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Was Microsoft Forced To Pay $136M In Back Taxes In China?

Etherwalk Breaking Agreement With Microsoft (42 comments)

Sure Microsoft; after you sign this memorandum where you enter into binding agreement to fork over payment for all costs associated with the audit, plus an additional non-refundable fee of 6139000¥ plus a 31390¥ retainer.

Costs to Include payment for some additional vacation time for management and senior staff and the cost of purchasing additional computers, server equipment, software, and gov't employees, labor, overtime hours desired to assist with the audit, and other ordinary expenses.

It actually sounds like Xinhau broke some kind of law or agreement here, just from the way this went down.

Specifically, they disclosed the company by describing it without ever saying its name. They knew everyone would figure out who the company was. But they never would have done that unless they were prohibited from telling you the company. So they broke whatever was prohibiting them from doing that.

It's unlikely Microsoft will sue them for it (not impossible, but unlikely), but no Western company will ever trust that agreement or law again.

This is a classic example of a really *Stupid* move to make yourself seem good in the short term that makes other people less willing to deal with you in the future.

4 hours ago
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Sony Pictures Computer Sytems Shut Down After Ransomware Hack

Etherwalk Congratulations... (153 comments)

#GOP has just become a top-10 target for US Offensive cyber-operations...

2 days ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Etherwalk Re:Wrong (1070 comments)

The grand jury found no reason to even send this to trial. Cut and dry case of justifiable self defense. END of story.

No, the grand jury found on probable cause. So it was not more likely than not that he was guilty, based on what they heard.

That does *not* mean it was a cut and dry case of justifiable self-defense, or that the officer was innocent.

Found *no* probable cause. Can we get an "edit for typo" button already?

2 days ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Etherwalk Wrong (1070 comments)

The grand jury found no reason to even send this to trial. Cut and dry case of justifiable self defense. END of story.

No, the grand jury found on probable cause. So it was not more likely than not that he was guilty, based on what they heard.

That does *not* mean it was a cut and dry case of justifiable self-defense, or that the officer was innocent.

2 days ago
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How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War

Etherwalk How much of an edge (115 comments)

Those that the US wants to fight with robots will just do the same and everybody will be a lot less safe as a result.

I am not sure I understand your logic. Are you saying that our enemies will refrain from using robots unless we go first?

The real trick is in maintaining the right amount of edge. An unrestricted arms war costs the world economy trillions of dollars and results in destructive capability that is even more disproportionate to our ability to use it responsibly than there is now. During the cold war, America was sold on the idea that the Russians had nuclear stockpiles that were much bigger and more advanced than the reality turned out to be, and as a result America spent an ungodly fortune making more and more nukes. If both sides had made a few hundred nukes each, that would have been all you needed--instead there are many thousands of devices, which not only wasted money to build but which mean the world is inherently less safe.

Unfortunately, robots are harder. Once they get good enough they can create a decisive advantage in a variety of land, sea, and air combat scenarios. There are not a lot of comparable military advances that have come about in the last few centuries.

As importantly, they decrease the political risk in war-making for superpowers. If you are risking none of your own people when you invade a country, you are much, much, much more likely to invade.

2 days ago
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Highly Advanced Backdoor Trojan Cased High-Profile Targets For Years

Etherwalk Re:Three Letter Agencies? (141 comments)

Hello USA , Hello UK, Hello any of the usual suspects. Why are Americans so blind to the fact their nation does this shit to?

USA has not yet been caught using its intelligence apparatus with a major aim of industrial espionage, as opposed to its state interests. It should be doing that as a matter of game theory, to incentivize a phased and negotiated reduction in attacks, but I haven't seen evidence that it does. But there is a great deal of evidence of state-sponsored attacks coming out of China against many, many American institutions.

It doesn't mean the USA doesn't do it--but it does make China a more likely suspect.

3 days ago
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Highly Advanced Backdoor Trojan Cased High-Profile Targets For Years

Etherwalk Nation uses malware to spy on ISP Customers... (141 comments)

Among other things, they were infecting ISP machines to monitor specific customers.

Anyway, guesses on the responsible party? China, Israel, Russia?

3 days ago
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The Software Big Oil's PR Firm Uses To "Convert Average Citizens"

Etherwalk It's a PR Firm... (106 comments)

Their job is to lie by saying things that may be true, technically. (At least when they're dealing with entrenched interests working against the public good to maximize profit.)

about a week ago
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Congress Suggests Moat, Electronic Fence To Protect White House

Etherwalk Re:Moat? Electric fence? (212 comments)

They're just pointing out the hypocrisy of politicians being protected by guns and fences, while telling citizens they can't have guns and that a fence isn't needed on our nations borders (despite cartels and bad guys with known terrorist ties crossing daily).

Downtown Washington is littered with dozens of federal buildings, each having its own set of trained security and metal detectors and the like. We spend a fortune on it.

about a week ago
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UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

Etherwalk Contracts (306 comments)

I agree. The other thing, though, is that IT'S A CONTRACT. Read, read read! I don't know why people who don't read the contract try to get out of it later. I know it's not kosher to put things like this in the contact, but contracts are like that. They're usually one sided in favor of one party or another. The question is, whether this was illegal (extorting money for negative reviews). If it wasn't, then I don't see how one should be able to get out of it.

This was a simple retail transaction, not a commercial negotiation.

Luckily, I doubt that this hotel will be seeing many of the latter until they come to talk to their liquidators.

Retail or not, contracts are binding.

Contracts tend to be binding even when both parties don't read--most contracts are not read but are binding. Even lawyers don't usually read the contracts they sign for everyday things--they only do it when a lot is at stake or when it is for a client.

In commercial transactions in the United States, there are default rules that vary from state to state (generally slightly modified from the Uniform Commercial Code), but almost all of the terms can be changed by a contract between the parties, so a lot of places will change them on an order form or receipt or the like.

There are exceptions--contracts can't violate the law, for example. But they can still be written to unreasonably favor one party, and usually are.

about a week ago
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Military Laser/Radio Tech Proposed As Alternative To Laying Costly Fiber Cable

Etherwalk Vulnerable Infrastructure (150 comments)

If it was for base connectivity I would be very surprised if fiber wasn't laid. I am more likely to believe the military use for this was designed for something which can be setup quickly in forward operating locations. Fiber takes time and substantially more infrastructure to install. Theoretically this could be run off a steerable pop-up mast which could be setup in minutes.

Fiber can also be cut.

about a week ago
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Scientists Optimistic About Getting a Mammoth Genome Complete Enough To Clone

Etherwalk Super Soldiers... (187 comments)

That's relevant to, but not the full story of, the ethical controversy over human cloning, but we're talking about mammoths. I don't think anyone's proposing that we insert mammoth DNA into human eggs.

Sounds like a military project. (Not all militaries would be willing to try this, but some certainly would.)

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With VoIP Fraud/Phishing Scams?

Etherwalk Not Copyright (159 comments)

>Hehe, so in this case a Slashdotter thinks you should be able to get details without a court order, but when the RIAA or MPAA wants details its a completely different situation...

Yes. Most Slashdotters recognize that the penalties for noncommercial copyright violation are ridiculously disproportional to the crime and have limited economic impact, and might support something small (like a $50 ticket that doesn't leave anyone with a criminal record or entry in any system) but will generally side with pirates against content-creators when you are looking at $10,000 per title, criminal penalties, dealing with the legal system, or really anything more than a slap on the wrist.

On the other hand, when someone is responsible for crimes that are much more universally recognized as deserving of criminalization, and as an actual pain in the ass, they are much more willing to support substantial actions against that person--and more, to preserve the reputation and business of the people being significantly harmed.

about two weeks ago
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Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

Etherwalk Better than cars (418 comments)

> But, I ask, what is the point of a slow passenger train for commuting?

Two points--

(1) it reduces traffic congestion
(2) it still may be faster than driving.

If everyone who tooks trains into NY drove, we wouldn't have needed a large hadron collider. The Cross Bronx would have collapsed into a black hole.

The problem at this point is building trains, not that trains don't make sense. It's politically sensitive to expropriate property.

about two weeks ago
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FCC Says Net Neutrality Decision Delay Is About Courts, Not Politics

Etherwalk Re:Nov 25 or 26?, or Dec 19, 22, or 23? (60 comments)

These guys don't really think like that, usually.

They'll be aware of it, sure; they will avoid making decisions that tank later opportunities in the private sector. But they are also usually not actively trying to do the wrong thing--they're trying to figure out what a fairly decent policy is that they can get traction on.

The FCC doesn't have big teeth, and it has a lot of people who have industry experience and therefore an industry point-of-view. They are realists, and will probably try to put together a policy that makes things slightly better than they would be otherwise.

If they try to be too active, Congress will whip them around. Communications vendors are major Congressional donors.

As to the will of the people--we're talking net neutrality. People support it because they like the word "Neutral." This is one of those cases where democracy is a really bad basis for decision-making; kinda like asking voters to design a network topology.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Non-USB Flash Direct From China Safe?

Etherwalk There will be. (178 comments)

Well, you've just made the suggestion in a public forum monitored (at a very low-level) by multiple intelligence agencies. Some intern will now write it up and toss it up the chain, and if someone can develop such a thing, they will.

about two weeks ago
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Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

Etherwalk Confidence (350 comments)

Sure you'll conclude that, just with low confidence.

about two weeks ago
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Berlin's Digital Exiles: Where Tech Activists Go To Escape the NSA

Etherwalk Sue. (231 comments)

Sue.

If they have no reason to believe you're breaking the law, sue. If you are being harassed and detained by government officials for exercising your constitutional rights, that is exactly what the federal courts are for.

about two weeks ago
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Washington Dancers Sue To Prevent Identity Disclosure

Etherwalk Age, Trafficking (461 comments)

There would be no issue here if the state didn't have a BS licensing law.

Seriously: who or what interest does the state imagine it is "protecting" with this license? It isn't there for practical purposes, it's there for the purposes of intimidation and control.

The licensing law is bad because it is the licensing law itself that led to this conflict between public's right to know and an individual's privacy. I do agree that the individual has a right to privacy away from the workplace... but it is the STATE that is violating it with this STUPID law.

Obvious answers: underage dancers, human trafficking, tax collection.

Washington State is supposed to remove certain sensitive information in records requests--like the home address of a state employee--but generally it has a very permissive open records law. The strippers can probably just argue their identity is basically sensitive information, and then the court will probably say that the identities can't be released for a request to pray for them.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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China Criticizes US For Making Weapons Plans Stealable, Alleges Attacks.

Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Etherwalk (681268) writes "Huang Chengqing, director of the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China, alleged that United States cyber-attacks on China have been as serious as those on the United States. In response to the recent hacks of United States military designs, he replied with an observation whose obviousness is worthy of Captain Hammer: "Even following the general principle of secret-keeping, it should not have been linked to the Internet.""
Link to Original Source
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Manhattan, 1984

Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Etherwalk writes "The New York Times (and the usual suspects) are reporting on developments in the quest to charge driving fees for all vehicles headed below 86th Street in Manhattan. Notably absent from any part of the discussion? A record is made of every car or truck that enters, together with the vehicle ownership information and the date and time of travel — either as part of EZ-Pass or in license-plate photos taken for subsequent billing."
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Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Etherwalk writes "NY's Mayor Bloomberg announced today a series of green initiatives to reduce pollution in New York City, notably planting 1 million new trees and adding an $8 fee for all cars and $21 for commercial trucks driving below 86th Street from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekdays, the fee to be levied via EZ-Pass and license photos. The system's implementation effectively would make it a crime to enter lower Manhattan in your own vehicle without creating a record of your driving habits for the state."

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