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Comment Re:We don't need "backdoors" (Score 1) 259

Put simply, there exist plenty of systems and techniques that don't depend on a third-party who could possibly grant access to secure communications. These systems aren't going to disappear. Why would terrorists or other criminals use a system that could be monitored by authorities when secure alternatives exist? Why would ordinary people?

That's a really easy answer -- terrorists use these simple platforms for the same reason normal people do: because they're easy to use. Obviously a lot of our techniques and capabilities have been laid bare, but people use things like WhatsApp, iMessage, and Telegram because they're easy. It's the same reason that ordinary people -- and terrorists -- don't use Ello instead of Facebook, or ProtonMail instead of Gmail. And when people switch to more complicated, non-turnkey encryption solutions -- no matter how "simple" the more savvy may think them -- they make mistakes that can render their communications security measures vulnerable to defeat.

I'm not saying that the vendors and cloud providers ALWAYS can provide assistance; but sometimes they can, given a particular target (device, email address, etc.), and they can do so in a way that comports with the rule of law in free society, doesn't require creating backdoors in encryption, and doesn't require "weakening" their products. And of course, it would be good if we were able to leverage certain things against legitimate foreign intelligence targets without the entire world knowing exactly what we are doing, so our enemies know exactly how to avoid it. Secrecy is required for the successful conduct of intelligence operations, even in free societies.

Comment Re:The movie's not out yet and I'm already tired (Score 1) 126

You're telling me they put ads in a game that costs sixty dollars?! Sorry, I haven't played on any of the most recent generations of consoles, so I find this a little appalling (if not surprising). Or are you speaking in generalities?

If I pay $0.00 for a game, I have no beef with ads. Somewhere between free and 99c I go from "sure why not" to "holy motherfucking christ why are these cocksuckers wasting my life with ads!!!!" I suspect it's somewhere around 3.2 cents.

Comment Re:We don't need "backdoors" (Score 1) 259

Sure. One hypothetical example:

The communication has to be decrypted somewhere; the endpoint(s) can be exploited in various ways. That can be done now. US vendors could, in theory, be at least a partial aid in that process on a device-by-device basis, within clear and specific legal authorities, without doing anything like key escrow, wholesale weakening of encryption, or similar with regard to software or devices themselves.

The point is that when US adversaries use systems and services physically located in the US, designed and operated by US companies, there are many things that could be discussed depending on the precise system, service, software, or device. Pretending that there is absolutely nothing that can be done, and it's either unbreakable, universal encryption for all, or nothing, is a false choice.

To sit here and pretend that it's some kind of "people's victory" when a technical system renders itself effectively impenetrable to the legitimate legal, judicial, and intelligence processes of even democratic governments operating under the rule of law in free civil society is curious indeed.

Comment OT: NPR (Score 1) 259

It's a pity NPR has such a negative rep in my neck of the woods. If people would only listen to it, they would hear that it's clearly about as balanced as reporting can get. They frequently lob softballs at Republicans for fear of being accused of being on a witch hunt. I don't know why they bother; the average redneck can't tell the difference between Pacifica Radio and All Things Considered anyway.

Comment Re:This (Score 1) 393

One surprise to me was that many of them were peasants and dumb as dirt. All they really wanted to do was drink and have sex with anyone. No idea how they got over here; they probably didn't know either. So much for stereotypes.

I guess the best way to combat stereotypes is with a new, funnier stereotype!

Comment Re:This (Score 1) 393

I've never really understood that either. I have a buddy with security clearance. The FBI interviews me every so often about him. It's always the same stupid questions. The funny thing is, I only see him a few times a year, since we live in different towns. So he could be a complete lunatic 90% of the time, and I'd never know it.

We're living in a golden age. All you need is gold. -- D.W. Robertson.