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Comment: 52 million pictures, >= 2,421 false positives (Score 2) 103

by davecb (#46763067) Attached to: 52 Million Photos In FBI's Face Recognition Database By Next Year

According the wikipedia, the number of pictures being seen as the same with probability p is =sqrt(2d * ln(1/1-p)) If d is 52,000,000 and we use a 99% probability, then for each 21,884.6 pictures we get a false positive with a perfectly accurate matcher. And there are no perfect matchers.

This is a variant of the birthday paradox, where it only takes 100 people to get a 99.9% chance of them having the same birthday, and a mere 23 people to get a 50% chance [wikipedia].

The German Federal Security Service rejected facial matching years ago, for exactly this reason, when I was working for Siemens. The Americans did not, and supposedly stopped someone's grandma for being a (younger, male) terrorist.

If they use this, expect a week or so of everyone's grandma being arrested (;-))

Mathematicians, please feel free to check me on the numbers: I suspect I'm rather low...

+ - Civil Liberties Association files class action for all Canadians, against spies->

Submitted by davecb
davecb (6526) writes "The British Columbia CLA filed a class action on behalf of all Canadians, against our security services' collecting of metadata, because it allows for a profile to be created of the individuals involved. It's a tough class for a court to certify, but to qualify, the BCCLA needed a class that they knew contained people who were spied upon."
Link to Original Source

+ - Apple's Spotty Record Of Giving Back To The Tech Industry->

Submitted by chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy (814965) writes "One of the meta-stories to come out of the Heartbleed ( debacle is the degree to which large and wealthy companies have come to rely on third party code ( — specifically, open source software maintained by volunteers on a shoestring budget. Adding insult to injury is the phenomenon of large, incredibly wealthy companies that gladly pick the fruit of open source software, but refusing to peel off a tiny fraction of their profits to financially support those same groups.

Exhibit 1: Apple Computer. On Friday, IT World ran a story that looks at Apple's long history of not giving back to the technology and open source community. The article cites three glaring examples: Apple's non-support of the Apache Software Foundation (despite bundling Apache with OS X), as well as its non-support of OASIS and refusal to participate in the Trusted Computing Group (despite leveraging TCG-inspired concepts, like AMDs Secure Enclave in iPhone 5s).

Given Apple's status as the world's most valuable company and its enormous cash hoard, the refusal to offer even meager support to open source and industry groups is puzzling. From the article:

"Apple bundles software from the Apache Software Foundation with its OS X operating system, but does not financially support the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) in any way. That is in contrast to Google and Microsoft, Apple's two chief competitors, which are both Platinum sponsors of ASF — signifying a contribution of $100,000 annually to the Foundation. Sponsorships range as low as $5,000 a year (Bronze), said Sally Khudairi, ASF's Director of Marketing and Public Relations. The ASF is vendor-neutral and all code contributions to the Foundation are done on an individual basis. Apple employees are frequent, individual contributors to Apache. However, their employer is not, Khudairi noted.

The company has been a sponsor of ApacheCon, a for-profit conference that runs separately from the Foundation — but not in the last 10 years. "We were told they didn't have the budget," she said of efforts to get Apple's support for ApacheCon in 2004, a year in which the company reported net income of $276 million on revenue of $8.28 billion."

Carol Geyer at OASIS is quoted saying her organization has done "lots of outreach" to Apple and other firms over the years, and regularly contacts Apple about becoming a member. "Whenever we're spinning up a new working group where we think they could contribute we will reach out and encourage them to join," she said. But those communications always go in one direction, Geyer said, with Apple declining the entreaties.

Today, the company has no presence on any of the Organization's 100-odd active committees, which are developing cross-industry technology standards such as The Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) and the Public-Key Cryptography Standard (PKCS)."

Link to Original Source

+ - Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras Return to U.S. Soil->

Submitted by rmdingler
rmdingler (1955220) writes "After remaining abroad since the Snowden revelations broke in June of last year, the two were in New York Friday to accept a Polk Award for national security reporting. Though they cleared customs without a hitch, they are traveling with an ACLU lawyer and a German journalist who are to "document any unpleasant surprises." According to Ms. Poitras, the risks of subpoena are very real.

What, if anything, do you expect the American government to do considering Snowden's case has been officially cited as violating the Espionage Act? nytimes"

Link to Original Source

+ - Do backups on Linux no longer matter?-> 5

Submitted by cogcritter
cogcritter (3614357) writes "In June of 2009, the dump/restore utilities version 0.4b42 for Linux's ext3 filesystem were released. This was the last version where incremental dumps could actually be used. A bug introduced in 0.4b43, one year later, causes restore to fail when processing an incremental backup unless, basically, no directory deletions occurred since the level 0 part of the backup set was taken.

The bug is certainly present in Debian Wheezy, and comments in Debian's defect tracking system suggest that the bug has permeated out into other distros as well.

How can Linux's backup/restore tools for its popular ext2/ext3 filesystem be broken for 3+ years, and nobody seems to care? Does nobody take backups? Or do they not use incremental backups? How many people are going to find themselves scrambling when they next NEED to restore a filesystem, and find themselves in possession of long-broken tools?

Just in case this article is where some hapless sysadmin ends up, the workaround is to go to, go to the files section, pull down the 0.4b42 version and build it for yourself. For me, I think going forward I'm going to switch to filesystem mirroring using rsync."

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+ - The Comcast merger isn't about lines on a map,it's about controlling information->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Comcast and proposed merger partner Time Warner Cable claim they donâ(TM)t compete because their service areas donâ(TM)t overlap, and that a combined company would happily divest itself of a few million customers to keeps its pay-TV market share below 30%, allowing other companies that donâ(TM)t currently compete with Comcast to keep not competing with Comcast. This narrow, shortsighted view fails to take into account the full breadth of whatâ(TM)s involved in this merger â" broadcast TV, cable TV, network technology, in-home technology, access to the Internet, and much more. In addition to asking whether or not regulators should permit Comcast to add 10-12 million customers, there is a more important question at the core of this deal: Should Comcast be allowed to control both what content you consume and how you get to consume it?"
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Comment: Re:Eh? (Score 1) 99

While it didn't address the lobbying, Jean Chretien's effort to shift party funding to $x per vote cast in the previous election was an excellent first step toward taking the power to influence out of the hands of the people who also hire lobbyists. It's contraintuitive that it was the ex-Reform party members who shut it down and took the election-spending power out of the hands of their own "grass roots".

Comment: Re:Eh? (Score 4, Informative) 99

We used to have four parties,
Left Left-Center Right-center Right
NDP Liberal Conservative Reform
plus a Quebec party, plus some oddballs.

We used to get lots of debate, and some very different suggestions from the NDP and Reform, which tended to keep the debate healthy.

Now we have Reform, renamed as the "Conservatives", a rump of the Liberals, and a invigorated NDP. The latter two split the left-center vote, the Reform party wins, and the policies look remarkably homogenized.


Comment: Conversely, Judges...: (Score 2) 99

On April 8, 2004, the European Court of Justice – the highest court in the world’s largest economy – declared Data Retention to be an excusable violation of fundamental human rights. The court invalidated the entire directive (“EU federal law”) retroactively, making it have never existed. (courtesy Ricvk Falkvinge, https://www.privateinternetacc...

The EU and Canadian constitutions are sort of vaguely similar, so one can likely make the point that, even if the telcos are free to disclose, they're not allowed to keep much of the data the security services would want them to.

"Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished." -- Goethe