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Comment Re:I don't think it will mean much (Score 1) 203

My guess is that self-driving cars will, in the case of accidents, have a "black box" that will be able to tell investigators just what was going on with the car including whether self-driving mode was engaged or not. So if the accident investigators determine that your car was at fault, but your car was in self-driving mode at the time, you'd be off the hook for liability.

Comment Re:Please add this to the FAQ (Score 4, Insightful) 175

The thing is most government security agencies aren't saying "ban all encryption" but are saying "just give us 'law enforcement only' backdoors into all encryption." They try to present this as some kind of reasonable compromise, but they ignore the giant, gaping hole they'd create. No backdoor can be totally secured as "law enforcement only." At some point, someone will figure out how to spoof their way in. And then that "wonderful-encryption-with-government-backdoors" will be worthless. Except the politicians prefer to ignore this problem and just shout "TERRORISTS COULD USE ENCRYPTION" louder and louder as if that's an argument against it. (Terrorists also breathe air. We should ban all air!)

Comment Re:What John King [and Bill Gates] did to NY Schoo (Score 1) 30

As the parent of two kids in public school in New York, I can personally attest that John King was horrible. He pushed a high stakes testing regime whose only purpose seemed to be funneling money to Pearson. When parents complained at a public forum he hosted, he responded by refusing to hold any more public forums until he could change them around so nobody could complain at them. In short, the parents were responding to his changes with valid concerns (e.g. kids stressing out with tests so much they were vomiting on their papers) and he "addressed" these concerns by refusing to listen to feedback and doubling down on his failing strategy.

Sadly, once he left, Governor Cuomo has not only continued down the path John King was headed, but has made matters much worse. Cuomo's made it clear that he won't be happy until all public schools are closed and are replaced by business run charter schools (whose businesses contribute to his campaigns).

Comment Re:Thank God (Score 1) 161

Whenever I talk to my father about my identity theft and subsequent credit freeze, he tells me I should just change my SSN. Apparently, you *can* do that. However, it's not an easy process and I'd need to contact anyone who legitimately* has my SSN to update that. Once again, a criminal can do damage in one hour that the victim will be cleaning up for years.

* SSNs shouldn't be used as unique identifiers at all so read "legitimately" to mean "they shouldn't need it, it shouldn't be a unique identifier, but the system is set up to require it and good luck trying to force them to change."

Comment Re:The information actually stolen is far worse... (Score 1) 161

This should go beyond just two years of free monitoring... what do I do when someone is out there impersonating me? Hope I have an alibi when they come looking for mr, but that's sort of tough to do when you're a basement dwelling hermit...

I'm an identity theft victim, albeit a lucky one who caught it early before too much damage was done, and it was scary when someone opened a credit card in my name. What's scarier, though, is if a criminal is arrested and gives your name/SSN/DOB. I used to read the blog of someone who was going through just that. He was fired from his job because he failed a background check, couldn't find a new job, and had police stalk him because they considered him a criminal (despite the fact that "his" mugshot looked nothing like him). Even when he got one department to remove his "conviction" from their records, it just flowed back from another police database. It took years before anyone would listen and years more before he started to make any real progress.

Unfortunately, you can't stop this with a simple credit freeze like you can stop normal identity theft. In fact, there's no way to stop this at all. Any criminal with your name/SSN/DOB could give that information when they are arrested and pass their arrest record on to you.

Comment Re:This is a good thing, and inevitable. (Score 1) 161

No matter how many times these breaches happen, we won't "evolve" a response because there are big financial companies whose profits rely on accumulating and easily accessing our credit files. Those companies will use their lobbying might to kill any reform bills that even slightly smell like they might slightly inconvenience them in the pursuit of protecting people. They might allow some useless "feel good" legislation to pass, but you can be sure they won't let any consumer protections "evolve" because that would mean less profits. So what if 15 million more people become identity theft victims? They can just write off the credit monitoring service they "generously" provide and that's the end of that. (For them. For the 15 million people, the pain is just starting.)

