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Bradley Manning and the 'Hacker Madness' Scare Tactic

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the sounds-like-a-j.-k.-rowling-novel dept.

The Courts 169

New submitter wabrandsma sends this excerpt from New Scientist: "The Bradley Manning case continues a trend of government prosecutions that use familiarity with digital tools and knowledge of computers as a scare tactic and a basis for obtaining grossly disproportionate and unfair punishments, strategies enabled by broad, vague laws like the CFAA and the Espionage Act. Let's call this the 'hacker madness' strategy. Using it, the prosecution portrays actions taken by someone using a computer as more dangerous or scary than they actually are by highlighting the digital tools used to a nontechnical or even technophobic judge. ... We've seen this trick before. In a case that we at the Electronic Frontier Foundation handled in 2009, Boston College police used the fact that our client worked on a Linux operating system with "a black screen with white font" as part of a basis for a search warrant. Luckily the Massachusetts Supreme Court tossed out the warrant after EFF got involved, but who knows what would have happened had we not been there. And happily, Oracle got a big surprise when it tried a similar trick in Oracle v. Google and discovered that the judge was a programmer who sharply called them on it."

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Citation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467469)

And happily, Oracle got a big surprise when it tried a similar trick in Oracle v. Google and discovered that the judge was a programmer who sharply called them on it."

Does anyone have a link for this bit?

Re:Citation? (2)

Tx (96709) | about a year ago | (#44467527)

Dunno, could it be referring to this bit [slashdot.org] previoulsy covered here? I imagine there may have been a few such incidents at that trial.

OT -- your sig (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44467675)

For once that "OT" means "on topic". Considering revelations about NSA and FBI surveillance and that bunny worshipers are likely to be children, do you feel safe? I wouldn't.

Why are people not looking at the fundamentals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468211)

Do you think that the only things the NSA is doing that are objectionable have already been revealed?

The U.S. government is extremely corrupt in many ways.

The U.S. government has 6 times the percentage of people in prison as the percentage in European countries. In the U.S., prisons are big business, a way for corrupt people to make money.

Re:Why are people not looking at the fundamentals? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44468383)

Yes, but that has practically nothing very little to do with the NSA. The people they are trying to catch with their ridiculous dragnets number in the thousands at most, and maybe a couple hundred are in prisons. It's mostly about poverty, harsh sentences for crimes NOT involving a computer, and too many fucking guns and drug laws that provide fodder for the human tragedy of he prison industry.

News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (5, Insightful)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#44467473)

... the prosecution portrays actions taken by someone using a computer as more dangerous or scary than they actually are by highlighting the digital tools used to a nontechnical or even technophobic judge. ... We've seen this trick before. In a case that we at the Electronic Frontier Foundation handled in 2009 ...

I wonder what Kevin Mitnick would have to say about this revelation as news.

On a broad scale, people have always been scared by what they don't understand. On a more refined level, people are often willing to agree with a strongly-worded argument if they don't understand the premise ... simply to avoid admitting ignorance.

There are lots of new problems due to technology - but very few new avoidance tactics / reactions. Look at the opposition to nearly every major advance (in science) in the last 500 years. No need to go further back - you'll find enough examples in the last 50 that going back 500 will be difficult.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44467497)

Wizards First Rule: People are stupid. They will believe anything they fear to be true.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (4, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44467597)

I remember it as something closer to "People will believe what they wish to be true, or what they fear is true", which is a fair bit more subtle and powerful a statement.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (3, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#44467785)

The quote:

"Wizard's First Rule: people are stupid." Richard and Kahlan frowned even more. "People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.

"Because of Wizards First Rule, the old wizards created Confessors, and Seekers, as a means of helping find the truth, when the truth is important enough. Darken Rahl knows the Wizard's Rules. He is using the first one. People need an enemy to feel a sense of purpose. It's easy to lead people when they have a sense of purpose. Sense of purpose is more important by far than the truth. In fact, truth has no bearing in this. Darken Rahl is providing them with an enemy, other than himself, a sense of purpose. People are stupid; they want to believe, so they do."

So, arguably, the Wizard's First Rule is "People are stupid", though the rest of it makes clear that what Zedd actually meant is "People are credulous".

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44468393)

So, arguably, the Wizard's First Rule is "People are stupid", though the rest of it makes clear that what Zedd actually meant is "People are credulous".

Yes, they're also stupid, which is why you have to use small words.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (2)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44467595)

So true. like, when you ask random people if they know that the hydrogen is two times more than the oxygen, and why the government does not do anything about it.... do you know how they react?

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44467661)

So true. like, when you ask random people if they know that the hydrogen is two times more than the oxygen, and why the government does not do anything about it

I'm sorry but I don't have a clue what you're trying to convey. Two times more than oxygen? Two times more what? Your comment is gibberish, you make no sense at all. Come back when you're not as drunk, OK? You're wasting my time.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44467749)

I write too fast. Two times more than.... in the water :D

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#44467797)

I write too fast. Two times more than.... in the water :D

But it's not. In fact hydrogen makes up only slightly more than one-ninth of a water molecule.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (2)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#44467919)

Ehh, you're missing the point. Besides, stanlyb was talking about an absolute ratio, not mass or volume.

Just search Slashdot for Dihydrogen Monoxide. People were considering arresting a DJ because he said that DHMO was coming out of the taps. Though, that was Florida, so it's not that surprising.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#44467957)

Ehh, you're missing the point. Besides, stanlyb was talking about an absolute ratio, not mass or volume.

"Absolute ratio"? Umm, there's nothing any more absolute about atom count than there is about mass, or volume (though volume is kind of squishy when it comes to molecules).

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468061)

Off in the distance, almost out of sight now, is the point that you are missing.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44468495)

Very important actually. The ratio of atoms in the molecule is also the ratio by volume of gases at equal pressure you need to make it.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year ago | (#44468247)

Didn't the Los Angeles city council try to ban Dihydrogen Monoxide once too?

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44468401)

That depends on whether you're counting or weighing.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44468399)

No, I think you had it right the first time. You're trying to manipulate the ignorant, so saying "hydrogen is two times more than the oxygen" is better than adding "in water" because you want to keep the fuckers in the dark as to what you're talking about.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44468289)

Your comment is gibberish, you make no sense at all.

Was that meant to be relevant to the topic of the thread? Making sense wasn't the point.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467613)

The real reason the government targeted Mitnick was that he found out the NSA was spying on citizens without warrants and downloaded the source code.

The real way the government caught Mitnick is that his ex-wife ratted him out.

Mitnick spent almost a year in solitary subject to psychological torture that is not only unconstitutional but even a violation of the Geneva convention.

Then when the international press found out they put him in general population and had gang members pick fights with him.

Look at how the government removed the head of Qualcom when he refused to betray US citizens to the shadow government. They fabricated false insider trading charges and arrested him, threw him in prison and replaced him with a government stooge to facilitate spying on citizens (or should I say serfs?) without warrants.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#44468601)

Mitnick spent almost a year in solitary subject to psychological torture that is not only unconstitutional but even a violation of the Geneva convention.

The geneva convention discusses how to treat uniformed POWs. It has absolutely no relevance to Mitnicks case.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

Optimal Cynic (2886377) | about a year ago | (#44468613)

How dare you let your fascist "facts" get in the way of a good conspiracy theory!

Of course it matters. (2)

mosb1000 (710161) | about a year ago | (#44469021)

Should actions which would violate the geneva convention were they carried out on a prisoner of war be considered acceptable when carried out on individuals otherwise detained? Should a government deal with it's own citizens more harshly than an enemy combatant (whom they would have killed had he not surrendered)?

It seems you consider your fellow man the enemy. Indeed, you believe he should be dealt with more harshly than a foreigner who has taken up arms against you. You should rethink your priorities.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (5, Informative)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about a year ago | (#44467663)

I figure most of us know what happened to Mitnick, but just in case, what happened was that the government convinced a judge that Mitnick could literally launch America's nuclear-armed ICBMs merely by whistling into a phone [archive.is] .

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a year ago | (#44468925)

Well this was back in the Golden Age of No Security, right? And supposedly a couple of the phone freakers had perfect pitch. Even today, we have all kinds of things that should be secure stupidly hooked up to the Internet, so is that really so implausible?

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467711)

So essentially we're today's "witches"? "Technomage"-style?

I'm not sure what to think about that...
No, wait, I do: Why the fuck is humanity such a bunch of MORONS, and how can we get rid of that pest once and for all?

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year ago | (#44468255)

and how can we get rid of that pest once and for all?

And you wonder why they fear you.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468283)

If you can't be liked, be feared.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#44468693)

If you can't be liked, be feared.

And you've pretty much summed up why most bullies exist.

On the other hand Machiavelli [constitution.org] said it best:

"Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with."

Of course, he then said "And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments."

Basically, politicians tend to buy "friends." This tends to end badly for them when they really need help. That's when knowing where the metaphorical bodies are buried comes in handy.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468979)

Being feared only works with dumb people. But get one intelligent person, and he'll fuck your whole scheme up, by using the same method, but more intense.It works both ways.
Been there; done that. Mr. Bully shat his pants. Shit was burning. The whole deal.

But other than that, attractivity (as in: being liked and pulling people) always works better than pushing people with terror. Even with dumb people, in the long run.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468969)

Nobody said they fear me because of that.

Also, your statement is a case of circular reasoning. I only call them morons because they act like they fear me in the first place. So it cannot serve as a basis to start that same fear.

You just made that backwards rationalization / straw man up to have an argument for what you wanted to believe anyway because you felt offended because you assumed I'd put you in the "morons" category, because your extreme lack of confidence makes you think you that's where people put you / where you belong.
Which means you are probably much smarter than you give yourself credit for, but grew up in a environment of morons (like most of us) which treated YOU as the moron instead of themselves, and raised you to a moron, adding even more doubt to the doubt your intelligence already created naturally.

I recommend moving a better place (like a Swedish student city) to re-evaluate your own definition of who and what you are. Your life will be so much more happy, you understandably can probably not even imagine it right now. Socially and personally.

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44468811)

Why the fuck is humanity such a bunch of MORONS, and how can we get rid of that pest once and for all?

1. Perfect spaceflight up to the point where very large spaceships are possible.
2. Construct three very large spaceships, let's call them arks
3. ???
4. Profit!!!

Re:News: Tool creates possibilities, good and bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468659)

Every time a story about malicious hacking comes up, my local news always shows some standard footage of a person in a dark room typing away on a terminal. In the closeup I notice that he is installing software using apt-get...

It's at the same time sad and amusing.

More anti-US propaganda, yawn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467499)

Every prosecutor does this. They call a knife a "weapon" or add their own definitions to make the defendant look guilty. The fact that Manning is being hit by this doesn't mean he is any way special.

I wonder how much the anti-US propaganda shills get paid per successfully submitted article these days. Probably better than the Pravda or Syrian government gigs.

Re:More anti-US propaganda, yawn (2)

sirnomad99 (2883747) | about a year ago | (#44467609)

Considering that Manning already had access to the networks he downloaded the material from I think it would be a stretch to call it hacking. But I agree that it is SOP to refer to the tools used in a crime in the most intimidating manner to strengthen the argument. Well no matter what the details of the vernacular used Manning will be a rather old man before he will be breathing free air again. He will not get life but the shear number of charges he is being convicted of will assure that his parole, if he is ever eligible, will be decided by our children or grandchildren.

Re:More anti-US propaganda, yawn (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#44468035)

I don't know about shills and all that, but you are right in the first part of your post. Prosecution is there to get a conviction and they will use whatever legal means they have, just like I'm sure his defense tries to minimize his guilt in any way they can. Its called adversarial legal system.

Re: More anti-US propaganda, yawn (2)

turbidostato (878842) | about a year ago | (#44469019)

And the fact that so many people believe that to be true is in the basis of the bad shape of your justice system.

No, prosecution is not there to find yuo guilty but to find the truth of a case. There's no simmetry between prosecution and defense.

Don't they have to understand the case? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467523)

Aren't the judge and jury supposed to have adequate knowledge of the case and the context? Why would they allow a judge that is uneducated about the pertinent topics? The defendant isn't able to ask for a more appropriate audience for their case?

Re:Don't they have to understand the case? (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44467611)

Because lawyers view the law as some isolated specialization that needs no connection to any other aspect of the world, real or imagined. It is viewed by most lawyers as an amoral disconnected dance in which both sides usually jargon-heavy language to defeat each other, whilst simultaneously baffling laymen. The Law is a ritual that, unfortunately, has real world consequences but as little actual relation to the real world as its high priests can manage.

Re:Don't they have to understand the case? (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44467693)

Because lawyers view the law as some isolated specialization that needs no connection to any other aspect of the world, real or imagined. It is viewed by most lawyers as an amoral disconnected dance in which both sides usually jargon-heavy language to defeat each other, whilst simultaneously baffling laymen. The Law is a ritual that, unfortunately, has real world consequences but as little actual relation to the real world as its high priests can manage.

Jesus said it better. "And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers."

Re:Don't they have to understand the case? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468325)

Jesus is actually referring to the people of the Jewish religious law that had things like don't work on Saturday, keep the feasts/passover, etc, except they had created many times more laws to keep them from getting close to actually breaking the real Jewish law. So the law about working on Saturday then created a host of sublaws and etc to instruct one in how not to break the working on the Sabbath law, to the point that they believed it would be consider work for someone to be healed on Saturday.

Jesus' point was that they had missed the point of the religious law given to them but created loopholes for themselves.

So it is similar to lawyers of today but not quite the same.

Re:Don't they have to understand the case? (0)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44468513)

Jews are very good at finding loopholes. They came up with the idea of the eruv: If your religious law prohibits carrying objects across property boundries on shabbat, then just have everyone agree to a collective ownership agreement every week and thus eliminate the boundries.

There's a company in Israel that makes a gas cooker with a 24-hour ignition timer. Jewish law prohibits lighting a fire on shabbat, but doesn't say anything about buying a machine that will light it if you start the timer on the previous day.

The Law (2)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44468913)

Jesus is actually referring to the people of the Jewish religious law... [and the] many times more laws to keep them from getting close to actually breaking the real Jewish law

So it is similar to lawyers of today but not quite the same.

Except that Israel was a theocracy conquered by Rome. Within the bounds of Roman law, the Jews were permitted their own governance. The Sanhedrin did hear real trials based on Jewish religious law, brought before them by people who could be called lawyers. Even many of the secular laws were religiously colored in some way, much like Christianity sometimes does in our law today.

It's closer than you might think.

(Yes, "The Law" in most passages does refer to the Law of Moses, but interpretations of it were often the law of the land, as well.)

Re:Don't they have to understand the case? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about a year ago | (#44468757)

Jesus said it better. "And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers."

I think you will find that Jesus did not speak medieval English. There is no reason to believe these words are more accurate tha the GP's.

Re:Don't they have to understand the case? (3, Interesting)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44468947)

I think you will find that Jesus did not speak medieval English.

Seriously? So, we just assume that every word in any Bible you and I can read is false, because it isn't in the original language? How about some other translations? (picking them at random)

New International Version (NIV)
46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

Young's Literal Translation (YLT)
46 and he said, `And to you, the lawyers, wo! because ye burden men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves with one of your fingers do not touch the burdens.

Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB)
46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye burden men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

Re:Don't they have to understand the case? (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#44468449)

You couldn't have put it better. Lawyers in court are virtually speaking another language.

Re:Don't they have to understand the case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468629)

They are. Rather like programmers with source code.

Re:Don't they have to understand the case? (3, Funny)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44468959)

Yeah, but something akin to Javascript, where interpreter behavior or execution environment can vary wildly.

Re: Don't they have to understand the case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467637)

It's the job of the lawyers to explain it to them. For example, a jury full of only doctors is likely to side with the doctor over the dead guy's family = not fair = revolution.

Re:Don't they have to understand the case? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467731)

Judge and jury? That is such an outdated concept. Ask Carmen Ortiz about how much she needs judges or juries to do her job. When you have the overwhelming power of disproportionate laws, nobody is ever going to take their chance with a judge or jury!

Fuck, do you know how the government attacks politicians they don't like? They make up a few charges (with enough info to get past a grand jury) and then use this to look into their loan history. Then then find out if they borrowed money from a family member to use as a basis for the loan. If so, then they can charge them with federal loan fraud with a 30 year sentence. Or alternatively, if they are feeling nice, they will just have the FBI interview you. The FBI doesn't allowed electronic monitoring of interviews, and everything in the interview is written down by another agent on a form 302. Later, the FBI claims that something you said was false and charge you with lying to a government agent (probably with multiple counts) which is a 5 year sentence. And the new trick is stacking CFAA charges. The government has completely eliminated the need to have trials with these laws.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467543)

Bullshit. If you were marginally, literate, you'd realize that they use the intent as a crime. This is worse, but it's not nearly as pervasive as what the author ignorantly argues.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467681)

"If you were marginally, literate, you'd..."

Hah hah ha! Marginally, literate, look, who's, talking, pendejo!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Relevance? (5, Interesting)

simonbp (412489) | about a year ago | (#44467567)

What exactly is the relevance to the Manning case? He was convicted of releasing classified information, something it's pretty obvious he did. Regardless of what the information is or how he obtained it, the release of the information is what he was charged with and convicted of doing.

This sounds like someone trying to hitch their own free software wagon to the pro-Manning/Wikileaks train.

Re:Relevance? (5, Interesting)

jeff13 (255285) | about a year ago | (#44467761)

Well, for example - ya don't think that the President of the USA calling him a "hacker", even though all he did was copy and email files, isn't part of the current FUD over "cyber-espionage"?

Re:Relevance? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467823)

It's in TFA.

In the Manning case, the prosecution used Manning’s use of a standard, over 15-year-old Unix program called Wget to collect information, as if it were a dark and nefarious technique. Of course, anyone who has ever called up this utility on a Unix machine, which at this point is likely millions of ordinary Americans, knows that this program is no more scary or spectacular (and far less powerful) than a simple Google search. Yet the court apparently didn’t know this and seemed swayed by it.

The prosecution made a big deal about this during the trial. If you read the transcripts of trial, in particular the opening statement from the prosecution, wget gets mentioned numerous times, including once as a tool that provides a "technical boost" to downloading.

Re:Relevance? (1)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#44467871)

First they came for the wget users,
and I didn't speak out because I didn't use wget

Then they came for the curl users,
and I didn't speak out because I didn't use curl

Then they came for the safari users,
and Apple made enough campaign contributions to get the government to leave them alone [slashdot.org] .

Re:Relevance? (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44468113)

And of course they have to keep him in isolation or he might whistle into a phone and start world war III or order pizza without paying for it or something.

Re:Relevance? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44468333)

No shit they made a big deal out of in during trail. When someone uses a gun to murder someone, they make a big deal out of that. When someone steals a box of chewing gum, the prosecution makes a big deal out of that too.

Or, in other words, something that's central to the act being prosecuted gets mentioned a lot. No fucking duh.

The only scare tactic here is from the tinfoil hat crowd. I never suspected the EFF would stoop to such spin and ignorance.

Re:Relevance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468909)

You sound like a fascist cunt trying to protect a fascist government.

Oh, not just this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467605)

It isn't just black screen with white fonts (THAT YOU TYPE INTO!!!) that are things to be cursed and feared, I also design electronics. Its horrible. Show me a non-consumer-electronics looking box with wires sticking out of it, and I will show you a police bomb squad sealing off a neighborhood. If they saw wires inside of a computer, they surely would blow it up.

Re:Oh, not just this... (3, Informative)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about a year ago | (#44467667)

The TSA thought my titanium solo cookset and matching titanium fork, stuffed into a mesh bag, looked like a bomb made out of "a razor blade and wires." So, they don't even have to be real electronics or wires.

you were good at that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467623)

Burn the digital witch.

Bad example (5, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#44467639)

In the Manning case, technology is relevant. There is no way he would've been able to photocopy that amount of information. The case shows the very real danger of switching to digital without considering the security implications. Furthermore, what Manning did had quite a big impact, the volume of the leak more than explains the harsh charges, there's no need to blame it on the 'hacker scare'.

Re:Bad example (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44468355)

Furthermore, what Manning did had quite a big impact, the volume of the leak more than explains the harsh charges, there's no need to blame it on the 'hacker scare'.

Well, there's an additional factor as well - the digital generation seems to consider almost any charges as harsh, and any punishment but the lightest slap on the wrist as unconscionable. They seem to have no concept of right or wrong, and no grasp of the existence of other people's rights.

Re:Bad example (1)

oreaq (817314) | about a year ago | (#44468993)

the digital generation seems to consider almost any charges as harsh, and any punishment but the lightest slap on the wrist as unconscionable

Ahh! The digital generation! They are not us, they are the others, they are the enemy, the muslim communist nazi terrorists. Meanwhile, in the real world, this story is about the prosecution urging the judge to impose the maximum sentence of 136 years [wsws.org] on Manning. Are you capable of understanding the difference between "lightest slap" and "maximum sentence" or are you completely trapped in the us vs. them model?

Well, there's an additional factor as well

No. The imbecilic witch hunt, that you try to fuel with you post, is not an additional factor. It is the sole topic of TFA.

Re:Bad example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44469045)

We've grown up seeing people pushing paper around and destroying people lives in the quest of profit. Someone downloads a song or exposes the truth and they are destroyed by the media and then locked in a hole.

Re:Bad example (1)

canth2002 (541703) | about a year ago | (#44468419)

The "hacking" laws are written in terms of access, which is contextual. Manning had access to the systems to do the work for which he was employed by the DoD. He did not have access to copy off files and give them Wikileaks. So he did violate those laws.

Access (3, Informative)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44468873)

The "hacking" laws are written in terms of access, which is contextual. Manning had access to the systems to do the work for which he was employed by the DoD. He did not have access to copy off files and give them Wikileaks. So he did violate those laws.

Only if you redefine the word "access".

If I created an account for you on my system, and made you a super-user, you have access to all kinds of stuff... config files, creating users, installing software. This doesn't mean you have my approval, but I did give you access to them.

Redefining the word (in noun form) to mean something else is an exceptionally dangerous road to go down. If someone misreads an order (judicial or executive) and does something unintended, do we really want them becoming a sacrificial scapegoat? Do they not have "access" because they didn't have actual permission? Wouldn't we prefer to nail those who shouldn't have given them access or those who gave bad instructions? Do we just assume that because children aren't allowed in a bedroom that they don't have access to the gun under the pillow? Do we want that legal defense?

"Access" cannot be equated to verbal or paper permission. Access (noun) is the ability to access (verb) something, not the authority to do so.

He accessed something that he wasn't supposed to, but to which he had access. What he did with it was clearly illegal. He shouldn't have been given access, but that's a whole different ball of wax.

Re:Bad example (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468517)

The fact the army digitizes and makes it easy to copy shouldn't be blamed on him though. That problem should be fixed. Putting this guy to death won't solve that problem. It's silly to send manning to prison for any serious length of time. It won't fix the problem or even reduce its chances of happening again.

No computer for Manning, no access to 500,000 docs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44467671)

Bad example.

Without a computer, there's no way Manning could have access to hundreds of thousands of documents, nor the ability to make copies of them, and then distribute them.

A better example would be getting computer charges piled onto a standard embezzlement charge.

wget (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about a year ago | (#44467717)

In the Manning case, the prosecution used Manning's use of a standard, more than 15-year-old Unix program called Wget to collect information, as if it were a dark and nefarious technique.

Maybe it's not quite that, but if it's used to download information that shouldn't be collected by an individual, it certainly bears watching. One would hope that the military now flags anyone using it on classified information. Though of course there are plenty of other ways to collect such information, or to hide the fact that wget is being used.

Re:wget (5, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | about a year ago | (#44467909)

In the Manning case, the prosecution used Manning's use of a standard, more than 15-year-old Unix program called Wget to collect information, as if it were a dark and nefarious technique.

Maybe it's not quite that, but if it's used to download information that shouldn't be collected by an individual, it certainly bears watching.

Dude, what the fuck?

wget is a web client - you know, like the one you're using to read this comment. It bears watching just like any other web client bears watching.

Now, one could argue it might profit them more to pay attention to what data they make available to web clients.... But that would be all... I dunno, sensible.

Re:wget (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about a year ago | (#44468163)

wget is a web client - you know, like the one you're using to read this comment. It bears watching just like any other web client bears watching.

But wget is a special web client in two ways:

1. It doesn't display what it downloads, at least not in a human-friendly form. So its most likely purpose is to locally store the data it's downloading. (cURL fits this criterion as well.)
2. It is designed to be capable of collecting large amounts of data at once.

Now, one could argue it might profit them more to pay attention to what data they make available to web clients.... But that would be all... I dunno, sensible.

True as well. The web servers should be either on an intranet air-gap-separated from the Internet, or at least behind a good firewall. And in either case those with access should be searched for data being taken out. But that doesn't mean the use of wget doesn't deserve special attention above and beyond most other web clients.

Re:wget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468223)

You have the wrong attitude. Wget can be used as a web spider. This is a simple technique that can be implemented in any language with a HTTP library. "Keeping watch" on wget is like keeping watch on SSH because it can be used to tunnel encrypted connections except even less sane or useful.

Re:wget (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year ago | (#44468303)

wget shouldn't even be on the machines capable of accessing the classified information. In fact, the reason it was brought up was because it wasn't on the computer and Manning placed it there and then used it to download the files he took. The importance of installing it and using it means that he couldn't have accidentally clicked something and all the sudden had all this information. Manning purposely set out to discover the information, download it to his system, then remove it from the facility and eventually to wikileaks. This is something that had to be intentionally done.

Re:wget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468271)

You laugh, but I've encountered AV programs imposed by employers that insist on quarantining wget as a "hacker tool". Never mind that they hired me essentially as a "hacker". Of course if you use curl, or build it yourself and name it something else, it's not hard to work around such things. Or even better, disable the AV and install a better one...

Re:wget (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#44467967)

The issue is that half of the charges were a copy of the other half with "using a computer" tacked on the end.

He was charged with stealing information. Then he was charged with stealing information using a computer. So, he was convicted of both and is facing double the jail time.

Noobs. (1, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44467975)

It's called a "Threat Narrative". It's why there were no WMDs. There never was even suspicion of WMDs. There was only the need for a Threat Narrative to convince the people to let the armed forces off it's chain.

Vietnam? Threat Narrative. McCarthyism? Threat Narrative.... The Holocaust? Threat Narrative.
Require Evidence before belief -- That's rational. Always disbelieve the Threat Narrative.
Don't Fall For It, not even once.

Re:Noobs. (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#44468045)

Policy is always separate from presentation, that's what people don't understand. For all I know, Iraq, Vietnam etc were based on perfectly sound foreign policy decisions, but the problem is they couldn't be sold to the people that way. 'We need to control areas with strategic energy resources' doesn't get support the same way as 'they have nukes and we are running out of time'.

Re:Noobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468293)

For all I know, Iraq, Vietnam etc were based on perfectly sound foreign policy decisions, but the problem is they couldn't be sold to the people that way. 'We need to control areas with strategic energy resources' doesn't get support the same way as 'they have nukes and we are running out of time'.

What "perfectly sound reason" could there possibly be for that? "If we don't go and kill a bunch of people then gasoline might get more expensive which would reduce GDP?" I'm sorry, I don't see how exchanging people's blood and lives for money is justifiable in the slightest.

The free market works, assholes. If gas is going to end up costing more, then it's probably because it should cost more to reflect the actual costs in the supply chain.

Re:Noobs. (2)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#44468079)

It's called a "Threat Narrative". It's why there were no WMDs. There never was even suspicion of WMDs. There was only the need for a Threat Narrative to convince the people to let the armed forces off it's chain.

Vietnam? Threat Narrative. McCarthyism? Threat Narrative.... The Holocaust? Threat Narrative.

Require Evidence before belief -- That's rational. Always disbelieve the Threat Narrative.

Don't Fall For It, not even once.

I'm sorry, but you're implying the holocaust was a sham used to justify our entrance into WW2?

If so, you're a moron on several levels.

Re:Noobs. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468229)

Pretty sure that he is implying the Nazi regime was able to bring about the Holocaust through the threat narrative used to paint the Jews and others as some sort of menacing threat to their state. The details of the concentration camps weren't discovered until lonnnnggg after the US joined the allies in the war, which obviously would have happened one way or the other once Pearl Harbour occurred heh.

Re:Noobs. (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44468579)

Other way around. He was implying the holocaust was justified using a threat narrative. Even the Nazis couldn't just declare time for a bit of genocide. They had to first build up some level of public support by spreading stories about the Jewish 'threat' - they told stories of how Jews sabotaged the first world war leading to Germany's humiliating defeat, accused Jewish bankers of deliberately crippling the economy with hyperinflation for their own profit, and warned that with the high birth rate in the Jewish population their inferior race of lower intelligence would take over all of Germany and hold the country back culturally, intellectually and economically. Thus they invented this threat narrative - one powerful enough that once the government began forcing Jews into ghettos and shipping them off to 'relocation' centers, public objection and protest was limited enough to contain with standard police-state measures.

If you want an American example, there is the Japanese American Internment, in which the US government placed more than a hundred thousand American citizens of Japanese ancestry into camps out of a fear that their ethnicity may cause them to remain loyal to the 'country of their people' and lead them to sabotage the war effort. The conditions in some camps were little better than the German concentration camps.

The incident is regarded as something of a awkward moment in history now - the standard narrative of the mighty US defeating the evil of the Nazis and their Japanese allies is lessened by the idea that the US at the time not only had active eugenics programs but a policy of rounding up citizens of undesireable ethnicity and locking them into poorly-built concentration camps. People really don't like to face a history that isn't made of good-vs-evil.

Re:Noobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468281)

The Holocaust wasn't a threat narrative. It wasn't even known to exist until after the US entered the war, and it wasn't used as a pretext to entering the war.

That it looked imminent that the UK was going to lose the war combined with German U-boat attacks on US supply vessels that were supplying the UK with weapons and materials is the justification for entering the war. In retrospect had the US not been war-shy, Germany could have been defeated much earlier, protracting the war and saving much in civilian and military casualties, and preventing the worst of the unknown about atrocities of the Holocaust.

Even if you are so stupid as to be a Holocaust denier, it takes an extra special double-dusting of stupidity to claim that something that wasn't known about at the time could be used as a pretext or "Threat Narrative".

Re:Noobs. (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#44468475)

Tell it to this guy [wikipedia.org]

Re:Noobs. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year ago | (#44468331)

Too many people who opposed the Iraq war believed there could have been WMDs and/or the ability to produce them in Iraq for it to just be a threat narrative. The UNSCOM and UNMOVIC quarterly reports discuss this quite well leading up to the war. The head of one of those organizations just before the war was one of the biggest and most cited anti-war critics around.

Your claim that there was never the suspicion of WMDs in Iraq is just completely wrong. You can look up the reports, they are still online and open to the public.

