Re: Fair enough
If you find blacklist and whitelist confusing, you shouldn't be in any technical job, least of all at GCHQ.
160 posts • joined 24 Oct 2011
GCHQ told the banks not to use SMS verification: it's insecure because MNOs aren't very good at preventing fraudsters gaining control of your mobile number.
Predictably, people still lose £thousands.
So why are banks such as Santander still refusing to issue card readers for 2FA, which seem to be pretty secure because (1) you need to have your card and (2) to know its PIN?
Surprisingly, NatWest is actually one of the (slightly) better banks when it comes to online banking. Unlike Santander and many others, they offer a free card reader. As it requires you to have your card and to know your PIN it's a lot more secure than the predictable telephone questions where the answers are often widely known and/or shared, e.g. postcode, email address, DoB, mother's maiden name etc.
Gas meters are also smart: they are battery operated and phone home via the electricity meter.
The Smart Meter Roll-Out Cost-Benefit Analysis (2019) says "The total costs of the programme over the appraisal period are estimated to be £13.4bn, with £13.1bn attributable to domestic premises" and that "Just as with traditional metering, smart meter costs are recovered from energy suppliers’ entire customer bases."
You're right about the load shedding aspect: smart meters can implement much more granular power cuts compared to substations switching off whole neighbourhoods (including vulnerable customers such as those who rely on medical equipment or alarm systems). Smart meters can also implement load limiting. It's all down to forthcoming shortages in generating capacity: we couldn't even keep the trains running and the lights on a few weeks ago when there were a couple of glitches.
But you're very wrong about the average bills (even the site you quoted says it's £1254 p.a., or £880 if you're on the cheapest tariff). Similarly, the costs of smart meters are being paid for by customers of the energy companies, not by the government. Even if the government were paying, there's no magic money tree: one way or another we all end up footing the bill. £13.1bn is now attributable to domestic premises and in 2018 there were 27.6 million households, so that's a whopping £475 each.
My whinge about CAPTCHA is that the relevant objects are often not neatly contained within the boxes.
If it's traffic signs do you just click the main two boxes, or do you include the pole and the 'spillover' boxes ?
But at least it doesn't ask you to click on the pavement, a stroller or a solicitor...
> What a load of FUD.
It's FACT, not FUD. You're referring to permanent disconnection because of non-payment.
In contrast, smart meters can disconnect individual users for short periods (load shedding) when failure to build sufficient generating capacity means that there won't be enough electricity to go round. It's what they'll do when eye-watering Time of Day pricing (35p/kWh or more) hasn't worked.
I find the Which? reviews useful for seeing what's on the market and what all the bells and whistles do. They seem OK on relatively straightforward things (e.g. the toaster will burn the toast if you use it again immediately) but they are often well out of their depth even on slightly technical thingies.
Not so long ago I was amazed at their review of DAB radios which completely failed to mention the need to check for the Digital Tick. Many well known retailers such as Tesco and John Lewis are still ripping off their customers by selling digital radios that can't receive the ever-increasing number of DAB+ transmissions in the UK, but Which? readers would be none the wiser.
No-one needs to suffer harassment from TV Licensing if they don't need a licence.
You are under no obligation to respond, but if their threats and tricks become too tiresome (e.g. sending registered mail that has to be collected from the main Post Office) you can stop them by informing them that you have withdrawn their Implied Right of Access.
For good measure you can add that as they can no longer send the boys round, any further threats to do so will be treated as a breach of the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
There is a straightforward way of identifying withheld and spoofed numbers, it's 1477 Automatic Call Trace. It stores the offending number at your local exchange for subsequent investigation and enforcement action. 1477 would be far easier than plodding through the ICOs website to report a nuisance call, and it's obviously the only way to identify withheld / spoofed numbers.
Unfortunately, there's an unhealthily cosy relationship between Ofcom and those they are supposed to regulate, which means that maximising call revenue is considered far more important than eliminating nuisance calls.
The result is that 1477 is never enabled by default, and you'll be extraordinarily lucky if anyone in your telco has ever heard of it. They'll doubtless insist that you mean 1471.
The ICO's website outage means that it's not possible to report yet another scam or nuisance phone cal, even if you think that reporting a spoofed or withheld number will achieve anything and you can be bothered to spend a fair bit of time so doing.
If the ICO, DCMS, Ofcom etc were any good they'd have mandated long ago that all telcos provide 1477 free of charge by default: Automatic Call Trace stores the REAL number at your local exchange for subsequent investigation and prosecution. But that would be too easy, wouldn't it?
Amazon and privacy don't seem to go together.
I rapidly lost interest in buying a PC from them when I noticed that they register all of them on a police database, for my protection of course.
Shades of North Korea... I'd rather take my chances, thank you very much.
> I cannot think of any other legitimate reason they need to check.
They're trying to catch people without TV licences who watch BBC programmes via the iPlayer. Of course, it would be far easier to use the TV Licence number as a paywall password, but the BBC are petrified that would see the licence fee being replaced by subscription !
Yes, it has something far better: TPEG. Conventional traffic info is old hat. You're likely to be stuck in the jam before you hear the warning, and most of the bulletin will refer to places you're not going. It also ruins the programme for the majority of people who aren't affected.
A satnav with TPEG is the answer. It receives info from Digital 1 every minute or so and, best of all, will re-route your journey to avoid the jams. Usually no subscription is needed, it's just a one-off fee built into the cost of the satnav.
@ Alan Brown
>"If you disagree with the fact that you have to keep opting out of the Royal Mail's unaddressed mail "service" (ie, their junkmail leaflets), or that finding the optout on their website is akin to stumbling on a filing cabinet in an unlit disused lavatory with a "beware of the leopard sign" out front., then you should be rattling the ICO's cage about it."
Unfortunately I can't see what the ICO can do about unaddressed junk mail delivered by RM. There's no breach of privacy or misuse of stored data just because RM push the same unwanted rubbish into your letterbox as they do for everyone else.
I suspect that the only legal remedy would be to withdraw RM's Implied Right of Access to one's property, but that would be something of an own goal because you'd then have to make endless trips to the sorting office to collect your own addressed mail !
Mark, I'm afraid you're the one who is confused, although it's hardly surprising given how devious the Royal Mail are in making it awkward and difficult to opt out !
The Royal Mail's opt out actually lasts two years (left click on the link way down at the bottom of the page), although you might want to re-register six weeks early because it seems that they are very leisurely in implementing requests.
However, I fully agree it should last as long as you reside at the relevant address. There's no need to re-register for the MPS, so the Royal Mail should follow suit.
@ Will Godfrey
I didn't have a TV and just ignored the fortnightly nastygrams, letting them build up into a pile about two feet high. They became ever nastier, with pictures of courtrooms etc, and were sometimes disguised to look like bank PIN notifications or payslips.
On principle, I still kept ignoring them.
It might have been different if they had politely asked me to confirm that I didn't need a licence, explaining that there was no obligation whatsoever to respond, but they'd be eternally grateful if I would just return the enclosed post-paid declaration form: I might well have done so.
Eventually the goons started to send their nastygrams by Registered mail. As I was always at work when the postman called, that necessitated an unnecessary trip to the Head Post Office the following Saturday. It would have been tempting to keep ignoring them, but there was always the risk that one of them might be something I wanted (e.g. a bank card) or something I didn't want but needed to know about (e.g. a speed camera ticket).
Enough was enough, so many years ago I sent a letter withdrawing their Implied Right of Access (signed as The Occupier). For good measure I also stated that I was fully aware of the penalties for watching live TV without a licence so there was no justification for reminding me every fortnight and, as they could no longer send the boys round, continuing to send scary letters threatening to do so would be an offence under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
Result: they confirmed they would never bother me again - and they haven't !
Any junk call numbers are added to a list of unwanted callers.
You're probably wasting your time if you're relying on the displayed number or what 1471 tells you. The number will be probably be spoofed, and they'll use a different one every time, just like spammers never use the same email source address twice.
Yes, the TPS list seems a good way for scammers and fraudsters to identify numbers that aren't spare or allocated to fax machines, burglar alarms etc and may well be answered by a vulnerable person.
Most of my nuisance callers don't ask for me by name, so the TPS could well be the source.
Just like all the other so-called regulators, Ofcom and the ICO are utterly useless. They have an unhealthily close relationship with those they are supposed to regulate, and they don't want to fix the problem because they'd rather issue turgid reports for the next thirty years just to keep themselves employed and looking busy.
Why doesn't the dozy Ofcom simply mandate that 1477 (Automatic Call Trace) is made available free of charge on EVERY line? (They eventually decided to do this for Caller Display, but sadly it won't happen until October.)
1477 stores the originating number at the victim's exchange for enforcement action, even if it's been withheld or spoofed. It's simple, quick and far better than laboriously trying to report fake numbers to the ICO. But despite having been a standard network facility for decades, hardly anyone has ever heard of it, even within BT. Even worse, apparently it's only available on business lines.
Similarly, Ofcom should require all telcos to offer the equivalent of BT Call Protect free of charge; it shouldn't be available only from the most expensive telco.
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