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Comment Re:A relevant link: (Score 1) 216

Their existing data use policy is too restrictive.

It would be simpler to just have:

We promise not to use your data in the following ways:

Why would FB tie themselves down by committing not to use the data in any number of ways?

If you read TFA, FB makes it clear that under current policies they will use your data as they please.

Facebook has agreed to explain how it uses a name, profile picture, content and information in connection with ads after it got into hot water over its Sponsored Stories function, which – without prior consent – served adverts to Facebookers featuring the faces and names of people who had "Liked" a particular product.

The Mark Zuckerberg-run outfit now states that it will no longer take responsibility for how those ads are served, because users will have agreed to that usage upon signing up to the network. Existing users will also be expected to simply comply with the new terms, or else ditch Facebook in protest against how their data is being re-purposed.

Comment Re:Cool (Score 4, Interesting) 271

Time to pretend like the president has any actual control over any of this! ...The presidency does not exist to wield power. The presidency exists to distract attention away from the wielding of power.

I'm afraid I have to disagree. Obama is apparently a a keen supporter of intelligence spending.

Jun. 2, 2009

When U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair met with President Barack Obama in February to discuss a proposed new constellation of multibillion-dollar imaging satellites, the resulting series of conversations was unusual and maybe unprecedented in the country's decades-long history of using orbiting cameras to spy inside foreign borders. ...

Obama's personal involvement in formulating a satellite acquisition proposal to Congress was "very unusual," said a retired intelligence official. U.S. presidents often receive briefings about spy satellite capabilities at times of crisis, the official said, but he did not know of another president being involved in acquisition planning. That is normally left to the intelligence community, which manages construction of spy satellites and operates them through the National Reconnaissance Office. Acquisition proposals are accepted indirectly by presidents when they sign off on their classified budget requests to Congress.

Well, since Obama was personally (and unusually) involved in formulating a satellite acquisition proposal to Congress, I'd say the argument that he is a mere figurehead doesn't quite fly.

Comment What a load of lies (Score 1) 237

The Snowden leaks at this point are well past issues of Constitutional rights in the US.

Actually, I think the government intentionally breaching the Constitution is a much bigger issue than any intelligence leak. 50 years from now no one will care about the data Snowden leaked. OTOH, the government of today has set the precedent that it can ignore the protections provided by the Constitution. Imagine what the government 50 years from now can and will do.

His leaks are directly damaging to the intelligence agencies of the US and its allies.

And I'm sure you will provide some proof of that.

That is before you get to the question of friction between the US and its allies and trading partners, or the domestic political turmoil.

Friction and anger which is caused by the government's acts of covert surveillance. If your neighbour tells you a pervert has been spying on you, should you be angry with your neighbour or with the pervert?

Comment Your own link proves otherwise (Score 5, Informative) 237

Did you even check the source/link you posted?

The very first entry as of now, is Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say

Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

Nearly a dozen current and former officials, who were granted anonymity because of the classified nature of the program, discussed it with reporters for The New York Times because of their concerns about the operation's legality and oversight.

So much for your comment that

'The United States cannot target a foreigner to intercept the communications of one of its own citizens, nor can it use a second party nation (UK, CAN, AUS, or NZ), or anyone else, to target US citizens or anyone else it would be otherwise prohibited from targeting.'

They've moved beyond that, they're targetting citizens directly, without warrants, i.e. illegally.

Comment Re:Awesome (Score 1) 582

The problem with that line is that it presupposes that there is one correct view. Who gets to decide what is correct?

The scientific method or, for matters based on opinion rather than scientific evidence, vox populi, vox dei.

Fundamentally I agree with you. However, issues only get hotly debated if they are controversial, and they often become controversial precisely because science is unable to provide any definitive answers for the very same question.

Take for example one of the current hot button topics - Climate Change. I have seen papers from reputable scientists arguing that humanity's actions are affecting our climate. I have also seen papers from reputable scientists arguing otherwise. In that kind of situation, we cannot rely on science to provide an answer, at least not at present.

As for vox populi, it is largely unworkable. Short of conducting a referendum or a vote, how do we determine the popular consensus? Every faction championing a cause will almost invariably claim to have the support of the public.

Comment Re:Awesome (Score 1) 582

Of course there is a correct view. Its called the view that corresponds to reality.

No, you've merely substituted one vaguely defined concept with another. The same objection applies- Perception of reality is subjective depending on the interpreter.

Just to use the classic example- the half-filled glass of water. A pessimist would perceive it as "the glass is half empty, I need to take action now to ensure I don't go thirsty". An optimist would perceive it as "the glass is still half full, I can just leave it alone."

Same set of facts, two different perceptions of reality. I might also add, their conclusions can be viewed as 'correct' or 'wrong' depending on which side of the fence you sit on.

Comment Re:Good for mapping political landscape though (Score 1) 57

That is a HUGE set of assumptions. You would need to go do some real research to find out if that was remotely valid.

That's fair. Interestingly enough, there is such a study conducted by the Indiana University, Bloomington on the correlation between voting patterns and tweets. I'll skip to the findings here:-

Is social media a valid indicator of political behavior? We answer this question using a random sample of 537,231,508 tweets from August 1 to November 1, 2010 and data from 406 competitive U.S. congressional elections provided
by the Federal Election Commission. Our results show that the percentage of Republican-candidate name mentions correlates with the Republican vote margin in the subsequent election. This finding persists even when controlling for incumbency, district partisanship, media coverage of the race, time, and demographic variables such as the district’s racial and gender composition.

Theres also a WashPo article discussing the same research paper.

So, there is some scientific basis for the assumptions stated in the earlier post.

Comment Not quite (Score 1) 176

Not the design, or IP though .

Under the agreement, Kodak will divest its entire digital camera manufacturing requirements to Flextronics, including assembly, production, and testing. Flextronics will also manage the operations and logistics services for Kodak's digital still cameras. Kodak will continue to develop the high- level system design, product look and feel and user experience, and will conduct advanced research and development for its digital still cameras. Kodak will also retain its intellectual property.

Comment Exceptions? (Score 1) 582

One exception I can think of is if the poster is a member of an organisation who would like to contribute something to the discussion, but cannot reveal his identity for fear of retribution from that organisation. It is quite common for corporations to issue standing instructions for the employees not to cummunicate except therough the publicity department. Ditto if you work for any government body.

It need not even be a whistleblower kind of situation. For example, if I am an airline pilot, I might want to correct some factual errors about innocuous information like pre-flight procedures in a forum. But most airlines have a strict ban on any communication made as an identified pilot, for fear that what you say may damage their brand.

Comment Re:Awesome (Score 4, Insightful) 582

I think it works fairly well. I frequently come across posts which are obviously unpopular with the majority of slashdot users (for example, advocating government surveillance). The fact that I can still read it, and/or that it is part of a chain of back-and-forth arguments which are not censored/deleted speaks well of the system.

It might just be personal bias; if you are predisposed towards thinking that unpopular posts will be censored, invariably your mind will fixate on picking up examples of that sort, ignoring the other occasions when censorship did not take place.

Comment Re:Awesome (Score 4, Interesting) 582

The problem with moderation systems is that they tend to support the populist view, which is not always the correct one.

The problem with that line is that it presupposes that there is one correct view. Who gets to decide what is correct?

The premise is that posts will be moderated up for correctness and down for incorrectness, but this is not what happens, as the posts ending up at the top usually represent the prevailing ideological belief of the majority of users

I disagree with your premise. Given that every individual invariably believes his own world view to be the correct one, I don't think its even workable. Further, the prevailing ideological belief of the majority is often reflected not just in forums, but in our society at large. Its just the way it works. I think we should strive for the more modest goal of ensuring that views that contradict the prevailing ideological belief of the majority at least get heard, which is achievable.

For sites that want to foster honest discussion, I say strip away the moderation and 'reputation' systems, and leave it anonymous.

I believe that would work counter to your intended effect, since the trolls effectively would have free reign to drown out any message that they deem 'incorrect'. Honest discussion cannot take place when other parties are working actively to prevent it, for example by spam posting, by posting vulgarities or inane comments, by burying posts and many other ways you should be familiar with.

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