Comment Re:Identity Theft (Score 1) 161

Don't forget that you need to pay each of the three major credit agencies. Also, if you're married and applying for a loan, your spouse and you need to pay separately. If my wife and I want to thaw our credit, it costs us $30. Awhile back there was a bill in Congress that would have made it free to freeze your credit, but the credit agencies, credit card companies, etc all lobbied against it. They see frozen credit as lowered profits (since you can't open new lines of credit on a whim). The rash of identity theft, to them, is just a corporate write-off at worst.

Comment Identity Theft (Score 5, Informative) 161

As an identity theft victim, let me say that "no credit card or banking data was stolen" means nothing. With name, address, SSN, and birth date compromised (as well as driver's license and passport numbers), anyone can now open new lines of credit in the names of any of the 15 million people whose information was accessed. And the two years of "credit monitoring" will do almost nothing. Fraud alerts won't either - those are voluntary.

My recommendation if you are one of the 15 million people is to freeze your credit. This will stop ANYONE from opening a new line of credit under your name unless you first thaw your credit file. It's a royal pain in the rear when you need to do things like refinance a loan, but it's better than having a collections agency banging down your door because you owe $5,000 on a credit card that "you" opened.

Comment Re:add SSNs? (Score 1) 447

And how are they verifying the phone numbers are accurate? Via text messages? If so, then either they are sending unsolicited text messages (i.e. spam) or they are sending text messages to what might be the wrong phone numbers. In the latter case, the text message might go to a phone controlled by the review submitter who will approve the review despite not being the person the review is about.

Comment Totally Useless At Best (Score 1) 447

This sounds like it'll be totally useless at best and a source of libel at worst.

From the Washington Post article:

To join the service – which is being beta tested – you must be at least 21 and have an established Facebook account. All reviews you write appear under your real name, and are contextualised in one of three categories: personal, professional or romantic. You can improve your public “positivity rating” by writing more positive reviews than negative ones.

I guess the "established Facebook account" is supposed to keep bots off of Peeple, but how long until someone uses compromised Facebook accounts to post reviews on Peeple?

To add someone to the database who has not been reviewed before, you must have that person’s cell phone number.

And how does Peeple verify this number? "I'd like to review Donald Trump. His mobile phone number is 212-867-5309." Is Peeple going to be placing calls "Hey, someone said you are PERSON'S NAME. Can you verify this for us?" Or will it just accept any mobile phone number as valid?

Positive ratings post immediately; negative ratings are queued in a private inbox for 48 hours in case of disputes. If you haven’t registered for the site, and thus can’t contest those negative ratings, your profile only shows positive reviews.

So if I don't register for the site, then only positive comments about me get posted but if I register the negative ones get posted too? What's the incentive to register? Why not just stay unregistered and tout that 100% positive rating on Peeple?

Comment Re: Logic (Score 1) 250

I still buy my kids console games: Most recently Super Mario Maker and Disney Infinity 3.0. (Though they spent their own money on the former and the latter is being held as a Chanukah present.) However, most of our game acquisitions are for Android devices.

As a bonus, if I buy a $1.99 Android game, my kids can play it on each of their tablets while my wife and I play it on our phones. One purchase = 4 installs. (Could even be more, but that's how many devices we have.) If we buy a $60 console game, it can only be played by one person/group of people (depending on if it is multiplayer) in one location (we only have one console) at a time. It's not portable either so while we can take the tablets/phones on a long car trip, the expensive console game will be left at home with the WiiU.

Comment Re:Extraordinary claims of correlation (Score 1) 577

If there's any correlation between a person's race and intelligence, my guess would be it would be actually due to socioeconomic status and not genes. If a group of people are forced into poverty and lower quality education due to racism, those people will display "lower intelligence" (really, just not educated as well as the rich majority race who can send their kids to all the right schools). This will then be used as "proof" by the racists that DISCRIMINATED_AGAINST_RACE is actually less intelligent than MAJORITY_RACE. Of course, once you adjust for socioeconomic status, these differences vanish, but that's just adding facts which isn't allowed in a racists' argument. (At most, they allow half-truths - things that might be partially true in some circumstances but are twisted completely out of context to fit the racist argument.)

"The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray." -- Robert G. Ingersoll