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Comment definitions? (Score 4, Interesting) 257

ok, so you're going to require manufacturers to make repair manuals and parts available to the general public. What's to stop them from writing in the manual, "purchase and install Comprehensive Assembly #012934" and selling that part which is basically a replacement for the entire unit? Who's to contradict them if they say that the unit is not serviceable?

Comment don't get confused (Score 4, Informative) 126

Don't read this story as a ruling against the police / government being allowed to compel individuals suspected of criminal activity to be forced to give fingerprints. That is not what's at issue here, and the decision doesn't affect that.

This story is that the wholesale screening of individuals that the police have no otherwise suspicion of a crime, shotgun style, is being ruled against. Just like the case several years ago when police sought to have an entire small town's male population give DNA samples to match some evidence they had of a sex crime. The judge in this case tossed out the willy nilly use of police power to compel people wholly unrelated to the issue, not under suspicion at all, from having to give evidence.

When you're suspected of something specifically, you can definitely still be compelled. Just like being compelled to give a breathalyzer, or DNA when a court orders you to.

But as a more practical matter anyway, 10 tries of different people's fingerprints, and the phone will be wiped regardless... so there's a limit to how useful the technique would've been to begin with.

Comment not buying it (Score 4, Insightful) 116

As much as I'm a supporter of personal privacy rights and data privacy, Amazon is way off with this argument. It is so clearly an attempt to forestall future insistence / requests by authorities for Amazon to be involved in extracting data and having to devote resources to this kind of request. Kind of like Apple with the iPhone but for less believable reasons.

First of all, the 1st Amendment protection is about the right to speak and publish opinions, or the right not to be forced to speak or publish opinions. Neither Amazon's nor the victim's right to speak or right not to be required to speak a certain message is at stake when the Alexa recording's history is discovered. The same would hold for your or my browser history being subpoenaed as evidence. That is a privacy issue, not a free speech issue, and nowhere in the Constitution is privacy an enshrined right, much as even I would like to believe.

These would be much more plausible arguments for Amazon to take:
- That the government has not demonstrated that delving into the user's private search history is relevant or may advance the case at all,
- That the data is not the property of the individual but rather a trade secret, or
- That Amazon is an unrelated 3rd party and should not be compelled to cooperate in something which it is peripherally related.

I actually think Amazon might fail on all of these fronts, because if the Alexa can record things like the sounds of a crime or victim asking for help, it's pretty plausible that they could be compelled to do so for multiple good arguments. It's not even like the data is being heavily shielded or stored securely as a selling point, as Apple's was. The very purpose of Alexa's data is to make purchasing and buying things from Amazon easier! It would be like Nest saying that the video it recorded in someone's home who got murdered was private and subject to free speech protections. Because no one shares videos, right?

Comment has it come to this (Score 4, Interesting) 193

My first question is why this has to be a bill, when through the normal course of judicial process such evidence would be tossed out by courts for being improperly obtained.

Then I remembered that in the area of national security and border / immigration enforcement, the executive branch has pushed their own discretion so far that Congress / courts really do have to put protections like this into law for it to be heeded. Basically they have been cut out of the loop of immigration and border enforcement as just bystanders, because the executive branch has all the guns, and it only comes to Congress/courts' attention when someone makes it in (and isn't kicked out immediately) and survives long enough to file a habeus petition.

The real check and balance needed would be for border agents and officials who abuse their authority to be penalized for it.

Comment skeptical (Score 2) 62

I do not believe Apple will find it cost effective or find it tolerable to build phones in India to the same quality as it is used to. Now, of course they will have done their own extensive analysis, but I imagine the following issues in plenty (even just supplying phones to the domestic Indian market):
- unreliable electric power (could be mitigated with huge backup generators)
- unreliable / poor quality road transport
- much less extensive or linked supply chain
- related to this, lower general quality of contributing required parts
- manufacturing and trade zone subsidies less transparent, more bribery
- more political interference at all levels of government interaction - simply refer back to the requirements to sell in India to begin with

I predict, and I would love to be shown wrong, that Apple will find this environment to be frustrating to no end. There are reasons that major electronic hardware manufacturers do not have world leading operations out of India.

Comment Re:Warrant issued upon probable cause (Score 1) 216

Well, the testimonial privilege on statements you give you your spouse, doctor, priest, etc. is about protecting them from having to testify about private information given in confidence, where to break that confidence would breach a trust between two people with an obligation.

This is about a device that produces data no matter what, and there is no presumption of privacy or confidentiality. Very different.

Comment don't get confused (Score 4, Informative) 216

The 5th amendment protection against self-incrimination is, to the actual letter of the law, that someone "shall not be compelled to be a witness against himself". Which the intent was that no person shall be forced to give testimony or make forced confessions or possibly have their words manipulated to be used against him/her. Testimony is the act of the person saying or asserting things.

A lot of people confuse this with things that they operate or own to be used as evidence against them. The protection against self-incrimination does not mean that no evidence can be produced to be used against you. And the data from your pacemaker hardly qualifies as you being forced to testify.

Comment Re:Upon reflection... (Score 1, Insightful) 75

No, he was just following the rules and rights one expects of the laws of the US and most US states.

The problem is that he did not realize that Hawaii is a place where normal rule of law is not really obeyed, or it is ignored depending on if you are a certain color/race, and you cannot depend on your rights being upheld because you'll get yelled at for antagonising other certain colors/races -- which you cannot defend against out loud because it's politically incorrect.

Comment this is all very odd (Score 1) 22

Am I such a strange outlier from the general population that all of Amazon's devices/interfaces to make buying things easier seem strange to me?

Is it odd that I am not really on the lookout for ways to make it easier for me to be parted with my money? Maybe I'm just cheap, but I tend to think a bit before spending money, and not just want to press a button and have $ disappear from my bank account.

Comment nope (Score 1) 140

Highly unlikely for this to happen (at least in any meaningful numbers for the average person).

If you think about the level of safety performance required for aircraft today to be approved, and the inspections that have to be conducted before every single flight ---

Just imagine, those same regulations that govern aircraft would permit a road vehicle (which gets beaten up by road hazards, rattled around by potholes, and is built to consumer automotive safety multiples of reliability) to just fly at a moment's notice? With people at the wheel who get driver's licenses by barely missing some traffic cones?

Nice idea, but never going to happen. Or at least the sci-fi future that people envision with a car extending some wings and taking off from the highway -- laughable.

Comment oh cmon, don't we all understand by now? (Score 5, Insightful) 495

I am continually surprised by those who are not knowledgeable about (or misattribute) the bigger macroeconomic factors that have driven our prosperity. The American economic miracle, the American dream, is largely a by-product of a brand new territory, open for expansion, a growing population whose material needs and wants grew to match the space for it. And where demand for services and goods made by those people exceeded the supply of labor to produce it. Not to mention 2-4 major wars and post-war booms that produced a huge demand for labor and the attendant growth of wages that comes with.

So for 6-7 generations, we came to associate American success with hard work, determination, education -- where I would argue that yes, while these factors have something to do with it, we were just mainly beneficiaries of a great macro situation. Factories, heavy equipment, washing machines, cars, steel -- these were the things we needed as a society that we would pay for, and they were produced here by labor that couldn't be substituted.

Now, we find that our post-war boom is over, the demographic curve has to support an increasing number of people who are no longer in their prime productive years, and a global market for the best / traditional jobs that has sapped the domestic demand for labor physically based in the US.

And so parents look at their kids and ask, "hey, why aren't you out there getting a job and using your skills like we did, after all that college and education?" Well, Dad, I can't get a job the way you did, because people aren't hiring hand over fist just because they need bodies to fill an assembly line because people want to buy washing machines as they move into their newly constructed 3 bedroom house in Levittown.

The harsh truth many are waking up to is that not everything grows forever, and perhaps this is the aftereffect of what happens when a society stabilizes, and other peoples/countries around the world start to experience the growth that we once had (and of course helped by the internet, trade, and information).

Comment Re:how it works (Score 1) 71

Good point -- and I think there will be a segmentation of who adopts this satellite technology - between airlines that are purely domestic / continental US and those that go international (where, if you're going to equip a plane for international satellite internet, you're not going to carry 2 systems).

Actually, I am not familiar with the charged $/mb rates or royalty/license to the airline of ATG versus the satellite technology, but it would be interesting to know what numbers the airlines are weighing whether to do the retrofit.

Comment sure I believe you (Score 4, Funny) 145

Certainly trustworthy! "Since no one but people at Adobe designed this, certainly no one in the wide world of hackers, exploit finders, and data sifters would ever be able to decipher and extract anything interesting from this data. I mean, we're just sending this meaningless data back to Adobe for shits and giggles, it's useless information! By the way, I heard that anonymous means that we just don't record your IP address right?"

Comment how it works (Score 5, Informative) 71

For those who want to understand why this is happening now, it's because JetBlue a few years ago chose to install in its planes the next generation of satellite-based internet onboard wifi systems. This is instead of what some earlier adopter airlines chose - namely air to ground (you may commonly know providers such as GoGo/Aircell in this category - which generally serves only the continental US footprint). ATG was cheaper and developed a bit faster because its infrastructure was cheaper to build, so naturally it took hold first for many airlines. Satellite internet at that time (Ku band and those older generations) struggled to offer a reasonable price, at a time when user adoption was not as strong as now (recall Boeing's failed Connexion offering).

Now the cost and weight of the receivers and onboard systems for satellite internet are dropping, and more airlines are seeing it as a beneft/potential revenue center.

And of course, when you have a satellite connection, you don't have to be above a certain altitude before the reception of ground signals works reliably.

ViaSat (the provider of JetBlue's systems on their A320/321s) claims that every passenger could have 12Mbps bandwidth, though I'm sure in practice not quite that much -- and definitely blocked for voice calls.

As always, the other airlines which had installed ATG now face the cost of having been early adopters to a technology that is now being displaced, and since there is a heavy $ to refitting passenger aircraft with new hardware, it will take a while for them to change out the old systems for newer satellite based technologies.

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