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Comment: Political Science (Score 1) 366

by CohibaVancouver (#47922207) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?
I have a liberal arts degree (Political Science) and I work in tech as a product manager - Writing requirements docs, training, travelling, evangelizing as the voice of the customer. I also have more job security than my coder-peers as my job hasn't been outsourced, unlike many of theirs.

However, I've always dabbled in computers and software, going back to my TRS-80 Model 1 in 1980.

The biggest challenge is that while Tech CEOs talk the talk of wanting 'critical thinking skills' it doesn't translate down to the line managers doing the hiring. All they know is STEM, so that's what they fall back on.

Comment: Re:Restoration (Score 3, Funny) 96

Why is it that if you copy something it's called a fake, but if you also destroy the original it's called restoration?

Interestingly, that's how transporters might eventually work:

Scan you, transmit scan data, reassemble you at the other end based on the data, confirm checksum, then destroy original.

Comment: Re:Do We Want Our Gov't to regulate the drones? (Score 3, Informative) 94

by CohibaVancouver (#47896913) Attached to: Drone-Based Businesses: Growing In Canada, Grounded In the US

So basically what you're saying is humans are flawed, so we need some flawed humans to make rules for the rest of the flawed humans?

Yes, because some humans are way more flawed than others.

Here in Vancouver, flawed humans are flying drones around jets landing at our airport. Less flawed humans are making rules around that, which is OK by me.

Comment: Re:How about (Score 2, Insightful) 208

by CohibaVancouver (#47890439) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

You know, the amazing thing is they feel they have a right to be angry.

You're using a western mindset.

He's some impoverished guy in India desperate to make a few rupees from someone who, in his eyes, is very wealthy.

The 'wealthy' person has wasted his time, so he's angry. His 'boss' will probably yell at him for being unsuccessful, so he's angry.

It's not cut-and-dry like you might think.

Comment: Re:There are no new legal issues (Score 1) 206

by j-beda (#47875541) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

once they get a warrant for the password,

One cannot 'get a warrant for the password', at least in civilized countries :)

OK, perhaps not a "warrant" but surely the US has some sort of "production order" where the court says "give us the records you have" ? Perhaps they don't, or maybe that is only in civil cases during discovery.

Logging capabilities may be ubiquitous, but logs that would be useful in a criminal case, much less so. In any case, nothing currently on the market poses this "privacy danger".

I reiterate, the present framework is sufficient in my mind.

Comment: Re:There are no new legal issues (Score 1) 206

by j-beda (#47875013) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

Ok, lets take a slightly different approach.

Would you submit to the government mandating that you wear a camera and other monitoring equipment or have it implanted, provided that they need a warrant to read its contents?

Can you think of ANY negative implications of that? What are they? (Assume for the sake of the argument that the implantation process itself is simple, painless, and complication free.)

What's the difference between that and a disabled person requiring a prosthetic to be made whole?

The solution, by the way, is simple enough. Mandate that the prosthetics encrypt the monitoring data, and require a password from the owner to decrypt. That effectively shields the cyborg.

The problem is the consumer isn't in a position to demand this feature. And the vendor is unlikely to feel competitive pressures to provide it. So it won't come about unless we mandate it.

Sure, that is an extreme position. Nobody is mandating such a thing, and there is nothing currently even available that could work in this manner, and there is no reason I can see to expect that any prosthetics would ever require such position logging.

In short I don't see the need for new legislation absent something that actually exists that might be a problem. Mandating everyone wear tracking devices is something we can fight when it seems likely to be introduced. Having a medical need for something doesn't feel at all like governmental mandating in my mind, and unless significant number of people end up with such medical devices, I see no need to address the hypothetical shortcomings that the current warrant framework has in place.

I am not convinced that mandating an encryption password for such a hypothetical device would give any real protection beyond that offered by the warrant system - once they get a warrant for the password, it seems like you are screwed anyway. If the logs are so vital to the operation of the device, there are going to be ways of getting at them that do not depend on a security system that the user can forget or misplace, and if they are not vital to the operation, then the security minded will remove or turn off that feature or the maker would not put it in in the first place.

Comment: Re:There are no new legal issues (Score 1) 206

by j-beda (#47870377) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

Yep. I wouldn't be happy, but then again I wouldn't be happy if they searched my home and found the bodies, but I would submit.

The 5th amendment is about government over-reach. If you assume the government is only looking for dead-bodies, and the only people hiding them are criminals then its easy to get swept up behind the idea that anything the government can get a warrant for is fair game. Only criminals will be punished.

But there should be some limits. Even if that means some times some criminals don't get caught, because the alternative leads to a grossly oppressive state.

There are limits. Those are defined by the constitution, and include the warrant system as further defined by the courts. Yes, some of these technologies give interesting edge cases, but I don't think any of them require fundamental changes to the legal framework.

As you stated, the reason the limitations on police powers of investigation are there is to prevent overreaching and false convictions. Retrieving physical evidence after a properly executed warrant doesn't seem like an issue to me, and I have absolutely no fear that anyone is going to be able to read people's minds in anything like the lifetime of my great-grandchildren.

"We found DNA... no full match in the system, but we know he's related to this guy who was arrested once for shoplifting -- he wasn't the guy, but they took his dna and now its in the system... but I digress... they share a grandparent... so its his cousin. We checked birth records ... he has 2, one lives in this city... so we're picking him up now..."

That's effectively being in a DNA database for not being particularly closely related to a guy who didn't do anything wrong.

You are choosing poor examples. The various constitutional amendments are designed to prevent abuses that harm people, except in the type of harm that is defined as putting the guilty in jail. We don't compel self-incrimination because it leads to abuses that harm many innocent people, and is not particularly effective at catching the guilty. If you want to argue against you are going to have to show that your hypothetical database and the described police procedure has much greater societal harm than this one.

A better reason for limiting these types of databases is the problem of false positives. If you database is large enough, even with 99.99 percent accuracy (a failure rate of 0.01%) we would have lots of innocent people being flagged in these types of searches. This type of thing already happens for fingerprint analysis, and while genetic comparisons should in principle allow us to confidently pick out any individual in the world (except for clones I suppose), in practice DNA evidence is only comparing a very tiny part of the DNA, and errors in application which can never all be eliminated, so it will never be perfectly accurate.

Compelling people to tell your their password in my mind is a problem - there are lots of ways that an innocent person could be harmed by that. Compelling people to give up their implanted devices with a proper warrant is not as big of a problem in my mind. If warrants are being issued for individuals without good "probable cause", that is a problem. If extracting the evidence is onerous or dangerous or painful, then there should be a higher barrier to getting the warrant. If there are increased expectations of privacy for example lawyers or times spent at home, then perhaps there need to be guidelines on how the implant data is analyzed, but all of these types of issues are currently considered under the existing frameworks.

My thesis is that cyborgs do have the same right to privacy as anyone else, and that no new laws need be drafted specifically for people with implants. To motivate any such laws, I think we need to demonstrate that the current practice has negative consequences to society or innocent individuals. Making it easier to catch criminals is not, by itself, a reason to reject a new practice.


Comment: Re:So what exactly is the market here. (Score 1) 729

by j-beda (#47867811) Attached to: Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Because it doesn't necessarily still work. I have an iphone that is nearly 3 years old and the home button is very nearly worn out, frequently only working intermittently.

One of my clients has an iPhone with a flaky button. He had an Apple Store person turn on a software button called "Assistive Touch" which is part of the standard iOS software. It might be useful in your situation too. Here are some instructions:

Comment: Re:No deaths? (Score 2) 174

If nobody has died why is this news? Slow news day?

Do you have children?

From the article -

HEV68, which almost uniquely affects children, tends to first cause cold-like symptoms, including body aches, sneezing and coughing. These mild complaints then worsen into life-threatening breathing problems that are all the more dangerous to children with asthma.

Sure, having your child day is way worse than having your kid really sick, but having a really sick kid is pretty horrible as well. That's why it's news.

Comment: Re:There are no new legal issues (Score 1) 206

by j-beda (#47851715) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

I will admit little sympathy for cases where true evidence of guilt is obtained through proper search warrants - that's how it should work.

Then come the day when we can stick a needle in your brain and dump your memories out as video, you would submit to that, as long as they had a warrant?

Yep. I wouldn't be happy, but then again I wouldn't be happy if they searched my home and found the bodies, but I would submit.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten