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Comment Re:You've got to appreciate the irony... (Score 1) 54

It wasn't an email, it was a draft of what could have become an email.

I'd say a draft is an email that just hasn't been sent yet. If I handwrite a letter to someone on paper, but I haven't placed it in the mailbox, would you argue that what I wrote isn't actually a letter because it's still sitting on my desk?

As such, it was just a file.

Every sent and received email is also "just a file," at least that's how they're stored on my systems.

Comment Re: What I want to know is (Score 1) 62

I've never installed LinkedIn so I wasn't affected by this, but yes, the Android permission model is what made this possible. Being that it's all-or-nothing, you can't say "OK, I want to install LinkedIn but not allow it to access my contacts." Unless you root your phone, you either allow an app every permission it wants, or you can't install it. My understanding is that the most recent version of Android is supposed to mitigate this a bit, but it's anyone's guess as to if/when carriers will actually push that version out to devices on their networks. It sure hasn't shown up on my phone.

Comment Re:100-mile zone (Score 2) 247

And? The government must follow the constitution regardless of how far away from the border they are.
Even if you are at the North Pole the government isn't allowed to violate the constitution.

Yes, and thank heavens they're so diligent about adhering to the rules. The NSA doesn't conduct warrantless wiretapping on a massive scale; the FBI doesn't use stingrays or plant malware on peoples' computers; police and corrections officers don't execute people without due process. Such a very effective piece of paper that Constitution has turned out to be.

Comment Re: What I want to know is (Score 1) 62

For a good while, if you installed the LinkedIn app on your phone, it would harvest your contacts' email addresses and send them spam for LinkedIn on your behalf. "I want you to join my professional network" or some such garbage. The permissions requested by the app were typical of social networking apps (they all "require" access to your contacts) and there was no indication to the user that LinkedIn would be sending out emails. They stopped this practice after being sued, but the behavior turned a lot of people away and permanently associated the LinkedIn brand with spam and shady activity.

Comment Re:I'm sure they will fully comply (Score 4, Informative) 120

I can confirm this.

About 10 years ago when I switched phone carriers (didn't port my number, not sure if that was even a thing yet), I got assigned a phone number that had previously belonged to someone who may have had debt. I was getting calls morning noon and night from a collection agency named Luebke Baker, looking for the guy who had the number before me. No amount of "you've got the wrong fucking number" made any difference, they kept on calling, always spoofing different numbers from different area codes, sometimes a dozen calls a day.

I got fed up and went through the FCC complaint process. I don't know how it works now, but at the time, they had a web form that required an intense level of detail and took a long time to fill out. I submitted it. About a month later, I got an envelope in the mail from the FCC. It contained a printed copy of my complaint form, about 15 sheets of paper worth, with a letter saying they found no violation of anything and I was welcome to submit another complaint if I wanted.

Thanks and no thanks, I had Sprint change my phone number. Luebke Baker eventually got fined by the FTC instead of the FCC, I guess I should have sent my complaint there instead.

Comment Re:Contact Google? (Score 1) 465

it's illegal to operate an online pharmacy with a .ca domain

So you reported illegal activity to Google, and they took action. That's great, they have a duty to respond to such claims. But that experience has no bearing on the scenario where someone whose blog was deleted might ask to have it restored. Try asking Google for something that doesn't involve criminal activity or the threat of lawyers. Position yourself as an end user with some trouble with a Google service, contact them and come tell us how that works out. Try reporting spam that originates from Gmail, not just the From: header, but received by your own MTA from e.g., and the same sender continues on unabated after multiple reports. This is hardly a new problem.

Yes, if you're a paying customer of Google or if you're reporting something that might involve some legal exposure to Google, you might get a response. Otherwise in my experience you're out of luck.

"Experimental artwork" can be a euphemism for anything. Even images of violence against women will get your blog nuked.

I would expect images of violence against women to get a blog nuked from any free service, Google or not. Someone who wants to publish such imagery would surely need to pay for their own server. I'm not sure where that plays into Google's reputation for customer service.

Comment Re:Meh (Score 4, Interesting) 407

There's also the fact that about half the names released so far that are speaking at the RNC are either Trump's family or sports "stars" like Dana White and Tim Tebow.

That side of the campaign sounds more like Camacho 2016 with each passing day. Tell me this exchange doesn't sound familiar.

  • President Camacho: Now I understand everyone's shit's emotional right now. But I've got a 3 point plan that's going to fix EVERYTHING!
  • Congressman #1: Break it down, Camacho!
  • President Camacho: Number 1: We've got this guy Not Sure. Number 2: He's got a higher IQ than ANY MAN ALIVE. and Number 3: He's going to fix EVERYTHING.

It sounds like every single platform statement Trump has come up with.

  • Press: What is your stance on $ISSUE_X?
  • Trump: We're talking with the best people, smart people, real high energy people, and you're going to love what we do about $ISSUE_X!

I'm growing weary of politicians using 1984 as a playbook, but I'd really prefer not to see Idiocracy used as one, either.

Comment Re:Too bad Windows Update isn't working (Score 1) 78

KB3168965 is this month's fix for the ever-slowing Win7 update process. Download whichever one applies to you, then reboot and immediately run the installer, before Windows Update has time to fire itself up and hog half your CPU for the next few hours. After rebooting again, Windows Update should do its thing more quickly until they break it again next month.

Comment Re:You would think. . . (Score 1) 118

One of the problems is that due to the nature of how cellphones work, and how the stingray works, people who are not suspects or legitimate surveillance targets are going to have their data intercepted too. Even supposing the police do get a warrant to intercept Joe's cellphone traffic, the stingray will, by design, also vacuum up the cellphone traffic of anyone else in the vicinity. That is not legal. Compare to a scenario where the police get a warrant to tap Joe's landline. They have permission to tap Joe's landline and only Joe's landline; they don't get to tap the entire exchange and promise (wink, wink) that they'll only listen to Joe's phone calls.

Comment Re:You would think. . . (Score 2) 118

Why the heck aren't there apps that warn you when a new cell tower pops up in an area?

There's AIMSICD, although I'm not sure how accurate it is. I played with it a bit last year and got a few yellow warnings, so the app detects something, but it's possible those were due to legitimate roaming or tower-sharing mechanisms. When protests were ongoing in Baltimore last year, multiple people with the app reported seeing orange warnings, which mean there's definitely some fuckery going on nearby, and red warnings, which mean the user's specific phone is being targeted.

My big problems with AIMSICD last year were that it chewed through battery, the cell tower map never worked right, the upload function for was hit or miss, and there was little or no proper documentation about what the app actually does or what its different indicators mean. I think English was a second language for (most of) the developers as well as many of the users; this made the wiki and issue tracker difficult to parse. As neither an Android developer nor a subject matter expert, there wasn't much I could do to understand what was happening under the hood.

That aside, the trouble with any stingray detector app is that it runs at the consumer OS level and can only know the "facts" that OS chooses to expose. It seems likely to me that most of the unconstitutional warrantless wiretapping functionality would operate at the baseband level, below and perhaps invisible to Android/iOS/etc and any apps running there.

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