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Comment Re:That doesn't follow (Score 1) 527

I don't think so. There's a big difference between the legal firepower available to a small service provider like Lavabit and someone like Yahoo or Google -- and handing over the ability to read everything is definitely not something that a simple warrant can legally require. Nor even an NSL.

There's also a difference in the willingness to fight of someone like Yahoo or Google, as already well demonstrated. Neither company would shut down rather than comply if faced with such an order.

Lavabit wouldn't shut down rather than comply with the original warrant, either. In fact, Lavabit eventually decided to comply, but given the nature of their system and the way they'd tried to obstruct the warrant initially, the feds didn't trust them to comply and do demanded total access, with the support of the court. Lavabit chose to shut down rather than throw the doors open.

Google and Yahoo would have complied with the initial, narrow request, so the sweeping demand would never have come up. But if it had, I really doubt they'd have rolled over. I'm certain Google would have refused, at least.

Comment That doesn't follow (Score 4, Informative) 527

if the FBI can force Lavabit to hand over their SSL key or face shutdown, they can do it to anyone.

I don't think so. There's a big difference between the legal firepower available to a small service provider like Lavabit and someone like Yahoo or Google -- and handing over the ability to read everything is definitely not something that a simple warrant can legally require. Nor even an NSL.

In fairness, in this case the FBI's original request did ask for just specific metadata about one user. I haven't read it closely enough to understand how the scope was broadened so dramatically, except that I understand that Lavabit refused to comply early on, and then eventually the FBI decided that they didn't trust Lavabit to comply correctly due to Lavabit's obstructionism, and so decided that they just wanted to be able to read all the traffic and extract the bits they needed themselves.

Lavabit, of course, decided to shut down instead. That way there would be no traffic to read.

Comment US Shutdown is Good News for /. Article Trolls (Score 2) 84

Numerous problems with this story:

1. PTO isn't open because its "funding is guaranteed by the Constitution". The Constitution merely authorizes Congress to establish a PTO. The office is open because it doesn't rely on government funding; it's funded by application fees.

2. Given that the patent process takes years, having the FTC down for a few days won't have any effect. That is assuming that the FTC even has any role in patent approval/validation, which I don't think is true.

3. The federal courts and much of the DoJ are not closed... plus having them shut down for a few days won't have any effect on patents.

Comment Re:How about (Score 1) 528

Aren't there traditional laws giving the subject control over his or her image, besides copyright and trademark laws?

Only for commercial use, which in practice really means only for use in advertising. If you're going to use images in ads you need a model release. Otherwise, not really.

Comment Re:SO WHY DID IT TAKE A SNOWDEN . . . !!` (Score 1) 174

Really? its the corps fault they are not secure, considering what the NSA has been up to?

Yes, it is.

Oh, the NSA likely would have gotten in anyway, but that's no excuse for the generally lousy state of security in big corporations. I spend 15 years as a security consultant, working with all sorts of big companies -- especially banks, who you'd expect to have reasonable security -- and "appalling" is the word I use also. I once worked with one bank that did a billion dollars a day in wire transfers over an unauthenticated, unencrypted FTP connection. Seriously. The transport was a leased line, not the Internet, but still, that's insane. Appalling doesn't seem quite strong enough.

FWIW, I now work for Google and I'm consistently impressed with Google's approach to security.

Comment Re:Non-Essential Employees (Score 1) 1532

The idiots who think government is the source of all problems are so simple they don't distinguish between different levels of government very well. It's all just some big blob of evil to them. dfw

Really? I'm one of the "idiots", but I distinguish between different levels of government quite well.

Comment Re:Good luck to them (Score 3, Insightful) 230

"Sure, I found 1,0000 Mbps for $70/mo"
"Well. I can offer you 14Mbps for $40/mo"

I suppose for a lot of (non-geek) people that might look like a compelling alternative, so it's not totally silly of the rep to offer it. However, I suspect that most of those who'd prefer 14 Mbps for $40 over 1000 Mbps for $70 would find 5 Mbps for $0 even more compelling.

Comment Re:renewable resource (Score 2, Informative) 255

Helium isn't produced from natural gas, it's found trapped underground in natural gas fields. So unless you can power a hydrogen fusion plant with renewable natural gas, we only have what we can find in the ground for the time being.

OTOH, the earth creates a great deal of new helium every year, as a byproduct of the decay of various radioactive elements in the crust and core. It's not an unlimited resource, but neither is it something we're easily going to deplete even though close to 100% of the helium we use for various purposes ends up being released into the atmosphere and floats off into space.

Comment Re:It's all about (Score 1) 1532

What it's actually about is thinking you've got a God-given right to run a 'democracy' when your political philosophy is that "The proper role of government is to help the rich get richer faster than they would without it".

That's a straw man. Perhaps the AC does want government to help the rich get richer faster, but there are an awful lot of people who simply want the government -- particularly the federal government -- to stop interfering so much. Federal subsidies and support for the wealthy and corporations should end. So should federal welfare programs (that's a role for states, since there's no constitutional basis for the feds being involved, and since doing it at a state level allows for diversity of approaches). While we're at it, let's cut the armed forces by about 90%, and eliminate the army almost completely in favor of increased national guard forces. Most of the federal law enforcement agencies can go, too -- as can most of the federal criminal statutes; again that's a job for the states.

Nearly all of what the federal government should either be done by the states or not done by government at all. That's got nothing to do with making the rich richer.

Comment Re:Non-Essential Employees (Score 1) 1532

offices and government buildings need to be cleaned, the public traipsing through the DMV are a messy bunch

Federal employees clean the state DMV offices?

I know, it was just an example, but I think it's funny how consistently people who are explaining why the federal government is necessary give examples of things the federal government does not do. There have been a half dozen examples of this just in up-modded posts on this article alone; yours was just the last straw that provoked me to post.

I suppose if you live in DC federal employees (actually, probably federal contractors) do clean the local DMV offices. In that case, I offer my condolences.

Comment Re:Speaking of Google and Privacy (Score 1) 88

Anyone know how to prevent Android Device Manager being able to access my location anytime it feels like it?

Find the Google Settings app (note that this is not the same as the "Settings" app -- that's general Android stuff, "Google Settings" is specific to the Google apps), open it, click on "Android Device Manager" and then uncheck "Remotely locate this device".

Note that this means that if you use your device you will not be able to use Device Manager to find its GPS location. I think you'll still be able to use it to remotely ring, lock or erase the device, unless you disable that as well.

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