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Letters You know how it is. You have a mobile phone. You use it regularly, so you keep it in your pocket, where it is easily accessible. Then it goes yellow. You what? We can only wonder: what has it got in its pocketses?

My understanding of the position is that you have a contract of sale with the company which provided the phone (in this case Carphone Warehouse) and a separate contract with the network as well as a warranty from the manufacturer.

The great thing about a consumer contract of sale is the implied terms under section 14 paragraph 2B of the Sale of Goods Act 1979; (http://www.lawteacher.net/Contract/Contents/Terms%20Lecture%202.htm)

Under these provisions the customer is entitled to a repair/replacement from the seller where the product is not free from minor defects or has imperfections in finish. If the seller won't provide this you are entitled to buy another phone from somewhere else and sue for the cost (which can conveniently be done at home by visiting https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/csmco2/index.jsp).

Generally though just threatening to sue will be enough to make the seller capitulate and give you a new phone.

And don't forget, the cost of the proceedings is the maximum you're liable for, in the small claims track you don't pay the other sides costs so it's in the companies interests to settle before the hearing rather than pay a lawyer to turn up.

It might also be worth going to your local citizens advice bureaux and getting them to write to the manager of the store which you purchased it from outlining the position (it's free and it shows you mean business).

Hopes this helps any fellow reg readers out there who are fed up with getting messed about by mobile phone companies.

Rupert


I wonder if he is a smoker? I remember, many moons ago, when I did desktop support. We used to see lots of the 'Classic MS mice' going an indelible yellow colour, after much hmming and harring we managed to work out that it was the smokers who suffered this problem - even though they had to go out to smoke...

Fraser


Re Mellow Yellow Chocolate phone. What? No references to the Milky bar kid?

Dave


Fancy a life of crime? How about starting by designing some security software. Seems that could put you on the wrong side of the law, these days...

Re: New British law on "hacking".

Congratulations. Now we know that the British Parliament is almost as dumb and ill-informed as the US Congress. However, I think the US Congress is more mean-spirited and evil than the British Parliament. We have a much greater number of laws that are designed to hinder progress and make criminals out of the good while protecting the evil, not only in the field of computer software. Another proof that giving legislative power to the uninformed and greedy is a sure way to stop innovation and prove again the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Jim


I wrote to my MP before this was passed with some other possible applications of the "likely" test.

Given the increasing prevalence of botnets, the many vulnerabilities of Microsoft Windows XP which open it to such compromise, and the consequent targeting of that operating system, a reasonable wholesaler of copies of Windows would have to believe it likely that some of those copies would be used in DoS attacks.

Or how about compilers? On the extremely probable hypothesis that nearly all malicious software is written in a human-readable programming language, a reasonable man must believe that some malicious software is developed with popular compilers such as Microsoft Visual C++ and the GNU C Compiler.

Subsection (3) of the new section 3A of the Computer Misuse Act explicitly defines "article" to include software: it is not considered necessary to state that it also includes hardware. On a strict reading therefore it could also be an offence to be a computer wholesaler, or to manufacture cable modems.

All in all, not good news for the IT industry.

Peter


"The Home Office believes that likely is more than 50 per cent, so you have to have a trial within a trial to decide if it is more than 50 per cent likely that distribution is more likely than not to result in an offence being committed," said Clayton. That may be one of the longest single sentences I have ever seen that translates down to "we know bugger all about what we're doing."

Morely


Sophos probably shouldn't be overly complacent.

"We don't believe it likely that any information relating to a computer threat supplied by us would be used to commit an offence. "

Well, never mind the virus database; what about the anti-virus software itself? Malware authors always scan their new programs using anti-virus software to ensure it can't be detected; by continually scanning the malware, then tweaking the code to try and avoid the detection. The AV software can be said to be a highly useful development tool that is an integral part of the malware development process.

The truth is, that although the law will catch everyone and everything, it will be inequitably applied for political and commercial reasons, as happens with all catch-all laws.

Large firms will be granted effective impunity - "Oh, we know Sophos' anti-virus can be and is used by malware authors, but they're the good guys so we won't prosecute" - while small firms and individuals will be ruthlessly suppressed. Sometimes at the behest of the large firms trying to manipulate the law to their own commercial advantage, sometimes at the behest of politicians or lawmakers who want to gain free publicity and votes.

This is an appalling law. Ill-conceived and incompetently drafted, it will leave a trail of miscarriages of justices, ruined businesses and shattered lives in its wake.

And of course it won't catch a single malware author, because it isn't nearly so easy to track down anonymous skiddies in foreign countries who don't publicise their activities or widely (if at all) distribute their tools, as it is to persecute a hobbyist security researcher who conceals nothing and has no malicious intent.

cheers, DaveK

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