setting forums"

                                  Which we can happily leave behind. This is a minimum standard of the EU which is obviously too high and we would be better off without it.

                                  "No, the UK is going to have to onshore, much of the work it had previously offshored to Brussels. Whilst good for UK jobs, not going to help UK exports."

                                  But yet it very well might and should. Those jobs being the sovereignty of making our own decisions and deals for our country vs handing it over to another government who wants to appease 27 different and squabbling protectionists.

                                2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                                  "there are games being played over vacuum cleaner and kettle power consumption in the name of 'greenness' within the EU standards-setting forums"

                                  The standards there have bloody good reasons to exist:

                                  Cleaners were getting stupidly large motors with quite poor air-power inefficiency and you DON'T need to boil 2 litres of water to make a cup of coffee (my Brevillle boiler does a cup in 20 seconds, Fast enough and I've had it 20 years)

                                  BRITISH patents for vacuum cleaners which can be extremely effective whilst reducing power over older designs by 80% AND reduce the spray of 10-micron particles had been utterly ignored by UK makers for over 20 years (I had a lot of discussion with the holder, telling him to stop being "patriotic"/sentimental and start being pragmatic, which paid off for him)

                                  Those air recicrulating deisgns started hitting mainstream in the mid 2010s instead of being DIY mods (the original design took the exhaust of a standard upright vacuum cleaner and dumped it into the carpet just in front of the beater brush, This simple mod dropped power consumption by aboout 30% by reduciing total motor load and blasted dust out of the carpet at the same time resulting in more effective cleaning - obvious when you thinkg about it but more patents are - AFTER the event.)

                              2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                                Re: 20 year old tech...

                                IF the UK standard is "better" then it beats the EU standard so there isn't an issue

                                The only time you "need" to diverge in the ways described is if you wish to go below what the EU regards as acceotable for its imports

                                Then again this is the country that brought the world BSE, cars that had ex-factory perforation rust and turd flotillas off Blackpool beach whilst proclaiming itself to be world-beating

                                It just never specified what it was beating

                                1. codejunky Silver badge

                                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                                  @Alan Brown

                                  "IF the UK standard is "better" then it beats the EU standard so there isn't an issue"

                                  Except if the EU standard is a minimum, and its set too restrictive, then its not better but worse. In the EU we must accept the minimum restrictions by the EU regardless of it being better or worse.

                                  "The only time you "need" to diverge in the ways described is if you wish to go below what the EU regards as acceotable for its imports"

                                  Yes. Which can also be better. The idea that tighter restrictions = better is entirely incorrect.

                                2. tip pc Silver badge

                                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                                  Enforcing higher standards is diverging from the EU.

                                  Even if we lower standards, if we want to sell in a jurisdiction with higher standards then those products for export there must be compliant with the regs in the destination country.

                                  For example, if the UK permits 5kw domestic kettles, they can't be sold in Europe, any UK company wanting to sell Kettles in the EU must comply with the EU rules when exporting to the EU.

                                  Its not impossible to make 2 products to different standards for different markets, an example being UK car manufacturers producing left hand drive vehicles for sale in Europe and other parts of the world who drive on the left.

                                  People complaining about Brexit because the UK can make its own rules appear to be very short sighted.

                  4. Roland6 Silver badge

                    Re: 20 year old tech...

                    >Why would there be a worse domestic version?

                    Engage brain?

                    Due to the UK being able to sign its own trade deals (eg. the one UK has just signed with Turkey that will make it easier for Turkish citizens to come to the UK and the UK to export arms to Turkey...), we can expect it to sign deals with others especially China, where all those UK kettles are made...

                    Given the joys of purchasing anything of quality from China, we can expect goods such as kettles destined for the UK domestic market to be substandard compared to those shipped to other markets. So yes, you'll be able to buy a kettle from Poundland, but expect it to swiftly become landfill...

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: 20 year old tech...

                      @Roland6

                      "Engage brain?"

                      And I do. Which is why this lack of thinking in the responses puzzles me.

                      "Due to the UK being able to sign its own trade deals"

                      Great news

                      "we can expect it to sign deals with others especially China, where all those UK kettles are made..."

                      Go for it!

                      "Given the joys of purchasing anything of quality from China"

                      As the UK has enjoyed doing, as has the US, EU and most of the developed world.

                      "we can expect goods such as kettles destined for the UK domestic market to be substandard"

                      Erm what? Eh? What bollocks?

                      Why would the standard of kettle be worse if we buy what we want and China already sends stuff to us while we were in the EU? If you mean maybe more powerful kettles that warm the water with the same amount of energy over a shorter period of time thats an improvement. Or maybe a toaster that toasts within a reasonable time frame compared to this eurotrash one I have now.

                      But if they send substandard why would we buy it? Unless we didnt consider it substandard or was sold at such a knock off price that people who want a disposable item could buy it? To which then it is what someone wants to buy.

                      "So yes, you'll be able to buy a kettle from Poundland, but expect it to swiftly become landfill..."

                      Excellent! Is this a problem? Or do you consider buying from Poundland to be sub-human or something? People buy what they want and so will choose the soon to be landfill if thats what they want, or will buy quality if thats what they want.

                      1. Roland6 Silver badge

                        Re: 20 year old tech...

                        >Why would the standard of kettle be worse if we buy what we want and China already sends stuff to us while we were in the EU?

                        Because previously Chinese companies were supposed to build to EU standards and could have sanctions taken against them for sub-standard products arriving in the EU destined for EU consumers. Without standards what sanctions are possible?

                        We can talk about consumer choice, but if the savvy consumer purchases kettles that conform to EU standards (will the UK enforce trading standards against manufacturers who misuse the EU CE mark?) there won't be much of a market for UK non-standard products which raises the question - just what was the benefit of being able to specify your own standard in this specific instance.

                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                          Re: 20 year old tech...

                          @Roland6

                          "Without standards what sanctions are possible?"

                          Do we have no standards at all? When you go into the shop do you not have any standards when you purchase? Are we giving up on consumer safety laws? Or are we just not having the EU's laws imposed on us?

                          "We can talk about consumer choice, but if the savvy consumer purchases kettles that conform to EU standards"

                          They get an underpowered paperweight that takes longer to achieve a goal because some idiot politician doesnt understand the thermodynamic issue of heating water.

                          "there won't be much of a market for UK non-standard products which raises the question"

                          You just shot your substandard complaint in the foot. If people choose to buy only EU standard products then we wont import substandard because people wont buy them and that worry is for nought. If people are smart enough to choose then we dont need the laws banning what people dont want. The only reason for such laws being to stop people getting what they want since its not a consumer protection issue.

                          "just what was the benefit of being able to specify your own standard in this specific instance"

                          Again the fun example of a toaster that does more than warm bread slowly and a kettle that boils water at the time you desire a hot beverage. Going further than that consumer choice and even cheaper products/produce from the world than in the EU. Vs being told we are not allowed to choose because it wont protect EU business.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: 20 year old tech...

                            Why are we even debating the definition of 'minimum standard' with you?

                            If it boils a certain amount of water or toasts bread using a certain amount of energy or less then it reaches the minimum standard. The only reason to diverge from the minimum standard is to permit more energy to be used.

                            UK manufacturers (those that are still going after the self-inflicted bureaucracy) will have to meet the EU minimum standard to sell to the EU. There is no debate. The UK is in the EU's orbit and there's nothing the UK can do about it, because it it now has no voice at the table.

                            1. codejunky Silver badge

                              Re: 20 year old tech...

                              @AC

                              "Why are we even debating the definition of 'minimum standard' with you?"

                              Are you? Which poster are you? And the reason seems to be the mistaken assumption that the minimum standard is better than reducing that minimum standard.

                              "If it boils a certain amount of water or toasts bread using a certain amount of energy or less then it reaches the minimum standard. The only reason to diverge from the minimum standard is to permit more energy to be used."

                              Actually with the kettle it doesnt reduce the energy use, it uses the same amount of energy (technically but insignificantly more) to warm the water longer than to just boil it. So the minimum standard doesnt do anything good there at all.

                              Also as to using more energy, is that bad? Why is that the assumption when surely it should be the trade off of doing the job with reasonable resource use.

                              "UK manufacturers (those that are still going after the self-inflicted bureaucracy) will have to meet the EU minimum standard to sell to the EU. There is no debate."

                              Absolutely, I have never debated this. I do point out that we wont be forced to use those EU standards domestically as we were as a member. Instead the EU will be treated like everywhere else in the world and we export what they want to their standards, but domestically we have our own.

                              "The UK is in the EU's orbit and there's nothing the UK can do about it, because it it now has no voice at the table."

                              Why would we care? The EU can use whatever standards it wants, as does the US, as does China, as does India, as does the entire world.

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                Re: 20 year old tech...

                                Here's a thing... UK business doesn't actually want a bonfire of red tape because they like trading with EU nation. If the UK diverges they're going to get hit harder than they already are. -> Source

                                And all the Tory party knows is it wants to cut red tape but other than that it doesn't know what. It's actually asking round business for ideas about what to cut. A dogmatic party bereft of ideas. -> Peter Foster / Giles Wilkes

                                Speaking of dogmatic and bereft of ideas, looking forward to your reply.

                                1. codejunky Silver badge

                                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                                  @AC

                                  "Here's a thing... UK business doesn't actually want a bonfire of red tape because they like trading with EU nation."

                                  Your link is to twitter. I dont think a comment on twitter speaks for UK business. UK businesses trading with the EU, rest of the world and domestically.

                                  "And all the Tory party knows is it wants to cut red tape but other than that it doesn't know what."

                                  Thats ok. There are other parties and come election time we can vote for someone else if the tories have no ideas.

                                  "Speaking of dogmatic and bereft of ideas, looking forward to your reply."

                                  Hopefully I have helped with your situation.

                                  1. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: 20 year old tech...

                                    Your link is to twitter. I dont think a comment on twitter speaks for UK business.

                                    I link to journalists working for the Financial Times who have interviewed British businesses. codejunky of course knows better. Let's stop the nonsense here, after all this thread you've soiled yourself in public yet again.

                                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                                      Re: 20 year old tech...

                                      @AC

                                      "I link to journalists working for the Financial Times who have interviewed British businesses"

                                      So not a comment on twitter? Or doesnt matter that its just some small comment on twitter because its someone saying what you want?

                                      "Let's stop the nonsense here"

                                      Sure, which troll are you? Dont post AC lets see your post history.

                                      1. Anonymous Coward
                                        Anonymous Coward

                                        Re: 20 year old tech...

                                        I link to the journalist's Twitter comment which links to his FT story so you can use the link to get past the paywall, read the story, and say something worthwhile. But you can't say anything worthwhile, your support of this frictionless trade deal fiction is exposed for the nonsense that it is so you are reduced to blubbing about Twitter links instead of the article itself.

                                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                                          Re: 20 year old tech...

                                          @AC

                                          "I link to the journalist's Twitter comment which links to his FT story so you can use the link to get past the paywall, read the story, and say something worthwhile"

                                          Ok. Its an article which basically start to finish says wait and see.

                                          "But you can't say anything worthwhile, your support of this frictionless trade deal fiction is exposed for the nonsense that it is so you are reduced to blubbing about Twitter links instead of the article itself."

                                          Your the coward dipshit who posted a twitter comment instead of the article link. An article which admits it doesnt know much about whats to come (sensibly).

                                          Still waiting to see which troll you are. Or if your just an idiot. Either way go on take off the AC.

                    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: 20 year old tech...

                      Due to the UK being able to sign its own trade deals (eg. the one UK has just signed with Turkey that will make it easier for Turkish citizens to come to the UK and the UK to export arms to Turkey...), we can expect it to sign deals with others especially China, where all those UK kettles are made...

                      You might be suprised, eg Koç Holding A.Ş & Vestel are both large, Turkish domestic appliance manufacturers, both under their own brands, and also err.. 'white label' manufacturers for other brands. Turkey has a large manufacturing base, which is possibly one of the reasons why it's been sitting on the sidelines of EU membership for so long.

                      1. Roland6 Silver badge

                        Re: 20 year old tech...

                        >You might be surprised...

                        No problems with having a trade deal with Turkey. However, from the reports, it nicely illustrates that the UK government is both vastly under resourced (it didn;t have the capacity to do any due diligence, deeming having a, or any, trade deal was better than none) and has much to (re)learn about the art of negotiation. Given Turkey was probably one of the simpler negotiations the UK has to enter into, it doesn't give much hope of their ability to sign favourable trade deals with the US, China etc. that deliver against their various Brexit commitments.

                    3. graeme leggett

                      Re: 20 year old tech...

                      I'm sure I remember a Leave (I don't remember which group) leaflet telling me that if we didn't Brexit then the nasty EU was going to let more Turkish come into the UK than currently...

                      1. This post has been deleted by its author

                      2. Dr_N Silver badge
                        Megaphone

                        We should never forget ...

                        @graeme leggett

                        Indeed. And parroted on here by the usual suspects. Turns out is was a total lie! Conflating Schengen Visa-free travel for Turkish VIPs/Businessmen and EU freedom of movement. Masterfully done.

                        Brexit has also prompted 20,000 Turkish citizens to apply for UK business investor visas in 2020 before the scheme was ended by Brexit. More than the previous 10 years combined. So in the end Brexit delivered what some who voted for it thought it would prevent. LOLZ.

                      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

                        Re: 20 year old tech...

                        It already let de Pfeffell's ancestors in....

                  5. Alan Brown Silver badge

                    Re: 20 year old tech...

                    " Ok, so UK kettles are better than French ones, but only because 240V vs 110V. "

                    Only since 1947. Before that it was a mix of voltages and frequencies (240VAC 50Hz dates to the late 1920s, parts of London were 200VAC (West Ham), parts were 200VDC (Bow), Lynmouth had 100V@100Hz, some areas had 60Hz, some had 50Hz, some had 40Hz, some had 110V)

                    DC 110-250V, AC 110-250V 40-100Hz

                    The UK was one of the last countries to standardise its national voltage and frequency. 240V (like ring mains) meant lighter gauge coppper could be used in the post war shortage area

              2. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: 20 year old tech...

                For what little say we had on EU regs we had to apply them domestically as well.

                Well a big change is that with the EU there was a defined public consultation path, so I could contribute to the regs that applied to my part of the market. With the UK Government, there is no such thing, unless I'm already reasonably well-heeled and able to contribute to the Conservative party...

                Secondly, you missed the big thing, the UK reg's only apply to a market of 66M not a market of 514M (EU28 := EU27 448M + UK 66M ). Brexit has simply reinserted a hurdle that existed prior to the Single Market, the 1980's and early 1990's business press was full of companies that tried and failed to go from being a big fish in the UK to being a world player, in part because they were minnows compared to US companies who had grown fat on a protected marketplace of 330M...

                Yes, the Single Market had some way yet to go, but we shouldn't forget that it took the best part of 200 years for the US home market to achieve its current form. Remember, according to Mogg it will take circa 50 years before we see the "real" benefits of Brexit...

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                  @Roland6

                  "Well a big change is that with the EU there was a defined public consultation path, so I could contribute to the regs that applied to my part of the market"

                  A little mite as you point out the size difference in market.

                  "With the UK Government, there is no such thing, unless I'm already reasonably well-heeled and able to contribute to the Conservative party..."

                  Almost sounds like these regs are getting excessive.

                  "Secondly, you missed the big thing, the UK reg's only apply to a market of 66M not a market of 514M"

                  Fantastic news!!! The benefits keep rolling in.

                  "the 1980's and early 1990's business press was full of companies that tried and failed to go from being a big fish in the UK to being a world player"

                  You mean the market? The very thing that works. Where some little businesses succeed and most fail? Where some make it from little business to small business and maybe even large or even fewer world players! As a consumer it sounds awesome!

                  "in part because they were minnows compared to US companies"

                  Which is the same situation with the EU. The envy against the US companies due to success of markets vs the government.

                  "but we shouldn't forget that it took the best part of 200 years for the US home market to achieve its current form"

                  So the EU is to model on the US to achieve success? So when will they drastically change their culture of heavy regulation to what made the US successful? When will they federalise and will the members be happy to do so? That being one of the reasons we left.

                  "Remember, according to Mogg it will take circa 50 years before we see the "real" benefits of Brexit..."

                  Remember we will have a recession when the vote is for leave, no wait when we hand in art50, no wait sometime in the future but will be brexits fault. There are many predictions, Osborne said it would take until 2030 to be 6% worse off than remaining (within margin of error for a prediction that far off).

                  1. Roland6 Silver badge

                    Re: 20 year old tech...

                    >You mean the market? The very thing that works. Where some little businesses succeed and most fail? Where some make it from little business to small business and maybe even large or even fewer world players! As a consumer it sounds awesome!

                    Trouble is BoJo et al talked about global Britain and that somehow after Brexit the UK would become some big fish in the world, overlooking that you can practically count on the fingers of one hand the number of UK companies over the past 60 years that have been successful in the USA, yet I'm sure you can easily reel off a long list of US companies that have been successful in the EU and UK. About the best strategy adopted some years back by a UK government was to encourage foreign companies to do their R&D in the UK which nicely sidestepped the UK establishment problem with investing in innovative startups.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: 20 year old tech...

                      @Roland6

                      "Trouble is BoJo et al talked about global Britain and that somehow after Brexit the UK would become some big fish in the world"

                      BoJo talks crap, we can agree. But global Britain doesnt sound a bad thing does it? And we are a big fish in the financial markets already. Do you fear the market? Improvements, reduced cost, progress?

                      "yet I'm sure you can easily reel off a long list of US companies that have been successful in the EU and UK."

                      Its amazing isnt it. The EU moans at the lack of regulation in the US yet the US can produce successful companies while the EU.... complains. The UK has successful financial markets the EU have tried to bog down with regulation and the EU... complains.

                      "About the best strategy adopted some years back by a UK government was to encourage foreign companies to do their R&D in the UK which nicely sidestepped the UK establishment problem with investing in innovative startups."

                      Great idea, private money innovating to find what works and the beneficiaries being people. Instead of the gov picking winners and losing the taxpayer a lot of money.

                      1. Roland6 Silver badge

                        Re: 20 year old tech...

                        >Its amazing isnt it. The EU moans at the lack of regulation in the US yet the US can produce successful companies while the EU.... complains.

                        Actually, the big issue with the US market is that it is so protectionist - something that won't change anytime soon. Trump et al didn't like the EU because it was big enough to kick back and didn't simply rollover...

                        >But global Britain doesnt sound a bad thing does it?

                        Yes it makes a nice emotive soundbite, expect it to still be doing the rounds in 50 years time (when the current debate is history) with little to show other than rose tinted versions of the empire days...

                        The laugh is that from the UK trade data and positions of influence it had, the UK was making a good job at being global whilst being a member of the EU; I suspect much of the mindset problem was at Westminster...

                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                          Re: 20 year old tech...

                          @Roland6

                          "Actually, the big issue with the US market is that it is so protectionist - something that won't change anytime soon. Trump et al didn't like the EU because it was big enough to kick back and didn't simply rollover..."

                          Of course the EU rolls over. How long have they been trying to sort out data protection? Trump didnt like the EU because its a bunch of scroungers on NATO and when they kicked the hornets nest with Ukraine they ran behind the US to fix the fallout.

                          "with little to show other than rose tinted versions of the empire days..."

                          Why is the empire always a remainer thing? I am sure some leaver must have said something but its always a remainer talking about the empire.

                          "the UK was making a good job at being global whilst being a member of the EU"

                          And that is while constrained by the EU.

                          1. Roland6 Silver badge

                            Re: 20 year old tech...

                            >And that is while constrained by the EU.

                            And no evidence was presented to substantiate this claim.

                            The UK trade delegation to China had the perfect opportunity to illustrate this particular point and singularly failed to do so or even suggest that outside of the EU the negotiations could of gone better.

                            1. codejunky Silver badge

                              Re: 20 year old tech...

                              @Roland6

                              "And no evidence was presented to substantiate this claim."

                              What claim?

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                Re: 20 year old tech...

                                The claim he quoted when he replied to you.

                                Anyway, if Germany does better than the UK and both are in the EU, the problem isn't being constrained by the EU.

                                1. codejunky Silver badge

                                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                                  @AC

                                  "The claim he quoted when he replied to you."

                                  That still doesnt tell me which claim. If you know feel free to say

                                  "Anyway, if Germany does better than the UK and both are in the EU, the problem isn't being constrained by the EU."

                                  Interesting the EU has 27 countries in your example but Germany is the one to pitch against. And there is good reason people use Germany as the EU example. Remember the twin engine of EU growth which was France and Germany effectively carrying the EU. Then France got that socialist president who screwed stuff up. Which is why Germany is the example for remain and not the others.

                                  Germany having a wildly undervalued currency exporting to the EU with a large manufacturing base thanks to East Germany being screwed up by the communists.

                                  1. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: 20 year old tech...

                                    Interesting the EU has 27 countries in your example but Germany is the one to pitch against.

                                    You claim at the UK could do better out of the EU, yet it is behind Germany despite "East Germany being screwed up by the communists". Therefore being part of the EU did not impede Germany being a stronger economy than the UK. Whatever the UK's failings are, they're not due to being part of the EU.

