* Posts by Bumpy Cat

511 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

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Panama Papers graph database cracked open for world+dog

Bumpy Cat

Re: "curated information"

Citizens of the US who want to efficiently structure their business affairs for tax minimization can use the tax and business offerings of the state of Delaware, which offers similar benefits to offshoring but is conveniently in the US.

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Bumpy Cat

Re: "curated information"

I did wonder about the trustworthiness of ICIJ themselves. As Fox Mulder says, "Trust no one!"

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Pro who killed Apple's Power Mac found... masquerading as a coffee table

Bumpy Cat

Re: tougher than it looks @phy445

I rescued one of those cases from work, and after keeping it under my desk for a year, then taking it home (by bicycle!) and keeping it under the desk there for years, I'm too committed to it to throw it away. Also I can't let my wife win this argument.

Anyway, here is someone a lot more dedicated than me who actually did the PC conversion:

http://build-its.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/how-to-fit-your-pc-in-power-mac-g5-case.html

And at some point I will do the same ...

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How innocent people 'of no security interest' are mere keystrokes away in UK's spy databases

Bumpy Cat

Re: It will become a lot easier for them @eesiginfo

The site uses a SHA-1 certificate, which is strongly deprecated. Google takes a much harder line on this, and Chrome will automatically throw up warnings while Firefox doesn't.

So *in this case*, Google is trying hard to protect you and you're interpreting it as sinister.

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Idiot millennials are saving credit card PINs on their mobile phones

Bumpy Cat

PINs?!

I can understand someone not tech-savvy storing passwords on their mobile - it's another version of the post-it in the wallet. But surely people can remember a four-digit PIN?

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Web backup biz Monster Cloud monstered after monster price hike

Bumpy Cat

Re: I'm not a Monster Cloud user but I'd like to know what the technorati are using?...

Owncloud is good - very easy to set up and low hardware requirements. Set up a VPN to manage external access and you don't need to worry about what your cloud storage vendor is going to do next.

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This headline will, in part, cost pepper-spraying University of California, Davis $175k

Bumpy Cat

Re: Just like in Bolivia

Did they let the soldier sit the exams? It would be a wasted opportunity otherwise.

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Bay Area man forced out of his $400 box home

Bumpy Cat

Re: condo prison cells at Alcatraz feature luxury units under $250,000.

ps... in DPRK, HOUSING IS A RIGHT AND IS PROVIDED TO EVERYONE.

AND YOU HAVE TO DISPLAY A PICTURE OF THE DEAR LEADER, AND IF IT GETS DIRTY OR DAMAGED YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY IS SENT TO A LABOUR CAMP

ALSO THERE'S NO FOOD

So your point may be factually accurate but somehow misses the bigger picture.

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I bless the reins down on .africa ... Dot-word injunction hits ICANN

Bumpy Cat

Dotconnectafrica does look as much African as the other group, though; it was founded by Sophia Bekele from Ethiopia and is based in Kenya and Mauritius. I suspect this is a conflict between an independent businesswoman and a state-sponsored group.

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Sweden 'secretly blames' hackers – not solar flares – for taking out air traffic control

Bumpy Cat

I think that one is already resolved permanently - as the Red Army approached in 1945 most of the German population fled, and those that remained were expelled by 1950. The enclave is (legally and population-wise) Russian now, and giving it back to Germany would not be resolving anything.

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Citrix asks you, yes you, to write its certification exams and courseware

Bumpy Cat

User forums are one thing

I frequently make use of - and sometimes contribute - to user forums, where you usually get accurate answers faster and cheaper than going to the company. It's rather a big jump from there to contributing to actual material for the company.

Surely they should be looking at some sort of reward - monetary might be difficult if the company is struggling, but how about product credit or free certification. At the very least there should be something intangible like credits in the material or forum badges.

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Illegal drugs and dodgy pics? Nah. Half the dark web is perfectly legal

Bumpy Cat

Re: How do they define Dark Web?

I don't know if this is formally defined, but I've seen this clarified as "deep web" vs "dark web". "Deep web" is content inaccessible to search engines - ie intranets, content and servers blocked by security policy/systems, and (I suppose) private address space like 10.x.x.x.

"Dark web", on the other hand, is content that requires specific software to reach it - TOR, I2P (Invisible Internet Project), etc. These are actively hidden from normal use and require unusual clients to reach; dodgy stuff naturally migrates here, but I've also seen it used for free speech purposes. The latter (avoiding censorship) is the subject of my current MSc project, and was one of the original ideas behind TOR when it was developed and released by the US Navy.

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MH-370 search loses sharpest-eyed robot deep beneath the waves

Bumpy Cat

Re: Waste Of Time - satellites

Did you actually read the New Scientist article? There are only a limited number of satellites, and even the NRO ones are going to be looking elsewhere. Why would they watch a random bit of the Indian Ocean?

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Bumpy Cat

Re: Plane goes missing, search robot goes missing…

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

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Behold, Microsoft SQL Server on Linux – and a firm screw-you to Oracle

Bumpy Cat

Re: A great week for Linux

Oracle doesn't have customers, it has hostages.

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'Microsoft Office has been the bane of my life, while simultaneously keeping me employed'

Bumpy Cat

Re: Self-modifying shell scripts

If that's what runs Skynet, humanity may have a chance ...

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Spare ship found to fix broken submarine cable slowing Oz internet

Bumpy Cat

Lodbrog the Viking?

The ship is registered and re-named in Denmark as Lodbrog - I can't find any confirmation, but that's suspiciously close to Lodbrok, as in Ragnar Lodbrok, legendary king and Vikingr.

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Easter Islanders didn't commit 'ecocide' after all, says archaeologist

Bumpy Cat

Re: Incorrect book, and deeper evidence

@Big John

Well, that's a lot of resource usage to make and move the statues regardless, so maybe it is possible to say "Not following this cultural practice may have made the society more sustainable".

Interestingly, the parallels I mentioned above, with the Norse in Greenland, also apply. The Norse also followed cultural practices which detracted from their sustainability - in their case, looking down on fishing (seriously, almost no fish bones in middens in the Greenland settlements) and their obsession with dairy cattle as a measure of wealth. Dairy cattle require huge amounts of hay, and wood is needed for fires to clean dairy implements.

Jared Diamond highlights this, but no-one is accusing him of racism against Norwegians. Maybe people need to actually read the book. In fact, several of his *success* cases are indigenous people, especially the Polynesians in Fiji and Tikopia, and the people of New Guinea. It's hard to wave the SJW stick at Jared Diamond and say "He's racist against the Polynesians of Easter Island but not the Polynesians of Tikopia!"

I attended one of his talks in London, and there were people protesting against him because ... actually I'm still not clear why they were protesting. Something about he wasn't treating New Guineans with respect, despite living and studying there for years and praising their society as one that has managed the same area of land sustainably for several thousand years.

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Bumpy Cat

- Rats eating the seeds of trees, where the seeds are not adapted to it.

- Heavy timber usage.

- Mild-to-cool climate meaning slow tree growth.

- Shallow and fragile volcanic soil, which erodes easily.

It's been a while since I read the book, so I don't remember all the factors, but the above list is a start.

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Bumpy Cat

Incorrect book, and deeper evidence

The Easter Island theory is detailed in "Collapse", not "Guns Germs and Steel".

I don't think Jared Diamond's theory has been proved incorrect. It wasn't just made up - it was based on multiple sources of evidence, especially the pollen record in peat bogs (hard to fake and quite strong evidence). Rats were not introduced by Western ships, but came a lot earlier with Polynesian settlers, and the damage was done over centuries, not in the 19th century.

The Polynesian people had been extraordinarily successful in settling many islands across the breadth of the Pacific, and on arrival Easter Island looked very similar to the others. The climate and soil were not nearly as robust as other locations, but in the pre-Modern era it would have been very hard to establish that. The combination of slow regrowth, high usage and damage from introduced species (rats!) led to the gradual disappearance of Easter Islands forests.

The book also covers interesting parallels with the Norse settlements in Iceland and Greenland. This is similar to Easter Island, where seafarers from more robust lands arrive at islands which have centuries of forest growth looking much like previous islands. High usage of the timber exceeds the regrowth and exposes fragile soil, which erodes, leaving no chance of the forest being sustained. Greenland collapsed and Iceland came close.

Certainly the arrival of Western slavers and disease dealt the final blow to Easter Island, but the archaeological record suggests other significant events prior to that.

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Idiot e-tailers falling for fake patch that exploits year-old Magento hole

Bumpy Cat

Re: The most annoying thing about this sort of stuff...

It's hard to usefully give that info. Magento is very popular, so there are tens of thousands of sites that use it. As a result it's not practical to give a list of affected sites, not to mention the possibility of legal threats or action if someone publishes a list of vulnerable sites.

The usage of Magento is detailed here (linked from the report):

http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cm-magento/all/all

It's also hard for an individual user to determine whether a given site is vulnerable - the w3 analysis site uses a lot of aggregate data:

http://w3techs.com/faq

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De-anonymising data should be a criminal offence, says MPs report

Bumpy Cat

@Old Handle

As an AC mentioned further up, anonymisation is hard. I just saw a paper review (Narayanan, Shmatikov. De-anonymizing social networks) on how network analysis can reveal 30% of anonymous social media accounts. Recently at my work we were peripherally involved in a case where a researcher put enough data in a paper to identify individual patients by analysing geographic data and public records.

A determined attacker can correlate data you would never think of, or sometimes start with a single item of data (a Facebook post about a hospital visit -> name, date and hospital) to find key information in "anonymised" research data.

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Privacy advocates left out of NHS care.data 'oversight' board

Bumpy Cat

Re: A note on "anonymous" data

Professional certification varies. I work at a university which engages in medical research, and work closely with a colleague who handles the compliance wrt medical data. People can lose their license to practice medicine, or lose their research job. Institutions can lose a set of research funding, or ALL research funding, or ALL access to research data. The risks are huge and people really do try to handle this properly.

Of course, people being people, they make mistakes or take shortcuts. That's when the stick comes down.

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Bumpy Cat

A note on "anonymous" data

Any medical trial is going to have to include research data. This has to be anonymized or pseudonymized somehow. A key consideration is how easy it is to backtrack from the anonymous version to the real person - eg, a mother of X ethnicity who gave birth in Y hospital on Z date - this won't be hard to figure out! So some caution and thought has to go into the process.

That said, medical research relies on this, so it is not something that can just be dismissed. The larger the scale of the trials/research (hello, care.data) the more research, and the more positive outcomes, that will result. It's not as simple as saying "This is not safe, so we cannot do it." I am actually reassured that Patients4Data has a strong academic representation - people in this sector are careful, since their professional certification is at risk if they mess up.

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UC Berkeley profs blast secret IT monitoring kit on campus

Bumpy Cat

So, an IDS

I can't imagine any large organization wouldn't have firewall logging and an IDS, with data kept for at least a couple of weeks. Provided it's governed properly, this is hardly news, nor is it 1984.

The secrecy is strange, but in my personal experience that may well be users just not reading the policies.

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FTC apologizes for leaking attendee details … to privacy conference

Bumpy Cat

From the sounds of it the government employees are in the minority. The academics and journalists are likely to be on the side of privacy - certainly in the computer science dept where I study there's a lot of focus on enhancing and strengthening privacy.

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Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick!

Bumpy Cat

If you put a million monkeys at a million keyboards, one of them will eventually produce a Java program. The rest will produce Perl scripts.

(not mine, but still my favourite, as a Perl fan)

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MPs question value of canning Raytheon from e-borders

Bumpy Cat

Lin Homer?

How is it that someone with such a record of uselessness and incompetence moves from one cushy sinecure to another?!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lin_Homer#Controversy_and_alleged_incompetence

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Revealed: Mystery 7-year cyberspy campaign in Latin America

Bumpy Cat

Re: COUGH

"Far more likely"? If you have any evidence of that I suggest you forward it to the Argentinean authorities. Given that Argentina issued Interpol warrants for six Hezbollah operatives (who were operating under Iranian orders) in 2006, I think it's a little bit more than a "theory".

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Researchers say they've cracked the secret of the Sony Pictures hack

Bumpy Cat

Re: Let me get this straight

Just because a country is backward doesn't mean the inhabitants are stupid. The concentrated resources of even a poor country can buy a lot - eg private jets for the dear leader, or several thousand hackers with decent kit. North Korea actually bases some of its military hackers in China, for training, connectivity and deniability reasons.

Sure, the people are eating grass, but they have lots of guns, nuclear weapons and the boss has the best brandy.

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How NSA continued to spy on American citizens' email traffic – from overseas

Bumpy Cat

Re: Pascal Moaner So the NSA spies from offshore now

You can at the least mock them and sideline them, as we do with eg the BNP.

Not, for example:

- give them a peerage (Lord Ahmed)

- invite them onto BBC to excuse Lee Rigby's murder the very next day (Anjem Choudhury)

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Bangladesh shuts down its internet during war crimes trial

Bumpy Cat

Politically complicated

The situation in Bangladesh is dangerous at the moment. The mostly democratic and secular government is under major pressure from Islamists, many of whom collaborated with Pakistan in the genocide and civil war in 1971.

Secular bloggers are being systematically murdered, targets of an Islamist campaign to silence people speaking against the Islamists. The campaign is being run online, and there are supporters and funders (and targets!) in the UK. So in these circumstances it is possible to see the motivation to shut down the internet, even if it's counter-productive or unworkable.

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Anything AWS can do: Microsoft announces UK data centre region for Azure cloud

Bumpy Cat

Safe Harbor fallout

This is surely the logical response to the end of Safe Harbor in current form - while the legal people on every side are thrashing out the details for any new agreement, customers are sidling uneasily away from anything that relies on US-based cloud infrastructure. Currently if you're using Azure you have no choice - your data is free for the taking in the US.

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TPP: 'Scary' US-Pacific trade deal published – you're going to freak out when you read it

Bumpy Cat

Re: Jingo

That's all very well when your only motivation is anti-Americanism. But, as was quoted in the article, who would you rather have writing up trade agreements - China or America? Which country allows trade unions to exist? Which country has better freedom of speech? Which country has better environmental laws, and a better environment?

For goodness sake, people have got to stop thinking of the West and America as the only and ultimate evil. We in the West need to keep a firm leash on our politicians, governments and security agencies - but we *can*, through protests, elections and political engagement. Most other people around the world don't have that luxury, and are literally dying to get out of their countries and into the West. Even the millionaires in China want a US passport.

So, in this case, I'd rather have the US writing the trade agreement than China. It's the Trans-PACIFIC agreement, so the EU is not involved - but if it were, I'd rather have the EU writing it than the US or China.

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European Parliament votes to grant Snowden protection from US

Bumpy Cat

Re: @ elDog

The poisoned umbrella was the Bulgarians, working with the Soviets. The target was also a dissident in London.

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British killer robot takes out two Britons in Syria strike

Bumpy Cat

Re: Victims?

@Gordon 10

We are actually assisting the Iraqi government in dealing with ISIS, alongside a wide coalition of other countries. Parliament has approved this course of action.

I am also concerned with the legality of the situation. Unlike you, though, I don't have the conclusion "The UK is always in the wrong!" already in mind.

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Bumpy Cat

Re: Victims?

Killing someone in war is not execution. It does not require a trial.

If a British citizen chooses to join a group or nation that is actively fighting the UK, they are not a common criminal. For the same reason, we do not arrest and try enemy soldiers in battle*, and we do not use drone strikes on muggers in the UK.

* In recent fluid situations like Afghanistan and Iraq, the distinction between soldier and (civilian) criminal was not always clear - often by the choice of the enemy. There was a strong reason to arrest militants and hand them over to local justice, but this produced ... uneven results.

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Associated Press sues FBI for impersonating its site to install spyware

Bumpy Cat

Re: Do as I say, not as I do

Iran, Myanmar etc

It is debatable whether misusing corporate branding/trademark is moral (or legal) in this case.

However, you cannot seriously compare this case with repressive regimes. This entire process was set up to track a single criminal via an arrest warrant. In repressive regimes they use blanket surveillance against political dissidents, who are arrested on spurious grounds and disappear into prisons where they are frequently tortured.

