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Comment Re:Mossberg should know better. (Score 2) 74

In the end, it's about the money. Of these five companies, only Facebook is not in the top five of companies with the largest market cap; they're all top 15 though, with a combined market cap of some 2 trillion USD. Much of it is in liquid cash. That's a lot of money and power sitting around to buy up, sue away, push out smaller competitors. Not even IBM controlled that amount of money and power in their heyday.

Comment Re:Greetings from the alternate universe! (Score 2) 44

When Snowden wanted to initiate communication with Greenwald, would it really have been a good idea to use keys which were linked to their real names? And either way, using existing keys or newly minted ones, wouldn't they have to confirm the key fingerprints off-channel anyway? In that scenario, you really want to make sure you got the right one.

For other types of communication, the threat model is different: When I send a message to my family, the content of the message is probably enough to establish that it was genuine. It would still have been nice if all governments and spies along its route would have a harder time reading it, though.

The scenario I could see signed keys being helpful in, is valuable communication between two strangers. E.g. if the two us wanted to make a trade, and you'd send me your Bitcoin address, I'd trust you more if the message was signed with a signed key. However, if you were selling me illegal goods, we're back to square one. Neither of us would communicate with real names.

Comment Re:This is about the previous iteration... (Score 1) 156

They way I understand the EU "Data Retention Directive" is that telecom, ISP and other communication providers _are obliged_ to retain communication meta data of everybody and everything, for a minimum of 6 months. The UK act might go even further, and the devil is in the details. However, I find it a bit ironic that the EU court strikes down on this, when they have a thorn in their own eye.

Comment Re:Twitter as a protocol (Score 5, Insightful) 284

In "The Internet Is Not the Answer" by Andrew Keen *, he points to some of the problems with today's web services: As opposed to the Internet's golden days of public standards and open protocols, today they are mostly centralized proprietary "winner takes all".

And the reason is simple: When Paul Baran, Bob Taylor, Bob Kahn, Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, invented their respective contributions, they were often government employees and as such not seeking or able to pursue monetary gains based on their inventions, or vehemently opposed to do so. They also understood that their protocols had to be public and open in order to be widely adopted.

In today's Internet economy, the goal is not universal standards or federated networks (e.g. email, PSTN), but rather reaching critical mass in walled gardens. If you can show you have amassed enough users, your company gets valued billions. IPO, vest, rinse and repeat. So if there was a public social network protocol, you could jump ship, just as you can with a domain and email today. That would not be in th interest of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp . Much better ride the curve till the next bust.

*) Skip the book; it's a long rant, a gets a bit dull, even if Keen is a good writer.

Comment Re:Replacing CMD (Score 1) 129

> running scripts or programs written by potentially malicious people is the only reasonable way to do your job

Maybe I'm reading too much into this part of your post, however, if the only way to do your job is to run scripts you download off the Internet, then may I suggest you're doing it wrong (TM) ?

Typically, scripts are very small programs which you implement yourself for your own convenience. They are typically not distributed beyond your immediate team. If the "scripts" grow into applications for which you cannot (or will not) inspect the code yourself, then they are as much a security threat as any other executable from an unknown untrusted source. Now, that risk might be acceptable in some scenarios, but typically, a no-go on any corporate device.

Comment Re:$250 Per User (Score 1) 55

Agree, but let's try to run some numbers:

If every user is worth $250 in ad revenue, they'll have some work to do. Let's say an ad-click pays Snapchat 10 cent. Then every user would have to make 2500 ad clicks. If each user clicks 2 ads per day, it will take a bit less than four years to reach $250 per user.

However, for each ad a user clicks, he will ignore many. Let's say the click-through-rate is 1%. So to get 2 clicks per day, he'll have to be exposed to 200 ads per day. Assuming a normal person is awake 16 hours per day, he will have to be exposed to a new ad in less than 5 minutes, every 5 minutes throughout the day, only on Snapshat.

So yes, that's where this seems at least a magnitude out of whack. Probably two.

Comment Re:Cut the bullshit, facebook. (Score 1) 196

Yeah, about that active user number.
Granted, some of that downwards trend might be due to people using the native app instead. However, so far, there are no examples of social networks with a double peak. They go up, and they come down. Facebook is bigger, but not a special snowflake in that regard. It will fade.

Comment Re:Every word is undermined.. (Score 3, Informative) 367

That development started at least as early as the 1960s, with Nixon's tough on crime policies. Since then, we've had a steady march towards a more brutal militarized police force from federal to local levels.

For an insightful review and background on why we have the police we have today, read Radley Balko's "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces". It follows the main events, landmark court cases and government policies which took us there. It's a well written journalistic expose, with detailed information and history.

Comment Re:The common "Embrace Extend Extinguish" .... (Score 1) 131

There was a time when MS could rely on mindshare and being the de facto standard. But these days, is that still the case? Why would a start-up go with an MS based solution today? 100% of the software they'd need to get started is free as beer, and free as in freedom to boot. Of course, some of the big consulting firms are still heavily invested, but for how much longer?

So yeah, maybe you're right. It's not about EEE anymore. They're just getting desperate.

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