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Comment Article doesn't mention racial profiling. (Score 4, Interesting) 318

One thing the summary doesn't mention is that the reporter who was detained is probably non-white: her name is Maria Abi-Habib and she covers the middle east for the Wall Street Journal. In the Facebook post, she says she goes by Maria Theresa. She's apparently non-muslim, but probably looks close enough to a middle easterner that racial profiling kicked in.

Comment Why are these cameras even connected to the net? (Score 1) 79

As someone who has some experience with CCTV DVRs, all of the DVRs I've worked with are the same: fanless computers with cases so thick they're practically mil-spec that get set up once and then immediately locked up in a room (to which only a handful of people on-site are allowed to have a key). The DVRs themselves are on an intranet with the cameras that has no outside internet access. The process works because no one can hack the network without physically being present in the building (at which point they'd be seen by security and likely arrested once the police are called) or launching a military-style assault on the room with the DVRs inside (at which point the company has far bigger problems than CCTV was designed to solve).

So, why are these even connected to the internet at all, especially if they're commercial DVRs?

Comment Re:WHy dont we sue ice (Score 1) 73

It's not just accusations of rigging, it's outright proof. In late 2014/early 2015, there was a site called Sweetstakes (which is still up) that was meant for TF2 gambling. The way it worked is that people put their items into a "pool", with higher valued items giving people a higher chance to win. The problem was that there was one guy with tens of thousands of dollars in items and a bunch of stooges who would hand this guy their items so that he had a higher chance of winning (on the promise that he'd pay them back later, which he never did).

The scammer would find people gambling high-value items and then use his massive stockpile to essentially guarantee himself a win - giving himself and the site owners a huge amount of profit. The site owners KNEW what this guy was doing and did absolutely nothing to stop it because they get a 5% cut of each pool regardless of who wins. There were also allegations that they had rigged the system to ensure the scammer kept winning (and thus kept getting them more money).

It was only after a couple of trading sites found out about (and subsequently banned) the scammer after his stooges complained about not getting their cut that the Sweetstakes site admins did anything about it.

I'm sure Valve knew about Sweetstakes and about the scandal - but they were content to let it go and keep taking their cut from people making in-game purchases to fund their gambling habits.

Comment Re:Sony series of epic disappointments (Score 2) 232

Actually, the reason they left out PS2 emulation was because of how error-ridden it was. There's a compatibility list of all PS2 games somewhere, and the compatibility varies wildly between the first five PS3 models. The ones with the actual PS2 hardware in them support some games but not others, and the ones with the software emulation support games the hardware-based ones didn't but then don't support some of the games the hardware-based ones did. What "non-compatible" means can also vary wildly: I specifically remember that Persona 3 (the base game before the FES expansion) had an issue where it would randomly wipe/corrupt save files at a point thirty or more hours into the game on some systems and not on others, while the FES expansion had the same issue but with different versions.

The other problem was that Sony had no way of patching most of these bugs since in a lot of cases they resulted from ugly hacks in the code that were used to make the game run properly on the PS2 hardware and short of re-coding large portions of each non-compatible game there was no real fix for it.

Comment Re:Stolen? (Score 2) 104

They absolutely can. In late 2011, one of the graphics card manufacturers did a promotion where they bundled Steam keys for Dirt 3 (which was a $60 game at the time) with their cards. The exact delivery system involved something like entering a code from a piece of paper inside the card box into a thing on the manufacturer's site, which would then spit out a Steam key.

Somewhere along the line, someone figured out that you could access a directory on the manufacturer's website that had a single .txt file with all of the keys (several thousand of them) listed inside. The list circulated around the internet, and as a result a whole bunch of people got the game for free. The manufacturer found out a few days later what had happened and went to Valve, who immediately began revoking the game from people's accounts. I don't know how far they actually got, since a couple of people I know who did it still have the game on their accounts today - though I think that might be because they figured out that some of the keys had been used by people who had actually bought the videocard and were now confused as to why access to their game had suddenly been revoked.

The problem for Valve is that it's really hard to make a working policy on this sort of thing. Years ago, they used to lock or ban accounts for receiving gifted games that came from a stolen credit card or if the card used to make the purchase had been issued a chargeback. The problem there became that you'd have people banned for no reason other than that they accepted a gift from someone who later had their credit card stolen or had the charge disputed for some other reason. I can recall at least one instance where someone got banned trying to get around the censorship restrictions in Germany by having someone from the US buy them a US copy of the game.. only to find out that the person in the US was a minor using their parent's credit card and that the parent disputed the charge, resulting in a ban. They've since changed their policy slightly (in that they'll usually only ban the person who made the actual transaction and not the person who received the gift) but it's still imperfect.

At the same time, Valve also had the same issues with Team Fortress 2 and Counterstrike: GO. There were numerous reported cases of Russian or Chinese credit card thieves using stolen credit cards to make in-game purchases (usually "keys" to unlock potentially valuable items) which they would then trade to an unsuspecting victim knowing that Valve was reluctant to delete in-game items once they'd been traded. The scammer would then take whatever they'd gotten in trade and sell it at a fraction of market value. There was one notable Russian scammer who was moving several thousand dollars in TF2 items a week this way. Valve's response to this was to introduce one of the most user-hostile systems ever invented: you either attach a phone number to your Steam account or become almost unable to trade with 20+ day waiting periods involved.

Comment Bitcoin doesn't make sense as currency (Score 1) 121

Bitcoin being currency really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The only reason Bitcoin has value to anyone is because it can be exchanged for real currency - if it were not for the exchanges, Bitcoin would be totally worthless. I really don't see how this is any different from, say, the supposed credit card thieves buying $1500 of precious metals or stocks or baseball cards from someone while making the claim that they're going to use the metals/stocks/baseball cards to purchase stolen credit cards - and I think in any of those situations, no one would make the claim that money laundering occurred because it is clear that none of those things are currency.

For Bitcoin to be a currency, it would have to be as widely accepted as cash.. and not just by a few restaurants and a plastic surgeon, as the article states.

Comment Re:Bill of Attainder (Score 1) 296

No. Laws that require the government to prioritize US goods when purchasing things are not bills of attainder because they do not specifically identify any person or corporation not to buy goods from - "non-US entities" is a grouping that encompasses thousands of different companies. Similarly, laws requiring the purchase of supplies from approved vendors are also not bills of attainder as any vendor could potentially be approved.

The reason this bill is a bill of attainder is because it specifically names and punishes Apple without a trial.

Comment Re:I don't have a problem with... (Score 1) 259

While I will agree with you on the idea that decrypting phones does present the issue of usage creep, the latter part of your statement is incorrect. The Supreme Court has said that the police cannot search your locked phone without an order by a judge - ie; a police officer who wants to check your phone because they suspect they will find something on it can't stop you for an unrelated reason (dead light on your car) and demand that you hand over/unlock your phone so they can see it.

In this case, a judge has issued an order that the phone is allowed to be searched. There is absolutely nothing improper here that would conflict with the Supreme Court ruling.

Comment The problem is user error. (Score 3, Insightful) 622

The problem isn't that the GPS is wrong, the problem is that the user is in error. In the Iceland case, the driver made a typo and wound up going to a similarly-named road 250 miles away. Had he entered the correct street name, he would likely have made it to his destination without a problem. I'm guessing the Belgium-Croatia case is similar.

Comment Their business is likely failing. (Score 1) 675

I've noticed that when companies start doing this sort of thing it's because they're losing money, corporate is not pleased, and they need a convienient bogeyman to blame their decreased revenues on. It will only be once they've implemented their futile anti-Adblock methods and are still losing money six months to a year down the road that they will be forced to address the real, underlying issues (a decline in article quality, a decline in relevance to their readers) that are causing them to fail.

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