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Comment Re:Seems fishy (Score 1) 262

If you steal your neighbor's car, they won't call it a "friendly theft" just because you were on good terms prior to the theft.

Except that nothing was stolen. It is like downloading a movie. Copying is not stealing. Countries spy on each other, friend or foe. It is normal and expected.

That's a fine job of redundantly restating my sentence while also pointing out the obvious.

Comment Re:Seems fishy (Score 1) 262

I think you miss his point. Homosexuality is ancillary to the problem it was just an example, it's that something- anything- could be discovered and used against the politician or anyone else for that matter.

That's the problem with this media-driven urge to view the entire world through the lens of group identity. It becomes a fixation, and people who allow their thought process to be a product of media will miss your clearly-stated point because of it.

Comment Re:Seems fishy (Score 1) 262

>When the day comes that this information is obtained and used against the same politicians who voted for it, it will be some delicious comeuppance.

I really don't think you quite get how that day would work.

"Senator, PRISM has discovered an email of you admitting to having a gay lover in college, something that would make you completely unelectable in this country for some reason."

"Ahh. Johnny Ten Inches. Yes, well, I admit to that. How much is it going to cost for this to go away?"

"We have all the money we need, but it would sure be nice if that new NSA data seizure legislation in the pipeline got a yes vote. #211,944 if I recall."

"#211,944? I'm not familiar with it."

"Of course you aren't, senator. We haven't written it yet."

You are describing authorized use by those officials who have access to the system.

We were talking about unauthorized use by outside attackers who manage to compromise said system. The post to which I replied spelled this out explicitly and I quoted that in my own post.

See how simple that is?

Comment Re:Seems fishy (Score 4, Insightful) 262

So, setting aside all the potential evils that will absolutely certainly occur because of politicians and career bureaucrats having the data, throw in the random security breach by insiders, contractors, script kiddies, whatever.

When the day comes that this information is obtained and used against the same politicians who voted for it, it will be some delicious comeuppance. And better than they deserve. And a minor observation. From the fine summary:

an anonymous reader links to a story at The Guardian about some good old fashioned friendly interception

It's funny the way they phrase things when governments are involved. If you steal your neighbor's car, they won't call it a "friendly theft" just because you were on good terms prior to the theft.

Comment Re:Oh, I'm Sorry (Score 2) 101

You should read my comment again, because your reply is essentially repeating what my post said to begin with. Do people treat security poorly in the IT industry, yes. Can security be strengthened by more rigid standards and harsher penalties for failure, yes.

What I responded to, and I'll quote it again, was "Cyber espionage, crime, and warfare are possible only because of poor application or system design, implementation, and/or configuration." The implication here is that these things are NOT possible if systems are not poorly designed, implemented and configured. That's a load of bullshit. even with the best security advancements available you are simply not immune. To suggest otherwise is to display ignorance on the subject.

Would you concede that (say, by using managed languages) eliminating all buffer overflows would be a huge step in the right direction? We have the capability of doing that. There is still the impossibility of ever conclusively proving that a given piece of software is completely free of all possible bugs, but that's a lofty and unrealistic goal. There are many feasible steps we could take that are realistic. We generally don't take those steps because the trade-offs involved don't fit our priorities. They usually mean more effort and therefore more expense, but government is the one institution that does not need to make a profit.

Referring to your original post, there is a huge difference between "this doctor is incompetent and is guilty of malpractice" versus "cure all diseases all the time". I am essentially agreeing with you, except I think that with the latter case, you're going to an absurd extreme that no one is realistically suggesting. That was my point.

Comment Re:Just plain silly (Score 1) 101

The whole idea that China should be 'held responsible' for the hacking is just plain silly on it's face. Governments and private corporations have been spying on each other ever since the first cave man tried to keep a secret.

It's a form of sabre-rattling. Although, it is useful to note the difference between spying as in passive information gathering, versus something intended to cause material damage like Stuxnet. The latter actually is a form of attack.

Can you imagine during the cold war of the US President went to Stalin and said "please stop spying on us"? Because that's exactly what's been suggested here.

I imagine the Soviets were pissed off about this one.

The Trans-Siberian Pipeline, as planned, would have a level of complexity that would require advanced automated control software, Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA). The pipeline used plans for a sophisticated control system and its software that had been stolen from a Canadian firm by the KGB. The CIA allegedly had the company insert a logic bomb in the program for sabotage purposes, eventually resulting in an explosion with the power of three kilotons of TNT.

That's quite a bit more destructive than merely learning unauthorized information.

Comment Re:Oh, I'm Sorry (Score 1) 101

Do you expect automotive engineers to be able to build mechanically perfect vehicles? No.

Vehicles that never fail? No. Vehicles that have a reasonable failure mode? Yes.

Consider the air brakes on a tractor trailer. The air is what keeps the brakes apart. If some mechanical failure caused a loss of air pressure, the failure mode would be stopping the vehicle. That is acceptable. If they did it the other way, with the air pressure being used to apply the brakes, the first sign of failure could be the inability to stop the vehicle at highway speed. That is not acceptable.

