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Comment The German security service tried this years ago (Score 3, Informative) 111

The size of the problem space made it impossible. Any margin of error whatsoever, multiplied by the (number of people you're looking for + the number of people passing through the airport) leads to insane number of false positives. The German Federal Security Service did a trial with Siemens' recognizer many moons back, loved the technology, hoped the number of false positives would be small... and were disappointed. Even with an unreachably high efficiency, it kept tagging grandma as a terrorist.

It's like the birthday paradox: with only one chance in 365 of two people having the same birthday, it turns out that with 23 people in a room, you have a 50% chance of two birthdays matching. A 99% chance if there are 75 people. See http://danteslab-eng.blogspot.... As he notes, if you have a system that is 0.999999 accurate (one in a million), we have a 50% chance of a false positive or false negative as soon as we have scanned 1178 people... meaning for about each 1000 people we either arrest grandma or let Osaman Bin Laden stroll through.

They've probably reported that already, and been told "don't worry about mere mathematics, this is politics" (;-))

Comment In Canada, this is a special request to the court (Score 4, Informative) 131

It's an extraordinary remedy called a"Norwich Order", and to oversimplify, the requester has to swear they're suing someone, and the suit has to have a "prima facie case of" an offence and the claim has to appear to be reasonable and made in good faith. See also http://www.canlii.org/en/on/on...

Ordinary suits are filed against John Doe, and the courts asked to issue a order to third parties to help identify the defendants.

Comment prohibited by TPP (Score 1) 104

Some governments think this kind of security is a bad thing, and and wrote in a clause of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty to prohibit it.

TPP “prevents governments in TPP countries from requiring the use of local servers for data storage,” the Canadian government states on its website. This creates a privacy issue, suggested Guy Caron, NDP MP for Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques, in the House of Commons May 12.

See also http://www.canadianunderwriter...

Comment Re:Excellent (Score 1) 113

They seem to be use in a few locations in Puerto Rico, and were interfered with by non-wifi point-to-point devices. An image of a screen showed fixed straight lines a few pixels wide. Teapot, meet tempest.

To be fair, one should arguably reserve that channel in countries that use these oddly low-frequency radars...

Comment Blocking is illegal *within* a country (Score 1) 438

It's a non-tariff barrier to trade: between the states of the US or EU, or between the provinces of Canada, a blocking scheme is illegal. Between countries, it is legal because the countries want to protect their businesses from foreign competition and encourage, for example, local printing of physical books.

IMHO, it should not be legal for non-physical goods. Someone in Australia or Canada shouldn't have to pay a higher price that someone in the US to stream a movie, just the exchange on the money...

Comment One of my customers hires semi-retired folks (Score 1) 561

I was thinking of retiring there when I got to about 110 (:-))

Instead I was asked to do a gig replacing for my old director until we chose a permanent replacement, and then went back to a true engineering gig at a very "young" start-up.

In my opinion, old and smart still works. Everything I learned in Simula and Concurrent Pascal applies to Java and the modern scripting languages. I had expected my new, younger, colleagues to be rocket scientists on objects. Nope: the smart folks are smart (Hi, Muhammad!), and the ordinary folks are ordinary.

Some places thing young is good, but old guys do well. Some places think old guys are good, but young guy do well (Hi, Sesh!)

Keep learning and have fun. You'll die before you run out of fun things to learn. P.--dave

Comment As always, security was broken 5 years back (;-)) (Score 1) 225

See https://www.lightbluetouchpape...

It's actually worse now: for about $20 you can get a stick-on chip to make your own cracker-card.

Chip-and-sign in the US is no more secure, but it has the brilliant advantage of allowing the victims to prove it wasn't their signature and recover from the banks.

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We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra