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Rock the system

visible.frylock Re:One can only hope (16 comments)

Thank you.

For a contract to be enforceable by any court in the US, it should be required that the contract is signed by all signatories in the presence of the court, the original housed by the court, and scans hosted by the court. They can put up a bunch of torrents if they want (checksums to ensure no backdoor crap), and plenty of orgs will gladly mirror it.

No implied contracts. There's a word for that, it's called Statute or Constitution. And even those are bad enough these days.

more than 5 years ago

cars, gas and comcast

visible.frylock two reasons (11 comments)

It's allowed for two reasons.

First, if you suggest that any company's monopoly be returned to the people, who liscensed it to them in the first place, then everyone thinks that you're Stalin. Yes, being against the government granting a private party the authority to come dig up your land, run lines under them, and take profits from your land without paying you a dime of rent, is apparently the red Soviet menace incarnate. So reason number one, Americans like to lick the boots of their elite. Or ruling class, or business leaders, captains of industry (that one's a laugh), or whatever you want to call them. Wish I could figure out why.

Second, even if hypothetically the American people decided tomorrow to oust the monopolies, that still doesn't mean the net would be saved. Going from your example, if you don't want car companies owning gas stations, then a lot of people will see you as a God-fearing capitalist who opposes vertical integration.

But if you want your pipe to just be a dumb pipe, then you're one of the horsemen of the infocalypse. You must be guilty of something. Citizen, this tranmission is using non-standard port numbers for all civilian purposes, and the Ministry of Internal Security has been unable to determine the purpose of these transmissions. Also, they appear to be encrypted. Do you have an encryption permit and a valid business use for encrypting these transmissions?

Yeah anyway, there's of course the obvious solution to this crap. New amendment:

All monopolies, including, but not limited to, utilities and intellectual monopolies, granted to private parties by any government within United States territory are hereby rescinded. In the case of utilities, all authority vested in any utility established by a grant of monopoly shall hereby be vested in the government which granted it. Henceforth, no government within United States territory shall have any authority to grant any monopoly to a private party.

Boom. Done.

Anyway, we as a nation are going to have to go a lot further into some kind of Stalinist/Maoist hybrid before we realize (and have the balls to admit) that we've made some big mistakes. We can't have any progress until then.

more than 5 years ago

The Holy "Peer Review"

visible.frylock re: peer review (6 comments)

Well, lots of problems here.

This reminds me of something I say about Sarbox, email retention, paper correspondence retention, etc. Now this article is talking about the UK, but I know this happens in the US. Considering we inherited a lot of their crappy legal system, it wouldn't surprise me if they have this too.

We have a policy of charging potential defendants with collecting, retaining, investigating, and providing potential evidence against them. Now, besides this being a braindead policy that could only come from the mind of a lawyer, it's, IMO, cleary a violation of the 5th amendment.

This, from what I know, is kind of how it works in medical studies. For example, if a local restaraunt gets a health complaint, what happens? Do they "swear" they've double checked everything and found "no violations"? And then the local health board just accepts that? Hell no, they get a visit from a health inspector. Now I'll agree that these kinds of systems are prone to abuse themselves, but any form of self-policing is just ridiculous on its face.

Yet, with a medical study, these companies certify that their drugs "pose no serious side effects". ORLY? Drugco said that? Well, then I guess Ritaxiloril must be safe right?

2nd, and this is another big obvious one that I push, abolish IP. In fact, abolish all government-granted monopolies. It has the nice side effect of abolishing all monopolies. That reduces the incentive to pull this kind of crap.

3rd, academia needs to grow a pair and throw off the journal middle men. Journals should be public domain, as well as all source data. Anything less shouldn't qualify as science, and shouldn't be treated as such.

But a world like that wouldn't leave much room for parasites, so I guess I'm just dreaming.

more than 5 years ago

Major MMO Publishers Sued For Patent Infringement

visible.frylock Re:Here's an idea on fixing the system... (232 comments)

But that would imply that they aren't property. We can't be having that.

If you put it in the peoples' heads that IP, rather than someone's private property, is only a monopoly granted by the government, well then they might just want to abolish it. Better to leave them thinking that anyone who wants to abolish "Intellectual Property" is a communist.

A communist who hates them for their freedom.

more than 5 years ago

Japan's Cell Phones May Get DRM, At Music Industry Behest

visible.frylock Re:No connection? (189 comments)

How does rockbox work on your sansa? What's the battery life like? Thanks

more than 5 years ago

Web Hosts Hit With $32 Million Judgment For Content

visible.frylock RTFA! (202 comments)

Since when did ISPs become the gatekeeper of what is and isn't legal?


In a verdict handed down last week, [...]

Since last week, apparently.

more than 5 years ago

modding versus replying

visible.frylock depends (3 comments)

If I agree overall, I'll usually mod to promote it.

If I want to add another distinct point, I'll usually reply as I think that's more important. There will be enough other people to mod it up if it's good. After all, if everybody just mods instead of expanding on good points, then what more is slashdot than the top level comments in the tree?

Generally, I don't negatively mod anything except gnaa spam and stuff like that.

more than 5 years ago

Librarians Express Concern Over Google Books

visible.frylock Re:Question (144 comments)

Market forces aren't creating this situation. It's monopoly forces that are at work, in the form of copyright.

more than 5 years ago

Making an Open Source Project Press-Friendly

visible.frylock Re:Missing the point... (169 comments)

Just wanted to say great sig.

I'll be reminded of it every time I see one of those "The more you tighten your grip...." one-liner posts.

more than 5 years ago

Time Denies Issuing DMCA Over Obama Joker Image

visible.frylock Re:Well.... (324 comments)

Not quite.

If your party is out of power, dissent is patriotic.

If your party is in power, support of the government is patriotic.

If the two parties are sharing legislative power, the only patriotic thing to do is shut up and keep funding foreign wars and bail out financial companies.

The times when the two parties have to share legislative power is when they reveal what they're really all about, and that they're really not that different from each other.

more than 5 years ago

Global Warming To Be Put On Trial?

visible.frylock Re:They are NOT Denying Global Warming (1100 comments)

My question is this: What is the EPA _really_ trying to accomplish with this? Covering CO2 under the Clean Air Act would completely hamstring American businesses, forcing them to severely cut CO2 emissions. At this point, that is barely even technologically feasible, much less cost-effective, much less profit-producing. So what, are they _trying_ to bankrupt America businesses? Are they _trying_ to return us to the Stone Age? Are they _trying_ to give American companies as much of a handicap as possible in the global market, such that they will now have to compete with now even cheaper alternatives made in countries that don't have such off-the-wall regulations?

No, you're not thinking evil enough. Laws banning narcotics, prostitution, gambling, and speeding would be death to our economy and our society if they were objectively enforced. But the intention is to selectively enforce it.

Selective enforcement is the reason we need to take away the government's monopoly on prosecuting certain cases.

more than 5 years ago

The best hope for economic reform, happy birthday

visible.frylock Re:Gold based money isn't the best (7 comments)

The only guaranteed relationship is to entire baskets of goods. I can exchange $1000 for a booklet of vouchers for ALL of the goods in the basket, but I cannot get any single item in that basket for any guaranteed price. If I happen to be a vegetarian, tough: the booklet has a voucher for meat - get over it. Trade it to a carnivore for some vegetables, burn it, frame it, whatever - but it is part and parcel for the $1000 you traded in.
Now consider the effect of this. Assuming the basket of goods tracks the CPI, then by definition the CPI cannot change. Individual prices can shift: let a killer wheat rust make wheat scarce, and it might trade for more than it used to, but the effect will be that the other items in the basket will become worth marginally less.

That sounds like artificial price setting to me, but maybe I'm not understanding. Let me give an aoe2 example. If our 3 commodities are food, wood, and stone, and we have no population growth/decline. Then let's say there's a drought and the food supply goes down, food demand stays the same. Wood and stone supply/demand are also staying the same.

That means that the work required to fill that same basket will have to go up.

In that case, what should happen under your system? It sounds like you're saying this should cause the basket to focus more on food at the expense of wood and stone. So it's the same amount of total work done, or "paid", for one basket. But if the work required to chop/mine hasn't changed, and the demand hasn't changed, then aren't the holders of the basket vouchers just short of wood and stone now, rather than food?

more than 5 years ago

The best hope for economic reform, happy birthday

visible.frylock Rambling, anyone's thoughts welcome (7 comments)

Disclaimer: I wrote in Paul in the Republican primaries last time, would vote for him again. But I'm not a registered Rep/Dem. Kucinich, Baldwin, Barr, Nader, or McKinney also would have been better than McCain or Obama. Technically, a brick would have been better than them. A brick can't sign any legislation.

