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+ - XKEYSCORE: NSA'S Google for the World's Private Communications->

Advocatus Diaboli writes: "The NSA’s ability to piggyback off of private companies’ tracking of their own users is a vital instrument that allows the agency to trace the data it collects to individual users. It makes no difference if visitors switch to public Wi-Fi networks or connect to VPNs to change their IP addresses: the tracking cookie will follow them around as long as they are using the same web browser and fail to clear their cookies. Apps that run on tablets and smartphones also use analytics services that uniquely track users. Almost every time a user sees an advertisement (in an app or in a web browser), the ad network is tracking users in the same way. A secret GCHQ and CSE program called BADASS, which is similar to XKEYSCORE but with a much narrower scope, mines as much valuable information from leaky smartphone apps as possible, including unique tracking identifiers that app developers use to track their own users."

also

"Other information gained via XKEYSCORE facilitates the remote exploitation of target computers. By extracting browser fingerprint and operating system versions from Internet traffic, the system allows analysts to quickly assess the exploitability of a target. Brossard, the security researcher, said that “NSA has built an impressively complete set of automated hacking tools for their analysts to use.” Given the breadth of information collected by XKEYSCORE, accessing and exploiting a target’s online activity is a matter of a few mouse clicks. Brossard explains: “The amount of work an analyst has to perform to actually break into remote computers over the Internet seems ridiculously reduced — we are talking minutes, if not seconds. Simple. As easy as typing a few words in Google.”

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Mixture (Score 1, Insightful) 312 312

What, like the CIA and other government agencies do.....Train, Fund and supply "freedom fighters" who become next years terrorists.

The USA has had a LONG history of doing this.

Yes but the mass media conveniently keeps forgetting to mention this. That's ... strange, because one would think such an important part of understanding the Middle East would be newsworthy. Since the corporate media considers this subject taboo, it's known only to those who had the curiosity, initiative, and appreciation of truth to perform their own research.

+ - Sourceforge staff takes over a user's account and wraps their software installer-> 11 11

An anonymous reader writes: Sourceforge staff took over the account of the GIMP-for-Windows maintainer claiming it was abandoned and used this opportunity to wrap the installer in crapware. Quoting Ars:

SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP's lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.


Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:well that was sudden (Score 2) 206 206

That it got this far without being summarily rejected is problematic all by itself.

The FTC does not, and should not, do summary rejections. Even evil corporations have a right to due process.

In general I would agree with you, but not in this case. That they are natural monopolies would be grounds for a summary rejection. There's no reason that cannot be a special exception.

Comment: Re:Republicans could... (Score 1) 609 609

So, my ideological transition went from Reagan Republican to Goldwater libertarian to Rothbardian Anarchist.

Personally, I am socially boring, somewhat socially conservative, and evangelically religious. I don't (politically) care what other people do to themselves; as long as they and their government don't do it to me or my family.

I've really given up on government as an entity that can create moral good in the world; it seems that historical attempts to have government play that role have turned out poorly, both for the people involved and the morality being coerced.

I've tried to explain where my head is at so you can try and tailor the message in a way I might understand.

Can you help me understand what the "war on women" rhetoric is about?

Assume that I'm an intelligent person, with degrees in Math and CS, and extensively educated in history, medicine, politics, and economics.

Yet, despite this, I cannot for the life of me understand how people with different ideas came to those ideas via any plausible mental process. It seems to me that there are fallacies all around - why aren't they seeing them?

I want to assume that they are acting with good intentions, but I am unable to debug or understand them and their decision making process.

So, this is a legitimate request for help, and not a thinly veiled attempt to demean or attack someone.

Will you explain what the "war on women" is in a way that will cause me to want to listen? Explain what things are included in this war, and what things aren't.

I mean, my inclination is to throw a flag on the play before it even begins; a political "war on women" appears to suppose that all women should think and want the same things politically, which is self-evidently insulting to women and denies their essential individuality.

For instance, the only people I know personally who are tireless anti-abortion activists (and I know several) are all women. Are they part of the war on women?

I'll stop, and hope you craft a well-intentioned response.

Thanks.

