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Comment Re:Germany has reciprocal spying agreements (Score 1) 111

I agree they should not prosecute the bloggers, but exactly what the hell were these bloggers thinking? They were going to shut down or change the nature of spying? Make it respectful and transparent? What kind of quixotic cluelessness about reality is this?

The bloggers published some budget plans of the "Verfassungsschutz" indicating that they were working on monitoring social networks. This should not be secret information at all and is not about spying but about controlling the spies. Or do you think the agencies should be allowed to operate without any supervision?

Currently the Verfassungsschutz is sponsoring right wing terrorists ( ) instead of doing what they are supposed to do. So there is a severe lack of supervision.

Comment Re:Germany should pay war reparations for WWII (Score 1) 743

This kind of ridiculous stunt is why the Germans are sick and tired of giving Greece money.

Germany is not giving money to Greece. See e.g. Germany has a balanced budget because of the crisis in southern Europe. Even if Greece is bankrupted, Germany will still have a net profit.

Also quite some of the debt of Greece comes form buying German weapon systems. The have been rumors that new credits have been tied to those deals in the past.

Comment Re:Too many secrets (Score 1) 74

Unless that is the German government has something it wants to keep secret from its own people. But in that case they become the pot calling the kettle black.

Well the parliament has the oversight over the secret service (in theory at least). So they have to be told what the secret service does. This information should be secret, because why bother having a secret service, otherwise? While I agree that most political decisions should be transparent, it makes some sense to keep things secret in this case.

Also I don't think the US would react in a positive way, if the BND published all information it has on the CIA in the parliament.

Comment Monopoly (Score 1) 365

"The profit margin for eight utilities in Germany narrowed to 5.4 percent last year from 15 percent a decade ago. "

Well, the big four utility companies had a 15% profit margin ten years ago, because they had a monopoly. So it's a good thing to see their profits drop.

You cannot move to a more decentralized model of power generation without huritng the big players, can you? And of course they are complaining about it.

Comment Re: Cancer cured! (Score 1) 175

"A cure for cancer would be a gold mine for a pharmaceutical company."

You mean 4327 cures for 4327 types of cancers would.

But a cheap vaccine preventing any cancer would not.

Please read about HPV vaccination This is a cure for some types of cancer. In many countries almost all children are being vaccinated.

Comment Re:Cancer cured! (Score 5, Insightful) 175

In medicine, innovative things happen all the time. When *you* go to the doctor, you get the same ol' thing that has been done since 1952.

That is just wrong. If you look at breast cancer 10-year survival rates (Figure 3.4):

They have come up from 41% in 1970 to 77% in 2007. While cancer is not cured, survival rates are a lot better.

When talking to the doctor three years ago, when my girlfriend had a breast-cancer operation, they had the latest studies and decided for a treatment based on them. The doctor only worked 4 days a week and took 1 day "off" to keep up with current research.

The chemicals used for chemo-therapie are updated all the time and also genetical fingerprinting of the tumor cells is used to decide which treatment makes sense. So there are lots of differences even compared to the treatment 10 years ago.

Comment Re:Very limited practicality (Score 1) 282

Frankly, Germany would be better off selling excess electricity to the Swiss, who then pump their lakes full, and then buying that electricity back when needed. This is around 70% efficient, and a hell of a lot friendlier to the environment.

Most wind energy is produced in northern Germany. The current power grid is already unable to distribute the peak power to southern Germany. So storing it in Switzerland will not work. Norway would be a better place. But there is probably no single solution and having batteries helps as well....

Comment Re:Very little utility here (Score 1) 183

Except there is. We already have the technology. HTTPS with SSL/TLS using self-signed certificates exchanged via offline channels.

And it works because of the division of responsibility. Our ISP is not our client (browser in that case) provider. If we were all AOL subscribers, using AOL browser, then we'd be boned.

I am not sure I understand. HTTPS with SSL/TLS only gives you transport level security. So nobody can listen on the wire. This might be enough if you manage/truest your own server, but for most people this is not the case. Then your mail is saved unencrypted on the mail server and can be accessed by anyone with access to the server (that probably includes government agencies).

Also using an "offline channel" is more hassle than most people are willing to accept.

Comment Re:Very little utility here (Score 1) 183

Until I have some sort of assurance that the key stored in local storage, can't be sent up to the server by javascript then this gets me no where.

The NSA asks your mail service for the keys. The mail service says we don't have them... html5 local storage. NSA says ... add this line of javascript to your site. Next time I log in they have my key, and everyone else who accessed the site during that interval.

It does not get you the whole way there. But I sure makes it harder for the NSA.

So on a technological level you can simply increase the time the javscript files are cached and have some external monitoring for changes. Since the whole page is static and the only dynamic element are REST Service calls this is not a big issue. Then malicious JavaScript will have to stay on the page much longer to be effective and will more likely be spotted.

On a political level: I live in Germany. The NSA cannot tell me anything. And Germany had two of the worst terror regimes in the last century. I don't think people here would tolerate being treated like you are now. There is e-mail monitoring in Germany, but it's based on laws and courts that are not secret. While running an service like this would not work in the U.S. it certainly works in most of Europe (probably excluding the U.K.)

So to be truly safe, I have to audit it myself.

Real security from the likes of the NSA is HARD.

Well, it is. But there is still a way between not trusting anyone and auditing everything yourself and sending unencrypted mails that everybody can read. If the NSA, BND or whoever wants to see especially my emails, they will. But most of my mails are really boring for everone to read and nobody cares about them. And what I'm writing to my tax advisor isn't really secret, too. Still I don't want anybody to read them. So for me its just important to make reading my mails enough hassle for the NSA to not do it.

Getting paranoid does not help anybody. It just prevents you from acting, because there is no completely safe way to communicate.

Comment Re:Very little utility here (Score 1) 183

1.) This is not true. You can design a mail system to store the private key on the client (html5 local storage). See (shameless plug: Still in its infancy, but it will get there) or mega mail (if it will ever happen). Of course implementing everything on the client makes things harder. And losing the key is an issue for the user. And it will only be secure once the Webcrypto API is released and the Javscript code cannot access the keys anymore. But countries other than the U.S. usually cannot force you to hand over your keys and manipulate your server.

2.) True.

3.) Not true. See 1. If you authenticate using a private key you only need the password to decrypt the key and no username anymore.

Comment Re:Could we hear some Germans tell this story? (Score 2) 473

And the kicker is they dont change anything other than your bill. You CANT buy only "green" energy unless you go off grid and set up your own solar/wind farm.

This is true if you get "green energy" from a company that supplies "green" and "conventional" energy. But e.g. we have switched to Lichtblick, a company that only sells "green energy". So my money goes to lichtblick, and they have to supply an equivalent amount of energy to the grid.

While technically I might get nuclear energy, my money is supporting only green energy. So this actually makes a different (and this is actually a lot cheaper than conventional energy from the former monopoly companies.

Comment Re:IANAL but looking at the draft regulations... (Score 2) 303

The reason for this is probably that power saving is most effective for the "common machines", because most office computers do not really need high performance graphics cards.

On the other hand you do not want to prevent companies doing serious graphics work (movies, advertising) from operating. So I guess this makes sense after all.

Comment Re:Drug test the final standard? (Score 1) 482

Lance Armstrong has been tested for doping positively: "... had tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) ..."
Pierre Bordry stated: "Scientifically there is no problem to analyze these samples – everything is correct" and "If the analysis is clean it would have been very good for him. But he doesn't want to do it and that's his problem."

Why does everybody claim otherwise?

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."