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Comment Re:The end justifies the means (Score 4, Insightful) 294

Somewhere around 20-40% of the info in these documents will turn out to be wrong or misleading in some critical way.

I'm sure that will be a great comfort to the alleged witches as they drown.

Also, just because some personal data is correct, that doesn't mean the entire world has any right or need to know. People suffer unfair discrimination or worse because of perfectly legitimate personal matters all the time, which is the most compelling argument for the importance of privacy.

Comment Re:Would they believe (Score 1) 344

Wow, what kind of super-futuristic place did you live in with your fancy-pants downloading and modems and BBSes? In 1983, I think I was still typing the source code for games from books into my little ZX81, and praying that I didn't knock the 32K RAM pack loose and crash everything before I had a chance to play!

Comment Re:FYI (Score 5, Insightful) 344

So if you are posting with any handle other than "Anonymous Coward" you will need to provide that handle to your friendly neighborhood spy.

Or just not travel to countries that don't treat their visitors with respect and basic human decency.

There are many places I would love to visit in the world, far more than I ever will be able to in one lifetime I expect. Why would I voluntarily subject myself to the kind of culture we're talking about here, when I can be welcomed as both a tourist and a business person in so many other places?

Obviously some people have no choice, and I hope things work out OK for them, but this sort of policy seems absurdly counter-productive for people who do have a choice and do care about the way they are treated.

Comment Re:Sounds like a great idea! (Score 4, Informative) 275

Actually, there does appear to be a somewhat reasonable third choice: Microsoft will apparently also be offering a security-only bundle each month, though it looks like you'll have to install it manually if you're not using WSUS as it won't be fetched via Windows Update. You still won't be able to cherry-pick individual updates, but at least it won't come with all the other stuff you probably don't want -- unless they decide to call some of that "security".

(There's a specific question about this, and a response from the Microsoft guy confirming that a monthly security bundle will be available for all of the different Windows 7 variants, in the questions below the blog post itself.)

Comment Re:We need a new image, or a big list of KBs (Score 2) 275

For comparison, the Win 7 Pro machine I'm running this on has a little over 200 installed security updates (relative to Win 7 SP 1, I assume). It also has about 100 other updates, the overwhelming majority of which were installed by the supplier before delivery since I stopped installing non-security Windows updates by default long before this machine arrived.

I, too, would love to see a slipstreamed image that could be used to reinstall Windows 7 if necessary after this new silliness has taken over.

Comment Re:Nice as a default, not as a mandate (Score 3, Interesting) 275

We've stopped installing almost all recent updates from MS anyway, since we basically now consider them more dangerous than not patching anything except clearly identified security vulnerabilities.

My concern with the new plan is whether any machines that need a fresh installation after October will no longer be able to download the currently available updates of our choice. If Microsoft make the Windows Update system only work with the new monthly roll-ups and won't supply the previous individual patches any more, that would be significantly worse than just not offering any new patches outside of the monthly roll-ups.

Comment Re: Worldwide news are always US only. (Score 2) 256

The entire global technology infrastructure begins and ends with the United States. [...] Intel, AMD, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Facebook.... All US companies.

That looks like a reasonable list of most of the biggest US companies in computing today. You might have added a few more, notably Amazon, and perhaps the big PC manufacturers like Dell.

However, for their size and resources, many of these companies have done remarkably little to advance technology infrastructure in the last few years. Almost all of them became big on the back of a small number of very successful products or services, but many of their more recent attempts to diversify have failed horribly. Today they mostly survive because they're so huge that they can afford to buy almost any other business that is actually innovative and potentially disruptive to their market dominance, and that's also how a lot of "their" innovation happens. Most of them are going to be in trouble if one or two geee that lay golden eggs die, and in several cases there are warning signs already.

Meanwhile, you kind of forgot all the Asian giants and quite a few European companies that actually make most of those smartphones you mentioned, not to mention many of the household appliances we buy, huge amounts of telecomms infrastructure, huge amounts of transportation tech...

Comment Re:If it looks like a phone company. (Score 1) 25

Keep your regulations out of my voluntary exchange and contracts.

The trouble happens when your deal is no longer voluntary in practice, because the service is becoming essential to normal life but the service provider(s) available to you are all imposing undesirable terms so you have no option to choose an alternative.

Comment Re:changes only after liability suits (Score 1) 85

I'm expecting that TTIP is dead at this point. It seems to have become a toxic issue in several EU member states and senior government officials have started overtly challenging its credibility. Plus with the US election coming up and Hillary Clinton publicly saying she won't support TPP, it would be difficult for her to come out in favour of TTIP, and with Brexit still a big issue, the last thing the EU needs is to be seen to be weak in international trade negotiations.

Comment Re:What have we become? (Score 2) 446

The irony is that if we applied those sorts of measures to our governments, the world would probably be a better place. It is far more important that governments are transparent and accountable to their citizens than the other way around.

And the thing is, that applies at any scale. My sig around these parts used to point out that throughout human history, the greatest threat to life and quality of life has not been terrorism but the power of the state.

Comment Re:If you do nothing wrong, then yak yak yak (Score 1) 446

We have populace where they think that if you do nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about.

Indeed, a disturbing number of people do seem to think that way. Humans aren't good at evaluating the risk of serious damage if it only happens rarely and has never happened to them.

Meanwhile, one of the most celebrated quotations of modern times goes something like this:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Its origin is uncertain and it's obviously sexist phrasing by modern standards, but otherwise it's as true today as it ever was.

Here's another well-known quotation, also of uncertain origin (commonly attributed to Cardinal Richelieu but this is dubious) and also very telling:

Give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, and I will find there something with which to hang him.

In short, if you do nothing wrong then bad people can still hurt you, and if you do nothing at all then sooner or later they probably will.

Comment Re:Privacy? Fuck you. (Score 1) 212

Sure, in the same way that it's painfully obvious any packet using the expression "shake it off" is an infringement of copyright on a well-known pop song.

Not only that, but to make this actually stand up in court against a technically competent argument by the other side, you would probably need to ensure that the iPlayer always sends some unusual and therefore distinctive sequence of packet sizes (which is far from a trivial issue if you're serving via HTML5 video, for example) so you have some sort of signature to look for. Then you would need to be able to recognise that signature in real world wireless traffic, in the presence of encryption, fragmentation, control traffic, and arbitrary other data being transferred between the same systems at the same time.

Good luck with that. It would be like looking for needles in a haystack, when each needle was made by cutting and drying vegetable matter, and each needle had similar but slightly varying dimensions like hay, and you didn't know how many needles, if any, were actually there in the first place.

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