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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Willful blindness and Post Snowden (Score 1) 153

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) 167

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) 186

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) 696

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) 674

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.)

Comment: Re:It is not about technology (Score 1) 183

by Etherwalk (#49104193) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

Elected judges would be an absolutely abysmal idea.

22 American states have partisan elections for trail judges. The other 28 do not. There is no evidence that these 22 are better or worse, much less "abysmally" worse.

Judges being elected is why they're able to continually smack down overreach in areas of first, second, and fourth amendments.

Most of those "smackdowns" occur in federal court, where both judges and prosecutors are appointed, not elected.

There's plenty of evidence, but not a lot of rigorously analyzed data.

Comment: Oomph. (Score 3, Informative) 70

by Etherwalk (#49104183) Attached to: Intel Core M Enables Lower Cost Ultrabooks; Asus UX305 Tested

this is an "ultrabook" class machine that weighs in at much more palatable $700 price tag.

(1) Editing error. English requires an indefinite article between "at" and "much."

(2) Palatable to some. $700 isn't much to spend on a computer by the standards of the upper middle class, but it's still a pretty big chunk of change.

Comment: Re:It is not about technology (Score 2) 183

by Etherwalk (#49101263) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

It is a question of vested interests and poor incentives. Elected judges and elected prosecutors - how can you not end up with poor decisions? Poorly thought through kneejerk laws, like asset forfeiture and three strike life sentences - how can you have justice with a system like this?

It is, although a lot of the vested interests and poor incentives problem is not arising at that level. Almost everyone working in the system is trying to do a good job with too few resources, but incentives shape behavior and cause problems even when people are trying to do that.

A basic problem with democracies is that they overcriminalize because elected people want to look like they are doing something about crime. We've known this for centuries, going back to Jeremy Bentham, but there is still very little effort done against it.

The Smarter Sentencing Act, which is something both democrats and republicans on the Judiciary Committee have agreed would be a good thing, and would save probably thousands or tens-of-thousands of man-years of prison time, has been approved by the committee for years and still languishes without getting a vote on the floor.

What can technology do? The first thing is that it can help people petition Congress, for one thing--email your Congressman and (Where your voice can do more good) your state legislatures. America leads the developed world in criminals--ask them to make it a real priority to change that, and provide concrete steps such as funding more alternatives to imprisonment, supporting the Smarter Sentencing Act and other reasonable sentencing reductions, and asking them to put together a plan to reduce recidivism and the collateral civil consequences of conviction such as lack of employability.

The second thing is technology--more accurately, science--can inform the jury. No jury should sit without learning about the reliability and lack of reliability of eyewitness testimony.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.