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TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

fgouget Don't bring chargers ! (702 comments)

Devices that can't be turned on won't be permitted on flights, TSA said.

Don't bring chargers with you!
Clearly you won't be able to power on these devices if you're not allowed to plug them in. So under these new rules the TSA would clearly have to confiscate them. Furthermore you'd likely oppose their common sense move which would delay you going through security; increasing the risk that your phone's battery runs out, leading to it being confiscated too...

about three weeks ago
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2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

fgouget Re:Good! (619 comments)

Well over 25% of gas tax funds go to side walks and bike trails and shit like that. How about we start with this.

Oh, that's bad. If they keep this up your neighborhood could get infested with pedestrians. And who will pay the pest control bills then? Really. It's like those government guys don't think at all!

about a month ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Liability (474 comments)

If you consider an IP address, a port number, a timestamp and an account number to be insanely detailed then I can't wait to see what you're going to say when you discover all the information Facebook, Google and others keep about you!

I should probably clarify this because it's not really that obvious.

The naive solution would be to assign a random public IP+port for each connection. That would require creating a new log entry for each connection a customer makes which would be a lot of volume indeed.

I think the solution is to instead give out leases to public IP+port combinations to the customer and associate those to his session. When establishing a new connection, check if there's an unused public IP+port in the session pool and if so extend and reuse it. If not, allocate a new IP address+port lease and add it to the session pool. With long enough leases and given that most users will only make a handful of concurrent connections (and it's a context where it's pretty ok to limit the number of concurrent connections anyway), that would limit the logging requirements to just a few entries per session per customer which is pretty tractable.

Note also that if I'm not mistaken a lot of mobile phone operators already use Carrier Grade NAT for 3G/4G and thus have already faced these issues. Yet they presumably found a solution otherwise everyone would know that the 'safe' place to pirate is from a smartphone.

about a month ago
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Smartphones To Monitor Schizophrenics

fgouget 1984 (99 comments)

Governments have realized that they can collect vast amounts of data about their citizens using smartphone apps that passively monitor the citizens as they go about their daily business. A prototype for opponents is planned to be tested out soon on Long Island. The Tia trial will look at behavior patterns (tracking movement, sleep, and conversations) and correlate them with data gathered from past opponents; researchers hope the data will reveal the "signature" of a citizen who is about fall off the one true path and therefore needs help.

about a month ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Liability (474 comments)

Comcast will have to keep this data despite the fact that it not only won't make them money, but will cost them money since they will have to have people to search it for the legal requests.

There's a ton of things that cost Comcast money. They're all called the cost of doing business. Also note that Comcast already has to do this logging for any of their customer who does not have a fixed IP address and I have not heard that they're not doing that part of their job.

Plus, I can generate thousands of connections per second and Comcast will have to log them all.

You do that. Of course since Comcast does not have to log failed connection attempts you'll have to use your own credentials. This will most likely break some Comcast's terms of service and ensure you get their attention. They can then simply suspend your account, probably including your cable Internet access, and even sue you if you really irked them. Sounds like a great plan you have there!

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Liability (474 comments)

There's probably a separate entry for every single element of every single page you visit.

Of course not. All comcast needs to log are the authentication events of which there are under one per day per customer on average. Once logged in that IP is yours to use until it is handed to someone else in another authentication event (obviously there's no explicit disconnection).

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Liability (474 comments)

Unless each login is given a unique public IP (unlikely), they will be behind some form of NAT.

Yes, it's called Carrier Grade NAT and is what Free has been doing in France for years for its community WiFi.

To reliably point to a specific user, it would require a ridiculous amount of logging. I doubt that Comcast will do that.

If you consider an IP address, a port number, a timestamp and an account number to be insanely detailed then I can't wait to see what you're going to say when you discover all the information Facebook, Google and others keep about you!

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Liability (474 comments)

Even better, as now all the WiFi users appear to come from a single IP as far as the MPAA/RIAA is concerned,

Which totally protects the home owner where the cable box actually is.

which means the only way they can get more info is if Comcast keeps insanely detailed records about every one of these connections.

If you consider an IP address, a port number, a timestamp and an account number to be insanely detailed then I can't wait to see what you're going to say when you discover all the information Facebook, Google and others keep about you!

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Oh I get it... (474 comments)

You're right its totally reasonable to charge individuals for the right to access a network with specified bandwidth limitations and then set the router up to broadcast that connection to any fool walking down the street or other person in your apartment complex that now gets the benefit of your internet connection without paying anything for it.

This is not an open WiFi hotspot. Only other paying Comcast customers can use it. What you get in exchange is that you too can use any other Comcast WiFi connection. Free actually makes it a tip-for-tat thing: if you allow your FreeBox to act as a hotspot you can connect to the FreeWiFi hotspot of other customers. If you disable your hotspot you cannot use the other customers hotspots.

The my personal bandwidth and signal quality to the the network would have be totally distinct from the public portion of the router.

Easy to do by giving a lower priority to the HotSpot traffic. I know Free is doing it, I don't know if Comcast does.

If my signal quality, bandwidth, etc is totally unchanged and all this thing is doing is stealing some of my electricity... then I'm okay with that.

The change in electricity consumption is going to be so low I don't think you'd even be able to mesure it.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Monthly quota? (474 comments)

If they require a Comcast customer login, then it's not a public wi-fi hotspot at all.

