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Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

Zeinfeld Re:Build refineries in ND (206 comments)

There is plenty of capacity in St Louis and room to build more.

The cost of the pipeline is much more than the cost of a refinery. The 'surplus capacity' claim is total nonsense. The tar sludge isn't anything like the crude that the existing refineries process. There would have to be major upgrades in any case. And building a two thousand mile pipeline costs a heck of a lot more than any refinery would.

about 5 months ago
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Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

Zeinfeld Re:after november... (206 comments)

The decision was made years ago: No pipeline.

Not announcing the decision stops the Koch bros and the Keystone corp from starting their appeal. Its like an administrative filibuster.

There is already a pipeline that runs to St Louis, the only reason to build the second pipeline is to sell the sludge to China. Having that option available will allow the price to be jacked up when the sludge is sold to the US market as it will fetch the international price which is a lot higher than the refiners currently pay in St Louis.

There is absolutely no reason for the US to OK a pipeline that will increase the cost of supply to the US market. The only reason the GOP backs the pipeline is that the Koch bros stand to make $100 billion from the increase in the value of their shale tar sands.

It is a purely tactical decision because nobody outside the GOP wants the pipeline built. Everyone who wants the pipeline will vote GOP in November whatever the decision. Obama could make a short term political gain by announcing that there will be no pipeline but that would allow the appeals to start. Better for the country to wait until there have been some GOP deaths on the SCOTUS.

about 5 months ago
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A Strategy For Attaining Cuban Internet Connectivity

Zeinfeld Re:Control vs. Prosperity (119 comments)

What I find problematic with that mode of argument is that it tends to turn McCarthyite very quickly. Castro attempted to cut a deal with the US before going to the Soviets, he is rather less committed to communism than either his supporters or his opponents believe. He also gave the CIA the location of Che Guavera when he decided he was a liability. So there has been a basis for cooperation for a long time.

The list of crimes committed by US Presidents panicking about communism is very long. Snuffing out a democracy in Iran to replace it with a bloodthirsty dictator, supporting the Khumer Rouge after Vietnam ejected them, installing Pinochet, a mass murderer in Chile. George W Bush just managed to cause the deaths of a half million Iraqis and wonders why he isn't being praised for his efforts.

The problem isn't capitalism of communism, the problem is authoritarianism and elites who believe that brute force is the solution to every problem. Castro is a thug and a murderer but its the US who set up a torture chamber in Cuba.

Since the US government has been spending a large amount of money to get the Internet into Cuba, giving them a pipe and letting them rip with it seems like the best way forward. They will try to control it but everyone knows that Cuba is going to liberalize in the near future.

The logical way forward would be for the US to lift the blockade and let the commerce flood in. The communist system would collapse pretty quickly when there was money to be made. But the problem is that there is a faction that is less interested in bringing democracy to cuba as returning their assets that were nationalized. Since they stole the assets under the corrupt Batista regime, there aren't going to be many interested in that happening.

about 7 months ago
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Utopia, Silk Road's Latest Replacement, Only Lasted Nine Days

Zeinfeld Re:Tor (83 comments)

The Dutch government is very clear about not being a haven for drug dealers shipping to other countries. Unlike the US police, they don't spend time going after domestic pushers or users. But anyone who is shipping through the Netherlands to another country is in for serious grief.

>Hmm... perhaps their mistake was even dumber than simply believing tor is magic.

Magical thinking is very common in security. Lots of people think BitCoin is anonymous despite the fact the transaction log is public.

Call Tor services 'hidden' and some people think that means the NSA and GCHQ can't find them. Call them the 'dark Web' and they think its protected by Professor Dumbledore himself.

about 7 months ago
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Utopia, Silk Road's Latest Replacement, Only Lasted Nine Days

Zeinfeld Re:The Surprised Dutch Prosecutor (83 comments)

No, Tor is not compromised. Tor isn't really designed to protect the privacy of Web Sites. Tor is designed to protect the privacy of Web Site users.

If you have a server that is visible to any client on the Tor network then either the server IP itself must be visible to an exit node put up by Law Enforcement or an intermediary node that is directly conspiring with the server has to be visible to law enforcement.

That is just a basic limitation of onion routing. A client can hide because it gets to choose the entry node. A server can't hide because anyone can set up an exit node.

This illustrates one of the big problems with computer security, people want to believe that security claims are true so they tend to be very gullible. They often rely on claims being made about a product by people talking about it on Web sites rather than the people who built it. And note I said 'rely'. Taking note of someone saying 'steer clear, this is why' on a Web site is very different to following the advice of people playing the pied piper.

