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Comment: Re:And just like that, UK has a GeStaPo.... (Score 1) 83 83

The only thing about this that's new is the scale - modern technology has simply enabled surveillance that would not have been feasible a decade ago.

And as you say, it doesn't flow from politicians, per se. You only have to look at the unproven, but plausible reports of the security services pursuit of Prime Minister Harold Wilson to realise that elected politicians too may be the target if they are suspected by the establishment of deviating too far from the status quo.

Comment: Re:Stop charging for checked bag (Score 2) 273 273

Actually, the IATA proposal was a recommended MINIMUM size for cabin baggage (actually, two sizes, there's a smaller capacity defined for very small aircraft) so that passengers could acquire one bag that they could take everywhere. There may be a common size in North America, but in the rest of the world there isn't and oversize baggage charges are a source of some considerable revenue to budget airlines and annoyance to passengers, particularly when their journey involves more than one budget carrier. There was certainly never any intent to prevent airlines carrying larger bags in the cabin if they wanted to. Indeed aircraft manufacturers are going to be fitting larger overhead bins to planes to deal with the increase in carry-on luggage. However, this has been spun essentially as a "Mars bars are getting smaller" story, so the proposal has, now, AFAIK, been withdrawn in face of intense public opposition to something that was never proposed in the first place...

Comment: Amsterdam is famed as the "Venice of the North" (Score 2) 107 107

Not just Amsterdam. The list apparently includes Manchester (UK).

However, as it has been pointed out before, for reasons that are not immediately clear, Venice is not commonly known as "the Manchester of the South"...

Comment: Re:IPv6 and Rust: overhyped and unwanted! (Score 2) 390 390

>other people will solve them

Other people are solving the real problem of address exhaustion, just not in the way that the IETF intended.

Even the IPv6 enthusiasts accepted that adoption would have to be widespread before the regional registries started running out of IPv4 addresses if it were going to work as a solution. That hasn't happened and it's now just too late - don't forget this started 22 years ago when most of the host systems were still under the control of education and government institutions and migration could have occurred much faster than it could now.

The thing that still irks me is that there'd been a very similar and very public (though much less protracted) attempt to deal with similar address limitations in DECnet that had failed miserably and the IETF chose to turn a deaf ear to those experiences which have simply been repeated on a larger scale with IPv6.

The problem of address exhaustion remains. IPv6 is no longer the solution, it's time came and went. A different group of "other people" are now attempting to keep the Internet roughly connected, but I'm afraid end-to-end connectivity is gone because the solution that offered it has failed the acceptance test.

Comment: Re:Red Button (Score 1) 107 107

And more than that, it isn't at all obvious that retaliation will solve the problem you're experiencing. Indeed, the resources devoted to it will diminish the resources available for solving the domestic problem.

More seriously, critical infrastructure needs to have a safe manual mode of operation (even if you have to deploy personnel that normally wouldn't be present). If it doesn't your defence has already failed.

Comment: Re:The sad part? (Score 1) 577 577

As a furriner, this is the part I always find hilarious.

If an enlightened citizenry were ever going to use their weapons to overthrow the overbearing state, there have been plenty of occasions over the last 50 years where you could construct an argument for justification.

And yet it never happens. And why not? Because the people who believe in the weaponisation of civil society have been right behind every form of oppression from slavery through to the Patriot Act.

The US government would be mad to deprive the gun nuts of their guns - they do their work for them.

Comment: Re:There are no such things as human "rights". (Score 1) 313 313

It was a big worry for the British government that in the event of a nuclear strike the people they needed to maintain the fiction of continuing authority would actually prefer to be at home dying with their families rather than assisting the remnants of the state.

So, for example, there was a secret list of telephone engineers (all, at the time, government employees) who would be kidnapped at gunpoint in the event of a nuclear emergency and forced into their nearest bunker to maintain the telecommunications equipment.

"For your own good", indeed.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 392 392

>I almost can't believe we're talking about effective encryption being illegal

Then you must be very young.

Back in the days of telegrams, many countries had strict regulations regarding the readability of messages sent. The US wouldn't allow the export of software which permitted encryption with (symmetric) key lengths longer than 40 bits until 1996 when the limit was raised to 56 bits by the Wassenaar agreement. PGP was eventually determined to be legally exported from the US as a result of a court decision that source code printed on paper was protected as free speech (you couldn't legally at that point export the source code in electronic form, only as printing on paper). The late 1990s saw many governments agonising about encryption and although the commercial imperative was clear (in particular for electronic financial transactions), because of its military origins it was regarded as a hostile technology - there are endless proposals from various countries for key escrow systems (eg "Clipper Chip"). A proposed encryption system for the UK National Health Service was considered that included key escrow, presumably because it would otherwise be difficult for medical information to be obtained without a court order.

The last few years, in which encryption has been freely available (but little used), are very much the exception in the history of cryptography.

Comment: Its audio quality compared to a CD is debatable (Score 3, Insightful) 278 278

It's debatable in the same way as the audio quality of regular speaker cable compared with gold-plated oxygen-free copper cable is debatable. It's not a long debate.

If you look at the equipment the analogue-faddists are using, it is for the most part not the high-end audio equipment of a previous generation, but retro-reproductions of the portable record players teenagers used to have in their bedrooms, record players that sounded terrible then and sound just as bad now. The only thing that's changed is that there were a lot of genuinely hi-fi systems around in those days for comparison. These days tiny speakers with wildly exaggerated bass are the norm on pretty much everything you buy from mobile phones to TV sound bars; it's hardly surprising that the sound from a Dansette record player sounds better by comparison.

I still have the speakers I used with my pre-CD sound system and I don't regret ditching a turntable for the first model of CD player that was available - the sound quality is superior in every respect (noise, frequency response, dynamic range). Vinyl records are the audio equivalent of Instagram - washed out, artifically-coloured facsimiles of the original that have become a passing fashion.

Comment: Re:Brought it on ourselves (Score 4, Insightful) 229 229

Don't forget that the Telegraph is an extremely conservative newspaper which is very cosy with the British establishment.

The key phrases in the article, "the Daily Telegraph can disclose", and "a senior security official said", imply that the Telegraph has been explicitly briefed knowing that it will big up the story. You know the quotation:

"You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(Thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to."

Mind you, the fact that they're talking about drug gangs is especially significant as on the one hand it's an attempt to deflect attention from the political nature of GCHQ spying whereas on the other it's suggesting that GCHQ has a routine role in what would normally be considered police work. They're obviously proud of their mission creep.

It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.

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