* Posts by umacf24

245 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Jun 2007


Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module


This is not a problem

The car is -- really -- owned by Tesla, and Tesla alone, regardless of who can drive it away.

Horizon Workrooms promises a virtual future of teal despair


This is the stuff!

Give us more of this stuff.

Gov.UK taskforce publishes post-Brexit wish-list: 'TIGRR' pounces on GDPR, metric measures


Almost, but not quite...

The legislative environment, and the issues around data adequacy are not really as the article makes out.

GDPR became law in the UK as a Regulation of the EU. DPA 2018 did not implement it or give it effect as there was no option but for it to become law. That would only have been required for a Directive of the EU. Different process.

DPA2018 made some elections allowed under GDPR, funded the ICO, and created criminal offences for breaches of GDPR, but it is mostly concerned with implementing data privacy regimes for areas outside EU competency -- national security and policing. (This is why a data subject access request sent to MI6 may not do what you want -- it's not a GDPR request.)

On leaving the EU, the "Exiting the EU Act" took effect, adopting all EU Regulations, including GDPR, into UK law. To remedy the impossibility of operating a Regulation designed for the Union in a single country, the GDPR as "retained EU" law in the UK, was amended by regulations issued by the Minister using the so-called "Henry VIII powers" in the Exiting the EU Act, to (e.g.) hand the task of the EC Data Protection Board to the ICO. So now there us a UK GDPR, structurally very similar but not at all the same. And it still has the DPA2018 unchanged.

That has little to do with data adequacy. It's a leg up, but when considering an adequacy decision, the Commission can consider data protection in all respects in the foreign country, not merely the areas where the EU has competence at home. So GDPR is the data protection regime in the UK for commercial services and a lot of government, and is presumably OK. But the regime for security services, police etc, is that of DPA 2018 and might be regarded as inadequate, and in fact would be regarded as inadequate if the Commission was more than a bunch of bureaucratic seatwarmers. Equally, adequacy has been granted to territories with data protection law quite unlike GDPR. Data adequacy is a political choice (and we saw with Schrems & Shrems II that the Court can undo it.)

Fortunately adequacy is not and has never been the only route to share data across borders. Trusting adequacy -- which can be lost -- verges on irresponsibility. The route to follow is contractual protection with provisions protecting the rights of data subjects. This obviously cannot protect data exportees from foreign security services, but the Court has always been 100% OK with that, and the Commission has recently updated the standard texts to use, making the whole thing easy.

That's pretty straighforward as these things go. And less alarming than the article made out. The UK could protect data adequately, would not need an adequacy decision any more than the US does, and the law should probably change.

Open Source Initiative board election results scrapped after security hole found, exploited to rig outcome


One 'b' in suborn.


European Commission redacts AstraZeneca vaccine contract – but forgets to wipe the bookmarks tab


Document Formats That Are Cleverer Than You Are

I'd post a list but basically, they all are, except plain text.

And even plain text runs into trouble with <CR><LF> vs <LF><CR> vs '\n'. Not to mention Unicode.

Register Lecture: Can portable atomic clocks end UK dependence on GNSS?


Re: first lecture of the decade

You went there. They went there. Oh God, NOBODY HAD TO GO THERE BUT YOU WENT THERE ANYWAY.

The top three attributes for getting injured on e-scooters? Having no helmet, being drunk or drugged, oddly enough


Lovely tools without a use.

I love these little scooters but I can't get one because there doesn't seem to be a use case which isn't better filled by walking, running, or biking.



Re: That's all very well....

>>So avoid being old if you're going to come off your bike.


Autonomy's financial reports? I didn't even read KPMG's due-diligence, says ex-HP CEO Léo Apotheker


I love this reporting

All of the dirt. All of the reminder about how things run.

Googlers, eggheads urge web giant's bosses to kick top conservative off its AI ethics council


" James seemed to refer to transgender women as biological men"

Er... well, er...

Tesla fingers former Gigafactory hand as alleged blueprint-leaking sabotage mastermind


Re: Batteries in cars

I assume you mean 34 kWhr. That's about five pounds-worth of electricity and looking at Powerwall prices you'll be paying something like ten or fifteen thousand pounds for an installation with a twenty-year life, which seems -- high.

But even if you fit that battery, the only way you can be running a house in winter on five kWhr per day is by a) freezing or b) not being in it, or c) heating it by burning something -- gas/oil/logs/peat/furniture. You certainly won't be charging your car from that battery.

Electric cars are great, part of the solution, and electrification of everything -- with its easy interchangeability of primary sources -- is the way to go. But the focus then has to be low-carbon primary energy with power for to support heating, trains, workplace, vehicle charging, synthetic fuels etc consumption. That puts us into the kW+ per person range and the only practical way forward there is nuclear (and no batteries are needed.)

India denies breach of its billion-strong 'Aadhaar' ID system



I don't think the authority has refuted the Tribune's story They have denied it, splitting absurd hairs about the meaning of "hacking".

Deloitte is a sitting duck: Key systems with RDP open, VPN and proxy 'login details leaked'


Why on earth would you put login credentials on Google+ ?

Because there's no chance anyone will ever see them there.

Britain is sending a huge nuclear waste shipment to America. Why?


How is this waste?

Highly enriched uranium is fuel, an expensively-obtained fuel at that.

700kgs could be well over a billion kWh, £100M+ of electricity depending on the enrichment.

If we can't use it, the fault is not in the material, but in ourselves.

It's renamed "waste" and we're happy to give it away!

Where is Lewis Page when we need him?

Microsoft's 'anti-malware Device Guard' in Windows 10: How it works, what you need


It was ever thus.

Computer processor architecture is cyclic.


Fine for exes...

... but little help, surely, for malware written in java etc. This is already the likeliest route into well-managed enterprise workstations.

So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?


Allowing the Bank of England to set interest rates was the other one.

Tesla Powerwall: Not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries


$350 to store 15 cents' worth of power.

These cells make excellent sense for a vehicle. But if there's no weight penalty, it's a struggle to find a use case that doesn't involve showing off.

RAGING Google SLAPS naughty Chinese root cert kingpins CNNIC


Will this have any effect on Windows?

I thought Chrome on Windows used the Windows CA trusts. Is Chrome going to edit that?

RUMPY PUMPY: Bone says humans BONED Neanderthals 50,000 years B.C.


Re: It's intriguing to speculate

That speculation was carried out quite efficiently in one of my favourite childhood books: Stig of the Dump by Clive King

TROUT and EELS in SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans


Both edible

Just saying.

Fuel for jets DOES grow on trees



Without a figure for moles of carbon atoms (or tonnes of alkanes or whatever) per hectare per year, this story is effectively worthless.

Forestry can be good for agriculture, so that might well make sense, but the oil would be a byproduct, and a small one. Once you include the diesel to get the logs to the processor (and observe that the plantations are deliberately dispersed, increasing the shipping costs) you might not even be breaking even in carbon terms.

Eucalypts grow fast but not that fast, and biology isn't that efficient. If you want solar energy and you can spare the land, use solar cells and make fuel (like ammonia, say) directly, or use the yield to displace fuel consumption from something like desalination that can handle variable supply.

Better still, stop messing around, use forestry to manage farmland efficiently (where that's required) and get energy, at the true scale we need, from nukes.

Boffins hampered by the ampere hanker for a quantum answer


Lovely subhead. Would read again. 5*

French gov used fake Google certificate to read its workers' traffic


Why can't they use their own, internal certificates?

Interception is legitimate, on a private network. But it doesn't require certificates to be signed by a publicly trusted CA. All that's required is that an internal CA is trusted by the machines that are being intercepted.

Evidently there are machines on the Ministry of Finance network that the administrators of the systems do not control. I wonder if they are:

- Personal?

- Spooks?

- Hackers?

I really don't know which would be worse! Either way it can't do the bond rating much good -- would you lend to an entity that can't control its own network?

Recommendations for private cloud software...


Varonis Data Anywhere

Send and receive links to folders and files, hosted on your infrastructure, authenticated by email.

'Only nuclear power can save humanity', say Global Warming high priests


Re: Quite right too....

Don't forget that current electricity demand is nowhere near total energy demand. We have to electrify heating and transport, and eventually things like brick kilns, steel foundries, cement kilns and other carbon-fed processes.

100 kWh per head per day, or 5kW per person -- at this level of precision they're the same -- is the level to keep in mind. And common decency, if nothing else, means we'll need to deliver that to ten billions by the end of the century. That's the real reason we need lots of nukes and lots of innovation in their designs.

Nissan promises to sell self-driving cars by 2020


Automated Freight

All of the talk about automated truck and truckers is missing the point. If you don't have to pay a driver, there's little point in sending a 40-ton tractor/trailer rig down a B-road.

The freight delivery future is self-driving containers -- vehicles that occupy a (modified) ten-foot container module, for automatic handling on trains and ships (and, yes, trucks sometimes) and autonomous delivery on their own wheels when road is best.

PORNAGEDDON: Sexy bloggrs stung by Tumblr smut smackdown


Free Services

This can never be said too often.

Hitch climate tax to the actual climate, says top economist


One word...


DHS warns of vulns in hospital medical equipment



Anaesthesia, surely.

Fraudster gets ten years after selling fake 'ionic charge' bomb detectors


Spelling of 'dowsing' in the subhead

that is all

Elon Musk's 'Grasshopper' hover rocket scores another test success


Spalshdown is vulgar.

Gentlemen land on their jets.

MIT boffins demonstrate NEW form of magnetism


Re: Herbertsmithite (named after its discoverer)

I am fond of Soddyite, a uranium ore, named after the great chemist and discoverer of transmutation.

New trend: Trojan which steals your pics instead of your text



I've spent the last five years wondering when this attack is going to show up. When I think of the number of times I've been asked to fix friends' and colleagues' PCs WITHOUT looking at the pictures... Still, one more reason to have people sort out their security!

Uh-oh! Kim Dotcom is back with a brand new Megaupload site


That'll work.

Sorry, I think this bit is wrong:

"... cannot access the encrypted uploaded data, absolving themselves of any responsibility for contents of the files."

This should surely be:

"... cannot access the encrypted uploaded data, in a somewhat implausible attempt to absolve themselves ..."

Hitachi buys Horizon to save UK's nuclear future


Re: @John Smith 19

Low energy density is one approach, but there is an alternative. A liquid core -- fluorides of uranium disolved in fluorides of light elements -- can change density, reducing or even stifling the reaction as it heats up. If it all gets too much, it can change shape, by escaping or being decanted from the low-surface-area compact reaction vessel that can reach criticality around a moderator, into high-surface-area pans and pipes that can cool in air.

I think the point here is that we are mad, as a high energy consuming country, to have abandoned nuclear energy design, a new field teeming with possibilities, simply because gas looked cheap. That's why we're faced with a souped-up seventies design for generators that will be commissioned in the twenties.

Good luck to Hitachi though. I hope they make money from making electricity. When you consider there are firms -- I'm looking at EON, among others -- that bill us for NOT turning their windmills, I think the Japanese approach is more honest.

Fukushima operator feared shutdown if risks revealed


The question facing all users: What to do with the waste?

As always: reprocess, partition, re-use, and wait.

- Left-over uranium -- hundreds of tonnes per reactor-year. Uranium is stable and harmless if it's kept as the oxide (or, surprisingly, if it's dissolved in the sea, because there's so much there already, it won't make a difference.) It can be used to breed fuel, though, so worth hanging on to.

- Plutonium bred in the reactor -- less than one tonne per reactor-year. Keep it, and save mining uranium by consuming it as fuel in future reactors. Don't be spooked by the name: Plutonium for bombs has to be specially made. A rational terrorist wanting nuclear explosive would use natural uranium and enrich it, as the Iranians are said to be doing.

- Short lived fission products -- hundreds of kilos per reactor year. Handle with great care, for a while, and with caution for longer. These materials are dangerous to be close to for many years and must be kept out of the biosphere for hundreds (but not thousands) of years.

- Long lived fission products -- kilos per reactor year. Obviously much less radioactive than the short-lived products, the rational thing is simply to abandon in the deep ocean. But it appears possible to transmute these products to short lived waste with neutron irradiation, and that would be a more "grown-up" approach!

The point about nuclear waste is the quantities: once the re-useable components are removed, the volumes are million-fold reduced over combustion energy. A year's fission-product waste from a reactor, once it had cooled off for thirty years or so, could sit on a few dozen yards of industrial shelving. A facility to retain the waste of a largely nuclear Britain for the necessary 500 years or so would take up less space than an industrial estate.

The idea of nuclear waste as being dangerous for tens of thousands of years is an Americanism, arising from their reluctance to reprocess. If you leave it all mixed up in the fuel rod, then yes, it is hard to manage. But if you make the sensible choices, then the problem -- looked at on the scale appropriate to global energy generation -- goes away.

Don't delete that email! Why you must keep biz docs for 6 YEARS



This is an odd article as it misses a number of important points:

-- There's no obligation to store email for seven years or any other time. There ARE obligations for different times for different things -- payroll, contracts...

-- There's no magic cutoff at seven years. If you're holding information that's ten years old, and it's relevant, the court can order you to discover it

-- Filing system documents are just as vulnerable as email to being produced in 'discovery'

The proper approach is

-- A clear policy which is appropriate for your business (so it covers stuff you keep indefinitely, and a cut-off date for things you don't want) and isn't just wriggling to avoid legal obligations

-- Implementation of your policy -- IE you actually DO delete stuff older than eighteen months. Crucial.

-- Implementation of a 'legal hold' so stuff which is being discovered at month 17 won't be deleted before it can be produced.

Unless you can actually delete (from archive and tapes) and retain for legal holds, I would say that you're better off keeping everything, and cataloguing your tapes REALLY carefully.

Op Tuleta officers cuff 2 more computer hacking suspects


"Kalmyk?" Really?

Considering what happened to the Kalmyk people as a result of unfettered exercise of state power under Stalin, that name seems a little tactless, or even arrogant.

Did genetically modified food cause giant tumours in rats?


GM Food is fine because...

... We have digestions! It all ends up as lipids, and glucose and amino acids. Guts are the end of an evolutionary process that has happened under selection pressure from the wildest diets. If it tastes OK, it's not taken in excess, it's not part of some organism's defences, and it's not designed or packaged to get into the body, it'll be fine.


Roundup Ready is bad because...

.. It sets farmers to work watering and fertilising genes for glyphosate resistance (in the crop.) Monsanto doesn't mind because glyphosate is long out of patent, but we are on the point of losing one of the safest and most useful herbicides as those genes are made available to cross, using the usual means, into every weed species.


Re: Is this why dogs are having so many cancerous tumors these days?

I suspect this is most likely to be because dogs are living to colossal ages these days. Cancer's always there.

Ulster Bank waves £100 at punters pummelled by RBS IT fiasco


Re: The interesting question...

There were stories at the time of employers failing to make the payroll because they were paying through RBS.


The interesting question...

is how they intend to compensate non-customers?

Are they saying that they won't help people who did not receive payments that should have come out of Ulster bank accounts?

Organic food offers basically no health benefit, boffins find


Organic meat is better

1) It's tastier because it's been hung properly. I grant you that non-organic producers could do that, but, by and large, they don't.

2) Because antibiotics are not used as growth enhancers a) it's not promoting antibiotic resistance in the wild, and b) the beast was older when killed and consequently tastier. I grant you that producers don't need to be organic to refrain from antibiotics but, by and large, they don't.

What we want, for meat and eggs, is a legitimate marker for 'sensibly raised' which doesn't go the whole organic hog. And we could eat less, better, meat.

New nuclear fuel source would power human race until 5000AD


Re: The Usual Silliness

The waste is:

1) Transuranic actinides (Plutonium etc) created from neutron activation of fuel e.g. U238 + n -> Pu239. This is either fissile and so fuel directly, or if you leave it in the reactor long enough it will absorb enough neutrons to become fissile. So, some combination of reprocessing, or a system like liquid cores which allow materials to remain in the core for a long time.

2) Fission waste (Cesium 137, Strontium 90, Technetium 99) -- when it's fresh, this is the famous High Level Waste. You get something under one ton per year from a large power reactor. Reprocess out of the fuel matrix, put it somewhere dry and cool (without losing it) and wait. This stuff is so very active, that it's pretty much faded away in about 300 years (10 Cs137 half-lives -- 1000-fold reduction). Tc99 is VERY long lived, so it's not particularly active, but it could be destroyed by neutron activation if it's a concern. 500 years seems a long time, but it's not the absurd tens of thousands of years that you get if you don't re-process and leave the waste mixed in with actinides.

3) Operations (hats and gloves) and decommisioning waste created by contamination with fission waste or neutron activation of the structure also tends to be short lived and dilute. Wait. Let the decommisioning sinking fund grow, the activity decay, and your robots get better. But mainly design reactor buildings and housings to be re-used and replaced in regular maintenance.

Seriously, waste is a legitimate issue, but in the face of the prize -- zero carbon, reliable, sustainable energy -- it's one that we can deal with by management. The impact, in size and risk, on the surface of the earth and its inhabitants is tiny, invisible, compared with the gigatonnes of waste dropped into the atmosphere, uncontrolled, by gas and coal.

GPS trigger will light LOHAN's fire



18,000m AND 1,152mph isn't a problem for cruise missiles, but it would prevent GPS guidance of a ballistic re-entry vehicle.

It's kind of you to ask and yes I am actually planning to get out a bit more...

British boffin builds cool maser after argument with wife


A Turnaround from the Old Pattern

A neglected piece of Japanese research is turned into a working device by a British researcher!

Judge begs Apple, Samsung to get a room, or trial will end in tears


Rough on the jury ...

... if they settle now.

Actually, it's pretty hard on the jury anyway. Apart from the tramp asleep in the public gallery, the jurors are the only people not paid -- generously paid -- to be there.