* Posts by Trevor_Pott

5219 posts • joined 31 May 2010

Remaining Snowden docs will be released to avert 'unspecified US war' – ‪Cryptome‬

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Erm, no

I'd say "how the state uses dragnet surveillance to monitor everyone, everywhere and ultimately is allowing entire nations to sleepwalk into McCarty's wet dream of suppressing dissent almost before it happens" is both something that is important forever and must be published. Not only is it relevant today, but our descendants will need to know exactly how the fuck we let it get to this point, why we let the coming dark era of state terror (in the name of "protection") ever happen, and how they can prevent that from ever happening again.

We study the Nazi rise to power for a reason: this cannot be allowed to happen again. Our descendants will study the mistakes we are making today for the exact same reason.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Potty Trouble is

Absolutely correct, but the ability to stuff up O2's network is not on the same scale as a nuclear attack, and you fucking know it.

Worst case scenario, a few people die because they can't reach 911 and a small hit to the economy as corporate chaos reigns for a few hours. That's not even on the same level of risk or threat as millions dead and tens of millions more dying horribly and overwhelming the medical systems of entire nations.

I am entirely willing to risk some spotty teenager stuffing up the phone network in order to know what my government is up to. Quite frankly, I think someone has to stuff up the phone network from time to time so that we don't get complacent about technological security, and pay the coppers to protect critical infrastructure. (See: asshats attaching SCADA systems on the interbutts without UTMs in the middle.)

Liberty isn't an acceptable price to pay for the illusion of security.

There is, of course, a balance. We shouldn't make fissionable material available to anyone who asks. We shouldn't be selling strychnine or TNT to those who don't have a damned good reason to use it, and preferably licensing and safety training. Guns should require licensing and safety training to acquire and guns that have no purpose other than war (such as full auto rifles, rocket launchers, etc) absolutely shouldn't be allowed in the hands of civilians. (Or even Police!)

It is a question of risk management. Public safety is important, at a large enough level. By the same token, civil liberties are not "mere conveniences," but of fundamental importance. That means we must find a balance.

Absolute security is impossible. So is absolute liberty. So we must take a pragmatic approach to finding the balance. Restricting the availability of fissionable material is not a major restriction on liberty: it's dangerous even to those who know what they are doing, and there are very few legitimate uses for such material in the civilian sphere. By restricting the availability of fissionable material we gain a huge amount of security, and we do so by giving up virtually nothing.

This story changes dramatically when we talk about government surveillance. Knowing that you are watched at all times is a massive psychological burden. It absolutely changes what you are willing to say or do. Anyone with even the most basic understanding of history lives in fear because we know that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and those in power do not tolerate dissent.

So allowing our government to surveil us - and more horribly, allowing them to do so utilizing unknown methods at unknown times, with unknown capabilities - places the entire citizenry on the defensive against their own government, even if we aren't rounding up jews in the streets quite yet. It becomes an exercise in terror by the state when suddenly those who are rounded up using these secretive powers are tried in secret courts and given unknown sentences, especially when combined with laws that allow the police to pick up anyone they want and detain them without arrest (or the right to call family/employer/etc) for 30 day. Or 90 days. Or more!

The "security" purchased here is minimal, but the loss of liberty is profound. In the name of "protecting" us, the government has created an environment in which the only thing that prevents them from rounding up every political dissenter and "dissapearing" them is the magnanimity of those currently in power.

And those currently in power have absolutely no moral qualms about sending UAVs to kill people. By the thousands, if necessary. Death by robot without trial, a judgement made at the executive level, in secret. The claim is that they are killing to protect us, but there's no way to be sure. It is one more example of "the citizenry are allowed to exist and go about their lives only because the state chooses to allow them to."

Do you not understand the difference? One thing - restricting access to fissionable materials - is clearly a very minor loss of liberty for a very clear security benefit. The other amount to the use of secrecy and murder-without-trial by the state to generate terror amongst the citizenry in order to keep them in line out of fear. That is the exact opposite of liberty.

And Obama is one of the good guys.

If McCarthy or Hoover were alive today with the sort of power now held by the American government that society - all our societies - would be much, much darker.

So who's next? Every 2 years congress shuffles. Every 4 years the executive does. If we give up the liberty of "knowing what the hell our government is up to, why it is up to that and how it is accomplishing that" then we are handing a cowed and defeated citizenry to the next group of power hungry narcissists that happen to buy their way into the beltway.

What would you call an Islamic nation with that kind of control over it's people?

Now, imagine that the next president - and most of the next Congress - were ultra-right-wing fundamentalist Christians. How is that any different?

We probably shouldn't tell the people the exact model number and firmware of the devices used by the NSA to scan the stream for keywords. We probably shouldn't tell the citizenry the details of how the FBI pull up phone records at a moment's notice.

We absolutely should tell the people that it is being done, why, and with a general idea of how. That way the people can have an informed discussion about the risks, pressure their representatives to set limits, create oversight and demand adequate transparency. We can build a society where we are all aware of the compromise between liberty and security, and where we don't have to live in fear of the government listening to everything we say, where dissent isn't suppressed and the ghost og McCarthy will never again be allowed to haunt us.

If the risk taken for that level of liberty is that some spotty teenager might be able to down the cell network for a few hours, so be it. We'll figure out how he did it and prevent him from doing it again.

But I, for one, do not acknowledge the "right" of the state to incite terror amongst it's subjects in an effort to cow them into submission. I will not allow my nation the ability to spy on me without a warrant in the name of protecting me.

If you cannot understand the difference between the levels of risk discussed then quite frankly you shouldn't be allowed anywhere near government. Or computers, for that matter. Your ability to understand the basic concepts of risk management are at best compromised...but in reality, damned near non-existent.

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Trevor_Pott
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"Well, isn't that exactly the stance of the US establishment (NSA, Pentagon, etc.)? In which case why are you worried about them being harmed? "

I'm not. I give negative fucks about the USA. But I recognize their right to defend their national interests as is defined in international law.

Similarly, I give zero fucks about Matt Bryant, and if a rock from space burrowed it's way through the atmosphere and struck him dead, I would laugh uproariously and then continue about my day. But I recognize his rights as defined under the UDHR.

As much as I wish both parties would evaporate into a cloud of "no longer present on Earth" in short order, that doesn't mean I would either act to make that occur or encourage others to do so. They have rights that are defined in international law, and as much as I dislike the entities involved, if those rights are to apply to any of us, they must apply to all of us.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Potty Trouble is

"The argument that a jihadi wouldn't risk bringing the ire of the rest of the world down on Islam simply doesn't work when discussing people for whom a martyr's death is not merely a price to pay but a goal in itself."

I never said that you would have trouble finding jihadis willing to blow themselves up. You seem to be conflating the willingness to die of footsoldiers with the willingness to sacrifice their entire cause.

A jihadi believes that if he dies, he goes to heaven, but as a general rule they are fighting to spread the influence of their culture and religion throughout the world. That is what is worth dying for, and why they're getting into heaven.

If Jihadis nuke a western city then I fucking promise you that all our treaties and social progressiveness, the Geneva convention and the laws of war will amount to nothing. The world will unite as it never has before and expunge those fuckers from the planet. We may not wipe out Islam in it's entirety, but we absolutely would wipe out every single fundamentalist Islamic on the face of the Earth. Every single last fucking one of them.

Understand that there are tens of millions of westerners ready to pick up the sword right now, today and make that happen. And we haven't even had a nuclear incident. If a fundamentalist Islamic group nuked New York, or London, Tokyo or Seoul the public's tone would change from conciliatory to "bloody vengeance" in less time than it takes to flip a transistor.

Remember: 50% of the UK wants to bring back the death penalty. 50%! The numbers in Canada, NZ, Oz and so forth are not that different. We're willing to compromise our morals for petty crimes of passion.

8 million dead in an instant, 25 million more slowly dying of radiation poisoning and the economy collapsed to the point that an entire nation has suddenly hit an additional 15% unemployment?

Yes, we'd kill for that. We'd kill hundreds of millions to avenge that. We would kill and kill and kill some more until the threat posed by those who believe the same as the bastards who used the nuke was 100% completely eliminated. We might even be willing to live in Matt's desired dystopia of zero civil liberties. All given up in exchange for the illusion of freedom.

But do not kid yourself - any of you - into thinking that we westerners are so much more highly "evolved" than the same nutjobs murdering women for going to school. Push us far enough and we are every bit as savage and brutal as they are.

So I stick by what I said:

You can find an infinite number of peckerheads willing to blow up a nuke in the middle of downtown New York, but the kind of people who can actually get hold of the good to make it happen are absolutely not crazy enough to actually do it. They know that they will gain nothing and lose everything.

For those who want to die, there are any number of methods available, ones that don't involve everything they believe in being expunged from the earth in an act of overwhelming vengeance.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Cryptome

I think it falls somewhere between "material classified for the hell of it" and "material classified for a good reason." At the time the facility was set up there was probably a good reason to classify that particular aspect of it's operation.

"Tapping all fibre pipes for the purpose of dragnet surveillance" was not going to come as a shock to nation-states or terrorists, but the ability to do so was rare and incredibly expensive. That meant that taking out that facility could have severely crippled UK intelligence gathering capability and hence would have been a priority target for many groups.

Today, everyone knows about the fibre tapping, and we've moved from "difficult and expensive" to "mundane and industrialized." You don't need a footbal feild full of servers to tap the stream and nose out juicy bits of data any more. You can do that in a half rack, and stream the bits you want to store to storage located at ???.

Today's spies don't have to worry about building mega-facilities to tap fibre. "Distance to storage" and "amount of signal interference" are of greater concern than "physical space to store compute" or "availability of electricity and cooling." You can park a sub on top of a fibre pipe and get all the juicy goodies you want, or send a squad with truck out into the hills.

So, what does the information released by The Register really do? That base was already a generic "UK military be here" target long ago. It was long suspected of doing SIGINT work, and after Snowden, anyone who actually cared to try to pin down the locations where this was taking place would have added A and B and said "oh, there's one."

Maybe it causes the UK to beef up security a little, or add a few more keywords to their SIGINT search filters. It doesn't make the facility more or less of a target because the period during which taking that place out would have truly made the UK vulnerable has already passed.

Now, it's existence and purpose are a footnote in history. Interesting not because of what it does, but because of the political machinations that allowed it to exist in the first place. That means revealing it's existence doesn't compromise operational security, but it does call into question the actions of politicians and spooks, and may embarrass some people.

Good.

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Trevor_Pott
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To be honest, when I first read it, I was shocked and upset. I circled that one a few times, and eventually sat down with some veteran local journalists and several members of the Canadian military to ask them their opinions.

We had a spirited debate about the topic, but the general consensus - which I supported - was that the public interest in the information that El Reg revealed outweighed the potential risks. We looked at it from a lot of angles, but it basically boiled down to "this information was already out there for those who were interested in seeking it out." That means that nation-states, terrorists and so forth could have found the info with minor effort long before that article was published.

What's more, the article didn't reveal sorted details. A Google Maps image and and a "you are here, doing this" is highly embarrassing, but after hours of gnawing on it, none of us could find a way that this would compromise an individual or the UK's national security, especially given that the info was already out there, if you cared to look.

So, that specific incident was a case of "I think the other journalists called it wrong by withholding this info, and El Reg called it right." These are bound to happen, and maybe - just maybe - Cryptome has made a similar call here.

That said, Cryptome is making a huge bugaboo out of this info by saying "it can stop a war". Any information that can do that is highly sensitive. More so than "oh, look, here's the physical location of a data processing center that snoops traffic in the middle east, but which wasn't a surprise to anyone who cared to rub 12 neurons together."

So either Cryptome is talking up muchos big time unwarranted hype...or they're playing a game of international chicken that is orders of magnitude more dangerous than the article El Reg spat out. There isn't enough information at this juncture to know which.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Erm, no

"A list of informants names and addresses could still put them in danger many decades in the future, so should never be published."

Probably true.

"Proof that the NSA was spying on the leaders of friendly nations would still be relevant for as long as people identify with those nations - which is longer than the nation itself continues to exist."

Maybe, but people need to know the harm their governments have done if we are to learn from the mistakes of the past and correct them. Would you prefer the Germans covered up WWII, denied the holocaust and the existence of the Nazi party?

"If proof was published showing that the French secret service had detailed knowledge of everything most US citizens were doing last decade, would they be happy about it?"

No. And they'd demand reparations, or at the very least promises it wouldn't happen again, with some form of monitoring that would ensure this. International policy regarding privacy might very well move forward at that point,and we might see positive social change.

We need to know the ills our governments have done in our name so that we can prevent them from being repeated.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "Freedom isnt free..."

"Government surveillance is exactly the price we have to pay for freedom"

Bullshit. A false sense of security and freedom are not the same thing. In fact, they're generally antonyms. Also: there is no perfect security, even if every one of us were monitored all the time.

As for your "there is no such thing as freedom - get used to it" line...if that were the world we lived in, where there was truly no hope of ever pushing back the darkness and rekindling the light of civilization...then I wouldn't be here, typing on a forum.

This Frenchman will never collaborate with the Reich.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Very strange behavior out of Cryptome

The insanity could be a form of warrant canary.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Trouble is

"perhaps I could interest you with the mathematics of designing H-bomb warheads that can fit into a MIRV....."

It's been 50 years. Do you honestly think that The Register's readers couldn't build a relevant miniaturized implosion core if we wanted to? I personally don't know the math off the top of my head, but I know enough to know what questions to ask and where to find the answers. The rest is learning and simulating. That can be done on Amazon these days.

No, civilians - and for that matter most nations - don't have nukes because they simply have no use for nukes. Nukes are great for establishing you as a sovereign power, but they suffer from three fatal flaws.

1) They're outrageously expensive.

2) They're absolutely useless unless you have multiple launch systems that can participate in MAD.

3) Unless you have the conventional resources of a nation-state you can't defend them against the current signatory powers of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty who will take your toys away from you.

Even a "terrorist" has no use for a nuke. Let's say some crazy ISIS Jihadi blows up New York. They don't gain anything by this. They don't fracture the USA, sow terror or otherwise do anything but kill a few infidels. What they absolutely will do is cause the entire rest of the world to unite against Islam, get the entire middle east turned into a sheet of glass in retaliation and trigger an anti-religious genocide the likes of which this world has never seen.

They know it. We know it.

Even if you were completely batshit crazy and wanted to wipe out a city or two...you don't need a a MIRV to do that. You can pack relevant "kaboom" onto trucks or boats and get things into the city in far more mundane ways.

If you're really smart you wouldn't even use a nuke; every major city in the world has radiometric sensors so good luck with a nuke. If you want an earth-shattering kaboom go with fuel air bombs. Pretty much untracable, and from they pack the punch of a small nuke. (Especially since you need to detonate the nuke somewhere around 1700 ft in order to actually make use of the plasma shockwave.)

Of course, MOABs are flash-and-gone. If you had access to fissionable material - which to make your fusion MIRVs you'd need - then why not just build a dirty bomb? If you're truly nuts and want to kill a lot of people in a horrible fashion that's pretty much the worst possible way. Or you could poison water supplies. Or...

*shrug* I could do this all day. The last time I played this game I think I hit 83 different designs before I ran out of ideas. My point is this: the overwhelming majority of people, including "terrorists" have no use or desire for weapons of mass destruction. Unless you are already a powerful nation-state, they don't offer the individual or the organization any value, and cost them rather a lot.

There are always crazies, like those wackos that murdered cops in Nevada a few weeks back, or folks like McVeigh. It is for this reason that we control access to the kinds of materials necessary to make the really neat toys. That's part of the "eternal vigilance" price of freedom.

But you can't control knowledge. The genie, once out of the bottle, doesn't go back in. There are literally millions of people on this planet that could build you a basic gun-type fission bomb from memory. Hundreds of thousands that could design you a fusion bomb with a little effort. Any wacko at any time can kidnap and torture these people until they give up the how.

But he can't do a damned thing unless he can get the fissionable material. Or a metric tonne of Strychnine. Or...

People who have the resources to get WMDs have thus far been reluctant to actually use them. That limits the terrorists to small-scale attacks that at best wipe out a few city blocks or a subway station.

If you want to fret about something, freak out about the concept of "designer DNA". This is a thing that you can do, if you have the right equipment. The skillset and knowledge are about where nuclear weapons were in the late 50s.

Give it 60 years, and there will be millions of individuals capable of designing "printing" DNA, then injecting it into a bacterial host of their choice. How do you control that? The raw resources required to do this are impossible restrict and the fundamental knowledge is already in the public domain. All that is required is commoditisation of the technology, something that is already being worked on.

The true "threat" to our individual and national security is not going to come from the sharing of government secrets, because the technologies the government developed were developed under the watchful eye of true paranoids. They worked out how to control those kinds of technologies long before we proles ever heard of them.

The "threat" techs are those coming out of the commercial and academic sectors, where they go through layers of peer review and even commercialization before the paranoids ever get involved and go "hey, wait, this could go really badly."

A terrorist with a nuke will only get himself and his entire religion wiped off the face of the Earth. A lone nutjob isn't going to get the material to ever build one...but both of them could be building designer plagues within the next 50 years and we'd not only be unable to figure out who unleashed them, we might not be able to contain them.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Something to think about

I just had to upvote you for the link. That's the best summary of the events and players I've seen so far. Thanks for sharing.

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Trevor_Pott
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If the only thing you care about is yourself, and fuck everyone else (alive now or those who are to come) then you are a sociopath. At which point, I have no respect for you, or your opinions. Questioning the state bears risks, yes, but freedom isn't free.

Some things absolutely are worth dying* for.

I would say that "our fundamental, inalienable rights as defined under the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights" defines what I would die for. What I wouldn't die for is "the state". Neither mine, nor that rather evil behemoth to the south of us are worth anything close to that kind of sacrifice.

Ultimately, that's what it comes down to, isn't it? What would you die for? Would you die to protect the "right" of someone else to hold power over yourself and others? Be that a religious leader, a dictator or a plutocracy? Would you die so that the rich can stay rich and the poor can be kept poor? Would you die so that those who have a dissenting opinion are denied the right to voice it?

Would you die to protect civil liberties? The rights earned in blood by our ancestors? Would you die to protect your family? What about your neighbour's family? Your sibling's family?

Or would you do everything you can - sacrifice anyone and anything - to cling to one more second of life? What is the measure of you, man?

*Or being surprised by what you can live through.

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Trevor_Pott
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"You mean journalists who have willingly blasted their own countries' policies under pain of pain or worse?"

So your view on life is "never question the state"? Are you a Cardassian, by any chance? Obsidian Order?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Potty

Every nation has the right to defend it's own interests. That's pretty much the defining characteristic of sovereignty. How those nations go about it determines the character of the society they will create and nurture.

I'm not at all okay with the society the powers that be want to create in the US, but I recognize the right of the US to defend it's own national security, to the extent that those rights are recognized in international law.

Where I differ from the ultraconservatives is that I believe that "the people" are citizens of the state, not subjects. That is to say, I believe that the citizens rule the government, they are not ruled by their government. I believe that citizens have an innate, inalienable right to know what the government is up to and doing in their name. They do not have to merely "shut up and do as they're told" by the state.

In my world view people like Snowden are necessary and good...within certain bounds. I.E. that when they disclose "top secret" information it is done with some forethought and consideration of the fullness of consequences, preferably by having multiple someones take a go at the ethics of the whistleblowing.

I am emphatically against the willy-nilly spraying of national secrets to and fro. There are absolutely some things that must remain secret, at least for the duration during which they have a real world operational impact on the legitimate national security interests of a sovereign state.

"The fact that we are spying on you" and "here's a basic idea of how we're spying on you" are not legitimate secrets for a nation to keep from it's people. Revealing these secrets won't present an impact on ongoing operations, though they might cause some embarrassment to politicians who must now answer tough questions.

Good. It will hopefully lead to more oversight, transparency and accountability. Maybe even a push to develop new technologies that better enable targeted (as opposed to dragnet) spying.

"These are the exact details, including model numbers and firmware revisions of the tools we are using to spy on you" absolutely would be a breach of national security for any nation. With that information the bad guys could find a way around the existing programs. They might even be able to identify informants and off them. That's a no-no.

Similarly, the kinds of details that could "prevent a war" usually mean putting feild assets - human beings serving as spies or informants - in the direct line of fire by outing them. That doesn't serve the state or the people. It's just malicious and legitimately could be viewed as helping the enemy.

I don't personally view the USA as an ally. I think that they are a malicious nation with hostile intent towards my own nation, and every other nation on Earth. I will continue to strongly encourage other nations to seek economic and military independence from that particular foreign power, and especially the sociopaths that run the joint.

...but regardless of my feelings towards the nation, it does have the right to protect it's own national security. The right of the citizens to know what's up with the spooks is not absolute, and has to be balanced against the right of state to keep things secret in order to find out where the bad guys are.

I had thought that Snowden's approach to how and the reporters involved leaked only specific documents was judicious, and helped to maintain a balance that the powers that be in the USA obviously can't maintain on their own.

From what the article says, Cryptome's planned actions are too far towards the other side. Too much disclosure in the name of the citizen's rights to peek under the covers.

I seek a balance between the competing requirements of a complicated and messy reality. If that sometimes means getting an upvote from someone like Bryant...well...

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Trevor_Pott
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If Cryptome release information so sensitive that internationally renowned journalists refused to release it because they are "paranoid about site access" then, to be blunt, they deserve to be locked away for a long, long time. I can think of no ethical or logical contortions that justify that rationale.

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Hmm. Moral ambiguity engaged.

I personally view Snowden as a hero, not a traitor. I had viewed Cryptome as the same. The in both cases is largely the same: no "core dumping of material that could get other people killed" style leaks. Effort went into classifying the data into stuff that was important enough to tell, but wouldn't compromise lives.

In Snowden's case, he seemed to put the effort into classification and giving his thoughts and opinions on the information he purloined, but then he gave it to a third party, so that multiple individuals could do an ethics pass, in recognition that his own ethics were insufficient to such a task. That, to me, is an important differentiator here: it said to me that Snowden wasn't out to "harm" the USA, but legitimately felt he was "doing the right thing".

From the sounds of it, Cryptome may be about to end that. If this article is right, Cryptome is intent on releasing data others had looked at and said "no, this isn't something that should be released, it will legitimately put US national security (and potentially human beings) in jeopardy".

These "others" who passed an eye over this data and withheld it are not individuals deeply embedded in the "classify everything" culture of spies and embarrassed politicians. They were withheld by journalists; ones well known for a deep and abiding belief that the people "have a right to know what their government is doing in their name."

If journalists who believe deeply in freedom of speech, governmental transparency and accountability have looked at these documents and said "no, don't release these" then by what ethical standard does Cyrptome believe it should do so?

I'm not fond of the NSA. I think Alexander and Clapper are both sociopaths and traitors to their own people. But this...

...something about this doesn't smell right at all. It doesn't seem like the Cryptome of old. It certainly doesn't seem kosher, based on the limited amount of information available.

Unless that "war" they are trying to prevent is with Russia (or China?) and they've brought in a number of high ranking military and political experts that can say with high levels of confidence "yes, releasing this information that is obviously damaging to US national security and operational assets in the feild will prevent this otherwise inevitable war" then I am rather less than okay with this.

"Your governments are spying on you and here's how" strikes me as something we should all know. The vague and fuzzy details of this we've been given so far don't directly place people in danger. But from the sounds of it, there is real, honest-to-goodness dangerous info under discussion here. Might just be the bridge too far.

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Web moguls ask YOU to stump up big money to STOP big money from winning in Washington

Trevor_Pott
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Re: If you could buy elections Ross Perot would have won

Yep, you're full bore crazy. You're just actually making stuff up, attributing it to me and then rebutting your own bullshit.

My entire family - parents, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc - are shrinks or sociologists. Some clinical, some research. I have not only read various papers on the subjects under discussion, I've helped design experiments. I've spent a lifetime immersed in this. Dinner discussions with enough PhDs to start a post secondary institution are perfectly normal, and virtually all of them study these exact topics professionally.

You believe that people "can make up their own minds", based on nothing. All you have to offer to this conversation is assertion, vitriol and hatred. So you know what, I'm out.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: If you could buy elections Ross Perot would have won

"So while most people are too stupid to see through this, nevertheless you are immune and your own support for curtailing free speech through the use of oppressive campaign laws cannot possibly be the product of the same types of forces?"

No, I am not immune. Science tells me that I am not immune, and to believe otherwise would be an indication of severe narcissism.

Spending money isn't free speech. Oh, I realise that you Americans think it is, but you're wrong.

I'm pretty sure all campaign laws that exist in the USA are the result of exactly the same sort of money-buys-influence, screw-the-actual-voters approach to politics that has rotted that nation to the core. That's why laws about how the voting process works - including campaign contribution limitations - should ideally be determined outside of the voting process itself. Regulatory capture is a thing; you can't expect people who depend on getting elected to be able to properly set up regulations that ensure elections are as fair and impartial as possible. That's asking the fox to write the rules about who gets to guard the henhouse, and when.

Consider instead evidence-based legislation in this matter. I.E. the practical application of science to solve a problem.

"If you really take your own assertion seriously you should right now be disappearing "through the looking glass"-style into an MC Escher engraving depicting the Cretan Liar paradox."

Um...what?

"Why do I think it is a left-right issue? Because you seem to want to use that (dubious, exaggerated, hyperbolic) assertion as an excuse to make people you disagree with shut up,"

How on earth did you come to that conclusion? Nowhere here are my views on what the rules for voting, campaign contributions, etc listed. I certainly don't believe that anyone should be prevented from speaking their piece.

"by preventing them using money to reach an audience."

No. I want to see "he who has the most money wins" removed from the equation. This is handled in rational countries by providing a fixed amount of funding to all political parties from state coffers and disallowing private campaign contributions. Numerous studies have proven this to be a far cheaper and fairer way to run political campaigns.

Yes, taxpayer money ends up going towards running political campaigns, but every party gets an equal amount to make their case. That means it really does boil down to the strength of the message. Additionally, I would personally make lying on the campaign trail a crime. Honest mistakes are one thing, but purposefully misleading people is another.

" Which is typically a left-wing preoccupation."

In case it has slipped your notice, I have repeatedly stated that everyone participates in this tomfoolery. Additionally, there are more political divisions than merely "left" and "right". At least, there are in civilised countries.

""The poor still don't all vote for us, in spite of the welfare state! They must be indoctrinated by the Fox. Let's do something about it". No, they hate you. "But we keep offering them more and more money for doing nothing!". That's why they hate you."

And now you're just spouting your own bizzare strawman propaganda. Have you tried taking your meds?

""Manipulate" is just a pejorative term for "persuade". Hyperbole."

Incorrect. Persuasion is the application of logic to appeal to the rational mind. Manipulation is taking advantage of emotion - typically as part of group dynamics, rather than individually - to get someone to act in a manner that is counter to their own interests and/or counter to logic and rational thinking. Our species is exceptionally vulnerable to emotional manipulation and when used in non-political contexts the exact same practices and techniques are considered crimes. In many cases they are considered forms of psychological abuse.

Intent matters. Someone who is persuaded is left feeling like they had a say in reaching that decision, that they are satisfied with the decision made and that a level of trust exists between them and the persuader. Manipulation leaves the individual feeling dirty or used. The equivalent of "buyer's remorse" sets in almost immediately.

Truthfulness and transparency of the process and arguments also plays a part.

And if you have a problem with that assessment, don't take it up with me. Take that up with Robin Dreeke, head of behavioral analysis at the FBI.

" it isn't decades - it's millennia - the earliest extant academic work on the subject is 2400 years old. But pretend it is a new problem and you can pretend new measures are needed."

Actual science on the matter - very specifically the use of double-blind studies into group dynamics - only really began in the early 1900s. The early results of which were used most effectively by the Nazi party of Germany to win over a significant chunk of the German populace. They went on to win an election against what were considered to be very long odds.

There is a difference between philosophers writing down their thoughts on a topic and actual science.

"control is an exaggeration. They attempt to persuade them to vote in particular ways."

Incorrect. It is entirely possible to control people through manipulation of their emotions. That isn't persuasion. It isn't appealing to rational, conscious thought. It's grabbing someone by the instincts, and leading them around. This covers all sorts of topics ranging from "think of the children" to "save the pandas" to "don't tread on me".

"ommercial advertising however distasteful is trying to sell stuff not control the vote. Conflating two things only related by their methods not their objectives to make the problem look bigger. Hyperbole."

Who is conflating anything? I only mentioned that both practices employ the same techniques and the same people. Money flows from both the advertising sector and the political campaign sector into the same research. The results of that research benefit both practices. They share techniques. More importantly, it means the research going into "how to manipulate and control entire nations worth of people" is funded by coffers much - much - larger than those of mere political donations. It's relevant information to the discussion.

As for your summary, let me pick some nits of my own.

"Everyone uses what they know of human nature to persuade others to do what they want, and have done since time immemorial. "

Wrong. Sociopaths use what they know of human nature to manipulate others. Humans with a conscience and some form of empathy use logic to attempt to persuade others. Those who seek to manipulate rely on the emotive arguments to convince people to do things that are not in their best interest. Those who persuade rely on logic and truth to convince people to do something that is in their own interest.

Sociopaths only make up about 10% of the population.

"Advertisers try to get you to buy stuff. Politicians try to get you to vote for them. Kids try to get out of doing their homework/get you to lend them twenty to go to the cinema."

Interestingly enough, you have indeed struck upon something here, however unintentionally. All of your examples are of individuals using emotion - and more often than not falsehoods - to get someone to do something that not in their best interests. You don't even have an example in your summary of someone using truth and logic to get someone to something that is in their own interests.

To me, this speaks volumes not only of how you view the world, but how you treat others and the level to which you are capable of dehumanizing others.

"This sometimes works, even though people know that is what they are doing"

This almost always works, when the craft is employed by a skilled practitioner. This is because our species is exceptionally vulnerable to emotional and instinctual manipulation. Rational thought and logic are still relatively new evolutionary adaptations and they can be easily overridden by emotion.

"and they do since they do it themselves."

Actually, research shows that about 90% of people generally refrain from manipulating others once into adulthood*. Empathy is something we develop as part of regular socialization. Part of this empathy is that we consciously avoid both attempting to convince people to do things that are not in their best interest and using people's emotions and instincts against them.

And none of this is a "left" or "right" issue. There are sociopaths on both sides of that particular divide, gleefully ready to manipulate others without remorse. You seem perfectly okay with this. Frankly, that makes me not at all okay with you.

*The exception to this is child rearing; especially at a young age, children only respond to emotional triggers, not logical ones. By age six or so they are generally able to respond to logic most of the time, but will still remain vulnerable to emotive manipulation for the rest of their lives.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: If you could buy elections Ross Perot would have won

How the hell does "everyone, from politicians to advertising companies uses decades of research into psychology, psychiatry and social dynamics to ensure that they control how people vote, even when people are aware of the means employed to manipulate them" turn into a "left versus right" issue?

What the fucking fuck?

You clearly are an uninformed rube if you managed to somehow turn that into something partisan.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: If you could buy elections Ross Perot would have won

Why the downvotes? Because billions of dollars every campaign cycle goes into hiring the best minds on earth that are versed in the most up-to-date research regarding group psychology and metasociodynamics. Hundreds of billions is spent each year by advertising companies on the same minds, and on research into the fields in question.

If you believe "people won't vote for individuals whose message they don't like" then you're an uninformed rube. Yes, they goddamned well will. We know enough about manipulating individuals and groups that we absolutely can make that happen. In addition, it has been proven empirically that knowledge of these tactics doesn't reduce their effectiveness.

What's more, you are entirely expecting that the people running for office are going to tell the truth. There's nothing to force them to. So they can all send a different, targeted message at each group. On balance, those with the most money (and who hire the best brains in the relevant disciplines) will win.

Getting people to vote for you has fuck all to do with laying out an honest platform and then sticking to it if you are elected. It has everything to do with lies, damned lies and statistics. And...the bigger the group size, the more effective these tactics are.

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Indian rocket set to sling five satellites

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@Dropbear

Population of India: 1.237 billion (2012)

Population of China: 1.351 billion (2012)

"overwhelm [India] with sheer numbers" ? Wha?

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You don't need ICBMs for Pakistan. Any medium range missiles will do, and India has plenty of them with proven reputations. They can buy those openly from allied nations. ICBMs are a different matter entirely.

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How do you expect India to fund all that? Hmm? Long term, you need things like "a space program" to drive innovation and economic development in a country that has three times the population of the USA crammed into that itty bitty little nation.

And look, already foreign nations are booking passage on Indian rockets! I'd say India's space program is doing it's job*.

*The other job, of course, being to let China know in no uncertain terms that it has the ability to put nuclear warheads wherever it wants on this Earth, and China is not going to push India around. There's a lot of tension between those two nations, and showing that particular capability is very important.

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We got behind the wheel of a Tesla S electric car. We didn't hate it

Trevor_Pott
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Sounds similar to The Oatmeal's review. Gotta say, they look like nice cars. Too bad they don't come with a self-driving AI.

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Zero-knowledge proof crypto scheme divines truths from nothing

Trevor_Pott
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Re: No E-Voting cannot be democratic

Canada still uses paper ballots. I hope we will continue to do so forever.

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Snowden defends mega spy blab: 'Public affairs have to be known by the public'

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"Of course he does, once he has served his jail term for treason etc"

He's not the one that should be in jail for treason. start with Bush the lesser, Obama, Alexander, Clapper and work your way down.

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Surprise! NSA's first ever 'transparency' 'report' is anything but

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Aren't you guys forgetting something ?

"It's National Security, man. They don't need a warrant"

Got the problem in one.

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Re: The Question Is

If the legal authorities for my jurisdiction came to fetch me, I would go with them peaceably...or at worst, I would sit on the floor and make the bastards carry my fat ass everywhere they wanted me to be.

If authorities from another jurisdiction attempt to remove me by force against my will, I will fight them to the bitter end. I can't understand why that would be different for anyone else?

My local plod have the right to detain or arrest me, and to force me to comply with the use of force. They absolutely will use such force, if they deem it necessary. (They usually do.) If I am murdered by a local police officer for "resisting arrest", it won't even make the paper. It's just business as usual. If I want to change the system, the only real chance I have is to take those police to court for harassment and brutality.

If, however, $nation sends a spook after me, two things are going to occur. A) I will be made dead, and there is zero possibility of not being made dead. B) If the fact of someone who is not an authorized local plod murdering me gets out, then there is a chance - however slim - that my country will investigate my murder and relations with the offending nation in question.

That, to me, says that "if someone who does not identify themselves as a legitimate legal authority for your current jurisdiction attempts to harm or abduct you, then you fight back with everything you have. Make damned sure that video and audio of the incident are being streamed to as many different servers in as many different nations as is possible, from as many devices as possible. Ensure that you specify in your will how to access those recordings...or better yet, set up a spook canary that will automatically release the info upon your death."

Paranoid? Sure. And unless you record everything 24/7, the evil spook boogeyman that comes to get you will probably off you before you even know they're there. That doesn't stop me from setting the damned thing up...if only because it's the only thing that I - as a prole - can do. If the social stigma for my minor act of defiance is to labelled a tinfoil hatter...so be it.

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Re: Can't wait

You get free speech. In case you missed it, your government rescinded it. Even talking about a "right" to free speech makes you a terrorist. Now turn yourself in, prole.

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Google mulls splashing MEEELLIONS on laying fat pipe in watery depths

Trevor_Pott
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So then Google writes a bigger cheque and gets C&W to lay more fibre. Simples. That's sort of what the Google does.

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Fearful of the drone-filled skies? Get some protection

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Re: Fe Fi Fo FUD, I smell the snake oil

I should also point out that my government absolutely has been thinking about this, and does give fucks about privacy.

Where UAVs are used for commercial aims, their use would be covered by the Personal Information Protection Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and subject to the same requirements as with any other data collection practice. It is a common misconception that a company does not require permission to take an individual’s photograph in a public place.87 The privacy protections in PIPEDA are there to ensure that people know when their image is being captured for commercial reasons – whether by photograph or video - and what it will be used for. PIPEDA requires consent as a general rule, subject to only limited and specific exceptions. Collection and use of personal information can only be for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances and there should be a consideration for employing a less privacy-invasive means of obtaining the information.

If cameras on drones are governed by the same rules as surveillance cameras under PIPEDA, then flying your drone over my property in order to surveil me in my own yard absolutely is an invasion of my privacy. Just as I would be well within my rights to remove a surveillance camera discovered on my property (and surrender it to the legal authorities of my jurisdiction, should I be asked to return it), so to would I be within my rights to remove a flying camera that was surveilling me on my own property.

Now, you want to sit outside my property and point a camera at me? Then I am entirely within my rights to whip out some triangulation gear, track down who is controlling that drone and sue you for invasion of privacy. And I will win. Just like you cannot place a surveillance camera on your own building and point it at my back yard or bedroom, you cannot hover a drone just outside the property line and surveil me.

Your drone just flying by and accidentally waves onto my property as it's doing wide area shots or taking pictures of crowds? That's not an invasion of privacy and I likely have no legal recourse to seize the drone, though I do have a potential case for trespassing, if I can track down who is flying it.

Also of note: you can't go taking pictures of those crowds unless you post notice that you are going to. That's part of privacy law here. Even if you have a surveillance camera on your own property, you need to post notices.

Thus, if you have a drone looking at me for any reason, in any place and have not posted adequate notice such that I may find out who it is that is operating that drone, you are in violation of the law. At least if you use the drone for anything even remotely commercial. Recreational use is a lot more iffy...but I'd be entirely pleased to be the first bloke to take that one to the Supreme court.

Short version: you don't get to point a camera at me, even in a public place, unless you post a warning about it. You don't get to point a camera onto my property without asking, and if you place a camera on my property you're violating criminal - not just civil - law, and I have the right to remove (but not destroy) the camera, and to only surrender it to the authorities.

So no, I don't get to shoot your drone down. But cross my property line with it, I do get to net the damned thing and only give it back when the cops are at your side. At which point you will have told me who you are, and I will press charges.

Thanks,

--A citizen with a reasonable expectation of privacy in his own home and behind his own fence.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Fe Fi Fo FUD, I smell the snake oil

Hover your multirotor over my private property and take pictures of me and mine and I promise you sir, you won't be getting back. If you choose to then come onto my property uninvited and demand it back without a warrant then expect that I will treat you as a hostile trespasser on my property.

Inside the bounds of my own fence, and inside my own home I absolutely have a reasonable expectation of privacy, one I will defend against all comers to the very last of my ability.

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Warrantless snooping on American man was LEGAL in terrorism case, rules US judge

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Only a lawyer

What are you on about? Hitler wasn't a terrorist, at least not by modern definitions in which "terrorist" = "non-government entity that uses terror to achieve it's aims". Hitler was the duly elected leader of his nation. He did not seize power through a coup. He did not run his nation with a junta. He was democratically elected to office.

It's really important you understand that. The Nazis did not come out of nowhere and were suddenly in power. There was over a decade of bubbling, roiling, downright toxic social strife in Germany during which the Nazis went from fractional percentage of votes to running the place. This strife included clashes in the streets by the supporters of different political parties, with deaths during riots occurring on all sides.

Germany was a shambles and the Nazi party build a massive grassroots support system, which Hitler used to come to power. Once in power, he consolidated that power.

Hitler was a monster, and he utilized terror to achieve his aims, but he was the legitimate leader of a nation-state exercising power he obtained through the democratic process. It doesn't make what he did right, but if you want to include Hitler amongst "terrorists" then you have to open the door to the ruling administrations of all nation-states.

The Nazi rise to power's closest modern-day western equivalent is the Tea Party. Massively funded, relying on propaganda to drive a grassroots movement based on lies, xenophobia and fear of losing one's job. The difference is that enough people supported the Nazis to hand them the country. The Tea Party never made it that far.

Now, did Hitler's Nazi Germany use terror to achieve it's aims? Absolutely. But if we are going to include the legitimate governing body of a nation-state in the definition of terrorism then I demand that you include the United States of America. There are at least 10 different administrations that have used terror to achieve their aims, not the least of which were Truman, Nixon, Bush the lesser and Obama.

Your moral absolutism doesn't work when your chosen pillars of morality are also guilty of using the tools of terror.

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Re: Only a lawyer

You miss the point entirely. Whether the cause is just or not, the individual still deserves rights.

That said, this conversation is over because you have quite adequately demonstrated that your rationale for justifying the abject removal of rights is that you are prejudiced against Muslims. There's zero point in continuing past that point, because racists can't be reasoned with.

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Retiring Reg hack explains how bass playing = tech reporting

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Ska

If you think Ska was hard to find in the 80s, try finding a Dixieland/Big Band Jazz band - a real one - in the 90s. There was a resurgence here in Canada in the late 00s, thank $deity, but still...few and far between.

That said, I like Ska. It's good music. There needs to more people playing in this world.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Bass Players, Blues and writing

"loves Dubstep"

We can't ever be friends.

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Microsoft to let customers know where Office 365 is going

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Re: Office 365...

Would you prefer a RIbbon? If so, kindly set yourself on fire. It'll improve the aesthetics of the forums. And the world.

As for your disliking French words...nique ta mere!

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VMware versus Nutanix: With Dell charging in, it's time to end the war

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Re: What have I been missing?

75% of the infighting has been vBloggers of high status. Of that, almost all of it has been pro-VMware vBloggers pissing in the general direction of Nutanix. VMware also has internal propaganda on how to squish Nutanix, some of which was on their partner website...which was noted with some humour to me by folks at Nutanix as they are themselves partners and were able to see it. VMware banned Nutanix (and other direct competitors) from PEX.

The list goes on.

Some of the infractions are petty. Some (like the PEX incident) are what I would consider major. The grownups are not running this, the egos are. It's sad. It's ridiculous, and I've lost a lot of respect for people I once basically worshiped.

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What is it with cloud computing? Engage VM, disengage brain?

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Trevor, could we have that in PDF ?

The readers' wish is my consideration. But this is an easy one. I'll get my team to make you a whitepaper, sirs.

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Re: It'll calm down eventually.

Two flaws in that argument.

1) VC-backed companies are an infinitesimal percentage of total companies.

2) A lot of VCs aren't that stupid.

It also depends where you are. Angel? A round? Cloud makes sense...you don't know how long that company is going to be around, and what matters more is the sprint towards the next round of funding. Big capital acquisitions are frowned upon. But B round forward, VCs seem to care less.

So you're right; sometimes the decision comes down from the VCs, or management, or whomever. In those cases I weep for the people involved. But - in theory at least - eventually consultants and analysts and those who write for the magazines these types of people read will obtain clue, and the pendulum will swing back around again. I hope.

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Re: It'll calm down eventually.

But what (one market-speak is filtered out) does SimpliVity offer? Is it really that much more than what VMware provide with their vSAN product?

SimpliVity is more than VSAN + hardware, honest! Backups, DR, WAN acceleration and cloud gateway are the big ones. I'd argue monitoring as well, if you've ever played around with their management software. They're adding more bits to the convergence stack even now.

Is this more than VMware can deliver, if you went with all VMware products? NO. (Well, WAN acceleration is something I don't think VMware does.) So add in a bunch more SKUs to the stack than just "hypervisor + vSAN" to at least include vSphere Data Protection Advanced and VMware Disaster Recovery Manger. vCOPS should probably be in there to get closer to apples to apples...though vCOPS is more functional than the monitoring and analytics available in the SimpliVity management software.

Again: is SimpliVity commanding a $virgins premium on top of that? Youbetcha. MARVIN will too...at first. But the prices on these hyperconverged stacks are going to drop. And fast.

Edit: replied with added info in this comment before I saw your edit. Cheers! Have a beer!

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: It'll calm down eventually.

Okay. you have to spin up more DBs. You need a fraction the number of DBs as you do webservers, and you we figured out how to provide hardware that could run a highly demanding database in a virtualised environment ages ago. Any converged vendor can provide you something for that. Nutanix does a great job. Or any old big bunch of CPU power and fast storage you want.

There's nothing magical about scaling, especially when the hard parts of the infrastructure can be purchased pre-canned. Nerding over infrastructure is oiling buggy whips.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: It'll calm down eventually.

Short answer? No.

Long answer: SimpliVity is the first, not the last. Don't be so temporally limited!

Look, when deduplication first came out, it cost $virgins. Now it's a tickbox feature. SimpliVity is $virgins today. 5 years from now, that sort of hyper convergence will be available from every vendor out there for a minor premium. 10 years from now, it'll be down to SMB pricing.

This is the way our industry works.

Also, do remember that SimpliVity isn't Nutanix. It's not just Hypervisor + server SAN + hardware. SimpliVity includes backup, DR, WAN acceleration and a bunch of other stuff too.

So, when you look at the cost, you can't just add up the cost of the hardware. Throw in the cost of the software as well as the cost of configuring it, support for however long they're pledging it and so on and so forth. For some companies, it is worth it to go SimpliVity, even today...though for most, that isn't yet true.

So...what's the value? For some companies - especially those doing greenfeild - they might be able to run infrastructure that might have taken 5 ops guys with just 1. Spend the salaries for the ops guys on dev, or security, or app integration.

How much is that worth? 200% premium over the raw software+hardware? 100%? 50%? 25%? Everyone will answer differently. But the premium charged will shrink, and shrink dramatically over the next 5 years as competition heats up in this space.

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Re: It'll calm down eventually.

Content Delivery Network.

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Trevor_Pott
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You can prove that public cloud computing provides savings for all use cases? Or even the majority of use cases? Please. Share. I have a number of clients for whom I've run the numbers and have found the public cloud to be as high as 50x the cost of on premises IT. I would love to see exactly how it is that my calculations are so very decidedly wrong.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: It'll calm down eventually.

" If you're a startup looking for a way to instantly spin up 20,000 web servers serving monetized cat video streams[1], there's no way to economically do that even in a colocation scenario."

I am afraid I must agree and disagree at the same time. If you need it right now, this instant, public cloud computing is the only way to go. Very few organizations do. What they need instead is both "soon" and "without having to worry about the infrastructure part of the equation."

SimpliVity will give you all the infrastructure you need as part of a pre-configured out of box experience and the only lag is shipping from A to B. Receive, unpack, plug in, private cloud.

This is the future of IT. Not installing System-Center-I-Hate-You-In-The-Face edition and configuring for a month. Not manually configuring 50,000 different nerd knobs. Unpack, plug in, go.

SimpliVity is the first provider. Not the last. VMware's MARVIN will be the second. Dozens more will follow. Mark my words.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Wow :-)

Barkeep, a pint for the lad!

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You are ALL Americans now: Europeans offered same rights as US folks in data slurp leaks

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Re: some musty old parchment from late 1700s

Not that I disagree with most of what you said...but do take into account that said musty old parchment was written so long ago that many of the extant codified human rights are simply absent. Even were the land governed to the letter and the spirit of the laws it contains, it would still be a terrifyingly backwards and primitive nation.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Human rights are non-negotiable

I, for one, am glad that Canada has both a constitution and a charter of rights and freedoms that, combined, make up the supreme law of the land. I'd prefer it if the charter were kept more up-to-date with the UN-approved document, but it's better than the only thing at the top of the pile being some musty old parchment from late 1700s.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Human rights are non-negotiable

Canada? Australia? New Zealand? Japan? South Korea? Fat lot of fucking good it does to be a US "ally". Obviously you only matter if you're large enough that refusing to play ball makes a commercial difference to USian corporate interests.

Fuck you, Eric Holder, and the corrupt government you represent. Even if you and the rest of the United States of Assholes are incapable of granting basic human rights to all human beings, regardless of nation...the fact that you can't even treat your closest allies with dignity and respect makes you contemptuous.

A pox on you, and all your houses. Bastards.

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