Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

I don't think you're too dumb to process it.

I just don't believe you're emotionally capable of separating your desire to crush NSA databases from other government databases. Your inability to clearly articulate a potential abuse for this database, particularly any potential abuse that outweighs it's usefulness as a tool to cut down on smuggling endangered species/drug running/etc. is evidence of that point.

yesterday
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

Then what are you trying to prove? Seriously. You have given one example of abuse of government data. It's a truly shitty example. It has no relevance to the topic at hand.If I was writing your side of the debate for you I would not have used it because nobody would believe anyone would be quite that dumb. But apparently you are. Congratulations.

Please lay off the insults. Your insults are worse then your logic you silly-faced son of a moose-fucker. And because you don't really have an imagination, I will spell it out for you: that was a yo mamma joke.

2 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

More projection. Unlike you I got a full-time job and an apartment all of my own.

And your logic still doesn't follow. You're trying to prove that one very specific abuse of this data (Guys sharing it with each-other) is inevitable. Your only real example of them doing so is has a motive that is totally irrelevant to a text file about airline tickets.

In other words your generalization is so broad it's meaningless. For example every cop has a gun. This means that he could theoretically go out and kill the local First Grade Class. By your generalization it's totally inevitable this will happen at some point, which in turn means we should disarm the police.

Most cops have cars. These could be misused in some unlikely, and totally destructive way, such as a mass campaign by Cleveland Height PD to run down the entire Kindergarten class at recess. therefore, per your generalization, it is inevitable that the Cleveland height PD will eventually try to run down the entire kindergarten class at recess, and Cleveland Heights cops should walk.

One of the first things you learn when you leave your mom's basement, and start dealing with the real world, is that people do bad things when they have a motive to do said bad things. These particular abuses are unlikely because there's no emotional payoff to killing small children.

By the same token, the emotional payoff from reading a supremely boring text file about a supremely boring plane trip is completely different then the payoff of seeing a good nudie, therefore the fact agents at a completely different agency shared nudies had no bearing on whether TSA guys will share travel documents.

3 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

Dude, I'm not talking about the NSA. I'm talking about one specific TSA database. I'm specifically avoiding talking about the NSA because that's all anyone talks about on Slashdot today.

The specific database in this case is the one that includes all the information your airline has about you.

And this particular database has a lot of arrests. Just about any time a TSA agent finds contraband (which can be anything from illegally imported animals to drugs to bombs) he did it partly because this particular database told him something that didn't quite check out when the arrestee went through security.

This is actually exactly the kind of decentralized database you say you want law enforcement to have. It's targeted for one very specific legal use, it's quite effective at getting bad guys. Abusing would be extremely complicated because TSA has no motive to share any of this information with literally anyone, and it lacks the capacity to do anything more nefarious then hassle innocent people at the security line of the airport. Moreover the data just isn't that interesting.

3 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

You're worried about the wrong agency. This is a TSA database.

4 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

So you prefer the risk of massive law infringement, including invasive species smuggling, drug running, and terrorism, to a 5% risk that somebody who shouldn't know about Natalie Portman's meal choices finds out whether she's keeping Kosher? No operation on the scale of COINTELPRO could come from the TSA, because the TSA doesn't have the resources to pull it off.

Hell, given what we know about how actual Federal Agencies work banning this database won't increase privacy. It will simply decentralize privacy violations. You get a lot more "random searches" of brown people when the local cops have to ask each individual brown person whether they're a Patriotic American who believes in Jesus, George Washington, and killing King George rather then simply being able to bring it up on their computer.

4 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

That's not precisely what he said. What he said was that because one institution failed one precise way (passing around nudey pictures) a second would fail a completely different and totally unrelated way. it's totally illogical, and frankly is basically the raving of a fanatic.

Your own line of logic succeeds as logic, but logic only works if the assumptions are right. You're assuming that human frailty cannot be compensated for in institutional design. This is false. British Parliament is designed to be bickering factions who can barely agree on a Prime Minister, so that's what it is. But it actually has the power to do almost anything by simple majority vote. All British Civil Rights protections, the Queen, the status of the House of Lords, etc. can be done away with by majority vote. The Courts too.

Federal agencies are very well designed from an information security perspective. They could, in theory, share information like motherfuckers, but they don't. TSA won't get credit for an FBI bust unless TSA ensures the FBI shares credit, so TSA is not gonna let the FBI read their file on you without orders from someone they can't ignore. Since TSA can;t actually bust down your door and arrest you (that would be an FBI job), that ensures that it's unlikely for them to pass info to the FBI that would result in you being oppressed in meatspace unless you actually deserved to be oppressed: ie: you're smuggling Giant Snails.

4 days ago
top

States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

NicBenjamin Re:Local testing works? (777 comments)

I like your response. It's quite reasonable. There really isn't a way to find out what affect jacking up the minimum wage would have without somebody actually trying it. The Seattle experiment should be the closest we have to an answer to that question, but it won't prove anything 100%. Moving to the 'burbs is something you can do if you;re a business avoiding Seattle's minimum wage laws, but it would not prevent you from following the Federal minimum.

The problem for conservative pols in working class communities, is there really isn't anything in a conservative politician's platform that would actually help people making less then $10 an hour. There's a lot of dogma about self-improvement, which can play well but can also seem like a self-righteous asshole calling all your friend's failures. There's a lot of things Conservatives have created for people who make slightly more then that (ie: 401ks, believe me if you make $10 an hour and you live in a city where a car is necessary you ain't putting money in a 401k). For a while you could take credit for Earned Income Credit, but your recent rhetoric makes it really hard for voters who depend on EIC to vote for you. You can get traction with charter schools, but nobody votes for US Congress based on municipal-level school policy.

The core problem seems to be almost everything you could do requires some expansion of government spending. Cheap higher education requires somebody to pay for it, and loans are becoming discredited. You could have an opening with charter schools, if you were willing to make it a Federal issue. Transportation is terrible for you in this community, because these are people who would really like to use the bus or subways. They're a lot more reliable then the cars you get for $10 an hour. But massive infrastructure projects count as government expansion.

With the white working class a combination of pro-life sentiment, a residual faith that the guy preaching self-improvement is right, and an aversion to being dependent on the government saves you. But the in the black working class? Romney got 0% because he offered zero ideas that could conceivably help them. A lot of his ideas (primarily in terms of repealing health care reform) would hurt them.

4 days ago
top

States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

NicBenjamin Re:Economists (777 comments)

Businesses can't arbitrarily raise prices to make more money. After all, if they could make more money by raising prices, they'd already have done it (with some minor exceptions, usually in live entertainment). They may have to compensate for higher costs of making and selling things (2% in this example), but raising prices less than 2% would hit the new optimum.

In elegant economic theory that is the case. And in the long-term it's true. however in the mess that is reality it tends not to be true in the short term.

In actual practice when businesses know that their customers know everyone has to change prices, they tend to high-ball on the new prices. If enough of them jack up prices 5% instead of 2%, then 105% of last month's price becomes the new optimum price. If most businesses low-ball their increase and only go to 101%, the folks who went straight to 105% will know that in a month or two and can cut back.

The most prominent example of this happening was when the Euro was introduced. Everybody rounded up their prices. Since everybody had done it, consumers could not reward companies that did not do it with increased business, which led to an immediate (and measurable) uptick in inflation. I suspect the same would happen with a quick, and radical, rise in the minimum wage.

4 days ago
top

States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

NicBenjamin Re:Local testing works? (777 comments)

Yes, that is entirely true, within the context of an economic system designed basically entirely to benefit middle class people who choose to put off child-rearing until their careers are established. However, just because it is a fact does not mean that government policy should be to encourage said fact.

Moreover the young parents you;re talking about are human beings. They have a right to vote. They have parents. They have siblings. The guy who just says "21-year-olds who have kids are beyond help because they screwed up and had kids" is probably gonna get 0% of those votes. Just ask Mitt Romney.

Hell almost all our economic problems are partly caused by recent generation's inability to get ahead after having kids. Social Security would be a whole lot better off if the actuaries thought that we would have a new baby Boom in the next five years, because then 30 years from now those kids would be supporting their parents Social Security checks.

5 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

Government abuse their power, therefore every government agency you can possibly imagine abusing it;'s power in any way will eventually abuse it's power in exactly that way?

That's not logic. It's projection.

5 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:The Stasi & Stripes (211 comments)

Protip: If every country, including Germany, has files on its individual citizens, then arguing "files on your individual citizens is just like the Stasi" is ridiculous. It's literally like saying "The Stasi paid their agents, all US Government employees must be uncompensated!"

Seriously. How the fuck would Germany enforce it's income tax if it didn't have a file on every German who has income?

