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Comment Re:I say (Score 1) 244

Agreed. At some point, there's a line that gets crossed between "fact" and "representation". Representations of facts (e.g. a video, a written story, etc.) are copyrightable, yet the data itself isn't. Where that line is, I'll admit I can't say (not to mention that I still haven't dealt with the question of using someone's likeness in text/image/whatever), but we have plenty of examples to point towards the idea that textual reporting on what occurred falls well on the side of "fact".

Comment Re:Adblock Plus, Ghostery (Score 1) 161

Most of the people on Slashdot would be better-served by using either uBlock Origin or uMatrix instead of ABP.

uBlock Origin is a drop-in content blocker that "just works" out of the box. It's great for dropping onto non-techies computers and knowing that they'll be a lot better off. Plus, unlike ABP, it doesn't allow ads through by design for companies willing to pay, and it's also significantly more efficient than ABP in terms of its processing and memory overhead (though APK may point out that it's still less efficient than a hosts file...).

uMatrix, however, is likely better for many of the people around here, since it provides a simple UI made up of a matrix of boxes that allow you to enable/disable different types of content on a per-subdomain basis for each site you visit. By default, it only allows CSS and images from sites other than the one you're on, which blocks basically all tracking immediately, but also breaks functionality on some sites until you whitelist specific items. For me, I find that if I drop it onto a new computer, there's 2-3 weeks of infrequent fiddling needed before I've gotten it configured to the point where I'm not having to open it up on a daily basis, but after that, I only need to pop it open once in a blue moon and it works like a champ.

Ghostery is fine and all, and it used to be one of my go-to add-ons, but I find that for anywhere it comes up short (either because it lets stuff through that it shouldn't, or doesn't let stuff through that I want), it's a pain to manually configure. In contrast, uBlock Origin and uMatrix put those controls right in front of you, which is why they've become my preferred ones.

Comment Re:Sheep. (Score 4, Insightful) 120

I'll bite.

If a sheep, in this context, is just someone who thoughtlessly follows the herd, then sure, that number suggests there are likely a lot of sheep. So what? The alternative is to buy into Android, and nothing says, "I think for myself and stand against conformity", like buying into the only smartphone ecosystem that's even more popular than iOS.

We each have a finite amount of time and a finite amount of attention, so we choose the things that matter to us. Choosing iOS for reasons that matter to you is fine. Choosing Android for reasons that matter to you is fine. Choosing that you don't care about the choice and that you'd rather worry about things that are more important to you is fine.

Most people won't do any of those and will instead just follow the herd, regardless of the platform they select in the end, which means that, yes, a large number of purchasers means a large number of sheep. But again, so what? The same is true for any mass-produced product, whether we're talking smartphones, cars, canned goods, or clothes.

Other than feeling smug about your own choice, I don't see what your comment accomplishes.

Comment Re:..doesnt factor in connection cost. (Score 1) 174

You won't hear any disagreement from me. I already pointed out that cable's numbers were less favorable than the summary suggests, and I definitely agree that the usage numbers seem high. That said, good luck finding numbers on how often people leave their TVs on while doing other activities around the house.

Comment Re:I say (Score 4, Interesting) 244

Indeed. Last I checked, facts aren't copyrightable, trademarked, or otherwise protected by intellectual property rights (with the possible absurd exception of patented prime numbers), so if someone wants to report on the facts of the Olympics, such as the results or highlights, in their own words, they're entitled to do so. You can bluster and threaten as much as you want, but reporting on the facts is perfectly legal.

Comment Re:I call BFD here (Score 1) 600

I disagree that those speeds are too excessive for allowing cross traffic. I'm located in a rural-ish area kinda in the middle between Houston, Austin, and Dallas. We have plenty of state highways around here that are marked as 75 mph (and which are frequently driven at closer to 85 mph) with lightly-used county roads crossing them every mile or two. I've never seen or heard of a problem with the ones around here. The key factors, however, is that there are long lines of sight, wide lanes, no curves in the road at the places where those crossings are, and shoulders on the sides of the road in case you need to maneuver quickly out of your lane. Plus, these are divided highways, so the cars can stop in the median, making it much simpler for them to cross safely.

Comment Re:..doesnt factor in connection cost. (Score 2, Insightful) 174

Indeed. Once you adjust for the amount of content per hour of TV time (see math below), the cost for cable content is actually closer to $0.88/hr, rather than the $0.61/hr stated in the summary.

