* Posts by mark l 2

1887 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

De-identify, re-identify: Anonymised data's dirty little secret

mark l 2 Silver badge

Having full UK postcode in any supposedly anonymised data is asking for trouble. Sure if the postcode was for a highly dense urban area such as an apartment block there is a good degree on anonymity but in more rural areas of the UK a postcode could be assigned to an area containing only one property, so it would be trivial to identify someone from that sort of data.

Not sure how it works for US ZIP codes and if they cover a wider area since they are only numeric?

G7 countries outgun UK in worldwide broadband speed test

mark l 2 Silver badge

"Superfast broadband is available to the vast majority of UK homes, but millions of people are yet to take this up. Many customers might be surprised to learn they can upgrade to faster speeds, for no extra cost,”

I agree that not everyone takes the fastest service. I pay £20 pm for a 38Mb/s VDSL service but its not the fastest I can potentially get, I could pay £40 pm to get 516Mb/s with Virgin media, but id rather keep the £20pm id pay to upgrade to the faster speeds as I personally haven't the need for the additional speed.

Microsoft releases new Windows 11 builds, confirms running on an Apple M1 'is not a supported scenario'

mark l 2 Silver badge

I suspect Parallels has just patched something in their software that Windows 11 checks for to see if its running on supported hardware to make it believe it is supported?

Just like those who run Hackintoshes to run MacOS on none Apple hardware do to make that work. No doubt MS will change the way they detect supported machines when they figure out what Parallels has done and the dance will begin over again.

Sort-of Epic win as judge kills Apple ban on apps linking to outside payment systems

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: Epic Greed

Apple charge developers $99 to publish apps on the app store whether they are free or paid for apps, so the justification of charging 30% commission has nothing to do with the reviewing of the apps for malware or viruses as they check all apps before they allow them onto the app store.

The question now is are Apple going to open up in app 3rd party payment options to the ROW or be stubborn and force app developers to maintain 2 versions of their apps, one for the US app store where you can have external payment options and then another for ROW where its Apple only?

Australia rules Facebook page operators are legally liable for user comments under posts

mark l 2 Silver badge

I don't know about the Aussie legal system, is the High court actually the highest court, or can this be appealed further up the chain? As I suspect Zuckerburg would be happy to spend a few minutes of Facebooks profit to pay for lawyers to fight this one.

Plus what would be defined as a business, what about a charity or none profit would they also be liable for post from third parties on their Facebook page?

Samsung offered tax rebates for 30 years to build $17bn chip plant in Texas

mark l 2 Silver badge

Obviously if you are a Samsung shareholder and not a resident living in the Texas this would seem a great deal. But for everyone else its rubbish.

Can WhatsApp moderators really read your encrypted texts? Yes ... if you forward them to the abuse dept

mark l 2 Silver badge

I use Whatsapp quite frequently and wasn't even aware there was a reporting option, After reading this article I decided to look for it and its hidden away in the more options from the menu, so I doubt it gets used very often.

Apple stalls CSAM auto-scan on devices after 'feedback' from everyone on Earth

mark l 2 Silver badge

"Could governments force Apple to add non-CSAM images to the hash list?" the company asked in its interview of itself, and then responded, "No. Apple would refuse such demands and our system has been designed to prevent that from happening."

But Apple aren't creating these hash lists, its done by a third party and will be constantly updates when new images are identified by law enforcement. So it would be trivial for government agencies to create a new hash, claim its of some abuse image and get it added to the list Apple uses.

Arms not long enough to reach the plug socket? Room-wide wireless charging is on the way

mark l 2 Silver badge

These Japanese researchers would be better off trying to develop a longer lasting battery than making it slightly more convenient to charge electronic devices. With fast charging phones getting more popular it takes less than an 20 mins to get back to around 80% charge using a cable. So charging is hardly a major time consumer.

Google is designing its own Arm-based processors for 2023 Chromebooks – report

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: What's the betting...

I have never used a Chromebook but as its basically a cut down Linux running Chrome i am assuming its probably requires you sign in with a Google account so it already sending all the telemetry data back to Google anyway via the browser, just like Chrome does on Windows if you login with a Google account.

Windows 11 will roll out from October 5 as Microsoft hypes new hardware

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: Opting out -- meaning keeping Windows 10

If you don't want the upgrade then switch off TPM or secureboot in your BIOS, or set your internet connection to be a metered one which then makes Windows only downloads security updates automatically and not feature updates.

