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Comment Re:iGoogle Disaster (Score 0) 435

No, it's called "the irrelevance".
As in, why does anyone care?
This is as stupid an article as the comments themselves.

Email is as standard as it has always been. Nobody should be using or relying on email.

Feed Techdirt: Keith Alexander, On Stage While Story Of NSA Infiltrations Breaks, Tries To Misl (

In an interesting bit of timing, just as the Washington Post was breaking the news that the NSA had infiltrated Google and Yahoo's cloud data by hacking into the (stupidly) unencrypted data links between data centers, it turned out that NSA boss Keith Alexander was on stage at a Bloomberg Government Cybersecurity conference. He was asked about the report, and he tried to tap dance around it by claiming the NSA doesn't have access to Yahoo and Google's servers . The Guardian has a brief summary:

Alexander, asked about the Post report, denied it. Not to my knowledge, thats never happened, the NSA director said, before reiterating an earlier denial Prism gave the NSA direct access to the servers of its internet service provider partners.

Everything we do with those companies that work with us, they are compelled to work with us, Alexander said. These are specific requirements that come from a court order. This is not the NSA breaking into any databases. It would be illegal for us to do that. So I dont know what the report is, but I can tell you factually: we do not have access to Google servers, Yahoo servers, dot-dot-dot. We go through a court order.
But, of course, in typical Alexander fashion, he's choosing his words carefully -- and thankfully people can more easily see through it at this point, since they're getting so used to it. The report didn't say they were accessing those companies' servers or databases, but rather hacking into the network connection between their data centers. That's like a report breaking of the NSA hijacking armored cars with cash, and Alexander claiming "we didn't break into the bank." Nice try.

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Feed Techdirt: Lavabit To Release Code As Open Source, As It Creates Dark Mail Alliance To Crea (

This whole morning, while all these stories of the NSA hacking directly into Google and Yahoo's network have been popping up, I've been at the Inbox Love conference, all about the future of email. The "keynote" that just concluded, was Ladar Levison from Lavabit (with an assist from Mike Janke from Silent Circle), talking about the just announced Dark Mail Alliance, between Lavabit and Silent Circle -- the other "security" focused communications company who shut down its email offering after Lavabit was forced to shut down. Levison joked that they went with "Dark Mail" because "Black Mail" might have negative connotations. Perhaps just as interesting, Levison is going to be releasing the Lavabit source code (and doing a Kickstarter project to support this), with the hope that many others can set up their own secure email using Lavabit's code, combined with the new Dark Mail Alliance secure technology which will be available next year.

As noted, the Alliance is working on trying to create truly secure and surveillance-proof email. Of course, nothing is ever 100% surveillance proof -- and both members of the alliance have previously claimed that it was almost impossible to do surveillance-proof email. However, they're claiming they've had a "breakthrough" that will help.

The newly developed technology has been designed to look just like ordinary email, with an interface that includes all the usual foldersinbox, sent mail, and drafts. But where it differs is that it will automatically deploy peer-to-peer encryption, so that users of the Dark Mail technology will be able to communicate securely. The encryption, based on a Silent Circle instant messaging protocol called SCIMP, will apply to both content and metadata of the message and attachments. And the secret keys generated to encrypt the communications will be ephemeral, meaning they are deleted after each exchange of messages.

For the NSA and similar surveillance agencies across the world, it will sound like a nightmare. The technology will thwart attempts to sift emails directly from Internet cables as part of so-called upstream collection programs and limit the ability to collect messages directly from Internet companies through court orders. Covertly monitoring encrypted Dark Mail emails would likely have to be done by deploying Trojan spyware on a targeted user. If every email provider in the world adopted this technology for all their users, it would render dragnet interception of email messages and email metadata virtually impossible.
Importantly, they're not asking everyone to just trust them to be secure -- even though both companies have the right pedigree to deserve some level of trust. Instead, they're going to release the source code for public scrutiny and audits, and they're hoping that other email providers will join the alliance.

At the conference, Levison recounted much of what's happened over the last few months (with quite a bit of humor), joking about how he tried to be "nice" in giving the feds Lavabit's private keys printed out, by noting that he included line numbers to help (leaving unsaid that this would make OCR'ing the keys even more difficult). He also admitted that giving them the paper version was really just a way to buy time to shut down Lavabit.

Janke came up on stage to talk about the importance of changing the 40-year-old architecture of email, because it's just not designed for secure communications. The hope is that as many other email providers as possible will join the Alliance and that this new setup becomes the de facto standard for end-to-end secure email, which is where Levison's open sourcing of his code gets more interesting. In theory, if it all works out, it could be a lot easier for lots of companies to set up their own "dark mail" email providers.

Either way, I would imagine that this development can't make the NSA all that happy.

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Comment Re:I'm for this (Score 2) 394

Beyond forgetting your sarcasm ( as pointed out below),

I'd guess we've had infinity terrorist plots foiled, then. Guess which one we didn't? The Boston Marathon. So yes, think back to Boston Marathon, where we are taught that more information does absolutely nothing except obfuscate facts. How long did it take to identify the bomber? Long enough for him to be successful.

Submission + - Windows 8.1 broke Multicast networking on Windows Store Apps (

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has been working hard to win the hearts and minds of developers to support the Windows Store ecosystem. Among the promises: Windows 8.1 update wouldn't break existing Windows 8 apps. Unfortunately, Windows 8.1 has a pretty nasty bug that breaks Multicasting networking for existing Windows 8 apps. It broke apps that do things like uPNP or Bonjour (Zeroconf). Developers are not pleased, and Microsoft has no fix at this time.

Comment Re:inb4 (Score 1) 638

forget guns, we should ban all bricks; someone might break a window or bash in a skull.

The issue here is really not one of tools ( generally tools should never be banned be they guns or whatever )

The question here is of use, which society does have an interest in regulating. Bricks fine to use them for construction or weights, but not okay for breaking the neighbors window glass. The car ( a tool ) should or should not be used while using specific other tools. Some decision needs to be arrived at, can Google Glass be used safely while operating the car, if the answer is yes than maybe rules about Car + Google Glass + GPS = Fine, Car + Google Glass + Facebook = Illegal.

That gets to tricking questions about enforcement though, generally laws you can't or don't enforce are not good. They tend to be broken, which tends to reward being a scoff law, which lowers respect for the law. On the other hand being able to effectively enforce Car + Google Glass + GPS = Fine, Car + Google Glass + Facebook = Illegal, is probably more invasive than many of us would want to put up with. Societies best choice might be just Car + Google Glass = illegal.

Comment Re:inb4 (Score 1) 638

It would be cool if some sorto glass or HUD like system could actually monitor your eyes, guess at the focal depth and emit the image accordingly, so the the text /icons would appear to your right sized and in focus where your vision is focused.

Submission + - Facebook has no Business Value Says Forrester, yet Companies Can't Leave

cagraham writes: Research firm Forrester released a new survey of executives and marketers at large firms, which ranked Facebook's business value lower than any other social media, or traditional marketing strategy (such as email marketing). The report concluded that Facebook needs to offer more options on their marketing platform, or risk companies pulling their spending. Yet Facebook (counting page likes, fans, etc.) is now the number one factor in determining Google search rankings, meaning that even if businesses aren't seeing any return on their investment business-wise, they're still stuck doing it to maintain their relevance in search results.

Submission + - NSA Broke Into Links Between Google, Yahoo Datacenters ( 2

barlevg writes: The Washington Post reports that, according to documents obtained from Edward Snowden, through their so-called "MUSCULAR" initiative, the National Security Agency has exploited a weakness in the transfers between data centers, which Google and others pay a premium to send over secure fiber optic cables. The leaked documents include a post-it note as part of an internal NSA Powerpoint presentation showing a diagram of Google network traffic, an arrow pointing to the Google front-end server with text reading, "SSL Added and Removed Here" with a smiley face. When shown the sketch by The Post and asked for comment, two engineers with close ties to Google responded with strings of profanity.

Submission + - Hackers Break Currency Validator to Pass Any Paper as Valid Euro

Trailrunner7 writes: If espionage is the world’s second-oldest profession, counterfeiting may be in the running to be third on that list. People have been trying to forge currency for just about as long as currency has been circulating, and anti-counterfeiting methods have tried to keep pace with the state of the art. The anti-counterfeiting technology in use today of course relies on computers and software, and like all software, it has bugs, as researchers at IOActive discovered when they reverse-engineered the firmware in a popular Euro currency verifier and found that they could insert their own firmware and force the machine to verify any piece of paper as a valid Euro note.

“The impact is obvious. An attacker with temporary physical access to the device could install customized firmware and cause the device to accept counterfeit money. Taking into account the types of places where these devices are usually deployed (shops, mall, offices, etc.) this scenario is more than feasible.”

Submission + - Owners report that new Dell laptops 'have cat urine smell' (

another random user writes: A number of Dell users have complained that their Latitude 6430u Ultrabooks "smell of cat urine".

Dell engineers have ruled out biological contamination, and said the smell was not a health hazard. The problem lay in the manufacturing process, which has now been changed, the company said.

"A few weeks ago I got a new Lattitude 6430u for work," one user called Three West complained on Dell's hardware support forum. "The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcat's litter box. It is truly awful!"

Another customer, Hoteca, said: "I thought for sure one of my cats sprayed it, but there was something faulty with it so I had it replaced. The next one had the same exact issue. It's embarrassing taking it to clients because it smells so bad."

Comment Weapons Platform (Score 1) 116

Quad copters seem to be all the rage right now. Perhaps large quad copters could carry all kinds of weaponry both fer defense and aggression that could be kept airborne during moments of great danger. Lasers are only one tool. Small missiles that can take down enemy planes or missiles would have quite an edge if launched from a decent altitude. Ground troops could also be dealt with by hovering platforms hovering directly above. Weapons such as tanks might be rather useless against such a system.

Comment Dumb AS A Rock (Score 1) 230

Usually i would advise people to avoid anything considered knowledge in Florida. After all, if you can't even run fair elections how smart can you be? But one thing that we in Florida do know is hurricanes. And having just watched national new showing Breezy Point in the area smacked by Sandy it is obvious that they are screwing up big time.
                      First stick built homes are no good in hurricanes. Any home in a storm zone needs lots of really good concrete. You do not put an overhang on a roof more than a few inches. In order too keep a roof on a home you simply must not have much overhang. Items like large double doors are a disaster as are large windows. The windows that you do have should be made of storm proof glass . Doors should be small and strong. The sand barriers they are packing up between them and the sea will often be as much of a negative as a positive. We see homes filled to the ceiling with sand after storms. With large waves the sand simply adds to the weight of the wave. If there is anything left of the sand barrier after a few waves it may well stop water from draining back into the sea.
                    The beach area is probably best built with a lower floor designed to blow out in a storm which leaves the second floor standing on concrete supports. I noted that several home owners elevated their new homes by 14 feet. Frankly 20 feet would be better and 30 feet better yet. We have seen storms where people floated out of third floor windows when a storm surge strikes.
                    I have lived in Florida for 60 years and went though many storms. One mistake is to think that you know about storms. Storms are each unique and can do things you would never think they can do. But i can tell you that the storm that hit Breezy Point was so mild by our standards that when younger I actually enjoyed motorcycling and even bicycle rides in stronger winds. Until winds get above 130 mph I rarely pay any attention at all and usually enjoy the heavy rains.

Comment Re:Technology is hard and dangerous (Score 0) 610

Its all anecdotal but almost everyone I know who has been driving long enough has experienced a stuck ( or at least sticky ) mechanical throttle at some point. I would bet its a much greater number than have encountered Toyota's electronic throttle issue.

There are lots of things as you point out you could do to reign a conventional auto design in, pop the clutch, shit to neutral, turn off the ignition etc. The same is largely true of the Toyota incidents. Had they driver been educated enough to try shifting neutral, shutting off the ignition, or even just standing on the breaks long enough its very very likely they still could have stopped the vehicle safely.

There all kinds of other odd mechanical failures that can happen to classic cars too. You talk about feeling certain you can get the gears to disengage, I don't feel that way. Why? Well I have the experience of my shift linkage coming apart while on the road. I guess one advantage of a pure mechanical design is that you can try convincing your dad to come out to where you are will his car, some old blankets and cord to wrap around the bumper, then you crawl under the car and set the transmission in 4th. He noses up to you and gives you a nice push to 30mph or so where you can let the clutch out, repeat at ever stop and traffic signal. Saves a tow, -try that with fancy electronically controlled automatic ;-)

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