* Posts by Jane Fae

116 posts • joined 13 Apr 2010


Crime epidemic or never had it so good? Drilling into statistics is murder

Jane Fae

Yes. But we don't. The ONS is very clear that police stats do not merit the status of official stats.

Journalists, though: theey tend to worship at the altar of police stats. I suspect - cynical me! - because police stats appear quarterly, so provide a regular story and with the trends noted in the piece have lately been a good source of sensation fodder.

Jane Fae

Re: Benjamin Disraeli had it right!

People who repeat that line as though it has any meaning deserve to die most horribly!

Now, where's me machete?

Jane Fae

Re: The law is wrong

Oh yeah.

<ring ring> <ring ring>

Hiya, darling...would you like to come round and discuss the divorce settlement over a glass of wine at half nine tonight.

<bell rings>

Aha! got you, you bastard! How dare you try and break into my house. Oh, noes...you were my ex. What a shame. What a terrible accident...

...and no, officer. I wasn't expecting anyone. It was dark. Late. This person came to my door. I felt threatened. I lashed out. What a shame they are dead and i get to keep ALL of my pension pot...

Bottom line: you can't have general exceptions for stabbing at home, or people will abuse it. The law, as now, says that if you use reasonable force, you'll probs be alright, which is as it should be.

Sure. You may be arrested while police ask questions. But they have a dead body. A crime scene to protect. What do you expect them to do>

Jane Fae

Re: The law is wrong

yes. Murder is a real problem. I'd never say otherwise. But as a stiatistician i am looking for trends, patterns, whatever, and in THAT sense it is anomaly.

because i agree with you that the issue is carrying a weapon. A knife or a gun. But the difference in law is that if i puncture your skin with a knife and you limp off down to the local A&E and get fixed with a couple of stitches, the penalty i face is disproportionately low, while if i nick an artery and you bleed out before the ambulance arrives, the penalty is disproportionately high.

What i am trying to say here is that you can argue, as you do, that carrying a knife is "always" an intent to kill. But that is not how the law works. Murder follows if prosecution can prove intent to kill, which is very hard: or intent to gbh, which is rather easier.

However, whether the consequence of death follows a stabbing is near-random. So it would make far more sense to clamp down massively on crimes of violence...maybe doubling sentences for knife and gun crimes...while giving a bit more latitude in instances prosecuteed nowadays as murder.

Windrush immigration papers scandal: What it didn't teach UK.gov about data compliance

Jane Fae

No you don't (know what you are talking about).

You are probably spot on for your wife's case. But there are dozens of different situations where the road to legitimisation and/or confirming rights is very different.

By the time we hit the 1983 Nationality Act there were three main categories of British Subject/Citizen...but probably at least a dozen sub-categories created by specific national circumstances.

At the same time, there were rules governing right of abode that were separate from citizenship criteria (qv. the creation of the category known as "British Citizen without right of abode")...and these might well operate differently according to country of origin.

For instance, Falkland Islanders got their very own special amendment in the Nationality Act.

Jane Fae

Yes. But millions of people don't. And it is not their fault they don't

Jane Fae

Right of abode is a fact of who you are and not dependent on paperwork. And i am at a loss to understand what you mean by "it was their responsibility to assemble the requisite paperwork".

The paperwork requirement, for evidence of residence in the country in every single year post 1971, was a requirement imposed retroactively. I'd love to see you not whining at all if the government now turned around and said - as it could under the law - that unless you can show paperwork proving continuous residence in the UK since 1971 or whenever you started to work, you will get a reduced pension.

It's also an issue that has unfolded against a background of constantly changing legislation in respect of nationality and right of abode, which have been separated legally, and the fact that every single piece of legislation passed to clear it up seems to create new exceptional categories.

Bottom line, the people concerned came here legally and continued to reside here legally for many years during which there was no requirement to provide the paperwork you now reckon they should have collected. From approx 2010 onward, the government started demanding new paperwork and new levels of proof.

It's a bit like name change. There is NO requirement in UK law for things like a deed poll or stat dec. But over the past decade or so, the UK has drifted to a position where people believe this to be the case because of the practice of financial and other large organisations.

Where practice changes, a humane person might say it is not the responsibility of those adversely affected to have predicted the change.

Jane Fae

Re: Feeble excuse

The story, as relayed to me on the journalistic grapevine, is that the records may have become contaminated with, um, rat pee.

Cannot confirm or deny.

But, eeeyuw!

Jane Fae

Re: Not just immigrants

This is a growing issue and one i collided with recently when trying to hire a car. They wanted printed bills from the last three months. Once upon a time i got regularly quarterly bills for most utilities. Now, if i'm lucky, i get one annual bill for water. No printed bill for gas and electric. And an annual bill for Council tax. Also printed.

What seems to be happening is we are in the middle of a transition from a trust economy, where paper was not required, because everyone knew the local bank manager...and a digital economy in which paper will again be not required because everything is digital...by way of a bureaucratic phase when everything had to be evidenced by paper.

Feels like something i could be writing about. Thoughts?

Jane Fae

Re: In my experience of civil service office moves

Ah yes. No budget for digitising. This is the bane of family tree researchers...a project to digitise indexes to the GRO got shelved about five years back.

Jane Fae

Re: Isn't there an obligation for accuracy

No. Not holding data (accurate or otherwise) is not the same as holding inaccurate data.

There are laws other than the DPA that mean businesses should retain contract details.

Jane Fae

Re: One thing to remember

Agree...and my point about there may be commercial consequences to destroying data. But apart from those, there can often be no DPA consequence.

NatWest customer services: We're aware of security glitch

Jane Fae

Re: Next time, screenshot it and post it on Twitter with a link to the story


I even scanned in the letter from customer services together with their "interesting" admissions.

The most joyous bit was discussing this letter with their Press Office, during which convo one could almost literally hear the gears grinding as official spokesperson attempted to explain how their customer services bod had just gone off piste and made this up wholesale without actually saying they'd done that...

Jane Fae

This story happened to me and eventually they said the same thing. Must have entered the account number wrong.

Though I am pretty sure a) I did not and b) in my initial convo with customer services they acknowledged an attempt to log on to my account

Jane Fae

I understand that bankers generally consider withdrawal an unnecessary procedure...

Jane Fae

Re: Had simi9lar issues

No. My 9th digit is an 11!

Jane Fae

Re: Had simi9lar issues

OK...do drop me a line if you're interested. We weren't 100% convinced by the explanation and if loads of people have had similar we might revisit...

From landslide to buried alive: Why 2017 election forecasts weren't wrong

Jane Fae

Re: "there was a margin of error of around 2 to 3 per cent for any forecast"

But all that is needed is for MSM to give the bounds, rather than focus on the central estimate. The CE is more likely, in absolute terms, than any other single outcome....but not the most likely result overall.

In my last piece, pre-election, i gave an outcome estimate based on interpretation of polls at the time and while i was still a bit optimistic towards the Tories, i included hung parliament as one alternative.

If you look at polling that way....as indicating scenarios that may occurf, then it makes planning for what happens just a bit easier.

One of the worst aspects of the Brexit vote was the complete absence of a plan B for what government would do if there was No vote. Utterly irresponsible.

Jane Fae

Unless you are some sort of psychic, you have no way of knowing that:

1. Polls close to election day were well within bounds of statistical margin to what actually happened

2. Polls further out were not: but how on earth do you know whether the polls were wrong OR voting intention was more pro-Tory four, three, two weeks prior to the election?

Jane Fae

Re: Sample size

This is, sort of, the underlying point. In order to compensate for what they consider to be demographic skews, polling organisations either aim to carry out quota sampling....only including set proportions of specific demographics. Or they grab the best sample they can and weight it according to what they believe to be the likely turn-out.

So, you have two sets of weightings:

- weighting for how accurate a Tory/Labour/LibDem preference represents a Tory/Labour/LibDem preference, and

- wrighting for turn-out by demographic.

In the absence of a vaildation process, both these weighting sets, no matter how cunningly contrived are really just educated guesses.

Add that this process requires larger and larger samples for the same level of accuracy.

And then add, too, that you can't know, in advance, which demographic factors are dignificant for analysis purposes and....

....well the impossibility of "accuracy" becomes clear.

Jane Fae

Re: YouGov seem to be the diamond in the turd

Ye-es....though if you check my twitter feed, i was suggesting that based on the trend - not any one poll - a reduced majority or even no overall majority was on the cards from about three to four weeks out.

But that was not an election "forecast" the way a lot of traditional pollsters tend to regard it. Rather, it was more along the lines of what i used to do, as a statistician, coming up with risk assessments: looking at the data and determining which outcomes were feasible, which more likely (as opposed to "which would happen").

Two points, therefore: the Tories have acted with criminal irresponsibility in only considering how to deal with one set of outcomes (on Brexit and on this latest fiasco) and utterly ignoring possible counterfactuals.

And second, the point of my pie3ce: the polls CAN'T do the sort of forecasting that the media try to pretend they can....so in that sense, your response heads off in the wrong direction. It's not about who got it rightest....but why we even begin to imagine anyone can.

UK General Election 2017: How EU law will hit British politicians' Facebook fight

Jane Fae

Re: GDPR Consent

Correct. But GDPR is quite hot on making consent into more of a thing than it is at present....while "necessary for the legitimate interests of the data controller" is fairly specific (and GDOR notes make clear that just claiming this ground will not be enough).

Jane Fae

Re: Confession time

Hardly a threat: simply a statement of fact, as i outline in the post below, responding to the response to your post.

Sure, you are under no obligation to give out the data, but it doesn't harm you and it does mean, if you are on anyone's canvas lists, you are lsss likely to be disturbed later.

Jane Fae

Re: Confession time

They'll be round later BECAUSE you didn't give your address. Assuming they canvassed you previously.

The way polling day organisation works is:

- pre-polling day, canvas obtains indication of likelihood to vote

- these returns are fed into central database

- on polling day itself, tellers at polling stations collect data as to who has voted and this is also added to database

- after about 3pm, "knockers up" head out to start prompting those who have indicated some positive preference and who do not appear yet to have voted

- process repeats with increasing regularity as close of poll approaches

Therefore if you have given any indication you MIGHT vote for a party, chances are you'll get a visit from the knockers up....and if you refuse to tell tellers to take you off the list, you'll keep being knocked up during the day.

Basically: there's nothing sinister to it. It's part of the regular process of parties mobilising support.

It gets messed up when people tell every canvasser they are going to vote for them and/or refuse to give out enough details to get their name removed from the knocking up list.

In the Lambeth by-election, many years back, a story was told of a Tory knocker-up being physically assaulted by one voter. Apparently, on polling day, the Tory was the eightth person to call at the voters house and ask if they had voted.

Voter was aggrieved. On t'other side, voter appeared to have told every party he was voting for them and then refused to help the tellers.... go figure.

Jane Fae

Correct. My understanding, though, is that the principle of the privacy shield is itself allowed for within the DPA, so i tend to think of it as being in compliance with same.

But you have a point.

Jane Fae

Could do. Might not though.

Sod it: i'm off back to bed....

Jane Fae

Re: A question

Yes. This, exactly. Right now loads of UK IT firms do business processing EU data. Kick out the GDPR and they are fecked. Instantly.

I guess there is some argument, in terms of the rights of UK firms to do what the hell they like with customer data, for opting out of the GDPR. But anyone arguing that would then also have to argue why it would be a good thing for the UK to be barred from processing any data relating to people living in the EU

Jane Fae

Re: A question

It's saying: look, here are some principles that we, th4e Brits, have signed up to with respect to Data Protection, privacy, processing of data, etc.

One big loophole to any such approach would be if any business could simply offshore its data processing operations and stick two fingers up to local law. So the DPA includes a principle to the effect that if you wish to be compliant, under the DPA, then you proccess only in countries/jurisdictions where data protection regs provide at least as much protection to the individual as they get in the UK.

Now, times that by Europe. The EU worked out a broad position on data protection, which the UK was instrumental in devising, which has since found expression in various DP directives. The result: UK and EU law on data protection are harmonised and businesses don't need to worry, if they are processing data within the EU area, about cross-border transfers. Very handy when one works, as i once did, for businesses with pan-european sales forces and a single central database.

Fast forward to next year: the EU, again, has, courtesy of the GDPR, tightened up on its data protection stance. The UK was involved in discussion of what those regs should be, and agreed to go along with them. The alternative would be opting out, at which point any UK business that processes data for EU companies would lose that business. Instantly.

Anonymised search engine page found on 'kid-friendly' search site

Jane Fae

course, i learned ages back not to swallow.....

...least not unless you had a pretty good idea of what you were being asked to swallow.


Jane Fae

Thank you, yes. Because there are loads of people on here who don't see why children should not have access to such things...and that's their point of view.

But that wasn't kiddle. Read back through all the gushing press reviews of about a month or so back and this was a special safe for kids search engine when, as you say, it was nothing of the sort.

Other thing, of course, is that there are some institutes out there...expert reviews and the like...who swallowed the hype hook line and sinker without doing ANY due diligence on the product.

The lesson...probably of greatest value to snake oil salespersons....is: if you wan't to make a quick buck, label your new thing "safe for kids"...and don't be too exercised about what's under the bonnet. Because most people will swallow whatever you offer under that label without asking too many questions.

Jane Fae

Re: Protecting kids


Jane Fae

Re: @ Cynic_999

it got fixed. SO little actual outrage. However, the backdoor was there and by allowing children to access kiddle on the premise of "safe searching", any parent or isntitiution adding kiddle to their list of exceptions was also opening up access to something definitely NOT kiddle.

Jane Fae

A beta product launched as finished

which site? Lukol or Kiddle? I have no probs finding smut via the Kiddle site...so maybe you just don't have a dirty enough imagination :)

Tbh there are a whole series of problems with Kiddle. First, that it claims to offer a degree of edited search that i don't really believe. Perhaps an overclaim. Mostly, they are offering google safesearch with some filters over the top.

When first released, it had some VERY dodgy views on sexuality generally: gay, for instance, was a "bad word"...as was dyke, lesbian, transexual and child abuse. So, as with many such filters....kids looking legitimately for info that would be helpful to them were barred from finding it...and much more severely barred than using other filter systems.

They...sorta...fixed that.

However, forget the argument about what kids SHOULD be able to see: this software promises a level of extra security to parents, which means enabling kiddle and therefore enabling the backdoor, when that was active.

So in return for a promise of extra security, kiddle was actually delivering a lot less....

Jane Fae

Re: storm in my tea-cup

er, no.

The kiddy-users don't need to be able to use Peach or equivalent. They just need a grown-up to use it and find it for them and publish the result somewhere.

Agree: as far as i am aware, that did not happen...at least not in a big way. But if there is an exploit, do you think everyone is going to be shouting about it so it gets closed down.

I watch what my son (aged 11) does online. He does not discover exploits by himself, does not hack mainframes. Yet.

However, he is clearly going on to youtube and other spaces where he listens in on what the grown-up hackers and the like are doing and every now and then quite surprises me by knowing a lot about something i thought entirely beyond his range...

Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

Jane Fae

Re: Registration bias

oh...do you have a source for this?

Not doubting you: just something i am interested in.

Jane Fae

Re: One polling firm had it right but was too chicken to publish the results.

Maybe. Personally, i suspect they WERE an outlier and they did get it wrong. Its just that their getting it wrong actually happened to be closer to the right result than the mainstream right results. :)

Jane Fae

Re: Up the Pole!

Correct...but twas ever thus. Just that this time round, UKIP, by being so broadly dispersed, has provided one of the most extreme examples of the system working badly ever.

Prior to that, twas probably the Liberal vote in 1974 (Feb), when 6 million votes got them just 14 seats.

Jane Fae

Re: a 48 year-old writes

Nope. Don't think the UK has a natural tendency towards conservatism.

England might have. But it is less pronounced than it looks. Just that for most of the last century the progressive vote has been split Lib/Lab.

Whereas 1906! Now that was a REAL result... :)

Jane Fae

Re: 3% margin of error

Think you'll find the poll of polls was giving far better than 3% margin, which is why the percentage issue was/is systemic...

