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Comment Re:Oklahoma? (Score 1) 1161

Regardless, the chilling effect is the same. This is just like a local gangster walking into a store and saying "Nice store here. Wouldn't want anything to happen to it." before offering their services to guarantee the building doesn't get burned down.

Did they burn down the storefront or actually threaten the store owner? No, but the effect is the same.

Comment Re:When will you get it right? (Score 1) 366

Absolutely. Not many people have any idea just how powerful relational databases are. Say I have access to your phone records and your credit cards, and the ability to access the same info for other people.

Patterns crop up pretty quickly, so you can check how often two people call each other, then look for similarities in their credit card billing. Once you've established a pattern you're interested in, you can just ripple on outwards and start grabbing more people of interest, comparing a few different variables to look for more matches.

It's infinitely more invasive than a camera and there's absolutely no way for the targets of any of this surveillance to know it's going on.

Comment Re:Waiting.. (Score 1) 449

Good points, but I'm curious to know how much of those development costs are recouped by government subsidies and tax breaks.

A significant chunk of the research done takes place at state-funded universities using both government and private grants. Additionally, costs like extra staff used to administer test programs are usually written straight out as tax breaks at the end of the year, so the effective cost is often zero.

So yes, the taxpayers get it coming and going. We pay to subsidize those programs through our taxes then we pay extortionate health premiums to buy overpriced drugs sold through expensive advertising campaigns.

Comment Re:ID Theft Field Day? (Score 2, Informative) 262

So to combat the stupidity of the State of Virginia, She goes on a tear of Stupidity of her own?

The next law the State of Virginia should pass in this vein is one that makes it a felony to post SSN's in public.

That's kind of the point: Ms. Ostergren got the numbers from publicly available, online state records in the first place, so the State of Virginia would, in fact, not be complying with its own law. She's doing this to ... wait for it ... attract enough attention to get a law passed so all SSNs would automatically be redacted at the document level so there would be no SSN information to reproduce downstream in the first place.

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