SCO v. IBM settlement deal is done, but zombie case shuffles on elsewhere

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: Am confused

I was also a bit confused by this, especially if IBM were agreeing to pay $14m in a settlement to close the case

After quietly switching to slower NAND in an NVMe SSD, Western Digital promises to be a bit louder next time

mark l 2 Silver badge

I don't just see WD doing this sort of thing, its been going on in the tech industry for years, change the specs after the products sold a bucket load and just quietly update the spec info without changing the model number. That way you can ride hide on tech reviews for the early units using higher quality components, as how many reviews are done of a product 6 months after its been on the market?

I remember Kingston did this with one of their network cards back in the early 2000s, we bought a load of Ethernet adapter which came with one chipset, and then after a few months they switched to ones with another chipset without updating the model number and when bought 100s more to find they were incompatible with the desktop image we had created with the first cards drivers.

UK promises big data law shake-up... while also keeping the EU happy, of course. What could go wrong?

mark l 2 Silver badge


Any UK based website which deals with EU citizen will still need to comply with GDPR rules whether they are based in the UK or elsewhere. Look how many US based website implemented the cookie banner to comply with the GDPR rules even though they have no presence in the UK.

Cookie banners are annoying though, its become just another tick box exercise for the majority of people.

Apple's bright idea for CSAM scanning could start 'persecution on a global basis' – 90+ civil rights groups

mark l 2 Silver badge

Apple still haven't given any good reason why this scanning need to be done on the device and not on Apples own servers, if it is only concerned with images uploaded to the iCloud and not about looking for stuff on the device itself, why not just scan the photos that are uploaded to icloud when they hit the icloud server?

Apple didn't engage with the infosec world on CSAM scanning – so get used to a slow drip feed of revelations

mark l 2 Silver badge

No matter how Apple try and spin this as being able to protect children while also protecting privacy of the iPhone users, they have effectively just backdoored the iPhone for the 5eyes. And no doubt once Apple goes down that route the pressure will be on other phone manufacturers to follow.

Maybe its time to invest in a Pinephone or similar open source phone now before you can't avoid the 5eyes viewing everything you do 'for the sake of the children' on any mainstream manufacture.

Apple says its CSAM scan code can be verified by researchers. Corellium starts throwing out dollar bills

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: This system can't scan for "Winnie the Pooh"

Not according to Apples PR dept, who claim their magical technology only uses hashes of photos, yet can detect similar looking photos or where its been edited. So I say these two are not compatible and it must be analysing the photos using AI to pattern match them rather than just hashes to see if they match know abuse images.

Plus why does this need to be done on device, if its only for photos uploaded to the icloud, why not just scan for the photos when they hit Apples servers and leave the privacy in place on the device?

Branson sews cash parachute for Virgin Atlantic with $300m Virgin Galactic share sale

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: Why is he selling ?

Doesn't he live on his own island in the Caribbean? So he probably pays next to no tax on the sales of the shares through all sorts of creative accounting.

Internet Explorer 3.0 turns 25. One of its devs recalls how it ended marriages – and launched amazing careers

mark l 2 Silver badge

It was unfortunate that one one foresaw that MS realising IE for free back in the 90s would lead to the situation we are in now, where a company is unable to develop a new browser and charge end users even a modest amount for it. And so we have a situation where browsers are given away for free but you are now the product and the big corps hoover up all their users data.

Apple's iPhone computer vision has the potential to preserve privacy but also break it completely

mark l 2 Silver badge

Since this CSAM only applies (at current) to the US, what happens if someone buys a Iphone from the UK/EU and then uses it in the US? Will the scanning not take place or as soon as you connect any Iphone to a US network will it download the updated version of the photos app?

Once again, Facebook champions privacy ... of its algorithms: Independent probe into Instagram shut down

mark l 2 Silver badge

The article says the data was collected via a browser extension, so therefore it doesn't appear that AlgorithmWatch was using any APIs either documented or otherwise to capture the data just whatever is sent to the browser? So how can Suckerberg claim this is breach of privacy?

Of course its probably some line buried away in the 100s of pages of EOL along with the rights to your first born child.

Jury tells Apple to cough up two days of annual profit in 4G/LTE patent damages retrial

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: This seems extra shady

Since Samsung and until very recently LG make phones I seems crazy to sell patents that they will then have to license back from a patent troll? Unless part of the agreement to sell was that Optis couldn't sue them in the future?

Tired: What3Words. Wired: A clone location-tracking service based on FOUR words – and they are all extremely rude

mark l 2 Silver badge

Genius, i'm off to work now to squirting.bareback.camgirl.penis (actually this is my ex employer LOL)

Perhaps regretting those Instagram, WhatsApp acquisitions, UK watchdog suggests Facebook offloads GIF haven Giphy

mark l 2 Silver badge

Im still amazed that GIFs are still a thing in 2021, back in the early days of the internet they were used as a fudge to get raster animations onto the web when no other option was available. But they are limited to 256 colours and are not optimised for file sizes.

We have had other more suitable animated graphic formats for years such as MNG and APNG as well as WebP, I wonder why none of these have gained traction despite being technically better?

COVID-19 cases surge as do sales of fake vaccination cards – around $100 for something you could get free

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: A long way still to go

The worldwide vaccination program is pretty low, some countries are pushing up these stats such as Canada which is now vaccinating under 18s who are low risk, yet there are many poor countries who haven't even got their most vulnerable vaccinated yet.

We won't get COVID under any sort of control until there is a more worldwide response to the pandemic than a us first approach to vaccinations.

GOP lawmakers ask for former Huawei handset biz Honor to be placed the Entity List

mark l 2 Silver badge

Huawei 5G kit, routers etc the US could put forward a reasonable case for banning those on security grounds, but Honor only make consumer grade phones and I fail to see how they are a security concern. Sure ban there use by government depts if the device security is a worry, but stopping job public picking up a new Honor phone on the ground of 'national security' is just laughable.

Firefox 91 introduces cookie clearing, clutter-free printing, Microsoft single sign-on... so where are all the users?

mark l 2 Silver badge

If your getting daily crashes I suspect you are using some bugging add on or have some other issue. As I use FF on Linux Mint as my main browser and can count on one hand the times its crashed on me in 12 months.

Have you tried making a new FF profile or running it in safe mode with no add ons and seeing it that resolves the crashes problem?

Chocolate beer barred from sale after child mistakes it for chocolate milk

mark l 2 Silver badge

I'm not sure how these companies get away with packaging their product to look like one made by another manufacturer in the first place. I'm sure if Nestle had got wind of it, it might have resulted in a sueball coming their way, so perhaps this was a better result for the brewery in the long run.

The story doesn't even say the child actually open the can or drank any of it. It just says: "a complaint from a concerned parent after their child thought the can of Choc Milk Stout in the fridge was a can of Nestle's chocolate milk product, Milo".

So me thinks this 'concerned parent' got $$ in their eyes thinking they could get a big payout if it went to court. As if it was in their fridge at home then they obviously didn't see the packaging was an issue when they bought it.

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

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: Met police cybercrime unit ?

When I reported a theft of £300 worth of laptop to the MET all i got was a crime reference number and told I wouldn't even get a call back never mind any investigation into it. Because the likely hood of them catching someone for it and getting a successful prosecution was low. Whereas this seems like an easy crime to investigate and get their stats up, they have the guys IP and Facebook account so nothing to loose by investigating.

Of course it could also be that from looking at that list of directors at Leathermarket, they could have some friends in high places who could pull strings at the MET on their behalf to get this investigated?

Don't believe the hype that AI-generated 'master faces' can break into face recognition systems any time soon

mark l 2 Silver badge

While facial recognition might be OK for unlocking your phone or computer if the most you have to worry about are a few embarrassing photos and your internet histroy on the device. I wouldn't trust it to protect something like my bank accounts unless it was part of a 2FA along with something like a password.

And certainly if there are people who work in the high levels of government or other highly sensitive organisations that are relying on it as the only authentication method, its asking for trouble.

Apple responds to critics of CSAM scan plan with FAQs, says it'd block governments subverting its system

mark l 2 Silver badge

Apples PR seem to contradict themselves, They claim its matching hashes yet can detect when the image has been edited or changed, and these two things are not compatible. As if just a few bytes of an image is changed it will have a completely different hash, and unless Apple have each image in the databases ran through even possible pixel changed, image resized etc and a new hash created to match each edit that will never work on matching hashes.

So it must be some sort of AI image recognition technique they are using which I then dismiss their claims that its a 1 in a trillion chance of false matches. I wonder how long will it be before someone whose over 18 gets their nude images falsely flagged up as illegal and passed over to the FBI? Even if on examination the police see its a false match, it still means some officer is going to be viewing someones private photos without their consent to verify them.

Russian Arm SoC now shipping in Russian PCs running Russian Linux

mark l 2 Silver badge

"the machines reflect Russia's desire to be less dependent on technology sourced from its antagonists in the West."

It make sense for a government to roll their own SOC especially for its own internal use due to the security concerns of buying off the shelf kit made by another country, especially if the country you are buying from has been outed for spying on its allies never mind less friendly nations.

After all even the US gov orders their Intel kit with the management engine disabled so they obviously worry it could be a security concern.

All your DNS were belong to us: AWS and Google Cloud shut down spying vulnerability

mark l 2 Silver badge

If your router doesn't allow you to specify your own DNS then there are a couple of options.

Replace your ISP provided router with something else if possible, the BT homehub 5s can be flashed with OpenWRT and they are much more configurable than an ISP provided router. You can even buy them ready flashed with WRT from ebay for about £20 if you don't want the hassle of doing the flashing yourself.

Set up your own DOH or DOT DNS server on a cheap VPS to encrypt your DNS traffic from your devices so you are bypassing the routers DNS settings. You could even run Pihole on it and block ads as well

Apple is about to start scanning iPhone users' devices for banned content, professor warns

mark l 2 Silver badge

Typical 'won't someone think of the children' response to give yourself permission to search through 10s of millions of innocent users photos to find a handful of law breaking people. Of course if you object to it you are siding with the pedos. Yet no doubt those who did use their Iphone to store illegal image will now stop using an Iphone and switch to Android since they know the scanning is occurring now.

It reminds me of back in the pre digital camera days where people would get the plod knocking on their door after the photo processing company reported the photos of their kids naked in the bath to the police as kiddypron.

This is just another way of showing that despite you spending a grand on your new iPhone its NOT your phone it belongs to Apple and they can decide what you they do with it.

Ch-ch-ch-Chia! HDD sales soar to record levels as latest crypto craze sweeps Europe

mark l 2 Silver badge

Its not like the storage space that Chia coin is using is even being used for storing anything useful. It it were some massive cloud storage network that could be used for archiving data then i could see the point in it. But just using storage space for the sake of storing something as a 'proof of work' is pointless.

Its the same with the other crypto coins that use CPU/GPUs, why not put all those CPU cycles to something useful such like in the way SETI does? I am sure that with a huge network of spare CPU cycles available, there would be some businesses willing to pay to use them for crunching data if such a network existed.

Microsoft's Cloud PCs debut – priced between $20 and $158 a month

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: Full circle

Apart from the fact that by the sounds of it, the numb terminal needs a machine MORE powerful than remote machine to run it at an acceptable speed.

AWS adds browser access to its cloudy WorkSpaces desktops – but not for Linux

mark l 2 Silver badge

If you want a virtual Linux PC in the cloud, just install your distro of choice and install some remote desktop software such as X2go.

It works over SSH so there are no extra ports needing to be opened on the remote Linux machine firewall. Although you need to install client software on your PC to access the remote session. I believe you can also set it up to work with within a browser but I never got around to testing that when I tried it on a cheap VPS a few years ago.

London class-action sueball against Google is a lot like Epic's case except fandroids might win enough for a pint

mark l 2 Silver badge

While Android in my opinion is the least restrictive ecosystem when it come to installing apps from outside of Google Play, it will only take a win against Google for other such legal action to come after Apple, Microsoft, Sony and any one else who runs an app store. So that would probably get them all do something about their restrictive policies before they do get sued. So I hope they do win this case, although I doubt any Android users will ever see a penny of any damages awarded.

We can't believe people use browsers to manage their passwords, says maker of password management tools

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: "using things like multi-factor authentication"

Try not giving your phone number to Paypal, i have 2FA set up with an authenticator app and yet they still insist on trying to verify my account with an SMS message or voice call periodically.

The Register just found 300-odd Itanium CPUs on eBay

mark l 2 Silver badge

The Register just found 300-plus Itanium CPUs on eBay"

So ALL the Itaniums ever sold are now for sale on ebay?

