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Comment Re:How can an OS have such a fundamental problem? (Score 1) 137

No, he can't. He can try and race your broadcast, but miners do not accept double spends against the mempool. You can't just arbitrarily replace transactions like that. If you receive an unconfirmed transaction, unless your opponent has a ton of mining power and can choose the exact moment he purchases from you, and the good he's buying is immediately and irreversibly deliverable, it's not typically an issue.

Comment Re:Mixed bag with Pirate Bay (Score 1) 177

Piracy has killed things off. You don't think it has because it's so difficult to measure what would have been created but now wasn't. But take a look at the rise and fall of the music industry in terms of sales. They plummet right around the time broadband internet and MP3 became widespread after rising for many years. The rise in digital sales did not nearly offset the fall in other kinds of sales. You think that's a giant co-incidence?

It isn't and that's so obvious that even the Economist has said "the internet sank the music business". See the article for a graph of sales broken down by physical/digital. Digital sales rose but overall sales are still just over half what they were in 1999. Did people somehow lose interest in music and halve their consumption? No, of course not. People still listen to just as much music as they did back then, probably much more. The difference now is they don't pay for it.

Comment Re:Yeah, it's those politicians who are corrupt (Score 1) 177

This is such a fail argument. Why does it even come up?

It is not societies job to stop artists and producers from signing stupid contracts. That's their job, and their job alone. For every writer or actor who signed a stupid contract I can show you one that was smarter and did incredibly well out of their success.

However it IS societies job to ensure that once they've created something and decided what to do with it, that they can then benefit from that work in some way. It's our job because basically every modern society has decided that creative works are good, and professional creatives are even better, and that we need to have a framework in place that lets people focus on making creative works full time. The alternative funding models out there have not been shown to be anywhere near competitive. How many people watch movies funded by Kickstarter?

Comment Re: This is why encryption isn't popular (Score 2) 399

Some chips have the ability to generate key material inside themselves that never leaves and requires destroying the chip to obtain. If the cards were using such a chip then even the government would not necessarily have the private key. Whether Estonia does that or not I don't know, but of all the governments I fear in the world, the government of Estonia is not one of them. I mean, please name one other government that actually encourages and makes it easy for its citizens to use strong end to end encryption?

Comment Re:stupid (Score 3, Interesting) 558

The NSA and its friends already track who logs into your website (or at least the IPs that do) so I wouldn't worry about that one too much.

One technical measure that has been floated recently is the idea of using Bitcoin. What you do is provably sacrifice some bitcoins to miner fees, thus creating a kind of anonymous passport. That proof of sacrifice has public keys embedded in it to which you own the private keys, and it was provably expensive to create. So the idea is that you sign up with your passport and then if you misbehave, it can get added to a blacklist kind of like how Spamhaus blacklists IP addresses. Now you can set the cost of abuse to a precise degree. Good users only have to pay once and can use the same passport for years. Abusers find their business models are unprofitable.

Unfortunately the software and protocols for that aren't implemented yet.

Comment Re:Deciphering != Reverse Engineering (Score 1) 245

If you're talking about things like protecting copyrighted games then no, it's not particularly relevant, because you're typically trying to bind to some physical medium like a CD and obfuscation can only hide what you're doing to a certain extent.

However it's very interesting as a building block for other schemes. Functional encryption in particular will be very powerful, but probably not until 10 years from now. It's really an entirely new paradigm, as revolutionary as the invention of public key crypto itself (which also started out unusably slow).

Comment Re:Deciphering != Reverse Engineering (Score 3, Informative) 245

Yes, it is robust. I read the paper a few days ago.

All these comments about how you can "just look at the CPU instructions" are made by people who haven't been following developments in the field. The program never gets decrypted into CPU instructions. Heck, it was never even compiled into CPU instructions in the first place. It gets compiled into a form of boolean circuit, a mathematical equivalent of an electronic circuit that is composed of AND, NOT, OR, XOR gates and wires between them. Then that circuit is itself again transformed into a series of matrices and at that point I hit the limit of what I could understand without needing to read some of the cited papers.

This is a very, very complicated technique that builds upon decades of cryptographic research. If they say it's secure in the cryptographic sense, I think it's very likely to be so.

Comment Re:I Call BS (Score 1) 245

And this is a Computer Scientist? Are they sure they haven't accidentally hired the actor who played Charles Epps in "Numb3rs"?

At some point this program will have to be executed by the CPU, but somehow even a disassembler would throw up its hands and declare defeat when presented with this "encrypted" code. In other news, Mr Sahai's found a way to turn your grocery list into a set of numbers that will make it impossible for anyone else to see what you want to buy. All they can do is turn it over to the clerk and watch in awe as he fills your bags.

I can assure you that Amit Sahai is not only a computer scientist but a highly respected cryptographer. The reason the explanation is so garbled is he tried to dumb down cutting edge mathematics for the purpose of a press release.

The code is encrypted in such a form that it is never decrypted into CPU instructions. Every operation the program does is a form of mathematical transformation. Yes, it's got a lot of overhead (probably impractical at the moment). The grocery analogy is a lot closer than you might imagine.

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