Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Fifth amendment zone of lawlessness (Score 1) 404

by Sarten-X (#48929299) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Not really.

With a warrant, they try and try but they just can't find your stash.

With a suitable search warrant, the police can tear your house apart to find your stash. You cannot legally prohibit them from opening your house, and you cannot stop them from executing the search warrant to the full extent of its authorization.

Encryption is the same way. The encrypted container is the house;

And likewise, you cannot prohibit them from opening the encrypted volume.

What if...

Then it's a decision for a judge to make. The judge would be the one to decide if, by not providing a password, you are violating the court orders. You can provide evidence for your story, and the police can provide their own evidence. If you claim that somehow you had a 50-gig corrupt file, and the police show encryption software and logs of file access on volumes that don't exist, you're going to have a hard time convincing a judge of your story.

A better analogy would be evidence locked in a safe. The police can see the safe and can infer that it holds evidence, but you can claim to have forgotten the combination, or claim it's an antique to which you never knew the combination, or claim that it broke. If you can make a convincing case, you have a shot. If the police have evidence that you opened the safe a day earlier, you're pretty much screwed.

Comment: Re:Fifth amendment zone of lawlessness (Score 1) 404

by Sarten-X (#48929137) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

If the court orders you to teach the police how to read your language, then yes, you are in fact required to do so.

You could try teaching them incorrectly, but that's effectively obstruction of justice and/or perjury, depending on how it's handled.

Comment: Re:Fifth amendment zone of lawlessness (Score 2) 404

by Sarten-X (#48925015) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Just like that zone of lawlessness inside of peoples minds that the pesky 5th amendment creates, think of all the criminals going free because we can't force them to incriminate themselves!

Well, yeah. Remember that the Constitution's version of "due process" is not supposed to actually restrict the government, so much as it protects the people from the historical (at the time) abuses governments had commonly employed.

The 5th Amendment protects against defendants being forced to create evidence against themselves. Remember the fun of the Inquisition, where the accused would be tortured or killed if they didn't confess? The 5th Amendment is a counter to that, and not much more. It's not a magic wand that allows you to hide crimes you actually committed. Notably, it does not allow you to hide evidence that already exists.

Once you put information into anything except your own head, it's fair game for a subpoena or search warrant. Period. Encryption doesn't matter. You can be compelled to provide keys or passwords, because the keys and passwords themselves aren't evidence against you. They just unlock the evidence that already exists.

Comment: Re:Charged /= Guilty (Score 2) 408

Jokes aside, that's about it. The case in question is a bog-standard investigation and prosecution. The only notable twist is the guy's political connections. There's really no reason for widespread coverage.

This stunt may as we'll be Operation Our Favorite Crime, spreading awareness of Anonymous' obsession with this particular flavor of felony. We'll put it up next to the neckbeard ranting about his favorite video game, and the fat guy touting the virtues of his favorite food. Just like the armchair art critic and the armchair gourmet critic (and the nerd typing Slashdot comments when he should be sleeping) this will accomplish nothing to make the world a better place, but it will give a few individuals a few moments of pride in their hollow awareness campaign.

Comment: Re: Charged /= Guilty (Score 4, Insightful) 408

So in other words, justice is being served, and a sentence is being delivered that the judge (within the guidelines set by legislators) feels is appropriate to the crime committed.

There's nothing left for Anonymous to do, except to remind the world that this guy did something bad, and by so doing, perpetuate the shame and embarrassment his friends and family are subjected to. It won't affect the perpetrator himself, because he'll be in prison for the entire life of this "operation".

Harassing innocent bystanders is what Anonymous does best.

Comment: Re:From the home of industrial espionage, China (Score 1) 114

by Sarten-X (#48886289) Attached to: Apple Agrees To Chinese Security Audits of Its Products

I seem to recall tales of trade cities that were quite paranoid about outsiders learning their craft, some of which predated industrialized Great Britain or Germany by a rather large number of years.

Perhaps the most well-known example is Murano, whose artistic glassblowing techniques were held in high esteem by the region. An older example would be Damascus metalworking, and I have vague recollections of similar industrial pride dating back to Egypt.

I'm afraid my memory is not a particularly reliable source, but I believe there were often stiff penalties for trying to export the local expertise. Perhaps someone with a more complete knowledge of history can fill in the details...

Comment: Re:instant disqualification (Score 3, Insightful) 647

by Sarten-X (#48857117) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

For quite some time, I've argued in favor of teaching a programming class with QBasic. No, not the early BASICs that required line numbers, but the later QBasic that shipped with certain versions of DOS and Windows.

Later BASIC variants have one defining characteristic that makes them perfect for educational use: Zero overhead. For the simplest example programs, there is absolutely no boilerplate required to allocate memory, configure the process, or tell the compiler/interpreter how to work. An example that demonstrates three things has three lines.

For the very first stages of programming education, that's all you need. It's enough to show that instructions are executed sequentially, that you have to be explicit, and to walk through the compile/execution process. It hits all of the major concepts, with no extra parts to confuse the new students. From my time teaching CS, those basic concepts comprise the bulk of the initial difficulties most struggling students face. Once they understand those building blocks fully, the students can begin learning algorithms, design patterns, and all those more substantial parts of a full CS education... and that work should be done in a language that can trace its heritage to C.

Comment: Big deal (Score 5, Insightful) 388

by Sarten-X (#48804207) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

Last time I was in school, I had a better grasp of "modern technology" than most of my professors. This was in a computer science program. It's not a problem, because my CS professors didn't need to teach me how to use Facebook or make a slideshow shiny enough to woo investors. They still understood algorithms better than I did, and that was the knowledge they were passing on.

In today's shocking news story, we find that older people are familiar with an older generation of tools. For most "primary and secondary teachers", their job is to teach the basic skills and concepts that are elemental for the more advanced intellectual tasks encountered in a professional career. Sure, technology can assist in that endeavor, but it's not the whole solution. Teachers only need enough technology knowledge to use the technology needed for their classes. Anything more is gratuitous.

Comment: Re:Can't DRM or Root Kit Vinyl (Score 1) 278

by Sarten-X (#48726465) Attached to: Vinyl's Revival Is Now a Phenomenon On Both Sides of the Atlantic

Only incidentally. If, as king neckbeard suggested, the vinyl master were done completely analog for some reason (hipster executive producer?), it would be possible that they'd want to do it differently, effectively making the two media two separate artistic works.

One detail that's often missing from discussions about loudness and compression is that it's all intentional. The term "Loudness War" isn't just for emotional response. Producers kept pushing compression higher a little bit at a time, over the course of decades. The idea of what a song should sound like has changed, just as how other forms of art have gone through several different styles as painters, sculptors, and architects have accommodated changing aesthetics in their media.

This notion that "compression is bad" is a relatively new thing, previously just the complaint of self-proclaimed audiophiles and pretentious critics. The vast majority of listeners won't care, so unless the producer has an artistic inclination to change their style, it's not likely to happen.

Comment: Re:Can't DRM or Root Kit Vinyl (Score 3, Funny) 278

by Sarten-X (#48720169) Attached to: Vinyl's Revival Is Now a Phenomenon On Both Sides of the Atlantic

Does it matter?

The distributor has proof (from their own sales records) that record number 12345 was sold to Firsthand Music Stores, Inc., who (as part of their sales agreement) recorded that you, T. Lambert, purchased record number 12345. The fine print on the record sleeve outlines your license agreement (that you agreed to by opening the sleeve), which says that you will not make unauthorized copies or sell the record to anyone who will.

As far as the courts are concerned, the distributor has proof that you were involved in the illegal copying, and since you agreed to the terms of use, you accepted liability. Either you provide your own records to pass the blame on to someone else, or you take the blame.

(As far as I know, no cases have actually confirmed this hypothetical chain of events, but I also don't know of any cases ruling it out, either)

Comment: Re:Optometrist? (Score 1) 464

by Sarten-X (#48719207) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

Your conclusion is a non sequitur.

The study you cite does not make any conclusions as to why mortality is lower (for high-risk heart failure or cardiac arrest patients in teaching hospitals, but no other demographics) during cardiologist meetings. It could be that the students at such hospitals are simply more up-to-date with the latest emergency care. There was a minor reduction in one particular kind of treatment while meetings occurred, but its effect on mortality was not statistically significant.

"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond

Working...