Original URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/09/letters_0903/

Borat scares foreigners with text messages

While making love to his car

By Tracey Cooper

Posted in Bootnotes, 9th March 2007 16:18 GMT

Letters Before we kick off this week's musings, a couple more thoughts on the UK's plans to scrap the mooted ID card for youths.

"It seems that the UK's IT folks doesn't have the MacGyver-like skills that it takes to survive a simple US helpdesk position, much less design and build systems on time and under budget. Tony"

Easy there Tony. What is being discussed is IT provision in UK Government, not commercial. Even if the Government IT people do have the required skill levels they never get to use them as they spend their whole day dealing with the bloody paperwork inherent in any really badly run bureaucracy.

Besides, I work for a US/CDN based company and they do nothing but saddle us with pointless bureaucracy especially w.r.t. purchasing decisions. Someone needs to tell some of these Norte Americano companies to stop being the snivelling butt-monkeys of the market analysts, grow a spinal column, and manage their companies for long term growth rather than for short term gain.

With regard to Tony's letter about the scrapping of the Youth ID Card;

"It seems that the UK's IT folks doesn't have the MacGyver-like skills that it takes to survive a simple US helpdesk position, much less design and build systems on time and under budget"

Actually, we do have those skills. However, we're not all chimps who do what the Govt. tell us to do, and some of us actively persuade the Govt. not to do "bad things" by telling them they'll cost a laughably high price which scares them into not doing bad things.

You guys in the US should try it some time.

Sticking with our fine neighbours over the pond, when Sacha AliG Baron Borat Cohen's Borat.kz website was pulled by Kazakhstan officials, US officials blasted the move as an example of the Kazakhstani government's restrictions on freedom of speech and other human rights abuses. Pfft, cough, cough, splutter:

"According to Reuters, the report also lists torture by police, poor prison conditions, arbitrary arrests, military hazing, restrictions on freedom of assembly, domestic violence against women, people trafficking and "severe limits on citizens' rights to change their government" as areas of concern."

errr.... pot, kettle, dark colour...

Pot/kettle anyone?

"unlawful deprivation of life". That'll be the USA in Iraq "torture by police", yup, Iraq again. "poor prison conditions", oh, that'll be that bit of US soil in Cuba, damn what's it called again. "arbitrary arrests", yup that's how they get from Iraq to Cuba.

So arrest and imprisonment without charge or a reight to a defense, torture, restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are all bad are they ? Now what's that phrase with pot kettle and black ?

Back to Blighty, the UK government unveiled a new tactic to scare foreigners back to their home shores. Ooooh...what scare tactic, you ask? Text message. WTF?? Yep, the scary, scary text mesage.

"Foreigners settling in the UK legally will need to carry ID cards, and landlords and employers will face action if they employ or house illegal immigrants."

Right, so you are OK if you employ/house an immigrant with an ID card, and OK with a UK national without an ID card. But if you accept the word of someone that they don't need an ID card then you risk "action". Hmm, so how does the emplorer/landlord differentiate between someone who doesn't need ID, and someone who doesn't have it and just claims not to need it ?

Oh bummer, there's a reason for us all to have ID :-(


And in which particular language as these texts being sent?

... Aha! You see, none of these illegal buggers speak Inglesh (or so I'm told) so it's no good just sending it out in the mother tongue. Oh no ...

... That'll be "Please fuck off home" in 43 languages then (couple of versions of Chinese included ... obviously). And you'd have to send all 43 versions to each recipient, cos it's unlikely HM.gov will be capable of keeping a record of the mobile-phone number AND a preferred language (come on).

That's a lot of txts.

I do - however - reccommend that they use one of those "premium rate" reply numbers in their txt. That way the buggers can pay for the system themselves!

So, final version of the message should read:

"Please fuck off home - But before you do, please phone 18765 to claim your lottery winnings"

In fact HM.gov could make so much money out of this that they'll want more immigrants coming in ... Hmmmm; now wait a moment ...


Landlords is a new one on me. Does that mean we'll all have to hand our passports over to prove we can rent a cottage. And how will tourists rent a flat for a long-term vacation? Probably some kind of magic database. Yep, that'll teach 'em.

There are so many wrong things with that story... Here's barely two:

1) What language will they send the message in? Is it ok if they can't read that language? Even at that, a learner at English might not grasp the text speek...

2) They have actively admitted they don't know how many illegal immigrants there are in the country... So how the hell can they send them text messages?

They might as well be saying that they will send illegal immigrant magic bonbons through over digital tv, which will return them to their home country...

Then again, some ministers probably would think that a good idea...


I would much rather my hard-earned tax money went on sick illegal immigrants than on the t***s that it otherwise gets spent on. How about text messages to all 12–16 year old saying "Pls put a cndm on b4 hving sx or u wll b a slappr" or "Gt a jb u bum" to all who have been on the dole without going for any job interviews.

I see a new market here - instead of ID cards we will all have to register our mobile numbers - then the goverment can tell us off by txt: "Ur l8, rmbr 2 pay ur tax" etc etc

While we are on the topic we could send a "Xenophobia is naughty" txt message to our Mr Reid


More absolute genius from Reid and his cronies here I see. Has it not occurred to the folk at the Home Office that the only people who they will be able to reach via SMS would be those for whom they actually have a mobile number. How exactly do they intend to implement this? Some sort of mandatory citizenship test when buying a phone perhaps? or are they relying on everyone entering the country voluntarily handing over their mobile numbers?

It would seem to me that the only people they might be able to reach (read annoy) with this latest spot of spin would be those who are legally staying in this country; skilled workers, students, holidaymakers and the like.

It could be suggested that putting pressure on such people, who it could be argued are contributing to the country's economy even if they do happen to overstay their visas, would just encourage them to go elsewhere. Meanwhile, all the illegal workers, sex slaves, 'terrorists' and other undesirables who might actually be causing a problem will continue to slip under the radar merely by failing to tell the Home Office where they are, so that the Home Office can't tell them to 'Please go home'?


Some perspectives from the US:


Hello from the USA. This "new" idea is similar to one I submitted to the U.S. Govt. in 1999. I called it USAVisitor.Net. What you are dismissing is the fact 99% of illegal immigrants don't want to be illegal -they want opportunity. Since they still have a conscience, but are desperate, most will be bothered by receiving a reminder to leave the country. Especially those who entered legally and are still weighing the decision to leave. The Vera Institute studied this for the US Govt. in 1998 and found that among people who were scheduled to go to a deportation hearing (all of whom could expect to be deported if they showed up - and that they would not be deported if they didn't show up) 90% would not show up. BUT, if you reminded them to show up with a simple phone call or letter about 90% of those reminded showed up to the hearing and were deported.

Big problems can be managed without draconian measures that alienate people. One just needs to find the means to do it. Anticipate that foreign visitors to your country will eventually have to routinely register online while they are visiting your country. They will do this so that they can be monitored and influenced.

I tried to patent this idea but the U.S. patent office said no because it would only restrict the U.S. govt.

John Donovan Alexandria, VA

It occurs to me as I read this that it's kind of hard to explain you have the chunnel and all around is cold deep ocean and you can't keep people from immigrating illegally all those cameras all that intrusive behavior can't stop business from hiring cheap labor just think how we in the US are set we have no chance at all. Best just to learn to live with it and forget about it saves worry.

And a bit of love for our esteemed editor:

People who are here on visas are, by definition, not illegal immigrants.

But don't let that stop your efforts to get a job at the Daily Mail will you.

Microsoft and secret deals? No!

In your article "Becta throws shroud over Microsoft deal" about the installation of Vista in schools I got to thinking that kids will probably be thrilled to get Vista on their machines so they’ll be getting a lot of time off. If Vista from what I hear is being tripped into its "Secure" mode by casual operations by users what does he think is going to happen when you let loose a bunch of kids on an OS that will relish in finding ways to trip the buggy security in Vista so they won't be able to use their computer until someone comes from IT and resets the machine. I'll bet that they keep secret as much as they can about any problems they have in the pilot program.

Onward thru the fog, Unc Al

...and there I was thinking that, as a tax-payer, I would be fully entitled to know just how much of my taxes are being spent on Microsoft's software for use within schools. How naïve of me.

Becta should, instead, be demanding that such a secrecy clause not be included in their deal, and threaten to ditch the incumbent should this not be agreed-upon.

I'm sure the millions of pounds currently being thrown in Microsoft's direction could be used to teach end users how to sign-in to a Linux desktop and how to launch Open Office. This itself would have the added benefit of being a one-off charge, as opposed to the yearly deal that is currently in-place with Microsoft.

Is this legal? As a taxpayer, I have to pay for the software, so why can't I see how much it is costing?

A bomb making suspect pleads for his privacy when his smut surfing habits were unveiled during the investigation. That's unfair, you exclaim! Now, why would that be...

Mind you, since he's in for bomb making and not for illegal porn, the investigation in to his PC is OTT. Did AFT hope to find more evidence of bomb making on his PC or were they just fishing.

OK, it's a stupid lawsuit, but if MS can be hit by it, they'll have a word with Shrub and he'll have a word with the head of the DoJ who'll stop this sort of thing coming to light in future. Not as good as stopping over-reaching snooping but better.

Vulgar jokes and the old military chant about "this is my rifle and this is my gun..." aside, anything about this guy's sex life (or anything else not related to the firearms charges) found on his hard drive have no bearing on the case and the government has no business revealing it, so while he may not have a valid complaint against Microsoft, he certainly does have one against the blabbermouths in the government.

regards, unitron

He'll never win it. Even if he does get the court to decide that Microsoft, Compaq et al cause him embarrassment by selling him software that didn't do what it claimed to, there's still the software packages' EULAs to contend with, which of course always disclaim absolutely any possible liability whatsoever. The only way he could possibly get a decision in his favour would be for one of the higher courts to rule that the standard customer-has-neither-rights-nor-expectations EULA clauses are illegal. Which would probably be a nice thing to see, considerin' how frankly embarrassing those clauses are to the whole software profession.

Your personalised comments near the end of this article are without credibility.

1. You ignore the ridiculous charges levied against the man. A silencer for an air rifle? That's fucking absurd.

2. What bomb-making materials?

3. So goddamned what if he makes videos of himself and his girlfriend!

4. So goddamned what if he surfs porn sites!

5. So goddamned what if he is attempting to sue MS!

What is, likely, a legitimate complaint about the purported secure system software is ignored by you. What is, likely, an insane prosecutorial act by an out of control government is also ignored by you.

Your article is ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous, have you heard about that Vista keygen hoax? Pah. There's much better ways to get round Vista:

Hi John,

All this talk about cracking Vista activation is bollocks. All you need to is find someone who works at a University (like me) where they get Windows and other MS products through the Select programme and all you need is the product activation key that is either printed on the jewel case or on the CD. Through a quirk in the licensing, staff can loan the install disks for software they use at work (other than Visio, for some reason) to install at home. God knows how many copies of these are bootlegged. When Microsoft ship their products that need no more to activate them than the license key on the CD case there just isn't any need to break the activation.


"That still leaves the possibility of copying codes from stickers on PCs with Vista preloaded, however".

If Vista follows any of the XP norms, this will only work if you own a specific makes of PC.

Gateway, HP, Dell et all have their own keys - so putting a Gateway key into XP on a Dell PC will not work. I know, I've tried (we have Dell and Gateway PCs at work). Obviously this also means this would never work with a PC you built yourself.

However what will still work are the Enterprise keys that Microsoft said would not.

The plan to implement local activation servers has not been carried through. Therefore instead of activating your key every ninety days within your local area network, you still dial Microsoft.

The difference (and the reason Microsoft don't care - in fact may actually like) is that they will now have the ability to count the number of workstations activated by your Enterprise key.

Therefore if you allow your Enterprise key out into the wild, and 50,000,000 computers get activated by it, Microsoft will be sending you a bill for the additional 49,999,800 licenses your business has yet to purchase - which works out pretty good for them, and gives them no incentive to implement their original plan.

Naturally they say they are still working on the original plan, but they seem to be pretty fuzzy as to when it will be ready. My guess is not until the next version of Windows.

Finally one method of getting a free key is simply to call them and say yours doesn't work. I've done this twice because it was too much bother to find my XP Pro key - and they were always happy to help.


Hi John,

Great article on the Vista keygen. You might be interested to know that there is another rumoured crack for Vista which allows 180 days usage before it requires activation. This was also published on Keznews and involves replacing an operating system file.

I've not tried as I've no need to but I thought you might be interested in it.

-- Gary.

Go on then...you know you want to. First to report back gets a legendary Reg goody bag.

And it wouldn't be Friday without a man making love to a car.

Didn't risk visiting the site at work - does he offer a Car-ma Sutra?

I'll get my coat

And while you're at it, pack up your desk.

On that note, we're off to the pub. Have a good weekend, and don't forget to set some time aside for polishing your car. ®