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Comment: Re:Structured transactions are illegal (Score 1) 116

by chill (#49831325) Attached to: Why Is It a Crime For Dennis Hastert To Evade Government Scrutiny?

It is a lot broader than that. The Houston Chronicle has a decent article summarizing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

Then there is that question about taking more than $10,000 in cash out of the country when traveling.

And, of course, seizures of suspicious amounts of cash when stopped by a law enforcement officer anywhere for anything.

(Suspicious being anything the local LEO decides it is. How fucked up is that?)

Comment: Re: Signs you are in trouble (Score 2) 140

How is this a hard problem? The Spideroak cloud storage service does this; uploaded files are encrypted before they leave your machine. Even the file names are secret; the servers have zero knowledge of the file's name or type or contents.

Services like SpiderOak sacrifice features people want, in order to get that. For instance, no search. No web preview or editing. Clunky sharing. No password recovery if you forget.

Still, I was mostly thinking about other services. If you look at some of the features Google Photos has like being able to do text search for untagged photos using image recognition, there's no technical way to do that in a blind manner right now.

Comment: Re:Signs you are in trouble (Score 2, Informative) 140

The advantage Apple has is that they don't rely on advertising for any significant part of their revenue.

That's the theory Apple is peddling. It doesn't match up very well with reality though.

Firstly, don't get me wrong, I love Tim Cook's stance. I love that Apple is pushing encryption. I don't want to see them stop. But Silicon Valley needs to move as one here, and this sort of competitive sniping isn't really helping.

The only product Apple has that's actually end to end encrypted is iMessages. But WhatsApp is also encrypted in the same way, and that's owned by Facebook, which makes its money by advertising. So much for that theory.

All the other cloud products Apple has work in exactly the same way as their competitors do: you upload unencrypted documents to Apple, who then store and process them for you. And this is a technological constraint, not a business model constraint. Keeping servers fully blind as to the data they're working with is an open field of academic research. It's not something that Google or Facebook or Twitter or DropBox or whoever are holding back from because they hate privacy. It's just a really hard problem.

And finally Apple does of course have an advertising product. It has iAds. That has not been a successful product for them, but it's not for lack of trying.

So when you actually examine the details of Apple's products, you see that they're not really any different to what their competitors are doing. Cook's statements sound good to the non-expert listener, but it's just marketing.

What's more, there's a rather problematic assumption underlying Cook's position. Apple indeed makes most of its money from the extremely fat margins it makes from iPhone buyers, who consistently pay way over the odds for what they're getting. But it's only possible for Apple to subsidise its cloud offerings via fat hardware margins because Apple ignores the low end of the market. Indeed, given their attempts to destroy Android, it's fair to say Apple not only ignores the low end but would be quite happy if people too poor to buy an iPhone had no smartphone technology at all. Advertising as a business model may not be perfect but it's the reason that people in Africa can buy smartphones for $30 and use services like Google Maps, Search, Photos, etc. People who live outside affluent countries matter too.

Comment: Re:Care to explain that? (Score 1) 254

by IamTheRealMike (#49825461) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

I posted specific examples so that people could discuss the issues and point out problems with the conclusion. Several, in fact.

None of your examples support your thesis. I've been reading and posting to Slashdot for 15 years. People posting "an opinion that's not *quite* right just to get people to respond" is pretty much the lifeblood of Slashdot, how else would you test out ideas and discover they were wrong? Heck, in another story I'm getting my ass kicked right now because I didn't know that light American aircraft had registration numbers visible from the ground. Other posters are setting me straight. Yet I do not work for some shadowy organisation.

Your other examples are equally bizarre. People posting that they think the Paul's have a few good ideas and lots of crazy ones? That's not an organised conspiracy, that's just ..... a common viewpoint! One that was even mocked and made fun of in the last story about Rand Paul I remember reading.

You took the most vulnerable example and framed it in a "conspiracy theorist" context, and used it to frame the entire position. That's fine, it's a good use of rhetoric, but it adds nothing new to the conversation other than "in my opinion...".

You're the one using rhetoric! I didn't take "the most vulnerable example", I picked one at random because they're all equally ridiculous. Why exactly would any government or paid trolling operation even care about Uber?

And yes, if it's not clear, my reply said in my opinion you are sounding kind of crazy and appear to be giving in to paranoid delusions. Your position is: they don't disagree with me because they think I'm wrong. They disagree with me because there's a vast shadowy conspiracy to undermine me, Okian Warrior, and my world view, using subtle powers of rhetoric!

Occam's Razor says that, maybe, Uber is controversial and politicians like the Paul's tend to have many different views, with which few if any people agree completely.

Because looking at the chemical plant explosion hoax [] and Acorn hoax [] would indicate ro me that sock puppets can have an enormous negative effect on public opinion and government policy

What change to government policy did the chemical plant hoax bring about, exactly? And what effect on public opinion? Your link provides no backing for this assertion. It seems like the hoax was nothing more than a bizarre timewaste, given the triviality of phoning the chemical plant and discovering it was not on fire.

If you really can't see why "be careful of sock puppets" is damaging, just go browse further down this thread. There's an example of a guy who says he is Russian asking for evidence that Russia shot down the jet liner. And literally EVERY reply except mine is on the lines of, "go away paid Putin troll". That kind of thing shuts down debate and closes people's minds.

What's more - there's nothing you can do about it. So what if some people are being paid to post to Slashdot? What's the worst they can do, exactly? Say things you don't like to hear?

Comment: Re:Life in prison (Score 2) 211

by IamTheRealMike (#49825135) Attached to: Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison, and ...

The judge talked about that argument quite extensively in her sentencing. She had read academic studies of violence in the drug trade and found Ulbricht's arguments about lessening violence to be wanting - she pointed out that the drug trade causes lots of violence upstream.

Now you can of course argue that this is only because drugs are illegal. And that might well be true. But even if America legalises every drug tomorrow, Indonesia is still gonna have the death penalty for dealing, and the illegal drugs trade will still exist, and Silk Road would still be a part of it.

Comment: From who? (Score 5, Insightful) 143

by IamTheRealMike (#49825083) Attached to: FBI Is Behind Mysterious Flights Over US Cities

The planes are registered with fictitious companies to hide their association with the U.S. government.

Hide their association from who, exactly? Air traffic control? It's not like you can see who registered a plane from the ground.

This statement just screams "we are breaking the rules and don't want to get caught"

Comment: Re:It's very real (Score 1) 254

by IamTheRealMike (#49824879) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

Yes, see, the moderation and replies to this post are quite disturbing.

This troubles me greatly. Internet debate is being shut down on the internet, but not by paid Russian trolls. I have yet to see proof of such things happening on Slashdot, and the article itself largely draws blanks with regards to English-language interference.

Debate is being shut down by an army of people who automatically assume any position they disagree with w.r.t Russia is held by "non people" and therefore anything they say can be safely ignored. It's basically a modern witchhunt - your opinions look funny to me, so you must be a witch! Burn them! Evidence? We don't need none of that, just look at those opinions!

Given the fairly direct path between "westerners demonizing Russia" and "war" this is one of the most disturbing things I've seen on the internet in years. Now is the time for people to use the internet to talk to each other and understand each others viewpoints. Instead people in the west are simply sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting "LA LA LA PUTIN TROLL CAN'T HEAR YOU".

Fuck, you know what? As far as I'm concerned, even if there are people being paid to post Putin's views on Slashdot - bring it on! Our media doesn't even try to tell the Russian side of the story, and as the Slashdot poll disclaimer says, you shouldn't be making decisions based on internet popularity contests anyway. I'll evaluate things I read for myself and so should everyone else.

Comment: Re:Don't forget slashdot (Score 2) 254

by IamTheRealMike (#49824791) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

Er, I think what you are observing is just called debate. People disagree with you about Uber? No conspiracy theory needed for that - perhaps your views about what other people think just aren't as accurate as you had believed. Rand Paul? Likewise.

There have been delusional people with nonsensical arguments on the internet since the internet was invented. As with terrorism, this recent rise of "you disagree with me thus you must be a secret government paid sockpuppet" is by far more damaging than anything paid trolls could actually do by themselves. It ends debate and closes people's minds. They can rest easy without having to be troubled by arguments that suggest they may be wrong, because ZOMG RUSSIA! Where by $RUSSIA you can of course substitute almost any government, as if there's one thing Snowden showed us it's that the idea of western exceptionalism on the internet is pretty naive.

