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How Did Volkswagen Cheat Emissions Tests, and Who Authorized It? 618

Lucas123 writes: The method by which Volkswagen diesel cars were able to thwart emissions tests and spew up to 40X the nitrogen oxide levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency was relatively simple. It was more likely no more than a single line of code used to detect when an emissions test was being performed and place the emissions system in an alternate mode — something as simple as a software "on/off" switch. Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn, who stepping down as the result of his company's scandal, has said he had no knowledge of the emissions cheat, but software dev/test audit trails are almost certain to pinpoint who embedded the code and who authorized it. You can actually see who asked the developer to write that code," said Nikhil Kaul, a product manager at test/dev software maker SmartBear Software. "Then if you go upstream you can see who that person's boss was...and see if testing happened...and, if testing didn't happen. So you can go from the bottom up to nail everyone."

Comment Re: Don't take yours in. (Score 1) 411

I don't think you've thought this through. You can't exactly fence off the atmosphere and the water table the way you can fence off land. Pollution just diffuses everywhere. You talk about lawsuits. The thing is, a private court system can only have any binding decisions if the owners of the court are big and powerful enough to enforce these decisions as a de facto government. And there needs to be a military/police to enforce these decisions on neighbors. You may be personally strong enough to defend your house with your shotgun from your porch, but you aren't going to be able to stop pollution from blowing over your house without some kind of task force invading and checking your neighbors. None of that shit is going to work at all.

Comment Re:Don't take yours in. (Score 2) 411

For the majority of people, a slight difference in emissions would be preferable to a noticeable drop in performance.

Exactly why regulation is necessary. The ironic thing about libertarians is that protection of the commons is not necessary, but they are the first to trash the commons if they can get away with it. I'd like to see the political demographics of people who get emissions control bypass mechanisms are, and especially those idiotic coal rollers.

Comment Re:Sounds like an opportuntity to fleece the scamm (Score 1) 68

Unencrypted HTTP back channel? I would be tempted to leave this running and wait for someone to try to use it, then at a crucial times (on a big bet) change what is being sent back to them to make my hand look weaker than it is. Then you tell your AV to nuke it and change your passwords.

Damn, someone should make a movie of this. It's got everything.

Hardware Hacking

9th-Grader May Face Charges After Homemade Clock Mistaken For Bomb 956

New submitter bengoerz writes: 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was led away from MacArthur High School in handcuffs and faces possible charges after teachers, school administrators, and police in Irving, Texas mistook his homemade clock for a bomb. The device — a circuit board, power supply, and digital display wired together inside a pencil box — was confiscated by a teacher after the alarm sounded in class. Despite telling everyone who would listen that his device was just a clock, Ahmed was confronted by four police officers, suspended for three days, and threatened with expulsion unless he made a written statement, before eventually being transported to a juvenile detention center to meet his parents.

"I have five dollars for each of you." -- Bernhard Goetz