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Comment: Re:Kill them all. (Score 1) 332

As you say it was stable under the Ottoman empire, because they took over and kept it, America needs to do the same thing. The US, Canada, Australia, NZ were all British colonies, but the difference is the white people never left, so they remain beacons of progress. Hate to sound all racist here, but there is a strong correlation between those and African, Middle Eastern states that were given back.

I think you should probably read a good history of the British empire, followed by 20th century history, before posting nonsense like this.

The causes of problems in the middle east have a lot to do with the long term history of the "beacons of progress" fucking with the region. Specifically when the Ottoman Empire collapsed the colonialists divided the region up along entirely arbitrary borders that often drew straight lines right through native tribes and populations, then appointed flunkies to rule these new countries. There was zero attempt to make something that worked for the people who lived there. This caused serious long term resentment.

Have you ever watched the ISIS video of them blowing up border posts? The ISIS soldiers keep talking about the end of Sykes-Picot. Even though I actually have read a history of the British Empire, I still had to look that one up. It turns out to be the British-French treaty that created the borders of Iraq. Families in different villages were suddenly divided from each other, etc. The people who live there apparently still hate Sykes-Picot to this day.

Plus, when countries in the region got leaders the western powers didn't like, there were interventions (e.g. Iran). There were invasions. Not to mention the gaping wound that is Israel and the absolutist support for it from the US.

There hasn't ever really been a time when more powerful militaries weren't fucking with people who live in the middle east. Religion certainly plays a part, but the USA is a lot more religious than other western developed countries and it doesn't seem to hurt them much ....

Comment: Re:Your government at work (Score 2) 332

You are an idiot. The entire purpose of drone strikes is to carry out very targeted killings.

.... of civilians. You know, when the US says it killed "militants" what it means is "any adult male in the strike zone". This has been verified beyond doubt now, they openly admit it. Often they have no idea who they are killing as the drone strikes are targeted based on e.g. NSA tracking of a mobile phone. Whoever holds the phone at the time gets whacked. This is how they end up drone striking weddings and the like.

If we didn't care about collateral damage and didn't mind indiscriminately killing people, expensive drones would not be necessary.

Obviously you care about collateral damage, not because the USA is such a bunch of caring hippies but because the purpose of drone strikes is to exercise power. You cannot exercise power over dead people. You have to instead kill anyone who does something against your will, or is suspected of doing so, or just someone who got in the way to serve as a lesson to others. If you see the purpose of drone strikes as minimising casualties in a conventional war then you don't understand what drone strikes are for or why the USA uses them. Their purpose is power.

Comment: Re:Fuck those guys (Score 2) 568

And there it is! That European smugness. I didn't expect to see it in this thread but I can't say I'm not surprised. Tells us again, for the millionth time, how your shit doesn't stink....

Yes, there are a lot of smug sounding Europeans posting on Slashdot when stories about the US doing something dumb crops up.

However, today is not one of those days. The OP talked about "other countries". The USA is practically alone in having a problem such as "swatting". It's not just Europe that lacks this issue - it's Australia, Canada, China, Russia, India ...

SWATing seems like a natural consequence of a heavily militarised society that worships soldiers and has decided it makes sense for everyone to be heavily armed all the time. If the rest of the world didn't point out that decisions have consequences, you guys might think it was normal.

Comment: Re:Too Big to Nail (Score 2) 120

Ah, the efficient use of government resources trumps justice. Must be a first!

You're assuming that whatever a few FTC staffers think up and write down in an internal report is "justice".

That's not justice. That's the divided opinions of a few bureaucrats.

The reason the FTC would have had to spend a lot of time and money on an anti-trust case against Google is the underlying laws are vague and the arguments subtle and complex. Google would have mounted highly effective counter-arguments and there would be no guarantee of winning the case. If the case was won, what then? The FTC's goal is to try and improve the market, or so they say, but winning a court case doesn't automatically fix anything. And if they lost, questions would have been asked about why they weren't using those resources to pursue clearer cut issues.

Comment: Re:Hardware is trusted (Score 2) 83

No, that would be useless. Just think it through a bit.

OK, so you have a physical switch somewhere. Bear in mind the trend in laptop design is to try and eliminate ports and switches, so Jony Ive will throw a fit if you suggest such a thing and Apple won't do it. But let's pretend the PC makers all do.

When does the user have to press this switch? When there's a BIOS update that needs to be applied.

How do they know there's a BIOS update to be applied? Because a message pops up on their screen telling them there is one.

How do they know the message comes from their PC manufacturer and not a virus? They don't.

So will a virus just ask the user to press the button? Yes.

And will the user comply? Yes.

A physical switch will not stop BIOS malware.

Comment: Re:What kind of person did they study? (Score 1) 79

Then the app will check for the fake data on first run and pop up another prompt that says, "Guess what - I really need this".

That isn't the fix you're looking for. A way to delay acquisition of a priviledge until the point it's needed is a better fix. These apps aren't actually maliciously asking for useless permissions. Almost always they ask for lots of permissions because they have lots of features.

Comment: Re:Slippery slope (Score 3, Interesting) 361

by IamTheRealMike (#49305503) Attached to: OEMs Allowed To Lock Secure Boot In Windows 10 Computers

Unfortunately, it's not really Microsoft pushing us down this slippery slope. If anything it's the NSA.

The problem is boot sector or BIOS malware is now a real thing that needs real defences. It's not some obscure academic attack any more. Securing the boot chain is the only known way to fix this.

The real issues start once malware begins using Linux to install itself. That is, "I cannot infect or modify Windows because of the secure boot check. But I can install Linux and then load a special kernel module and then make the kernel chain into the Windows boot process after modifying it". So then you start needing signed kernels to check for signed kernel modules, etc. Eventually you end up with hardware that only runs signed code, and it's not because of some evil DRM conspiracy but because the openness of the PC platform has caused it to be so thoroughly bum-fucked by malware developers. I mean what are the manufacturers meant to do? Leave their 99% Windows userbase vulnerable to spying and horrible un-removable viruses because Team Linux has never managed to get OEMs on board to make Linux laptops? Doesn't make any sense, regardless of where your software sympathies may lie.

Comment: Re:No boot? (Score 1) 361

by IamTheRealMike (#49305475) Attached to: OEMs Allowed To Lock Secure Boot In Windows 10 Computers

I guess you'd be able to boot from a recovery USB stick/CD/etc.

Presumably the idea is malware will not be designed to infect such systems. After all being rendered unbootable is a sure way to get your victim PC taken into a repair shop, which then might submit the malware sample they find to AV vendors ...

Comment: Re:Well no shit! (Score 1) 231

by IamTheRealMike (#49304179) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

Microsoft was only fined in Europe. In America nothing much happened. Also: the fines were iirc not for bundling of the web browser but rather, the things they did to stop PC makers also including Netscape. Like threatening to punish them financially if they supported a competitor. That's a lot more cut and dried. You're right that bundling web browsers with operating systems was clearly the right move in hindsight and in practice Netscape might have been toast anyway. But maybe not: alternative browsers are doing better than IE is today, despite IE's bundling advantage. But being forcibly bankrupted by Microsoft if you included one of them crosses the line.

Comment: Re:I just don't care (Score 1) 231

by IamTheRealMike (#49304131) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

I care about getting good search results. Google choosing to put the better results lower in the ranking conflicts with that.

But Google doesn't do that, nor does the WSJ article imply it. Google chooses to add features to its search engine and sometimes those features, like embedded maps, rank higher than say MapQuest does. That's not putting "better results lower in the ranking", that's Google believing that an inline map works better than a link to another search engine where you get to re-enter your query. And I think it's right.

Comment: Re:But they help also (Score 1) 366

by IamTheRealMike (#49303959) Attached to: Uber Shut Down In Multiple Countries Following Raids

When a customer has no real way of distinguishing certain types of sellers based on quality, some minimum standards are required

But they do. Uber drivers have star ratings and drivers that get bad enough ratings are fired.

A lot of people are making a false conclusion that Uber drivers are unregulated. They aren't - they're regulated by the company instead of by the government. And it seems like Uber may often do a better job of this.

Comment: Re:Wait, can machines even walk yet? (Score 2) 451

by IamTheRealMike (#49290717) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future

Yes they can walk

So we're suppose to have machines driving vehicles some 80 years before they're smart? What idiot thought THAT was a good idea?

Your realise machines are routinely put in charge of vehicles that travel at 600 mph and in which mistakes can cause disintegration of the machine, killing everyone on board? Yet they're much safer than the human pilots we keep around as psychological placebos.

Comment: Re:But they help also (Score 3, Insightful) 366

by IamTheRealMike (#49290697) Attached to: Uber Shut Down In Multiple Countries Following Raids

I think this list sums up the core of the Uber debate. It's a massive pile of accumulated odds and ends that have built up over the years, some of which are clearly useful and others which are clearly irrelevant. Unfortunately taxi regulation is about as exciting as dish water and so there's nothing that can blow away the cobwebs and rationalise things, short of a full blown Uber style takedown.

Examples of crap in the list above: taxi drivers must know the area they operate in. Really? What does it even mean to know the area? London black cab drivers have to pass an exam called The Knowledge that requires them to memorise street maps of the city, so at least it's well defined there, but this is nonsense from the pre-GPS era. There's no need for cab drivers to do it all in their heads these days, and I'd much rather they rely on the computer which will always pick the fastest route and can't decide to take a detour because the passengers looks like a tourist.

Another example: drivers must know the radio protocols. Why?! Uber drivers receive instructions via an intuitive smartphone app. Controlling cabs via radio is an obsolete technology yet the requirement to use it lives on.

Yet another example: cars must be painted a particular colour. Why? Uber cars are located using modern technology, not by watching the roads for vehicles painted in a deliberately ugly colour. This is another obsolete convention progress has made irrelevant - yet it's mandated.

Then we get to the more questionable things that aren't obsolete exactly, just arguable. Why is it possible to have enough driving violations to be struck off as a cab driver, but still be allowed to drive friends and family around? Surely you're either safe enough to use the public roads, or you're not, and the commercial relationships you have with the people inside make no difference?

People with a criminal record are banned from working as drivers? ALL crimes? What about crimes that don't involve being actually dangerous, like white collar crimes? Why can't hiring decisions like this be left to the cab companies?

Taxi drivers must know first aid? Presumably someone injured themselves in a cab once and some regulator thought this was a good response. What if that person injures themselves on the street? Why not require everyone to be trained in first aid? This kind of arbitrary distinction doesn't make much sense until you remember that we have these regulators sitting around with nothing better to do all day than craft rules for their tiny piece of jurisdiction.

And so on and so on. It's easy to take a reflexive "COMPANIES BAD GOVERNMENTS GOOD" position in these situations, but my experience of regulators have been that they never reform themselves .... all they ever do is add more and more requirements. Short of a company like Uber showing people how differently things can work, how would progress ever be made?

To communicate is the beginning of understanding. -- AT&T