Clive Robinson January 6, 2023 6:29 PM

@ Bruce,

“Seems that about 1.5% of people have a squid fetish.”

It’s been a while since fetish and squid have appeared on this page…

Last time I remember it was about a fetish that was mainly Japanese expressed in some what graphic art…

Any way, enough on that.

Every so often we need something with the “ahhh” factor in it. This has it in spade loads,

It is frankly quite amazing, not only that it lived, but how well adapted it has become.

Oh and of course “cute” by quite some measure.

echo January 7, 2023 1:42 AM

AI legal assistant will help defendant fight a speeding case in court

In February, an AI from DoNotPay is set to tell a defendant exactly what to say and when during an entire court case. It is likely to be the first ever case defended by an artificial intelligence.

I dislike this action if for no other reason that I dislike context free race to the end decision making. I see a lot of this behaviour especially off men. It’s also yet another “technical” solution peddled by someone who wants to monitize the potential of a technology and get some marketing out of it in the process. What’s really really bothering me isn’t the technology or end run of legal questions about doing this but the mentality of people.

And so you will end up with “AI” lawyers defending clients who were passengers of “AI” driven cars designed by companies using “AI” CAD systems and nobody was held responsible when someone died.

It’s also not a first as such. Clients who are advised by lawyers may have lawyers who use “AI” or more likely expert systems.

Law in practice is already worrying in the sense that money can buy a result simply by the fact huge amounts of money sloshing around employs not just one overworked lawyer but entire teams of lawyers all of whom can conduct sometimes time consuming legal searches or legal archaeology. This technology reeks a bit of creating a yet another corporate walled garden. Yet another arms race. Yet another inequity. Yet another ” inevitability…. Mr Anderson”.

Thinking of science fiction Frank Herbert’s “Dune” novels explored the idea of a civilisation where computers were banned. Ian M. Banks explored the idea in “The Player of Games” that while an AI could outperform a human without effort there were nuances and incalculables that a human could process an AI couldn’t.

Law is a process and there is a process the client and lawyer go through and also go through between themselves. It is a process of discovery. This is why sometimes, not always, it’s important for both a lawyer and client to pay attention. One can spot something the other has missed sometimes when building a case and sometimes when in the court. There will also be nuances and a beat to the court. A moment to push something. A moment to take a break. You won’t find any of that in an AI.

This case also reeks of a limited dataset and very likely a “golden path”. As long as the case remains within those parameters and nothing unusual happens it is possible the case may be won by the “AI”.

It’s really difficult to say who is the greatest ever chess player because chess players are products of their time. Chess evolves over time as new games are played and new things are discovered about the game. It’s now almost completely a “solved problem”. This is why Magnus Carslen plays to get other players “out of book”. He is then able to rely on his natural talent to win rather than historical analysis or AI assistance during practice. Yes even he will be crushed by the top AI chess computers but against another human he is one of the best ever. Some have argued he is the greatest ever although he himself eschews this description at least in part for the reasons already stated.

On a technical legal point I don’t believe a win for the “AI” will actually count as a win by the court. The client is effectively represented themself assisted by an AI. An AI’s decision cannot stand unless there is a human being in the loop who grants ultimate authorisation and they are held to account for the advice given by the AI. If they have missed something not covered by the AI that’s their problem and they will be held account for that too.

And what if you have an AI defending an AI which just happens to be a war robot which went on a killing spree? Then what?? Are we going to cut out the middle and have AI judges?

All crime is committed by humans. The crime is life. The sentence is DEATH.

Happy new year.

Nick Levinson January 7, 2023 10:24 AM


I’m less concerned about AI liability than some people are. You can sue a carpenter for bad carpentry that injured you, even though the carpenter used a hammer; you don’t have to worry about suing the hammer, or even the hammer manufacturer. That’s because the carpenter chose to use the hammer and so the carpenter is liable. If the hammer was (somehow) at fault, you could still sue the carpenter and then the carpenter could sue the hammer manufacturer in a third-party suit. The same is true of computers as tools. If you sue a company for wrongdoing and their only defense is that their computer made them do it, the company generally will lose. AI is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.

At DoNotPay, the AI is not anywhere near human skill levels of attorneys. According to (as accessed today):

“We do not . . . apply the law to the facts of your situation.

“. . . . [A]ny communications between you and DoNotPay may not be protected under the attorney-client privilege doctrine.” The latter means you might not want to tell the AI what you would tell an attorney before you get a response. Therefore, even if the company uses omnipotent AI, which doesn’t exist, and the AI had full legal authority to render legal advice, which their terms deny, it probably wouldn’t be very good legal advice.

Their list of features on the home page does not include criminal defense or, for that matter, defense in most civil suits. It says they’ll help with suing, but that may just be getting a suit started. I doubt this AI will put any lawyer out of business in the U.S.

They want linking to your email account and they expect to search your email, so I assume they want your password. They also want to be able to take money out of your bank account and other account. Their service seems to have a lot to do with sales of merchants’ products and not as much with legal services.

The New Scientist article is mostly behind a paywall, so I only read the free beginning, but what it describes would be illegal in many courts, because of the transmission of live proceedings out of the courtroom and possibly because of the transmission in; and I think a court might well rule that you are indeed being represented by an attorney who is not licensed to practice in that court. The court might then rule that you are not representing yourself, refuse to let you start representing yourself thereafter, and then order you to engage an attorney admitted or who will be admitted to practice in that court (in the latter case, already admitted elsewhere). I suspect many judges will be displeased about a party waiting to listen to an answer or advice in their earpiece before answering a question and will make their displeasure known with a short order to answer the question. The party may be ordered to remove the earpiece and turn it off.

On the proliferation of AI as a legal issue, I mostly hear about that concern from people who are not lawyers. I don’t think liability is such a big problem, because a person using the AI would still be liable for how they use it and the person would be responsible for their results. Maybe that person could sue the AI system’s programmer for the failings of that AI system, but the main basis for that suit would be the AI user’s liability for using the AI’s result.

Nick Levinson January 7, 2023 11:04 AM

@Bruce Schneier et al.:

Can 1.5% of people draw a rough picture of a squid? Can they pick out a photo of a squid from a line-up of photos of, say, a submarine leaking oil, a tree with a dark shadow, and a blackbird flapping a wing? I doubt it, so I doubt that many have that fetish.

Besides, the category included octopi. More people would know those. Subtract them even without subtracting those who know both and knowledge of squid is probably less common, although maybe not rare.

“[M]y followers probably are not too representative of the general population.” (also see, as accessed today.

Like you said, “[s]eems”.

echo January 7, 2023 12:50 PM

A mystery, helmet-mounted devices were captured by Ukrainian Soldiers during a battle with Wagner mercenary group troops.

Video has emerged on social media depicting captured Wanger’s novel laser detection device, called the Spider. It is a laser early warning detection system to provide advance warning of attacks.

The Spyder is a lightweight warning system used as a passive military defense. It detects, analyzes, and locates directions of laser emissions from laser guidance systems and laser rangefinders.

Sergiy Flash, the Ukrainian military expert and Soldier, shared pictures of the captured Spider system and noted that the Russian-language instruction manual was captured together with the device itself.


Spider on tripod


I have zero idea whether this gadget is of any use under the scenarios described. Nor do I have a clue what the beam spreading is for a laser rangefinder. For all I know it’s just a clown in Wagner management having a rush of blood to the head or a wheeze to persuade the cannon fodder over the parapet.

Presumably Ukraine just put an order in for laser powered disco balls.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons January 7, 2023 1:56 PM

Awaiting your book Bruce,

I am convinced, now more than ever, that a Nuremberg style trial is necessary to adjudicate and conclude the U.S. Civil War of 1860’s. The fear allowing those that believe that their cause was righteous is fueling a continuing threat to the U.S. political and social order. Just scared myself with the first sentence, realizing that I’d codified the U.S Civil War in “a time period” as though that could be all there is…ouch.

I predict, in the not too distant future, the evidence in support of such a process will become clear.

pup vas January 7, 2023 4:16 PM

Cops Hacked Thousands of Phones. Was It Legal?

=Around 60,000 people were signed up to the EncroChat phone network, which was founded in 2016, when it was busted by cops. Subscribers paid thousands of dollars to use a customized Android phone that could, according to EncroChat’s company website, “guarantee anonymity.” The phone’s security features included encrypted chats, notes, and phone calls, using a version of the Signal protocol, as well as the ability to “panic wipe” everything on the phone, and live customer support. Its camera, microphone, and GPS chip could all be removed.

Police who hacked the phone network didn’t appear to break its encryption but instead compromised the EncroChat servers in Roubaix, France, and ultimately pushed malware to devices. While little is known about how the hacking took place or the type of malware used, 32,477 of EncroChat’s 66,134 users were impacted in 122 countries, according to court documents.

Across Europe, legal challenges are building up. In many countries, courts have ruled that messages from EncroChat can be used as evidence. However, these decisions are now being disputed. The cases, many of which have been reported in detail by Computer Weekly, are complex: Each country has its own legal system with separate rules around the types of evidence that can be used and the processes prosecutors need to follow. =

Clive Robinson January 7, 2023 5:28 PM

@ pup vas, ALL,

Re : LEO Legislation shopping.

From the article,

“Each country has its own legal system with separate rules around the types of evidence that can be used and the processes prosecutors need to follow.”

The problem is that the individual rules apply within a context of the whole system in each country.

What the LEO’s have done is to “pick a path” through the various countries legislation to avoide the “checks and balances” of the respective systems.

If you or I were to do the same to avoide health and safety regulations on foods, healthcare medications, and similar, then we would expect our scheme to be thrown out.

However the national police forces are saying these rules do not apply to them,

“Because… ‘we can not say for IC reasons’…”

To say it is an abuse of process and should be stopped is being over riden by knee-jerk,

“Think of the victimes”
“These are bad men”
“The LEO’s have spent millions”

And similar emotive non legal arguments.

The two real questions are,

1, Did the LEO’s do wrong?
2, Did they know they were doing wrong?

From the little information available the answer to both questions is “Yes” to both, and in a very premeditated way.

Phillip January 7, 2023 7:19 PM

This social engineering with housing: I have the chops to spot it, though it is still sucking up a lot of bandwidth. Research is needed. Thank you.

CookieMonster January 7, 2023 7:24 PM

Does anyone here ever come across the facto that, at least google chrome incognito window will still leak your identity if you are signed on some service (on a different non incognito window) that configured Single Sign On for a third party app or service? Any third party app or service will manage to authenticate, even on incognito mode, thus leaking your identity.

