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Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor

surmak Re:Spaghetti prosecution. (219 comments)

Then perhaps every charge that they bring that they do not a conviction/guilty plea for needs to count against them. If this were the case, the prosecutor record would have shown a single misdemeanor case in the win column, and 44 felonies lost.

about 2 months ago

Experts Say Hitching a Ride In an Airliner's Wheel Well Is Not a Good Idea

surmak Re:Flying experience (239 comments)

What I get out of this story is that, if you're lucky enough to survive the trip in the wheel well, it's much more convenient to travel this way than doing it the regular way: no queuing, no overcharging from the airlines, no restrictions on the amounts of liquids you can carry, no getting your gonads showered with x-rays, no groping from TSA perverts... and of course, no arbitrary, secret no-fly list that prevents you from boarding the plane in the first place.

The airport security theater almost makes me want to risk my life as a stowaway.

I'm not sure about that. For the (surviving) wheel-well travelers, all of that unpleasantness simply comes after the flight. They may not use the backscatter X-ray machine, but I'm sure there will be a far more thorough examination than the TSA would give you, which you will receive on a regular basis. There are also far more limits on what items you can bring with you, not just liquids.

...and after all that, you will likely have a good idea if you are on the no-fly list. (The answer will be yes)

about 9 months ago

Ad Tracking: Is Anything Being Done?

surmak Re:solution (303 comments)

Of course, the reaction to this will be that advertisers demand their clients (websites) to show the ads in an "inline" fashion, one which the ad-blocker cannot block.

Inline ads cannot be tracked across sites. This would be a win for the consumer, and a loss for the trackers.

about 10 months ago

Calif. Court Orders Preservation of Disputed NSA Phone Records

surmak Custody of the Data (28 comments)

If the data is needed as evidence in the case, then the court should take custody of it and require all other copies to be destroyed. That way the information is available for the trial, but cannot be (ab)used for any other purpose by the NSA.

Another option would be for the parties to stipulate on what data has been stored, and then proceed in the trial on that assumption.

about a year ago

The Science of Solitary Confinement

surmak Re:isn't it used on violent prisoners? (326 comments)

We unfortunately allow psychopaths and sociopaths to control our prisons. We should be disqualifying anyone who wishes to harm their charges.

Are you referring the the inmate gang leaders, the guards, or the "tough on crime" politicians?

about a year ago

The Science of Solitary Confinement

surmak Kudos to Director Raemisch (326 comments)

I think what the director did is a great first step. Too bad that every judge, prosecutor, and correctional officer does not get the same experience before they have the power to send someone to such a hell hole.

about a year ago

Federal Court Kills Net Neutrality, Says FCC Lacks Authority.

surmak Re:common carrier (383 comments)

running robodialers gets you usually the boot... as seen on simpsons.

No. What gets you the boot is prank calling Australia collect.

1 year,13 days

Supreme Court To Review Software Patents

surmak Re:Expect... (115 comments)

Expect yet another 5-4 ruling in favor of big business.

Which big business? Where are big businesses interests on both sides of this issue.

about a year ago

FCC Chair: It's Ok For ISPs To Discriminate Traffic

surmak Re:They're already paying (365 comments)

In a free market they would be allowed to discriminate traffic. Just like you'd be able to vote with your wallet and choose between the two providers available, who happen to have the exact same discrimination list.

That sounds like a fair trade. Once there is a free competitive market of at least 5 independent ISPs in a market, then we can talk about eliminating new neutrality.

about a year ago

Online Retailers Cruising Tor To Hunt For Fraudsters

surmak Re:LOL wut? (188 comments)

Why is not like going to the shop and paying with cash?

So instead of blocking TOR they should offer things like Bitcoin?

Exactly, the problem (from the seller's POW) with credit cards is that the transaction can be reversed if the buyer complains. If you have a physical delivery address, and you send the cops there to investigate. If your goods are delivered electronically, then there is no recourse. A scammer could give the billing/shipping address associated with the card, receive the stolen goods, and everything would look kosher until the card owner receives their monthly bill and complains. At this point, the store would get a chargeback, and be screwed over.

With Bitcoin (or other cash-like on-line services) there is no possibility to reverse the transaction, no fraud protection, so once the store completes the transation, they have their money, and it cannot be taken away.

about a year ago

How I Compiled TrueCrypt For Windows and Matched the Official Binaries

surmak Re:Can you trust the compiler? (250 comments)

The compiler (and support stack) is a MS compiler, and MS is already owned by "the man", so as Kernighan demonstrated you still can't trust it.

The disassembler he used is not. So it is (at least theoretically) possible to see if there is a back door. The compiler has a very low-level view of what it is doing. In order to add a back door, it would need to recognize when it is compiling TC. This could be a much more difficult technical problem than what Kernighan did to login, and, if discovered, would be devastating to MS from a PR standpoint.

about a year ago

Square Debuts New Email Payment System

surmak Re:Won't take off, but may Rip You Off (240 comments)

They claim the service is free. FAQ Here [squareup.com] to both parties. So, how do they finance that, other than getting a piece of the debit card fee? (Senders have to use a Debit card).

The get the 1-2 days of float on the translation. That may be enough to enable them to make a little profit.

about a year ago

Consumer Rights Groups Take Issue With NTIA Code of Conduct For Mobile Apps

surmak Android (31 comments)

Android already does this. The OS has a set of permissions available for apps (get location data, use camera, access internet, etc.) These permissions are displayed to the user when the app is installed, giving the user the chance to reject the app if the permissions are unacceptable.

about a year ago

Personal Audio's James Logan Answers Your Questions

surmak Re:Reason to be a producer of a product (78 comments)

.. Sitting around and coming up with wild ideas that might be possible and writing patents on them and then waiting for someone else to do the 90% work before suing them is a very bad taste for the people who really did the work. ...

What makes this even worse is that the guy who "reinvented" the patented idea in most cases does not even know the patent exists in the first place. The courts have the legal fiction that the knowledge in the patents is in the public domain, but in practice this is not just the case -- especially when a defendant has a disincentive to willfully infringe a patent (better remain ignorant and avoid extra damages). Perhaps we need a system where the patent owner had an affirmative duty to publicize the patent.

about a year and a half ago

Wikileaks Aiding Snowden - Chinese Social Media Divided - Relations Strained

surmak Re:Snowdon is not on the plane to Havana (629 comments)

Not surprising at all. The flighpath from Moscow to Havana goes over Western Europe, and I would not be surprised if the plane would be unable to get the airspace clearance to complete its planned flight. Another risk is that the plane may be forced to make an unscheduled landing in a country that has a better extradition relationship with that US than China or Russia does.

about a year and a half ago

Hollywood Studios Use DMCA To Censor Pirate Bay Documentary

surmak Re:Not surprising ... (139 comments)

Claiming copyright on something you don't own carries criminal penalties of a minimum of 5 years in prison plus quite a big fine.

Unfortunately, you need to convince an overworked federal prosecutor with other fish to fry to take the case.

about a year and a half ago

Court: 4th Amendment Applies At Border, Password Protected Files Not Suspicious

surmak Re:It's still smart to look clean... (194 comments)

In a reasonable world, the inland "border" searches would be limited to those individuals whom the Border Patrol has reasonable suspicion to believe has recently entered the country and/or attempted to evade a search at the actual border.

If they have no reason to believe I have been out of the country or an conspiring to smuggle contraband, then in a just world, they should not be able to search me. The rules would need to be written to allow then to search someone never left the US, but picked up a package of contraband that someone else moved across the border (perhaps by catapult). Other than those cases that actually involve the border DHS should have no authority.

about 2 years ago

Surface Pro: 'Virtually Unrepairable'

surmak Re:Enter the modern world of ... (418 comments)

Meanwhile the iPad has no moving parts, therefor it will work forever, or until you use it as a shield or weapon. The Surface Pro, Macbook Air, and Retina Macbook Pro will only work until the fans get jammed with dust, dirt, cat hair, human hair, etc. With my now 7 year old laptop, that happened at least every 3 months. Smaller fans mean it's more difficult to clean. At least with a full size laptop I have the option of inserting the compressed air nozzle down the ram upgrade panel and blowing the dust out. Until the fans get gummed up (which happened at the end of it's extended warranty) this can be done.

Intel needs a mobile part that is HEATSINK-ONLY, no fan. Until then, ARM parts are the only option.

Unfortunately the lithium-ion battery in the iPad will wear out in 3-5 years.

about 2 years ago

VLC Running Kickstarter Campaign To Fund Native Windows 8 App

surmak Re:Fashion disaster (252 comments)

Photoshop + Cafepress = shirt now exists.

more than 2 years ago


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