There are lots of people who are convinced that Bitcoin is anonymous. This despite the fact that every transaction is public and every wallet tracks every one of them. The BitCoin people don't like hearing that their scheme might not be the future of currency or that it really isn't very different from e-Gold or GoldAge or Liberty Reserve which the FBI had no trouble rolling up. Take a look at the comments on my Bitcoin podcast, not a single substantive comment from a BitCoin supporter. Just a regurgitation of the ideology as fact:

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

I think this is coming close to the endgame for BitCoin. The FBI might be nervous about the influence that the Winkelvoss twins and other rich supporters of BitCoin might be able to buy (but Senators probably don't take bribes/campaign contributions in Bitcoin). So the logical tactic to make them radioactive would be to arrest them too.

Funny how an ideology that holds the government is an oppressive freedom destroying force can be self-fulfilling. But Bitcoin can't possibly survive when LE believes that the vast majority of Bitcoin transactions involve drugs or kiddie porn or gambling. And I see no evidence to the contrary.

about 7 months ago
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Stop Trying To 'Innovate' Keyboards, You're Just Making Them Worse

Zeinfeld Re:Windows keys? (459 comments)

Symbolics machines had the key well before Microsoft even talked about ripping off DOS

The serviceable 16 bit CP/M clone was the Holy Grail for every geek in his garage who saw the potential of the 8086. What the geek didn't have was a full suite of programming languages ready to port and the resources to build on the launch of the new IBM micro,

Except Gary Kildal who famously refused to sign the IBM NDA on the advice of his wife going surfing instead. Microsoft then bought MSDOS 1.0 from one of said garage geeks. But all they needed it for was to be undetected long enough to be able to sell MSBasic while they worked on a clone.

The Windows key was appearing on DEC keyboards before it was a Windows thing. And that is from Symbolics as many of the DEC engineers were Symbolics graduates. And when DEC crashed, Microsoft bought up most of the talent. Given the state of Apple at the time, it was pretty much the only option if you hated UNIX.

I am surprised that nobody has brought up a pathetic piece of bought-by-lobbyists research 'the fable of the keys' written by a couple of K-street hacks for an organization calling itself 'the independent institute'. This tried to claim that path dependence and network effects don't exist. Microsoft funded the 'study' while they were fending off the anti-trust suit.

One of the examples that the authors tried to expose as 'myth' is that Dvorak was more efficient. And they do actually have some evidence to suggest that the studies on efficiency are unreliable. But that does not prove their case. All it actually shows is that the Navy realized that there was no point in performing further tests because they were not going to switch from Qwerty regardless of what the result was. A 10% improvement in typist productivity was not worth the cost of retraining. Many typists would refuse to be retrained. Nobody would want to learn a keyboard that was only used in the Navy under a program that might be cancelled at any moment.

The same goes for their effort to 'prove' that VHS was better than Betamax. Like the idiots trying to disprove evolution, they don't make their case and all they do is to show that things are a little more complex than the naive version of the theory they are attacking suggests. The point of VHS and Betamax is that what made a VCR better than a competitor was not picture quality, it was how many movies you could buy and watch on it.

about 8 months ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Zeinfeld Re:Fuck religion. (903 comments)

The "separation of church state" works both ways.

You don't like religions dictating how your government is run? The price to be paid for this is not having your government dictating how religions operate.

LK

Since the Catholic church under Benedict threatened to excommunicate Kerry for supporting abortion, they are clearly not holding up their end of any bargain.

It is completely consistent to insist that no law be made based on or requiring religious observances and that what religion is permitted be regulated by the state. The price religion has always paid to be allowed to operate is to obey the laws of the land and support the government order.

about 9 months ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Zeinfeld Re:hypocrites (903 comments)

Religious organizations invented many ways of parting gullible rubes from their cash.

It wasn't until the mid 1800s that medics came close to saving more patients than they killed. And that was because of the introduction of science and the scientific method.

about 9 months ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Zeinfeld Re:Fuck religion. (903 comments)

Semantics is a Greek word. It means 'meaning'.

So if you are fine with just debating meaning...

about 9 months ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Zeinfeld Re:Fuck religion. (903 comments)

The catholic church wants to be able to deny coverage to their "secular" employees on the religious grounds.

Wrong - specific coverages are denied, and for obvious reasons. Employers can pick and choose what they will and will not provide to their employees, as is their right. Nobody as a "right" to free contraception.

Employers are required to provide coverage under the ACA. It is a requirement not an option so they don't get to choose what they provide, end of story. In the future they will be required to provide coverage for abortions. Tough noogies.

Religion is a control freak thing and becoming a priest is a great way to get your rocks off telling other people what to do based on some tendentious reading of the history of a guy who never existed.

The catholic church can not dictate how an employee can spend their pay check and they shouldn't be able to dictate what health care options the employee uses.

No one is stopping those employees from purchasing their own health insurance, or from refusing to join in their employer's insurance plan. No one is stopping those employees from buying their own damned pills or rubbers - considering that both are cheap enough, I fail to see what you're so agitated about.

Nobody requires the Catholic church to run a business taking public money to provide social services. I would prefer that they stopped and the services were provided by secular organizations. Getting the church out of adoption policy was a good thing. I look forward to their other social programs shutting down. There is no shortage of secular organizations doing the same work without tying the effort to a religious recruitment drive.

about 9 months ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Zeinfeld Re:Fuck religion. (903 comments)

I think pretty much every employer would prefer not to be involved in health care. It is a stupid system. But the reason that it was necessary is that insurance does not work when the insurer knows the individual risks. The individual insurance market began to collapse in the 1980s.

The only way to save the insurance model is with a mutual mandate, insurers have to be mandated to cover everyone who applies, including those with pre-existing conditions and individuals have to be mandated to buy insurance. Which is what the ACA does for the individual market.

Employer based coverage worked because the pools were big enough to spread the risk. But they only worked for employers with a large enough number of employees. Which was a huge drag on the economy. People could only work for a high risk startup if it was adequately funded enough to provide full benefits or if the employees had insurance through their spouses.

The only way to get the ACA passed though was if people who already had insurance were assured that they wouldn't lose it. Many people have subsidized insurance built into their employment package and would lose substantially if that happened. Which is why the ACA has big tax penalties for employers who drop coverage and requires the coverage to meet certain minimum standards.

The idea that employers have a right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees should make anyone who actually believes in freedom of religion puke. But the republican party has a feudal view of society in which employees are mere serfs to their employers. I think it will hurt them in 2014 and 2016 though because women really don't wan't little Ricky Santorum getting his rocks off by controlling their access to fertility control.

about 9 months ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Zeinfeld Re:Fuck religion. (903 comments)

Since the Democrats held the House, Senate and White House when the ACA passed, gerrymandering was not an issue. The filibuster was an issue because the Republicans were corruptly preventing Al Franken taking his seat.

The Republicans are the party complaining about the ACA and they only hold the house and that only due to gerrymandering. So they don't have the ability to change the law because they don't have a democratic mandate despite holding one house of Congress.

The filibuster is gone now so it won't be an issue in future. While the rules have not been changed for legislation or SCOTUS appointments, there is no doubt that they will be if either party ever gets control of the house, senate and WH. Since the democrats are close to being the only party that can win the WH under the current electoral college arrangement, that means any change would come from the Democrats. But the forcing function here was the Republican's threat of the nuclear option under Bush. Once the threat was made, the end of the filibuster was inevitable.

about 9 months ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Zeinfeld Re:Fuck religion. (903 comments)

Nobody is saying that the Republican's didn't have the right to obstruct

What they don't have the right to do is to obstruct the bill and every attempt to make technical amendments and then complain that there wasn't time to debate it properly or protest about problems the Democrats have tried to fix.

The US has universal healthcare no, so seven million people will get healthcare. Boo-fucking-hoo republicans. Your mental masturbation sessions will not be quite so sweet today when you can no longer enjoy the fact that millions of poor people will die early because your party denied them care.

Having derided the ACA as 'Obamacare' you have now ensured that one of the main pillars of the US welfare state will be named after a Black man who was elected President. A permanent reminder that the Southern Strategy of pandering to racism and bigotry failed.

There is only one way to avoid that outcome being permanent and that is to allow Hilary to replace Obamacare with the much simpler public option that would also be cheaper.

about 9 months ago
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Zeinfeld Re: Fuck religion. (903 comments)

Yeah, it stopped that civil rights bill, can't have black men voting, next thing you know it a black man will be President.

Republicans don't believe in democracy, they try to 'win' elections by stopping black people voting to this day. And they arrange to have the broken voting machines in Democratic precincts.

Congress had more than enough time to debate the ACA. The Republicans were never interested in discussing the implementation and they still aren't interested.

In this particular case there should be no religious exception whatsoever. There should be a super tax on the Catholic church and the money go to pay for free abortions.

about 9 months ago
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Ulbricht Admits Seized Bitcoins Are His and Wants Them Back

Zeinfeld Re:Unequal treatment (243 comments)

You clearly don't understand the US civil forfeiture laws then. Yes they can and yes they do.

There are certainly corrupt uses of the civil forfeiture laws but this is not one of them. The coins were seized from a rig operating a market for illegal drugs.

There are cases where the cops have performed seizures on no evidence at all and no indictment.

about 9 months ago
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Ulbricht Admits Seized Bitcoins Are His and Wants Them Back

Zeinfeld Re:Seize (243 comments)

I suspect the bitcoins in question were 'live' on the servers during the raid.

Running a marketplace means that the servers have to be able to move money about. So the servers have to have access to keys for spending to perform some operations. So the keys have to be accessible to the machine just like pretty much every web server with SSL has a private key that is effectively unencrypted. Sure it might be encrypted under a password but the password is no the same machine.

If he has $30m on the live systems I suspect he had even more stashed away offline. Begging for his money back is probably more of a ploy to try to throw the investigators off the chase for the rest of his cash.

The problem he is gonna have is that he is facing a 20-40 year jail term without parole. So the chance that he will be able to actually cash out his wallets before the bitcoin bubble bursts is essentially zero.

The fed have been shutting these schemes down continuously. Bitcoin is merely the latest incarnation of the old 'gold backed currency' that has been running for 15 years. The feds let them run for three years on average before they shut them down.

And before folk explain why bitcoin is different, all the previous schemes claimed to be different as well. And they all claimed to be beyond the reach of the law.

about 9 months ago
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IETF To Change TLS Implementation In Applications

Zeinfeld Re:We did it wrong, let's do it wronger still. (80 comments)

The problem with ID based encryption is revocation. If someone loses their key the best you can do is to tell people that it is bad. And any mechanism that could tell you the key status could be used for key binding.

So the only applications where it really works is in low level device type schemes where the crypto is installed during manufacture.

about 9 months ago
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IETF To Change TLS Implementation In Applications

Zeinfeld Re:End of certificates, please? (80 comments)

The CA model was never designed to do more than support Internet commerce. It was designed to be secure enough to exchange credit card information.

CAs are not useless against defending against intelligence services, they are only vulnerable to being suborned by a limited number of such agencies, the ones that they have plant in. And any defection is visible on the Internet. Hence the use of schemes such as Comodo CertSentry and Google's Certificate Transparency which are designed to prevent covert subornation of a CA by making the results of the attack visible.

One of the many reasons security is hard is that you have to defend against all the attacks, not just one particular one that someone is obsessing about. Nobody has proposed a replacement for the CA model that works as well within the existing constraints.

Peter Eckersley proposed a scheme 'Sovereign Keys' that solves the hard problems of PKI by pretending that the system administrator will never ever make a mistake. Moxie's 'Convergence' is three years old now and we are still waiting for an actual written specification. The problem with Convergence is that it depends on a notary infrastructure that doesn't have a business model. So it is hard to see how the world of commerce is going to be keen on moving to an infrastructure that we know will have scaling issues.

The CA model isn't prefect but it is the only part of the Internet security apparatus that fails rarely enough for the failures to still be news. McAfee fails to spot viruses on an hourly basis. There are serious security fixes for Windows, OSX and Linux every single month. Those don't make the news because they aren't news any more.

The market for the proposals that are 'stronger' is essentially the same as the constituency that use PGP every day and use Tor and keep their money in BitCoin. It is not a negligible constituency but the people who are in it have to spend about a quarter of their waking moments managing their security.

Web of Trust isn't perfect either. Choosing between the two is pointless because neither meets every need that the other meets. So instead of having the argument over which one to pick we should work on ways that let people use both in a seamless connected fashion.

about 9 months ago
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How the Lessons of Columbine Saved Lives At Arapahoe High School

Zeinfeld Re:Rule #1 (894 comments)

Even at the height of the troubles, the number of deaths in the UK due to terrorism never exceeded 500 and the UK murder rate was a fraction of the US murder rate at the time.

Most of the guns used by the IRA were bought in the US through NORAID, the US fund raising arm.

about 9 months ago

Submissions

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Comcast to customers - we own you

Zeinfeld Zeinfeld writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Zeinfeld (263942) writes "Comcast digital telephony customers who have unpublished telephone numbers will be receiving a letter from Comcast telling them that they will have to pay $4.95 for not having their privacy invaded in future. I received mine this morning. Perhaps not coincidentally, the quality of my Vonage over Comcast service has recently dropped to the point where it is unusable. So the net effect is that Comcast chooses to adopt telco pricing policies at the same time that their network no longer supports competition from the non-telcos.

Charging for a service according to its value rather than the cost of providing it is called functional pricing. In this case the cost of delivery is zero so we have functional pricing. Functional pricing can only be maintained when competition is restricted. It is a clear sign that a monopoly or duopoly is in operation.

Is the answer net neutrality? I don't think so. Attempting to draw up regulations to tell Comcast what to do is not going to work. The regulations are going to become obsolete very quickly and they are going to be very difficult to police. And even if one administration is willing to enforce the regulations, a successor may be more interested in serving the interests of the cable providers than the people. The answer here is competition in Internet service delivery, which not coincidentally appears to be the direction some of the Obama transition team seem to be thinking.

Net Neutrality describes a desired outcome, it is not a policy in itself. How should the US govt enable citizens to gain the same access to cheap, high speed broadband that Europeans have enjoyed for years?"

Link to Original Source
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OASIS votes against encumbered XRI standard

Zeinfeld Zeinfeld writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Zeinfeld (263942) writes "OASIS members have narrowly rejected the Extensible Resource Identifiers specification as an OASIS standard. To pass 15% of the membership must vote and there must be no more than 25% no votes. As Drummond Reed reports there was extensive lobbying in the final stages. The objections of the World Wide Web Consortium TAG were cited as the reason for the objection by many voting disapprove.

What has attracted rather less attention than it should, but certainly was a factor in one vote is the curious status of the XRI patent license. Instead of providing the normal license or open covenant to use the XRI specification in any way whatsoever, the patent is exclusively licensed to 'non-profit' XDI.org which has in turn sublicensed the rights to register XRI i-names and i-numbers to commercial entities. Cordance retaint the right to sue third parties for infringement. In other words, this is not free as in speech and you should expect to pay for the beer if i-names take off."

Link to Original Source
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Details of new iPhone leak

Zeinfeld Zeinfeld writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Zeinfeld writes "Fortune has a scoop on the new iPhone. While rumors abound, Fortune claims to have the details direct from a source at AT&T. The tech specs are much as expected: GPS, thinner (9.2mm), oh and something called 3G. Apple will stop shipping old model iPhones a few weeks before the launch so as to clear out the inventory and AT&T will be discounting a 'locked' version of the iPhone by an extra $200. Which is a somewhat interesting statement given that iPhones are locked today. Could it be that Apple store iPhones will ship unlocked?"
Link to Original Source
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US Military proposed secretly hiring bloggers

Zeinfeld Zeinfeld writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Zeinfeld writes "Wired reports that Dorothy Denning, one time Clipper Chip supporter wrote a report on using blogs for information warfare in 2006 (available from cryptome. Amongst the proposals were hiring bloggers directly as propaganda agents and using military media resources to 'make' a blogger posting favorable material. Notably, and most unfortunately absent from the report is the question of whether the military should be manipulating domestic media for the political advantage of the incumbent administration."
Link to Original Source
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Sony drops $49 'no crapware' fee

Zeinfeld Zeinfeld writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Zeinfeld writes "ZDNet is reporting that Sony have thought better of charging customers $49 extra for not loading their laptop up with unasked for and unwanted software. The best that could be said of the original plan was that Sony did at least give customers the option. 'Free' software that expires after a few months or constantly nags for an upgrade to the 'pro' version isn't even free in the beer sense of the word. Perhaps Microsoft should supply a 'reset' utility that quickly and simply returns Windows to the original OEM distribution."
Link to Original Source
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Zeinfeld Zeinfeld writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Zeinfeld (263942) writes "Intel has announced a test chip with 80 cores. The chip has a nominal processing capacity of over a teraflop. Whether the chip actually delivers that performance over a sustained interval on real processing problems is another question. Also unmentioned is how the issue of heat dissipation is dealt with. It is probably going to be a while before such chips are production.

This marks a major departure from tactics such as introducing more parallelism into the processor core and adding more cache memory that have been the norm since 64 mainstream processors reached 64 bits."
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Zeinfeld Zeinfeld writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Zeinfeld writes "Wired News reports that the boarding pass generator has gone offline. Boing Boing has details of the FBI visit.

Soghoian has not been charged or arrested at this time. If you do contact Congressman Markey be polite and point out that the site was set up to expose the vulnerability and not to help terrorists. Might also help to point out that this is the third time someone has pointed out this vulnerability, nobody took it seriously until this site was set up."

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