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Comment: Re:This seems batshit crazy. (Score 1) 162

by Kjella (#49627173) Attached to: Police Can Obtain Cellphone Location Records Without a Warrant

Would the government need a warrant to compel your mother to turn over all the letters she's sent to you over the years, so they can retro-actively track your location in an attempt to link you to crimes?

Not sure the analogy is good as the content, yes obviously. If you're a fugitive from the law but they suspect your mom is secretly sending you letters do they need a warrant to read the mailing address? Probably not, a court order will probably do since it's information that the post office obviously must have in order to deliver it, just like the number you dialed.

Comment: Re:This seems batshit crazy. (Score 1) 162

by Kjella (#49627151) Attached to: Police Can Obtain Cellphone Location Records Without a Warrant

It is still a BS ruling. If I am in my own home making a phone call (I don't have a land line) I definitely have an expectation of privacy; location, content, and otherwise. Existing law already says that.

The "privacy of your own home" only extends as far as you keep your actions private, if you post home videos on YouTube they don't get the same protection as you have against the police planting a spy camera in your house. When you make a call, you're volunteering information to the phone company about where you are and who you'd like to call, you don't get any extra expectation of privacy from doing it from your own home.

+ - French version of "Patriot Act" becomes law->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: Thanks to the cold blooded massacres of the Charlie Hebdo (and other) incidents at the hand of the bloody Islamist savages, where many innocent people were slaughtered, the French legislature passed, by a vote of 438 to 86, in the National Assembly with, 42 abstentions, the "Intelligence Service Bill", a French version of the Patriot Act, which awards the French intelligence a sweeping power to tap and intercept any kind of correspondence, including phone conversations, emails, social media, amongst others

The bill would decree that hosting providers and Internet service providers (from now on referred to as ISP) in France must get equipped with a “black box” that could retain all digital communication of the citizens, at any time

Slashdot carried an article ( ) about the possibilities that ISPs may leave France if the bill is passed. Now that the bill has passed, we will know in a short while if those ISP really pull out of France or not

Link to Original Source

+ - The World's Most Wasteful Megacity

Submitted by merbs
merbs writes: The world’s most wasteful megacity is a densely populated, steadily aging, consumerist utopia where we buy, and throw away, a staggering amount of stuff. Where some faucet, toilet, or pipe, is constantly leaking in our apartments. Where an armada of commerce-beckoning lights are always on. Where a fleet of gas-guzzling cars still clog the roadways. I, along with my twenty million or so neighbors, help New York City use more energy, suck down more water, and spew out more solid waste than any other mega-metropolitan area.

Comment: What platforms would those be? (Score 1) 256

TFA said: "Otherwise, it risks having users (slowly but surely) switch to more secure platforms that do give them updates in a timely manner."

I'm curious what platforms those might be.

The only one I'm (slightly) familiar with at the moment is Replicant, which is an all-open port of Android - with support for a limitied - and (thus?) somewhat pricey (when even available)- handful of platforms.

("All-Open" being defined as "Functionality dependent on binary blobs we don't have open source replacements for is left out of the distribution. You might get it working by installing proprietary modules. But we think that's a bad idea / counterproductive / reduces incentive for people to MAKE open source replacements, so we don't recommend it or provide instructions." i.e. do a web search for somebody who figured out how to do it if you want, say, the front camera, WiFI, or Bluetooth to work and forget about GPS for now. (v4.2 on Samsung s3))

Now I think that's the right approach. And I'd love to see more support or help for the project.

But are there others? If so, what are they?

Comment: Re:My experience (Score 1) 256

by swillden (#49626095) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

however I immediately wanted to rage quit and go back as I lost the aitplane mode switch when I hold down the power button

Airplane mode is still there, it's jut not on the power button. Swipe down from the top twice, or else once with two fingers, and there are a whole bunch of quick toggle options, including airplane mode, wifi, bluetooth, auto-rotate, GPS, flash light and cast screen (to Chromecast). It's unfortunate to have to learn a new pattern to access it, but it really makes sense to have it in the same place as all those other toggles, and it wouldn't make sense to put them all on the power button.

Comment: Re:Is this Google's fault? Yes. (Score 1) 256

by swillden (#49626025) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

In other words, it's a lose for everyone involved, due to the way the Android/OEM/Carrier relationship is structured, and there's no product continuity upsell like you have with the various iPhone models.

