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Comment: Re:If "yes," then it's not self-driving (Score 1) 350

by Sarten-X (#49186039) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

A driver's license is not really entirely about driving, which is why some jurisdictions refer to them as operator's licenses.

To operate a motor vehicle, you're showing competence in the vehicle's operation, For a normal car, that means mostly the in-motion controls and law knowledge, but there's also a section of most tests where you're required to demonstrate mastery of the machine and the ability to keep it in good condition, by demonstrating indicator lights, completing a knowledge test, passing emissions tests, and the like.

For a self-driving car, that vehicular mastery becomes more important. Do you know how to manually take control of the vehicle? Do you know in which situations you might be required to take manual control? Does your vehicle indicate that it receives reasonably-frequent data or logic updates, if needed?

In short, if you're the legal entity responsible for the vehicle, are you able to reasonably ensure its safe operation?

Comment: Re:contamination? (Score 1) 135

by Zordak (#49174611) Attached to: Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval To Warrantless DNA Collection

Aside from the huge privacy issues, I'm even more concerned that they would screw up collecting it. Everyone sheds DNA. Who is to say that the DNA they collect is actually from the person they think it is? DNA gets all mixed together after it leaves a person's body.

That's what juries are for. The prosecution presents evidence that the defendant's DNA was found at the scene of the crime. The defense attorney then attacks the credibility of the evidence, for example by offering an alternative theory for why his DNA was there, or attacking the method of collection to raise doubt that it's actually his DNA the police collected. (He doesn't necessarily have to provide his own DNA sample. Defendants aren't obligated to prove their innocence.) Then the investigator explains why the collection method is sound. At the end of the day, the jury decides whether the defense has raised a reasonable doubt.

Comment: Re:Nothing wrong here. (Score 3, Insightful) 135

by Zordak (#49173589) Attached to: Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval To Warrantless DNA Collection

This comment makes absolutely no sense. Where does probable cause come from, except from an investigation? How do you expect police to do their job if they're only allowed to start collecting evidence after they get a warrant, which must be supported by evidence?

The purpose of a warrant is to allow the police to breach your otherwise constitutionally-guaranteed reasonable expectation of privacy. A warrant permits police to search your home, person, vehicle, or other private space without your permission. Other than such private spaces, police don't need permission from anybody to investigate. They certainly don't need a warrant to search a crime scene, where you have no legally-protected reasonable expectation of privacy.

Comment: Re:As the majority pointed out (Score 1) 135

by Zordak (#49173419) Attached to: Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval To Warrantless DNA Collection

so they follow you around until they see you throw away a cup, or a piece of gum, or sneeze and toss the tissue away in a public place. Then they amble up and help themselves.

That sounds like "police work" to me. I'd rather police spend their time doing things like staking out suspected criminals than doing what the NSA does.

Comment: Re:What about the public? (Score 1) 135

by Sarten-X (#49173403) Attached to: Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval To Warrantless DNA Collection

If this is something only the government can do legally, then what law gives them but not me the right to collect other people's DNA and have it analyzed without their permission?

The government could be prevented from collection by the Fourth Amendment... but the Fourth is based on preventing the state harassing a citizen, and "inadvertently shed" DNA rather implies that there was no inconvenience to the suspect, and thus no violation.

More to the point, is there any law preventing me or anyone else from doing this right now? I can see James O'Keefe with a cotton swab and vial chasing Elizabeth Warren across the Harvard campus.

Private citizens are prevented from harassing other citizens by various anti-harassment laws which vary by local jurisdiction. Chasing someone across the campus probably isn't allowed, but pulling a cup from the trash (once, so as not to be considered "stalking") is probably fine.

Comment: Re:I'd expect lots of cross-over branding crap (Score 5, Insightful) 207

by Sarten-X (#49172775) Attached to: What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft?

Why is this modded flamebait? Is it because there's no "pretty-accurate" mod?

I recall an article a while back about the huge corporate shift within LEGO when they started working with tie-ins. Yes, kids were quite content with building... but they're even happier to be building with their favorite pop-culture characters and settings. The bottom line was the bottom line. Ultimately, LEGO faced a decision whether they would keep their mediocre sales figures and their original characters, or whether they'd cash in their fanatic followers as targets for the movie marketing drones.

It turns out the latter choice wasn't nearly as bad as was feared. LEGO is iconic enough that they can hold their own in negotiations with brands. There are (almost) no remastered LEGO sets, no special promos, and no enforced storylines. Tie-in LEGO sets are still LEGOs, but with some familiar characters. Of course, LEGO still has their original material, which has seen a significant increase in sales because the tie-ins have served as a means to attract new customers. Perhaps surprisingly, LEGO has maintained its fanatic customer base, and yes, that often leads to supply shortages and expensive collector-oriented sets.

I'm afraid I can't find that article now, but here's an informative image.

Comment: Re:Agreed (Score 1) 194

by Sarten-X (#49167527) Attached to: Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications

As I understand the location services built into iOS and Android devices, the phone will periodically send a list of nearby access points (with signal strengths) up to Apple or Google's servers, and those servers respond with a guess at the phone's location, which is often more accurate than the location received from cell towers, and more resilient than GPS. The servers know where access points are located due to data collected by mapping vehicles and the aggregated reports of clients' less-accurate reckonings.

I'm guessing that during the previous concert, the audience's phones were sufficient to convince the servers that the bands' APs were located in one particular place. When your phone tried to locate itself using those APs as a reference, it was told a now-incorrect location, because the server was unaware the APs had moved. Multiple APs being used as references could also end up with different locations, giving the erratic reporting you observed.

Comment: Re:Default Government Stance (Score 3, Informative) 194

by Sarten-X (#49166591) Attached to: Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications

28 U.S. Code 534(a)(1), 47 CFR 2.701(b), and 47 CFR 15.9, to start.

Of course, let's not forget 47 CFR 15.15(c), which effectively says that interference is unavoidable and should be minimized, and when considered along with 47 CFR 15.5(c), you'll have a hard time convincing a judge (which is really what matters, legally) that the FBI's actions were actually illegal, unless the FCC has told them to stop. Good luck getting that to happen.

Comment: Re:Stingray detector? (Score 1) 194

by Sarten-X (#49166429) Attached to: Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications

This is an awesome idea.

From the state's perspective, the worst that happens here is that criminals can avoid creating accessible evidence, but that comes at a significant cost for each private phone call, making their entire operation more costly. That in itself is a bit of justice, and a hindrance on coordinated criminal activity.

Normal law-abiding citizens can choose to be private or not, at a socially-acceptable low cost for the few times privacy might be desired. The truly paranoid law-abiding citizens can choose to be private every time, but their cost is the result of their own choice, not a government mandate.

Comment: Re:Default Government Stance (Score 5, Informative) 194

by Sarten-X (#49166199) Attached to: Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications

Also consider the fact that the Constitution ofthe United States specifically limits the function of Government to that which is SPECIFICALLY ALLOWED by Law; any activity which is NOT specifically legislated for is in fact ILLEGAL for Government to carry out. As always, the Constitution wins out absent an Amendment, ergo warrantless wiretapping or active unlawful interference in communications is unconstitutional hence ILLEGAL.

The FBI's activities are specifically authorized by a host of laws. That you didn't bother to learn about them doesn't invalidate their existence.

Comment: Re:Default Government Stance (Score 1) 194

by Sarten-X (#49166109) Attached to: Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications

The default government stance is that these things are legal, until proven illegal (challenged in court).

And how exactly is that different from any other government in the world?

Perhaps the more interesting question is how you would rather the system worked. Should new tools and tactics be assumed to be illegal for law enforcement use until such new developments are added to a whitelist of legal tools? Under such a system, what is the defense against a criminal enterprise using that whitelist as a simple checklist for their opsec? Do you expect that the whitelist changes (with proper bureaucratic review) would outpace the criminals' workarounds?

We live in a police state.

No, we live in a state with a strong police force. It lacks the totalitarian and strict political influence usually necessary for the term "police state". Sure, there's occasional overreaches and corruption, but those are the exception, not the norm.

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