If you were talking about the actual contents of the database you might have an argument particularly if you focused on the NSA databases which are fucking scary, but this "They have a database with lots of people in it, therefore they are going to MURDER ALL!!" argument is just fucking stupid. If it had any relation to reality the entire fucking world would hacve been murdered back in the 17th century when European monarchs figured out that they could enforce there will via pen and paper databases. The Chinese would have been gone long before then.

5 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

You realize Hoover never had access to any non-FBI database? Neither did HUAC at al. And there are plenty of Federal databases besides the FBI. In another thread I mentioned three that are actually a lot more dangerous, and a lot older, then anything we're talking about: the Census, Social Security, and the IRS. Neither the CREEPs nor the Plame Scandal involved the use of a Federal database. Plame was not even a database at all. Rove was talking to a random guy about her husband, and he mentioned the CIA connection. The CREEP did not abuse any Federal databases, it tried to steal information that could not be added to those databases (like reports from the shrink of a guy who pissed Nixon off).

I'll note here you haven't managed to quote the only actual example of a Federal database being used against US Citizens (Japanese internment).

So while I will agree, that in theory this database could be used by a future Hoover, I will also point out that it is quite useful in numerous actual law enforcement situations. Terrorism actually exists, even tho we like to pretend it no longer counts just because almost all the victims are black Africans. I disagree with much of the war on drugs, but the drug runners are not nice people. Both groups use the US Air network, and if there's any pattern to their usage we can't find that out unless it's recorded somewhere. Given that the US Government is pretty consistent in it's evils (they tend to involve totally ignoring the Constitution to get new data, and/or abuse minorities; using data from existing data sources just isn't the MO), the long-term risk of them abusing old data is quite low. Call it 5%.

So we have a database, that will be useful in numerous perfectly legitimate law enforcement operations, and a small risk of it leading to bad things. You're free to conclude any risk is too much, but I think that risk is fine.

5 days ago
top

States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

NicBenjamin Re:Local testing works? (777 comments)

If less then 10% move up, then the statement "it is possible to move up" is both entirely true and entirely meaningless.

It's not quite at 10% (I'd guess it's closer to 20%), but it's quite unlikely for a kid whose parents only went to High School, put him in a standard neighborhood school, and didn't know which classes to push him into, to move up. You have to be the guy who never screwed up AND got lucky. The time for that has already passed for most of the coworkers I mentioned. They're in their 20s. If they try to get on the college track they have significantly better then even odds of ending up with tens of thousands in debt but no degree. It's not like they can afford to take a year off and devote themselves to school.

Yet they'll continue to get shit from tons of Conservatives. Much of their income (even for the full-time employees) is government support. They get food stamps, EIC, most are on the wait-list for Section 8, etc. They work a hell of a lot harder then a college student does in his early 20s, because unlike a college student they don't get to pick work assignments that are fun.

Right now pretty much their best career path is McDonald's, because you can go from "Do you want fries with that?" to owning a franchise. But that's a pretty fucking long shot.

5 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

So your argument is that if government agents abuse power one way it is clear, beyond all doubt, with no actual investigation necessary, they abuse power all other ways?

That is the definition of a non sequitir.

5 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

Talk about a non sequitir.

Let's say I admitted that Snowden was right about the NSA and naked pictures, why would that imply anything about a completely different agency and text files? I can see how a bored NSA agent might get a kick out of a nudey that looked kinda like Natalie Portman (or even a nudie of Natalie Portman) and show it to other bored NSA Agents, but this is a text file. It's a very boring text file. It says some guy took a flight. He spoke English. It mentioned his preferred meal.

And we can actually be quite sure it was not widely shared at the TSA, because if it had been some asshole would have stolen his Credit Card number.

5 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:The Stasi & Stripes (211 comments)

Uhh...

What country doesn't have a file on all it's residents? Seriously.

Just think about all the files the US Government has had since the late 18th century. the Census had very good clues to everyone's religion, generally actually had a line for ethnicity, etc. During the first Libertarian-=Conservative period of dominance in the Judiciary the IRS had a database on exactly how much everyone made. A few years later the New Deal added a database on how much everyone makes that's updated every time you get a check. All three of these have more information, and more personal information then the TSA database. Both the IRS and the Social Security database could be used to steal a lot more from you then a single Credit Card.

5 days ago
top

Ars Editor Learns Feds Have His Old IP Addresses, Full Credit Card Numbers

NicBenjamin Re:This is news? (211 comments)

Because most of the time the airline blacks out most of the Credit Card before sending it to the Feds. In theory the Fed're only supposed to have the last four digits, because that should be enough (when combined with name and expiration date) to identify the card.

This is actually a pretty typical story on this issue. The Feds collect data that can be very useful in searching for terrorists, but they don't actually look at it much. They do a computer search, and most of it will never come up. So the airline sent them more then it should, and maybe somebody noticed, but nobody cared. So it got sent to his file folders (both electronic and physical). Then he FOIA'd the info, and since nobody FOIA's the info they had no procedure to respond to the FOIA, so he got it in a ridicuklous way (two batches, the first batch of which he had not asked for, and the second batch seems to have been totally unexpected).

If you think privacy rights are incredibly important, and are sincerely worried that Obama isn't enforcing them better, it's terrifying that a federal Agent could have stolen his CC info. And it's even more terrifying that there's no bureaucrat in charge of purging irrelevant info (like his CC number).

If you're me, and you take a more philosophical view of the whole issue, you note that a bureaucrat in charge of looking at his info would have looked at his info. Said info was highly unlikely to leak from the TSA to anyone else unless a) they had probable cause due to some investigation, or b) some enterprising agent decided to go over his file and verify it. Federal agencies just don't share information with each-other the way privacy purists imagine in their nightmares, rather they horde it and then exaggerate the info-horde's usefulness in powerpoints demanding an increased budget.

5 days ago
top

States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

NicBenjamin Re:Crazy (777 comments)

So how often do you hear the one about Piece of Shit POS systems?

2% or 40% depends on whether you're talking about Obama's proposed raise, or the ones actually studied, and which minimum you start from. Ohio's increase of $0.10 from $7.85 was actually less then 2%. A 40% raise from Ohio's actual minimum wage of $7.95 would be $11 and change. $10.10's actually a 27% increase.

As for your criticism of the relative costs of the people who run a self-checkout line, a lot of those costs were built into my math. Head cashiers have a nominal wage in the ~$10 range, which makes for $20k in salary costs. The FES has a nominal salary in the $11-13 range, which makes for roughly $25k in salary. Benefits for both, plus Social Security and Medicare taxes, and administrative costs should be in the $11k range. Line cashiers are part-time, and start at $9, but the get no benefits, so the $9k or so you'd expect from the part-timer is the vast majority of their cost to the company.

So if Obama got everything he wanted, and got the minimum to $10.10 an hour, my store would be spending about $1.10 more per hour on six part time cashiers. That works out to roughly $6,060. With Social; Security and medicare taxes you'd be roughly $6,500. Call it $7k. Administrative costs don't go up because the HR lady would have to be paid either way. So your POS system has to cost less then $21k or it makes more sense to give the girls a raise. And actually, with the minimum going up, what are the odds our Head Cashier doesn't get a raise? What about the Front End Supervisor? $1 for either both means roughly $2k in extra costs each, plus SS and Medicare taxes, so actual savings to the company is only in the $3k range.

This is America. High income inequality is a fact of life. If you're selling a product which replaces a bunch of cheap-as part-timers with a couple full-timers you aren't saving companies nearly as much as you think.

5 days ago
top

States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

NicBenjamin Re:Crazy (777 comments)

Apparently you don't work in retail.

Self-check-out requires slightly fewer warm bodies then human cashiers, but they have to be better-paid. Much better-paid. Most shop-lifters will run through that line, so you need somebody who not only recognizes the scams the local heroin addicts run, but is also capable of convincing said heroin addicts that call that just went out has nothing to do with a certain ex-Marine we have on Asset Protection, despite the fact this is a fucking lie and said Heroin addict is about to be politely detained by very large man with a very persuasive manner, and a memory the local prosecutor treasures. Running self--checkout is not a job the kid just out of High School making minimum wage gets

It's usually a two-person job. One is a Head Cashier who costs the company slightly less then $30k a year. 40 hours a week the other is the Front End Supervisor, who is Department Head level and costs slightly more then $30k. Added together that is the salary for six part-time cashiers. We have six self-checkout registers.

So yes, while in economic theory you may be right; in actual reality giving the cheapest cashiers a 2% raise is generally much cheaper then replacing them with self-checkout equipment that has to be babied by your top employees.

5 days ago

Submissions

NicBenjamin hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

NicBenjamin has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...