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Comment issue ? (Score 1) 321

Some more background info for us non-US readers, please?

I don't see the issue here. I've bought my iPhone and then got a cell phone contract for them that didn't include a phone, so no subsidies and no unlocking required.

If the carrier pays the phone for you (and you pay him back over time) then they seem to have a legit interest that you don't say "thanks" and take your business elsewhere before the refinancing time is up.

So what's the issue here?

Comment Re:Because the firmware's copyright? (Score 5, Insightful) 321

How is changing firmware different?

Because it's digital, and common sense has been thrown out for digital goods.

You see, copyright used to come into play when you copied something. As long as you only used it, it didn't matter. The book you bought, you could do with as you pleased, read or not, write comments into the margins, rip out pages and re-arrange them in an order you prefer, whatever.

Only when you made copies of your Romeo & Juliet where the death scene is at the beginning and the rest follows with the word "Zombie" inserted here and there would you be in violation of copyright (well, not really due to that one having expired, but you get the point).

You'd assume it would be the same for a digital book, but it's not. Someone who should be in an asylum instead of a court room decided that in order to read a digital, you have to load it from storage into memory, which is making a copy and thus copyright applies which means the author can dictate terms.

That's why you don't own the firmware, and you don't even own the copy of the firmware on your phone, but if the manufacturer were to, say, distribute the firmware as a print copy the way very very early computer magazines once included software you could transcribe into your computer, then you could do whatever you want with the paper copy, including changing it.

If you think that's crazy, conf. "asylum" above.

Comment Re:Toxic government (Score 1) 252

Since 1980 people have pretty much consistently voted for more government benefits, bigger government programs and whatever else the government says it needs to increase payments to people. We have gotten ourselves into a financial mess with a president promoting lower taxes and a Congress that spends as much as possible to keep the gravy train going.

What a surprise. Politicians all for making more things political, the government being pro big-government. Who'd have thought?

The primary purpose of any administration is self-perpetuation. The government is no different. Their primary purpose is to pile up more stuff into their "mine" pile. After all, who would put themselves out of their job? These people are just humans, too. And not necessarily the best kind (because the good ones won't survive internal party politics).

Today we are trying to follow a "You broke it, you own it" philosophy and it is taking time - because the countries are far less stable than either Germany or Japan were at the end of WWII where we had to follow a similar course.

Nonsense. Stability has nothing to do with it.

Both Germany and Japan had two other important things in common that places like Iraq or Afghanistan don't:
a) They were highly industrialized countries. This has all sorts of economic and social effects, but most importantly makes rebuilding them easier, faster and more easily managed.
b) They were western (Germany) or west-oriented (Japan) countries. Rebuilding them did not subject them to an entirely foreign culture they rejected and considered evil.

Comment Re:Just publish the files (Score 1) 252

this grand standing and attempt to use "secret" information to extract concession is at best juvenile, at worst a power game. Neither of which serves to advance justice and equality.

The problem is that the other side in this conflict is equally juvenile and power-gamey, namely the government. The whole "War on Whatever We Dislike This Decade" is so pubescent, it makes sane people sick to watch. The executive's approach of making life hell for people they have an axe to grind with, instead of following justice is straight from the school yard.

If they didn't have tanks, we'd be laughing at them.

Comment Re:Antigua is being taken for a ride. (Score 3, Interesting) 377

Always these purely theoretical "we can destroy them" delusions. *sigh*

First of all, I don't know where you get the 90% figure from, a quick Google shows other numbers. Wikipedia has a detailed article putting the figure at around 60% GDP and 50% of the jobs. But those are very old numbers. But it's all tourism, not just US tourism.

Second, the US is quick at hurting other nations, but not so quick at hurting potential voters. Quick, name three sanctions or other non-military attacks on foreign nations that the US has conducted in, say, the past 20 years that the voters have even noticed.

Third, the US has already gambled away most of the good will it had accumulated in WW1, WW2 and the Cold War. Smashing down a tiny country would do a lot of reputation damage. Contrary to what rednecks believe and the public propaganda tells you, the US is extremely dependent on the rest of the world. Luckily, it goes both ways for most powerful nations on the globe, so there's no real danger of escalation, but if you insist on these "we could kill them" delusions, do keep in mind that if the rest of the world would ever band together and cut all trade to the US, you would have lights out within a month.

Comment Re:levels of trust (Score 2) 165

I was pretty up on this new venture until all of these clearly misleading statements began to appear.

Indeed, for a self-labelled Robin Hood, it's all just so much standard corporate PR damage-control talk.

However, it is a lot more clueful than the first statements. At least this time they had someone who understood the basics of crypto look over it.

