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Comment Re:From someone who has worked there... (Score 2) 85

Yeah, you put in words what I was thinking for a while now. It's obvious that these problems aren't specific to the NSA or GCHQ. Rather they're due to a cold war mindset that too many senior civil servants and politicians seem unable to break out.

GCHQ has been hacking Belgacom to spy on the EU in Brussels. WTF? Why?! If they want to know what's going down in the EU then they can just ..... go ask. I mean the UK contributes its fair share of money to the EU, so what possible benefit is there to treating it as if it was the KGB?

These agencies need to be stripped down, badly, and the money saved reinvested into other things. The staff that are left can be given a purely defensive mandate (w.r.t internet stuff at least). But I don't think it will happen whilst the current lot are in charge. They seem to like the power too much. And maybe they are also trapped in a cold war mindset. Perhaps it will take my generation, the first post cold-war generation to enter politics before these problems get really fixed.

BTW the UK announced today that it was renaming the national police squad again. SOCA no longer, now it's the National Crime Agency, formed from merging several agencies together ...... and slashing the budget by 30%. So it is spending money to record all internet traffic, every last TCP ACK, but the actual police who deal with practical problems on British streets, like gang warfare, they're having their budget murdered. 999 response times have doubled since austerity began. It's obvious that a working national police force and working emergency services save more lives than GCHQ hacking oil firms and telcos.

Comment Re:Police and Judges. (Score 1) 871

Good point, this is actually covered in separate articles. Giving a false "statement" (= going to the police station to officially report a crime) is punishable. "Raising a false alarm" is punishable, as is prank calling the emergency number. Falsely telling the police that they saw a crime in progress is punishable only in certain cases. But there is definitely no article that covers lying to the police in general.

Comment Re:Silly. (Score 5, Insightful) 871

The Weekly Standard published a more devastating rebuttal to Professor Duane's video, in which the author describes the devastating effects that the "Don't Snitch" movement has had on high-crime neighborhoods, as a result of large numbers of people following Professor Duane's philosophy to the letter

How is that even a rebuttal? The devastating effects are the result of criminals, not of Prof. Duane's position, and it in no way invalidates his statement. If the police want people to talk to them, they need to make very, very sure that innocent people truly have nothing to fear from them. A lot of people probably follow his advise because it it necessary.

Comment Re:Police and Judges. (Score 4, Interesting) 871

Is it really a felony to lie to the police in the US? That stinks, and even worse if they truly prosecute otherwise innocent people for it. Over here (NL), lying to the police is not punishable, whether you are lying about a case that involves you, or one that you merely witnessed. The only times you are obliged by law to tell the truth is when the police ask for your identity, or when you're put under oath.

Comment Re:Well, there we have it (Score 1) 416

Well, this is the peak oil argument - more oil can always be extracted, but at what price? The price is high because extracting oil from shale rock is significantly harder than getting the old fashioned stuff, which is why it's been left till last and it took many years of high prices to cause a surge in production. I don't think prices will fall again back to where they were pre-2004, ever.

Comment Re:This tool affects Facebook revenue (Score 1) 194

Ironically, Facebook's advertising is amongst the least intrusive around - for now. They also provide means to give them feedback (on the website - sadly, their mobile apps are lacking on that account, amongst many others) about which ads you prefer and which you don't want to see. Mind you, their lack of profiling data can show up at times, usually in the form of repeated generic ads being served up.

Comment Re:Could someone enlighten me (Score 1) 194

SocialFixer is a browser add-on, it runs inside of your browser on your computer. You're thinking of Facebook Apps, which interact with Facebook's back-end through the Facebook Platform, either as web services, traditional software or mobile/tablet apps.

Agree with your comment about us getting what we paid for with Facebook. Still disappointing, nonetheless, if only because of the potential longer-term repercussions for Facebook's viability - they seem to be increasingly undermining the service's usefulness in their quest for profits. :(

Comment Re:Lost forever? (Score 1) 294

It reduces the maximum resolution of the system and means some prices would be too small to represent on the wire.

Should the Bitcoin community one day be so successful that the system being unable to represent prices low enough is an actual problem, a flag day can be scheduled which changes the wire-size of the value units in the protocol, thus adding more "decimal places" (they are not really represented as floats).

The nice thing about Bitcoin is that it's a consensus system, so scheduling flag days is quite straightforward as long as you do actually get a majority of people to upgrade by the given date. As long as a majority do, the rest of the nodes will be automatically disconnected from the system and have to upgrade to rejoin.

Comment Re:Money for his defense (Score 1) 294

They know the outputs in the guys wallet - if that money were to suddenly start moving, it would eventually (probably quickly) have to turn up at one of the Bitcoin exchanges, given how tiny the Bitcoin economy is and how much more useful a state backed currency is (today). Those exchanges are all well known, registered with their local governments, etc. Figuring out who is trying to cash out would not be very hard.

Comment Re:Money for his defense (Score 2) 294

You'd have put money away and bonded lawyers so they could "spring you"? How exactly are these lawyers going to do that? Ulbricht is guilty as fuck and clearly knows it. The two criminal complaints are overflowing with evidence and that's not going to be all the Fed's have got. I have a hard time seeing how any lawyer is going to wriggle out from under all that stuff. Doesn't matter if you somehow managed to bond the best of the best ahead of time.

Also, you seem to have overlooked the fact that the guy was poor. Given he had explicitly stated in the past that he was motivated by money, that rather implies he was afraid of converting large chunks of his Bitcoin wealth into dollar wealth, probably because he wasn't sure he could beat the ID verification and AML checks the exchanges all do these days. If a bank sees an unemployed guy who lives with flatmates suddenly start receiving enormous wires from a Bitcoin exchange, and then sending money on to law firms, that's the kind of thing that triggers them filing a "suspicious activity report" with the US Treasury. It's actually not so easy to cash out large illegal holdings of Bitcoin, you'd have to find someone to do it on your behalf who doesn't mind potentially being hit with a money laundering charge if you were to go down. That's not easy.

That said, I'll agree that the guy was a walking cliche. The only thing unclear to me is how many criminals out there aren't - whenever we see cases like this, it always seems like the gangsters literally started speaking like a bad movie character. Is it that the movies are so accurate, or the bad guys learn how to behave by watching films?

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