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Comment Freedom of speech as long as it's the right one (Score 5, Insightful) 829

The very asking of the headline question reeks of "freedom of speech as long as it's the right one".

People should be able to discern speech the agree with vs. speech they don't on their own after considering every opinion made.

Speech "carriers" have all the right to censor the speech in their media as they see fit (not being the government and all) but the very moment the prevent someone to speak their mind on their platform (no matter how radical they may sound) they forfeit their right to call themselves "a bastion of free speech" and become the same as every other news media: a place to broadcast the views of their owners and target audience, no more, no less.

In conclusion, every company have the right to pick and choose what they want to enable to be said on their property but as soon as they choose to censor they become yet another biased source just like every other else.

Comment public information (Score 1) 131

a bad actor was able to use Amazon's online chat support and a fake address to get the rep to tell him Springer's real address and phone number. That was enough to commit fraud with a couple of unrelated online services

Wait what?

Public information, stuff that shows up in phone directories ("white pages" as we used to call 'em) was enough to commit fraud with some online services?

Amazon may have a problem here -- there are many reasons that company should be burned down and the ground salted -- but thinking that your address or phone number are ever private information that can be used to authenticate you is a much deeper problem.

Comment Re:How smart? (Score 1) 464

Google for news articles about the Armatix IP1 smart gun. It's a "smart gun" that requires the user to wear a watch with an authorized RFID chip in order to fire.

Unless the watch somehow can't be worn by a child, this is not a "childproof gun".

Perhaps you're unaware of the facts about the iP1 protests? It's not the availability of misdesigned guns that got people (pardon the pun) up in arms about it, it's the fact that such availability triggers (again, pardon) yet another pointless bit of firearm criminalization in the name of the culture-war push to scapegoat guns for violent crime.

No one who owns a firearm for self-defense wants a firearm that has an additional failure mode. But those unable to see that violence is a problem rooted in people rather than things have already managed to pass a law mandating that that once such unreliable guns are available, they will be the only legally available ones in one state. (For ordinary citizens, at least. I'm sure cop privilege will apply as usual.)

A rule of thumb for evaluating this study, or any one about guns, BTW: anything coming from an institute of public health rather than an institute of criminology is not credible. Crime and violence are not diseases. We have scientific discipline that studies crime; but for prohibitionists, it keeps coming up with the "wrong" answer regarding gun control.


Comment Re:Seems really stupid (Score 1) 208

Purposeful violence against civilians is a breaking of the basic social contract and deserves a forfeiture of rights.

Yes, a forfeiture of rights...after a trial. And based on individual charges, not guilt by association.

If you think that ISIS and "Martin Luthor King, Jr" (sic) are "the same general concept, then you don't really know anything about either.

The freedom of speech of DAESH/ISIS supporters and the freedom of speech of Martin Luther King are the same general concept: the state has no right to use force to silence people, and a communications company should be required to carry all communications regardless of content. (Otherwise it's not a communications company, it's an advocacy group of some sort.)

ISIS is a bad bunch of people. I don't support them. But censorship is strategically counter-productive in the short term, and corrosive to liberty in the long term. Trying to silence a group is an admission that their message is attractive and important. It only lends them credibility, the old "forbidden fruit" syndrome.

Comment Your post advocates a (Score 4, Interesting) 192

The goal is to make the data less useful and harder to tie to an individual or separate from fake data, and to increase the cost of collecting and storing such data.

Here is a new form, the same as the fighting spam one with minor changes. Feel free to use it as most of the measures proposed to fight surveillance fail for the same reasons.

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based (X) vigilante

approach to fighting surveillance. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws not included here)

(X) Governments can easily use it to identify dissidents
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop surveillance for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Users will not put up with it
(X) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
(X) Requires too much cooperation from everyone
(X) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Governments don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for communication
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
(X) Ease of searching all text based communication
(X) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in current solutions
( ) Susceptibility of other forms of encryption
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
(X) Eternal arms race involved in all surveillance approaches
(X) Extreme profitability of surveillance
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
(X) Technically illiterate politicians
(X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people
( ) Dishonesty on the part of everyone themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) Encryption should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Speech should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
(X) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government decrypting my stuff
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Comment Re:Haven't noticed a thing... (Score 1) 149

My instances keep on chugging along as if nothing is wrong.

Mine haven't. :-( I'm in Atlanta, was off-line most of yesterday, came back up before I went to bed, was off again this morning. It's the suck. Not Linode's fault, but the suck.

This plus the BBC outage suggests that 2016 is that year we'll learn the net is made of tissue paper.

Open Source

The Empathy Gap and Why Women Are Treated So Badly In Open Source Projects (perens.com) 786

Bruce Perens writes: There's no shortage of stories of horrible treatment of women in Open Source projects. But how did we get here? How did we ever get a community where a vocal minority of males behave in the most boorish, misogynistic, objectifying manner toward women? I have a theory: "It’s unfortunately the case that software development in general and Open Source communities are frequented by males who have social development issues. I once complained online about how offended I was by a news story that said many software developers were on the autism spectrum. To my embarrassment, there were many replies to my complaint by people who wrote 'no, I really am on the spectrum and I’m not alone here.'

It’s still an open issue whether males and females have built-in biases that, for example, lead fewer women to be programmers, or if such biases only develop as a response to social signals. There is more science to be done. But it’s difficult to do that sort of science because we can’t separate the individuals from the social signals they’ve grown up with. Certainly we can improve the situation for the women who would be programmers except for the social signals."

Comment Re:FTFY... (Score 1) 492

So Iran teaching it's schoolchildren to chant 'Death to America' is a 'dissenting political opinion'

Yes. "Death to America" is an opinion about what should happen, and it's a political one.

and you're OK with it, then?

"Okay with it" in the sense of approve and agree? No. "Okay with it" in the sense of not wanting to invoke state force to stop it, or to permit a communications company to pick-and-choose content? Yes.

So-called 'Islamic state' assholes tweeting about cutting off people's heads is a 'dissenting political opinion'?

Yes. Just like so-called "American patriots" tweeting about how Snowden should be executed.

Comment Switzerland Has Something Similar (Score 1) 490

They probably don't use computers for it, but the Swiss public can overturn new legislation by instigating a referendum. I believe it requires something in the region of 50 thousand signatures to kick off a referendum. This is a good compromise between purely representative democracy (which is often not very representative at all) and absolute direct democracy . Let the government do its job making dull but necessary new laws etc, but if they get out of line with some new law etc, we should have a constitutional and effective way of striking it down that doesn't involve mass protest and teargas.

In Britain, referendums are rarely granted by the government and in a number of cases they have promised them and then actually backtracked. They don't like handing power over to the public. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be for the public to simply overrule the government over something like TPP?

The question is, how do we get there?

Comment Re:Seems pretty reasonable (Score 2) 263

(Bonus points for the captcha - "Consent")

But that's the point. Consent was granted. You can't retroactively revoke it. It's polite to do so, yes, but a stunning overreach of state power to make this a law. You consent to me taking your photo, that photo is mine, and that state will have to pry it from my cold dead hand. Zero tolerance for government censorship.

Comment Yellow journalism at its best (Score 4, Insightful) 365

Anonymous declares war on city of Orlando (28/Jun/2011)
Anonymous vs. Zetas: Hackers Taking On The Drug Cartel (02/Nov/2011)
Anonymous wages war on Westboro Baptist Church (17/Dez/2012)
Anonymous Declares War on Singapore (06/Nov/2013)

Given the fallback on the last weeks hoax declaration of war on ISIS by Mexican cartel leader 'El Chapo' the media is showing that the powers of "the fourth state" given to them is not being used to inform the public but to entertain them, distracting from more important issues (and of course, to sell advertisement).

Comment Re:So we're not going to over-react this time, rig (Score 2) 676

Muslims have had a beef with America as long as America has existed

Uh, no, actually. There were Muslim American soldiers in the Revolution, and the first country to recognize the United States was the Sultanate of Morocco.

Muslims have had "beef" with the US mostly since WWII, as our stupid and brutal foreign policy started to intrude more and more on the Muslim world: the CIA-backed coup in Iran, support for the rogue nation of Israel, suport for Saudi Arabia. The grievances are rooted in geopolitics, religion merely helps gives them some specifics of form.

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