That said, abolishing the Fed is spot on, we don't need to be paying interest on an inflated money supply. Obviously, it's impossible to ever pay this off. And we don't need that type of authority vested in an organization with the Fed's type of behavior. If anything, the authority should be with Congress and inflations should be out in the open in legislation.

Now here's the point: it's one thing to say we shouldn't have the Fed, it's something completely different to say we should never inflate the money supply, even through a transparent Congressional process. I happen to agree with it, but I've considered the implications of that, or at least I think I have.

Apparently, Ron Paul wants to replace our current system with a gold-based money supply:

I disagree (I think). First, an endorsement of a gold based supply is an endorsement of inflation, albeit naturally controlled inflation. As more gold is mined, the supply will increase. I can't find a decent reference right now, but here's a google with the Spanish inflation and gold imports from the New World:

It seems to me that a gold-backed supply is inherently flawed because of this. I would support (again, I think) a constant currency supply, fiat-based. Then, money is only an abstract store of wealth, and prices are completely subject to the market. Don't take that to be a corpratist cronyist Republican stance, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking strictly about price discovery, I'm not saying that we shouldn't have tariffs, and I'm not saying we should be involved in all this Free Trade nonsense.

The common argument against this, and for controlled inflation, is that money supply must increase to account for increased growth in the economy (whatever that means) and to maintain price stability. This is taken pretty much as dogma, as near as I can tell.

Now let me go out on a limb: I can't think of a single reason why this should be true. If more product is being produced more efficiently, then prices should fall, right? But traditionally, that's taken to be price instability, and bad for the economy, because people can't live as well doing the things they have traditionally done.

But isn't that just the reality of technological progress? That inevitably, some things will go by the wayside? It seems to me that our desire to maintain our notion of price stability is basically a national macro economic policy of subsidizing buggy whip makers and whale oil.

In all the reading and listening to other people that I've done, I've never heard any good reason that economically or morally justifies a variable currency supply.

Back to Paul's stuff, even if we did end the Fed, I doubt that we can peacefully and sanely replace the Fed with a gold-backed supply. The entire American system of doing things is based on deficit spending, inflation, and effectively stealing manufactured goods through the threat of military force. The two big problems we would face would of course be our entitlement programs and our defense spending. We simply couldn't pay for it with a gold-backed supply. I know that Paul has said we should cut a lot of the defense spending, and use the savings to pay out to people we've already made entitlement commitments to, and phase out the entitlements from there on.

But I don't know if he actually believes that. We can't remove the threat of force from the rest of the world, and seriously expect them to keep sending us cheap commodities just because they like us so much. But I'm off in conspiracy land now, and I realize a lot of people don't agree with this. A lot of people believe that there really is demand for the dollar as a reserve currency because other countries have faith in our system.

The establishment would probably even admit that we've had serious problems with the USD's value in this century. But the accepted establishment theory, AFAIK, is that the USD was genuinely and voluntarily valued as a reserve currency throughout the last half of the 20th century. I'm skeptical.

So basically, I definitely don't agree with what's going on. But with as bad as the problems have gotten, I'm not sure that ANYONE, even a mythical benevolent dictator Cincinattis type figure, could fix things. I don't see any peaceful solution to all of this.

more than 5 years ago

Why the BSA Is Less Reviled Than the RIAA

visible.frylock Re:False assumptions? (371 comments)

Nuremberg defense.

Nobody holds a gun to the jury members' heads and forces them to convict an alleged criminal or find in favor of a plaintiff. If you, through jury duty, convict someone in court of breaking a law, you're an active enabler of that particular law.

more than 5 years ago

Comcast Finally Files Suit Against FCC Over Traffic Shaping

visible.frylock Re:Not traffic shaping! (353 comments)

Whereas streaming video is hypothetically latency sensitive, but very high bandwidth, so the solution there is not to prioritize the packets, but to have the client buffer up some data first, hopefully making it latency insensitive as long as the bandwidth stays fairly steady.

But buffering funds terrorism!

more than 5 years ago

Comcast Seeking Control of Both Pipes and Content?

visible.frylock Re:AOL tried this and failed (241 comments)

The only media deal that can make sense is to buy the NFL, MLB, NASCAR or NBA because people will pay up for sports even in a recession. If the Disney channel suddenly becomes a premium channel I won't be getting it. even though i have a child.

Disney owns espn and abc.



Not that it means that the leagues would be powerless to fight back if Comsney pulled some real shenanigans, but you get more than just a kid's channel if you buy Disney.

more than 5 years ago

Say what you want about Obamacare

visible.frylock Re:You raise some good points.... (27 comments)

Yeah, good point.

I'll reserve my judgement until I actually get something to read.

more than 5 years ago

Say what you want about Obamacare

visible.frylock Re:You raise some good points.... (27 comments)

I may be unusual in this, but I was able to read the Wyden bill, with ammendments, in a weekend. It's not much bigger than The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and much less complex.

I'm with you on this to an extent.

Legislation is written with wide margins, double-spaced, and decently big type. I was reading a draft of the climate bill for the House, which was right around 1000 pages. I'd say that in a real, serious book with normal style</subjective opinion> those 1000 pages would condense to around 250 pages or less.

The problem is, a huge number of things can depend on very few words, or even lack thereof. I had a journal about the proposed cybersecurity bill. Notice the language:

The President
(1) within 1 year after the date of enactment
of this Act, shall develop and implement a com-
prehensive national cybersecurity strategy, which
shall include
(2) may declare a cybersecurity emergency and
order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic
to and from any compromised Federal government
or United States critical infrastructure information
system or network;

The term Federal gov-
ernment and United States critical infrastructure in-
formation systems and networks includes
(A) Federal Government information sys-
tems and networks; and
(B) State, local, and nongovernmental in-
formation systems and networks in the United
States designated by the President as critical
infrastructure information systems and net-

So basically, if the President says it's a critical network, then it is a critical network, according to statute, and subject to the President's authority to block or selectively filter traffic. Who knows what else, maybe DoS too? What does "limitation" mean? Now, in a logical world, nothing this vague and wide-reaching would ever make it into statute in the first place.

But if anyone tried to call out the legislation for it, they'd be met with responses saying that nothing too extreme would be allowed to happen (This is America!) and that whoever's criticizing it is just fear-mongering. Even though the legislation authorizes exactly that in plain English. This opens the door to incrementalism, where they slowly but surely get closer and closer to the authority they've already been granted. Just up the dosage every now and then, and the people are too dumb to realize.

All that said, I haven't read anything on the health bill(s?) yet. But I'll be completely surprised if they don't have this wordplay chicanery going in the health legislation too.

more than 5 years ago

Die of malnutrition, then what?

visible.frylock Re:Bullshit (23 comments)

Well, I dare you to do what others have done in the last year- go to your local supermarket with $28 and see if you can live on ONLY those ingredients you can buy for a week.

That's very possible, at least with the prices where I live, as long as you have the time, experience, and equipment to cook good meals.

You won't have the most balanced diet in the world. With that kind of budget, you'll probably have to leave out fruits, except for maybe OJ, but you can definitely survive food-wise, and not be all that unhealthy.

more than 5 years ago



Poll, x LOC before compile

visible.frylock visible.frylock writes  |  more than 5 years ago

visible.frylock (965768) writes "When writing new software in a high level, general purpose language, I write on average N non-whitespace LOC before the first compile or interpretive run:

- 0 — 25
- 26 — 50
- 51 — 100
- 101 — 200
- 201 — 500
- 501 — 1000
- 1001+"

NSA Director to Head New Pentagon Cyber Command

visible.frylock visible.frylock writes  |  more than 5 years ago

visible.frylock (965768) writes "According to the WSJ, Defense Secretary Gates plans to nominate Lieutenant General Keith Alexander to head the new Pentagon Cybersecurity Command (previously reported on by the Washington Post). While the Post says that "The Pentagon plans do not involve the Department of Homeland Security, which has responsibility for securing the government's non-military computer domain," the Journal reports that Lieutenant General Alexander has mentioned of working with DHS:

"We need to dispel the rumors," he said, adding that NSA didn't want to run all the government's cybersecurity operations but would help Homeland Security secure government civilian networks.

Gen. Alexander also catalogued a few of the "things that are broken" in the government's efforts to protect its networks. The government can't monitor intrusions on its networks in a timely manner. It detects compromises of private-sector networks but sometimes can't disclose the problem because its information is classified.

The Pentagon recently said that Secretary Gates wants to increase the number of security experts trained by DoD from 80 to 250 annually."
Link to Original Source


Stimulus Bill Contains Net Neutrality Provision

visible.frylock visible.frylock writes  |  about 6 years ago

visible.frylock (965768) writes "Cnet is reporting that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (PDF), currently in the House Appropriations Committee, contains Net Neutrality provisions:

The so-called stimulus package hands out billions of dollars in grants for broadband and wireless development, primarily in what are called "unserved" and "underserved" areas. [...] The catch is that the federal largesse comes with Net neutrality strings attached.

The broadband grants appear to begin in SEC. 3101 (pg. 49) of the PDF."


Update to story "Microsoft Helps Police Crack

visible.frylock visible.frylock writes  |  more than 6 years ago

visible.frylock (965768) writes "This is an update to the mentioned story by the author of the original article.

Just as I'm submitting this, the article I linked to seems to be down. Here is a google results page to show it does indeed exist. The update I found was called "Looking for answers on Microsoft's COFEE device"

The update seems very sketchy and inconsistent. Not sure if you want to post that, but the original author has put 3 updates to the original story already, and may post more in the future. Just letting you know if no one else has."

Link to Original Source



Federal judges order California to release 43,000 inmates

visible.frylock visible.frylock writes  |  more than 5 years ago http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-prisons5-2009aug05,0,4339337,full.story

That just about says it all, I don't have too much to add.

Normally, I don't really give much weight to judges ruling in favor of the comfort of prisons, but those rows of beds look a little too Mao-ish for me.

Completely OT:
JHC, /. needs bbcode or something. Just because I want to put links (I know, high tech stuff right?) into a post, doesn't mean I want to go to the trouble of manually separating paragraphs with <p> or <br/>. Apparently it works differently for writing journals than for writing comments.


/.'s blashphemy story, who's laughing last?

visible.frylock visible.frylock writes  |  more than 5 years ago

After the crapstorm that was the comments from this story, with atheist v agnostic starting only 3 comments deep, who do you think is laughing last?

I think it's this guy.

And the Irish government, of course, restricting free speech on the grounds of blasphemy. They didn't even need kiddie pr0n, muslims, or cyber-rudeness. They got away with it using blasphemy.

One thing "agnostics" and "atheists" should be able to agree on: that pic of the cross carved in stone is sublimely cool.


Commercial real estate

visible.frylock visible.frylock writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Remember thinking to yourself, over the last few years, that all the new restaraunts and strip malls in suburbia must have been unsustainable?

Well, you weren't crazy, and it wasn't just you.


As the financial system tries to right itself after its near-collapse last fall, the Treasury Department has assembled a team to examine what could yet bring it down and has identified several trouble spots that could threaten the still-fragile lending industry.
Informally known as Plan C, the internal project is focused on vexing problems such as the distressed commercial real estate markets, the high rate of delinquencies among homeowners, and the struggles of community and regional banks, said government sources familiar with the effort.
Part of the mission is assessing which firms are the most vulnerable and trying to decipher what assets these companies hold and whether they pose a danger to the wider financial system. Plan C is a small-scale, relatively informal approach to a problem the administration hopes to address in the long term by empowering the Federal Reserve to oversee systemic risk.

The cynic in me says that this will just be more big banks cannibalizing smaller ones, overseen by our benevolent overlords, of course.

Thousands of these institutions wrote billions of dollars in mortgages on strip malls, doctors offices and drive-through restaurants. These commercial loans required a lot of scrutiny and a leap of faith, and, for much of the decade, the smaller banks that leapt were rewarded with outsize profits.
In doing so, many took on bigger and bigger risks. By the beginning of the recession in December 2007, the median midsize bank held commercial real estate loans worth 3.55 times its capital cushion -- its reserve against unexpected losses -- according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

I'm sure some people would cry "Regulation!" here, but if we would just control M0 (and by extension M1, M2, and M3) a lot better from the government's end, this easy credit problem probably would have been fixed. Banks can't gamble with what they don't have.

While I'm definitely not against all regulations in every form, it seems that trying to regulate a bank from the liabilities side is just swimming upstream. Instead of trying to show how much a bank is really on the hook for, subject to certain market conditions, and trying to get a detailed sense of the cash flow of every damn institution in the FRB, why don't we just cut the problem off at the source, the Treasury's presses, and the Fed's authority to turn them on?


gog's catalog is growing

visible.frylock visible.frylock writes  |  more than 5 years ago

This is a shameless plug, but I have no interest in this other than wanting to see a DRM-free game store get more support.

The catalog over at gog.com is growing. They've started to get some more modern era games. Two recent examples are Far Cry and ut2004.

They also have a space based rts, Haegemonia, which looks cool.

TOCA racing 3 is for sale now, but is going down by Saturday.

The games are drm free, you can download them to your heart's content, and they're reasonably priced. I'm hoping more people will shop there so that it can become a viable, drm free alternative to steam and piracy.


Highlights from proposed cybersecurity bill

visible.frylock visible.frylock writes  |  more than 5 years ago

This entry is in response to recent story about the tentative Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (PDF). Rather than having it buried below all the comments, I thought I'd just put it here.

There really is quite a bit in this, related to both freedom as well as more practical security aspects. It includes security standards, exploit defenition languages, security professional licensing, DNSSEC, IANA, government software acquisition, and of course the President's shutdown authority which everyone has been commenting about. You should really read the bill for yourself.

NIST and security responsibilities (pg 17) In section 6, NIST is given responsibility to develop security metrics, measuring the risk from a "prioritized list of software weaknesses known to lead to exploited and exploitable vulnerabilities" (including embedded, or so they say). Section 6 goes on:

The Institute shall, establish standard
computer-readable language for completely speci-
fying the configuration of software on computer sys-
tems widely used in the Federal government, by gov-
ernment contractors and grantees, and in private
sector owned critical infrastructure information sys-
tems and networks.
The Institute shall establish standard configurations
consisting of security settings for operating system
software and software utilities widely used in the
Federal government, by government contractors and
grantees, and in private sector owned critical infra-
structure information systems and networks.
The Institute shall establish standard com-
puter-readable language for specifying vulnerabilities
in software to enable software vendors to commu-
nicate vulnerability data to software users in real
(A) Protocol.?The Institute shall establish
a standard testing and accreditation protocol
for software built by or for the Federal govern-
ment, its contractors, and grantees, and private
sector owned critical infrastructure information
systems and networks [......]

Licensing for security professionals contracting to the federal government (pg 21)

Within 1 year after the date of
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce shall
develop or coordinate and integrate a national licensing,
certification, and periodic recertification program for cy-
bersecurity professionals.
Beginning 3 years
after the date of enactment of this Act, it shall be unlawful
for any individual to engage in business in the United
States, or to be employed in the United States, as a pro-
vider of cybersecurity services to any Federal agency or
an information system or network designated by the Presi-
dent, or the President?s designee, as a critical infrastruc-
ture information system or network, who is not licensed
and certified under the program.

IANA (pg 22)

No action by the Assistant Sec-
retary of Commerce for Communications and Information
after the date of enactment of this Act with respect to
the renewal or modification of a contract related to the
operation of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority,
shall be final until the Advisory Panel?
(1) has reviewed the action;
(2) considered the commercial and national se-
curity implications of the action; and
(3) approved the action.

DNSSEC (pg 23)

Within 3 years after the date of
enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary of Com-
merce for Communications and Information shall develop
a strategy to implement a secure domain name addressing


The Department of Commerce
shall serve as the clearinghouse of cybersecurity threat
and vulnerability information to Federal government and
private sector owned critical infrastructure information
systems and networks.
The Secretary of Commerce
(1) shall have access to all relevant data con-
cerning such networks without regard to any provi-
sion of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting
such access;

President's authority (pg 43)

The President
(1) within 1 year after the date of enactment
of this Act, shall develop and implement a com-
prehensive national cybersecurity strategy, which
shall include


(2) may declare a cybersecurity emergency and
order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic
to and from any compromised Federal government
or United States critical infrastructure information
system or network;

(Non) Definition of critical infrastructure network (pg 50)

The term Federal gov-
ernment and United States critical infrastructure in-
formation systems and networks includes
(A) Federal Government information sys-
tems and networks; and
(B) State, local, and nongovernmental in-
formation systems and networks in the United
States designated by the President as critical
infrastructure information systems and net-


There is established a Secure
Products and Services Acquisitions Board. The Board
shall be responsible for cybersecurity review and approval
of high value products and services acquisition and, in co-
ordination with the National Institute of Standards and
Technology, for the establishment of appropriate stand-
ards for the validation of software to be acquired by the
Federal government.


ron paul, obama, churches, and the internet

visible.frylock visible.frylock writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I found something interesting in one of Ron Paul's statements. That's probably not a permalink, btw, sorry, wish he used better software.

