All 4 entries tagged Government

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May 20, 2008

'Phone calls database considered'

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7409593.stm

Oh for the love of all that's sane. Where to begin? No...all right? Just "No".

This kind of shit is why I have less than no faith in politics.

It was a stupid idea before, it's still a stupid idea, it won't work, it'll be too easily abused, and I seriously doubt it'll catch any real dingleberries.

Whatever happened to privacy?

Whatever happened to this being a free country?

What makes the government think they can protect this data? They don't exactly have a good track record...


November 28, 2007

Missing Data on 25 Million People

Since I first heard about it, I've been wondering just how much data on 25,000,000 people can fit on two "discs". I don't know for certain what type of "disc" they are, but for the purposes of the maths I'm going to assume they were single-layer DVDs.

Taking the capacity of a DVD as 4.7GB, this makes about 403 bytes per person. This might not sound much, but for reference the following block of text (labels included) is only 224 bytes:

Name: The University of Warwick
Address: University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL
Tel: +44 (0)24 7652 3523
Fax: +44 (0)24 7646 1606
Established: 1964
Dummy bank details: XXXXXXXX XX-XX-XX
URL: http://www.warwick.ac.uk/

So the amount of data on each person would be about double that.

However if the Government isn't keeping up with the times, then 2 CDs at - let's say - 700MB each would give only 58 bytes per person, which is about this much:

The University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL 024 7652 3523

That's assuming the data wasn't compressed, of course, which since it was unencrypted wouldn't be unreasonable to assume.

The second block (including spaces) should be exactly 58 bytes. Since I ran out of ideas for real data for the first block, here's a string of Xs and spaces that is exactly 403 bytes:

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXX

So whatever details about you you can fit in that number of characters (403 including spaces, unsurprisingly) may have been misplaced by the Government in an easily-readable form. If they had any business rivals I'd consider taking my custom elsewhere...


October 01, 2007

You see, this is why I hate the Government…

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7021647.stm

One important line is the one way down at the very bottom:

The new law brings Britain in line with an EU directive on the retention of phone data.

I mean, why? What's the point? Is there a point?


September 07, 2007

But what if he's awesome?

As I understand it, the US President can only serve for a maximum of two terms. Something like that, anyway.

I've never seen the point of this. The only argument I've heard for it is to stop someone abusing power for decades by starting illegal wars (for example) and other distasteful stuff. But surely if someone did that you'd just exercise your right to vote for the other guy, wouldn't you? If the guy in charge was invading countries like it was going out of style and introducing policies you didn't like then you'd elect his rival. He couldn't be worse, could he?

Surely one of the advantages of a democracy is that it should keep the leader honest because otherwise he might not be the leader for much longer...

But anyway, back to the point: US President term limit.

What I think would be much better would be 3 major candidates in each election, not just two: a new Republican candidate, a new Democrat candidate, and the existing President defending himself*. That way if the President is amazing and is bringing about World Peace, ending hunger, and recycling as much rubbish as he can get his hands on then the people can keep him for as long as they want. On the other hand, if he's utter crap and a moron then the people can vote for a new President while still voting for their party of choice.

I can't see any problems with that plan, but I can see many advantages...

---

* "Himself" purely because all the past Presidents have been men; I see no reason why a woman couldn't be President.


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