What does the NHS’s new IT plan really want to extract from us?

Jane Fae

Hmmm...to all those saying: what do i expect the NHS to do, simple. This is playing fast and loose with my/our personal data. It might be to a good end, but...it appears now to be seriously outwith any parliamentary scrutiny.

That's the worry. With power comes responsibility and, i'd hope, accountability. The set-up here omits the last component.

Belgian finds missus was born a MAN after 19 YEARS of marriage

Jane Fae

Re: I hoped for better from the Reg

Last up, there's this "sensitivity" thing. In one sense, the story is as it is. The comment from the bloke's lawyer is remarkably spiteful and plays on supposition, which it oughtn't to.

So let's make two observations. First, she may well be wrong about the alleged deception being grounds for annulment. Certainly, in the UK, not declaring a trans history can be grounds for annulment...in the first couple of years of a marriage. After that, the law takes the fairly pragmatic view that it is no longer.

After all, if you've lived with someone and made love to them for several years....its clear that the situation is not problematic and the question of whether some piece of information "changes" everything is again a philosophical wotsit.

That said... i think the insensitivity and maybe the problem in this piece lies in covering it in bootnotes: which is not to say that's th WRONG thing to do. Just that it positions the story in a certain way. And if you take a particular fairly dim view of domestic violence, maybe you would feel that is the wrong place for it.

F'rinstance, last night i was discussing the use of a frozen Basa as a weapon. No, honestly! But if you've ever cooked one - or indeed, watched Basic Instinct - you'll know what i mean...

They start out being almost throwing knife shape. Just sharpen one slightly and hey presto! a serious weapon...that can be eaten after the fact of the crime to hide the evidence.

Now, suppose someone actually DID follow that bright idea into reality...where would you report the story? Sure...it would be weird, funnym, unusual and more than deserviong of a Bootnotes spot. But also it would be about murder, death and killing.

Is such ever fit subject for humour? Ah...now there is another question altogether.


Jane Fae

Re: I hoped for better from the Reg

Anyway: so much for the intersex angle. As to the deception, there's more than a few angles on that front.... but if you genuinely consider yourself to be male or female...then can you said to be deceiving anyone? There's room for a slightly philosophical angle to get your teeth into.

More to the point, i looked at this whole "deception" issue in the UK recently and spoke at length to the CPS on same. They certainly would not give any guarantee that not coming clean about your earlier lived gender was OK: in some circumstances, they suggested, it could count as rape...but that observation possibly opens a far bigger can of worms than anyone is prepared to deal with at this moment.

Where they are going with that is down the line that says: if someone would not have slept with you if they had known some particular material fact about you and you deliberately concealed that fact...then it is arguable that you managed to obtain sexual intimacy through deception.

But hang on: does the "victim" have to declare what would count? I mean, it is clear from responses here that some folks would care a lot about someone's previous gender history and others wouldn't. What if you didn't mention it was important to you?

And to those who say: of course it is...well, really?

Bubbling along nicely is the case of the undercover cop who lied about his previous employment (as a policeman) in order to get to first base...and beyond. And what if you just happened to exaggerate your wealth or job prospects or not mention your religion while trying to bed a confirmed atheist.

Its not easy, for which reason, maybe peeps should be a little more cautious about demanding total honesty...cause basically, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. And if you ever fibbed even slightly in order to get into bed with someone.... hmmmm!


Jane Fae

Re: I hoped for better from the Reg

That's wonderfully ARCH of you, @John List and since i write a fair amount about gender and topics that don't always go down too well in some quarters, such as gender, feminism and violence against women...i can see where a link might be made.

Though i'm not sure "sensitivity" is quite the right word in this case.

Let's start with a few interesting facts. The intersex thing: the more i read and write about it, the more i find the idea that "there are just two sexes" quite problematic. There are two categories that share a lot of things, including chromosomes and bits: but there are a LOT of humans outside those categories...between point something of a percent and 4-5%, depending on point of view.

Here's a piece giving a bit more chapter and verse: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/27/gender_database_debate/

There was some debate about the %-age i quote, but i checked it out with more than a few learned bodies...which leaves me to wonder, if aliens dropped in on this planet, whether a purely empirical study of humans would decide there were just two sexes.


CPS grovels after leaking IDs of hundreds arrested during student riots

Jane Fae

Re: Demonstrations or Riots -- AC 09:25 GMT

It is indeed due a massive upgrade...and i have been told off for that before. The colour scheme, that is. But its RESTFUL! :)

You can say you read it here first, but the blog as was - a detailed personal journey interlaced with a bit of politics and a touch of feminism - is pretty much retired. Coming soon is going to be something rather more like a news site focusing on the law, IT and sex and sexuality.:)


Jane Fae

Re: Shurely shome mishtake?

No. No mistake. Well, not quite. I'll explain that in a mo.

The basic mistake was releasing as part of an FOI request material that ought NOT to have been released in the first place. They do not regularly release details of people's personal stuff...at least, i would hope not, and expect a mega inquiry if they did.

The presumption is that what they release as FOI is OK to release. Within that paradigm, there is no prob in them then releasing the FOI output to the public later on.

However, for the record, the CPS did come back to me this morning to point out that they would not automatically release EVERYTHING. Though the exact grounds for what they choose to release feel a bit fuzzy.

So it is possible that had this story not come to light they might have published the details in a month or so. Or they might not. As we agreed: tis speculation, and now subject to a fairly wide-ranging review of process.

Jane Fae
Black Helicopters

Re: Demonstrations or Riots

As you are probably aware, not every word used in a final edit is as a journalist submits them. Stories are rarely run unedited. My opinion is to be found in blogging i do and comment pieces.

UK judges quietly declare text chat can be obscene

Jane Fae

Re: Now Reality

According to Maidstone Crown Court, reporting restrictions have been lifted.

Given what we have discussed in the past, though, i'd say that the files you have access to may be covered by more than reporting restrictions.

Please be careful....

jane xx

Jane Fae

Not just about "online"

I note at least one poster assuming this is merely about the online world. No: that's not what this ruling means.

A point made to me by the CPS, which for space reasons i could not include in the article was:

"the point of the appeal against the terminating ruling was the Crown Court judge’s interpretation of “persons” not whether or not an online chat was subject to the Act, which is made clear in paragraph 21 of the judgment"

It just so happens that the most likely place for one-to-one chat to be picked up nowadays is online...and the OPA is adapting to a new digital reality.


Should your system offer Mr, Ms ... and Mx?

Jane Fae

Not where there's a grc...

...as far as i am aware, from speaking with their spokesperson on this earlier this week/late last.

IN general, name changes are tracked: however, in the specific instance where a grc is in existence, that more or less rewrites the birth certificate details.

Its complex: have recently seen probs over at the crb over just this issue.


Jane Fae


I think you missed the bit of the article where i quote figures for intersex. Good estimates seem to lie in the range of 2% to 4% of the population.

Issues lie around definition and recording of such: for a very long time, medics have tended to erase any mention of intersex by shoe-horning those individuals with intersex characteristics into existing gender categories. In some instances, they have intervened by advising surgery on children as young as 1 or 2.

That has changed drastically over the last few years. First, while the US still opts for early intervention, the UK position tends to be no surgical intervention unless medically (not socially) necessary until the individual is old enough to decide for themselves.

As for what gets defined as intersex...figures from ISNA have instantly recognisable gender variation at birth at somewhere between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 2,000 (which is low, but still a lot higher than your figure).

However, they also add that there are other conditions that need to be taken into account (such as late developing adrenal hyperplasia) which very quickly shift the medical definition of intersex up to somewhere in the region of 2% to 3%. Add in karotype variation and you are closer to 4% (a figure quoted often by OII)...and if you also add social definitions, then 4% to 6% is not unrealistic.

In terms of medical/biological definitions of intersex, the vast majority of those who could fall within the definition will quite possibly never know unless affected by an illness that is co-morbid with an intersex variation - or are tested at the chromosomal level.

That means...think carefully about this...that a fair number of those posting may well be intersex without realising that they are....




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