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Government

Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone? 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-of-both-worlds dept.
MojoKid writes We're often told that having a kill switch in our mobile devices — mostly our smartphones — is a good thing. At a basic level, that's hard to disagree with. If every mobile device had a built-in kill switch, theft would go down — who would waste their time over a device that probably won't work for very long? Here's where the problem lays: It's law enforcement that's pushing so hard for these kill switches. We first learned about this last summer, and this past May, California passed a law that requires smartphone vendors to implement the feature. In practice, if a smartphone has been stolen, or has been somehow compromised, its user or manufacturer would be able to remotely kill off its usability, something that would be reversed once the phone gets back into its rightful owner's hands. However, such functionality should be limited to the device's owner, and no one else. If the owner can disable a phone with nothing but access to a computer or another mobile device, so can Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia or Apple. If the designers of a phone's operating system can brick a phone, guess who else can do the same? Everybody from the NSA to your friendly neighborhood police force, that's who. At most, all they'll need is a convincing argument that they're acting in the interest of "public safety."

Comment: Argument doesn't seem to make sense (Score 1) 240

by doug141 (#47654345) Attached to: Patents That Kill
If some inventors will "rest," then it's the promise of money that made them invent and patent in the first place. If you take away the patent, and therefore the promise of money, you won't even get the first invention out of the money-motivated. Especially if the patent-free economy is dominated with idea-stealing industrialists. Those motivated by other-than-money will keep inventing, patents or not.
The Military

The High-Tech Warfare Behind the Israel - Hamas Conflict 402

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-got-the-best-guns dept.
Taco Cowboy writes The Israel — Hamas conflict in Gaza is not only about bombs, missiles, bullets, but also about cyberwarfare, battles of the mind over social media, smart underground tunnels and cloud-based missile launching systems. The tunnels that Hamas has dug deep beneath Gaza are embedded with high tech gadgets, courtesy of Qatar, which has funded Hamas with billions to equipped their tunnels with intelligent sensors which are networked to control centers enabling the command and control staff to quickly notify operatives nearby that IDF units are advancing inside a certain tunnel, allowing for rapid deployment of attack units and the setting up of bobby traps inside the tunnel.

In addition, Hamas has automated its rocket firing system using networked, cloud-based launching software provided by Qatar which can set off a rocket from any distance, and set them to go off at a specific time, using timers. "Anyone who thinks they have dozens of people sitting next to launchers firing rockets each time there is a barrage is mistaken," said Aviad Dadon, a senior cyber-security adviser at several Israeli government ministries. While Doha is allowing Hamas to use its technology to fight Israel, it's their own cyber-security the leaders of Qatar are worried about. For the Qataris, the war between Israel and Hamas is a proving ground to see how their investments in cyber systems have paid of — Qatar is very worried that one of its Gulf rivals — specifically Saudi Arabia — will use technology to attack it, and Qatar spends a great deal of money each year on shoring up its cyber-technology.

Comment: privacy and future presidential elections (Score 1) 90

by doug141 (#47259091) Attached to: Privacy Worries For 'Smart' Smoke Alarms
I wonder what the first presidential election will be like when candidates are from the facebook generation. Companies like google, facebook, maybe snapchat will have dirt on all the candidates. Google alone will have every search the candidates ever did. Viable candidates will be only those people who are uncommonly boring, or influential enough to squelch the dirt, or trade it for favors. Imagine the power google wields... in part because they gave away their operation system, which doubles as an information vacuum.

Comment: Re:95 years but (Score 1) 120

by doug141 (#47129449) Attached to: Happy 95th Anniversary, Relativity
My impression of the thought experiment was that it was actually asking the listener to consider questions like "if the universe is isolated, are we in superposition right now?" and "what is the relationship between consciousness and superposition?" At any rate, it has been fascinating to watch the moderation of your "simple resolution" post bounce between extremes.
Canada

Orca Identified As 103 Years Old 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-goog-for-her-age dept.
guises (2423402) writes "The oldest known orca has recently been spotted off western Canada at an age of 103. A female nicknamed 'granny,' photos exist of her from the 1930s, where she can be identified by her distinctive saddle patch. The news has prompted calls for another evaluation of marine mammals in captivity — orcas in captivity usually don't live beyond their 20s."

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