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Comment symptoms, symptoms (Score 5, Interesting) 198

This kind of behavior is just a symptom of the deeper problem that no one (or very few people) at these traditional telecom companies are fundamentally interested in advocating for the customer's comprehensive experience and satisfaction.

They view every interaction as a way to milk out profit in the short term, regardless of how much of the burden and dissatisfaction it shifts onto the consumer.

Any wonder, then, that whenever the customer has a chance to dump them and shift to a provider/medium/hardware solution that works better and is considerate of the customer's desires, they do?

Comment grudging thanks to Apple (Score 3, Insightful) 120

Apple certainly has no shortage of issues to criticize them on. But on the issue of privacy and making the iPhone backdoor-able, at least they were smart enough to know what they could not know and could not control, and to want no part of it.

And what they were smart enough to know is that no government authority, no matter how secure and authoritative it claims to be, can control all of its own people and the hundreds of places that a backdoor capability might leak or be used improperly. The FBI cannot even control leaks and incompetence within their own ranks -- what's the likelihood that a capability so valuable would remain unleaked and well-protected in their hands, even with many checks?

So I applaud Apple for at least knowing that it should not develop such a capability and instead leave it in the hands of users to choose when to make things private, out of even Apple's reach.

There have always been secrets, and people trying to foil the methods of hiding them. Time for the government to do a bit more legwork for the next move.

Comment not happening. (Score 1) 279

They can designate all they like. The problem, just like how the DHS handles airport security, border security, and every other kind of security that comes under their purview is that they will not have the capability / talent to figure out the problems, create a solution, and propagate it against political stupidity that a real fix requires.

The model of government today in the US is to outsource every bit of work that needs to be done to contractors who have to get their margins and aren't interested in sharing their technology/code, making it smart, scalable, and maintainable, and who want to maintain profits into the future. And this is why we have voting machines designed by Diebold, airport scanners (and TSA staffing) that's designed and run by the lowest common denominator, and an electric grid that isn't robust against anything (though this also falls in the lap/blame of NERC/FERC/and 50 different state regulators).

Take the choice of election technology, ballot design, and security out of the hands of 5,000 different jurisdictions, and replace it with well-designed, thought-out, and implemented hardware+software that a dedicated, concerned group of experts is responsible for -- that's what this would take. And is impossible.

Comment that ship sailed... (Score 3, Insightful) 40

Is this an absolute fucking joke??

The ship for "transparency" sailed about 6 months ago, before the mass media fully exposed her and Theranos as being outright frauds as individuals and as a technology company. The moment is gone, pack it up Elizabeth....

Anyone interested in what the "new Theranos" is should approach it as if it were a brand new company, with little/no track record and in the very early R&D phase. Perhaps with even more caution than that, if only to protect themselves from their historical baggage, and if not then at least to penalize socially irresponsible corporate practices.

Comment imagine where it goes (Score 4, Insightful) 254

The DA provides the best argument for Apple to strengthen encryption, by his own existence and statement. Imagine 10,000 district attorneys across the US, each of which have varying competence / incompetence in handling investigations, requests from Apple certain encryption/decryption keys, and wildly varying levels of knowledge about how to use or judge when to ask for this capability.

And, for that matter, wildly differing capabilities to securely handle and keep private the information they find on people's phones.

No thank you, and Apple is right to refuse them.

Submission + - How transparent should companies be when operational technology failures happen? 1

supernova87a writes: Last week, Southwest Airlines had an epic crash of IT systems across their entire business, when "a router failure caused the airlines' systems to crash... and all backups failed, causing flight delays and cancellations nationwide and costing the company probably $10 million in lost bookings alone." Huge numbers of passengers, crew, airplanes were stranded as not only reservations systems, but scheduling, dispatch, and other critical operational systems had to be rebooted over 12 hours. Passenger delays directly attributable to this incident continued to trickle down all the way from Wednesday to Sunday as the airline recovered.

Aside from the technical issues of what happened, what should a public facing company's obligation be to discuss what happened in full detail? Would publicly talking about the sequence of events before and after failure help restore faith in their operations? Perhaps not aiming for Google-levels of admirable disclosure (as in this 18-minute cloud computing outage where a full post-mortem was given) — but should companies aim to discuss more openly what happened? And how they recover from systems failures?

Comment inviting attack (Score 1) 1017

Is it just me, or does this smack of the same kind of childish lack of understanding of issues, brash posturing of someone who's never been in a fight, and willingness to make totally irresponsible statements that George W. Bush displayed, when he called on terrorists and insurgent groups to "Bring it on!" when trying to tout the prowess of our US military?

Comment Re:confusion about self-incrimination (Score 1) 233

Sorry, your interpretation of the 5th Amendment is not correct, or at least is quite different from what our judicial system thinks of it.

The wording is not "you may not be compelled to assist in your own prosecution", which is quite a broadly interpretable word, "assist". You clearly have taken that idea and turned it into being protected against anything that contributes to your prosecution. That is just incorrect.

The law says that you cannot be compelled as a witness against your own prosecution. A witness is someone who testifies, and who has testimonial privileges. A fingerprint, or cheek swab, or blood draw -- none of these fall into the realm of testifying as a witness according to the law.

Comment Re:confusion about self-incrimination (Score 1) 233

I actually think it might go the opposite way. I think passwords will be absolutely continue to be regarded as testimonial (and indicative that someone has intent in creating a password, and it is thus a compulsion to testify against onesself if forced to reveal it). Fingerprints, if they become widespread security measures, could conceivable also become regarded as very intentional acts when implemented, to the point that a court *might* believe that it shows that someone has the intention of keeping something private, which is due protection against search without enough evidence to warrant it.

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