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Comment: Re:Wait... what? (Score 1) 46

by stephanruby (#48949259) Attached to: UK Sets Up Internet-Savvy Army Unit

I'll say this... being a cyberwarrior is probably the best job if you can get it. I mean... the worst that can happen is some LEET HAXOR could PWND you... :P

If it's anything like in the US, the idea of being cyberwarrior is also a great recruitment strategy (where recruitment has become damn impossible otherwise). Once you sign on the dotted line, you can be transferred to any other duty and you won't be able to do anything about it.

Comment: Re:Self-selection Bias (Score 1) 284

by stephanruby (#48949071) Attached to: The NSA Is Viewed Favorably By Most Young People

Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home

And people were dumb enough to give their youngest the phone? Sounds like pedophiles now have a new prospecting technique.

Well, it does say "youngest adult male or female".

Comment: Self-selection Bias (Score 1) 284

by stephanruby (#48948379) Attached to: The NSA Is Viewed Favorably By Most Young People

The problem is that they interviewed a self-selected group of security-unaware idiots.

Only idiots, and old people who don't know any better, answer telephone surveys from perfect strangers anymore.

These days, it's either marketing people using the excuse of a survey to speak to you, and reselling that information they gather from you to others, or it's "You're windows PC is infected" social engineering scammers, or identity theft criminals trying to get personal identifiable information from you. You don't want to say anything to them, because the next time they call you (or an accomplice of theirs calls you), they'll use whatever previous information you told them to try and make you fall for a new scam (you or anyone else living in your household).

The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted January 7-11, 2015 among a national sample of 1,504 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (528 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 976 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 563 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see http://people-press.org/method...

Comment: Re:Opting out... (Score 1) 105

by stephanruby (#48944651) Attached to: Fixing Verizon's Supercookie

Yeah, you'll probably need to keep an opt-out cookie on your device in order to opt-out.

I know you're kidding, but since Verizon is making it difficult to opt-out of the super cookie, that means that even the absence of the super cookie coming from a Verizon IP will be used as a way to uniquely identify you. It would be like going out in your neighborhood and being the only one wearing a ski mask in the middle of summer. It will just make advertisers notice you more. Expect to see many more ads for off-shore accounts, libertarian politics, mail-order brides, guns, and bitcoins, if you opt-out of that super cookie.

Comment: Re:track record (Score 1) 292

by stephanruby (#48936789) Attached to: US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

Now, generally im against no bid contracts, but this one makes sense.

Using Boeing makes sense. If Airbus was used, it would be more expensive because it would have to be stripped down and built back up again to make sure it was free from European listening devices. After all, if the US already does this to other countries with its presidential Boeing airplanes and Merkel's cell phone. It can't really complain when other countries retaliate and try to do the same thing back to the US White House.

Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 2) 474

Two years ago, I was in France and the UK. 4G was still not really deployed.

And in France at least, many coffee shops had closed down their wifi hotspots, because they really didn't want to be bothered with getting a permit to have a public hotspot (yes, this was the doing of the copyright lobby apparently).

The net result is that people have less internet access than in the US, not more. It doesn't really matter if you have faster upstream speed, when most of your downstream users can't have access to it on their phone, or at coffee shops.

Comment: Re:Fifth amendment zone of lawlessness (Score 1) 423

This is what happens when your job is with the Justice Department and when you only talk to other people within the Justice Department. It's like an echo chamber on to itself. You and your colleagues evolve a sense of tunnel vision and anyone who suggests a stupid idea that will make the job easier for the Justice Department will be considered an absolute genius by his colleagues, thus increasing the incentive for coming up with even more similarly stupid ideas.

And no, the Justice Department is not the only organization guilty of this. This type of thinking can evolve in any type of organization or business sufficiently focused and sufficiently insulated from the market or the people themselves.

Comment: Re:With a name like his (Score 3, Informative) 145

by stephanruby (#48922397) Attached to: How One Small Company Blocked 15.1 Million Robocalls Last Year

I sure hope his hack is free/open-source.

He's using Twilio. Twilio is not free for him (with the amount of phone traffic he's generating). Somebody has to pay for the service, whether the customer ultimately ends up paying for it, or the service is being monetized by advertisements, or a phone company decides to pay for the service as a value-added service that they pass to their own customers. The source code itself is nothing special. The idea itself isn't even new. This guy just happened to have entered a contest/hackathon sponsored by the FTC.

For white listing phone calls, google voice (integrated with Sprint) is actually pretty good. If you're looking to combine both white listing and shared black listing at the same time, there are many other startups that are offering that kind of service as well. With cloud services like Twilio or Voxeo, it's fairly easy for just one developer, or a small startup, to get into the telephony business.

Comment: Re:Damn! (Score 1) 128

by stephanruby (#48921423) Attached to: FCC Prohibits Blocking of Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots

They outlawed Faraday cages?

No, the jamming in this case is active, not passive. Passive blocking would have blocked cell phone calls as well (which would put Marriott out of business if they did that, it's not like Marriott is operating zen retreats for its customers). I suppose the wording in the US law could be interpreted to mean that intentional passive blocking isn't allowed either, but this hasn't been tested in court yet. And again, this kind of blocking is not what we're talking about with Marriott International.

Faraday cages are built with mesh copper. They're prohibitively expensive to build because you can't really skimp on the copper. Because of this cost issue, don't expect effective Faraday cages to be built in movie theaters (or zen retreats) to enclose their audience. I mean, I'm sure some movie theaters will try to build very large and cheap Faraday cages for their audience, but don't expect any of those Faraday cages to actually work as intended if they skimped on the cost -- which they undoubtedly will.

Comment: Re:Who eats doughnuts with the doughnut men? (Score 4, Interesting) 461

by stephanruby (#48909553) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Pasco said. 'There's no control over who uses it. So, if you're a criminal and you want to rob a bank, hypothetically, you use your Waze.'"

What about the non-criminals who want to know where the police are so they can get some help from them? Or what about the non-criminals who want to know when police officers are blocking a side of the road, or dealing with a traffic situation? If they really don't want to be bothered, they should just drive unmarked cars, make their phone numbers unlisted, and institute some kind of paywall for their official web sites.

Instead of removing information from Waze, they should just be adding information to it with their own api. They could transmit the gps location of their marked cars in real-time (like bus systems now do with the nextbus api). When responding to a call, they should just send the person who called a real-time update of their estimated arrival. And when there is a bank robbery, they should just flood the Waze api with virtual police officers everywhere.

Not only that, but if the police could try to crowdsource the effort of looking for bank robbers, child abductors, or the obvious-looking drunk drivers, through Waze instead of overburdening the outdated the 911 system, that would help them prioritize and weed out most of the false positives in real-time.

Comment: Re:Quadcopter (Score 1) 146

by stephanruby (#48907417) Attached to: Secret Service Investigating Small Drone On White House Grounds

...if you were wanting to cause some commotion.

Or it could just have been an accident. I know I've lost the control of my drone before. In my case, it was because I had the toggle on for absolute control, so no matter how much I would twist and turn my tablet -- it would keep on going the wrong way.

And please don't tell me you wouldn't take a drone to Washington DC. Taking pictures or videos with a small drone is awesome (assuming you don't lose control of it while doing it). It lets you take shots from unusual perspectives and it differentiates your pictures and videos from the millions of boring pictures and boring videos already taken of the same monuments.

Comment: Re:Nice troll (Score 1) 579

Like everyone else reporting on this story, it completely misses the point...

Notice that this story is a repeat with always the same theme. It always includes a critic of Google going after Microsoft as well.

It's not just a troll posting this, it's most likely a paid troll doing it.

Comment: Re:Done without negative feedback (Score 2) 51

by stephanruby (#48901137) Attached to: A Call That Made History, 100 Years Ago Today

Does this mean that Alexander Graham Bell made the very long range call to his assistant in 1915, but that until 1927 it was just a bunch of garbled noises that no else but the assistant could understand?

Hopefully, AT&T will jump on that expired patent. It would be nice if AT&T allowed its cell phones to do the same thing by year 2027

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)

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