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Comments

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When Spies and Crime-Fighters Squabble Over How They Spy On You

Endymion Re:So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (120 comments)

You may want to read that last line again...

I'm not actually advocating an amendment; I'm suggesting that if powers were *actually needed* (then the public would likely be willing to work with the intelligence and law-enforcement communities. The fact that it's so obviously NOT an "actual need", that these unamerican cowards don't even TRY the lawful route and instead jump straight to dissembling and obfuscation betrays their guilty mind. A "proof-by-contradiction", more or less.

2 days ago
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When Spies and Crime-Fighters Squabble Over How They Spy On You

Endymion So why aren't they proposiing an Amendment? (120 comments)

A law enforcement agency invented or discovered a new technique, that can help them in their job? Great! It's good to hear that they are exercising their creatived talents and advancing their field. As long as the new methods are legal and constitutional, there is no problem. If, on the other hand, it croses the constitutional limits in small ways, that's understandable - time change, and if the proposal is reaonable, the constitution can change with it.

So the simple solution is to see if an Amendment can be passed to allow it. Worries about criminals finding out aren't relevant - you can' t use it in a court anyway. As for worries about the NSA or CIA flying in to classify it, well, it's a LOT harder to put that geenie back in the bottle once amendment debates start happening. Even in the worse case where this particular case is ruined from the public disclosure, the investment towards free use of a new category of tools in the future could easly be worth the setback.

Now, I'm sure a lot of you are thinking I'm being sarcastic (or delusional). It's not like such an amendment would ever have a chance at passing, right? Well... that's hard to say. I would probably be against it as initially proposed, but that's not relevant - by making the proposal, and opening up the topic for public discussion and public input, instead of working in secret, maybe we - the citizens - can negotiatiate with our neighbors and figure out a way to allow this new law-enforcement technique. How can we know how such a debate would go? Yes, it's a risk, but so is working in secret, hoping nobody finds out about some new technique.

Maybe it just needs some ground rules about when/where it can be used. Maybe we could allow it if it had some sort of oversight/watchdog group. Maybe we can invent some new type of social compromise; after all, it's a new technique - maybe it needs a new way of fitting into our legal system.

On the other hand, maybe...

...it only needs a warrant.

2 days ago
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U.S. Democrats Propose Legislation To Ban Internet Fast Lanes

Endymion Re:Just do SOMETHING (190 comments)

Stop right there.
Some random telecommunications engineer and a lobbyist ain't the same fucking thing.

Ain't no fukcing ballpark neither.
Now, look, maybe your way of judging bias differes from mine, but, you know,
having some personal biases and having a job that literally tries to biasing people
for a 3rd party ain't the same fucking ballpark.

It ain't the same league.
It ain't even the same fucking sport.

about a month and a half ago
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N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Endymion Re:Too many outdated talking points and stereotype (325 comments)

I think there's a slight misscommunication here (probably on my part).

The instability in NK isn't only from a change in attitude, though that HAS been significant in recent years. The instability comes from the fact that it's getting harder and harder to ignore the *starving population* and *rapidly failing "industry"*. Even the strongest True Believer in the Kim family regime has to be doing an increasinly absurd amount of justification. The fact that some (still VERY small, but growing) portion of the population has started to look outside that carefully controlled box is a byproduct of this decay. There are many parts of NK that are really only holding together by the thinest of threads, and that imbalance is harder to support when you run out of natural resources and productiivty to pillage.

Hence the problem for China: if NK went full rebellion, tthat would sugest there's a certain critical mass of people within NK that could handle stuff like rebuilding their infrastructure, at least in principle. After the dust settles, go in with some UN people to offer a bit of financial or industrial help while they bootstarp. As bad as revolutions are, that situation at least has a "reasonable" chance at a stable, not-horribly-expensive-for-China outcome.

Unfortunately, as you note, there ISN'T enough support for a traditional rebellion. It's a big change in attitude for NK, but you can't erase that much indoctroination overnight. They likely will need a nation's worht of "deprogrammers"/exit-councelers or somesuch, which is *not* something China (or anybody) really wants to be suck providing.

about 5 months ago
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N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Endymion Too many outdated talking points and stereotypes (325 comments)

So many people here obviously haven't learned anything new about the NK situation in the last 10 yeears, or even the last 5.

Basically any real "stability" in the country died with Kim Jong-il. It probably collapsed much earlier, though that gets harder to pin down the further you go back. The key point, though, is what once was a more-or-less unified group of fanatics has slowly come to realize that there's another world out there, and the reality of what their leaders are has become harder and harder to ignore.

Doubt this? Think there's still some kind of politics or ideology at work here, making NK the same "annoyance" they were 10 - or even 5 - years ago? Then watch this brave NK woman publicly confront a soldier, shame him, and chase him off .

  A handful of years ago that would have been suicidal - or worse.

Oh, and China? The politics of the past doesn't matter. What they know now is that there are a VERY large number of people - mostly decent people, most likely - that have lived their whole lives in what was, more or less, a cult. And they know that there is a very real risk that those "[sometimes former] cult members" could become "starving refugees" almost overnight.

Even if they wanted to, that's a crisis on a scale not even China can sweep under a rug. They are facing the possiblity of being neighbors to a country with a small number of fanatics/old-guard that no longer have real power (enough to be a problem, though), a MASSIVE numbre of people who really need some sort of deprogramming/cult-exit-councelor, and some unknown mix of economic assistance, knowledge assistance/guidance, etc. If they end up with an incredible amount of luck, the people of NK might just be able to so they can bootstrap their country into something aproaching sustainable.

I suspect that China, more than anything, wishes they could simply get rid of this mess.

about 5 months ago
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Death By Metadata: The NSA's Secret Role In the US Drone Strike Program

Endymion Re:Slashdot will hate me for saying this. (202 comments)

I have read the news, and while there are quite a few spots around the world - some of them islamic. None of them are particularly threatening. We have a military that drawfs the militaries of the rest of the world combined.

Or are you saying that the fine men and women in our various armed forces are so incompetent that they couldn't defend against an attack from a far smaller, far weaker enemy? (not to mention all those impressive tool and weaponss we've invented) Such a position would be rather insulting to those serving to defend this country.

To suggest that any small terrorist group is any kind of actual threat implies that either 1) you have no idea wthat you're talking about ("the fool"), 2) you are unable to tell the difference between political rhetoric and a an actual threat of attack ("the easily frightened"), or 3) you're trying to scare other people with bogeymen in an effort to push another agenda ("the shill").

Maybe you'll find something if you look.

You know what I see in the news/etc? Certain US agencies and elected officials breaking their oaths to the constitution, spreading panic to get what they want, and generally doing their best to ruing this country's reputation.

So ou're right - we should keep up with the news and learn from the real threat: the unamerican traitors that are trying to destroy the very things this country if founded upon.

about 6 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

Endymion Re:And that's exactly what I asked for. (2219 comments)

Please, go watch the talk I mentioned in some other posts.

You really, REALLY need to listen to the lessons in the talk. The the current "You'll get over it" attitude hurt fark a lot, and it will hurt you too. The talk covers the issue VERY well, though, and there is still time to reverse course by following the lesson the talk presents. They clearly show a way you CAN intoduce a new set of features like your beta in a way that doesn't scare existing users.

In all seriousness, this will be the most important hour of video you'll watch in years. Learn from those that made mistakes in the past... and were kind enough to *discuss* those mistakes in public so we can avoide repeating the failures!

about 6 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

Endymion Re:And that's exactly what I asked for. (2219 comments)

As I said (late) in the previous thread, the people over at Fark gave an incredible talk on this very issue, after figuring out how to recover from their "You'll get over it" incident. It is literally the perfect discussion of the ways /. is failing hard right now.

As you say, it's about a fundamental miss-understanding of relationship, by thinking of your members as an "audience", and not peers. Even worse, they are peers that are only here because it's the current familiar ploace to "hang out" at. Piss them off - or even simply surprise them the wrong way and they will simply go hang out somewhere else.

(*sigh* - the /. staff doing the beta *REALLY* needs to watch this talk ASAP, because they are currently doing basically *every* single bad move discussed in the talk. Yes, you there, slashdot staff - drop what you're doing and watch this talk right now. There's a good chance you know the incident I'm refering to with the phrase "You'll get over it", and you need to listen to these lessons from those that walked the path your're currently on. You still have time to reverse course, if you change right now)

about 6 months ago
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Update on the March of Progress: How Slashdot's New Look Is Shaping Up

Endymion /. Staff, anybody interested - please watch this t (237 comments)

To the /. staff creating this new "beta" project, and anybody else concerned with the change:

You need to watch this talk from NOTACON 8 by Joe Peacock of fark.com. It is an amazing pice of introspection about how they seriously pissed off their users with a new design, - costing them most of their readership (aka "income").

