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Comment: Sad we need to think about this, but we do. (Score 1) 299

I know that Apple introduced that feature with iOS 7 and the number of robberies of iPhones dropped dramatically thereafter...which was the point of it and a really nice thing to see.

However, this angle on things, which I hadn't thought of, is totally on target - this is totally ripe for abuse by the NSA etc. when the correct number comes up..political or otherwise. Remember we have seen one of these agencies erase information that the Senate was looking at to audit them with, then that agencies leader lies under oath about it - then doesn't get punished in the slightest for it afterwards.

At this point, Joe public wouldn't need to worry about it, but we need to have things set for when stuff gets bad (when the wrong President gets into power and knows how to use all that intelligence offense he has behind a military official whose only oath is to his orders) and things go to a police state for political gain (as it always is)...then this becomes a terrible thing and not worth having.

Comment: Re:Pray BlackBerry sticks around (Score 4, Informative) 72

Not really (at this point), at the recent BlackHat some researchers demonstrated how they could remotely compromise a Blackberry.

Another great article that talks a little about that instance with Blackberry and another smartphone platform designed for security as well:

Comment: The NSA etc. already are buying exploits (Score 2) 118

by sasparillascott (#47631423) Attached to: Cornering the Market On Zero-Day Exploits
I think the point of the speaker was to create a silo-ed verifiable way to do this (so things couldn't be siphoned off to the NSA like they currently are as those costs are a rounding error for the NSA). I like the idea if its implemented properly, currently we have the NSA & foreign intelligence agencies being the big buyers, keepers and exploiters. JMHO...

Comment: Good to keep in mind when using Skype (Score 2) 267

by sasparillascott (#47619161) Attached to: Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier
Microsoft gave the NSA pre-encryption access to all communication streams via Skype (through the rewrite they did after purchasing Skype). They've never said that access was removed.

It's good to keep it in mind when using Skype (or choosing to continue using Skype) that all messages, pictures, conversations and videos are probably recorded by the NSA for future use. Bummer for the Leopard users on the convenience side of things.

Comment: Re:The fate of the Internet (Score 1) 126

by sasparillascott (#47614345) Attached to: Alleged Massive Account and Password Seizure By Russian Group
Far from its nadir at this point, but your post makes excellent points. It definately seems to be getting worse at an accelerating rate.

At what point of security breakdown do online roles/uses become guess is that the credit card folks have seen a significant falloff in use (and collection of fees) due to the constant capture of people's credit card numbers as an example - at some point that will become more pronounced.

What is the point where enough people start clamoring for a "secure" (by the state of course) system to replace the "internet"? It's an interesting question, hopefully we don't get to see the answer to that - but the trajectory for online security is not heading in the right direction.

Comment: The FBI program sounds alot like this one at NSA (Score 4, Interesting) 182

I wouldn't be surprised a bit to learn they are related:

Snowden docs, exceptional description of the Turbine program that seeds malware to non-targeted individuals - goal by the NSA (then) was millions of infections.

The logical extension of this is, in the end, to compromise all personal and business computer systems - so anything is available when needed.

Comment: Good to remember (Score 2, Informative) 74

Keep in mind just what exactly Microsoft handed the keys to the NSA for:

Microsoft wasn't called out as an "enthusiastic" partner in the NSA's documents for nothing. Definitely consider all versions of Skype to be damaged goods - along with all other Microsoft products - can't imagine how excited the NSA was for the Xbox One and its always on audio monitoring and (originally) required connected video camera.

Comment: Important to remember (Score 2) 114

by sasparillascott (#47598853) Attached to: How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil
Advertisers are Facebooks customers, users are the product - and the company (led by its senior executive leadership) has a history of making ethically unsound decisions with "their" product (i.e. users) and there is no reason to expect those poor decisions (with regards to its users) to stop.

I've heard one person remark that Facebook stripmines their users personal details & that seems to be an accurate analogy for how the company operates. JMHO...

Comment: To come this far & then bow out? (Score 4, Insightful) 225

by sasparillascott (#47375359) Attached to: Senate Budgetmakers Move To End US Participation In ITER
Seems a little odd to have gone this far and then bow out. And spread over the decade or more this project goes on, the cost is very minor considering there might be some good takebacks from the project and most importantly the good will it will generate with our European friends who's public has just learned the U.S. is unrepentantly spying on all their citizens all the time (the good will might be worth it alone).

Little quibble: "According to this story from April, the U.S. share of the ITER budget has jumped to "$3.9 billion — roughly four times as much as originally estimated." (That's a pretty big chunk; compare it, say, to NASA's entire annual budget.) "

$3.9 billion is alot compared to NASA's annual budget (which is ~$17 billion) - but that $3.9 billion would be payed over more than a decade right? So for an apples to apples comparison its what the Administration was going to spend on ITER for this budget ($150 million) compared to NASA's budget (~$17 billion).

Comment: Good to keep in mind... (Score 1) 216

by sasparillascott (#47317671) Attached to: Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March
The oil industry likes fuel cells (have run advertising showing off their benefits in the past) - i.e. big money wants this to keep fuel cells going and happen.

Unsubsidized hydrogen is more expensive than gasoline (to go an equivalent distance in a fuel cell vehicle) at this point.

Electricity out of the plug, for a battery electric vehicle, in the U.S. averages $1.25 per gallon in gasoline equivalency (sometimes much less at night).

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas