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BS: Belief in Technology

JHW 24 Apr 21 - 06:39 AM
punkfolkrocker 24 Apr 21 - 07:34 AM
Tattie Bogle 24 Apr 21 - 11:50 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Apr 21 - 11:59 AM
Nigel Parsons 24 Apr 21 - 01:17 PM
Rain Dog 24 Apr 21 - 02:40 PM
Mr Red 25 Apr 21 - 03:03 AM
JHW 25 Apr 21 - 05:52 AM
Jack Campin 25 Apr 21 - 09:24 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Apr 21 - 09:30 AM
Jos 25 Apr 21 - 09:40 AM
The Sandman 26 Apr 21 - 01:38 AM
The Sandman 26 Apr 21 - 01:59 AM
The Sandman 26 Apr 21 - 03:21 AM
JHW 26 Apr 21 - 06:04 AM
Jon Freeman 26 Apr 21 - 08:03 AM
Rain Dog 26 Apr 21 - 10:48 AM
Stilly River Sage 26 Apr 21 - 11:26 AM
Stilly River Sage 26 Apr 21 - 11:30 AM
robomatic 26 Apr 21 - 01:54 PM
Jack Campin 27 Apr 21 - 04:08 PM
Rain Dog 27 Apr 21 - 06:12 PM
robomatic 27 Apr 21 - 07:12 PM
Jack Campin 27 Apr 21 - 07:33 PM
Rain Dog 28 Apr 21 - 02:25 AM
The Sandman 28 Apr 21 - 02:51 AM
Jos 28 Apr 21 - 05:13 AM
The Sandman 28 Apr 21 - 06:24 AM
JHW 29 Apr 21 - 06:01 AM
Rain Dog 29 Apr 21 - 06:20 AM
Mr Red 01 May 21 - 02:24 AM
Jack Campin 01 May 21 - 10:49 AM
The Sandman 03 May 21 - 04:32 AM
JHW 03 May 21 - 05:37 AM
Rain Dog 03 May 21 - 08:41 AM
Jack Campin 03 May 21 - 08:18 PM

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Subject: BS: Belief in Technology
From: JHW
Date: 24 Apr 21 - 06:39 AM

In the UK we've just had many Postmasters/mistresses convictions quashed. The PO prosecuted and ruined hundreds in the belief thar the Horizon computer system couldn't be wrong.
Someone was done for a parking fine because robots spotted them entering a car park but didn't twig they had only been there twice for a moment and not continuously.
Again the computer was believed rather than the individual. Why? Justice came to both eventually but why should a computer be presumed infallible?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 24 Apr 21 - 07:34 AM

Computers are not fallible,
that is obvious to anybody with any sense or honesty.

The fallible element in the post office case
appears to be unscrupulous high up post office managers who knew there was something wrong with the software but didn't care,
and would rather blame loyal honest post office workers to maintain a cover up...???


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 24 Apr 21 - 11:50 AM

The postmasters/mistresses thing was shocking: many lives ruined by it, and it has taken so long to get the sentences quashed.

My husband got a ticket through the post after parking on 2 consecutive days in the same car park in Livingston, Scotland (sent from some parking agency in the S of England!!) - based on number-plate recognition on entering and leaving the car park. It alleged he had been there for 23 hours! We just wrote back and said, "check again: he was there for an hour on each of 2 days" - AND "no-one in their right mind would leave their car unattended in that car park for 23 hours". We never heard any more. In any case it was one of those private company tickets which are not legally enforceable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Apr 21 - 11:59 AM

Someone please provide a link to the post office story this seems to be discussing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 Apr 21 - 01:17 PM

BBC post Office Scandal


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Rain Dog
Date: 24 Apr 21 - 02:40 PM

BBC Radio 4 are repeating their series on the Post Office scandal at the moment

The Great Post Office Trial


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Mr Red
Date: 25 Apr 21 - 03:03 AM

appears to be unscrupulous high up post office managers who knew there was something wrong

Someone saving their skin, and maybe a backhander over original installation. In one case a man went to jail and has since died. Imagine the penury, suffering, and implied shame when you know you are innocent.

In the early days of businesses discovering PCs quite a few firms used them to dispense with one employee, one reason they were employed being as a check on the other's integrity. Managers saw the job as computation, not security. Basically not reading the whole job specs long after they were devised.

My belief is in human nature. All of it, the kind, the young cyclists who say thankyou when you stand aside, and the greedy, and the stoopid. I believe in them because it arms me when I encounter the less rewarding aspects. And I entuse in responsible yoof - it gives me hope for mankind. Ooer, philosophy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: JHW
Date: 25 Apr 21 - 05:52 AM

Actually this is more reassuring than I had hoped. Seems I'm not the only one who treats Technology with a pinch of salt.
My kitchen CD player reckoned every one of my CDs was faulty. Was lying. The laser was at fault. I guessed that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Apr 21 - 09:24 AM

They fitted up the postmistress in our village that way. Then closed the PO and have never reopened it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Apr 21 - 09:30 AM

Coming from a technology background I know full well how flawed software can be. It is, after all, written by humans! Like anything else though there is good and bad. We should never rely entirely on technology but then again we should not rely on human nature either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Jos
Date: 25 Apr 21 - 09:40 AM

A few years ago I had been to a local supermarket and had quite a few bags of shopping. I was about a mile from home but the bags were heavy and I decided to get a bus. I went to the electronic machine to check when the next bus was due, and put in my destination.
The machine told me to get a bus to Bracknell, and then get a bus to west London. From there I was to get another bus back to the supermarket where I was, in order to get a bus to my home - a round trip of over 60 miles.
At that point, my bus arrived and I was home in about 15 minutes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 01:38 AM

absolutely disgraceful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 01:59 AM

you would have thought post office investigators would have realised that it was extraordinary that so many post office sub post managers were all dishonest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 03:21 AM

and as for the NSFP leader,and their leader and his lack of support.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: JHW
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 06:04 AM

I'm relistening to the replay of the BBC R4 programme each morning and still aghast at the ruination of lives. We still have a PO in the next village but I've never dared ask if they were affected.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 08:03 AM

It's a mess isn't it.

I don't believe a system should be considered infallible but did once get someone in serious trouble (possible sacking or final warning) over fiddling in my short time in a factory.

Just the count of an assembly going wrong there and I said the only way I could see what was happening was false figures. We set a trap where the count of one component (there were only two, a pin pressed into a housing to make a hinge) was verified before being issued and she was caught out. Silly woman, she couldn't have known who/what I was (and was only a junior in rank but with responsibilities for the day to day running of the MRP system and with a posh job title of "Systems coordinator" but should have seen someone strange counting objects indicated someone knew something was amiss was around.

The count of the cabinets (welded assemblies into which the innards of front loaders and tumble driers went, the cabs having been sent round overheads to the lines) also had a problem which for a few weeks meant me coming in on Sundays when there was no production to set count and set things straight. I'm not sure what happened there except to say the works manager visited me and asked if I thought a "policeman" could help to which I answered ~"yes". I've no idea what he did but the problem went away.

Where do I go from there... I guess things can go wrong either way, system or people. From what I've read on the Horizon affair, I think the action of the higher brass should be considered criminal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Rain Dog
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 10:48 AM

The NFSP are funded by the Post Office, so not too much of a surprise about the way they behaved.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 11:26 AM

I heard something on the radio about this last night, possibly the same, perhaps related? The woman who used to run the postal service was there when a computer scandal happened, and has now finished training to become a minister in the Anglican church? I had the impression the woman had supervised a colonial postal service though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 11:30 AM

Here - though this is from the Daily Mail and that seems to post less reliable news. I heard it on a world news radio program on NPR.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: robomatic
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 01:54 PM

I've just been listening to the BBC Post Office stories which I happened upon a couple of days ago. Aghast at the ability to forestall questions with the excuse that the computer can't be wrong, and the outright lie: "You're the only one with this problem!"!

Also they've hinted that a helicopter crash was influenced by software and that relates to the Post Office story.

And it need not involve computers. There are many cases of incompetence or bad decisions being backed up by the authorities to the detriment of the very institutions they are supposed to be upholding. To quote Donald Trump: "SAD!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 04:08 PM

My wife was talking to the guy who operated our village post office today. He said they were lucky not to end up in prison - accused of stealing £14,000.

He's Indian. A large proportion of post offices in the UK have come under South Asian ownership in the last generation - probably low financial barriers to entry. Makes you wonder if some PO auditor just decided to go after any manager called Pillai, Khan or Singh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Rain Dog
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 06:12 PM

There has been no suggestion that people were prosecuted due to their racial origins. Seems an odd thing to bring up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: robomatic
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 07:12 PM

In the BBC show which I finished listening to this morning, one of the first people that was in touch with Nick Wallace, the reporter, sounded to be of Indian extraction. I think her background played a part in her naivete that the system would initially be beneficent, then that the system would discover the truth, when in reality the system put her in stir. She was pregnant and innocent.

I was very disappointed in the denoument, in that the Post Office was not really severely fined, the hundreds of cases where people were found guilty were not delineated and dismissed, though this was on the horizon, and as far as I could tell the miscreants and liars behind the depositions of the Post Office didn't get hauled over the coals.

It made me think about the great differences between America and Gt. Britain. I can't speak for the actual lay of things, but the English seem to think they live in a land of whales and mice, Americans think they live in a land of bears and wolverines. In the former, the little guy barely has a chance and is lucky to get out alive, in the latter the wolverine is a lot smaller, but figures with teeth and gristle he can brazen it out. It may have ramifications with our respective attitudes about firearms as well.

I also believe that Americans of the U.S. persuasion don't understand that the English Post Office is not like the United States version. The PO in England and other Commonwealth countries was historically kind of an amalgam of IBM, the Bank of America, with government connections. It is not only huge, everpresent, but is in the imagination omnipotent and incorruptible. It was almost a manifestation of the Almighty. I don't think that is as true today as it used to be forty years ago, but it's still a major institution.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 07:33 PM

The reason there has been no suggestion racism was involved may well be because BBC journos are gutless toadies who wouldn't dare say it.

It would be very easy to check if anyone wanted to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Rain Dog
Date: 28 Apr 21 - 02:25 AM

So now the BBC are involved with the Post Office cover up?

I have seen no mention of racial prejudice being a part of this scandal. It would seem that you do have such evidence. If so please point us in the right direction.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 21 - 02:51 AM

there were cses mentioned and the people interviewed were not all asian some sounded like white people, however we do not iknow the exact racial breakdown of the postmasters affected


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Jos
Date: 28 Apr 21 - 05:13 AM

As Jack Campin pointed out, 'A large proportion of post offices in the UK have come under South Asian ownership'

I don't know what the proportion is, but it is no surprise if, as a result, a similar proportion of the people falsely accused will have been of Asian origin. I have seen and heard interviews with a number of white British victims as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 21 - 06:24 AM

any way the post office superiors, seem to have got away with ruiing many innocent peoples lives and livelihoods ,absolute disgarce


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: JHW
Date: 29 Apr 21 - 06:01 AM

I've heard most of the R4 reports when originally broadcast and again currently. I haven't heard any racial slur.
In the 1984 novel justice was seen to be done as long as someone paid, maybe not the culprit. One day a robot may knock on my door and shoot me. Might be the wrong door, duff gps or whatever but trust in technology will have become the norm and it will be nobody's fault.
I note that the car park number recognition scam is not unique, actual story in the post above is not the one that resulted in summons in news.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Rain Dog
Date: 29 Apr 21 - 06:20 AM

Private Eye printed a 6 page report on the Post Office scandal in issue 1519 in April last year. It was co-written by Richard Brooks and Nick Wallis, the presenter of the BBC Radio 4 series.

Wallis has his own website on the scandal, postofficetrial.com, the following link will take you to the page on his site where you can download the Private Eye report.

Justice lost in the post

Well worth a read.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 May 21 - 02:24 AM

I went to the electronic machine to check when the next bus was due, and put in my destination.

The local website bus finder website does that. I use it to check the times, I already have a good idea of bus numbers.

It regularly routes you on several buses, and has for 4 years. One example takes you from A to B with a change of bus that uses the later roads as A2B and terminates in the same bus station. Leaving you without shelter for 20 minutes, instead of in the station with a drink and warm. A revenue extender for the spnsoring bus companies!

Aylesbury is no better, their electronic timetable shows a discrepency of 5 mins to the paper one. I got my drink and missed the bus, the drivers' cabin insisted the bus went out on time. You couldn't tell them what was wrong, they wouldn't listen. Not there job mate!

You can tell the bus companies, and the local authority, but they just shuttle the problem back and forth.

I shudder to rely on smart phone apps. Always using the penultimate bus home.

There is always the car - which is what I intend doing in rural Wales. because it is even less familiar territory. If the Gov is serious about climate change, this is one area of reducing car usage that is paid merely lip service.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 May 21 - 10:49 AM

I've heard most of the R4 reports when originally broadcast and again currently. I haven't heard any racial slur.

Most racial persecution doesn't involve slurs at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 May 21 - 04:32 AM

the impression i got was that over 500 postmasters of different racial backgrounds were unfairly victimised. jack why dont you contact the journalist and get his opinion


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: JHW
Date: 03 May 21 - 05:37 AM

I haven't dared get a bus since covid as folks always shut all the windows. The bus still comes but is empty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Rain Dog
Date: 03 May 21 - 08:41 AM

"Between 2000 and 2014, the Post Office prosecuted 736 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses - an average of one a week - based on information from a recently installed computer system called Horizon."

And

"The Post Office has set up a historic shortfall scheme designed to repay those who lost out, but this excludes those who were part of the High Court settlement.

More than 2,400 claims have been made to the scheme. Ministers said this was more than the Post Office expected and held the potential for the government having to step in to cover some of the cost."

Post Office Scandal - BBC 23rd April 2021


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Technology
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 May 21 - 08:18 PM

DMinisters who didn't help


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