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

The issue is one of "buy-in", and how it doesn't matter if a change is actually objectively "better" - the problem is that you should never surprise your users. WIth any social "hang out spot", people are going there more because they are used to it and just want to "hang out" in a familiar place.

Even if a change is a true improvement (which is rare, as most changes are subjective anyway), forcing ANY big change is disruptive.

As an example, imaging you went to your favorite resturant, expecting to get that cool sandwitch that you order every time you go there. One day, you show up, and they've changed the wallpaper, re-arranged the tables, and worst of all, the entire sandwitch section of the menu has been replaced with gourmet pasta dishes.

Maybe you like pasta. Maybe it actually would be a higher quality meal. Maybe re-arranging the tables allws them to fit more people in so you don't have to wait when there is a crowd. Unfortuately, none of that matters - at a base emotional level, you're still angry because you weren't able to get that sandwitch you were hoping for.

There are ways to introduce changes: add them picemeal, opt-in. That way, people can warm up to the new features on their own time. The talk examines these methods in more detail.

So i implore the /. staff to watch that talk and listen to its lessons - and warnings, because neither a literal nor figurative "Youll get over it" is the correct way of handling this situation.

about 6 months ago
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Edward Snowden Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

Endymion Re:Justice is needed to show the Union still stand (343 comments)

Yah, they could use an editor. Do note, though, that many of the authors have been at this for years now; the weary may be showing a bit. I certainly noticed a bit at this VERY interesting talk by two of the authors (Drake, Binney, with Jesselyn Radack also speaking) from a year ago at 29C3 . They're certainly not practiced public speakers, either.... but hearing theory stories told first-person more than makes up for any such deficency O.O

about 6 months ago
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Edward Snowden Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

Endymion Re:Justice is needed to show the Union still stand (343 comments)

You'll note that the only link I provided that brought up "phone metadata" disagrees with that assessment, but that's not really important. As I'm sure you noticed, I'm talking about a larger problem than any one court case, about how we seem to have a status-quo where patent 4th Amendment violations are ignored. When writs of assistance are regularly used to justify mass collection[*] without specific warants, we're obviously not using the *Constitution* any more, and the SCOTUS isn't particularly relevant.

I'm sure you have some better response for THINTHREAD-vs-TRAILBLAZER and the NSA's role in 9/11, right? Instead of just projecting more onto Snowden? Or are your too busy masturbating over your assination fantasies like so many other NSA-apologists seem to be doing recently?

[*] Note: do NOT bother replying with the usual NSA doublespeak. If they get to redefine "collecting" to to mean "only if we choose to log that we looked at it, even though it's in our database", then I get to redefine "protest" into all kinds of fun things. Words have meanings, and you know it.

about 6 months ago
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Edward Snowden Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

Endymion Justice is needed to show the Union still stands (343 comments)

As interesting as Snowden is, this is a distraction from the more important (and probably more urgent) question of... when are the criminals at the NSA going to be brought to justice?

Also, when do we fire the people that sold out our actual spy talent - with their far more targeted, far more 4th Amendment compatible tools like THINTHREAD - instead of continuing to give a paycheck to the assholes that let 9/11 happen so they could keep funneling money to their contractor friends to develop the far more expensive TRAILBLAZER? The families of the victims that died do this willful neglegence will probably want to file civil lawsuits, too.

A cornerstone of the very idea of "justice" is equal protection before the law, and these people need to get their day in court. If they do, then maybe we can start to put this feckless imbroglio behind us and move on, with only the usual political drama to worry about.

On the other hand, if we fail to accomplish this task - if we fail to obtain some basic symbol that the Constitution is still respected as the highest law of the land - then we've really given up any last pretense that this is any kind of civilized nation with a social contract.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Does Edward Snowden Deserve?

Endymion Re:It might be an unpopular opinion... (822 comments)

no, what Snowden did was to make the crimes of his superiors public, aka "whistleblowing". At no point does "civil disobedience" enter into this.

The only chaning of laws that have even been mentioned by him is to respect the constitution. Do you really want to claim that respecting the constitution - the highest law of the land - is civil disobedience?

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Does Edward Snowden Deserve?

Endymion Re:It might be an unpopular opinion... (822 comments)

It's a good thing, then, that Snowden - nor anybody actually following this saga - is claiming that Snowden is engaging in "civil disobedience".

Snowden is a whistleblower.

Furthermore, the espionage act (which he is currently charged under) would NOT allow him to defend himself in court, so these cries that he should have stayed and faced our legal system are only asking for a show trial similar to those found in the Star Chamber.

So which are you? "badly misinformed" or "NSA shill"?

about 6 months ago
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Year In Communications: NSA Revelations Overshadow Communications Breakthroughs

Endymion Re:Uh, okay? (61 comments)

We've been slowly moving in that direction for quite some time now. Often, when some of those small, individual steps have been noticed and discussed, the discussion tends to (understandably) focus on the declne itself and the problems it brings.

Unfortunately, this almost always ignores another slowly-amplifying aspect of the problem: the gradual conditioning (Pavlov-style) of the people responsible. Each time we - The People - allow abuse of power to go unpunished or a another roadblock placed in the way of our Rights, the politician responsible is trained to do it again. We are very slowly traiing our politicians to believe that nobody will actually stop them. Even worse, we reward some of it, such as when we give paid vacations instead of years-in-prison whenever the police beat somebody up.

So now we have a problem on our hands: we've taught some people that they are above the law. We've taught that the risk of being caught is so close to zero that such concepts don't apply to them. When you have people that no longer fear reprecussions, there is no incentive for them to change. An argument could be made that it would even be a rational decision, given how reliable the historical record has been.

I strongly suspect that we won't see real change until this feedback-loop has been disrupted. Once the usual human level of fear has been re-established, we could see improvments quite quickly, but it has to be real - they have to truly fear that they could be held accountable for their own actions, in some way.

Hypothetically, there are a number of ways such a fear could be created. Traditionally, things like "being voted out of office" and "jail" have been used to decent effect. While I really wish such things were still realistic goals, I fear we have left those opportunities behind in the distant past.

Unfortunately, I fear there only one thing left that can break through the years of conditioning: the sight of one of their peers losing their head to the Guillotine[1] the angry mob constructed for the occasion. It might only take one - fear of that magnitude can shift attitudes amazinly fast. As a pacifist, though, I loath the idea[2] of such a tool could be necessary. There's still time for the players involved to choose one of the better alternatives.

As time goes on, the probability of some person(s) snapping and deciding to "fix" this mess French Revolution style is sounding far more realistic than a bunch of politicians suddenly ignoring years of conditioning and flipping sides, all on their own...

[1] : or the modern substitute
[2]: ...and really really really hope I am wrong about this

about 7 months ago
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Letter to "Extended Family" Assures That NSA Will "Weather This Storm"

Endymion Re:I don't see how prosecutions can be avoided (286 comments)

I think you're probably strongly underestimating just how bad the *accusation* of such a charge can be,; especially with how easy it is to plant any sort of incrimnating file. Really, though, America's panic over that entire topic is a topic for another thread.

the story is now that you've payed someone to keep quiet

Of course, THAT obviously-wrong solution to being blackmailed has been know for a long time. As Shakespeare put it:

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: --

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!"

It may have bad consequences, and it may nto even work, but irunning fighting the blackmailer is still a much, much better option than giving in to what they want, which only invites more of the same.

about 10 months ago
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Letter to "Extended Family" Assures That NSA Will "Weather This Storm"

Endymion Re:I don't see how prosecutions can be avoided (286 comments)

Why are you all pre-supposing that the threat has to be about something you actually did? If $ENEMY calls you with threats to reveal that secret child-pornography studio you have hidden away in your house, it doesn't matter if it isn't actually true - they can still ruin your life with just the accusation. Really, blackmail doesn't rely on you on something you did that you try to hide, but instead preys upon people who have something to lose, such as your family or job.

A traditional way isn't even to go after *YOU*. They just see to it that your parents -or kids start losing their jobs or are subject toother threats. To quote from a particularly well-written reddit post (which everybody should read!)

With this tech in place, the government doesn't have to put you in jail. .... they can email you a note saying that they can prove your dad is cheating on his taxes. Or they can threaten to get your dad fired. All you have to do is... report back every week [and rat out your friends], or you dad might lose his job. So you do. You turn in your friends and even though they try to keep meetings off grid, you're reporting on them to protect your dad.

