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Comment Re:Account Recovery (Score 2) 66

Google no longer supports non-security questions for account recovery.

FTFY. Security questions are a joke. The answers are almost always easy for an attacker with a little bit of information about you to find, and a lot of the time the legitimate user can't remember them. Moreover, those two traits are strongly correlated: the harder it is for an attacker to find the answers, the more likely it is that the user won't be able to find them either.

Everyone should stop using them.

Comment Re:Reason (Score 1) 66

Google doesn't actually want your phone number for security. Google wants your phone number so that they can link the account in their database to other information that contains your phone number.

The number is to make account recovery possible in the event you've forgotten your password. The assumption is that attackers won't have access to your phone. That assumption is violated if your telco will transfer your number to the attacker's phone, of course.

If you prefer not to give your phone number to Google, don't. Just turn on two-factor auth using a non phone number-based auth method, either the Authenticator app or (better yet) a security key, or both. Then download and print out some backup 2FA codes and keep them somewhere safe. Google won't have your phone number and you won't be vulnerable to mistakes by dumb telco customer service reps.

Comment Re: Having a 'bad gene'... (Score 1) 384

This. It's not that (or not only that, at least) more people are dying of cancer, or even of specific cancers in this day and age; it's a combination of things like 'instead of having ten people dying of 'consumption' or 'old age' we now break it out into specific cancers' and 'well, a hundred years ago, they usually died of something else, first.'

And yeah, until very recently, kids were 'shy' or 'withdrawn' and would have undesirable traits beaten out of them; metaphorically or literally.

Comment Re:What is the point of view? (Score 2) 384

Well, think of it this way.

A housing development has a rash (pun intended) of break-ins.

They get together and decide to institute mandatory installation of alarm systems.

The number of break-ins goes down in direct proportion to the number of houses have alarm systems installed, until all the houses have them installed, and the number of break-ins is almost, but not quite, zero per year.

After a while, people start to think 'we don't have a break-in problem, why are we mandating these alarm systems?'

New houses under construction start to be built without alarm systems. What do you suppose happens to the break-in rate?

The price of freedom (from preventable disease) is eternal vigilance (of vaccination rates.)

It's real easy to say 'we don't need vaccines' when you've never seen a playmate in polio braces, or when pictures of a wall full of children in iron lungs is a quaint historical anachronism. When you don't have an Uncle Bob who's sterile from a bout of mumps. When having a dead sibling is unusual, and probably the result of accident or something, and not 'measles.'

Comment Re:Minefield (Score 2) 530

It's weird. I remember when a sitting president was sued for sexual assault, and at the time Democrats didn't seem to find the allegations credible. Nor the rape allegations. Well, I'm sure they had their reasons beyond just, you know, rank hypocrisy.

If Democrats didn't have double standards, they'd have no standards at all. :-P

Comment Re:Minefield (Score 1) 530

Has it now gotten to the point where I am more likely to be lynched for being like Hugh Hefner than Bruce Jenner?

The way they're going, you're more likely to be lynched for continuing to refer to Bruce Jenner by the name his parents gave him at birth.

Of course, the bastards will then come after me for this post because IDGAF about Bruce's delusions...or theirs.

Comment Re:Minefield (Score 1) 530

But with all that Trump has said or promoted, I've not seen yet where he came out to promote the agenda that is against equality in matters of gender and race.

You haven't seen him say it because he hasn't said it. The extreme-left noise machine has thrown out all of these...um...trumped-up charges, and their stenographers in the "mainstream" media have reliably parroted it far and wide.

Submission + - Wired says Google's Pixel is the best phone on the market

swillden writes: The reviews on Google's Pixel phones are coming in, and they're overwhelmingly positive. Most call them the best Android phones available, and at least one says they're the best phones available, period.

Wired's reviewer says he used to recommend the iPhone to people, but now he says "You should get a Pixel." The Verge, says "these are easily the best Android phones you can buy." The Wall Street Journal calls the Pixel "the Android iPhone you've been waiting for." ComputerWorld says "It's Android at its best."

AndroidPolice is more restrained, calling it "A very good phone by Google." The NY Times broke from the rest, saying "the Pixel is, relatively speaking, mediocre", but I'm a little skeptical of a reviewer who can't figure out how to use a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner without using both hands. It makes me wonder if he's actually held one.

Comment Re: Irony (Score 1) 85

They obviously know, but are legally forbidden from commenting.


I think people often forget that corporations are about the furthest thing possible from monolithic. It's entirely possible for one organization within a corporation to receive a request that is within its own ability and authority and to handle it without bothering to tell anyone else, or with only brief consultations with legal, who may not have kept any records. Given government secrecy requests/demands, that possibility grows even more likely. Further, corporations aren't static. They're constantly reorganized and even without reorgs people move around a lot, and even leave the company. There are some records of what people and organizations do, but they're usually scattered and almost never comprehensive.

It's entirely possible that they did something like this, that the system was installed and later removed, and that the only people who know about it have left the company or aren't speaking up because they were told at the time that they could never speak about it, and that the organization that was responsible for doing it and/or undoing it no longer even exists. It's possible that Yahoo's leadership's only option for finding out whether it happened is to scan old email to see if anyone discussed it via email (which may not have happened; see "government secrecy requests/demands") or to look in system configuration changleogs to find out if the system was ever deployed (and it may have been hidden under an innocuous-sounding name)... or to ask the government if the request was ever made.

Of course, my supposition here depends on a culture of cooperation with the government. I don't know if that existed at Yahoo. I think most of the major tech corporations at this point have a strong bias towards NON-cooperation, which would cause any request like this to go immediately to legal who would immediately notify the relevant C-level execs. But I have worked for corporations where the scenario I describe is totally plausible.

Comment Re:Warrant canary (Score 1) 22

I was expecting a Warrant canary. e.g. something to say they have not yet been been given secret orders by the NSA/CIA to install a backdoor for spying on users.

Like Apple used to have. Is there some reason Google cannot do that?

I think their absence of an existing Warrant Canary speaks volumes. (That is - they've already been issued such an order or warrant.)

Google's head lawyer, David Drummond, has explicitly said that Google has done no such thing. Of course, if the government could order him to lie, then that doesn't mean anything. But if the government could order corporations to lie, then it could order them to publish a false warrant canary statement.

Comment Re: I hope Apple Pay will die (Score 1) 283

I'm sorry but that's just not true. The two systems are vastly different in implementation. Google are acting as a financial intermediary for every transaction through use of a "virtual credit card" which is what is on your phone and what the vendors see (they never see your actual cards as they are only on Google'a servers). As a result, Google have access and knowledge of every detail of every transaction you make using their system. This aligns with their panopticon business model. By effectively acting as a middleman financial institution they don't need any agreement with banks etc. Every transaction you make actually becomes two 1. Google pays vendor, 2. Google charges your bank.

Your information is out of date.

What you say was the mechanism that Google Wallet used, in its second version. The evolution of Google's NFC payment system went as follows:

1. The initial release used a secure element (essentially a smart card chip) and installed your actual credit card information in the SE, using the standardized EMV solution straight up. (EMV is EuroPay/Mastercard/Visa, a consortium that creates payment standards). Initially only Chase cards were supported because this approach requires support from the issuer.

In this version Google was not a middleman.

2. Due to banks being very slow to get on board with SE-based NFC payments, and due to lots of opposition from carriers (who wanted to become the new payments infrastructure, see ISIS/SoftPay), Google abandoned the SE-based solution and invented something called Host Card Emulation (HCE). In this model, your actual credit card information was kept off the phone entirely, stored only in Google's servers. A proxy card was used to make payments at the point of sale, using pre-computed single-use cryptographic tokens computed on the server and stored on the phone. The proxy card allowed Google Wallet to support any and all credit and debit cards -- in theory any payment mechanism that Google's back-end payment infrastructure could support.

In this version Google acted as a middleman, as you say.

3. AndroidPay deployed after ApplePay and uses a payment architecture very similar to ApplePay, called "network tokenization". The idea is that the interchange networks can produce cryptographic credentials which can be validated by the network, which then passes the validated transaction back to the card issuer. This means that the issuing banks have dramatically less work to do to support NFC payments than in the original EMV-specified model (the one used by Google Wallet). Network tokenization was under development when Google Pay deployed initially, but far from ready to go. Apple waited until it was before launching, and as soon as it was available Google shifted to it as well. They still work somewhat differently, in that Apple uses long-lived multi-use tokens stored in the secure enclave, while Google uses short-lived, single-use tokens stored in Android, and encrypted with a key kept only in RAM and re-downloaded after each reboot.

In this version Google is no longer a middleman.

I expect that a future iteration of AndroidPay will shift to using tokens stored in the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), discarding the RAM-only key, but that will have to wait until all of the devices using AndroidPay have the TEE with the necessary software.

Comment Re:I hope Apple Pay will die (Score 1) 283

You have to do that regardless, every few years, when you get a new card. I use a Web-only Mastercard. It used to be valid for one year. (They seem to have changed it, it's now valid for two years). I have no problem doing that. Usually, I just bother updating the card when a system tells me that my current card stored isn't valid any more. It grows organically over time.

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