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top

Apple's "Warrant Canary" Has Died

dunkindave Re:There is no "almost impossible" (223 comments)

Encryption is ALWAYS breakable by brute force. Question is how long does it take? Seconds? Hours? Months? Years? Decades? This is usually determined by key sizes. The longer the key, the longer it takes to brute force. (generally)

Um, not quite, one time pads are provably impossible to break by brute force since the message can be decoded into any message of the right length.

yesterday
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New Details About NSA's Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden's Emails

dunkindave Re:NSA scorecard on on truth? (200 comments)

An aside: if, by your statement, corporations (organizations) are not people, but are made up of people, then why do corporations get to have free speech? Organizations are not people, they are made up of people. People have free speech rights, organizations do not.

First I will say I disagree with the Supreme Court's ruling on this matter, and that corporations as an entity should not enjoy rights like free speech. I thought about including that in my original post but it detracted from the post and made it long-winded and disjoint so I removed it. But as for your question, the reason they currently enjoy those rights is because 1) Congress has define a corporation as a person, which lead to 2) the Supreme Court ruled that as a result, corporations have the same rights as individual persons. While I can see some of the arguments in support of the free speech claim for corporations, namely that the corporation is acting on behalf of the collective where each member has freedom of speech, and therefore as a whole still do (many voices versus one), it creates problems in areas that corporations do not have equivalence with individuals, such as having the corporation "speak" for the group even though some members disagree with the statements, such as in political donations.

The issue here with the IRS and NSA is the same. The IRS or NSA can issue a statement that is an official pronouncement of the org, decided on by its management, the officials vested with the power to do so, and can therefore legitimately be labeled as a statement by the organization. Just because many people, rather than one, decided on what to say doesn't mean it loses the right to free speech. The reverse however does not necessarily map the same, like having the management perform an illegal action, such as a director lying to the press or Congress, and as a result labeling it as an action of the corporation. The shareholders voted the management into place to make sound decisions for the corporation, and Congress or the executive branch placed persons in the management roles of government agencies to do likewise, and when they operate within that granted authority they represent the entity, but when they act outside their given authority they are acting for themselves, not for the entity.

4 days ago
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New Details About NSA's Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden's Emails

dunkindave Re:NSA scorecard on on truth? (200 comments)

Excuse me, but when people represent coporations and institutions, they do indeed make such entities lie. Especially, since they, as people, are not held personally responsible?

Only within the concept of Personification, namely treating something that isn't a person as if it is. An organization is not a person, even if it is comprised of people, and can therefore not make decisions, rather the people within it make decisions. The purpose of personification is to apply an attribute to the collective, namely in this case, for the speaker to imply that since some at the IRS and NSA lie, everyone at the IRS and NSA are liars which is clearly not the case. Or do you really believe of the tens of thousands of people employed by these agencies none of them have morals? If you do, remember that Snowden worked for them so that means, even though he left, he is by association also a liar?

If you were right, who are responsible for the lies then?

The people, who under penalty of perjury, knowingly made statements they knew to be false, or otherwise made the decisions that the laws were not to be obeyed by those within their organizations. You know, the people who are committing the crimes. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater may be a common tactic, but is as bad today as it was when that phrase was invented. The fact that in almost none of these cases have perjury or other charges been brought against them is a different problem that needs fixing.

4 days ago
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New Details About NSA's Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden's Emails

dunkindave Re: NSA scorecard on on truth? (200 comments)

The problem with a conspiracy theorist is that all available evidence will be viewed in whatever way is possible to support their beliefs, and any evidence that contradicts it will be dismissed as fabricated or lies. The result is that it is not possible to have a real discussion or debate with them since the purpose of such interactions can never occur given that their beliefs can never be changed. I am not sure what the true story is in regards to what Snowden did or did not complain about, but Ready, Fire, and maybe then think about Aim, is the wrong way to debate it, and makes the presenter look foolish.

4 days ago
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New Details About NSA's Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden's Emails

dunkindave Re:NSA scorecard on on truth? (200 comments)

Just do a search on "IRS lies to congress". PLENTY of citations there. Here's just a few.

Just to be pedantic, organizations don't lie, people do, though I know there is a great tendency to personify organizations. The IRS didn't lie to Congress, people in the IRS lied to Congress. Likewise, the NSA didn't lie in (fill in an occurrence here), people belonging to the NSA lied. At times, multiple high-ranking personnel of such organization, even the heads, may have even ordered such lies to occur. Labeling these situations as "ThreeLetterAgency lied" is designed to imply that all personnel of such agencies therefore also lie, and that is not true, but it make for great ad hominem attacks, and is widely used here on Slashdot.

