* Posts by Cynic_999

2232 posts • joined 15 Aug 2013

Peer-to-peer takes on a whole new meaning when used to spy on 3.7 million or more cameras, other IoT gear

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Re: Under 10%

But a major downside is that if it cannot establish a link with a server halfway around the World, you can be sat in your living room without knowing that someone is pressing your doorbell. And at certain times of the day, the caller may well have given up and left between the time of pressing the doorbell and the time the system takes to notify you that it had been pressed.

USA decides to cleanse local networks of anything Chinese under new five-point national data security plan

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Human Rights

"China’s values, which today include pervasive state surveillance, represent a threat to human rights."

Does China have greater surveillance of its citizens than the USA? I very much doubt that it does overall. Far more Chinese citizens live in extremely rural areas where there is no CCTV, just for starters. And a far lower percentage of the population has formal employment, bank accounts, cars, shop using cards and many other areas in which the state can keep constant records of what they are doing.

If the UK state wants to know your whereabouts on a particular time & date a decade ago, it is likely to be reasonably easy for it to find out. Debit or credit card spend before and after the time in question, the cell tower that logged your phone at that time, ANPR records. Etc. etc. For a peasant farmer in China, not so much.

Cynic_999 Silver badge

From where is the greatest danger?

As an ordinary person, I am far more at risk from the actions of my own government than those of a foreign government. So if I have to have personal data spied on, I'd prefer it to be China (which is unlikely to use it against me as an individual) than my own government (who are a lot more likely to use it against me).

"Your phone reported that it was at location X at 11:45 and location Y at 12:28. Your car reported that it was at the same locations at the same times, and that only the driver's seat was reporting being occupied. CCTV at 12:30 shows that it was you who was carrying the phone. Speeding ticket enclosed."

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And how about human rights for those held indefinitely without trial and regularly tortured in Gitmo etc.?

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Re: But at the same time

Because China does not have enough money to bribe any Western agency employee ...

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Re: Why not clean routers, webcams, 'Smart locks', etc.

The separation in the USA is not nearly as great as you seem to believe.

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Re: Why not clean routers, webcams, 'Smart locks', etc.

And you think similar devices made in USA don't do the same thing?

NSA warns that mobile device location services constantly compromise snoops and soldiers

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The problem being that politicians rarely state that they intend to do bad things in their election manifesto. You will have no idea that you are voting for a dictator, genocidal maniac and/or control freak until after it's too late.

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Re: Talyrand: they forgot nothing and learned nothing!

"

Anonymous burner phones are not available in every country

"

Not *officially* available. But reasonably easy to get in every country I know of. Phones can be bought second-hand without giving your identity, and a local SIM can be obtained by giving a local a modest tip to get one for you. Not that you need to buy the phone itself in the restrictive country.

You can even buy a SIM for just about any country in the World from Amazon. Just use an account that can't be traced to you.

In any case, even if you follow all the country's rules, the phone will still be anonymous to everyone except the government of that country.

Cynic_999 Silver badge

"

How do you maintain two-way communication without the communication itself being tracked by a determined adversary?

"

Tradecraft 101. Leave coded messages in the classified ads section of a newspaper. The online equivalent being to leave the (PGP encrypted) messages on a public server that is only ever accessed via Tor (e.g. a Usenet group). Better even than classified ads because it's nearly impossible to determine who placed the message.

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What you say is true, but does not mean that it is impossible to prevent tracking. As the most obvious way, just prohibit people from bringing phones into the area. Another way would be for the people running the secure area to set up their own base station which is made secure so that nobody can get location data from that base station.

Leaky AWS S3 buckets are so common, they're being found by the thousands now – with lots of buried secrets

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But is this legal?

Maybe searching for, downloading and analysing exposed data is in this case being done with good intentions, but does it not break the law? ISTM that no matter how lax the security, it still amounts to unauthorised access to a computer system. I might be stupid if I leave my car doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition - but if you drive it away without asking, that still makes you a car thief.

Virgin Galactic pals up with Rolls-Royce to work on Mach 3 Concorde-style private jet that can carry up to 19 people

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The point is to sell to *private* customers, who then have the advantage of being able to get where they want to go in better than 1/3 the time they can manage currently. There are a small but significant number of wealthy people who would value such a saving of time very highly, so it is a perfectly viable product with currently no competition.

