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Comment I don't buy the premise of built-in security (Score 1) 149

It would be one thing to encrypt all traffic end-to-end with a Diffie-Hellman exchange per TCP connection. But it would be quite another thing to prevent active attacks from three-letter agencies. You'd need a way to establish and ensure trust as well. If they can't decrypt the connection itself, they can use an active attack to intercept it and decrypt it. Even if the target is using SSL with PFS, they could always national-security-letter a signed certificate out of a CA in their jurisdiction. It doesn't really matter what security is employed; there will always be a way to defeat it. All we can do is make it harder.

Comment I wonder - was it social engineering? (Score 5, Interesting) 118

I can easily imagine a situation where he calls up someone with access to classified info, and says something like, "this is Snowden from IT; we're having problems restoring the backup of your encrypted data files on such-and-such server; can you loan me your login information so we can properly validate the checksums? You can change your password right afterward."

Submission + - HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' as Buyers Shun Windows 8

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Gregg Keizer reports at Computerworld that Hewlett-Packard has stuck their finger in Microsoft's eye by launching launched a new promotion that discounts several consumer PCs by $150 when equipped with Windows 7, saying the four-year-old OS is "back by popular demand." "The reality is that there are a lot of people who still want Windows 7," says Bob O'Donnel. "This is a twist, though, and may appeal to those who said, 'I do want a new PC, but I thought I couldn't get Windows 7.'" The promotion reminded O'Donnell and others of the dark days of Windows Vista, when customers avoided Windows 7's predecessor and instead clamored for the older Windows XP on their new PCs. Then, customers who had heard mostly negative comments about Vista from friends, family and the media, decided they would rather work with the devil they knew rather than the new one they did not. "It's not a perfect comparison," says O'Donnell, of equating Windows 8 with Vista, "but the perception of Windows 8 is negative. I said early on that Windows 8 could clearly be Vista Version 2, and that seems to have happened." HP has decided that the popularity of Windows 7 is its best chance of encouraging more people to buy new computers in a declining market and is not the first time that HP has spoken out against Microsoft. "Look at the business model difference between Intel and ARM. Look at the operating systems. In today's world, other than Microsoft there's no one else who charges for an operating system," said HP executive Sridhar Solur in December adding that that the next generation of computers could very well not be dominated by Microsoft. "In today's world, other than Microsoft there's no one else who charges for an operating system."

Submission + - Europe to Ditch Climate Protection Goals, Fracking To Follow ( 4

cold fjord writes: Spiegel Online reports, "The European Commission wants to forgo ambitious climate protection goals and pave the way for fracking ... Commission sources have long been hinting that the body intends to move away from ambitious climate protection goals. ... At the request of Commission President José Manuel Barroso, EU member states are no longer to receive specific guidelines for the development ofrenewable energy. The stated aim of increasing the share of green energy across the EU to up to 27 percent will hold. But how seriously countries tackle this project will no longer be regulated within the plan. As of 2020 at the latest — when the current commitment to further increase the share of green energy expires — climate protection in the EU will apparently be pursued on a voluntary basis. ... With such a policy, the European Union is seriously jeopardizing its global climate leadership role. ... In addition, the authority wants to pave the way in the EU for the controversial practice of fracking ... The report says the Commission does not intend to establish strict rules for the extraction of shale gas, but only minimum health and environmental standards."

Submission + - Linux 3.13 released 1

diegocg writes: Linux kernel 3.8 has been released. This release includes are nftables, the successor of iptables, a revamp of the block layer designed for high-performance SSDs, a power capping framework to cap power consumption in Intel RAPL devices, improved squashfs performance, AMD Radeon power management enabled by default and automatic AMD Radeon GPU switching, improved NUMA and hugepage performance , TCP Fast Open enabled by default, support for NFC payments, support for the High-availability Seamless Redundancy protocol, new drivers and many other small improvements. Here's the full list of changes

Submission + - Translating President Obama's NSA reform promises into plain English (

sandbagger writes: The cynics at the Register have picked apart Barack Obama's NSA reform promises. As to be expected, there's some good, some deliberate vagueness, talk of 'ticking bomb scenarios' and the politician's favourite 'promises to commit to future reforms'. Basically, it's a fig-leaf to kick the can down the road so the next president has to deal with it. He's promising bulk data will go to a third party so the NSA can't see it. Okay, who is this magical third party?

Comment Re:huh? (Score 1) 3

It has everything to do with those decisions. You make the point about the SSD, which is a good one (though to Apple's credit, the SSD looks like it's actually proprietary, but able to be replaced); you have to pay $100 for 16 more lousy gigabytes of flash memory in an iPhone because of decisions like these.

The point of making that statement wasn't to imply that Apple is wrong because every other manufacturer uses modular components. Obviously that isn't the case. We all know manufacturers have to balance quality, cost, and time when bringing products to market. The point is, it's irresponsible to bring products to market that will not be supportable long-term. Part of supportability is using modular, repairable components that are built to last. As iFixit would say, repair is freedom. Modular components are a large part of repairability. Here's a counter-example: at a LUG a couple years ago I met one of the ZaReason guys, who partially disassembled one of their laptops. I don't remember exactly which components were modular, but it was quite modular for a laptop! Here's another counter-example. Modular designs can happen. It is a choice not to do it.

The fact that you won't be able to find a replacement battery 3 years from now illustrates this point. This is wrong and irresponsible and should not be tolerated. There are significant cost externalities in terms of waste products that the world is paying for due to these decisions. Companies make products that are difficult or impossible to service, and/or utilize planned obsolescence to ensure out-of-warranty replacement, because they know it will lead to more future sales when those components fail. The only difference with Apple is that their products cost more.

Submission + - GPUs Dropping Dead in 2011 MacBook Pro Models 3

blackwizard writes: MacRumors is reporting on pervasive GPU failures in 2011 MacBook Pro machines, leading both to intermittent video issues, corruption, crashing/freezing, and eventually even failure to boot. Luckily for Apple, the machines are now out of out-of-warranty machines (unless you bought AppleCare). The issues have been reported both on Apple's own forums and other blogs. Apple has so far failed to take action on the problem. Will they take ownership of the issue, or continue to ask customers to pay for an entire new logic board when just the GPU fails? Is it fair for customers to pay exorbitant repair prices when manufacturers decide not to build modular hardware?

Submission + - SCOTUS to weigh smartphone searches by police (

schwit1 writes: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether police can search an arrested criminal suspect's cell phone without a warrant in two cases that showcase how the courts are wrestling to keep up with rapid technological advances.

Taking up cases from California and Massachusetts arising from criminal prosecutions that used evidence obtained without a warrant, the high court will wade into how to apply older court precedent, which allows police to search items carried by a defendant at the time of arrest, to cell phones.

The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants 146

Via the EFF comes news that, during a case involving the use of a Stingray device, the DOJ revealed that it was standard practice to use the devices without explicitly requesting permission in warrants. "When Rigmaiden filed a motion to suppress the Stingray evidence as a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the government responded that this order was a search warrant that authorized the government to use the Stingray. Together with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in support of Rigmaiden, noting that this 'order' wasn't a search warrant because it was directed towards Verizon, made no mention of an IMSI catcher or Stingray and didn't authorize the government — rather than Verizon — to do anything. Plus to the extent it captured loads of information from other people not suspected of criminal activity it was a 'general warrant,' the precise evil the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. ... The emails make clear that U.S. Attorneys in the Northern California were using Stingrays but not informing magistrates of what exactly they were doing. And once the judges got wind of what was actually going on, they were none too pleased:"

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