For the sake of fairness, if we take into account the average price Americans pay for an Internet connection, the cost for Netflix content ends up being about $1.22/hr. (math below). Of course, that number is kinda useless, since it fails to take into account the fact that most people in the developed world will be purchasing an Internet connection regardless of their interest in Netflix, as well as the fact that their Internet connection provides them with an essentially infinite stream of content from free sources other than Netflix (e.g. YouTube, Hulu, etc.) at no additional cost. But for a hypothetical person who has an Internet connection for the sole purpose of watching Netflix and uses that connection for no other use, I suppose that the number above would indeed be what they pay per hour of content (assuming their viewing habits matched the average American's).

If anyone has more up-to-date numbers, corrections for my math, or ideas for how to improve on these calculations, I'd love to see them, since I'm actually really curious about this stuff.

Math for cable's cost per hour of content:
A typical hour-long American show has 42 minutes of actual content and 18 minutes of ads. As such, while the average American may have the TV tuned to a cable channel for 5.38 hours each day, they're only receiving about 3.766 hours of actual content each day, or 112.98 hours per 30-day month. When the average cable cost of $99.10/mo. is taken into account, that yields about $0.88/hr for cable content.

Math for Netflix's cost per hour of content with Internet connection included:
The most recent numbers I could find for the average price of Internet connectivity in America are from 2014, and that survey pegged the number at $51/mo. (which, I'll point out, would provide far more bandwidth than would be strictly necessary to get Netflix, but it's the average price, so I'm going with it). With the $9.99/mo. cost of Netflix factored in, that comes out to a total of $60.99/mo.. Factoring in the 100 min/day of viewing that the summary mentions (i.e. 50 hr/mo.), Netflix ends up costing $1.22/hr of content.

Comment Re:TFA is not terribly clear... (Score 1) 230

Yes, obviously there are 4th Amendment considerations (that I intentionally glossed over), but those are a separate topic and are not particularly relevant to the situation we're discussing given that warrants were issued. Moreover, warrants were also issued in both of the cases I described, but I purposefully left mention of them out of my comment so that I could focus on the 5th Amendment questions that are of significantly more interest to the case at hand.

When it comes to 4th Amendment matters, the case being discussed here isn't particularly interesting, so I see little point in getting bogged down in a discussion about warrants.

Comment Re:TFA is not terribly clear... (Score 1) 230

Why is my phone not protected because I used a fingerprint while your phone is because you used a passcode?

That's the thing: neither is protected against being searched. Your statement conflates the question of whether the police are allowed to access your phone with the question of whether the police are capable of accessing your phone. You appear to be well aware of the distinction, so your statement seemed a bit out of place in the rest of your comment, but as you suggested, in many situations, the police have the legal authority to access a device without necessarily having the means to do so.

And while the "access to the evidence is exactly the same" between a fingerprint and passcode (i.e. both would give the police access to evidence that a warrant says they are entitled to collect), you're incorrect about a passcode not being testimonial in nature. A passcode communicates the fact that you had an awareness of your access, for the simple reason that if you lacked that knowledge, you wouldn't be capable of supplying the requested passcode in the first place. In contrast, a fingerprint demonstrates access, but not necessarily an awareness or knowledge of that access (though they obviously often go hand-in-hand).

As you said, it may be necessary for the legal system to be updated to deal with the modern era, but I don't share your perspective that the police should be able to compel passcodes from individuals, since it's impossible to prove the negative statement that you never had an awareness of the passcode to begin with. If a courier carrying a package containing a laptop with an encrypted drive was compelled to provide the passcode, what recourse would they ever have against being jailed, despite having never known the passcode or done anything wrong? Could we just start planting encrypted drives on our enemies, anonymously tipping the police off that the drives contain something illegal, and then watch as our enemies face jail time for refusing to provide the passcodes? Obviously that's not a tenable situation.

In the meantime, while we work out those issues, we're left with what we have. Using a passcode doesn't provide you with any sort of legal protection against search and seizure, since that's a separate 4th Amendment issue, but it may provide practical protection against a search, simply on account of it cutting off the police's ability to rely on physical evidence to gain access to the device.

Comment Re:confusion about self-incrimination (Score 1) 230

In the particular case here, it's a thumbprint for access - but can the government compel you say a password aloud that will open a device, especially in that having that password proves you had access to incriminating documents.

The distinction here would be that a password not only demonstrates that you had access, which is a simple matter of fact that can be established using physical evidence, but also that you had knowledge, which is testimonial in nature and can be used to incriminate you, meaning that they cannot request it. In contrast, a fingerprint merely demonstrates that you had access. The fact that that your access may help establish other incriminating evidence against you is secondary.

Comment Re:TFA is not terribly clear... (Score 4, Interesting) 230

If [he was compelled to put his finger on the phone], then that's incontrovertibly a violation of the Fifth Amendment.

As someone who used to stand by that view, nowadays it strikes me as the stance of someone who values their privacy (as we all should!), but who hasn't thought through the ramifications of their stance yet.

For instance, I'd wager you have no problem when the police swab a suspect for their DNA, nor when a passed-out drunkard is compelled to provide a blood sample in the hospital after a DUI, yet in both cases the suspect is being compelled, potentially against their will, to provide something incriminating of themselves to a machine in the police's custody that will tell the police whether the evidence from the suspect is incriminating or not. That's no different than compelling a suspect to provide their fingerprint to a phone in the police's custody that may have the ability to incriminate the suspect.

In fact, both DNA evidence and the BAC measurement situation I described have made it through and been affirmed by the Supreme Court already (in some cases, multiple times), for the simple reason that the right against self-incrimination only extends to "testimonial" evidence (a.k.a. "communicative" evidence), not to "real" evidence...nor should it.

I recall reading portions of the majority opinions for some of the seminal cases in this area a year or two back when researching the topic, and one of them basically stated that if we took the notion that we can't collect incriminating "real" evidence to its logical conclusion, we wouldn't even be able to compel someone to reveal enough of their physical appearance for them to be recognizable to an eyewitness, which they asserted was utterly absurd and was clearly beyond the bounds of the protections afforded by the 5th Amendment. More or less, so long as the police have a warrant and aren't trying to compel any form of demonstration of knowledge (i.e. testimony), they're within their rights.

You've already said that you're fine with the police collecting fingerprints, which is good, since fingerprints are not testimonial/communicative in nature. But how the police collect and use them is left up to them to decide. Whether they collect them on a piece of paper, via an electronic scanner that stores them to local database, or by way of a sensor that writes them into a transient piece of memory on a mobile device makes no difference. In all three, they're simply compelling the suspect to provide a piece of evidence in their custody to a device or system in the police's custody. It's a simple transfer of physical evidence from the suspect to the police. The means may be different, but the thing being compelled is the same in all three cases.

That the evidence can be used to incriminate the suspect does not mean their rights have been violated. And the best course of action if you don't like that fact is to stop using real evidence (e.g. keys, fingerprints, etc.) as a locking mechanism.

Comment Re:Proprietary means no security (Score 1) 74

The Skype protocol is proprietary. No one has any idea if it is secure or not. Therefore it isn't secure. Support open standards and protocols.

That's some thinly veiled nonsense you've got there. You're arguing that because we are unable to verify a claim, the claim is necessarily untrue, when in reality our ability to verify a claim has no bearing on whether or not the claim is true (much as we might prefer for that to not be the case).

I'm all for open source when it comes to these matters because I firmly believe that public scrutiny is one of the best tools we have for improving the security of our software, and that it also comes with the nice benefit of building trust and confidence between developers and their community, but it is far from being the only tool in the box. By no means do I support what Microsoft has done here, but please, lets argue for our cause by using some actual logic, rather than by stating arbitrary rules as if they were immutable truths.

Comment Re:Result of brexit? (Score 4, Informative) 153

Uh, no.

The stock went up because of what Softbank offered, not the other way around.

Actually, uh, yes, the stock went up exactly for the reason AC said, as well as for the reason you said. From the article:

In fact, [SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son] said because ARM’s sales are mostly to customers in the U.S. and Asia, and are largely dollar-denominated, its stock has risen about 15 percent since the EU referendum vote. That means the deal actually became more expensive for SoftBank because of Brexit, not cheaper, he said.

ARM's valuation went up 15% after Brexit according to the article (just as AC said), and went up an additional 43% after news of the acquisition broke (just as you said), taking them to the price reported in the summary. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Comment Re: no end-to-end no streaming media (Score 2) 282

Yeah, I overstated things a bit, unfortunately. Corrections and clarifications are in a followup post.

That said, they could just reject a packet if they're not capable of doing deep packet inspection on it. And for consumer-level (i.e. tier 3) ISPs, they'd be present for the handshake, meaning that they may be able to stop the encryption before it begins, which is something they've already been caught doing.

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