1. A5/1 is the "insecure, intended for export" cipher. Any US or European operator that uses it is not following recommendations.
2. It was cracked in the early 1990s. It would be bizarre if the NSA didn't know how to read it. Like I said, it was never intended to be secure by its creators. As in - GCHQ, the NSA's UK ally, has ALWAYS known how to crack it.
3. One problem with intercepting a GSM mobile call would be dealing with the fact that, as soon as you move away from the transmitting device, you're having to deal with interference from neighboring cells. Which is why any intelligence agency worth its salt isn't going to do that terribly often. What they'd do is install the tap on the operator's network.
So, in short, this article is claiming the NSA "can do" something, but only in non-Western countries, that it's unlikely to need to do given the fact the alternatives are way easier, and that we know it "can do" anyway, and knew it in the mid-1990s, and probably figured it could do right from the beginning given the close relationship between the NSA and CCHQ. This is news... why?
While I'm not in favor of banning racist speech, I should say that unlike some here I'm not blind to the consequences. I appreciate that you have the best of intentions and you may even believe what you're saying, but not every moral position can be backed up by a practical argument - in the end, we have to decide what kind of society we want to live in, and whether we wish to live our values even if, on occasion, there are negative consequences.
Racism can and does have deadly consequences, and the free, unchecked, expression of racism can, does, and will in the future, allow those who'd otherwise avoid going down certain roads knowing social ostrification follows, to follow a path that leads to discrimination, violence and death, directly or indirectly. The rise of Hitler, or conversely the enforcement of the constitution against the south, did not have zero effect on the amount of non-state-sanctioned racial violence.
As a basic example, over the last 12 years I've seen an alarming increase in the amount of anti-Muslim hate speech. This has translated into acts of violence and even terrorism against ordinary, non-violent, Muslims (or people idiots think are Muslims like Sikhs...) It's hard to believe that without a body of people claiming that most Muslims are anti-American terrorists, shored up with a litany of often dubious, and frequently irrelevant, attacks on Islam, that this degree of violence would be occurring.
Should those who promote Anti-Muslim hatred be jailed? Of course not. That would be to undermine our values and what we stand for. But our values are successfully abused by evil people, and we shouldn't pretend otherwise, and invent bogus "practical" arguments to defend our values, which have always been moral, and moral alone.
Not even that really. You ALWAYS needed third party apps to bring up the screen.
Here's the deal. This was never an end user feature. It was a screen that required additional software to actually bring up. It wasn't documented. I'm not even sure how anyone found out about it - my guess is someone trawling through the source code. Google's assertion that this wasn't meant to ever be released appears to be completely genuine and the apparent insinuation by the summary that Google isn't telling the truth is absurd and unfounded.
This is not to argue that the feature wouldn't be welcome. But as someone who used the equivalent functionality in CyanogenMod for a while, I can confirm that turning off permissions dynamically in this way requires quite a bit more care than it might appear at first - apps did crash when apparently denied features quite reasonably, even when you might think they'd have to cater for that situation anyway. I'd deny network privileges to an app, and see it crash, even though it would work without problems when the privilege was given but the network was unavailable for technical reasons.
Unfortunately, because Google has (objectively) gone to shit lately, and because they've lost some goodwill in their recent move towards closing much of Android ecosystem, combined with Facebook and Apple's paid anti-Google shilling campaign, this story is being presented as yet more evidence that Google is doing something wrong.
They're not. They've removed an undocumented part of the operating system that required third party software to access in the first place, that attempted to do something that requires thought, care, and planning. Good. Now, le'ts hope they finish what they started, and release a working version.
Well, no, at least, not the last bit.
My understanding is that the NSA is a pretty large organization and that it's involved in rather a lot of signals intelligence type operations. It's doubtful, in the majority of cases, that $RANDOM_NSA_EMPLOYEE is likely to be involved in the particular scandal of the day you want addressed.
I appreciate this view isn't going to be popular here, where most commenters seem to think that $RANDOM_NSA_EMPLOYEE is guaranteed to be directly involved in reading their emails, which they're obviously doing because they want to root out subversives and blackmail them, rather than because the NSA might, I dunno, be going overboard and doing illegitimate things for a legitimate cause (like tackling terrorism or even spying on rival governments.)
Nexus devices don't have them because somebody at Google doesn't seem to like them.
Unfortunately I get the impression sometimes that there are influential people at Google who think that the iPhone is popular because you can't insert an SD card, can't change the battery, and because the battery life is crap, rather than because it's user friendly.
Yes, that WAS my point. One of them, anyway. In order to override ANY U.S. law, it first has to be ratified by the Senate.
Technically true, but remember that a treaty is usually a combination of clauses, not just one, all of which need to be agreed to. If the Senate agrees that the good clauses are something they want then they have to decide whether the bad ones are something that can be tolerated or not.
Now, based upon this, and based upon the fact the Senate can't just pass amendments or similar in the usual way, and given the fact that SOPA is pretty much what the political establishment wants in this country, do you think we stand much of a chance of seeing this treaty go unratified?
Well perhaps, but to play Devil's advocate: this isn't a game.
There are two parts to DRM when combined with an anti-circumvention law. The first is the one that exists anyway: to attempt to make it as difficult as practically possible for someone to gain unrestricted access to the raw content. The other - which the DMCA (and its apparent German equivalent) adds - is to add legal liabilities for creating, possessing and/or using the tools, however easy, that break that encryption, should they ever come into being.
Us nerds have a tendency to misread laws and assume that rather than it being a reflection of the intent of the authors, that the language used is arbitrary and written by dolts to be interpreted in the widest possible context. Specifically we look at words like "effective" and rather than interpreting it in the context of the rest of the law, we go off on tangents and ask whether something is effective using other definitions within different contexts.
Is, for example, CSS effective? Well, I'd argue it is in context. It requires you use a specialized tool, designed specifically to break CSS, in order to access the content. It meets the definition in context. It doesn't meet the definition if you change the subject and say "Well, in 1998 it protected content, but does it now? Is it easy to find the tools needed to circumvent it?", but that's not the definition of effective that's implied by the context of the legislation - which is why better lawyers than us are not making that claim when protecting, say, Real Networks.
As for ROT-13.... well, maybe it is, maybe it isn't. My guess is it wouldn't, because ROT-13 doesn't require knowledge of any secrets beyond the fact it's being used to begin with, and the "tool" used to decrypt it is already built-in to a billion email, USENET, and so on clients. At the very least, if SuperdooperRayVD 4K discs in 2020 are encrypted using ROT-13, they'd have great difficulty persuading judges that millions of pre-existing USENET clients from the 1990s are illegal.
How long until "disagreeing with the politics of the ruling party" becomes a mental illness?
Probably in the same timeframe as "disagreeing with the politics of the ruling party" becoming a crime.
Seriously, this is not a particular reason to object to "mental illness" definitions, any more than putting criminals in prison is a reason to object to laws. Any power can be abused. But some abusable powers are necessary. The question is whether you're willing, as an honest citizen, to be vigilant.
The geekworld keeps claiming that. And yet turn Flash off, and your browser seems to be unable to watch 75% of the videos out there, including 75% of what's on Youtube after you've gone to youtube.com/html5 and "turned on" the amazing innovative feature of using your browser's built-in video player (WTF Google? Why is this not default? You know HTML5 contains backward compatible fall-back options, right?)
I predict that in two years time Flash will still be installed on almost every desktop and still be used on a regular basis by most desktop users.
No he doesn't have it backwards. The (campaigning part of the) NRA has specifically demanded crackdowns on the mentally ill in response to the latest shootings. The NRA (again, the lobbying group) is generally considered a right wing group by most standards, to the right generally of the core NRA's members indeed.
I see no upswell of demand that mental illness definitions become more relaxed by the right. While the left has generally been supportive of moderating things like the DSM to avoid harmless consensual sexual activity (until relatively recently, BDSM, for instance, was considered a mental disorder.)
Which completely ignores not only the other points I made but the market dominance Google has and their influence on other companies.
No, it doesn't. It answers almost all your "points", it's just that particular line was the clearest elucidation of the underlying crap your post was based upon. And pouring on more crap by suggesting that Google's "influence" with other companies has any bearing on whether they allow you to install third party applications they don't personally wish to support in any way is adding insult to, well, insult.
Point 1: It has no bearing on how strongly CyanogenMod advertises the possibility that their app might or might not void a warranty on whether it does, and whether Google should include software that does on a store that specifically exists as a way to ensure people can easily find apps that meet a particular standard. Google might have an obligation to relax those standards if people cannot use anyone but Google to obtain apps, but that's not the case, and further, there's little point in Google having a store if they don't enforce standards.
Point 2: Leaving aside the fact that you've conflated "damaging a device" with "voiding a device's warranty", again, this has no bearing on any issue here, given Google has no obligation to relax standards if its standards do not prevent people from being able to distribute software that doesn't meet them. As they can. Because Google has no monopoly.
Point 3: Already dealt with directly.
Point 4: Google is not "unilaterally deciding for all users" anything. Again, Google has no obligation to relax its standards if its standards do not prevent people from being able to distribute software that doesn't meet them. As they can. Because Google has no monopoly.
There's plenty to criticize about recent Google management of Android from a pro-freedom point of view, in particular Google's decision to encourage developers to rely upon Google Play Services (an API, and no, you don't have to use the Google Play store if you want to distribute an app that uses the Google Play Services API, so don't even go there) to avoid fragmentation, when the API is proprietary and available only to OHA members.
But Google has an absolute right, more so than Apple, more so than Microsoft, to ban apps from its store. And while I'd hope it never decides to go the Apple path and ban apps from competitors due to largely arbitrary anti-competitive criteria, a basic test of whether an app fails a reasonable set of rules - for example, because an app is likely to cause many users to lose the warranty protection on their devices - isn't just reasonable, it's desirable. Enforcing standards means Google Play has some value, rather than simply an unregulated marketplace akin to a back-alley in a red light district.
As for market dominance, at least stay on topic. We're talking about a free app. You don't need to get those from an app store. CyanogenMod just needs to add a link to the APK from its website. That's it. Does Google have market dominance for app stores for most Android devices? Sure. But let's complain about that when we see evidence they're abusing it. When they're using their dominance to actively prevent people from using things they don't like, not simply deciding not to support a particular product because of the potential of that product to hold Google liable for something not under Google's control, knowing that people who really want the app can get it and install it anyway.
you are still sacrificing the freedom to do what you want with the device that you own at Google's will. Google has made itself the gatekeeper by implementing that store and by seeing itself as the total arbiter of what is the best interest of their users.
Not even close.
Look, I'm not sure why it needs repeating, but let's repeat it again. Just because iDevices are locked to the iTunes store does NOT mean Android devices are locked to the Google Play store.
Calling Google the "gatekeeper" implies that it has absolute control over what you install on your unhacked device.
That's, quite simply, bullshit. Google has no such control. Android is not tied to any one app store. Google's sole advantage is in having a default app store on most Android devices. It has no monopoly, and you are not required to use it.
You can download APKs and install them directly. You can install the Amazon App Store and install apps through there. There are many other independent app stores you can install on your device.
The slavery comparison isn't merely offensive and over the top, it's a point blank lie. Knock it off.