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Comment: Re:As a skeptic, this alarms me. (Score 1) 328

by EmagGeek (#46794201) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

This isn't Mann's critics pursuing him. This is part of a lawsuit that Mann filed against a journalist who criticized his work.

Mann filed the lawsuit, and the person he sued filed for subpoenas to get at Mann's emails because he believed that would reveal information he could use to defend the lawsuit.

This is a terrible decision, because it means you can be sued for libel (which is saying something abot someone that is alleged to be untrue) and then be prohibited from obtaining material to defend yourself (by showing that what you said is, in fact, true).

It is made worse by the fact that Mann is a government employee, because if this becomes the precedent, it will open the flood gates for government oppression via the civil court system, which has a lower standard of proof than the criminal system. If you criticize the government or its political employees, they can sue you, and you will be prohibited from obtaining evidence to defend yourself with.

"Shut up and swallow what we tell you" is basically what the court signed off on in this case.

Comment: Re:There aren't infinite bugs (Score 1) 232

by JesseMcDonald (#46788595) Attached to: Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

Then it doesn't matter whether most people would find the effective hourly rate "insulting"; all that matters is that anybody who does find an exploit will turn it in to the company rather than selling it on the black market or exploiting it themselves.

You're assuming they can only choose one. What is there to prevent someone from exploiting the bug themselves for a while, selling it on the black market (to a discrete buyer), and still eventually turning it in to collect the bounty?

Comment: Use is Voluntary (Score 1) 137

by EmagGeek (#46778017) Attached to: Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

From CTIA's site, it appears to be an addon software tool, NOT part of the O/S or hardware:

Each device manufacturer and operating system signatory of Part I of this "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment" agrees that new models of smartphones first manufactured after July 2015 for retail sale in the United States will offer, at no cost to consumers, a baseline anti-theft tool that is preloaded or downloadable on wireless smartphones that provides the connected capability to:

Remote wipe the authorized user's data (i.e., erase personal info that is added after purchase such as contacts, photos, emails, etc.) that is on the smartphone in the event it is lost or stolen.
Render the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user (e.g., locking the smartphone so it cannot be used without a password or PIN), except in accordance with FCC rules for 911 emergency communications, and if available, emergency numbers programmed by the authorized user (e.g., "phone home").
Prevent reactivation without authorized user's permission (including unauthorized factory reset attempts) to the extent technologically feasible (e.g., locking the smartphone as in 2 above).
Reverse the inoperability if the smartphone is recovered by the authorized user and restore user data on the smartphone to the extent feasible (e.g., restored from the cloud).
In addition to this baseline anti-theft tool, consumers may use other technological solutions, if available for their smartphones.



Bidding At FCC TV Spectrum Auction May Be Restricted For Large Carriers 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the helping-the-little-guy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Rumors have surfaced that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will restrict bidding at their TV spectrum auction in 2015 to effectively favor smaller carriers. Specifically, when 'auction bidding hits an as-of-yet unknown threshold in a given market, the FCC would set aside up to 30MHz of spectrum in that market. Companies that hold at least one-third of the low-band spectrum in that market then wouldn't be allowed to bid on the 30MHz of spectrum that has been set aside.' Therefore, 'in all band plans less than 70MHz, restricted bidders—specifically AT&T and Verizon (and in a small number of markets, potentially US Cellular or CSpire)—would be limited to bidding for only three blocks.' The rumors may be true since AT&T on Wednesday threatened to not participate in the auction at all as a protest against what it sees as unfair treatment."

Comment: Re:Isn't prop 13 irrelevant to buyers? (Score 1) 357

by JesseMcDonald (#46771733) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

How is it not so good for buyers? It seems buyers would be paying taxes based on a current assessment with or without prop 13? In other words prop 13 seems irrelevant to that initial assessment and tax rate, that it only affects increases not the initial rate.

It's bad if you consider that the tax burden is distributed unevenly. New buyers pay a larger fraction of the tax, yet receive the same share of city services as long-time owners of similar properties. The rate has to be set higher to make up for the shortfall from the undervalued properties. Let's say the city needs 5% of the current market value of all the properties to meet its budget. If half those properties are undervalued by 50% for tax purposes, the tax rate has to be set at 6.7% instead of 5%, which means new buyers are paying a third more than they would if all the property taxes were based on current market value.

Comment: Re:Recording laws (Score 1) 790

Recording a conversation without the consent of the other party even for the purpose of providing evidence requires a warrant, under the first amendment and the laws governing free speech. While I understand the intentions and agree that attempting to resolve it by providing clear evidence is reasonable, the simple truth is that under US law recording conversations is prohibited without the oversight of a judge who can determine whether or not it is an appropriate exception to the right of free speech.

You're making it sound like all-party consent laws exist throughout the entire US. Only twelve states require all-party consent: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington. In the other 38 it's perfectly legal to record the conversation as long as you are a party to it. This isn't anywhere close to a first amendment or free speech issue. Your right to speak freely does not imply a right to make others forget what you said or prevent them from testifying about it—and the only relevant difference between a recording made in person and one's own memory is that the recording is a more reliable form of evidence, which is all to the good.

It's the all-party consent states, like this one, which are being unreasonable here. So long as the person speaking is aware that you can hear them, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy from you and you ought to be perfectly free to record what they say.

Comment: Re:Structure vs Outcome (Score 1) 803

by EmagGeek (#46765721) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Yep. Intelligent, educated, gainfully-employed people are breeding much less because they cannot afford to do so. So much of their money is being confiscated and given to unintelligent, uneducated, unemployed, unproductive people to breed like bunny rabbits and create an overwhelming population of voters who will keep the power mongers in power.

Comment: Happens in hardware, too (Score 1) 225

by EmagGeek (#46765651) Attached to: How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer

In a past life, I worked for a company that developed control hardware. I loved designing hardware and software, and I could focus on it. When the time came to build prototypes and manage BOMs and shop vendors for parts and all the niggly crap that surrounds actually building something, there were people who did that.

One day, all of those people were laid off, and we engineers had to start doing all of that work ourselves. Suddenly I was spending 20% of my time doing my job, and 80% on my time doing the jobs of all of the support people who got canned.

I didn't stay too long after that, and neither did any other engineer who was good enough to get a job during a recession.

Comment: I mail them a check (Score 1) 385

by EmagGeek (#46756655) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

I send in my pound of flesh yesterday.

Some third party companies accept credit and debit card payments on behalf of the IRS for a fee. I think you can also just put your routing and checking number on your 1040 form and they will debit your payment directly via ACH.

As far as filing, my accountant prepares the 50 or so schedules and forms that I need to send in every year...

"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight." -- attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory