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Comment: Nerds make the impossible possible. (Score 1) 93

by Etherwalk (#49199441) Attached to: Laser Takes Out Truck Engine From a Mile Away

You can't hit a moving bullet with another moving bullet. It simply can't be done.

What are you talking about? You can't hit it from behind with the same kind of bullet fired under the same conditions, but that's not the same thing. We have the ability to intercept missiles with limited but significant success; intercepting a bullet is a harder problem, but that doesn't mean it's undoable.

Comment: Border Search Exception (Score 1) 329

In the US, if the cops can convince a judge that they know the evidence is on your device (say, they saw you recording when a murder happened), then they can compel you to testify your knowledge of the crime.

If they want to go looking on your device for information to incriminate you, then that's compelling testimony against yourself, so it's forbidden.

The first case is, of course, subject to lying cops saying, "we saw kiddie porn on his screen when we broke in", which will happen (the way they plant drugs, shoot people and animals and lie about it, etc.). Then it's up to a non-corrupt judge to throw out such evidence based on the cops' lies. But if you're up to something illegal you have to weigh the contempt charge against the danger to yourself of disclosure, and if your password sucks or the judge and cops are corrupt, both.

Frustratingly, the USG claims that the rules for itself don't apply at the border - ostensibly it's operating outside the Law in those scenarios. What could SCOTUS really say about this? - they only judge the Law, not lawlessness.

The case law is different and evolving at the border, but still within the law. The general rule is that search and seizure must be conducted pursuant to a lawful search warrant based upon probable cause.

However, the First Congress, which (more or less) drafted the constitution, also gave customs officers full authority to search ships for contraband without a warrant.

There's a line of cases going back to that which basically means that the sovereign has a right to control what enters the country, and that includes a right to search. There is a little pushback against that today--for example, you need reasonable suspicion in order to do a *destructive* search of a vehicle--but in general border guards are given a great deal of discretion to search you.

Comment: Profoundly uninformed summary - SCOTUS uninvolved. (Score 2) 135

by Etherwalk (#49177589) Attached to: Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval To Warrantless DNA Collection

What are you, in law enforcement? This is a story about warrantless collection of DNA in a rape case. Not everyone is a rapist. How far do we let police intrude into people's lives who HAVE NOT committed any crime? How far can they intrude into your life without probable cause to believe you committed a particular crime? Should they be allowed to scan though your house walls? If you let infrared light seep out of your house, that is your problem! Should they be allowed to read all your emails? Oh, if you send your emails using weak encryption procedures through a third party, that is your problem! Should they be allowed to listen to all of your phone calls? Same principle.

Nothing is inherently wrong with taking a position on either side of the issue, and defining where the sphere of individual liberty meets the public interest in catching individuals responsible for crime will always be open for debate in a free society.

But the summary and headline here are profoundly wrong. SCOTUS receives *THOUSANDS* of petitions every year and only hear about 100 cases. When they don't accept a case, it doesn't mean they're approving it, even tacitly, and the case doesn't become binding precedent nationwide like it would after SCOTUS heard it.

Sometimes they won't hear a case because it's a messy fact pattern which may be important for a couple of guys, but is a bad case to use for establishing precedent that will actually set meaningful rules for future court cases in lower courts. Sometimes they won't hear it because it's not interesting enough or they don't want to get involved. Sometimes they won't hear it because the petitioner failed to present a convincing case for why he should be heard.

Don't read anything into it. Doing so is profoundly uninformed in a way that would give even an otherwise informed opinion a big hurdle to get over before it became persuasive.

Comment: Re:Just because they call it pedo doesn't mean it (Score 1) 199

What this means is that a file host refused to comply with their mass surveillance demands and so they're playing their pedo panic card. Perhaps the terrorist card will be played after that.

And people like you will do your marketing (and it is clearly marketing) for this. You even talk like one " If they were providing secure online storage to people whom they knew or should have known". Right.

They reported a hosted site where you sign on to exchange child porn. If accurate, that's a good thing for them to go after.

Obviously if it's done with ulterior motives, like in response to a failure to comply with the NSL equivalent up there, it is a bad thing.

As to how I talk, you have to talk that way if you want to establish the boundaries of someone's liability, civil or criminal. You need to have the possibility to prosecute someone who deliberately looks the other way while crime is happening, or else everybody can look the other way.

Comment: Willful blindness and Post Snowden (Score 1) 199

So they are guilty for providing secure online storage. Apparently you aren't allowed to supply secure storage, you have to snoop through your users content to make sure its not illegal... Also land lords much search all apartments, banks must search safety deposit boxes, storage rental owners must search their units.

If they provided secure online storage, they shouldn't be guilty. If they were providing secure online storage to people whom they knew or should have known were hosting porn of underage people, they should suffer a significant legal penalty. If they were providing secure online storage to people whom they knew or should have known were hosting child porn of preteens then they should be burned at the stake.

There is such a thing as willful blindness. The sheer quantity of data involved is going to make it really tempting for someone to infer knowledge, but network management practices may or may not show it. Maybe the hosting company was just told it was a porn site, but it is entirely possible that they knew. In a good system a responsible prosecutor or cop should try to figure out whether they knew, and then a jury will decide the outcome.

(Plea bargaining is the problem with this scenario--there's a factual determination which should really determine the outcome of the case, but at least in the US the plea bargain system would make going to trial a very, very risky process for the innocent.)

Interestingly, this may be one of those few examples of a case where Snowden-esque monitoring did some good. Didn't news that Canada was trying to monitor all transmitted video on the web hit the news a little while ago? The timing of this suggests that this could stem from that.

Comment: Re:Violation of Federal Law (Score 3, Interesting) 194

by Etherwalk (#49166577) Attached to: Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications

As I recall, wasn't this one of the first issues in Roe V Wade? Specifically it was that a woman who was being blocked from a medically necessary abortion would effectively be barred the right to bring her issue to court because the issue of pregnancy would likely be over, either with a birth or her death before the courts could be expected to have ruled on the matter... leading to a necessary exception to normal standing rules.

Seems similar here....since no person who was a victim would ever know they were and would know they had standing to bring a case, it seems that normal standing rules would effectivly deny such a case from ever being heard even if it was an otherwise valid case, so it seems to me it would warrant an exception.

"Capable of repetition, yet evading review" is the language. That applies when something is always over before an appellate court gets a chance to rule on it.

There is some role for that here, but the big thing first is how are you suing someone. It's one thing if you're arguing a constitutional violation (like in Roe v. Wade), but quite another if you're just arguing they broke federal law. The circumstances where a private citizen or even a public interest group can sue for a violation of federal law are very limited.

The FCC could go after them.

Comment: Re:Oh God No... (Score 2) 222

by Etherwalk (#49146863) Attached to: Harrison Ford To Return In Blade Runner Sequel

Please don't give this classic movie the crystal skull treatment. It doesn't deserve that.

That was David Koepp (the writer). His was the fifth draft and the first to be approved by the producers.


He is the "fifth most successful screenwriter of all time in terms of domestic box office receipts with totals at just over $2 billion" according to Wikipedia.

*simultaneous headdesk across America*

Comment: May actually cause suicides, too (Score 1) 187

by Etherwalk (#49145791) Attached to: Facebook Puts Users On Suicide Watch

One of the things that helps suicidal people is having community. Facebook isn't great for that but is usually better than nothing, especially if a person's community is far away. If Facebook is going to report people for participating in the community when they feel suicidal, suicidal people are going to be less likely to participate when they are feeling suicidal. So this may backfire in a pretty big way.

But there are a lot of variables, and it's really hard to say. I would kind of like to see A/B experiments, but Facebook gets in trouble for those.

Comment: Re:No single point of failure is permissible (Score 1) 99

A thousand companies with okay security are harder to breach then one company with great security.

No they're not--they just take more resources. If there's one thing the NSA has, it's resources.

I would say a couple of companies with amazingly good security would have a better chance to keep them out then a thousand companies with okay security.

Comment: Re:Let NSA+GCHQ buy Gemalto since their own their (Score 1) 99

North Korea hacks Sony => Cyber-Terrorism
USA & Great Britain hacks Gemalto => Patriotic-Duty

Of course Gemalto will say anything they can to limit economic damage, but without proper and transparent oversight of secret agencies they is no way to validate any claim by Gemalto that their 3G/4G SIM secrets were not stolen.

The best course of action is for Gemalto to simply be bought out official by the NSA and GCHQ, since they already own their asses, oops I mean assets.

North Korea hacked Sony in order to (1) punish economically and reputationally and possibly (2) create fear.

The USA and GCHC hacked Gemalto in order to (1) conduct signals intelligence operations, meaning eavesdrop. To Spy, in other words.

Spying isn't terrorism--it's deceit that every country in the world is expected to engage in to further its own policies and protect its interests.

North Korea's act probably wasn't technically terrorism either, because there is no evidence that they intended it to create fear in a target population rather than just economic and reputational harm. But it was closer to terrorism, because it was designed to cause harm to a large group of people.

Comment: Bad Times and Good (Score 1) 698

Include videos for really bad life events. As unpleasant as it is to think about, she may one day be a victim of domestic violence, rape, or arrest--all very common, and all times when someone most needs support in their life.

Also, encourage her to understand money, so she won't be at the mercy of those who do.

And think about the ten hardest times in your life. What were they, what did you learn from them that you want to share with her.

And come up with a video for her wedding, maybe for her divorce, and for future weddings, and for if she never marries.

And one for her grandchildren, to tell them about these tapes that your daughter is passing on.

Comment: Re:Good grief... (Score 3, Interesting) 677

by Etherwalk (#49109031) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

Many of them don't even understand how computers actually work.

Now that's actually depressing. If you get through a CS program without learning how a computer works, then your CS program failed you.

It kind of depends on the goal of the program. If you are aiming to turn out academics and truly excellent researchers and thought-leaders in industry, then yes, you should know how the computer works. If you are aiming to turn out decent programmers, you might not need to know, for example, how to do VLSI design.

(Although it's fun.)

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen