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Comment Re:Empower the poor! (Score 1) 104

It's important for politicians to ensure that voters in poor countries to have mobile phones. Their use has revolutionized democratic elections in many countries.

Before, when a politician bought your vote, you had no way to prove how you actually voted. So the politicians had to trust the people to vote the way they were told.

Now, when the politician visits your village, you just show him the picture you took of your voting paper on your mobile phone in order to collect your bribe.

Comment Re:No cashier needed (Score 2) 145

Why bother with customers at all? Just track the people walking past the store, charge each of them $5, and leave the country with a big bag of cash before the police can catch up with you.

Credit card transactions with no audit trail: what could possibly go wrong?

Comment Re:Microchannel Anyone? (Score 2) 437

I remember a salesman from IBM coming to show us one of the early Microchannel machines.

He proudly told us about its wonderful security feature: if you changed any hardware, you could not boot it unless you had a magic floppy disk containing some magic security files.

Then he switched it on to demonstrate it. It was as dead as a dodo. He then remembered that he had removed a network card just before bringing it to us. And he had forgotten to bring the magic floppy with him.

Exit one very red-faced salesman. And we vowed never to buy any of that crap.

Comment Re:So where's the security? (Score 3, Interesting) 437

So I'm a philanthropically-minded linux user with $99 to spare. I give that money to Microsoft, and they give me some magic key that lets me write linux kernels that will run on anyone's machine. I immediately publish that key on my website, for anyone to use. Now any criminal can use this key to run their malware on any machine.

Obviously it doesn't work like this, or the whole scheme would be useless. So how is it going to work?

I read TFA, and as far as I can tell, it *does* work like that: for $99, I get my key sent to the hardware vendors to be put into their UEFI boot chips. So will everyone get a free "bios upgrade" when I deliberately leak my key?

Comment Re:Facebook too (Score 5, Insightful) 198

Microsoft and Facebook can do what they want - people can't complain too much, they are the company's networks after all, they can do what they want.

Would people have the same attitude as you if the phone company started beeping out words that they objected to? Or if the postal service started throwing away mail because they objected to the recipient? After all, the phone and the postal network belong to those companies, so they should be able to do whatever thay want?

Comment It's a con trick (Score 5, Interesting) 199

It's a con trick by the BBC.

No-one wants DRM on the BBC's broadcasts; not even the BBC themselves. But many content providers, especially American ones, are trying to insist on it. So the BBC have devised a very clever way to con the content providers.

The trick is to put DRM into the broadcast version of the program guide, that tells you what is on when. This was announced with great fanfare as "the BBC is adding DRM to its broadcasts", with no mention of the small technical detail that the actual video and audio will have no DRM. So the content providers think that they have got their way, but there will be no impediment at all to (for example) capturing a broadcast off the air and making a torrent out of it. Articles like TFA are part of the con: they help convince the content providers that they have got what they want, which in turn induces them to sell stuff to the BBC that we might otherwise not see.

The commercial set-top-box manufacturers don't care, because they have to cater for genuine DRM on the commercial channels anyway. And the hobbyists who are running software such as MythTV don't care, because they download the program guide from the BBC website, which conveniently provides it in machine-readable form with no DRM.

Comment Re:Holy Shit! (Score 1) 568

Of course industry will argue that: they don't want to do anything, so they want a law that will allow them to do nothing.

From the point of view of the public, the ideal response from industry would be to take every possible measure to prevent a break-in, but to be open and honest when one occurs, rather than hiding it. The economic incentive to behave like this would be to punish companies that admit they have had a break-in (so that they take steps in advance to prevent it), but to hang the CEO of any company found to have covered up a break-in.

Comment Re:jurisdiction? (Score 4, Interesting) 244

Unfortunately, the previous, very pro-US, government in the UK signed a treaty that allows the US to extradite anyone from the UK, more or less on demand, with no requirement to prove that any crime has been committed.

Of course "terrorism" was used as an excuse, but the treaty is being invoked in many cases where the person concerned seems to have committed only a trivial offence, or in some cases to have done something that was perfectly legal in the UK.

The treaty is very controversial here in the UK: many people feel that the US is using the mere process of extradition as a form of punishment in itself. Sadly, there is a public perception here that the US legal system is vindictive and heavily biased.

Comment Re:How will the filtering even work? (Score 1) 173

It will work like this:
  • There is a blacklist of banned web pages. Each entry on the blacklist also specifies the IP address of that page.
  • The routing at the ISP is set up so that IP addresses on the blacklist go to a transparent proxy, and other IP addresses are unaffected.
  • The transparent proxy blocks the web pages on the blacklist, but allows access to all other web pages on the affected IP addresses.

How do I know? Because this is the system (called cleanfeed) that most ISPs in the UK have already installed to do the government-mandated web censoring that we've already got.

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