* Posts by John Stevens

21 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Jun 2008

Germans seduce Jacqui over remote hacking of disks

John Stevens
Paris Hilton

Don't be so silly...


If you read up on the German legislation, hackers are specifically prohibited from making use of any Trojan implanted by the government. If they should happen upon it whilst poking their noses into any ill-concealed computer backdoors, it will be illegal for them to make use of any spyware they find already installed on the system.

So. Sorted. No issue whatsoever.

Paris, cause it would be reelly dumb to think the government hadn't thought that one through already.

Porn, abuse, depravity - and how they plan to stop it

John Stevens

The dangers of reporting abuse

Yep....spot on, AC. A friend was once shocked to receive a couple of pics that were decidely child porn.

Being a public-spirited citizen, she contacted her local plod, who popped round, took down her particulars, etc., etc. and thanked her for her help.

What next, she asked.

Well, she must now delete the pics or else the Police would charge her with possession of etc.

There followed some discussion of what might constitute proper deletion - which eventually settled on a likely requirement for her to trash her hard drive.

By the end of the episode, she had rather determined that she would NEVER be helping the police with such cases in future.

'Extreme' extreme porn law puts Scots out of kilter

John Stevens
Paris Hilton

Leave the Sabines out of it...

@wayne tavitt

No, no, no , no, no.

The "rape" of the Sabine women is a reference to the taking away of those good ladies by force. The meaning of "rape" here tracks back to its original Latin root, which is about snatching something away. I suspect - but can't be arsed to look up - that the original text will reference a "raptus"...

The reason for snatching them was that the Roman colony was originally - according to legend - rather light on women. So they needed to find some fast or die out. Cue raid down the road to remove the female occupants of Sabina/Sabinum (?).

Of course, it could be argued that what happened to the women AFTER they got returned to Rome was rape. Although in fact the fate that awaited most of them was forced marriage.

Having said THAT, it does raise a most peculiar piece of pedantry that I ended up arguing the toss over with some feminists a few months back. In the small screem production of Rome there is a scene in which one of the protagonists loses his cool and "rapes" a slave girl.

I say "rapes" (in inverted commas) because under Roman Law, he did no such thing. If the slave wasn't his, he might have been done for criminal damage (or equivalent) - but not rape.

That, in turn, raises a serious flaw in this proposed legislation.

Violence is something with a fairly definite definition. So is necrophilia and bestiality. Let's face it, if you have your private parts inserted in a sheep, its pretty much an open and shut case.

But rape? Well, no. That is something that depends on the intentions and understandings of the parties involved, and the state of the law at the time of the event.

Assuming - I'm sure it doesn't - that scene from Rome came before the Scottish censor, would it be possible to argue that because the action was "rape" in modern terms, that was enough to secure a conviction - or might a defense be acceptable in court that as no such crime was possible, it did not represent a breach of the law.

What about a husband forcing himself on his wife?

Would it matter whether the action depicted took place before or after the 1970's landmark ruling?

What about good King Arthur who certainly committed incest (according to legend) and probably also statutory rape by modern standards?

Oh, what a wonderful can of worms we are opening here.

Paris. Because he committed one of history's most infamous abductions. Or rapes.

Turkish court bans Dawkins' website

John Stevens
Paris Hilton

Tinbergen knew my father...

Hmmm. As someone who did study under Dawkins in the late '70's (does that make Tinbergen my academic grandfather?), I'd have said he counted as a Zoologist. At least, that was the Department of Oxford Uni he was attached to at the time, along with Des Morris - who may have parted shortly before, having discovered it was far more profitable to attach pretty pics to his lecture notes and make a mint with Manwatching.

Zoology was then twinned with Psychology and shared a horrid white concrete elephant of a building somewhere at the arse end of the science area. Those of us interested in topics such as Animal Behaviour and Ethology were sent off to collect a copy of "The Selfish Gene", attend Richard Dawkins' lectures, whilst a lucky few got tutored by him.

Main reason to hate - or envy - the man is not his writings on evolution...but the fact that he married to Lalla Ward!



Paris - cause she reminds me of Lalla Ward. Or is it the other way round?

Scottish beavers (and Cali cacti) get their chips

John Stevens
Paris Hilton


@Restricting Movements

If the beavers are introduced before the wolves, how on earth can the wolves pre-date them?

Time machines?

Boom! Boom!

Paris...cause this is the nearest you get to a foxy icon

Rude Tintin pulls out

John Stevens
Paris Hilton

Been done far more obscenely...

There's quite a head of steam behind the anti-Hergé movement. It seems to be composed in equal parts of people who dislike Hergé's politics....which appeared originally to be not far off seriously racist, fascist, etc....and French people who object to people believing Tintin to be French.

Parodies appear with amazing regularity, including one I picked up whilst working in France many many years ago. This included graphic descriptions of Tintin, Captain Haddock and others engaging in almost every sexual perversion imaginable.

Captain Haddock, I seem to remember, is screwed by that Castafiore woman, whilst Tintin screws both a pair of decidedly under-age girls, and Snowy. The Thomson twins shag each other. And I can't remember what the Prof gets up to.

But at his age, he really shouldn't.

According to an interview with the author, this work was produced as a political (anti-Hergé) statement.


Paris. Because that's where this particular statement was purchased.

Teachers give toilet CCTV top marks

John Stevens

@ meaningless soundbite shocker

I rather think the point being made was that if cctv takes over to the point that teachers just stay in their common rooms, watch the pupils on their monitors, and only ever emerge to deal with "situations", then they cease to have a human face and just become police.

The point of having teachers on duty in the playground is NOT just about keeping order. It is about being there to help, to chat, to hold hands (metaphorically - we don't do that literally nowadays): the 101 things that go to creating an interpersonal relationship.

Bit like the difference between the Beat Bobby and the anonymous drones who arrive an hour later in response to a call-out.

Malicious gossip could cost you your job

John Stevens
Paris Hilton

@Britain's Hour of Need

Didn't King Arthur sleep with his (half-)sister?

One ecrb - and that's King Arthur barred for life.

(Interesting, actually - do the schools actually allow the poor darlings to read that sort of stuff any more? Or would such concepts be considered too corrupting for the precious ones?).

Paris - cause she's the sort of half-sister you'd probably want to sleep with.

Did we say you can read that?

John Stevens

@Matt Bryant (are the Police really this incompetent?)

According to Mr Bryant:

"When it was brought to the Police's attention by the Uni, it was the fact that Mr Yezza was the one downloading the material - someone who DID NOT have a reason to be doing so. As soon as it became clear that that the material had been downloaded at the request of Nr Sabir, who DID have a reason to download it, the case was closed."

Two probs, really, with this. First, Hicham Yezza DID have a reason to download the material: his friend asked him to. Seems like a pretty good reason to me. Or are the Police now also arbiters of when it is permissible to engage in acts of kindness towards friends?

But actually, it is the timescale implied by your comment that leaves me cold.

"As soon as it became clear...."

Er, right. Mr Yezza's reason for downloading material was that someone asked him to and he was doing a favour.

Mr Sabir's reason was that he was doing some research.

Since possession of the material ceases to be an offence the moment someone can show they had a reasonable reason for possessing it....either the police are incredibly, mind-numbingly incompetent.....or actually rather vicious, holding people for six days over a matter that could have been resolved by means of a couple of phone calls.

Mr Sabir. Why did u possess this material? Er, I'm a PhD student studying this subject. Here's the number and address of my supervisor.

Either Nottingham Plod had other stuff to do....or it took them a week to make a phone call.

Perhaps that's why the Police reckon they need 42 days to interrogate suspects.... Obviously, at the rate of six days per simple question, they are gonna need a lot of time.

Lies, damned lies and government statistics

John Stevens
Paris Hilton


Of course, the implication of the rtm effect is that if you placed ANY object at a site that had experienced a higher than average accident rate over a period of time, then there would be some reduction in the accident rate. The important thing is to determine how much reduction is due to the camera, how much due to rtm.

Given the apparent lack of statistical nous at the DfT, may I propose the following.

That an independent group carries out some research. This would involve placing rabbits at sites of high accidents. No, not the furry sort, but, because the government seem so wedded to hi-tech solutions, the latest in vibratory dildonics. The rabbit!

Then ask them to explain the subsequent reduction in accidents WITHOUT rtm, (which they seem so keen to ignore elsewhere).

Yes! Roadside vibrators reduce accidents by 60%!

Let's campaign for roadside vibrators NOW.

Paris, cause she probably knows a thing or two about roadside vibration.

Snoop more, share less - Home Office spurns EU advice

John Stevens
Paris Hilton

All ordering halal

On a flight to Mecca? No problem.

On a flight to Jerusalem? Major security alert.

Paris - cause she's a preferred destination for frequent flyers.

Hard 'core'? Birmingham City Council's net filtering

John Stevens
Paris Hilton

Still missing the point

It really does feel like many of you are still missing the point. Although it is nice to find you so concerned about your employer's cost base.

When it comes to internet use, there are probably three main cost components. Internet access costs (and any associated bandwidth issues), time costs and other resource costs. I suppose you could make a case for legal costs where resource use involves the organisation in litigation - but those would be rare.

These issues are the same whether you are discussing use of the office phone, photocopier or stationery - although they tend to have different weights.

For most employers, the largest single cost drain is employees who abuse working time by doing "other stuff" whilst they are being paid to work. One company I worked at introduced phone logging and was horrified to find one of their senior creatives regularly came back from lunch and picked up the phone every day for a one hour natter to his g/f.

Anyway... use of internet. The council has said no to it during working hours. Fair enough. Was the article actually arguing any different?

There are few physical resources involved. The internet tends not to take up much paper - though yes, downloading movies might eventually have hard drive or server implications. And if the Council are prepared to countenance lunchtime use for most sites....then they obviously aren't too worried about bandwidth.

So whilst some organisations might worry about cost IT ISN'T AN ISSUE HERE!

Which means that the issue remains - as it did at the start - about the simple question of whether an employer should govern what you do with your time when they have already ruled that cost and resource implications are not a problem. I just don't see why they should.

Paris - cause she's never a drain on resources.

John Stevens

You're all offending me!

So let's get this straight: BCC doesn't allow employees to surf during working hours. Sounds sensible. I'd rather they were doing the work they were paid for during those times and weren't, phoning, surfing, w*nking, writing novels or pretty anything that I as a ratepayer didn't approve of.

Then they down tools and clock off for lunch.

At which point all the band width considerations that readers are posting about could be important and if they were, then they would have a policy of "no surfing".

But obviously they aren't concerned about bandwidth. Because they DON'T have a policy of no surfing.

What they do have is a policy which says: yeah, go ahead and surf. So long as WE get to pick and choose where you can and can't surf. And like the man says: illegal is probably a bad place to surf.

But if its not illegal and its not a bandwidth issue, what the frick has it got to do with the council where I surf?

Oh dear. Of course. I might "offend" someone. Like I don't get offended by some of the stupid groups set up on facebook, or by the word "appropriate" or by articles in the Guardian by feminists who say that they "hate men" (check it out....one exactly like that about ten days ago).

But if the Council is not going to talk to me and allow me to stick my "offend-list" into the pot...why must I kowtow to everyone else's.

Just two boxes, really. Is it legal? Check. Is it causing bandwidth concerns? Check.

Then everything else is no-one else's business.

Flame - cause I am appalled at the sheep on here so bought into the "if it offends we'll take it down culture".

IT career virgins need a cherry on top

John Stevens

@ AC (WTF)

er, like yourself, I was a bit bemused by the reference to C+.

Then I clicked the link to the relevant site and found out for myself. Whilst Mr Ozimek sometimes gets it wrong in his articles, I have noticed that he does seem to be rather good (anal-obsessively so?) at inserting links to where he got his stuff from.

So half the time, if something doesn't make sense, the link is right next to the bit you don't get.

Boffin - cause obviously clicking links is beyond some people.

It's official: The Home Office is listening

John Stevens
Paris Hilton

Jigsaws are fun..

For those of us who grew up in the '70's, the jigsaw puzzle contention grew out of the infamous ABC trial. There's a good write-up of it here:


If you search out jigsaw within that article, you will find the following explanation.

"It was sufficient to possess information, of itself neither illegal, improperly obtained, official or even secret, if it constituted a 'collection' or 'jigsaw' from which an incomplete picture of 'secret' activities could be assembled. Since agents of a hostile power can safely do this exercise at their leisure, the offence here resides in the political idea which motivates such research."

As I understand it, the prosecution got soundly spanked in this trial - but the concept, once introduced, has remained within the grasp of government lawyers.

Paris - cause I mentioned spanking!

Want a new career as a contract killer?

John Stevens
Dead Vulture

Sorry, anonymous coward..

...but your cash-raising wheeze (offer hitman-type services and not follow through) has already been tested and found wanting in the British courts.


John Stevens
Thumb Up

What kinder surprise...

...were you thinking of?

David Davis tells El Reg that Labour is 'mesmerised' by tech

John Stevens

Sorry, Jon Kale...

...but I do keep seeing this sort of namby-pamby me me me redefintion of civil liberties...and it really shouldn't wash. Politicians and political views do not fit neatly into two camps (labelled good and bad).

Some people may actually have good - and liberal - reasons for being for or against something: and just because the result of their thinking does not lead to you getting what you think you deserve doesn't make them any less liberal for all that.

So DD is in favour of reducing the abortion time limit? You may disagree with that view but if - I'm not agreeing with this! - you take some sort of view about the existence of a "soul" and life beginning at conception...then the most illiberal position in existence is that touted by the pro-abortionists.

Doesn't make DD right - just doesn't mean he's anti liberty either.

Ditto restricting IVF to couples. Since there is a wealth of evidence out there to suggest that single-parenting can disadvantage children, just dismissing DD's view as anti-liberty is pretty juvenile. Perhaps u need to brush up on your JS Mill, who talks about the state not having a right to restrict people's liberty except where they might do harm to others.

Seems it is at least arguable that direct harm could result from this liberty. And so on.

Civil Liberties are not the same as just giving people whatever they would like. Those who think they are probably don't really understand them in the first place.

P.S. I note some suggestion of bias in the piece. Um. This was an interview with the man! You may object to the Register's decision to do such a thing...but you would hardly expect DD to do a balanced interview, setting out the arguments for and against himself, would you?

Who will be the next Doctor?

John Stevens

More spoilers

(Dedicated to AC):

Dumbledore gets killed - an Snape really IS a goody after all.

Yes Luke, Darth Vader really IS your Dad.

Sophie Neveu just happens to be the last living descendant of Christ.

Gordon Brown really is a muppet.

Think tank slams paedophile paranoia culture

John Stevens

Sorry, Mike Taylor...

...but you sound just like one of those complacent New Labour apparatchiks who manage to ignore the evidence of anything going sour in this country by pretending that all those who cry "pc gone mad" are making it up - or just Daily Mail readers.

There is a checkable story in the comments further up that suggests very clearly that a child may have died because of fears about being labelled.

John Ozimek, who writes for the Reg, also runs a blog.

He seems to have run into just the sort of sun cream problem you pretend does not exist: http://audela-reciprocity.blogspot.com/2008/05/protecting-children.html

Or maybe HE is making it up.

As for me...I am afraid I definitely remember listening to an interview on Radio 4 not so long ago in which a coast guard - no less - stated how up-set she was about not being able to go to the aid of a lost child because the child had been so thoroughly indoctrinated in the "stranger danger" mantra that she turned hysterical whenever approached.

Basically, a balancing act and grown-up risk assessment is needed. And personally, I am sick to death of sanctimonious child protection experts (does that include you?) who claim there is no problem whatsoever and its all a myth.

It clearly isn't. What we don't exactly know is how many are being "saved" by the current hysteria and how many are being lost by it. That WOULD be an interesting project.

Do you know how much of your porn is extreme?

John Stevens

Exceptions to the Law

For those worried about what the law thinks if they are caught snapping (photographically, of course) the private parts of their 17-year-old bride...have no fear. There are specific exemptions both in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and the CJIA 2008.

In the former case, photographing a 16 or 17 year-old in flagrante makes u a paedophile, unless u are having a relationship with her (though can't remember whether any old realtionship will do or u have to be married).

In the case of extreme porn, photographing yourself and nearest and dearest in flagrante is fine, so long as the acts are themselves legal. So. Murder t'other half an w*nk over the photos and "you're nicked, my son".

Stage murder of t'other half an smother her in tomato sauce an "you're free to go".

Take photos of ditto - and its back to position one ("you're nicked").

Unless you participate: "well, officer. I had a hand in that photo. You just can't see it because.... well, allow me to explain fisting to you."

And of course, exactly the same scene, enacted by your friends will get you nicked.

Thus, the law now has specific exemptions for couples who psyche themselves up to acting out a fantasy, whilst not for those who merely buy photos of pre-packaged fantasy.

If the "slippery slope" argument has any validity (and in theory the government believes it has) this is just stupid...because it makes it ok to do something that is much closer to the real thing than something that is seriously distant.