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Submission + - Quicken Bill Pay is No Longer Safe to Use (

Bruce Perens writes: I don't usually make security calls, but when a company makes egregious and really clueless security mistakes, it's often the case that the only way to attract their attention and get the issue fixed is to publicize it. This one is with Quicken Bill Pay, a product of Metavante (not Intuit). It's from personal observation rather than an expert witness case, and the company has been unresponsive through their customer support channel.

Comment Abandoning Time-Worn Processes Leads to Atrophy (Score 5, Insightful) 154

Scientists determined that those people who made use of machine washing rather than hand washing had diminished hand strength and neurological motor communication necessary for fine motor control. Seamstresses who bought thread rather than using the spinning jenny were similarly impaired. But worst off were teamsters who used the internal combustion trucks rather than teams of horses and used forklifts and other mechanical devices rather than loading their vehicles by hand. Their overall body strength was much reduced.

Comment Pity, since I can't accept the EULA (Score 1) 136

Google's Chrome browser, on the other hand, remained unhackable during the contest.

Unfortunately for me, I can't accept Chrome's EULA.

It incorporates Adobe's, which (if I recall correctly from my AT&T Android-based smartphone) has several clauses I can't abide - including a never-compete, don't block updates, don't work on circumvention tools, we can change the license without notice, ...

I don't intend to do anything that might come back to limit my future software work or employability. Clicking through such a license (even if every bit of it is struck down by the courts - which I'm not holding my breath expecting), especially on a device that "phones home" in a way that is easily identified with my true name, is an invitation for an all-versus-one gladiatorial match with two multibillion-dollar corporations' legal departments.

Comment Re:Not so hard (Score 1) 174

What if there is no negligence? What if the manufacturers of two self crashing cars both exercised due care in their development? Even so, a crash is inevitable sooner or later.

Accidents can be due to the same things that could cause a human to have an accident. Sensors are degraded. (dirty windshield wiper, etc) Road conditions are degraded and couldn't stop before the stop sign. What about a simple mechanical failure that is nobody's fault? (Even in a human driven car, my brakes didn't work!)

Comment Re:AI is just software (Score 1) 174

Even the best professional certifications and best practices will not prevent accidents. They are inevitable. The question remains. Who is liable? Especially in the more interesting case of a collision of two self crashing cars. What if the developers of both cars were sufficiently careful and not negligent?

The case of a car and pedestrian is less interesting because it is obvious that the liability would probably be assigned to the car manufacturer. But what if the auto maker exercised due care in the development of its statistical classifier that mis-classified that pedestrian? No negligence. Sort of like a person "oh, I didn't see that baby buggy soonfully enough".

Self driving cars are eventually inevitable. And they will be safer than humans -- because they drive like your grandmother. No hustle. No sense of urgency to get you to your destination.

Comment Re:Easy, the programmer of course. (Score 1) 174

The programmer may simply build the software 'machine'. Who may be responsible is actually the group who trains the AI machine with data. It's all a bunch of statistical classifiers. An accident is when a statistical classifier mis-classifies a pedestrian and runs it over. In this case, the liability is probably going to be with the manufacturer. Not with any individuals or developers employed by the manufacturer.

A more interesting case is a collision between two moving self driving vehicles. In this case, one or both vehicles are probably going to have far more data available than any human collision ever had. Cameras, lidar, radar and other sensors. It would probably have to go to court. The fault may be found to be one or both of the manufacturers.

What if neither manufacturer of a two car collision is negligent? This is not like an amusement park ride where the maintenance folks didn't replace a tie bar in a roller coaster because management PHBs said that it cannot be replaced if it has not failed. Maybe both car makers exercised due care in the development of their self crashing cars. Maybe it is nothing more than a terrible tragedy with nobody to blame. Is that a possible outcome? What if a sinkhole ate your car while you were driving down the road? What if lightning struck you?

I have to throw in the obligatory: what if the government removes burdensome safety regulations on poor struggling self driving car manufacturers?

Comment GitHub is in California (Score 1) 74

I struggle a bit to understand why this isn't a bigger issue. ... I wonder why some politician hasn't attempted to differentiate themselves by even mentioning the stifling effect on innovation [company-owns-all-your-inventions] policies impose.

Because it's already been adressed, long ago.

GitHub is in San Francisco, which is in California and governed by California labor law.

California labor law says that (paraphrasing from memory):
  - As a compelling state interest
  - overriding anything in the employee agreement
  - if an employee invents something
  - while not on company time or using company resources
  - and that invention is not in the company's current or immediately foreseeable business
  - then the invention belongs to the employee
  - (and the employment agreement must include a copy of this information as an appendix.)

(IMHO that law is THE reason for the explosive growth and innovation in Silicon Valley and why other states have been unable to clone it. Invent something that your current company won't use, get together with a couple friends, maybe get some "angel funding", rent the office across the street, and go into business with your new shiny thing. So companies bud off new companies like yeast. And innovators collect where they can become the inventor, the "couple of friends", or the early hires, creating a pool of the necessary talent to convert inventions into companies when they happen.)

What GitHub has apparently done is say to the employees:
"For the purposes of us claiming your IP, your lunch time and breaks are your time, even on company property, and your use of our computers and disk storage for things like compiles, storing code, and web research in aid of your project, does not count as 'using company resources'."

In other states, and other companies even within CA, that might be a big deal. For a company in CA, whose whole business model is providing archives for other people's software projects - and giving it away free to small groups, while charging large groups (or small groups that grow into large groups), it's not a big deal, and right IN their business model.

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