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Comment: Only criminals (Score 1) 1608

by markdavis (#46775739) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

When you make it illegal (or very difficult) for good and law-abiding people to own weapons, then only criminals will own guns.

Make no mistake- people that are out to do bad will have no trouble at all obtaining weapons and using them and will have a field day knowing that even more of the good citizens have been stripped of their rights to protect themselves, their families, and their property.

Comment: Re:Need laws on effects, not technologies (Score 1) 108

by markdavis (#46762535) Attached to: 52 Million Photos In FBI's Face Recognition Database By Next Year

The reality is that it doesn't matter WHAT the law says. If they obtain the data, they can and will do anything they want with it. I knew this long before the whole NSA "expose`".

I am not saying we shouldn't make laws about it, or even try to enforce them, but I am saying that laws and enforcement are not enough. To some degree, the government (and businesses) simply should not have access to certain data in the first place because it is the ONLY way to prevent it from being used in an abusive way.

Comment: Why is this a surprise? (Score 1) 108

by markdavis (#46762145) Attached to: 52 Million Photos In FBI's Face Recognition Database By Next Year

Not sure what the big news is.... like we didn't already know this? They probably already have access to every state's DMV records, which include photographs for every person who has a driver's license or ID card. I would estimate that is maybe 90% of every adult citizen, alone.

And yes, it upsets me.... far less than fingerprinting or DNA, however. The only privacy-friendly biometrics are those that we don't "leave" all over the place, and can't be collected or taken without our knowledge. That leaves things like retinal scans and deep vein pattern recognition.

Comment: Re:No Details (Score 3, Insightful) 93

by markdavis (#46547327) Attached to: Speedy Attack Targets Web Servers With Outdated Linux Kernels

You clearly don't understand what it means to run real-world business IT infrastructure. Just because something is oldler doesn't mean it is "outdated" or "insecure". RHEL/CentOS update the packages for a long time making them relevant and still secure through backporting and patches.

Sometimes stability and reliability are far more important and efficient than constantly ripping everything out and starting over again every year or two. Besides, the more bleeding edge like Fedora and Ubuntu and Mint are more likely to have NEW security holes with less manpower behind them to fix it quickly.

There is a reason that RHEL and CentOS are so popular for servers and "utility" boxes.

Comment: Re:Imagine a world (Score 1) 260

by markdavis (#46520603) Attached to: The Era of Facebook Is an Anomaly

It doesn't matter if it is MS, MS Research, MS Marketing, or even a third party. What I said applies to anyone with an MS bent in their view. That is why what I said was modded up.

Many of us not only remember the past, but lived through the whole MS "evolution" and can recall many dozens and dozens of examples of MS ruining compatibility, stifling innovation, corrupting standards, destroying competition, lying about FOSS, tampering with regulations, punishing vendors who try to give customers non-MS choices, locking down platforms, buying competing products that were multiplatform and ruining them or simply dropping them, creating unfair licensing agreements, etc, etc, etc.

Comment: Imagine a world (Score 5, Insightful) 260

by markdavis (#46496627) Attached to: The Era of Facebook Is an Anomaly

>"author and Microsoft Researcher Danah Boyd [...] Imagine being a Comcast customer and being unable to email somebody using Time Warner, or a T-Mobile subscriber who can't call somebody who's on Verizon. Why do we allow this with our social networks?"

That's a good question, Ms. "Microsoft researcher". Perhaps you can imagine a world where people can exchange documents freely and accurately without proprietary software like MS-Word. Or a world where consumers can put any OS they want on any computer without MS working with vendors to try and block them at the BIOS level. Or imagine people sharing calendar events easily without using MS's Exchange/Outlook formats. MS tried to hijack the web with IE (and did so successfully for years), and lied about their competitors to prevent diversity, locked out vendors from including Linux or other FOSS on machines, corrupted exported filters to make sure files to/from competitors would be partially broken. And the list goes on and on. Microsoft has been responsible for more lock-in and anti-compatibility than any other tech company, so perhaps I find it ironic that someone from Microsoft would ask us to imagine any kind of world of incompatibility.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 155

Thanks for the thoughtful and informative response. I did opt out of most of the stuff; have location tracking off, disabled Google +, Google Play Music, Books, Magazines, Games, Video, Hangouts, etc; use Startpage for most searches, use Firefox not Chrome, have Now turned off. Only occasionally use Gmail but I love Google Maps and Play Store.

In any case, I tend to be a pessimist and skeptic about such things, especially when I have no real proof that "opting out" really does anything. It is nice to hear someone a bit more on the "inside" that relays positive info.

Comment: Nonsense (Score 3, Insightful) 155

>"they revealed that Google's data is now safely protected from the prying eyes of government organizations. "

That is nonsense. The NSA could probably STILL access the information if they want to (and likely will) or Google can be compelled to reveal it with a super secret demand order, or even a regular warrant.

No information that is ever collected is ever "safe" from prying eyes. And even Google having the information is certainly nothing to be comfortable about. They have ENOUGH information about consumers already... certainly enough to be creepy.

Comment: Re: France is obsolete today. (Score 1) 506

by markdavis (#46364815) Attached to: Quebec Language Police Target Store Owner's Facebook Page

I am not trying to be insulting, I am just pointing out why many people don't think of England as a "country" in modern times. I think the examples I provided are actually quite relevant. Between us, the one who is actually throwing insults would be you.

In any case, other international organizational examples that do not recognize England, Wales, or Scotland as "countries" include Interpol, the World Bank Group, CERN, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the World Trade Organization... the list actually goes on and on...

The United Nations and the vast majority of the world define "countries" as sovereign states. England, Wales, and Scotland (and Northern Ireland) are not sovereign, but the UK is. England and Scotland WERE countries up until the Act of Union 1707 when England merged with Scotland to create "The Kingdom of Great Britain" and THAT country grew with the addition of Wales (and later Northern Ireland). As I explained before, the member entities in the UK are are more like states in the USA or provinces in Canada.

You may dismiss this information as "rubbish" but that doesn't make it untrue or invalid. And I assure you, I am not uneducated.

Comment: Re: France is obsolete today. (Score 1) 506

by markdavis (#46363985) Attached to: Quebec Language Police Target Store Owner's Facebook Page

Most of the rest of the world (at least lay people) don't really consider England, Wales, and Scotland as separate real "countries". They are more like associated nations as one country.

Similarly, Virginia, New York, and Texas are all separate areas with separate governments, separate culture, separate constitutions, different laws, different climate, and even different dialects. They are states, not countries.

Wales does not sit on the UN. But the UK does.
England is not a member of the EU. But the UK is.
Scotland is not a country of NATA. But the UK is.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau