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Comment Re:Programmed behaviour is programmed behaviour. (Score 3, Insightful) 403

It's not a no-win situation. It just means that self-driving cars have to know when to break the rules. They can and should behave like the best of human drivers.

If you program the car to just account for assholes but still drive safely, then it will basically choke in situations like a four way stop in southern California where every other asshole will just muscle or roll their way through the stop.

The current programming of the car handles that situation. Less aggressively than a human would, but aggressively enough to assert its intention to go, and go.

Comment Re:Programmed behaviour is programmed behaviour. (Score 3, Insightful) 403

Program to take account of these things, or don't plan on driving on the road.

Duh.

Technology in development is imperfect. Big surprise. These issues are why Google hasn't yet started selling them to the public. None of them are insurmountable, but it takes a lot of time and effort to build sophisticated systems.

What if that was a cardboard box and it swerved heavily in case that box "pulled out"?

The cars can easily distinguish between a cardboard box and a vehicle. Determining whether or not the vehicle has a driver in the seat and might move... that's often impossible. Likely the reason that the car swerved sharply rather than braking earlier is because the badly-parked car was obscured by other obstacles.

If it can't make it's way through a junction where the drivers are following the rules, that's bad programming.

Six year-old programming, note. The article mentions that the current version of the software inches forward to establish intent to move.

and potentially weighs up collision with non-hazard vs collision with small child and gets it wrong

Google cars recognize pedestrians (of all sizes) and regularly notice them even when no human could. I'm sure the car would choose to hit another vehicle over a pedestrian or cyclist.

Really, your whole comment is a mixture of outdated information buttressed by invalid assumptions and layered over with a veneer of blindingly obvious conclusions.

Comment Re:really... (Score 1) 600

Both Mormons and Muslims claim that their Scripture are merely copies of documents which came from heaven.

Actually, I don't think either claims that. I know Mormons don't. Mormons claim that the Book of Mormon was written by a series of prophets. The prophets were inspired, but wrote in their own words. Same as the Bible. The difference is in the method of collection and translation, not the method of authorship.

I think it's the same for Islam. Muslims believe Mohammed was a prophet, so his writings were inspired by Allah, but the Koran contains his own words.

Comment Re:A govt employee charged with a crime? Shock!!! (Score 3, Insightful) 81

That Shaun Bridges was even charged at all is amazing. He's a government employee, and in most of the world it's very rare for government employees to be charged with a crimes because fellow government employees refuse to prosecute them. Thank your lucky stars, America, you are not like Australia where the press reports alleged corruption, the police ignore it, and it piles up and up and up: https://archive.is/KUTAy#cases

Nah, it's pretty much the same in America.

The difference in this case is the nature of the crime and the victim chosen. No, not Ulbricht. The victim was the federal government, because they were going to seize that money anyway. You steal from the government, or attack the government in any way, they're going to drop the hammer on you. If your victim is an individual, well, it depends in large part on the socioeconomic status of that individual. A government employee can get prosecuted for killing a poor black man, for example, but it's rare. If you're a government agency and your victim is the entire nation, you're almost certainly going to get away with it. At most you'll be told to stop, but no one will be going to jail... well, except the guy who ratted the agency out. There's a good chance he'll go to jail, if he can be caught.

Comment Re:Headline leaves out one very important detail (Score 2) 206

The technical term for jailbroken, insecure versions of iOS is "Android."

That's a common belief. In practice, I don't think it's true. In particular, although the Android world sees lots of announcements of vulnerabilities that affect X hundred million devices, the actual exploitation doesn't seem to follow. One reason is that many of the vulnerabilities aren't actually as widespread or are harder to exploit in practice than the researchers describe. Another is that the diversity of the Android ecosystem often means that an exploit has to be customized for each different manufacturer and model, making broad exploitation harder. A third is that Google is often able to successfully mitigate vulnerabilities with the Play store, Verify Apps and updates to the Play services app. There are other reasons as well.

Whatever the reasons, it's interesting to note that we don't see reports of large numbers of Google accounts being compromised via Android vulnerabilities. I'm not claiming that's impossible, and it wouldn't shock me if it happened tomorrow, but the fact that we don't indicates to me that there is actually more right with the Android security situation than is commonly believed. The low real-world malware numbers disclosed in Google's Android security "State of the Union" report further buttress that view.

(Disclaimer: I'm a member of Google's Android security team. I'm speaking only for myself, not for Google.)

Comment Re:Headline leaves out one very important detail (Score 5, Interesting) 206

I expect to be able to go in and out of my door. That's what doors are for. Apple doesn't even give you a door. You have to break your way through the wall. Then there's a hole there. That's why Apple products are only sufficient for sheep. They don't break down walls, they just wander through holes.

It's worth pointing out that if you root your Android device you're doing the same thing, breaking through a wall. That's fine if it's what you want to do, but you are giving something up in terms of security.

As a member of the Android security team, I'm involved in lots of discussions about lots of different threat models and attack vectors, and while we do think about trying to maintain security on rooted devices, I'd say that 90% of the time we end up deciding that we just can't, so "device is running an official image[*] and is not rooted" becomes a foundational assumption of the analysis.

This isn't because rooting is inherently bad, or because we're trying to control user's devices, but because it's impossible to reason about security in a vacuum. You have to know what you can depend on. For example, we might argue that apps can't break out of their sandbox in a particular way because the information they need to do it is managed by a particular system daemon which validates access in a particular way... but in a rooted device that daemon may be modified, or simply bypassed. We just can't know that stuff is still working the way it's intended to. Some members of the modding community do an outstanding job of adding flexibility without breaking the security model, but many others don't.

Ideally, devices should provide enough native flexibility to allow users to achieve what they want while staying entirely within the normal mode of operation. In the case of Android that means staying within Google's "walled garden": install apps only from the play store, keep Verify Apps enabled (and follow its recommendations), don't root, definitely don't disable SELinux, etc. Where that ideal fails, and users want to do stuff that can't be done in the garden, they should have the option of stepping out of it, and they should be able to do so in a progressive way, not all-or-none... but each step they take increases the probability that they'll change something that violates a security assumption and thereby increases their risk of compromise.

I suspect that Apple security engineers even more strongly assume that devices are not jailbroken. That's just a guess, but it's consistent with the general philosophy of iOS and, if correct, it means that jailbreakers have even less expectation of security. iOS users also live in a software monoculture, which exacerbates the risk. (Android users get security benefits from ecosystem diversity, though there are obvious costs to that diversity as well. Including the update problem.)

[*] Note that given the state of updates in the Android ecosystem, we often don't assume that the device is running an up to date system image. From our perspective that's often easier to work with than a rooted device because at least we know how it behaves and can look at trying to mitigate risks at other layers. We're also working on the update situation, but that's hard given the nature of the ecosystem.

Comment Re:Great experience (Score 1) 182

Google knows my location due to my use of Google Maps

Google receives the map tile requests, etc., but if location history is turned off nothing about it is stored. I have no idea what your cell provider may store, though.

Again, I actually like the location history. I find it convenient to be able to look back and see where I was at a particular date and time. But it's under your control.

Comment Re:Great experience (Score 1) 182

I really have no concern about sharing it with Google, because no one is ever going to see it.

Well, an individual person doesn't need to see it. If they're willing to use searches to send people job offers and ads, what else can they automate?

They can also remind you when it's time to leave for an appointment, and that you have a coupon you can use at the store you just entered, and that your wife's birthday is coming up, and much, much more... but only with your permission. If you don't want it, turn it off and delete the data. Google provides the tools.

And what happens when Google has a breech or a bad setting. Remember when Google signed people up for G+,. and a lot of private data got exposed.

I think you're thinking about Buzz, not Google+. That was bad; Buzz auto-friended contacts, exposing relationships. The fact that that's the worst thing that's happened, and that happened before all of the internal privacy review policies were put in place is pretty indicative, IMO.

As for a breach... nothing is impossible, but I spent 15 years as a security consultant to US corporations, mostly banks, and Google has dramatically better security systems than anyone I ever saw. I'm not worried about my data at Google.

However, if you are I highly recommend going to your Google account dashboard and deleting whatever information there you're concerned about.

Comment Re:Time Management (Score 1) 182

but bored in their current job?

I'd expect a self motivated worker to already be looking for a new one.

Bah. There are different kinds of people. Some will search out a better job, but many of the more introverted sorts won't. It doesn't mean they're not motivated, just that they're not comfortable with interviewing. A lot of top-performing software engineers are very introverted.

easier to teach brilliant problem solvers some time management skills

That's an optinion that not many employers share. Companys that take it upon themselves to teach basic skills tend to hire people without them. And then everyone suffers, because everyone is expected to help out the special snowflakes.

There are no "special snowflakes" at Google. Google gives people time and resources to address their shortcomings, and it's expected that everyone be helpful, but if you can't pull your weight for whatever reason, it'll come out. Your peers will tell you that you need to manage your time better, and your manager will expect you to make use of the internal resources available to improve. It's even fine if you take time away from your job to do what's needed to improve... but if you don't, you'll eventually be gone. It's not like learning to manage your time is hard. If you're capable of solving hard computer science problems, you can learn that, too.

In practice, it's really not a problem. If you find smart people and keep them challenged (or enable them to keep themselves challenged), and give them feedback on how they can do better, it works.

Comment Re:Great experience (Score 1) 182

I buy the "potential" issue. I have enough confidence in the leadership and the culture that I don't worry about it being abused in the near term, but eventually that could change. I actually do have a greater degree of trust in Google than I do other corporations or government agencies, though. I expect that's mostly because of the visibility I have as an employee.

The less they know about me, the better.

In the abstract I see that. But Google Now is useful... and I expect it to become vastly more useful. It's going to be interesting to see how this evolves over the next decade or so, whether most everyone decides that having an excellent personal digital assistant is worth allowing someone to know so much about them. At least it's shaping up that there will be competition... Now, Siri, Cortana, Echo...

And obviously Google is already using information it knows about users to make recruiting decisions so clearly they are using the data for more than just advertising.

Recruiting is advertising.

Suppose that I use an Android phone and I have all my web browsers signed in to a Google account. Google now has access to all my phone data, my contact data, calendar data, search history, and even info about websites that I go to directly w/o the help of google (thanks to Google ads)

Chrome can also tell Google everywhere you go even without the help of ads. It only does that if you turn on web history, though. Same with location. If you turn on location history, Google stores it. If not, Google doesn't get it. As for phone, contacts, calendar, photos, etc., that's true if you turn on backup for everything. If you turn off backup, the data doesn't go to Google. Of course, then you don't get the cross-platform always-updated calendar and contacts list, and if your phone gets run over by a bus it's all gone. Whether or not to use backup isn't a one-time decision, though; if you use it and then later decide not to you can use the privacy dashboard to delete stuff.

And Google does forget the data you ask it to delete. It's a good idea to check the dashboard periodically and wipe out anything you don't want to be there. You should probably do that if you haven't.

Comment Re:Does flipping one electron now flip the other? (Score 1) 214

As I understand it, when you flip the state of one of an entangled pair, you break the entanglement. So site B can do what they like with the second pair, but site A won't know what they did. But IANAP and it's been over two decades since I took physics. Oh, and although my old textbook is on the shelf behind me, I'm too lazy to turn around and look at it :)

Comment Re:Time Management (Score 2) 182

Person is researching python lambda function list comprehension for a programming project. Gets sidetracked for a couple of hours by popup puzzles.

Yep. This is the employee we want.

You mean the sort of person who is an avid problem solver but bored in their current job? Yes, that's exactly who you want to hire if you're going to put them in an environment rich in productive puzzles to solve. Yes, you do also need them to be able to maintain focus when it really matters, but it's far easier to teach brilliant problem solvers some time management skills than it is to teach plodding, methodical thinkers to be brilliant problem solvers.

Comment Re:Not if you're searching for Maaaaaaatlock... ;- (Score 1) 182

FWIW, I'm a Google engineer. I'm 46. Many members of my previous team were in their 50s and 60s, and the median age there was probably around my age. That team was working on complex internal enterprise systems, where decades of experience with complex business logic was at a premium. My current team is younger... but I'm not the oldest.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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