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Comment Re:Profound implications! (Score 1) 88

The issue is not that they can tell which phone number you use, obviously. As I see it there are three problems with this kind of tracking technology:

Secondly, mass surveillance is not just about you as an individual. By looking at where you go when and how long you stay there and correlating this with who else goes there at the same time one can make deductions about social networks within society without ever looking at one person up close.

I am with you on abuse from repressive regimes. But when you say "with this technology", I fail to understand. All the uses and abuses you mention are already not only possible, but routinely done by repressive regimes, and some. "This technology" adds nothing to the equation, except perhaps marginal cases where they would want to track you "across devices".

In this regard, I can only find that the profound implications mentioned in the article are not so much profound as they are obscure.

Comment Re:Profound implications! (Score 1) 88

Here's what it does mean.

With access to this data (even if its through an abstraction API), I could match back a profile created based on one device (using a device ID) with a new device owned by the same person.

So lets say I'm a retailer and I want to track your visits to my stores based on your device ID... with this abstracted "fingerprint" API I could conceivably request a match back for your new device against the database and get your old device ID in response, voila - anonymous transition of the profile to your new device. I can now continue tracking you with no lost history.

Mmmmh! You begin with the proviso: "With access to this data"...

Well if you have access to this data, you will not be a retailer...

Comment Profound implications! (Score 4, Insightful) 88

Profound implications for privacy... The analogies are perplexing. Should I also worry about the fact that I have ten fingers with ten fingerprints at the end of them (not mentioning toes) means that it is impossible for me to have privacy? Recent research on 1.5 Million users shows that phone numbers uniquely identify subjects 100% of the time. That does not sound like this has profound implications for privacy, does it? Now admittedly, they talk about randomly chosen "spatio-temporal points", meaning, if you think of it, that you have a good chance at any time, of being either at home or at your place of work. But since your phone number already identifies you, the profound implications for privacy referred to in the article somehow escape me...

Comment 6 km/h on sidewalks! (Score 1) 86

The company conducted a test in Tsukuba (Ibaraki Prefecture) within a roughly 18 km wide sidewalk. It can get to a speed of 6 km/h.

However, not only the video does not show it in operation in situ, but does not even show it running at all. The presentation instead consists of stills showing someone sitting in it and entering or exiting.

The story is interesting in that it shows a companies rushing to demonstrate the technology and how it can be used.

Comment Two-way transparency argument a valid one (Score 1) 307

If the police officers and border guards were forced to wear them, they perhaps would have an incentive to treat you decently and not to violate your rights.

If worn by participants in a demonstration, also interesting, especially if streamed live.

The argument of equalizing the relation between the powerful and the powerless in surveillance does have merit. Especially when the NSA is currently building a 65 Megawatts datacenter, where they will have the possibility to trace everyone whereabouts.

From another commnent: yes a red LED will blink when recording.

Comment Inexact summary and linked article (Score 1) 147

The article stated makes it look like this is the initiative of Zuckerberg, and manages to misreport the scale of this prize.

See the foundations website:

Not 11 prizes totalling 33 millions as reported, but 5 prizes of 3 M each.

Also the sponsors are listed, in that order,

                Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki
                Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
                Yuri Milner

Comment FUD Campaign continuing (Score 5, Informative) 347

I have mod points, but not finding anyone questioning this source... Have you RTFA? This is The Telegraph! There is no source cited AT ALL. You don't know who said what in which context. Nothing.

Microsoft has hired the CEO of Burton-Marsteller with the official function of spreading FUD on Google.

But frankly, this sounds more like this comes from The Onion... Nobody here questions sources anymore?

Comment Re:Wrong Premise, Approach from a Different Angle (Score 3, Insightful) 267

From the article:

Mr Baylis has been lobbying for the patent system to become more robust and to turn the theft of intellectual property into a white-collar crime that carries a prison sentence... Currently patent infringement is considered to be a civil matter in the UK rather than a criminal matter... ...Students need to be taught about intellectual property in schools...

Mr Baylis is representing himself as the small guy (incorrectly claiming the invention of the crank radio), making the exact case that the big guys are currently lobbying the government for.

If Mr Baylis had been what he pretends he was, with the laws he is advocating for, he would have risked ending up in prison on top of losing his house.

Comment Re:Don't forget the disinformation. (Score 1, Funny) 848

'We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise,' says Whitney Ball, chief executive of the Donors Trust.

And don't forget the disinformation. We can't have all that freedom with an informed public.

Oh for that, when we achieve the goal of a "limited government", we can spend a bit again to institute a ministry of truth.


Submission + - Microsoft very particular style of "competing" now in the open (

openfrog writes: The New York Times has an interesting article about Mark Penn joining Microsoft, in charge of "strategic and special projects".

Penn made a name for himself in Washington by bulldozing opponents through smear campaigns. Now he spends his days trying to do the same to Google, on behalf of its archrival Microsoft.

This a scaling up of the anti-Google campaigns he has been mounting up since 1990 as CEO of the PR firm Burson-Marsteller, on behalf of his old Harvard friends Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

Presenting this as a defensive posture for past wounds inflicted on Microsoft, the new strategy is described as moving from working in the shadows to one of perpetrating attacks in plain view.

Reading this makes one feel like distant the idea that capitalism works from competing to bring a better product to the consumer.

I propose creating a new category on Slashdot to track down this behaviour, where we would detect and expose distasteful PR strategies in action, for the benefit of journalists, bloggers and reviewers who could otherwise fall in for the lies.


Submission + - Students protest biometric scanner move (

Presto Vivace writes: "Newcastle University students protest biometric scanner move

UNIVERSITY students may have to scan their fingerprints in future — to prove they are not bunking off lectures. ... ... Newcastle Free Education Network has organised protests against the plans, claiming the scanners would "'turn universities into border checkpoints" and "reduce university to the attendance of lectures alone".



Submission + - Music Industry Threatens to Bankrupt Pirate Party Members (

An anonymous reader writes: Music industry group the BPI has threatened legal action against six members of the UK Pirate Party, after the party refused to take its Pirate Bay proxy offline. BPI seems to want to hold the individual members of the party responsible for copyright infringements that may occurs via the proxy, which puts them at risk of personal bankruptcy.

Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye criticized the latest music industry threats and reiterated that blocking The Pirate Bay is a disproportionate measure.

Comment New features (Score 4, Insightful) 235

On other news sites, I read that Google today announces 18 new features. etc.
And here:

Just Google it...

But on Slashdot, I read that drivel coming right out of Burston-Marsteller, or some other PR drone.

This is supposed to be a technology forum but somehow, some Slashdot editors perhaps seem to think that this is 'provoking' material, in the good sense of being humorous and driving up the number of comments?

But at what price? At what price, just in terms of credibility, for a beginning?

Could someone answer that?

Comment Re:Darwin awards (Score 2) 655

...that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.

We are pleased to announce that in recognition of their high engagement and their high motivation to disregard facts, those 8% are all eligible to a Darwin award.

I think the Darwin Award would only be appropriate if their actions harmed themselves without having the same negative consequences on the rest of us.

Indeed, I can only agree with you. On the other hand, if an 8% of ignorants is enough to prevent us to act collectively, we are in for the highest Darwin award (or next to the highest as the highest would be the extinction of all life): a Species Darwin Award.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman