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Comment Interconnectivity is both opportunity and danger. (Score 3, Interesting) 92

The news of the earlier hack got me thinking about the unique risk/reward of ubiquitous communication and the challenge of computer security to keep pace. Certainly some say the pace of technological innovation is no longer in step with yesterday's, but that almost begs the question. It's truly ironic that modern computing becomes physically smaller as its footprint on our lives looms ever larger with each new year, yet no one disputes that, lately, electronic progress rests solely within the social stratum these days.

We should ask ourselves, however, the rather basic question of whether this seismic shift in the nature of the changes in technology brings with it an impedimentary effect on our lives, or indeed to wonder to the degree technology has ever been pedimentary when it comes right down to it. Yes, it's certainly got its foot in the door, but as with feet and doors it's not always possible to know at the moment of impact whether said foot represents opportunity, doom, or a casualty of a society overeager to shut the door to change.

Certainly the last thing anyone wants is a race to the bottom. Ah, but that's not entirely accurate when one considers the vested interest shoemakers have in most modern day footraces. It suggests that, moving forward, the most important thing to do when evaluating new technology in 2013 may very well be to first identify the shoemakers for that technology. Ask yourself: if I'm already wearing five pairs of socks, do I even need shoes at this point? Odds are, you don't.

Comment Re:If you have a smarter router (Score 1) 505

I don't think it's something that's prepackaged and easy to install, unfortunately. The principle behind it is here, as implemented on OpenBSD.

For hardware, I guess just a small PC with a wireless network adapter and a wired network adapter. Major thing is to make sure everything is compatible with OpenBSD (or Linux as another option, if it looks like the above process can be tweaked to it). Wireless adapters are a pain for compatibility.

It seems to me as I write this that it'd be really neat if the EFF sold ITX-profile routers preconfigured to create open hotspots that route over TOR.

Comment If you have a smarter router (Score 2) 505

Keep in mind that (with a decent router) you can open your Wi-Fi but route all guest connections through TOR transparently. That might be a fair compromise, along with rate-limiting, capping per-session usage, and setting a hard limit for the month if necessary to prevent yourself from going over your own cap on service.

Open Wi-Fi everywhere actually makes me more nervous for the clients than for the servers. People already don't understand security with Wi-Fi, and need to know that any server they're using can observe their traffic if it isn't encrypted. I guess that's already a concern without open Wi-Fi everywhere, though.

Comment Would love to see this go before a jury. (Score 1) 473

Because there are two worlds colliding here in the mind of the average person.

  • The school of thought that the victim is always at least partly responsible for being conned. There's a sense of superiority a lot of people get when they hear about scams where, because they themselves would never fall prey to a scammer, anyone who does is deficient or incautious.

  • Anyone charged with a crime involving a computer for more then Solitaire, porn, and recipe hunting must be guilty.

Comment Dangerous amounts of pessimism here. (Score 0) 181

If science required knowledge of the outcomes before it was performed, ask yourselves: how many of the technologies around us would we enjoy today?

Taking the space program as an example, putting a man on the moon was symbolic, but the payback for the research and development went far beyond that. Even if we didn't reach the moon, we got memory foam, orange drink, and satellites out of the deal.

But too many people are unwilling to pay for R&D if they don't have a 100% guaranteed outcome. Well, science doesn't work like that. The best we can do is speculate about the gains from better and better software-based brain models. Simulated protein folding probably seemed a bit goofy to somebody when it was first proposed. We don't know if we don't try.

Submission + - Peepshow over for body scanners (

Master Moose writes: The "peepshow" scanners that have caused an uproar at airports are finally getting the heave-ho.

It took more than two years of passenger complaints, but the US Transportation Security Administration says it is pulling the plug on the Rapiscan backscatter scanner. The move was made because the manufacturer did not meet a deadline to come up with new software that would create less revealing images. In all, 174 machines at 30 airports will be shut down and moved out.

Rapiscan could not create new software for its backscatter machines and threw in the towel this month. The TSA cancelled its contract with the company.

Comment Re:So, what do you do at these things? (Score 1) 43

That sounds pretty good. I figured there had to be something more to it if 1500+ people were showing up. 18 years in and my imagination with regard to Linux still only goes so far as to web browse, write code, and beg WINE to run games properly. Though I certainly wouldn't turn away automated beer if it came in the next Ubuntu.

Comment So, what do you do at these things? (Score 1, Funny) 43

I'm assuming installing Linux and using Linux are on the agenda, and drawing a blank on the rest. Disputes over the best distro? Presentation of devices that run Linux that nobody knows run Linux? Competitions to get two sound cards in the same system to work reliably with both ALSA and PulseAudio?

Comment If you're stressing anonymity (Score 2) 307

Then you want everything in the same encrypted network and the lion's share of the usage of that network to be legitimate. Although BitTorrent over TOR is currently abusive of the TOR network, it would be better to find a means of making BitTorrent tolerable to TOR (or vice-versa) than to create a separate encrypted filesharing network.

When this all gets tested in a courtroom, it is far better for an encrypted network to appear to be protecting privacy than to enable lawbreaking. The difference between the two is just how closely the type of data over the encrypted network matches the type of data sent over the unencrypted Internet. Better to encourage the use of TOR to everybody than to have one encrypted network for privacy advocates and another made 99% of pirates -- the latter service lowers the bar for legal decisions and laws to be made that can then ruin all encrypted networks in general.

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