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Comment: Amplifying an existing problem (Score 1) 760

... are people just dumb, or is there an ulterior motive to this suggestion?

I mean, we already have a huge problem that the police are, in many cases, giving citations motivated much more by revenue generation then public safety. And this suggestion... would make that problem much worse.

I've got a suggestion: how about we try to address the massive corruption, spying for the government, rights violations, lack of accountability, and near-total diversion between stated goals and objective reality in law enforcement, before we worry about how to squeeze a bit more indirect taxation from the populace. Or, I don't know, maybe recognize this "suggestion" as underhanded PR for simply more taxation.

Comment: Echo chamber internet (Score 1) 375

by sigmabody (#49161589) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

Hm... not sure extending the reddit echo chamber effect to the entire effective internet is really a good idea, especially for diversity of ideas.

Then again, as someone else mentioned, there will always be other search engines. Back in the day, Yahoo only showed you the big, popular sites... and then a search engine called google which showed everything.

Comment: Two suggestions, FWIW (Score 1) 163

by sigmabody (#49149495) Attached to: Can the Guitar Games Market Be Resurrected?

1. Try to innovate the controller(s), to get them closer to real instruments, while preserving the fun factor and low cost.
2. Instead of trying to squeeze hundreds of dollars out of people with DLC songs, allow people to create and share songs for free, and release a few new official songs a month for free. That way you build goodwill, and your game is perceived as a good (and increasing) value over time.

Just my 2c.

Comment: What an absurd question... (Score 1) 78

by sigmabody (#49095861) Attached to: When It Comes To Spy Gear, Many Police Ignore Public Records Laws

I mean, it's not absurd to raise it, but it's pretty absurd that's it's considered in any way debatable. I mean, if it was a question between the law, and a contract I made with an arbitrary third party which allowed me to kill people with impunity, which has more legal power? The law, of course. By the nature of contract law, you cannot make something which is otherwise illegal legal, just because you have a contract which allows you to do it.

In the same way, the government spying on people in unconstitutional, regardless of whatever BS contracts they might make with each other and/or third parties. Duh. That's not going to stop anyone in the government from ignoring the law or human rights, of course, but it's absurd that there's any question of the technical legality.

Comment: My experience, for reference (Score 1) 186

by sigmabody (#48846075) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can I Trust Android Rooting Tools?

I had an Android phone which I eventually was able to root/mod; here's some advice, for what it's worth:
- Get a device which has a supported root/mod path via XDA. Some devices are more rootable than others.
- Be careful about updates; most root tools only work for specific versions, and patches regularly break rooting methods/scripts.
- If you want to preserve root, you'll want to run a cusom ROM, so find a device which has a supported mainstream ROM for it.
- Unless you are an expert, it will take a while. Plan on spending at least a week of off/on time messing with it, and be prepared if you brick it.
- If you want full control of the device, plan to make this your full-time job. Nobody really offers this, and you'll need to do it yourself.
- If you just want something with reasonable privacy controls which just works, get an IOS device; that's what I did eventually.

Also, as a side note:
- The regular web does suck, and browsing without an ad blocker these days is pretty horrible. Mainly posting to say that.

Comment: CurrentC is dead-tech (Score 1) 631

by sigmabody (#48252335) Attached to: Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

I'm not sure Apple Pay will "win", but I'm absolutely certain CurretC will "lose". It's a great change for the merchants, and horrible for the consumers (in contrast to Apple Pay, which is neutral for merchants, and positive for consumers). Unless the merchants stop taking credit cards (and I think that's unlikely), CurrentC is already dead.

Comment: This begs for something like ubiquitous TOR... (Score 2) 126

by sigmabody (#48016377) Attached to: FCC To Rule On "Paid Prioritization" Deals By Internet Service Providers

Sure, everyone running TOR on their gateway for all internet traffic would be horribly inefficient. Sure, it would preclude some things, like IP multi-casting and content geo-caching.

But you know what? It would pretty much make net neutrality a de facto standard, irrespective of what the horribly corrupt FCC decides. And you know what else? It would effectively end the NSA's collection of everyone online activity. Oh, and you would get all the privacy benefits for free, forever.

On balance, given the openly hostile actors in the government, I think it would be worth it.

Comment: The reason the government wants this... (Score 3, Informative) 254

by sigmabody (#47832053) Attached to: UCLA, CIsco & More Launch Consortium To Replace TCP/IP

For those who don't see why this is bad, consider this:

In order to route/cache by data, the data must be visible to the routing nodes; in essence, you would no longer be able to use end-to-end encryption. You could still have point-to-point (eg: encryption for wireless connections), but everything would be visible to routing nodes, by necessity. This means no more hiding communications from the government (who taps all the backbone routers), no TOR routing, no protection from MTM attacks, by design. You get the promise of more efficiency, at the cost of your privacy/freedom... and guess what, you'll get neither in this case, too.

Comment: Data point (Score 1) 348

I don't run a local firewall on my work system, for reference. As a developer, it's common to need to have "random" ports open for various things for testing, and having to deal with a firewall is one more nuisance I don't want to account for. A local (on system) firewall won't prevent most attacks anyway, so I don't feel I'm giving up much real security.

I do run a local firewall at home, but only because it has not annoyed me enough to be disabled yet.

I don't know how useful that information is; consider it a data point.

Comment: Half measure... (Score 1) 178

It's a good PR attempt, to address what they must perceive as a significant problem, but...

Good luck convincing companies to trust your cloud infrastructure with their data, when they know for a fact that the US government (and probably other governments) could compel you to grant them secret access at any time, regardless of whatever client-access protections are in place. If MS could solve that massive security flaw, I'd be impressed; anything less is just polishing the proverbial turd.

Comment: Google needs to get ahead of this... (Score 1) 248

Google's only really viable option, as far as I can tell, is to create a tailored censored portal for each country (really, legal jurisdiction, but basically the same thing), and allow anyone in that jurisdiction to request that anything be censored in an automated manner. Then they can create an "uncensored" jurisdiction, which you would need to opt into, with a disclaimer and such.

Once you have that, you can much more effectively fight these sort of "censor for the entire world" orders, by asserting that you already support per-jurisdiction "removal", and to remove globally would violate the rights of other jurisdictions to self-censor as appropriate. It's not perfect (nothing in international law is), but at least it would give Google a way to somewhat comply with the flood of censorship demands which are coming, without trying to fight each new demand independently.


US Pushing Local Police To Keep Quiet On Cell-Phone Surveillance Technology 253

Posted by timothy
from the all-you-debaters-are-welcome dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes with this story from the Associated Press, as carried by Yahoo News: The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods, The Associated Press has learned. Citing security reasons, the U.S. has intervened in routine state public records cases and criminal trials regarding use of the technology. This has resulted in police departments withholding materials or heavily censoring documents in rare instances when they disclose any about the purchase and use of such powerful surveillance equipment. Federal involvement in local open records proceedings is unusual. It comes at a time when President Barack Obama has said he welcomes a debate on government surveillance and called for more transparency about spying in the wake of disclosures about classified federal surveillance programs.

Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?