Links for 2014-02-14

  • Beirtear na IMSIs: Ireland’s GSOC surveillance inquiry reveals use of mobile phone interception systems | Privacy International

    It is interesting to note that the fake UK network was the only one detected by Verrimus. However, given that IMSI Catchers operate multiple fake towers simultaneously, it is highly likely that one or more Irish networks were also being intercepted. Very often a misconfiguration, such as an incorrect country code, is the only evidence available of an IMSI Catcher being deployed when forensic tools are not being used to look for one.

    (tags: privacy imsi-catchers surveillance bugging spying gsocgate gsoc ireland mobile-phones)

  • TCP incast vs Riak

    An extremely congested local network segment causes the “TCP incast” throughput collapse problem — packet loss occurs, and TCP throughput collapses as a side effect. So far, this is pretty unsurprising, and anyone designing a service needs to keep bandwidth requirements in mind. However it gets worse with Riak. Due to a bug, this becomes a serious issue for all clients: the Erlang network distribution port buffers fill up in turn, and the Riak KV vnode process (in its entirety) will be descheduled and ‘cannot answer any more queries until the A-to-B network link becomes uncongested.’ This is where EC2’s fully-uncontended-1:1-network compute cluster instances come in handy, btw. ;)

    (tags: incast tcp networking bandwidth riak architecture erlang buffering queueing)

  • Irish Law Society takes a stand for “brand owners IP rights”

    The Law Society will attend a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee today to outline its strong opposition to the Government proposals to introduce legislation that will require tobacco products to use plain packaging. The society’s director general Ken Murphy will be its principal representative at the meeting today to discuss its submission on the legislation, and to discuss its concerns that a plain packaging regime will undermine registered trade mark, and design, systems and will amount to an “expropriation of brand owners intellectual property rights’. Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Murphy told The Irish Times the views contained in it represent those of the Law Society as a whole, and its 10,000 members, and have been endorsed by the society as a whole, rather than the committee. Mr Murphy also said the purpose of the Law Society submission was not to protect the tobacco industry, rather the wider effect and impact such a law would have on intellectual property rights, trade marks, in other areas. “There is a real concern also that plain packaging in the tobacco industry is just the beginning of a trend that will severely undermine intellectual property owners’ rights in other sectors such as alcohol, soft drinks and fast foods.”
    Judging by some reactions on Twitter, “endorsed by the society as a whole” may be over-egging it a little.

    (tags: law-society gubu law ireland ip packaging branding trademarks cigarettes health tobacco)

  • British American Tobacco – Plain packaging of tobacco products

    Compare and contrast with the Law Society’s comments:

    We believe we are entitled to use our packs to distinguish our products from those of our competitors. Our brands are our intellectual property which we have created and invested in. Plain packaging would deny us the right to use brands. But also, a brand is also an important tool for consumers. As the British Brands Group has stated  , plain packaging legislation “ignores the crucial role that branding plays in providing consumers with high quality, consistent products they can trust”. The restriction of valuable corporate brands by any government would risk placing it in breach of legal obligations relating to intellectual property rights and, in most cases, international trade.

    (tags: law-society branding ip ireland tobacco cigarettes law trademarks)

  • Why dispute resolution is hard

    Good stuff (as usual) from Ross Anderson and Stephen Murdoch. ‘Today we release a paper on security protocols and evidence which analyses why dispute resolution mechanisms in electronic systems often don’t work very well. On this blog we’ve noted many many problems with EMV (Chip and PIN), as well as other systems from curfew tags to digital tachographs. Time and again we find that electronic systems are truly awful for courts to deal with. Why? The main reason, we observed, is that their dispute resolution aspects were never properly designed, built and tested. The firms that delivered the main production systems assumed, or hoped, that because some audit data were available, lawyers would be able to use them somehow. As you’d expect, all sorts of things go wrong. We derive some principles, and show how these are also violated by new systems ranging from phone banking through overlay payments to Bitcoin. We also propose some enhancements to the EMV protocol which would make it easier to resolve disputes over Chip and PIN transactions.’

    (tags: finance security ross-anderson emv bitcoin chip-and-pin banking architecture verification vvat logging)

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