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Comment: Re:Seems appropriate (Score 1) 353

This would not help. The exact offence is "failing to make readable encrypted data". In order to convict, the prosecution only have to prove that the data is encrypted, that you had control over that encryption and that they have not been able to read it. Loss of damage of the encryption keys is not a defence. The law was specifically designed this way in order to discourage self-destructing encryption keys, etc. The only defence against such a prosecution is to keep a backup of the encryption keys available, so that they can be handed over on request.

Comment: Re:Counter-notice! (Score 1) 349

Once the ISP receives a "put back" notice, they must pass to the original complainant in a timely manner.

The ISP must then wait for 10 days, to give the original complainant time to consider the "put back" notice, and decide whether a court case should commence. After the 10 day waiting period, if the ISP has not received notice of a restraining order blocking the put back because of an impending court hearing, then it is allowed to restore the content.

In order to avoid liability to their customer, the content must be restored with 14 days of receiving the "put back" notice, provided that the complainant has not obtained a restraining order blocking the put back.

Comment: Re:Wait what? (Score 2) 140

by ChumpusRex2003 (#47236749) Attached to: EU's Online Shoppers Get an Extended "Cooling Off Period"

The change to digital data is welcome.

At least in the UK's interpretation of this EC directive (the Distance Selling Regulations), digital downloads were NOT excluded. The purchase could cancel the purchase at any time up to 7 days after purchase and receive a full refund. Technically, you could download a software package or a movie, and then change your mind and claim a full refund.

While the Distance Selling Regulations specifically excluded copyright material such as computer software, movies, music, etc. - they do so only in physical form i.e. CDs, DVDs, etc. Downloads are treated as a "contract for a service" which do not fall in the scope of this very limited exclusion.

The ambiguity over digital downloads has caused a lot of heartache for a couple of small software developers that I know - albeit not enough to try to take it to court. I'm not sure that there is any caselaw actually addressing this loophole in the current system.

Comment: Re:I don't like the control it takes away from you (Score 2) 865

by ChumpusRex2003 (#46922737) Attached to: Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

That's correct, but the same system also has lots of other complex behaviours which could cause confusion.

How do you turn the car off but leave the radio on for the passenger - e.g. at a gas station?
A: Come to a stop. Put the transmission in neutral. Press start/stop button. Engine turns off, and the power system is switched to "accessories" mode.

Q: How do you turn the power off completely?
A: Put transmission in Park. Then press start/stop button

Q: What if I want to turn the power off and leave the car in neutral e.g. for maintenance?
A: You have to switch into Park first. The press start/stop. Then use the transmission shift override to select Neutral.

Q: How do you turn the car off in an emergency - e.g. stuck accelerator pedal?
A: You can't just press start/stop, as the vehicle speed sensor inhibits the button, so you can't turn off the ignition whilie the vehicle is moving. This isn't even in the manual. However, pressing and holding start/stop for 10 seconds will cause the ignition to turn off completely. This is a surprisingly long time in an emergency. In fact, in several "unintended acceleration" episodes, the drivers said they tried to turn off the push-button ignition, but couldn't turn it off.

Q: How do you give a prolonged crank, if the car fails to start (e.g. poor fuel, or cold weather)?
A: You have to let the computer attempt 3 failed starts. After that, the behaviour of the start/stop sequence changes. After the 3rd attempt, a momentary push of the button, will make the computer crank the engine for up to 30 seconds, for as long as the brake pedal remains depressed.

Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 3, Interesting) 306

The summary is quite clear.
Blender produced the video, Sintel, and publish it to Youtube under the creative commons license.
Sony reuses the video as part of their 4k marketing material.
Sony provides youtube with a "reference" copy of their marketing material, and tells youtube to find copies of the material and to exercise Sony's rights over it.
Youtube finds the original Sintel video and matches it to a "reference" copyrighted work (Sony's marketing material).
Youtube arranges for forced commercial licensing of the Blender video with proceeds going to Sony.

Comment: Re:Stop using Youtube (Score 1) 306

Which is more or less exactly what happens with the DMCA.

The accuser sends a notice to the hosting company saying they believe they are publishing infringing material.
Hosting company informs customer, and will remove content if no reply is received within 24 hours.
Customer responds, that they own the copyright, and once done hosting company restores the content, if removed, or does not remove it if the time period has not elapsed.

Once that stage is reached, the accuser must pay all costs and the video stays up until the case is closed.

The issue is that most providers will remove the material fist, and ask questions later - even though, they are permitted to leave the material for 24 hours to allow the accused to respond.
The other issue is that there is no penalty or cost for an accuser to make false claims under the DMCA. A malicious accuser can easily cause huge administrative headaches for hosting companies and content creators, and face no penalty or cost for it. Things get a lot more expensive and risky for the accuser at the 2nd phase once, and the number of copyright cases that progress after a DMCA counter-claim is very small indeed.

Comment: Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (Score 2) 341

There may not be a satisfactory alternative.

I was last month negotiating over the purchase of a results reporting and communication system. I spoke to one of the biggest suppliers and asked what platforms they supported: "We support Windows 7 with IE 8." "We're increasing moving to mobile devices, what support do you have for Windows 8, IE9, Mac OS, Android, iOS and other browsers such as Safari, Chrome and firefox". "We will be adding Windows 8 support in our next annual update, which will be available for the standard version upgrade fee. There are no plans to support any other browsers or OSs".

There are a variety of other products in this field, but they all have widely different features, integration capability (can it integrate with neighbouring hospitals systems, or primary care physician systems), etc.

If the only product which can provide your "core specification" is restricted like this, then you can't just go elsewhere.

Comment: Re:Proprietary (Score 1) 341

Actually, they often do care about open-source, but in the wrong way.

I was recently purchasing some specialist medical software, and one of the key terms in the contract specified by senior management, was "the software should not contain any open-source components, except where no close-source alternative exists, and the vendor must ensure that appropriate restrictions over access to the source code are maintained at all times during the duration of the contract".

I managed to get that one negotiated to something less unrealistic (i.e. open source 3rd party libraries permitted), as the only realistic product choice made heavy use of technologies such as xuggler, libpng, openjpeg, etc.

The reason for this, "security". The management were adamant that "open source" was a catastrophic security risk, because "it exposed vulnerabilities in the software". They could/would not be educated on this matter.

Comment: Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (Score 5, Interesting) 341

This is exactly it. I know one hospital that recently "refreshed" their hardware to new Quad core 4th generation i5 desktops. The OS - Windows XP SP1. Why?

The specialist medical applications that they run are too expensive to upgrade, and the version they run doesn't support XP SP2. Medical software is not cheap - something like a "results reporting system" which aggregates test results from multiple departments (e.g. blood chemistry, hematology, MRI, ultrasound, physiology, cardiology, etc.) and presents them to a physician - can cost $1million for the license. For a PACS (X-ray viewing and archiving) software, the license could easily cost $10 million for a large hospital (or group of hospitals).

If it would cost you $2 million to replace a specialist app, then you may be stuck with having to use an older OS - especially, if the app developer has gone out of business and you no longer have any support (very, very common in the medical industry).

Some of the more forward thinking IT departments have started rolling out Windows 7, and using some sort of virtualization service, to run the specialist apps under the appropriate OS/IE version/Java runtime/.NET runtime that each one needs. The difficulty with this, is that you essentially have not just your Win7 environment to manage, but also all the individual virtualized run time environments. The administrative burden that this requires can be substantial.

Comment: Re:Smelling more fishy every day. (Score 1) 227

by ChumpusRex2003 (#46547855) Attached to: MtGox Finds 200,000 Bitcoins In Old Wallet

Yes. It is practical, and if you have a bitcoin client (with knowledge of your public key) running, it will show your balance in real time.

This type of setup is often called a "watch wallet" and a number of bitcoin exchanges have these set up as a method of auditing their transactions against their deposit/withdrawal database (to detect intrusions, database bugs, and to detect insider thefts).

Comment: Re:What does "stealing" bitcoins mean anyway? (Score 1) 227

by ChumpusRex2003 (#46547769) Attached to: MtGox Finds 200,000 Bitcoins In Old Wallet

That is correct. There is no such thing as "a bitcoin" - instead, all you have are balances in a distributed public ledger.

Each balance has an associated public key pair. A payment instruction in bitcoin simply consists of a digitally signed message effectively saying "1Alice56789 pays 1.234 BTC to 1Bob12345 ". This message propagates around the network, and if Alice has sufficent funds to cover the transaction, and the signature is genuine, then the network will, in due course, add it to the ledger. If Alice doesn't have sufficient funds or the signature is invalid, then it will not be added to the ledger and the transaction will fail.

If you possess the private key associated with a particular "account", then you effectively control its spending power. All you need is the private key to the relevant "address" to control all the bitcoin held in it, or that may arrive in it, for all time.

It is not possible to transfer BTC without someone knowing. As soon as the transfer is confirmed, it appears in the public ledger. Similarly, because the ledger is public, if you know who holds the private key to a particular address, you know how many BTC they control.

In fact, on the day that Mt Gox claimed to have lost all their BTC, the general public knew that this was BS. Mt Gox had a couple of years ago, revealed the identity of some of their "cold" addresses. On the day of their bankruptcy, the bitcoin community had identified 200k BTC still held within these addresses, hence why the announcement was widely disbelieved. A competeing hypothesis to "transaction malleability theft" was that Mt Gox had simply lost their private keys to the BTC effectively resulting the in those BTC being forever lost. The fact that Mt Gox had started reorganising and moving these BTC to new addresses a couple of weeks ago, also had not gone unnoticed.

Comment: Re:There must be a very good reason... (Score 5, Informative) 579

by ChumpusRex2003 (#45791239) Attached to: Utilities Fight Back Against Solar Energy

Because it is exceedingly expensive to do so.

The issue is that of voltage tolerance. The grid is designed to supply power form central to peripheral. The central voltage is held higher than peripheral, so that the expected voltage drop through supply impedance will result in a voltage at the customer premises which is within tolerance.

If current flow is reversed through the high impedance "last mile", then you can get severe voltage elevation at the point of connection of the generation. This can result in equipment damage (usually the customers) and legal problems for the electricity network operator.

The only way to deal with this problem is to increase the "prospective fault current" of the customer circuit by reducing the system impedance. This isn't something simple like replacing transformers, it is extremely expensive and requires repalcement of cabling with heavier gauge wire, upgrade of safety equipment to withstand the higher fault currents, and may require uprating of transformers and switchgear to handle the magnetic and thermal forces of a fault on the now upgraded circuit.

There are other issues too. Grid transformers are often not designed to operate in reverse power - the tappings are designed for voltage drop in the direction of HV to LV. Under reverse power, there may be insufficient tap range to get satisfactory voltages. Only way around this is to replace the transformer.

Finally, there are second order effects, such as reduced efficiency of transformers when operated in reverse power, due to higher levels of flux leakage from the secondary (primary windings usually go nearest the core, so that stray flux cuts through the secondary and transfers power).

Comment: Re:Or, maybe (Score 1) 151

by ChumpusRex2003 (#45548739) Attached to: Online Shopping: Hazardous To Junk Food's Health

Actually, as cereals/grains make up a large part of the modern diet, the fact that they are poor sources of certain vitamins becomes relevant. For example, breakfast cereal commonly has folic acid added, not because it was lost during process (although some is), but because it is an important public health measure. Same for flour for bread making.

Additionally, some nutrients will be lost from processing - usually cooking, as most breakfast cereals are baked. Many vitamins are heat unstable and are therefore added back by the manufacturers.

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