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Comment: Re:Why? (Score 2) 151

by dcollins117 (#49622189) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

It's more like the FBI's investigations into various criminal and subversive groups.

The FBi is a law enforcement organization. It's their job to investigate US citizens when there is reason to believe they are involved in breaking US law.

The NSA is a military organization. Their charter (and the constitution) explicitly precludes them from targeting US citizens, yet they do it anyway. What does it mean when a country's military deems every citizen such a threat to national security that they are considered valid intelligence targets? It says to me we are considered the enemy - each and every one of us. This cannot possibly end well.

Comment: Re:Assumptions (Score 3, Interesting) 78

by dcollins117 (#49605039) Attached to: Hacking the US Prescription System

I'll allow that I may be wrong. I don't know; it's never happened before so I don't know what it feels like :P

I note in the excellent link you provided under the section of data mining it says

Data miners buy prescription information from pharmacies and PBMs.

Apparently, data identifying a specific person is removed "sufficient to remove the data from the protection of the CMIA and HIPAA", and the records are assigned a number.


Prescription data miners have the ability to re-identify individual data based on the number assigned to it, and they operate separately from the entities - health care providers, health plans, health care clearinghouses, and their contractors or business associates - that do have legal obligations.

I don't think it too far-fetched to think this happening, particularly since I started seeing a lot of targeted ads for asthma medications not long after coming down with respiratory difficulties last year. Somebody's doing something shady, I'll bet.

Comment: Re:It's not really about the code... (Score 5, Interesting) 84

I think this verdict sends a great message: do not steal from the leaches of society that have enough money to get other leaches elected.

From the comments on this article I get the feeling I'm the only one would read Flash boys. He was developing code, part of it proprietary and part of it open source, which he modified. His intent was to someday separate and release the modified open source code; he didn't have any plans to do anything with the proprietary code. He checked the code into a subversion repository based in Germany, apparently the first free code repository his search engine ranked.

So when the police got hold of this, they heard subversion" repository and concluded obviously this guy is a "subversive". Oh, it's hosted in Germany? Even worse.

When they investigated further, they made a big deal out of the fact that he deleted his bash history. What's he trying to hide? Sounds like a cover up.

That's the level of stupidity and ignorance and we've come to expect of police regarding technical matters. And for what it's worth, I use subversion, (or cvs, git, whatever the project uses) and my .bash_history links to /dev/null. I don't use the feature, so I don't waste the disk space. I guess that makes me a criminal.

Comment: Assumptions (Score 4, Informative) 78

by dcollins117 (#49604389) Attached to: Hacking the US Prescription System

From TFA, regarding a persons prescription history, it says

It is assumed that this information comes from the various backend systems that interlink the pharmacies as described above.

I doubt it. I think it is far more likely that the pharmacy sells this information to insurance, pharmaceutical, and marketing companies. Big data is big business these days. So long patient confidentiality.

That being said, it is unconscionable how lax security procedures were.

Comment: Re:Excellent. (Score 1) 321

by dcollins117 (#49595467) Attached to: Mozilla Begins To Move Towards HTTPS-Only Web

Because [a] I had to shell out my own money to by a certificate to vouch for my domain name, and [b] It seemed wrong to me to have somebody else to voucth for me.

It seems fundamentally wrong to me too. That's why I created my own CA certificate. I'm reasonably sure I am who I claim to be. Some company half way across the country can not make that assertion with the same degree of confidence as I can. It's easy, and free, to create your own certificates.

The downside is that my visitors must agree to accept the certificate. It's not a big concern in my case, but it may be for some people.

Comment: Re:Well.. (Score 1) 173

Is it stupid? Yes no doubt about that...They want this and they will get it one way or another.

No, they won't. When you have have Congress telling you how stupid you are, that's a clue that you aren't going to get what you want. The FBI knows it's a moronic idea too, they are doing this to plant the idea that the reason they appear incompetent and ineffectual is that their hands are being tied. Without a ready excuse, the next time a bad event happens they might have to admit that they made mistakes or that they are incapable of doing the job they are tasked with.

Comment: Re:narcissistic spectrum personality disorder (Score 1) 206

It was a closet in a college campus, it's not like he broke into Fort Knox. The door was unlocked. Shenanigans happen all the time on that campus. Students once put a live cow on the roof of what is now the East Campus dorm. Richard Feynman notoriously honed his lock-picking and safe cracking abilities while a student there. Somebody apparently put a campus police car on the Great Dome, replete with flashing lights, a plastic police officer and box of donuts. Should all those people have been arrested and thrown in jail? Do you harbor the same level of vitriol for those "crimes" as you do for Aaron Schwartz?

Has anyone considered that perhaps his script had a bug that allowed it to fetch documents faster than he intended? I ask because I wrote a script that was supposed to access a server every 2 seconds, and first time I fired it up it hit the server every 2 ms. Oops! Should I go to jail? It was my own server, so I'm kinda on the fence about whether I should have myself arrested.

Comment: Re:How many other flaws (Score 3, Insightful) 173

They didn't want to think about the balance of probabilities of all the pieces of circumstantial evidence and decide if someone was guilty or not. They wanted cold hard forensic evidence to do that for them.

Isn't that how it's supposed to work? The defendant is supposed to be given the benefit of every doubt. That's part of being presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you've ever been accused of doing something you didn't do, you'll likely appreciate the value of this system.

Comment: Re:in my opinion this guy is like Jenny McCarthy (Score 4, Informative) 320

by dcollins117 (#49498553) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

Genuine curiosity, what is he advocating that actually endangers his patients (or anyone else's) health?

Well, the short answer is he isn't, directly. That statement sounds like he's trying to kill his viewers. He's not.

The long answer has to do with his promotion of weight-loss dietary supplements.Since supplements aren't regulated by the FDA, consumers can't always be sure what they're taking. There are some sketchy companies out there and sometimes what's in the pill is not what's on the label.

He also didn't do himself any favors by using incautious language to promote the supplements - things like "magic weight loss cure" and "miracle in a bottle". This earned him a stern talking to by a Senate subcommittee on consumer protection about a year ago.

In his defense he points out these products have studies to show they are somewhat effective when combined with diet and exercise and it's not his fault if companies are misrepresenting product.

Comment: Re:Shocked he survived (Score 1) 327

by dcollins117 (#49482835) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

I mean, I do not advocate the death penalty for stupidity, but I am shocked he wasn't hit by a sniper before he even crossed the property line.

I don't know about a sniper, but he was in a no-fly zone. Don't they scramble jets when someone enters a no-fly zone? Especially near the Capitol. I assume they do, but I don't really know.

Comment: Re:no need (Score 5, Funny) 294

I think on this issue you'll find that high level GOP officials have an unusually wide stance and are willing to reach around the aisle, pointing fingers when necessary in order to come to a consensus. Many are even willing to bend over backwards to be more accommodating.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James