* Posts by Andy J

46 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Feb 2008

Suspected supply chain attack backdoors courtroom recording software

Andy J

It would have been helpful if the opening paragraph had mentioned which country this story was about. I deduce it was the USA as I am fairly familiar with the court system in the UK and none of the acronyms used refer to systems here.

We need a Library of Congress – but for the digital world

Andy J

Re: The Library of Congress already has this in hand

"I wonder why UK copyright still specifies TCD. I'd have expected it to have been changed to QUB a century ago although the old library would have run out of storage space long before the 1960s."

The reason Trinity College remained a Legal Deposit Library is that the UK and Ireland have a reciprocal arrangement (see section 198 of the Irish Copyright Act 2000 and section 13 of the UK Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003), whereby publishers in Ireland are required to supply a deposit copy to the British Library. However, I agree that it would be fair to include Queens Belfast as an LDL.

Andy J

Re: The Library of Congress already has this in hand

The Legal Depsoit Libraries Act 2003 is mainly concerned with works published on paper. The Act does allow for regulations to be made requiring the deposit of "a copy of any computer program and any information necessary in order to access the work, and a copy of any manual and other material that accompanies the work and is made available to the public". So far this power has not been invoked. However section 7 of the Act allows the Legal Deposit Libraries to pro-actively make copies of anything they consider relevant found on the internet (cf the Internet Archive). See the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013 for further details.

Andy J

The Library of Congress already has this in hand

For copyright to be protectable in a court case in the USA, the work has first to be registered with the US Copyright Office, part of the same Library of Congress mentioned in the title of this piece. This applies to computer programs. Therefore as far as major branded (eg Windows3.1 or MSDOS) software is concerned there is already an archive in existence, at least as far as software produced in the USA is concerned. More details on what has to be deposited with the Copyright Office to gain registration here.

Ex IT chief at Homeland Security watchdog stole US govt software to pirate

Andy J

"The late Howard Hughes surrounded himself with Mormons, it was reported, on the grounds that they were honest, morally sound, and kept their mouths shut. He may have been onto something."

Trump did something similar and surrounded himself with morons.

US Air Force chief software officer quits after launching Hellfire missile of a LinkedIn post at his former bosses

Andy J

Serving military officers tend to be sponsors rather than managers of projects.

In fairness to the UK MOD, the lead on most operational requirements is in the hands of military officers, usually with a technical background commensurate with the field they are working in, because they represent the user on the ground, be it a soldier, sailor or airman. They are termed "Project sponsors'. Project management lies entirely within the Defence Procurement Agency - professional civil servants, almost entirely devout of military. The sponsor holds the purse-strings, subject to the whims of the MOD's tri-service Office of Management and Budget (or whatever it is known as these days, I've been away from that world for rather a long time). Steering a project through tends to be a triangular process between the sponsor (confirming the operational requirement still exists and is being met by the project), the project manager and whatever outside agency / cormpany is dealing the practical side, such as Qinetiq. BAE Systems etc. A lack of technical knowhow at the management level is rarely the problem, I suggest. Political judgement? maybe not so much.

Activist raided by police after downloading London property firm's 'confidential' meeting minutes from Google Search

Andy J

Re: Arrest Necessity

Would you care to be specific about which part of PACE was not followed? Section 24 provides that any constable can arrest a person who he reasonably suspects has committed or is about to commit a criminal offence and where the constable has reasonable grounds for believing the person's arrest is necessary. PACE provides for a number of Codes of Practice, the relevant one here being code G covering the statutory power of arrest by police officers. In paragraph 2.9 of the Code, there is an exhaustive list of the grounds on which arrest may be considered necessary. I'll pick out just a few which might just have been applicable in this case:

"(e) to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence or the conduct of the person in question ... when the suspect is found in possession of incriminating objects ...it is thought likely that the person may steal or destroy evidence ... there is a need to enter and search any premises occupied by the arrested person ... it is necessary to secure or preserve evidence in connection with a recordable offence."

Given that the alleged offence concerned the misue of computers, it goes without saying that the police would want to seize any computer or device likely to have been used to commit the alleged offence.

PACE also contains a system of checks and balances. Once the arresting officer had got his suspect back to the custody suite he would have to convince the custody sergeant that the grounds for arrest were justified. OK I admit this is a pretty low hurdle, but the custody sergeant has a statutory duty (section 37) to ensure these grounds are reasonable. The detained person can then ask to speak to a solicitor who would soon challenge any obvious abuse of the power of arrest.

Not saying that he should have been arrested, but I can't see any reason for thinking that PACE was not followed.

Australian court rules an AI can be considered an inventor on patent filings

Andy J

Re: Do machines have rights now?

Patent rights are for a fixed duration. In the UK and most other first world nations the standard term is 20 years from the priority date. There are special terms for some pharma products. The person or company which owns the AI device would be accepted as being the owner of the patent, just as currently a company would own the patent on an invention of one of its human employees. This would be the case even if the human employee died two days after coming up with the invention.

Not the Wright stuff: Bitcoin 'inventor' loses bid to sue YouTuber who called him a liar

Andy J

Re: Libel tourism

The issue which both the High Court and the Court of Appeal had to examine was not where the claimant (Wright) was based, but where the defendant was. This was due to section 9 of the Defamation Act 2013 which says: "9. Action against a person not domiciled in the UK or a Member State etc

(1) This section applies to an action for defamation against a person who is not domiciled—

(a) in the United Kingdom;

(b) in another Member State; or

(c) in a state which is for the time being a contracting party to the Lugano Convention.

(2) A court does not have jurisdiction to hear and determine an action to which this section applies unless the court is satisfied that, of all the places in which the statement complained of has been published, England and Wales is clearly the most appropriate place in which to bring an action in respect of the statement." As Roger Ver has virtually no connection with England and Wales or the EU, the outcome is unsurprising.

Wanna force granny to take down that family photo from the internet? No problem. Europe's GDPR to the rescue

Andy J

Re: Seven years

".. while GDPR exempts purely personal activity, it's not clear that postings to Facebook, with possible exposure to internet searches, qualify for that exemption."

The GDPR has an extremely long and comprehensive list of recitals which explain how the Regulation is supposed to operate. National courts are supposed to refer to the recitals where they feel the bare words of the Articles are unclear.

Recital 18 says: "This Regulation does not apply to the processing of personal data by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or household activity and thus with no connection to a professional or commercial activity. Personal or household activities could include correspondence and the holding of addresses, or social networking and online activity undertaken within the context of such activities." Personally I find the last sentence quite clear. Obviously the Dutch court didn't.

You overstepped and infringed British sovereignty, Court of Appeal tells US in software companies' copyright battle

Andy J

Re: US Law applies worldwide

English and Welsh civil law has historically only ever allowed compensatory damages as the norm. Additional damages can be awarded in instances where the court feels that the defendant has behaved in a flagrant manner, and it is then up to the court to decide the level of additional damages based on the facts. The EU decided this wasn't robust enough, so when they drafted the Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC) which applies to intellectual property cases, they included in Article 1 the statement "Those measures, procedure and remedies [ie the ones the member states had to provide for in IP cases] shall also be effective, proportionate and dissuasive ... " Many claimants/plaintiffs now regard the word dissuasive as meaning punitive and automatically ask the courts to award the additional damages even where no flagrancy has been proved. However when the UK transposed the EU Directive into UK law it only referred to "negative economic consequences" suffered by the claimant or "unjust profits" made by the defendant, as grounds which the court needed to take into account. So after 31 December we will probably see the UK courts reverting to the previous way of assessing damages, as the EU Directive will no longer need to be taken into account.

Germany says nein to Euro Unified Patent Court, pulls plug and leaves it nearby if anyone wants to put it back in

Andy J

Re: Good idea, poor implementation?

" - the EPC is not an EU instrument. It has nothing to do with the EU.

Sure, but why should EU membership of signatory countries be a requirement then? That's the bit I don't understand."

Len, Apologies if I have misunderstood you, but I think you are confusing the EPC with the UPC, or at least the UP (that is, the Unified Patent package).

As Phil O'Sophical says, the EPC has nothing to do with the EU. It set up the European Patent Office (again not an EU body) to issue patents to which would be valid within any of 38 contracting States. The EPO has no enforcement jurisdiction. Once a valid patent has been awarded by the EPO, it is enforced via the national courts of the member states, applying their applicable national patent statutes and caselaw. The CJEU has no role in enfrorcing EPO patents.

The Unified Patent system is an EU initiative which aims to set up supra-national courts to hear disputes about European patents, including patents issued by the EPO to EU member states. As mentioned, the EU aspires to widen the membership of the UP to include all EPC signatories in due course, but because the ultimate court of appeal within the UPC setup is the CJEU, I'm not sure how palatable that would be to the non-EU members of the EPC, such as Switzerland, and soon the UK.

Andy J

Re: Good idea, poor implementation?

"Why could Norway or Switzerland (or the UK once it's come back to its senses) not be signatory to it if they asked nicely?"

That is envisaged by the UP package, although the UK is unlikely to ask to join because it would mean being subject to the jurisdiction of the CJEU.

Up in the heir: Inheritors enduring huge delays after botched migration at UK probate service

Andy J

Problem is not a price hike, but a price drop.

Prior to July the cost for obtaining a copy of a will or grant was £10.50. This was reduced £1.50 in July. Who could possibly have guessed this would result in more applications, causing the system to buckle under the strain? There's never a crystal ball around when you need one.

Looming EU copyright rules – tackling Google news article scraping, installing upload filters – under fire from all sides

Andy J

"By removing the requirement to put a date on copyrighted material, it becomes onerous to discover exactly when a such copyright expires."

Since every country in the world now bases the length of copyright protection on the lifetime of the author plus a specified number of years (typically 50, 70 or 100 years) after their death, putting the date when a work was created or published isn't much help in knowing when the copyright expires.

Andy J

I don't know where you get your Google from, but within the EU, Google doesn't put any adverts on the news pages it serves in response to searches. The situation is more complicated when it comes to Youtube because some copyright content is posted on official channels by the copyright owners and some is from individual users who quite frequently don't have permission (ie they come under the Article 13 auspices, not Article 11). Posts from either of these sources may or may not have paid advertising alongside or within their uploads. Youtube as a company doesn't post any content so wouldn't be subject to the Article 11 provisions.

Here is how Google handles Right To Be Forgotten requests

Andy J

Re: Why does RTBF for a search engine even exist?

"What I don't understand is why this even is something Google has to do. "

The CJEU decided that Google was processing data, which makes them a data processor under EU data protection law. One of the things a data processor has to do is ensure that the retention of any personal data it is storing or processing is justified on the grounds of relevancy, accuracy, proportionality and it is not kept for longer than is necessary for the purpose it was originally obtained. The CJEU felt that in the case of the Google Spain case, Google failed on the relevancy and proportionality tests, and thus they were found to be retaining the data concerning Snr Gonzalez longer than was necessary for Google's purposes (ie indexing the internet). In theory, the CJEU judgment only applies to Google within the European Union, meaning that Google.com could continue to list the links to the sites containing the facts about Snr Gonzalez's past activities. In contrast the Canadian Supreme Court recently gave a judgment which required Google to delist certain links on a worldwide basis. That matter is still not resolved as Google is trying to find a way to get the decision reversed. https://www.wired.com/story/google-fights-canada-order-global-search-results/

Shady US sigint base upgrade marred by stolen photograph

Andy J

Re: of copyright...

I'm afraid you really don't understand how copyright liability works, do you? The putative owner of the copyright (the secretbases site) is based in the UK and so is the corporate base of the Register. Even if the piece had been written by one the Register's US based journalists, the fact that they have a UK trading presence still means the UK is the jurisdiction where the 'harm' occurs. Ergo, any action for infringement would need to be carried on in the UK courts and under UK law. That is not to suggest that the Register has in fact done anything wrong. They claim to have permission to use the image and if true, then there is no problem.

Andy J

Re: of copyright...

Well since fair use is an American doctrine, and el Reg is nominally a UK-based site, that should be 'fair dealing'. Except that there is no fair dealing exception which would permit this sort of use. The copying of photographs for the purpose of reporting current events is strictly prohibited by section 30(2) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 [http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/48/section/30]

HBO slaps takedown demand on 13-year-old girl's painting because it used 'Winter is coming'

Andy J

Re: overhaul?

That issue is more complicated than your posting suggests. Various words and symbols relating to the Olympics are subject to wide protection in addition to any registered trade marks because of the 1995 Olympic Symols Protection Act (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/32/enacted). The specific Regulations (the version for England can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/2898/contents/made) brought in for the 2012 London Games merely added extra details to the existing measures. The UK legislation is a reflection of obligations the country faces as a consequence of various international treaties.

Obama reveals tiny NSA reforms ... aka reforming your view of the NSA

Andy J

Re: "Having faced down the totalitarian dangers of fascism and communism"

That's the Iberian peninsula; I don't think that modern day Portugese would be overly happy being called Hispanic, even though their nation was once part of the Roman territory of Hispania.

US military's RAY-GUN truck BLASTS DRONES, mortars OUT OF THE SKY

Andy J

Why do cruise missiles pose a different kind of problem?

The article implies that this current technology wouldn't be much good against things like cruise missiles, because the latter do not follow a fixed trajectory and can change course. But since the radar acquisition and laser operate virtually instantaneously (at the speed of light anyway, which at these ranges amounts to much the same thing) even a highly manoeuvrable object would still be in roughly the same place when the laser fires as when the radar located it. Clearly some sort of active counter measures or stealth technology incorportated in the missile might bugger things somewhat, but that wasn't what the article implied.

A more likely problem with something as large as a cruise missile would be how to accurately point the relatively narrow beam of energy at the right part of the missile to do the maximum damage.

The UK's copyright landgrab: The FAQ

Andy J

Re: two points i disagree on...

In the UK where a company owns the copyright in a work, the term of the copyright is still based on the lifetime of the employee who created it, so the problem you raised in your third paragraph would still be resolved.

In the US, so-called work-for-hire provisions mean that the employer is also the owner of the copyright in a work made by an employee, and currently the term is a fixed one, namely 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation, whichever is the shorter. This again would be amenable to your suggestion.

Plans for fully 3D-printed gun go online next week

Andy J

Not a danger to society, but a danger to the user.

I suspect the 'chunk of metal' incorporated in the original forms the chamber so that it can withstand the enormous force created when the ammunition is fired. Leave that out and the firer will probably lose both their hand and their eyesight if they are lucky, and possibly a lot more, if they're not. Real guns are made of metal for a reason (no, not so you can chrome plate them).

Announcement of 'churnalism detector' gets furiously churned

Andy J

From the evidence given to the Leveson Inquiry, it appears that it was true that the NOTW had hacked into Millie Dowler's voicemail, but it could not be established if they or anyone else had deleted messages, or whether in fact the voicemail system itself might have caused this to happen after a pre-set period of time.

The recent IPCC report confirmed the hacking by NOTW but did not address the issue of the deletions, and the Guardian has acknowledged its mistake on this point: "There was no reference in the IPCC report to the separate issue of whether any of Milly's voicemails were deleted by the News of the World or anybody else – as had been originally but incorrectly reported by the Guardian." Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/apr/24/police-dowler-phone-hacking

Zuck on that! Instagram loses HALF its hipsters in a month

Andy J

3 things

For those who are criticising this government remember that the orphan works 'grab' first appeared as Clause 43 of the Digital Economy Bill under Labour. As someone already said, it is the civil service (the IPO) who are behind this.

Second it's the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (specifically, clauses 65 to 69) not the "Business And Enterprise Bill" as stated by Orlo.

And while this proposed legislation does worry me greatly, it is wildily inaccurate to say "Since most digital photographs don't have the creator's ID attached in the metadata, they're classified as "orphan works"." That kind of sloppy journalism does not help to win the argument. A more considered set of arguments can be found on the Stop 43 site: www.stop43.org.uk

Overland patent broadside: Targeted firms vow to fight

Andy J

Design Patent

What the article fails to make clear is what is meant by a design patent (or patented design as it is referred to in the text). A design patent is the US equivalent of what most other countries refer to as a Registered Design and is all about the physical appearance and characteristics of the item, not how it functions. A utility patent covers the latter, and is generally seen as the more important form of intellectual property for technology companies, since the outside appearance of a product can easily be changed to avoid infringing, whereas re-designing the functionality so that it doesn't infringe may be either expensive or technologically impossible in the short term.

ICO could smack Google Street View with fine after all

Andy J
Big Brother


Given that someone had first to build and install the antennas and demodulation circuitry to capture the Wifi signals AND also connect said output to the data recording device used to store the GPS and image data, I would say it's stretching credulity somewhat to say that storing of the comms data was unintentional.

BBC uses lifted Iraq war photo to depict Syrian slaughter

Andy J

Not the most accurate bit of comment

I would dispute a couple of bits of comment in the article. Firstly using tinyeye or Google image search etc does not make the revelation of the parents of an orphan work "Technology can find the long-lost parents of orphan works". It merely finds other examples of the same or similar images. If they equally have no identifying EXIF or watermarks, then you are no closer to finding the true owner of the copyright. Since many photographers deliberately put robots.txt tags on their online galleries, the software described will not always find the true source of the images.

Secondly the article implies that the government has kicked the small claims track into the long grass. Not so. A consultation and call for evidence was concluded in Feb 2012 (http://www.ipo.gov.uk/hargreaves-enforce-c4e-pcc-response.pdf) and plans are in hand to launch the small claims system, within the soon-to-be renamed PCC by the end of the year. Realistically this probably means sometime in 2013, but at least things are moving forward and not stagnating as Andrew suggests. Details of an interesting recent 'small claims' case here: http://www.thefetishistas.com/index.php?menu=7&sub=47&display=697

Zuck's sister leaves Facebook to start new venture

Andy J

WTF is mentorship??

Perhaps her next venture could involve instructing people in the correct use of the English language instead of just making up words for the sake of it. Mentor as a verb works just like teach, tutor or instruct: the noun for the activity is formed by -ing: mentoring, teaching, tutoring, instructing etc FFS.

Japan seeks unheard-of new uses for cell location data

Andy J
Big Brother

Mobiles do continue to poll when switched off

Yes, the only way to ensure that you position is not being tracked is to remove the battery.

Government plans cyberweapons programme

Andy J

General staff

Not quite correct. Officers of field rank (ie up to Lt Col) wear the cap badge of their corps or regiment, but members of the general staff (full colonele and above) wear the general staff badge. Many senior officers will continue to wear the beret of their previous regiment (eg maroon for the paras, sand coloured for the SAS etc). The only example of deviation from this dress code was, famously, Field Marshal Montgomery who wore the general staff badge and his tank corps badge together: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e4/Bernard_Law_Montgomery.jpg/250px-Bernard_Law_Montgomery.jpg

Who's nicked Vaz's fondleslab?

Andy J

Scotland Yard

In fact the Norman Shaw buildiing - old home of the Metropolitan Police - was known as just plain 'Scotland Yard'. New Scotland Yard is the building the MPS now occupies on Broadway, just off Victoria Street.

Ofcom okays Derren Brown psychic-baiting

Andy J

If the past is another country, what is the future?

Look, you guys who want to criticise this psychic, you have to realise that making predictions is not easy, especially where the future is concerned.

Honda US cops to vast data snaffle from marketing firm

Andy J

@Billy Bob Gascan

If you remember this is a British site, then checking with a proper dictionary might help: http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_gb0785210#m_en_gb0785210

ISPs mark disapproval of the Digital Economy Bill

Andy J

Lord Clement-Jones??

Not sure why they thought Lord Clement-Jones was worthy of being nominated as a villain. He was one of the most vociferous opponents of the Bill in the Lords and proposed a stack of wrecking amendments

Bletchley Park archives to be digitised, put online

Andy J

Pedantry alert

Strictly speaking Enigma wasn't a code but an electro-mechanical encipherment system, and since BP had several replica Enigma machines, the cracking involved trying to get the day's key settings which should have been extraordinarily difficult by a brute force attack. But the process was assisted by the Germans sending routine formated messages like weather repotrts at the same time each day, and by laziness on the part of the radio operators who often didn't input the additional security steps they were supposed to do. All the "tips" - that is the methods of finding the day's settings- came from highly intelligent humans. That was the difficult bit. The bombes, and not colossus, were used to reverse engineer the actual rotor settings once a guess had been made at the likely plaintext. Colossus was used on the much more sophisticated Fish encipherment system, which used a different version of the Enigma machine with an additional rotor.

Today is not New Year's Eve - or the end of the decade

Andy J

Less 'not so simple' than you think

"1st of January 1600 was the new year up North.

Must have been a bit confusing for the King, sitting on his throne in London Town, receiving a letter from Edinburgh.

My Lord you have received a letter from the plebs in your other kingdom, it seems they don't know what year it is."

Well in1600 the person sitting on the throne in London was actually a Queen (Elizabeth I). And of course Scotland wasn't 'her other kingdom'. It wasn't until 24 March 1603 (conveniently one day before the end on the year in England) that King James became king of both Scotland and England. As he had been king of Sotland for 36 years before he came to the English throne, he would have understood the strange Caledonian practices. And since he was James i in England and James VI in Scotland I don't think a little mental arithmetic when it came to dates was going to worry him,

Agincourt: The sensational truth

Andy J

Don't want to piss on your parade but...

I have to doubt the historical accuracy of your report. Tea did not come to Europe until the seventeenth century, two hundred years after Agincourt so the English couldn't have been on a tea break. Based on past experience, I would say this story came from a press release issued by the Home Office to distract attention from the deranged drugs advisor story.http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/fail_32.png

So what we do when ID Cards 1.0 finally dies?

Andy J

Do try to keep up...

Ha, the author of the article and many of commenters here aren't too smart. The Govt's ID Card will contain magic stuff that will render all future terrorism useless, eliminate virtually all criminal activity, remove all undesirable aliens from our country (except those from the EU of course) and improve the delivery of government services, and most important of all, banish fear. So where in the article does he give us all those excellent benefits? You just have to trust the politicians on this....

Sweden: IP numbers are personal...unless you're a pirate

Andy J

Meanwhile elsewhere in the EU...


Looks like a nice little earner for the lawyers arguing the toss on this one.

Extreme porn law used on beastly Chinese DVD pirates

Andy J
Paris Hilton

OPA vs Extreme Porn Act

One of the major distinctions between the Obscene Publications Acts (there are 2 of them) and the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (aka extreme porn act) is that the CPA targets the publishers and distributors of obscene material, whereas the exteme porn act is mainly targets the possession of extreme porn by anyone, including the privacy of one's own video camera, with no intention of sharing the output with Youtube, Readers Wives etc.

Paris because she's happy to share her porn with anyone.

Pressure group demands UK apes China net filter plan

Andy J

Sexual Deviancy

A fair chunk of the world's population probably think that homosexuality is 'deviant' so I wonder where he enlightened souls at Mediamarch stand on that? Don't expect Mandelson's support if you get the answer wrong.

Ofcom to clamp down on 'unfair' charges

Andy J


to Oliver Jones and others, contract law already protects you to the extent that if one party to a contract wants to change the terms, this must be agreed to by the other party, ie effectively what happens now when a teleco (and others) informs you of a change to the t&cs that is your opportunity to disagree. If you don't, you are deemed to have agreed by default. Unfortunately by disagreeing to the changes you are effectively ending the contract. For those locked into a 12 or 18month contract this is a Godsend as it allows you out without penalty. In theory you could take the teleco to court to try and enforce the original contract, ie keep your contract on the original t&cs but although it wouldn't necessarily cost you as you can represent yourself rather than get Michael Mansfield in, the teleco would probably win a). because it can hire a high priced legal team, and b). because it could argue that if every customer had their own individual contract with the company, it would be impossible for the teleco to operate its business (do I hear sobbing in the background?)

So yes Oliver, in practice you are right, but the same principles apply to any contract between David and Goliath.