                                    If the UK were top of the EU league table, you might have a point about it being constrained by the EU. But it isn't and you don't.

                                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                                      Re: 20 year old tech...

                                      @AC

                                      "You claim at the UK could do better out of the EU, yet it is behind Germany"

                                      Yes. 2 unrelated observations there.

                                      "despite "East Germany being screwed up by the communists"."

                                      To which West Germany took a massive hit to try and help East Germany catch up economically. The amusement being that the communists were so economically bad they could even make the Germans poor!

                                      "Therefore being part of the EU did not impede Germany being a stronger economy than the UK"

                                      Very observant. The 2 unrelated observations yes.

                                      "Whatever the UK's failings are, they're not due to being part of the EU."

                                      All the UK's failings no. But better off outside the EU yes.

                                      "If the UK were top of the EU league table, you might have a point about it being constrained by the EU. But it isn't and you don't."

                                      The top no. In the top yes. In fact of the 27 EU economies the UK is at the top. Depending on measurement even second only to Germany. Which of course makes the point that remainers will fall on Germany as the example for lack of examples.

                              2. Roland6 Silver badge

                                Re: 20 year old tech...

                                >What claim?

                                " "the UK was making a good job at being global whilst being a member of the EU"

                                And that is while constrained by the EU. "

                                Basically, the idea that the UK was somehow "constrained" by its EU member is a baseless soundbite intended to stir the emotions of those incapable of thinking. The evidence clearly shows that the UK has both grown its non-EU trade whilst being a member and been a global player - at times standing (rightly or wrongly) beside the US whilst "the EU" dithered.

                                I get that being in the EU prevented the UK from doing stupid things like import stuff from China that the Chinese government was subsidizing to deliberately distort the global market, or removing any linkage between trade and democracy and human rights (eg. the new trade deal with Turkey). But I've yet to hear of any instance where being inside the EU has had any meaningful impact on UK (non-EU) exports.

                                1. codejunky Silver badge

                                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                                  @Roland6

                                  Cheers for clearing up which bit you ment I honestly wasnt sure.

                                  "Basically, the idea that the UK was somehow "constrained" by its EU member is a baseless soundbite"..."I get that being in the EU prevented the UK from doing stupid things like import stuff from China that the Chinese government was subsidizing to deliberately distort the global market, or removing any linkage between trade and democracy and human rights"

                                  So the EU didnt constrain us but did. And so it did. Why is it stupid to buy what the Chinese tax payer is subsidising for us? It was steel from their massive growth boom that collapsed and they had no use for the stuff, damn right we should snap it up. The US lost hard by putting high tariffs on that steel, they lost jobs and damaged their economy (people) by doing so.

                                  Also why must we dictate democracy to trade?

                                  "The evidence clearly shows that the UK has both grown its non-EU trade whilst being a member and been a global player - at times standing (rightly or wrongly) beside the US whilst "the EU" dithered."

                                  As we can continue to do so. And without the constraints you mention.

                                  "But I've yet to hear of any instance where being inside the EU has had any meaningful impact on UK (non-EU) exports."

                                  Only exports. Not imports? Only the work we do for others not the buying of things we want?

              3. IWVC

                Re: 20 year old tech...

                @codejunky

                "For what little say we had on EU regs we had to apply them domestically as well."

                True we had little effect on the form of EU regs. In fact in the bit I was involved with, the UK government reduced the resources that used to be involved in technical discussions “as we had little influence anyway” Also the government reduced or privatised independent UK research establishments, so we became almost totally dependent on others, or industry views for facts to base policy recommendations on. I can only speak for my area but suspect that other Govt departments suffered the same constraints.

            2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

              Re: 20 year old tech...

              We had less say than you think. Nearly all EU regs are sourced from various United Nations orgs, or other international standards orgs where our voice was not heard, as we were lost in the EU common position, which is reached by qualified majority vote (in cases where a vote is taken, which is usually not the case for technical and regulatory affairs). Outside the EU we have a direct voice on these organisations, which make decisions by unanimity rather than any kind of majority, so rather than be overridden member states of the EU and thus be unrepresented, we can now negotiate directly and advocate for our own interests.

              Most technical and regulatory directives are gilding on decisions made over the EU's head. We've escaped that. Next is to get rid of the gilding our own civil service put on things, because they've nowhere to lay the blame any more.

              1. IWVC

                Re: 20 year old tech...

                @graham Dawson

                The UK does in fact (or at least did while I was working) have a significant input to UN ECE technical groups, chairing several of them involved with vehicles standards. The EU usually adopted the UN-ECE technical standards, although EU legal provisions and quality control standards had to be incorporated in the final texts. The EU Commission has sole rights to initiate a regulation and has control of developments up to adoption. The EU Council of Ministers or EU Parliament can REQUEST the Commission to make changes but not compel them to. Industry groups can be represented at early Commission working groups while they draft their proposals but have no voting power. However, many of the directives refer to CEN standards which are largely formulated by industry technical working groups. I don't know if the UK (Through BSI) will remain within the CEN system post BREXIT.

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                  > I don't know if the UK (Through BSI) will remain within the CEN system post BREXIT.

                  Good point, particularly as many BS technology Standards were just CEN Standards wrapped in a BSI cover.

        3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: 20 year old tech...

          You didn't ask about divergence and the big fucking tariffs the EU would wallop the UK with if it does diverge

          Exactly.

          The little-noticed clause in the vast 1,255-page text allows Brussels to kick the UK out of its electricity and gas markets in June 2026, unless a fresh deal is agreed.

          The date set is – deliberately – the same as for the review of fishing rights, when Mr Johnson has insisted the UK will finally grab a large share of stocks, having failed to do that in his agreement.

          https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-gas-electricity-supply-uk-fish-stocks-b1780376.html

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            "The little-noticed clause in the vast 1,255-page text allows Brussels to kick the UK out of its electricity and gas markets in June 2026, unless a fresh deal is agreed."

            Of course, since all Irish gas travels through the UK, that could have a knock-on effect. (They are currently building an LNG terminal, I think, but I am not sure it'll be sufficient for all RoI's gas needs.)

            1. Mage Silver badge
              Pirate

              Re: all Irish gas travels through the UK

              Curiously there is a serious proposal for an Ireland-France electricity Interconnector. Not sure if a gas pipe that long is feasible.

              The amount of direct ferry capacity between Ireland and mainland Europe has massively increased.

              Now the Irish Sea ferry Wales-Ireland is to have Duty Free I wonder how many in NI and Scotland will use it?

              NI businesses seem to be re-routing via Ireland and mainland Europe ferries rather than Larne-Cairnryan and then Dover-Calais.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: all Irish gas travels through the UK

                The EU interprets Brexit as damage and routes around it?

                1. Dr_N Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: all Irish gas travels through the UK

                  Dan 55> The EU interprets Brexit as damage and routes around it?

                  You gained +1 Beer. Happy New Year.

              2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: all Irish gas travels through the UK

                Not sure if a gas pipe that long is feasible.

                It most definitely is, it is comparable with the pipes for Russian gas through the Baltic to Germany.

            2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: 20 year old tech...

              Of course, since all Irish gas travels through the UK, that could have a knock-on effect. (They are currently building an LNG terminal, I think, but I am not sure it'll be sufficient for all RoI's gas needs.)

              It'll be fine. The US has built several LNG export terminals on it's East coast, which are desperate for customers. Plus impending climate prevention measures will mean Ireland and the rest of the EU will need much less gas for heating. Ok, so those policies will also mean much more demand for electricity, but "renewables" will provide that. Sometimes.

              There's a similar issue for Scotland. When it's windy, Scotland can export electricity south of the border. When it's not, it has to import it. See for example-

              https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/denmark-importing-a-third-of-its-power-today/

              In short, Denmark is heavily reliant on imported power from Norway (hydro) and Sweden (hydro/nuclear). Netting off the power exported to Germany, Denmark is still sourcing about a third of its electricity from abroad.

              Which will be FUN as we carry on tilting at windmills. Or just lucrative for hydro/nuclear generators because when the wind drops, the spot price for electricity rockets. Theoretically, the UK now has more energy independence to modify policy, in practice, the lunatics are still in charge of the asylum.

              1. DavCrav Silver badge

                Re: 20 year old tech...

                "The US has built several LNG export terminals on it's East coast, which are desperate for customers."

                They indeed are, but you need to be able to offload the LNG in RoI. And that was my point.

                "Plus impending climate prevention measures will mean Ireland and the rest of the EU will need much less gas for heating."

                But heat pumps and hydrogen are expected to hit their stride around 2040, whereas we are talking 2024. Sixteen years is a long time to wait to switch the heating on.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                  But heat pumps and hydrogen are expected to hit their stride around 2040, whereas we are talking 2024. Sixteen years is a long time to wait to switch the heating on.

                  But such is politics. So for example-

                  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54981425

                  The government will bring forward, to 2023, the date by which new homes will need to be warmed without using gas heating.

                  Which isn't that far off, but is far out. So much so that the date quickly got dropped from the 10-yr plan. Problem is still how to hit 'legally binding' decarbonisation targets from Ed Milliband's ruinous Climate Change Act. Which means decarbonising transport and heating. Ed was never one for details, so how exactly this is accomplished is someone else's problem.

                  And then there's the COP26 shindig looming, where tens of thousands of green lobbyists will descend on Glasgow, where our glorious leader will no doubt make some grand gesture to demonstrate the UK's leadership in saving the climate. Regardless of cost, benefit, or just practicality. Or hopefully Boris will tire of his current squeeze, and find another who isn't so rabidly Green.

                  1. DavCrav Silver badge

                    Re: 20 year old tech...

                    "The government will bring forward, to 2023, the date by which new homes will need to be warmed without using gas heating."

                    The problem is never new builds, but always retrofitting current stock. New builds can have ground-source heat pumps, whereas everybody else will need air-source.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: 20 year old tech...

                      The problem is never new builds, but always retrofitting current stock. New builds can have ground-source heat pumps, whereas everybody else will need air-source.

                      I think by 'need', you mean 'will be forced to install'. It's a bit like when John Prescott decided gas heaters/boilers deserved promotion and changed building regs. Much rejoicing amongst the CORGIs, including Caroline Lucas's dad as they increased sales of combi boilers, and service/maintenance contracts. People who'd been sold on Economy-7* systems to sink off-peak electricity were SOL. Then gas becomes evil, and we face another rip & replace cycle. But such is politics. See also promoting diesel, or biofuels for more info.

                      But there's now a target to install 600,000 heat pumps a year, which means lots of money to train CORGIs for new plumbing. Yey!. Big problem with GSHPs is, of course, G. Like having that. Window planters for anyone 2nd floor & above in an MDU won't help. Neither will typical stamp-sized gardens in a lot of new homes. Nor will it help existing leaseholders. Ok, there are options to go vertical and drill GSHP heat pipes, but that's more expensive. And then potential issues with temperature differentials over time, ie if you're sucking all the heat out of the ground during winter, system efficiency will drop over time.. Unless you pump heat back into the garden over summer, in which case that will cost.

                      Alternatively, there's air-source. So that can simply mean deleting balconies and adding suitably sized heat exchangers & fans to the outside of buildings instead. I'm sure architects can come up with suitable designs to keep planning inspectors happy in conservation areas though.

                      And of course both will increase electricity demand (and thus bills). Which is a.. slight problem given the lead time between constructing new power stations vs meeting politicians self-imposed targets.

                      *Economy-7 I think is still grossly overlooked as an aid to unreliable energy policy. Originally a solution for sinking baseload generation like nuclear off-peak, ie supply > demand. Now we have the reverse problem, combined with intermittency. So lobbyists faff around trying to promote 'grid scale' energy storage when micro-scale storage has been around for decades.. Plus of course 'smart' meters that can do demand management at a more granular level than Economy-7 teleswitches. Problem is of course current 'smart' meters are dumb, and an E-7 style solution would be more beneficial to consumers than suppliers, or erstwhile battery farmers. Plus the kit is dirt cheap by comparison being based on simple water tanks & heat bricks with resistive heaters. Not much to go wrong.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            > The little-noticed clause in the vast 1,255-page text allows Brussels to kick the UK out of its electricity and gas markets in June 2026, unless a fresh deal is agreed.

            Your 'concern' is fucking hilarious. For the last two-decades the EU has been tiptoeing around to avoid upsetting Russia and risking disruption of natural gas supplies to Europe, and you're worried about what the EU might do to supplies to the UK? I suggest you get a crash course on realpolitik pronto.

            Besides, we're all supposed to be switching to hydrogen for home heating to meet global warming commitments so we might as well get on with it.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: 20 year old tech...

              "Besides, we're all supposed to be switching to hydrogen for home heating to meet global warming commitments so we might as well get on with it."

              This is actually an issue. I was looking at this because I was thinking of replacing the boiler. Your options are

              1) heat pump. Very efficient but can only heat to 45 degrees. So you'll need to treble your radiator estate at least, I estimate (because heat transfer is dependent on the delta T, so 40-20 versus 80-20).

              2) hydrogen. This appears to be quite a lot less efficient, so we would need a LOT more electricity to run them. Better hope that fusion power comes on-stream in the next 15 years.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: 20 year old tech...

                "So you'll need to treble your radiator estate at least, I estimate (because heat transfer is dependent on the delta T, so 40-20 versus 80-20)"

                If you're running your rads at 80C that sounds a bit hot.

                It could be the installed radiator capacity is over what you need and you won't need to tunr more than a couple of singles to doubles

                Or maybe you just need to have your radiators on longer - ?

                1. DavCrav Silver badge

                  Re: 20 year old tech...

                  "If you're running your rads at 80C that sounds a bit hot."

                  It's true, that is a bit hot. Most boilers go up to 85C, with standard around 70C. Heat pumps at maximum at 45C, but in real-world conditions I'm not sure how high they actually go, especially on cold days.

                  The rough calculation holds. As for having them on more often, the trouble is that it gets cold at night. So unless you want it too hot during the day, you need to have a certain throughput. For converting singles to doubles, I agree that this would increase radiator estate. Which is exactly what I'm suggesting. But most experts say either extra rads, larger rads, or underfloor heating, is necessary for a heat pump system.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: 20 year old tech...

                    > Heat pumps at maximum at 45C, but in real-world conditions I'm not sure how high they actually go, especially on cold days.

                    Maybe you should ditch the old rads and go with underfloor heating throughout at the same time as 40C is typical maximum for those?

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: 20 year old tech...

                      Maybe you should ditch the old rads and go with underfloor heating throughout at the same time as 40C is typical maximum for those?

                      But that adds to the cost of new builds, and also to rip & replace floors in existing properties. Which then makes the ROI even more questionable. All to keep a 'new' tech happy, when alternatives might be far better & cheaper.

          3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            "You didn't ask about divergence and the big fucking tariffs the EU would wallop the UK with if it does diverge"

            The EU is only able to wallop EU consumers with tarrifs. Whatever their delusions they can't control how foreigners (to them) wallop their own citizens. What they gonna do, send the gunboats in? Telling furriners how to run their own countries went oh so well in the 19th century didn''t it?

    5. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: 20 year old tech...

      I expect that we'll see another government U-turn ... we'll be taking control of our own calendar now and return to the Julian calendar?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: 20 year old tech...

        The julienne calendar. That’s the one that’s divided into small sticks isn’t it?

      2. Peter2 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: 20 year old tech...

        You say "return to" like the civil service of the day didn't declare that it was too difficult to switch from the Julian calendar in the first place, and then called it the "tax year" to avoid the resulting riddicule of not having managed to make the switch a quarter of a millenia after everybody else in England managed it.

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: 20 year old tech...

        "I expect that we'll see another government U-turn ... we'll be taking control of our own calendar now and return to the Julian calendar?"

        This is meant as a joke, but actually, one of the few benefits of Brexit is that we won't have to do this stupid no DST law.

        In case you haven't heard about this, the EU has banned daylight savings time for its member states, starting 2021. The UK, at least for now, is still planning to have DST. This will be fun on Ireland.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: 20 year old tech...

          This will be fun on Ireland.

          About the same fun but reversed you now have with the continent.

          In case you mean on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland:

          1) It isn't a real problem, at most a bit of annoyance for daily commuters

          2) The Northern Irish parliament in Belfast will declare it a devolved matter over which it has jurisdiction independent from London (and get quiet support from Brussels), so it will still be in the same time zone as Dublin

          3) Dublin might be able to get an exemption so it will be in the same time zone as Brussels for about half of the year

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            "2) The Northern Irish parliament in Belfast will declare it a devolved matter over which it has jurisdiction independent from London (and get quiet support from Brussels), so it will still be in the same time zone as Dublin"

            The DUP is spitting feathers about the customs border in the Irish Sea. You reckon they'd go for that?

            NI is supposed to follow all EU rules, which should include this, but according to the UK Government website Belfast will switch the BST in March.

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: 20 year old tech...

          Why is getting rid of the insane Daylight Savings Time stupid? There are far more disadvantages than advantages* to fucking about with the clocks twice a year.

          * There are no advantages.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 20 year old tech...

            >There are far more disadvantages than advantages* to fucking about with the clocks twice a year.

            Brexit in a nutshell!

      4. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: 20 year old tech...

        "we'll be taking control of our own calendar now"

        Roll on Imbolc, that's what I say.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc

  9. izntmac

    Netscape Communicator is Still Alive through Open Source

    Netscape Communicator is still being updated via Open Source as the SeaMonkey Suite. So I guess you still can follow some of the law.

    https://www.seamonkey-project.org/ Happy New Year! :)!

  10. steelpillow Silver badge
    Coat

    Ho-hum

    Sure, the deal is just a a copy-and-paste MOSAIC and the negotiators have made a right HASH of it, so what's new then?

  11. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Wot abaht GDPR then?

    Recital 15 of the GDPR states "In order to prevent creating a serious risk of circumvention, the protection of natural persons should be technologically neutral and should not depend on the techniques used". So legislative requirement for specific technologies should be prohibited.

    One also has to ask how a requirement to use breachable technologies supports Article 24(1) "the controller shall implement appropriate technical and organisational measures" and Article 25 "Data protection by design and by default".

    I had hoped that the finding from our research that nobody gives a fetid dingo's kidneys about data protection only applied to businesses. It seems it also applies to the European Commission and/or the UK government. I suppose this will be the yardstick for the UK's "adequacy decision" in six months' time.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Wot abaht GDPR then?

      It's just an existing agreement copied into the new agreement and pre-dates GDPR by about 10 years.

      1. needmorehare
        Thumb Up

        Re: Wot abaht GDPR then?

        Not only that, but it highlights one of the key advantages with the way our common law works, as the House of Lords alluded to last night. In the UK, we legislate for principles which align with best practice and then seek expert guidance when enforcement measures are to be taken. Said principles are automatically future-proofed by being deliberately non-specific.

        In the EU, they pretty much have to go into explicit detail on just about everything by default, resulting in ideas which are good at the time outstaying their welcome much more frequently. For example, this wise (at the time) bit of 2008 legislation effectively precludes using 256-bit ECDSA keys for covered data types today without adding more legislation on top. As time goes on, the EU will become slower and slower at creating meaningful changes, due to legislative burdens.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Wot abaht GDPR then?

          I'd be somewhat surprised if the outdated bits are still applied in practice. If you know what you're doing when you write this sort of stuff you might make references to "best current commercial practice" or state they're minimum requirements knowing that as time goes on the norms will change. Alternatively specify an ongoing process that can keep the specification up to date without it being in the main document. I worked on a job for some time where extra products kept getting added to the contract; the workflow involved data transfer by XML and while some stuff was necessarily dealt with at sales and management level the XML additions were organised at working level.

          This has PHB interference written all over it and I'd be surprised if hadn't been left in the dust long ago. As I pointed out in another post, key management is ignored; if the folks who knew what they were doing felt that encryption had to be specified they'd surely have included it.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Wot abaht GDPR then?

            This has PHB interference written all over it and I'd be surprised if hadn't been left in the dust long ago. As I pointed out in another post, key management is ignored; if the folks who knew what they were doing felt that encryption had to be specified they'd surely have included it.

            Ah, but what does encryption mean? ROT13 good enough? Or something stylish in twisted hessian curves? Or something specifed by the European Cryptologic Center..

            (kidding)

            But as you say, it falls into PHB turf. Terms must be defined, so encryption methods and security standards must be defined. Which then gets complicated when national interests come into play with treaty signatories, ie lobbying for their preferred standards/standards bodies. Or possibly realising that using something better than MIME and POP mail might mean having to upgrade departments IT. Or occasionally having to find/develop translation gateways to get between foreign networks, and your own. I used to have fun (kidding) doing that with X.25 to IP. X.400 translation was luckily a software problem.

            In this case though, the situation seems somewhat muddled by the original Treaty being outwith the normal EU process, and least until the EU decided to stick their oar in.. Which seems to have left things a bit of a mess. From skimming through the withdrawl stuff, that seems fairly common, ie non-EU stuff like this bundled into it, which presumably is for legislative convenience to get it into UK law.

            1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

              Re: Wot abaht GDPR then?

              Nah, you have to do ROT13 twice for added protection.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Wot abaht GDPR then?

          In the UK, we legislate for principles which align with best practice and then seek expert guidance when enforcement measures are to be taken.

          You haven't seen the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 then, which refers to a very prescriptive external technical capability notice document which can be updated by the Home Office at any time without any real parliamentry oversight... or not updated at all.

          The only real blanket generalisation about how wonderfully different the UK is from all other EU countries anyone can really make is the UK doesn't have a single constitutional document which requires suid to run certain articles and superuser permission to alter. As we have seen over the past five years.

  12. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    Lately this appears to be a year-round problem, not just a Christmas problem

    Sadly the BBC, whose hacks were presumably enjoying an extended period of festive cheer, reported all this dull-but-important detail by churning throwaway speculation – and even managing to quote “experts” who were curiously incurious

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Symon
    Boffin

    Ursula von der Leyen.

    I wondered why they got her involved. I gather she's a cut'n'paste expert.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursula_von_der_Leyen#Plagiarism_accusations

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Ursula von der Leyen.

      Maybe they thought that have two cut'n'paste experts negotiating with each other would be the best solution?

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Ursula von der Leyen.

      As opposed to Johnson, who won a £10,000 literary award in his employers rag mag for:

      There was a young fellow from Ankara,

      Who was a terrific wankerer.

      Till he sowed his wild oats,

      With the help of a goat,

      But he didn’t even stop to thankera.

      Erdoğan hails from Instabul, not Ankara. I'd expect a young Turk like Johnson to know that - unless Boris is actually French like his dad now claims to be.

  15. HildyJ Silver badge
    Megaphone

    The lawmaker problem

    It's funny because of the particular tech they reference.

    But the actual, and incredibly significant, problem is that those who negotiated the deal and those who voted on it didn't understand why it was wrong. If someone had called for using 'H2G2 security version 42' it would have breezed through the process just the same. And it's not just Brexit. Most legislators, UK, EU, US, etc. are as clueless as aging boomers when it comes to tech and it shows in the laws and regulations we have to deal with.

    1. Brett Weaver

      Re: The lawmaker problem

      In my experience, the majority of business developers are "aging boomers" (Even Python and Node.js etc).This seems to be especially so around enterprise database development for some reason. Its a major issue for a lot of organisations. Outsourcing to India and attracting overseas applicants is one approach which is being tried, but for succession to work in the workplace, being tech savvy is going to have to become more attractive to younger participants to ensure support for the applications being developed now, let alone any legacy code the organisation relies on.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The lawmaker problem

      "as clueless as aging boomers when it comes to tech"

      I see the kids are out of school and still clueless as to who invented tech.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I may nitpick on the nitpicking: AES256 is not obsolete by any stretch of the imagination. It was specified in 2000. SHA-1 and RSA1024, on the other hand, are. It's even odd that AES*256* was specified, since the minimum, AES128, is still current too.

  17. DanielR

    Biometric data has been stolen already because of all this

    "The fingerprints of over 1 million people, as well as facial recognition information, unencrypted usernames and passwords, and personal information of employees, was discovered on a publicly accessible database for a company used by the likes of the UK Metropolitan police, defence contractors and banks.

    Suprema is the security company responsible for the web-based Biostar 2 biometrics lock system that allows centralised control for access to secure facilities like warehouses or office buildings. Biostar 2 uses fingerprints and facial recognition as part of its means of identifying people attempting to gain access to buildings.

    Last month, Suprema announced its Biostar 2 platform was integrated into another access control system – AEOS. AEOS is used by 5,700 organisations in 83 countries, including governments, banks and the UK Metropolitan police.

    The Great Hack: the film that goes behind the scenes of the Facebook data scandal

    Read more

    The Israeli security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar working with vpnmentor, a service that reviews virtual private network services, have been running a side project to scans ports looking for familiar IP blocks, and then use these blocks to find holes in companies’ systems that could potentially lead to data breaches.

    Advertisement

    In a search last week, the researchers found Biostar 2’s database was unprotected and mostly unencrypted. They were able to search the database by manipulating the URL search criteria in Elasticsearch to gain access to data.

    The researchers had access to over 27.8m records, and 23 gigabytes-worth of data including admin panels, dashboards, fingerprint data, facial recognition data, face photos of users, unencrypted usernames and passwords, logs of facility access, security levels and clearance, and personal details of staff.

    Much of the usernames and passwords were not encrypted, Rotem told the Guardian.

    “We were able to find plain-text passwords of administrator accounts,” he said.

    “The access allows first of all seeing millions of users are using this system to access different locations and see in real time which user enters which facility or which room in each facility, even.”

    “We [were] able to change data and add new users,” he said.

    This would mean that he could edit an existing user’s account and add his own fingerprint and then be able to access whatever building that user is authorised to access, or he could just add himself as a user with his photo and fingerprints.

    In the paper about the discovery provided to the Guardian before being published by vpnmentor on Wednesday, the researchers said they were able to access data from co-working organisations in the US and Indonesia, a gym chain in India and Sri Lanka, a medicine supplier in the United Kingdom, and a car parking space developer in Finland, among others.

    The researchers said the sheer scale of the breach was alarming because the service is in 1.5m locations across the world and because, unlike passwords being leaked, when fingerprints are leaked, you can’t change your fingerprint.

    “Instead of saving a hash of the fingerprint (that can’t be reverse-engineered) they are saving people’s actual fingerprints that can be copied for malicious purposes,” the researchers said in the paper.

    The researchers made multiple attempts to contact Suprema before taking the paper to the Guardian late last week. Early Wednesday morning (Australian time) the vulnerability was closed, but they still have not heard back from the security firm.

    Chinese cyberhackers 'blurring line between state power and crime'

    Read more

    Suprema’s head of marketing, Andy Ahn, told the Guardian the company had taken an “in-depth evaluation” of the information provided by vpnmentor and would inform customers if there was a threat.

    “If there has been any definite threat on our products and/or services, we will take immediate actions and make appropriate announcements to protect our customers’ valuable businesses and assets,” Ahn said.

    Rotem said the problem wasn’t unique to Suprema.

    “It’s very common. There’s literally millions of open systems, and going through them is a very tedious process,” he said. “And some of the systems are quite sensitive.”

    He said supply chain vulnerabilities – where a company uses a third-party company for a service that doesn’t have appropriate security – was common but often some of the vulnerabilities discovered were with Fortune 500 companies.

    Rotem said he contacts around three or four companies per week with similar issues. Earlier this year, Rotem pointed out a substantial flaw in Amadeus’s flight booking system.

    “Mistakes happen, and the real test is how you handle them,” Rotem said. “If you have a security team that can respond quickly and efficiently it’s good enough. If you have a security team that will send a legal team to threaten you, well, it’s less efficient.

    “And this happens quite a lot. It’s unpleasant for someone to point out you have a vulnerability or weakness. Some people take it as an opportunity to fix it and some people are offended by it for some reason.”"

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Biometric data has been stolen already because of all this

      Your post mentions "clear text" and "unencrypted". This is not relevant to the article, where encryption has in fact been specified. And this was the current law in the UK until yesterday. The text the article refers to is in the agreement so that it is carried over.

  18. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    “Dull and not immediately obvious”

    Sounds like half of the Government Cabinet ministers

  19. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Good job, El Reg

    Seriously, you went beyond Ctrl-F and you also provided a link to the original document - something that other sources don't do often enough. Well done.

    So, I followed the link, and I was very surprised that an international trade agreement read like a technical specification, down to DB fields and messaging protocol details (aside: I'd expect those things to need updating even more frequently than encryption algos or communication protocols). Then I found out that the Annex that contains a reference to Mozilla Mail, Netscape Navigator, JavaMail API, SHA1 and other stuff no one but the Commentariat even remembers is in facr a technical specification:

    Article 2: Technical specifications

    States shall observe common technical specifications in connection with all requests and answers related to searches and comparisons of DNA profiles, dactyloscopic data and vehicle registration data.These technical specifications are laid down in Chapters 1 to 3.

    [The part we are discussing is in Chapter 1.]

    What I am really surprised about is that I didn't find (and I am an expert on Ctrl-F) any clause that would say that the "laid down" technical specifications shall be updated as necessary/appropriate and that there would be a technical committee charged with the task of such updates, etc., etc.

    So at this point it does seem to me that there is an international trade agreement that includes partially obsolete details. So how does it work in practice: do the signatories stick to the Agreement or break it in pragmatic ways? El Reg-style investigative journalism is required to answer the question, n'est-ce pas?

  20. codejunky Silver badge

    And in other documents

    More of Thatchers opinions of the EU madness have been made public-

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55454106

    A few remainers may need to see this to get the idea that Thatcher was onboard out of their heads.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And in other documents

      I don't think it comes as any surprise to anyone here that single market != single currency. Do keep up at the back.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: And in other documents

        @AC

        "Do keep up at the back."

        Do read a bit further than the very first section please. Good job you posted as AC

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And in other documents

          It's difficult to know what you're referring to but in the last half of the story it seems Thatcher didn't like the European Commission, seemingly unaware that each member state appoints a commissioner.

          Then there is reference to "bureaucratic regulations" so it seems she's unaware that regulations make her single market work.

          Finally there's a reference to European police but there's no further description about what this means. Border police? Transport police?

          Then finally there's a mention of the Tory party's problems over Europe, so some things never change.

          Whatever it is you're referring to, you're not particularly interested in telling us what it is other than to use it as a chance to say your usual "EU bad" message.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: And in other documents

      Thatcher had her eyes open; the same can't be said for Farage and the current crop of Conservatives...

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: And in other documents

        @Roland6

        "Thatcher had her eyes open; the same can't be said for Farage and the current crop of Conservatives..."

        Ok. And yet they all agree (conservatives iffy on this) when it comes to the EU. Thatcher and Farage being more Libertarian than the Conservatives. Certainly more interested in free markets and trade.

        Maybe a good idea is a good idea on its own merit even if you dont like the person saying it. Kinda like some remainers not necessarily liking Blair but having the same view about remaining.

  21. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Coat

    Latest Encryption Policy?

    The reference to SHA-1 is actually bang up to date with the politicians' belief that all publicly used encryption should have a backdoor. Nice to see our Lords and Masters / Mistresses leading by example ;o)

    (Mine's the 'Scotland-Yard type Raincoat' with the tin foil hat in the pocket.)

  22. CrackedNoggin

    Well done sleuth. Journalism is not what is used to be, if it ever was. Furthermore, once a dubious factoid is (virtually) printed in the mainstream, it is replicated across the world thousands of times and overwhelming any search on the topic with those verbatim replicas.

  23. rskurat
    Meh

    seriously?

    Brokenshire is a real name? Sounds more like something out of Private Eye.

  24. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Dumfuks

    I've never understood why anyone would care whether an EU dumfuk committee or a UK dumfuk committee makes any particular decision. Surely we should be getting rid of the dumfuks and populating these committees with people who have a clue rather than giving a shit what it says in their passport?

    The Brexit electorate are now starting to see that they voted for something they will never ever get, and in it's place they are going to see lower wages, longer hours, higher prices, and MORE bureaucracy. Once those start to bite they will soon start screaming, unless they were going to be forced to actually pay tax on their earnings by the EU Tax changes.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Dumfuks

      @Big_Boomer

      "I've never understood why anyone would care whether an EU dumfuk committee or a UK dumfuk committee makes any particular decision. Surely we should be getting rid of the dumfuks"

      That is the problem. EU gov or UK gov, it is still gov and they will still be behind the curve because its impossible for them to have enough information to know what is going on or keep up to date. The further away from the activity they are the less they can know about it.

      "they are going to see lower wages, longer hours, higher prices, and MORE bureaucracy"

      Why? It could happen of course but it could go the other way. For one some prices are expected to fall since leaving the protectionist block means we dont need to carry over their protectionist tariffs and non-tariff restrictions. With one government we could easily have less bureaucracy than having the two. Why we would have longer hours passes by me but also why we would have lower wages? Also if wages were to fall but prices too and our living standards didnt fall would that be a problem for you?

      "Once those start to bite they will soon start screaming"

      I doubt it. The EU got away with a lot before the screaming to leave really kicked off.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Dumfuks

        >"they are going to see lower wages, longer hours, higher prices, and MORE bureaucracy"

        Why? It could happen of course but it could go the other way.

        Yes it could, however, this is England, where those with influence and power daydream about going back to the 18th century...

        Brexit does gives give an opportunity for the UK to take the lead just as we had the opportunity post-WWII - but somehow I don't see the public school brainwashed establishment changing its spots anytime soon...

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Dumfuks

          @Roland6

          "Yes it could, however, this is England, where those with influence and power daydream about going back to the 18th century..."

          Do they?

          "Brexit does gives give an opportunity for the UK to take the lead just as we had the opportunity post-WWII"

          Broke, rebuilding bombed infrastructure, reduced population and hating the Axis countries while being highly distrusting of half the world who were under communism? I like to think we are in a better position now.

          "but somehow I don't see the public school brainwashed establishment changing its spots anytime soon..."

          Me either. We can agree here. What we seem to disagree with is you dont carry this over to the EU gov on top of our gov. I apply this view to both lots which means a benefit to cutting out the further detached EU gov.

  25. Senior Geek

    Misconception

    This article is well researched but I think it misses the point.

    The authors of treaties know full well that they cannot keep their documents up to date with technology so there is a convention that all successors of a named technolgy are included by implication. Hence they name Netscape Navigator, and all browsers are in a real sense successors of that, also Mozilla Mail and Outlook, requiring both because they were rather different originations of the email client. The same applies to encryption.

  26. rg287 Silver badge

    I'm sure there's a reason (besides incompetency), but one has to wonder why it's necessary to include the full text of the Prüm Convention into the annex - meaning the outdated references are now wrong in two places.

    Surely:

    from EU import PRÜM

    I suppose if the EU were to update Prüm in some non-trivial way without reference to the UK (if we were just signed up abide by whatever it says) then Brexiteers might whinge that we're having laws written for us. This means we have our own static copy, however stale it may get. It's terribly untidy though.

  27. tip pc Silver badge

    Reference a continually updated Security Standard document instead

    Future important documents should reference a continually updated Security Standard document instead so that standards can be improved with future developments and be updated in 1 doc and referenced by many others.

    I remember compiling spec docs when i worked in civil service and being told to include stupid specific terms when it was obvious things would change and setting things in stone in the doc could have future impacts.

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