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+ - Julian Assange: A Compromise Solution

heretic108 writes: I have today sent this letter to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, proposing a compromise to resolve the ongoing issue of Julian Assange:

Dear Ecuador consular authorities,

I write to you with a suggestion for achieving resolution to the ongoing matter of Australian political activist Julian Assange, who remains effectively imprisoned in your London Embassy:

  • Negotiate a deal with the Swedish and British governments for Mr Assange to be relocated to the Ecuador mainland, but face trial under Swedish law
  • If criminal trial should result in a guilty verdict, then arrange for Mr Assange to serve his sentence within Ecuador's corrections system, under Ecuadorian law, at a facility within Ecuador chosen by the Ecuadorian government
  • At the conclusion of his sentence, or upon being granted parole, Mr Assange to be discharged to live out his life within Ecuador enjoying the political asylum he has previously been granted

Mr Assange does stand accused of sexual offences, for which a guilty verdict and custodial sentences are a probability. He does need to account for these matters. However, he is right to be concerned that his deportation to Sweden runs a high risk of him being handed over to American authorities and facing years of isolation, torture and other abuses.

This suggested compromise solution will offer the opportunity for him to attend to his prosecution and participate in resulting legal remedies, without risk of unjust abuses once Sweden is finished with him.

Thank you for reading this letter. I look forward to your thoughts in this matter.

Comment: This will improve university/college education (Score 1) 172 172

Imagine if the authors/publishers of all those 1000-page tl;dr sleep-inducing university/college texts only got paid for each page actually read by each student.
They'd go broke overnight, or very quickly figure out how to make their texts a lot more engaging!

+ - "I beat a patent troll and you can too"

heretic108 writes: Chris Hulls, the CEO of tech startup Life360, received $50m in new funding, only to be almost immediately set upon by a patent troll, Advanced Ground Information Systems.
But unlike other startups who simply pay the ransom (cheaper than a trial, most folks figure), this guy went medieval, attacking not only AGIS's claims, but also their entire patent portfolio. Result? Not only were the troll's patents defeated by a jury, but with the heavy publicity, Life360 sent a clear warning to patent trolls that bullies will not be tolerated, going so far as to offer free legal support to other startups who have fallen victim to this troll.

+ - An "inventor's" argument FOR software patents->

heretic108 writes: As the immortal wisdom goes, "know thine enemy". Sadly, however, the enemy is often a group of misguided people who would normally be allies. This (PDF) letter from Independent Inventors of America sets out a so-called "case" for software patents, but the first serious flaws in the argument show in the first couple of paragraphs. It is handy, however, to be familiar with this line of thinking so we can promptly refute it in debate, when engaging with people terrified that weakening software patents will of itself turn us into mere serfs of our new Chinese overlords.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Net Neutrality fear-mongering? (Score 1) 62 62

This seems like the place to ask - have there been fearmongering campaigns against Net Neutrality in the USA? I was having a discussion about it on a business web forum and copped some brutal flames for speaking in its defense; people on that forum are making it out to be some kind of communist gulag that will destroy future internet innovation. Every time I made a point in favour of net neutrality, they would scream "Don't you believe in property rights, you TROLL?"

Comment: Manage the Culture (Score 1) 176 176

Above and beyond any specific policy areas such as coding standards, seniority mixes and son on, the biggest and most important thing to manage is the overall software development culture. If you can energise the culture, and inspire people to believe in the mission, to fight for it like their own flesh and blood, as well as to honour each other's diversity of perspectives, you will achieve far more than by drawing policy lines in the sand. Keep it fun. Make the crew feel special. Give them a feeling that their futures are within their control.

This said, I would also recommend frequent peer code reviews - this will inspire better work, knowing that people are accountable to their peers. Also, be on the lookout for single-sourcing, and fight it off like the plague, even if it has a productivity cost. Yes, Natalie is brilliant with the middleware. But what if she gets hit by a bus, or leaves to have a kid? Defend in advance by ensuring there are others who can instantly step in and take over from her.

Again - an energised culture with a strong team spirit - a deep and powerful soul - will optimise the workplace far better than any arbitrary standards.

Comment: Re:Places that have Ebola, seem to just want to ro (Score 0) 221 221

The Nations that have Ebola, have governments that want bribes and kicks back just so that non-profits can operate and help. Then even when they get there, more mafia style extortion occurs. Is there some way to change this behavior?

Give this man a big white pointy hat with eye-holes

+ - Kim Dotcom offers $5m bounty to defeat extradition

heretic108 writes: Internet mega-entrepreneur, uber-gamer and now NZ political corruption-buster and king-maker Kim DotCom has posted a bounty of $5m to anyone who can dig up any dirt which saves him from extradition to the US on his trumped-up "racketeering", "piracy" and "money-laundering" charges.

Conceivably this bounty would be payable not only to government department employees, but also to anyone able to access government servers in the US, New Zealand or elsewhere, or servers of any companies or organisations working with these governments, who can retrieve documents clearly proving corruption in the whole prosecution process, and these documents help materially to derail Kim Dotcom's prosecution, this would most certainly qualify for the bounty.

Comment: A model based on social covenants (Score 2) 170 170

There is a social scheme to provide a level of relative security for an encrypted time capsule:
  1. Choose n separate trusted individuals or organisations, ideally scattered around the world and unaware of who each other are
  2. Gain promises from these entities that they will each send a block of data to the time capsule at a given time, and not before
  3. Decide by policy how many of these entities (m) should be required to do their part, for the time capsule to be decrypted
  4. For every combination of m entities, generate m strings, where the XOR of all these m strings arrives at the decryption key
  5. For each of the n entities, issue the required number of strings (n-1)C(r-1) required to contribute to every combination of m entities of which this entity is a part
  6. Each string is prefixed with a binary string of n bits, indicating by true/false values whether the string is part of a group of each of the n respective keepers
  7. The whole set of strings given to each entity would be prefixed by a 'keeper number' and then encrypted
  8. The time capsule curator destroys all record of who these trusted agents are, and relies on them to send their keys at the appointed time

Example - 10 keepers chosen, 4 in UK, 1 in Iceland, 2 in Australia, 1 in USA, 1 in Uruguay and 1 in Morocco. Policy chosen so that the cooperation of 7 is required to decrypt. Each keeper then is thus issued 84 strings. 1 agent dies, another agent gets busted, and a third agent becomes opposed to the decryption. This leaves 7 agents. They each send their key packages in to the time capsule curator, who decrypts each package, identifies which string within each package is need to form the key, XORs these strings, then arrives at a final decryption key. Even if an intelligence organisation manages to extract keys from 6 of the agents, they won't be able to decrypt. If on the other hand, they kill up to 3 of the agents and stop them returning their keys, the decryption can still go ahead. Ideally, you would want to set n and m according to perceived risk, plus the size of the data set. For example, 36 agents and 20 required would produce a key set which would fit into a cheap 8GB USB stick.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin