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Submission + - Debt Collectors Sneaking Robocall Exemptions Into Budget Bill

TCPALaw writes: Hate robocalls? In July, the FCC tightened the rules regarding robocalls to cell phones, especially debt collection calls (in particular limiting calls to wrong numbers or to anyone who is not the debtor). Now the debt collection industry is getting their revenge by sneaking in a massive exemption (see section 301 on page 10 to the PDF) to the the FCC's rules that would expressly permit debt collection robocalls to cell phones (and even collect calls!) for student loans, mortgages, taxes, and any other debt owed or guaranteed by the government. Time to make a few phone calls myself to some senators. The Senate switchboard is (202) 224-3121 or go to senate.gov to find the number for your senators. This may come up for a vote in 24 hours or less.

Submission + - Carriers Selling Your Data: a $24 Billion Business (adage.com)

An anonymous reader writes: It goes without saying that cellphone carriers have access to tons of data about its subscribers. They have data about who you call, what sites you visit, and even where you're located. "Under the radar, Verizon, Sprint, and other carriers have partnered with firms including SAP to manage and sell data." The article describes some of the ways this data is used by marketers: "The service also combines data from telcos with other information, telling businesses whether shoppers are checking out competitor prices on their phones or just emailing friends. It can tell them the age ranges and genders of people who visited a store location between 10 a.m. and noon, and link location and demographic data with shoppers' web browsing history. Retailers might use the information to arrange store displays to appeal to certain customer segments at different times of the day, or to help determine where to open new locations." Analysts estimate this fledgling industry to be worth about $24 billion to the carriers, and project huge growth over the next several years. They're trying to keep it a tightly held secret after seeing the backlash from the public on government snooping, which involves much less private data.

Comment Re:TSA jobs (Score 1) 379

If you ask a TSA employee, their job is not catching terrorists. Their job is preventing "dangerous items" from getting onto an aircraft. The problem is that if that really is their job, they're horrifically bad at it.

That's not their job.

TSA was founded for several purposes: 1. To shift the power over airport security to the federal government (several subpurposes to this -- among them shifting responsibility in the case of another failure, and creating a single point of influence for contractors to target.)

Don't confuse the direction of the Agency with the directives issued to their front-line morons.

Comment "Behavior Detection" (Score 2) 379

I've often wondered why the TSA's "Behavioral Detection" crap can't detect thieves like Brown, Burton, Simmons, Defelis, Noukeo, Burley, German, Persad, Webb, Pepper, and Arato, or actual sex offenders like Sean Shanahan and Charles Henry Bennett, or complete suicidal whackjobs like Diego Gonzales who was an actual TSA BDO. Shouldn't his fellow BDOs have noticed... I don't know... something wrong?

Comment Re:Yep... (Score 5, Insightful) 379

If you ask a TSA employee, their job is not catching terrorists. Their job is preventing "dangerous items" from getting onto an aircraft. The problem is that if that really is their job, they're horrifically bad at it. They've missed box cutters, knives, a brick of primers for handloading, multiple handguns, Jamie Hyneman's 12" razor blades, and assorted other items I'd consider far more threatening than the leather bookmarks and silver cake servers they've been confiscating and fining people for. They're awfully quick to claim "success" when they find someone with a doobie tucked into their shorts, though. My guess is that their publicly stated mission of "Transportation Safety" has taken a back seat to their new unstated mission of "drug interdictment." Additionally, looking at pure statistics, in any interaction between the TSA and a single passenger it is almost infinitely more likely that the TSA employee is a thief, rapist, kidnapper, or bully than that the passenger is an actual terrorist bent on mayhem during the flight. They don't actually contribute measurably to "transportation safety." So why should we put up with their theatre?

Comment Security? (Score 1) 86

So the Department of Homeland Security's network security measures are approximately equivalent to the security measures on the border between Mexico and the United States.

I am Jack's Complete Lack of Surprise.

The Department of Homeland Security's primary mission is not "security." Its mission is "training the public to be properly responsive to idiotic demands from the Federal Government."

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright