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Comment: Re:Anonymity? (Score 3, Insightful) 50

by bill_mcgonigle (#48280229) Attached to: Facebook Sets Up Shop On Tor

So you go through Tor to access Facebook, where you immediately have to log in, and...

You really don't know anybody who uses Facebook pseudononymously? If you make an account called 'Hootie McBoob' you might get dinged, but there are thousands of 'Bill Riker's (have some fun with it).

If you're coming in from your home IP or a Verizon or AT&T mobile, you're gonna be decloaked in a hurry, even by a passive listener. So, if you want to participate in a community that's on Facebook but not be known to the outsiders, Tor makes sense. Right now you can exit Tor on one of the spooks' exit nodes, but then you're just enabling the traffic analysis. By offering Tor directly, you avoid the risk of using an additional hostile exit node.

This looks to be Facebook engineers doing the best they can given the cards they're holding. It's obviously more secure to not use any social networking systems at all, but if you rank security/privacy below functionality for some uses, this move makes sense to improve the situation.

Comment: Re:Van Eck phreaking (Score 1) 57

by bill_mcgonigle (#48279651) Attached to: Breaching Air-Gap Security With Radio

This isn't new. Wim Van Eck [] did it back in 1985

And the spy agencies well before that. I had a high school computer teacher who worked after school at a computer store that just happened to be down the street from a sigint Army base and they had the Compaq franchise for the area - he probably told us way more about the special Tempest-hardened models he had been selling them, in 1987, than he was supposed to. He couldn't help it - the tech was way cool and he was a card-carrying nerd (RIP).

I always suspected after that that Compaq, like so many other tech companies, got their legs on spook funding. It's funny - I spoke with a former Air Force guy the other day about the same thing and when I mentioned 'Tempest' he had a shudder - in the late 70's, early 80's, that was one of two words you could get shot for saying in his unit (probably figuratively...).

It is neat, though, that with an SDR and some DSP code you too can be a spy agency for $50 in 2014. Quick, Otterbox, design a $500 case with a 25' long braided copper cable attached!

Comment: Re:Drake equation (Score 1) 154

by bill_mcgonigle (#48278233) Attached to: Most Planets In the Universe Are Homeless

my mistaken(?) impression that key finding was "fraction of those stars that have planets" is lower than what we previously believed.

It's "the fraction of the planets that have stars" which does not affect "the fraction of stars that have planets" because the new thought is that there are _way_ more planets than previously estimated.

To be fair, the conversational second-person italics! style of the article is maddening to read, and far worse to skim.

Comment: Re:True lack vs. false sense of security (Score 1) 57

While I do see the point in warning about the security level, most certs provide practically no actual identification beyond someone said they were X and now they're saying it again.

In truth, I would place greater trust in a self-signed cert that has the same signature as it did the last tome I visited the site than I would in a basic cert for a site I am visiting for the first time.

Comment: Re:How about... (Score 1) 196

by sjames (#48272855) Attached to: Suspected Ebola carriers in the U.S. ...

Thing is, these are volunteers going over there on their own time. Forcing their employers here to foot the bill wouldn't be right either.

That was not in the course of their duties then (unless they went to Africa as a result of a request from their employer), so no liability for their employers. The nurses who contracted it HERE did so in the course of their duties as nurses in the hospital caring for an Ebola patient.

Comment: Re: How? (Score 1) 196

by sjames (#48272315) Attached to: Suspected Ebola carriers in the U.S. ...

So clearly we need to isolate Kevin Bacon immediately. If he gets Ebola, we're all screwed :-)

More seriously, the contact would have to be within the window of vulnerability in order to count. It doesn't matter if I had contact with the person last year. It doesn't matter if I had contact with them more than 21 days after their exposure as long as they weren't symptomatic at that time.

In order to be suspected, you would need to have had contact with someone suspected within the time frame for them to develop unmistakable symptoms AND to remain suspected, they would have to go on to develop the disease within the incubation period. So it is quite possible to be suspected for only a day or so and then cleared.

Comment: Re:How about... (Score 1) 196

by sjames (#48271775) Attached to: Suspected Ebola carriers in the U.S. ...

That's the problem. As long as quarantine is an "unfunded mandate" there WILL be violations. It may be acceptable if it is agreed to prior to going into a hot spot, but if your exposure is unrelated (for example, symptomatic person was on your domestic flight), it is necessary to recognize that few can afford to just skip work for one to three weeks and even fewer can afford to effectively quit their job without having a better job lined up.

Since due process of law cannot actually happen in the required time frame, I don't see how such an unfunded mandate can be Constitutional. OTOH, offer someone 3 extra weeks of paid vacation (staycation really), make sure they keep their job after, and take care of all of their errands for them and voluntary compliance is likely.

In the case of medical personnel exposed in the course of their duties, obviously the employer should foot the bill.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen