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Old 04-01-2024, 11:03 AM   #1
BenCollver
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Mr. Bates vs The Post Office


In one of the most shameful scandals in the history of Information
Technology, the British Post Office deployed a bug-ridden system
called "Horizon" for the use of its sub-postmasters (post office
branch managers) to report their accounts. Then, when it started
producing completely false results, often with discrepancies amounting
to thousands of pounds, and those sub-postmasters tried complaining
and seeking corrections, it insisted there were no such flaws in the
system, telling each one of those complaining that there had been no
other complaints, and demanded those branch managers, as per their
contracts, must make up the discrepancies out of their own pockets.

This miserable saga continued from 1999 to 2015. Over this time, many
of those sub-postmasters were driven to ruin. Some were prosecuted and
jailed, their stories simply disbelieved. Some even committed suicide.

ITV broadcast a four-part docudrama
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt27867155/ about the scandal back in
January, and it has just made its way to us in NZ. If it comes to your
town or country, it's worth a watch.

The Register has done a number of articles as the story has come to
light, as far back as 2019
https://www.theregister.com/2019/03/...tial_judgment/ , right up to this year
https://www.theregister.com/2024/01/...nquiry_latest/ ,
https://www.theregister.com/2024/02/...rizon_inquiry/

From: <news:uudm8e$2b767$1@dont-email.me>,
<news:comp.misc:25000>
 
Old 04-04-2024, 02:40 PM   #2
amikoyan
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I live in the UK with a tiny post office in our village shop. Our sub-postmaster has been a valued member of our community for 20 years or more and used Horizon when all the problems were occuring. I asked her if the Horizon system was still in operation, and she shifted in her seat and pointed to a computer and said, "Yes, there it is."

A computer magazine called 'Computer Weekly' https://www.computerweekly.com/featu...u-need-to-knowfirst picked up the scandal in about 2009 and a publication called Private Eye ran stories on it. The story featured very occasionally in the UK news, but was fairly low key until the ITV programme really bought it to widespread attention.
 
Old 04-04-2024, 04:17 PM   #3
enorbet
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Since this was posted on 4/1/2024 I have to ask should the defendant be addressed as Mister or Master?
 
Old 04-04-2024, 05:25 PM   #4
teckk
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I found it. I can scrape this 3 part video out of the cloud and post a command string using ffmpeg to get it. I'm definitely going to watch this. It has some well know British actors in it that I am familiar with. Interesting just for that. Say so if there is any interest.

Uhhh, yes I can.
https://0x0.st/Xi-A.png
 
Old 04-04-2024, 06:15 PM   #5
jefro
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I doubt the English Post installed it. Bet they bought it from some contractor.
 
Old 04-05-2024, 09:21 AM   #6
amikoyan
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The software is called Horizon, supplied to the Post Office by Fujitsu.
 
Old 04-05-2024, 09:45 AM   #7
amikoyan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet View Post
Since this was posted on 4/1/2024 I have to ask should the defendant be addressed as Mister or Master?
There was a 1970s children's TV programme which aired on the BBC called 'Captain Pugwash'. In the 90's a series of rumours appeared in the British newspapers claiming that this seemingly innocent staple of British childhood TV was in fact full of double entendres. The Guardian was forced to publish this retraction:

Quote:
In the Young Guardian of September 13 [1991] we stated that the Captain Pugwash cartoon series featured characters called Seaman Staines and Master Bates, and for that reason the series had never been repeated by the BBC.We accept that it is untrue that there ever were any such characters. Furthermore, the series continues to be shown on television and on video. We apologize to Mr. Ryan, the creator, writer and artist of the Captain Pugwash films and books. We have agreed to pay him damages and his legal costs..
It was also alleged that there was a character called 'Roger the cabin boy'. I hasten to add all of this was unfounded. The cabin boy was called Jim and Master Bates was in fact called Master Mates. Captain Pugwash had an unfortunately adenoidal voice which rendered 'Master Mates' somewhat ambiguously.
.

Last edited by amikoyan; 04-05-2024 at 09:52 AM.
 
Old 04-05-2024, 03:08 PM   #8
jefro
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I'd kind of think it wonderful if they fired me without just cause. I'd file to get every penny back plus interest plus benefits plus vacation and sick leave.

Most governmental organizations can't count so I doubt the Post can be to blame. Management has the right to mis-manage!

Last edited by jefro; 04-05-2024 at 03:09 PM.
 
Old 04-06-2024, 12:55 AM   #9
hazel
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Have all of you just discovered this scandal? It's been raging in the UK for weeks, ever since the dramatised version of the story on ITV which gave this thread its title reminded the country of what happened all those years ago. Several of the accused committed suicide, others went to prison, and the survivors still haven't been compensated properly. And the minister in Cameron's coalition government who was responsible for the Post Office at the time is now the leader of the Liberal Party and says he knew nothing about any of this.

One of the things that undoubtedly fed into this was the widespread belief among the general public, including politicians, that computers are infallible.

Last edited by hazel; 04-06-2024 at 01:00 AM.
 
Old 04-09-2024, 03:36 AM   #10
beachboy2
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Watch live: Post Office Horizon inquiry hearings | Tuesday 09 April 2024 (starts at 10.00am UK time, with a 3 minute delay):
https://www.livetube.tv/news/video-w...-09-april-2024

Public Hearings Timeline:
https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry...rings-timeline

Witness Timetable:
https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry...nd-6-timetable

Public Hearings (includes link to live YouTube channel and earlier videos):
https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk/hearings

BBC TV:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-68767646

Last edited by beachboy2; 04-09-2024 at 03:52 AM.
 
Old 04-09-2024, 07:24 AM   #11
_blackhole_
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Most only know/care about this because some British TV channel made a sensationalist drama - for their own benefit, i.e. monetizing other people's misery for their own financial gain.

If not for that, no one would know or care...

There's a lot of injustice which goes unpunished. Do we need TV dramatisation every time in order to get people to actually give a f***?

The reality is that no one actually cares, except those affected and their families - all of the drama is just media induced hand wringing and mock outrage. There are people right now, working in low paid jobs, who haven't seen a pay rise in years, struggling to pay for food, rent and energy bills. The elections are near, so the political elites want to be seen to be doing something about what is currently in the media - the rest of us can continue scraping by, while homelessness, child poverty and mental health problems increase.

But instead of addressing the problems faced by millions; "subpostmasters", as in franchisees who are actually by definition self employed company directors (and the only people the out of touch elites/establishment in the UK have any sympathies/connections with), are making the news due to some historic injustice highlighted in a TV drama, all orchestrated for PR purposes and profit...

Last edited by _blackhole_; 04-11-2024 at 03:22 AM. Reason: removed reference to any political party, as the phrase "two cheeks of the same arse" springs to mind
 
Old 04-09-2024, 09:23 AM   #12
teckk
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I thought that political statements were banned on LQ. So why is this one still here?

Mr. Bates vs The Post Office in on PBS now.

https://www.pbs.org/video/episode-1-5tfs8x/
https://www.pbs.org/video/episode-2-aattp9/
https://www.pbs.org/video/episode-3-i6t3b7/
https://www.pbs.org/video/episode-4-fxfr5a/
 
Old 04-10-2024, 03:39 AM   #13
rkelsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
One of the things that undoubtedly fed into this was the widespread belief among the general public, including politicians, that computers are infallible.
Yes, well I believe it was one of your countrymen whose famous quote was, "computer says no." It's still widely used here and usually gets a laugh, particularly if said with a South London accent.
 
  


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