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Comment: Re:Passwords Shouldn't Be Protected (Score 1) 328

I definitely agree that it should take more than a simple demand from police before you have to provide a password, or any other form of authentication, for access to your data. Glad I don't live in VA. My only point was that the root of the inconsistency here between biometrics and passwords can be traced to the idea that passwords have fifth amendment protection. There are definitely many issues with requiring passwords in any circumstances, including claims to have forgotten them and around steganography. Passwords have the advantage that, even if you can be legally required to give them up, there's no way to force you do so. The most they might legally do (one would hope) is have you rot in gaol indefinitely.

Comment: Passwords Shouldn't Be Protected (Score 1) 328

The anomaly here is due to the idea that fifth amendment protections should apply to passwords. Passwords can't be incriminating*; they only provide access to existing material that might be incriminating. There have been decisions both ways on this but my money is that eventually SCOTUS will rule that passwords are not protected.

* One potential loophole might be where someone claims their password itself is incriminating. I think the best solution here would be to allow "use immunity" for passwords and remove the rule about derived evidence for this situation.

Comment: Almost Beyond Living Memory (Score 1) 211

by jaa101 (#47497889) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

The saddest part about this is that soon, probably, we'll live in a world where there's no living memory of what it's like to walk on another world. Armstrong and his successors are no longer young and none of the projects to return to the moon or to go to Mars look likely to happen quickly enough. Who in 1972 would have thought that they were watching the end or an era instead of the beginning? I don't think anyone's made it past 1000 miles up since then.

Comment: Re:Is it really much more than goes on already? (Score 1) 190

by jaa101 (#46811357) Attached to: Eyes Over Compton: How Police Spied On a Whole City

This system is going to see plenty of things that aren't "in public", even without peeping in windows. What is your expectation of privacy in your backyard? Could there be a constitutional up-side in the US though? Maybe everyone will be able to have their cases thrown out due to the warrantless surveillance conducted on them prior to their arrest.

Comment: Tried Before; Doesn't Work (Score 1) 364

by jaa101 (#46645353) Attached to: Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

This was trailed years ago in Melbourne Australia. As you approach the lights signs advise driving 60, 50, 40, etc. as appropriate but sometimes, show no speed. Drivers quickly learn that this means they need to speed to catch the lights ... so they do. Police don't like this so the trial is killed. There's no way to show legal speeds in a way that drivers can't figure out when it's best for them to speed. This can't work until we're all driving automated vehicles that set their own speed.

Comment: Finland is in the EU (Score 1) 252

If it's the police initiating this then they must feel it's a criminal matter and so extradition becomes a possibility, and Finland is part of the EU. If they want to play hard ball then Jimmy might have to cut down on visits to Europe because, once he's there, it will be European courts who get to decide who has jurisdiction.

Comment: Plasma: better picture, worse choice (Score 1) 202

by jaa101 (#45296973) Attached to: Panasonic Announces an End To Plasma TVs In March

It's clear to me that plasmas give better quality image but I still choose LCD. The plasma issue of burn-in is the main worry but they're also more power hungry and heavy too. Plasmas easily beat LCDs for black levels, colour accuracy, response time and viewing angles but LCDs are good enough. Even if my kids didn't spend hours playing video games I know somehow there would be burn-in and then I'd want to buy a new set ... which is just a waste. Plasma being the losing technology is not all down to marketing.

Comment: Cars Float, Submarines Sink (Score 2) 91

by jaa101 (#45170639) Attached to: Elon Musk Making a Working Version of James Bond's Submersible Car

The fundamental engineering problem here is that cars float and submarines sink. Ballasting that car with enough weight so it's close to neutrally buoyant will ensure it performs nothing like a sports car on the road. This is the kind of issue that made lead acid batteries such a great choice for submarines in the first place.

The best approach is going to involve minimising the volume where water is excluded, i.e., ensuring that as much of the vehicle is flooded by water as possible when it dives. At least, as a sports car, the interior is very small so they may have a chance of making it work.

Comment: Re:Latency, latency, latency! (Score 1) 445

by jaa101 (#44247933) Attached to: Dropbox Wants To Replace Your Hard Disk

Just because a file is shared with Dropbox doesn't mean that accesses involve a network round-trip to their servers. The files are still stored locally (on an SSD if you have one) and only synchronised when a change is made on another machine. Dropbox is not the same as a Windows "network drive" over SMB/CIFS or Linux NFS.

Comment: Re:This shouldn't be necessary (Score 2) 262

by jaa101 (#43848081) Attached to: Texas Poised To Pass Unprecedented Email Privacy Bill
Apparently the trick in progress here is that people already gave their email to someone else, namely their service provider. The legal logic is that this borks their expectation of privacy, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katz_v._United_States from 1967. One might hope SOTUS will revisit their decision in the light of the current state of technology but until they do you're stuck relying on legislative protect rather than constitutional.

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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