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Comment Re:They don't enforce snooping on everything (Score 1) 782

Then block the traffic or leave it alone.

Someone who opens mail envelopes at work that were marked "private" will get fired or even imprisoned. SSL traffic is also marked "private". Why should that be different?

No one can complain if Youtube or Facebook are blocked at the workplace. People get paid to be there for a different reason than reading their wall posts. If it is allowed to browse privately at work, don't ever touch the data stream. If it is forbidden, then just block the traffic. There is no middle ground here.

Comment Re:They don't enforce snooping on everything (Score 1) 782

The proxy admin can read, include or exclude anything from the HTTPS traffic without anyone knowing.

Bank accounts, mail accounts, Facebook accounts, health care information. From all employees and all CEOs.

This situation cannot ever be acceptable for anyone, that's why no one should do such things from computers they don't control.

Comment Re:They don't enforce snooping on everything (Score 1) 782

Close but no cigar.

Even things as simple as Facebook or email passwords can do much more personal harm than access to someone's bank account. Some bank accounts do not have enough money in it to be worthwhile, it is hard to do any transactions that cannot be traced by law enforcement anyway and simply knowing the balance isn't worth too much. But people could give each other Hell if they know email and Facebook passwords.

No one should access any personal information from work nor any other device they do not own or control. Keyloggers, traffic snoopers, remote control must be assumed to always be present in a corporate environment.

Comment Re:They don't enforce snooping on everything (Score 1) 782

Great idea!

Everyone must be able to access health care information from work and that connection must be absolutely bulletproof.

Most other HTTPS needs can be declared to belong into your personal time or done via mobile phone, be it banking, social networks or email. But the health care provider that was officially sanctioned by HR and The Powers That Be can't under any circumstances.

If IT can and does snoop into some HTTPS connections, they could snoop into HR and health care connections. No amount of auditing should save them.

But I think it gets even simpler than that. Telling or asking for passwords to social networks is a federal crime now. Unless IT can plausibly demonstrate that do not save any passwords they may obtain in the stream. Which they can't, since they always bite more than they can swallow. They either snoop and save all data at least temporarily or they don't and everyone's happy anyway, as they could as well turn off the transparent filter.

Depending on local laws, this can be varied. The goal should still be to produce a do-or-don't scenario, where doing is highly illegal and the only way out is not doing anything at all, which is what employees want.


DreamHammer Wants To Corner the Drone OS Market 125

nonprofiteer writes "The Pentagon is increasingly transforming the military into an unmanned force, taking soldiers out of harm's way and replacing them with drones and robots. In 2011, it spent $6 billion on unmanned systems. The problem is that the unmanned systems don't work well together thanks to contractors building proprietary control systems (to lock government into exclusive relationships and to make extra money). A company called DreamHammer plans to have a solution to this — a universal remote control that could integrate all robots and drones into one control system. It would save money and allow anyone to build apps for drones. 'DreamHammer CTO Chris Diebner compares it with a smartphone OS — on which drones and features for those drones can be run like apps. Of course, Ballista is doing something on a much larger scale. It means that it takes fewer people to fly more drones and that new features can be rolled out without the need to develop and build a new version of a Predator, for example.'"

Comment Re:You don't have to BUY a machine (Score 1) 311

And electricity, and light, and probably the company employee clock also.

All which most employees more than make up for by working from home after work, working on weekends without bothering to ask for money or having a meeting with some coworkers off the clock, on the parking lot after leaving or in a bar later.

One (1) bad business decision of any employee costs more than that.

Comment Re:Wrong demographic (Score 4, Interesting) 272

Remember Stuxnet.

Covert assasination anyone?

Implant a well-disguised piece of trojan code inside an ECU of opportunity.

Have it triggered at a specific speed, at local nighttime. Disable brakes, lights, airbags and stomp on the accelerator. If any crash is detected, quickly recover the firmware to an original, untampered backup that was stored away somewhere beforehand.

Crash investigators will find nothing but "reckless speeding" to be the cause.

Comment Re:Gee, maybe U.S. shouldn't try to steal oil (Score 1) 969

Poverty almost certainly IS due to lack of food or resources in the world.

Poverty may be reduced if some "optimal" resource allocation model would be obtained, with "optimal" allocation meaning totally different things for different people and even the same people during the course of their lifetimes.

In any case, the absolute number of mouths to feed, bodies to clothe, rest and shelter puts absolute requirements on finite physical resources. So no mode of allocation is possible to give every human on this planet more than 20 grams of gold. Even if these requirements may not be cleanly extrapolated from current resource use per capita by a Club of Rome and probably also aren't fix over time, they are certainly larger than zero. Even with perfect recycling and optimum use, there is a maximum of people to serve from any given amount of any resource. While it is tolerable to not have golden necklaces for everyone, there are other resources that cannot be left out so easily.

Unless poverty is defined only as "relative" poverty, i.e. "not poorer than 40% of the average", resources and mouths depend on each other, but not for infinity.

Comment Re:we already fixed it. its called 'trains'. (Score 1, Insightful) 603

The optimal and sustainable population density is extremely dependent on the social structure of said population. With social norms loosely or not at all enforced, living close together with millions of anti-socials is Hell in almost a literal sense. With social norms strongly enforced, the tenable population density goes up quickly, but the social control then will bring with it other problems.

In other words, the suburb layout e.g. in California may be the primary reason that mass transit is non-existent there, but the suburb layout is the result of a social structure and (lack of) social norm enforcement that would make living in tight spaces untenable for the myriads of the completely different cultures there. Wasting fuel and space on roads is the downside of that.

Counter-example would of course be Tokyo, where the social structure is totally uniform (1% non-Japanese). The Japanese culture probably has the strictest and strongly enforced social norms worldwide, with exception of N. Korea, so - for Japanese - it's perfectly possible to live in extreme population densities. Mass transit is totally feasible and in fact indispensable, private vehicles insanely wasteful. But there's downsides to that as well, with social norms (from a Western perspective) being untenable and overly strict, people shut themselves in or commit suicide much more often than elsewhere.

Clash of cultures in the US, overbearing control in JP. The existing transit systems are only a secondary consequence of that.

Comment Re:Welcome to Clueville, population: You (Score 1) 417

IT is all about control and protection. Always has been. That's not a side-effect, it's the main feature.

What are the primary goals the IT dept. is set up by management?
- make sure all data stays intact and accessible to authorized users, and only them
- make sure no data can be created, manipulated or exported by authorized users without an audit-able log trace
- make sure all authorized users can do the work they are supposed to do and evolve infrastructure with evolving work requirements

Secondary goal:
- keep costs of all that down to a sane minimum, without compromising the first 3 goals

Tertiary goal:
- keep internal and external (clients, contractors, partners) IT morale as high as possible, without compromising all the other goals

To make any of this possible, control over hard- and software is the pivotal element. With unlimited funds, IT could support any device with any software. On a budget, all expenses are better spent on improving on the first 3 goals, business-wise, rather than the last.

Depending on the company's line of business, the first goals can be weighted very differently and result in vastly different trade-offs between security and usability.
- Defense contractors would rather have the entire network and all users shut down than to lose one kilobyte of secret data. Employees turn over rarely, but trust is never full and can be revoked in seconds. Staff has no freedom. Absolute secrecy is key.
- Media and graphics company would prefer to let all doors open than to miss an important shipping date or flashy presentation meeting with an important client. Some staff have extreme turn-over rates, new staff is not trusted, but still has many freedoms. Flexible creativity is key.
- Power-and-utilities want a third and fourth line of backup connectivity to never ever have a service interruption. Turn-over is low, employee and employers trust each other fanatically, long into weekends, night shifts and retirement if needed. Continuous uninterrupted operation is key.

IT has to adjust for these different goals, but only the "media" scenario can work without heavy-handed control without going miles and miles over budget.

Except when different scenarios are key to different sub-companies, but somehow the entire consortium requires everyone to adhere to the exact same policies, probably extending over several thousands of employees and dozens of companies across half the planet's time zones. That can never work as intended and will probably never cease to annoy the hell out of everyone involved except the highest CIO of the holding company, making their job safe for all eternity. (Any resemblance to the hallmarks of Marxist economies are NOT at all coincidental in an enterprise that includes many time zones and multiple or all business domains in them)

Comment Re:I've noticed this too (Score 1) 601

Yes and yes.

When all your company is doing is relatively rational and above all, legal, there's no harm in keeping it in the logs forever. When someone outside messes up, sues the company or somehow tries to frame you, reconstructing a stream of crystal-clear business practices and always-legal operation procedures is worth all the hard drives in pure gold.

Unlike video surveillance, this is a nothing-to-hide approach that does not damage anyone's privacy, but the opponent's lawsuit.

Deleting emails as soon as legally possible can only serve two purposes: save on storage space or hide some shady deeds. And I doubt saving a few bucks on emails is going to offset the legal advantage when having to prove the business is kept clean.

Can anyone think of a situation, where everything was done legally and clearly, but still the paper trail that is email could theoretically bring a disadvantage in a lawsuit?

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