* Posts by tom dial

1666 posts • joined 16 Jan 2011

French spies warn politicians of hack risk as election draws near

tom dial
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Re: Hacking French politics ? Not worth it.

Clinton did not win, by the only valid criterion for a US Presidential election, and repeating the false claim that she did, no matter how many times, will not change that.

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tom dial
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Re: Hacking French politics ? Not worth it.

The assumption that use of paper ballots is secure is a bit delusional, as is the idea that controls in paper ballot systems cannot be circumvented. In the US this was true a century (and more) ago, before the progressives cleaned it up; half a century ago, in the waning days of the large city political machines; and it is true still in the time of optically scanned ballots.

True story: at a primary election in a state and city I do not choose to name, the senior official on site directed that the box containing the paper ballots be unsealed and the ballots removed, sorted by political party, and counted so that we could be sure that the machine count would agree with the paper records being prepared as "controls." I do not think anyone altered or spoiled a ballot, but could not testify that it was not done, as I was busy with my own counting. know that I could easily have spoiled or with slightly more difficulty recorded votes on incomplete ballots. Once the counts had been reconciled, the ballots were replaced in the box and a new seal applied.

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Thanks, Obama: NSA to stream raw intelligence into FBI, DEA and pals

tom dial
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Re: That's a *lovely* hand grenade under US business..

It's an (amendment to an) executive order. Any time after Noon next Friday Donald Trump can rescind or modify it it if he chooses. There is no meaningful sense in which it binds him. So it is not, actually, a good point at all.

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tom dial
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Re: Number of times "warrant" appears in the guidelines

The warrant requirement already exists in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended. My recollection is that in exigent circumstances, surveillance can be done for up to 72 hours while a warrant is being obtained. E.O.12333 is an executive order and, as Edward Snowden was advised by the NSA legal staff when he asked, executive orders cannot legally go beyond what the law and Constitution permit.

Discussion of actions like the one described in the article, without reference to their legal context, is not useful and tends to spawn a lot of fairly extreme commentary that may not be warranted. There is no guarantee, of course, that the agencies that comprise the intelligence community always operate within legal and constitutional bounds, but if they act illegally, an executive order cannot change that.

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tom dial
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Re: Does not apply to Israel

This was reported widely at some time during the 2013-2014 moral panic over Snowden, as I recall. Google should turn up references fairly quickly, or a search of the Washington Post, New York Times, Guardian, or Intercept web sites

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Prez Obama expels 35 Russian spies over election meddling

tom dial
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Re: Evidence it was the Russians what dunnit

The us-cert link given makes no explicit mention, nor as far as I can see any implicit one, relating to Weiner's laptop, which entered the discussion independently of hacking by anyone. However, it also tells absolutely nothing of substance about any unauthorized acquisition of Democratic Party documents and communications. The Russians might have done it, as the document claims without presenting any meaningful evidence, or an insider might have done it.

In the end, the leaked information probably had little to or nothing to do with the election result. Nearly everyone with the initiative to vote probably had made up their minds before the conventions, and Clinton's well known prior history and manifest inadequacies as a candidate almost certainly were the deciding factors.

The claim that Clinton's mail server was not accessed by foreign intelligence is most unlikely to be true given the publicly known vulnerabilities and the fact that messages to or from the server were known to have been obtained by hackers.

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US cops seek Amazon Echo data for murder inquiry

tom dial
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Re: Not their call

Nothing in the Register article, or in the c/net article to which it links, suggests Amazon has done more than refuse to honor the warrant. They might have done, but neither article mentions more than simply refusal to comply and general public statements with no legal justification pertinent to the particular case.

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Oracle finally targets Java non-payers – six years after plucking Sun

tom dial
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Re: VirtualBox Extensions Pack next?

I dropped Virtualbox in favor of qemu-kvm shortly after Oracle acquired Sun and changed the license for that. I did not return, even though the kvm management tools were less attractive and even after they apparently backed off on the license.

This only reinforces my decision.

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If you bought a dildo in Denver, the government must legally be told

tom dial
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Re: Some research was done

"is there a requirement in *any* state tax law that the resident shall be responsible for determining and paying this value $y?"

