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Posts Tagged ‘UK’

New Call For Turing Pardon

December 17th, 2012 12:40 admin View Comments

Crime

mikejuk writes “As 2012, Alan Turing Year, draws to close a group of highly regarded UK scientists, including Professor Stephen Hawking, have repeated the call for a posthumous pardon for Turing’s criminal conviction in a letter to the Telegraph. The letter has re-opened the debate, which is controversial even for those who support the idea that Turing was treated in an unfair and appalling way, was formally acknowledged by the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 when he apologized for the treatment Turing had received. In February Justice Minister Lord McNally rebuffed a 23,000 signature petition for a pardon saying: ‘A posthumous pardon was not considered appropriate as Alan Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offense.’”

Source: New Call For Turing Pardon

UK Students Protest Biometric Scanner Move

December 15th, 2012 12:16 admin View Comments

Education

Presto Vivace writes that the UK’s Newcastle University is instituting a finger-print based attendance system. From the linked article: “University students may have to scan their fingerprints in future — to prove they are not bunking off lectures. … Newcastle Free Education Network has organised protests against the plans, claiming the scanners would ‘turn universities into border checkpoints’ and ‘reduce university to the attendance of lectures alone.’” The system is supposed to bring the university “in line with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and clamp down on illegal immigrants.”

Source: UK Students Protest Biometric Scanner Move

UK Internet Porn Blocking Rejected

December 15th, 2012 12:12 admin View Comments

Censorship

Gordonjcp writes “The BBC are reporting that the proposed automatic blocking of porn websites by UK ISPs has been rejected by the government. Only 35% of the parents who responded to a survey on filtering wanted an automatic block. The report (PDF), drawn from over 3500 responses, found that 80% of all those who responded were in favour of no filtering of any kind.”

Source: UK Internet Porn Blocking Rejected

No Charges In UK For Gary McKinnon

December 14th, 2012 12:34 admin View Comments

United Kingdom

clickclickdrone sends this news from the BBC: “Computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who is wanted in the U.S., will not face charges in the U.K., the Crown Prosecution Service has said. Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC said the chances of a successful conviction were ‘not high.’ He announced the decision some three months after Home Secretary Theresa May stopped the extradition. Mr. McKinnon, 46, admits accessing U.S. government computers but says he was looking for evidence of UFOs. The U.S. authorities tried to extradite him to face charges of causing $800,000 (£487,000) to military computer systems and he would have faced up to 60 years in prison if convicted.”

Source: No Charges In UK For Gary McKinnon

Google’s Image Search Now Requires Explicit Queries For Explicit Results

December 12th, 2012 12:07 admin View Comments

Google

Several readers sent word of a change to Google’s implementation of SafeSearch for image searches. There used to be three settings: Off, Moderate, and Strict. (You can still see these settings on, for example, Google’s UK image search.) Now, for U.S. users they’ve made Moderate the default, and the only other option is to “Filter Explicit Results.” Going into settings provides no way to turn it off. That said, Google still lets users search for explicit content if the search terms they enter are specific to that type of content. A Google rep said, “We are not censoring any adult content, and want to show users exactly what they are looking for — but we aim not to show sexually-explicit results unless a user is specifically searching for them. We use algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given query. If you’re looking for adult content, you can find it without having to change the default setting — you just may need to be more explicit in your query if your search terms are potentially ambiguous. The image search settings now work the same way as in Web search.”

Source: Google’s Image Search Now Requires Explicit Queries For Explicit Results

Engineers Use Electrical Hum To Fight Crime

December 12th, 2012 12:58 admin View Comments

Science

Hugh Pickens writes writes “A suspected terrorist has been taped planning a deadly attack and the police want to use this evidence in court, or someone has been captured on CCTV threatening an assault. Increasingly, recordings like these are playing a role in criminal investigations, but how can the police be sure that the audio evidence is genuine and has not been cleverly edited? Now Rebecca Morelle writes on BBC that a technique known as Electric Network Frequency (ENF) analysis is helping forensic scientists separate genuine, unedited recordings from those that have been tampered with and the technique has already been used in court. Any digital recording made near an electrical power source will pick up noise from the grid that will be embedded throughout the audio. This buzz is an annoyance for sound engineers trying to make the highest quality recordings, but for forensic experts, it has turned out to be an invaluable tool in the fight against crime. Due to unbalances in production and consumption of electrical energy, the ENF is known to fluctuate slightly over time rather than being stuck to its exact set point so if you look at the frequency over time, you can see minute fluctuations and the pattern of these random changes in frequency is unique over time providing a digital watermark on every recording. Forensic Scientist Philip Harrison has been logging the hum on the national grid in the UK for several years. ‘Even if [the hum] is picked up at a very low level that you cannot hear, we can extract this information,’ says Dr. Harrison. ‘If we have we can extract [the hum] and compare it with the database, if it is a continuous recording, it will all match up nicely.’”

Source: Engineers Use Electrical Hum To Fight Crime

UK Government To Revise Snooping Bill

December 11th, 2012 12:03 admin View Comments

Privacy

megla writes “The BBC is reporting that the Draft Communications Bill is going to be re-written following widespread opposition. The hugely controversial bill would, as it stands, require ISPs to retain vast amounts of data and grant broad powers to authorities to access it, in some cases without needing any permission at all. For those who are interested in the gritty details the first parliamentary report into the legislation is sharply critical at times. This is good news for anyone in the UK who values their privacy, but it may not be enough. Many would prefer to see the bill scrapped entirely.” Opposition to the bill, at least in its original form, isn’t just from crazy civil libertarian types, either; reader judgecorp points out that it even includes Deputy prime minister of Britain Nick Clegg.

Source: UK Government To Revise Snooping Bill

Outrage At Microsoft Offshoring Tax In the UK, Google Caught Avoiding US Taxes

December 10th, 2012 12:51 admin View Comments

Microsoft

Master Of Ninja writes “After the ongoing row about companies not paying a fair share of tax in the United Kingdom, and with companies such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google being in the headlines, focus has now turned to Microsoft. Whilst the tax arrangements are strictly legal, there has been outrage on how companies are avoiding paying their fair share of tax generated in the country.” And over here in the U.S., dstates sent in new of Google getting caught doing something similar: “Bloomberg reports that Google is using Bermuda shell companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes world wide. By routing payments and recording profits in zero tax havens, multinational companies have been avoiding double digit corporate taxes in the US and Europe. Congressional hearings were held in July on the destructive consequences of off shoring profits. Why aren’t the US and Europe exerting more diplomatic pressure on these tax havens that are effectively stealing from the US and European treasuries by allowing profits that did not result from activities in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands to be recorded as occurring there?”

Source: Outrage At Microsoft Offshoring Tax In the UK, Google Caught Avoiding US Taxes

Some UK Councils Barred From Using Gov’t Vehicle Database

December 8th, 2012 12:03 admin View Comments

Government

Bruce66423 writes “A number of British councils are being banned from accessing the national Vehicle Database system. While sometimes this appears to be due to technical infractions, the banning of some ‘permanently’ seems to be as a result of more serious misdemeanours. Trust the government? Not a good idea…”

Source: Some UK Councils Barred From Using Gov’t Vehicle Database

GameSpy’s New Owners Begin Disabling Multiplayer Without Warning

December 7th, 2012 12:40 admin View Comments

PC Games (Games)

New submitter OldTimeRadio writes “Over the last month, both game publishers and gaming communities alike were surprised to find their GameSpy multiplayer support suddenly disabled by GLU Mobile, who purchased GameSpy from IGN this August. Many games, including Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Swat 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War, Star Wars: Battlefront are no longer able to find (and in some cases even host) multiplayer games. While games like Neverwinter Nights are still able to directly connect to servers if players know the IP address, less-fortunate gamers expressed outrage on GLU Mobile’s ‘Powered by GameSpy’ Facebook page. In an open letter to their Sniper Elite gaming community today, UK game developer Rebellion explained it was helpless to change the situation: ‘A few weeks ago, the online multiplayer servers for Sniper Elite were suddenly switched off by Glu, the third-party service we had been paying to maintain them. This decision by Glu was not taken in consultation with us and was beyond our control. We have been talking to them since to try and get the servers turned back on. We have been informed that in order to do so would cost us tens of thousands of pounds a year — far in excess of how much we were paying previously. We also do not have the option to take the multiplayer to a different provider. Because the game relies on Glu and Gamespy’s middleware, the entire multiplayer aspect of the game would have to be redeveloped by us, again, at the cost of many tens of thousands of pounds.”

Source: GameSpy’s New Owners Begin Disabling Multiplayer Without Warning