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US Funding Stealth Internets to Circumvent Repressive Regimes

nusratt got URLs? (289 comments)

Seriously, i think julian67 has a valid point.
i've tried several times to find the jihadist sites alluded-to in mainstream-media reports of events such as the release of a new AQ video, or a message claiming responsibility for a particular act of terrorism.

It ain't easy.
Most of the news reports refer to "SITE Intelligence Group" (siteintelgroup.com) as their source.

I've found a lot that *type* of extremist sites, but never any of those which actually distributed / published the material in the respective news report.

more than 3 years ago
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One Tip Enough To Put Name On Terrorist Watch List

nusratt re TSA ubiquity vs. circumventions (446 comments)

Based on my long-ago research, I don't think the TSA
will ever be *completely* unavoidable, short of the USA
becoming like the GDR, wherein half the population was
being employed by the State to surveill the other half.

During Ashcroft's reign, they publicised their intent to
more closely track legally-present aliens,
by recording everytime an alien *left* the USA,
so that they could match the arrivals and departures
in order to know who's still "inside" at any given moment.

I'm still puzzled that I never saw any sign of civil
libertarians, .orgs, or media asking the (to me obvious)
question, to wit: how can this be accomplished without
barking "Papieren, bitte" to *everyone* who leaves?
When a traveler walks through a border checkpoint to
Canada or embarks on a Caribbean cruise, how can TSA know
if they've missed a departing alien, unless they
ascertain the status of *all* who are departing?
(Yes, I realize that they could slice-&-dice the USA data
with Canada's entry records, but that's an ad-hoc answer
which misses the point.)

So, I emailed TSA/DHS to ask this, but received no reply.
Then I looked at the Canadian gov sites to determine *their*
regs for entry. As it happens, they don't require (or at least
didn't then) that you enter explicitly by passing through
a USA border post. All they required was that,
if you happened to walk across at some unmonitored location,
that you immediately precede directly to the nearest relevant
Canadian authority.

Then I exchanged some email with Hasbrouck or Gilmore (probably
Hasbrouck) to ask: is it in fact illegal for a USA citizen
to leave in a manner which circumvents tracking by the USA?
If I (silly example) walked across to Mexico unobserved,
obtained visas to proceed to Venezuela and points beyond,
and then one day returned to the USA by commercial jet from
Azerbaijan to JFK, upon arrival could I be arrested
or non-trivially detained *merely* because a
data cross-check revealed that I had been gadding about without
the USA having any prior idea of my departure and movements?

I don't remember receiving (from anyone I asked) any answer
which even remotely approached saying, "Yes, you'll be in
violation of [foo]."

So I started thinking more elaborately about this. I should
mention at this point, that I haven't flown, or used any other
transport requiring I.D., since 9/11 -- not from fear of
accidents or terrorism, but because I simply made up my mind
that I wouldn't travel by any means which allows *this* nation
to directly track my movements in realtime.

After some additional research, I concluded that it *will* be
possible -- not *convenient*, but possible -- for me to travel,
(without yielding that principle), not to absolutely any
country, but to any country where I'm likely to want to go,
even if it requires bribing the captain of a cargo vessel
passing from Brasil to Liberia.

[btw, this is one reason I look at TI.org's annual ranking
of corruption in countries. Corruption can be your friend. ;)

Within the USA, traveling unmonitored is easier.
And getting to the EU through the Bering Strait and Russia
is a particularly knotty problem. Russian regs are much
stricter, and, unlike Canada, one can't merely make a
water approach and proceed to the nearest control point.

For the record, I'm hoping that my return through a USA
border control *does* provoke trouble, in order to
force the issue for public examination & discussion.

btw, I'm puzzled by protektor's saying "vans with the
full body scanners in them so they can scan cars & people
without anyone knowing". I can't picture how it's
possible to effectively scan *one* moving vehicle with the
airport body-scanner technology, even if driving the van in
parallel, let alone *all* traffic, let alone scanning
*through* the vehicle's metallic body to see the contents.

As for boats, monitoring entrance and exit is feasible
with commmercial passenger vessels, but surely not with
all the private pleasure-craft passing in and out of
recreational marinas.

Finally, two points addressed to civil libertarians
(among whom I count myself)...

1) Don't bother trying to engage with the kind of poster
who says things like, "What are you afraid of, what are
you hiding?", and "**I'VE** got nothing to hide,
so I'm not concerned." As the saying goes, it merely
frustrates you and pisses off the pig.
THEY. JUST. DON'T. GET. IT.

2) One of the most valuable things one can do to retard
the creeping security / surveillance state, is to start
prominently and vociferously promoting, using,
and encouraging and assisting your friends, family and
colleagues, to use email encryption. It doesn't have to
be TOR-style end-to-end encryption including headers,
or VOIP encryption -- at least not to start.
But it must be locally-based message-body encryption
which doesn't rely on the assurances of commercial
services such as Google and Skype (surely RIM's troubles
of 2010 demonstrate this).

We need to start shifting people to a mindset of
privacy-protection, particularly in the form of
encryption, as the *norm*, and not as evidence of
TFH goofiness or nefarious intent (as was actually
declared by a USA court in a criminal trial).

The best thing we can do to counter NSA drag-netting
of global Net traffic, is to make the vast majority of
private communications unreadable.
And then let's just see how "they" try to convince
the Supremes, to square the attempted introduction
of RIPA-style laws with the First & Fourth Amendments,
or to make open-source encryption source into contraband.

more than 3 years ago
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Opera Goes To 11, With Extensions and Tab Stacks

nusratt Good (customizability) & Bad (workspace-oblivi (296 comments)

Good: "Why use closed software?"
Because it offers something useful and unique
(or at least distinctive).
Among other characteristics, I love how I can
radically change the UI to suit my working style,
without extensions -- e.g., listing tabs in a
vertical stack which doesn't truncate the titles,
and easily toggling showing & hiding them.

And yet, every time there's a mjor release
(going back at least six years),
I try it and eventually abandon it,
because it's still what I call "workspace-oblivious".

For the manner in which I work, it's a
real problem that Opera doesn't conform to
the drag-and-drop conventions seen in the
behavior of other apps.
-- FROM a page in Opera, I can drag a link (or an
address-bar item) only to the desktop, not to a
folder icon, an open folder window, a foreign browser,
or an app such as a media player.
-- TO Opera, I can drag icons only from the desktop
or from an open folder, not from a foreign browser.

I don't have those limitations with Firefox,
and it makes a genuine and substantial difference in
my productivity.

more than 3 years ago
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Canada Quashes Copyright Tax on MP3 Players

nusratt This is sad news (seriously) (437 comments)

I'm one of those rare quacks who believe that the over-all best way to deal with mass-IP compensation issues is to tax the physical media.
And, for all practical purposes, the iPod *is* physical media, even if it's RAM or flash instead of "conventional" media such as tape.

more than 9 years ago

Submissions

nusratt hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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How you can help to avert further Bush disasters

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Whether or not you're in the USA...

1. Write to all the corporations which were major donors to Republican candidates.
(Virtually all of them are multi-national corporations with operations in your own country.
This includes firms such as Ford Motors/Jaguar and Daimler-Chrysler.)
Explain to them why you're boycotting their products and services,
EVEN IF they also supported non-Republican candidates:
as Bush himself says, you're either with us or against us;
there is no neutral ground.
Follow through on your words. Money talks.

If you own stock shares in those firms, also write to their department of
share-holder relations, explaining why you're dumping their stock.
Write to the managers of your pension funds to tell them
why they shouldn't invest in those firms.

2. If you're a member of any organizations with involvement in out-of-town
conventions, urge them to boycott events held within the USA,
and to avoid choosing the USA when selecting venues.
Avoid travel to the USA whenever possible.
When it's not possible to avoid such travel, avoid using USA airlines,
and minimize your stay and your expenditures within the USA.
For each potentially affected city in the USA, write to the respective
Chamber Of Commerce and the municipal and state departments of tourism,
explaining your feelings and intentions.

If you're NOT a US citizen, write to your elected representatives as follows...

3. Urge your government to propose resolutions at the UN, the EU, etc.,
condemning the USA for threatening international peace and order.
The mere introduction of such resolutions, even if defeated, can have significant effects.

4. Iran and North Korea are next on the list for Bush's advisors.
For people who oppose and fear the USA's present course,
it's time for all of us to temporarily put aside our negative feelings
toward Iran & North Korea.
Suggest to your government that your country should form a mutual-defense
pact with those countries, in the case of aggression from the USA --
to expire as soon as the USA unequivocally promises non-aggression against them.

This is NOT mere melodramatic symbolism:
the welfare of ALL nations is threatened, directly or indirectly,
by the ideology and policies of the Bush administration.
Two days after the election, Bush and his supporters were already
triumphantly announcing that their narrow victory is a "mandate" for their ideology,
that the election empowers them with "political capital"
which needs to be promptly spent in the expansion of their policies.

Many of you (outside of the USA) blame us who are in the USA for what is happening,
even though almost 50% of us oppose Bush.
Yet IN YOUR OWN COUNTRIES, even more of the people (over 70%) oppose Bush:
so why aren't you applying proportionately greater pressure on
your own government to oppose the USA vociferously and unrelentingly?

Urge your friends to join you in all the above actions.

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historical prescience

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 9 years ago

On non-commercial channels in the US you may have seen an educational series called "The Western Tradition",
by Eugen Weber, a renowned history scholar from Romania with a fascinating verbal style and voice,
something like Jacob Bronowski.
http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/history/weber
"Western Tradition" was produced in 1988 but is still frequently broadcast.

Here's something he said in a segment about the decline and fall of the Roman empire...

"It has always been a problem, for a society faced by a serious challenge,
to decide just what measures it can take, and how far it can go,
in opposing and meeting that challenge.
If you argue that you can only preserve your way of life
by adopting certain means which *negate* that way of life --
that you can only preserve democracy or free speech by limiting them, for example --
or preserve liberty by regimentation, or moral order by inquisition --
then you run the risk of sacrificing exactly the things you say you are fighting for.
You run the risk of sacrificing precisely those things
that you used to justify the sacrifices in the first place.
And you risk becoming so like your enemy, that the differences matter very little."

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Marian The Robot Librarian

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-24 09:35 UTC] BBC reports on robotics researchers in Spain, who have developed a prototype which can retrieve books from library shelves while patrons are present. 'When it receives a request for a book, its voice recognition software matches the titles with the book's classification code to identify which bookshelf stack to go to. The robot navigates its way to the bookshelf, using its infrared and laser guidance system, and scans books within a four-metre radius. Once the book is located, it has to grasp it and take it off the bookshelf, which is not a simple as it might seem. For this, the team had to develop special fingertips like nails, with one nail longer than the other. "For me that was the hardest part. All the other things were current state of the art technology," said Professor Pobil.' The article also discusses using robots to assist in digitizing library materials.

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AIDS Experiments On Prostitutes Condemned

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-24 09:15 UTC] Biotechnology writer Paul Elias reports: 'Researchers in Africa and Cambodia are experimenting with Gilead Sciences Inc.'s popular drug Viread to see if it can be used as a sort of AIDS "prevention pill." At least some of the prostitutes involved will take pills with no medicinal value to see if they contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, more readily than prostitutes who take the drug.' Activists accuse Gilead of 'exploiting the women and giving them poor AIDS-prevention education to further its research, because it needs infection data to analyze Viread's potential to protect against the virus'.

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Study shows P2P might be *helping* CD sales

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-23 12:25 UTC, and AGAIN at 2004-07-24 06:55 UTC] The Guardian reports on a study of file-sharing performed by two professors at UNC and Harvard Business School. The effect of file-sharing is 'statistically indistinguishable from zero' -- and in some cases may actually help sales. Their analysis is based on correlating three months' of weekly sales reports with corresponding data from two P2P servers. One of the researchers says of the Napster trial in 2000, 'The studies that were used during the trial were really horrible. They don't imply that downloading is the root cause of college students and teenagers buying less. If we got rid of file sharing tomorrow, it doesn't necessarily mean these kids would be buying any more music.'

One possible explanation for prior declines in CD sales: 'people were spending on DVDs instead of CDs'. During a multi-year period when CD prices rose ten percent and sales fell, 'DVD prices fell by 25% and the price of players fell in the US from over $1,000 to almost nothing'. Furthermore, recent RIAA claims of damaged sales may very well be disingenuous, based on 'a creative redefinition of the word "sale": during the past nine months, actual CD sales in America have increased by 7%, despite continued growth in file sharing'.

This is the first empirical study based on actual file-sharing behavior -- and perhaps the last: 'I imagine it's going to be difficult for us to get sales data in the future because of the views of the record industry towards us', says the researcher.

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US army food... just add urine

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-23 02:15 UTC] BBC: "The US military has devised a way to ensure its troops in battle need never go hungry - with dried food that can be rehydrated using dirty water or urine."

Mmmm, mmmm, good! Hey, it's ARMY food, who'll notice?

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Study Shows PHBs Are Security "Idiots"

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-22 23:20 UTC] IT-World: "top executives now consider security the single most important issue for their corporate networks. Yet nearly four in five admit they open email attachments from strangers."

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1st Operational Quantum Crypto Network

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-22 22:15 UTC and AGAIN 2004-07-24 07:35 UTC] Technology Review: A quantum cryptography communications channel sends each bit as a single photon. Such a channel is thought to have absolutely perfect security from sniffing, because even observing the photon changes it, and so sniffing is always detectable. With this security, parties can initiate a session by repeatedly exchanging one-time keys until each knows that both have received an uncompromised key. 'Until now all of the prototype systems have been point-to-point links rather than networks. Researchers have built a six-node quantum cryptography network that operates continuously. The network is ready for practical applications today'.

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Fat-Busting Ultrasound May Be On Its Way

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-22 21:50 UTC] Associated Press: "People tired of being chubby but with no interest in dieting, exercising or liposuction could soon have a new, pain-free option: fat-busting ultrasound. The idea is to use high-intensity ultrasound waves, beamed about an inch under the skin, to break up fatty tissue without pain, scars, anesthesia or a long recovery time. In testing on 30 people in Mexico, the treatment did not burn or seriously irritate the skin, and it reduced fat on the abdomen without causing serious complications by sending too much loose fat into the bloodstream. It's not clear exactly where the fat goes after ultrasound jolts it loose."

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Iceland discovery promotes Martian life hypotheses

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-22 20:35 UTC and AGAIN 2004-07-24 07:55 UTC] This nature.com article reports research presented at the Bioastronomy 2004 conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. 'Scientists have discovered a community of bacteria living in the lake beneath an Icelandic glacier. The chilly world provides a model of Martian terrain and may boost speculation about the red planet's potential inhabitants. This is the first unequivocal example of life in a subglacial lake. The bacteria were definitely not introduced from above'.

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MATRIX database "accomodates" privacy concerns

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-22 21:05 UTC and AGAIN at 2004-07-24 06:25 UTC] Associated Press: The MATRIX program was feeding state vehicle and law-enforcement records into commercial databases owned by Seisint, covering half the U.S. population. But privacy advocates countered by availing themselves of state laws preventing transfer of such data to non-governmental entities. So the program will now 'address' privacy fears by having each state maintain its own records -- and software will search across all of the states' databases successively, from any requestor's location, in addition to the commercial databases. But, the ACLU points out, 'Decentralized data which is just as easily accessed as centralized data creates the same privacy problems.' Furthermore, Seisint soon will be owned, controlled, and accessible by the European owners of LexisNexis.

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Africa Can Seize Share of IT Outsourcing Market

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-22 20:25 UTC]"Gartner predicts that up to 25 percent of traditional IT jobs in many developed countries today will be situated in emerging markets by 2010. . . . many companies are moving away from India as the place to outsource, because of the labor churn . . . Mauritius, for example, is building on a concept similar to Dubai Internet City, with its own Mauritius CyberCity . . . New York's parking ticket system is managed from Ghana . . . Nigeria has an entire ministry for ICT . . . Africa supplies the highest rate of return on investments"

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FrankenBeer Introduced In Europe

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [story submitted to slashdot editors 2004-07-16 08:21 UTC and AGAIN 2004-07-24 08:10 UTC] From Associated Press: Partially funded by biotech companies led by Monsanto, Swedish-brewed beer, produced with genetically engineered corn grown in Germany, is now being sold in Denmark, Germany, and through the Swedish state-owned liquor monopoly. The brewer is also in talks with stores in the United Kingdom. Biotech companies hope the beer will tempt consumers as the EU regulators lower the bars to GM foods, a process begun quietly in April. In parallel, the White House continues to push for the removal of the labels which make it possible for EU consumers to identify GM foods.

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How & Why Microsoft Might Close Its Doors

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [submitted article to slashdot editors 2004-07-15 08:02:55 UTC] John Dvorak's rationale: 'Bill Gates is reported to have told more than a few people, when asked how long he intends to run Microsoft, "Until it stops being fun." . . . How about simply shuttering the company? . . . where Microsoft can go from here . . . cutting costs to save a billion dollars . . . Do they know something we do not know? . . . wouldn't be unprecedented for a high-tech software company to just end its life cycle by closing . . . it might be possible to pay out the money to the shareholders and close the company. Just walk. . . . spinning off the Office, MSN, Xbox, and Server folks into new companies for a pot-load of cash . . . and close down everything else . . . And who would complain? Gates could get a few cheap shots in at the Justice Department while he was at it . . . Most users could coast on XP for three years if they had to . . . Microsoft would send all its OS offerings into the public domain as one last slap at Linux.'

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US Presidential Election Possibly Delayed

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [submitted article to slashdot 2004-07-12 19:03:00 UTC]
Reuters: Department of Homeland Security asked the Justice Department last week to review what legal steps would be needed to delay the election.

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Dark Ages are ending for digital photo veracity

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago [I submitted this story to slashdot 2004-07-11 22:12:38 UTC]
Some years ago, an issue of 'Whole Earth' magazine (or one of its variants) had a convincing-looking cover-photo of a flying saucer cruising low over downtown San Francisco in broad daylight. The accompanying feature article proclaimed (in so many words) that photographs can no longer be trusted as evidence of anything, because of the ease of doctoring images with verisimilitude.

Now, an article from Dartmouth college announces that it's safe to go back in the developing tray. Dartmouth Professor Hany Farid and graduate student Alin Popescu 'have developed a mathematical technique to tell the difference between a "real" image and one that's been fiddled with.' Farid says, 'as more authentication tools are developed it will become increasingly more difficult to create convincing digital forgeries.'

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Use this to send me messages.

nusratt nusratt writes  |  more than 10 years ago

This is the only method I've found (so far) for other people to send me msgs from slashdot, without publicizing my email address. I haven't yet found a "PM" ("private message") function in slashdot, so your msg will be visible to others.

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