* Posts by Ian

16 posts • joined 16 May 2007

Mayor Boris backs McKinnon in extradition fight


So what about Mandelson?

I don't know about Brown or Darling but claims of Peter Mandelson being of lizard origin would have a certain ring of truth about them.

Jacqui Smith denies any knowledge of police search


She's telling the truth...

... but I suspect she's using the "Lawyer's Lie". That is, someone told her "The police think that they've fingered an MP". To which she replied, "For God's sake, don't tell me anything more about it or I won't be able to claim I knew nothing about it".

Phorm failed to mention 'illegal' trials at Home Office meeting in 2007


I find the Press Office's attitude odd.

I find the Home Office's Press Office's attitude odd. Andrew Knight is clearly trusted to talk to journalists (as was his predecessor Simon Watkin). Evidence for this is that he was a speaker at the FIPR 'birthday party' meeting a few weeks back, and happily answered questions from journalists such as Duncan Campbell and Wendy Grossmann, who both identified themselves as such. Indeed, anyone with experience of FIPR public meetings could predict that Duncan would have been there.

So who's hiding what here? Is Andrew Knight trying to avoid the questions by punting it to the Press Office or is the Press Office just being obnoxious as a twisted kind of method of creating job security?

FIPR slams central communications database


Quote from Andrew Knight

I was at the meeting mentioned. I made few notes but one quote from Andrew Knight* (the Home Office chappie) that I did bother to write down was:

[show people that RIPA is] "Rightly used ... for non-crime purposes too"

Like many others I remember the powers that be promoting much of RIPA as being targeted at terrorism and serious crime.

Mr Knight was evasive as to whether Ministers have yet actually seen the draft provisions of the Communications Bill or not.

* Mr Knight said "erm..." so often in his responses that I joked to one participant afterward that he should have been billed as Andrew erm Knight.

Ban using mobiles while crossing street, says US legislator


Why not tackle the root cause?

Why not tackle the root cause? The only way to stop people doing stupid things that might harm themselves is to make stupidity illegal. This would have the positive side effect of putting the vast majority of politicians behind bars.

Two quotes come to mind: The classic redneck's last words "Hay Y'all, watch me!" and Robert Heinlein's "Think of it as evolution in action."


Home Sec in anti-terror plan to control entire web



"In the UK, much of the net backbone is actually controlled by just one company, British Telecom. "

Erm, no. I've designed, implemented and managed ISP networks for 11 years. I've spent a lot of time talking to other people who do the same (including folks who've run BT's IP networks). I have never known any significant ISP buy backbone capacity (i.e. transit) from BT, not one. The principal backbone providers for the UK are probably Level 3, Global Crossing, NTT, Telia, PCCW, SAVVIS and XO - but there's a lot of ebb and flow in who's who. BT buy their transit from Sprint, SAVVIS, Level 3, AT&T, and GlobalCrossing.

Tag-a-lag: Chip implants mooted for UK prisoners



"True evil starts when you start treating people as things." - Granny Weatherwax

It's coming to something when a fictional, comic character is an order of magnitude clearer sighted in moral matters than a Home Office minister. However, it comes as no surprise.

[My icon of choice for this, had it been available, would have been a minister of state burning in Hell.]

Inland Revenue boss quits over 'major ops failure'



I find myself caught between two stools. Firstly, Paul Gray is in charge and rightly should resign over a cock-up this big. On the other hand, what we need is public servants who will take responsibility and resign when they fail, thus it's a great shame to see one such go. Perhaps he could be given Sir Ian Blair's job?

Verizon hijacks your browser


It's not just the web

What people are missing is that this happens not just to web pages, but to anything happening over IP. Verizon's DNS servers return the IP address of their search engine to any request for a non-existent name, not just for http (web) access. So mail servers, ssh clients, ftp clients etc. etc. get redirected as well as web browsers. With the redirection on a browser you see that you're being deliberately misdirected but as your mail, ftp etc. fail you're left scratching your head until you realize that Verizon have hijacked all unallocated names.

Google OpenSocial: after the hype, the holes


You what?

>Open standards always cause security problems...

I'm sorry? Always? Every single open standard has caused a security problem?

Brown will 'scrap ID cards' for UK citizens, claims paper



> the tone of the denials so far has been mysteriously unconvincing.

Is that perhaps because we've all reached the state where we consider any words that come from a Minister's lips, even "Yes, I'd like a cup of tea", as one step removed from a bold-faced lie.

I'm incidentally reminded of a Yes Ministerism: "Never believe anything until it's been officially denied."

UK.gov lambasted for ignoring peers' cybercrime report


re: Anonymous Coward (Tuesday 10:35 GMT)

Yes, it is the same Richard Clayton and if you'd followed the link to the post in question you'd find that he fully discloses his involvement in the 2nd sentence (which links to a much more detailed post on his involvement). I don't think you can ask for much more transparency than that and I can't really see the justification for your implication of Richard acting otherwise

Full disclosure: I've known Richard for around ten years.

Museum drops Watson talk in race row


What's 'beyond acceptable' is NOT debating the idea.

If you ban debate by saying that ideas are 'beyond acceptable debate' you close the door on proving or disproving them. This then leaves bigots with the opportunity to say that someone as eminent as Jim Watson supports their position and you have nothing to refute them with (beyond simple gainsaying) as the debate has not been had. Dangerous ideas MUST be debated so that the truth or falsity of them is established by reasoned argument, not by automatic prejudgement. Shutting Jim Watson up without debate IS prejudgement of the issue and, as the word implies, is as prejudiced as it's been implied Jim Watson is.

I *believe* that black people are just as intelligent as white but I can't support that position with facts precisely because this area is so taboo that there isn't a significant body of unbiased research on the subject.

Fasthosts customer? Change your password now


ISPs require plaintext passwords some of the time.

"We've asked Fasthosts why the passwords were not encrypted in the first place. It said: "Historically, Internet companies have rarely encrypted passwords to aid customer service.""

Moreover, some common authentication methods used REQUIRE a plaintext (i.e. unencrypted) password to be stored. e.g. A RADIUS server needs access to plaintext passwords to support CHAP, ironically used to avoid passing passwords in plaintext over the wire.

Mobiles can upset hospital equipment, after all


EMC directive anyone?

If critical life support equipment is capable of being upset by a little tightly controlled RF emission from a mobile phone then it's even more likely to be affected by:

1) Personal radios and Airwaves carried by police, ambulance staff and also often hospital porters and security - ALL of which I have witnessed being actively used close to critical care areas in my local hospital. All of which kick out more RF than the humble mobile phone.

2) Uncontrolled EMC from floor polishers, meal re-heating units, motorised beds, sluces, autoclaves and all the other many electric appliances that get used all over hospitals. We're talking about devices here that switch kilowatts.

And doesn't this displayed sensitivity suggest that the equipment would fail the EMC directive tests? Or is just us mortals who have to have CE marked equipment that operates properly?

ID scheme not failing, just shifting


On the advisability of building on sand...

"And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

So let me get this right. Two thousand years ago, building on sand as a very bad idea was so well understood by everyone that it was used in a parable by Jesus. Today, the Passport Service say building on sand is good, and that's why LSE are wrong. Hmm...


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