* Posts by Salamander

44 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Aug 2014

Euro privacy warriors: You've got until January to fix safe harbor mess – or we unleash hell


This has already happened. The UK banks recently updated their terms and conditions to include clauses where you the customer effectively wave your data protection rights. This allows them to transfer data abroad and give it to foreign tax and legal authorities.

Currently, for the UK at least, a foreign tax authority must go through HMRC to obtain financial information about you. For this to happen, the UK must sign an IGA to transfer the data. The banks are worried that the IGAs could be declared unlawful through a court action. So the banks have decided to hedge their bets by updating the terms and conditions of the banking services so that all customers wave their data protection rights.

FBI boss: No encryption backdoor law (but give us backdoors anyway)


Don't worry. Legislation will happen. There are always ways of getting the legislation through the backdoor. Case in point: FATCA.

FATCA was written entirely by the IRS with no consultation and made law by attaching it to the HIRE ACT of 2010. FATCA is the financial equivalent of putting a backdoor into encryption technology.

Of course once FATCA was law, America needed to strong arm the governments of the world to cooperate with it, which they did with false promises and good old economic strong arm tactics and threats.

FBI: We unmasked and collared child porn creep on Tor with spy tool


Re: Serious question here...

The American authorities are permitted to use entrapment. The UK authorities are NOT allowed to use entrapment.

OnePlus 2: Disappointing Second Album syndrome strikes again


The price difference between the oneplus two and the iphone 6s is about £300. Enough perhaps for a bit of high class slap and tickle in London?

The most tragic thing about the Ashley Madison hack? It was really 1% actual women


Paying money to cheat on your wife

So men signed up and paid money to cheat on their wives. In the pre-internet days, a man would have just popped down to the local knocking shop.

Welcome to progress and technology making peoples lives better.

Samsung phablet phrenzy brings mobile payments into the age of WIRELESS TAPE


Re: I wonder what the commentariat of this site are going to do

Exploding batteries in sealed phones? I will believe that when I feel it.

But seriously folks, if there is not a big enough market for a slottable and swappable phone, then you can hardly blame the OEMs for not bothering.


I wonder what the commentariat of this site are going to do

When all phones have non replaceable batteries and not microsd card slots.

As much as these are nice features the majority of the phone buying public just don't care about them and are happy with the Apple approach of a fully sealed unit.

As far as I can tell, no amount of screaming and the cursing if providence is going to change the situation. Sooner or later you will have to accept the fact and join the sheep in the Shoreditch pub.

Another day, another stunning security flaw in Android – this time hitting 55% of mobes


The type of security problem isn't the issue

All OS have security issues. The issue is how quickly the problem can be fixed and the fix deployed to users. Even if Google fixes this tomorrow, only nexus owners will receive the fix quickly. The rest of us have to hope that the OEMs and the Network operators pull their fingerpost and prepare and deploy the fix.

This is a problem that only affects android phones. Apple, blackberry and Microsoft can all deploy fixes quickly.

Assange™ celebrates third year in Ecuadorian embassy broom closet


Ecuador cannot simply give Assange diplomatic immunity. Ecuador would need to make a formal request to Britain for diplomatic immunity to be given to Assange.

This is how diplomatic immunity works. The host country must agree to extend the immunity to a person.

I know this because I have a friend who used to work for the UK government who was given diplomatic immunity for a visit to the USA.

Why Joe Hockey's Oz tax proposals only get five out of 10


Re: A rethink is overdue

Simple - you charge consumption taxes. In your example, you will be using an internet connection to connect to the server in America. The UK government simply taxes you on the data transferred and received. They will call it the data usage tax. If you use a VPN, then you will have to pay an additional tax on the VPN data - the VPN usage tax.

Want more? How about a bank account tax? £50 a year or 0.5% of the average value held in the account over the year, which ever is greater.

Governments will simply move to taxes that it is hard to get out of. Certain forms of consumption are easily measured and attributed and hence can be easily taxed.

Paranoid about the NSA? The case for dumping cloud's Big 3


Even if you store your data outside of the USA, I would still not put it past them to try and get hold of your data. For one thing, a lot of governments are so beholden to America that they will quite happily sign agreements allowing America to access your data either directly or indirectly.

Evidence? Just look up FATCA. I fear that it will not be long before a data version of FATCA happens along.

There are probably some countries (Switzerland for example) who are trying to set them selves up as data secrecy jurisdictions, similar in concept to financial secrecy jurisdictions. Places to go where you want to hide things from the prying eyes of overbearing governments.

We do live in interesting times.

SpaceX in MONEY RING shot, no spare juice for tail backdown this time


I just googled 'Door to Hell'. Yet another location on my places to visit before I die list.

I wonder how many tourists visit with long pointy poles to eat barbecue and beer?

Eco-loons hack Thirty Meter Telescope website to help the 'natives'


Re: It has recently become my belief...

Welcome to the American empire.

Yes, America IS an empire. When America won it's independence from Britain it consisted of just thirteen states on the Atlantic coast. How do you think America obtained the rest of it's territory? America fought wars to gain territory. Then they claimed squatters rights to land that belonged to various native tribes. When the tribes simply said 'Hang on a minute!', the Americans sent in the army to sort the issue out with an ineptly executed genocide (hence the reason there are still some native tribes left today).

But on the other hand, I do like telescopes. Human culture would be greatly diminished if we stopped building telescopes.

What is the REAL value of your precious, precious data?


You hit the nail in the head. When a company like google collects the data, it is only doing so for its own commercial advantage. However, when the US government then legislates to access that data, then it is doing so for its own political advantage.

As bad as the Patriot act was, the cousins over the pond have since then cooked up or are the process of cooking up even worse legislation. Just look up FATCA and CISA/CISPA.

FATCA became law in 2010. It seems relatively harmless at first glance but once you look below the surface you realise it has a truely frightening scope and has been described at the biggest piece of American imperialism since the invasion of the Philippines in 1899.

Easy ... easy ... Aw CRAP! SpaceX rocket ALMOST lands on ocean hoverbase


I think is great and give me hope for the future where we can all have a trip into space for the price of an airline ticket.

I can't wait to book a ticket on EasyRocket or RyanSpace.

The Walton kids are ABSURDLY wealthy – and you're benefitting


Re: I think you might be overlooking a couple things

I am not sure I like this argument. It sounds too much like a protection racket. Pay 30% tax or the great unwashed chavs will rise up and storm your castle, put you to the guillotine and hand the castle to a Robespierre.

Revolutions never eliminate tyrants from society. Revolutions simply replace one tyrant with another tyrant.

To defend offshore finance bods looting developing countries of their tax cash



I think I need a pint after reading that one........

When I wrote my original comment, I just thought I was being a little cheeky and having a little bit of fun on the Register comment boards during a coffee break from my job.

I had not realised that it was construed by Tim as a declaration of war. Perhaps I should have worded it a bit better.

It was an interesting piece but I think I need to re-read it to full digest it and take a look at some of the papers that Tim has linked to it.

As for the $1 in aid for every $10 removed from the country statistic, I picked that nugget up whilst listening to an audio book version of 'Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World' by Nicolas Shaxson. I would try and find the source of the statistic quoted for Tim but since it is a audio book finding it would involve listening to it again. I found the book to be quite interesting and fairly well balanced, though it does get a bit soap boxish at times.

Anyway, thanks for responding to the request Tim and enjoy the rest of the bank holiday weekend.

Pumping billions into data centres won't guarantee you an empire


Interesting article.

However, there is an elephant in the room which is the politics of the nation state. If the nations of the world start to demand that their citizens data always be stored in their country, then it become harder for global centralised cloud infrastructure to dominate. In essence, the Googles and Amazons of the world will have to build data centres in individual countries which will increase costs. Smaller countries will be left out in the cold as the big player would simply not want to invest in a such small countries, though they might form partnerships with local companies, providing the tech but leaving the operational details to the partner.

This is pretty much the situation in ERP software. Due to the plethora of GAAP and local legislation, ERP software vendors have to make a choice on which countries to support and which countries to make use of local business partnerships.

Nuclear waste spill: How a pro-organic push sparked $240m blunder


Re: Subsidies

So that explains why organic sea salt is a thing.

I nearly fell over when I saw that on the self.

Building a better society from the Czechs' version of Meccano


I remember that medicated Izal toilet paper

It was one of the banes of my existence when I was at school, along with the bastard rugby teachers who believed that the school existed solely for their pathetic rugby team fantasies.

I had better stop thinking about my school days.

A Quid A Day for NOSH? Luxury!


Re: Fair enough

Great. I look forward to reading it.


I wonder when Tim will be publishing a critique or defence of the off shore finance system. One reason why developing countries find it hard to get ahead is because they loose so much money through the off shore system. I beleive it is something like for every dollar in aid the developing countries receive, they loose ten dollars. A lot of developing countries are not actually poor. The countries just have a problem in maximising the benefits of their wealth.

Given that a lot of developing countries assets are in the form of mineral wealth, I would think that Tim is well placed to give an analysis of this situation.

No, really, the $17,000 Apple Watch IS all about getting your leg over


This only works if the girl has the nouse to tell the genuine bling from the fake bling.

As Tim's previous arcticle indicated, there is not $17000 worth of gold in the Gold Apple watch, so a solid gold knock need not cost a lot.

And how many people would be able to tell the diference between the solid gold Rolex and the gold plated knock off?

Depending on which side of the line you are on, this is either a problem or an advantage. A problem if you are a woman trying to determine which bloke to shag. An advantage if you lack real resources as it means that you can fake being rich and get a shag.

Pitch Black: New BlackBerry Classic is aimed at the old-school


It should be clear that smartphones are now just pocket computers. Right down to the my computer is better than your computer arguments. Fair play to Blackberry to release a new phone that specified to do a job.

Which country has 2nd largest social welfare system in the world?


Re: Sorta

I do not think there is one specific cause why healthcare is so expensive in America. Litigation is certainly one explanation. In America you go in complaining about an ingrowing toe nail, and before you know it you have undergone umpteen blond tests and scan just to make sure that it is not some bizarre cancer.

There is certainly profiteering from hospitals. I remember a few years ago a patient needed an oxygen concentrator for a few months and was being charged close to a thousand dollars a month. The patient then shopped around and found a medical equipment hire company that would hire one out for under a hundred dollars a month.

And less we forget that pharmaceutical companies can advertise prescription medication directly to the public, as anyone who has had the misfortune of watching American TV whilst travelling in America, can attest to. Frankly, I did not know whether to laugh or cry at those ads: Laugh at just how utterly surreal the ads were or cry at the thought of all those American hypochondriacs rushing out to speak to their doctor and demanding the latest prescription drugs to be prescribed to them, regardless of benefit.

But then again, I daresay the NHS has its quirks and can give you that cosy surreal feeling from time to time.

BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity


Reminds me of a story, probably apocryphal, where a minister asked a civil servant to find some data for a report that he or she was writing.

The civil servant responded, 'No minister. You tell me what you want to prove and I will find the figures that prove it!'

Ex-NSA lawyer warns Google, Apple: IMPENETRABLE RIM ruined BlackBerry


Re: Explains a lot

This person is not a nutter exactly, but rather an individual who has been institutionalised by government bureaucracy. Government bureaucracies the world over encourage an internal group think that makes outsiders wonder whether to laugh or cry. There is an urban legend that the American IRS were once working on the problem of how to tax home owners who paint their own houses with the help of their friends. The logic being that the home owner was benefiting from free labour and hence a taxable benefit should be levied against the home owner.

Government bureaucracies have a tendency to stop thinking themselves as servants of the people but rather a new class of feudal lord or landed gentry where the people are beholden to them, with the people there to service them.

So while this person is not a nutter, he is an idiot still suffering from NSA group-think after being institutionalised from the real world for too long.


Re: Nothing to do with BB's shitty browser then?

Frankly, I have recently been wondering just why the ecosystem is such a powerful idea.

Most apps are a pile of smelly steaming unmentionable from the unfashionable end of the average dog.

The Apple and Google app stores are essentially slush piles, if you allow me to borrow a phrase from the book publishing industry. Yes, there are a few rare gems inside, but most of it is slush of the worst order.

Still, for some people there is money in muck.

Who's that sniffing around BlackBerry? Oh, is it YOU again, Lenovo?


Re: The MIBs won't like this one

This has already happened. Boeing and Thales have both produced forked-Android phones for security conscious customers. And there is the Blackphone, as well. Perhaps the Reg could arrange a security phone round up to let us all know which one is best if one was to find them self recruited by MI6 or the CIA. Or even on the run from MI6 or the CIA.

Post-PC era? PAH! Apple says Macs OUTSOLD iPads in Q4


PC are not sold in the same way as smartphones. You do not buy a PC and internet bundle on a two year contract with an upgrade option if you renew the contract.

Hence people will by and large keep using a PC until they have to upgrade.

Tablets are a little different as you can buy a tablet as part of a mobile wifi deal. However, most people do not bother and hence will treat the tablet more like a PC.

Smartphones sell in such huge numbers as most people are on a two year contract and hence upgrade theirs phones every two years, regardless of the condition of their existing phone.

If the network operators stopped bundling sim car contracts with smartphones, then you would stop seeing smartphones selling in such huge numbers. The public would start treating smartphone purchases more like PC purchases.

Hey, non-US websites – FBI don't have to show you any stinkin' warrant


Flee clauses

In the offshore finance industry, there is such a thing as a flee clause. Suppose that you have an offshore trust that you are using for tax evasion. What you do is that you set the trust up with a flee clause so that if the FBI apply to the host country for a search warrant, the trust will automatically flee to another jurisdiction, typically by winding up the trust and transferring the assets to a trust located in another country.

I do not know if you can set up flee clauses with web site and server hosting companies. But I can image the FBI want to use computer hacking so that they do not have to go through proper channels and hence activate flee clauses.

WhatsApp, Zuck? Facebook finally finishes $22bn upstart gobble


This deal is costing more than Facebooks revenue. It is only possible because of the value of Facebooks shares.

it does make one wonder if this deal has the capability of sinking Facebook. Fingers crossed everyone.

Special iPhone trousers will ease Apple into the fashion world


Or alternatively we could just go back to using sensibly sized phones. Some celebs are returning to using their old Nokias and Motorolas in the wake of the iCloud hacking. Who knows, maybe it will catch on.

FBI boss: Apple's iPhone, iPad encryption puts people 'ABOVE THE LAW'


It's the politicians that you need to watch

The US senate tried it once with:


and are now having another go with:


Good grief! Have you seen BlackBerry's square smartphone?


You mean like a clam-shell mobile phone?


Some random thoughts

I am intrigued by the Passport. The thing that struck me about it is that it is a device that no longer tries to pretend that it is a phone that also has some computer functions. It is a pocketable computer that can be a phone if you want it to.

I have an Android phone but it rarely gets used as a phone. Most of the phone calls that I receive on it are PPI lawyers, ambulance chasers who insist that I have been involved in a no fault car accident in the last couple of years and calls from Three who try and sell me another 24 month contract.

All the communication that I do these days is e-mail, social networking and messaging.

One last thought. Whilst Android and iPhone are FIPS 140-2 compliant (A US government security standard), they are not compliant to the same level as Blackberry, which is compliant to the highest level (4). So if your employer insists that you must use a Blackberry, then they are trusting you with the most sensitive and confidential information possible.

Under such circumstances, the Blackberry becomes a status symbol. You have arrived at the top. You have made it. However, you might need a body guard to go with the Blackberry.

iPhone 6: The final straw for Android makers eaten alive by the data parasite?


I have to be honest, I found Andrew's analysis easy to understand. Apple sells a unique system. If you like that system, then you must pay the Apple price and clearly a lot of people are willing to do so. Android is available on a plethora of handsets. This makes most of the handsets functionally identical and hence it can be difficult to justify premium prices. Hence the bulk Chinese manufacturers and Samsung can make money, but Sony and HTC cannot. The only way for these manufacturers to survive is either stop making smartphones or find a way of differentiating their smartphones from the masses. This is not an easy thing to do and it can be a good way of losing money.


Re: Premium Android

Well, there is Vertu if you want something seriously premium. I have never seen one being used my self, but the company stays in business so people must use them.

Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM


Weird result

I am predicting that someone in the NSA decided to ensure a no vote by hacking the ballot papers and changing the question to 'Do you think Alex Salmond should spend the next year dressed as Dame Edna in a bikini?'

The result will be 70% yes, 30% no.

Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway


So in a thousand years, the US Navy will still want to look at combat data from today. That is like the British army still wanting to analyse combat data from the Battle of Hastings.

Why is it that some people have such amazing optimism?

Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to hefty bills


Re: More scare mongering

At the risk of raining on your parade......

The Scots could only nationalise the parts of BT that are in Scotland. However, that might not add up to a complete service. It would all depend on which bits of needed and important infrastructure are located. I would not be surprised that services in Scotland currently depend on servers located in England.

The SNP like to portray the independence process as being a nice civilised discussion of equals, sitting round a table with some tea and biscuits, dividing up the assets in an equitable manner to keep everyone happy.

The reality is that this is going to be an messy and, very probably, acrimoniously nasty divorce, with illegal hand bagging and blood letting occurring at least twice every hour.

Beer in SPAAAACE: Photographic PROOF


An opportunity

IPA was created to ensure that a drinkable pint was possible after 6 months at sea. Now we need a pint that can survive space travel and still be drinkable.

Now theres a challenge to an brewers or brewsters out there!

Good luck with Project Wing, Google. This drone moonshot is NEVER going to happen


Please remember that this is America.

There are shotguns in America. Lots of shotguns. And plenty of bored people who would think it good sport to take pot shots at these drones. Frankly, there are some very bored engineers and executives working at Google. And Amazon.

HUMAN RACE PERIL: Not nukes, it'll be AI that kills us off, warns Musk


Every software engineer knows the answer to this one....

Modern software is buggy as hell. An AI will be no different.

Plus an AI will be all or nothing. There will be no point giving someone 5% of an AI as an alpha release, promising the other 95% in stages. Which 5% will you release? The sense of humour? The sense of smell? The sex drive?