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Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius?

Rary Re:He's on TV & the Internet, of course he's r (391 comments)

Most things we do with computers, whether "hacking" or anything else, are really not that difficult to do. There are some challenges, but it's not rocket science. However, most people don't understand computers, so anyone who does is seen as a "genius". Sure, maybe one or two are, and a few others are maybe of particularly great intelligence. But most "nerds" are really not that smart, just dedicated, which is really all it takes to become proficient at any particular skill.

about 2 months ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Rary Re:I lost the password (560 comments)

You do realize that encrypting your hard drive with a key you keep in your head really is just security through obscurity

No it's not. It involves an obscure key, sure. But that's not what is generally meant by the phrase "security through obscurity". What is meant by that phrase is a system that is secure only as long as the system's implementation is kept secret. In the case of password protection, the implementation is known, it's just the key that is secret. In security through obscurity, if somebody discovers the implementation of the system, they can get in.

An encryption system that relies on security through obscurity would be one that, if you got hold of the source code, you could decrypt anything encrypted with it, key or no key.

about 3 months ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Rary Re:So whats the case law on keys (560 comments)

According to The Ruling the only reason the motion was filed and this issue came at all up was because the guy happened to have used a particularly effective encryption software that the State was unable to circumvent.

No, according to the ruling, this came up as an issue because the guy had already incriminated himself by saying "I did it, and the evidence is in these files".

You don't really get to willingly incriminate yourself, then suddenly start trying to hide behind the right not to incriminate yourself.

about 3 months ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Rary Re:Ruling doesn't change much. (560 comments)

You may not agree, but it seems to be well established in law that once you admit to the crime and identify the existence and location of evidence, you've waived your 5th Amendment right.

about 3 months ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Rary Re:Important Caveat (560 comments)

Just doing a little digging into the details of the 5th Amendment in practice, and found this interesting tidbit:

The Court acknowledged that it is well established that a witness, in a single proceeding, may not testify voluntarily about a subject and then invoke the Privilege against Self-Incrimination when questioned about the details.

That could very well apply in this case, so that even if there is additional evidence in the files beyond what he has admitted to, the moment he started admitting to some of it, he effectively waived his self-incrimination right.

about 3 months ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Rary Important Caveat (560 comments)

Haven't read the entire ruling, only scanned it, but there is an important caveat in it:

We now conclude that the answer to the reported question is, "Yes, where the defendant's compelled decryption would not communicate facts of a testimonial nature to the Commonwealth beyond what the defendant already had admitted to investigators."

Seems like this guy has said "I did this, this, and this, and these files show that, but I don't want to let you see them", and the Court has ruled that he has to, because he's already admitted to those things, and therefore he would not be incriminating himself in doing so.

Of course, the reality may be that there's evidence of further illegal activities that he hasn't admitted to in the encrypted files. That might make the case for self-incrimination. I'd have to read the full ruling to see what, if anything, they said about that possibility.

about 3 months ago
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I think wearable computing will take off...

Rary 1980s (254 comments)

I had a calculator watch back in 1983. Doesn't that count?

Here's my bold prediction: Nobody other than hardcore nerds will ever really want to wear any device other than a watch (if anyone will still wear those) or a bluetooth headset. As the years go by we will carry even more powerful and versatile devices in our pockets than we do today. Google Glass and its ilk will never be more than a novelty item.

about 10 months ago
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No. of vehicle license types I hold:

Rary Worst Poll Options in a Loooong Time (312 comments)

I know we're not supposed to complain about poll options, but when they're this bad, I think it's mandatory. As hard as I try, I can't find a single option that even comes close to fitting. There isn't a "none of the above" or even a joke option that I could default to. There are two options that probably apply to about 80% of the population, with the remaining options applying to maybe 1% of the population combined, leaving the other 19% without anything to choose from.

At a minimum, the following options are necessary to make this poll even remotely usable:

  • None - I rely solely on walking/biking/public transit/other.
  • 2 or 3 - mixture of ground and air/water related

about 10 months ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

Rary Re:food (641 comments)

Lots of people claim that there are studies showing that plants "cry out in pain", though not surprisingly no one ever seems to have a link to a reputable study to go with that claim.

Here's a more thorough response than I'm willing to take the time to type.

about a year ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

Rary Re:food (641 comments)

so does that mean that when a mountain lion kills a deer then it should be tried for murder?

I don't recall any mountain lions claiming to be a civilized society. I also don't recall any mountain lions having the knowledge and ability to survive any other way, especially being that they're obligate carnivores.

about a year ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

Rary Re:food (641 comments)

Because it's unnecessary.

If survival's at stake, I'll do what I gotta do. But if the sole reason for killing another living creature is "mmm, tasty", then something's wrong. My definition of "civilized" would include "not killing for pleasure".

about a year ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

Rary Re:Only temporary (641 comments)

Is that a bad thing? Shouldn't an intelligent society always be questioning its beliefs, traditions, and prevailing wisdom?

about a year ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

Rary Re:food (641 comments)

I'm sorry but there's no difference between livestock (chicken, cows, horses, etc...) and experiment sujects (mice, chimps, dogs, etc...)

I agree. Free them all. There's no reason for an advanced, "civilized" human society to treat living, sentient* creatures as products to consume.

*For bob's sake, please look up the word before replying with the standard Slashdot anti-animal-sentience nerd rage.

about a year ago
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The Case of the Orca That Killed Its Trainer

Rary Re:Capturer, not trainer (395 comments)

Why one or the other? Most captors bring food to their captives.

about a year ago
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How the Smartphone Killed the Three-day Weekend

Rary Re:You forgot to mention... (232 comments)

Exactly. It's not the tools, it's the tools who use them. The Exchange client on my smartphone allows me to specify my work hours, and I have it set up to NOT deliver any new emails outside of those hours. Lots of phones do this, but it's up to the user to use it.

about a year and a half ago
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Lucas Says Ford, Fisher and Hamill May Return For Next Star Wars

Rary Re:Make Good Use of Them (253 comments)

Rumour has it that Ford's deal is a fairly significant part. I'm not sure that he'd be interested in just a cameo, to be honest. He doesn't owe Lucas squat, and has done so much since then that he barely remembers those movies, so if he's on board, it's because it's worth it for him to be on board. Sure, his role won't be as significant as in Crystal Skull, obviously, but he'll get a few action scenes and lots of dialogue, I'm sure.

I just hope he's still flying the Falcon. It's not a Star Wars movie without the Falcon breaking down (again).

about a year and a half ago
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Cellphone Privacy In Canada: Encryption Triggers Need For Warrant

Rary Re:Spread em' (111 comments)

Except that they're talking about arrests. When you're being arrested, you can expect to be searched. However, there are limits on the search that can be done. This is merely a logical interpretation of the existing laws as applicable to phones.

about a year and a half ago
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Huge Meteor Blazes Across Sky Over Russia; Hundreds Injured

Rary Re:The result of funding cuts for observatories (409 comments)

No. They predicted a >0% chance of an earthquake but told people it was a 0% chance, resulting in people who were already preparing for an earthquake to stop their preparations.

about a year and a half ago
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Twitter, American Express Letting People Purchase Goods Via Hashtag

Rary Re:Didn't work. (106 comments)

I tried #blowjobs and nothing happened.

Could be worse. You could've received one of these.

about a year and a half ago
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Twitter, American Express Letting People Purchase Goods Via Hashtag

Rary Re:will be abused in 3...2...1... (106 comments)

Additionally, the person will have had to intentionally sync their card with their Twitter account to enable this in the first place. It's a stupid idea from a consumer perspective, although kind of brilliant from a marketing perspective, as now not only do we make purchases but we announce them to the world, but it's not nearly as prone to abuse as folks here are making it seem.

about a year and a half ago

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