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Comment Re:good (Score 1) 616

people weigh two things. One, how likely it is. Two, how scary it is.

There's a key point that you missed: the scarier something is, the more likely we think it is (up to a point: if it's scary enough, we refuse to believe it could happen to us).

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 616

Money only buys votes with an uneducated electorate.

While that's almost certainly true, it doesn't follow that:

If voters really wanted to do something about this, they could.

Because most of the country relies on those in power for access to education. There may have been a time in recent memory where the populace was educated enough about how politics and power worked to make these changes, but those in power have been very effective at cutting those cords by controlling the media and education (through cutting funding, setting standards, outright buying media outlets and the like).

In order for it to change, people with money and power would need to put some effort into effectively educating voters. Which means doing the very thing they ultimately are trying to change -- pouring money into the political process.

Comment Re:That depends on your definition of torture (Score 1) 616

No, the average American doesn't even understand these topics. The core problem with America is that the vast majority of the public are completely uninformed (often by choice) and apathetic about anything that doesn't affect them or someone they know directly.

The result is that we as a country have ceded control to people who want power, and the handful of "hardcore" voting blocs that reliably show up at the polls. We're a Republic of the Minority now.

Comment Re:SSH keys (Score 1) 339

Unless you're accessing all your services via SSH, you probably have passwords somewhere; SSH keys are only going to be a defense against access to the boxes you only SSH to. If you use any web application or service you don't self-host and authenticate only through SSH, revealed passwords are going to be an issue.

Yet another argument to move toward 2-factor auth....

Comment Re:Obligatory sarcasm (Score 2) 107

Publicly posting all available personal data of judges and their families that serve on the FISA court might also serve to reverse this STASI-like system of secret courts and secret laws.

If only that would work. Unfortunately, when you show people in power that they're vulnerable too, they don't see the light and act for change -- they double-down. They decide that such acts are evidence that they need even more power.

Comment Re:Cute, But ... (Score 1, Informative) 128

Your comment is either astonishingly ignorant or really bad trolling:

  • Apple iOS devices play whatever video and audio content you want, provided you supply it in a supported format (H.264 M4V, for example); the supported formats are open standards, and tools to create compatible files are ubiquitous, and many are free. Or you can just install VLC for iOS and use pretty much any format (though it does decoding in software for formats that i-Devices don't have hardware decoders for, which means battery life goes down the shitter).
  • Win8 devices likewise will play whatever content you transfer to them, providing it's in one of the supported formats. Likewise, many of the supported formats are open standards, and tools to create compatible files are readily available. MS puts very few restrictions on what you can install, so adding more media support is trivial.
  • Amazon's Kindle readers only support the AZW format for DRM-protected content, but will read unprotected MOBI, PRC, and TPZ eBook formats out of the box; they also allow you to read plain-text files and have some basic PDF support. The Kindle tablet supports MP4 video using open-standard codecs, just like iOS and Win8 do. All Kindle devices that can play audio support MP3 and Audible.

If it were true that the Chromecast only allowed "Google approved content" as grandparent claims, that would be far more constraining than any of the devices you gave examples of.

Unfortunately for GP, they misunderstand Chromecast's limitations; direct, native streaming is only available for a few Google-approved sources, but anything the Chrome browser plays out of the box (including any HTML5 video, Flash objects, etc.) can be cast to the dongle; it's hardly as limited as "Google-approved sources", more like "stuff using technologies and formats that Google supports in Chrome".

Comment Re:Huh. (Score 1) 457

The only non-standard part of Apple's charging scheme is the shape of the connector. The AC->DC adapter part is a standard switching power supply, the request on the USB end of the charging cable is compatible with USB Power standards, and so on.

The really proprietary parts of Apple's cable are the bits associated with the data interface (digital audio, control systems, accessory systems, etc.); which is frustrating, but not really surprising at this point considering the 30-pin connector they replaced has been around for a decade.

Comment Re:Smart move (Score 1) 457

The *cable* carries 5VDC at 1A (or almost 2A for an iPad). The electrocution hazard for 5V devices is entirely in the switching power-supply... the part that takes your wall voltage and drops it to 5VDC. Poorly designing that part can lead to too much power on the cable, etc.

But if you use a decently-designed power supply, even the world's crappiest cable isn't going to be problematic.

Comment Re:Turnabout is Fair Play, Right? (Score 4, Informative) 259

No, according to them, that information isn't private enough to require a warrant. It still requires a court order to obtain, and it's not considered public information.

If you're going to respond to a bad situation, you have to actually understand the real situation, or you're just going to get dismissed as ignorant.

Comment Re:Then maybe it's time for some new laws... (Score 4, Insightful) 259

The 4th Amendment requires due process of law to conduct a search, and Congress has the power to define what that due process looks like. In the case of "stored data", they've decided that "due process" only requires a court order.

Any 4th Amendment argument that a court order isn't sufficient due process is inherently one of interpretation regarding the intent of the 4th Amendment. This is one of the many reasons why the EFF is making a 1st Amendment challenge to the NSA's accessing of such metadata. The NSA followed established due process (they went to a FISC court and got a warrant), so there's no 4th Amendment claim really (unless you want to argue that the 4th's provisions were not intended to be satisfied by a secret court -- but again, that's interpretation).

The living breathing document doctrine is not saying that the text of the Constitution is mutable, but that rather as society changes, our interpretation of what it means changes too. This has caused some problems, but it's also the root of a lot of good things, like the decision that the guarantee of "Freedom of speech" extends to all forms of expression.

Comment Re:Phone Alerts (Score 2) 382

First, yes dammit, I must be reachable as much as possible. If a friend or family member needs help in the middle of the night, I'm not gonna be the guy who says "sorry, I had my phone off."

Second, I must be able to make a call at any time. My mobile is my only phone, and if something happens where I need to call 911, I'm not going to want to wait for the damned thing to boot.

Comment Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (Score 1) 333

No, they don't. The NSA doesn't do this directly, they use their legal authority to require that providers do it for them. Providers often have short-term logs of the relevant metadata for security, troubleshooting, and the like; they simply ensure that NSA gets copies as the logs are created (remember: the NSA requires that they do this).

In a phone system, for example, the switching systems that route phone calls log the switching activity. That's metadata. Cell towers log location data (as course as cell handoffs or as fine as GPS coordinates, depending on a host of factors) for service management and troubleshooting purposes. ISPs log requests, including source IPs. And so on. That's all metadata.

The storage requirements for that volume of data are so high that providers typically only retain such data for extremely short periods of time; hours or days at most. That makes them hard to subpoena; so the NSA's PRISM program allows them to simply get real-time copies of those logs, and they handle the data-retention for their purposes.

Comment Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (Score 1) 333

There is no proof I'm aware of that the NSA captures all data; they have the capability to capture data, but there's no evidence they routinely do so. Capturing all data from nodes would be a Herculean undertaking, and it doesn't even make sense for them to do so.

Capturing metadata gives them the bulk of what they need for surveillance, possibly falls into a legal loophole (they certainly think it does, anyhow), and requires far fewer resources to acquire, store, and process.

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