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Submission + - State Photo-ID databases Mined By Police

Rick Zeman writes: Showing once again that once a privacy door is opened every law enforcement agency will run through it, The Washington Post details how state drivers license photo databases are being mined by various LEOs in their states--and out. From the article: "[L]aw enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities.

Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face."

Comment More complicated than you might think (Score 1) 2

Reading some of the comments at Gizmodo ( ) I begin to see the BBC's point. Apart from (possibly) being part of the template code and therefore requiring extensive site-wide testing, it might well probably break their (reportedly extensive) page caching.

Some there speculate that the old technique uses a client-side function call that is happily cached, while the new version either has to include client-side code that maintains and corrects for the local error offset (= extensive testing requirements due to multiple client platforms), or needs to include a server-generated time specifically customized for that client (= impossible to cache).

Submission + - BBC Clock Inaccurate - 100 Programmer Days To Fix? ( 2

mikejuk writes: The BBC home page has just lost its clock because the BBC Trust upheld a complaint that it was inaccurate. All it did was to show the current time on the machine it was being viewed on and not an accurate time as determined by the BBC.
However, the BBC have responded to the accusations of inaccuracy by simply removing the clock as it has been stated that it would take 100 programmer hours to fix. It further says:
"Given the technical complexities of implementing an alternative central clock, and the fact that most users already have a clock on their computer screen, the BBC has taken the decision to remove the clock from the Homepage in an upcoming update."
  "impossible to offer a single zonally-accurate clock".
They cannot be serious!
In fact it should be possible with a single line of JavaScript and perhaps a single line of say PHP back on the server. The clock wouldn't be millisecond accurate but in most cases it would be correct to the second.
So a 100 hours or "too simple to fix"?

Comment Re:Hyper-V or vSphere. (Score 3, Informative) 191

I second this. I've migrated several business services (e.g. svn, flyspray, etc.) from physical boxes running various OSes (W2K8, Ubuntu) to CentOS virtual hosts on HyperV. Apart from one issue*, which is a stupidity using Minimal CentOS unrelated to Hyper-V, I have yet to see a single problem running CentOS on Hyper-V.

* CentOS Minimal requires manual network setup, which is fine, but there is no plug-and-play support. So whenever the VM is moved to a new Hyper-V server, the CentOS networking breaks (the solution is to manually assign a MAC address for the virtual NIC, rather than using the default "automatic" setting).

Comment Re:The law does seem to be out of date, yes... (Score 1) 433

Well, I used to do that. But then I bought a house with a huge park across the street, and that solved many of the issues. The dog's been hit twice by cars -- why it's still alive, I don't know -- and the parties in the park sometimes get out of hand...

Comment Re:The law does seem to be out of date, yes... (Score 1) 433

Yes, not to mention decreasing pollution, and diminishing the ubiquitous delusion that it is a good idea for all the space around our houses to be paved in asphalt and filled with large metal boxes, some parked, some moving, but all getting in the way of what I want outside my front door. I, for one, would prefer a park.

Comment Re:Conversion using APL (Score 3, Funny) 261

Seems like a perfect candidate for a simple one-line APL ( ) function. This should be something like {/~{\}, but my keyboard doesn't have the required keys to enter any of the characters needed. Can anyone help?

Ok, I've managed to work out a truly marvelous 7-character conversion in APL, but the margin is too small to contain it.

Comment Same problem, but at the server level. (Score 1) 282

Our family / family business has run, with increasing formality, email servers in various flavours since the mid-90's. These servers have processed messages including everything from lots (like really lots -- in the tens of thousands at least) of family pictures to (no doubt) lots of personal email of the many dozens of staff who have worked with us over the years. In general, the server settings have always been set to "retain everything", including full Exchange journalling, because there was no way to delete things without risking losing some important pictures someone sent to someone else.

I'm not too worried about the business activity traffic, because anything recent is well replicated in many other places -- primarily in various cached Outlook data files. But where family members threw away their old machines, the only copies of these important things are in the server journals we have archived. Is there some solution that can rationalize these millions of messages into some sort of structure?

In addition, I presume that this can only be done for individuals who actually want old items to be retrieved from the archives, as anyone else would be protected by privacy rights.

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