While it is written specifically for the US, the EFF article Defending Privacy at the U.S. Border: A Guide for Travelers Carrying Digital Devices nonetheless provides a good discussion of your options in cases like this. It also discusses the various ways you can prepare your devices and data for the situation.
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"Developed password-cracking software in-house"
Brilliant. Have some amateur develop it, instead of using an established product written by an expert. Great idea.
Reminds me of the time (no joke) a Secret Service agent asked me to get data off of a PC that had been used for a credit-card scam. At the time I was (iirc) a college freshman or maybe sophomore, majoring in EE, who happened to program as a hobby. At the time I felt pretty flattered - only in retrospect did I realize how crazy this was. I had full, unfettered access to the PC, there was no copy, and I was programming directly on the box I was extracting evidence from. Granted, that was a long time ago, but it serves as an anecdote to show the level of professionalism these agencies demonstrate. I'm sure they have real experts, but too often the field offices seem to be playing Keystone Cops.
So here we have some field office taking down a whole data center. They're probably pretty impressed with themselves, they get some neat toys to play with, and they get headlines for their heroic crime-fighting efforts. Who cares about the collateral damage they've done to thousands of innocent people using the file-sharing service? At first glance, this reminds me of the Mega-debacle in the US, where they also took down an entire data center with very shaky justifications.
Prediction: The whole case will fall apart. Either because it was all a mistake and there is no evidence, or because they screw up whatever evidence they do have. Nonetheless, the customers will be out their data and the data-center will be driven to bankruptcy. Nonetheless, the officers involved will receive commendations.
Unless you have an enemy with obvious logistical targets, airstrikes are pretty useless. Great, you blew up a jeep with a machine gun on it. The cost of your bomb plus the flight time of the drone is probably more than the jeep was worth. Oh, by the way, which side was that jeep on? With intermingled and fluid borders, and little direct intelligence, it's kind of hard to be sure...
Anyway, as others have pointed out, all US intervention has accomplished since 9/11 (and before, but that's a different discussion) is to make bad situations even worse. What's the saying? "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result". US interventions are not working. It's time for the US to mind it's own business, and let the Middle East sort itself out.
Electronic copying has made music and video copyrights almost meaningless - anybody can download just about anything. 3D printing will make patents on simple mechanical objects equally meaningless. If I need a new kitchen widget or a new plastic doohickey, why not just print one? There ought to be endless online libraries, provided by manufacturers or created by end users.
Of course, industry will fight this tooth and nail. Patenting differently-shaped measuring spoons or the plastic feet on a chair may make no sense at all - but manufacturers will never admit this. They would rather spend millions defending their worthless patents.
Why, thank you! I had no idea you cared!
Homeland security is now an expert on computer security? Will they do as wonderful a job here as they've done at airports? Will Americans soon have to flash their national IDs at the computers before being allowed on the Internet?
What the devil is Homeland Security doing issuing such a statement? Mission creep to the nth degree...
Key bits from the article: "the score for the January 8 inspection is listed as of 1 out of five with the comment: 'major improvement necessary'." and "one of only 19 out of 1,659 food outlets in the City to receive an 'A hazardous' rating".
This sounds pretty damning and pretty embarrassing. That said, there are some odd things. One of the complaints was mold on aging beef, but - depending on what you are doing - mold is part-and-parcel of the process (and the butchery claims that this was the case). Another funny point: the butchery voluntarily closed following the inspection to fix the issues mentioned. It reopened "several hours" later. If the issues could be fixed in a few hours, they were pretty much cosmetic problems.
So what to think? I figure it's 50/50 whether there were real problems, or whether this was a politically motivated inspection. Or maybe the inspector didn't get his free steak.
My wife has a small company that accepts credit cards. As the parent comment points out, the credit cards want to push liability for fraud onto the merchants. This has two aspects
- First, the physical card: Chip and pin is standard here, which would be fine, but don't think your fees go down when they hand you the liability. My wife has, to my knowledge, never had a case a fraud in 20 years, but that doesn't matter either. Mastercard/Visa are completely in collusion, there is no competition, they can demand whatever fees they want.
- Second, the Internet: I wrote her first web-shops, including the payment processing. This has become completely impossible. The credit card companies impose ever more impossible rules. Ultimately, if you handle credit card numbers electronically, they began insisting on quarterly audits of your IT infrastructure. We used an ISP - so they were going to insist on auditing the ISP infrastructure. Our ISP was - shockingly - actually ok with this, but the whole nightmare just got too complicated. In the end, the rules appear to be nothing but a way of forcing you to use their approved payment processors - yet another way to suck money out of merchants.
Will some Internet payment service please, please spring up and actually give Mastercard/Visa some real competition? Paypal has been largely co-opted, Bitcoin is a joke - we need something that your average Joe can and will use. So far, nothing...
- First, Java is needlessly wordy - consider the necessity of explicity writing getters/setters for any class where you want access control. What a pile of code for nothing.
- Second, you can write cryptic code or you can write understandable code. Understandable code involves a few more newlines, so what?
- Lastly, depending on your developers, yes, you can have overly long code. Someone who re-implements the same functionality 10 times instead of defining an abstract class and implementing it once - such developers exist. if you have one in your team, I do feel sorry for you. How prevalent is this? No idea...
Of course, TFA wasn't really about any of this. It is about a semantic analysis that determines the number of unique concepts in a method, reducing it to a "minset" which is no longer executable. This is an interesting theoretical analysis, but doesn't have a lot to do with real programs designed to actually perform actions with those concepts. Some methods are wordy because you want them to be clear, others are wordy because of what you are doing, and still others are wordy because of characteristics of the language you are working in.
"[Apple] powers all of its data centers with renewable energy"
Solar makes lots of sense in the California desert. However, I find statements like the above really annoying. In the night, solar provides zilch. On calm days, the same for wind. Apple's data centers hang off the grid like anyone else, and the great weakness of all renewables is irregular production and lack of storage.
The data comes from the Swiss subsidiary, but HSBC is actually a British bank. And you have to love this bit from TFA:
"The man in charge of HSBC at the time, Stephen Green, was made a Conservative peer and appointed to the government. Lord Green was made a minister eight months after HMRC had been given the leaked documents from his bank. He served as a minister of trade and investment until 2013."
The little fish will be prosecuted, while the big fish are made peers of the realm. Business as usual for all of the big banks.
Talk about a field with a diversity problem: In the US, 87% of the teachers are female. In my own country of Switzerland, it's 82%. What a scandal!
Yes, it is a test question. Yes, if you understand recursion, you can answer the question. However, it is poor code, because the recursion is not tail-recursive; anyone who uses recursion with unknown values ('n' in this case) will write a tail-recursive function.
Since it's a totally artificial question, there is no reason that they couldn't have used a tail-recursive function. Lots of students won't know the difference, but crappy code like this is a stumbling block exactly for the students who really do understand what's going on.
I would use recursion a lot more frequently if compilers supported tail recursion. Not for simple iteration, perhaps, but there are plenty of cases where recursion is a better solution that a loop. For example, recursion is often be appropriate when working through some sort of data structure.
The problem is: The most common languages don't optimize for tail recursion. This means that even shallow recursion will eat memory. If the depth of the recursion is unknown, then the lack of optimization for tail-recursion means that your program may run out of memory - not because of any programming error, but due to a defect in the compiler.
There is nothing inherently difficult about handling tail recursion. Scala does it just fine, running on the JVM. I can only imagine that those responsible for mainstream languages figure no one will use it. Well, we, can't, because your compilers don't support it properly...
Most of the comments are technically correct, but everyone seems to have accepted the elephant in the room: We have no decent archival solution for the digital age. The bookkeeping done by monks 600 years ago can still be read today, as long as you can make out their handwriting. Accounts from 19th century companies were kept in ledgers. Barring fire, flood or other disaster, any ledgers someone thought were were keeping are still legible today. Some readers may recall that UBS got in trouble for trying to destroy bank records from WWII - but those records still existed with no effort whatsoever other than having them stacking in some storage closet for 70 years.
Yet without a serious and sustained effort, digital data self-destructs. No commonly used media has a storage life of more than a few years. We have all accepted this as fact, but it is actually a problem in serious need of a solution. As more and more records are kept online - business records, governmental records, personal records - the danger of serious data loss increases.
Want a recent example? In the US, the IRS lost important emails from personal mail accounts, because they had no archival strategy. If they were lying (which I personally tend to suspect), then it was an entirely plausible lie, which still serves to make the point. Just as with security, archival is an overhead expense that management doesn't really want to spend money on.
Evening news, plus 2-3 "factual" shows per week. Maybe a movie every month or two. Hard to go down from that...