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Comment Re:maybe robots can fly the drones (Score 0) 298

Perhaps what happens is that people in the Chair Force eventually realize that nobody has any idea if they are killing bad guys.

He was told that they were carrying rifles on their shoulders, but for all he knew, they were shepherd"s staffs. Still, the directive from somewhere above, a mysterious chain of command that led straight to his headset, was clear: confirmed weapons. ... As he watched the men walk, the one who had fallen behind seemed to hear something and broke into a run to catch up with the other two. Then, bright and silent as a camera flash, the screen lit up with white flame.

In one episode that will fuel controversy about allegations of civilian casualties, he described monitoring a drone strike on a mud compound in Afghanistan and seeing the figure of what he was certain was a child just before it was struck by a Hellfire missile.

When he expressed those concerns to an intelligence observer overseeing the operation, the response came back: "Per the review, it's a dog." Bryant replayed the shot repeatedly on tape and said that he was certain it was a child, not a dog.

Note -- it seems PTSD can arise from being a drone pilot, but also note, I have absolutely zero sympathy for the drone pilots. It's an incredibly small bit of karma for the horrific acts they've performed and is the least they deserve, and worse, probably most will never even get that.

Comment Re:Trust (Score 1) 196

The part that concerns me is that it appears for some data Apple does not have the key and has no access even if it has possession of the data. For other data it does have the key and can thus decrypt the data. The first instance is secure and protects user privacy (given a good passphrase), the second is barely secure and subjects user data to the Third Party Doctrine -- this gives the government the ability to grab it whenever it wants to. If this is so, it will confuse unsophisticated users who think encryption _is_ information security, which is true in only certain circumstances, and not true if a third party can decrypt the data.

Comment Re:Trust (Score 1) 196

the juxtaposition of the first and second sentence, the first saying how great the encryption is, the second implying that the backups aren't encrypted by the fact you can disable it if you want to -- it implies a lesser level of security by its silence on whether the data is only available to the user. But more to the point, the iCloud section states pretty clearly that Apple can access the data:

All your iCloud content is encrypted in transit and, in most cases, when stored (see below). If we use third-party vendors to store your data, we encrypt it and never give them the keys. Apple retains the encryption keys in our own data centers, so you can back up, sync, and share your iCloud data.

Comment Re:Trust (Score 1) 196

As long as there are secret government orders that companies are forced to comply with, you can never trust them.

You are absolutely correct, and especially correct in the context where the company has the power to decrypt the user's data. However, if the user's data cannot be decrypted by the company, then all it can provide is the encrypted gobbeldygook.

It isn't clear to me that Apple's system is perfect: It looks like the messages are encrypted in transit and Apple cannot read that data, but it also sounds like decrypted messages are backed up to its iCloud service, in which case the transit encryption is totally defeated. A lot of the stuff in that link is marketing bullshit, but the line I've bolded should be clearer. It seems pretty obvious that Apple could be required to turn over decrypted data (such as backed up messages) stored on their servers, and they should come right out an say that because a lot of people won't understand that:

So unlike other companies' messaging services, Apple doesn't scan your communications, and we wouldn't be able to comply with a wiretap order even if we wanted to. While we do back up iMessage and SMS messages for your convenience using iCloud Backup, you can turn it off whenever you want. And we don't store FaceTime calls on any servers.

What is the default? Anything that stores or transmits plaintext in a manner accessible by a third party should be opt IN, not opt out, because most people won't understand the implications but fall for the marketing hype about security.

Comment Re:Behaviour in the past? (Score 1) 196

As fas as I'm aware, Apple is the only one working against even involuntary cooperation by making sure that they can't break device encryption by not keeping any keys or access to any keys.

If that is true, I can understand why Snowden praised Apple. Let's be honest about encryption technologies -- they are fickle and difficult even for people who are immersed in technology. For people who aren't tech savvy at all, encryption technologies are 1) not even known or thought about and 2) almost impossible to implement.

As an exemple, look at GPG email encryption. Once you get the whole public key / private key thing, it isn't that hard, but, getting to that point is actually very difficult for most people. Then there are ongoing issues with usage, keys going out of date or weird stuff happening making things produced in one system not readable in another -- just a bunch of administrative crap most people don't want to deal with -- they just want to send a text or an email and get done what they have to get done.

So if Apple can make that seamless, AND Apple cannot play man in the middle and decrypt it -- that is a huge win, one which other companies will surely follow. Things are getting slowly easier in the aftermarket. TextSecure (Android) and Signal (IOS), makes encrypted texting pretty seamless, but most people aren't even aware of these ( ). They just use the default texting app on their phone. If that default app did secure encryption by default, that's a good thing.

Comment Re:why is Eric snowden an expert on security (Score 2) 196

You're a troll or a moron. Look at this interview with Tom Harper, the author of that hit piece:

All he says, repeatedly (besides "ummm"), is that he has no idea if the facts are true and he just wrote what people in the government told him to write. He's a stenographer, not a reporter.

Comment Re:Finally they have seen the light (Score 3, Informative) 262

... if the US actually had an indictment sufficient for extradition ...

An indictment is soooo necessary to engage in extrajudicial detention or execution. /sarc

Just ask Italy exactly how much the US cares about Italian criminal law, in particular, kidnapping. Twenty some CIA employees were convicted of kidnapping -- of course they ran prior to their trial date.

Comment Re: Mixture (Score -1, Troll) 312

Wow -- you are the worst type of enemy America has -- bootlickers like you who would sacrifice America's values for the most insignificant reasons are the worst kind of traitors. You infect the US with an underlying rot that will eat away its soul until we are nothing but another authoritarian dictatorship. And the scale of your irrational fear is just silly -- bathtubs are a bigger threat to Americans than ISIS will ever be, s why don't you start a war on showering ... stinker.

Comment Re:Mixture (Score 1, Troll) 312

If Peter King can be an elected Congressional member after supporting a terrorist group, why should the kid go to jail for less support?

What you are really supporting here is for an arbitrary designation of groups to have legal consequences, which means things have devolved down to the point that whoever is in charge gets to decide whether belonging to a group, or supporting a group, is worthy of being gulaged or disappeared. We're entering a very dangerous time I think, not from ISIS (*), but from our own government.

(*) ISIS can't do squat aside from engaging in random crimes in the US -- there's just no way they are an existential threat to America. They're like a stubbed toe -- annoying, momentarily painful, and totally not a big deal.

Comment Re:Mixture (Score 5, Insightful) 312

It's a crime to support certain terrorist organizations and perfectly acceptable to support others -- which congress member was a supporter of the IRA? Oh yeah -- Peter King:

I find it very disturbing that certain beliefs are so totally verboten that to speak of them at all seems to be a Federal crime, and worse than that, so many people don't even see it as a problem. What we have are random politicians or cabinet members declaring a group to be off limits -- no declaration of war, no trial with public evidence, just a bureaucratic determination. So what group is next? Model rocketeers? Certainly the Sierra Club. At the word of an official in DC you could basically be killed or imprisoned -- at least this kid got a show trial. God Bless America, Home of the Free [to think and speak in an approved manner].

Comment Re:Commodore Amiga or Commodore PC? (Score 1) 456

You're right about "PC" as used in the past. The 80s were a time when there were a lot of choices for a home computer -- not just different brands that behaved identically (e.g. dell v. lenovo), but totally different visions about home computers: Atari, TRS-80 (I had a 16k CoCo), Commodore, Apple, IBM, TI-99/4A, Coleco Adam (my cousin had one of these), and I'm probably missing a dozen other manufacturers or more.

These were all distinctive systems and back then, "PC" really did mean an IBM, and then later "PC Clone/Compatible" came into vogue for non-IBM computers that functioned like an IBM. Nobody called a C64 a "PC Clone" exactly because people expected "PC" to mean something that worked like an IBM PC.

Today though, it seems the distinction has sort of faded away. IBM doesn't even make PCs anymore, even the clone market is highly consolidated, and the hardware is basically intercompatable no matter where you get it -- you can install Windows on your Apple if you want and people have been doing hackintoshes for quite a while (running OSX on non-Apple hardware). Somewhere along the way in all of this, PC seemed to become a rather generic term -- I can't pinpoint when -- maybe around the time Apple went Intel.

It's a shame in a lot of ways that there is so little computer variety anymore -- maybe someday we'll suffer a "great computer famine" due to the intensive monocropping consumer computer gear has experienced.

Comment Re:Can't win (Score 1) 107

It depends on what you mean by criminals. Do you mean regulated businesses paying taxes, wages, FICA on employees, operating under the supervision of the Washington State Liquor Control Board merely because there is conflict between State and Federal laws on the issue? The people operating farms, processing facilities and stores in Washington state are doing so in a heavily regulated environment, moreso than most businesses. Are you saying they are criminals of the same type who would shoot up a town merely because of a conflict of laws? That's a little absurd.

Note if it is not clear, all legal pot sold in WA is grown in WA in licensed facilities. No money is going to any violent gangs.

Comment Re:Can't win (Score 4, Insightful) 107

Come to Washington. All the pot sold in the legal recreational marijuana shops is grown here. Smoke all you want, no Mexican kingpin was enriched, and no innocent person shot.

The ONLY reason there is violence associated with the manufacture and distribution of pot in other places, is because it is illegal. That leaves the market only to criminals, and criminals use violence as part of their business plan. When was the last time the CEOs of Coors and Budweiser got in a shoot out with each other?

The problem with drug gangs could be eliminated immediately by legalizing drugs.

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