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* Posts by 142

169 posts • joined 26 Oct 2010

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UK.gov! frets! over! Yahoo! exodus! to! RIPA-free! Dublin!

142

Re: Speaking as a Yahoo employee...

Yes. There would certainly be a lack of top level recent graduates with a couple years of experience at the moment.

When the dotcom bubble crashed in the early 2000s college applications for IT courses in Ireland went to almost zero. This is possibly true in other parts of the world, but it was exceptionally true in Ireland as every top level technically minded school kid was told to do civil engineering (as "house prices are bound to keep rising 15% per year, and we're going to need hundreds of thousands more of them each year! that's going to be an amazing job to have when young billy will be graduating in 2010" - Idiot guidance counsellors...)

I watched this happen to one flagship university IT degree I'm familiar with - it had a drop in applications of 95% between 2000 and the middle of the decade because of this. They had to resort to offering places in the newspaper to anyone who wanted one...

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NSA spies recorded an entire COUNTRY'S phone calls for a MONTH: Report

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Re: @Tom7

Following on to that, obviously you're not going to be doing CSI esque analysis of the audio after it's been degraded that much, but perhaps they view the speech part of the recordings as worth having even without detailed background noise. Important targets could be stored at a higher quality.

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142

Re: @Tom7

Depending on the algorithm used, you can get intelligible speech at a data rate of 1kilo*bit* per second. Examples here: http://www.nine-9s.com/prod_speech_codec_comparisons.htm

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American Idol host's keyboard firm smacks back against BlackBerry in patent spat

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re:The Sony P910 had an external keyboard...

That's not the issue blackberry have. Read the earlier article on this topic. It's to do with how the keys themselves are designed for usability and to avoid typing mistakes. They're very genuine grievances.

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Friends don't do tech support for friends running Windows XP

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Re: ...they can be persuaded to switch to a Mac

You can't update-and-keep data from early versions of OSX like tiger to 10.9 without buying and installing intermediate OSs first.

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Facebook debunks Princeton's STUDY OF DOOM in epic comeback

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Alert

Re: Time will tell

> (I'd only observe that most things with a meteoric rise usually end in a meteoric fall.)

Indeed.

Except, seemingly, FB's archenemy: Google.

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UK IT supplier placed on ASA naughty step over 'misleading' HDD ad

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Black Helicopters

Re: sounds like you work for them?

I suspect you're right. There sure are some very bizarre votes being given to this article's comments, yours being a case in point!

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DOOMSDAY still just MINUTES AWAY: As it has been since 1947

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Re: Only 5 minutes before the hour?

"what has happened since the break up of the USSR "

Well, for one, you've got pakistan and india pointing nukes at each-other. Pakistan has supposedly been developing *battlefield* nuclear weapons. Not strategic ICBMs, not tactical missiles, but battlefield nuclear artillery, that would be under the command of junior officers.

There are reports Russia has doing clandestine experiments on warheads of this scale recently, too.

There's debate as to whether the use of such weapons would trigger the dominoes falling towards full scale armageddon.

(There are valid arguments on both sides:

https://www.aspi.org.au/publications/strategic-insights-62-non-strategic-nuclear-weapons-the-next-step-in-multilateral-arms-control

http://lewis.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/6723/size-doesnt-matter)

Then on the full scale NATO-Russia(-China) strategic level, there are also major concerns that have grown since the end of the cold war. The most major of which is how the of balance of power is shifting, as China becomes more powerful, and Russia's nuclear detection/command system ages. It's important that all three powers' respective strengths and weaknesses cancel each-other out, so that Mutual Assured Destruction remains mutually assured. If it accidentally evolves to the point that one of the sides believes that it is no longer true (or believes that one of the other sides believes that) then all bets are off.

Then there's dangers like this... http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/soviet-doomsday-device-might-still-be-operational/

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Audiophiles: These Wi-Fi speakers have a stereo drift of less than 25μs – good enough for you?

142

Re: Stereo sound

"What if you have people putting multiple speakers on top of each other?" Well yes, this is a scenario I hadn't considered.

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142

Re: Less than 25us? Why?

""Ok. 400ms is an utter disaster."

It actually isn't. By my calculations, it's a little over 5 inches, which is about what would"

To clarify, I used 400**ms** deliberately, as I thought that was what the article said.

400ms is nigh on 400feet. My experience with Apple's Airplay encoding has been delays in this sort of region.

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142

Re: Less than 25us? Why?

"Nope, he said "300, 400 microsecond", not milliseconds. That's (at worst) 0.0004s drift."

Ah. I wonder was the article edited? I would have sworn it said ms there when I replied.

But yes, 400us is absolutely nothing in this context!

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142
Meh

Re: Less than 25us? Why?

They never cease to amaze me with their awe-inspiring lack of critical thinking.

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142
Facepalm

Less than 25us? Why?

Ok. 400ms is an utter disaster. That is worse than the sort of delay you get an outdoor concert.

But *microseconds* between separate speakers? It's pointless in even a professional scenario (unless they're in a mathematical array, like a line array). Sound travels just over half a centimetre in 25us! No one sets their speaker positions, (and I won't even mention the LISTENING position) to that level of accuracy. And he's talking about multiroom accuracy: you could have 10ms+ delays for that and it wouldn't be audible.

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Twitter co-founder wraps tentacles around Q&A market, squirts out Jelly

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Question...

Has any co-founder of a successful website like twitter ever managed to replicate that success with a similar site?

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Snapchat: In 'theory' you could hack... Oh CRAP is that 4.6 MILLION users' details?

142

Re: What's with all the downvotes?

I agree. It showed my spam-box email address, which I don't care about, was leaked by Adobe, together with the password I used on the site. There was zero reason to require an email address or account for what I had needed anyway, Adobe just insisted, like Codemasters before them, with the same result. CUNTS, the lot of them.

However, I guess a point is that you probably shouldn't need to use Hunt's site - you should assume your details are stolen, and act accordingly.

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Macbook webcams CAN spy on you - and you simply CAN'T TELL

142

re: I have discovered a 3.5mm jack plug inserted in the appropriate...

Is this a hardware function or a firmware/software function, though? I suspect it's the latter.

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NSA collects up to FIVE BILLION mobile phone locations daily

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Want to know what these records have the potential to look like? Press play: http://www.zeit.de/datenschutz/malte-spitz-data-retention

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Recommendations for private cloud software...

142

Re: Recommendations for private cloud software...

J., is your main concern with Dropbox that your data is stored by a third party?

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142

I was just looking into all these services recently...

Have a look at www.box.com.

I believe you'd need to use their enterprise edition to get the features you require in relation to auditing, data trails, and enforced file-deletion policies. Enterprise admin users have a lot of control over how they lock down accounts.

What I noticed about box, was that they have the best attention to detail of any of these companies I've looked at. A few prominent competitors' "prevent user from downloading" functions were trivially bypassed.

The other company to look at, who appear equally robust, and I believe specialise in larger companies, is egnyte.com.

They also have the benefit of being UK based, which could help you for regulatory purposes.

We chose box in the end, as I wasn't happy with Egnyte's audio options, so I can't really go in depth about that one, but I can talk about Box in a bit more detail:

> "The employee working with the rep creates a login for the vendor to use on the site."

with box enterprise, you can create different levels of admin users, so I believe you would be able to do this.

> "Vendor goes to the site, logs in with their account, and uploads the file(s)."

yes. indeed, you can create folders with upload only permissions for certain users.

>"The site gives the vendor and/or the employee a link with the file's location for sharing."

yes, box handles this quite well.

>"The file would stay on the site for a certain period of time, and automatically be removed or archived."

Yes. It's possible to disable both the link to the file, or delete the file itself, after a given period of time. From what I know, enterprise admins can set a company-wide policy in this respect.

>"We would also need the ability to audit the application's usage, and obviously security is paramount."

Box's auditing tools appear to be very hefty. Even at my team's low level usage, I can see exactly who's accessing my files, when, and from where.

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Indonesia turns Twitter into very leaky diplomatic bag

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Re: Good for him

You can assume you are. Read up on the Five Eyes, an intelligence gathering/sharing pact between the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Even if Canada was not directly involved in this particular incident, your government would likely have had access to the information.

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If this doesn't terrify you... Google's computers OUTWIT their humans

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Re: Not sure this is so impressive, and this is dangerous...

