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Comment: Why is the White House involved? (Score 4, Insightful) 215

by ShaunC (#48668519) Attached to: Sony To Release the Interview Online Today; Apple Won't Play Ball

Sony had in recent days asked the White House for help in lining up a single technology partner - Apple, which operates iTunes

I'm not even sure how to react to this. Why is it that Sony, a private company, feels that the White House, the executive branch of the United States federal government, should help them seek out a technology partner? This bothers me on multiple levels. One, that Sony would feel it appropriate to ask the White House for help conducting their private corporate business. Two, that Sony expects the White House to have that level of influence over Apple, another private company.

I understand that money buys influence, and that Hollywood and Silicon Valley both historically have Democrats in their pockets (full disclosure, I voted for Obama twice, I'm not attacking Democrats). That said, I don't understand how Sony is so brazen as to assume that they can just call up the White House, ask for help, and suddenly Apple is going to capitulate to their demands. Their line of thinking goes in this direction for a reason. Either Sony has successfully coerced companies into similar relations in the past, with the White House as a mediator, or vice versa.

Sony is a corporation. Apple is a corporation. In my own experience, executives have each others' contact information and can get in touch with one another directly. I guarantee you that Sony executives have the private numbers to Apple executives, and it's up to them to work out a deal. There is absolutely no reason for Sony to involve the government in their appeals to establish a business relationship. It's corporate prostitution at the highest and most obvious level. Government "transparency," indeed.

The entire premise is disgusting to me. I for one will not be paying to see this movie on any medium.

Comment: Re:False Falg? (Score 1) 236

by ShaunC (#48644113) Attached to: North Korea Denies Responsibility for Sony Attack, Warns Against Retaliation

Who had something to gain?

Those who wish to impose further regulations and control upon the Internet. With the flurry of news surrounding all things Sony, you might have missed it, but yesterday Obama came out with this gem:

"We need more rules about how the internet should operate."

So, cui bono? The US Government, that's cui.

Comment: Re:I don't see the big deal here. (Score 1) 182

by ShaunC (#48626999) Attached to: US Links North Korea To Sony Hacking

While North Korea is hardly a beacon of consumerism, there are plenty of TVs and DVD players in the country. It's not even forbidden to own them. While it's illegal to modify them to receive anything other than state-sponsored broadcasts, in some areas homes will even have two TVs, one official (for receiving propaganda) and one bootleg (to pick up South Korean broadcasts). DVD smuggling is common. If DVDs came raining down from the heavens, especially closer to the border regions, the people would be able to use them.

Comment: Re:Yes, idiocy (Score 2) 579

by ShaunC (#48626841) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Has anyone, including some nebulous North Korean hacking team, actually threatened yours?

Someone, identity unknown, claiming to be part of a group that hacked Sony, sent an email saying we'd have another 9/11 if a movie is shown. Call me naive but I don't think anyone should take that seriously. Even Homeland Security, the agency that loves to play up every whisper as ominous, has come out and said there's no credible threat. The President went on TV and his advice to Americans was not "exercise caution," not "if you see something, say something," but "go to the movies." There's every opportunity for the security behemoth to capitalize on this, crank the terror alert color up to fuchsia, and Keep America Fearful. They aren't even bothering. There is no threat.

I'm statistically far more likely to die in a car wreck on the way to a movie theater. That threat is credible, the risk is proven, and it exists every time I get on the road. I still drive every day.

Comment: Re:I'm confused (Score 1) 586

by ShaunC (#48623581) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

I was right there with you around Thanksgiving, when we heard stories of ominous skulls displaying on Sony workstations, and we saw a huge list of files that the hackers were threatening to release. It all sounded like a Hollywood plot. After they actually started leaking the files? Assuming they're real, there's no way it's a publicity stunt. Sony isn't going to damage itself, its employees, and its reputation just to hype one movie.

That said, I remain unconvinced that North Korea are really the bad actors here. Several articles mentioned that the hack was ongoing for over a year. The movie hadn't even been announced to the public back then, had it? There was supposed to be a press release a few weeks ago squarely and officially blaming NK. If that happened, I didn't see it. I guess tomorrow's scheduled announcement might shed some light.

Are there any Americans currently imprisoned in NK? I get the feeling they're really not going to have a good time soon.

Comment: Re:Why are banks pushing this crap? (Score 1) 135

by ShaunC (#48586619) Attached to: Bank Security Software EULA Allows Spying On Users

Why are banks pushing this crap in the first place?

For one, because they believe it allows them to shift liability for fraud onto the consumer. "Oh, your online banking credentials were compromised and your life savings was irrecoverably transferred to Outer Elbonia? And you didn't have our Trusteer software installed, as required by our terms of service? Very sorry to hear that, I guess you're shit out of luck, maybe you can ask the federal government to bail you out (insert raucous laughter here)."

Comment: Re:Again I ask... (Score 1) 50

by ShaunC (#48585813) Attached to: "Lax" Crossdomain Policy Puts Yahoo Mail At Risk

It isn't just slow migration. Yahoo has been contracted to manage email for a lot of older ISPs, they host mail for a whole lot more than just users. There are millions of people who use the Yahoo Mail interface because that's what their ISP switched to.

For example, 20 years ago I had a dialup internet account through my telco at the time, BellSouth. My email address from that service, which I still have, is BellSouth no longer exists, it was swallowed back into ATT when the government decided that monopolies were a great idea again. For a year or two, the BellSouth webmail interface continued to exist, then it was shuffled over to the domain, and several years ago ATT decided to move all of their users over to Yahoo. If I want to check my email through the web, I'm taken to Yahoo Mail. (Yes I'm aware of options like mail2web.)

As far as I know, the same is true for customers from all of the Baby Bells that were re-absorbed back into ATT, and there are plenty of smaller ISPs who gave up on hosting their own mail in favor of paying Yahoo to do it for them. There are many, many people interacting with Yahoo Mail every day who have never had an email account and probably don't use Yahoo for anything else.

Comment: Re:Papers please (Score 1) 207

by ShaunC (#48577717) Attached to: In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver's License

In my state it's illegal to operate a motor vehicle without having the physical license with you. They can certainly look you up as you described, but you'd get a ticket for not having your license in addition to whatever infraction got you pulled over. I wonder how long before it becomes a crime in Iowa to be in possession of a smart phone without the state-mandated identification app installed?

"When the going gets tough, the tough get empirical." -- Jon Carroll