Comment: Re:You're Talking About a Different Scale (Score 5, Insightful) 254

by eldavojohn (#49824103) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

Frankly put, I'm unaware of "American organized political trolling" that rivals this.

Americans are quick to believe the Official Narrative, no matter how absurd. Mass media is the professional 'troll' that gets people to fight each here.

Again, you're conflating two things that are significant enough that I don't see a simple one-to-one comparison here.

The clear difference here is that the trolls in the article are a nebulous entity whereas the media trolls are not. I know to laugh at Glenn Beck and Katie Couric. I know who they are. I recognize their blubbering stupid talking heads. They're a trainwreck of lies and half truths. On the other hand, you can't stop google from returning search results that confirm what you're looking for. When it's a "trending hastag" on Twitter, you can't figure out if it's legit or not. How do I know that podonski432 on Twitter is the same individual on Youtube named ashirefort posting videos of an explosion is the same person retweeting podonski432 and adding ashirefort's video to their tweet?

Mass media doesn't employ subterfuge and I sure as hell can stop reading the New York Post & Washington Times & CNSNews & Huffington Post and all that other drivel. I can't, however, identify easily that this account on Twitter is just the new troll account that tricked me last time.

You do know that it's news if the New York Times is caught lying or spreading known falsities, right? I watched Jon Stewart hold a "reporters" feet to the WMD fire on one of his recent episodes. There's no self-policing mechanism like that among trolls.

Comment: You're Talking About a Different Scale (Score 5, Insightful) 254

by eldavojohn (#49823955) Attached to: Professional Russian Trolling Exposed

It's just about time to drag the American organized political trolling on sites like reddit, twitter, and tumblr into the open too, right?

Well, astroturfing is no new tactic but ... I think what this article deals with is scale. 400 clearly skilled (bilingual at the least) individuals running multiple catfish personalities online day in and day out ... the whole thing on a budget of $400k a month? That level and size is probably unparalleled by ... say, Digg's conservative idiots.

You have one entity orchestrating the 12 hours a day work of 400 individuals on topics that are pro-Russian and tangentially pro-Russian. They are sophisticated enough to "hit play" at a certain time to unfold a natural disaster or assassination or anything to destabilize/confuse a region and they do so over many accounts on multiple social media platforms. They create video, screenshots, websites, etc. And they use proxies and sufficiently sophisticated means to appear to be disjoint at first glance.

They appear to have run an exercise on a rubber plant explosion in Louisiana for no other discernible purpose than to test out their new super powers or demonstrate their abilities to their customers/leaders.

Frankly put, I'm unaware of "American organized political trolling" that rivals this. This is paid. This is tightly controlled. This is prepared. This is unified. American organized political trolling is just a run-of-the-mill monkey shitfight with the occasional Koch Bros/Soros website (usually easily sourceable) thrown in.

Now if you can point me to a faked ISIS attack on American soil right before an election that was done by some political group stateside, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Comment: Re:Lemme ask you this ... (Score 1) 499

The system is broken, and effectively guarantees a two-party system. Ross Perot got nearly 20% of the popular vote in 92, which resulted in precisely zero representation in government. If 1 in 5 people voting for a 3rd party gains that party no traction, what hope is there?

And you suggest it's the "idiot voters" fault? The game is rigged.

Comment: Re:Of course it bombed (Score 1) 203

by Wraithlyn (#49817293) Attached to: Tron 3 Is Cancelled

Let's take Star Wars, today we relate more with the empire then with the rebels.

Um... what?? Star Wars is pretty plainly about good vs evil. The empire is evil. They blow up entire (peaceful!) planets to control the population through fear. That's not exactly a bunch of subtle shades of grey, is it? In fact it's the very definition of terrorism (an act of violence, against non-combatants, explicitly intended to create fear for political purposes).

I identify more with the fight against "the evil empire" now more than ever.

So please, speak for yourself, and not how everyone else "relates". If you relate more to a totalitarian dictatorship that murders billions of innocents, you have some serious fucking issues, and please don't speak for the rest of us.

Fundamentally, there may be no basis for anything.