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NYC Is Tracking RFID Toll Collection Tags All Over the City 314

In the northeast U.S., most of the tolls people encounter when driving make use of a system called E-ZPass to let them pay the tolls electronically. Drivers are given small RFID transponders that are scanned in tollbooths, at which point the toll is automatically deducted from a pre-paid account. One hacker got curious whether the RFID tags were being scanned elsewhere, so he tweaked his E-ZPass to blink a light and make a noise every time it was read. He tested the streets of New York City, and wasn't surprised to see it light up in plenty of places where there were no tollbooths to be found. From the article: "It’s part of Midtown in Motion, an initiative to feed information from lots of sensors into New York’s traffic management center. A spokesperson for the New York Department of Transportation, Scott Gastel, says the E-Z Pass readers are on highways across the city, and on streets in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, and have been in use for years. The city uses the data from the readers to provide real-time traffic information, as for this tool. The DoT was not forthcoming about what exactly was read from the passes or how long geolocation information from the passes was kept. Notably, the fact that E-ZPasses will be used as a tracking device outside of toll payment, is not disclosed anywhere that I could see in the terms and conditions. When I talked to the E-ZPass Inter-agency Group — the umbrella association that oversees the use of the pay-toll-paying tags in 15 different states — it said New York is the only state that is employing this inventive re-use of the tags. ... 'If NYDOT can put up readers, says [the hacker], 'other agencies could as well.'"

Comment Almost Exclusive (Score 1) 232

When an HDD fails, you can still get the data off of it. It's expensive, but it can be done.

When an SSD fails, it seems that more often than not your data just disappears. I think this is why the industry is moving towards only using SSDs for caching to platter drives, because honestly I don't believe SSDs will ever be reliable enough for critical storage.

Comment Confusing marketing (Score 0) 201

"The idea is that Android tablet manufacturers will use the Seagate drive, along with the company's mobile enablement kit and caching software, to up the storage."

They will use the "enablement kit" to "up the storage." Does that mean it's not really 500GB, but some smaller capacity that is made to be 500GB through software?

Maybe they just licensed DBLSPACE.BIN from Microsoft?

Comment Constitution does not protect third parties (Score 1) 452

You have a right against self-incrimination. You have no right against being incriminated by others, or against incriminating others. If you possess material facts and evidence that would incriminate someone else in a trial, you can be compelled to give it up, and nothing in the constitution prevents it.

There are some legal exceptions that have been carved out over time that do offer protections in some circumstances, for example Attorney-Client Privilege, Doctor-Patient Privilege, Spousal Privilege, and so on.

The case here is pretty clear cut. There is nothing journalistic about acting as an avenue for the commission of a crime. You are not writing a story or documenting anything - you are an accessory to a felony.

Comment Funny Fallacy (Score 1) 195

People use forks to become obese. Ban forks.

People use cars to rob banks. Ban cars.

People use bittorrent to steal music. Ban bittorrent.

Criminals will ALWAYS use lawful means to unlawful ends. Banning the lawful means does not prevent it.

What prevents it is actually holding criminals responsible for their crimes, and making prison HARD, as opposed to the modern "friendly" prisons that are more like club resorts.

If all crimes were punished with hard labor, people would stop committing crimes awfully fast. No TV. No free education. No magazines. No books. No gym. Just a sledgehammer and a pile of rocks. All day. Every day.


Arctic Ice Cap Rebounds From 2012 — But Does That Matter? 400

bricko writes "There has been a 60 per cent increase in the amount of ocean covered with ice compared to this time last year, the equivalent of almost a million square miles. In a rebound from 2012's record low an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia's northern shores, days before the annual re-freeze is even set to begin. The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year, forcing some ships to change their routes. A leaked report to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seen by the Mail on Sunday, has led some scientists to claim that the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century." "Some scientsts" in this case do not include Dana Nuccitelli, who blogs cogently in reaction at The Guardian that the 60 percent increase observed in Arctic ice is "technically true, [but] also largely irrelevant." He has no kind words for the analysis in the Daily Mail (and similar report in The Telegraph), and writes "In short, this year's higher sea ice extent is merely due to the fact that last year's minimum extent was record-shattering, and the weather was not as optimal for sea ice loss this summer. However, the long-term trend is one of rapid Arctic sea ice decline, and research has shown this is mostly due to human-caused global warming." If you want to keep track of the ice yourself, Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis offers frequent updates.

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"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain