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Comment: Re:Since when? (Score 2) 83 83

Congratulations Pete, you're one of those persons who is capable of taking a complicated, confusing law, and twisting it so as to make it look like what these agencies are doing is legal, when they are clearly not. As long as people like you exist, and they always will, it goes to show why we should never trust the government to have these sorts of capabilities.

Snoop on property within the UK .. fucks sakes, you realize we're talking about people here right. Nah, best to call it property and further distance yourself from what this really means.

Shame on you.

Comment: Re:Treat causes, not symptoms (Score 1) 233 233

Get politics out of economics? Politics is applied economics. The two are practically inseparable. I can't see anyway of separating the two.

If you want to get money out of politics, you have to look at where is the money going, and it's going to ONE thing. Campaigns. Campaigns for elections.

Why do we have elections? Oh, to give people the chance to elect people who will represent them. How's that working, when over 50% of the US congress are millionaires?

Elections are a sham. It's a horserace between two (or more) teams, and you got people cheering their team on like any other sport. It's not about the issues - it's about the brand, the characters pushing the brand, the identity being sold - a true American/Canadian/Whoeverian votes for X! If you vote for Y or Z, you're an idiot. The issues don't really matter. Politicians are professional bullshitters, they'll do whatever hand waving it takes to get around the issues. Even if you're a well informed voter, what happens? You make a smart, educated choice, and your elected politician then "compromises" in order to get anything, anything at all, accomplished. The ideals and principles that made you vote for that person? Gone, because the system doesn't work that way. If you want to get anything done, you need more power, so vote in the way that gets you the position on that committee, and by the time you get the position to do something, you've been so thoroughly handled by the system that you no longer see what's broken, what's wrong with it, and are happy to turn the next batch of "leaders" into followers.

Get rid of elections, get rid of the money in politics, get rid of the professional bullshitters that are politicians. The alternative? A sortition. I'd bet good money that you take a random person off the street, they'll be as well equipped to look at the problems we're facing than any of the two faced, self serving power hungry people you've got in your government right now. Have an approval vote to approve whatever laws or changes to the rules the sortition proposes. If the citizenry approve, then the sortition gets rewarded. If they don't approve, then the sortition should be paid the median wage. Either way, the next year, a new sortition gets randomly selected, and the work continues.

Democracy as we know it is broken. Elections were a step in the right direction, to move power away from the nobility, the chosen few. And look where they've gone - another Bush v. Clinton race in 2016. AGAIN. What an amazing choice America has. And while other countries don't have exactly the same level of bullshit going on, they still have significant bullshit. Canada, where the vast majority of people oppose new proposed laws, even one of the main political parties oppose it, but they approve the vote because otherwise it might be used against them in attack ads come the next election. Shit is broken, and we need a real fix.

Comment: Re:And just like that, UK has a GeStaPo.... (Score 3, Insightful) 83 83

Of course they've learned from history! If you want to keep power, you need to distract the citizenry. They should be so preoccupied that they can't deal with some nebulous concept of having only the illusion of privacy. High unemployment, stagnant wages, but just enough entertainment to make sure the masses don't get off their couches after a long day. If you want to keep power, you need to know who the subversives are, because if they ever do get into a position of being able to do something, you want to have enough dirt on them to shut them down before things get out of hand. Or, more likely, have enough powerful media voices repeating the mantra that everything is okay, to drown out the voices that are pointing out what's actually wrong.

They saw how it failed in East Germany, in the old countries, where force accompanied the spying. Now they know that they need to cover their asses - pass laws that vaguely sound like they allow what you're doing. Have secret courts that are "independent" that rubber stamp whatever you want. Parallel engineering for cases where the information was gleaned illegally. I don't think these systems fell apart because of their secret police tactics, but rather a culmination of other various factors - economics, and seeing how things operated outside of their ridiculous bubble. So the Americans, Canadians, etc, made their bubble that much larger, so that they can say "Everyone else is doing this as well, quit complaining".

To be fair - this isn't the politicians per se - but rather the establishment, the bureaucracy. The politicians buy their lines about public safety and security hook line and sinker, and why not, they were paid for by the powerful, who want to ensure that they'll maintain the status quo. A small subset of the population will buy whatever it is their politician is selling, and it's just enough to give them a glean of credibility and legitimacy.

No, the only people who haven't learned from history are the citizens. The citizens who keep thinking that professional politicians are capable of fixing anything, of accomplishing anything, despite leading *democracies* into unjust wars time and time and time and time and time again. That politicians are capable of getting a handle on the bureaucracy, to prevent corruption and incompetence. Hah. To be clear - I'm not advocating we go to anarchy and get rid of government. No, we need democracy and even a *representative* democracy, but the representation has to be fair and equitable - it can't lean way out of proportion to represent the rich and powerful, which is what most every democracy has right now, because elections are such an easy thing to subvert. A democracy must be completely open and transparent, otherwise corruption and incompetence, hand in hand with secrecy, grows and spreads like a cancer. Until more people realize this, and decide to do something about it, things won't get any better.

Comment: Re:All establishments act in their own interest (Score 1) 79 79

I know you're being sarcastic, but whether it's Trudeau or the other guy or someone new entirely, odds of them changing anything to actually *fix* this broken system is pretty much nil. They don't want to actually fix what's wrong with the system - they've worked out how it gets them what they want, be it money or power, and that's enough.

Comment: Re:All establishments act in their own interest (Score 1) 79 79

A small, ineffective, mostly powerless part

What? The NDP is the official opposition! And not doing all that badly in the polls! Tom Mulcair has pledged to bring in proportional representation if elected, if you want something that "actually represents Canadians".

I'm not affiliated with the NDP in any way (I've voted for them once out of about five elections), but Mulcair has impressed me.

So what? What did the official opposition do to stop this bill? What could they have done? Nothing, and nada. Small, almost completely ineffective in getting anything done. My point stands.

I doubt that proportional representation will have much impact. Certainly it's a less awful idea than First Past the Post (FTFP), but the fact that we are still dealing with politicians remains.

When you go vote - do you read up on the position of the person you're going to elect? Does that matter, if they can go and change it right after they get into office? What exactly are you going to do to ensure that your politician represents the people? If this system actually worked, shouldn't we have better results already? Or do you think what we have now is really the best that we can do?

Comment: All establishments act in their own interest (Score 0) 79 79

The Liberals voted for it (although they claim they were against it). If they had been in power, odds are Canadians would have gotten the shaft as well. The fact is that the political establishment only serves itself. It does not care about the citizens, or anyone outside of the establishment. Politicians lie through their teeth, or are so brow beaten by the fear, sorry, "security" establishment that they will happily throw away rights and liberties, because "terrorists". They'll tout completely discredited arguments (nothing to hide), claim that this bill isn't as bad as it could be (how is that a comfort?), and other nonsense all while the vast majority of Canadians are against it.

We need a government, but we need a government that is *accountable* and controlled by the people. Politicians do not provide this. There's no way to hold them to account. Lose an election? No worries, get appointed to the senate! Or become a lobbyist! Or go work for the industry you most served while in office! Even those with good ideas and the best interest will eventually succumb to the corrupting factors of the system, or their voices are drowned out by the powerful.

We need a government that is *transparent*. Not oh here's a freedom of information act, or here's some highly redacted released papers, but completely transparent. If our tax dollars pay for it, we should be able to see it - save for personally identifiable information for individuals. There is a dire technological need to be addressed here. There should be no secrets where corruption, and incompetence, can hide. $1 million in fraudulent claims by the senate, $24 million to investigate it. If shit was required to be transparent, the audits could have been down by the citizenry or news organizations, for free, in an ongoing manner.

How do you have a continuing government that is accountable, that is controlled by the people (and not corporations, unions, those who fund)? I think it's high time we got rid of professional politicians and got regular citizens in government. A sortition, with an approval vote by the citizenry. A strong Charter that ensures all laws apply equally to born people (legal entities should not be entitled to these rights, and in some cases already aren't - eg prohibition of advertising, aka, free speech, for tobacco companies). And rather than a stick of accountability, a carrot of rewards. If the citizenry agree that the sortition did a good job, give them a massive tax free bonus. Reward good behaviour. If the sortition fails to do a good job, they get the median pay for the country. Incentives are there.

I saw an NDP friend of mine complaining about the hacks. Claims that they aren't part of the problem because the NDP was against C-51. Sorry NDP, but you're part of the system, you're part of the establishment. A small, ineffective, mostly powerless part, but a part nonetheless. And it's time we put an end to this mockery of a representative democracy that is the Canadian Parliament, and get something that actually represents Canadians.

 

Comment: Re:Why isn't this illegal again? (Score 2) 614 614

> Tech workers could do the same. But they won't. US tech workers would rather, pointlessly, send links to articles to one another; and then gripe that nothing ever changes.

I think tech workers tend to be more wary of unionization for various reasons. They tend to focus on the unions everyone knows - auto workers, service industry, that sort of thing, and scoff. They ignore that there are defacto unions for professional engineers, architects, doctors, lawyers, that all serve to regulate, license, and thus protect their industry. Those people are all unified within their professional groups, whereas a software developer might look at a designer or sys admin as not really on the same team - so why would they band together?

I also get the idea that being part of a union is something that tech people generally are afraid of. They fear that the union leadership will saddle them with bullshit, or they'll get drawn into debates/arguments that they're not part of. They might feel that a union is out of touch, or would be too unwieldy.

Then there's the idea that unions are old school. We have computers, we're tech people, why go old school with a *union*? After all, if you're making a decent wage, do you really care if someone else is getting the shaft? It's a shortsighted position, but stories like this make it a little bit more obvious that things may change relatively quickly for anyone.

I think these issues could be addressed if the union was redesigned. No elections for union "leadership", but more direct democracy. Representatives could be chosen via sortition, and then the randomly selected would be tasked to figure shit out, with the membership eventually voting on any and all proposed rules. All of this would have to be done online, and would require complete transparency. It would require quite a bit of tech that hasn't been built yet. If only we could get some people together to figure this shit out..

Comment: Re:Erh... Bruce, I usually like your insightful po (Score 1) 114 114

Hm, I think data doesn't have to be worthless if everyone has it, it has worth to those who take the time to do something with that data. For everyone else, it's worthless. EG if the inner details of a business's day to days was public and accessible to all - you might not care, particularly if the business isn't near by, but a competitor would definitely be interested, or regulators looking for fraud, etc. I get what you're saying, and I'm not trying to be pedantic, but the value doesn't automatically decrease to zero. It decreases to whatever it is those who have access to it value it for (eg the amount of effort they'll put into it).

Comment: Security's hurdle - being useful for something (Score 1) 114 114

Why haven't we fully embraced security, as consumers? Even as business, we do a lousy job of it. It's because we don't get anything out of it. Immediately. It isn't immediately useful. Yes, it's great if someone hacks your servers, or if you know someone is trying to steal your identity, then you think about it. But other than that, security just makes you WORK rather than give you something. That's why it hasn't been embraced.

Here's how I think that can change. We need to build a service that anyone, and everyone, can use. That provides you with immediate benefits, even as a consumer, as well as a business. What could this be?

Maybe it's just me, but for me, the fundamental issue here is identity, and the attached personally identifiable information (PII). Identity and PII are the link between consumer and business, and they're required by everyone. Your identity (login/pass) to /., facebook, twitter, your bank, your email, your other email that your partner doesn't know about but really they're just pretending, they know it's over, they've been hitting the gym and got a lawyer, and how did you not notice that they've been off facebook for 3 weeks? They're getting a divorce attorney right now. You're screwed. All of these logins require an effort on your part - creating them, and then remembering the passwords. And then remembering to change them on occasion. It's a lot of work, and it's ripe for a service to handle it. But a password wallet? How is that enough, there are tons of them already, you dingus. I know that. That's why I'm not talking about a password service, but an identity service. One built on a cryptographically secure network. A distributed network. An open and public network, that doesn't require significant energy requirements because artificial scarcity is great for currency, but absolutely useless for identities. One that any business that wishes to maintain a connection with their client will use. A network that will allow a business to manage their own internal identities, and associated groups, to avoid having to store passwords.txt in the passwords folder. An identity network that will allow the user to control what PII is associated with an identity, whether that identity is public or private, and to manage requests for authorizations to use PII externally of the system. A method to track and manage identity/PII use and ensure accountability in its use. A network that allows the quick and easy creation of wallets - sorry, I mean identities, really, I'm not talking about the *coin network, artificial scarcity is useless for identities remember, and add them to their own list of identities. A method to post short messages/notifications, encrypted with the public key of the identity and for that message to be passed on, or left for passive retrieval, to the final destination. In short, a simple to use identity service that lets you connect with others, be they anon or a corporate entity, and control/monitor its use of your information. On the plus side, the PII remains encrypted and the business has less to worry about getting hacked.

wo/man, I'm hoping someone out here is smarter than I am and gets what I'm talking about and can help me figure it out.

Comment: Re:Technology is a first step.. (Score 1) 282 282

I'm not sure I follow your argument. You're basically saying that we need professional politicians, because if we didn't have professionals, then people wouldn't know what to do - they'd have to actually study the problem, look at the history, figure out the data, and then propose a solution. All the while knowing that even with the best intentions, stuff can and will go tits up. Yea, wow, that sounds like a terrible approach. Instead we should get people who just pretend to know the answers!

a) The easy option ..

The easy option is to do nothing. The people will see this, and will vote to not approve what they've done. Next sortition takes a crack at it.

b) take the corruption option

Quid pro Quo. How are they going to pass something to benefit a special interest, if it requires the people to approve it? You're also forgetting that if we demand complete transparency, then this sort of corruption would be trivial to catch. But let's say we have an organization plying the sortition to propose certain laws. In the end, it comes down to the people.

c) Take the idiot option

Ah, rule of 3. Poorly thought-out replies to comments always sound better if you have 3 points to counteract, rather than 2.

