Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

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

Merchants interested in hiding their activities might do this. However, legitimate businesses probably would not. If you are a bank and the FBI shows up at your door, you could offer them a copious supply of logs, or you could tell them that you do not keep records.

Legitimate businesses are concerned about the privacy and security of their customers. Banks are required to keep certain records, but other businesses only need to keep the records required for accounting.

As long as the business keeps the lawful minimum records, the FBI cannot shut down their legal business, without a court order. They can record cash amounts, without necessarily recording any Bitcoin IDs or IP addresses.

In the real world, there are plenty of places you can pay cash, and the date, time, amount of cash you paid and the thing you bought is the only record they'll keep.

What do you think happens when Bitcoin payment terminals start appearing at stores?


You don't care which ones are real - you just care about every account that the money touched. You then monitor them all until you link one to an account you know the owner of, and then you can start tracing backwards in the real world.

If every bitcoin user is generating a new Bitcoin ID to receive every spend, then the money never touches a "known" ID; since every ID it arrives at is "brand new".

It's very possible the BTC could be used to obtain virtual goods or online services, without a "real world known ID" ever involved.

The virtual goods or online services might be received, without the merchant ever gathering and keeping any details about the buyer.

The virtual goods or online services might be convertible to real cash indirectly; for example.... use BTC to buy Facebook/Twitter followers, other methods of using BTC indirectly to get cash by generating business, instead of selling BTC for cash.

There may be complicated arrangements there certain people are paid for the virtual service of receiving a virtual good, or paid a commission to act as a sender or to act as a receiver in a "blind handoff".

There are plenty of ways of disposing BTC, which do not necessarily provide a path that could be reversed from real-life

Presumably: the illicit user will buy all services using BTC, and only buy products/services that are virtual, that they can get without revealing their identity to the seller.

Comment Re:The solution is simple. (Score 1) 251

The simple solution is to press extortion charges against websites that offer to take down pictures of the subjects for money.

Indeed... I would suggest a law that it will be a criminal offense for the CEO or Management of any company, to execute that particular form of extortion.

Then the CEO can have their mugshot posted all over the place, and see how it feels.

Comment Re:Who cares about? (Score 4, Insightful) 262

So what you're saying is that MS chose to make a shitty product and launch it prematurely, while Apple chose to wait until the right hardware was available and then design a suitable OS for it?

Yes, but Apple waited a lot longer than they needed to -- probably in order to get it "perfect", in Steves' eyes, and they made a good first impression.

While Apple was wasting much time; engineering the most aesthetically pure tablet they could muster, and worrying about very small improvements in size and weight --- MS was busy making and then trying to fix Vista.

Netbooks and Ultrabooks were becoming popular at the time --- the very low power CPU options were available, multitouch, and all the tech required to make a tablet.

Hell.. TechCrunch was working on the Crunchpad (before one of their vendors double-crossed them, stole their intellectual property, and went to develop JooJoo pad on their own)

Microsoft had plenty of time and opportunity to adapt their Tablet PC to a lighter design, improve the touch experience, and release a tablet faster than Apple, which would be a credible offering; and, by the way, cannibalize much of Apple's prospects in the tablet market.

The fact of the matter is... Microsoft must have been asleep at the switch.

Frankly, there should have been firings within their management team, for not seeing this.

Microsoft failed to recognize the problems that had made their Tablet PC not so successful, and failed to recognize changes in available technology, that would enable them to pivot, and change their product into a successful one satisfying customer needs.

And they failed to execute on the opportunity: that should have been visible plain as day, to anyone with any vision in that company.

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

They have nothing to "freeze" or "hold on" to.

Within 15 minutes of a BTC spend for the account, the place associated with the source ip will probably be surrounded with black vans, helicopters, and heavily armed quasi-military law enforcement, and the spend will get cancelled by killing and seizing peer nodes, before the message propagates.

Comment Re:Who cares about? (Score 2) 262

The Tablet PC (TPC) was big, heavy, had horrible battery life, and almost always was a convertible laptop as well. They pictured the laptop becoming a portrait orientated clipboard lookalike, with the full processing power, heat, noise, etc of the laptops of the day.

That's what the technology was capable of the time --- you needed the CPU power, to run the applications, therefore you needed all the thermal management that comes along with it.

Apple's tablet came at a later time, when CPUs had greatly improved --- the ARM chips were available, Intel had Atom; you could make really thin, light, low-power, no-fan laptops (At the time called Netbooks)

Apple's great idea was to try to do tablets again at that time, AND make the interface touch screen, AND use the interface from their successful iPhone, which was fabulous and perfect for mobile computing; the Windows 7/Vista desktop was not up to touch-based mobile computing.

Comment Almost sold as in... (Score 1) 262

  • Early demand more accurately estimated this time --- few units produced, therefore, the few that sold of the first batch, are almost all of them; OR: bulk of units artificially delayed for second shipment in order to increase the chance of a sellout
  • A small number of units were labelled "Surface2"; the rest of the batch is labelled "Surface 2" [Revision B]; When we say 'almost sold out' "we're not including the Revision B units, just the Surface2 [base]"
  • A deal with a 3rd party is negotiated to buy almost all units that are available, with a variable delivery schedule, and retail customers given priority (the 3rd party company having to wait until next shipment on units that they were superceded on) ----- therefore, all or nearly all the units are "sold"; when a customer walks into the store and wants to buy one, they'll take delivery priority over the 3rd party company though, and get assigned that unit instead.

Comment Re:Who cares about? (Score 5, Informative) 262

They are still bitter that they had the idea for a tablet long before Apple, but when they announced it, it was to a big yawn.

ATT ran a series of advertisements in the early 1990s. In which they featured a pen-based computer "sending a fax from the beach" and a computer in a car giving turn-by-turn directions.

Before the advent of modern cellular technology, wireless data, and GPS.

Apple started working on the Newton in the 1980s, and the product was released 1998-ish. Years before Microsoft had the idea of the Tablet PC in ~2000.

There were a number of simplistic tablet-like devices and PDAs that came out in the 80s, as well, from various other manufacturers, such as the "Pencept", the so called "Pen computing" fad; the GRIDpad, the Momenta pentop, NCR 3125 Pen computer, HP OmniGo 100, DEC Lectrice, Palm Pilot.

Comment Re:What the article fails to say but only implies (Score 1) 195

That's not how it works. You can look at one and have it be "meaningful". They call them "case studies"

No. Case studies are not established science.

You do case studies as a way of generating potential ideas, when you haven't a clue.

All a case study gives you is possible "leads" to investigate. It doesn't show you that X was related to Y; it shows you one odd example where X and Y came together.

You do case studies when you have an outlier, and no understanding of the subject at all -- to attempt to suggest things that you may be able to test, to eventually do some science.

The case study itself shows nothing though. It's just a "clue" or breadcrumb.

Comment Re:Racial discrimination? (Score 1) 283

What courts? Didn't they shut down too?

The only department of the government who won't have any direct ramifactions, is congress itself ---- their salaries and those of their congressional staff, and their access to funds to do their work are protected by the law; there are also laws enabling funds to meet constitutional obligations.

The immigration courts have furloughed 70% of their employees, and only hearing cases about people already detained.

The federal district courts are required to stay open to fulfill constitutional commitments.

Similarly... the copyright/patent offices stay open for processing new patents, but will not be handling reviews, complaints, or possible invalidations of bad patents.

Comment Re:Racial discrimination? (Score 1) 283

By your reasoning, it's discrimination to say that only US citizens can vote in US elections.

If they are "non-citizen" US inhabitants, then it may very well be. However, the constitution itself is discriminatory. Who can vote is a harder question; the courts may very well decide that non-citizens cannot be denied the vote if it's discriminatory. What do you think all the constitutional claims against the "Voter ID" act / requiring photo ID are about?

If non-citizens can de-facto vote by registering to vote, and voting, without proof of citizenship ----- then perhaps, in fact that is preventing the "citizen requirement" from being discriminatory, since there is no adequate enforcement.

Take a look at Article XIV, for example; there are still references to gender, that were never removed by amendment:

when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

And then, something, something, about prisoners and other persons only counted as 3/5 for representation and apportionment.

Article I Section 2., #3:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

Comment Re:Racial discrimination? (Score 1) 283

More like Nationality instead of race. However, Foreign nationals are not typically privileged to all aspects of US law.

The 14th amendment has been interpreted to apply the requirement of equal protection under the law to both citizens and non-citizen people; as long as they are currently within a state.

It might not get legally challenged today, but it could very well be tomorrow, or 10 years from now, and given the current judicial trend -- I would not be surprised to see the ban overturned.

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

if it never leaves your wallet then it is hard to figure out who has it. But then, what's the whole point if you can't actually use the money you obtain for actual goods and services?

It's possible the money could be used to buy goods and services denominated in BTC.

It's also possible that the $600m wallet could be separated from cash-out by numerous layers of "synthetic transactions"

Consider a merchant that generates a new Bitcoin ID every hour, or for every spend, and gives their customers a personal randomized discount between 0% and 20%, so the exact sale price cannot be used to infer what was purchased.

Since a new Bitcoin ID is generated for each transaction; if the merchant does $600 million in business, the merchant will not necessarily have a "single bitcoin ID" that can be traced to them --- they may have 60000000 bitcoin IDs, each containing a receive transaction of approximately $10.

Then later, when the merchant wants to buy $1000 in resources to continue selling some things; they might create a new "Spend wallet" in that amount, through 3 layers of $10 synthetic transactions from their $10 bitcoin IDs .

Once the number of synthetic transactions is large enough.... there becomes a question; Can anyone successfully reverse the history, and separate which transactions were synthetic from which transactions were real?

Assuming (1) Merchants do not keep any record matching their past Bitcoin ID to a transaction --- as soon as the merchant spends all the money received at any bitcoin ID, they destroy all record of the ID and the keys.

(2) Normal bitcoin clients get altered to do the same ---- whenever you receive money you intend to eventually spend, your bitcoin client generates new unique IDs for you, and a pool of synthetic transactions perturbed by an entropy pool, to be staged over some period of time. By the time the transaction completes; it will not be obvious which of those receiving IDs were yours, and which ones' were the merchants' --- it will not be clear if your spend to the merchant was just the next layer of synthetic transactions, or a real transaction.

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

I know this, but i am sure the feds will not allow him out of their sight: they are not stupid, if he unlocks the keys for its own use, you can bank on them having a keylogger, at which point they'll just cut him off, and use the keys to secure his BTC - -- it may even be an excuse for denying him bail; the threat that he regains access to his keys and moves his BTC out of their reach.

If he or someone he trusts and gave instructions to beforehand has access to another copy of the wallet, it's just as good as the original

Dude... where do you get these friends you can trust to handle $80 million for you?

You know how fast anyone I know would have cashed me out at least a few million and fled the country, within an hour of being given access to my bitcoin wallet if I had that much: if they knew the transfer was irreversible, and it would be difficult to get authorities to do anything?

I think you might realize "people you can trust" is a very small or zero number, for 99% of people, once sufficiently valuable easily-cheatable things become involved.

Comment Re:A Possible Cause of Deflation (Score 1) 294

Could seizure by authorities unable to crack encryption have some even slight deflationary effects on Bitcoins?

There is likely not enough trade in bitcoins or economic activity, for much deflation to occur. It was only some small portion of the total bitcoins available that are taken out of circulation by the seizure.

It is not as if the guy was offering all those BTCs on the open market previously; coins that are being hoarded, don't really cause deflation when they vanish.

Slashdot Top Deals

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. -- P. Erdos