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Ask Slashdot: Easiest To Use Multi-User Map Editing?

sotweed Google.. (52 comments)

"why perpetuate the myth that Google "drops products without warning/reason"?

Well, you're right... that's a bit unfair. There's usually some warning, and occasionally even a reason.
But relying on their stuff is indeed somewhat risky.

about 10 months ago

White House "Privacy Tour" a Flop On Its First Leg At MIT

sotweed Media leaks? (83 comments)

Hmm..... sounds a lot like prior restraint, doesn't it? Someone leaks some information
that the gummint doesn't want known, and so the press can't publish the leak? This is
pretty scary...

about a year ago

Walmart Unveils Turbine-Powered WAVE Concept Truck

sotweed Why so many trucks? Why not railroads (242 comments)

I don't understand how trucks, which require much more fuel, and more driver time per load, have
so thoroughly replaced railroads for long hauls. Making trucks more efficient is a fine idea, but
it's only nibbling at the edges. Why not go back to trains for medium to long distances?

about a year ago

JPMorgan Files Patent Application On 'Bitcoin Killer'

sotweed Re:Maybe the Patent Office will notice (292 comments)

I think perhaps someone already did notice some prior art. It looks like 155 claims - the first 155 - were
already deleted, though it's not clear if it was the Patent Office or the applicant that did that. I bet there's a
good story behind that.

about a year ago

Ask TechFreedom's Berin Szoka About Govt. Policy and Privacy Online

sotweed Re:Fixing ECPA is not enough.. (29 comments)

One other question: Is it clear what "fixing" ECPA means? Do you have a specific proposal? Or is it
just that a warrant is needed to examine "mail", regardless of how long it's been stored, whether it's
in flight or stored.

Everyone talks about "immigration reform" but I think there's a very wide spectrum of what that

about a year ago

Ask TechFreedom's Berin Szoka About Govt. Policy and Privacy Online

sotweed Re:Fixing ECPA is not enough.. (29 comments)

Thank you for you informative response. I've signed the whitehouse.gov petition. And here and
elsewhere, I encourage everyone reading to write to their Congresscritters and demand reform,
rather than posting here. Eventually, they'll get the message.

about a year ago

Ask TechFreedom's Berin Szoka About Govt. Policy and Privacy Online

sotweed Fixing ECPA is not enough.. (29 comments)

It's a lot more than just the ECPA that needs change and being added to our laws. The NSA seems to me
to be out of control. Let's reduce their budget in a major way!

about a year ago

Stanford's MetaPhone Project: Crowdsourcing Metadata To Challenge the NSA

sotweed Phone call data is not metadata! (96 comments)

It's data. It happens not to be complete - there's more, namely the audio of the call.

Intelligence agencies have been doing traffic analysis on this sort of data -- just who is
communicating with whom - for at least 70 years. For NSA to refer to it as "only metadata"
is the height of hypocrisy.

about a year ago

Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents

sotweed Google's a "me, too!" (153 comments)

Note that IBM did the same thing with about 1000 of its patents, more than 10 years ago. And shortly
thereafter, followed up with another 1000 or so.

about 2 years ago

Some Hotspot Operators Secretly Intercept, Insert Ads In Web Pages

sotweed It's a copyright violation. (273 comments)

IANAL, and I don't play one on TV, but it seems pretty clearly a violation of a web site's copyright to do this. A web page
is a visual work, and at least for any country that is party to the Bern Convention (this includes the US and most or all of Europe),
a page is copyright even if it doesn't say so. So for the hotel or ISP to modify the page, especially when it is being paid to do so,
seems a clear violation. Some web site should make a big stink (lawsuit!) about this and put an end to the practice. I think it wouldn't
be a difficult case to win, particularly with all the other copyright enforcement actions going on (MPAA, etc.).

I wonder if a similar case can be made for organizations like health clubs that show TV programs at the wrong aspect ratio, making
people look as if they're 20% fatter (wider) than they actually are...

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Changing Passwords For the New Year?

sotweed Proposal to improve visibility and raise awareness (339 comments)

Here's an idea/meme: Create a way to describe both the password rules and storage policy for a web site in a few characters.
Then encourage sites to put those characters next to the "Enter Password" box on their site. The intended effect is to make users
aware of the rules of the site, and ultimately to force them to improve their policy. Here's an example of what I mean:

0 means "we store your password in the clear"
1 means "we encrypt your password using standard techniques"
2 means "we one-way encrypt your password and store only the encrypted value"
3 means "we one-way encrypt your password with salt, and store only encrypted, salted value"
4 means "3 and also we have an effective means in place to prevent repeated guessing by an external agent"
                                                  (some sort of time-delay for bad guesses, getting progressively longer, or something similar..)

(Any more needed?)

and maybe use a letter for the password policy:

A means "password has a short maximum length" (8?) and silly constraints on what characters must be present"
C means "No restriction on password length, but some constraints on characters" ....
Z means "Password can be arbitrarily long and include any character you can type."

So 0A would be a disaster, and the goal would be to move sites toward 4Z. And you'd see what the site does
every time you log on (assuming, of course, that they're honest, but this would be easily auditable..) Even people
who didn't understand what the specifics mean could be educated to know that closer to 4Z is better. (This is just
an example... I'm sure a better encoding is possible...)

about 3 years ago

Many More Android Apps Leaking User Data

sotweed Applications I trust? (299 comments)

It is hard enough to know if I should trust my child, and I raised him. He doesn't
tell me much. App developers tell me less, and some of them are devious. This is not
a good security model. And Google knows better.

more than 4 years ago

Some Netflix Users Have Rated 50,000 Shows

sotweed Duhhh.. 50,000... or 5,000? (134 comments)

The heading says 50,000, which is pretty crazy.. but all of the text refers to numbers more like 5,000....

more than 4 years ago

Ideas For a Great Control Room?

sotweed Consultants and architects (421 comments)

I don't want to cast aspersions (or worse!) on your experts, but in my experience most of those
people (especially architects) never go back to see how what they built is working out, what they did
wrong, what could be improved in their next project, etc. I'm sure there are some who do, but it certainly
is not standard practice, so you're wise to ask the slashdot crowd for real experience.

more than 4 years ago

Finland To Try Scanning Snail Mail

sotweed This service is available in the US, too... (152 comments)

.. from a company called Earth Class Mail. They receive your mail, send you an image of the envelope, and let you tell them what to do with it: shred it, recycle it, open and scan contents and send PDF, deposit check, etc. The company was the subject of a sort-of documentary last year.

more than 4 years ago

Adobe Intends To Move All of Its Applications Online

sotweed What about closed environments? (283 comments)

This kind of prediction/action by Adobe raises a bunch of issues.

One is that, even in 10 years, the Internet may not penetrate everywhere on
the planet with sufficient bandwidth to make these applications feasible. So
a part of the market (admittedly, probably a small part) is cut off.

More importantly, there are environments where the possibility, let alone the
reality, of data leaving the premises is not acceptable. The most obvious example
is the (large, and apparently growing) classified world. Will it become impossible
to make a classified briefing with the latest version of Adobe's products?

more than 7 years ago



NY Times reports conclusive evidence of hacking against US by Chinese Army

sotweed sotweed writes  |  about 2 years ago

sotweed (118223) writes "The NY Times in Tuesday's paper is that a group in Shanghai is hacking against American companies and government agencies, and appears to be supported by and part of the Chinese Liberation Army. American intelligence officials have confirmed their knowledge of this organization. The Times says, "An unusually detailed 60-page study, to be released Tuesday by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, tracks for the first time individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups — known to many of its victims in the United States as “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group” — to the doorstep of the headquarters of a People’s Liberation Army unit." Attention of the hackers is now turning to America's infrastructure: power grids, gas lines, waterworks, presumably via unsecured or inadequately secured SCADA systems."
Link to Original Source

Sony at it again, or still...

sotweed sotweed writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sotweed writes "I bought a simple Sony voice recorder to record some interviews. It comes with a
Digital Voice Editor on a CD. When I went to install it, I skimmed the license.
It includes:

      The SOFTWARE contains features which may allow SONY and/or third parties to
      collect data from, control and/or monitor computers and devices running or
      interacting with the SOFTWARE. You hereby agree that such activities may occur.

This seems pretty open-ended and outrageous, particularly given Sony's rootkit history
on music CDs. Is it time for a serious boycott? I think so... How do we get it going?

As for me, I plan to install the software on a computer not connected to anything."


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