This is only true as long as consumers don't prioritize upgrades at point of purchase. If we could get OEMs to begin making binding upgrade and update support commitments, and get consumers looking at and comparing devices on that basis, then OEMs would be motivated to provide updates.

Comment: Re:Is this Google's fault? (Score 4, Informative) 256

by swillden (#49625835) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

This difference is a matter of when information is published, not anything to do with technology.

The reason you got iOS 8 the day after it was released is because Apple didn't announce the release until it was ready to push to your iPad. Google must release Android updates to the OEMs many months before they can get it delivered to devices. The only way Google could provide the same instant update experience is to finish and release it to OEMs then embargo the release information for months until the OEMs were ready to go. There's no way that embargo would hold. Way too many people and way too many companies.

Google could arrange for the instant-update experience with Nexus devices easily enough, but only at the expense of pissing off all the OEMs.

The lag between announcement and availability is an unavoidable result of Android being an ecosystem, rather than a product.

(I'm an Android engineer, but I'm not speaking for Google. The above is my own perception, not an official statement.)

+ - The Medical Bill Mystery

Submitted by writes: Elisabeth Rosenthal writes in the NYT that she has spent the past six months trying to figure out a medical bill for $225 that includes "Test codes: 105, 127, 164, to name a few. CPT codes: 87481, 87491, 87798 and others" and she really doesn't want to pay it until she understands what it’s for. "At first, I left messages on the lab’s billing office voice mail asking for an explanation. A few months ago, when someone finally called back, she said she could not tell me what the codes were for because that would violate patient privacy. After I pointed out that I was the patient in question, she said, politely: “I’m sorry, this is what I’m told, and I don’t want to lose my job.”" Bills variously use CPT, HCPCS or ICD-9 codes. Some have abbreviations and scientific terms that you need a medical dictionary or a graduate degree to comprehend. Some have no information at all. Heather Pearce of Seattle told me how she’d recently received a $45,000 hospital bill with the explanation “miscellaneous.”

So what's the problem? “Medical bills and explanation of benefits are undecipherable and incomprehensible even for experts to understand, and the law is very forgiving about that,” says Mark Hall. “We’ve not seen a lot of pressure to standardize medical billing, but there’s certainly a need.” Hospitals and medical clinics say that detailed bills are simply too complicated for patients and that they provide the information required by insurers but with rising copays and deductibles, patients are shouldering an increasing burden. One recent study found that up to 90 percent of hospital bills contain errors and an audit by Equifax found that hospital bills that totaled more than $10,000 contained an average error of $1,300. “There are no industry standards with regards to what information a patient should receive regarding their bill,” says Cyndee Weston, executive director of the American Medical Billing Association. “The software industry has pretty much decided what information patients should receive, and to my knowledge, they have not had any stakeholder input. That would certainly be a worthwhile project for our industry.”

Comment: Re:Consumers can't do anything... (Score 1) 256

by acroyear (#49625715) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

indeed. and Google's solution to this (for their own apps) was Google Play itself, which provided the core APIs they could update and control so it didn't matter what OS you were running.

but not everybody else in the app developer space had access to those same APIs, so there we are.

+ - Cyberlock lawyers threaten security researcher over vulnerability disclosure

Submitted by qubezz
qubezz writes: Security researcher Phar (Mike Davis/IOActive) gave his 30 days of disclosure notice to Cyberlock (apparently a company that makes electronic lock cylinders) that he would release a public advisory on vulnerabilities he found with the company's security devices. On day 29, their lawyers responded with a request to refrain, feigning ignorance of the previous notice, and invoking mention of the DMCA (this is not actually a DMCA takedown notice, as the law firm is attempting to suppress initial disclosure through legal wrangling). Mike's blog states:

The previous DMCA threats are from a company called Cyberlock, I had planned to do a fun little blog post (cause i .. hate blog posts) on the fun of how I obtained one, extracted the firmware bypassing the code protection and figured out its "encryption" and did various other fun things a lock shouldn't do for what its marketed as.. But before I could write that post I needed to let them know what issues we have deemed weaknesses in their gear.. the below axe grinderery is the results.

What should researchers do when companies make baseless legal threats to maintain their security-through-obscurity?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo. - Andy Finkel, computer guy