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Comment: Re: Secret Ballot? (Score 1) 480

by bigpat (#48806663) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

That's true too, but taken alone the secret ballot has a long long history of being used as cover to stuff ballot boxes or otherwise miscount votes and steal elections. Although there are real benefits to a secret ballot it leaves the entire system vulnerable to conspiracies by small groups of people. Hundreds can steal votes from millions. Whereas the theoretical benefit of a secret ballot is that it allows people to vote without personal consequence such as voter intimidation. So, the math wins in my estimation. It is more democratic to put your faith in the integrity of millions of people to resist intimidation and other forms of manipulation than to put your faith in the integrity of a select few.

Comment: Re: Secret Ballot? (Score 1) 480

by bigpat (#48802473) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting
Perhaps I was being too subtle, but I am suggesting using an open/electronic ballot for ballot questions as a first step rather than for electing individuals. Basically as a way to replicate Open Town Meetings which have open voting. I think this would be especially useful for local voting on local issues. And for now, at least, keep the secret ballot for voting on elected officials, representatives and parties. And secret ballots mean no electronic voting and no mail-in absentee voting. Just because electronic and mail-in ballots are inherently not secret ballots doesn't mean there is no use for them.

Comment: Re:Secret Ballot? (Score 1) 480

by bigpat (#48796661) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

While that sounds good there are people that still round up the opposition in to one area and shoot them.

It is unlikely to be a problem to you or me but encouraging a system that makes it possible is a bad thing for the world.

If you live in a society like that, then you vote the way you are told anyway. If they have that much power in the first place then all they have to do is have someone at the polling place who makes note of who you vote for as you cast your ballot... It isn't like you go into a cone of silence and then your ballot magically gets counted. It would actually be more dangerous to be fooled into revealing your opposition allegiance in a fake secret ballot, so do away with the pretext. If you live in a totalitarian society, basically vote with the party or have a good excuse why you stayed home sick.

But that is why I wouldn't start with partisan elections of individuals and parties, but with ballot questions and direct democracy. Although voting the way you are supposed to vote is still an problem, the issues that you are voting on are not always going to be clearly partisan and will often cross party lines. And even dictators often don't care what the laws and spending is on as long as they are still in power and get to skim off the top of everything and decide who gets the rest of the money.

Comment: Re:Secret Ballot? (Score 4, Interesting) 480

by bigpat (#48794445) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

You can't have an auditable trail and a secret ballot.

I've been preaching this on Slashdot for years... electronic systems that let people track their own votes can be used by others to track those votes. Already there are entire industries around trying to figure out how people vote and manipulating the electorate, so it is a very real concern. But maybe it is time to ditch the secret ballot... at least for some things. Look at Open Town Meetings as an example. It is one of the most democratic and empowering form of governments in practice and it exists without a secret ballot for most matters. Only for elections of individuals to particular offices or for setting salaries do they usually do a secret ballot. But for general changes to the bylaws or voting on the overall budget the voting is quite open and anyone with a pen could record your vote.

We could move to more participatory government where ballot questions could be voted on electronically and we could record who votes for what as a matter of public record. Perhaps we retain the option of in-person secrecy. But secrecy leaves all sorts of room for ballot fraud if undemocratic forces get control of the election systems. In many places that seems to be the entire point of ballot secrecy... to make it impossible for the public to know if the election was stolen. So, perhaps the cost of ballot secrecy simply does not outweigh the benefits of people being accountable for their votes.

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 1) 319

by bigpat (#48792613) Attached to: Several European Countries Lay Groundwork For Heavier Internet Censorhip

Of course, we have to take away freedom of speech in order to protect freedom of speech, don't you get it? Duh....

That has always been the difference between American and European legal traditions... in Europe free speech is protected from everyone but the government, while in the US free speech is (supposed to be) protected just from the government. Having free speech attacked by terrorists is the perfect scenario for European government propaganda.

Comment: Re:versus 20 years for IPv6. 2002 cutover to IPv6 (Score 1) 161

by bigpat (#48778209) Attached to: HTTP/2 - the IETF Is Phoning It In

Looking at IPv4 and a population growth chart. In 1981 when the IPv4 and RFC 791 were issued it would have been almost sufficient to give an IP address to every man woman and child on the planet. This at a time when rotary phones were still common and the idea of every man woman and child having their own computer was pretty extreme. Also the idea of keeping all those extra bytes in the routing tables would have been pretty wasteful considering it was a long term theoretical problem. Wasteful and expensive.

