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Comment Re:Halfway There (Score 1) 417

It's not "gun controllers bringing it up", it's manufacturers working on them. What do you have against manufacturers developing new products?

I have absolutely nothing against manufacturers developing new gun safety products and offering them on the market. The concern with these "smart" guns is that they'll be mandated by law. This has already happened in New Jersey. The 2002 Childproof Handgun Law says that three years after "smart" guns are available for sale in the US, all guns for sale in New Jersey must be "smart". The law doesn't require that the guns be in any way reliable or have obtained any significant market share, just that they've been available for sale. So if these actually make it to market people in NJ who want reliable guns are screwed. And if any other states, or Congress, passes a similar law, then all of us are screwed.

Actually, I'd have no problem with smart guns if they were really reliable. And there's a really simple reliability screening test we can use: offer them to military and law enforcement personnel. Cops in particular should see a lot of value in smart guns because cops occasionally get shot with their own guns. However, they also need their guns to be extremely reliable, and big departments and the FBI have the institutional resources and motivation to seriously test them. So, once the technology reaches a level where police are not only willing to use smart guns but actively want them then it's fine to mandate them for civilians.

Of course, thanks to the NJ law, civilians are going to fight like hell to keep these things off the shelves, which means that the years of refinement needed to make them reliable is never going to happen. Not in the US, anyway.

Comment It's an old story (Score 1) 350

"Accounts of the Soviet labor system should be suppressed even if true, since otherwise the French working class might become anti-Soviet."
-- Jean-Paul Sartre

The old story is, "should we journalists tell the truth even when it harms our own political prejudices?" And sadly, the answer is typically "no". Just like here. If the leaked emails had been damaging to Trump, Democrats everywhere would be cheering the hero Wikileaks again, and toasting with the most expensive Russian vodka they could get their hands on. But that didn't happen. What happened?

The Establishment's chosen candidate (Democrat voters certainly didn't choose her, if you voted in the primaries it was an utter waste of your time) was exposed as the lying sack of shit that she is. Not once have the Democrats denied any of the emails. NOT ONCE. So, naturally, journalists are coming up with all sorts of rationalizations not to publish these, because otherwise the American people might make the wrong choice and choose the candidate who won't put the Establishment's needs first. It's an old story that's been repeated and We The People get fucked every time.

"No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?"
-- George Orwell, "Animal Farm"

Comment I have one of those watches (Score 4, Informative) 417

Actually, it's a fitness band that shows the time. It's supposed to unlock my phone automatically if I'm in range. Since I hold my phone with the hand with the watch on it, and swipe with the other, the band is always in range. I'd say 6 times out of 10 it works OK, 2 times out of 10 there is an irritating delay while it displays the password prompt and figures out it should unlock, and 2 times out of 10 it doesn't work at all and I have to input the password. Not something you want your life depending on.

Firearms are already complex mechanical devices, there is a lot that can go wrong already. 10 minutes after the smart band becomes legislated into existence, evil men will start carrying jammers to interrupt the signal so that other people's (legitimately purchased) firearms can never be fired. Including the police. The criminals, will, of course, not be subject to these restrictions. Not following the law is kind of the definition of what a criminal is.

Comment "Don't be evil" (Score 2) 153

Well, it seems that Google is only going to become more and more evil from now on. It was a good ride while it lasted. We got more than most companies, a solid ten years of good service. But now, the new crop of executives is in place and to them, "don't be evil" sounds like the stupidest motto ever. The old internet culture of sharing and open source and being trustworthy...well it just has no place in today's Google. The new breed just doesn't get it, or understand why it's important. It can be enforced, for a while. I'm sure it will live on in certain Google divisions, but as a principle it's dead as Dillinger.

I've used as my primary "real name email" for doing hotel reservations and such, anything that requires my real name. Obviously this has to come to a halt. Where should I migrate my real name email to? Is there any trustworthy email provider? Or, a provider in some oddball country that doesn't give a crap about spying on me? As I think the days of free email are behind us, I don't mind paying say, $5/month or something.

Comment Re:If the point was ... (Score 4, Insightful) 326

There's no proof that it has anything to do with Wikileaks, but in a world of IoT devices with no thought toward security, anyone who cares to do so can mount DDOS with the power of a national entity.

What's the point of doing what Assange and Wikileaks have been doing without any moral position? He isn't helping his own case.

Comment Re:Legal? (Score 2) 276

No, of course it is not legal to set a trap to intentionally hurt someone, even if you expect that the trap could only be activated by the person committing property theft or vandalism. Otherwise, you'd see shotguns built into burglar alarms.

Fire alarm stations sometimes shoot a blue dye which is difficult to remove or one which only shows under UV. Never stand in front of one when pulling the lever! But they are not supposed to hurt you.

And of course these booby traps generally are not as reliable as the so-called "inventor" thinks and tend to hurt the innocent.

Comment Re:Account Recovery (Score 2) 105

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) 105

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:"Sweeping Outage"??? (Score 1) 264

Congratulations for earning the "Eurotrash idiot of the thread" award. I didn't think a technical story like this could get the award, but you nailed it. Maybe you need to stop reading US websites. Read European technology websites, like, uh, I'm not really sure, but I'm sure they're there and a thousand times better than Slashdot.

Comment Re:Good! (Score 0) 342

Populism? What does this have to do with Donald Trump? The Fukushima disaster permanently ruined the name of nuclear power. I see we are unfamiliar with left-wing and environmentalist causes. The entire issue is dead as a doornail. Nuclear = bye-bye. You don't believe me, go ask them yourselves (and bring a flameproof coat, these people get REALLY angry about the issue).

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) 89

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.

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