* Posts by scrubber

822 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009


Peers question experts over UK police use of AI, facial recognition tech



So because police in the past were racist in their policing the dataset used to train the AI will be racist too and that will be fine because it is impartial AI? Or will they fix for historic racism and suddenly we see loads of Japanese being arrested and held without bail as they have historically been under-represented in UK crime?

England's controversial extraction of personal medical histories from GP systems is delayed for a second time

Black Helicopters

Never Tell the Truth to the State

"pointing towards the use of data analytics in the COVID-19 pandemic as evidence"

I don't think this means what you think it means.

Looks like the only option is to poison the well - we all need to go to our GPs with made up symptoms so that the AI cannot link anything with any degree of certainty. Not a good use of GPs' time or the inevitable NHS resources for pointless tests that will come from it, but it's the only option they have left us with.

Paris Hilton

Re: Why can’t it be opt-in?

Isn't that how government design their policies, based on people dumb enough to answer yougov polls and telephone questionnaires?

Big Brother

Anonymous Data is Impossible

Pseudo-anonymous patient 014432 from postcode SW2 reported a lower back pain in July 2017. They then reported an irregular heartbeat in January 2019, the doctor concluded it was a genetic condition that could lead to heart attacks and angina.

Google Health notes that user janet.crow@gmail.com searched for "lower back pain" in July 2017 and "racing heart" in January 2019 from an IP address located in SW2. Google (Alphabet) now knows that patient 014432 is Janet Crow from Acre Lane in Clapham, and from her gmail contacts and Facebook profile can see who her friends and family are and, based on their search history and given the genetic nature of her condition, knows not to insure members of her family without an increased premium and that they should not hire from that family due to higher likelihood of death in service.

Edit: How could I forget that Google Street View slurped all IP addresses and linked them to actual houses. So from the IP address Google know your real address and have a picture of your house linked to it, including any vehicles parked nearby.

AWS offers you the opportunity to pay cloud bills before they’ve been issued


2001 cable

Get funding for a terrible blockchain, bitcoin, cloud, disruptive idea, pre-buy lots of AWS, go bankrupt, buy dismembered corpse at discount and get lots of free AWS for your new venture.

Deadline draws near to avoid auto-joining Amazon's mesh network Sidewalk


Regulation? Be careful what you wish for...

Bezos' army of lobbyists are already pushing to make it illegal to click the opt out button.

Microsoft puts OpenAI's GPT-3 that it spent all that money on to work in Power Fx


Re: could be worse

Unusually for MS they seem to be aware of the limitations of their software, and users, and have left it as "read-only" for now. Doesn't mean you couldn't ask for a request that grinds the system to a halt, but at least your data should still exist after a restart.

Britain to spend £22m influencing Indo-Pacific nations' cybersecurity policies against 'authoritarian regimes'



Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the most authoritarian of them all?

Billions in data protection lawsuits rides on Google's last-ditch UK Supreme Court defence for Safari Workaround sueball


Re: the only way that Joe and Josephine Average can claim any meaningful compensation

"Do they even know who used Safari at the time?"

Pretty sure at least one company has solid records on who was using Safari, which websites they visited, which products they browsed and bought online, and what they searched for.

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


Protect The Children

Don't we already have people who are supposed to be doing this? i.e. parents.

The problem is now the government, and public, have gotten so used to curtailing the rights of the innocent majority to protect the vulnerable minority that this might start to get public support.

UK terror law reviewer calls for expanded police powers to imprison people who refuse to hand over passwords


Come Down From Your Ivory Tower

"what I have picked up anecdotally from a number of different sources, is that the use of section 49 by CT Police is likely to be rare indeed."

Tell that to photographers who are routinely stopped, questioned ID'd under anti-terrorism laws.

Whatever happened to "You have the right to remain silent"?

So it appears some of you really don't want us to use the word 'hacker' when we really mean 'criminal'


Word choice is important

When the government does it in their illegal mass surveillance programs the media never calls it hacking, illegal or any other negative term.

Palantir and UK policy: Public health, public IT, and – say it with me – open public contracts


Re: Home Office's dream of a State ID Card would be a reality

A driver's licence to vote? Weird. Why not a voting licence? Then we could have a voting test where the government get to ensure only people they approve of get the vote. People could get points on their licence if they did anything deemed against the spirit of a good citizen, like posting something against the official narrative to social media, too many points and you lose the privilege of voting.

AWS tops up the Bezos rocket fund thanks to more money from Brit tax collection agency


Re: "that still doesn't make tax avoidance ethical"

Tax avoidance is the only justifiable action of any taxpayer, corporate or otherwise.

Tax laws are written to be either intentionally trip up well intentioned people, or with such disregard for an honest citizen that the intent is irrelevant. Given this state of affairs, where the tax authorities can undoubtedly find anyone guilty of breaching one of its rules buried in thousands of pages of dense legalese that literally no-one on earth can comprehend, then the only thing you can do is to follow the letter of the law as best as you can, ethics, justice and fairness be damned.

Microsoft backs Australia’s pay-for-news plan, risks massive blowback over a lousy $3bn and change


Paying for links

The issue here is the inability to choose not to link. Charge for links if you want, as long as they can then be "bought" or not, but this proposal says you have to pay regardless. Sounds a lot like a TV license for the internet. I'm all for helping small media and actual journalism where possible, but this seems like something else entirely.

Google, Apple sued for failing to give Telegram chat app the Parler put-down treatment


Re: The real reason of course...





Re: The real reason of course...

Not in Scotland where a new law has been proposed making anything you say in your own home subject to hate speech legislation and children are being encouraged to report their parents.

Scottish people: "You may take our lives, but you'll never take our ... oh never mind, let me meekly hand over any sense of individualism or liberty to the nanny state."


Re: Remove Anonymity

With no anonymity not only will ideas be suppressed but any ideas that get out will be judged, at least partly, on who proposes them rather than on their own merits.

FYI: Posting bile is not the same as inciting violence. One of those is already a crime and by conflating them you seek to criminalise speech you dislike. The idea that people should not be slaves, that women could vote, gays should have equal rights, these were all very much against community standards and public decency when first being discussed and any arguments for them would have been banned in the current climate. Something to think about.


Re: @Overunder Am I bad for not...

@MikeTheDlyingRat I find The Blues Brothers covered that quite well.

ADT techie admits he peeked into women's home security cams thousands of times to watch them undress, have sex



I detest blaming the victim because people should be allowed to be as silly as they like without being taken advantage of. At the same time consider me unsurprised.

There have been plenty of warnings that this would happen the second you allow cameras and/or microphones into your home, but the claims by corporations that this couldn't happen should be part of the criminal investigation as well as the one employee who did wrong/got caught.

Facebook tells Portuguese court that a biz called Oink And Stuff makes profile-harvesting browser extensions


Jar Jar Binks

WhatsApp you say?


Re: Do as I say not as I do.

Literally no-one has signed it.

And almost as many have read it.

NHS COVID-19 app is trying to tell Android users something but buggy notification appears stuck on 'Loading...' screen


Hotel California

You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave

Boeing will cough up $2.5bn+ to settle US fraud charge over 737 Max safety


Airline safety = lives

I used to use the airline industry to point out why testing software was important and saves money in the long run. That doesn't appear to be true any more.

Thanks Boeing.

Google reveals version control plus not expecting zero as a value caused Gmail to take an inconvenient early holiday


Old school

Maybe it's time to out the beta label back on it?

GitHub will no longer present a cookie notification banner – because it's scrapping non-essential cookies



Bill doesn't need to track you across the web if he can track you in the real world using his nanobot vaccine


45 million medical scans from hospitals all over the world left exposed online for anyone to view – some servers were laced with malware


Pride of the nation

Sure am glad the NHS protects our records and would never leave them on trains, resold IT equipment, unprotected websites, never mind straight up sell them without our permission, consent or compensation to foreign companies with no restrictions on what they do with it.

Can I go on my balcony and clap these clowns like the performing seal the government wants me to be?

UK comms regulator: Could we interest sir in a bespoke broadband speed estimate?


Suits you, Sir

Does Sir's lady like it fast? Ooh, I bet she does. Is it a wide pipe sir has? Ooh, I bet it is.

Boffins from China push quantum computing envelope for 'supremacy' in emerging photon field


Turing complete?

It requires 4x its own size to work out if its answers are even compatible let alone correct.

QC may be the future, but it's not the immediate future.

Glastonbury hippy shop Hemp in Avalon rapped for spouting 'plandemic' pseudoscience


Re: Sums up the current state of things...

Actually it's very difficult to have a sensible debate based on facts because governments are hiding one side of the debate. Try finding the expected 5 year impact of government policies enacted since March and compare and contrast with the expected impact of competing policies. You can't because the government will not release them, or never produced them.

Scotch eggs ascend to the 'substantial meal' pantheon as means to pop to pub for a pint during pernicious pandemic


Protect the NHS

I sure am glad the Germans didn't win the war; all these instructions might have been in German.

UK infoseccer launches petition asking government not to backdoor encryption


Sign it...

...and make yourself a person if interest to the authorities.



The sooner we outlaw whispering the better.

UK reveals new 'National Cyber Force', announces Space Command and mysterious AI agency


Keep people safe

Know what would keep me safe? Not hoarding zero day exploits for as long as you find them useful. Not losing tools of hacking to the darkweb. Seeking to improve encryption rather than trying to backdoor it.

Apple warns developers API tweaks will flow from style guide changes that remove non-inclusive language

Black Helicopters

Re: Black or black

But it's not pejorative - when Johnny Walker whiskey is Black label, or AMG has a Black series edition, or bands have their Black albums, gaming chairs, CPU coolers, folding bicycles etc. etc. these are seen as the best, coolest, highest quality versions of regular products.

Or even helicopters...

Twitter says hack of key staff led to celebrity, politician, biz account hijack mega-spree


Re: A far better money making scheme...

No one was jailed for shorting airline stocks around September 2001

Detroit cops employed facial recognition algos that only misidentifies suspects 96 per cent of the time

Black Helicopters

Re: What's the false negative rate?

@veti You're OK with 24 innocent people being surrounded by armed police on the basis they were wrongly flagged as a terrorist suspect (NB. SUSPECT), dragged off to a cell, denied civil liberties because 'terrorism', their houses ransacked, families and friends spied on (three hops = Kevin Bacon) their finances gone over, their computer equipment and phones taken and not returned, their livelihoods likely taken away from them, and even after they have been found out to be not the SUSPECT that was being sought, they are still on the no fly list?

All so the cops can finger a single suspect who is not only presumed innocent but, given the police's ineptitude, probably is innocent.

Nokia's reboot of the 5310 is a blissfully dumb phone that will lug some mp3s about just fine


Re: Would this be a good 'phone to have ...

"refarm 2G spectrum...'

Depends what they re-use the spectrum for. TV receiver? Emergency services broadcast scanner? Auto-driving disaster maker?

UK's Ministry of Defence: We'll harvest and anonymise private COVID-19 apps' tracing data by handing it to 'behavioural science' arm

Big Brother

No such thing as "anonymised"

"Even if it really is anonymised"

It cannot be anonymised and work. Given access to even few data points GCHQ and/or Google could narrow down who the person is to a few hundred in the UK. With access to CCTV they could not only know who you are but track your movements for the past month and predict with a decent success rate where you are going to be next Tuesday at 3pm.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you


nom de plume

Desktop Doyens

Big Plastic

Zune Slingers


Xerox Copiers

UK COVID-19 contact-tracing app data may be kept for 'research' after crisis ends, MPs told


It's almost like it's not actually for the disease...

Burner phone

Download NHS app

Use public transport

Tell app you have Covid19.

Rinse and repeat.

UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy



Can I give it access to my banking app so it can just automatically withdraw the fine whenever I'm out too long or near too many people or not moving fast enough to count as exercise or whatever else they have decided that was not against the law is now against the law.

Star's rosette orbit around our supermassive black hole proves Einstein's Theory of General Relativity correct


Re: Spirograph

Most gods roll dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don't find out until too late that he's been using two queens all along.

But then there's The Lady, and she has Rincewind.


Re: Theory?

There is no proof of a theory, or law, in science, merely evidence that fits predictions which fail to disprove the theory, which in turn bolsters it. Theories and laws are simply the best fit for the available evidence that we have at this given moment and are always open to be disproven or improved upon.

For example Newton's Law of gravitation is an approximation (i.e. limited in scope and accuracy) of Einstein's general relativity which itself is almost definitely an approximation of some yet to be discovered unified theory of everything.

UK enters almost-lockdown: Brits urged to keep calm and carry on – as long as it doesn't involve leaving the house

Big Brother

Re: Three weeks

"debated and renewed"

The debates will stop fairly quickly, but the renewals will be rubber stamped.

This level of power is intoxicating for everyone involved: protesters getting annoying in front of Parliament? Police have full dispersal powers. New political party making waves? No more than two people are allowed to gather together. Want to track the public? Monitor all mobile location data and see who has been meeting with who.

Lest we forget, the "emergency" terrorism rules were used by everyone from dog catchers to councils looking for fly tippers and the majority of those laws are still in place.

Assange lawyer: Trump offered WikiLeaker a pardon in exchange for denying Russia hacked Democrats' email


Re: Bollocks

"The repeated extradition warrants when Obama was President"

Why would there be an extradition warrant when he was holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London while being sought for an extradition warrant to Sweden where the UK courts would have been reluctant to send him to Sweden if there was an existing US warrant that the Swedes would act upon where the death penalty could apply?

Did you miss the whole story? The US, under Obama, were not going to make an extradition request until he was in Swedish custody. The only reason there is now an extradition hearing is because Sweden dropped their charges and the only way the US could get their hands on him is directly from the UK.

Also, and more importantly, Obama's administration tortured Bradley/Chelsea Manning with the intent of getting evidence that Assange/wikileaks actively encouraged and abetted Manning to access, export and pass on confidential information.

Crazy idea but hear us out... With robots taking people's jobs, can we rethink this whole working to survive thing?


Economic Basics

Comparative advantage. Labour vs Capital. These are not new concepts and neither is capital replacing labour. What we have now though is an opportunity to seriously consider what to do with the excess returns on capital and whether a UBI or similar might enable a better standard of living for the vast majority rather than a temporary move to slave wages by those displaced by automation.

Somewhere, Google's financial bods are playing on repeat... What do you want from me? It's not how it used to be...


Collateral Damage

"an analyst asked whether Pichai had considered revising Alphabet's business structure to further insulate profitable Google businesses from speculative ventures like Waymo that could become a legal liability – if its robo-cars started running over pedestrians, for example."

This is the problem with massive, multination limited liability companies with multi-layered corporate structures. Individuals can only sue a loss making subsidiary with no assets when they are harmed by a company worth over $1tn. Why isn't this the story?

You know the President is able to shut down all US comms, yeah? An FCC commish wants to stop him from doing that


Re: Did Trump turn off your editor's internet?





He had a list of people, including US citizens, that he decided to allow his military and/or CIA go kill without any kind of due process.

Look at his killing of Awlaki, and worse, his 16 year old son...



Did Trump turn off your editor's internet?

Obama had a kill list that included American citizens, but let's get in a panic about Orange Man being able to turn off social media.

Kill. List.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021