[...]

Everyone walking around is scared. They can't talk to anyone else because they don't know who is reporting for the government. Hell, at one time YOU were reporting for the government. Maybe they just want their kid to get through school. Maybe they want to keep their job. Maybe they're sick and want to be able to visit the doctor. It's always a simple reason. Good people always do bad things for simple reasons.

about 10 months ago
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Comcast Working On 'Helpful' Copyright Violation Pop-ups

Endymion Re:let me get this straight (284 comments)

The copyright infringement problem you describe is only the beginning. The long-term flaw in this plan, I suspect, is that they are claiming to be able to detect a class of "illegal"/"bad" data.

In the early days of the net, this kind of detection was a major part of the pornography debate in addition to the usual copyright stuff. A major defense (one I suspect lead to the creation of the "safe harbor" provisions in the DMCA) was that it is patently unreasonable to force an ISP to decide the legality of each bit that moves across their network. Comparisons were made to the Common Carriers, etc. The consensus seems to be more or less that "safe harbor" idea - that it was only reasonable to request the ISP act after the fact, instead of trying to make them invent some sort of magic "evil bit" detector.

If an ISP wants to ignore all that, though, and volunteer that they have such detection capability... they might be asking for a long line of lawsuits for each item they *failed* to warn about. Even better: it's all the excuse the anti-porn (or anti-whatever) busybodies need to impose their ideas of a "child safe" internet. After all, if you can detect something complicated like copyright infringement, detecting pornography must be trivial.

TL;DR - their lawyer must be having a seizure over the potential liability exposure they seem to be asking for

about a year ago
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Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash

Endymion Re:Ecuador (284 comments)

"The Media" is overwhelmingly dominated by corporations, and it is not just Americas problem. Those corporations are overwhelmingly interconnected with the interests of a vast array of other unrelated businesses, be it just advertising revenue or outright arms of the same corporation. The mass corporate media is using FUD/muddying the waters/dumbing down just enough to make the majority of voters for political reasons, they are doing so because it is good business for other arms of their corporation and their partners.
[...snip...]

TL;DR version: "The Media is just a few more Lords. It's what we get for letting our government degrade back into feudalism."

about a year ago

Submissions

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Updating Social Sites Requires Member Buy-in

Endymion Endymion writes  |  about 6 months ago

Endymion (12816) writes "In 2007, the forum known as "Fark" suprisd their members with a new site design. This caused a larger portion of their membership to walk away. Many people blame the a staff member's choice to throw gasoline on an already badly-flaming discussion thread and posting the now legendary dismissal "You'll get over it". Years later, though, Fark staffer Joe Peacock gave a talk discussing what went wrong: they scared their members away by not involving them in the upgrade process, disrupting what people saw as their "hang-out spot". The lessons in this talk are something every "social" site needs to understand — the site needs its membes, and the members don't need the site; disrupt their habits at your own peril!"
Link to Original Source
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Label printer recomendations?

Endymion Endymion writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pdkl95 writes "I have been using some small, simple desktop label printers for quite a while now. Unfortunately, it's rapidly becoming clear that my printing needs are for something far more "industrial strength". Several of the label printers have failed, and they never really had the management features I wanted.
So, does anybody have recommendations on label printers, that can hold up to a quite heavy load? The catch is that I'm printing to them from CUPS under Linux, and it seems like specialty-printers are a windows-centric field."

Journals

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"Feckless Imbroglio"

Endymion Endymion writes  |  about 6 months ago

Do you remember which person was such a miserable failure? While Google made their search engine a lot more resiliant to the simple tricks such as that Google Bomb, I suspect many of you immediately knew exactly to whom I was refering. The phrase "miserable failure" are not only an amusing technical trick - it is also a powerful sound-bite that served as a useful reminder, social identifying mark, and common rallying cry.

I propose we use a similar "catch-phrase" for the NSA when discussing the mess they have caused: feckless imbroglio. The unusual word-choice is intended as a non-technical discussion point, as far too many people are alienated by the technical nature inherent to any discussion of the NSA. It may not do much, and it's highly unlikely to grab the "I'm feeling lucky" button, but slogans, brand-names, and catch-phrases can reach some of those people that are turned off by spying, computers, or other technical discussions.

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