Discussion:
USA ID card for federal employees and contractors
(too old to reply)
Dave Howe
2004-10-12 12:43:04 UTC
Permalink
That's more often what happens when the Middle-guy's secretary signs an
urgent letter because he's out of the office that day.
For the vast majority of "big boss" mail I have seen, that is what
happens. he may have dictated the letter to the secretary (or just told
her to use the standard reply) but he doesn't bother to sign it himself.
Rule usually is

if the secretary wrote it themselves, they sign their own name (perhaps
"on behalf of the chairman" or whatever, but not a pp)

if the decision is the big boss', but he doesn't sign each and every
one, then it is "from" him, but pp signed by the secretary. Typical
example would be a "we regret to inform you that your job
application..." type letter, which the boss will dump maybe 200
applications onto his secretary's desk and tell her to send them the
standard letter...

if the letter is important enough or singular enough, the big boss signs
it himself (eg, the "you got the job" letter :). I am glad that you are
important enough to almost always fall into that category, but the
majority of us just aren't

I suppose it is *possible* that a letter signed by just the secretary
might have been ordered by the big boss, but it would be unusual, and
would imply that the boss didn't want to admit to having made the decision.
[I got a letter from the Inland Revenue this morning. I'm devastated
it wasn't signed by the Chancellor. Who can tell whether it's true,
as a result].
Did the Chancellor actually write the letter then tell a subordinate
to sign it? No? then it isn't really a relevant example....
The little guy wrote it because he believed he had the authority to do
so, and had been delegated to do so by his upper-middle boss as a result
of policy that one could trace back to the Chancellor [1]. That is
*exactly* an equivalent situation.
No, what you are saying is that little guy wrote the letter himself,
believed he had the authority to write the letter himself, and wasn't
told what to write. That the authority is derived from the Chancellor is
irrelevent - in most cases, you could say that a middle manager who says
you are hired or fired derives his authority from the chairman - but I
doubt the chairman knows he did it, or cares. If the guy feels the need
to say he is writing on behalf of the chancellor, then that is a
different matter - he is making plain his derived authority, but not
claiming the chancellor himself made this decision (although the
chancellor may have made policy that led to this decision)
Roland Perry
2004-10-12 13:37:59 UTC
Permalink
In article <416BD158.7060708-puGfsi27rH1aa/***@public.gmane.org>, Dave Howe <DaveHowe-puGfsi27rH1aa/***@public.gmane.org>
writes
Post by Dave Howe
That's more often what happens when the Middle-guy's secretary signs
an urgent letter because he's out of the office that day.
For the vast majority of "big boss" mail I have seen, that is what
happens. he may have dictated the letter to the secretary (or just told
her to use the standard reply) but he doesn't bother to sign it himself.
Rule usually is
if the secretary wrote it themselves, they sign their own name (perhaps
"on behalf of the chairman" or whatever, but not a pp)
if the decision is the big boss', but he doesn't sign each and every
one, then it is "from" him, but pp signed by the secretary. Typical
example would be a "we regret to inform you that your job
application..." type letter, which the boss will dump maybe 200
applications onto his secretary's desk and tell her to send them the
standard letter...
if the letter is important enough or singular enough, the big boss
signs it himself (eg, the "you got the job" letter :). I am glad that
you are important enough to almost always fall into that category, but
the majority of us just aren't
I suppose it is *possible* that a letter signed by just the secretary
might have been ordered by the big boss, but it would be unusual, and
would imply that the boss didn't want to admit to having made the decision.
We seem to have gone somewhat aground here, discussing this
non-applicable boss/secretary relationship.
Post by Dave Howe
[I got a letter from the Inland Revenue this morning. I'm
devastated it wasn't signed by the Chancellor. Who can tell
whether it's true, as a result].
Did the Chancellor actually write the letter then tell a subordinate
to sign it? No? then it isn't really a relevant example....
The little guy wrote it because he believed he had the authority to
do so, and had been delegated to do so by his upper-middle boss as a
result of policy that one could trace back to the Chancellor [1].
That is *exactly* an equivalent situation.
No, what you are saying is that little guy wrote the letter himself,
believed he had the authority to write the letter himself, and wasn't
told what to write. That the authority is derived from the Chancellor
is irrelevent - in most cases, you could say that a middle manager who
says you are hired or fired derives his authority from the chairman -
but I doubt the chairman knows he did it, or cares. If the guy feels
the need to say he is writing on behalf of the chancellor, then that is
a different matter - he is making plain his derived authority, but not
claiming the chancellor himself made this decision (although the
chancellor may have made policy that led to this decision)
That letter is to all intents and purposes "on behalf of Inland
Revenue"; the other letter was overtly "On behalf of Law Enforcement".
--
Roland Perry
David Hansen
2004-10-12 14:05:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Howe
I suppose it is *possible* that a letter signed by just the secretary
might have been ordered by the big boss, but it would be unusual, and
would imply that the boss didn't want to admit to having made the
decision.
You have expressed my views far better than I did.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E
I will *always* explain why I revoke a key, unless the UK
government prevents me by using the RIP Act 2000.
Roland Perry
2004-10-12 14:23:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Hansen
Post by Dave Howe
I suppose it is *possible* that a letter signed by just the secretary
might have been ordered by the big boss, but it would be unusual, and
would imply that the boss didn't want to admit to having made the decision.
You have expressed my views far better than I did.
Yes, but do we want to get back to a letter written by someone about 2/3
the way up the scale, who probably doesn't have a secretary?
--
Roland Perry
Dave Howe
2004-10-12 14:56:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Perry
Yes, but do we want to get back to a letter written by someone about 2/3
the way up the scale, who probably doesn't have a secretary?
And you have never seen a letter relaying a decision sent by anyone
who wasn't a secretary? Again, I wish I were so well respected that this
were true for me, but I frequently see letters "by order of the
committee" or "by order of the board" signed by some middle-management
guy whose only role appears to have been to make sure that the paperwork
agreed to in the meeting (and logged in the minutes) actually gets done.
In some cases, its even pped by *his* secretary :)
He is however always careful to say *which* authority actually made
the decision though - just in case it comes back to him.

Given this appears to be exactly the case you are describing - some
junior officer has been given responsibility to handle the paperwork
persuant to a decision made by a number of his senior collegues, it
seems strange that he doesn't actually state that this is the case -
however, it is possible that this was a preprinted form, and the design
of the forms is so poor there is no way to express this situation (that
the decision wasn't made by the person completing the form and carrying
out the order) but I am surprised given how keen committees of all sorts
are at delegating the practical tasks they decide on to their staff.
Roland Perry
2004-10-12 16:00:34 UTC
Permalink
In article <416BF089.8010902-puGfsi27rH1aa/***@public.gmane.org>, Dave Howe <DaveHowe-puGfsi27rH1aa/***@public.gmane.org>
writes
Post by Dave Howe
Post by Roland Perry
Yes, but do we want to get back to a letter written by someone about
2/3 the way up the scale, who probably doesn't have a secretary?
And you have never seen a letter relaying a decision sent by anyone
who wasn't a secretary? Again, I wish I were so well respected that
this were true for me, but I frequently see letters "by order of the
committee" or "by order of the board" signed by some middle-management
guy whose only role appears to have been to make sure that the
paperwork agreed to in the meeting (and logged in the minutes) actually
gets done. In some cases, its even pped by *his* secretary :)
He is however always careful to say *which* authority actually made
the decision though - just in case it comes back to him.
Given this appears to be exactly the case you are describing - some
junior officer
Depends what you mean by junior. Detective Inspectors aren't 10 a penny.
Post by Dave Howe
has been given responsibility to handle the paperwork persuant to a
decision made by a number of his senior collegues, it seems strange
that he doesn't actually state that this is the case
What you (and others) persistently ignore is that the letter was simply
the final act in a barrage of meetings and emails that everyone who was
interested was very much to speed on. If it had been "out of the blue"
so to speak, then it would perhaps be different.
--
Roland Perry
Dave Howe
2004-10-12 16:27:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Perry
Depends what you mean by junior. Detective Inspectors aren't 10 a penny.
But aren't senior enough to do this sort of order on their own authority.
Post by Roland Perry
What you (and others) persistently ignore is that the letter was simply
the final act in a barrage of meetings and emails that everyone who was
interested was very much to speed on. If it had been "out of the blue"
so to speak, then it would perhaps be different.
But none of that is available to an outside observer - for example,
anyone whose remit is to audit such things. An attitude of "everyone
knows what is happening, so its ok to get sloppy with the paperwork"
will get you in trouble in a lot of fields - bookkeeping being the
obvious one.
Roland Perry
2004-10-12 18:51:48 UTC
Permalink
In article <416C05ED.6060904-puGfsi27rH1aa/***@public.gmane.org>, Dave Howe <DaveHowe-puGfsi27rH1aa/***@public.gmane.org>
writes
Post by Dave Howe
Post by Roland Perry
Depends what you mean by junior. Detective Inspectors aren't 10 a penny.
But aren't senior enough to do this sort of order on their own authority.
No-one ever said they were.
Post by Dave Howe
Post by Roland Perry
What you (and others) persistently ignore is that the letter was
simply the final act in a barrage of meetings and emails that
everyone who was interested was very much to speed on. If it had been
"out of the blue" so to speak, then it would perhaps be different.
But none of that is available to an outside observer - for example,
anyone whose remit is to audit such things. An attitude of "everyone
knows what is happening, so its ok to get sloppy with the paperwork"
will get you in trouble in a lot of fields - bookkeeping being the
obvious one.
You don't send the audit trail out with every letter. Doesn't mean that
there's no audit trail. If you'd been paying attention, elements of the
audit trail have already been mentioned :-) [And no, not the mythical
minutes of conversations while two people walk along a corridor.]
--
Roland Perry
David Hansen
2004-10-13 10:06:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Howe
An attitude of "everyone
knows what is happening, so its ok to get sloppy with the paperwork"
will get you in trouble in a lot of fields - bookkeeping being the
obvious one.
Also policing. An obvious example is the "notes" that were "improved"
to give a "better" picture to the jury. This featured in a a few
famous cases.

We are now told that everything is perfect and this sort of thing no
longer happens. Some people even believe this!
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E
I will *always* explain why I revoke a key, unless the UK
government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
Pete Mitchell
2004-10-12 20:08:58 UTC
Permalink
Although the letter we discuss was to a private group, the use of a
relevant subordinate to sign is inherited from general commerce.
Nice swerve.
In general commerce a letter is signed by Mrs Little Person on behalf
of the Big Cheese. That is entirely different to this case.
Whereas the letter in question was signed by Detective Inspector (your
"little person") on behalf of the Big Cheese.
[I got a letter from the Inland Revenue this morning. I'm devastated it
wasn't signed by the Chancellor. Who can tell whether it's true, as a
result].
In general, letters from the Inland Revenue cannot be assumed to be
true. I have had several clearly false ones.

Of course, it's different if the letter is signed by the Chancellor in
person. Then you can be quite sure it is not true.
--
Pete Mitchell
David_Biggins-XjoIEpZFQiJWk0Htik3J/
2004-10-13 09:16:18 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2004 10:59 AM
Subject: Re: USA ID card for federal employees and contractors
Brian Morrison
I do want to be able to verify the trust I am forced to
place in these
people.
If
the police
had been found to as institutionally bad as they are painted
here, this
would not have escaped our attention, and you would have
heard about it
because it would make material, too good to miss, for lobbying
campaigns.
LOL! "If it were that bad, we'd have fixed it by now".

All too often, when individual rights come up against "the system", it
doesn't matter how you lobby, or how good your case, nothing is possible
until there is a critical threshold of public visibility - either from a
particularly egregious case (cf West Midlands Serious Crime Squad) or from
campaigning that goes far beyond usual levels (cf Fathers 4 Justice, and, if
you believe in their case, the fuel protesters and hunters).

Otherwise, inertia rules.

Dave.
Peter Tomlinson
2004-10-13 09:55:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by David_Biggins-XjoIEpZFQiJWk0Htik3J/
All too often, when individual rights come up against "the system",
it doesn't matter how you lobby, or how good your case, nothing is
possible until there is a critical threshold of public visibility -
either from a particularly egregious case (cf West Midlands Serious
Crime Squad) or from campaigning that goes far beyond usual levels
(cf Fathers 4 Justice, and, if you believe in their case, the fuel
protesters and hunters).
Otherwise, inertia rules.
In the intertia sense it comes into the same area as the shopkeeper who
says he doesn't stock the item but people keep asking for it...

Its here in a set of problems with a technology spec that I have to try
to work with - in this case fixing them requires not only the inertia to
be overcome but also (a) some people will have to relinquish some power
over the spec that has been delegated to them, and (b) some public money
has to be allocated.

Peter
Roland Perry
2004-10-13 10:19:19 UTC
Permalink
In article
Post by David_Biggins-XjoIEpZFQiJWk0Htik3J/
If the police had been found to as institutionally bad as they are
painted here, this would not have escaped our attention, and you
would have heard about it because it would make material, too good
to miss, for lobbying campaigns.
LOL! "If it were that bad, we'd have fixed it by now".
Did I saw "fixed"? No. Noticed and moaned about.
Post by David_Biggins-XjoIEpZFQiJWk0Htik3J/
All too often, when individual rights come up against "the system", it
doesn't matter how you lobby, or how good your case, nothing is possible
until there is a critical threshold of public visibility - either from a
particularly egregious case (cf West Midlands Serious Crime Squad) or from
campaigning that goes far beyond usual levels (cf Fathers 4 Justice, and, if
you believe in their case, the fuel protesters and hunters).
Otherwise, inertia rules.
Not amongst the professional lobbyists. How many members of the public
are aware of the SPoC scheme, and the crucial part played by industry
lobbyists in getting it established (well before RIPA before anyone
asks). Or the creation of the TAB as an appeal body under RIPA Pt1 Ch1?
100% lobbying, that was. I know, I did it.
--
Roland Perry
David_Biggins-XjoIEpZFQiJWk0Htik3J/
2004-10-13 09:25:45 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2004 11:35 AM
Subject: Buffer overflows (was USA ID card ...)
That's why there is a new bit in the memory descriptors in
the newest AMD
and Intel CPUs.
Is that necessary for proper protection, or just in order to
retrofit such
protection for Windoze?
It's necessary for any operating system that is written using the flat model
(the most efficient).
IOW, do Solaris or Linux already provide protection against
the ordinary
buffer overflow attacks on x86 hardware, or am I really better off
sticking to my SPARC?
As far as I know, Linux uses the flat model. No idea what Solaris (and or
BSD) may do.
And given that at the time of writing win95, MS were being
creamed by
various developers and trade press for not having used the
flat model,
it's
easy to see why they made technically the wrong decision
for what was, at
the time, the right marketing reasons.
Sure, but there was never any excuse for NT systems, and
certainly not at
the time of the Win 2000 cleanup, or was that precluded by
the desire to
have binary compatibility for applications?
The change (at assembler level at least) would have required source-level
changes. Higher-level languages could have coped, but it would still have
badly broken binary compatibility.

But far more important in real terms is that even at NT time, the 68K camp
were still criticising x86 for not being as purely linear as the 68K
architectures. A move back to segmented would have been commercially very
badly advised at the time, and would have damaged MS and Intel. The
pressure to stay with a flat model would have been significant.

The real question has to be one of why Intel put the protection in the
segment descriptors, and not the page table, where it most certainly
belongs, and why they did not fix this in the Pentium Pro, Pentium 2,
Pentium 3 or P4 processors, leaving MS to carry the can.

Dave.
Peter Tomlinson
2004-10-13 10:50:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by David_Biggins-XjoIEpZFQiJWk0Htik3J/
The real question has to be one of why Intel put the protection in
the segment descriptors, and not the page table, where it most
certainly belongs, and why they did not fix this in the Pentium Pro,
Pentium 2, Pentium 3 or P4 processors, leaving MS to carry the can.
Segment level granularity of protection is OK, but the hardware needs to
know the segment permissions relating to each page that it is asked to
access, and to know the type of access requested (CPU mode, plus read,
execute, write..).

Can I remember how we did it in the 1900 series when, almost 40 years
ago, ICT defined a virtual memory method for them (previously it was
datum and limit in a flat memory model)? Can I h***. But I think we
stayed with a flat memory model - however I never saw the software, just
the hardware (1904A and a bit of the 1906A). Hardware implemented
instructions for loading and managing the use of the hardware address
translation table.

A friend tells me that the recent x86 architecture has a 4 level
protection mechanism but the MS OS's only use 2 levels. That set me
thinking about the story that NT was designed with applications only
communicating with hardware through the kernel, but certain app
developers found this to be too slow for them. So it was said that they
persuaded MS to allow them to handle hardware direct, using direct calls
to the drivers.

Peter
David_Biggins-XjoIEpZFQiJWk0Htik3J/
2004-10-13 10:31:24 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2004 11:42 AM
Subject: RE: USA ID card for federal employees and contractors
the minority who'll never own a router.
never (knowingly) own a router.

Dave.
David_Biggins-XjoIEpZFQiJWk0Htik3J/
2004-10-13 10:40:12 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2004 2:21 PM
Subject: Re: USA ID card for federal employees and contractors
In article
.brhm.cable
My response to several people advocating draconian punishment is
"there may be a West Midlands Serious Crime Squad out there
with your name
on it"
<godwin>
Have we forgiven the Germans for starting the war yet?
</godwin>
Of course, it's easy to score points in a debate it one merely rules all
frequently-used examples as godwin violations.

I propose the meta-godwin - whoever is the first to use Godwin's law to
discredit a point in a discussion, has already lost.

Dave.
Owen Lewis
2004-10-13 10:46:17 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----
Sent: 08 October 2004 10:26
Subject: Re: USA ID card for federal employees and contractors
P.S. 3DES (spit)
I thought 3DES was still regulated in france - with the "no registration
required" baseline 128bit or below?
Have you read 'Digital Fortess'? It's ultimately a very disappointing book
but the idea and general setting is intriguing and, IMO, deserves a far more
deeper, exploratory, treatment than it receive from this author.


Owen
Owen Lewis
2004-10-13 10:46:09 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----
Sent: 08 October 2004 09:13
Subject: Re: USA ID card for federal employees and contractors
Hardware can be well regulated. A part of that regulation can
be to require
design such that firmware can only be updated/changed
successfully without
disturbing or overriding certain embedded protocols required by the
regulations.
Turn your hat around. Could you do it? Bet you could ;-)
Why do you have one argument for electronic hardware and the
exact opposite
for firearms hardware?
Que?
There are still people alive who built TV receivers from basic components
because they couldn't afford to buy manufactured sets - when they cost
several times the average annual salary. The skills cannot be
destroyed and
will re-activate if/when (legal or financial) restrictions on
availability of
manufactured electronic devices become too onerous.
Stop wandering about. you'll only get lost :-)

Why on earth should legal and financial restrictions on the "availability
of manufactured electronic components" ever become too onerous? A 'killing
of the goose', wouldn't you say?

Give me any of a wide range of crystalline materials and some wire and I
will make you a diode, the fundamental component for any digital
computational device. OTOH, if you want a laptop PC with a 1GHz processor,
512 MB of RAM and 4Gb of data storage, don't bother coming to see me -
invite me to your garage for the show ;-). Modern computational systems -
and hence modern communication systems - have progressed to a point where a
person with hands and a modicum of knowledge can reproduce a machine with
modern capabilities and compatibilities. Now we all - to some extent or
other - must stand on the shoulders of other men to do what it is that we
do. In other words, we must exploit their achievements in the process of
achieving any of our own. I'd sat that this human pyramid is already many
rows high and includes the support, in one way or another, of millions of
persons.

By way of comparison:

- I've collected and smelted iron ore in small quantities.

- I understand the simple process whereby steel is made from iron.

- I can forge and temper steel as required.

- I can make, ab initio, one or more explosive compounds.

It follows that, given the time and inclination I could first produce my
own tools and then produce a functioning firearm. But, ab initio, a
functioning GSM phone?..... Impossible.

The point is not without interest because it is indicative of how quickly
we have created a civilisation which cannot be maintained by individualism,
however rugged. Rather it is highly interdependent and requiring far greater
levels of unwitting cooperation than the individuals participating could
ever aspire to arrange by themselves. Welcome to the corporate world and the
checks and balances required to maintain and yet further develop it.

Owen
c5qb-3fe3-5+VhGm8TZF7QT0dZR+
2004-10-11 13:54:15 UTC
Permalink
Al Qaeda is a very loose knit organization, with many sub-branches
acting more or less autonomously.
I think the term 'idealogical franchise' covers the facts very well.

--

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