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Comment Re:DRM is necessary to stop piracy (Score 2) 122

Quite true; Digital Restrictions Management (contrary to what another poster said, smart people do realize and don't allow the reframing of the language away from how most people experience DRM) doesn't affect those who get their copies stripped of the restrictions as is commonplace amongst those who share. DRM chiefly adversely affects those who participate in the process (whether they spend their own money to do it or are given it gratis).

DRM is the excuse publishers use to justify the ongoing control over one's computer, spying regime modern-day DRM schemes make possible and use, and thus pose genuine risks to everyday computer users. This is not about "balancing" rights as another poster said, this is about copyright holders and their business partners using a mechanism to get more control over your devices, your privacy, and your life than they ought to have. To publishers who claim they wouldn't engage in the process without DRM, I say that's fine but I want to see proof and lots of it; please don't publish without DRM controls you couldn't have a few short years ago (remember that DRM schemes always become more onerous over time and publishers always try to convince the public they can't get by without the higher degree of control). Let your competition distribute their work at whatever price they think they can get DRM-free and do with the reduced competition. The publisher's threat is (taken on the whole) an empty threat and everyone knows it.

Comment Re:Post them on the Internet Archive (Score 2) 553

I concur; the Internet Archive is easily reachable by everyone using time-honored and well-understood protocols that ordinary computer users and highly-skilled computer users all can use (videos delivered over HTTPS). This will also seed BitTorrents (since archive.org has been doing that too).

I look forward to someone sharing the download URL from archive.org where we can get the lectures we're all free to share.

Comment Needless JS, WAPO partnership unimpressive (Score 1) 66

Meanwhile Wikipedia (and related services including Wiktionary) get a lot more views, doesn't require JS to use, and works with a lot more browsers (including textual browsers). I'm also not impressed by the Washington Post "partnership". WAPO has been a source of "fake news" Russophobic hysteria lately: the Russians reportedly attacking the US electrical grid via a Vermont electrical facility (a story they still haven't retracted), and using the PropOrNot website as a viable source when we don't know who is behind what that site claims is propaganda and the terms of being considered propaganda there are so broad many more sources could have been included.

Comment Declaring "victory" early is a tactic, not reality (Score 1) 308

Similar things were said about Snowden's revelations which continue to bear fruit for the world. Don't be fooled into believing the unexamined belief the /. headline wants you to believe—that "most people" don't care. The Democrats are sore that they lost the US presidential election, a majority of state governerships, and control over Congress. They're still pushing this undefended Russophobic idea that the Russians somehow "hacked" (to use their language) the US election. They even chummed up with the CIA to help curry favor for this notion. They're hardly interested in learning that, for instance, the CIA's "UMBRAGE" effort works to plant false evidence making it look like another party did something they actually did (one of the many interesting newsworthy items found in the WikiLeaks initial "Vault 7" leak) carries a vastly different story which challenges the Democrats' as-yet-unproven tale. Neoliberals really want to get their war with Russia on and anyone who doesn't join in that effort will find a chilly reception among the neoliberal elite right now.

Also, there's been considerable coverage of this from around the world, but if you're only paying attention to American corporate mainstream media you will not find dissenting views that challenge a corporate narrative which stood fully behind Mrs. Clinton's 2nd failed attempt at becoming US President. Americans don't make up most of the people in the world and American mainstream media is taken less seriously these days (for good reason).

Comment Champion HR676 to your Congresspeople. Now. (Score 1) 283

The first question is great, a right and proper way to respond to any entitlement program aimed at improving the healthcare outcomes of a subset of Americans. The second question gives up on the promise of the first and is all too typical of the weak US Left.

Right now those who were really unhappy that Donald Trump became US President are letting Pres. Trump set the agenda for how US healthcare ought to work while pointlessly going on about preserving ObamaCare. ObamaCare (nee RomneyCare) was a gift to the HMOs which kept the HMOs in charge. It's time for universalizing Medicare for all Americans, and HR676 is the practical means to do this.

Physicians for a National Health Program have been championing HR676 for a while and for good reason. It's well time to tell the US government how to handle this, not let them come up with another complex means of preserving HMO power (which invariably means needlessly expensive healthcare that doesn't cover everyone, preserves the idea that healthcare is not a human right, and doesn't deliver outcomes which compare well with countries that do universalize their medical care delivery).

I recommend learning more about universalizing Medicare: an interview with Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, more on HR676, and Dr. Woolhandler on the inadequacies of ObamaCare on KPFA radio starting at 20m27s.

Comment "'Secure' isn't as necessary" sounds bad. (Score 1) 456

"Perhaps accept that "secure" isn't as necessary, too."
This message brought to you by your friends at the NSA, CIA, and other organizations that are eager to learn more about you.

