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Comment: Re:Hello, 2007. (Score 1) 440

by Mostly Harmless (#38112080) Attached to: Whither the Portable Optical Drive?
I must have forgotten the /sarcasm tag at the end of my post. The point is, netbooks and ultraportables don't have optical drives pretty much by definition. They don't come with them not because they're not necessary, but because they're netbooks and ultraportables. The author is using old news to support a disjoint claim.

Comment: Social network privacy? (Score 4, Insightful) 373

by Mostly Harmless (#36893824) Attached to: Security Expert Slams Google+ Pseudonym Policy
I value the importance of privacy as much as any good Slashdot reader, but we're talking about an opt-in social network. If you want privacy, don't use the service that's already linked to everything else you do publicly on the Internet. Rather, get your privacy at one of the other, "more secure," social networking sites, like Facebook, or MySpace. Better yet, eschew social networking altogether. Or, if you want an anonymous social network that plays by your rules, build one.

Comment: Standard Default Password? (Score 1) 332

by Mostly Harmless (#34183290) Attached to: Sophos Researcher Suggests Password 'Free' to Spur Wi-Fi Encryption
I don't like the sound of "standard default password." That's just asking for all sorts of trouble. How about changing the SSID to something like, "Starbux Network Password: freenet" This way the password is available without having to post signs, etc., and you don't have to worry about involving default passwords of any sort. However, this is still a band-aid over the real problem. Facebook and the like should just get on the ball and enforce TLS.

Comment: Re:This isn't about free speech at all. (Score 1) 677

by Mostly Harmless (#32409168) Attached to: Pakistan Lifts Ban After Facebook Deletes Offending Page
Yes, I'm replying to myself rather than responding to every post.

I'm not trying to limit free speech. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with depictions of Muhammad. You have every right to your opinion. But what is lost in the message is that this has nothing to do with freedom of speech. The First Amendment does not give you a blanket right to say whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want. But that's not even relevant. What is relevant is that this was a page on the Facebook site, a privately owned and operated company. Censoring their own website is not a violation of free speech. If you don't like the company's regulations, go somewhere else! I still may not agree with your form of protest, but I stand by your rights within what freedom of speech actually is (and not what one may think it is).

We invoke "freedom of speech" only when it suits us, often without knowing what it really means, and that's just wrong. I do believe that standing up for your rights - even when misguided - is better than inaction, because freedom of speech is important, but there needs to be a line drawn somewhere.

Comment: Re:This isn't about free speech at all. (Score 1) 677

by Mostly Harmless (#32408346) Attached to: Pakistan Lifts Ban After Facebook Deletes Offending Page
This is exactly what I'm talking about. The vast majority of Muslims aren't the fundamentalist extremist terrorists you're describing. Is it really okay to insult an entire group of people for the sake of pissing-off a small portion of their population? Even if you think it is, are we really any better than they by using these tactics?

I'm going to say it again: this has nothing to do with freedom of speech or expression. This is people looking for an excuse to be bigoted while hiding under the guise of free speech.

Comment: Re:Ban this, you spineless mother-fucker. (Score 1) 677

by Mostly Harmless (#32408282) Attached to: Pakistan Lifts Ban After Facebook Deletes Offending Page
What "honest opinions" do I want to prevent people from expressing? Do you really think most people were participating to express their opinions about Muhammad and Islam? People were being bigots, and that's Just Not Right. Facebook has no obligation to protect free speech. Even if they did, the idea of free speech isn't to protect people who want to be deliberate assholes. You have the right to bear arms, but you can't shoot someone simply because you don't like them. Why the double standard?

Comment: This isn't about free speech at all. (Score 3, Insightful) 677

by Mostly Harmless (#32407644) Attached to: Pakistan Lifts Ban After Facebook Deletes Offending Page
First and foremost, Facebook's T&Cs outranks free speech. It explicitly states:
  • You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
  • You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

Draw Muhammad Day isn't about us standing up against terrorists. It isn't even about standing up against Islamic fundamentalists. It's about blatant bigotry. I'd venture to say most (if not close to all) people who participated did so out of pure hatred and with complete ignorance. This certainly violates Facebook's terms.

Fighting hateful behavior with more hateful behavior is sophomoric. While I really wish I could be defending free speech here, there has to be a point where I draw the line. If Draw Muhammad Day was a peaceful, public demonstration where people where drawing the prophet hugging pandas and sniffing roses, this post would be quite different. Unfortunately, that's not the case. People where being intentionally hurtful on a publicly-accessible, corporate-owned website. Facebook did the right thing.

Comment: Re:Sounds unreasonable (Score 2, Interesting) 631

by Mostly Harmless (#32336262) Attached to: Emergency Dispatcher Fired For Facebook Drug Joke

The real stupid thing here is the idea that she should not be free to say what she wants.

I think this is a case of "it depends." I think, for one, we need to come to a consensus on what sort of privacy you should be able to expect on a social networking site. Should you consider it private communication or public? And even if it is private, there are certain situations where it doesn't matter. If you work for the public and say or do something - in private or not - which puts into question your integrity or ability to perform your job, you should have no expectation of privacy unless that privacy is protected by law (e.g., attorney-client privilege). This counts doubly if you intentionally friend your boss or another employee and still post such comments.

On the other hand, for example, if your boss was trawling the Web and finds your comments because Facebook has poor privacy practices, you communication should be protected.

Comment: It's a two-way street (Score 1) 160

by Mostly Harmless (#32305510) Attached to: A Contrarian Stance On Facebook and Privacy
You can not expect to take part in an online social networking site without ceding some bit of privacy. Otherwise, the "social networking" part of the deal is void (sociableness and privacy are antonyms, fwiw). Likewise, while the services may be provided to users free of monetary charges, there is a price to be paid, and that is privacy. Just because we don't have to break out our wallets to support these sites doesn't mean that someone doesn't have to. If Facebook can't make money off their users, they can't pay their bills. It's really that simple. In this respect, I agree with a small part of the article: we do need to expect, and accept, a certain amount of openness.

That said, we should expect the same from Facebook. It is our data after all, and Facebook has no business if it has no users. They should warn users well in advance of any changes that may affect privacy and provide clear tools to edit how our data is (or isn't) used. By default, security setting should be more restrictive. I shouldn't have to worry about my friends' privacy settings. I shouldn't have to worry about personally identifying information being leaked without my permission. In these respects, Facebook has failed miserably and it is not something that we should simply accept for the sake of innovation.

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