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Comment Re:Make SS cards real ID cards (Score 1) 57

Sure, smart people can easily solve the universal ID problem, but those same people mostly know that we are better of not solving that problem. I would personally like to thank all the other smart people for continuing to keep this problem complicated, messy, and unresolved.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 537

No, no! (Professor of computer science here.) My classes are already dragged down by students who see no value in learning, and whose parents are paying the full cost. When there is no direct cost even to the parents, the situation will be even worse! Those who care will have an even harder time learning because they will be surrounded by others who think they have some kind of right to pass because they are people too. College is already the new high school. Don't make it the new junior high.

Comment audio (Score 1) 122

The only pages that appear to be exempt from the throttling are those that play audio.

So pages that steal computing cycles will start playing inaudible sounds while they work. This will stop all the scripts except for those that really should be stopped, and annoy pet dogs around the world too.

Comment Re:The reason they keep raising money (Score 4, Insightful) 181

Is this the math you used? $92M (net assets) / $2M (internet hosting) = 46x, then round down to 45x. I think "net assets" includes things that are not easily spent, like servers, and is not the same as "cash savings". I also suspect that "internet hosting" is not equal to "operating costs". Therefore, I really have no idea how far off your figure may be. (Not your fault--the summary lacks the details necessary to support its claims.)

Comment Re:Already in the EU, hopefully soon in the US (Score 1) 88

How exactly do you plan to pull that off? Do you plan to hack into the music industry's auto-accuse bots and modify them so they no longer check their immunity lists before sending out accusations? Do you plan to hack into Comcast and poison their key cache so they will think all accusations originated from the music industry? Or, do you plan to hack into the minds of Congressmen and change them to want to make a law that gives equal respect to accusations from random citizens and those from industries that have paid for the laws? None of those are going to be particularly easy to pull off, but I'd love to help if you've got a real plan.

Comment Re:Time to Delete Linked In account (Score 2) 53

I have deleted my account multiple times, but they keep resurrecting it every time some random person wants to connect with me, and the only way to ask them to stop requires having an active account (and is very cumbersome, by the way). When I send or receive private e-mails to/from a new person (not using any web service), I often receive another e-mail soon thereafter from LinkedIn recommending that I connect with that person. Fortunately, this merger doesn't cross any lines regarding evil behavior.

Comment Re:And CPU and graphic chips (Score 1) 22

DeepMind is a great at what it does, but it's not intelligent, the way people are. It can what it's trained to do and do it faster than people but it's not going to make leaps into new ideas and concepts no one has thought of. It's no more "intelligent" than a rock.

Rocks cannot be trained to do what people do. And, being faster than people enables it to explore candidate possibilities much faster than people could. What is your definition of intelligence that completely excludes those things?

Comment Re:Untraceable (Score 1) 152

does a $100 bill hold any "personally identifiable information" barring some trace DNA or fingerprints?

Every bill has a unique identifier on it. Every time you withdraw from an ATM, those IDs are associated with your real name. Every time you purchase something, the retailer deposits those bills right back in a bank. Occasionally, bills may be passed around privately before landing in a retailer's hands, but this actually enables data miners to determine with whom you financially associate. Cash is no panacea of privacy.

Imagine a graph in which accounts are the nodes and transactions are the edges. Cash tells the Feds who owns every node. BitCoins tell the Feds (and everyone else) about every edge. The latter information quickly loses its value when nodes are popping up willy nilly with no real names attached to them, and faster than anyone can pin names to. You just have to programmatically keep your BitCoins at a recent node, ahead of the wave of nodes that have been identified.

Comment Re:In other words (Score 3, Insightful) 238

Yeah, I already figured Google knows who I am and what all my aliases are anyhow.

You are absolutely right, but abandoning pseudonymity based on this reasoning reflects a common misunderstanding about how data mining works. Please don't give up so easily. You see, organizations that scrape and aggregate data from the web can only probabilistically connect all your aliases. That is, they only know with 97.3% certainty that YouTubeTrollKing7 is the same person as osu-neko, and they only know with 98.5% certainty that osu-neko is Brian Nekomori who attends Oregon State University (I made that up, by the way). That may not be the kind of privacy you would prefer, but it buys a lot of freedom, especially if everyone does it. You see, the Internet is kind of big, and man-hunts involve skewed data. (That is, most people are not the person they are looking for.) Since false-positives create big headaches for data miners, they tend to set their thresholds very high. For example, if they set their thresholds at 99.5%, those pseudonyms will not be recognized as connected to you.

So, what does this buy you? Well, it's not enough that you can go around committing crimes and expect the FBI to never find you. But, on the other hand, they're going to have a hard time achieving a conviction if they cannot find any other supporting evidence. Furthermore, people just don't seem to understand the power of exponential decay that occurs with probabilities. The more pseudonyms you use, the more the probabilistic connections among them decay into the low 90's, making it extremely cumbersome to link them all together. Imagine having to filter through the 0.01% of Internet posts that happen to falsely connect with your pseudonymns with high probability! No one wants to do that, so guess what, you have some privacy.

So, don't give up on pseudonymity. Yes, data mining is real, but no, it is not omniscient. Pseudonymity doesn't defeat it, but it makes them pay a dear price for finding you. Make them pay to know who you are. If everyone does it, the whole industry stops being so lucrative. The very reason data mining pays off so well right now is because of people who take the attitude that "it doesn't matter because they know anyway". So, stop it!

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