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Comments

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TCP/IP Might Have Been Secure From the Start If Not For the NSA

cardpuncher Re:Flamebait (149 comments)

This is the same Vint Cerf who opined recently that "privacy may be an anomaly" and "[our] experience with privacy is a result of our own behavior".

It's precisely because such people are so keen to work on stuff they "couldn't share ... with friends" that their friends find themselves the target of what they've developed.

about two weeks ago
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US Intelligence Officials To Monitor Federal Employees With Security Clearances

cardpuncher Re:And the obvious result is... (186 comments)

And people who are secretly resentful, and people who are keeping their noses clean until they have worked their way into a position useful to their foreign handlers.

The more you seek to eliminate the people of whom you might be suspicious, the greater becomes the proportion of the people left who are either disaffected or "not suspicious" as a result of knowing how your "suspicions" are aroused.

about a month ago
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Metadata and the Intrusive State

cardpuncher Re:Who believe "just metadata" reassurances anyway (66 comments)

Merry Contemporary England still has a system in which the power of the government is theoretically delegated from the Sovereign whose authority is established by divine right.

The Founding Fathers' descendants still have a system based on the quasi-divine right of the constitution.

One has GCHQ, the other has the NSA.

Using only one side of the paper, explain how the "US Concept" to which you refer makes a material difference to "The People".

about a month ago
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Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams

cardpuncher Re:Well it IS the BBC (431 comments)

>It's the one Jewish school that they pick on.

No, it isn't.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-e...

However, one Jewish reference gets the propaganda industry into full swing.

about a month and a half ago
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Most Alarming: IETF Draft Proposes "Trusted Proxy" In HTTP/2.0

cardpuncher Please correct me if I'm wrong... (177 comments)

But as I read it, the issue seems to arise from the fact that HTTP2 will permit TLS to be used with both http: and https: URLs. If it is used for http: URLs, then existing proxy and caching mechanisms will simply break. I think this is a proposal for "trused proxies" to be permitted where an http: URL is in use and TLS is also employed, I don't think it's proposed that this should apply to https: URLs.

In other words, it doesn't make things any worse than the current situation (where http: URLS are retrieved in plain text all the time) and does permit the user to control whether they want some protection against interception or potentially better performance. And it doesn't appear to change the situation for https: at all.

Or that's how it appears to me.

about 2 months ago
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High Court Rules Detention of David Miranda Was Lawful

cardpuncher Re:Of course it's "lawful" (169 comments)

The fact that judges have opinions that are regarded as controversial doesn't always mean that their opinions cannot be predicted to be pro-government in specific cases. Laws has already made it very clear that whereas it may be that certain countries see the judiciary as a check on state actions, in Britain there is:

a deep sense that matters of state policy are in essence the responsibility of the elected arms of government

In other words, it was quite predictable that he would side with the executive in this matter. That's probably not a coincidence, either.

about 2 months ago
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High Court Rules Detention of David Miranda Was Lawful

cardpuncher Re:Of course it's "lawful" (169 comments)

It has been a tradition in the UK for courts to refuse to intervene in executive decisions made on "security" grounds, with the justification that as the courts have no access to classified materials, they can't come to a judgment about whether the decision was properly made.

The rather notorious judge Lord Denning summed this up quite nicely in his decision supporting the deporation from the UK of US journalist Mark Hosenball for daring to mention the existence of GCHQ in an article for Time Out magazine:

They [the executive] have never interfered with the liberty or the freedom of movement of any individual except where it is absolutely necessary for the safety of the state. In this case we are assured that the Home Secretary himself gave it his personal consideration, and I have no reason whatever to doubt the care with which he considered the whole matter. He is answerable to Parliament as to the way in which he did it and not to the courts here.

The extent of his cognitive dissonance can be seen from his prefacing remarks:

In some parts of the world national security has on occasions been used as an excuse for all sorts of infringements of individual liberty. But not in England.

In other words, Denning (and two other judges on the bench concurred) was simulaneously of the opinion that every judgment the government had ever made in the past in curtailing liberty was justified; that the Home Secretary was above challenge in a court of law; and that England was a bastion of individual liberty.

With judges like that, courts are essentially redundant.

Incidentally, in a judgment on an attempt by the Birmingham Six (whose convictions as IRA bombers were finally quashed) to sue the police for beatings they received before finally confessing, Denning said:

If the six men win, it will mean . . . that the convictions were erronoeous. That would mean that the Home Secretary would either have to recommend they be pardoned or he would have to remit the case to the Court of Appeal . . . This is such an appalling vista that every sensible person in the land would say it cannot be right that these actions should go any further.

