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Comment: Will it still amount to technological strip search (Score 1) 163

by rootrot (#46324649) Attached to: Speedier Screening May Be Coming To an Airport Near You

I have no issue with security checks...nor to pat downs (of which I have had a few hundred, as I've opted out for years now). I have a *huge* issue with the expectation (tragically routinely met on a day-to-day basis) that people blithely consent to what amounts to a strip search without probable cause in order to board a plane. IAAA, and the 4th Amendment *should* mean something to people. Fear and dogma drove the adaptation of a technology that offers absolutely *no* substantive safeguard, costs a stunning amount of money, and effectively undermines *real* security practices due to the over-reliance on the 'efficacy' of Security Theatre. It would be nice if some form of rationality and thought could enter the discussion. I'm not holding my breath.

Comment: First blush reaction as a GoogleGlass user... (Score 1) 469

by rootrot (#45778159) Attached to: Is the World Ready For Facial Recognition On Google Glass?

I'll preface by saying that I've used Glass for several months now and find them to be very interesting/useful and a valuable extension of one's smartphone, etc.

Personally, facial rec would be *hugely* useful for me. I am appalling with names/faces and having name/company etc available when someone came into the booth at a show or the like would be *wonderful*. I do think, however, such an ability needs to be limited to ones contact list/social media connections...that is, it should 'recognize' people you *know*...but not random strangers on the street.

Comment: Re:Plain View Doctrine and the web... (Score 1) 513

by rootrot (#45041737) Attached to: Snowden Strikes Again: NSA Mapping Social Connections of US Citizens

I do not disagree with you that there are differences...but so what? The substantive issue is 'do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy' on the data stream? Given the very nature of the stream, I think it is very hard to make that argument. *If* we accept that the stream itself is 'public space' and *expect* Big Data aggregation (from companies and governments alike), what can we do to 'protect' those communications that we do feel are private? Consciously or unconsciously we've been relying on obfuscation for a couple decades or so because these issues are wildly complex and annoying...and there is almost certainly no "good" answer.

Comment: Re:Plain View Doctrine and the web... (Score 1) 513

by rootrot (#45041621) Attached to: Snowden Strikes Again: NSA Mapping Social Connections of US Citizens

Nice analogy. I suggest, however, that encryption is the difference between riding the car wearing a sandwich board with your message on it, viable to any other passenger and the cctv in the car VERSUS the message tucked safely away in your wallet. You have an expectation of privacy to the later...I'm not certain that is true for the former.

Mind you, issues around forcing encryption keys, etc is another matter entirely...but again, my point is that we need to separate the *real* issues from the *false* issues.

Comment: Re:Plainly Not Scottish Comparison (Score 1) 513

by rootrot (#45041593) Attached to: Snowden Strikes Again: NSA Mapping Social Connections of US Citizens

Lack the time (or interest) in debating this deeply with you, but I'll add just a bit because your response is *exactly* why it is so difficult to discuss/address substantive issues in this area:
1: You're missing the point of the PVD. Probable cause is irrelevant. At one level, PVD does an end run around it. The cops are not breaking in looking for pot plants...they are standing in 'public places' watching as certain people carry pot plants down down the boulevard. Simply put, PVD states that an officer of the state need not avert his eyes from conduct being executed/displayed in public.
2: The 4th Amend issue here is whether you have a 'reasonable expectation of privacy' when you send an unencrypted data stream over the open web (that is, over an unknown number of servers and/or hardware owned by various private and public entities). It boils down to what you are doing is private spaces vs public spaces. You have an expectation of privacy in private spaces...and you do not in public space (or you have a radically altered one).
There are a *myriad* of complex and subtle issues in and around privacy, security, encryption, and data capture. Unfortunately, the tendency to take a simplistic "everything is private" is pervasive and yet simply is rational or true...and, more importantly, creates a great deal of noise through which it is difficult to discuss the substantive issues involved.
To be clear: I am a privacy wonk. That said, pretending web traffic is somehow 'protected' is simply ignorant. If we are going to start thinking deeply about what is private and what is public...and what we must do to keep our private communications private, we have to stop acting like children and deal with the reality of how our tech works and what "privacy" means in a hyper connected world.

Comment: Plain View Doctrine and the web... (Score 4, Insightful) 513

by rootrot (#44985635) Attached to: Snowden Strikes Again: NSA Mapping Social Connections of US Citizens

I am an old geek and one with both a long background in sec matters and a law degree (though I'm pleased to say I don't actually use the later). None of this should be surprising or, in most ways, particularly annoying. A great deal of 'this' falls under a rational extension of the Plain View Doctrine (e.g. if you place your pot plant in your front bay window facing the sidewalk, you can not reasonably expect a foot patrol cop to avert his eyes...or complain when there is a knock on your door). I and others have long said that what you do online is 'public' (unless you are using encryption and/or various various methods to make yourself anonymous)...unencrypted email, social networks, etc...all pass as data streams that can be 'seen' by any server they pass through. Unless you are encrypting your datastream, you simply can't reasonably expect people (governments, especially) to avert their eyes from the waves of data washing over them.

There are huge, important privacy/security issues in play...but getting wound around the axel in a dogmatic response of "OMG, the [insert favorite agency here] is aggregating openly flowing datastreams" is a waste of time and effort and decreases the signal to noise ratio as to the substantive issues in play.

Also and more broadly, read Brin's Transparent Society. Still the best foundational work on this subject area...

Comment: After many, many years at /. ...this might be the (Score 1) 576

by rootrot (#41926603) Attached to: All of Nate Silver's State-Level Polling Predictions Proved True

This is the price of allowing 10,000 independent journalistic voices to be consolidated into 2 or 4 mega-media-conglomerates who's infotainment is supposed to pass for a free and responsible forth column.

You are badly mixing the "fourth estate" and "fifth column" metaphors, neither of which actually fit your claim. Your post is like watching David and Goliath paint the Sistine Chapel.

The funniest thing I've seen here. Bravo, AC. Bravo.

Comment: Love Uber (a lot)...pity, it would have been... (Score 1) 180

by rootrot (#41676247) Attached to: Uber Gives Up On New York Taxi Service

Nice in NYC. I have used Uber the last 3-4 times I've been in NYC to call a driver when I couldn't get a cab in short order (and/or it was raining). I was curious to see if this 'taxi' service worked...not surprised about the pushback. It is *far and away* the best thing out there if you travel a good deal. You get a nice car, a pleasant (typically charming) driver, and no money changes hands. Absolutely essential in SanFran.

Comment: This actually makes *perfect* sense... (Score 1) 294

by rootrot (#34889654) Attached to: Amazon, Not Developers, Will Set New App Store's Prices

Amazon sees themselves (rightly) as a retailer in creating this venue...that is *not* a provider of a marketplace. This is a very traditional and standard approach in how a retailer interacts with vendors. It has relatively good tax implications for vendors (simplifying their issues) and is efficient for the market. It does, however, present the interesting issue of creating two potentially radically different prices where apps are available in both Amazon's retail shop and other's vendor spaces. N.B. This, too, happens all the time in tradition retailing environments...but has been largely limited in the ether until now...

Comment: While interesting, this misses a major issue: (Score 1) 99

by rootrot (#33771738) Attached to: Masterpieces Online — High Culture At High Resolution

Looking at a digital image, *regardless* of how deep the image density might be, is experientially different from and inferior to seeing the work in person. There are elements to a painting, print, or book which simply can not be captured as a 2 dimensional image.

These digital archives are a wonderful resource and offer access to a much broader audience. They are generally, however, a pale shadow of the work in the real world.

I'm reminded of my late friend, Herb Belkin, "Digital is like pornography; analog is like actual sex" [re recorded music, though applies here as well...].

Comment: "Corn Sugar" & "Sea Kittens" -- stupid rebran (Score 3, Interesting) 646

by rootrot (#33594688) Attached to: High Fructose Corn Syrup To Get a Makeover

In response to [successful] bad press, the HFCS crowd is pushing for the rebranding the horrid syrup as "corn sugar". A waste of time and money, I wager, in the end. Ignoring the fact that it is reasonably well established that HFCS is not good for you, it tastes like crap. Compare yellow-capped Coke (yellow=kosher) with the "regular" sold in the US...there is no comparison (inexplicably, Coke only inflicts HFCS on the US market).

PETA recently attempted the same campaign to rebrand FISH as SEA KITTENS...apparently they felt that people wouldn't be so willing to eat something with a cuddly persona. Completely backfired with me...I had never thought of it before, but have you tried Kitten & Chips??? A new personal favorite. Kitten, the other, other white meat.

Who knows, maybe kitten tastes better in a nice HFCS glaze...

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