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Comment Re:Yeah, that's sound about right (Score 1) 217

Certified ADS-B transponders run multiple thousands of dollars, but as with everything in aviation, much of that cost comes not from the product but from the certification process. The hardware itself is not necessarily expensive. Proving to the FAA that the hardware is safe and reliable, and maintaining insurance coverage for when NTSB inevitably cites the device as a contributing factor to an accident, is what incurs the expense for manufacturers and why the prices are so high.

There are pilots building battery powered homebrew ADS-B receivers out of a Raspberry Pi and a USB software-defined radio tuner. The whole setup runs around $120. They aren't FAA certified, of course, but are not required to be since all they do is receive. It wouldn't be difficult to turn this design into a transponder with little additional weight. Surely it's conceivable to manufacture something even lighter and smaller and less expensive when done on a large scale, if the certification requirements were set reasonably enough to make such a unit commercially viable for consumer level "drones."

Comment Re:the penalty is way to light (Score 2) 42

Hold up, as the summary doesn't jive with the facts. From the DOJ's release, emphasis mine,

According to industry estimates, Citadel, and other botnets like it, infected approximately 11 million computers worldwide and are responsible for over $500 million in losses. In 2012, Belorossov downloaded a version of Citadel, which he then used to operate a Citadel botnet primarily from Russia. Belorossov remotely controlled over 7,000 victim bots, including at least one infected computer system with an IP address resolving to the Northern District of Georgia.

This guy didn't create the malware, he wasn't responsible for 11 million infections, nor was he responsible for $500 million in losses. He downloaded and tweaked some existing bank trojan, got it onto 7,000 computers, and stole some undetermined amount of money, which the DOJ has not disclosed but which is probably much closer to his restitution amount of ~$320K than it is to $500M.

Comment Re:Mountains and Mole Hills... (Score 1) 136

Look, we all know that marketing materials are fluff, and should not be relied upon when buying or using a piece of equipment.

The problem is that "we all" don't know that; in fact there are so many millions of people who don't know that, we have a Federal Trade Commission with the authority to regulate marketing materials. Sony's advertising explicitly infers using this phone to take photos of someone underwater in a swimming pool. If the phone is not intended or designed to be used that way, then depicting that exact activity in marketing materials is not okay.

It seems fairly obvious to me that by "water proof" they mean "water resistant" and they make it clear that it is not designed for dedicated underwater use such as a GoPro-like device. But you can probably still drop it in your toilet and it will work after being fished out.

It was obvious to me that those Enzyte pills with "Smiling Bob" were snake oil, that didn't stop the company from being bankrupted or the owners from going to prison. If this phone isn't designed for underwater use then Sony should not be permitted to promote it that way. Their website should show an image of a phone being fished out of a toilet, perhaps, not an image of someone photographing swimmers underwater.

Comment Re: Yes, they are employees (Score 1) 367

Doesn't seem to be that hard, from what I've read.

You're being quite optimistic. This isn't autopilot or TCAS where you're separated from traffic by miles horizontally and thousands of vertical feet with plenty of time for human intervention. A self-driving car will have to respond in millisecond time to unexpected threats (tire blowout, deer darting into the roadway, etc.) and instantly coordinate that response with dozens of vehicles in immediate proximity. We'll get there eventually, but it's going to be many years in the making.

Comment How does a consumer test for the vulnerability? (Score 4, Interesting) 91

As someone who drives a GM car that came with an OnStar antenna, a rearview mirror full of OnStar buttons, and an OnStar free trial... How do I determine whether or not my car is vulnerable? Whether it received the patch? Which generation of OnStar my car has?

I haven't had anything to do with OnStar since I was driving down the interstate and suddenly received a loud and unexpected phone call from a fucking OnStar telemarketer. My trial, which came with the car and which I hadn't used, was about to expire, so they decided to make a sales call. To my car. While I was driving. Out of nowhere, the car muted the radio, made some very loud dinging noises, and started blasting an unknown woman's voice over the stereo system while I was driving down the highway. She's asking me if I want to sign up for OnStar at such and such monthly rate. I have never been so distracted by anything while behind the wheel of a car, and vowed never to use any OnStar service again.

I'd just like to know whether or not the OnStar in my car, which I had hoped was disabled after not paying for it, will attempt to kill me again.

Comment Re:Why didn't the old logo work? (Score 1) 132

I'm with you, I don't see how their new logo conveys how people "interact with Google products across many different platforms, apps and devices-sometimes all in a single day" any more or less than the old one did. It's a logo. It says "Google." Nothing about the old logo or the new one infers usage from a desktop PC, a phone, a tablet, or anything else, and they could have added the new microphone icon and whatever else without changing the logo. It's their brand to play with, but the justification doesn't make sense, they could have just said "we thought we needed a crisp new look."

Comment Re:Murder is a petty crime? (Score 1) 213

The one example the summary gives is murder because that was the most egregious attempt at covering up the Stingray's use. The examples of smaller crimes begin in the first sentence of the article.

BALTIMORE - The crime itself was ordinary: Someone smashed the back window of a parked car one evening and ran off with a cellphone. What was unusual was how the police hunted the thief.

There are a few more.

Police in Tallahassee used their stingray to track a woman wanted for check forging [...] Tacoma, Wash., police used theirs to try to find a stolen city laptop [...] Other departments have acknowledged that they planned to use their stingrays for solving street crimes.

And they're not just going after suspects; if you might have witnessed a robbery, your phone is apparently fair game, too!

Usually they were searching for suspects, but occasionally, the records show they used the devices to track down witnesses. The most common use by far was solving robberies.

Comment Re:Federal law (chap 206) says a court order is re (Score 1) 213

Except YOUR device explicitly connects to their tower and tells them everything.

If I pick up a tapped or pen-registered landline phone and start dialing, my device is explicitly sending a series of tones that tells them everything, but they need a warrant to use that equipment. Why should it be any different just because we're discussing cellphones instead of landlines? "But, it's [new technology]!" does not obviate the need for a warrant.

Comment Re:Can't trust LOCKS anymore (Score 1) 89

It's like governments have abrogated their duty to protect people from this kind of shit and companies like Uber and Lenovo are having a field day.

Governments love this shit. The more data Uber and Lenovo and Samsung and Spotify collect about you, the more data the government can subpoena (or just take without a subpoena). These companies have become, in effect, agents of the government.

Comment Re:Is "Snowden document" a new English word now? (Score 1) 54

I remember read it somewhere that many later leaking documents only named after Snowden to cover the real sources.

We can reasonably assume that any documents containing dates or references beyond June 2013 didn't come from Snowden. He himself denies providing the documentation of NSA's spying on Angela Merkel. Bruce Schneier has a blog entry making the case for multiple individuals. It seems likely to me that there are at least three, counting Snowden (and not counting Manning).

In any event, the NYT article about the latest set of documents says "AT&T's cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013" and goes on to explicitly source them to Snowden.

A freelance is one who gets paid by the word -- per piece or perhaps. -- Robert Benchley