Here's a list of the flaws Russia, China, Iran and pals exploit most often, say Five Eyes infosec agencies

mark l 2 Silver badge

Are we supposed to believe that the 5 eyes agencies wouldn't have used these same exploits to spy on hostile nations if they could?

Ecuador shreds Julian Assange's citizenship

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: skipping bail

Will the US authorities take into account the time he has been on remand in the UK prison as time already served on his sentence should he be extradited and found guilty?

As that would be how it would be dealt with by a UK court, if you were held on remand for 6 months until the court hearing and then the judge gave you a 1 year sentence, you would automatically get 6 months of that sentence knocked off so would only have 6 months left before you sentence was up. And actually due to the way the UK sentences work you would actually walk free from the court on that date. Short sentences such as 1 or 2 years are only 50% served in custody and 50% on probation supervision in the community.

As if the US do not take the time already spent in prison awaiting extradition off any potential sentence then he WOULD be doing a extremely long sentence for what amounts to a usually low sentence crime of breaching bail conditions.

SSD belonging to Euro-cloud Scaleway was stolen from back of a truck, then turned up on YouTube

mark l 2 Silver badge

Joe Lycett did a piece on Hermes reselling of 'undeliverable' parcels a couple of years ago. And found that lots of the parcels that were being sold off as undeliverable had clear sender details on them and Hermes had made no attempt to return them back to the sender, like they are supposed to.

I myself have had a few parcels go missing that were sent with Hermes and every parcel I send has my return address on it, yet never had one of them returned and had to claim for a lost parcel.

China sets goal of running single-stack IPv6 network by 2030, orders upgrade blitz

mark l 2 Silver badge

Once China have gone fully IPv6 only I suspect everyone will essentially get a static IP address which will stay with their device forever, making it easier for the Chinese authorities to monitor their citizens only activity.

Subcontractors working on CityFibre's £45m Derby rollout threaten to 'rip up tarmac' in dispute over payments

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: Reason

I expect that since its work on publicly owned pavements, even if the contractor did rip it all out, they would have to put the pavement, roads etc back to the state that it was before the work started. Or else the council will come to do the remedial works and then charge the contractor for it.

So its just a empty thread since there is no benefit to the contractor to do this as it would cost them more than just to leave it as it.

Be careful what you inline: Defunct video-hosting domain used to inject smut flicks into news articles, more

mark l 2 Silver badge

Iframes were a good idea back when sites were just static content, but now they are just another way for malware and viruses to get loaded up onto legitimate sites, and to track end users.

Its for this sort of reason I won't embed iframes onto any of the sites I run. I think its time they were replaced by something more secure.

Tech support scams subside somewhat, but Millennials and Gen Z think they're bulletproof and suffer

mark l 2 Silver badge

I wonder if the stats that men fall for the scams more than women, is down to it being more males who view 'adult content' online and this could cause them to worry they could have picked up a virus from some dodgy pron site?

This factor might make them think its less embarrassing to get someone resolve it remotely rather than having to take it to a local computer repair shop and deal with someone face to face. Or their partner find out about their surfing habits.

South Korea tables law to remove app stores' in-app purchase monopolies

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: I don't get how this works

With the mega corp that is Samsung being headquartered there, I suspect Samsung phones sell well in S. Korea. And isn't that one of the places where lot of people buy two phones? So for Google/Apple to decide pull out of that market should the law pass, it will be a big blow to both companies.

Plus we have seen how things go with laws that Google don't like and the treat to withdraw out of the country, with the Australian news law. Which in the end Google and Facebook agreed to pay the publishers after their lobbying failed to get the law changed. So they will probably just do the same in S Korea.

AWS gave Parler a chance, won't say if it talked to NSO before axing spyware biz's backend systems

mark l 2 Silver badge

Maybe it time for an international law to say if you discover a software vulnerability you a legally obliged to report it to the software developers, and this includes those discovered by government agencies such as NSA, GCHQ who are just as guilty as NSO of using them for their own devices and not reporting them.

Ubuntu on a phone, anyone? UBports reaches 18th stable update, but it's still based on 16.04

mark l 2 Silver badge

I thought Ubuntu was now unsupported unless you pay Canonical for extended support, Does this mean the UBports team are providing their own security patches for UBports 18 or are you risking running an unpatched version until they get one based on Ubuntu 20?


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