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  • Apr 4th, 2017 @ 7:14am

    Rubbish - get a good translation

    Sorry Glyn, you've got it wrong. I doubt you read Chinese or are versed in Chinese law, so you have fallen for Susan Hennessey and Christopher Mirasola's panicked response to a very technical Chinese court document. Your article is typical of the poor reporting on China - few reporters speak Mandarin, fewer understand the political debates going on in China. They hear some gossip and promptly write and article that has serious errors.

    A reasoned response "Sometimes a rule of evidence is just a rule of evidence" has been written by Jeremy Daum.

    The new regulations don't change or permit any new activities by Chinese law enforcement. Frankly, if a Chinese government whether it be at county, provincial or national level wants to hack you, then they are not going to be stopped by what is or is not admissible in a court of law.

    What the new regulations do is specify how such evidence has to be handled. Specifically, if a litigant wishes to enter evidence obtained by hacking they have to identify it as having been obtained through hacking. So now hacking will be far more public than it was before and probably less likely to occur. at least if a trial is likely.

    To understand what is going on, you need to understand the debate about the rule of law that is happening in China. In the west (be it the US, Britain, France, Germany etc), at least in principle, if the same case with the same evidence was heard by two different judges then approximately the same judgement should be rendered. Judges are constrained by the same legislation/civil code, the same precedents, the same interpretation rules. However in China this doesn't happen because while there is a common civil code (forked from the German civil code circa 1930), the interpretation and precedents aren't there. Chinese judges, like all judges, have the pick winners and losers. For these reasons (along with others) the general run of Chinese commercial justice is a bit of mess with with different outcomes depending on which court and which judge a case is heard before.

    Senior judges and lawyers want to rectify this, but there is a problem. The "rule of law" is a highly political topic in China, with the CPC (Communist Party of China) holding that it's evil and bad, while lawyers in general quietly approve of it. Because of the political nature of the debate, the legal system is moving in a somewhat crab-wise direction to towards implementing the infrastructure which will allow the rule of law. This regulation is part of that movement. Don't misunderstand me - the Chinese legal system has a very long way to go before it approaches the rule of law, but this a good step in the right direction.

    So, Glyn - you quoted a panicky analysis and haven't checked the original material. Go read Jeremy Daums' response (including the translation of the new regulation) and think again. What is actually happening is the opposite of what you are claiming.

  • Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 5:12am

    The term of reference - big content has already nobbled the review

    While this review may look promising on the surface, in fact the results of the ALRC's report have been largely dictated by it's terms of reference.

    Big content has succeeded in preventing the ALRC from examining any of the following:

    * unauthorised distribution of copyright materials using peer-to-peer networks;
    * the scope of the safe harbour scheme for ISPs;
    * a review of exceptions in relation to technological protection measures; and
    * increased access to copyright works for blind and visually impaired people.

    There are other existing reviews which cover these topics, and these reviews are not open to public comment. Big content has won big time in the ALRC's review before it has even begun.

    See this article for further details.

  • Feb 20th, 2012 @ 9:58pm

    Re: We should regret LightSquared's failure to grasp the laws of physics?

    The only thing to regret here is that LightSquared is run by idiots who should have known better, were undoubtedly told multiple times by their own engineers that this was impossible, but they continued to forge ahead anyway.

    LightSquared is run by really, really smart people who were/are intent on gaming the system and making a few billion dollars. They were allocated some satellite spectrum, which is cheap, and wanted to exploit a loophole which allowed them to repurpose it as terrestial which is very, very expensive. Essentially, LightSquared was engaged in spectrum arbitrage, where they could make a great deal of money by ripping off the US taxpayer. LightSquared management was completely uninterested in any tedious parts of reality which got in the way of making all that lovely money.

    John Hempton has an analysis of the games which Phil Falcone and LightSquared were playing.

  • May 20th, 2010 @ 2:29am

    China is equally afraid

    China is usually given as the bogey man in cyberwar scenarios. What most people in the west don't understand is how vulnerable China is to a cyberwar.

    Ninety percent on all PC's in China - whether personal, academic, corporate or government PC's - have pirated copies of MS Windows, which means that these PC's cannot run Windows Update. The vast majority of PC's in China have unpatched vulnerabilities - many are actually already infected with malware.

    China is running its' own cyberwar scare campaign - there are many articles in the Chinese press about various research institutions has PC's hacked and secrets stolen. China is extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks and they are very aware of it. The Chinese government has a program in place to remove MS-based software from all government computers. It would appear that this program has a long way to go - with vastly more than 50%, possibly as much as 90% of government PC's still running Windows.

    The last thing on the Chinese governments' mind at the moment is starting a cyberwar. They'd lose it and they know it.