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Comment Bush didn't start it, though he fed it a lot (Score 1) 446

All you young folks, thinking you've always had the technology to be Anonymous Cowards.... We spent the 90s fighting the Crypto Wars against Louis Freeh and the NSA, and while Clinton didn't start the FBI's quest for increased eavesdropping power, he didn't slow it down any, and the main reason you're allowed to use crypto today is that there was too much money between online banking and e-Commerce that really needed it. Bush and Cheney were really enthusiastic about it, and Bush's father liked the stuff too, and Ronnie Reagan didn't mind it when he was awake either, Gerald Ford was out playing golf, Carter cut back on the CIA a lot (so a lot of them went freelance until he was gone), and Nixon sure was no friend of civil liberties, especially when he could get J. Edgar to give him secrets about his enemies.

Comment Safety and risks (Score 1) 446

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, some radio talking head asked a safety expert how to reduce your risk of getting killed, and she replied "wear your seatbelt and stop smoking." She was of course correct, though since I already wear my seatbelt and don't smoke tobacco, it didn't affect me much. I guess that was before I got hit by lightning, but after the first time I almost got hit by it before. (Hanging out at the tops of mountains affects your risks of that considerably, whether you're getting there by climbing them or taking the ski lift.)

Comment Non-TSA airports (Score 1) 446

If you mean airports where the TSA doesn't have jurisdiction or presence, it's pretty much limited to general-aviation airports, military air bases, and big stretches of dirt. If you mean a list of airports that don't have Naked Scanners, or that have the Terahertz radars instead of X-Ray scanners, there probably is a list of them, but it's a moving target (and so are you :-), so Your Microwavage May Vary.

I really like flying the small inter-island carriers in Hawaii - they tend to fly out of the commuter terminals at most of the airports, using 10-seater Cessnas that fly low, have a great view, and are small enough that the TSA doesn't mind if they crash, so you don't have to wait in the security lines or get X-rayed. You might have to help the pilot put your bags on the plane, and the one additional privacy invasion is that they need to know your weight, so they can balance the plane, which means fat people sit in the back.

Comment The big difference betw Israeli security and TSA (Score 1) 446

The big difference between Israeli airport security and the TSA is that, for the most part, Israeli security is trying to prevent bombings and attacks, while the TSA's job is to intimidate the American public and make them feel dependent on big tough government to protect them from scary enemies. That doesn't mean that the Israelis aren't also trying to intimidate Arab citizens or that the TSA isn't also trying to stop bombs, but the primary objectives are different.

Comment RTFC: No, it's also House members (Score 1) 446

and it is when they're at or heading to/from Congress, so you can't harass them on their way home either, except for "treason, felony and breach of the peace" - on the other hand, they might get away with pretending that refusing to stop for a TSA thug is "breach of the peace", and the Constitution doesn't say that their families or staff members are immune from arrest.

Comment You think that was accidental? (Score 1) 446

The fearmongers who run the TSA may not be competent at things like maintaining accurate lists or building their databases with tracking information so they can identify the chain of events and accusations that put somebody on the list and track it back to the origins, like any competent database designer would do, but there are some things that are clearly done for political reasons, and putting A Well-Known Liberal Senator on the list was clearly one of them, just as introducing punishment gropings for anybody who doesn't cooperate with the Naked Scanners was clearly political, even though in both cases they pretend to have plausible deniability.

Now, finding terrorist supporters named "Kennedy" is unlikely to have been difficult; as of a couple of years ago I could *still* reliably find pro-IRA fundraising newspapers in Irish bars in San Francisco, and it's probably even easier to find them in Irish neighborhoods in Boston.

Comment Police Dogs are Perceived as Directly Hostile (Score 1) 239

The Powers That Be want you to be a bit scared when you're going through the airport, but they mainly want you to be scared of Terrorists, and mainly feel that the TSA are there to protect you and catch the terrorists, not feel directly threatened by the TSA. Big Brother Government is there to Protect You, and you're supposed to be obedient.

They do use some smaller dogs as sniffers, beagles and the like, that aren't scary dogs, but even then, you expect police sniffer dogs to be looking for drugs, and you expect that the police will lie about what the dog's telling them if they feel like singling you out.

Comment Ads that work like that are annoying anyway (Score 1) 167

If you want me to be able to save your ad for later, you need to display it in a format that's transparent, standards-based, and not annoying. (They also have to get past NoScript and AdBlock, so maybe I'm not your target customer - I don't mind static banner ads from legitimate advertisers supporting web pages I'm looking at for free, but they get trashed as collateral damage because I really don't want animated scripted spyware-laden bloatware ads slowing down my browser.

This guy seems to have raised $8m in the premise that people not only want to save ads, but that the advertisers he's probably hoping to monetize his product with are more willing to pay him to make their ads savable than to make their ads non-annoying in the first place. Maybe he's right, but it looks like he's trying to find the suckers who are born every minute...

Comment webcomic version of that (Score 2) 204 comic from Aug 7, 1999

Pitr: Am wonderink what is this email

Email: This is not unsolicited bulk email. Buy me. Blah blah blah

Pitr: Zlotniks! Sending me spam! Am fixink their leetle red wagon!

Boss: What happened to our email server?

Worker: It's flooded. And there's an email here that says "This is not a denial of service attack."

Comment Re:You'd think TFA could at least get English righ (Score 2) 204

Whoosh! Dude, you're missing that we're making fun of TFA's author's bad use of the English language here... It's even in the title of your posts :-)

It used to be easier to track down and collect from spammers a decade ago than it is today, because so much of it has moved to off-shoring and botnets, and spammers have learned to use shell corporations, bogus domain registration information, fly-by-night web hosting services, and other techniques, so the low-hanging fruit is mostly gone. It's especially tough because the easy people to catch are mostly the stupid ones, and they don't usually have a lot of money. Back when people still fell for the "Make Money Fast by Spamming The Internet" scams, usually there were a lot of suckers buying spamming kits, not actually making much money, but it was easier to catch them than the scammers selling the kits. On the other hand, slapping those people on the wrist for a few thousand dollars would usually keep them from getting back in the game..

If Dan's making money at it, good for him. He's probably catching a somewhat more professional class of spammer, but still stupid enough not to be able to avoid violating the anti-spamming laws or build themselves $100 Delaware Corporations to take the rap for their spamming.

Comment No, he's busting Dumber US Spammers (Score 2) 204

Legal solutions aren't going to kill all spamming until we acquire Un-bribe-able World-Wide Pork-Product-Hating Overlords. But a large amount of spam actually does come from US-based spammers, including little guys and big businesses. It's extremely easy to comply with CAN-SPAM if you're not a deliberate spammer - don't send people unsolicited commercial email and you've done your job. It's pretty trivial to comply with it even if you *are* a deliberate spammer, and cheap and easy to set up a $100 shell corporation to limit your financial exposure even if you're a deliberate spammer who doesn't want to comply with the trivial rules. If Dan is making money suing you, then you're a) spamming, b) lazy, and probably c) stupid. If your primary problem is c) stupid, then you deserve to be slapped on the wrist with a couple thousand dollars worth of lawsuit and told to stop annoying people. If you're not stupid, just greedy, then you deserve worse, so I'd recommend spamming him lots of times.

Not only do legitimate companies and groups not send people unsolicited email, they maintain mailing list systems that let people unsubscribe, so even if they have spammed you, it's easy to unsubscribe once from all of your future email. Of course, most people have learned not to trust unsubscribe-from-spam systems, because that just gives spammers more data, but if you really are legitimate (e.g. you're a newspaper, somebody registers for your online comments system, and then decides you're sending them too much mail) you'll do that. And if you're legitimate and not stupid, you're certainly not going to buy mailing lists of "opt-in addresses" from untrustworthy sources.

The purpose of the laws that let individual spam victims sue spammers isn't just to let us get recompense for the 5 seconds of time it takes to read through a message that slipped though our spam filters - it's to let large numbers of people take care of the job of prosecuting spammers, since the criminal prosecution system isn't going to bother with the small-timers. The reason for allowing it to be done in small-claims court is to make it much easier for us to to that. And yeah, it does encourage the spamming business to professionalize and let Russian mobsters do the jobs that used to be done by real American workers living in their single-wides chasing "make money fast by spamming" scams, but getting rid of home-grown stupid spammers is an important part of cleaning up the Internet. But it also encourages the anti-spammers to professionalize, and good for them!

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