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Comment Re:double standard (Score 3, Insightful) 192

I'm fully aware of the Supreme Court's recent rulings equating unlimited campaign spending with free speech. I disagree with their reasoning. Other democracies limit both overall campaign spending as well as the length of election campaigns, and those democracies function quite well. When the Court says, "This is because virtually every means of communicating ideas in today's mass society requires the expenditure of money," it ignores obvious alternative methods of mass communication. In the U.S., for example, we have public broadcasting networks in both radio and TV that could be used to give every candidate ample and equal opportunities to reach the public. The Court citing "free speech" as if it always triumphs every other consideration ignores the fact that our society and our courts often limit the free speech of individuals when not doing so would cause harm to other individuals or to society as a whole. Aside from that, I do not agree that campaign spending equals free speech. It comes down to whether or not we believe unlimited campaign spending distorts and corrupts the political process. I believe the evidence is that it clearly does, and I believe that issues like net neutrality illustrate that. Many of the representatives who signed Letter 2 that was referenced in the Ars Technica article represent areas where Internet access is very limited. They are betting that since so many of their constitutents don't have home Internet access, most of them won't even notice their actions on net neutrality or even know what it is. In fact, I doubt most of those representatives could explain net neutrality if asked. They got contributions and signed the letter they were asked to sign because that's how the campaign funding business works.

Comment Re:Campaign contributions != payments (Score 2) 192

While it may be legal for a representative to vote a certain way, if they're voting that way because they're getting a payoff to vote that way, it's a bribe in my book. Calling it a campaign contribution is just semantics. Our system of unlimited spending on political campaigns enhances the likelihood that votes on issues such as net neutrality will go the way the highest bidders want it to go.

Comment Re:Campaign contributions != payments (Score 1) 192

So if I'm a certified public accountant whose job depends on me taking classes every two years to remain certified and someone gives me cash to spend any way I want to fudge their books, it's a bribe; but if they pay for my classes and recertification to fudge their books, it's not a bribe? Sorry, I'm not seeing the distinction there.

Submission + - Brendan Eich resigns as Mozilla CEO

taz346 writes: Brendan Eich has resigned as CEO at Mozilla following controversy over his support for opponents of same-sex marriage equality in California. The resignation comes just a little over a week after he was named CEO. Eich had said publicly he would not resign just two days ago but calls to boycott the popular web browser because of his appointment were growing. Announcing Eich's resignation, Mozilla said, "We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better."

Comment Re:Crowdfunding?? (Score 1) 267

Actually they are placing a $600 bet that they'll get a product in return that will be the envy of all their friends and will also be a really nice smartphone that's also a really nice full-fledged computer. People place bets much larger than that thousands of times a day in Vegas, where the odds that they'll win aren't nearly so good. Heck, people place bets much larger than that thousands of times a day on all kinds of investment opportunities. It's their $600 and they're taking a chance with it. There's nothing new at all about people spending their money that way.

Comment Re:Send packages first (Score 2) 258

From "A Reporter's Notebook" Portsmouth, N.H., 1900: "As 1900 dawns, the Seacoast faces a shocking new technology. Is electricity safe? Is it just another toy for the rich? Do we really need it when gas lights work just fine and horses are easier to ride than cars? Should we develop this new science or leave the genie in the bulb?... A few automobiles have already made their way through our fair city, lured by the nearby sandy beaches, fine hotels, Revolutionary history and panoramic scenery. Hoards more of them cannot be far off, their engines fouling our already gritty air, their horns blaring as they compete for their share of the muddy downtown streets with the trolleys and the horse carts... Thankfully there is legislation planned that will require all motorcars to be proceeded by a man on foot waving a warning flag. This is certainly a commendable safety measure and should be supported."

Submission + - Chevron gets 9 years worth of activists' internet metadata

Halo1 writes: A US Federal judge has ruled that Microsoft must provide Chevron with IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by more than 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys. Chevron ask for this information in an attempt to prove that it fell victim to a conspiracy when it was convicted to pay $18 billion for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oil waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Opponents, such as the EFF and ERI, criticise that this could allow Chevron to determine the countries, states, cities or even buildings where the account-holders were checking their email, so as to 'infer the movements of the users over the relevant period'.

Submission + - Pilot Photographs 10-Mile Ice Strip After Alberta, Canada Hailstorm [PHOTO] (

Rebecka Schumann writes: What appear to be a giant white strip in the middle of Canada is actually the remains from a freak hailstorm in the province of Alberta this past weekend. The photograph, taken by a pilot, shows the remains of the storm in the city of Airdrie.

The now viral photo, first shared on Twitter, was reportedly taken by a Jazz Aviation pilot, Captain Daryl Frank north of Calgary Saturday. According to a report from the Huffington Post, the hailstorm and high winds not only hit Airdrie, but also Cochrane and north Calgary Saturday afternoon, lasting late into the evening. The storm, although leaving behind up to 12 inches of accumulation that measured in at two miles wide and 10 miles in length, only lasted an estimated 30 minutes reported WunderGround.

Submission + - Commerce Department Cleans Malware Infection By Destroying $175K of IT Equipment (

rmurph04 writes: According to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce's inspector general, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) spent over half its budget for the fiscal year 2012 on a operation that resulted in the unnecessary destruction of $175,000 in IT equipment.

In December 2011, the U.S. Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) alerted the Department of Commerce that a possible malware infection was detected on the Department of Commerce’s systems. Following a two-week investigation, a defense contractor determined that most of the detections were false positives, and couldn’t find any evidence of persistent malware or a targeted attack. However, “EDA’s CIO concluded that the risk, or potential risk, of extremely persistent malware and nation-state activity (which did not exist) was great enough to necessitate the physical destruction of all of EDA’s IT components. 20 EDA’s management agreed with this risk assessment and EDA initially destroyed more than $170,000 worth of its IT components, 21 including desktops, printers, TVs, cameras, computer mice, and keyboards."

Submission + - UK Retailer to start selling affordable 3D Printer to regular Consumers (

dryriver writes: Maplin will become the first UK retailer to sell 3D printers on the High Street. The £700 Velleman K8200 device will allow users to 'replicate' digital designs in 3D dimensions, from their own homes. 3D printing itself has been around for more than a decade, but has been making a push into becoming a true 'consumer' gadget for the last several years. The Velleman K8200 (above) on offer by Maplin — which is already out of stock according to its website — is half the price of some rival machines. However the printer does require assembly, making it something of an enthusiast's project than a true entry-level printer. The kit comes with five metres of plastic tubing, used as the 'ink' for the 3D printer. New cartridges cost £30, and the maximum size of objects — which usually require some finishing after printing — can be 7.8-inches.

Submission + - Write on the Sidewalks, Go To Jail (

Frosty Piss writes: Jeff Olson is being persecuted for thirteen counts of vandalism stemming from an expression of political protest that involved washable children's chalk on a City sidewalk. He has no previous criminal record. A San Diego Judge placed an unprecedented gag order on a misdemeanor trial — in particular muzzling Olson. But it also apparently included witnesses, the jury and others. Judge Howard Shore also chastised the Mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner. In the judge's eyes, the mayor had the temerity to call the trial of Olson a waste of time and taxpayer money. It is alleged that the San Diego city attorney is prosecuting this case at the beheist of the Bank of America after Olson scrawled anti-big bank messages in front of three Bank of America branches water soluble chalk

Submission + - How do we explain cloud privacy risks to K12 Teachers?

hyperorbiter writes: [* Google Apps is just an example here, I think it applies to many cloud services]
With the advent of Google Apps for Education, there has been a massive uptake by the K12 schools I deal with on signing students up with their own Google powered email address under the school domain. This combined by the fact that the students' work when using Google Apps is stored offshore and out of our control—with no explicit comeback if TOC are breached by Google—it seems to me that the school cannot with integrity maintain it has control over the data and its use. I have expressed a concern that it is unethical to use these services without informing the students' parents of what is at stake e.g. the students are getting a digital footprint from the age of seven AND are unaware of the implications this may have later in life. The response has often been that I'm over-reacting and that the benefits of the services far outweigh the concerns, so rather than risk knee jerk reactions by parents (a valid concern) and thereby hampering 'education', it's better to not bring this stuff up. My immediate issue isn't so much about the use of the cloud services now, but the ethics over lack of disclosure in the parental consent process. Does anyone have ideas about defining the parameters of "informed consent" where we inform of risks without bringing about paranoia?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: HIPAA Privacy Compliance in the Snowden Age

Motard writes: For much of my career, I've worked in organizations subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Among other things, HIPAA prescribes government-mandated regulations regarding the security surrounding Protected Health Information, or PHI.

In smaller companies, where I've been able to talk directly to the equivalent of a General Counsel, it has been interpreted as a requirement to employ reasonable measures to protect the information. In larger corporations — especially those that had found themselves entertaining representatives of The Office of The Inspector General — there are generally dedicated Risk Management or Security officers dedicated to eliminating risk — often without regard to practicality (since that isn't their charge).

So I ask this question: When it is demonstrated that a government contractor can flee to Hong Kong with classified secrets from the NSA (of all things), what chance does 'The Main Street Clinic' have of meeting the requisite data security requirements? At what point to we have to throw up our hands exclaiming "If the freaking NSA can't do it, how can we?"

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