He's talking about the executive order by President Obama dealing with faith-based initiatives. I've seen this in the news, but apparently NARA is late to the game, because they still haven't posted the text, as of this writing.

This was the part I found interesting:

The logic behind funding faith-based initiatives seemed reasonable to some. Private organizations are much more effective in charitable endeavors than government programs and bureaucracies. Therefore, why not "outsource" some of the government's welfare-state activities to these worthy organizations? [...] But now, dependencies on federal money have been set, operations have been expanded accordingly, and many charities are waiting breathlessly for the administration to tell them what new conditions they will have to meet.

I agree with this logic overall, and thus see any faith-based office as a pretty bad idea. In fact, I'll take it a few steps further and say that not only should we not be funding faith-based programs, we also shouldn't have any tax exemptions for any organizations. Church,non-profit, or whatever they may be. This allows us to avoid the sticky situation in the first place.

But now to the point of my post. I think this line of reasoning has implications for internet policy also. On the one hand, we could say that having an internet infrastructure run by the government would be superior to one run by quasi-private, regulated monopolies (which is, TMK, almost exclusively what we have here in the US). Points in favor of this are that a government-run network lacks profit motive, and thus the anal raping might not be as bad as with the monopolies. Examples of current infrastructure done this way are roads, I believe some rail lines (don't know about inter-city, but I believe all intra-city subways in the US are government owned and operated), the water system in many places in the US, and I believe in some areas, even the electrical grid.

More on that in a bit, but let's look at some of the points against this. The monopolies might be money grubbing bastards, but they're not stupid money grubbing bastards. They know that any filtering/censorship with fine granularity is expensive. Thus, they have a built-in resistance to filtering, which works in our favor. A government-operated network would not likely have this resistance, unless of course they had actual, reasonable budget constraints to work within (this will not be the case in the US anytime soon).

So what our are choices? A potentially less expensive, more performant broadband, but more filtered/censored/controlled? Or do we continue the monthly anal-raping, and depend on the greed of the rapists to resist the government's urge to control (before they finally give in, and just pass the cost along to us anyway)?

Neither of these are good choices, unfortunately. Probably the best thing for us to do right now is recognize that anything we would do to significantly alter the structure of the internet would only make it much worse. Some people might see that as "defeatist" (I hate the word, but can't think of a better one), but it's the only practical solution I can think of that preserves what we already have.

I wanted to bring up this Ron Paul piece to highlight things that I see missing in the debate in all of the broadband stories recently.

I love American logic. We interpet the no establishment of religion clause to mean that government can make no law concerning religion in any shape, form, or fashion. Thus, churches can't be taxed, or so the logic goes. But who decides what a church is, so that they can get their tax-exempt status? Well, the government, of course! Which is, de facto, a governmental establishment of religion. This is a classic example of American thinking: We get some pretty damn good advice from our Constitution, we coopt the language in it to dodge our taxes, and ultimately we completely contradict the meaning of the Constitution and end up doing the exact thing that it said we should never, ever do.

But in the same way as government has the tendency to reach it's tentacles into religion via these braindead policies, this same process also applies to government involvement, whether directly, legislatively, or regulatory, into the internet. Yes, I hate the cableco's and telco's just as much as anyone, and if there is a god, and he is just, then telco execs will spend eternity in hell on the phone with the cableco's customer support, and vice versa. But we need to remember that, as much as the monopolies want to rape your wallet, the government, if it thought it could get away with it, would rape freedom of speech, press, religion, freedom of thought, freedom to tinker, and any other freedom you may think you have online.

I'm not getting into which one is worse, I won't even venture a guess. What's worse, a kick ass net that no one can afford, or a free digital cable propaganda line piped into your x86? I'm saying that maybe we need cool it on advocacy for making any changes, because, if we actually get any changes, we probably won't like it. Yes, I think it sucks too.

I've done quite a bit of thinking about this problem, and there is one thing I'd like to share. One of the differences between water/sewage, electrical, roads, as opposed to the net and the postal service, is that the former are commonly considered dumb pipes, while the latter are by and large not. If someone says that we should not treat our running water like a dumb pipe, people would rightly call him an idiot. But, everyday, many people are saying that the net is too dangerous to be treated as a dumb pipe. Until this perception is changed in the minds of Americans, we will not be ready to make any significant changes to the internet. IOW, we're screwed.

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