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Comment Re: "treason" "terrorism" (Score 4, Informative) 236

Article III, Section 3:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

If Enemies is a subset of Everyone, then giving Aid and Comfort to Everyone is an act of Treason, at least until the US makes peace with Everyone. Specifically what Snowdon exposed was the difficulty the US Government has in distinguishing between Everyone and Enemy.

"Eddard Stark: What you suggest is treason.
Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish: Only if we lose."

Comment Re:Isn't that a contradiction? (Score 1) 148

Fair is the compromise between the balance of interests of the various people who create, consume and reuse of creative content.

"Fair" could be defined as anywhere between everything is automatically public domain and fair is giving the content creator absolute power over every tiny aspect about how this work is used until the end of time. Both extremes would affect the possible business models of content creators and the net social utility value that humanity derives from this content.

"Fair use" is the current attempt to legally define where this balance should lie. The real question of course is how do you put a financial figure on net social utility value, when the copyright industry has a vested interest in maximizing and guaranteeing licensing fees.

Comment Re:Its about child support (Score 1) 374

You mean like this gossip story involving Princess Diana's fertility test pre-embryo's which where stolen by a rogue doctor and implanted into his wife as a surrogate. She is apparently called Sarah, and if it wasn't for the cutoff date on male-first inheritance of the crown, she would technically be in the direct line of succession, after Prince Charles and before Kate Middleton.

http://metro.co.uk/2015/04/25/...

Comment Re:Why do they want us to see it anyway? (Score 1) 300

Firstly, IS did offer to ransom James Foley, for $100 million dollars, and the US refused to negotiate with "terrorists", so there is that old saying "never make an idle threat". The public act of beheading him communicated that they where serious in their threat, which then forced the US to back up its own threat of military action in retaliation for violence towards US citizens.

The second reason was properganda, its a big public statement that not only do they not fear Amercia, they are capable of inflicting damage (a single citizen) upon the worlds great superpower.

Comment Properganda Warfare (Score 3, Interesting) 300

"The internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it"

On a technical level, the video is now out there on the internet and once out you can't put the genie back in the bottle.

Islamic State is a new "empire" currently conducting a war of expansion, much like many of the Western European powers did during the last millennium. The Geneva conventions are in essence a gentleman's agreement between the members of the "nation-state" club as to how to conduct war in a "civilized" manner. Islamic State rejects the fundamental notion that it needs to be bound by the rules and traditions of "western civilization".

In essence what they have done is to publicly execute a hostage for non-payment of ransom, a common practice several centuries ago.

The more political issue is censorship and properganda warfare, who gets to control which information we see. Censorship or adding a non-skippable PSA is all about attempting to control the message, that the little people must not be allowed to think the wrong things, doubly so in a democracy. The war against communism followed a similar pattern of attempting to censor "subversive" ideas, such that Western Civilization isn't the only way to run things.

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1, Informative) 146

This also won't work against the "terrorist" Buddhist monks who have decades of training in maintaining a perfectly zen state of calmness even in extreme situations... however their shaven heads and robes might be a dead give away.

"The Chinese foreign ministry has accused the Dalai Lama of "terrorism in disguise" for supporting Tibetans who have set themselves on fire in protest against Beijing's rule." - http://www.theguardian.com/wor...

Comment Re:Misuse of FOIA (Score 5, Interesting) 231

Edward Snowdon understood what would happen if he where to seriously try and push the issue internally.

The global surveillance network was a core NSA policy authorized at the highest levels. This was not simply some rouge agent or rouge department. Previous individuals have attempted to raise concerns internally and failed to achieve any change underlying policy. The NSA has even deliberately lied to congress on the matter.

As a contractor, he has no employment rights. Making noise would likely get his security clearance revoked and his employer finding someone else who doesn't have a moral problem with surveillance. It would also likely get himself added to the NSA watchlist.

As a pragmatist, his decision to publicly release records has successfully created enough political pressure for congress to at least review the NSA's policies. A cowardly little shit who was willing to risk everything on a high risk venture, with a very strong possibility of getting caught, that takes some major balls from someone who knows exactly what the NSA is capable of.

Comment Re:Come now. (Score 1) 104

Though in this case, it also highlights a degree of redundancy. No material was actually lost, but there where multiple spreadsheets and a data discrepancy discovered during a audit. This triggered an alarm and an investigation, the system failed safe. Maybe that was a high degree of wasted effort over a false alarm, but it would appear to add an extra layer of security against data manipulation to hide deliberate theft.

Comment Re:Why don't they just convert them? (Score 1) 232

US Regulations prohibit selling assets through a foreign owned exchange (are there any major US bitcoin exchanges?). There may also be bureaucratic rules for seized assets to be offered at public auction. There may also be the worry that dumping a large quantities of bitcoin onto the open market may crash the price, and someone would have to be responsible for agreeing a selling strategy (which will be criticized with the benefit of hindsight).

The US government also wishes to keep these coins out of the underground economy (ie the digital pirates). They can't verify the identities or force a conditions of resale agreement on joe public at a bitcoin exchange.

Comment Re:Can we blacklist these coins? (Score 1) 232

Now assuming such a system where to be widely implemented in software, a more likely scenario would be for the government to impose this address history blacklisted on government registered financial institutions. The government would no longer need to seize the Silk Road bitcoins, but simply discover their anonymous bitcoin address and freeze the the entire forward chain of the proceeds of "illicit crime" (this would be done mostly likely before a trial). Should the bitcoins themselves be recovered, the government can simply remove the address from the blacklist and then auction them back to the market.

There would still be an underground economy that didn't care for the blacklist designation, but if there was a significant amount of blacklisted coins and sufficent market demand for whitelisted coins (ie I can't pay my taxes or my mortgage with blacklisted coins, maybe the major exchanges would become legally obligated to implement the blacklists), then there would effectively become a market rate at bitcoin laundries selling blacklisted coins for whitelisted ones.

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky

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