Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

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

by Coolfish (#49141917) Attached to: Schneier: Everyone Wants You To Have Security, But Not From Them

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

by Coolfish (#49141491) Attached to: Schneier: Everyone Wants You To Have Security, But Not From Them

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

by Coolfish (#48914369) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

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

by Coolfish (#48912459) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

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

by Coolfish (#33556308) Attached to: Geocentrists Convene To Discuss How Galileo Was Wrong

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.

Comment: Re:Evidence (Score 1) 1027

by Coolfish (#33556260) Attached to: Geocentrists Convene To Discuss How Galileo Was Wrong

Interesting point, but irrelevant. I suspect that the vast majority of people here "Body of Christ" and go along with that, without thinking about whether or not it's the essence or "physicality". I note that Wikipedia appears disagrees with your statement, in that the belief is that the bread actually does become the body of Christ.

Take a look at celiac sufferers and the struggle they have in obtaining a gluten free eucharist. Apparently the church was so distraught that someone would attempt to make the crackers out of anything but wheat, thus somehow changing the essence (or is it physicality?) of the whole thing. Really, if it was just the essence, would it matter if the cracker was made out of rice flour vs wheat flour?

In any case, my point was that these are the sorts of discussions that most religious people tend to shy away from, because it tends to point out the inconsistencies in their beliefs.

Comment: Re:Evidence (Score 5, Insightful) 1027

by Coolfish (#33554698) Attached to: Geocentrists Convene To Discuss How Galileo Was Wrong

I think it's far fewer than 90% actually "believe" in deities, rather a good chunk of them profess belief in deities - that is, they say that they do to fit in.
When pressed on the details of their beliefs, I think that only a few people will actually say that yes, they truly believe in transubstantiation (after that
term is defined for them, after all I've talked with a lot of people who claim to be catholic who have no idea what that meant), or that jesus was of virgin birth, or any other number of ridiculous notions in any of the current day mythology texts.

Not surprisingly, people get quite defensive when you do actually ask them about this stuff - and often resort to the "well, a lot of it is just stories, but I do believe in the CORE stuff" response, leaving to question what is actually core to a mythology. Dan Dennett wrote a great book about this stuff, Breaking the Spell, worth the read!

Comment: Re:Hand It Over to Someone More Capable (Score 5, Interesting) 224

by Coolfish (#28214255) Attached to: FTC Shuts Down Calif. ISP For Botnets, Child Porn

Or is this a bit like the Environmental Protection Agency investigating a murder because... they feel like it....

Funnily enough, for crimes like negligent homicide committed by a corporation, they usually face insignificant penalties. So instead, the government might use the EPA and those various laws to go after the company. Frontline had a great episode on this with regards to a foundry that was polluting like crazy, and also killed a few employees by having extremely lax safety standards and negligent management. The death of the employee? Punishable by like a $7000 fine. Dumping crap in the nearby river? Millions.

Watch the program online:

And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.