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Comment: Re:And everyone is innocent (Score 1) 272

by Jason Levine (#49373771) Attached to: Sign Up At irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You

How can anyone in college not suspect that sending money to strangers in Nigeria might somehow involve something illegal?

Insert Einstein quote about infinite stupidity here.

Seriously, there are just some people that "smacking with a clue by 4" shouldn't just be a metaphor. If you accept a deposit into your account and forward it to Nigeria via Western Union, the punishment should be that the victim gets to use an actual 2x4 on you wherever he wants (in addition to any criminal penalties).

Alternative proposal: We open up Craigslist ads for "Earn money by getting deposits into your bank account and forwarding them to Nigeria." Anyone who responds to them is banned from using the Internet for a year and is added to a permanent blacklist that Western Union must check against before doing business with anyone.

Comment: Re:Protecting the Criminals (Score 1) 272

by Jason Levine (#49373701) Attached to: Sign Up At irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You

Replying to myself, I know, but please tell me I'm reading this wrong:

The detective then interviewed the individual who held the account the same day and told Kasper that the bank’s fraud department was investigating and had asked the person to return the cash.

They identity the person who got the fraudulent $8.000+ tax return and who spent the money and the response is "Will you return the money? Pretty please with sugar on top?" If someone files a fraudulent tax return, collects the money, and spends it, the correct response should be handcuffs, not a polite request to be repaid. And before someone says they might be innocent, if you mysteriously get an $8K+ deposit in your bank account, you should DEFINITELY question it. "Bank error in your favor" only happens in Monopoly. In the real world, "bank error in your favor" is quickly corrected and you are penalized if you've spent the erroneously deposited funds.

Comment: Re:Apparently doesn't work for 1040NR (Score 1) 272

by Jason Levine (#49373627) Attached to: Sign Up At irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You

I'm a victim of identity theft and so my SSN is already out there (along with my name, address, and DOB). It's scary if they give a drop down with a small selection of N options and let you retry N times. I never thought that anyone could out-security theater the TSA, but it looks like the IRS has done it.

Comment: Protecting the Criminals (Score 2) 272

by Jason Levine (#49373587) Attached to: Sign Up At irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You

From the article:

“Since I was alerting them that this transaction was fraudulent, their privacy rules prevented them from telling me any more information, such as the routing number and account number of that deposit,” Kasper said. “They basically admitted this was to protect the privacy of the criminal, not because they were going to investigate right away. In fact, they were very clear that the matter would not be investigated further until a fraud affidavit and accompanying documentation were processed by mail.”

My identity was stolen once. Someone got my name, DOB, SSN, and mailing address. They used this to open a credit card (*cough*Capital One*cough*) in my name. Due to a quirk, I was lucky and the card came to me, not them. Once I reported it as fraudulent (after having to argue that, no, my wife who was standing RIGHT THERE didn't open it under my name without telling me), they refused to tell me where the card was supposed to have gone to. They told me that this was because if they told me and I went and shot the person, they would be liable. Then, they proceeded to stonewall both me and the police until the investigation was dropped.

The lesson here? Companies (and government agencies) don't care about you. Fraud can be written off and is no big deal to them even if it ruins your credit rating and takes years of your life to fix. For them, that's just one line item in a million. I was lucky that I didn't lose anything and it was relatively easy to fix (close fraudulent account, freeze credit file), but others aren't so lucky.

Comment: Re:I'm pretty sure Jesus said not to do this (Score 1) 898

And? Can the couple still get married?

From the summary: "Legislation being considered in Texas would strip the salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas' marriage ban later this year."

So the answer, in Texas, might be no they can't.

Can they find a photographer?

In a big city? Sure. In a small town? Maybe not. The venues, photographers, etc might decide they don't like "those kinds" and refuse to serve them, claiming "religious beliefs."

Comment: Re:I'm pretty sure Jesus said not to do this (Score 1) 898

And if the couple happens to live in a small town? What if we expand this past wedding photographers? The local gas station and supermarkets in a small town decide that they don't like "the gays" and refuse to service them due to "religious beliefs." The next closest gas station and supermarket are thirty miles away. Should someone be forced to drive so far away or be forced to leave town due to sexual orientation?

What if it wasn't sexual orientation but if the small town grocery decided it didn't like "that atheist guy" or "that Jewish guy" because they didn't worship Jesus? Could they deny service based on that?

Comment: Re:For those wanting a 'free market' solution.. (Score 3, Interesting) 898

Also, will the religious rights head explode when Muslims try to use their faith in the same way the Christians are trying too?

Already happened. Awhile back, some state legislature passed a law allowing discussion of religion in public schools as a means of promoting Christianity (though they didn't come out and say that). They then were shocked, SHOCKED that this law was used to allow discussion of Islam. HOW HORRIBLE!!!!

Comment: Re:I'm pretty sure Jesus said not to do this (Score 1) 898

The problem is where do you draw the line?

Photographer refuses to take photographs at a gay wedding because of religious beliefs. Will take photos of any other ceremony.
Photographer refuses to take photographs at a mixed race wedding because of religious beliefs. Will take photos of any "pure race" ceremony.
Photographer refuses to take photographs at a non-white wedding because of "religious" beliefs. Will take photos of any white ceremony.

Comment: Re:Fuck so-called religious "freedom" (Score 4, Insightful) 898

Don't confuse actual religious freedom with the idiocy that politicians in Indiana are pushing. Real religious freedom is important. Real religious freedom states that nobody should force you to violate your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) because that other person has a different religious view. Without religious freedom, the Christian majority could vote and decide that all Jews, Muslims, Atheists, etc were required to worship Jesus.

The key, though, is that real religious freedom has its limits and the people pushing these laws aren't respecting those limits. I have the freedom to not eat pork since I'm Jewish. Someone who is Christian can't make eating pork a condition of citizenship. However, I also can't use my religious beliefs to ban all pork products. Like all other rights, my rights end when others' begin. Sadly, the people pushing these laws think their religious views should trump all other rights. Of course, if someone denied them services because they worshiped Jesus instead of being Muslim/Atheist/etc, they would cry foul.

I completely agree with the "no right to be free of offense", though. If someone wants to criticize my religious beliefs, they can go right ahead. It's their right. It won't change my beliefs (especially if they are jerks about it) and I might try to offer counter-arguments, but I won't demand that they be silenced for criticizing what I believe in*.

* If their "criticism" calls for hurting/killing people who believe X, though, all bets are off. Threats do not equal discussion.

Comment: Re:I'm sorry what? (Score 1) 155

by Jason Levine (#49370099) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

No, if you use encryption, their job becomes hard. This is bad (as defined by them, not me) because:

A) They want the power to look at everyone anytime they want to make sure you're not a terrorist (or some other criminal). Encryption prevents this.

B) They don't want to have to actually work hard to do their job. Why do research and obtain warrants and deal with privacy-protection measures when you can just trample over everyone to get what you want? The quickest path between point a and point b is a straight line - even if it takes them through your house,

Comment: Re:No encryption == full employment for police (Score 2) 155

by Jason Levine (#49370071) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

That was my first reaction also. The government likes to speak about terrorism, but ID theft, credit card fraud, and other types of financial crimes are a whole lot more prevalent. Now imagine if encryption were to disappear tomorrow. All those personal details whizzing about the Internet unencrypted? Financial crimes would skyrocket. Either that, or nobody would do business online and a huge sector of the economy would collapse overnight. Even *IF* banning encryption meant all terrorism was stopped the financial cost alone would make it a non-viable option.

Comment: Re:So? (Score 1) 155

by Jason Levine (#49370043) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

The cat is out of the bag. Crypto and its application is an academic subject now, with plenty of companies and open-source projects using the fruit of the work. That is to say, for another ten-fifteen years or so. Then, quantum will start taking it all apart. The amateurs will not have the resources to follow there.

So, basically, the cat is either out of the bag, or dead, and we won't know for another ten-fifteen years, time at which the cat wave collapses.

Great. Now those terrorists are attacking Schrodinger's cat... or not attacking it. I can't tell since I haven't observed the system yet.

Comment: Re:So, let me get this right (Score 1) 155

by Jason Levine (#49370017) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

If you didn't encrypt your conversation, they could listen in to it, determine you two weren't terrorists, and move on to the next unencrypted conversation or focus on the small number of encrypted ones.

If more people encrypt conversations, though, the government won't be able to rule out that you are a terrorist since they won't be able to listen in on you.

In short, you're guilty until proven innocent and you're making it hard for them to prove you innocent. [mock outrage] How DARE you do that! [/mock outrage]

Comment: Re:When every citizen is a potential terrorist... (Score 2) 155

by Jason Levine (#49369939) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

What they are basically saying is "make our jobs easier for us"

We've been seeing a lot of this recently. From the RIAA/MPAA who would like the ability to get the personal information on multiple people on the flimsiest of evidence of copyright infringement (because actually gathering evidence on each one and suing each person in the appropriate district is too hard) to the government law enforcement agencies who feel that asking a court for a warrant - even when said court never turns them down - is too much effort.

It's one thing to be power-hungry. It's quite another to be power-hungry AND lazy!

"Pull the trigger and you're garbage." -- Lady Blue

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