Either way, it's not a question of perfection. It's a question of expecting failure. The principle applies to software as well.

Comment Re:Why should it be any different? (Score 1) 313

Meeting people online is better with respect to the fact that _petty_ initial-impression-based perceptions that may have pushed you away from someone you saw IRL, yet didn't matter in the long term, won't hold you back from experiencing the companionship of a unique person who has qualities that you would have overlooked, had you looked upon them in person, initialy.

Assuming one is shallow, inexperienced, or quick to judge, then yes that is true. But did you want to be with someone who has that much emotional growing up to do?

Sadly what you described is the majority. That makes it easy to forget that not everyone operates that way.

Comment Re:Gun control however... (Score 4, Insightful) 856

There is a difference between laws designed to regulate availability of material goods and laws designed to punish human beings.

Exactly. Politicians just love that former category, precisely because it never works. It never works and never solves the problem, so there is always a menacing problem they can promise to do something about the next time they campaign. It also has the side-effect of requiring a police state to have even a slight hope of enforcement, which again is great from the perspective of most politicians.

Politicians know the War on Drugs doesn't stop people from acquiring drugs. They know that mass shootings overwhelmingly tend to happen in "gun free" zones. They know even an outright ban on guns doesn't stop criminals from acquiring them. They know someone not afraid of a murder charge isn't going to be deterred by a weapons violation. They probably know that the USA has one of the highest murder rates of the industralized world ... unless you exclude Chicago and a few other cities where it is practically impossible to legally own a firearm; then the USA has one of the lowest. They understand all of this.

They are interested in perpetuating the problems. It's what wins elections. It's what makes people increasingly feel they need government intervention. It's fun to think of them as a bunch of morons who couldn't find their ass in the dark, but this is called allowing sentiment to interfere with judgment.

Comment Re:The only winning move.... (Score 1) 435

If it is trivial why do they put so much effort into squishing it?

Did you ever consider it in terms of strategy? Companies try to use strategy instead of lazily waiting until the last minute to passively react the way so many individuals do.

It's trivial now but that could change. They are taking steps to keep it trivial and/or to make it more so. If they neglected it entirely, it might become a very large, entrenched, difficult-to-eliminate market by the time they get around to reacting to it. What would really entrench a used-games market with no artificial restrictions? That's easy: for it to be common and perceived as normal by the average customer, something they come to expect, something they would be outraged about if it were taken away.

The game companies don't want that to happen. They're smart, so they think of these things ahead of time. They're greedy control freaks, but they're not stupid.

Do yourself a favor and apply this strategic view to every action corporations and politicians take and to every word they say. The world will become mostly predictable then.

Comment Re:Antiquated Legal Standard (Score 1) 332

The 180-day limit is based on an antiquated legal standard, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which was signed into law in 1986 - more than 25 years ago. At the time, email was still in its infancy, and "cloud"-based email providers like Yahoo, GMail, etc. simply didn't exist. Efforts are underway to update the act so that, among other things, law enforcement will need to obtain a warrant anytime they want to access email. But those updates aren't law yet, so the old statute still applies.

That old statute outweighs the Fourth Amendment? Interesting.

Comment Re:fine line (Score 1) 332

The drug-dog loophole certainly is convenient.

What is a trained drug-sniffing dog, if it is not a (living) device for the sole purpose of performing a search? Using a dog to search your home or your car is not fundamentally different from the cop just using his hands and his eyes to search the same places. Yet the dog gives a cue and *poof* there goes your Fourth Amendment.

Of course they have to have such a loophole to keep up the War on (some) Drugs. A war on drugs (really a war on personal freedom) simply couldn't be conducted by the federal government under a reasonable reading of the Constitution. So we're losing some of our more precious rights and freedoms in exchange for being able to ineffectively tell other people how they should live. What a bargain.

Comment Re:So wrong. (Score 2) 332

The term "house" is specifically used in the text of the 4th Amendment, and courts have basically ruled that this term refers to your home, whether that's a building you own or a single room in a shared apartment...essentially your "personal living space", where a polite person would be required to ask permission to enter. On the other hand, the e-mail on the server is no different from you giving your personal papers to any random third party, mostly regardless of the relationship, with a few exceptions.

Yes, because if the standard were the other way around, people would have too much privacy and obviously that would bring society to its knees!

I think the difference is that the case law pertaining to your dwelling was established long ago, back when people thought the USA was special, back when the USA would ridicule many other nations of the world for treating their citizens more like subjects who had no rights, only privileges. Electronic communications were invented long after the US government became something much more sad and typical, interested only in the expansion of its own power via the flimsiest claims to legitimacy.

<sarcasm>Because as we all know, anyone familiar with people like Thomas Jefferson would immediately understand that the Founders really did mean only physical hardcopy paperwork. Obviously, these men who wanted The People to be respected and left alone by their government when it came to things like postal letters and private notes definitely wanted The People's privacy completely trampled should any new medium of written communication come along. Duh.</sarcasm>

Just think, some of the Founders were opposed to having a Bill of Rights at all because they feared that other rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution would be overlooked!

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