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Comment Re:Blame Google. (Score 1) 239

Well, Google can certainly choose to just uncritically comply with all requests, for now - which means that they'll deliberately be offering a worse service to save money. As a quasi-monopolist, that's a thing that they can probably keep on doing for quite some time, too. They could also work within the law as interpreted by the courts to work out efficient procedures that everybody can live with, which is a better idea, long term.

Comment Re:Blame Google. (Score 1) 239

If you are a company that offers something, you are responsible for complying with regulations regarding that thing. If you sell meat, you are responsible for ensuring it is not rotten. If you manufacture or sell toys, it is your responsibility to ensure that they do not contain toxic substances nor small parts that are easy to swallow. And if you run a search engine, you have to ensure not to infringe on the privacy rights of your customers. As with any other company, the costs for this are costs you are going to have to calculate with when considering how to do business, and what kinds of business models are viable for you.

I have no idea where technology companies, especially U.S. based ones, get this idea that they should be allowed to infringe upon rights and regulations wherever it gets in the way of doing business simply because what they do is somehow new and cool. That's not how that works. Mercedes-Benz cannot make a car that doesn't follow road safety regulations, even though that may allow for cool things and cheaper cars. And in the same vein, Facebook cannot simply store whatever data they please and sell it to whomever, and Google cannot simply index all things until the end of times, even if all of these things would be very useful for them and possibly allow for neat features - because there are regulations that protect the common interest, which they have to follow.

Comment Who gives a shit? (Score 1, Insightful) 593

If your company demographics are significantly different from general demographics, you are probably not hiring the best person for the job - probably, your hiring is skewed towards some demographic, for whatever reason (number of canidates, subtle unconcious or even open racism or sexism). If you want to have the best people for the job, you should have a strong interest figuring out if you have such a bias in your hiring and to eliminate it.

Further, diversity is healthy, especially in jobs that require some creativity. Many different people with many different approaches beats a bunch of people who all work roughly the same way.

Comment Re:How many ways are there to do simple things? (Score 1) 694

The system we used here was actually smart enough to not flag common idioms like this, and also still flag cases where only the variable names and formatting had been changed. Also, our assignments were usually complex enough that there would be enough variation, anyways. Most things about our automated hand-in system sucked, but the plagiarism detector wasn't one of them. If you're curious:

Stealing Data Via Electrical Outlet 208

Ponca City, We love you writes "NetworkWorld reports that security consultants Andrea Barisani and Daniele Bianco are preparing to unveil their methodology at the Black Hat USA conference for stealing information typed on a computer keyboard using nothing more than the power outlet to which the computer is connected. When you type on a standard computer keyboard, electrical signals run through the cable to the PC. Those cables aren't shielded, so the signal leaks via the ground wire in the cable and into the ground wire on the computer's power supply. The attacker connects a probe to a nearby power socket, detects the ground leakage, and converts the signal back into alphanumeric characters. So far, the attack has proven successful using outlets up to about 15 meters away. The cost of the equipment to carry out the power-line attack could be as little as $500 and while the researchers admit their hacking tools are rudimentary, they believe they could be improved upon with a little time, effort and backing. 'If our small research was able to accomplish acceptable results in a brief development time (approximately a week of work) and with cheap hardware,' they say, 'Consider what a dedicated team or government agency can accomplish with more expensive equipment and effort.'"
The Courts

Groklaw Summarizes the Lori Drew Verdict 457

Bootsy Collins writes "Last Wednesday, the Lori Drew 'cyberbullying' case ended in three misdemeanor convictions under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1986 US Federal law intended to address illegally accessing computer systems. The interpretation of the act by the Court to cover violations of website terms of service, a circumstance obviously not considered in the law's formulation and passage, may have profound effects on the intersection of the Internet and US law. Referring to an amicus curiae brief filed by online rights organizations and law professors, PJ at Groklaw breaks down the implications of the decision to support her assertion that 'unless this case is overturned, it is time to get off the Internet completely, because it will have become too risky to use a computer.'"

Hardy Heron Making Linux Ready for the Masses? 1100

desmondhaynes writes "Is Linux ready for the masses? Is Linux really being targeted towards the 'casual computer user'? Computerworld thinks we're getting there, talking of Linux 'going mainstream 'with Ubuntu. 'If there is a single complaint that is laid at the feet of Linux time and time again, it's that the operating system is too complicated and arcane for casual computer users to tolerate. You can't ask newbies to install device drivers or recompile the kernel, naysayers argue. Of course, many of those criticisms date back to the bad old days, but Ubuntu, the user-friendly distribution sponsored by Mark Shuttleworth's Canonical Ltd., has made a mission out of dispelling such complaints entirely.'"

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