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Comment Re:Why does gov't care about climate change protes (Score 1) 209

However protesters and government being in agreement does squash your silly suggestion that its part of some government conspiracy heading towards dictatorship.

Alert ... logic FAIL!!!!!

It doesn't matter why these people tried to demonstrate. They wanted to be on the streets making their political views known and the government suppressed their rights to political speech. Suppressing demonstrations, protests, whatever you want to call them is a path that every dictatorship has gone down.

Frankly, I cannot believe how naive and childish you are in thinking that just because the protesters may have agreed in some small way with government policy means that suppressing the protest was the action of a government that is interested in freedom of speech.

Comment Re:This is how it begins (Score 1) 209

So instead, do nothing. Don't worry about people getting slaughtered. After all, France is a big country, it can afford to have a few hundred people murdered every once in a while.

Your argument is that the government must do something, even if that something is completely pointless and anti-democratic.

The same money that is put into "security" would save more lives if put into other fields, like traffic safety, help for the homeless, etc..

Comment Re:This is how it begins (Score 1) 209

But apparently we're still having elections and whatnot.

Are you Cricket or Paul? Anyway, you need to study your history a little more. The Soviet Union held elections. Communist China held elections. Hitler came to power through an election.

The populace of most western countries is spied upon in a manner that far surpasses the spying on citizens that took place in East Germany.

Comment Re:Why does gov't care about climate change protes (Score 1) 209

What dissent? The protesters and the government agree.

They were going to protest, were they not? How is that not dissent? Just because they may not have been about to protest against the French government does not stop it from being dissent.

You are being obtuse. The story title is "France Using Emergency Powers To Prevent Climate Change Protests". The story is about the suppression of protests. Protests are about dissent.

Comment Re:Why does gov't care about climate change protes (Score 1) 209

Right, so the French government that recognizes climate change and agrees it is a major issue to be dealt with is afraid of protesters who recognize climate change and believe it is a major issue to be dealt with?

Perhaps it has more to do with getting the populace used to suppression of dissent?

Comment Re:Bigger problems (Score 2) 82

The term VPN has been co-opted by providers that provide VPN and routing services. People pay for this service so that they can mask their true location -- for example, to use video services not available in their country.

Individual users are not using the VPN to connect to each other, but instead to connect to the VPN endpoint, from where their encapsulated packets are routed to the destination website (and obviously, the replies are routed back the same way)

Comment Re:Hunting Terrorists / Getting Shot (Score 1) 128

If you look at the documentaries, it's very clear that the FBI was sorting through the bulk metadata. IIRC they were looking for a cell phone call made at a certain time in order to trace the caller.

The issue is not whether the data was searched, the issue is whether the search produced actionable information. The only reference I can find suggests that it was actually a hindrance.

Comment This is how it begins (Score 5, Insightful) 209

Find a suitable reason to declare a state of emergency. Use the state of emergency to suppress legitimate protests. An event that outrages people used to remove civil liberties and the opportunity for dissent.

Where have we seen this before? In every country that became a dictatorship.

Comment Re:Hunting Terrorists / Getting Shot (Score 1) 128

They did use the metadata in the hunt for the Boston Bombers, if you remember. The FBI basically admitted it while edging around talking directly about the classified database of phone calls and when they were made.

No, actually, I don't remember any reference to the use of bulk metadata being useful in the hunt for the bombers. I did find one link that stated that the bulk collection was actually a hindrance, because there was too much data to soft through.

Also, the primary incentive-based reason people at our intelligence agencies don't deliberately allow significant attacks (at least on US soil) in that they would get lined up against the wall and shot if anyone found out

So why hasn't someone been lined up against the wall for the Paris attacks? The security services had enough information. It doesn't take a direct order to allow something to go ahead, merely that resources are focused elsewhere, leading to the "unfortunate" consequence of a successful attack.

Comment Re:There's two sides to this... (Score 1) 241

If I was to guess I would say someone digging through the comments found something really juicy that had been made by someone who really wouldn't want it coming out that they said that.

Could some mischief be achieved by planting some comments now? Use a service like mailinator to get an anonymous account, but make the name associated with the account "Donald Trump", or "Bernie Sanders", or any of the other candidates, and write a comment that is mildly offensive now, but appears much more offensive if written by that candidate. Wait until January, then make sure the comment gets noticed.

Comment Bulk surveillance, what is it good for? (Score 5, Insightful) 128

Let's see:
Paris: all attackers known in advance. Warnings provided to French government. Not using encrypted communications.
Boston: Specific warnings provided to US authorities. Probably not using encrypted communications (the NSA and others would have made this claim, so by default, we can assume the opposite)
9/11. Most, if not all attackers already known to FBI/CIA. Again, we can assume that no encrypted communications were involved.

In other words, the bulk surveillance has no value in preventing terrorist attacks. If so, what is it for? Blackmailing politicians? Blackmailing the wealthy and powerful?

The NSA/FBI/CIA: price for failure: more resources. More power. More everything. One could almost imagine that there is a strong incentive in letting a small number of terror attacks take place.

Comment Re:There's two sides to this... (Score 4, Insightful) 241

Let's take your example a bit further. The nasty comments are there. They already exist. What benefit is there to de-anonymizing past postings? Will it really help if you know the names of the people who wrote those vile things?

Not allowing future anonymous comments isf one thing. De-anonymizing existing comments is entirely another.

Comment Re:often ahead in the wrong direction, certainly d (Score 3, Interesting) 470

In some ways certainly they are "ahead" - California isn't shy about trying out new new things, or to put it another way "imposing more and more mandates on its citizens without any way of knowing how it will work out". Sometimes it works out well, sometimes it blows up in their face.

Oh, please. You could be in Kentucky or West Virginia, where the Koch brothers are experimenting with the laws.

Overall, we can see what all the experimentation in California, the willingness to jump off ledges no-one has previously tested, has done to California's economy over the last 30 years. Some people -like- California despite the economic and other problems.

Yeah, I would hate to live somewhere where jobs are plentiful, where the government is running a surplus ... wait, what economic problems?

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.