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Privacy

Submission + - What Does DHS Know About You? (philosecurity.org)

Sherri Davidoff writes: "Here's a real copy of an American citizen's DHS Travel Record retrieved from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol's Automated Targeting System (ATS). This was obtained through a FOIA/Privacy Act request... The document reveals that the DHS is storing the reader's:
  • Credit card number and expiration
  • IP address used to make web travel reservations
  • Hotel information and itinerary
  • Full airline itinerary, including flight numbers and seat numbers
  • Phone numbers, incl. business, home & cell
  • Every frequent flyer and hotel number associated with the subject, even ones not used for the specific reservation
"

Programming

Submission + - The Future of System Administration (standalone-sysadmin.com)

Matt Simmons writes: "System Administration is changing. Where once, we logged into machines to make them work, we've progressed to managing-through-programming, and we're becoming developers in addition to administrators.

This is an interesting layer of abstraction between us and the machines. I've always thought that, regardless of how far the rest of the society was from the cogs of technology, sysadmins would always need to know the underlying mechanisms of how things worked. With the current tools and trends, that's looking less and less like reality. We can automate virtual machines to be created, installed, and configured all by pressing a single button. What happened to the fun of blinkenlights?"

Security

Submission + - Firewall Rulesets Still a Problem? (channelinsider.com)

dasButcher writes: "Security admins used to complain endlessly about the complexity of managing firewall rulesets. But those complaints have diminished as management consoles improved and the firewall has taken become less important in the grand scheme of IT security. But several new products are coming to market to audit and optimize firewall rulesets. As Larry Walsh writes in his blog (http://blogs.channelinsider.com/secure_channel/content/network_security/firewall_ruleset_management_still_an_issue.html), it's not clear whether this is really a problem or the last vestige of the old perimeter firewall. So Walsh asks, "is firewall ruleset management still a problem?""
America Online

Submission + - AOL "This is Spam" link as email DoS?

alabamatoy writes: "AOL email offers its users a clickable link in each email message it delivers to them which is marked "This is Spam". Users who click on this link in an email message cause the sending SMTP server IP address to be added to some kind of AOL internal spam-source blacklist. This causes ALL subsequent email from that server to be blocked to *ALL* AOL users. For small hosting services, this can be a killer. Attempts to convince AOL to identify the user who reported the message as spam have failed (its against their internal privacy policy, they say) so the small hosting service is left with no mechanism to remedy the situation, other than repeatedly trying to convince AOL support that the site really is not a source of spam, and the problem is simply a stupid AOL user. For an entity like (for example) a recreational organization using this small hosting service, email group lists will almost always include one or more AOL users. All that's required to break email connectivity to AOL for ALL customers of the small hosting service is for one AOL user to stupidly click on "this is Spam" button, and all email to AOL grinds to a halt. Does anyone have any insight into how to resolve this problem?"
Operating Systems

Behind Menuet, an OS Written Entirely In Assembly 419

angry tapir writes "MenuetOS is an operating system written entirely in assembly language. As a result it's extremely quick and compact (it can even fit on a floppy disk, despite having a GUI). It can run Quake. Two of the developers behind MenuetOS took time out to talk about what inspired them to undertake the daunting task of writing the operating system, the current state of Menuet and future plans for it."

Comment multiple sound cards and braindead applications (Score 2, Interesting) 427

My chief complaint, both on Windows and Linux is that probably 99% of applications have no concept of anything other than the default sound card, making multiple cards useless for all but a few niche applications. Apps that use sound need to provide a way to specify which device is used in case the user wants to use other than the default, period. None of the solutions for audio so far have really done anything to make this better (or they make it worse in the process) - granted, it's mostly an application issue, but control of device selection in the mixer as well would help.
The Internet

What Do You Want On Future Browsers? 628

Coach Wei writes "An industry wishlist for future browsers has been collected and developed by OpenAjax Alliance. Using wiki as an open collaboration tool, the feature list now lists 37 separate feature requests, covering a wide range of technology areas, such as security, Comet, multimedia, CSS, interactivity, and performance. The goal is to inform the browser vendors about what the Ajax developer community feels are most important for the next round of browsers (i.e., FF4, IE9, Safari4, and Opera10) and to provide supplemental details relative to the feature requests. Currently, the top three voted features are: 2D Drawing/Vector Graphics, The Two HTTP Connection Limit Issue, and HTML DOM Operation Performance In General . OpenAjax Alliance is calling for everyone to vote for his/her favorite features. The alliance also strongly encourages people to comment on the wiki pages for each of the existing features and to add any important new features that are not yet on the list."

Comment Re:Vote Verification by Internet (Score 1) 507

This is actually very, very, very bad. The reason we have a secret ballot is to make it difficult to obtain votes by coercion. You should be able to tell for sure at the polling booth how your vote was counted - but only at the moment you are standing there should there be any possibility for a vote to be connected to an individual voter. While this seems far-fetched now, if votes were individually traceable, we'd have far greater problems of election fraud to concern ourselves with - which would include the use of violence to force people to vote a certain way.
Government

Submission + - Dutch government bans electronic voting 1

RogerWilco writes: The Dutch government had decided on 16-5-2008 to only use pencil and paper for future elections until electronic voting can be made safe. Their main reasoning is that currently no device is available that can not be eavesdropped upon to detect what people vote, given sufficiently sensitive equipement. The government has considered developing an electronic voting machine that leaves a paper trail, but as this could still be eavesdropped on, it was considered to not guarentee safe and anonymous elections and not worth the developement cost. The official government announcement (In Dutch)
Security

A Chip on DVDs Could Prevent Theft 435

Dieppe writes "A simple chip added to a DVD disk could prevent retail theft. According to the AP article at MSNBC, the chip would be activated at the register to make a previously dark area of the DVD clear, and therefore readable. Could this help to stem the tide of the approximate $400 million dollars in losses from brick and mortar stores? Game console DVDs could also be protected this way too. Could this help to bring the prices down on DVD games and movies?"
Software

AACS Vows to Fight Bloggers 601

Jonas Wisser writes "The BBC is carrying the story that AACS has promised to take action against those who have posted the AACS crack online. Michael Ayers, chairperson of AACS, noted that the cracked key has now been revoked, and went on to say, 'Some people clearly think it's a First Amendment issue. There is no intent from us to interfere with people's right to discuss copy protection. We respect free speech.' The AACS website tells consumers how they can 'continue to enjoy content protected by AACS' by 'refreshing the encryption keys associated with their HD DVD and Blu-ray software players.'"
Security

Death Knell For DDoS Extortion? 101

Ron writes "Symantec security researcher Yazan Gable has put forward an explanation as to why the number of denial of service attacks has been declining (coincident with the rise of spam). His theory is that DoS attacks are no longer profitable to attackers. While spam and phishing attacks directly generate profit, he argues that extortion techniques often used with DoS attacks are far more risky and often make an attacker no profit at all. Gable writes: 'So what happens if the target of the attack refuses to pay? The DoS extortionist is obligated to carry out a prolonged DoS attack against them to follow through on their threats. For a DoS extortionist, this is the worst scenario because they have to risk their bot network for nothing at all. Since the target has refused to pay, it is likely that they will never pay. As a consequence, the attacker has to spend time and resources on a lost cause.'"
Microsoft

Microsoft Common Language Runtime To Be Cross-Platform 308

axlrosen alerts us to a Microsoft sleeper announcement from Mix07: a version of its Common Language Runtime will be available cross-platform. The Core CLR shows up as part of the Silverlight SDK that Redmond is open sourcing. From the blog posting: "The biggest Mix '07 announcement made on opening day of this week's show was one that Microsoft didn't call out in any of its own press releases: Microsoft is making a version of its Common Language Runtime available cross-platform. The CLR is the heart of Microsoft's .Net Framework programming model. So, by association, the .Net Framework isn't just for Windows any more."
Censorship

Censoring a Number 1046

Rudd-O writes "Months after successful discovery of the HD-DVD processing key, an unprecedented campaign of censorship, in the form of DMCA takedown notices by the MPAA, has hit the Net. For example Spooky Action at a Distance was killed. More disturbingly, my story got Dugg twice, with the second wave hitting 15,500 votes, and today I found out it had simply disappeared from Digg. How long until the long arm of the MPAA gets to my own site (run in Ecuador) and the rest of them holding the processing key? How long will we let rampant censorship go on, in the name of economic interest?" How long before the magic 16-hex-pairs number shows up in a comment here?
Businesses

Criminalizing The Consumer - Where DRM Went Wrong 75

][nTrUdEr writes "The Economist has posted an editorial on how DRM has gone wrong. What ostensibly began as a tool to ensure artists received due compensation for their work has been turned, and now criminalizes the consumer for wanting to use what they have purchased. 'Despite the number of iTunes downloaded for a fee, Apple would be in trouble if people were prevented from transferring legitimately owned CDs to their iPods. The software Apple gives away to iPod customers is designed to let them do just that. Most people think it ludicrous that they can't do the same with the DVDs they own. Now it seems, despite squeals from the movie industry, the law is finally moving in the video fan's favour. The issue in the recent case was whether Kaleidescape, a maker of digital "jukeboxes" that store a person's video and music collections and distribute the entertainment around the home, had breached the terms of the DVD Content Control Association's CSS (content scrambling system) license.'"

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