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Comments

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French, German Leaders: Keep European Email Off US Servers

cheros EU companies may break the law by using US ISPs (115 comments)

EU Data Protection laws require a company to protect the privacy of the people it receives email from. Now the fallacy of the Safe Harbor agreement has become clear, using US providers means knowingly placing privacy in jeopardy.

Silicon Valley has a MASSIVE problem on its hands in this context: even if a US company WANTED to protect client information (and let's be honest, lots of them actually do), they are legally not in a position to do so. The biggest problem is that this is a legal issue, and that will take at least a decade to fix...

about 2 months ago
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Can Electric Current Make People Better At Math?

cheros Re:England + "Math" = Insult! (112 comments)

Lets put some electricity through someone's head and see what happens, or, drink a Red Bull for the same effect.

Not *quite* the same effect - it depends if your specific brain makeup is susceptible to stimulants, for the same reason that speed, sorry, Ritalin doesn't work for everyone either. Cranial stimulation is a further development of neurofeedback, where instead of just waiting for a brain region to do its thing, they take the next step and actually prod it into action.

I wonder how much treatment is needed to "set" the trained brain switching behaviour. Standard neurofeedback is quite quickly visible as beneficial once you've hit the right spot, but to really lock in the new behaviour takes 20+ sessions - it's a bit like training muscles.

I guess using a bigger battery won't help :)

about 2 months ago
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Linux Distributions Storing Wi-Fi Passwords In Plain Text

cheros Re:It's true -- but only root can read them though (341 comments)

If the attacker is already root, they have access to everything on your system anyway.

Not quite. Root access means a compromised single host. Access to a list of WiFi passwords means compromising all the WiFi networks the machine in question has been given access to, so you'd still want that encrypted.

about 4 months ago
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Lockbox Aims To NSA-Proof the Cloud

cheros Re:I think they understimate the cloud (292 comments)

Yawn. Yet another tech answer to what isn't a tech problem to start with. I suspect there will be gazillions more coming your way over the next few months because all the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs want to milk that market before people realise they've been had: IT IS NOT A TECHNICAL PROBLEM.

For a US based company it is 100% pointless to install any defence mechanism if some random official can walk in and ask for corporate data - the owner has to offer the data., unlocked.

For any organisation outside the US, it should simply ask the question: what are the chances that a US based organisation will NOT have a backdoor in its technology if such can be legally prescribed? As you have seen with Lavabit and Silent Circle, there are in principle only two ways forward: comply, or close shop. I leave you to note the clear risk in using security products from those who provide security products who have not closed down yet. Note: I'm not stating that all US sourced security products HAVE been provided with a backdoor, merely that it is legally possible to force the suppliers to implement them.

Eventually, someone will realise the real risk to the US economy: it's a profound lack of trust. This will take decades to fix, mainly because it involves a fight to either repeal those emergency laws or introduce some independent transparency and supervision. Meanwhile, whole swaths of Silicon Valley people will continue to sell what is at best privacy theatre, but which also risks becoming nothing more than security theatre as well.

Because backdoors and security do not combine very well.

about 8 months ago
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Google Launches Cloud Printer Service For Windows

cheros Re:First always on wifi, now force fed cloud print (135 comments)

Funny, that was about the first thing I thought too.

Wrt your other complaints I could, of course, observe that other platforms offer a much finer granulation of access control, even AFTER installation, but we still have to acknowledge that being asked is better than not being asked at all, as was the case before..

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Explaining Cloud Privacy Risks To K-12 Teachers?

cheros Wrong country.. (168 comments)

I gather from your use of the "K-12" term that you're in the US (keep that in mind when you ask such questions).

Your challenge is that you're up against several decades of brainwashing to make you (and parents) believe that your privacy isn't worth anything that that it's somehow bad to insist that the state and companies respect the rights they signed up to when they accepted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 (actually there's also such a thing as the right of the child, but both Somalia and the US declined to underwrite that - don't know enough about that to draw a conclusion).

You see, this is the origin of the term "free" in "free" services - all you need to give up is some privacy. So it's not free, you pay with your privacy. What is interesting is that the worst offenders have managed to turn the debate on its head.

You don't have to defend your right to privacy. It's yours, and it's supposedly inalienable. Those who want to invade your privacy have to explain themselves.

Bonus argument for parents: personal details on sites tend to be one programming mistake away from disclosure. Your guiding principle for providing anything to a 3rd party on the Internet is that it is equivalent to giving it to your worst enemy. What's worse, the Internet doesn't forget - this means you're giving information to enemies you haven't even made yet..

about 10 months ago
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How I Got Fired From the Job I Invented

cheros Re:Contact a California lawyer (252 comments)

Isn't there also something like "trademark through use"? He's been using the phrase for ages, and has the domain registered in his name for a long time - that should have some value (and if it doesn't, it's damn well time it did IMHO).

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Most Secure Browser In an Age of Surveillance?

cheros Re:None of them (391 comments)

The OP is right insofar that a browser is only one part of the chain of events that ties an identity (and associated habits) to you. Even when you use something Firefox or Opera in so-called "private" mode, your traffic still originates from the same point, creating a common item between things that happen (and BTW, you should set your browser to be something else than the default "OS + browser ID").

The expensive way to address that is to route your traffic via some privacy proxy. The expensive way to do this (used by most VIPs and privacy conscious celebrities) is to use specialist companies which map this traffic via VPNs to any part of the planet. The cheap way to do this is by using Tor, but it would be decent of you to then keep your Internet use as much as possible to text as other people are paying.

about 10 months ago
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A350XWB, the Plane Airbus Did Not Want To Build, Makes Maiden Flight

cheros Re:Great headline, mediocre summary (135 comments)

Thanks for that pointer. Just cooking up a website, and it's precisely the structure I was looking for. Thnx again.

about 10 months ago
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UK Consumers Reporting Contactless Payment Errors

cheros And this is NEWS? (193 comments)

Since RFIDs landed in passports it's been a fairly badly held secret that the only thing that limits the range of such devices is the quality of the antenna and the transceiver.

The only reason those terminals work on proximity is because they use crap aerials. All it takes is a larger aerial and you can get up to max 10 meter range (beyond that the S/N ratio becomes an issue).

The only real question is why card companies are pretending they don't know this.

When have you ever known a card company to limit its opportunity to get you into interest paying debt? Why else do you think they put a payment limit on NFC transactions?

about a year ago
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RapLeaf Is Back and Bad As Ever

cheros Re:...Evidon, who also owns Rapleaf? (78 comments)

Sadly, what you have done is not enough.

You missed Google fonts. Practically EVERY Wordpress template contains them as it's one of the few resources available to create a better design without having to license fonts for download. Google doesn't do that out of the gentleness of their non-existing hearts: every time you load a Wordpress page which uses Google fonts you create a hit on their fonts API.

Granted, if you nuke cookies they will not have a fully accurate lock on you as a person, but that's where geolocation comes in - Google does not HAVE to be accurate, all they need is a reasonable approximation. In principle we should ALL use the web via proxy, but it's ridiculous that I have to defend what is my RIGHT because setups like Google are allowed to break the law with impunity (at least in Europe)?

about a year ago
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Is Eccentric Sven Olaf Kamphius To Blame For Spamhaus DDoS?

cheros Re:What about the idea (133 comments)

The ISP was also providing email, but yes, the technically correct expression should have been "email provider".

There is a degree of irony in this. Many years ago, I was behind the cleanup of a VERY large email provider in Hong Kong who had so many spam problems in their client base that we had to start with a network containment process before we started to tackle the clients, so it's not that I'm unfamiliar with the problem or unsympathetic to Spamhaus - I just observe that from a neutral perspective, Spamhaus is not perfect.

Realistically, they can't be, because the sheer volume of spam they deal with makes anything but automation impossible and it is thus important that you have measures in place to detect being blacklisted. It may not be your fault, but you will suffer the effects.

1 year,17 days
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Is Eccentric Sven Olaf Kamphius To Blame For Spamhaus DDoS?

cheros Re:What about the idea (133 comments)

Believe me, if we were blocking legitimate mail, our users would complain. It's not happening.

How would they know they're not receiving email? I'm all for what Spamhaus does and have used their lists on many mail servers, but I have also been on the receiving end when they had it wrong.

I was abroad, and the ISP I was using was blocked. Spamhaus basically tells you "talk to the ISP", but if you're dealing with a large ISP the theory that they will pay any attention to you doesn't always work. It wasn't difficult to solve (just grabbed a Yahoo account), but Spamhaus *can* get in your way, especially if you hang off a shared IP address.

1 year,19 days
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Real-Time Gmail Spying a 'Top Priority' For FBI This Year

cheros Re:I don't understand. (283 comments)

Avoiding due process. It means they can get hold of data, and you cannot prove they have it. One of the main games since 9/11 has been to gain more powers (laughingly labeled "emergency" powers) against far less oversight so abuse would no longer be an issue.

I think there should be no barrier against law enforcement access to information, provided the need is proven (read: no fishing expeditions) and there is a clean, clear and reliable audit trail which is accessible a while later (not immediately because you could disturb ongoing operations). If the services do not want that transparency and independent oversight, I have a simple question for them:

"What do you have to hide?"

1 year,22 days
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Ask Slashdot: Mac To Linux Return Flow?

cheros Re:Switched 10.1 (965 comments)

Grin, I switched to OSX from Windows/Linux in 2010 after I bought a Macbook Pro for research for a book. To be honest, I wasn't planning to, but the month I gave myself to get used to the platform turned into the last month I ran Windows (still have a tiny Win XP VM somewhere, but that doesn't get much used). The next month I spent swearing at myself I hadn't tried this earlier :)

The usual caveat applies, of course, it works for me, and the businesses I'm set up. It may not work for everyone, but so far, our deployment is pretty boring standard and others we know are now looking at leaving the Windows camp too.

What works for me:
- it works. Want to work: open lid, enter password, go. Ready: close lid, done. No hangups, no fuss, it just works. Set up dual screen? It takes seconds and it remembers the setup per screen as well. Need to give a Linux box a cabled ethernet link when there is only WiFi around? No problem - System Preferences, Internet sharing, go. I haven't even looked on how to do that in Linux, but I'm positive it will take more than the 4 seconds it took on the Mac - that was a complete jaw dropper.

- great hardware. I bought the high res screen, so my MBP has a 1680x1050 resolution, which matches the screen I used to use for my PC. About the only think I positively do NOT like is the mouse and the small bluetooth keyboard when I'm at home, so I have the cabled version and a Logitech Anywhere MX as mouse (IMHO the most perfect mouse ever invented, but I digress)

- low software costs. If I see how massively useful apps like Omnigraffle Pro, Pixelmator and Artboard are, versus how much they cost (admission: I would have paid more for that quality), the price and license limits of a single copy of Microsoft Office are plain ludicrous, and it's not be half as usable due to this %&Ã* ribbon idiocy (let's not mention what they have done to Visio's UI, shall we? I don't want to swear). In this context it's also worth observing that proving license compliance is a lot easier - saves time when FAST gangsters want to play games.

Thus, the new office we're planning will only have one single copy for format translation - all other machines will run LibreOffice and we will multi-license all the apps mentioned above (the App Store has support for commercial use which makes license management easy). Our business doesn't involve document production other than the occasional PDF, so that works for us.

I have in one machine a Unix command line and a commercial grade portable desktop, so to me, a combination of Linux on servers and OSX on the desktop is the best usable mix. YMMV, of course.

about a year ago
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Mass. Bill Would Put Privacy Squeeze on Cloud Apps For Schools

cheros Re:Slashdot now another MS propaganda site (95 comments)

I left Groklaw when I noticed a strong bias, which to me does equate a "search for truth" but "picking facts selectively". Groklaw's default stance appears to be that anything Google does is excusable (which isn't), and anything Microsoft does is bad (which is mostly correct, but not always). Groklaw hasn't quite worked out yet that Google appears to make most of its revenue in the US and abroad by wilfully breaking laws (the statements made by Google when it is caught only serves to make it clear that Google knows damn well that it was breaking the law). I'm interested to see how they fare with the privacy policy problems, because the prior Streetview affair has made Google now into a repeat offender (hence the massive lobbying in Europe right now).

In this case you should look beyond the companies involved and look at the kids - by accident, Microsoft has done something that's actually good. Personally I think kids should not be in a database for commercial gain until they are adults, full stop. No excuses.

Sure, I know that Microsoft's motivation is anything but pure but it has fairly accurately laid its dirty fingers on Google's man problem: privacy is an inalienable Human Right - Google making a profit is not.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Starting From Scratch After a Burglary?

cheros An alternative take on your security plans (770 comments)

Could I suggest you invest in a double security setup? One that is visible, is possibly noisy and easy to detect - and which you plan to lose - and another one comprised of covert, cabled pinhole cameras at just below eye height which transmit their data to a server account (FTP tends to be well supported).

This ensures that the next visit (which is almost guaranteed) will be the one that gets them caught, because they will focus on your visible alarm - totally missing the second circuit (also because it doesn't emit anything using cables). You can augment it with IR light, but make sure it's not near the cameras.

I always add an element of deception in coverage - and it changes with every design.

about a year ago
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French Officials Say EU Will Sanction Google Over Privacy

cheros Re:Reminds me of "The Holy Grail" (161 comments)

All they want is money out of Google

I think they are starting from the position that Google knows damn well what the EU privacy laws look like, they have now been caught AGAIN at ignoring them and they have had plenty of time to formulate *any* kind of answer ranging from apology and compliance to at least engaging in discussion on how to solve the issue. Instead, they have calmly ignored a letter sent to them in name of 27 separate countries, meanwhile collecting even more income from what in some cases is flat out illegal activity under EU law.

The result is that the EU will now act, for two reasons. First of all, the law is the law, and if Google thinks it's too big and important to comply I would only like to point at what happened with Microsoft. Secondly, the Art 29 Working Group represents 29 countries, and none of them could progress any complaints until there was clarity about this privacy policy. This means there was a lot of other trouble backed up behind this issue, so by acting, the commission is now allowing those later complaints to become active.

Google is being *very* stupid IMHO, but that may be because they make the same mistake as other US companies by considering the EU as just another version of the US, but with more languages (which also explains their attempts at lobbying themselves out of this situation). That may emerge to be a VERY costly mistake, and Google has wasted the time it had since the 16th of October - now they will have to deal with a commission as well as 27 separate countries all keen to prove they are not US annexes..

about a year ago
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Tesla, Ford, Amazon Hint At Cloudy Future For Cars

cheros It's not always smart for the DRIVER.. (231 comments)

The problem I see with more and more electronics is the loss of control, not just of the vehicle but also of your privacy. You are already driving with a black box in most vehicles, and access to that is not restricted to accident investigators - data gets pulled every time you have the car serviced, with you having nil control over how it is used.

A secondary issue is that entertainment electronics is subject to far less security checks than the stuff that makes sure your engine runs best and that steers traction control and ABS, yet they are interconnected. Research teams have already shown it is possible to use the one layer to affect the other by completely killing the brakes of a car on remote - do you really want to make it possible for a script kiddie to do this to your car?

The privacy issue is very current. I can already see Google powered systems enter into some vehicles, without any alternative options being presented. Not only does that require the most expensive wireless connection you can get as a family (mobile/cell), especially if you travel internationally, it's also handing data in large uncontrolled gobs to a company that has as yet to prove it can be trusted with it. I don't want to become part of the Streetview data collection system, thank you - not even if they paid me for it.

about a year ago

Submissions

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German government offers formal opinion on secure boot

cheros cheros writes  |  about a year ago

cheros (223479) writes "The German government published a white paper on Trusted Computing and Secure Boot which puts somewhat of a stake through any attempt to lock up a platform. As it contains chapters such as "Complete control by device owners" and "Freedom to decide" I reckon the gist of the paper is quite clear.

Also, because it is an official government paper I suspect you are in effect reading the general stance on the subject. This wouldn't surprise me, as the German government has shown itself to be an intelligent user of Open Source in the past by sponsoring projects it intended to use itself such as GPG and other, more local projects (I could mention Munich, but I'm sure you heard of that by now).

So, in short, if the purpose of Secure Boot was lock in, it appears the German Government is telling Microsoft that it doesn't find that acceptable.."

Link to Original Source
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WHOIS of major websites gives weird results - hacked?

cheros cheros writes  |  about a year and a half ago

cheros (223479) writes "On Friday I wanted to look up registration details for bluehost.com (I wanted to quickly see where they were). The answer from the command line were, well, weird. I then tried Google, Yahoo, Apple — it's a mess. Does anyone have an idea what this is? DNS poisoning?

%whois google.com

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net/
for detailed information.

GOOGLE.COM.ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.LOVE.AND.TOLERANCE.THE-WONDERBOLTS.COM
GOOGLE.COM.ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.HAVENDATA.COM
GOOGLE.COM.ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.GET.ONE.MILLION.DOLLARS.AT.WWW.UNIMUNDI.COM
GOOGLE.COM.ZZZZZ.GET.LAID.AT.WWW.SWINGINGCOMMUNITY.COM
GOOGLE.COM.ZOMBIED.AND.HACKED.BY.WWW.WEB-HACK.COM
GOOGLE.COM.ZNAET.PRODOMEN.COM
GOOGLE.COM.Z.LOVE.AND.TOLERANCE.THE-WONDERBOLTS.COM
GOOGLE.COM.YUCEKIRBAC.COM
GOOGLE.COM.YUCEHOCA.COM
GOOGLE.COM.WORDT.DOOR.VEEL.WHTERS.GEBRUIKT.SERVERTJE.NET
GOOGLE.COM.VN
GOOGLE.COM.VABDAYOFF.COM
GOOGLE.COM.UY
GOOGLE.COM.UA
GOOGLE.COM.TW
GOOGLE.COM.TR
GOOGLE.COM.SUCKS.FIND.CRACKZ.WITH.SEARCH.GULLI.COM
GOOGLE.COM.SPROSIUYANDEKSA.RU
GOOGLE.COM.SPAMMING.IS.UNETHICAL.PLEASE.STOP.THEM.HUAXUEERBAN.COM
GOOGLE.COM.SOUTHBEACHNEEDLEARTISTRY.COM
GOOGLE.COM.SHQIPERIA.COM
GOOGLE.COM.SA
GOOGLE.COM.PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENIS.COM
GOOGLE.COM.PE
GOOGLE.COM.PAVLINOFF-55-11-44.COM
GOOGLE.COM.MY
GOOGLE.COM.MX
GOOGLE.COM.LOLOLOLOLOL.SHTHEAD.COM
GOOGLE.COM.LASERPIPE.COM
GOOGLE.COM.IS.NOT.HOSTED.BY.ACTIVEDOMAINDNS.NET
GOOGLE.COM.IS.HOSTED.ON.PROFITHOSTING.NET
GOOGLE.COM.IS.APPROVED.BY.NUMEA.COM
GOOGLE.COM.HK
GOOGLE.COM.HICHINA.COM
GOOGLE.COM.HAS.LESS.FREE.PORN.IN.ITS.SEARCH.ENGINE.THAN.SECZY.COM
GOOGLE.COM.ESJUEGOS.NET
GOOGLE.COM.DO
GOOGLE.COM.CO
GOOGLE.COM.CN
GOOGLE.COM.BR
GOOGLE.COM.BITERMANSOLUTIONS.COM
GOOGLE.COM.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
GOOGLE.COM.AU
GOOGLE.COM.AR
GOOGLE.COM.ALL.THE.PEOPLE.WHO.SPAM.THE.WHOIS.ARE.SERIOUSLY.ANNOYING.SOMEPONY.COM
GOOGLE.COM.AFRICANBATS.ORG
GOOGLE.COM.9.THE-WONDERBOLTS.COM
GOOGLE.COM.1.THE-WONDERBOLTS.COM
GOOGLE.COM

%whois yahoo.com

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net/
for detailed information.

YAHOO.COM.ZZZZZZZ.GET.ONE.MILLION.DOLLARS.AT.WWW.UNIMUNDI.COM
YAHOO.COM.ZZZZZZ.MORE.INFO.AT.WWW.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
YAHOO.COM.ZZZZZ.GET.LAID.AT.WWW.SWINGINGCOMMUNITY.COM
YAHOO.COM.ZOMBIED.AND.HACKED.BY.WWW.WEB-HACK.COM
YAHOO.COM.VN
YAHOO.COM.VIRGINCHASSIS.COM
YAHOO.COM.TWIXTEARS.COM
YAHOO.COM.TW
YAHOO.COM.SINGERPAT.COM
YAHOO.COM.SG
YAHOO.COM.MX
YAHOO.COM.MORE.INFO.AT.WWW.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
YAHOO.COM.JTNELECTRIC.COM
YAHOO.COM.IS.N0T.AS.1337.AS.SEARCH.GULLI.COM
YAHOO.COM.HK
YAHOO.COM.ELPOV.COM
YAHOO.COM.EATINGFORJOY.NET
YAHOO.COM.DUVALMANIA.COM
YAHOO.COM.DALLARIVA.COM
YAHOO.COM.CN
YAHOO.COM.CHRISIMAMURAPHOTOWORKS.COM
YAHOO.COM.BR
YAHOO.COM.BGPETERSON.COM
YAHOO.COM.AU
YAHOO.COM.ACCUTAXSERVICES.COM
YAHOO.COM

%whois apple.com

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net/
for detailed information.

APPLE.COM.ZON.COM
APPLE.COM.WWW.ZON.COM
APPLE.COM.WWW.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
APPLE.COM.WAS.PWNED.BY.M1CROSOFT.COM
APPLE.COM.MORE.INFO.AT.WWW.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
APPLE.COM.IS.OWN3D.BY.NAKEDJER.COM
APPLE.COM.IS.0WN3D.BY.GULLI.COM
APPLE.COM.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
APPLE.COM.AT.WWW.BEYONDWHOIS.COM
APPLE.COM

No registration details whatsoever — it's a mess. I can see *many* scripts based on a normal WHOIS output fail here."
Link to Original Source

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Data Commissioner protects Facebook privacy by ending discussion - via SMS

cheros cheros writes  |  about a year and a half ago

cheros (223479) writes "Just in case you thought you had ANY rights to privacy protected by Facebook having a site in Ireland, you may want to read the latest update of Europe versus Facebook where the Commissioner apparently ended the discussion via SMS.

For more than a year we have been 'engaged' in the proceeding against Facebook before the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC). Now we experienced a more than surprising move by the authority (ODPC): Via a text message (!) we were told that the authority is not planning to talk to us anymore, despite the fact that we are parties of the biggest proceeding the DPC has ever had on his table... It is now unclear how we will overcome this situation.

Streisand Effect in 3 .. 2 .. 1 .."

Link to Original Source
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Would you trust Silent Circle?

cheros cheros writes  |  about 2 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "The company that Phil Zimmerman has been building called Silent Circle has just sent out an email that they are in "final tweaks" to their service. The company purports to offer encrypted email, encrypted calls, encrypted VoIP and encrypted text but there is a very basic question to be answered.

This is a US based company (just do a WHOIS or "dig" for their MX record and geolocate the result), and the US hasn't exactly been inspiring trust of late with its approach to people's privacy, nor with their creative (ab)use of anti-terror laws to breach privacy at will. We also have companies like Google and Facebook whose basic approach to privacy is to break the law and say "oops" when caught out, an attitude spurred on by the minimalist fines handed out when caught. Add to that the rather cavalier attitude to the privacy of non-US citizens and I have questions. I am perfectly happy with an ability for law enforcement to go after bad guys, but only if the privilege to break a basic human right is (a) tightly controlled and (b) fully auditable, which requires transparency. If you cannot audit the use of such laws, the first question a voter has to ask is what they are trying to hide..

I am happy that Zimmermann & Co are trying, but it strikes me that they thus start with a seriously flawed foundation — having a company in the US and hosting there is not going to inspire the trust you need to get people to use this service, that is, not if they have a clue. And, of course, Silent Circle users may risk flagging themselves as people of interest but that has been the case since the first days of PGP.."
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Switzerland goes after the German data thieves - properly

cheros cheros writes  |  about 2 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "If you thought that paying data thieves stimulated crime, it appears Swiss prosecution has arrived at that conclusion too. After investigation it appears that German tax officials have been ordering data thefts (this isn't in the article, but was mentioned on the radio), which makes it economic espionage. There is a now a massive diplomatic storm brewing over the fact that the Swiss prosecutor has ordered the arrest of three German tax officials.

So, data theft is finally a crime again. Not that those credit card hackers care.."

Link to Original Source
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The Stanford prisoner experiment - 40 years on

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 2 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "It's now 40 years ago that the Stanford prisoner experiment went ugly so quickly it had to be aborted. Stanford has an interesting piece called The Menace Within that looks back on this momentous psychological experiment.

I think we can still learn from this — plenty of live examples around.."

Link to Original Source
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Dutch government acknowledges high voltage risks

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 2 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "After receiving sufficient proof that living directly under high voltage power lines is a serious health risk, the Dutch government is now planning to move a good 1300 families (link to translation) whose houses are in the danger zone.

Being Dutch they don't plan to spend tax money for compensation, instead they plan a small surcharge on electricity to cover the estimated 500 Million Euro this is likely to cost.

Anyone aware of any other country that is taking such action?"

Link to Original Source
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Swiss RIAA under formal investigation

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 2 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "The Swiss paper Blick reports that the IFPI, the Swiss equivalent of the RIAA is now under formal investigation for market rigging and building an illegal monopoly (Google translation).

A pre-investigation seems to have concluded that there is enough evidence to warrant a formal investigation into market rigging and forcing members not to import music handled by another member (i.e. anti-competition).

If found guilty, fines could amount to 10% of their turnover for the last 3 years.."

Link to Original Source
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Privacy theater - new term by Ed Felten

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 3 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "Commenting on Facebook, Ed Felten has come up with a new term to describe the current attitudes to privacy that is brilliant in its simplicity: privacy theater.

It builds on the term Bruce Schneier defined to identify pretend security measures such as most of TSA's efforts: they don't do anything to make you safer, it makes you feel better. Ditto for your privacy, "privacy theater" describes measures that appear to do something for your privacy, while they are actually aimed at stopping you complaining about it.

Brilliant — so far, the best new expression for 2010.."

Link to Original Source
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"Tactical Nuclear Penguin" launched today

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "No, it's not a new game, and it's not a new Linux distro either (although it would be quite a name), it's BEER.

What's more, it's not your average new taste either, it's incredibly strong stuff with 32% alcohol.

Please do not drink too much of this, or you'll become too risky to cremate.."

Link to Original Source
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Google to upgrade Swiss Street View

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "Google Switzerland says it will upgrade its software to improve the blurring of faces and car registration plates on its Street View service, but doesn't want to lower its cameras (interesting — that was the same thing it was asked to do in Japan)."
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Monty Python 40 years old today!

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "Ah, British humour..

It started all with work of the Goons (Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe) and there was somewhat of an explosion of comedy in the years of the Cambridge Footlights when people like Stephen Fry And Tony Slattery created pieces that shall forever stand tall in history (I leave you to ponder that one, grin) — do a YouTube search for "The letter, Stephen Fry" for a taste. For those that like the series "House", you may be surprised to discover that Hugh Laurie was actually a rather accomplished, multi-talented comedian as well, look for "A bit of Fry and Laurie", especially "Your name sir". A bit of a warning, here, some of it is NSFW (especially "the pre-coital agreement" discussion is only suitable for those that actually have a sense of humour).

And then the Monty Python gang got together (I think this is right chronologically, but I'm happy to be corrected). The first airing of Monty Python was on October 5th, 1969, which means today it's 40 years old. Almost everything they did is now in some form or another on YouTube, so go and enjoy it. Look for the dead parrot sketch, the argument clinic, the ministry of silly walks etc etc.

Long may it live!"

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Swiss watchdog sets court ultimatum for Google Str

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "Google just can't get it right (it must be hard after being given a free ride practically everywhere else): the Swiss Federal Data Protection Commissioner has given Google 30 days to fix the problems with Streetview or the matter will go to court.

Another article in the Swiss press (in German) goes a little bit more into detail, not only have quite a number of complaints been handed in, Google has also been told to lower its cameras, in more or less a repeat of what it encountered in Japan, and to remove small private streets from its images unless it can obtain local permission (IMHO a somewhat impossible to meet requirement)."

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Switzerland: disable Google Streetview

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 4 years ago

glow-in-the-dark (223479) writes "The Swiss office for Data Protection has asked Google to turn off Streetview, I suspect because it doesn't meet the conditions as demanded when permission was given to go ahead.

Google answered privacy concerns with the following points (I'm translating them from German):

"Do I have to worry about being in Streetview?"
Google will publish in advance where it is going to record the images, so you can act accordingly.
Comment: WTF? So people have to hide when Google rides into town? Who exactly has the obligation here?

How is my Data Protection guaranteed when my picture has been taken?
Google has made masking the images of people and car license plates obligatory.
Comment: I think this is where trouble starts, because their permission to go ahead against concern appears to have been dependent on how well they did this. I have browsed one particular town as an experiment and was quite quickly able to unearth unmasked faces. This means that either the algorithm they use doesn't work, or that it is done manually and they're behind (in which case they should not have put up the images IMHO).

How do I get myself removed from Google Streetview?
You can tell Google where you were in the picture and they'll remove it.
Comment: same comment as above (whose obligation is this?), and, in addition, how are you going to recall where you saw a Google car (if you noticed it at all)? The images take several months to show up, and you don't need to look straight at them to be in the image.

Can I get my home removed from Google Streetview?
Although a picture of a home is generally not covered under Data Protection, Google has agreed to remove them if so asked, follow the same process as removing a person.
Comment: I think it wouldn't be half as bad if the pictures weren't taken with a high enough resolution to see inside a house.

In short, Google has not been given the easy ride it had in other countries regarding Streetview. I actually suspect there is more to come.."
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What got us to the moon

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "This is an interesting article, detailing a few of the challenges of the first moon flight:

Fence Wire, Flying Bedsteads and 36KB: What Got Us to the Moon

It's easy, once things become commonplace, to forget how extraordinary they once were. When Lindbergh flew to Paris, the whole world stopped to cheer. Now thousands of people jet back and forth everyday. Some 2,000 people have now reached the summit of Mt. Everest. And almost 500 people, from 39 countries, have flown in space. Which undoubtedly explains why I'm hard pressed to name even one of the astronauts who blasted off in the Space Shuttle Endeavor on Wednesday.

I just looked at the flight computer stats: 36k memory, and an MTBF of 70'000h. Translated: 1/50000 of the currently customary 2GB, and -if used during office hours- no failure for 40 years. It's clear that Microsoft had not been founded yet :-)."

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Swiss interim judgement: buying Microsoft is risky

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "It's presently only available in German, sorry — this is in principle a followup of
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/26/red_hat_switzerland/. I expect there will be a Redhat press release surfacing at some point.

The Swiss NZZ newspaper reports (at http://preview.tinyurl.com/ldmgmw) that an interim judgement now allows the procurement of Microsoft products & services, with the proviso that such contracts could be annulled by the final judgement.

This means that the purchase of Microsoft products is presently a risk until the final judgement. IMHO this is as effective as banning purchases until then, but without enabling Microsoft to do anything about it (AFAIK, IANAL).

This interim judgement is in principle a confirmation that there is actually a case to answer, and that the existence of viable alternatives is accepted by the court.

In related news, Redmond Microsoft staff recently dismissed are asked to bring their office chairs to a storage room on the executive floor before they leave. No explanation is provided :-)"
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iPhone update nukes certain firmware versions

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "We just had a call from our phone shop as we have several iPhones in the company — apparently there's a message out from the telco for people not to upgrade just yet to iPhone v3 firmware.

It appears some newer phones have problems with the update and brick instead, leaving you with a device that is just about recognised as a USB device, but no longer as an iPhone — it's now an iBrick.

I can confirm this as a colleague had this happen. Mine's one of the early ones and it went OK-ish (needed a restart before I could enter the SIM code to allowed the whole process to complete)."
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Spirit stuck in soft soil on Mars

cheros cheros writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cheros (223479) writes "NASA reports that the Spirit Mars lander is presently stuck in soft soil. The lander's wheels are halfway sunk into the soil and they are planning simulation tests to see if they can get it out again.

I hope they can get it out of there because it's picking up enough new energy to work with, however, it only has 5 wheels left to work with — one of the wheels hasn't been working for years. Fingers crossed.."

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