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Comments

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Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+

harryjohnston Re:The frick? (238 comments)

Exactly.

I've been asked to sign up to Google+ for one reason or another a few times (and refused) and been signed up without being asked another few times. No promises, but the next time that happens I might not bother to delete the account.

As it happens I do use my real name, but I don't see why I should have to prove it to anyone. (And people, mostly Americans, do sometimes assume that I made it up; if I recall correctly, the phrase used on the most recent occasion was "sexually explicit joke username".)

about two weeks ago
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Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen

harryjohnston Re:American Civil War (371 comments)

Of course, I suppose that if they had been allowed to secede, they would then be a foreign nation which the US could have declared war on perfectly legally.

about a month ago
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Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen

harryjohnston American Civil War (371 comments)

Whenever this sort of thing comes up I always wonder ... was the Civil War unconstitutional? That also involved military action against US citizens, and presumably the Union didn't hold trials for each individual Confederate soldier before allowing anyone to shoot at them.

What are the significant differences, if any?

about a month ago
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Microsoft Fixing Windows 8 Flaws, But Leaving Them In Windows 7

harryjohnston Re:This makes sense... (218 comments)

Support, even FULL support, means fixing bugs; in practice, fixing important bugs. One thing it certainly doesn't mean is making every possible improvement.

There's no evidence as yet that any of the changes in question were bug fixes.

about 2 months ago
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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

harryjohnston Re:Utter nonsense (278 comments)

So, someone who smoked a little pot. Or jaywalked when John Q Law was having a bad morning. Or was guilty of the horrible crime of getting too hot and heavy with his two weeks underaged girlfriend.

OK ... and if any of this shows up in a Google search, who's going to care?

The law is an ass [...]

Certainly the "right to be forgotten" is.

The sooner you and the rest of the Americans get that the better off the universe will be.

I don't think you're paying attention. I've already pointed out that I'm not American.

about 2 months ago
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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

harryjohnston Re:Utter nonsense (278 comments)

Taking precautions when dealing with a known convict is not punishment. And what kind of person needs an incentive to behave decently?

about 2 months ago
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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

harryjohnston Re:Utter nonsense (278 comments)

That comes down to whether or not the person is an ongoing menace as I said.

Which again begs the question: how do you tell?

about 2 months ago
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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

harryjohnston Re:Utter nonsense (278 comments)

Personally, I'm far more critical of their habit of incarcerating people for trivial reasons and their inhumane prison conditions. But I don't see that it's relevant to my question.

Do Europeans really say things like, "I lost my life savings by investing with someone who turned out to be a criminal, but never mind. Yeah, it would have been nice to know about his past convictions before I invested my money, but hey, privacy!"

IMO, if the state *is* going to forbid me from researching someone's past before making decisions about them, the state should also compensate me for any resulting losses, whether monetary or otherwise. Somehow I'm doubtful that the EU is planning to do that.

about 2 months ago
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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

harryjohnston Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (278 comments)

I'm puzzled. On the one hand, we have someone making a donation to an organized group so they can pay professionals to manipulate public opinion regarding a referendum. This you say is free speech.

On the other hand we have someone joining a campaign to complain to an organization about their choice of CEO. This isn't?

What's the difference?

about 2 months ago
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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

harryjohnston Re:Europe is shortsighted; the USA oblivious (278 comments)

In this case, it's being used in a targeted way for what *should* be a good reason. For example, a 21 year old is in a bad patch of his life, ends up scoring a conviction for theft and rugs offences. When he gets out of prison, that conviction will haunt him for a while, restricting the fields he can find work in - this happens in the US as well. But, when that same man is 40 years old and has managed to clean his life up, should he still be punished for the mistakes he made half a lifetime ago?

Punished? Maybe not. But treated with caution? Absolutely.

about 2 months ago
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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

harryjohnston Re:Utter nonsense (278 comments)

So ... who exactly decides that you're no longer a threat?

about 2 months ago
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How the FCC Plans To Save the Internet By Destroying It

harryjohnston Doubtful (217 comments)

The critical assumption behind this article is that the ISPs "slow lane" - i.e., the general internet - will degrade to the point where it isn't usable.

Now, the FCC claims to be planning regulation to prevent this, but it's unsurprising that people don't trust them.

However: the "slow lane" is still going to be most of the internet. The question becomes, will enough of a typical ISPs customers use *only* those mainstream, big business web sites able to pay the ISP's bribes (and assuming that they are willing to do so) that it is feasible for the ISP to lose the rest?

I find it doubtful, but if anyone has statistics it would be interesting ...

about 3 months ago
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How the FCC Plans To Save the Internet By Destroying It

harryjohnston Re:3rd party payer problem (217 comments)

"I pay my ISP for a certain bandwith. They should provision for that." ... there aren't enough people willing to pay the amount this would cost to make such a business feasible. The internet works, and is more or less affordable, precisely because you share the backbone capacity with your neighbors.

about 3 months ago
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New White House Petition For Net Neutrality

harryjohnston Re:Comcast lowered bills? (248 comments)

"Comcast HAS implemented caps" ... now, that's very odd. Why would anyone join Netflix in the first place if they've got a connection with data caps? Doesn't it make it pretty much useless? You'd burn through the cap in no time ... we run out of data (or nearly so) most months, and that's just from Youtube.

I don't know what makes you think I've got a particularly strong opinion - oh, on the general principle behind the FCC's reformulation of net neutrality, sure, but the details of this specific incident aren't directly relevant to it.

about 3 months ago
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New White House Petition For Net Neutrality

harryjohnston Re:Comcast lowered bills? (248 comments)

Sounds like you're trying to change the internet to a COD model, where you pay for traffic received rather than traffic sent. I'm not sure that's realistic. (For one thing, it would make DDoS attacks even more painful than they already are!)

Also note that Netflix customers using Comcast really aren't already paying for those bytes. To do that, Comcast would have to identify Netflix customers and charge them extra, and you can just imagine the howls that would cause. Oh, sure, they could charge by the gigabyte or implement data caps. But I don't think their customers would like those options either. Or they could just up their prices across the board, but then Netflix users would be being subsidized by everyone else, and I don't think that's fair. The best solution, IMO, is for Netflix to pay and pass the cost on to their customers, and that's exactly what's happened. AFAIK, there's nothing stopping them from charging Comcast users extra to cover it.

(In the thread you linked, it didn't sound like the OP was talking about an ad-hoc VPN to me; that also means that his office connection probably wasn't via Comcast, if Comcast don't do enterprise. Of course, that's all just speculation. OTOH, I still figure Netflix would have sued if they'd found any actual evidence of discriminatory throttling, which shouldn't have been hard to do.)

about 3 months ago
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New White House Petition For Net Neutrality

harryjohnston Re:Comcast lowered bills? (248 comments)

"Different routing inside their network [...]" ... actually I was thinking more of the backbone routing. They've got a big network, presumably they have multiple backbone exit points, and it seems entirely plausible that some have better connectivity to Netflix than others.

"none of the traceroutes I have done suggest that a business account is routed differently" ... odd. You wouldn't expect a business account to be competing with residential accounts for bandwidth. I suppose they could be using QoS over the same routes, though. (Or just cheating their business customers. Take your pick.) ... or perhaps we aren't even talking about the same thing? I'm talking about enterprise-level connections, for businesses with hundreds or thousands of machines, usually including servers. If you just meant small retail or home office connections, that's a different story. (But small retail and home office don't usually have VPN, so I don't think that's likely to be the situation described in the forum thread you linked to.)

"'peering' with someone who doesn't own a network is just bizarre" ... well, that's just nomenclature. Call it what you like, the end result is the same.

I still think the bottom line is that Netflix was trying to avoid paying their fair share of the costs. Did you see the part where they threatened to generate junk traffic from customer's machines, specifically in order to incur extra costs for the ISPs? That doesn't sound like someone negotiating in good faith to me.

about 3 months ago
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New White House Petition For Net Neutrality

harryjohnston Re:Comcast lowered bills? (248 comments)

Actually, even if true, it still doesn't prove anything unless you can show that Comcast routes their business traffic in the same way as their residential traffic, which seems unlikely.

Of course, to turn it around, I can't prove that Comcast *weren't* intentionally sabotaging Netflix. But if they were, then the changes in the FCC's position (at least those described here) aren't relevant; Comcast's alleged behaviour would presumably be just as illegal under the new proposals as under the old ones.

about 3 months ago
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New White House Petition For Net Neutrality

harryjohnston Re:Comcast lowered bills? (248 comments)

"The home connection (with the slowdown) and the office connection (without) hung off of the same router deep inside Comcast's network."

Huh? Where did you get that information?

about 3 months ago
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New White House Petition For Net Neutrality

harryjohnston Re:Comcast lowered bills? (248 comments)

So, if you change the traffic route so as to bypass the bottleneck, you get better service? That doesn't prove anything about the nature of the bottleneck.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Windows 8.1 security enhancements backported to Windows 7

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  about 1 month ago

harryjohnston (1118069) writes "If you read this story a few days back you might be excused for thinking Microsoft have abandoned Windows 7 to the dusty shelves of history. Only a few weeks earlier, however, update KB2871997 was released, backporting a number of enterprise-level security enhancements that first appeared in Windows 8.1.

This blog post from last week goes into more detail. It should perhaps be mentioned that many, though not all, of the new features are only useful if you have upgraded your domain controllers to Windows 2012 R2, so this is not an entirely altruistic move on Microsoft's part. (Many enterprises do not have to pay any extra fees to upgrade Windows on the desktop, but do have to buy new licenses to upgrade servers.)"

Link to Original Source
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Ask Slashdot: Alternatives to Groklaw?

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  more than 2 years ago

harryjohnston writes "Having been kicked off Groklaw a while back for "ignorance", i.e., having opinions differing from those of the owner, I'm looking for an alternative source of news/commentary about legal issues relating to technology — other than Slashdot itself, of course! Any suggestions?"
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US Cyber Command Drinks the Cloud Kool-Aid

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  more than 2 years ago

harryjohnston writes "According to the head of the NSA and General Keith Alexander, the best way to improve the nation's cyber defenses is by shifting to a "cloud architecture". Is this a well-reasoned plan or a buzzword-induced hallucination? You decide."
Link to Original Source
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Peer-to-peer traffic drops 10% after new law

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  more than 2 years ago

harryjohnston writes "Following the introduction of New Zealand's new copyright legislation, which we discussed last week, major ISP Orcon reports that international peer-to-peer traffic has dropped 10%. This might mean that the law is actually working, to some extent, though experts say the effect will probably only be temporary."
Link to Original Source
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Indonesian MP caught watching porn in Parliament

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  more than 3 years ago

harryjohnston writes "An outspoken supporter of Indonesia's draconian anti-pornography laws was caught watching porn on his tablet computer in Parliament during a debate about plans to build a new parliamentary building. I'm all in favour of a casual approach to government, but this may be taking it a bit far."
Link to Original Source
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Palin: treat Julian Assange as terrorist leader

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  more than 3 years ago

harryjohnston (1118069) writes "Sarah Palin is reported as saying that Julian Assange, director of WikiLeaks, should be "pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taleban leaders". She also asked whether the US has used "all the cyber tools at our disposal" to shut down the WikiLeaks web site. It isn't clear whether she realizes that such an effort would almost certainly be illegal."
Link to Original Source
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Man jailed for naked photo of ex on Facebook

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  more than 3 years ago

harryjohnston (1118069) writes "A resident of Wellington, New Zealand has been jailed for posting a naked photograph of his ex-girlfriend on her Facebook page. This is believed to be a legal first — although since he had also pleaded guilty to threatening to kill, wilful damage, theft and assault, it seems likely that the judge took those into account in deciding on a jail sentence."
Link to Original Source
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The Psychology of Scam Victims

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  more than 4 years ago

harryjohnston (1118069) writes "Frank Stajano, ARM lecturer in Ubiquitous Computing Systems at the University of Cambridge, and Paul Wilson, writer/presenter for the popular BBC Three series "The Real Hustle", have written a fascinating technical report (PDF) on the psychology of scam victims, based on the television series but with particular emphasis on how real-world scams (and the psychology behind them) translate into electronic scams, and on what security engineers need to know in order to mitigate the risks."
Link to Original Source
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Another Microsoft Update Update

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  about 5 years ago

harryjohnston writes "The Microsoft Update Product Team have announced (via their Microsoft Update Product Team Blog that the Automatic Updates client code will be updated at the beginning of next month.

Because of limitations in the client software, this update will be automatically installed unless Automatic Updates is disabled completely, ignoring settings like "Notify me but don't automatically download or install them".

In my own opinion such an update is unlikely to cause any harm, but many have disagreed in the past. Full disclosure: I have been awarded as a Microsoft MVP. Let the bashing commence!"

Link to Original Source
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New sort of social engineering - personal threats

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  more than 6 years ago

harryjohnston (1118069) writes "Looks as if malware distributors have upped the ante again. Bulk email aimed at tricking people into visiting a web site for a drive-by download is nothing new, but I've never seen this particular, and rather disconcerting, approach before:

"Subject: she has already gone to hospital!!

Hello, harry.

Listen to me carefully, i don't know what your name is, but i'll find you=
  and i'll cripple you, because this is you who tempted her!!!
She has already gone to hospital, you're next, this is evidence: [malicious link redacted]"

Scary huh?"
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Pay up or no security for you

harryjohnston harryjohnston writes  |  more than 6 years ago

harryjohnston writes "Cisco appears to have adopted a policy of making people pay for service contracts if they want security updates for Cisco client software. I've been trying to update their VPN software on my home laptop (which I use to connect to the Cisco VPN hardware at my workplace) ever since I realized it had an elevation of privilege vulnerability:

http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/707/cisco-sa-20070815-vpnclient.shtml

However, Cisco won't provide me with the update because I don't have a service contract with them.

Despite repeated requests, they seem unwilling to provide any explanation of this baffling policy. Their latest response, and I quote verbatim:

"If you don't services contract on your profile and you are guess level access and which guess level access and you will not have any access download any software from Cisco website. If you have any further please contact Cisco.com suppport team or contact us 1 800 553 2447."

On the plus side their product support response time is excellent. The preceding work of art arrived in less than 30 minutes. :-)"

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