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Comment Re:Subpoenas and the right against self-incriminat (Score 1) 117

... protection against compelled self-incrimination.

In many countries that protection is provided not by a constitution, but by tradition of jurisprudence. If the government decides to take that protection away in their 'war on terror', which has happened in other countries, someone will have to prosecute the government to get that protection re-instated.

It is a protection that many in the United States are quick to surrender when they feel threatened, but thankfully so far the more wise heads have prevailed.

In the past 50 years or so the popular attitude toward the protection has faltered. A half century ago invoking your right to remain silent was seen as a good use of protecting yourself. Those who did it were considered smart. But these days, when someone invokes the fifth amendment in the US it is often seen with derision and suspicion.

Anyone can incriminate themselves all they want voluntarily, confess all you want. But the protections against compelled self-incrimination are extremely important. Sadly too many don't realize how important they are.

Comment Subpoenas and the right against self-incrimination (Score 4, Informative) 117

Perhaps they know who the phones belong to, but what makes them think the owner is one of the San Bernadino killers?

That's where law enforcement is having a hard time.
* Government can use a warrant to demand the item be surrendered, and preserve it as evidence.
* Government can demand passwords from third parties like phone companies under both subpoenas and warrants.
* BUT individuals have a constitution protection against compelled self-incrimination.

The government is supposed to produce evidence and link the person to the crime without a forced confession. It is a GOOD THING, it helps prevent things like being tortured to confession and fishing expeditions looking for crimes. Prosecutors and police can demand an individual produce papers and documents that link them to a case, but (assuming their legal defense is doing their job) by doing so they trigger the protections of the fourth and fifth amendments by compelling the evidence.

This was recently re-affirmed by the supreme court in US v. Hubbell. If the government demands that the person gives up documents, papers, or passwords to the device it is compelled self-incrimination. If the government demands a person incriminate himself to collect evidence, it becomes poisoned and the government cannot use it or information from it to help with prosecution.

Police and prosecutors absolutely can demand the people turn over passwords .... but by doing so they also trigger immunity, they cannot use that fact or anything learned from the devices as evidence against them. They'll bitch and moan and complain about not having the passwords, they'll petition congress about how unfair it is to law enforcement that police need to actually investigate crimes and can't use self-incrimination tactics, but the lawyers know full well all it takes is a single slip of paper to legally demand the passwords. Grant them immunity under the protections of the 5th and they are compelled to turn the passwords over, but the person also walks away from criminal liability.

Simply (perhaps dangerously oversimplified) in most of these cases it is that the police are lazy. There are many other known details, much other evidence, but investigators are going for the easy pickings of the data on phones and other personal documents typically protected by law. They could do actual leg-work, actual investigation, actual crime scene evaluation, and many investigators do. The ones wanting to break down the constitutional protections are the lazy investigators who won't be bothered to use the other available investigation tools.

Comment Re:Better transistors? (Score 5, Interesting) 335

So the plan to make transistors tolerate higher clock speeds by using better materials is not going to happen?

Yet another restating of Moore's Law? The thing gets revised to whatever the latest growth area is.

The original 1965 article it was about "component counts", then it was revised in a later talk to be "circuit density", then revised in 1975 to be "semiconductor complexity", then revised in the later '70s to be "circuit and device cleverness", has been restated yet again when serial devices flatlined in favor of highly parallel chips.

Assuming this goes through the chipset, it will likely be restated again in terms of whatever other factor on the chips continues to grow.

Comment Re:No use fighting it (Score 5, Insightful) 144

Movie companies would do a much better job if they stopped trying to squash any sort of piracy, and focused more on providing what people want, in the form they want, when they want it, at a convenient price.

There will always be a guy selling DVDs on the corner, frequently backed up by organized crime. I'm not so certain that people who are less committed to that lifestyle will be always there and impossible to stop. That ease of participation relies on freedoms are now taken for granted which I feel may well become very eroded in the future.

That misses the point.

If the companies provided what the consumers wanted, in the form they wanted, at a convenient price, the guy on the corner has no customers and goes to a different process. The content creators get paid for the content, the customers can enjoy the content, and everyone is happy. (As typical, customers would always prefer to pay less, producers would like to be paid more, but ultimately a happy balance can be reached if they honestly tried.)

Systems like netflix, hulu, dramafever, amazon video, they are getting closer to what the customers wants. In an even better world all those off-catalog shows, the crappy direct-to-DVD releases, these would also be available in the catalog rather than the constant Disney-esque vault where availability is intentionally reduced to get more coin.

The fact that they are present at all on Torrent systems is enough to let the companies know to add it to the catalogs. If I knew I could watch {popular title} from Redbox for a buck per day, or from some paid service where there are no scratched discs, and watch it on a web player on whatever device I want for a time period, sign me up.

Simply: If it is available in a torrent but not available in the authorized service, the authorized service is insufficient.

The company needs to stop providing insufficient service. When one business gives insufficient service, and another source offers the service, it is clear what will happen to the business. Adapt or die. These companies don't even need to go through the process of digitizing the works; when they discover what is on torrents but not in their catalog, put the ripped torrent version among their authorized versions. What happens when Disney finds a rip from some old VHS they haven't migrated? Instead of trying to shut it down, Disney should find the best ripped copy and put that among their (fully paid and properly authorized) products.

If everything were available through a proper, above board, fully legal paid service, and there was one place I could go to get yesterday's TV show, this week's big blockbuster release, reruns of my favorites from the last decade, reruns from the 1980s, 1970s, 1960s, and even all the old back catalog movies clear back to the 1920s when the Golden Age of Cinema started, then the guy at the corner selling bootleg copies would vanish. If the mere presence of a show on torrents was enough to get it added to the proper legal channels, then the need for them would precipitously drop.

It would not vanish completely, there are some people who refuse to pay anything and also refuse to find any friends to share passwords and accounts. If the legal version is immediately available to paying customers, at a convenient price, on a convenient location, viewable on a convenient device, the unsatisfied needs that drive torrented movies would drop off the radar.

Comment Re:these fascists (Score 4, Insightful) 345

It's a sad day when the candidates running for president are traitors.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity or ignorance. Being a "traitor" implies intent, this is far more likely to be ignorance of a technical issue.

I'm surprised so many slashdotters expected these people to understand the technical issues.

Hillary Clinton's background might have discussed some encryption details because of some of her security scandals. Carly Fiorina also possibly understands the technical issues. But I would be shocked if any of the other candidates have any understanding of the issue.

For all the rest of the candidates, it is not something they've likely ever studied. For them, encryption might as well be some magical fairy dust that computer people sprinkle over computers for security reasons.

Comment Re: We never had it (Score 4, Interesting) 311

The problem is that the old journalist media and the new journalist media is having problems making money.

I think that is part of it. The financial concerns are also related to the larger number of news outlets, the 24/7 news cycle, instant online publication, and search engine rankings.

Let's review a few decades ago, back when there was a better ratio of good journalism to bad journalism...

A few decades ago to get all the news outlets an individual could talk to the local affiliate of CBS, NBC, ABC, and possibly a few additional locals that weren't affiliated with the big three. For a big public statement that meant a few phone calls to schedule a common time, up to six reporters come visit bringing their photographer, and you were done. For a smaller public statement it meant talking to even less, maybe just the local unaffiliated reporters or only one major reporter. There might be a few calls from distant papers that want to run the story, but those few initial interviews all generated high quality original reports for the networks. The reporters actually came out to interview, news stories via phone calls were rare. Since there were limited news outlets they each had a fairly big piece of the pie when it came to revenues from ads and subscriptions, so they could pay more for better reporters. All of them combined to give much better journalism. When one outlet wanted to cover something done by another sometimes they would rewrite the stories off the wire, but generally there was an actual discussion to those having the newsworthy experience.

Contrast with today.

If something is big news there are a huge number of media companies that want to talk about it. There are so many outlets that each one individually gets a tiny sliver of the interested viewers, so they have less money to invest in the story from relatively fewer advertisement eyeballs. Instead of investing time and money doing investigation and contacting the original sources (tending toward better quality journalism), they quickly rewrite the existing story and publish it immediately in an effort to show up early in web searches, giving worse quality journalism. For the individual or company with the newsworthy event, instead of being contacted by a handful of local reporters they get calls and emails from hundreds of them across the globe, each asking for a statement immediately for publication. Generally there is no opportunity to get back to them, no opportunity to leave a message; if they cannot provide a statement with that first phone call the article gets a line "company was not immediately available for comment." From discussions with some reporter friends in the past, today's reporters frequently write the story first and then contact the newsmakers for a quote in the hope to fill in a quote that meets the story they wrote rather than talk to the people first and write the story based on what was learned.

So summing it up:

  • * Fewer news agencies meant individuals could talk to everyone, versus today's many unanswered phone calls
  • * Fewer news agencies meant more filtering of stories, versus today's unfiltered deluge of reports
  • * Fewer news agencies meant more money per reporter, versus today's many reporters with no budget
  • * Fewer better funded reporters meant better stories with original content, versus today's low-paid reporters who do a quick rewrite
  • * Daily publication meant time to write based on the facts, versus today's rush for an early story that doesn't have time for facts

Generally when you get a low quality news article you can figure out who the original source was, who it was that actually sent a real live human being reporter to talk in person with another real life human being, and that version of the article will have quality journalism.

Comment Scary beyond belief (Score 1) 166

Holy nuclear winter, Batman!

Yet another reminder about why we need space programs to get colonies of people off Earth.

Not only will having more places available serve as backup for humanity, but it will also ease the strain of conflict over locations as many people would want to leave for proverbially greener pastures.

Or maybe if taking the pessimistic view, let's hurry up and destroy ourselves before we spread elsewhere.

Comment Re:hoarding mentality (Score 1) 177

And how do they get to it without a warrant?

Under the Stored Communications Act, with an administrative subpoena that does not require any probable cause statement or review by a judge. No warrant required, but full legal force.

If you maintain it on your own you can fight it if you want.

If they give it to a third party like your ISP or some other service provider, they might fight it, or might not. Choose your partners carefully.

Comment Re:hoarding mentality (Score 1) 177

"There is no good reason to keep 25 years of email. "

Of course there is. You should know, some people actually comunicate about important matters, and keeping records can oftentimes be very beneficial.

Seems like you ignored the rest of the post, fixating on that one line.

I am not saying to dump important documents. I am saying a hodgepodge of email systems is a terrible archival method.

If there are communications that need to be preserved, preserve them properly.

As I pointed out, contracts should be preserved properly, generally meaning a hard copy printed out and kept in a physical file folder, or electronic copies should be properly archived properly as electronic documents. Mementos should be preserved, ether electronically or as hard copies, in an appropriate other container. Business-related documents should be classified and sorted and archived correctly for their type of documents.

Many types of documents have useful lifetimes that your lawyer will be quick to explain.Three months and six months are both critical windows when it comes to government access, government agencies can swoop in and demand copies of any email or other communication not marked as 'read' at that age, and do so without a warrant or court order. Three years or four years is the legal limit for most documents to be used in civil suits, if the document is older than that then generally it cannot be used as it is no longer timely. There are very few other documents you will receive in email that you would need to keep longer than that. If you do, keep them in a more permanent form than email.

It is surprising to me that so many /. users are missing the point of data retention policies. It seems when government agencies come up data retention policies and data destruction at the end of the limits come up quickly. In stories about businesses with decades of data people quickly jump on them for not destroying it in a timely manner, how job applications and similar records shouldn't be kept forever. But when it comes to a person's own policy, ain't nobody got time for that.

Keep what needs to be kept, and keep it properly. Discard what does not need to be kept. 25 years with 500,000 emails is about 24.9 months and 499,950 too many. Sort that crap out.

Comment Re:I wonder (Score 1) 241

BTW, am I the only one that thought the Narnia stories were dumb, and a lame attempt at a copy of Lord of the Rings but with a bunch of annoying in-your-face Christian metaphors?

Probably the only person, yes.

Because that is the opposite order of when they were written.

CS Lewis wrote and published his books from 1949-1956.

Tolkien wrote chunks of LotR and related world fiction over a 30 year span, but didn't publish it until 1954-1955.

Most of the seven Chronicles books were published before LotR, and only two (The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle) could potentially have been based on any of the LotR books as you suggest. Both of those books were (according to Wikipedia) finished before LotR was released; they were completed but not yet published. Books require some lead time between when they are submitted and when they hit the streets, so it is likely that CS Lewis did not know about the books except possibly hearing some of Tolkien's writings and reputation as a professor.

Comment Re:hoarding mentality (Score 2) 177

That's true, but from the sounds of it this is for business reasons. For business it's probably more important than if it was personal.

For business it can be even more important to clean things out. Having old things on hand is more likely to work against you than work in your favor. Yes, some documents need to be carefully retained and kept on file for the life of the business and the best place to do that is not in email. Most of these communications should be disposed of on a regular basis.

Most business lawyers I've worked with have strongly recommended a data retention policy to dump email regularly and always before the 3-month government communications free-for-all. Most work places I've been at have had 3 months before automatic forced deletion of email. If it is important it does not belong in email. Unread email is treated differently under the law, and currently any email that is six months old or older and marked as unread can be opened and read by federal agencies without a warrant. Similarly, transitory communications like chat logs and even file transfers through services like DropBox are easily accessed by government's prying eyes. Don't keep data there because lots of organizations, including government agencies, corporate spies, and opposition lawyers, can all get access to it.

If it is important it gets printed and filed, or moved to electronic documents that are properly archived, or otherwise moved to a better location than email. Paper files and electronic archives get properly maintained with their own data retention policies. Contracts and agreements made get filed with dates.

There is no good reason to keep 25 years of email.

Print out and properly file what is important. Agreements and important documents get filed. Properly file and archive personal mementos (not in email) or put them in a scrap book.

Comment Headline misses a key detail. (Score 4, Informative) 101

The Slashdot headline missed a key detail covered in the article:

Beazley point out that the piracy lawsuit was filed November last year, several days before the December 1, 2014 date the insurance policy began.

It is a bit difficult to file an insurance claim against lawsuit costs when the lawsuit was instigated before the insurance took effect.

Since we love automobile analogies so much: It is like buying car insurance in December to insure against a crash that took place the month before. That's not going to help much.

Or buying a life insurance policy for your recently-deceased relative.

The date insurance coverage began is going to be a far bigger problem than details of what the policy covers.

Comment Re:OMFG! (Score 1) 182

OMFG! There was a fluctuation of 2.2 percent in the female employees of a major corporation that has bizzilions of employees that come and go!

No, it was because they cancelled the phone business.

<sexist sarcasm humor> Clearly since they aren't working on phones any more, they don't need the women. They must have used the women to QA those phones so receptionists and secretaries would be satisfied with the phone's shape and comfort on the female face. Now that the phone division is closed they don't need the women any more. </sexist sarcasm humor>

Comment Re:A step in the right direction (Score 4, Insightful) 111

Well, it is still fruit of the poison tree but is only known as such if someone is willing to admit that was how they found the information.

Parallel construction largely relies on a lie being in place. If at any time it is discovered that this other source or means was crafted due to the illegal connections, it can and likely would be toss out with it.

One neat thing about this type of deception is that the bigger it grows, the harder it is to hide. One person can keep a secret. Two people struggle to keep a secret. Hundreds of people cannot keep a secret, there will be a media leak by with a citation as a "confidential source not authorized to talk to the media."

If that happened it would not be one case tossed. It would be at least one case tossed and thousands of other cases re-opened for investigation, and intense scrutiny and a nasty public relations backlash.

We had a situation in a local PD where a highly acclaimed officer was caught faking field sobriety tests, falsifying reports and even the discovery of dashcam video showing the tazering of a sober person while shouting at them. In addition to the officer losing their job and various awards, there were various convictions overturned, convictions expunged, and several settlements allegedly of a quarter million dollars each were issued.

When discovered the impact to the groups is huge.

Discovery of illegal wiretaps and illegal records and failure to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence? That's the kind of thing that gets mass terminations and prison time for officers.

Comment Re: Introduction (Score 1) 207

It seems a bit... Insane though. 90,000 at a measly $100 a pop (labour, booking etc) = $9m minimum. If they keep that up, they'll eventually eat into the profit so bad they fail...

Reading the actual story and announcement (yeah, craaaazy!) the test is to visually inspect the base of the seat belt and apply a sudden yank of at least 80 pounds force by the tech, followed by another visual inspection to see if anything deformed, bent, or otherwise broke.

This is not a cost of $100 per. For most people this will be 60 seconds added to their existing regular inspection.

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All life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities. -- Dawkins