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UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

Joe Gillian Completely infeasible (33 comments)

If you read the proposal by the House of Lords, it's completely infeasible. What they want is for websites to have verified identity information on hand, but then allow people to post anonymously or using a pseudonym. This is infeasible for several reasons, mostly that to truly verify someone's identity, you need a government-issued ID number. I'm not British, but in the US, that would be the Social Security Number. Now, let me tell you what happens when a government forces SSN identification for things that should not need an SSN.

Some time ago, there was an insanely popular MMORPG in South Korea known as Lineage 2. The administrators behind Lineage 2 (I believe the game was owned by Microsoft but I can't say for sure) required that anyone registering a Lineage 2 account (which required a monthly fee) give them their Korean Social Security Number (KSSN) which works exactly like the US SSN does. I don't recall whether this was because the Korean government was scared of anonymity and demanded it, or because the game's owners wanted it for verification and were not required to get KSSNs by the government, but in any case, a KSSN was required to play the game.

A few years later, Lineage 2 got hacked. The database of KSSNs they had was leaked, meaning that the identities of thousands of people were freely available on the internet. After the Korean government learned of the Lineage 2 hack, they actually tightened their restrictions - all MMORPGs operating in Korea were now required to ask for a KSSN upon account registration, even for F2P games.

The result is that any time an MMORPG gets hacked in Korea, KSSNs get dumped. It also led to things like mass identity theft - players from outside Korea who wanted to play the Korean version of various MMOs (the ones based in Korea are usually regularly updated in Korean but not in the International versions) would have to find a leaked KSSN and use it.

Requiring an identity verification for anything but the most major financial transactions (insurance, banks, employment) should never happen. A credit card verification is different - you can verify a credit or debit card without needing an SSN - and should be enough for pretty much everywhere.

12 minutes ago

CIA Director Brennan Admits He Was Lying: CIA Really Did Spy On Congress

Joe Gillian No one calling for resignations (82 comments)

Why hasn't John Brennan been fired yet? If this was any private company in the United States, he'd have been fired on the spot for lying to his superiors for months and trying to cover up his own incompetence.

1 hour ago

NASA's JPL Develops Multi-Metal 3D Printing Process

Joe Gillian Re:This is one of those (25 comments)

It's not about being able to magically colonize space, it's about saving money and improving shuttle fuel economy. I forget what the cost per pound to send something into space is, but I remember it being in the range of thousands of dollars per pound in fuel. If you could use this to reduce the weight of a vessel by even a few kilograms, you would be saving tens of thousands per launch on fuel costs. Alternatively, that's a few kilograms that can be devoted to experiments rather than the weight of the shuttle.

The same thing goes for any other type of fuel-burning vehicle.

3 hours ago

"BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

Joe Gillian How is this viable as an attack medium? (146 comments)

From the article, it seems like this attack is done by hardware-modifying a USB stick so that the firmware can be changed. While I get that this is a major problem for organizations that have a bunch of computers that could potentially have one of these things inserted into them, for most people it doesn't seem like a problem. The most I can see happening with this is someone putting bad firmware onto a USB device and selling them on EBay or similar as a means of stealing people's data, but I think that would be pretty easy to track - when a whole bunch of people who all bought things from one person suddenly notice that their credit card numbers were stolen, law enforcement will figure out the trick pretty quickly.

4 hours ago

Unesco Probing Star Wars Filming In Ireland

Joe Gillian Quote from the article (126 comments)

"We can't tell what the filming of Star Wars on the site will do to the wildlife."

I can see a whole lot of lawsuits from all of the puffins, manx shearwaters, storm petrels, guillemots, and kittiwakes who don't want to appear in a modern Star Wars film. Can't say I blame them, not after Episodes 1 through 3.

5 hours ago

Crytek USA Collapses, Sells Game IP To Other Developers

Joe Gillian Re:Awkward (100 comments)

It's not really surprising (to me, anyway) that Crytek is failing as a publisher. Homefront was the most generic FPS ever made. It didn't sell, and the reviewers barely had anything at all to say about it - though what little did come out essentially boiled down to it being a really mediocre game that was essentially the product of a marketing team (who saw Call of Duty and Battlefield and wanted a piece of that action) rather than people trying to make a good game. The same thing goes for Crysis, which was basically a graphics benchmark in the guise of a game (to this day, I've never heard anyone talk about Crysis outside of using it as a benchmark).

The only people I really feel sorry for are Free Radical - I know they had a Kickstarter up at one point to get a new TimeSplitters out on Steam, and I think it got funded, but I don't know if it's coming out now. If they're still making it I hope they find someone else to publish it or self-publish.

6 hours ago

An Accidental Wikipedia Hoax

Joe Gillian I did the same thing (165 comments)

About five years ago, I had a friend who was in school getting his Master's in Topology. I haven't spoken with him since then (due to both of us being busy and losing contact) but my guess is that he's got his PhD by now. At the time, there was a Wikipedia page, which I can't seem to find today, that was a list of well-known eccentrics - by that I mean people displaying eccentric behavior, not painters or electricians or any of the other multitude of ways that term is used.

I used to joke with this guy that he was becoming like John Nash, the schizophrenic game theorist (see: A Beautiful Mind) and writing math on his walls at night. He showed me the list of eccentrics, and I put him (his name is John Lynch) on there stating that he was known on the Boston University campus for covering his dorm walls in obscure mathematical formulas.

That edit lasted at LEAST three years, but I hadn't thought about it until now. If someone can find that article (assuming it's still up somewhere) I'd like to see if his name is still on it.


Nuclear Missile Command Drops Grades From Tests To Discourage Cheating

Joe Gillian Re:The Air Force is also making an effort to repla (121 comments)

In this case, probably the computer systems. They've been using the same stuff since the missile sites were first built, to the point where they're still using 5-inch floppies to transfer data.


Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Joe Gillian Re:A car's PRIMARY purpose is TRANSPORTATION ! (297 comments)

No, a car's primary purpose is picking up chicks. Getting around is just a by-product of its intended function.


3-D Printing Comes To Amazon

Joe Gillian Re:Strength (62 comments)

Is this the start of Death Printer: The 3D Printer that Prints Death? It'd be like a modern-day sequel to Death Bed: The Bed that Eats People.

2 days ago

$299 Android Gaming Tablet Reviewed

Joe Gillian What's the market for this? (65 comments)

What I don't get is what the market for this is. The gaming aspect of it seems to be based on streaming games from a PC, and buying a PC good enough to do that costs a fair bit of money assuming you don't already have one. Game streaming also requires wireless internet access, which means you're probably not going to be taking it out of your home. There's also the issue of what you're going to do with it outside of game streaming - if you want something that can browse the internet when you're away from home, you'd be better off with a 4G phone than a wifi-based tablet.

The real gaming crowd is going to stick to physical PCs because of the superior experience they offer. The casual gaming crowd, who want to play games specifically released for iOS/Android, have cheaper options for accessing those games. Who is the target market?

2 days ago

Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

Joe Gillian Re:'First hit is free' model (230 comments)

4chan's video games board has a growing image titled "Victims of EA" that's been circulating for quite a while. Off the top of my head:

Bullfrog (Dungeon Keeper)
Origin Systems
Westwood (C&C)
Visceral Games (Dead Space)
DICE (Battlefield)

There were more, I just don't remember them all.

2 days ago

Put Your Code in the SWAMP: DHS Sponsors Online Open Source Code Testing

Joe Gillian What they're not telling you (61 comments)

What DHS isn't telling you is that they're secretly submitting anything given to them via SWAMP to a secret NSA partner program known as SHREK (Security Holes for Recapturing Encryption Keys) and the FBI's version of the same program, known as DONKEY (Domestic Onion-Router Key Capture) which will attempt to overthrow the TOR project.

The real question is, what is anyone doing putting their code in the SWAMP?

2 days ago

Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Joe Gillian Re:This might actually kill more than the bombs (834 comments)

It will also likely cause the bombs to kill more people. A lack of power will cause people to leave their homes and try to find somewhere that has clean water or air conditioning, which means a higher density of people packed into a smaller area. This means higher death counts when Israeli missiles inevitably hit another civilian area, as they've been doing since the start of this war.

2 days ago

London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites

Joe Gillian City of London Police =/= British Police (159 comments)

One thing I'd like to point out is that the City of London Police are not the same thing as the British Metropolitan Police. This was something that came up in an article a few months ago where the City of London Police were fighting against piracy. They're basically an area within London that has existed for hundreds of years under corporate rule.

The City of London police are basically a corporate police force with an authority that does not go beyond the corporate-controlled City of London area.

2 days ago

Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

Joe Gillian Re:Another bloviation from Bennett (539 comments)

What we really need is to stop posting Bennett blogs every time he writes one (usually once a week) and instead do a "Monthly Bennett Roundup" in which all of his posts from the past month are put together. It'd be kind of like a Tamagotchi, only more annoying.

3 days ago

US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

Joe Gillian Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (167 comments)

The IRS won't regulate it as a currency for a very good reason - doing so would mean they'd have to tax income from Bitcoin the same way they have to tax cash income. With cash income, there's a paper trail - the IRS can look at pay stubs from your employer and look at bank statements to determine whether or not you are paying enough in taxes.

Bitcoin is different. There's no paper trail, at least not one with names and social security numbers attached to it. They'd have a hard time proving anything in terms of how many bitcoins a person has made in a year or where the bitcoins are coming from. As long as the bitcoin remains in the system (ie; isn't exchanged for money, which the IRS can trace) there's really no way for them to do anything about it.

3 days ago

Attackers Install DDoS Bots On Amazon Cloud

Joe Gillian Only a problem for unpatched systems? (25 comments)

The article claims that only 1.1.x versions of Elasticsearch were vulnerable, and that the vulnerabilities were fixed in 1.2.x and 1.3.x. To me, this sounds like any company still running 1.1.x versions brought it upon themselves.

3 days ago

Build Your Own Gatling Rubber Band Machine Gun

Joe Gillian Re:Let the.... (39 comments)

Sorry, quick correction. He turned the shaft and handle into the stock, and the shovel head was cut up and turned into some of the metal parts. I can't remember specifically which ones, but I think he said at the time that they were the ones that were hardest to legally import.

3 days ago

Build Your Own Gatling Rubber Band Machine Gun

Joe Gillian Re:Let the.... (39 comments)

Office supplies nothing. A couple years ago, there was a guy who posted instructions on how to make a working AK-47 out of a shovel, turning the wooden shaft and handle into a stock and cutting up the handle to make some of the metal parts. The rest of it had to be ordered in, but from what I remember, he was able to fire it once it was done. Don't fear the rubber bands.. fear the mighty Kalashnishovel.

3 days ago


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