They do require Comcast credentials. It is indeed not a public / open / free WiFi hotspot.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Nutz (474 comments)

Unless Comcast assigns a unique IP address to each wireless user (which I suspect they won't on IPV4) sorting out which, of possibly many, wireless users connected at the time of the download may require more tracking -- which I suspect Comcast will do.

Comcast most likely uses Carrier Grade NAT for the hotspot clients, just like Free has been doing in France for years for its community WiFi. That means hotspot users get a totally different IP address than the router 'owner' and that the NAT already tracks which customer is using a given IPv4 at any given time.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Oh I get it... (474 comments)

This is about making some congressman or senator happy.

So funny. ISPs abroad (Netherlands, France) have been doing this for years. But yes, Comcast couldn't possibly have recognised that as a truly good idea and decided to implement it. It has to be some conspiracy instead, no matter how nonsensical.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Liability (474 comments)

If that is the case does that mean I just have to change my mac address and connect to the public wifi rather than my normal ssid, and I can torrent everything I want and not worry about getting hit by a copyright infringement law suite.

To use the Comcast hotspot you have to provide your Comcast credentials on the gateway web page. So no, that won't work.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Liability (474 comments)

I'm assuming that Comcast doesn't have 50,000 spare routable IP addresses, but that's not a bad assumption.

Yes, it's a ridiculous assumption. It's essentially the same as saying Comcast will never be able to gain 50000 new customers because they don't have enough routable IP addresses. Besides it further assumes that they are not using Carrier Grade NAT which is exactly how Free, a French ISP that has been doing the same thing for years, is handling this.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:the ultimate mesh network (474 comments)

The Free French ISP has provided a similar service for years and while it's true that range can make things tricky, it still works well enough to be quite handy. It works particularly well if you visit someone who's with this ISP: no need to ask for the key to their private network. Same if it's an appartment building and one of the neighbors is a Free customer. And with over 4 million hotspots, in dense locations you can quite easily find one that's in range.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Credential phising (474 comments)

How long before someone releases a tool that would have a Linux-running computer or device with a WiFi card masquerading as an official Comcast WiFi hotspot an collecting the usernames & passwords of the users trying to connect ?

That was possible before and it's still possible now. And not just with Comcast but also with Boingo, AT&T Portal, etc. Only solution: ban all WiFi hotspots!

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

fgouget Re:Liability (474 comments)

It's a broadcast device. EVERYONE around you is effected. This will just add to the electronic clutter of your neighborhood. If it doesn't annoy you directly, it might annoy the guy next door and interfere with his network.

99.9% of the users would have had the WiFi on anyway so it does not make any difference.

about a month and a half ago
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Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election

fgouget Re:Paper trail (193 comments)

There's really not many people obsering the ballot box while it's being moved around. So you'd need only a few bad apples to have no witness. I'm not even convinced there's bipartisan control during that step. That makes it totally different from counting and announcing the polling station results immediately in public. After that if you tamper with the tallying everyone can call you on it. So even if you manage to win at least everyone knows you cheated.

about a month ago
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Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election

fgouget Re:Paper trail (193 comments)

Recounts can be done automatically for close elections, which means that the paper is authoritative.

A system is no more secure than its weakest link. Here we have two links where there used to be only one. So tamper with the paper ballots, force a recount and you win. Yeah this will cause a discrepancy with the electronic records but you said it yourself, the paper is authoritative so it does not matter.

In the 2008 Minnesota Senate election, one precinct's ballots were lost, and the authorities decided to go with the machine count for that precinct.

Yay! So you're saying attacking the other link works too: hack the machine count, lose the paper ballots.

It's hard to modify the contents of a sealed ballot box that has a chain of custody and bipartisan observers; most such fraud involves "losing" ballots, which is more difficult with the machine counts.

I guess that one difference of opinion we have is that I regard anything less than direct citizen oversight as useless. That includes 'chains of custody'. Even with supposedly bipartisan control. By the way bipartisan control makes it too easy for the two parties to make secret deals. I certainly hope there are in fact observers from at least three or four parties (and that car moving the ballot box around is going to get crowded).

Tampering with sealed boxes in a few precincts is going to cause serious discrepancies, which will trigger further investigation.

I also have very little faith in 'investigations'. We should all remember that the ones with the most to lose in an election are the incumbents who are also in the best position to steer the investigation away from embarassing finds. Furthermore we live in a world where investigations conclude that a satisfactory explanation for 4096 overvotes is "the spontaneous creation of a bit at the position 13 in the memory of the computer" and don't cause the election to be canceled.

about 2 months ago
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Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election

fgouget Re:Paltry (193 comments)

Or you can have paper ballots that are machine-tabulated with random on-the-scene counts to be on the safe side.

That could work if:

  • * the manual count is really on the scene, that is in the polling station, no moving of the ballot boxes involved;
  • * truly random, and making sure something is random is pretty hard;
  • * unexpected, that is the decision to do a manual count in at a given polling station should not be decided in the morning otherwise it's easy for an attacker to only tamper with the ballots in the other polling stations;
  • * and concerns a large enough sample to actually detect fraud, and if I remember correctly there was a study that found it's necessary to recount more ballots than one would expect, obviously particularly so in close races.

I'm unconvinced that all these (necessary but maybe not sufficient) conditions are actually met. Frankly it seems much simpler to just discard the machines, count everything by hand and be done with it.

about 2 months ago

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