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Comment Factoring integers versus Discrete Log in EC group (Score 2) 366

The difference boils down to factoring integers versus computing discrete logarithms in elliptic curve groups. The best publicly known integer factorization algorithm is GNFS which runs in roughly O(2^(n^1/3)), whereas the best publicly known ECDLOG algorithm runs in O(2^(n^1/2)). That is why we need RSA keys that are so much larger than ECC keys.

That, of course, is a theoretical argument. In practice, there are other issues to consider. ECC has a lot of parameters and there are a lot of constraints on the curve you choose; this means there are a lot of things to get wrong. RSA is not technically secure on its own (and the construction used to make it secure is easy to get wrong), but related systems like Blum-Goldwasser (which is based on a related problem, the Quadratic Residuosity Problem) are and they have many fewer parameters. The code for such systems is also simpler, which makes it more straightforward to audit (and harder to hide backdoors).

Comment Re:Oh noes! (Score 2) 736

Ah, well, I offer three solutions then:
  1. Let it play out, hope that capitalism will prevail and that we will be better off in the end.
  2. Make automation beyond some point illegal or create so many regulations as it effectively outlaw such automation (where is Dr. Baltar when we need him?).
  3. Restructure society to deal with the new realities of a world where we just do not need people to work. Let people have food, entertainment, and a comfortable life without forcing them to work for the privilege. For those few jobs that will still require human workers, create special, luxurious living arrangements for which people are required to work.

I think my preferences here should be obvious...

Comment Re:Bingo (Score 1) 736

All that means is that at some point, when so many problems have been solved that there is almost nothing left for humans to do, society will have to be restructured to cope with it. Maybe capitalism will stop being the way economies are organized. Maybe we will have societies where people can relax all day because there is no need for them to work. Maybe one day the most intelligent people will be offered a chance to live in luxurious accommodations that are not available to the rest of society, in exchange for working -- while everyone else can spend their days relaxing sans luxury.

The other option is for the luddites to win, for the machines to all be smashed and abolished and for us to go back to a time when humans were needed to do things like drive cars and prepare taxes. Call me a cynic but I think it is a toss-up -- I honestly would not put it past our leaders and the general populace to try to force the technological clock to run in reverse.

Comment Re:Oh noes! (Score 0) 736

Your argument has been made before:


Now, the problem with this kind of argument is that you are pitting the employment of some people against the general improvement in the quality of life for society at large. Consider what the world might be like had this line of reasoning been applied here:


Comment Not just pixels (Score 1) 499

It is not just about the fact that I have to see ads. It is the fact that the ads spin my CPU, use popups/CSS/Flash/etc. to prevent me from actually reading the text I wanted to read, act as web bugs, and so forth. I do not care about pixels, but I do care about battery life, personal privacy, and being able to read the promised page.

If websites are worried that they will go broke without ads, they should stand up for their users and demand that advertisers stop pissing us off. Otherwise we will eventually just block ads by default.

Comment Re:Sounds like it's already out there... (Score 1) 254

My only objection to hackers revealing exploits is they must give the affected company time to fix the problem

On the other hand, if a company's customers keep getting burned by the poor security of the company's products, that company might rethink its engineering methodology...

Comment Re:This is why we have a first amendment. (Score 1) 254

But if the hack requires 100 000 dollars in equipment and professional security expert time that puts the barrier to common criminals high.

...and if an uncommon criminal can pull it off, they can sell a device worth a couple hundred dollars to the common criminals. The uncommon criminal will make a boatload of money and will be much harder to catch.

Comment Re:Who? (Score 4, Insightful) 159

What he did wast the equivalent of going to closed library, smashing smashing in the window, and then throwing books out the window.

We can quantify the damage done when a window is smashed. Books that are removed from a library must be replaced or they will be unavailable to patrons; that can be quantified as well.

Can you quantify the damage Aaron did? I suspect it is somewhere around "13 cents in electricity costs."

Comment Re:Who? (Score 4, Interesting) 159

It was not checking out too many books

Right, because Aaron being in possession of them did not stop anyone else from reading them.

He deliberately went into the library, where he didn't have access

He did have access, MIT's network is open and anyone who has access to MIT's network can access JSTOR.

took books which the library had which could only be checked out under strict controls

So strict that they give them out in PDF form to anyone who asks.

Comment Re:Do Not Track... (Score 3, Insightful) 162

Advertisers sound like they were willing to play along if W3C was up for some compromise

DNT is a compromise. If we were unwilling to compromise, we would build ad-blockers into browsers as a default, much like pop-up blocking ten years ago. It was because of people like you who would not stop whining about how important advertiser dollars are to keep the web alive that we even considered something like DNT. It was because advertisers promised that they really do respect our wishes, that ad blockers and legal restrictions on tracking are not needed, that DNT was ever considered by anyone.

The advertisers showed their true colors. They never wanted a compromise, they just wanted a facade that allows them to pretend they respect us while continuing to do what they have done all along.

Comment Re:Lack of Trust (Score 4, Insightful) 162

SPAM is unsolicited email sent on your dollar, consuming your resources.

When my CPU is spinning because of your Javascript-super-fancy-tracks-all-the-things advertisement, you are consuming my resources. When I have to download a megabyte of Javascript/Flash/whatever to see your ads, you are consuming my resources. When I have to spend time trying to navigate around annoying hover ads, you are consuming my resources.

At least when I receive spam, I know the spammer has no idea who I am or whether or not I opened their message. Website advertisers try hard to track everything, even when you are very clearly trying to stop them; that is what DNT has demonstrated.

Ads are implicitly requested when you visit an ad-supported site

No, the page is what is requested. My browser is not obligated to do anything at all with the webpage your server sends it. There is no implicit request; you explicitly asked my browser to request ads from the advertisers you choose to do business with.

People making a big deal about this should perhaps rethink why they are entitled to someone else's work (the website) without respecting their terms (the ads).

You put your work on the open web. You did not put it behind a paywall. You did not force me to view your ads before seeing your page.

Nobody wrote an ad blocker because they were angry about textual ads or banner ads. Ad blockers exists because the advertisers have no respect for anyone's desire to not be tracked, to not have hover ads, pop-ups, pop-unders, Flash, Java, and other adware annoyances. Advertisers have shot themselves in the foot with their own greed, and if your website is not saying, "No, I do not want you to piss off my users with these antics" then your website is part of the problem.

Comment Re:Not useless, but its usefulness is now over (Score 4, Informative) 162

Careful, advertisers like Google have paid Adblock Plus to whitelist their ads

Sure, but ABP has an easy-to-find checkbox to enable/disable whitelisted ads. There are also many other ad blockers out there that can be used if ABP ever stops working effectively (and being easy to configure).

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What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928