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Massachusetts SWAT Teams Claim They're Private Corporations, Immune To Oversight

atfrase Re:Two sides of the coin (534 comments)

Yes, there are legitimate situations where some police records need to be sealed for a modest period of time, in order to preserve the safety of undercover operatives/informants etc. Laws and procedures already exist to allow for that, all they have to do is convince a judge (privately) that some document needs to stay secret (for now) and it's fine.

This is different. This is an entire branch of law enforcement claiming that they never have to release any documents ever to anyone, no matter what's in them or whether they actually have any legitimate need to keep them secret. Given how friendly judges usually are to law enforcement on these kinds of things, the fact that they don't even want to have to convince a judge to let them keep their secrets is a big red flag to me.

about 3 months ago

Massachusetts SWAT Teams Claim They're Private Corporations, Immune To Oversight

atfrase court response? (534 comments)

Any legal/judicial experts care to weigh in on whether this argument has a snowball's chance of being accepted by any court?

about 3 months ago

Report: Britain Has a Secret Middle East Web Surveillance Base

atfrase Snowden/Greenwald NOT the source (237 comments)

The article cites Snowden's files as their source, but Snowden and Greenwald have both explicitly denied that, and even go further to assert that neither of them have provided any information whatsoever to the Independent:

That means somebody is lying, and that is extremely important and worth your careful consideration, no matter who you think it is.

I'm disappointed that this development hasn't already been modded up in the comments here; a lot of folks are jumping to conclusions by taking the Independent at their word about who leaked this particular information.

1 year,29 days

Report: Britain Has a Secret Middle East Web Surveillance Base

atfrase Re:Yes, and? (237 comments)

Snowden gave the trove of files to The Guardian at least. The specific leaks, after the initial ones, are decided by Glenn Greenwald and not Snowden.

Whether Greenwald gave some stuff to the Independent or Snowden did that earlier is unknown.

No, it is known, straight from both Snowden and Greenwald themselves:

They deny giving any information to the Independent. Since they are not the source, as the Independent claims, they further surmise that the timing and nature of this particular leak make it plausible that the UK intelligence agency did it intentionally, in order to justify even harsher "anti-terrorism" and "anti-leaker" laws and powers.

1 year,29 days

Intelligence Director Claims NSA Surveillance Reports Inaccurate

atfrase the key word is "targeting" (262 comments)

Yes, sure, "it cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen" -- but a sweeping dragnet that intercepts and logs every private communication of every citizen of the United States isn't exactly "targeting" any particular citizen, is it? Of course to us, that makes it worse and not better, but to the agents of the modern US surveillance state it is a lovely loophole indeed.

about a year ago

Active Video Games Don't Make Kids Exercise More

atfrase Re:Same as school exercise (304 comments)

Yeah. All for the opportunity cost of one of those parents being at home to cook three square meals a day.

It is very, very important for people to read and understand the significance of this comment.

Many folks from the "middle"-class on up simply don't understand what life is like for single parents, or even or dual parents who must work multiple jobs to pay the bills. Yes, raw food of the sort that can be prepared into healthy and nutritious meals is not (necessarily) inherently expensive; what puts it out of reach for many low-income folks is not the money but the TIME it takes to go to the grocery store, bring those foodstuffs home, and then prepare them.

Single parents cannot leave their small children unattended that long, and bringing them along adds even more logistical overhead. There often isn't a single grocery store in low-income neighborhoods, requiring an even longer car trip, if the family can even afford a car; otherwise, an even longer bus ride, which also limits the trip to how much can be carried in two hands to, from and on the bus.

Making a healthy diet accessible to low-income families is not an issue of price, it is an issue of availability and logistics, and those issues are NOT insignificant. People need to understand that, to avoid falling into the trap of thinking poor folks are just lazy -- they're not, most of them work harder than you do, I promise you. Unless you've actually been a low-income single parent, don't presume to understand what the challenges are.

more than 2 years ago

Sony Sued Over PSN 'No Suing' Provision

atfrase Re:Common Nonsense (384 comments)

Can any legal types comment on whether it would be viable to fight back with our own Service Provider License Agreements?

"By providing me, <NAME> with service, you, <COMPANY> agree to be bound by this Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA)..."

Could we craft a generic boilerplate SPLA with provisions that nullify these kinds of anti-consumer restrictions, and just all print them out and mail them en masse to the legal dept. of any company we do business with? Would it be considered legally binding on them, just exactly the same way EULAs are legally binding on us? Has this already been done?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: An Open Handheld Terminal For Retail Stores?

atfrase PCI (114 comments)

If you intend to process credit card payments through your custom application on the point-of-sale device, you'll likely fall under the purview of the Payment Card Industry's Payment Application Data Security Standard (PCI PA-DSS), which may require a source code audit and limit what you can have the software do. That may be no problem for you depending on your resources and intended use of your software, but it's worth keeping in mind.

more than 3 years ago

Ubuntu Dumps X For Unity On Wayland

atfrase binary video drivers and wine (640 comments)

Can anybody more knowledgeable than I comment on how this will affect binary (nVidia/AMD) video driver performance or compatibility, and thus Wine gaming?

more than 3 years ago

How Google Avoided Paying $60 Billion In Taxes

atfrase Re:Corporations shouldn't pay any taxes. (1193 comments)

If corporations were not recognized as individuals in a number of other annoying contexts (political contributions, "personal" rights, etc) then I *might* be inclined to agree. But as it stands, they've got the best of both worlds; no meaningful taxation like individuals are burdened with, but all the same protections and "rights" as well.

more than 3 years ago

Record-Breaking Galaxy Found In Deep Hubble Image

atfrase Re:Does it still exist? (196 comments)

I think there's a maximum length after which a galaxy cannot exist; diminishing element returns from supernovae. Unfortunately I'm not sure how long it is, but it's much longer than 13 billion years; individual red dwarves can last for hundreds of billions of years. As for merger with other galaxies or destruction by a supermassive black hole though, its anyone's guess.

