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Privacy

German Intelligence Traded Citizen Data For NSA Surveillance Software 66

An anonymous reader sends news that Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, was so impressed with the NSA's surveillance software that they were willing to "share all data relevant to the NSA's mission" in order to get it. "The data in question is regularly part of the approved surveillance measures carried out by the BfV. In contrast, for example, to the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BfV does not use a dragnet to collect huge volumes of data from the Internet. Rather, it is only allowed to monitor individual suspects in Germany -- and only after a special parliamentary commission has granted approval. ... Targeted surveillance measures are primarily intended to turn up the content of specific conversations, in the form of emails, telephone exchanges or faxes. But along the way, essentially as a side effect, the BfV also collects mass quantities of so-called metadata. Whether the collection of this data is consistent with the restrictions outlined in Germany's surveillance laws is a question that divides legal experts."
Government

Kansas Secretary of State Blocks Release of Voting Machine Tapes 271

PvtVoid writes: Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson has filed a lawsuit under Kansas' open records law to force the state to release paper tape records from voting machines, to be used as data in her research on statistical anomalies in voting patterns in the state. Clarkson, a certified quality engineer with a Ph.D. in statistics, has analyzed election returns in Kansas and elsewhere over several elections that indicate 'a statistically significant' pattern where the percentage of Republican votes increase the larger the size of the precinct. The pattern could be voter fraud or a demographic trend that has not been picked up by extensive polling. Secretary of State Kris Kobach argued that the records sought by Clarkson are not subject to the Kansas open records act, and that their disclosure is prohibited by Kansas statute.

Comment Re:There are good reasons for gvt bureaucracy, rem (Score 1) 275

Nation-wide railroad network: To incentivize its' construction, the US government gave away huge land grants (much of it land of various Indian tribes) to corporations. The US maintains a federal bureaucracy to support rail transportation.

The rail companies kind of cheated this idea, too. If you've ever explored the American West, you probably came across various and sundry ancient rail sections inexplicably placed haphazardly all over the place. These rails were never connected to the rail network system, and were certianly ever useful to anyone in any meaningful way. Want to know why? Railroad land grants. You see, the rail companies initially would got an odd section of land on each side of the track for every mile of track built, resulting in a kind of checkerboard pattern if you looked at it on the survey.

The idea being the rail companies would subsidize track building through selling real estate near the track. Seemed sensible enough, right? What happened was this: in any place that was reasonably habitable (water, fertile land, the usual things that make life nice), the rail companies would build track alongside the main track such that the checkerboard was filled in, giving them 20 miles on either side of the main rail. They received the deed to the land, and often came along and recuperated their materials to use on yet another section of track, repeating the process. This allowed them to quickly and cheaply become the legal owners of huge swaths of land.

Eventually, they'd sell the granted land, making a tidy profit. They'd usually retain the mineral rights, however. Interestingly, the several rail companies to this day retain more mineral-acres than anyone, and still make insane amounts of cash on mineral leases to this day.

Input Devices

Ask Slashdot: Do You Press "6" Key With Right Or Left Hand? 240

New submitter ne0phyte73 writes: In some countries and in some touch typing books key "6" is pressed with right hand and in some others with left. It's not a big issue until you have a split keyboard. Guys at UHK are putting it on the left side. Do you agree? What hand do you use to press "6"? Left hand here, but it's not a strong preference; I'll take a keyboard that omits Caps Lock wherever they put the 6.
Encryption

Jeb Bush Comes Out Against Encryption 494

An anonymous reader writes: Presidential candidate Jeb Bush has called on tech companies to form a more "cooperative" arrangement with intelligence agencies. During a speech in South Carolina, Bush made clear his opinion on encryption: "If you create encryption, it makes it harder for the American government to do its job — while protecting civil liberties — to make sure that evildoers aren't in our midst." He also indicated he felt the recent scaling back of the Patriot Act went too far. Bush says he hasn't seen any indication the bulk collection of phone metadata violated anyone's civil liberties.

Comment Apathetic Standards Atrophying (Score 2) 36

If you ignore the ASA or tell them to fuck off, they will do bad things, like ... um ... post on their website that you have told them to fuck off.

They might also take out an advertisement on Google so someone sees a message when they do a search for your blog/business/youtube channel indicating that you've told them to fuck off.

I think people should be clear when they show sponsored products, that's about basic integrity and ethics, but the ASA can make bad decisions. They aren't a government body. You can tell them to fuck off if you want to. The worst thing they'll do in many cases is tell people that you've told them to fuck off.

Advertising

New Rules Say UK Video Bloggers Must Be Clearer About Paid Endorsements 36

AmiMoJo writes: New guidelines for video bloggers who enter marketing relationships with brands have been published. Earlier this year the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that paid endorsements for Oreo biscuits on YouTube were not marked clearly enough. The new rules outline several scenarios where content must be clearly marked as an advertisement. One note from the linked article: However, the guidelines noted that when free items are sent to vloggers without any editorial or content control over videos exerted by the brand in question, there is no need for them to follow the Cap code.
Crime

Uber Lowers Drunk Driving Arrests In San Francisco Dramatically 204

schwit1 writes: According to crime statistics from the San Francisco Police Department there were only two drunken driving arrests last New Year's Eve in San Francisco, the lowest since 2009. This news comes on the heels of a new study revealing that the introduction of UberX reduces drunk driving deaths across California. Temple University's Brad Greenwood and Sunil Wattal published a paper that shows cheap taxi-like options make it easier for people to make the safer decision to call for a ride rather than driving home themselves.
AMD

DirectX 12 Performance Tested In Ashes of the Singularity 96

Vigile writes: The future of graphics APIs lies in DirectX 12 and Vulkan, both built to target GPU hardware at a lower level than previously available. The advantages are better performance, better efficiency on all hardware and more control for the developer that is willing to put in the time and effort to understand the hardware in question. Until today we have only heard or seen theoretical "peak" performance claims of DX12 compared to DX11. PC Perspective just posted an article that uses a pre-beta version of Ashes of the Singularity, an upcoming RTS utilizing the Oxide Games Nitrous engine, to evaluate and compare DX12's performance claims and gains against DX11. In the story we find five different processor platforms tested with two different GPUs and two different resolutions. Results are interesting and show that DX12 levels the playing field for AMD, with its R9 390X gaining enough ground in DX12 to overcome a significant performance deficit that exists using DX11 to the GTX 980.

Comment Re:Custom firmware (Score 2) 373

That's not that feasible: they use the consumer-area electronics a lot now to allow configuration of the more critical systems, and to read data from them.

It's not feasible to lock my front door, because my house was built with a non-stop conveyor belt running from the mailbox to the kitchen.

The entire point of this ask-slashdot is to identify cars that DON'T integrate entertainment systems and wireless access with the safety critical electronics. Cars that DON'T do the dumb&dangerous stuff you just listed.

Data flow *from* the primary systems *to* entertainment&wireless systems is marginally acceptable, if it's a physically enforced one-way data flow using optocouplers or something.

I seriously want each car manufacture to have one employee on staff, who's sole job is say "YOU'RE FIRED" every time any idiot engineer wants to permit ANY data flow from entertainment-or-wireless systems into safety-critical systems. I don't care how limited the APIs are, I don't caret how encrypted it is, I don't care how cryptographically-secure the certificates are. If there's data flow into critical safety systems, it's effectively certain that it's going to be vulnerable. You don't connect safety-critical systems to wireless input, period.

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Comment Re:Why hasn't anybody forked Firefox already? (Score 2) 294

I haven't used it much yet, but Pale Moon may be what you're looking for. It's a fork of Firefox. The development design choices favor privacy, user-control, and improving speed&stability by dumping rarely-wanted code. Examples: They removed the Parental Controls code, they're excluding the new Firefox DRM support, they dumped support code for obsolete CPUs, they dumped some of the code for handicap-accessibility, and they currently removing phone-home code for crash reports and other potentially privacy-violating telemetry.

I haven't seen specific mention of it, but I'm certain there's no way in hell they will implement Mozilla's new policy of *prohibiting* you from loading any extension that hasn't been reviewed&approved&signed by Mozilla.

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Comment Re:Tired... (Score 2) 294

In the next release or two, Firefox is going to start blocking you from loading any extension that hasn't been approved and signed by them. People have been SCREAMING on their message boards for a way to disable/override this, but they flat out refuse. The only way to get around it is to install a non-standard browser executable.

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Comment Re:Disabling telemetry only works for 10 Enterpris (Score 5, Insightful) 316

Windows 8 was a fuck up because of the UI.

It looks like Microsoft said, with 10, let's just go deeper and fuck up the user's privacy instead.

The more I hear about 10, the less it looks like a saviour to Windows woes and the more it looks like an even bigger disaster.

Comment Re:Yawn... (Score 1) 226

On the other hand I can't believe some people actually think the US government wouldn't stoop to the level of getting someone who had a contact in the CIA to set up one of the greatest thorns in their side with a character-ruining false accusation. The US government would never do something like that!

Assange may have done what he is accused of AND the CIA may have been involved in engaging in character assasination to dicredit a particularly effective critic.

Any rational-minded observer can discount neither possibility.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.

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