Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Minnesota, eh. (Score 1) 391

It's pretty obvious to me that this was based on loss of revenue for a state that has the highest number of sex offenders in indefinite "treatment". It costs several times the amount to than prison. Add that cost to the new stadium. Several thousand cases will equal at least a few million dollars flowing into the economy.

Submission + - Inside Hitler's Mind - British was tracking Hitler's growing preoccupation (

fishmike writes: A secret report, previously unknown to historians, shows how British Intelligence was tracking Hitler's growing preoccupation with "the enemy within" on the eve of the Final Solution.

A secret analysis of Adolf Hitler's mental state which was drawn up by British Intelligence in April 1942 has been uncovered by a researcher, having apparently lain unread since the war.


Submission + - Former TSA Boss Admits Airport Screening Is Broken (

SolKeshNaranek writes:

Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about noted TSA-critic and security expert (among other things) Bruce Schneier debating former TSA boss Kip Hawley over at the Economist. While that debate was interesting, you might be forgiven for reading a WSJ piece written by Hawley and wondering if Hawley wasn't secretly replaced by Schneier. In the article, Hawley admits that the TSA screening process is ridiculously broken, and even makes a few statements that are almost word for word repeats of criticism Schneier has directed in the TSA's direction for years. Here's a snippet:

More than a decade after 9/11, it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect. Preventing terrorist attacks on air travel demands flexibility and the constant reassessment of threats. It also demands strong public support, which the current system has plainly failed to achieve.

The crux of the problem, as I learned in my years at the helm, is our wrongheaded approach to risk. In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple.

Any effort to rebuild TSA and get airport security right in the U.S. has to start with two basic principles:

First, the TSA's mission is to prevent a catastrophic attack on the transportation system, not to ensure that every single passenger can avoid harm while traveling. Much of the friction in the system today results from rules that are direct responses to how we were attacked on 9/11. But it's simply no longer the case that killing a few people on board a plane could lead to a hijacking. Never again will a terrorist be able to breach the cockpit simply with a box cutter or a knife. The cockpit doors have been reinforced, and passengers, flight crews and air marshals would intervene.

Second, the TSA's job is to manage risk, not to enforce regulations. Terrorists are adaptive, and we need to be adaptive, too. Regulations are always playing catch-up, because terrorists design their plots around the loopholes.

All of that sounds good... but why wasn't that the way the TSA acted under Hawley's 3.5 year tenure at the helm? As he explains it, some of it was merely giant bureaucratic institutional momentum. Some of it was political. Some of it was his own fault. Basically, there were a number of reasons — not all of which are particular convincing for the public that's sick of the TSA, something that Hawley admits. While he does say that there are some things that make more sense than people realize (for example, he says that there are more reasons for requiring people to take off their shoes than people realize), there are other things that he admits are pretty stupid, such as the liquid restrictions. He notes that there are plans on someone's desk (which existed while he was at the TSA) that would allow people to bring the liquids they wanted — basically by setting up separate lines for those bringing larger volumes of liquids, which can be scanned with relative ease with a software upgrade.

In the end, he suggests a few key changes to the TSA process to improve not just the airport experience, but also the safety of flying. And he notes all of these could be implemented in a matter of months if the TSA wanted to do it:

1. No more banned items: Aside from obvious weapons capable of fast, multiple killings—such as guns, toxins and explosive devices—it is time to end the TSA's use of well-trained security officers as kindergarten teachers to millions of passengers a day. The list of banned items has created an "Easter-egg hunt" mentality at the TSA. Worse, banning certain items gives terrorists a complete list of what not to use in their next attack. Lighters are banned? The next attack will use an electric trigger.

2. Allow all liquids: Simple checkpoint signage, a small software update and some traffic management are all that stand between you and bringing all your liquids on every U.S. flight. Really.

3. Give TSA officers more flexibility and rewards for initiative, and hold them accountable: No security agency on earth has the experience and pattern-recognition skills of TSA officers. We need to leverage that ability. TSA officers should have more discretion to interact with passengers and to work in looser teams throughout airports. And TSA's leaders must be prepared to support initiative even when officers make mistakes. Currently, independence on the ground is more likely to lead to discipline than reward.

4. Eliminate baggage fees: Much of the pain at TSA checkpoints these days can be attributed to passengers overstuffing their carry-on luggage to avoid baggage fees. The airlines had their reasons for implementing these fees, but the result has been a checkpoint nightmare. Airlines might increase ticket prices slightly to compensate for the lost revenue, but the main impact would be that checkpoint screening for everybody will be faster and safer.

5. Randomize security: Predictability is deadly. Banned-item lists, rigid protocols—if terrorists know what to expect at the airport, they have a greater chance of evading our system.

I think it's reasonable to criticize him for not doing more to get these changes in place while he was still in charge, but at least he's speaking out now. One key point in all of this, which often goes unnoted in the discussions of security theater, is that it often makes us less safe by the incentives it creates for TSA scanners. Above, one of his suggestions is to get rid of banned items, because of the "easter-egg hunt." As he notes elsewhere in the article, one of the problems with today's system is that agents become so focused on finding the specific "banned items" that they miss real threats. He relates the story of a test where agents were so focused on finding cigarette lighters that they missed bomb parts packed in the same bag around the lighter.

Of course, the problem in actually getting Hawley's ideas implemented remains the biggest hurdle. As much as the public hates the TSA screening process, no one is willing to make a change like this, because when an attack inevitably gets through (as it would with or without today's procedures), then the "new" security screening process will inevitably be blamed. As such, whoever agreed to put in place such a security regime would inevitably be sacrificed for "failing" in his or her job. So, you shouldn't necessarily expect any significant changes any time soon. Instead, it'll be yet another showing of traditional security theater... for old time's sake.

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Are You Being Taxed By Your Boss? (

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: I guess this explains why the pothole in the state expressway is still awaiting repairs. Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Sears are among over 2,700 companies withholding income from their employees — but instead of sending the money to the state coffers they're keeping it for themselves. With the legal blessings of your own state.

Submission + - Koobface Gang Pulls Server After Facebook Exposes

An anonymous reader writes: After Facebook exposed the hackers behind the Koobface worm, their central "Command & Control" server, known as the "Mothership," has stopped responding. Furthermore, the five individuals collectively known as the Koobface gang have started deleting their profiles on social networks, which was one of the main sources used to first uncover their identities.

Submission + - Developer explains why he's pirating Windows 8 (

An anonymous reader writes: Developer Justin Cunningham has had enough, and has decreed publicly that he will be pirating the next version of Windows, which means Windows 8.

After purchasing all versions from Windows 3.1 to Windows 7, the pain of using, and failing to use the activation system has become too much. So he's calling it a day and going to easy route by pirating a pre-activated copy of Windows 8 when it appears on file-sharing networks.

Anyone else suffering this level of frustration with the Windows activation system?


Submission + - NYPD Developing Portable Body Scanner for Detectin (

Zothecula writes: You have to feel sorry for the police officers who are required to frisk people for guns or knives — after all, if someone who doesn't want to be arrested is carrying a lethal weapon, the last thing that most of us would want to do is get close enough to that person to touch them. That's why the New York Police Department teamed up with the United States Department of Defense three years ago, and began developing a portable scanner that can remotely detect the presence of a gun on a person's body. The NYPD announced the project this week.

Submission + - American Censorship Day Is Tomorrow (11/16/11) (

foxxlf25 writes: There are two very disturbing bills making their way through Congress: Protect IP Act (PIPA — S.968) and Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA – H.R.3261). In these times when everyone is focused on keeping bread on their table, big media and congress look to undermine our rights. Check out the story to find out how you can voice your opposition to this bill aimed at censoring the Internet and the American public.

Submission + - Mathematically pattern-free music (

gary.flake writes: Scott Rickard set out to do what no musician has ever tried — to make the world’s ugliest piece of music. At TEDxMIA, he discusses the math and science behind creating a piece of music devoid of any pattern. He used mathematics of Évariste Galois (who was born 200 years ago) to create pattern-free sonar pings which he mapped to notes on a piano, and then played them using the non-rhythm of a Golomb Ruler. Now, why didn't I think of that...
The Courts

Submission + - DHS Ignores Court Ruling to Take Public Comment on (

OverTheGeicoE writes: On Saturday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center announced that they filed papers in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to get the Department of Homeland Security to start its public comment process. In July the court ordered DHS to take public comment on airport body scanning, in accordance with federal law. The court allowed DHS and TSA to continue using scanners during the comment period. According to EPIC's filing the ruling against DHS became final on September 21 after EPIC's motion for a rehearing was denied. Since then, DHS has done nothing to comply with the order. EPIC wants DHS to release details for their public comment period process within 45 days. DHS is no stranger to the kind of notice and comment rulemaking that is being required of them. Earlier public comment on their Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), which would have required draconian security on aircraft 10% of the size of a Boeing 737, did not go so well. They received 7400 comments 'vehemently opposed' to LASP in 2008 and 2009 and are still reworking the plan in response to the comments received. How will DHS manage the public comment period for body scanners, which directly affects many millions more Americans than LASP does? Would DHS prefer to take their chances in court, including an appeal to the Supreme Court if need be, rather than face the public over their body scanners?

Submission + - Exploding Toilet Injures Two Government Workers (

RedEaredSlider writes: Two toilets exploded in the General Services Administration building, hospitalizing two workers (who were in separate bathrooms, evidently). The physics is sort of interesting: older water systems operate using air to force the water through at the right pressure, but if there is some problem in the system enough pressure can build to cause the commodes to crack. Plumbers: please weigh in.

Submission + - People That Remember Every Day Of Their Lives (

kkleiner writes: "What did you do on this day ten years ago? What day of the week was it? What was the weather like? I can’t remember either. But for a very few, very special people, they can answer these questions for that day and for any other day of their lives beyond a certain young age. This new type of superior memory – termed hyperthymesia – has only recently been discovered and not much is known about it at all. But since the first case was documented in 2006 others with this ‘condition’ have come forward for researchers to study."

Submission + - VPN Service Snitched on Alleged LulzSec Member ( 2

wiredmikey writes: Yesterday, Cody Kretsinger, a 23-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona was arrested and charged with conspiracy and the unauthorized impairment of a protected computer.

How did the Feds track down the alleged LulzSec member? It turns out that a VPN service reportedly used to mask his online identify and location was the one who handed over data to the FBI.

According to the federal indictment, Kretsinger registered for a VPN account at HideMyAss.Com under the user name “recursion”. Following that, the indictment said that Kretsinger and other unknown conspirators conducted SQL injection attacks against Sony Pictures in attempt to extract confidential data.

“At a later date it came as no surprise to have received a court order asking for information relating to an account associated with some or all of the above cases,” they wrote in the post this morning. “As stated in our terms of service and privacy policy our service is not to be used for illegal activity, and as a legitimate company we will cooperate with law enforcement if we receive a court order (equivalent of a subpoena in the US).”

You can be sure that HideMyAss is not the only provider to be hit with subpoenas to hand over user data. It’s likely the FBI and other officials are digging deep and requesting similar information from other VPN providers and online services such as Pastebin, Twitter, and other tools and web services commonly used by hackers.

Submission + - FCC Finalizes US Net Neutrality Rules (

milbournosphere writes: The FCC has finally finalized their proposed rules regarding net neutrality. They go into effect on 20 November, a year after they passed in a 3-2 vote.

FCC's summary of their rules:
"First, transparency: fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of their broadband services. Second, no blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services. Third, no unreasonable discrimination: fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic."

It should be noted that some of the language is a little ambiguous; who is to decide what constitutes 'unreasonable discrimination'?


Submission + - Hackers Raid Mass Killer's Email Accounts for Info (

Orome1 writes: After the recent hacking of Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik Behring's Twitter account, it seems that the same group of hackers has also decided to compromise two of his email accounts. They sent the information they found within the accounts to Norwegian freelance investigative reporter Kjetil Stormark and asked him to deliver it to the police. A wise decision, especially for a group of hackers allegedly led by a 17-year-old, since Norway's strong source protection law should protect their identities from being exposed.

Slashdot Top Deals

Riches cover a multitude of woes. -- Menander