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Journal Journal: Re:TANSTAAFL

by WaffleMonster (969671) Alter Relationship on 1:48 Tuesday 05 May 2015 (#49617147)

As Heinlein famously put it in his The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (and he was just echoing the sentiment), There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch -- or in this case, a free app.

Comment In other words (Score 3, Insightful) 312 312

Ms. Carnegie said it was up to the government to create a different system, which the company would then abide by."

In other words: "if you lower your taxes to a number that we like, we might consider paying them".

Must be nice being a multinational corporation, getting to chose how much taxes you pay and where you pay them...

Meanwhile in the real world, people go broke (no more jobs... sorry), small and medium-sized businesses go broke (can't compete with Amazon? Too bad), local governments and states go broke (not enough revenue? Your taxes are too high, just lower them so you can compete with the 0% rate in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates).

The system works.

Comment Double standard all the way (Score 4, Insightful) 181 181

Snowden warns us that we're being spied on and that the grip the NSA has on the whole Internet goes far beyond what even the most paranoid had imagined and the US government answer is: espionage prosecution, international warrant etc.

Compare with: Unnamed NSA official, no doubt with the blessing of his bosses, anonymously reveals the same kind of information about NSA spying - but this time because it is convenient for the administration and it fits into their political agenda, there won't be any legal consequences, prosecutions etc., absolutely nothing will happen, we all know it - and even worse - we all passively accept it.

Laws are being selectively enforced by the government; there are no actually classified documents. There are "things the government wants you to know", those can be leaked and released on demand by "unnamed officials" - screw the legality of it - and there are "things the government doesn't want you to know", and anyone revealing those things will be spied on, harassed and prosecuted (James Risen? Laura Poitras?), it doesn’t matter that the people writing about those are journalists who have no duty of any kind towards the US government, they’re just doing their job.

If the administration has proof of North Korean involvement, they can present it to try to convince the American public... but wait, no they can’t. They can't do that because the evidence they have comes from the NSA exploiting and hacking systems all over the internet. "Yes, your honor, I saw it all, it was the North Koreans who painted that graffiti. How do I know? I was there that night, burying a few bodies in the empty lot next door".

The NSA giving actual proof of NK involvement is equivalent to them coming forward and admitting what they are: a threat far more dangerous for the security of the Internet than anything North Korea will ever be capable of.

Submission + - Slashdot forces a beta site by default

kelk1 writes: As a poor submitter found out (https://developers.slashdot.org/story/14/02/05/2328224/html5-app-for-panasonic-tvs-rejected---jquery-is-a-hack), Slashdot (https://slashdot.org) suddenly forced a preview of its beta site without any warning on all its viewers.

Judging by the comments, the feedback was immediate and clearly negative.

I cannot speak for the forum moderation side, but my reaction to the front page was an knee jerk: "Oh no!, not another portal full of noise I cannot speed-read through." Text and hyperlinks are what we need, please, and as little graphics as possible. Think lynx, thank you.

Submission + - Dice, what are you getting by butchering Slashdot ? 2 2

Taco Cowboy writes: Before I register my account with /. I frequented it for almost 3 weeks. If I were to register the first time I visited /. my account number would be in the triple digits.

That said, I want to ask Dice why they are so eager to kill off Slashdot.

Is there a secret buyer somewhere waiting to grab this domain, Dice ? Just tell us. There are those amongst us who can afford to pay for the domain. What we want is to have a Slashdot that we know, that we can use, that we can continue to share information with all others.

Please stop all your destructive plans for Slashdot, Dice.

Submission + - Nerd website found to make viewer's eyes bleed

grommit writes: http://slashdot.org/ is a website that is testing out a new "Beta" web design specifically crafted to make the viewer's eyes bleed. Editor samzenpus is quoted as saying, "We were hoping for at least a 70% eye bleed rate (EBR) but when we found out that we're actually generating 95% EBR, we were ecstatic. We are proud to break new ground in unreadable web design!"
User Journal

Journal Journal: I don't know yet, and I don't want to find out.

by Valdrax (32670) (#44822747)

Seriously, Americans? What do you care? What do you have to hide!?

I don't know yet. Personally, I don't want to find out after the fact that there was something I would have wanted hidden. Maybe I'm doing nothing wrong by today's standards, but who knows how we'll think about ourselves 10, 20, or 40 years from now?

Comment Re:This is a shame (Score 1) 442 442

You're missing the point. Snowden's goal is not to hurt US interests; it is to incite public debate everywhere about the NSA's actions. This has definitely happened in the US, people are starting to talk about it, where before there was zero mainstream public interest about the NSA spying.

National Intelligence James Clapper has been forced to publically admit he lied to congress when he said the NSA was not collecting any kind of data about "millions of Americans". Do you think he would have done so had it not been for Snowden's whistleblowing? By the way, lying to congress is a felony, why is Clapper not being prosecuted? Law enforcement in the US appears to be highly selective: Are you a government insider lying or a Wall Street firm committing fraud? All you will need to do is apologize or pay a token fine and all will be forgiven. Are you a regular citizen who is embarrassing the government, denouncing crimes or corporate abuses? You will be put in jail for life, just look at Aaron Schwartz or Bradley Manning, do you think any current or former US government official will ever face that kind of “justice”?

Snowden made a difference in the US, but in the rest of the world, governments’ reactions so far have been "It's a US problem, nothing to see here, move along". This is because all western governments and intelligence services either knew what was going on or they were actively collaborating with the NSA. They aren't going to do anything besides empty posturing to protect themselves from their citizen's outrage.

The point is that the NSA's spying in not only unconstitutional in the US but that they are also breaking the law abroad. Germany has strong privacy laws, if German citizens and businesses have to abide by them, yet the NSA gets a free pass even when they are spying on German citizen en masse or spying while on German soil, it essentially means that those laws are meaningless. The respective European judiciaries have a responsibility to open formal investigation against the NSA. And that's what Snowden is trying to by revealing the NSA illegal action abroad. He’s trying to get the public attention so that the people and independent courts do what governments failed to do: protect people’s fundamental right to privacy and put an end to dragnet surveillance.

Comment The Other Linux OS For Your Phone (Score 4, Interesting) 53 53

Just to recap, the main Linux based Android alternatives currently under development are:

- Ubuntu Touch
- Firefox OS
- Sailfish OS (based on MeeGo/Mer)
- Tizen (Samsung)

Software merit aside, Ubuntu seems like the least likely option to succeed. As far as I know (please correct me), they don't have much in terms of phone maker or carrier support. Firefox OS has Telephonica and GeeksPhone (still just a startup). Sailfish is developed by Jolla (a bunch of former Nokia employees), they seemed to be backed by a Finnish carrier. All these projects are relatively small scale compared to Samsung's Tizen. NTT Docomo is also backing Tizen which means the project both has the world's largest smartphone manufacturer and one of the world's largest phone carrier behind it.

I want at least one or two of these projects to actually succeed. Why? Because we badly need open source/linux alternatives to Android, which has severe problems (not all caused by Google - the carriers/manufacturers bear a large part of the blame):
- The security/updates situation is a mess, there's no way to deny it. Can you imagine a world where both PC manufacturers and/or ISPs must approve and deploy Windows updates before they reach the end user? This is Android right now.
And before the inevitable "Buy Nexus if you want updates" answer: Do you know how insane that sounds? "Buy Toshiba if you want to access Windows update", that's how.
- For Google, Android is just another platform to deliver adds, which means they built the system in a way that won't let the average user block them: The consequence is no effective root access for the user (in order to prevent - amongst other things - host file based and system wide ad blocking). This means Google or the manufacturer owns your phone, not you.
And no, being able to unlock the bootloader and install an after-market rom because you have a Nexus phone is *not* enough. Regular users don't need to install a special version of Windows/OS X/Ubuntu to have root access to their computers. Why should it be different with phones?

Linux is Free. Windows and OS X have to be purchased, Android on the other way is paid for by looking at Google's ads... hardly a sane and secure model for an OS. We need to get away from ad-based computing.

Comment Great idea! (Score 5, Interesting) 222 222

Additional information could include a combination of factors, like whether the passenger paid for their ticket in cash, or if they have ever been on a watch list

Great idea, that way anybody that has ever been put on a watch list can be harassed for ever! Not because a court of law determined they did anything wrong, no, but because they're on a list (or have been on one). You see, they probably did something wrong or else they wouldn't have been on that list in the first place...

Never mind the fact that this is all done in secret, with no judicial oversight, no accountability and no way to appeal those decisions and that people basically end up on those lists for exercising their political rights.

Try working as a journalist/filmmaker and reporting on the global war on terror, try actively opposing the US drone war or try supporting wikileaks (or any organization that the US has secretly decided they do not like) and see how quickly you end up on those watch lists.

Of course, you'll never know you're on one of those lists until the next time you try flying to the US, then you'll be detained and questioned (not to mention laptop seizure etc.). It happened many times to Jacob Appelbaum, a Tor developer, it happened to Imran Khan, one of the most popular politician in Pakistan and it happened repeatedly to Laura Poitras, an Oscar-and Emmy-nominated filmmaker. These people are spied on and harassed because of their political opinions, thanks to the global surveillance state we now live in.

How submissive have we become that as people living in democracies we even accept the existence of "watchlists"?

We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge. -- John Naisbitt, Megatrends

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