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Comment: Agreed (Score 1) 610

by Weezul (#45139407) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Isn't There More Public Outrage About NSA Revelations?

We've all the institutional responses now. That's extremely interesting news.

Also, I'd imagine Greenwald, et al. released the simplest revelations early. At present, there are many shocking revelations remaining, but they're much too subtle for the public. Tor's effectiveness was already much too subtle.

Comment: Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Latin) (Score 1) 247

by Weezul (#45114215) Attached to: Could Snowden Have Been Stopped In 2009?

Not really. NSA employees and contractors routinely engage in LOVEINt and BIZINT now. Who else is the NSA going to hire?

We're not talking about them selling NSA secrets to China. We're talking about them selling HSBC or UBS secrets to Goldman-Sacks. An NSA employee might not even do jail time for this. Booz Allen would not lose future contracts for this.

Comment: Wealthy? (Score 1) 341

by Weezul (#45042993) Attached to: Lockheed To Furlough 3,000 On Monday, Layoffs Also Kicking In

I'd agree historically, but today defense pries money from the hands of the middle class and spend it on the upper-middle class and wealthy, which I guess you just said too.

There is a larger picture here though :

Keynesianism works. Economic activity is increased when the resources are distributed more evenly because this increases the chance that any given person has the resources to do any given thing they might wish to do.

But Keynesianism is just a hack as implemented. What's actually goes on is : Technology reduces the need for work. So money gets wasted on make work, like most management, administration, law enforcement, finance, defense, etc. Eventually we start running out of easily justifiable make work though, creating a recession. Keynesianism gets interpreted as "avoid recession by making more make-work, even less justifiable make work".

What happens when our culture internalizes the need to make stupid make work? Well, we squander hundreds of billions on defense, law enforcement, Wall St., etc. And our justifications for all this make-work lauds them so highly that real work like education, healthcare, bridge repair, etc. get neglected. All this Keynesian spending on make-work creates way too much corruption, distorts needs, etc.

So we must eliminate all this make-work : Cut defense back to pre-WWII levels. Cut law enforcement back to 1960s levels. Just fyi, law enforcement is the only category of discretionary spending that increased as a share of GDP since 1972. It caused an enormous portion of our national debt. Reduce bureaucracy across the board. etc.

Won't that throw the economy into chaos? Not if you simultaneously shorten the working week and remove most exempt categories from FLSA. You still spread the money around, but you do so by pushing people to spend more time away from work.

We're already doing this through facebook, slashdot, etc., which turn people's work hours into play hours, but that's a pretty stupid way to do it. In particular, people cannot really work on hobbies that benefit the world if they're spending so much time in the office.

Comment: Umm no (Score 4, Insightful) 194

by Weezul (#45033653) Attached to: Science Magazine "Sting Operation" Catches Predatory Journals In the Act

Clicks are not the problem. Journals don't get any money from advertisement clicks. Real problem is :

At present, "Open Access Publishing" mostly means "Author Pays". If the author is your customer, then obviously you publish whatever they want. We must abandon the extortionate academic publishers like Elsevier all together by building an arXiv overlay filters that take over the journal's role of reviewing and declaring papers important. And these must be paid for by tax money because the customer should be society.

Just like with universities, Britain has rampant grade inflation because the students all pay 15k USD per year (9k GBP). St Andrews has a 98% graduation rate. A 98% graduation rate tells me the university did basically no "selection" on their admitted students, all selection occurred when an admissions person read their test scores from high school. In other words, the student is the customer and the product is a little piece of paper. This is why Britain sucks so bad at engineering and must create that blatantly bullshit ranking system by THES to make themselves look good.

In continental europe, almost everyone who finishes high school can attend university without paying, but the universities select students by failing out the shitty ones, well society is the customer and the students are the product. It's infinitely more fare because gaming the system in high school does nothing and people who never really hit their stride until the find challenging material do well.

Comment: Re:No, it might not (Score 1) 576

by Weezul (#44896423) Attached to: Linus Torvalds Admits He's Been Asked To Insert Backdoor Into Linux

Thwarted Linux backdoor hints at smarter hacks (2003)
Apparently it exploited the = vs == distinction in C. Just imagine how easily you could hide a backdoor in C++ or Java though with all the overloading!

Recent post-Snowden discussion :

Comment: Amusing, but.. (Score 1) 576

by Weezul (#44894821) Attached to: Linus Torvalds Admits He's Been Asked To Insert Backdoor Into Linux

There is more risk of being caught implanting a bug in Linux :

Imagine you send Linus, Alan Cox, etc. an NSL telling him to implant some bug himself. What could go wrong?

First, Linus is famous. Are you going to lock him up for violating the NSL and telling everyone about it? Even if he doesn't violate it, he could obtain the resources for a court fight by merely hinting. NSLs aren't usually challenged, but several lost in court.

Second, Linus could quietly tell another kernel developer or security researcher who then "discovers" the bug. Again, you cannot prosecute Linus himself so easily because he's famous. In fact, any court case eventually exposes that you're inserting backdoors, which makes a mess.

You might attempt this through another less famous kernel developer, but his patches likely receive more review, and he could still quietly leak the bug.

So what do you do? Just make the patch as useful as possible, make the insecurity created a subtle and plausibly deniable as possible, and submit the patch through extremely public channels. Don't involve crazy unpredictable developer types if at all possible. That's how you minimize your chances of exposing your backdoor program.

Comment: Yes and no (Score 3, Insightful) 216

by Weezul (#44817991) Attached to: Google's Encryption Plan To Stifle NSA's Dragnet Will Raise the Stakes

Google is against anything that makes people not trust Google, including the NSA. Google would happily keep all your data secret, except from their own advertising algorithms. but Google would also sell your data to the NSA for what they consider "fair market value", which given the preceeding is a lot higher than the NSA wants to pay for it.

Google pays a computational price for encrypting your data, but it's worth it if either
(a) the NSA is now forced to buy your data from Google, instead of stealing it like they currently do, or
(b) people trust Google more as a result.

Google wants to publish the number of NSLs it receives to (a) make people feel more confident and (b) make the NSA, DEA, FBI, etc. evaluate more carefully the data they request. Why is (b) good for Google's bottom line? I think, if the agencies are spending more personnel time on the data they request, that data appears even more important, so Google can charge more for the data the agencies really want, while incurring less risk.

Google is still a company, but it's a company run by a founder. Founders almost always make them behave much less like psycopaths than Wall St CEOs.

Comment: Re:Keep the Distraction Machine Running (Score 1) 433

by Weezul (#44792561) Attached to: US Intercepts Iranian Order For Attack On US Embassy In Iraq

In the interview I linked in the other comment, Gleen Greenwald points out that, actually Saxby Chambliss made these claims, not afaik the NSA.

Representatives and Senators have outright lied to the press about intelligence matters frequently, both before and during the Snowden scandal, especially the warmonger ones like Chambliss.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig