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Comment I read the documents. (Score 2) 195

In p 31 he is asked to hand over the SSL and TLS keys for his service, which in practical terms it would allow the FBI to eavesdrop in the communications of *everybody* at will, this with all certainty would have meant a breach of contract with his users, lawsuits would have ensued. Would the FBI have paid for the damages?

Most importantly Lavabit was willing to comply with the original request, which was limited to a single email account.

You'll have to try harder if you want to dispel the positive aura around Ladar..

Comment Why DarkMail? (Score 4, Insightful) 195

Many outlets in the right wing media will have a field day with the name alone.

If one is going to try to occupy the moral high ground the choice of language really matters: you are framing the debate by how you word every single relevant item related to a given project, and which item will have greater visibility than the very name of your project?

By using such a name they are serving in a silver plate the opportunity to malicious, uninformed and naive commentators to badmouth whatever they come up with and that before having put forward a single detailed sentence about the proposal.

DarkMail may sound cool, but from the start is eliciting all the wrong kind of associations, I am sure many parties in the field could be interested to join such an effort, but the DarkMail name alone may put some people off.

The name really should be changed, these battles are difficult as it is, people shouldn't make it unnecessarily harder than it is going to be.

Let me put an example, lets compare these 2 headlines:

"Terrorists confess to using DarkMail"
and
"Terrorists confess to using PrivateMail"

Look, at the end I know it is the same thing, but while a headline would push many to say "yeah, tell me something new" the other may elicit comments of the kind of "What? That is what I use to email my bank"

I really think that name ought to go.

Comment Re:What problem are they solving? (Score 1) 195

Ease of use.
Consistent protocol for exchange of encrypted mail (which could be based on PGP).
Key decentralization and anonymitation ....

Using PGP is a PITA in most stand alone systems (Windows, OSX, Linux) relies in way too much trust as well (how do you know that PGP key is legit?), and it isn't implemented at all in big emailers (Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Microsoft's whatever it is called this week, etc).

Comment Re:Regulatory capture (Score 1) 242

I understand the desire for local control and have no problem with it, I'm just trying to understand why it's believed that that's always best, when I can't think of a reason why except for "ideologically it's what I want".

Here it is: When you have local control, two things obtain: (1), the number of people affected by the control being exerted is minimal, and (2) the people being affected (or afflicted) have a much larger input as to change or continuation, so that if said control turns out to be onerous (as many of the FCC's radio-related controls are), the locals can actually change them -- or, likewise, if they prefer the current state of affairs, they are considerably more empowered to maintain the status quo.

On the other side of the coin, control exerted at the national level, as the FCC is currently a poster child for, is completely resistant to local control, circumstance, or intent, without some unusual input channel (bribery, corporate shill, real estate slinging, etc.)

The FCC used to matter in that the communications below 30 mhz -- AM radio, etc. -- were critical to the system, and said communications go all over the place depending on the time of day. We no longer depend significantly on these communications, and the FCC's relevance at a national level is therefore in some doubt.

Understand now?

Comment Five Eyes (Score 1) 165

How exactly is this news? It's even on Wikipedia--the Five Eyes (FVEY, i.e., the English-speaking countries, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, and the United States) share just about everything. There's also the even MORE exclusive sharing group that excludes New Zealand -- ACGU -- Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and the United States (I believe the origins of this clique go back to some disputes around US nuclear warships berthing in New Zealand).

The arrangement is specifically designed so that, for instance, the NSA can spy on British citizens for the Brits (or vice versa) without breaking any local laws. Each country has geographic regions of specialty.

Comment Music vs. Noise-cancel vs. Telephone Headsets (Score 1) 262

For phone calls, I need either a headset or speakerphone, and when I'm at an office with other people or lab with noisy hardware, or working at home and my wife's around, the speakerphone's impractical. I used to be on the phone for an average of 2-3 hours a day; with my current work it's usually a bit less, but there's still a lot.
  And switching between different kinds of headsets is annoying, so I usually don't bother.

Noise-cancelling headsets are nice if I'm not going to talk to people much. The Bose set I have is good enough that I can actually talk to people with them on, but it looks weird to them so I usually don't.

For some kinds of work I can listen to music, but it mostly has to be instrumental, not anything with lyrics; programming's too verbal to have other verbal distractions. And sometimes with spacier music (some jazz, or Grateful Dead instrumentals), I'll occasionally notice that I've floated off into the music instead of concentrating on work.

For mostly-physical jobs like cabling or especially driving, I really want radio or music to keep the monkey-mind busy so I can concentrate.

Comment Justices and uproar (Score 1) 321

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the SCOTUS judges are absolutely immune from uproar. The only thing that can affect them is bribes, favors and power distributed sub rosa among them, their families, and their co-conspirators (here, I'm giving them credit for the intelligence they claim, in that I do not believe for a moment that they know not what they do.)

To put it another way, nothing they do WRT liberty will affect their income, social standing, property ownership, freedom, or cocktail party invitation stream.

The problem is the constitution is toothless: There is no penalty or other mechanism for punishing those who violate what is supposedly the highest laws in the land.

Comment Idiot selling product, governments like tracking (Score 1) 658

This Bad Idea has been floating around for a few years. Some idiots built a product and have been aggressively lobbying governments to take them up on it, and even though governments really like being able to do big brother tracking of everywhere everybody drives, they still haven't bought it. They've tried selling them to Oregon and California, they've tried selling them to San Francisco for congestion pricing for drivers in the crowded downtown business district, they've tried selling them for highway toll collection, they've tried selling them to the Feds. They've tried selling it to states as revenue enhancement ("People buy Priuses which use less gas, so you're collecting less gas tax, so buy our thing instead of just raising the tax rate!") There's always at least one legislator or bureaucrat who likes the idea and tries to convince their fellow legislators or bureaucrats, which is enough for the pushers to put out a press release.

But because these guys really want to sell their product, the good guys have to keep squashing it. It's usually not hard, because it's a terribly unworkable idea, but the Big Brotherness of it is really obnoxious, and as far as I can tell, wasn't even the purpose of this system.

Comment "Free Market" == "Demo your working code for us!" (Score 1) 143

Dude, it is a free market, for most people in the world; if you're a draftee into some army that only uses X.400 email, or your country only allows unencrypted SMTP to pass through their Great Firewall, then I'm sorry, and I can recommend some good anti-censorship tools for you, which you can get from a guy named Bennett Hasleton.

But otherwise, you're free to use tools other than SMTP/POP/IMAP/Webmail, and we'll be happy to see your running code and give you opinions about whether you'll get rough consensus from anybody else about using it.

Comment Text-only mail is your friend (Score 1) 143

Yes, it's nice to be able to receive images from people who are actually your friends, not spammers, and who don't overdo sending annoyingly cutesy images (e.g. that cousin who forwards stuff to everybody.)

But being an old guy doesn't just mean that I want you to send text email and stay off my lawn, it also means I want to set the font I use to read email with so it's easy for me to read, instead of having you pick a font that you think looks great to you on your screen, because I need a font that's big enough and dark enough to read easily, and if I'm reading mail on a phone instead of a full-sized screen, I *really* want to have my choice of font size, not yours, and while maybe you think Comic Sans is cute or <BLINK>want to send your Halloween party announcement in a blood-red font that's bleeding down the page</BLINK>, I'd much rather be able to read what you wrote.

And because I'm an old cranky security guy, I really really don't want my email client trying to run your Javascript on my machine, thank you very much, even if all you think you're doing is trying to center the text neatly in ways that might look good on a 24" monitor but utterly fail when I'm reading in an SSH session or on my phone.

<href="https://nsa.gov\/web-bug.js\">Not the Web Bug You're Looking For</a>

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