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Comment: Re:Not quite (Score 1) 386

Actually, no. In order to do the more involved things, "physical observation, bugging rooms, and breaking into phones or computers", they have to get a warrant.

No need for that. They only have to get a warrant if they want to use the evidence in a court of law - most intelligence gathered by the secret services (which is what this is about, not about police investigations) never makes it to the court, and is not even intended for that purpose. Only when they want to actually go and catch someone they start to play by the books - that moment it's getting simple as they know everything already, just have to redo bits of their work the proper way.

Comment: Re:Translation ... (Score 2) 386

Wrong translation. It's much simpler.

"Allow us to break encryption, or we go back to the methods we've been using for decades, if not centuries!" Because that's exactly what they say they have to "start using": methods that have been used for a very long time. Methods that overall worked quite well.

Comment: Re:Telegram (Score 1) 190

by wvmarle (#48896713) Attached to: WhatsApp vs. WhatsApp Plus Fight Gets Ugly For Users

One serious issue with that one - the same issue with WhatsApp:

It's free forever. No ads, no subscription fees.

Now how're they going to pay their developers, their (cloud) servers, etc? These apps don't come into existence by themselves. They don't maintain themselves. Those servers also cost real money to run and maintain. Doesn't sound sustainable to me.

WhatsApp was supposed to be free for a year, after which you were to start paying a small yearly fee. Apparently even that part they dropped, as I'm using it for well over a year and have never had to pay anything. Now how WhatsApp is paying for the service they provide me I don't know - they don't sell ads on the platform, and they claim at least they don't sell my personal information (message content, whatever) to third parties.

Comment: Re:tag, but don't hide! (Score 1) 224

by wvmarle (#48866149) Attached to: Facebook Will Let You Flag Content As 'False'

Adding the note that it may be false will likely make many people believe it's false, whether that's the case or not. People generally follow other people's opinions, or are at least strongly influenced by them.

Even if you're sure something is true but it's tagged as "potentially false" then at the very least it will seed doubts.

Comment: Robotic warfare (Score 5, Insightful) 208

by wvmarle (#48863635) Attached to: US Army Wants Weapon To Destroy Drone Swarms

No doubt, these drones will be more and more automatic, where commands from their human controllers become more and more abstract. Maybe now they're being flown like an RC aircraft, soon it'll be "go to this location, launch bomb to hit that location", or "fly search patterns in this area and shoot anything that doesn't respond to your coded signals out of the sky".

And so, step by step, we enter the era of robotic warfare. No matter how often the various militaries and politicians pledge that this will not happen.

Comment: Re:Language is not truly unique to humans (Score 1) 154

by wvmarle (#48811067) Attached to: Human Language May Have Evolved To Help Our Ancestors Make Tools

The summary doesn't do this, it just states "If there's one thing that distinguishes humans from other animals, it's our ability to use language", moving on to mentioning the skill of conversation. That are things that are not totally unique to humans, other species can communicate in that way as well. But just being able to use language is not enough; it's abstract language that's really unique to humans.

Things that really do set us apart are very different. One thing that I really can't think of an animal equivalent is how much we care about our looks, and then specifically about how other people see us. Clothes, make-up, haircuts, shaving, etc. all go that way: we care about how we look because we care about how other people see us. Other animals may show off their bodies, like peacock males showing off their massive tail feathers to a female; I can't think of any example where an animal deliberately decorates its body to impress others of its species.

Comment: Language is not truly unique to humans (Score 3, Interesting) 154

by wvmarle (#48809805) Attached to: Human Language May Have Evolved To Help Our Ancestors Make Tools

There are many more animals that are known to communicate through sound, some rather sophisticated. Various whales and dolphins are known to use different calls, some primates, even some species of bat are believed to exchange information such as where to find food through sounds. Calls are also a common way of parents finding their children when living in big groups. Of course it's not as advanced as human speech, and almost certainly not useful to communicate about abstract topics. To me, it is a form of speech nonetheless.

Comment: Re: Perfect? Really? (Score 1) 340

by wvmarle (#48772409) Attached to: Researchers "Solve" Texas Hold'Em, Create Perfect Robotic Player

If so, people would never play blackjack or roulette as both games are designed to give the house a slight advantage of about 2%. This means that given enough hands, you always lose about 2% of your bet, leaving you with about 98% of the amount you started with.

However many players do not play that many hands. They play 5, 10, maybe 100 hands. In that situation the spread is much greater - and that's what punters hope for. To get one of those hands that gives them a big win, before they get all the hands that give them losses. That is also the exact reason why people do sometimes win big in a casino, and the casino still makes money.

Comment: Re:In Canada it is legal to download and rip movie (Score 1) 172

Then there is the question, what is considered "hacking of a digital lock"?

After installing DeCSS on my Linux PC well over a decade ago when I still had a working DVD player, I didn't notice the lock. Was it really still there? Is it really a lock? To view a .jpg image I also need some special software to decode it for me and display it on my screen.

Even after decoding CSS, you still have to decode the MPEG to be able to send it to a screen for display. Most players do both steps in one go, without a single bit of user interaction. It is as if there is no locking going on. Some players will even conveniently ignore "unskippable" locks on promos and so that are sometimes put at the start of a DVD.

Now imagine you got some DVD or BluRay, and want to make a copy of it. You go online, and surely in moments you find a piece of software that can do just that for you, fully transparent. Are you still, legally speaking, in the process of "hacking a digital lock"? Many users may not even know it's encrypted - they pop it in their BluRay player, and it just plays. They put it in their computer, and their ripping tool just rips it as someone else already figured out how to read the content. To the user it is exactly the same as if this encryption never was there in the first place.

Comment: Re:It's not copyright infringement... (Score 4, Insightful) 61

by wvmarle (#48752843) Attached to: Canadian Anti-Piracy Firm Caught Infringing Copyright

Technically, it's not theft if he wrote all those articles himself.

Close, but not correct: "it's not 'theft' if he owned the copyright on those articles, or has a license to distribute them".

Having written something yourself doesn't mean you own the copyright on it: e.g. if a journalist writes an article for the newspaper he works for, the copyright usually goes to the newspaper. Another situation where you may not distribute your own stuff, is if you write something, and then license it on exclusive basis to someone. Though in this case it may actually be breach of contract rather than breach of copyright.

In both cases, however, the author should be very well aware of what he may or may not do with his own work.

Comment: Re:Same ole, same ole ... (Score 2) 61

by wvmarle (#48752807) Attached to: Canadian Anti-Piracy Firm Caught Infringing Copyright

I'd expect from a company that claims to be the crusader for copyright to understand it.

The part they infringed upon is easy to understand (downloading and redistribution of stuff they find online, exactly what many lawsuits are fought over, and specifically what they always tell the public is not OK to do), so misunderstanding the matter is indeed not likely. So it's likely the first: they don't give a damn.

Know Thy User.