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Comment Re:Nowhere does the ruling say "hacking" (Score 1) 317

Organizations routinely do the exact same thing with politicians. They set up servers which can fax or email a politician then ask millions of people to use the service to contact their representatives. It would not surprise me at all if the same organizations use auto-dialing services in their lobbying efforts as well. To top it off they also swamp politicians with snail mail.

While the court claims the issue was the volume of the communications and not the content. I argue that it absolutely was the content. If the union had advertised the services of the business and created the same volume of email from serious customers the business would have immediately increased the capacity of their inboxes. They would not have claimed a violation of the CFAA.

The key issue in this case is intent. The case has not gone to trial yet so the court ruled entirely on whether or not the alleged actions were sufficient to prove intent. According to the court, asking people to "fight back" by sending email and calling the company proves intent to cause harm.

Comment Re:Question how concerned is Mark? (Score 1) 575

I don't think 'Anonymous'--whoever is behind them--have the interests of freedom and privacy in mind.

The recent actions of 'Anonymous' have all been prime examples of the sort of thing lobbyists have been feeding congress to push data retention laws, an Internet off-switch, etc.

Taking down one of the most popular web sites on the Internet is sure to fuel those arguments. If people lose access to something they spend four hours a day at, they will be calling congress demanding for a solution much like they did after the WTC attacks. They will not care what the solution is, and congress will not care if the 'solution' works or is in any way ethical.

Comment Re:Way to save money Cisco! (Score 1) 94

Along with that grand juries do not have to reach a unanimous decision. At the federal level grand juries must have between 16 and 23 members. It only takes 12 to issue an indictment.

Also, grand juries are not screened for bias. The prosecutor does not have an opportunity to "pick the least brilliant people they can find".

Comment Re:Fuel? No. (Score 2) 208

(assuming we can even travel that reach on a regular basis without it taking 6 years, like it took Galileo

Juno was launched two days ago and is expected to take five years to reach Jupiter.

New Horizons reached Jupiter in just over two years. If it had anti-matter fuel it probably could have stopped. If it had anti-matter fuel it would have completed the trip even faster.

Really, it doesn't matter if it takes one month or one decade as long as there are enough craft in transit at one time to maintain a steady supply.

Comment Re:Germans and humour... (Score 2) 121

Call me crazy but a piece of non-executable code in a HTML file on a partition in the firmware does not sound a) exploitable, or b) critical.

Something has to process the HTML file. HTML is a complex standard -- far more so than plain text. An HTML rendering engine needs code to process every tag it supports.

I remember back in the day when the Goodtimes virius hoax was making the rounds. Software professionals were incredulous that people actually believed it was possible to catch a virus simply by reading email. Yet a few years later viruses started popping up that exploited security holes in email clients.

Back to the subject of HTML, here are a few security vulnerabilities in HTML rendering engines:

Siemens is taking the issue seriously.

While the Easter egg may have simply been a developer's idea of fun, Beresford says he's still examining it to see if it's possible to send commands through the html page back to the PLC.

Comment Re:Ridiculous idea (Score 4, Insightful) 279

They've apparently been lead to believe that NIMBY means "Nuclear In My Backyard Yes" instead of "Not In My Back Yard"

NIMBY shouldn't even be an issue at Yucca Mountain. It is located on one of the biggest military sites in the nation, right next to the place we tested some 900 nuclear weapons. It is as far from anyone's back yard as can be and right next to a radioactive wasteland.

Comment Re:Inflation (Score 1) 696

If you issue a trillion dollars worth of bonds, a trillion dollars worth of assets is created on paper

The government doesn't simply 'print' bonds. It sells them. In order to buy a bond, someone has to transfer money to the government from someplace else. That is very different from printing money which doesn't require anything be taken out of the economy.

Comment Re:Inflation (Score 5, Insightful) 696

The federal budget has been growing faster than national GDP. End of fucking argument.

The entire foundation of your argument is wrong.

Federal spending as percent of GDP

$X is the GDP, $Y is federal spending. No matter where $X and $Y start, eventually $Y overtakes $X

As someone else pointed out, $X is the sum of many things plus $Y, so no matter how much $Y grows it will never exceed $X.

The Democrats and Republicans in congress are putting forth proposals to save 1-2 trillion dollars over the next decade which would continue to leave us with massive deficits over the next ten years. We would be a lot closer to balancing the budget if we would pull the military out of Iraq and Afgananistan, end the Bush tax cuts, and stop bailing out big companies.

Comment Re:Campaign Promises (Score 1) 1042

I think the lower/broader tax plan is a great idea, and the balanced budget amendment is totally unworkable. Still, they are doing exactly what they said they'd do when elected.

A balanced budget amendment passed the House of Representatives and nearly passed the Senate in 1996. Instead of working with an amendment that nearly passed, they added numerous severe restrictions knowing full-well their radicalized version stood no chance of passing. That is not someone trying to accomplish what their constituents voted them into office for. It is someone grand-standing to create the appearance that they are doing something.

Furthermore, of all the amendments passed by congress only four of them did not have a deadline for the states to ratify them. Those four amendments are still out there waiting to be ratified by the states. We are still waiting for the Corwin Amendment (1861) to be ratified.

The latest proposed balanced budget amendment obviously started with the text of the 1996 version but, among other changes, the authors exemplified their recklessness by removing the seven year ratification deadline. That would set us up for a constitutional crisis when some states ratify, then revoke their ratification, new states are added to the union, a state splits into two states (like Virginia did), etc.

If the Tea Party is serious about their claims they could start by proposing a budget that actually meets their proposed constitutional amendment.

Comment Re:Biased summary (Score 5, Insightful) 242

And her penalty was a $10 fine plus $4 in court costs*. Rosa Parks also spent one day in jail waiting to be bailed out. Her trial took place one week after she was charged.

Today, it would costs tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees just to get the charges moved down to the real offense rather than some trumped-up felony. It would also cost tens of thousands of dollars to post bail. Anyone who can't post bail has to sit in jail awaiting trail which can potentially take years.

*adjusted for inflation $14 in 1955 would be $120 in 2011.

Comment Re:And Lemme Guess... (Score 5, Informative) 197

That didn't stop the US Supreme Court from ruling that police helicopters operating infared cameras scanning houses from above were not a "search."

I think you are referring to Kyllo v United States which ruled exactly the opposite of what you have stated. The court concluded that using infrared cameras to scan homes for leaking heat is a search and thus requires a warrant under the fourth amendment. The basis for the court's opinion was very similar to the grandparent post.

Of course, that ruling also involved Clarence "just bribe my wife" Thomas. So, maybe it'll one day be reversed by a saner court.

The ruling did indeed involve Thomas who joined the majority opinion in a 5-4 decision. Quite frankly I would consider any court that reverses the ruling to be less sane.

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