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Comment: Re:I'm sure no one will misconstrue this at all... (Score 1) 92

by danaris (#49631595) Attached to: Apple's Plans For Your DNA

Sure, until insurance companies and governments start demanding access to it.

That's certainly something worth worrying about (it would really piss me off, that's for sure), but how does this make it significantly more likely? Who are they going to be demanding access from? The researchers? That's a huge no-no. People who happen to own iPhones with whatever accessory allows for DNA testing? How would they know?

No, the thing to worry about there is just that the general increase in ease of DNA testing and sequencing will lead to insurance companies deciding they need to have the genomes of all their insured on file. Once they decide that, it's possible that they would use a device like this to do the actual testing—or they could use any of the various other DNA testing/sequencing devices around.

Dan Aris

Comment: I'm sure no one will misconstrue this at all... (Score -1, Troll) 92

by danaris (#49630989) Attached to: Apple's Plans For Your DNA

Cue legions of anti-Apple posters and general conspiracy nuts ranting and raving that soon you won't be allowed to use an iPhone without having a sample of your DNA on file with Apple.

In reality, what this will do is enable amazing new kinds of distributed research. I'm not a scientist myself, but I do work for a bunch of them, and having the capability of taking a DNA sample on an iPhone would be an amazing new way to enhance the kinds of research available—both by scientists with an iPhone gathering data easily, and by soliciting (with appropriate legal consent forms and suchlike) DNA samples from a wide variety of research participants across the US and the world.

But nope, the important thing is APPLE EVUL! THEY GUNNA TAKE OUR DNAS!

Dan Aris

Comment: No, they are categorically NOT doing that... (Score -1) 152

by daveschroeder (#49622049) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

...and your comment represents the absolutely fundamental misunderstanding that pervades this discussion.

The truth no one wants to hear:

The distinction is no longer the technology or the place, but the person(s) using a capability: the target. In a free society based on the rule of law, it is not the technological capability to do a thing, but the law, that is paramount.

Gone are the days where the US targeted foreign communications on distant shores, or cracked codes used only by our enemies. No one would have questioned the legitimacy of the US and its allies breaking the German or Japanese codes or exploiting enemy communications equipment during WWII. The difference today is that US adversaries -- from terrorists to nation-states -- use many of the same systems, services, networks, operating systems, devices, software, hardware, cloud services, encryption standards, and so on, as Americans and much of the rest of the world. They use iPhones, Windows, Dell servers, Android tablets, Cisco routers, Netgear wireless access points, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, and so on.

US adversaries now often use the very same technologies we use. The fact that Americans or others also use them does not suddenly or magically mean that no element of the US Intelligence Community should ever target them. When a terrorist in Somalia is using Hotmail or an iPhone instead of a walkie-talkie, that cannot mean we pack our bags and go home. That means that, within clear and specific legal authorities and duly authorized statutory missions of the Intelligence Community, we aggressively pursue any and all possible avenues, within the law, that allow us to intercept and exploit the communications of foreign intelligence targets.

If they are using hand couriers, we target them. If they are using walkie-talkies, we target them. If they are using their own custom methods for protecting their communications, we target them. If they are using HF radios, VSATs, satellite phones, or smoke signals, we target them. If they are using Gmail, Windows, OS X, Facebook, iPhone, Android, SSL, web forums running on Amazon Web Services, etc., we target them -- within clear and specific legal frameworks that govern the way our intelligence agencies operate, including with regard to US Persons.

That doesn't mean it's always perfect; that doesn't mean things are not up for debate; that doesn't mean everyone will agree with every possible legal interpretation; that doesn't mean that some may not fundamentally disagree with the US approach to, e.g., counterterrorism. But the intelligence agencies do not make the rules, and while they may inform issues, they do not define national policy or priorities.

Without the authorities granted by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), the United States cannot target non-US Persons who are foreign intelligence targets if their communications enters, traverses, or otherwise touches the United States, a system within the United States, or, arguably, a system or network operated by a US corporation (i.e., a US Person) anywhere in the world. FAA in particular is almost exclusively focused on non-US Persons outside the US, who now exist in the same global web of digital communications as innocent Americans.

Without FAA, the very same Constitutional protections and warrant requirements reserved for US Persons would extend to foreign nations and foreign terrorists simply by using US networks and services â" whether intentionally or not. Without FAA, an individualized warrant would be required to collect on a foreign intelligence target using, say, Facebook, Gmail, or Yahoo!, or even exclusively foreign providers if their communications happens to enter the United States, as 70% of international internet traffic does. If you do not think there is a problem with this, there might be an even greater and more basic misunderstanding about how foreign SIGINT and cyber activities fundamentally must work.

If you believe NSA should not have these capabilities, what you are saying is that you do not believe the United States should be able to target foreign intelligence targets outside the United States who, by coincidence or by design, ever utilize or enter US systems and services. If you believe the solution is an individualized warrant every time the US wishes to target a foreign adversary using Gmail, then you are advocating the protection of foreign adversaries with the very same legal protections reserved for US citizens -- while turning foreign SIGINT, which is not and never has been subject to those restrictions, on its head.

These are the facts and realities of the situation. Any government capability is imperfect, and any government capability can be abused. But the United States is the only nation on earth which has jammed intelligence capabilities into as sophisticated and extensive a legal framework as we have. When the intelligence committees of both houses of Congress, multiple executive agencies under two diametrically opposite Presidential administrations, armies of lawyers within offices of general counsel and and inspectors general, and federal judges on the very court whose only purpose is to protect the rights of Americans under the law and the Constitution in the context of foreign intelligence collection are all in agreement, then you have the judgment of every mechanism of our free civil society.

Or we could just keep laying our intelligence sources, methods, techniques, and capabilities bare to our enemies.

âMany forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Speech in the House of Commons, November 11, 1947

"The necessity of procuring good Intelligence is apparent and need not be further urged â" all that remains for me to add, is, that you keep the whole matter as secret as possible. For upon Secrecy, Success depends in most Enterprises of the kind, and for want of it, they are generally defeated, however well planned and promising a favourable issue.â â" George Washington, our nation's first spymaster, in a letter to Colonel Elias Dayton, 26 July 1777

Comment: Re:A useful link for all of ya ... (Score 1) 1063

by Pfhorrest (#49613727) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

How's this for an idea: some form of visual media (video or drawings, whatever) depicting Muhammad and Islam in a very positive light, marketed and clearly honestly intended to educate westerners about the positive elements of the Muslim community and their history.

Then see if the kind of people who try to shoot people for drawing Muhammad throw a fit over even something like that.

Comment: Re:Flip it around and... (Score 0) 301

Please note that I didn't say anything at all about men not getting a fair shake.

I said that people would be rightly skeptical of an article that was written entirely by men claiming men were not getting a fair shake, regardless of the rest of the article's merits. The fact that it's coming from an all-male source would raise some eyebrows, and quite understandably. Now apply gender equality to that and ask why it's wrong that that should be true with all the genders reversed, as is the case here.

I also suggested that if a reviewer said, of such a hypothetical gender-swapped scenario, "maybe the reason why men aren't apparently aren't getting a fair shake isn't due to bias against them but just because men generally don't measure up in this area" -- suggesting an alternative hypothesis, as academic reviewers frequently do -- that would (and I think should) be considered a sound critique, something that at least should be addressed in the paper. Now flip the genders again and you get the second part of this story, and suddenly that's an atrocity?

Comment: Flip it around and... (Score 5, Insightful) 301

I'm sure if a paper with the opposite conclusion authored only by men was submitted for review, women (both reviewers and others) would be decrying that fact, implicitly because of the assumed tacit bias of the all-male authors (a plausible concern to be fair, but in both directions), and, if it was in fact the case that women had more articles published than men, suggesting that perhaps an alternative conclusion to systematic bias could be that women just are better in that respect would be a perfectly acceptable critique of the paper.

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 2) 702

by Pfhorrest (#49578607) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

As an American who agrees that the American view of the political possibilities is myopic, there is still a difference. To put it figuratively: one side thinks all kittens should be fed to vicious ravenous dogs to be maimed and devoured as the dogs see fit; the other side thinks there should be some limits on how much the dogs can maim most kittens and how many can be devoured in what circumstances, and further special protections for certain classes of kitten.

What do you mean, lets not feed kittens to the dogs in the first place? What are you, some kind of communist?

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 2) 702

by Pfhorrest (#49578529) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

given science really cannot explain what happened before the Big Bang, or what's outside the universe

Yeah, it really is quite hard to explain answers to incoherent questions. Science can't even answer a simple math question like what do you get when you multiply 37 times the square root of giraffes?

Comment: wrong arrest (Score 2) 310

by Tom (#49525709) Attached to: Futures Trader Arrested For Causing 2010 'Flash Crash'

The real people to throw in jail are the ones who made it possible. The guys who deregulated the markets so much, the ones in oversight of the finance system who didn't see these things approaching and the people who dissolved all the protections of the real economy against the finance market because they were greedy for quick bucks.

Politicians, mostly, but we should also go after the lobbyists and their employers who influenced them.

Of course, that will never happen. Society rarely becomes self-conscious enough to get rid of its parasites.

Comment: Re:failed industry (Score 1) 67

by Tom (#49523033) Attached to: How Security Companies Peddle Snake Oil

That is exactly what I mean. I would even go one step further at the end: Without the risk of the computer compromising the user. Because the computer in itself is worth its scrap metal value and that's it. Everything of actual value is in the user - the data, the communication, the access to 3rd party networks and services. Not that one particular user in front of the machine, maybe, but a user.

Weekend, where are you?