So, don't look to the law if you want justice.

about 2 months ago
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Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

cardpuncher Re:I think I have to say... (664 comments)

It's not people who work for a living that are at particular risk, it's people who work for a living AND have ordered their affairs in such a way that even a short absence of work would result in financial disaster.

Fortunately for employers, most people do arrange their lives in this way. It's easy to see why - you can have your house, car, wife and 2 veg, shiny stuff and the occasional vacation at the time you feel entitled to them, rather than when you're old, jaded and impotent. Of course, the more stuff you acquire on credit or contract to pay for in endless monthly installments, the more jobs of precisely this kind become available and the more money there is for the people who employ them.

It's not even a new phemomenon, back in the days of the company store, it would be well stocked with alcohol at the end of the week so that the workers' wages would be in till by the end of the weekend and the penniless workers would have no choice but to be in work bright and early on Monday morning.

If more people had a "fuck you" buffer in their finance stream, the employment experience would be very different. Most people, though, don't even consciously think about their leap into premature indebtedness and most of those that do would take the badge rather than feel they were "reduced" to using public transport or drinking water from the tap.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?

cardpuncher Re:it's been twenty years, or forty (120 comments)

I was confronted by this problem about 15 years ago when I was asked by a listings magazine to provide them with a system that would allow the input not only of community events, but theatre performances, film showings, exhibitions etc. and then use this data to automatically lay out their print as fell as feed their emerging website.

I did an extensive search of software available at the time and nothing really cut it and had to develop something from scratch. Although it's easy for one-off events, when it comes to events that repeat every alternate Tuesday except at half-term and you want to show them precisely once in a listing of events occuring over an arbitrary period (rather than once for each occurrence), it's a really tricky problem to solve. Even finding a data representation which can be searched in a reasonable time is hard - scouring through thousands of iCalendar files isn't a solution. Finding a workable user interface that allows the entry of the whole range of wacky recurrence rules is harder still. In the end, I compromised and did the whole thing by date only, leaving times (e.g. a film that might run at 14:00, 16:00, 18:30 and 21:00) to be recorded simply in the text description of the event. And I didn't have to bother with time zones, daylight savings times, etc.

Although I'm now retired, they're still using my software from 15 years ago and I occasionally have to dig out the documentation to pass on to the next IT company they appoint, promising to come up with a more modern solution and finally thinking better of it.

If you did put in all the work to create a completely generic solution, potential users would just turn round and complain it was too complicated for their very specific subset of needs. So people create solutions that meet specific requirements that then don't work for other people.

about 3 months ago
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Sites Blocked By Smartfilter, Censored in Saudi Arabia

cardpuncher Re:Sigh... (112 comments)

Quite. I have just received from Linked In a message that: "McAfee, Verizon and AT&T are looking for candidates like you". I now loathe myself for apparently exhibiting qualities they appreciate...

about 3 months ago
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Cartels Are Using Firetruck-Sized Drillers To Make Drug Pipelines

cardpuncher Re:Decriminalize (323 comments)

To the uninitiated observer from a distant galaxy, it might appear incongruous that the right to possess lethal manufactured goods (leading to 30,000 deaths per year) is sacrosanct, whereas the possession of naturally-occuring plant material (leading to 0 deaths per year) is severely punished.

It's might seem odder that the main reason advanced for the right to bear lethal manufactured goods is to ensure that the right to bear lethal manufactured goods continues. And that the possession of naturally-occuring plant material is allegedly punished to prevent thousands of deaths occurring.

However, it explains pretty much everything you need to know about the human race.

about 3 months ago
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Are New Technologies Undermining the Laws of War?

cardpuncher Re:Also, (317 comments)

Well, apart from the fact that #3 was arguably necessary to buy time owing to the lack of military preparedness compared with Germany, the result of an accommodation between the UK and Germany (on which Hitler was quite keen) would have been the division of Europe with a large area under totalitarian control and the widespread extermination of civilians considered "undesirable". Whereas the result of failing to settle an accommodation was the division of Europe with a large area under totalitarian control and the widespread extermination of civilians considered "undesirable" - alongside the massive loss of life and economic damage.

Of course this is all a matter of hindsight, but the problem with war is that everyone enters with the expectation that it won't last.

about 3 months ago
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Protesters Block Apple and Google Buses In California

cardpuncher Re:Shooting the messenger (653 comments)

>The tech industry is not responsible for driving up housing prices

Yes it is. The tech industry is supposed to have made location an irrelevant criterion.

The tech industry is not only refusing to eat its own dog food, it's wilfully jacking up its costs and risk by insisting on stockpiling its live meat in one location.

about 4 months ago
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It's Not Just the NSA: Police Are Tracking Your Car

cardpuncher Re:And I'm enjoying the benefits (201 comments)

Actually, if 3rd party insurance were provided by the state and funded from fuel taxes, we could ensure everyone was insured, everyone's premiums were lower, save a fortune on IT and not have to track anyone.

Of course that would be too convenient and remove authoriteh from too many jobsworths.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Digital Music Replace Most Instrumental Musicians?

cardpuncher Re:Can Digital Music Replace Most Musicians? (328 comments)

It's not just about earning money. Don't underestimate the desire of people to perform. There's a well-organised programme of community music where I live and there are many hundreds of people participating in live music - choirs, small jazz and folk groups, community orchestras etc - and they're paying to take part (to cover professional teachers/conductors/accompanists/venues...). Most of the live bands you find in pubs will not be covering their costs, but they do it because they enjoy it.

Of course, in terms of technical quality, synthesisers would beat many of these performances hands down - but that's not really the point.

What is a more interesting question is whether the lack of career opportunities for merely competent jobbing instrumentalists leads to a lack of infrastructure to develop the talent of the exceptional performers that people will still want to pay to hear play.

Given that musicians have in the past had better career options than most authors or painters - and we hardly seem short of the latter even now, though of course it's much easier to be a individual contributor as an author than as a viola player - I don't see an imminent shortage of soloists. And I still see plenty of young faces in orchestras (or at least they seem young to me...), certainly young enough to have grown up with electronic music.

about 4 months ago
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The Challenge of Cross-Language Interoperability

cardpuncher Re:Cross language - what .Net gets right (286 comments)

VMS was mostly written in BLISS, although there were chunks of Macro-32, particularly in the drivers. The big challenge in the Alpha port was effectively cross-compiling the Macro-32 code for Alpha hardware. Towards the end of Digital as an independent company, more development work was done in C.

An early decision in the design of VAX/VMS was the definition of the "VAX Procedure Calling Standard" that dictated the instructions and mechanisms to be used for calling procedures, passing parameters and returning values, independent of language. All the compilers were expected to use this mechanism so that you could, for example, call a procedure written in VAX COBOL from VAX FORTRAN. This worked to a large extent, but it wasn't explicitly defined (and couldn't really be defined) whether compilers should use call-by-value, call-by-reference or call-by-descriptor for particular data types so additional semantic cruft was required to sort out the deails of parameter-passing. VAX C would sometimes pass a double-word argument in violation of the standard. The standard also had nothing to say about meta issues like run time initialisation, memory and thread usage, etc.

That said, it was a revelation coming from an IBM world in which you'd sometimes have to write Assembler shims to patch up the calling conventions if you needed to get one language talking to another.

about 4 months ago
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How the NSA Is Harming America's Economy

cardpuncher You're all going to jail! (330 comments)

Listen up. Any news that casts an unfavourable light on the economy is a risk to your economic security. It must therefore be kept strictly secret. Anyone found spreading this unpatriotic propaganda is going to find themselves in a re-education camp.

Yours sincerely,

The government of North Korea^W^Wthe USA.

about 5 months ago
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How Big Data Is Destroying the US Healthcare System

cardpuncher What US Healthcare System? (507 comments)

As far as this foreigner is aware, there isn't a "US" Healthcare System, though a rather feeble one is in the process of emerging, rabid Republicans permitting. There are a lot of private companies - in relationships which are more co-parasitic than symbiotic - which puport to offer a "system", but in fact are fighting amongst themselves over the division of the spoils. If this war results in mutually-assured destruction, you haven't lost a Healthcare System, you've lost an obstacle to the establishment of a Healthcare System.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Metropolitan police drag feet on terror detention complaints

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  about 8 months ago

cardpuncher (713057) writes "At the end of a week in which oversight of the securocracy has been a prominent issue, Britain's Independent newspaper reports that London's Metropolitan Police Service has consistently refused to investigate complaints over border detentions such as that suffered by David Miranda, despite allegations of ethnic profiling and quota-filling. Although the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) used its powers to force belated investigations to take place, the Met is apparently refusing to hand over the results to the IPCC, resulting in the IPCC having to threaten the police with court action."
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Heathrow closed by "Dreamliner Fire"

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  about 9 months ago

cardpuncher (713057) writes "The BBC reports the closure of London's Heathrow airport allegedly as a result of an "internal" fire on an Ethiopian 787 "Dreamliner" aircraft. The incident follows closely on the 787's re-introduction to service on April 27th after modifications to its battery system."
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British government to grant warrant-free trawl of communications data

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  about 2 years ago

cardpuncher (713057) writes "Having opposed the previous government's attempts to introduce mass surveillance of Internet communications, the Conservatives are planning to introduce the very same policy they previously described as a "culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter terrorism and serious crime". So no surprises there.

The plan is essentially to allow stored communication data to be trawled without the inconvenience of needing a warrant or even any reasonable suspicion.

More information from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17576745."

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