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It not a joke!!! It is the truth!!!

Giving people what they want: violence and sloppy eating

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Proof ministers don't read RFCs
mini me + poo
(Or understand them if they do...)

John Reid, our beloved Home Secretary, wants all those nasty sex offenders to tell him their email addresses and chatroom IDs.

Can you spot the flaw in this masterful idea?

Clearly, it's going to have to be a complete list. We can't have someone just saying they're evil.bastard@homeoffice.gov.uk (be interesting to see if that reaches anyone, actually) while they're also 16yo-virgin-schoolgirl@aol.com in secret.

So anyone who owns a domain name and accepts email on all addresses on it is going to have a very long list.

Any combination of letters, digits, dots and dashes 'at' that domain would be valid. That's a lot. Especially as with one reading of the original RFC, there's no maximum length. Oh, and you're allowed to be case-sensitive before the 'at', so ME@ is allowed to go to a different inbox from me@.

Add in quoted addresses, where more or less anything goes, and the list becomes even more infinite.

Clearly if this is going to be printed, buy shares in paper companies now. If not, you want makers of hard disk drives.

That's before they tell them about all the IRC nicknames they could use (they're not tied to anyone), all the from: addresses, all the old email addresses they once had etc etc.

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Yeah, I was thinking along these lines too (although not in such a technical way). Stupid!

I don't think that's much of a flaw at all, unless Reid is stupid enough to insist on a verbatim paper list. You just use wildcards. Matching on regexps is hardly rocket science.

This is still one of the sillier ideas to emerge from the Home Office, though.

I'm assuming (although nobody's actually come out and said it yet), that it's similar in intent to the 'are you intending to bring down the Government of the US?' question that they ask on US visas. It's not that they're expecting the paedophiles to list every e-mail address and chat nickname that they might potentially use, it's that if they find a paedophile using a nickname and/or e-mail address that they haven't declared, they can arrest them for that.

I think that at least makes sense; I'm not yet sure whether or not I agree with it (and I recognise the potential for misuse of such powers is huge).

'are you intending to bring down the Government of the US?'
This question amuses me, as anyone who votes for the party not in power would technically have to answer in the affirmative.

That's not bringing down the Government though, just not voting for the bums currently in power.

See the difference between the respect afforded to the office of President with the abuse towards the current incumbent...

Three things:

1. How many Home Office officials/police officers do you think understand regexps? How many do you think would accept a seemingly random string of symbols as your email address?

2. How many people do you think could write one that completely specifies all legal mailboxes?

3. In order to reduce their effort :) I have decided that I will only use mailboxes which, when read as English, are the name of a prime number (eg Two@, Three@, Five@ etc). Mail to other mailboxes will be redirected elsewhere. With a little helper program, postfix will let me do this, so regexp that :)

(Reply to this)(Parent)

Can't find a regexp but your description seem perfectly clear to me.

I'd have to agree with djm4 though - it reads like an asbo for paedophiles - a simple way of inventing an imprisonable offence for those who get caught not complying.

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