4 days ago
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In France, a Second Patient Receives Permanent Artificial Heart

dunkindave When it fails (183 comments)

If the artificial heart stops, would that count as a "Blue Face of Death"?

about two weeks ago
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MetaFilter Founder Says Vacation Firm Forged Court Docs To Scotch Review

dunkindave Re:Do not ever (116 comments)

You are mostly correct. While the 2 or 4 year limit to collect on a debt is based on a statute of limitations from the last account activity by the consumer (not when it was incurred), the 7 year credit report limit is based on the last time the credit status was reported to the agency, and the creditors are not allowed to report after the debt is written off. Each report on the same account is independent, so as the 7 year timeframe approaches, the 7+ year old reports disappear leaving only those less than 7 years old. If he can claim the reports were inaccurate, due to factors such as he was no longer the condo owner so it was not legally his debt, then he could challenge them and potentially get them removed or corrected. If they fail to investigate and correct, they can be liable under FDCPA, FCRA, and various state laws.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Denies Systems Breach In Photo Leak

dunkindave Re:At the risk of blaming the victim... (311 comments)

what the heck are these people thinking? Putting valuables in your house, and installing windows so people can see right in? It's like they're INVITING robberies!!!

Criminal trespass is criminal trespass. It doesn't matter if it was "easy" to get to the photos - they were not yours, or anybody else's, to access without permission.

I don't think the debate is about whether the access of the photos was a crime, rather it is turning into a debate about the thought given, or not, of how sensitive information is being handled, in this case celebrity nude pics of themselves. Having valuables in my house and having windows in my house are both OK, but placing valuables right up against the front windows where a smash-and-grab can get them is stupid. If a person takes nude pics of themselves, then the person better understand that they have introduced the risk that the pics exist and can therefore be stolen. Note that I am not blaming the victim, and it doesn't mean a theft is OK, it isn't and is still illegal, but actions come with consequences. What is flaming the debate here is the difficulty of knowing the dangers involved with the way the pictures were stored. In a perfect world the pictures would be safe, but we don't live in a perfect world and the news has many stories of people's accounts getting compromised and photos, emails, documents, ..., all being stolen and posted. I think what sets this episode apart is the scale of the compromise, and who the people are, not really the manner in which it happened.

about two weeks ago
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Appeals Court Clears Yelp of Extortion Claims

dunkindave Re:No blackmail here definitely not! (63 comments)

Most people facing the pointy end of the stick already know about Yelp and its cousins, but the majority of the remainder don't, i.e. the sheep. The problem for businesses is for most business types the sheep don't have any good information sources, and even if they know about Yelp's flaws, see the bad choices as better than nothing. After all, some, maybe even all, of the reviews are real, right?

about two weeks ago
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Appeals Court Clears Yelp of Extortion Claims

dunkindave Re:The obvious solution... (63 comments)

While people have an inborn desire to see their own actions as right, and therefore the actions of others that conflict with it as wrong, I think your reasoning is flawed. Grasshoppa made some statements that implied information on which he based his decision but he didn't get into the details here on Slashdot. Since he didn't provide the proof of what he said, you labeled him as engaging in "specious reasoning." I think your reasoning is where the specious comes in.

Here, let me give you some concrete examples along the same lines as what grasshoppa said. My wife's business was contacted by Yelp to solicit advertising, which my wife declined. Shortly thereafter, all of the positive reviews for her business disappeared (ALL, and there had been no negative reviews), and some negative reviews appeared. At least two of the negative reviews gave details about their interactions that would have clearly let us identify the party (not by name but by what they describe as occurring - it's a small business), but there had been no such clients, and like with grasshoppa some of the descriptions included things that don't exist at her business but based on the nature of the business could easily be assumed to by a person who had never been there. Those reviews were clearly fakes. About a month after these events (yes, it all happened in about a month), she gets another call from the Yelp salesperson pointing out the negative reviews and telling her if she advertises with them then some moderation of the reviews could be performed. We don't do business with scum so she told them no, politely. A few more negative reviews appeared, another call with the same answer, then no more reviews. Since then we have had clients tell us they have posted positive reviews and the Yelp filtering system hides them, but those fake negative reviews are still there unhidden.

Don't know about you, but the motives and tactics seem fairly straightforward to me, and the timing of events makes the likelihood of it being random trolls virtually impossible.

about two weeks ago
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Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

dunkindave Re:About things "accidentally breaking" (455 comments)

There are some laws that are clearly 'terribly vindictive', but I think the main problem that selective enforcement is aimed at helping with are overly broad laws. You may say then that those laws shouldn't be overly broad, and that is a good theory, but it has a major flaw in practice. Laws are often deliberately written to be somewhat broad because the lawmakers know they cannot identify all the edge cases, or when technology changes, and they don't like it when a person clearly violates what a law was meant to make illegal but the letter of the law didn't foresee that exact situation. Either the laws are written strictly, in which case people commit crimes and get away with it because technically the law didn't make it illegal, or they are written broadly with the result that people perform actions that are technically illegal, but officers or prosecutors know were not the intent of the law and don't enforce. The flip side is of course that it gives power to the officials to charge people with crimes for what seem to be non-crimes (this is where courts and juries can come in).

Take two examples from California. In one, the laws tried to be strict and explicitly listed what substances (drugs) were illegal. The result was criminals took the base drugs, made a small tweak to them, and presto, it was legally a new drug that the law didn't make illegal, even though it did the exact same thing as the parent drug. The legislature was constantly playing catch-up trying to add the never-ending list of new substances, and until they did, the substances were legal and the authorities couldn't do anything about them. The second case is the recent court decision regarding use of cell phones while driving. Again, the law intended to make driving safer by outlawing the use of cell phones while driving, but it was drafted before the proliferation of smartphones, and the lawmakers being not that technically inclined, specifically mentioned calls and text messages. The court ruled that therefore technically, only calls and text messages were illegal, any other use like playing games, was legal (the actual case was chosen to be a safe challenge and involved a person using their cell phone as a GPS for navigation). In both of these cases the narrowness of the law didn't allow for the laws to be used to prevent the actions they intended to.

So unfortunately, pick your poison: too narrow and lets edge cases or new technology get aware with murder (perhaps literally), or too broad and leave the discretion in the hands of the authorities.

about three weeks ago
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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

dunkindave Re:The death of leniency (643 comments)

How is this any different than dash cams on police cars? Police regularly give out warnings while being filmed without any repercussions.

In theory it is the same concept, but in practice it is very different.
1. Dash cams are fixed and (usually) only see what is happening in front of the police car, which is normally on a public right-of-way and therefore where the public could also observe and record*. What happens elsewhere, like when an officer goes inside a private residence, isn't captured by dash cams. A body cam on the other hand would frequently be recording events that are not occurring where the public can see, and this is a significant difference for accountability. It should see what is happening in front of the officer (note, NOT necessarily what the officer is seeing since the officer could be looking to the side) which is where any action of interest is most likely to be.
2. Dash cams use a system located in the car, typically the trunk, and can hold a large amount of high-quality video. Body cams will have stricter limits due to size and weight so may be much more limited on what they can capture.
3. Dash cams are located inside the protected shell of the police car and, short of a crash, should not have frequent failures. Body cams on the other hand will be operating in a much more hostile environment (officer's opinion aside), being exposed to weather, physical trauma, getting material thrown on or over the lens, etc.

We already have a problem of a high "failure" rate for dash cams, and I expect the same issue with body cams. Some here are advocating punishments to officers when a camera stops working, either directly or in how evidence is treated, but this would punish innocent officers whose cameras legitimately fail, since after all, they are operating in truly hostile environments. An officer whose camera seems to consistently fail, or where the officer seems to frequently "forget" to turn it on, are a different matter. We need a way of telling legit from illegit failures so we don't punish the innocent officers in our rush to punish guilty ones.

* I don't know the current status of a couple states that have tried to make recording of officers in public a crime.

about three weeks ago
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Uber Has a Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft, Says Report

dunkindave Re:Didn't anyone bother to actually read the artic (182 comments)

there is nothing immoral about offering a worker a better job. if uber does not want to lose their drivers to the competition they can pay better

Except the story is about Uber trying to poach Lyft drivers, not Lyft trying to steal Uber drivers.

about three weeks ago
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Phoenix Introduces Draft Ordinance To Criminalize Certain Drone Uses

dunkindave Re:well (200 comments)

The general rule of thumb for photographers is that if it can be seen from a public place, it can be photographed from a public place, UNLESS the subject being photographed is on their private property.

I think there are a lot of missing caveats here since if your statement is taken literally, then you are not allowed to take a picture from the sidewalk of me standing in my front yard which is on my private property. It would also make a lot of the Google StreetView a crime.

about 1 month ago
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Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"

dunkindave Re:Equal Share of Bandwidth (316 comments)

Except what Verizon is doing is throttling only people with "unlimited" plans during peak times. People on paid usage plans are not subject to the same throttling. This isn't apparent throttling because of congestion, this is Verizon actively saying that because you have an unlimited plan, they will not allow you to use the available bandwidth, while if you drop the unlimited plan and subscribe to a metered plan then you CAN use the available bandwidth. Unfortunately the quote by the Commissioner is being dropped in these later articles where he said that he can see no legitimate claim for reasonable network management to be based on which plan a user subscribes to.

about a month and a half ago
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EFF: US Gov't Bid To Alter Court Record in Jewel v. NSA

dunkindave Re:Duh! (78 comments)

While I disagree with what the government tried to do here, if they did get such a change performed, I would expect that its existence is also not publicized, so the EFF not knowing that it has happened is far from proof that it hasn't.

Also, I take exception with the EFF's line "The government's attempt to change this history was unprecedented." The government attempted to censor part of the record, i.e. remove it from the transcript. The way the EFF phrased it makes it sound like they were trying to substitute what was said with things that were not said, which isn't the case (as far as I know, I am a Slashdot reader so haven't read the actual story).

about a month and a half ago
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Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers

dunkindave Re:Murica (502 comments)

I think the article is poorly written since it uses the term "warrant" but what it describes is a subpoena. Note the line in the article "requiring a company receiving the warrant to search multiple locations for the information". A search warrant is issued by a court and authorizes the police to enter a premise to search for something. If it was truly a search warrant, then we would be hearing about US authorities showing up in Ireland with a US warrant and demanding entrance in order to conduct a physical search, and potential confiscation of property. Instead, what is happening is the authorities are giving a court issued demand to Microsoft telling them they are compelled to produce the information. That is a subpoena, no matter what term the article's author chose to (incorrectly) use.

about a month and a half ago
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Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers

dunkindave Re:Murica (502 comments)

So Iran should be able to get evidence that one of its citizens is a Christian, off US servers? I mean it is not like they are persecuted over there or something.

This ruling isn't claiming the US feels it has the right to reach into another jurisdiction and take information it thinks may be evidence, rather, the US feels it can compel people/businesses in its jurisdiction to produce evidence within the control of the entity, even if the information is currently in another jurisdiction. If Iran felt one of its citizens had committed a crime, and that evidence of it was stored on a foreign computer that the accused is known to have access, then you can bet dollars-to-donuts that they would demand the person produce it else, given their system of justice, either use the lack of production as proof that the evidence exists and shows the guilt of the person, or the person would be thrown in jail until such time as they change their mind and produce it.

Yes, I know to some degree the latter is also a possibility in the US since if the court knows the person has something being demanded under subpoena and the person refused to produce it, then they are in contempt of court, and as long as they choose to be in contempt the court can continue to hold them (the violation is self-renewing). A simple rule that the US court system employs (imperfectly) is that illegal actions taken to avoid being charged or convicted will normally have a worse penalty than the original crime. The crimes of destroying evidence, bribing judges or juries, perjury, etc., all have very harsh penalties. Refusing to produce items or information demanded by the court is considers an obstruction to the judicial system so can have a very harsh penalty as well. The main difference in this case is if the information resided on a computer system in the US and the party refused to produce it the court could order it to be seized, while here they cannot. They can still punish the person for not producing it.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Confessions

dunkindave Better enemies (234 comments)

an incredibly pushy Comcast customer service representative ... you wouldn't wish on your enemies

You don't know my enemies! Loan me a few Comcast customer service reps and a catapult, and I'll be a happy man.

about 1 month ago
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Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government

dunkindave Re:Ignorance is no excuse ... (96 comments)

The trouble is, as the Entrope mentioned, unless they tell you specifically what information is not to be published, then how are you to know? Making it illegal to publish data about "sensitive areas" means somehow they have to make it clear what areas are sensitive, or else they are creating unrealistic expectations. Imagine a law that said it is illegal to proceed through a green traffic light when an unmarked police car is approaching from a perpendicular direction. How can you obey such a law since ANY car could be an unmarked police car. Same with making a blanket law that is equivalent to saying you may not publish anything the government deems sensitive unless they give you a way to know what information that is.

And in the summary, I don't think the phrase "The mapping competition required citizens to map their neighbourhoods" is phrased very well, since Google doesn't have the legal authority to require people to do anything. Do they stop you from using the Google search page unless you first submit a neighborhood detail?

about 2 months ago

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