As for the performance bonus, the bonus I propose would be based on whether or not the citizenry approved of the work that they did. So, let's say we demand each sortition submit proposals for laws. Each law must be explained in plain language. Each must have a counter argument. Each must describe the expected costs (minimum and maximum), externalities, and possible situations that could arise. If they do a good job of that, then the public could approve them. The citizenry could even be given a vote on each particular law. The bonus isn't based on whether or not the laws performed well, but whether or not the sortition worked in a manner to accurately represent the will of the people, and embody freedom and liberty for all (persons. Not special interest groups).

Because basically what you're saying is that the current system seems to be working well enough, and we shouldn't risk doing something else. Nonsense. I'm not proposing this happen from the top down. I think if you applied this to a city or town, and then let it go from there, we could see how it works, and smooth things out. There's a number of other things that I think we could do to make this work - mainly, these rules should apply to any group capable of committing fuckery (ie not just governments, but corporations, unions, charities, etc should all be required to be completely and utterly transparent. Zero privacy for groups, because morality seems to be that much more of an issue when we're dealing with groups of people).

The key, fundamental thing about human nature is our wanton capability to commit fuckery. To lie, to be embarrassed when we make a mistake, to try and cover it up, to try and get things just a little bit more going our way, to think that we've come up with an ideal solution and that if only we were in charge, we'd have it all figured out. I think that sums up human nature quite a bit. If we demand complete transparency, we could do our best to expose fuckery. If we don't let people vie for power, the odds of getting some psychopath running the thing are quite low.

I appreciate your comment. I appreciate that you took the time to read it. I appreciate the laugh as well - honest player politicians. How many of those are there in the entire US congress? Maybe 2 out of over 500?

Comment: Technology is a first step.. (Score 4, Interesting) 282 282

They're absolutely right to suggest the first thing we have to do is increase widespread use of encryption technology. But the NSA and others have already said if we do that, they'll step up their game. We need to not just take our technology to the next level, we need to take our governance to the next level.

Politicians have proven themselves to be complete failures in working for the people. Sure, some countries have more luck than others - but there's nothing to suggest that that luck won't run out. Look at even the Scandinavian countries - their agencies are working for the NSA, their politicians are playing the exact same games. We need to reform our political system to reduce the amount of fuckery to a bare minimum. How do we achieve that? Complete and total transparency is vital, but not enough. Politicians are willing to openly defraud citizens in many countries already - it's not enough to know what's going on, we have to be able to hold them to account. And that's where I think elections are a farce. We don't choose who runs. We don't choose who gets to be on the final ballot. All of that is taken care of by big money interests, and even in the off chance we do get a good person into the system, they're outnumbered 100 to 1. And then the system starts to chew them up, convince them that their ideals are worthless and principles be damned, the system needs to continue operating as it has, as it will, with no real changes. Yea, one batch of idiots might do a slightly better job on one thing or the other, but in the end, as long as we continue to feed the system, it's no wonder we get governments abusing their power.

We need to have a government. We need to have a monopoly on violence, otherwise it gets to be dog eat dog very quickly. But a government that isn't held to complete account by the people is just another mad dog. The failures of our political systems have shown themselves clear. Institutional corruption. Control by a tiny minority. Ridiculous squabbling over issues that are settled science. Is this really the best we can do? I don't think so. Why are we still using politicians? Professional ones? We can have representatives, but I think it should be clear to anyone that a random person off the street will demonstrate as much intelligence and thought as an elected official - perhaps even more, as an elected politician has demonstrated the ability to say anything to get to that position. Why not do a sortition? Randomly selected individuals, and give them 1 year to govern. They can propose laws, but nothing passes until there's an approval vote by the citizenry. If the sortition does a good job (as judged by the people), they get a huge bonus. If they don't, they get the median wage, and the next sortition tackles the problems. How is this worse than giving a tremendous amount of power to a group of people who've constantly demonstrated themselves as a bunch of liars, power hungry, war mongering liars at that, and giving them free reign for 2, 4, 6 years?

Absolutely, increase and improve the technology. But don't ignore the technology running our governance. It's tremendously outdated, with countless flaws and bugs that have remained unpatched for millennia. It's time for a new release of Government.

Comment: Re:Evidence (Score 2, Insightful) 1027 1027

I agree in spirit with the parent and grand parent of this post, but I think we can all agree it'll never happen - the state will (and maybe shouldn't?) interfere at that level of parenting. Instead, I think society should ensure that there is sufficient counter balance, in the way of increase education on all religions. This is something Dawkins advocates. No Bible in the school? That won't help -- instead, get kids to read the bible (old and new), the koran, and a host of other mythological texts. Have the child see that there are multitudes of these myths, and not only are they contradictory with each other, but are self-contradictory in and of themselves.

The only cure for this virus is more information.

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