Archive for the 'telecoms' Category

23
Aug
07

WiFi Theft – utter garbage

Can you steal a wireless broadband connection service? Apparently, according to Birmingham police, you can. The story covered by the Birmingham Post tells us that ‘Dishonestly obtaining free internet access is an offence under the Communications Act 2003 and a potential breach of the Computer Misuse Act.’. Doh! This has to be the dumbest story I’ve heard for a long while and based on other things going on currently in the news it makes you wonder where this officers priorities might be. Was the owner of the link aware? Did he care? Did it cost him anything extra this month? How was he deprived by this act? At what point was he being dishonest? When asked by the police officers what he was doing, he told them!
If the owner of the access point had wanted it closed, surely he should of closed it?
I’m not legally trained, but surely stealing is the act where you intend to permanently deprive the owner of a possession? But he never intended to take anything, unless it’s possible to filch electrons or direct them illegally.
Based on the logic of this, if you walk past a house where someone is listening to a CD in the garden, then you’re stealing their music? Or if light from a property is falling on your newspaper, allowing you to read it while you wait for the bus, that’s stealing too?
But again I come back to my key point. With gun and knife crimes a major concern, along with terrorism, the effort in the pursuit of someone what is effectively a victimless crime seems inappropriate at best.

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10
Aug
07

The Future is a scary place…we’re told

Apparently that’s the overwhelming conclusion of the House of Lords report on the Internet, which they likened to the ‘Wild West’. Putting aside the argument that the notional concept of the Wild West is pure fiction anyway, from the portions that have been reported this document seems to have discovered that the Internet isn’t immune from exactly the same sorts of threats that people encounter every day in ‘reality’. Gosh that’s a revelation! How long exactly did it take them to work that one out?
What worries me the most though isn’t the banal rehash of what’s been true for at least five years, but the assertion that ISPs should somehow be made responsible for what others do with their service. People have been scamming people with letters and phone calls for years, since these mechanisms became widespread in fact. But I’ve never seen the government turn around to Royal Mail or BT and ask them to stump up when some old lady buys shares in a company that doesn’t exist, or hands over her details to a criminal!
This isn’t a new idea though is it, as the whole YouTube and Torrent rows demonstrate. You can’t hold Google responsible for stuff found by their indexing or put by others on YouTube. In the same way that Ford aren’t responsible for letting people drive their cars while drunk. It isn’t Ford’s responsibility to sit outside the pub and stop you driving, and it isn’t the ISPs responsibility to work out which packets of data that are travelling on their network might ultimately upset someone.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see ISPs being more pro-active on killing virus packages and mail zombie data in transit, because I think that’s entirely practical, and it’s something they could actually do. But making them liable is frankly the stupidest thing I’ve heard recently.  As many of them resell services from other providers, like BT, they could share responsibility around, eventually bringing a huge class action against the relatives of Antonio Meucci, Johann Philipp Reis, Alexander Graham Bell, Elisha Gray and Edison  for their contribution to the creation of this highly dangerous facility.
Clearly based on this thinking Elton John is ready for a peerage, which I respectfully suggest is given to him just minutes before the unelected second house is disbanded and replaced by an elected one with people who have more of a grip on modern technology. But then the other elected house doesn’t seem to have any of those, so maybe that’s asking too much.

17
Jul
07

ADSL vs Anger Management

I’ve had my broadband drop twice today, once when I was about to post! Until a week ago any dropout was unusual, and now I’m getting them at least once at day, 30 minutes to 2 hours at a time.
As I use the Internet to earn a living this is really beginning to bug me. Since I tested or replaced every piece of wire and hardware I use, I’m now convinced it’s either a piece of hardware or some work that’s going on at the exchange which is taking away my service.
Perhaps I shouldn’t of previously mentioned my concern about Pipex and Tiscali…it’s now coming back to haunt me. I don’t want to go cable, but I can’t go on with an occasional service!

13
Jul
07

Pipex is now Tiscali – what a scary thought?

UK ISP Pipex, my ISP and the one that cut me off recently, has been acquired by competitor Tiscali, which took control of it’s entire Broadband services.
According to the wire, they paid £210 million for a company that made £13.9m before tax on a turnover of £231.7 million last year.
Based on the horror stories given to me by a friend who signed up to Tiscali, I’ll soon be leaving this ISP, I assume. Or, using pigeons to update this page!




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