"The problem I see with all AI effort is the parsing of CONTEXT. To determine properly meaning and function some minimal grasp of the context or object environment needs to be there. As well subtext, history and expectation (future projection)."

It's an interesting point, isn't it.

At one level, we as humans learn by being able to choose to do an action to interact with the environment, and learn from / experience the result (the classic being kids playing with blocks trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, etc…). Computers, even massive systems like Google's don't really have the chance to perform actions that effect the world around them.

However I guess they can watch intently, and study cause and effect. I wonder, as I said above, could that be a suitable substitute? At the root level, given enough opportunity to observe, could it work? Indeed, can you learn more by standing on the sidelines and watching, rather than being directly involved?

And taking this further, is Google's system getting more chance to learn about making choices that effect things in the real world? Google's Self-Driving Cars, could be seen as one step in this direction. Choices made by that system will have direct effects on physical objects. It can watch what happens to other cars, and people, depending on its choices. How do they avoid the car? What sort of things move which way?

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142

Re: Not sure this is so impressive, and this is dangerous...

"It has no notion of a cat". Maybe / maybe not. Whilst that's the traditional view, Google has resources far beyond what was conceived when people say this. It has access to the context of these images. What they are named, tagged, and placed alongside. This is a massive amount of information. If their AI system has access to this, and it cross references pictures of cats with Wikipedia or say discussions about cats, for example, it can potentially make judgements in a similar way to humans.

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Google makes Gmail EVEN NOISIER, or should that be nosier?

142

Re: Google slow?

Could this be the system wide SSL that Google has introduced? I know they've made vast improvements on SSL latency, but that was focused on user/server data. wonder are they finding that latency becomes an issue when every step internally involves an encryption/decryption cycle that it didn't have before?

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Fury as OS X Mavericks users FORCED to sync contact books with iCloud

142

Re: SSL / TLS...

SSL is obvious. But you're at the other party's mercy for whether TLS is enabled.

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142

But...

Given that email is transmitted cleartext between mailservers, won't your email contacts be identified by default by the nsa/gchq watching emails fly by past their fibretaps? Whilst this iCloud insistance isn't ideal, does it make a material difference?

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Indestructible, badass rootkit BadBIOS: Is this tech world's Loch Ness Monster? VOTE NOW

142

Re: Difficult to see this one happening

"The data frequency will have to be subsonic ( < 35Hz) or else the sum and difference products will be definitely audible."

Very good point.

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142

Re: Uh ... computer says no.

@CheesyTheClown

I suspect that's been upgraded to a 96kHz clock on newer macs, given the nature of the options presented in Logic (88 and 96k valid, but 176.4 and 192kHz greyed out) when my internal card was selected. [I don't deny they could lie though.

But anyway, I can tell you that it is possible to transmit data like this - I've done it using Dual Tone Multi Frequency encoding, transmitting text from one computer to another through their a soundcards. I knocked something together in an afternoon before, (using FFT, iirc). Mine worked in the audible range, but it will work in the ultrasonic range too. This is (very) slow, but incredibly resilient. We're spoilt for modern data rates. Cut back the bloat, and have a lot of stuff pre-programmed, and there's an awful lot you could achieve with 10bps.

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142
Black Helicopters

Re: The ultrasonics bit sounds like utter cobblers to me.

I've verified a laptop outputting very strong signal at 20kHz (see my post below). But what's interesting to consider - is there a way that a computer program could induce EM noise into either the mains or the environment, that would result in noise being induced into the input of a computer sound card's Analogue to Digital converter? Doing something with the monitor perhaps, etc?

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142

Re: Uh ... computer says no.

Ok, just ran a test myself: thought so.

20,000Hz (sine wave)* being played out of my laptop (macbook pro), and being picked up by its built-in mic, what looks to be well over 40dB above the noise floor.

http://imgur.com/8pxFgjG

I've verified that this is not crosstalk in the electronics.

Macbook pros' speakers are woeful, and their mics are worse. If it can work on a macbook, it can work on anything.

[And I can't edit my post now, but of course I offer my most humble apologies for misspelling your name, oh uncapitalised one! ;-) ]

[*inaudible to me, though I can hear it on square waves due to distortion]

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142

Re: Uh ... computer says no.

Jake, are you sure you were hearing 20,000Hz and not a subharmonic induced by distortion somewhere along the signal chain?

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142

Re: The ultrasonics bit sounds like utter cobblers to me.

They'll be perfectly capable of generating / detecting frequencies well into the 20kHz range. Mic / speaker frequency responses are given as a tolerance - e.g. pro gear would be flat response between 50Hz - 20,000Hz, +/- 3dB, consumer gear 100-15kHz +/- 6dB (it varies a lot). That doesn't mean they can't detect / generate frequencies outside that range, it's just they'll be few dB less sensitive or powerful at, say, 25kHz.

Even the cheapest consumer soundcards handle 96kHz sample rates these days. And, to be honest, unless you're banging pots and pans around the laptop, not much else in an indoor environment generates sound in the 20kHz+ range, so I'd suspect there'd be less interference to handle than you might instinctively expect.

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Is it barge? Is it a data center? Mystery FLOATING 'Google thing'

142

Re: Under flag of convenience in international waters?

Hmmm... in international waters, they're more than a tad vulnerable to physical intervention!

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F-16 fighter converted to drone

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Re: "the physical limits of the aircraft can be improved beyond the current limits."

True, but the reinforcements required also add weight.

You have to remember what 9G means in practical terms - the forces on heavy internal components are immense. Engines have been ripped from their mountings on US fighters before. The 9G limit on the F16 was there to protect the airframe, first and foremost, not the pilot!

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Fandroids at pranksters' mercy: Android remote password reset now live

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Re: Fandroids left at pranksters' mercy

The problem isn't what you have got to hide today, but what innocent behaviour have got to hide tomorrow. Read up on McCarthyism. Things can change and they can change quickly, even in stable, democratic countries. If that happened in 20th century US is can certainly happen in 21st century UK. Imagine what would have happened had that rogue US politician had access to something like PRISM et al?

The highlighted post here is worth reading: www.reddit.com/r/changemyview/comments/1fv4r6/i_believe_the_government_should_be_allowed_to/caeb3pl?context=3

Now I'm on record in el reg comments as saying that there's probably no point trying to avoid he surveillance as it's so extensive. Anything you do is a false sense of security in reality, short of unplugging completely or making things extremely unusable. But to say "what have you got to hide" is a different kettle of fish entirely...

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Hardbitten NYC cops: Sir, I'm gonna need you to, er, upgrade to iOS 7

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Facepalm

You're criticising spelling mistakes...

Because El Reg has such a flawless record when it comes to typos?

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142

Re: Disable Find my iPhone?

No. But if enough people do this, on all types of phone, eventually people will stop buying them, even for $20. Granted the thieves will just find another target that people DO want, but...

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Latest Snowden reveal: It was GCHQ that hacked Belgian telco giant

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Re: Why Worry? Change is Natural..... THAT TITLE IS TOO LONG!

Indeed. If leverage can be put in the right places - it is surprising how much of a change can happen. Remember the proposed Syria intervention. It was a foregone conclusion, with forces already moving into place, until a handful of Conservative MPs were convinced to speak out, leading to the entire alliance falling apart, until it was only France left, resulting in the incredible situation that it's now seemingly Russia calling the shots.

All because of 20 or so backbenchers going against the party line.

The justifications for this kind of widespread surveillance are even more tenuous, and it could be another case of dominos falling if some parliament was twisted into taking a stand against it.

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Official crackdown on Apple fanboi 'shanty town' ahead of London iPhone launch

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Megaphone

Re: Jesus Christ

"Is it beyond someone to come up with a better system"

You can walk into any carphone warehouse the next day and pick one up at your leisure...

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New! Yahoo! logo! shows! Marissa! Meyer's! personal! touch!

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It's going to all be about context

This new logo is going to look far better on the "flat design" type of site that's becoming the norm. The old one was a tad too busy in that context. For the most part, this logo seems to look ridiculous on the yahoo home page - all the proportions and styles are wrong - it's obvious the page wasn't designed around it.

BUT - it looks pretty stylish in other contexts, especially with the inverted colours - I quite like it here: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com

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Snowden journo's boyfriend 'had crypto key for thumb-drive files written down' - cops

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Stop

Re: Guardian learning?

Brangon: Source for your statement that the previous password leak was the password for the insurance file?

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SiriusXM sued for millions in 'unpaid' music royalties

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WTF?

So what you're saying is TV stations shouldn't pay to broadcast films or tv shows, because they're effectively giving the shows' producers free advertising for boxsets?

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Kiwi jetpack gets all-clear for manned tests

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Boffin

Re: But mythbusters sez it can't be dun!!!1

Ha! I believe they said you can't make one that won't kill you for less than 5000 dollars from plans downloaded from the internet - They're still right about that!

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Google goes dark for 2 minutes, kills 40% of world's net traffic

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Re: Holy undergarments

The sites not rendering properly would probably have been due to javascript errors because they were dependant on google hosted JS.

As for the odd redirects, could that have been because the sites were hosted in some way on google services, blogspot, etc?

The other thing I should add here, is that a user on another site was getting 60% packet loss pinging google during the outage over IPv4, but had perfect connectivity over IPv6.

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Facepalm

Re: What time was that then?

El Reg have a very clear, years-old policy that all articles are published based on the conventions of the country in which it was written. In this case, it's clearly stated it's the San Francisco office issuing this article, so PST, and US English.

It's similar for their Australian office.

They don't have the personnel to convert every single article to make it sound like it was written in London - especially not at 1am GMT on a Saturday morning!

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142

Recovery

What I'm impressed by is that everything seems to have run perfectly once Google came back to life.

What do engineers/admins of these kind of huge systems like this think? I would have expected load balancers etc to have gone out of whack, after receiving normal traffic, zero traffic then 50% above normal, in the space of 5 minutes. That strikes me as the perfect recipe for a cascade failure we've heard so much about of late.

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Re: Er…

Could it have been DNSSEC, like when almost every .GOV site went offline simultaneously for an hour this week?

www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/dnssec-administration-likely-cause-gov-outage/2013-08-14

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Just add creepiness: Google Search gets even more personal

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Re: It's not so difficult at all..

That's my instinct, I'll admit!

But short of going totally off-grid, I can't see how you're not ALWAYS giving away those essential liberties anyway. We're too far down this line already.

In terms of Google Now, one of the main things is how it collates your emails with your location. Given that your emails are guaranteed to be intercepted, and we already know your location is being tracked for the security services via your phone company, it makes little difference from a privacy perspective whether or not you're using something like Google Now. If they want, they're already able to easily mine all that data regardless.

At present, I've yet to see how we can effectively make it "as expensive and difficult as is humanly possible", in a way that isn't making it incredibly difficult and inconvenient for us to use the internet.

Most techniques I can see mirror TOR's limitations:

Very effective if used in a strictly controlled fashion, but the security/privacy benefits fall apart when you want to do something flexible.

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Re: It's not so difficult at all..

True. But.

What I've been feeling lately is that, I may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

There is no realistic scope of significant privacy in this respect, especially being based in the UK. Running my own email server is virtually no benefit, as emails are sent in the clear in almost all situations, always to US or UK based accounts. It's just not practical to get all your correspondents to use PGP or whatever, so whilst there's some advantages to using my own email server, in all likelihood all communication is going to get scanned anyway, and I'm pretty sure I've used enough trigger words that they'd get intercepted and stored by GCHQ/NSA.

So if everything I do is going to get scanned, analysed, and correlated to NO benefit to me, why don't I let everything I do get analysed in a way that IS beneficial to me, by opening myself up to Google Now. It is incredibly convenient in ways you never expect.

It strikes me as far more logical to take all the benefits that I can, rather than crippling my internet functionality for an illusionary increase in privacy.

When I CAN guarantee total privacy in what I do online, I'll jump at it, but for the moment, I don't see what I've got to lose.

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Edward Snowden skips into Russia as Putin grants him asylum

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Go

"I doubt we'll hear anything more from him. Russia has made it clear that they expect him to keep his mouth shut"

I wonder is this for the best - he's already given all the information he has to the WP and Guardian (they're taking their time to publish it at their leisure), so the if he stops talking it won't stop the information getting out. But it stops the story from being about him, and moves it back to being focused on the NSA & co.

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