If the universe is under 15 billions years old, how do we know red dwarves can last 100 billion years?

more than 3 years ago

DMCA Takedown Notice Leveled Against Ohio Congressional Race Ad

atfrase Re:Fair use? (130 comments)

But the baffling thing here is that this isn't some big company demanding a political ad be removed; it's a tiny film studio. And the film in question is free on the internet.

It just seems like there has to be a missing piece to this story.

Is it really that baffling? Let me take a stab at that missing piece:

Campaign manager: Hey tiny film studio, how do you feel about perjuring yourself to shut down this ad that's making us look bad? We'll owe ya one, and we have this funny feeling the perjury won't be prosecuted anyway.
Tinyfilmstudio: A corrupt congressman in my debt? Yes please; consider it done.
Campaign manager: I knew we'd see eye-to-eye on this one.

more than 3 years ago

Newspaper Endorses the Candidate It's Suing Over Copyright

atfrase Re:Welcome, (166 comments)

"Crime and politics, little girl. Situation is always... fluid." --Badger

more than 3 years ago

W3C Says Don't Use HTML5 Yet

atfrase Re:The W3C needs a big reality check. (205 comments)

What do you suppose are the chances that Microsoft itself is slowing down the W3C's progress, for exactly the reason you state? It would not be the first time a company sabotaged a cooperative effort to further their own interests.

more than 3 years ago

China Embargos Rare Earth Exports To Japan

atfrase Re:All this over a fishing boat (470 comments)

If you think this is really just about a fishing boat, you haven't studied enough history or global politics.

more than 3 years ago

PayPal Withholding Indie Game Dev's €600,000 Account

atfrase Re:This is why (775 comments)

It's EUR10 each, so that's only 60k pre-orders. I wrote a WoW addon that's used by a couple thousand people, and Minecraft is arguably 30x cooler than my addon. The internet is a big place; 60k people is pretty reasonable.

about 4 years ago

Jobs Says No Tethering iPad To iPhone

atfrase Re:You get what you pay for? (423 comments)

I've installed the official driver manually, and now every time there's a kernel upgrade (which seems to happen about once every other week right now), the graphical user interface breaks, and I'm dropped back to the command line. Then I have to reinstall the Nvidia driver manually again to get back to work.

This is what DKMS was invented for. As soon as nVidia starts using it in their binary driver packages, this problem will go away and all your kernel modules will be recompiled automatically when a new kernel is installed.

So, tell me how my mother should be able to handle that?

This is a total straw man and you know it, and I'm disappointed the mods didn't call you on it.

If your mother can't run one script from a command line and follow the prompts to reinstall the driver, then she probably doesn't need the extra 3D performance from a proprietary binary video driver either. Set her up with the open-source driver and kernel updates won't be a problem.

more than 4 years ago

Ubisoft's New DRM Cracked In One Day

atfrase Re:On the bright side... (678 comments)

This is a case where voting with your wallet is the way to go. If they see dropping sales figures as compared to the first game that aren't matched by rising piracy figures, then that tells them that some people out there have ethical reasons not to pirate, and are opposed enough to intrusive DRM crap not to purchase. A pirate doesn't interest them, but a lost customer does.

The problem with this is that these content industries (games, movies, music, etc) have the nasty habit of defining piracy figures in terms of sales figures. So if they see falling sales figures, they will claim that as proof of a corresponding increase in piracy. I suspect this DRM lunacy will not end until at least one major company follows this kind of logic all the way to bankruptcy; sales keep going down, DRM keeps getting worse, customers keep getting more annoyed, sales go down even more, until the company is just out of business.

The real tragedy is that even then, in their dying breath, that company will claim that they went under due to piracy, not due to producing a worse and worse product (as the DRM gets more and more invasive).

more than 4 years ago

A Warming Planet Can Mean More Snow

atfrase The future matters more than the past (1136 comments)

To some extent I think the question of whether the globe is warming (or climate is changing, or whatever terminology comes next) is secondary.

Whether or not it's already happening in any measurable way today, I think we can all agree that it *could* happen in the future, so we (as a country, and a global society, and a species) need to be careful that it doesn't. To that end, studying human civilization's side effects on the biosphere seems obviously worthwhile.

I think the original batch of climate scientists were well-intentioned but did themselves (and us) a disservice by overplaying the initial data. They saw a potential problem in the future and tried to rally the public by saying "it's already happening!", but when that ended up not being very obviously provable, people started dismissing the entire concern. That, to me, is a huge mistake.

more than 4 years ago


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