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Comment Re: What a stupid question (Score 1) 523

Sure, there's always a subpoena (or more likely an NSL), but before it gets to that point Trump will need to have passed some form of legislation to actually get the database off the ground and into reality, and that's going to require a considerable amount of support from Congress, Senates and (almost certainly) the courts, because you just know this would get challenged in multiple jurisdications and head towards the SCOTUS. Or, I suppose, he could maybe try and do it off the books through one of the three letter agencies and a whole bunch of NSLs, in which case the US is absolutely done as "The Land of the Free" and we'll just have to repeal Godwin because the Nazi Germany / Stasi comparisons will be absolutely justified in that eventuality.

Having multiple parties whose co-operation would be useful, if not essential, to making the project viable basically stating up-front they don't support the idea and will almost certainly challenge any data requests through the courts, again likely all the way to SCOTUS, just as Apple recently did with a certain iPhone is quite likely to undermine at least some of that support. If there's one thing you can particularly count on politicians for, and especially so in Trump's case, is not wanting to back a losing horse, so the less likely the project is to succeed the more likely it is to be stillborn, and that's the best way for it to be.

Besides, since we're entirely talking about hypotheticals here, if Twitter were to do a Lavabit how is TheRealDonaldTrump going to get MSM to jump and report any <140 character bit of random thought as front-page news? ;-)

Comment Re:What a stupid question (Score 1) 523

Build the (still hypothetical) database, not so much. Help *populate* it though? Twitter, like all social media companies, undoubtedly has a lot of data on its users, and that data is going to include stuff that would help identify someone as a Muslim, even if it's just "Went to Mosque today..." type tweets. Think about how this (again, hypothetically) might work - voluntary registration first (the most harmless), mandatory registration second (the weaker-willed protestors to add to low-grade watch lists), then a trawl for those that didn't register (the activists and other "red flags" for the high-grade watch lists... and beyond). Care to guess where Twitter et al in the social media/data gathering trade come into that?

It's absolutely the pointy end, and hypothetical as the question might be "No comment" doesn't even come close to the correct answer of a completely unequivocal "Fuck, no!", so kudos to Twitter for being the only company with the balls to do the right thing. Hopefully, they'll still have those balls should they actually have to follow though on that position.

Submission + - Social media is not your friend

Presto Vivace writes: Of 8 Tech Companies, Only Twitter Says It Would Refuse to Help Build Muslim Registry for Trump

The Intercept contacted nine of the most prominent such firms, from Facebook to Booz Allen Hamilton, to ask if they would sell their services to help create a national Muslim registry, an idea recently resurfaced by Donald Trump’s transition team. Only Twitter said no.

Comment Re:New Normal (Score 1) 33

What's new about it? This is the same FUBAR cluelessness we should be used by now from large consumer ISPs like TalkTalk (who also run the Post Office ISP network), although I thought KCom knew better - maybe they've lost the cluefullness they had when they first set up and were at the cutting edge of high-speed broadband. The only reason this was a problem for them was because they thought it was a good idea to provide their customers with routers with the remote admin ports active and exposed to the Internet at large. Now, the first part of that (the remote admin) is fair enough; we are talking mass-market consumer ISPs here, so being able to remotely push firmware and other updates out to the CPE is generally a good idea, but just *how* long has it been best current practice to restrict access to admin ports to known and trusted IPs again? Defence in depth stuff like that was the "done thing" back when I was working at an ISP in early 2000s, FFS. It's not hard, and there are multiple implementation options; you can do so in your internal distribution network somewhere, you can do it on the edge, by pushing out some sane rules to the devices internal firewall, or (better still) a combination of more than one of the above, but there's simply no excuse for not doing it at all, especially after the last decade and change of major Internet worms.

Submission + - Alien life could thrive in the clouds of failed stars (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: There’s an abundant new swath of cosmic real estate that life could call home – and the views would be spectacular. Floating out by themselves in the Milky Way galaxy are perhaps a billion cold brown dwarfs, objects many times as massive as Jupiter but not big enough to ignite as a star. According to a new study, layers of their upper atmospheres sit at temperatures and pressures resembling those on Earth, and could host microbes that surf on thermal updrafts.

The idea expands the concept of a habitable zone to include a vast population of worlds that had previously gone unconsidered. “You don’t necessarily need to have a terrestrial planet with a surface,” says Jack Yates, a planetary scientist at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who led the study.

Submission + - House Science Committee Tweets Climate-Change Denying Breitbart Article (businessinsider.com)

xtsigs writes: On Thursday, The House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tweeted a misleading article published by Breitbart about the state of the global climate.

"Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists," the tweet read, citing an article from The Daily Mail. Apparently, the portions of our government responsible for overseeing public funding for science are getting their information from tabloids.

Senator Bernie Sanders responded to the tweet, asking, "Where'd you get your PhD? Trump University?"

Submission + - China Is Censoring People's Chats Without Them Even Knowing About It (qz.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A new study from The Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto, reveals that censorship on WeChat occurs primarily in group chats rather than one-on-one chats between two people, and often in such a way where the sender of a text isn’t even aware a piece of text has been scrubbed. The discoveries illuminates how China’s government attempts to keep its citizens blind to the scope of its censorship regime. The researchers set out find the extent to which certain keywords got scrubbed from conversations between two or more users in WeChat. To do this, in June 2016 the team posed as a Chinese WeChat user and sent out 26,821 keywords containing terms that had been censored on other apps, including Tom-Skype (a made-for-China version of Skype) and YY (a live broadcast app). A corresponding Canadian user in the two-way chat would then report back to say whether or not the message had been received. The report states that out of the entire sample, only one term—Falun Gong — had been scrubbed. When they ran an identical test in August, even that text mysteriously passed without censorship. Yet when they tested group chats, they found multiple cases in which certain keywords triggered a removal. Specifically, while sensitive terms used in isolation were unlikely to trigger censorship (say “June 4th,” a reference to the Tiananmen Square protests, brutally put down on June 4, 1989), it took effect when they were used in a full sentence or with other keywords. The researchers also discovered that when WeChat censored a message, the sender received no notice informing him that his text had not reached the intended recipient.

Submission + - AMD Zen SR7 CPU Allegedly Will Offer Core i7 5960X Performance At Half The Price (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: AMD needs a win in the high-end processor category badly and if the latest leak turns out to be accurate, AMD could get its much needed victory when its unreleased Zen SR7 processor hits the market sometime in Q1 with eight cores in tow. The octal-core Zen part is said to perform better than Intel's muscular Core i7-5960X, a Haswell-E chip with eight cores clocked at 3GHz to 3.5GHz, 16 threads, and 20MB of cache. Not for the faint of wallet, the Core i7-5960X tops $1,000 in street pricing even when it's on sale. AMD's competing SR7 Summit Ridge part is said to cost half as much at $499. New engineering samples of the potentially game changing Zen chip have been popping up in the wild. These latest revisions feature a 3.2GHz core clockspeed and 3.5GHz turbo frequency. These are noticeable jumps in frequency compared to the previous version AMD showed, which had the core and turbo clockspeeds running at 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz, respectively.

Submission + - Erich Bloch, Who Helped Develop IBM Mainframe Dies At 91

shadowknot writes: The New York Times is reporting that Erich Bloch who helped to develop the IBM Mainframe has died at the age of 91 as a result of complications from Alzheimer's disease. From the article:

In the 1950s, he developed the first ferrite-core memory storage units to be used in computers commercially and worked on the IBM 7030, known as Stretch, the first transistorized supercomputer. “Asked what job each of us had, my answer was very simple and very direct,” Mr. Bloch said in 2002. “Getting that sucker working.” Mr. Bloch’s role was to oversee the development of Solid Logic Technology — half-inch ceramic modules for the microelectronic circuitry that provided the System/360 with superior power, speed and memory, all of which would become fundamental to computing.

Submission + - SPAM: Amazon's Trucker Net

xtsigs writes: Back in the day, we had what we called the "Sneaker Net" in which we would transport data from one machine to another on disks, tapes, or drives. Now, Amazon is using big rig trucks with 14 foot containers (which they dub snowmobiles) to move up to 100 petabytes per trip from Amazon's customers to Amazon's cloud. "Ten Snowmobiles would reduce the time it takes to move an exabyte from on-premises storage to Amazon’s cloud to a little less than six months, from about 26 years using a high-speed internet connection, by the company’s calculations." (Wall Street Journal)

Submission + - FDA Approves Large Clinical Trial For Ecstasy As Relief For PTSD Patients (sciencealert.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the first large-scale, phase 3 clinical trial of ecstasy in patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the New York Times reported. The regulatory green-light follows six smaller-scale trials that showed remarkable success using the drug. In fact, some of the 130 PTSD patients involved in those trials say ecstasy—or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)—saved them from the devastating impacts of PTSD after more than a decade of seeing no improvement with the other treatment options available. Currently, the best of those established treatment options can only improve symptoms in 60 to 70 percent of PTSD patients, one expert noted. However, after one of the early MDMA studies, the drug had completely erased all traces of symptoms in two-thirds of PTSD patients. The new Phase 3 trial will involve at least 230 patients and is planned to start in 2017. Like the other trials, it is backed by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a nonprofit created in 1985 to advocate for the medical benefits and use of psychedelic drugs, such as MDMA and marijuana. Also like the others, the new, larger trial will involve a limited number of MDMA treatments administered by professional psychotherapists as part of a therapy program. In previous trials, patients spent 12 weeks in a psychotherapy program, including three eight-hour sessions in which they took MDMA and talked through traumatic memories.

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