Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Subpoenas and the right against self-incriminat (Score 1) 163

... protection against compelled self-incrimination.

In many countries that protection is provided not by a constitution, but by tradition of jurisprudence. If the government decides to take that protection away in their 'war on terror', which has happened in other countries, someone will have to prosecute the government to get that protection re-instated.

It is a protection that many in the United States are quick to surrender when they feel threatened, but thankfully so far the more wise heads have prevailed.

In the past 50 years or so the popular attitude toward the protection has faltered. A half century ago invoking your right to remain silent was seen as a good use of protecting yourself. Those who did it were considered smart. But these days, when someone invokes the fifth amendment in the US it is often seen with derision and suspicion.

Anyone can incriminate themselves all they want voluntarily, confess all you want. But the protections against compelled self-incrimination are extremely important. Sadly too many don't realize how important they are.

Comment Subpoenas and the right against self-incrimination (Score 5, Informative) 163

Perhaps they know who the phones belong to, but what makes them think the owner is one of the San Bernadino killers?

That's where law enforcement is having a hard time.
* Government can use a warrant to demand the item be surrendered, and preserve it as evidence.
* Government can demand passwords from third parties like phone companies under both subpoenas and warrants.
* BUT individuals have a constitution protection against compelled self-incrimination.

The government is supposed to produce evidence and link the person to the crime without a forced confession. It is a GOOD THING, it helps prevent things like being tortured to confession and fishing expeditions looking for crimes. Prosecutors and police can demand an individual produce papers and documents that link them to a case, but (assuming their legal defense is doing their job) by doing so they trigger the protections of the fourth and fifth amendments by compelling the evidence.

This was recently re-affirmed by the supreme court in US v. Hubbell. If the government demands that the person gives up documents, papers, or passwords to the device it is compelled self-incrimination. If the government demands a person incriminate himself to collect evidence, it becomes poisoned and the government cannot use it or information from it to help with prosecution.

Police and prosecutors absolutely can demand the people turn over passwords .... but by doing so they also trigger immunity, they cannot use that fact or anything learned from the devices as evidence against them. They'll bitch and moan and complain about not having the passwords, they'll petition congress about how unfair it is to law enforcement that police need to actually investigate crimes and can't use self-incrimination tactics, but the lawyers know full well all it takes is a single slip of paper to legally demand the passwords. Grant them immunity under the protections of the 5th and they are compelled to turn the passwords over, but the person also walks away from criminal liability.

Simply (perhaps dangerously oversimplified) in most of these cases it is that the police are lazy. There are many other known details, much other evidence, but investigators are going for the easy pickings of the data on phones and other personal documents typically protected by law. They could do actual leg-work, actual investigation, actual crime scene evaluation, and many investigators do. The ones wanting to break down the constitutional protections are the lazy investigators who won't be bothered to use the other available investigation tools.

Comment Re:Cores Schmores (Score 1) 136

x64 actually runs x86 code more efficiently than classic x86 due to the large number of registers available for renaming on x64 which is why you can see significant improvements switching from the x86 to the x64 build of any of the MS OS's on exactly the same hardware with exactly the same applications (no recompile needed). The only thing you give up is a bit of storage (on the OS side) and a bit of ram so it won't work for $200 tablets but for anything with reasonable specs it makes sense.

Comment Re:Better transistors? (Score 5, Interesting) 337

So the plan to make transistors tolerate higher clock speeds by using better materials is not going to happen?

Yet another restating of Moore's Law? The thing gets revised to whatever the latest growth area is.

The original 1965 article it was about "component counts", then it was revised in a later talk to be "circuit density", then revised in 1975 to be "semiconductor complexity", then revised in the later '70s to be "circuit and device cleverness", has been restated yet again when serial devices flatlined in favor of highly parallel chips.

Assuming this goes through the chipset, it will likely be restated again in terms of whatever other factor on the chips continues to grow.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 459

Sorry, let me clarify.

During those 8 weeks or so it is a full time job. And honestly, some of the laws and especially the budget are so complex that it isn't something you just whip out the pen and start writing. Maybe full-time research staff, but honestly that is the job of legislators.

And I personally believe that they should spend as much time reviewing old laws for relevance, modification and possible repeal as they do making new ones.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 459

I don't know. This was the way things were set up back when it all started, a couple hundred years ago. The intent was that government was small enough to not be a full time job.

The problem is that belief has become a religion. We are no longer in the 1700s and the complexities of governing such a large and varied State have greatly evolved. It really isn't a part time job anymore, but not enough people are willing to admit that.

Comment Re:No use fighting it (Score 5, Insightful) 144

Movie companies would do a much better job if they stopped trying to squash any sort of piracy, and focused more on providing what people want, in the form they want, when they want it, at a convenient price.

There will always be a guy selling DVDs on the corner, frequently backed up by organized crime. I'm not so certain that people who are less committed to that lifestyle will be always there and impossible to stop. That ease of participation relies on freedoms are now taken for granted which I feel may well become very eroded in the future.

That misses the point.

If the companies provided what the consumers wanted, in the form they wanted, at a convenient price, the guy on the corner has no customers and goes to a different process. The content creators get paid for the content, the customers can enjoy the content, and everyone is happy. (As typical, customers would always prefer to pay less, producers would like to be paid more, but ultimately a happy balance can be reached if they honestly tried.)

Systems like netflix, hulu, dramafever, amazon video, they are getting closer to what the customers wants. In an even better world all those off-catalog shows, the crappy direct-to-DVD releases, these would also be available in the catalog rather than the constant Disney-esque vault where availability is intentionally reduced to get more coin.

The fact that they are present at all on Torrent systems is enough to let the companies know to add it to the catalogs. If I knew I could watch {popular title} from Redbox for a buck per day, or from some paid service where there are no scratched discs, and watch it on a web player on whatever device I want for a time period, sign me up.

Simply: If it is available in a torrent but not available in the authorized service, the authorized service is insufficient.

The company needs to stop providing insufficient service. When one business gives insufficient service, and another source offers the service, it is clear what will happen to the business. Adapt or die. These companies don't even need to go through the process of digitizing the works; when they discover what is on torrents but not in their catalog, put the ripped torrent version among their authorized versions. What happens when Disney finds a rip from some old VHS they haven't migrated? Instead of trying to shut it down, Disney should find the best ripped copy and put that among their (fully paid and properly authorized) products.

If everything were available through a proper, above board, fully legal paid service, and there was one place I could go to get yesterday's TV show, this week's big blockbuster release, reruns of my favorites from the last decade, reruns from the 1980s, 1970s, 1960s, and even all the old back catalog movies clear back to the 1920s when the Golden Age of Cinema started, then the guy at the corner selling bootleg copies would vanish. If the mere presence of a show on torrents was enough to get it added to the proper legal channels, then the need for them would precipitously drop.

It would not vanish completely, there are some people who refuse to pay anything and also refuse to find any friends to share passwords and accounts. If the legal version is immediately available to paying customers, at a convenient price, on a convenient location, viewable on a convenient device, the unsatisfied needs that drive torrented movies would drop off the radar.

Slashdot Top Deals

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. - Voltaire