Re:Noobs. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468501)

Nobody who was awake and rational believed the WMD claims for two seconds. The fact that large chunks of our media bought it is a shameful commentary on how frightened, stupid, and credulous our media was after 9/11.
  The whole aluminum tubes fiasco? The forged yellowcake documents? Claims of huge stockpiles of VX left over from 1992, when VX has a shelf life of six months? The claims that you could somehow hide the entire factory complex required to produce the hundreds of gallons of refined chemical weapons you'd need for a single battlefield use, on the backs of a few trucks? Lying about the weapons inspections and implying that the inspectors were incompetent or lying when they contradicted the government's new line?
  All you had to do was pay attention and you could see it was a sham, right from the start.

Re:Noobs. (0)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year ago | (#44468557)

Nobody who was awake and rational believed the WMD claims for two seconds. The fact that large chunks of our media bought it is a shameful commentary on how frightened, stupid, and credulous our media was after 9/11.

Remain stupid and ignorant all you want, It is well documented that Clinton and his group believed Iraq had WMDs and as I pointed out, the UNSOM and UNMOVIC reports state the possibilities as well. All of which is open and publicly availible on the internet and there is no reason you do not look it up.

The whole aluminum tubes fiasco? The forged yellowcake documents? Claims of huge stockpiles of VX left over from 1992, when VX has a shelf life of six months? The claims that you could somehow hide the entire factory complex required to produce the hundreds of gallons of refined chemical weapons you'd need for a single battlefield use, on the backs of a few trucks?

I know you have your fantasy and that fantasy is shared by a lot of uninformed people who are more politically bent then logically, but as I said, look it up. Or are you somehow going to claim that the entire UN and the weapons inspection teams that opposed the war was in cahoots with Bush and company? As I said, look the information up. The UN still hosts the reports and makes them availible to anyone.

Lying about the weapons inspections and implying that the inspectors were incompetent or lying when they contradicted the government's new line?

You mean when the inspectors said one thing in their official reports that you can read for yourself and another thing in their outside opposition to the war? This is 2013, there is absolutely no reason at all for you or anyone else who give the slightest damn about any of this to be so misinformed.

All you had to do was pay attention and you could see it was a sham, right from the start.

I thinking you are standing in front of a mirror and saying that to yourself. Note that I did not say Iraq had WMDs, I said plenty of people thought they did or could have. We didn't start the war because they had the weapons, we started the war because we couldn't verify they didn't have them and we feared what would happen if they were passed to terrorist. Bush did believe they were there, but that is another story altogether. The botton line is that plenty of people thought Iraq had WMDs or retained the capabilities to produce them before the war. Even Vladimir Putin though this was true but didn't think war was neccesary because Iraq was being contained.

I love the EFF (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#44468065)

The EFF is to computer and internet rights as what the NRA is to run rights and the defense of the 2nd amendment.

I would love to see the EFF and NRA team up! *grin*

Re:I love the EFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468233)

NERFFA?

Re:I love the EFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468311)

The gov doesn't take too kindly of having its powers nerfed.

Re:I love the EFF (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44468409)

So we'd have a right to computer-controlled guns? Sounds awesome.

More FUD from the EFF? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44468407)

"Luckily the Massachusetts Supreme Court tossed out the warrant after EFF got involved, but who knows what would have happened had we not been there."

My irony meter is pegged. Now the EFF is using the same logic that the government is using. If we hadn't been watching out for your interests, who knows what bad things might have happened.

Donations cheerfully accepted.

Re:More FUD from the EFF? (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#44468749)

"Luckily the Massachusetts Supreme Court tossed out the warrant after EFF got involved, but who knows what would have happened had we not been there."

My irony meter is pegged.
Now the EFF is using the same logic that the government is using. If we hadn't been watching out for your interests, who knows what bad things might have happened.

Donations cheerfully accepted.

Everyone uses that line. It's hyperbole, but there's still some truth to it. Here are a few examples. Who knows what would have happened if we had not removed that cancer. Who knows what would have happened if we had not provided lawyers free of charge to someone who otherwise couldn't afford one. Who knows what would have happened if we had not illegally wiretapped everyone in the world.

Here a little side note for the day. If you live above the poverty threshold then that whole "If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning, if you wish." means you have to pay for your lawyer. It's no wonder so many people settle with the government when the alternative is having to sell everything they own just to pay their attorney.

Other Extreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44468807)

There is the other extreme. I remember a SlashDot story long ago about a judge who ridiculed someone suing for spamming damages with the comment "why not just delete the offending email?"
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