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Comment: Re:Lottery (Score 1) 126

by SuricouRaven (#49384197) Attached to: NSA Worried About Recruitment, Post-Snowden

There's nothing wrong with an accountability system in principle - we want politicians to follow the law and avoid corruption, after all. The problem is bias in enforcement. If you get the NSA to spy on politicians, they are sure to find more than a few who are taking bribes (Or as we put it today, violating what few rules on campaign finance remain). That much is fine - but you can also expect them to take a much longer, harder look at any politicians who propose cutting the NSA budget, and deliberately not investigating too hard those that seek to increase the agency's influence. The personal political views of the agency management would also be an influence on who gets the most enforcement effort.

Comment: Re:Ballsy, but stupid ... (Score 0) 307

by SuricouRaven (#49373225) Attached to: Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead

Even people who try to ram the gates of a federal military facility still deserve their right to a fair trial. Shooting should be reserved only for those cases in which someone poses an immediate and obvious danger to others and cannot be incapacitated any other way - and that doesn't include a danger to property.

Comment: Re:Ballsy, but stupid ... (Score 2) 307

by SuricouRaven (#49373201) Attached to: Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead

Except for the guards at Area 51 - the outer perimeter guards there get so many UFO conspiracy theorists trying to breach the defences, they are very reluctant to use lethal force. No point killing UFO nuts, they aren't harming anyone. It's something of a badge of honor for a UFO nut to be able to claim they've actually stood upon the soil of Area 51 - for the few seconds it takes for the guards to catch up.

Comment: Re:I hope it was an NSA Agent (Score 1) 307

by SuricouRaven (#49373167) Attached to: Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead

Because everyone is the good guy in their own eyes. Even the worst oppressive dictators don't view themselves as oppressive dictators - they are just trying to do the best for their people, and if the people don't see it that way then they need to be controlled for their long-term benefit. Also because even the most corrupt organisation is composed largely of people just doing their job - they don't particually want to work for the evil empire, but they have bills to pay just like everyone else.

Comment: Re:Ummmm ... duh? (Score 1) 378

by SuricouRaven (#49372341) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

The jet? No reason.

It's possible there was something or someone on the jet though. Conspiracy theory field day - if there was something super-secret national-security-wise on board, the public would probably not be told. Perhaps it was carrying a classified military object in the cargo, like a prototype drone or new concept weapon. Something worth a major operation to get hold of.

It's possible, though it seems intuitively more likely that a pilot flipped, overpowered the other pilot, locked the door, shut down communication and left the craft on autopilot until the fuel ran out.

Comment: Re:Spies vs Comm Monitoring (Score 1) 161

by SuricouRaven (#49368661) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

There is one thing that Sun Tzu stressed above all else in The Art of War: War is very, very expensive. Only start a war if you are confident not only of victory, but of a rapid victory - for if you win after ten years of fighting, you'll have emptied the treasury and destroyed your own economy. A lot of his instruction isn't about how to fight, but about when not to fight.

Comment: Re:Oh For Crying Out Loud (Score 3, Insightful) 161

by SuricouRaven (#49368655) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

Encryption isn't new, but tansparent on-by-default encryption is. Remember just how tech-dumb the average person is - you'd be lucky if you could get them to realise a web browser and the internet are not the same thing. Most governments weren't too worried (US aside) when encryption was something available only to the moderately skilled, especially in communications where the lowest standard has to rule*. After the NSA scandal though, companies are starting to design encryption into their products at a lower level, such that the user benefits without even having to know what encryption is.

*Would you like to explain to your mother how to use gnupg to encrypt emails?

Comment: Re:He's good. (Score 2) 198

by SuricouRaven (#49362647) Attached to: Prison Inmate Emails His Own Release Instructions To the Prison

Not quite. There's a little trick, fractional reserve. The bank loans you $10k, you put it in the bank, they immediately loan $9500 of that to someone else, who puts it in the bank... Effectively the amount of currency in circulation can be vastly greater than the amount of currency that actually exists. Debt itsself becomes currency.

The big down-side to this is that it becomes possible, in theory, for the bank to run out of money and hundreds of thousands of people to lose everything they have through no fault of their own. But this is a very unlikely event - it shouldn't be even remotely possible unless the economy is pretty much ruined anyway. Besides, if it did, the government would have no choice but to bail the bank out.

Comment: Re:Ummmm ... duh? (Score 2) 378

by SuricouRaven (#49357101) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

It's not that easy. Land based nuclear sites in the US do require the two men with two keys - and then another two men with another two keys at a distant location.

Nuclear submarines have no distant location to validate their order, but they are incapable of launching nukes by the command of even the entire crew: The nukes require a code before they'll launch, and these codes are only transmitted to the sub via radio along with the attack order. I don't know how second-strike capability is handled, but if I were designing the system I'd simply give each submarine the codes to launch a few other submarines, so that no one sub acting alone can fire but collectively they can still act as a deterent with the promise of counterattack.

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]