Comment: Re:How the executive wipes away democratic power? (Score 1) 121 121

The one thing I want to point out is that you should recognize the name "Cass Sunstein"; he's not some random academic, he was part of the Obama administration, and has a bunch of ideas that you will find either kooky or great, depending on how you align politically:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...

He's also good about co-opting terms he disagrees with as a way to try and attack intellectual opposition. He calls a bunch of things libertarian that are flagrantly NOT libertarian, for instance.

Comment: Re:It's not limited to the US (Score 5, Interesting) 220 220

Someone else covered this but is buried.

Bee colonies do not freeze in the winter. They starve.

We've been keeping bees in North Dakota, which is colder than wherever you are, for 7 years. All 3 of our colonies survived last winter. One is strong enough that we've split it this spring to try and prevent a swarm.

The way that bees operate in winter is amazing. The bees form a sphere, with the queen near its center. They vibrate their wings and bodies to create heat. The bees on the outside of the sphere obviously lose heat the fastest. The bees on the inside stay the warmest. The sphere of vibrating bees constantly turns itself inside out, over and over, so that the cooler outer edge bees return to the warm core and replenish their warmth, while the warm bees from the core circulate out towards the edges after they've recuperated.

This consumes lots of energy (and food).

As the cluster of bees does this, it moves upwards in the hive, consuming stored honey.

When they get to the top of the hive, they stop migrating. If they run out of honey, they die.

We use 2 deep supers and 1 medium honey super to over-winter our bees.

Comment: On Individuality (Score 2) 42 42

What I observe with the majority of people: they are fully capable of being free-thinking individuals, but the main way they use this capability is to follow the crowd.

With herd animals that are prey creatures (i.e. cattle, sheep) this makes sense in terms of survival. There is safety in numbers. Stray from the herd, and you get targeted by ever-present predators.

With humans, who are at the top of the food chain and generally have no natural predators, it's just a form of cowardice. I'm not sure the DNA of fruit flies is going to provide a satisfying explanation here, at least not one that can be extrapolated to include people, fascinating though it may be.

Comment: Re:Sounds completely reasonable (Score 1) 302 302

Who DOESN'T want minimal government? Even communists and fascists think the policies they support are necessary, and mainstream Republicrats think their policies prevent market failures. I have never met anyone who identified as an "excessarchist", only folks who believe everyone else is being excessive.

Specifically, I am referring to a return to federalism, with the vast majority of citizens' government coming from the state and local levels. You know, the way this system was intended to work.

Comment: Re: Not forced... (Score 1) 302 302

These people randomly speed up and slow down because of changing slope of the road. No one is really paying attention to their speed, and they don't realize that you have to push the pedal a little harder uphill and less downhill to maintain speed.

Most of the time that's correct, but I see it with surprising frequency on level terrain. I think most of them are simply not paying full attention to the road; perhaps they're fiddling with a cell phone.

It's the same reason people sometimes fail to notice that the light has turned green. I mean, why should they pay attention, it's not like they're *driving* or anything...

Comment: Re: Not forced... (Score 1) 302 302

At least in my mind, there's a huge difference between "this person has an infection, or cancer, or heart disease" versus "this person was hurt because a drunk driver ran straight through a stop sign and crashed into them". Does your law make such a distinction?

There is, but we don't consider it when deciding whether to provide medical treatment or not. We punish illegal activity in court not in hospital.

Apparently this is confusing some of you. So I'll explain how it works in the USA.

Hypothetically, let's say you cause a car accident, as in this imaginary accident is 100% your fault. As a result of this accident, another person is injured and requires medical care. Your own car insurance policy has a line item called Bodily Injury Coverage. That coverage would pay for the injured person's medical expenses.

The injured person would not file a claim with their health insurance company (assuming they have one) because you, as the person who caused the accident, are held responsible for any expenses you caused to the injured person.

I was simply asking if car insurance works that way overseas. Instead of a private insurance company that you may or may not have, you have NHS. While the NHS is provided as a public service, the care they provide does have a cost. I wanted to know if NHS bears that cost even when there is an at-fault party who caused the problem, or whether in those specific cases, the at-fault party (via their car insurance liability policy) was expected to cover it.

This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.

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