I think there's nothing wrong with considering what security means here. I'd certainly prefer non-technical people conversed electronically using a protocol and free software programs which used encrypted message transfer by default. I don't think it's wise to continue in the older way of doing unencrypted message transfer for everything and then being unpleasantly surprised how many parties spy on users. How much trouble one wants to go to in order to ensure a desired level of security should be a concern and part of the needs requirements. I'm also unconvinced that multimedia can't properly be a part of IM. Every message in any medium takes time to compose and read, watch, or somehow deal with. I take the "instant" in instant messaging to be a (somewhat inarticulate) description of the ease with which one can send a message of any kind to someone else. In other words, minimal setup with a simple UI, not the medium of the message. My understanding is that younger users expect to be able to make and deliver short audiovisual messages, so I'd give such messages more consideration than the parent suggests.

Comment Volkswagen apparently values fraud (Score 1) 115

I'd say things are pretty easy on VW considering what they should have had to produce for all of their customers (complete corresponding source code including build tools licensed under a free software license or, for the cars that never should have been sold in the first place, buy-back of the car at whatever price the person paid).

Management is eager to get this behind them in a way where people think it's over and done with, but there's no reason to trust any of the auto manufacturers involved in the conspiracy (not just VW used code designed to fool tests). VW's got self-driving cars to try to position (they appear to be pushing this concept now) and sell, after all. Can't have memories of how they ripped off customers lingering in the minds and 'tainting' future products, even though that's precisely what's fair and reasonable for would-be customers to do.

Comment Re:There goes anonymous browsing (Score 2) 160

Perhaps this is the latest PR initiative to try to get the public to defend "invisible" spying. Google makes considerable money and maintains relationships with powerful organizations on the basis of spying. Spying is very much a part of Google's business. Google could probably use a way to get more people to (even indirectly) defend Javascript-based spying by turning the public into ignorant supporters who say things like 'We *need* this invisible reCAPTCHA' when we could actually choose to do without it.

Without knowing what the code does (and keeping up with all the changes, changes which can happen at any time) we can't confirm this code only does the job Google claims it does.

Comment Obama tapped everyone. That's bad news. (Score 1) 519

I don't see why we should give into your definition of what's on par with Trump's claim of bugged phones, nor is it controversial that Trump was tapped before he was POTUS. This whole reaction is more about manufactured outrage and distraction from real issues.

But Obama certainly did lie (plenty of variations of "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan." despite millions of Americans seeing their plans terminated which were lies of commission), and commit extrajudicial murder (the so-called 'Terror Tuesday' meetings, as the New York Times tells us, had former President Obama personally selecting targets for assassination. Some of the people killed in these drone attacks include Americans Anwar Awlaki and his 16-year-old son. Others killed in drone attacks are overwhelmingly completely unsuspected innocents who happen to be in the vicinity of the kill zone where the bomb goes). Obama lied by omission about these drone war consequences, but he made time to crack wise about death-by-drone at one of his Correspondent's dinners wherein he quipped about threatening a boy band his daughters enjoyed with death-by-drone ("You'll never see it coming..."). Pres. Obama called the Iraq war a "dumb war" and then kept it going for his entire term (this choice helped make his the first US President to be at war his entire term in office). Oh, don't worry: Pres. Trump is down with all of these policies. Trump apparently plans to keep HMOs intact and in charge of American healthcare with his own spin away from universalizing Medicare (we're learning about the details of this now but the broad strokes are clear) despite what he told "60 Minutes" about universal healthcare. Universalizing Medicare ala HR676 would be useful, is widely approved by Americans, is something real progressives should champion (particularly now) instead of knuckling under to more HMO rule, and would (by design) make it illegal for HMOs to cover the same care covered by Medicare (America's extant single-payer system). But passing HR676 into law would also ensure these HMOs wouldn't fund Democratic and Republican Party campaigns. And on war, Pres. Trump recently had Awlaki's 8-year-old daughter killed in a drone-led campaign in which the Navy SEAL Team 6 shot her in the throat and let her bleed to death. And there's no sign the US is ever leaving Iraq. Not only are these issue far more important than someone's manufactured outrage over Trump's tweet about spying on his calls, they point out how the similarities across administrations on significant issues far outnumber and outweigh the differences between administrations. And this is no accident.

Getting back to pointing out how much manufactured outrage works to obscure more important issues: The NSA's slogan "Sniff It All, Collect It All, Know It All, Process It All, Exploit It All" covers the situation quite well. That slogan is not "Collect some of it, Process most of it, Exploit things here or there but certainly not Trump Tower-related data". So it's perfectly reasonable Trump's communications were tapped. As RT's "The Resident" pointed out (using slightly different words than the next quote) and Ted Rall astutely point out "Of course Obama tapped Trump. Snowden told us. Obama tapped everyone!". German Chancellor Angela Merkel didn't like it when it was revealed her conversations were also being spied upon. The controversy is that the US taps so much regardless of whether they're abiding by US law. That's a far more important point.

Any outrage over Trump's reaction is a pointer to how much that person wasn't paying attention during the Snowden revelations and its consequences (which are ongoing to this day).

Comment Endorse the ethics of software freedom (Score 4, Insightful) 457

"Doing so would make apps like Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp entirely insecure" is what makes running security-minded programs on non-free, user-subjugating, always-untrustworthy, proprietary OSes a joke. People get a sense that they're safer from malware then they really are and they think they get to keep their proprietary conveniences as well. Openwashing will not help you.

I know it's a lot of work to learn new things and change your views and your behavior. I understand that software freedom is differently political than what you're encouraged to adopt, and software freedom requires you to consider more than what's listed in virtually every features & money-based ad campaign from monied proprietors. And I get that coming to terms with the consequences of software freedom runs directly contrary to believing that you don't need to think any further than what proprietors and their "open source" friends tell you to think about (because no proprietor frames their offerings in terms of the freedoms to run, inspect, share, and modify the software, hence proprietors are more likely to sanction the open source movement which eschews these values and even celebrates partnering with proprietors like Red Hat's recent uncritical commentary on Microsoft's software and Microsoft's new campaign regarding "Linux"—no mention of GNU which might bring software freedom to mind). But in the real world you need to stop trusting proprietary systems to keep you safe, respect your privacy, or other practical consequences of software freedom. Proprietary software wasn't designed to do that and therefore that software never will do that job. There is no middle ground which allows you to run proprietary software while retaining the benefits of software freedom. It's time to value software freedom for its own sake.

Even if all published software were free, exploits like these are possible because all complex software has bugs. Perfect security is not the issue. The issue is who gets to control their own computer and how we treat each other. Even after these exploits are published by WikiLeaks and people have had time to consider them and protect against their adverse effects, proprietors will still have power over users who run their proprietary software. Users won't be able to tell what other exploits are out there and therefore it will be harder to protect against them. The difference between proprietary subjugation and software freedom becomes more clear: Free software users will be able to run, inspect, improve, and share improvements with others making that software more able to prevent future attacks. But proprietary software users won't be allowed to do the due diligence they need in order to help themselves no matter how technically skilled they are or how willing to repair things they are. No computer user deserves to be treated that way. It will take a lot of work to get people to understand why they too should care about software freedom even if they're non-technical (like most computer users are). So I urge you to understand software freedom for its own sake and to try to help others understand as well.

Relatedly, the Free Software Foundation's "Respects Your Freedom" campaign has some new hardware on the list. I recommend buying some and using it, even if it's not up-to-date with the latest capabilities and seemingly expensive for what's offered. We need more people to invest in free replacements for proprietary, locked-down, user-subjugating systems. We need to make investments in our own collective future by funding the free products available today so we can have modern, highly-capable, and fully user-controllable POWER8, RISC, etc. systems which will respect the owner's control.

Comment How could you know this? (Score 4, Insightful) 54

Are you making claims beyond your knowledge? The device runs on proprietary software. By default we have no idea when the device is listening (most likely all the time, otherwise how would it know when someone uttered the 'wake word'?), we have no idea if there's a recording made, and we have no idea where that recording goes (users certainly don't get to control where the recordings go somewhere or if any such recordings are made).

Perhaps this is why it's a better idea to manually bring up a website & order something, or (by extension for TVs which are now "smart") not get a TV running proprietary software with a camera and mic aimed at the user...often in their bedroom aimed at squarely at their bed.

How many unwitting porn stars are there now? Just give us a round figure, so to speak.

Comment Privacy is so this year and every year. (Score 1) 440

In other words, kiosks help you preserve more of your locational privacy in exchange for a minor wait you can definitely afford (I'm guessing around 10 minutes or less). Consumers are trained to think that their convenience should come at whatever price is offered and that's not wise. In the case of running apps on your computer you're also possibly handing over your mic data, address book data, and anything else you're doing with your tracker. That app is proprietary, so you're speaking beyond your knowledge when you say the itinerary tracking is "optional". You don't know all that it's copying or where the copied data is sent and you're never given a chance to review the data before sending it or the option to make sure the program isn't lying to you by presenting you with less data than it is actually copying and sending. The parties you're handing the data to: more unaccountable people at the restaurant who don't care about your privacy and have no reason to stop tracking your movements should they find that useful for them.

All this because you thought saving 10 minutes or less was "so last year".

Comment Freedom is better than DRM, Netflix, etc. (Score 1) 207

Your framing, as with anyone who says DRM is somehow necessary, is giving into those who would take away the freedom the web was built on. I'd rather have a free web than a web DRM-based business owners feel more comfortable with because I value my freedom.

Even in the narrow terms defended by DRM quislings DRM doesn't work to exclude those who share copies of DRM'd works; virtually everything Netflix publishes is available gratis online anyhow. So what we end up is the very divided web DRM proponents claim will be avoided with DRM. Thus this debate isn't really about pursuing that alleged unification. Better to push for the freedom that got us to the point where businesses took an interest and sought to divide and conquer.

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