Clive Robinson January 7, 2023 8:15 PM

@ echo, ALL,

Re : Russian Spider device.

“I have zero idea whether this gadget is of any use under the scenarios described.”

First off the device does not look as though it is “Russian” specifically, I have an itchy feeling it’s probably come out of a Chinese factory.

Secondly it also does not look very robust in design. That is whilst it might be good for “paint-ball” and “air-soft” combat games, I doubt it is realy “battle-field” ready, where it would have to deal with significant “concussive shocks” from blast waves from conventional weapons such as artillery, mortars, hand grenades, etc.

Which gives me the suspicion it’s a modified “LaserQuest” or similar “you’ve been shot” detector.

From the article,

“According to the user manual, the device can detect all existing laser rangefinders, illuminators and designators operating in the range of 0.8 up to 1.8 µm.”

Which covers IR-A and some of IR-B shorter wavelength IR just below the visable light spectrum. Basically the output from any standard “TV-Controler IR-LED”, “Security light IR-LEDs” and the bulk of comercial IR laser diode emmitters.

Some mobile phone cameras that do not have IR filters fitted will “see” in this sort of range as well. As will most “Black&White” low light Surveillance / CCTV cameras.

I can not see the device as having very much in the way of “directivity” and may just work on “light intensity” from each of the two detectors (look like eyes). In fact the image of the user manual would appear to further confirm this. However we would need someone who can read and translate the text to confirm.

Thus I suspect it produces a tone much like the old “Cone of silence” navigation systems, and similar to those camera light meters and sensors you find in the likes of “lego” and “Raspberry Pi” robot constructor kits. They can give some “directivity” say directly ahead or to the left or to the right but not any real direction. So you would “locate” by swinging your head from side to side, much as you do for hearing things.

I hope that gives you “a feel for the device”.

“Nor do I have a clue what the beam spreading is for a laser rangefinder.”

It boils down to “How much money do you want to spend”. You can get high power LEDs with a 12degree -3db beam width for very little money. You then need to feed it into a collimator lense system which makes the beam wider, but has way less angular spreading (divergence). Such IR lenses used to be made of exotic materials, thus were eye wateringly expensive, but these days can be made using moulded plastics.

There are several ways to measure range.

The simplest is to measure the width of the reflected image from the target, much as those “golf course” range finders work with the hight of the flag. As such these can be entirely “passive” and not emmit any light towards the target, unless there is insufficient background illumination. In which case the IR emmitter is little more than a narrow focus “flash light”. As such these pasive systems are not realy “laser range finding”, but have the advantage you are not “advertising your presence” to your target.

Another simple technique, but is of low sensitivity is like a Radar and called “time of flight” or similar (see LiDAR for 3D imaging / mapping / navigation). You emmitt a high power short duration pulse and measure how long it takes to bounce back off the target. Obviously the level of light at the target has to be upwards of four times the minimum sensitivity of the detector in the range finder. This gives the target a range advantage, where it can pickup the laser pulse, but there is insufficient sent back to be detected by the range finder. Thus the “prey” can “sense the hunter” without the hunter being aware they have been spotted (it’s one of the ways “observation posts” get spotted and shelled).

There are other techniques using the light polarisation and even modulation time, phase, frequency differences,

But these have historically been in a much higher price bracket than passive optical systems.

But that is rather relative these days with consumer pricing of range finders that work out to 1-2km,

But whilst this spider might work all be it not well against consumer devices in the IR-A band, it probably won’t work at all well with some of the military range finders that “paint targets” out to 25km, as these use different IR bands.

echo January 8, 2023 3:50 AM

From the school of useless information:

Ukraine is being supplied with more materiel.

Bradley’s can use their GPS and rangefinder to provide artillery spotting capability. (A GLSDB 40,000 and is accurate to 1.5M at 150Km. The bomb costs around $40,000 plus cost of M26 rocket versus an ATACMS at around $1M.)

The French AMX-10 RC wheeled “tank destroyers” (also light tank) are fast and agile and flank destroyers, as proven in the Gulf war against Iraqi T-72s (export version). One detail is it was popularly assumed at the time Iraq used Russian doctrine. Iraqi military doctrine was actually British on the surface which had been internalised and reshaped to fit Iraqi regime doctrine with Russian materiel.

The German Marder is superior to the Russian BTR.

It’s not quite cross the Dnipro river on Monday and Yalta beach by Friday but an interesting uplift of capability.

Modern tank operations seem to depend on quality of optics (for identifying targets especially at night), and the commander independently stacking targets which are shot at as fast as the gunner can reload. Around 8 out of 10 battles are decided by who shoots first. Training is a deciding factor as a better trained crew can win against a better tank with a less well trained crew.

While none of the supplied materiel is a main battle tank (MBT) another interesting thing is there’s no exact universally definition of an MBT nor is it mentioned in any specifications or doctrine. An MBT is a bit of a loose definition more orientating around “combat power” and (Wiki) “firepower of a super-heavy tank, the armor protection of a heavy tank, and the mobility of a light tank, in a package with the weight of a medium tank”. Also “Main Battle Tank” sounds cool and scary.

Wagner briefly took Soledar this week but didn’t hold it which is interesting. Prigozhin was later shown in a video complaining every house is a defence line and moaning he had no artillery or tanks. I’m no expert but know a little about CQC and what NLAW’s are designed for, and know Ukraine has been supplied with enough NLAW’s you could walk from Kyiv to Kherson without touching grass and there’s enough Stingers sloshing about a budgie couldn’t get through.

Again, I’m not expert enough to judge but suspect the prison thug Prigozhin is discovering that threatening conscripts and African villages is a different thing. They say it takes 20 years to train a general. A bad taste in suits and a blingy watch only get you so far.

Clive Robinson January 8, 2023 8:15 AM

@ Ismar, ALL,

Re : What 2023 will bring…

“What to expect in cyber security in the new year as predicted by some people in the field”

In short,

Mainly the same as 2022 phishing and ransomware made easy by poor needlessly vulnerable commercial / consumer software etc done on the cheap such that supply chain vulnarabilities will be significant.

What might be new is cyber criminals –which includes government perps– likely will “polish the turd” using AI to make attacking the weak link in the chain “humans” easier.

But my thoughts are not much different except perhaps in certain respects of what to do to reduse your risk.

The two root causes of successfull attacks are still,

1, Having everything connected.
2, Human failings.

The simple truth is,

“If they can not reach it they can not attack it”

Whilst over the larger part of this century so far we have moderately improved perimeter defences thay are at best significantly insufficient. That is they are frequently deficient at the tasks they are supposed to accomplish, and worse mostly aimed at the wrong things.

The “need to have everything connected” is actually not there it’s one of those MBA Myths based on the fact that few if any spotted the potential in SMS / messaging / eMail last century and they don’t want to do it again. The reality is connectivity is a “time sink hole” enabler, and because eMail and other messaging are infact unwanted distractions to most workers it opens up the human failings problem big style. Which is why phishing etc is the easy way for attackers to get “the door held open for them” by users to busy trying to meet mostly meaningless targets to care.

But it also applies even more so outside of an organisations perimeter…

The longer and less visable a supply chain the more likely it is to have weak links that can be turned from vulnerabilities to attacks.

Sounds obvious when you say it, but who has said it? Darn few untill it became to embarrassing to ignore any longer.

Why are supply lines so long and nearly invisable?

Well it’s down to the “sweat shop” mentality troted out as a neo-con mantra of the “Don’t leave money on the table” ilk.

We all know that there is a sufficient “cost of living” disparity around the globe that you can find families surviving for a week off of less than the price of a “Cost-aloter” coffee.

Such cheap labour attracts a certain type of “business mind” rather more than it attracts the minds of people who think the resulting “sweat shop” practices are not just wrong but evil.

So the desire to use sweat shop labour pricing gives rise to the long supply chains. With the need to keep their use and who are running them secret giving rise to the near invisibility of what goes on.

All very cosy untill two events,

1, SolarWinds debacle[1].
2, Log4Shell log4J fault[2].

Both arose from the “sweat shop” mentality just a year appart.

Whilst the first occured because of the actions of a bunch of Venture Capitalists deliberatly hiding the “Where, Who, and Why” of their development model. The second occured through that less recognised form of “Sweat Shop” “Free Open Source Software”.

Why do I call FOSS “sweat shop” because when you stand back and look at it from even a few paces you realise that is what it has become.

In the main the bulk of those developing FOSS projects are doing it in the hope of “recognition” thus improved chances of employment.

Then the developers find if unlucky and their project gets to be used is they have sadled themselves into “indentured servitude” just to protect their names from kick-back from those who have used their work for free and will never ever give positive recognition or support to the developer. In short the user / abuser mindset is such that they see,

“FOSS developers as Mugs to be exploited, and punished if they dare object.”

Much like any sweat-shop proprietor.

Interestingly though was the kick-back from industry when the politicians told them to clean up their act with a lot of mandaited transparancy (Software BOMs etc). The last thing the “free-loaders” want is for them to have to publically acknowledge all the labours they have misappropriated. Especially as the BOM to be sufficiently transparant will reveal how little they have done cobbling all the FOSS together.

I see that MicroSoft is starting to get kick back over their use and abuse of Git-Hub, for censoship and control of developers[3] something where a great deal of transparancy is urgently needed…

[1] SolarWinds failings first became known in Dec2020, the results were a bit eye-opening for many when they realised what Vebture-Capatalists had let loose on US National Security,

[2] Log4Shell was an attack discreatly revieled to Apache about log4j a piece of “open source” software that was used in so many things it surfaced in Dec2021 and realy got the attention of politicians,


echo January 8, 2023 1:15 PM

Why War Economies don’t collapse (until they do) – why Russia and Ukraine won’t collapse tomorrow

This is really interesting presentation by Perun if a tad windy. It’s also one of those topics where there’s more to unpack if you have the will.

You can also see its application when discussing neoliberalism, austerity policies, and gangsters in bad suits with blingy watches. It’s also a comment on things like money versus the real economy, the perils of too much outsourcing, inequality, GDP and the nature of recessions, and on maintaining good relationships with allies.

I expect economists and auditors and technical domain experts and political scientists can really go to town with a discussion but that’s beyond the scope of the presentation.

ResearcherZero January 8, 2023 4:41 PM

‘Envy’ derives from the Latin invidia, which means ‘non sight’. In Inferno, Dante had the envious laboring under cloaks of lead, their eyes sewn shut with leaden wire. This etymology suggests that envy both arises from, and results in, a form of blindness or lack of perspective.

According to Nick Fisher, envy usually appears (unsurprisingly) as a negative emotion. In particular, it threatens social and political stability, since the mass, the demos, envies the elite and thus the state splits along class lines.

Envy also runs “top-down”, when the “wealthy and powerful… feel φθόνος towards any inferior who gives the appearance of rivalry”. Since envy and jealousy are highly disreputable emotions, Cairns argues that they are extremely liable to be hidden or take other forms — even for the person who experiences them.

“the almost frantic sense of emptiness inside oneself, as if the pump of one’s heart were sucking on air” ~ Nelson W. Aldrich Jr.

ResearcherZero January 8, 2023 5:04 PM


I have definitely experienced this emotion Schadenfreude, and accordingly I will submit to whatever grueling punishments my wife has outlined for today’s outing.

ResearcherZero January 8, 2023 5:31 PM

Protesters have breached Brazil’s Congress, presidential offices, and Supreme Court.

“Bolsonaro will win unless it’s stolen by, guess what, the machines.”

Eduardo Bolsonaro posted a video on Twitter in which Bannon, a longtime adviser to former President Donald Trump, praised protests in Brazil over Bolsonaro’s defeat, and stirred conspiracy theories about the use of voting machines to steal elections.

…Brazil does not actually use the alleged Dominion and Smartmatic voting systems or software.

Eduardo Bolsonaro recently visited Mar-a-Lago, where he met with Trump, and on the same trip also spoke with Steve Bannon and Jason Miller. He has made multiple trips to Mar-a-Lago during his father’s tenure and was in Washington during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol.

StephenM January 8, 2023 7:39 PM


“the Latin invidia, which means ‘non sight’”

Not in my latin dictionary.

Clive Robinson January 8, 2023 10:40 PM

@ echo, ALL,

Re : It’s all gone…

“Oh, dear, oh, dear…”

I saw the story a couple of days back with some claiming his story does not fit together thus is some kind of scam.

But I must admit, that was not my first thought…

No, I thought it quite ironic that he went to a “Centralized Government Agency” when he amongst others had gone on about on of the advantages of crypro-coins was it not needing Goverments and their centralized control agencies.

Though what he expects the FBI to do other than maybe give him an excuse for the IRS I’m not sure.

Nick Levinson January 8, 2023 11:39 PM

@ResearcherZero & @StephenM:

Please cite specific dictionaries.

I have seen scholarship in which the author said simply something like, “The dictionary says . . . .”, but that’s not what they do in the rest of their work, and probably is traceable to experiences as schoolchildren with finding the schoolroom dictionary as a high authority that’s usually right in a room where there are not two different dictionaries and the title of the dictionary doesn’t matter.

But every dictionary is edited by human experts who apply their judgments. Among high-quality dictionaries, which are descriptive (children’s dictionaries are typically prescriptive), the etymology may differ between that in an etymological dictionary and that in a dictionary of general English that includes etymologies, not necessarily disagreeing (although perhaps disagreeing) but differing enough to make a reader choose.

And an etymological dictionary may offer more depth. The last time I checked, Oxford English Dictionary (1st or 2d ed.) traced etymology only as far back as Latin and not to proto-Indo-European, whereas Origins, by Eric Partridge (1960s), went back to proto-IE, but only for about 12,000 words, fewer than are in the OED. Perhaps OED editors had different judgments about the validity of etymologizing back to proto-IE; perhaps Partridge thought that the reliability of proto-IE etymons is lower but still acceptable. There is an Oxford Latin Dictionary, but I never had one.

I used to have the other 3 of those but I no longer do. I tried to search Origins in Google Books and Amazon but searching is limited in both, at least without logging in, so all I found is that in Origins we should look up vide paragraph 14, which I couldn’t access; maybe someone else can see it.

Googling “etymology envy” (without quotation marks) got not a result per se on SERP 1 but the following not linked to but attributed to Oxford Dictionaries:

from Latin invidia, from invidere ‘regard maliciously, grudge’, from in- ‘into’ + videre ‘to see’.

(Among linguists, at least in the U.S. where quotations are initially demarcated with double quotation marks, single quotation marks demarcate not a quotation but a sense (definition).)

Nick Levinson January 9, 2023 2:28 AM

Age verification or identity verification is challenged as ineffective at screening who can access a website — and one commentator (from EFF) says that there is no good method, for a U.S. state law, for restricting that access to adults only, even for porn, the only options being parental control apps and/or for parents to talk with their children and check their phones, especially teens. Neither option is perfect, even together.

Most discussions I see on point don’t go so far as to say there is no good method in the U.S., so this is an unusual admission, especially by someone from the Electronic Frontier Foundation who presumably knows the subject reasonably well.

Obscenity can be restricted under the Constitution more than other classes of content can be, so the problem in that context should be easier to solve, but it’s still too hard by online means other than parental controls.

I’ve haven’t heard of a call in the U.S. to use the kinds of methods used in some nations, although likely some parents wish for them.

Winter January 9, 2023 5:54 AM


Eduardo Bolsonaro posted a video on Twitter in which Bannon, a longtime adviser to former President Donald Trump, praised protests in Brazil over Bolsonaro’s defeat, and stirred conspiracy theories about the use of voting machines to steal elections.

Bolsenaro (Jair & sons) are coming pretty close to being charged with treason, organizing an insurrection, and attempts to stage a violent coup.

As the armed forces in Brazil seem to be uninterested in getting involved in a coup, Bolsonaro and sons might have to seek asylum or face jail time.

The morning news reported that Jair has vehemently denied any involvement in the violence and condemned the protesters. So he seems to see what is coming if he cannot distance himself enough.

Winter January 9, 2023 6:09 AM


Why War Economies don’t collapse (until they do) – why Russia and Ukraine won’t collapse tomorrow

As Ukrainians know they will all be exterminated if they give up, and Russians do not seem to care what happens, the war might go on until one side runs out of weapons or ammunition.[1]

Meanwhile, whatever the outcome, it will take Russia a decade or more before they have rebuild their army to a credible strength [2]. The Ukrainians have responded to the war by improving their effectiveness as a society. Russia is only sinking deeper into corruption and kleptocracy.

[1] Another disaster script is that if the army is weakened too much, the Russian federation will fall apart, most likely with a civil war. Moscow might look more like Rome in its latter days than is healthy. Kadyrov (Chechnya) and Prigozhin (Wagner group) have all the hallmarks of war-lords to be. If they are disposed of, the Kremlin will lean on replacements that are just a troublesome.


Mike Acker January 9, 2023 8:51 AM


could you do an analysis of ACH security for us ? I’m concerned that while authentication by vendors of customer accounts may be adequate the reverse may be questionable

if “pulls” are not properly authorized by customers accounts we could have trouble



echo January 9, 2023 11:04 AM


As Ukrainians know they will all be exterminated if they give up, and Russians do not seem to care what happens, the war might go on until one side runs out of weapons or ammunition.[1]

Meanwhile, whatever the outcome, it will take Russia a decade or more before they have rebuild their army to a credible strength [2]. The Ukrainians have responded to the war by improving their effectiveness as a society. Russia is only sinking deeper into corruption and kleptocracy.

You just described everyone else versus the Tory party. They are now in destroy everything they can mode while in the middle of a smash and grab, and A&E routinely has ambulances going around the block and corridors full of patients on trolleys like a ballistic missile has gone off downtown.

As for the slippery and insincere self-serving Sunak I wouldn’t rely on him for anything. He was chancellor of the exchequer when the Johnson government was being slow on bringing in law to block oligarchs from hiding their loot. He also had a US green card and his wife had none dom status. His wife’s business still openly does business with Russia. We are still waiting for the release of the full Russia report and action on Russian money corrupting politics let alone cracking down on far right affiliated “think tanks” i.e. lobby groups funded by unsavoury individuals, and a few nasty pieces of work based in Downing Street and other “captured” institutions including the media and indications judges are being influenced by government pressure enough to have lawyers making comments.

Meanwhile in Ukraine…

Steps taken to meet seven reform coals set by EU Commission:

  • Procedure for selecting judges
  • Effective reboot of governance bodies
  • Anticorruption institutions
  • Three pieces of anti-money laundering legislation
  • Anti-oligarch law
  • Push to media reform
  • Draft law on national minorities

Winter January 9, 2023 12:18 PM


You just described everyone else versus the Tory party.

Corruption has nothing to do with morals, religion, or politics. It only depends on power. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If the Tories are corrupt, it is because they can. And they can because they are voted in by an electorate that wants corruption because they benefit from it, or because they want to oppress the opposition.

echo January 9, 2023 12:58 PM


Oh absolutely and one reason why the Tories wanted to leave the EU. There are things they wouldn’t be able to get away with if still within the EU and jurisdiction of the ECJ. I am aware of something going on which may land on the desk of at least one EU Commissioner and several heads of state worldwide and has the UN agitated.

As for Russia I am one of the few people who even bothered to read their constitution and picked up a wrinkle or two between what Putin said and did. it was an interesting coincidence that the US raised the issue of law a few weeks later. Others are more expert than me but my sense is Putin as openly shredding the constitution.

In Ukraine Zelensky has acted within his powers to solve or put in motion solving a few problems but is forbidden by law from amending the Ukrainian constitution while the country is at war.

How Does the World Turn Off Russian Propaganda?

With the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the world began to realize the pernicious and dangerous power of Russian propaganda and the criminal intentions of those who broadcast it. So, the countries of the world, one by one, stop broadcasting TV channels of propaganda media, and the Russian propagandists find themselves in the sanction lists. 

The Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security analysed how the world is fighting the Russian propaganda.

Now how do we turn off Murdoch, and the Barclay’s and Harmsworth et al? There’s also a lot of “far right aligned” disinformation on social media which both feeds into this and feeds off it in turn, and does have a public policy impact in UK and US and elsewhere.

Winter January 9, 2023 1:33 PM


As for Russia I am one of the few people who even bothered to read their constitution and picked up a wrinkle or two between what Putin said and did.

The Russian constitution is an aspirational document of the class Holy Scriptures. Any relation with actual human behaviour is purely coincidental.

echo January 9, 2023 2:46 PM

The Russian constitution is an aspirational document of the class Holy Scriptures. Any relation with actual human behaviour is purely coincidental.

It’s been that way for some time in the UK under the Tories.

Russia’s Wagner group ramping up operations outside of Ukraine, U.S. warns

Internal documents show the private military group is expanding in Europe and Africa.

Russia denies having any official involvement with Wagner yet Private Military Contractors (PMC) are unlawful under Russian law and nothing happens in Russia with Putin’s sign off. Putin lies? Is the grass green?

Agitating in Europe. Human rights abuses. Looting Africa.

I’m not a military expert but to my eyes it seems Wagner are using convicts dumb enough to sign up for their “deal of a lifetime” as zombies to probe Ukrainian defence lines for weaknesses.

echo January 9, 2023 3:01 PM

“Impunity has become a part of Russian culture,” Nobel Peace Prize laureate says.

People who committed crimes with their own hands should not hide behind the abstract Putin, says the head of the Center for Civil Liberties Oleksandra Matviychuk that received the Nobel Peace Prize.

“I worked with torture cases. It wasn’t Putin who tortured people, it wasn’t Putin who stuffed them in wooden boxes, it wasn’t Putin who drilled their knees with a hammer, it wasn’t Putin who raped them, it wasn’t Putin who forced them to write something on the wall with their own blood, and it wasn’t Putin who tied electric wires to their genitalia. This was done by specific people.

These people were convinced of their impunity. It is obvious to me that this impunity has become a part of Russian culture. Therefore, it is necessary to hold everyone accountable.

Linked full article:

Translation here:

SpaceLifeForm January 9, 2023 4:12 PM

@ CookieMonster

It is not just the cookies.

Your WAN IP may not change.

Even dynamic IP can remain static.

If you turn off your ISP modem/router for hours, you may be assigned a different IP. No guarantee.

SpaceLifeForm January 9, 2023 7:34 PM

@ fib

Keep your head high. It’s a small world.


lurker January 9, 2023 8:19 PM


My dynamic IP changes frequently, Cookie Monster doesn’t care. But my Chrome browser jumping up and down waving flags is getting annoying …

Winter January 10, 2023 1:44 PM


festadaselma was a coded invitation to the “party” in Brasilia.

In both the USA and Brazil, as well as with other would be putschists, it was a racist uprising. These people want to limit voting to one race. In their view, the fact that others could vote is proof that the elections were stolen.

echo January 10, 2023 3:45 PM

Military communications and control systems will be improved using artificial intelligence, Shoigu said, and troops will be given better tactical gear and equipment.

What does this statement even mean? Russia discovers ChatGPT and Laser Quest… Shoigu is a bit light on detail and never served in the military. Does he have the faintest clue what he’s saying?

Of course if and when they ever do anything it will be a “unique and special capability nobody else has” as is par for the course for Russian rhetoric even though the West did it decades ago with what is now considered obsolete and the state of the art has moved on 2-3 times.

Still, it will be a step up from the junk they bought off Ebay and rubber boots.

Clive Robinson January 11, 2023 3:26 AM

@ Winter, lurker,

Re : Grabbing Power.

“These people want to limit voting to one race.”

No it’s worse than that, it’s not just one tribe or creed, that’s to tell the idiots that think there is a choice when they vote.

The reality is all to often it’s for one person only. And then quite often as only as a front for the real power behind the throne.

These are the people who come the uprising appear as meek and humble, as the front gets consigned to a ditch some place. They get themselves back behind the throne again.

Even Machiavelli could not quite get these people right, not for them, fortune, or status, or apparent power, no their desire is mostly unseen control of the real levers of state.

echo January 11, 2023 5:07 AM

Natalya Kaspersky was doing the television circuit in 2022 propping up the Russian media claim that Apple and Google could brick all the phones in Russia. Today Putin’s puppets in Russian media latest claim is this will happen on what is coincidentally the day rumoured to be the day Russia closes its borders.

While this could happen in theory and if not them then GCHQ or NSA I feel this is unlikely. It would be a really politically stupid move or give away their best tricks which would be reserved for something more useful than feeding Putin’s paranoid rhetoric.

Telling Russians apart from ChatGPT or telling ChatGPT apart from Russians is getting really difficult.

The reality is all to often it’s for one person only. And then quite often as only as a front for the real power behind the throne.

That’s true. The smarter people figured out that fascism doesn’t care about any particular minority or even unsavoury proclivities as long as you support the dash for power.

This push for power is why, counter intuitively, within the more extreme quarters of some mainstream parties in the US and UK especially you have black people punching down on black people or other targets singled out for the treatment, women get sucked in too, or gays who pull similar tricks, and people who quite frankly should be in jail.

I’ve heard the term “Christofascist” more times than I want to hear over the past few months. It has however been a thread among some quarters that they don’t look on the likes of Saudi Arabia with scorn but jealousy.

The Tory party for years has been full of jumped up fools who opine about the “sovereignty of parliament” when what they really mean is they have a fetish for power and of course power wants more power which is what Brexit and this last week or so crushing union rights among other things is about. They’re all deluded in the sense that the expression of power is viewed by them as a manifestation of their unconscious vanity.

As for some mainland European countries? The minority party jumped up fascists with the personality of an auditor has a fetish for fiscal rectitude. Why? because the way the system is set up control of the money is a way of dishing favours out to friends or pulling the rug from people you don’t like. This is “power of the purse” which is being abused in the UK and some quarters of the US.

It never ends well for quislings…

Winter January 11, 2023 5:56 AM


Today Putin’s puppets in Russian media latest claim is this will happen on what is coincidentally the day rumoured to be the day Russia closes its borders.

To spell it out, at that day Russia will block all phone traffic?

That’s true. The smarter people figured out that fascism doesn’t care about any particular minority or even unsavoury proclivities as long as you support the dash for power.

I do not care what politicians “truly believe”, I address what their supporters want. Trump became president because his voters retaliated against a black man having been president. Brexit happened because many Brits objected against Easter Europeans coming to the UK (and anyone else). Bolsonaro is a deeply racist politician, and so are his supporters (look at the people storming the government buildings). It is also no coincident that all these supporters of fascists are deeply gyno- and homophobic.

There are no races of humans. To racists, there are only “normal” (us) and “abnormal” (them) people. Skin color, religion, and gender preferences are all separated into “normal” and “abnormal”, where abnormal ideally should be exterminated from the face of the earth.

In this light IS/ISIS, Taliban, and various fascist and christian-nationalist groups are all the same: Everyone else should die.

echo January 11, 2023 6:52 AM


To spell it out, at that day Russia will block all phone traffic?

Paranoia about bricked phones and borders closing has been swirling since last year. The latest rumour of 9th January has come and gone only this time after a little more digging it looks like the rumour was Russia would block all external internet traffic plus all the guff surrounding this about using the West as an excuse.

In this light IS/ISIS, Taliban, and various fascist and christian-nationalist groups are all the same: Everyone else should die.

I have been comparing the Tories to the Taliban for a few years now and I’m not the first. The media don’t comment on this now but “Tory Taliban” was a thing. As for the nuttery in the US?. Same thing…

The increasingly more far right parties are doing a job of facilitating hate as a process. And some of those facilitating it don’t seem to get they are a means to an end. For now it only matters that they hate and act as a cover for the hate.

Yet another perfectly normal day on normal island.

fib January 11, 2023 11:06 AM

@ SLF, lurker.

Thanks for the pokes.

It is thirteen hours in the afternoon and everything is calm! 🙂


fib January 11, 2023 12:03 PM

@ Nick Levinson

from Latin invidia, from invidere ‘regard maliciously, grudge’, from in- ‘into’ + videre ‘to see’.

Came to mean Envy, perhaps because the envious person “sees too much into” the envied person’s life.

In the Portuguese and Spanish romances it is the same word [inveja, envidia, respectively]

echo January 12, 2023 7:44 AM

Former Cabinet minister Damian Green has become the acting chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee.

The senior Tory, who was effectively deputy prime minister under Theresa May, replaces Julian Knight who has recused himself from Parliament while the police investigate allegations of serious sexual assault.

Green, who was sacked as a minister in 2017 following allegations about pornography on his parliamentary computers, said “online safety” would be one of the key issues the committee would be considering.

Julian Knight the MP put in charge of the Online Safety bill had to recuse himself because he was being investigated for allegations of serious sexual assault. He was replaced with Damian green who was previously sacked for watching pornography on parliamentary computers.

I still haven’t forgotten allegations against Lord Rennard. Why the media massaged his reputation afterwards and disappeared any reference to it is a curious question indeed.

There’s also around 60+ outstanding complaints of sexual harassment and abuse outstanding against MP’s.

‘I Love Raping You’: What Andrew Tate Told Woman Who Accused Him of Rape
Exclusive: VICE World News has obtained WhatsApp messages and voicenotes sent by Andrew Tate to a woman who accused him of a 2013 rape. She said police told her they believed her account, but authorities declined to prosecute.

The number of police investigations into sexual harassment and abuse which were bungled and later dropped by the Crown prosecution Service is insulting.

echo January 12, 2023 11:14 PM

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A court in Romania’s capital Bucharest has rejected an appeal by the divisive social media personality Andrew Tate against asset seizures by prosecutors who are investigating him on charges of being part of an organized crime group and human trafficking, an official said Wednesday.

“Divisive”. Bothsiding centrists of the world unite.

Missouri Republicans Have Found Their Post-Roe Enemy: Cardigans
Missouri Republicans aren’t done telling women what to do with their bodies

Missouri has a lot of problems, but if you were in the statehouse today, you would have thought the biggest one was what female legislators wear.

Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) shared the news on Twitter, “Debating the house rules on the floor today, and the first amendment offered by a Republican is about making stricter the rules of what women have to wear in here.”

“Yep, the caucus that lost their minds over the suggestion that they should wear masks during a pandemic to respect the safety of other is now spending its time focusing on the fine details of what women have to wear (and specifically how many layers must cover their arms) to show respect in this chamber,” Merideth added. He also clarified that lawmakers “thought a couple women last year didn’t dress nicely enough for their standards.”

This is why the “security” industry bores me. 99% of the attention is on boys toys. No wonder everything is junk and the security industry couldn’t catch the sky if it fell on them. There’s just no sense of perspective.

See also:

Are All The World’s Problem’s Caused By Men?

The Pub Landlord looks at if all the problems in the world are caused by men.

ferritecore January 13, 2023 8:46 AM

I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia involve male drivers.

You are probably observing a similar phenomenon.

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