You do the cause of anti-surveillance no favours by making spurious comparisons like this.

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Clueless do-gooders make Africa's conflict mineral mines even more dangerous

Bumpy Cat

Re: Send in the Marines

There's a passage in The Forever War by Dexter Filkins (a reporter who spent years in Afghanistan and Iraq during the last decade).

"... whenever the prospect of normalcy presented itself, a long line of Iraqis stood up and reached for it. Thousands of them, seeing the opportunity in the events of April 2003, had set out to build an ordinary country with ordinary ways [...] And they went to the slaughter. Thousands and thousands of them: editors, pamphleteers, judges, police officers and women like Widjan al-Khuzai. The insurgents were brilliant at that. They could spot a fine mind or a tender soul wherever it might be, chase it down and kill it dead. The heart of a nation. The precision was astounding."

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MoD splashes £1.5bn on 10-year IT deal to 'keep pace with threats'

Bumpy Cat

Re: What baffles me is

All military personnel now use DII. Annual reports, pay, expense claims, and personal details are all accessed and managed through your DII login. If you include everyone in all three services and the reserve equivalents, that's around 200k people.

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Robo-taxis, what are they good for? Er, the environment and traffic

Bumpy Cat

Re: Screw the jobs

@McUser

The disparity in wealth in a feudal society was very high. The number of people who could afford any kind of discretionary expenditure - eg, a lamp carrier - was very small.

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South Korea mandates spyware installation on teenagers' smartphones

Bumpy Cat

Korean culture

Korean culture is still very traditional in a lot of ways. This wouldn't even be necessary for most Korean teenagers - they are in night-time cram schools.

Also, night-life in Korea is a bit more varied than the UK options of telly or pub. Shops are open late, there's specialty tea/coffee/dessert shops, sports/skate parks (not filled exclusively with thug life teenagers). I would be a lot happier if my daughter was out at night in Korea than in the UK.

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It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Bumpy Cat
Joke

Re: So, in other words...

That's why I outsourced all my reg postings to somebody in India while I get on with more valuable tasks

We can tell.

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Toshiba packs NUMERIC KEYPAD onto self-bricking USB drive

Bumpy Cat

Re: Right...

Fortunately you enter the pin before inserting the drive into the USB port. It stays unlocked for 30 seconds or so, which should be enough even the most sausagiest of fingers to shove the drive into the port.

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Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

Bumpy Cat

Re: Kum sa ham ni da

Fatty Kim with his Chinese smuggler haircut.

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Alien Ninja Fembot Pirates vs the Jedi SAS Chuck Norris startroopers: RUMBLE

Bumpy Cat

Re: 35lbs???

http://army.mod.uk/join/20233.aspx

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Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?

Bumpy Cat

Re: Eastasia

The government wasn't going to support ISIS or al-Nusra. Stop repeating such nonsense. They were going to support the FSA, who are a broad, mostly secular resistance movement. However, Assad is not stupid; he ignored ISIS/al-Nusra and focussed all the attacks of the Syrian government on the liberal/secular opposition; he released 500+ Islamist insurgents from jail to bolster ISIS; some reports say that the Syrian govt even came to an arrangement with ISIS/al-Nusra to not attack each other, allowing both of them to concentrate on the FSA.

The result: ISIS can claim to be the bulk of the resistance to the Syrian government. The Syrian government can point to ISIS and say "See? Our opposition are sectarian fascist murderers!". A win for both of them - and a loss for anyone who calls themself liberal or secular.

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Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy

Bumpy Cat

Re: how does the black market impact these models then

The black market often takes up the slack for the inefficiencies or holes in the command economy. This was pretty common throughout the Soviet bloc, and is pretty much the only thing keeping North Korea going at the moment.

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Password manager LastPass goes titsup: Users LOCKED OUT

Bumpy Cat

Re: Working fine

UK here - it was sluggish this morning, but seems to be responding now.

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Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE

Bumpy Cat

Re: Hmm...

The big selling point for Tor is anonymity. Once they've cracked that, Russian police have a person they can arrest and apply other techniques like rubber-hose decryption.

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