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Comment Re:The judge issued a verdict ahead of trial? (Score 1) 221

Nowhere does the article say he issued a "verdict," just that he had "sided with the media companies." In this case, he sided with them against a challenge to the legitimacy of their complaint, ruling that if Cox wants to get out of this they're going to have to go with a different defense.

A preliminary ruling like this can be very helpful to both parties involved. The judge has basically told Cox's legal team, "Based on the information I have available to me right now, here is how I would rule, and why." That gives them the opportunity to build their case based on how the judge is leaning.

Judge's are not the same as jurors. They aren't sequestered, and there's no requirement that they only consider information presented at trial. At this point, the judge has read tons of material about the case. If he said he had no opinion at this time, I'd assume he was lying. Better to know where he stands, so that all parties involved can form meaningful legal strategies.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 1) 221

They do when you call someone a traitor against a country, as in "a traitor of the USA."
One of the official definitions of "traitor" is "one who commits treason." It's reasonable to apply that definition when dealing with nations, as that is the most common meaning in those situations.

If the poster had wanted to be clear that they weren't implying treason, they could have said something like "a traitor to the principles of the USA."

Comment Re:We don't need "backdoors" (Score 1) 259

Put simply, there exist plenty of systems and techniques that don't depend on a third-party who could possibly grant access to secure communications. These systems aren't going to disappear. Why would terrorists or other criminals use a system that could be monitored by authorities when secure alternatives exist? Why would ordinary people?

That's a really easy answer -- terrorists use these simple platforms for the same reason normal people do: because they're easy to use. Obviously a lot of our techniques and capabilities have been laid bare, but people use things like WhatsApp, iMessage, and Telegram because they're easy. It's the same reason that ordinary people -- and terrorists -- don't use Ello instead of Facebook, or ProtonMail instead of Gmail. And when people switch to more complicated, non-turnkey encryption solutions -- no matter how "simple" the more savvy may think them -- they make mistakes that can render their communications security measures vulnerable to defeat.

I'm not saying that the vendors and cloud providers ALWAYS can provide assistance; but sometimes they can, given a particular target (device, email address, etc.), and they can do so in a way that comports with the rule of law in free society, doesn't require creating backdoors in encryption, and doesn't require "weakening" their products. And of course, it would be good if we were able to leverage certain things against legitimate foreign intelligence targets without the entire world knowing exactly what we are doing, so our enemies know exactly how to avoid it. Secrecy is required for the successful conduct of intelligence operations, even in free societies.

Comment Re:We don't need "backdoors" (Score 1) 259

Sure. One hypothetical example:

The communication has to be decrypted somewhere; the endpoint(s) can be exploited in various ways. That can be done now. US vendors could, in theory, be at least a partial aid in that process on a device-by-device basis, within clear and specific legal authorities, without doing anything like key escrow, wholesale weakening of encryption, or similar with regard to software or devices themselves.

The point is that when US adversaries use systems and services physically located in the US, designed and operated by US companies, there are many things that could be discussed depending on the precise system, service, software, or device. Pretending that there is absolutely nothing that can be done, and it's either unbreakable, universal encryption for all, or nothing, is a false choice.

To sit here and pretend that it's some kind of "people's victory" when a technical system renders itself effectively impenetrable to the legitimate legal, judicial, and intelligence processes of even democratic governments operating under the rule of law in free civil society is curious indeed.

Comment We don't need "backdoors" (Score 3, Informative) 259

And the NYT has a new and extensive story that absolutely "mentions" crypto.

We don't need "backdoors". What we need is a clear acknowledgment that what increasingly exists essentially amounts to a virtual fortress impenetrable by the legal mechanisms of free society, that many of those systems are developed and employed by US companies, and that US adversaries use those systems against the US and our allies, and for a discussion to start from that point.

The US has a clear and compelling interest in strong encryption, and especially in protecting US encryption systems used by our government, our citizens, and people around the world from defeat. But the assumption that the only alternatives are either universal strong encryption, or wholesale and deliberate weakening of encryption systems and/or "backdoors", is a false dichotomy.

Comment 24-hours... (Score 1) 213

Companies, especially financial but also any company being "risk-evaluated" need to be able to "continue normal operation" in max. 24-hours, if they can't they risk-evaluation will drop and then they will be devalued, which technically means that their worth will drop. For an A+ or A rated company such devaluation is catastrophic because loan are based on this rating and will need to be paid immediately.
That means effectively that any piece of mission critical software or hardware need to either be replaced or fixed in under 24-hours.

YES, I do work in IT in a financial company with "triple A" rating.
(and btw. there are not so many of that kind companies left after the financial crisis)...

Comment Re:Apple TV is too closed off (Score 1) 129

Not that everyone has a 4K res TV but you do have built in longevity with those devices.

I used to feel the same way, especially when I was buying my first media devices. Back then it wasn't 4K, but there were still concerns with "the Wii doesn't have HDMI support" and the like. But then I realized that I generally keep the same TV for much longer than I keep the boxes that attach to it, and even after I upgrade my TV there are usually workarounds that allow me to keep using those devices until I'm ready to upgrade them.

Besides, at the moment I would say that network speeds and content availability are a bigger reason to wait on including 4K than the number of 4K TVs out there.

Comment Nicely done, connecting to NSA (Score 1) 139

Guess what people the NSA isn't going after with something as close-held as the linked exploit?

"Hackers, Activists, and Journos"

I know that doesn't really seem to matter to people, and that it's easier to cherry-pick contextless, misunderstood, fringe examples that are believed to prove some "point", or isolated examples of outright abuse and extrapolating, without any proof whatever, that to mean it is obviously systemic and widespread, instead of realizing that NSA's chief mission, as a foreign intelligence agency, is foreign signals intelligence collection, and that US adversaries use the same phones, laptops, networks, systems, devices, services, and providers as you.

And, stunningly, we still develop ways to actually target and collect against them.

Mind-bending, I know.

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