Airlines are not interested in faster aircraft (indeed most run their existing aircraft significantly below their maximum cruising speed), because it comes at the expense of far higher operating costs, and would not attract sufficient mass-market customers who are prepared to pay hugely more expensive ticket prices for the time advantage to make up the money. In any case, for the normal commercial traveller, the time spent on the ground in airports is likely to be longer than the time spent in the air, so shaving 8 hours off the flight time doesn't decrease the total door-to-door travel time by a large percentage. Certainly not enough to justify an additional outlay of several £1000's

Private jets can use small airports that are quicker to get to from where the passengers live, and do not have long queues, onerous security checks, long waiting times for departure or to collect luggage at the destination. Thus the flight time is a far higher percentage of total journey time than it is for us plebs.

Aviation regulator outlines fixes that will get the 737 MAX flying again

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AoA sensors

The AoA sensor is effectively a horizontal weather-vane that rotates to indicate the direction of the air flow. The problem is that it is prone to becoming iced-up and stuck in one position, so failures are not uncommon. While comparing the outputs of two separate sensors is an improvement, it is not that unlikely that both sensors could suffer icing at the same time and get stuck in the same, erroneous position. So it's not as big an improvement as it may first appear to be.

Doctor, doctor, got some sad news, there's been a bad case of hacking you: UK govt investigates email fail

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State actor?

It's just been reported that a group of teenagers used a similar attack to compromise several high-profile Twitter accounts. Yet when it's embarrassing for the government, the same style of attack is deemed so sophisticated that it could only have been carried out by a foreign government? I suppose it would be unthinkable to suppose that someone in government could be duped by a 16 year old in Bognor Regis ...

Amazon gets green-light to blow $10bn on 3,000+ internet satellites. All so Americans can shop more on Amazon

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Re: Kessler effect

Without satellites we'd lose the ability to remotely control killer drones so as to bomb foreign generals, wedding parties and other politically useful stuff.

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Re: Kessler effect

3000 sounds a lot. But space is BIG. Really big. And 3 dimensional. Just think of how many aircraft are flying around at far lower altitudes (= smaller area) with vanishingly few mid-air collisions. (On average there are around 10000 commercial aircraft in the sky at any given time). Nor are aircraft constrained by the laws of physics to travel in precisely predictable speeds and directions, and unlike aircraft, satellites do not need to converge at a fixed number of "hot spots" (airports) rather than being able to be spread out evenly.

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Re: Its reallly a stealth way to tackle Global Warming

Hmmm. Work out the total area of the sphere surrounding the Earth at orbital height. Look up the size of the satellites and calculate the area that each satellite will occlude. Now work out how many satellites would be needed to block as much as 0.01% of sunlight.

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Re: Use of personal data ?

They are no more likely to do those things as a MITM than the ISP you are currently using (which is of course also a MITM).

Architect of tech contractor tax fraud scheme jailed for at least five years

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Re: Better stay in jail

Exactly. After the tax man has taken all it can get its hands on from the company (leaving nothing left for the contracters to get what they are owed), they would be legally entitled to go after the contractors for the outstanding amount, on the basis that it is the contractors who owe the tax. The same as employees can be made to pay income tax if a company does not pass on the PAYE it deducted from their salaries, even though the employees were not responsible for that failure and will effectively be paying the tax twice.

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Re: Lesson to learn : beware of free

We have all become accustomed to a plethora of "free" online services, so no, it does not ring alarm bells any more than it is suspicious that El Reg does not charge us for its service.

We know that these "free" services are in fact being paid for by advertisers and/or by selling our personal data. Most people will have decided that seeing a few adverts while collecting their money is better than losing a percentage of that money in transfer fees.

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Re: You have to wonder

"

Or hide enough of the money to retire after the stint in jail.

"

Which they may well have achieved.

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Many companies make money by deliberately delaying payments or delaying the passage of money that it is merely passing through. It is perfectly legal to do so. Not the least being most (all?) banks. A money transfer to a person in a foreign country takes seconds when done through many online money transfer sites (e.g. Western Union, Remitly, even PayPal), but a bank-to-bank transfer takes around 5 working days. Plus a transfer fee about 25 times higher than most money transfer services (except PayPal).

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Not sure I understand exactly what the scheme involved, but the way I understand it, the theft was from Inland Revenue rather than the contractors. i.e.. they deducted the correct amount of tax from the contractors' payments, but then failed to hand it to the government. The contractors lost as a result of the police suddenly freezing the assets of the company, leaving any outstanding payments unpaid. Defrauding the contractors was not (IIUC) the intent of the criminals, only defrauding the government.

I suspect that the company had enough money in its bank to pay the contractors, but because inland revenue will be a preferred creditor and so take most of it, it will leave the contractors out of pocket. IOW the government gets to reclaim its losses, but not the ordinary person.

A tale of mainframes and students being too clever by far

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Or you are using the documentation for a different version of the OS or application ...

Voyager 1 cracks yet another barrier: Now 150 Astronomical Units from Sol

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Re: Will El Reg report when it hits one 'light day'?

If it is travelling at the same speed it averaged over the past 45 years, it will reach a 24 hour delay in 5 years ...

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Re: Light years

To be fair, had those 30,000 miles have been driven coasting with the engine off, in a vacuum with nothing in contact with the road, your car would still be as good as new.

Cynic_999 Silver badge

Re: They don't build them like they used to

A prospective customer was looking into the boot of a Rolls Royce. "What's that for," he asked the salesman, pointing to a device mounted inside.

"It's the emergency triangle," replied the salesman.

"What is it used for?" asked the man.

"You put it in the road to warn other road users in the event of a breakdown," the salesman explained.

"But you told me that Rolls Royce never break down!" the man announced triumphantly.

The salesman replied, "If you look under your shirt, sir, you will notice two nipples. Their purpose is to supply milk in the event that you were to have a baby."

Dutch Gateway store was kept udder wraps for centuries until refit dug up computing history

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Yes, it's getting a bit cheesy.

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

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Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

"

In fact, if they decide to forward it as a BCC to the entire Gmail, Apple, AOL, Microsoft, & EU email owners as global spam, there's not a damned thing the sender can do to stop it.

"

Not strictly true. Forwarding an email in its entirity without permission could possibly be pursued as being a breach of copyright. (You own the copyright to any email you wrote yourself).

Microsoft runs a data centre on hydrogen for 48 whole hours, reckons it could kick hydrocarbon habit by 2030

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Re: Let's destroy our water supply to make hydrogen...

We will not be destroying any water. We would be splitting water into H2 and O2. When the H2 is used as a fuel it will recombine with O2 to make the same amount of water again.

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Re: Hydrogen is not the answer

Hydrogen may be odourless - but the fuel gasses we currently use have little smell of their own. That's why a very smelly substance (e.g. mercaptan) is added to natural gas, allowing its escape to be readily detected. The same can and almost certainly will be the case should hydrogen see widespread use as a fuel.

While natural gas is more dense than air and so sinks, hydrogen is less dense and so rises. This means that in most places there is less chance of hydrogen "pooling" and creating a dangerous buildup than hydrogen.

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Re: Hydrogen is not the answer

Batteries take time to charge and do not have a good power to weight ratio.

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Re: Hydrogen is not the answer

Why would anyone discharge brine into rivers? If the hydrogen plant gets its water from a river, there would be no brine to discharge. If it makes hydrogen from seawater, the leftover brine would be discharged back into the sea. I can't see it needs be a problem. Just arrange the discharge pipe to open into an area that has a reasonable current, and the brine will diffuse rapidly enough to remain diluted. Meanwhile the hydrogen produced will eventually recombine with oxygen when it is used and produce pure water, which will get back into the oceans. Therefore the total salinity of the oceans will remain the same long-term.

Face masks hamper the spread of coronavirus. Know what else they hamper? Facial-recognition systems (except China's)

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Re: What ?

There is a HUGE difference between matching a face to a single stored image, such as when authenticating a user or matching a face to a passport holder and giving a yes/no answer, and looking for matches between hundreds of faces that pass a CCTV camera against a database of thousands of faces in a criminal database.

MI6 tried to intervene in independent court by stopping judge seeing legal papers – but they said sorry, so it's OK

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Sauce, goose gander.

It is an unaccountable secret court. The same that we criticise China for having.

Intel couldn't shrink to 7nm on time – but it was able to reduce one thing: Its chief engineer's employment

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Increase die size and you increase power. Increase power in the rack and you have to increase power to the cooling also. In portable equipment increase power = decrease battery life between charges.

Cynic_999 Silver badge

Re: For now, it doesn't matter yet

"

You're right that a reduced process size doesn't mean higher performance by itself. But it does mean lower power usage, a smaller die and hence lower manufacturing costs per chip.

"

Correct on the first two points, but your third point (lower manufacturing cost) does not follow. The process may be inherently more expensive (making anything with tighter tolerances usually is), and/or there may be a lower yield per wafer. From my own (different but related) experience, shrinking a PCB by using smaller track & gap widths, smaller BGA parts and smaller vias may result in a smaller PCB, but rarely in a lower price per board.

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Re: Ummm...

Yes, and it was the tying together of the various machines to form a viable process that she was in charge of doing.

Smoke on the Tyne: Blaze at BT exchange causes major outages across North East England

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Huh?

WTF is a "Transformer supply unit"? Something that supplies transformers?

Don't strain yourself, Zuck, only democracy at stake... Facebook makes half-hearted effort to flag election lies by President Trump

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Re: Why no Internet voting?

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Because the Internet was never designed to be secure, has therefore never been secure, and in fact can not be made secure.

"

So the idea of transferring money via online banking is a non-starter. Or online stockmarket trading. As is the idea of buying goods online.

You appear to believe that the Internet is FAR to insecure to do any of those things.

Sure, we have cases of identity theft, but not enough to be significant to the overall integrity of the system. And identity theft with paper ballots is much easier than it is online - all I need to do is walk into a polling booth and give the name of someone on the electoral register who I know will not be voting. They don't even ask for a password. I can go from polling station to polling station doing so as many times during the day as I can manage.

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Re: Why no Internet voting?

Why do you believe that? Our online banks and companies such as PayPal manage to avoid massive money manipulation despite the fact that far more hackers are interested in stealing money than in manipulating an election.

Amazon and their ilk have similarly managed to design an online system that has not been hacked so as to allow hackers to make a significant number of fraudulent purchases.

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Re: Why no Internet voting?

Oh for goodness' sake. If we can manage to have various Internet banking and e-commerce systems that have an acceptably low rate of fraud, it is surely possible to manage a sufficiently secure way to cast a vote?

I can think of several ways to accomplish such a thing off the top of my head.

Cynic_999 Silver badge

Why no Internet voting?

ISTM that it would be pretty simple to design an online voting system that allows people to vote from home (or anywhere with Internet access) that is sufficiently secure to guarantee there is negligible fraud. In fact if designed properly it could detect and/or prevent fraud more effectively than either voting in person or postal voting. This would have huge advantages in that the result could be available immediately that voting closes - although in my opinion publishing real-time scores as voting is taking place would not be a good idea - it would likely result in people who have yet to vote being influenced by the current tally (perhaps jumping on the "winning" bandwagon, or voting for the "underdog").

The advantages of online voting are that no disruption would be caused, and the cost would be far less than organising thousands of polling stations. The convenience of being able to cast an instant vote from almost any location should result in a higher turnout.

The main disadvantage to the government is that when people realise howquick & easy it is to take a national vote, they may demand that the many policies that the government makes unilaterally every month should instead be put to the people in referendums.

Sick of AI engines scraping your pics for facial recognition? Here's a way to Fawkes them right up

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More useful to most ...

Of more use to the average person would be a way to make subtle changes to numberplates to confuse the ANPR cameras while appearing perfectly normal to humans.

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Marketing opportunity

Maybe the time is not quite here yet, but I see a market for a camera that automatically post-processes all images to render them proof against computer recognition algorithms.

Capita's bespoke British Army recruiting IT cost military 25k applicants after switch-on

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Re: Why haven't we banned Capita

It's easy to get low margins. Just increase the salaries of the executives to an obscene amount.

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Re: I get it...

The military is a wonderful career. Travel to exotic and exciting places. Meet new and interesting people. ... and kill them.

FYI Russia is totally hacking the West's labs in search of COVID-19 vaccine files, say UK, US, Canada cyber-spies

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Re: In summary

The caste system may have originated for religious reasons, but had almost died out when it was restored (in a modified format) by kings and politicians (including the British Raj) who saw it as a means of control. It is effectively a different form of the British class system, but with stricter and more formalised rules.

The system is thought to have been fuelled by the Hindu belief in reincarnation. This gave incentive for members of the lower castes to work hard and to please the higher castes in their present life time so as to be reincarnated as a member of a higher caste. But as said, it later just became a tool of the ruling class.

UK.gov admits it has not performed legally required data protection checks for COVID-19 tracing system

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Re: But of course

Have the measures adopted in Wales or Scotland proven to be either necessary or more effective than those in England?

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