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Comment Draft Investigatory Powers Bill is Out (Score 1) 418

Until now the stories about the Investigatory Powers Bill have been hard to gauge as the bill was not published, but now it is.

The Slashdot title, "Internet Firms To Be Banned From Offering Unbreakable Encryption Under New UK Laws" looks to be wrong or at least misleading. The relevant part of the bill states:

62. ... b. RIPA requires CSPs to provide communications data when served with a notice, to assist in giving effect to interception warrants, and to maintain permanent interception capabilities, including maintaining the ability to remove any encryption applied by the CSP to whom the notice relates. 63. ...The draft Bill will not impose any additional requirements in relation to encryption over and above the existing obligations in RIPA. ...

So Communications Service Providers can have strong encryption, as long as they keep the key and hand it over when required as they are required already by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. The horse has already bolted.

Comment Response to Snowden (Score 1) 418

Looking at some of the powers in the Investigatory powers bill reminds me strongly of the GCHQ's Tempora project and other capabilities. Snowden's whistle blowing has created a lot of debate and the main response by politicians seems to be to codify these once secret programs into law with barely a nod to oversight.

Comment Re:hmm (Score 1) 616

“I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky.
In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics:

Let no one else's work evade your eyes!
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes!
So don't shade your eyes,
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize -
Only be sure always to call it please 'research'."

Tom Lehrer

Comment Re:Often aren't "math guys" but "arithmetic guys" (Score 1) 616

Oh for mod points. I've had a bucket load for the last few days and when I at last see a good post needing some mods points, they vanish.

I program all the time and do very little with numbers other than counting. However as others have already said computer languages are actually maths. The problem solving, logic puzzle, abstraction part of maths.
Well explained mx+b!

Comment Obviously Chinese Espionage (Score 2) 18

I found the "Elderwood Framework" document interesting. A number of different hacker groups, including Black Vine had access to a surprisingly high number of zero day exploits. Looking at the primary targets defence, aeronautics, engineering, energy in the US and NGOs in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, it makes sense that it is Chinese backed.

All the zero day exploits were IE, Flash and one Windows (XML core services).

Comment Street lamps don't help much (Score 2) 307

The debate has been ongoing for decades over how much street lamps reduce crime and vehicle accidents. My feelings are that they help a little in both these aspects of safety but not by much. When you consider the ongoing costs of electricity and other improvements that could have been made, street lights are not worth it.

After quickly reviewing the evidence I may have to change my opinion, slightly. This Swedish metanalysisfound that the 13 studies (8 American and 5 British), taken together,

showed that improved lighting led to a significant 21% decrease in crime in experimental areas compared with comparable control areas.

Dammit as a self described sceptic I will have to change my mind, but wait.

Since these studies did not find that nighttime crimes decreased more than daytime crimes

Yes the crime dropped, but for the studies which measured both day and night crime, both dropped by similar amounts. This suggests either the control areas are somehow different in some other way or more likely that street lamps give a perception of improvement and a more upmarket neighbourhood.

As a fan of the night sky and I find it unnatural to live in an orange glow, moon light is far more romantic I stand by my opinion that street lights should be concentrated in city centres, leave everywhere else dark.

Comment A plea for browsers to stop blocking autocomplete (Score 3, Insightful) 365

Websites have disabled autocomplete on password fields to prevent browser bases password managers from working. In response to this many browsers ignore autocomplete=off on password fields. I ran into this behaviour on a user administration screen, the browser was trying to fill in my password into the other users password field. I could not stop the browser from autofilling in the wrong password.

2 pints = 1 Cavort