As for mobile routing needs, I would be interested to hear someone in the mobile space talk about how they are actually doing routing these days on LTE networks and the like. I wonder (and kinda doubt) if they are using IPv6 addresses for end to end communication or have simply done some sort of address translation between their mobile networks and the Internet.

Comment: Re:versus 20 years for IPv6. 2002 cutover to IPv6 (Score 1) 161

by bigpat (#48774749) Attached to: HTTP/2 - the IETF Is Phoning It In

I think you could argue that IPv6 is a counter example to your argument. The parallel with http 2.0 could be that no matter what the features http 1.1 might be good enough for a very long time.

IPv6 perhaps came out 15 years too early because IPv4 deficiencies had quicker and easier workarounds than the switch to IPv6 and even some deficiencies like the limitation on address space was turned into a perceived benefit as more and more security concerns meant the boxes doing network address translation were now the boxes providing you with security. IPv4 is a good example of coming out with a good enough protocol given available resources and then the switching costs being too high in relationship to the benefits.

The Internet of Things was one of the driving motivations behind IPv6 long before it was called that. The idea that every electronic device would or could have a uniquely end to end addressable IPv6 address. That your refrigerator could communicate with you and the grocery store when it was out of milk. Or your car could communicate with your shop when it needed to schedule maintenance. And those things could all happen directly without reliance on centralized servers to mediate all that end to end communications.

But there have been a lot of contrary interests that are against that sort of direct communication because they want to be in the loop so they can aggregate metadata or mediate security or otherwise derive or provide add-on value and derive revenue from being the man in the middle. And unfortunately without an end to end IPv6 network that people can actually connect to and experience, then it is hard to envision the potential benefits to justify any push by people.

Given Google's traditional push for open standards it would be good to see end to end IPv6 be an option on Google Fiber and perhaps in collaboration with some Universities to demonstrate the benefits of having devices that can talk to one another across the Internet.

Comment: Re:Support What You Sell (Score 3, Insightful) 255

by bigpat (#48765353) Attached to: FCC Favors Net Neutrality
The peering bandwidth is the issue. They can provide all the last mile bandwidth they want, but if you can't connect to any services outside their network because they want to keep customers using their own services then that isn't really the Internet and we are back to the days of AOL chat rooms and BBNs with (pay) walled off private networks.

Comment: Re:"A related article suggests..." (Score 4, Interesting) 255

by bigpat (#48765075) Attached to: FCC Favors Net Neutrality

Devil is in the details. There are many many government regulations that stifle competition, do nothing for the consumers and simply serve to entrench lobbyists, big businesses and vested interests at the expense of customers and the public... In the history of government regulations it is right to be cynical that this is what you are going to get 99% of the time.

Then there are simple, focused, easy to understand and easy to implement government regulations that really can help create more choice in the market and reduce fraud.

If there were any other way but for government regulations to bring us back towards a free market in Internet Access providers, then I would choose that. But in this case we have to have government regulations to counter balance the government regulation of the rights of way along our streets and the government regulations and licensing of our EM spectrum which create local monopolies and reduce consumer choice in the first place and you can't simply open up the spectrum, our streets and our poles to whomever wants to run a wire or transmit a signal otherwise we would have chaos and nobody would have reliable service, so we are stuck with government regulation to try and fix the problem of local monopolies and an un-free market.

Hopefully, we get regulations that are really focused on making for a better free market and not just stamping the marketing label "Net Neutrality" on whatever we end up with. Best we can probably hope for is a compromise that gives us slightly more choice and a bit more competition, but the complexity of regulations will probably still mean that the days of small ISPs able to run some wires and connect to the Internet and compete on price and service are not coming back.

Comment: Re:treat botnets like cancer (Score 2) 312

by bigpat (#48707411) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Should We Do About the DDoS Problem?
That is why it has to be the ISPs looking at the packets. We are talking about denial of service type attacks, mostly, so there are going to be plenty of packets to do a proper trace. They can trace the IP spoofed packets routing within their networks and they can see what outside network they are actually coming from. And if the end result is going to be disconnecting from that outside network if the partner ISP doesn't effectively deal with the problem computers then that should be sufficient incentive for that other network operator to trace the packets back to their real origination. If you have cooperation between the ISPs then you shouldn't have a problem locating problem computers. And if you don't have at least this basic level of cooperation then you shouldn't be connecting to their network in the first place. Spoofing should be a simple matter of egress filtering anyway. If you ensure that all outbound packets are actually coming from IP addresses on your network, then that should stop these kinds of attacks originating from your network.

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