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Comment Re:Still violates the 5th (Score 3, Insightful) 887

No. Your analogy is part of the problem. The DOJ and Feds have subverted the concept of innocent until proven guilty into If you're not doing anything wrong, then you shouldn't have anything to hide.

By setting up your analogy with the statement that there is a dead body in the trunk, you've already presumed guilt, nothing any civilized society should be doing.

What kind of a crime can be committed where the only access to incriminating evidence lies in the mind of the accused? We're entering a dangerous era of thought-crime. Why doesn't the DOJ just apply some random permutation on the data so that it generates some unrelated and arbitrary but incriminating documents?

TL;DR - Law enforcement should either do better detective work to find evidence without relying on the accused to provide it, or save taxpayer money, cut the whole "democracy" shenanigans, and just use false or forced confessions.

Comment Re:"Those who cannot remember the past... (Score 1) 219

This is precisely why historically, the FCC did not allow on company to be both a content creator and content provider or "carrier". There is a huge conflict of interest which is not in the best interest of either innovation or the citizenry in general.

You mean the FCC actually protected public interest at one point? With the likes of Meredith Baker it's hard to believe they ever did anything other than line their own pockets by selling democracy, one dollar at a time.

Comment Re:Software Patents. (Score 1) 261

... Proper patents require a schematic, software patents should require source code...

In that case, software should be (and is) copyrightable, not patentable. The issue is that the US patent system is granting a legal monopoly (aka, a patent) on a vague conceptual description with no physical embodiment. Innovation dies when the simple act of improving upon ideas (aka, algorithms) is illegal.

The system is terribly broken, and the influence of $$$ in the political/legal system prevents it from being fixed.

Comment Re:The start of the "trusted computing" era (Score 1) 321

btw, Trusted Computing is almost as much of an oxymoron as Digital Rights Management.

This Orwellian doublespeak makes my brain hurt. They only sound like features because marketing won't call it "Limited Application Execution" and "Digital Restrictions Management". Has anyone seen my tinfoil hat?

Comment The start of the "trusted computing" era (Score 1, Insightful) 321

And so the era of mandatory "trusted computing" begins, kicked off, ironically, by Google.

If you wish to consume licensed IP content on a device in your possession, then the content owners will determine what computing functions are allowed on such device. And the device remote kill-switch will make you think-twice about content misuse.

Comment Why android over standard Linux? (Score 4, Interesting) 229

As I've watched Android dominate the tablet market, I'm bothered by the fact that these devices do not give root access without "jailbreaking". Isn't Android a major step toward the very scary world of "Trusted Computing"? That is, the hardware manufacturer, government, or whoever else has power can deny the ability for a user to run a program (or all programs!) at whim. Right out of the box, the user is denied permission to use their hardware in the way that they see fit.

I feel much more comfortable with a full Linux distro that empowers its users, rather than makes them comfortable with someone else holding the keys to their machine. Besided, android hardly seems compatible with the "open" goals of OLPC. A full distro would take advantage of a real JVM and a much richer software eco-structure instead.

Comment A very dangerous precedent (Score 3, Insightful) 467

We assume that banks transact their client's funds with an implicit neutrality, or else anyone in possession of a check couldn't trust that it was a valid monetary substitute. BoA isn't indicating "illegal" behavior, only that the recipient is acting in a manner inconsistent with BoA policies.

Between the Government stampede to eliminate the 1st amendment, and the use of corporations to act where the rule-of-law isn't convenient, the US Government and Corporate overlords are playing with fire.

All democracy-loving non-US entities should be watching carefully as this plays out.

Comment Democracy needs P2P (Score 2) 218

Thomas Jefferson said, "Information is the currency of democracy". The WikiLeaks drama is showing us how readily our own politicians will abandon core values of democracy in order to avoid embarrassment. It also clearly demonstrates that we live in a world where our personal communications can readily be disrupted at the whim of private corporations under pressure from these same politicians. The entertainment industry has tried to criminalize peer-to-peer technologies for years, but what is happening with WikiLeaks makes it more essential *now*, than ever before, that we adopt open source peer-to-peer technologies on a large scale. Perhaps the most important of these is The tor project which permits private and anonymous communications. Democracy cannot exist if people cannot speak freely without fear of reprisal. The more TOR relays that exist around the globe, the more immune we all are to the government/corporate censorship we are witnessing. Do your part in ensuring your digital rights by running a relay and becoming part of the network.

Comment If you value democracy... (Score 5, Interesting) 1060

If you value democracy then you should understand that the backlash from the WL episode will be a push for laws and technology to control communications at the direct expense of democratic ideals which require free speech. Anonymity and secure peer-to-peer communications, already at risk, will be further threatened under the premise of terrorism. If you want to help ensure that democracy prevails in the face of reactionary politics, then run a TOR server ( ) now, and consider any of these alternatives.

Comment Terrorism joins the war on Copyright Infringement (Score 1) 366

The new war on "Information Terrorism" is about the join forces with the war on copyright infringement in pushing for IT related laws at the direct expense of free speech (and hence, democracy). Anonymity and secure peer-to-peer communications are at the root of this conflict on both sides. Consider doing something instead of just watching.

Comment Re:For those that can't mirror, you can still help (Score 2) 586

btw, if you agree with the sentiments I expressed, please spread them beyond our geek-realm to the rest of the Interwebs...

For example, you can upvote it here on reddit

or copy it wholesale, edit into oblivion, and post somewhere else. Let everyone realize that they can play a role in spreading digital Democracy.

Comment For those that can't mirror, you can still help! (Score 5, Informative) 586

I know I'm preaching to the choir, here, but human-nature says that most people (even Slashdotters) are watching this unfold without realizing they can be a part of it.

The WL episode is showing us that our own politicians would readily abandon core values of democracy in order to avoid embarrassment. It also clearly demonstrates that we live in a world where our personal communications can readily be disrupted at the whim of private corporations under pressure from these same politicians.

Democracy can only thrive with the uninhibited exchange of communications between individuals. If you want to help ensure democracy, do any of the following:

1) Run a TOR server ( ). This is software that helps provide freedom and privacy by encrypting and distributing network communications. If you don't want to run TOR on your machine, rent a Virtual Private Server (VPS) and do it on someone else's box.

2) Support the EFF ( ). This organization understands technology and knows that in the digital age, information is power.

3) Support open-source distributed alternatives to web-based software-as-a-service. EveryDNS, Paypal, Twitter, Amazon's EC2, and even our beloved Google are points of vulnerability in democracy since their fundamental obligation is to shareholders instead of to an innate code of ethics. How would you find information if Google bowed to Government pressure? The only thing that will ensure corporations stay in line is the existence of alternatives such as a distributed search engine ( ).

4) Support open-source software by using it, contributing time or money to its development, and requesting that our Governments make policies to use it. The world would be a very different place if the power of public-key-encryption was kept solely in Government and Corporate hands. Only Free and Open Source Software ( ) ensures that all members of society who use information technology are on the same footing.

5) Let others know what is at stake, spread the word. Democracy takes active participation, and this takes patience and explanation so that nontechnical Constituents have the understanding that you possess.

Our communications technology is only a tool and can be used to both facilitate democracy and better the world, or to enslave humankind. We are witnessing the first infowar of the digital age, and the powers that be will use it to push hard for bans on encryption, crackdown on peer-to-peer communication, and other information tools.

Will you watch silently and let information technology turn into a tool of repression, or will you take a stand while you still can? The race is on, do something!

Submission + - Does my smart phone pwn me?

chipwich writes: I just bought my first smartphone. The android-based applications and implementation are great (eg, comparitive shopping by scanning a barcode, ubiquitous google maps, etc). But I can't help feeling that I'm pwned since it has GPS, network, microphone, and camera all under software control, but not under *my* control since I don't have the root access I've become accustomed to over many years of GNU/Linux use. Am I pwned by my smart phone? Should I feel more or less comfortable if I could root (or jailbreak) the phone? Is there a difference between overlord Google or overlord Apple?

Comment Re:another way to look at it (Score 4, Insightful) 232

I think the GP meant that the __corporations__ of *Siemens* and *Nokia* are facilitating (aka "help"ing) to silence activists in Iran by providing deep-packet inspection tools to Government controlled telecom.

To that extent, a centralized government controlled data infrastructure can always be used for nefarious purposes, even if that wasn't the intent on installation. As for-profit companies, Nokia and Siemens probably approached the proposal by looking at the bottom line profit, not the moral implications. Its just business.

But regardless of the intent why the DPI machines were put in place, the possibility for good and evil are both increased in lock-step. Within the US our centralization and inspection of domestic data in the name of fighting terrorism takes us down a slippery slope, even though the possible (and likely) misuses of this data are swept under the rug.

There are those of us who believe that the only way to ensure free speech (and all the good and bad that accompany it) is to ensure societies ability to develop decentralized communications exchange,

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