Comment Re:Isn't Some of this Stuff Sort of Nitpicking? (Score 2) 151

Isn't this kind of nitpicking?

I'm not sure. The difference between 1024 bit and 2048 bit is that 2048 bit is this times as much as 1024:


(had to split it up due to the lameness filter. doh!)

There isn't even a name for this order of magnitude. When cryptographers say that "1024bit can be broken with far greater ease than 2048bit", that is the understatement of the year. For comparison, the number of atoms in the observable universe is estimated to be around:


I have no idea why you would choose to do this in JavaScript

Because Javascript is inherently insecure for cryptography. Never do any serious crypto in Javascript. Unless you want it to be broken.

but do we have to watch every little step and misstep of Kim Dotcom? He's starting to rub me the wrong way as a sort of attention whore.

And that's exactly what he is. He's playing /. and everyone else in a bid of either a) selling them out to the FBI - again (he's done it before, check his history) or b) getting out of his current predicament thanks to publicity and public pressure.

Ugh, and his name is something straight out of Idiocracy ... did he try to change his first name to "The Bomb" but was blocked by the TSA? :-)

No, he's an attention whore. His actual name is Kim Schmitz. He's from Kiel, a small northern german city less than a hundred miles from where I live. He left Germany after a criminal conviction and because the hackers and geeks here had caught on to his game and he was widely despised.

Comment Re:All about deniability (Score 2) 151

You should care.

One, if what the idiot co-founder said in the update is true, Mega can decrypt your data. Which means their deniability just died and they will be on the hook, which means they are very likely to give your data to law enforcement in order to get out of everything.

Two, a fantastic and fairly neutral german article outlines the impact on the markets and musings on some more philosophical backgrounds. The TL;DR version is that Kim is pretty much the same as the banksters we want to see in jail for the financial crisis - he takes an artificially scarce commodity he doesn't own (data in his case, money for the banksters) and creates a mechanism through which it gets artificially inflated (sharing / bubble of complex financial products) with the purpose of making a profit for himself, ignoring the devastating effect that inflation has on the base value for small market participants.

Or if even that is too long for you: Kim will make money, big musicians, movies, etc. won't really care, small artists and smaller movies will suffer.

As much as the truth hurts, but if you want to support small artists, then iTunes does more for them then Mega will. You'll need to do a bit of research to verify that, but it'll be enlightening. I applaud the Pirate Bay for realizing their effect and trying to undo it with their recent initiatives.

Comment omg (Score 1) 151

Read the update on the article as well. The guys are entirely clueless about security and encryption.

TFA is correct. This isn't a few minor issues. The main feature of the service is broken, and if what they say in the update is true and not just clueless, then law enforcement can and will get at your data, too.

Comment Re:user yes, but doesn't work (Score 2) 211

Yes, together with the magic Unicorns that guard your data and the gnomes that print the money to pay for it all.

No, it's not a sting operation run by the US government that has made a deal with someone looking to a couple years of prison who desperately doesn't want to go there. They would never do that. He would never do that. None of them has done it before...

Comment Re:Clever (Score 3, Insightful) 314

Problem here is that you will have to outright ban encryption to solve this problem.

You're thinking techie again, not legalese.

The law is quite familiar with seemingly shizophrenic approaches. For example, they have an odd thing that is neither OR nor AND nor XOR - a lawyer can claim that his client wasn't even near the crime scene at that time, but if he was he didn't do it, and if he did then he was intoxicated and not in his right mind. He can claim all of these three as true at the same time, and nobody in the courtroom will even raise an eyebrow, except for the techie whose brain has just shut down with a long list of logic errors.

What exactly is the difference between a public lockers providing company and what mega is doing?

The difference is that the law deals with humans and motivations, something you ignore entirely. If I were to set up that locker company, the case would probably be shut down. But if a formerly convicted criminal who is currently on trial for drug deals did it, and if he had made a public statement basically saying "only our company uses opaque steel doors instead of the glass doors other companies use, so even we won't know if you store, say, drugs, in them, hint hint" he would very likely be convicted if there is even the slightest bit of evidence.

And that can easily be done without making lockers illegal. It's how the law works. I've been in enough court rooms to understand that a judge will judge the particular case in front of him. Only the high courts consider the broad implications of their judgements, for good reasons. And you would be surprised how capable these people are. Kim and many techies is guilty of arrogance. You, too, seem to think that only geeks have brains. Most of the judges I've met were very smart people who can easily blow a big hole into your whole circumvention scheme.

Never forget that these people meet someone new who had a brilliant idea to get away with his crime every week. It's like your lawyer friend coming to you and saying something like "I've had this brilliant idea yesterday. Your web application you've been complaining about, it would run so much faster if you only ... (insert old idea you've heard 1000 times before here)".

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