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Comment Wouldn't Be the First Time (Score 4, Insightful) 61

This has happened before. People who gain critical thinking look back upon what they were learned about history in school or books, and realize that much of it is heavily colored by biases popular in that place and time. '1984' made the concept of rewriting history well-known, although propagandized 'interpretations' of historical events surely predated it. That someone went to the trouble to write a long description of an event indicates a motivation to do so, but that motivation may not be a desire to record or disseminate the truth; therefore, being written down is not proof of its truthfulness.
For example, it used to be a common occurrence for trusted/respected writers to have new writings attributed to them in order for their 'legitimacy' to be improved. Thus the large amount of apocryphal writings that exist. The Wright bros. weren't believed by journalists at the time that they'd achieved controlled flight; later, they withheld their flyer from the Smithsonian unless they agreed to acknowledge them as the inventors of controlled flight and ignore all the others who worked on airplanes at the time; so the media can get it wrong coming and going.
And then there's the whole 'mainstream media'/Faux News problem, presenting 1/3 of a story and encouraging people to jump to conclusions.
In the past, storytelling was the main method of history preservation. Look at how many myths and urban legends that led to, as well as gross embellishments a la Journey to the West. When you were a kid, chances are you believed a myth or 50; how did you feel when you grew up and realized they were nonsense?
In the end it's going to come down to chains of evidence leading to a trustworthy content creator: a well-known photographer, speaker, or a journalist who goes right to the source. If it originated from an anonymous internet account, then it's less trustworthy.

Comment Security More Important Than Location (Score 5, Insightful) 381

Most countries fall into one of four categories here: Five Eyes (shares surveillance data with U.S.), 'The West' (same, probably with implicit economic threats involved), Laizzes-faire governments (trivially bribed in order to share surveillance data with U.S.), and totalitarian (keeps the info to themselves but surveils everything openly).

Reporters Without Borders maintains a nice ranking here of countries based on their histories of surveillance and censorship; however, sometimes it turns out that a country high on the list will be revealed to have been engaged in a mass-surveillance scheme all along or has major corruption problems that weren't factored in.

In practical terms, it has always been advised that anything unencrypted sent over the Internet should be assumed to be snooped upon, and now we merely know how true that assumption always was. Your efforts should be put into ensuring everything is encrypted and hashed using secure algorithms that haven't been broken. Even if your server is physically located in Utopia, whose government never does any surveillance, censorship or takedowns, hackers (government or otherwise) from other countries can compromise your server and take all the data or install backdoors to your encryption efforts, so security is more important than location. Of course, a country that doesn't have a history of raiding datacenters hosting certain materials is still a good idea, but don't forget that your upstream hosting providers are one bribe/threat away from pulling your plug unilaterally, so choose them well too.

Comment Secure Offline Disc-Free Kiosks (Score 1) 230

Welcome to the future. You live somewhere without reliable internet access, and want to play a game on the Xbox Two. You take your hard-earned bitcoins to a Gamestop as well as a flash drive/external HDD that's been prepared by the console. You plug it in to a kiosk at the store, which lets you download game data for ANY game available for the system (a single HDD can hold every game released in the past several months). Of course, you won't just be able to play it. You scratch off a prepaid bitcoin card and input the code into the kiosk, and choose which games to buy a license for. The kiosk connects to the internet, sending a file containing your console's hardware ID, and your Xbox Live login info. Microsoft cryptographically signs a certificate containing the console's ID, and the game's unique title ID, and sends that back to the kiosk, which is then saved back to the flash drive. You yank the flash drive, go home, and plug it into the Xbox Two, which validates the signed certificate, and lets you play the game whose data is present. No home internet access required, much less an always-on connection.
The certificates for all games are in one file which is signed by Microsoft. While in theory you could sell a game license, keep your console disconnected from the net and use an outdated certificate file in order to continue playing it, you'd never be able to use Xbox Live or run any additional games, so that's unlikely. Thanks to asynchronous keys, the master key wouldn't be anywhere in the console and thus need to be hacked from Microsoft's servers, which AFAIK has never happened to a console maker. Rentals will work by containing a time limit in the certificate file, and of course rolling back the clock in the settings menu won't work around that; perhaps it'll just allow X hours of runtime, rather than X hours of access (although both wouldn't surprise me, a la Steam returns). You may also be allowed to sell your licenses, although they'll have to get this up and running before anyone believes it. The process will have to resemble "here ya go" more than "list of restrictions a mile long" or else they'll be handing another win to Sony. In order for the process to not suck, they're probably going to have to bite the bullet and accept that someone, somewhere, may be playing a game they 'sold', but it's ok because few people will accept the tradeoffs.
Consoles may also lose their internal hard drives, and just get an external accessory instead; USB 3.1 is faster than SATA 3 so it's not totally nuts (cache will help latency problems). The console will be ostensibly cheaper since they have one less component, they can say "supports bajillionty terabyte drives!" in marketing, and simultaneously sell their own branded overpriced drives which are "officially supported."

Comment Not a Sex Offender's Register (Score 5, Informative) 261

I RTFA (I know)
He wasn't placed on a sex offender's register (last I heard, the UK declined to implement one), rather a registry of people who have had legal complaints filed with the police agency. Someone (probably a tip from whatever social network the picture was shared on) notified the police about it, and a public record was automatically made about that notification. The police didn't press charges, as they claim to be lenient about teen sexting; an actual modification to the law would be a better option than selective enforcement, however. A bigger problem is that a publicly-searchable registry exists of people who have been accused of a crime, even if the police thought there wasn't enough of a case/cause to arrest or prosecute them. Most people never get called on their 3 felonies per day, so it can be used to single out people no more guilty than typical.

Comment Re:CEOs stepping down (Score 3, Insightful) 215

I expect they'll hire someone from a well-known tech company to be CTO, who will give a buzzword-filled speech frequently referencing encryption and 'best practices' and how incredibly secure their new system will be. The new CEO will announce that they won't hold on to personal data any more once one pays to delete it, that financial data will be held in a separate system/outsourced, and steps will be taken to improve the male/female ratio. They might even change their TOS to remove reference to the 'for entertainment only' women, and claim to stop using them. They'll almost certainly change their website name, maybe just to the initialism 'AM', to make it harder years from now to find out that it'd been hacked.

One might remember that Plenty of Fish and Adult Friend Finder have both been hacked in recent years, which didn't kill those sites.

Comment Not Outperformed At All (Score 4, Insightful) 732

The F-35 (program) generates FAR more pork than competing fighter jets. That's the only performance that matters. This is just like the NASA projects that are legally required to be completed, then mothballed because they're already obsolete, only with a hint of 'design by committee' to help sink it.

Comment Invoked Streissand Effect (Score 1) 44

This tactic of making marketing efforts look like leaks purposely invokes the Streissand Effect. The perceived implication is "we don't want you to see this", which drives people to think "I'll show them, hehe, must be something REAL interesting if they're trying to hide it." It's comparable to reverse psychology. The punchline is that this gets more attention for their marketing message than if they had done a straight interview/press release. Instead of revealing everything about a product all at once, tidbits of info can be 'leaked' gradually leading up to the product announcement. The company has the opportunity to deny knowing anything about the product or info contained in the leaks, and thus avoid giving any more info. I can't help but think of the old RIAA strategy of 'priming' the market by releasing a song on the radio 3 months before you can buy its associated album, the timing is usually about right too.

Comment Bitcoin Microtransactions (Score 2) 394

Microtransactions were once suggested as a solution to this problem, but credit card transaction fees destroy the profitability unless these are collected regularly and then charged in bulk. Some startup could sell NetBux, so a $0.05 microtransaction could be transferred free deducting from a $5 balance; credit card companies would only get a cut for that single $5 purchase. However, unless every browser manufacturer integrates NetBux support, it's dead in the water. Since everyone and their grandma would want to own the NetBux standard and take a cut of that, the most viable option is Bitcoin: it's free, noone owns it, it already exists, and has widely supported infrastructure.

Your browser would have a new UI element that lets you type in a redemption code for a Bitcoin card you buy at a store, or you can import from a wallet. It'd also have as part of the UI what your balance is. If you go to the landing page of say CNN.com it'd advertise prominently what the cost per story is. Click on a story, and before it pops up, the web browser asks if you accept the charge and tells you what the cost is. If you accept, then that amount is deducted, with an option to 'remember for this site.' This site would then be whitelisted, but only at the agreed-upon fee. The whitelist would need to only work for certain subdomains, or something, so that an official page could charge you, but not user content (comments, complementary webpages ala Angelfire, email, etc.) Perhaps it'd involve signed certificates; if you want to charge to access a page, there's no excuse for it not to be encrypted.
It'd be anonymous enough for most people, and porn sites would love it: "click this video, only 3cents; access this photo gallery for 2cents".
It'd also make it trivial to finally implement the 'paid prioritized email' idea, so that non-spam would make it through filters by being accompanied by a 'gift' of a couple cents.

One downside is that it'd be an obvious target for malware; have your botnet send their $5 to your anonymous account. Tying a credit card to the browser to auto-refill the balance would be even worse. There'd also be young kids who click 'accept' on the 'deduct $1.00?' prompts not realizing it's real money, and parents who are sick of refilling their kids' browsers, wondering where that money is going.

Comment Will Drive Sites To Use VP9 (Score 1) 184

The big test is if the big MPAA studios using HEVC for UHD Blurays will pay this new patent pool or not. The quantity of money is large enough that they'll probably either negotiate a better deal or take it to court.
Unfortunately, if anyone pays, that'll fund them enough to be able to take everyone else to court, so the patent pool likely won't die unless there's some major court case striking down the patents. If anyone has enough sway with the US government to get software patents killed, it's the MAFIAA.
Smaller sites can use HEVC and noone will care to collect, larger sites will use VP9 or AVC.

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