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Comment: Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (Score 5, Insightful) 172

Seriously - the two biggest (ab)users of the H1B system are Tata and Infosys... and they're both Indian corporations.

{rant}I guess in fairness to Obama, he managed to screw both blue and white-collar workers in one fell swoop...{/rant}

Anyone know the lobbyist money trail for this bit of it, or can I safely guess Microsoft, Apple, Google, Intel, etc... ?

Hard time following this. The potential 4.7 million people contribute billions to the economy and without them we'd tank again. I heard the same screwing the american worker and milking entitlements myths repeatedly. It puts me in mind of what one commentator once referred to as "Factoids", arguments which have no truth at all, but people repeat over and over in hopes they will become true. Well, some of that is working, because some people are believing these tales as truths and would happily cut their own throats (mustard and onion extra) to act on these fantasies.

Tech, agriculture, service industries, foot services, etc. all benefit from the well behaved illegals. And we, the people who buy goods or services from these people benefit, as well. It's a mystery to me that so much untruth is accepted these days. I figure it began with Rush Limbaugh and is now carried out by hundreds of others since, who wind up people for profit. Nothing seems to sell like telling people what they need to fear and whom they need to loath.

Comment: Re:FBI Director James Comey may not care. (Score 1) 92

by IamTheRealMike (#48427861) Attached to: WhatsApp To Offer End-to-End Encryption

it's all, once again, a lot of buzzwords, and zero security.

That's a bit unfair. Yes, any security system that tries to be entirely transparent cannot really be end to end secure, but nobody has ever built a mainstream, successful deployment of end to end encryption that lets you use a service even if you don't trust it. There are many difficult problems to solve here. Forward secure end to end encryption behind the scenes is clearly an important stepping stone, and OWS has said they will expose things like key verification in future updates. Just because they haven't done everything all at once, and solved every hard problem, does not mean it's just a lot of buzzwords.

Comment: Re:Beware the T E R R O R I S T S !! (Score 2) 428

by IamTheRealMike (#48417807) Attached to: Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

You're willing to sit on the sidelines while ISIS engages in a campaign of genocide and ethnic/religious cleansing? ...... They're barbarians and they need to be terminated with extreme prejudice.

You're against ethnic/religious cleansing but want to "terminate with extreme prejudice" an entire very large group of people largely defined along ethnic and religious lines .........

words fail me

Comment: Re:So basically (Score 1) 428

by IamTheRealMike (#48417785) Attached to: Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

If the entire government became Libertarian today, it would take less than 10 years for corporations to take total control of governance and we'd have just as much (or probably more) squashing of individual liberties, but no longer any accountability to voters.

Isn't that a contradiction? I'd think a libertarian government would not want anyone, owners of large corporations included, to take over governance. That's kind of the definition of libertarianism, I thought.

Additionally, I'm having a hard time recalling the last occasion on which a company squashed my civil liberties. Actually I don't think it ever happened. Companies, even big ones, are typically very simple creatures compared to governments - they have simple needs and simple desires. Even companies that can't be easily reduced down to the profit motive (most obviously Google in this day and age) still have quite simple motivations, in their case "build sci fi stuff".

On the other hand, our awesome western governments routinely kill people for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time or receiving a text message from the "wrong" person (see: signature driven drone strikes).

Whilst these governments aren't quite at the stage of drone striking people who are physically in western countries yet, they certainly are willing to do lots of other nasty things, as residents of gitmo will attest. So given a choice between a government that did very little and mostly let corporations get on with it, or the current state of affairs, it's pretty hard to choose the current state of affairs given the very very low likelyhood of companies deciding to nuke people out of existence of their own accord.

There are many powerful players in society and I'm not one of them. Does it make me a crony capitalist or a welfare queen when I decide I'd rather the power go to those I can vote out of office than those I can't?

No, it doesn't make you either of those things. It does mean you have a lot more faith in voting than other people do. This can be described as either very reasonable or perhaps naive, depending on where you live. E.g. in places like America or the UK voting is driven almost entirely by the economy and matters of foreign policy or the justice system have no impact on elections, politicians know that so they do more or less whatever they like. In places like Switzerland where there are referendums four times a year, preferring voting power to market power would make a lot more sense.

Comment: Re:Not Sexism (Score 1) 635

by CAIMLAS (#48405201) Attached to: Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

Also, on this:

"Maybe you could pick out the sexual nature of the violence and say that applying that to only one sex makes a difference."

They'll ultimately say that violence is inherrently 'male' and therefore, it's sexist.

Just like people who disagree with Obama's policy still get smeared with "racist". Just another way to shut down those they disagree with.

Comment: Just implement the carbon tax already! (Score 1) 554

by zenyu (#48396377) Attached to: The Downside to Low Gas Prices

We don't need more money in the highway trust fund. Driving has been decreasing nationwide for a long time now. Just pass a rule saying that trust fund capital dollars can only be used for shrinking roads, adding toll infrastructure, or converting them to some greater use such as transit. Allow some money to be used for maintenance, but not the current 90%, and make funding contingent on the state requesting it keeping 95% of the system in good repair.

But add a $5/gallon carbon tax along with an income tax exemption increase. The mode shift from that will greatly decrease the need for road repairs. In my municipality we spend a $1000 per car per year out of the general funds for street repair.

Comment: Wikipedia the vector (Score 1) 61

by Bruce Perens (#48386659) Attached to: Researchers Forecast the Spread of Diseases Using Wikipedia

Like others I found the headline confusing. I read it as "Researchers are predicting the use of Wikipedia as a vector for the spread of disease". This may mean that:

  • Disinformation and ignorance are diseases.
  • Memes and computer viruses are diseases.
  • Wilipedia contains information that leads to depression.
  • Instructions on Wikipedia lead to substance abuse.
  • This is getting entertaining, fill in your own reason here.

Comment: Re:About time for a Free baseband processor (Score 1) 201

by IamTheRealMike (#48386621) Attached to: Department of Justice Harvests Cell Phone Data Using Planes

Lavabit is a bad example - the FBI only requested the private SSL key directly after the Lavabit guy refused to co-operate with a more tightly scoped warrant and claimed he had no way to intercept the data of just the user they were interested in (Snowden) ..... a claim that was manifestly false and everyone knew it. If he had handed over just the data of the one user requested, the SSL key would probably still be private. But after proving that he was utterly unco-operative and quite possibly untrustworthy too, the approach the FBI took was not entirely surprising. Additionally it did go through all the motions and there was plenty of oversight of the whole thing - a lot better than some silent interception.

Yes, if the NSA decided that the signing keys for cell tower certificates had to be handed over using some crappy secret national security court then there's not much the phone companies can do. However, it's still good enough to stop your average local police force who just can't be bothered justifying themselves to a judge and going through the overhead of a proper legal request ... which is what TFA says the driving rationale for these devices is.

Comment: Re:About time for a Free baseband processor (Score 1) 201

by IamTheRealMike (#48385353) Attached to: Department of Justice Harvests Cell Phone Data Using Planes

Having a database of the cell towers a phone *should* see in a given region (it should be possible to crowdsource that) should make it possible to throw an alarm if a cell tower with suspicious characteristics "appears" at some spot.

There's no need for a free/open source baseband or really any technical changes at all to fix this at a technical level. Just disable 2G/GSM on your phone (not sure what the equivalent would be for Verizon). 3G/UMTS onwards involves the phone/SIM authenticating the tower cryptographically. That means - only way to create fake towers is to go get the keys from the phone companies. But at least the phone companies can know about it and mount a legal fight, if they so choose. It's not simply up to a donut eating agent to buy some cool hardware and charter a plane. Although in the USA that might not help much, such fights can go different ways in different jurisdictions.

The problem of course is that 3G coverage is usually not as good as 3G+2G coverage.

Comment: Re:should be banned or regulated (Score 1) 237

by IamTheRealMike (#48384675) Attached to: Will Lyft and Uber's Shared-Ride Service Hurt Public Transit?

Do you ever wonder why with this completely paranoid culture we have today why no one ever really worries about getting into a random car driven by a complete stranger in a dark alley in a city in a major US city? Well, it's because the medallion that driver carries is worth several hundred thousand dollars in most cases.

It's because people who are in the habit of assaulting or raping random strangers who get into their cars are extremely rare, and hunted down by experienced law enforcement professionals with great efficiency. It has nothing to do with taxi medallions which 99.99% of people who take taxis cannot possibly authenticate as genuine, being as they are non-experts in taxi licensing. Indeed, most taxis I've been in have visible licenses that are so basic (just a piece of paper with a logo and a photo/name on it) that forging them would be beyond trivial. And if you're the sort of person who drives around trying to entice strangers into your death-cab then printing out a Photoshopped license isn't going to stop you.

Indeed it's only a few US cities that have this crazy medallion system. In most parts of the world taxi licenses are expensive but not THAT expensive. So it can't be medallions that keep people safe.

In general I'm not against carefully thought out laws that have strong and clear justifications for them. I am not some anti-government zealot. A good, solid piece of scientific analysis showing that the costs of such laws are outweighed by their benefits would convince me, ideally backed by studies between areas where taxis are unlicensed vs areas where they are licensed. But I've found that the lawmaking process is very rarely driven by any kind of scientific process like that.

"Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never." -- Winston Churchill