* Posts by Barrie Shepherd

366 posts • joined 6 Feb 2008


NHS Digital exposes hundreds of email addresses after BCC blunder copies in entire invite list to 'Let's talk cyber' event

Barrie Shepherd

And these are the muppets that we are supposed to trust with our most private health records LOL

Give us your biometric data to get your lunch in 5 seconds, UK schools tell children

Barrie Shepherd

Facial Recognition and Doppler Radar are the biggest technology evils of current times.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: I'd be such a troublemaking rebel if I was at school today.

"Shocking that only 3% objected."

We don't know what the question was that lead to 97% accepting the proposal.

I bet it would have been framed in a manner that obfuscated the underlying technology and emphasised the COVID safety.

It would certainly not have been "Do you agree we can take electronic pictures of your children and store them in a server so they can be accessed to confirm dinner payments." (because we can't be arsed to do anything less invasive)

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram deplatform themselves: Services down globally

Barrie Shepherd


Australia gave police power to compel sysadmins into assisting account takeovers – so they plan to use it

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Evidence m'lud...

".................then I put it to you that any 'evidence' is planted."

Which is why they want the law - back to stitching up "crims" who they don't have real evidence about.

How easy will it be to slip a few naughty pics into someone's social media / email account and then bang them away for kiddie porn.

You can 'go your own way' over GDPR, says UK's new Information Commissioner

Barrie Shepherd

Edwards had this to say: "What I really want to do is make privacy easy."

Simple make it illegal to collect and store personal data other that justified for the purpose.

Why does TV licensing in the UK want to know my name, age, email and sex?

Technically they only need the address to issue a TV license the rest is unnecessary data mining from CRAPITA.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: proviso

We should go back to cycles per second - far more descriptive.

KayCees is a far better way to describe a radio stations shortwave operating frequency :-)

In the '80s, satellite comms showed promise – soon it'll be a viable means to punt internet services at anyone anywhere

Barrie Shepherd

Re: There's also the antenna technology.

"Phased array "flat" antennas have been around for donkey's years."

Yes right back to the BSB Squarial - but those were to fixed satellites and had to be aimed - the Starlink ones are genuinely fully 'steerable' arrays.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Can't wait...

That's more or less what I have got.

Virgin dropped a co-ax into my home along with a modem to a RJ connector and that's me sorted.

Added my own router and ported my long held BT/Openreach POTS number to a VSP (not Virgin) and I am sorted - a 4G USB stick is on hand to take my mobile SIM should Virgin go down.

The Openreach cable still enters my property, and still has 'Non Connected' dial tone on it but it does not cost me a penny.

Ransomware-hit law firm gets court order asking crooks not to publish the data they stole

Barrie Shepherd

I doubt if this will end well.

It could easily could follow the Margaret Thatcher Spy Catcher legal mess - where the last Prime minister of Australia (Malcolm Turnbull) was the Lawyer who represented the plaintiff against the UK Official Secrets / D notices concerning an embarrassing publication - and ultimately won!

US Air Force announces plan to assassinate molluscs with hypersonic missile

Barrie Shepherd

Where's Greenpeace when they are needed to protect from a direct threat?

Mammoth grab of GP patient data in the UK set to benefit private-sector market access as rules remain unchanged

Barrie Shepherd

Ruffled Feathers

The NHS feathers have bee ruffled!

They have put out the following trying to reassure the populous that all is good;


"Mythbusting social media posts about the national data opt-out"

I particularly like the double speak;

"We do not sell health and care data" (No we give it away)

"We do not share data with marketing and insurance companies" (No they get it from the others we share data with)

No mention of who else they do sell / share data with!

Oops, says Manchester City Council after thousands of number plates exposed in parking ticket spreadsheet

Barrie Shepherd

"(numbers removed to preserve anonymity)"

Why? If they did it they deserve to be identifiable.

Barrie Shepherd

What is so wrong with being able to identify the owner of an aircraft? - or for that matter a car. In fact I'd go as far as to say it would be even better if the owners of buildings could be easily identified.

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear...........! /s

What is obscene is that the data for car registrations is being charged for.

Won't somebody please think of the children!!! UK to mount fresh assault on end-to-end encryption in Facebook

Barrie Shepherd

"The ever-popular politician.."

Where is the /s at the end of that statement?

About as popular as tinnitus - which is what she causes when she whines on, and on, and...........

Microsoft received almost 25,000 requests for consumer data from law enforcement over the past six months

Barrie Shepherd

Would I be correct in thinking that if I submit a Subject Access Request to Microsoft/Google/Facebook etc. I should receive the equivalent of what Plod would receive if they made a Warrant request for my data?

And if not what would justify the difference?

Best of FRANDs: Judge allows Apple retrial following $506m patent infringement ruling

Barrie Shepherd

Re: We need a patent court

"We need to overhaul the patent system."

Agree but first we need the US Patent System to catch up in reality terms with the rest of the world.

Granting patents for almost anything without even a search for prior work or a 'it's bleeding obvious' check is why we are in this mess.

Jackie 'You have no authority here' Weaver calls on the UK to extend Coronavirus Act provisions for online meetings

Barrie Shepherd

By all means 'extend' it for a short time but with a sunset clause no later than May 2022.

The arguments about serving 'local democracy better', 'reducing impact on the environment' etc. are somewhat fatuous masks for removing the cut and thrust of personal face to face argument in local matters. If allowed to continue indefinably local politics will resort to inaccessible politicians, who may not even be residents, making local decisions in a compromised video environment moderated by self appointed Clerks.

The right for members of the public to attend, in person, council meetings (of any type) should be retained as sacrosanct, this cannot be served by video conferencing where a potentially biased individual holds the Mute button and can remove opposition views from being heard or propagated.

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99

Barrie Shepherd

Re: forthright with outspoken opinions

Equally how can we have a democracy when the government have a majority of 80 because of a single 'democratic' populist decision?

Look at all the new laws they are planning to remove what we had thought were democratic rights.

OVH founder says UPS fixed up day before blaze is early suspect as source of data centre destruction

Barrie Shepherd

Manager to UPS engineer;

" You did enable the fire suppression system before your left - didn't you?"

OVH data centre destroyed by fire in Strasbourg – all services unavailable

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Who knew data centres were tinder boxes?

"I believe some DC used to use halon gas to suppress the fire .........."

There are alternatives to halon these days so it will be interesting to see if a fire suppression system had been installed.

GPS jamming around Cyprus gives our air traffic controllers a headache, says Eurocontrol

Barrie Shepherd

"Any INS will drift over time, and is not something you want to rely on for an approach threading between mountains."

Don't know if it is true or not but some years ago (when passengers were allowed onto the flight decks) I was up front on a 747 SIN to LHR. I asked about the inertial navigation accuracy and the Captain said that if he dialled in the LHR gate No at SIN then the plane would be no more than 20 metres off when it got to LHR. Laser gyros can maintain very high accuracy - they got a little run around to Mars! (I think)

Seagate UK customer stung by VAT on replacement drive shipped via the Netherlands

Barrie Shepherd

Re: It doesn't have to be this way.

"Items worth more than £135 - EU supplier should NOT charge VAT, as HMRC will collect VAT and any applicable Duty, at the Customs border.".........payment of which can only be made via courier/mail organisations who will add an inflated sum to the bill the end customer has to pay.

Under the old (£15 rule) Parcel Farce once tried to charge me £16 'handling fee' for two items from China that cost £8 each + £3.20 VAT. I dis-respectfully told them to send the items back and promptly ordered the items again in separate orders to stay below £15.

The fees collection model agreed between HMRC and the carriers is a rort. In this day and age end customers should be able to pay HMRC directly by bank transfer to free the goods up for delivery.

Facebook bans sharing of news in Australia – starting now – rather than submit to pay-for-news-plan

Barrie Shepherd

Re: How do they determine what "news" is?

"Most "news" that I remember in Australia was, at least on the commercial television networks,"...

When I was in Sydney 7, 9 & 10 evening news was at the same time, they covered the same stories, in almost the same running order. If there was Press Conference involved there was always a cutaway during the conference to a mass of tripods with 7, 9, 10 cameras and the camera manufacturers name (mainly Sony as I recall) clearly visible.

You got the idea that the content and running order was compiled as the ticker tape ran out of the Reuters terminal!

Barrie Shepherd

Re: I don’t see what the fuss is about

"The Oz government said that FaecesBook would have to pay to show Oz news,"

Point of clarification, the Law, as currently structured, makes it ALL News, not just Aus News sources. Facebookies in Aus must not be presented with any 'news' if FB are not to be fined (when the Law is enacted.

So FB cannot let Facebookies, in the UK see the Sydney ABC News, nor can Facebookies in the UK send links to friends in Aus. The law is so stupidly broad that it covers everything that could be classed as 'information' - hence the blocking of Metrological sites etc.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Couldn't even share this article

"They've blocked those of us Down Under from sharing any and all news."

Because the ACCC/Government have a very broad definition of what is "News" - It's not FB's fault they are trying to comply with what is a very badly written definition of "news" and also what is a "news source".

Barrie Shepherd

Well done Facebook

I don't use Facebook (much) and certainly not for news feeds so I applaud Facebook for standing up to the Australian Government and the ACCC.

Any law that is specifically directed to only two entities (Facebook and Google) and does not apply to those entities business or social competitors (notably Bing) is a terrible abuse of Law-making power. To add to that a definition of news so wide that any snippet of information can be classed as news information of interest to Australians is sheer abuse of power and process.

This is the definition of 'news' in the offending Australian Act ;

"news source means any of the following, if it produces, and publishes online, news content:

a newspaper masthead;

a magazine;

a television program or channel;

a radio program or channel;

a website or part of a website;

a program of audio or video content designed to be distributed over the internet.

core news content means content that reports, investigates or explains

issues or events that are relevant in engaging Australians in public debate and in informing democratic decision-making; or

current issues or events of public significance for Australians at a local, regional or national level"

So even a personal website is caught up in the mess.

UK Supreme Court declares Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed: Ride biz's legal battle ends in a crash

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Well....

".but since uber was, according to the ruling, an employer at that time, then they should have been paying VAT....."

...and probably National Insurance.

House Republicans introduce legislation for outright ban on municipal broadband in the US

Barrie Shepherd

"but every TOC pretty much agrees that separating the infrastructure from the companies that actually use it is a bad idea."

Well they would wouldn't they - anything to detract from the shambles of franchising and their own management failings.

NR have to manage multiple TOCs (and freight) on shared infrastructure historically starved of investment, by privatised Railtrack, and undersized for todays expectations. Openreach rose from the private entity British Telecom who were directly responsible for starving the countries telecoms infrastructure in favour of Dividends.

Microsoft tells Biden administration to adopt Australia’s pay-for-news plan

Barrie Shepherd

"I can't see why Google threatened to shut off all search services (in Australia) when they could just prevent links to whatever Australian newspapers were required (all if necessary)."

The Australian Law prohibits Google from selectively blocking links to any or all Australian or other countries News sites.

The Law also has a very broad definition of what is News and what is a News source;

Core news content means content that reports, investigates or explains:

(a) issues or events that are relevant in engaging Australians in public debate and in informing democratic decision-making; or

(b) current issues or events of public significance for Australians at a local, regional or national level.

Covered news content means content that is any of the following:

(a) core news content;

(b) content that reports, investigates or explains current issues or events of interest to Australians.

News business means:

(a) a news source; or

(b) a combination of news sources.

News source means any of the following, if it produces, and publishes online, news content:

(a) a newspaper masthead;

(b) a magazine;

(c) a television program or channel;

(d) a radio program or channel;

(e) a website or part of a website;

(f) a program of audio or video content designed to be distributed over the internet.

The ACCC has structured the Law so that Google has no wriggle room, they either comply or totally remove Search. If Google were to, somehow, run a 'No News Search' application but accidently dropped a BBC article about something like Brexit into a 'no news' search they would probably be in violation of the Law and up for a big fine. Also the Law calls for arbitration but not as we know it. The Arbiter can only decide between a $ offer Google may make against a $ request from the beneficial News groups - the Arbiter cannot change the $ values!

£30m in contracts awarded in Post Office's £357m ATM overhaul

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Replies to above comments

"Oh, and in the UK they would be driving around 12 miles :-)"

Outside your local area cop a £200 Covid fine. :-)

On his way out, Trump emits exec order suggesting US cloud giants must verify ID of all foreign customers

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Was it Trump?

As I understand it some US non governmental organisations already have authority to access the DVLA database (for a fee no doubt) in Swansea to confirm ID - that is why the likes of AirBnB etc require you to send 'clear machine readable' photos of you with your driving license to validate an account.

How our government came to allow this is beyond me while we were in the EU, now 'free' of EU regulation I guess we can expect far more of this data base access fee collecting.

UK coronavirus tier postcode-searching tool yanked offline as desperate Britons hunt for latest lockdown details

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Kinda

"........................organise a pissup in a brewery...... I was wrong.... they'd get lost on the way to the brewery.............

Nah - they didn't know the Brewery was in Tier 3 and was closed.

They should be fined £10,000 for being out of Tier area.

Ad banned for suggesting London black cabs have properties that prevent the spread of coronavirus

Barrie Shepherd

Who do I complain to.....

The ASA decisions have always been questionable and many are PC driven.

They uphold some frivolous complaint from a couple of people who have 'been offended' but ignore complaints where there is, IMHO, clear breach and intent to con the punter. (I won't harp on about the distortions in the Smart Meter 'Adverts' - which cannot be challenged because they are 'Public Information Announcements')

There needs to be an Advertising Standards Authority, Standards Authority to investigate them.

Transport for London dangles £1.1bn carrot in pursuit of suppliers for new revenue collection deal

Barrie Shepherd

Ooops Wrong Bridge !

Should be Hammersmith Bridge

Barrie Shepherd

Are the 'migration' costs included in those costs - I suspect not

I would expect those to be significant as, even with the logistical planning skills of Baroness Harding of Winscombe, changing from existing infrastructure at gates and on buses cannot be done in a 'big bang'. Old and new systems and tickets will have to co-exist for some months I would expect.

But then it's TfL so they could take the Westminster Bridge approach close the whole system down while they faff around with new machines and gates - who knows the new system may even be in place before the existing (unused) equipment on the Elizabeth Line comes into use.

Microsoft warns against SMS, voice calls for multi-factor authentication: Try something that can't be SIM swapped

Barrie Shepherd

Authentication using over the air mechanisms to mobile phones are all very well - when you are in your home country within coverage range.

If you have the audacity to be overseas (OK not these days) they fail when the 'interconnected roaming networks' don't deliver the SMS for 20 or 30 minutes, or never.

Personally I like my dongles, served me for many years and either of them works with both the banks I use (which surprised me)

Radio Frequency fingerprinting of aircraft ADS-B transmitters? Boffins reckon they've cracked it

Barrie Shepherd

uniquely fingerprint aeroplanes

If you need to mask/spoof the ADS-B just have multiple ADS-B units on the plane and swop them around in flight.

Or go ADS-B silent.

Or have I lost the plot?

Chinese hacking competition cracks Chrome, ESXi, Windows 10, iOS 14, Galaxy 20, Qemu, and more

Barrie Shepherd

Re: The good news is that details of the cracks have not been released.

Google are omnipresent so don't need to be either invited or physically there :-)

Snap-crappy: 183 Brit local authorities operate 80,000 CCTV cams between them, says surveillance watchdog

Barrie Shepherd

"I can understand that certain ones would be beneficial to reduce crime or monitor traffic. "

I have seen a couple of studies that show that CCTV does reduce crime in the areas where it's installed e.g. town centres so is reported as a 'success' by local politicians. The caveat is that crime becomes distributed around the surrounding area where it is less obvious but no less.

So no more drug dealing in the town, where police have a chance of catching the culprits, but an increase in the residential areas where there are no police patrols so little enforcement.

Equally as the crims are dissuaded from shoplifting they move to house breaking. Overall the 'Net' result of CCTV on crime may be zero but the measured affect on town crime is hailed as a success by our Councils and Chief Constables.

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Surveillance cameras

Probably not true now but when unwired 'CC'TV cameras first arrived you could stand in the town centre with a TV tuner/dongle and screen and look at the camera picture yourself!

Now that the cameras are digital and, hopefully, encrypted this is probably not possible - but maybe if the citizens could also see the pictures there maybe less angst against these intrusions in our privacy right to go about our daily business unhindered.

(Oh! wait, forgot, those rights have been removed by the Covid regulations and we now need Hand-on-cock's permission to venture out of our house)

Scope creep has invaded the CCTV matter and no doubt will the Covid Regulations.

UK regulator Ofcom to ban carriers from selling locked handsets to make dumping clingy networks even easier

Barrie Shepherd

Re: Price rises on their way then.

Virtually every other electronic device in your home can be purchased "spread over a 24 month contract" be it finance company or credit card.

The phone companies should focus on selling airtime not finance. You get your TV from Curry's on finance and get your programmes from whichever source you want, Bosch et'al don't sell the washer with an electricity provisioning contract.

If you don't pay the finance contract you are in breach, just like not paying the contract for your TV purchase. So why does buying a phone have to be different ?

Barrie Shepherd

"What is the process for POTS to VoIP porting?"

In my case I was porting from Plusnet as I no longer needed their Internet connection having taken up Virgins high speed offering.

You can't do this unless you have a 'naked' Internet connection as you need a POTS number for ADSL provisioning. I have Virgin so am totally free of OIpenReach copper. Regrettably naked Internet connections on OpenReach copper are not (easily) available in the UK - Australia is way ahead in this respect.

I already had an account with a VoIP VSP (Tel2.co.uk) which I was using for an out of area PSTN number. I've dealt with Tel2, and their predecessors, for over 8 years.

To port a POTS number they advised that the receiving Provider has to initiate the transfer to avoid loss of the number if the existing provider or OpenReach do things out of sequence.

You just tell your selected VSP your current POTS number and provider, send a copy of the invoice as proof, and they do the rest. Also a good idea to warn your existing POTS provider - but DON'T cancel any account with them at that point - you could loose the POTS number.

The new VSP initiates the port with OpenReach, I think it was a ten day wait period, you then get a time/date for the Port and your VoIP is good to go.

You need to set up your VoIP device in advance so that at Port time it just starts working.

In my case I was porting from Plusnet as I no longer needed their Internet connection having taken up Virgins high speed offering.

I can now manipulate POTS calls in my home Asterisk box without the complexity of a POTS/VoIP gateway device. If you don't need that much complexity a VoIP phone will do. There was a time you could take your VoIP phone to a friends house and 'plug in' there while you visit - but Covid Law has scuppered that!!! :-)

Barrie Shepherd

While it's taken ages for OFCOM to get this far I congratulate them on number porting by SMS.

I recently had to do this on two phones and it was all over in less than 30 mins.

I also ported my POTS PSTN number away from the copper cable to a VoIP provider which was equally seamless and efficient.

Brit accused of spying on 772 people via webcam CCTV software tells court he'd end his life if extradited to US

Barrie Shepherd

""From January 2004 to the end of December 2011, 33 known UK citizens (including 6 with dual nationality) were extradited from the UK to the US. The US embassy in London reported that as of April 2013, 77 individuals had been extradited from the UK to the US."

So is that 110 or 77 sent to the US?

I don't follow the US argument ".....that this is not disproportionate, due to the US population being about five times larger than the UK population". Mind you their President has threatened to invade the Netherlands if the International Court of Justice tries any US military man for crimes so their imbalanced views are to be expected.

According to Wikipedia (probably the same page) only 38 individuals have been extradited from the US to the UK and apparently no US citizen was extradited for a crime committed while in the US.

In other words they won't send theirs to us if the crime was committed in the US, but they want ours irrespective of where the crime was committed.

In the case under discussion the crime was committed in the UK - the SW probably originated (or was modified) here, the perpetrator engineered it's download from here and the images were viewed here. Try him in the UK, by all means let any affected US citizen give evidence but it is a UK matter.

I don't follow the US argument ".....that this is not disproportionate, due to the US population being about five times larger than the UK population".

Barrie Shepherd

+ for MiguelC

Meanwhile a motorist, who killed a UK national on UK soil, is protected by the same American Government who won't take action in the US or allow extradition.

Have any US citizens ever been extradited to the UK (or anywhere) under this current Treaty?

Where's the level playing field in this game of extradition Bingo

NASA hires Nokia to build first 4G network on the Moon as part of plan to boldly go back to lunar surface by 2024

Barrie Shepherd

Re: 5G

....and a MPS (Moon Positioning System) constellation to keep it all singing from the same timing sheet.

Australia sues Google over data collection practices that merged DoubleClick data to create single user profiles

Barrie Shepherd

An Australian government body takes a private entity to court because they are doing what the Australian Government has legislated other Australian government entities, and pseudo government entities, should be able to do.

Such hypocritical irony "We can, you can't "

(Not that im defending any of Googles actions which are considerable overeach anyway)

UK govt finds £200,000 under sofa to kick off research into improving mobile connectivity on nation's crap railways

Barrie Shepherd

I can save the Government some of the £200,000.

The chances of working through technical issues, permissions and protocols for attaching any sort of equipment to the Overhead Line Equipment structures is naff all.

As part of the 25 Kv AC overhead line system the structures are also part of the traction 'Earth Return' path. Active electronics attached to them will require considerable protection from the high currents and impulse noise in the contact wire while trains pass through drawing potentially 200 odd amps.

Any power supply, for the BTS, will require considerable filtering and will itself have to be protected by, externally, becoming part of the return current system to prevent dangerous touch potentials. What about battery support? where will that be located? There is often little room in the railway corridor for more infrastructure. In many cases there are no general power supplies (as in domestic types) in the vicinity of the track anyway, providing those will add to costs. Tapping the OLE power could be an option - but at high cost and unreliability, as sections of OLE can be isolated for railway maintenance activities. (as a side note I don't think the Railways supply agreements for the use of OLE power allow them to use it for non operational purposes anyway) Solar cells and the like is even more infrastructure to go wrong (and be stolen).

Providing telecoms links to the units will offer similar complexities.

Then you have the matter of BTS maintenance. The Railway Electrical Engineers will most likely refuse access to the structures, to maintain the BTS equipment, unless under an isolation i.e. the OLE disconnected and earthed. You can't have some random Telco tech climbing ladders up the gantry to attend to a broken BTS. The permissions and protocols for work on OLE are onerous, and take time to arrange, but they need to as 25 Kv is unforgiving.

When there is a derailment the OLE tends to suffer significantly so any BTS will be wiped out.

Ask yourself why the Railways signal engineers do not save money and attach signals to the OLE? It is just far too problematic, even passive signs (speed limits, restricted clearances etc.) are, in most cases, considered a no no.

Then ask why Network Rail spent millions building new towers/rooms for the the GSM-R equipment if they could have just stuck it on the OLE gantry.

This has been talked about in many railways over many years and large scale implementations, to my knowledge, have never materialised. I'm aware of some limited implementation on some European lines for GSM-R but am not aware of any public BTS kit attached to OLE structures.

The report is thus simple;

No option for using existing railway operational infrastructure exists. Improvement of public wireless coverage in the railway corridor can only be effectively achieved by Telcos developing stand alone masts and infrastructure, preferably a safe distance from the railway safety zones. Some opportunity exists for sharing of existing railway buildings and apparatus rooms but it is not considered that this opportunity helps in many areas where existing coverage is poor. Improvements in wireless distribution, inside trains, can be made but these will only be successful if Telcos provide the necessary improvement in coverage and capacity to the areas along the rail corridors - much as they do for the motorway corridors.

(please remit £199,999.99)

Brit police's use of facial-recognition tech is lawful, no need to question us, cops' lawyer tells Court of Appeal

Barrie Shepherd

Re: This is legislation which affects everyone, immediately and continuously

"A non-vote is a vote for the status quo."

That didn't work for BREXIT.



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