Yes, there is, although I believe almost nobody actually pays it except on things like cars and boats that must be licensed by the state. Colorado's objective is to obtain information it can use to enforce their tax. It is called "use tax" and generally is charged at the same rate as the sales tax that would be charged for an in-state purchase. I know of it specifically only from Ohio and Utah, and now Colorado, but believe it to be somewhere between common and near-universal. States may vary in how they handle local tax add-ons.

The amount reported to the state doesn't have to be right, but those whose aggregate purchases are reported should expect to be questioned if they fail to file the use-tax return (which may be included on the state income tax return) or report much less than was reported to the state. The workability of the suggested circumvention might vary, but surely would risk other offenses like fraud, if not now, then after the various legislatures wake up to the possibility.

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tom dial
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Strictly speaking, the article and the various agitators it references are correct: If you purchase a dildo (or anything else that might be subject to a Colorado sales or use tax) from a retailer who does not collect the tax, Colorado law requires the retailer to provide information to the state Department of Revenue. However, the retailer is not required to tell the Colorado DoR what you bought, only that you bought something, or maybe many things, during the calendar year. It does not authorize reporting more than who you are and the amount you spent. The implementing regulation specifies name, billing address, delivery address, and total dollar amount spent for the year - a one line entry per year for each Colorado purchaser - and it prohibits including additional information.

The law also requires non-collecting retailers to send Colorado purchasers an itemized list for their use in preparing their return for the use tax they are required to pay directly for the purchases they made during the year. The itemization probably is necessary because Colorado, like most states, does not tax all sales.

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tom dial
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The article here states that retailers who do not collect Colorado sales tax on behalf of the state must provide the state with a detailed list of who bought what, and references a Deloitte tax alert. The tax alert does not make any such statement, but contains a reference to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-21-112(3.5).

That, although convoluted, seems to lay on the retailer that do not collect Colorado sales tax a requirement (subparagraph (d)(I)(A)) to report to each Colorado purchaser, by January 31 of the following year, specific information about his or her purchases during the preceding year. That information, as given in the statute, does not explicitly include a specific description of the item (e. g., "dildo"), although the paragraph has some hand waving that allows the department of revenue to specify what is to be reported. This information is to be sent to the purchaser, not a government agency (subparagraph (d)(I)(B)) by first class mail, separate from any purchase shipment.

Subparagraph (d)(II)(A) requires the non-collecting retailers to submit to the department of revenue "an annual statement for each purchaser ... showing the total amount paid for Colorado purchases of such purchasers during the preceding calendar year or any portion thereof." There is no mention of any other information, and nothing in the subparagraph suggests the department of revenue may add to it. The corresponding regulation appears to forbid reporting anything beyond name, billing and shipping address, and total dollar amount.

It appears that NetChoice's DelBianco and others, although making statements that are literally true, exaggerate the actual privacy threat.

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tom dial
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I do not understand why anyone would downvote a fairly clear explanation of legal fact; have a compensatory upvote.

An additional comment: if I understand correctly the article in yesterday's paper, the state of Utah has worked out with Amazon to collect Utah sales/use tax at the statewide rate, ignoring (or leaving for the taxpayer) anything to do with local add-ons.

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CIA: Russia hacked election. Trump: I don't believe it! FAKE NEWS!

tom dial
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Re: "Refusing to elect Trump"

Not quite. When no presidential candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes, the House of Representatives is required to choose from the three candidates with the highest number of electoral votes, with each state delegation having one vote. They cannot choose "anyone." Choice of vice-president is done similarly.

This is in the twelfth amendment, which was a fixup for the situation that occurred in 1800, when the rule was that the candidate with the highest number of votes was to be president and the one with the next highest number vice-president. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr were tied for electoral votes, and the House of Representatives had to sort it out.

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tom dial
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Re: The result is irrelevant

"I suspect you would mind that more than what the Russians did to Hillary because this time you approved of the outcome".

You would be quite wrong. I never have written and posted, or spoken, anything that indicated either support for Donald Trump or a preference for him over Hillary Clinton as US president, and I did not vote for him, although I often have expressed great disapproval of Ms. Clinton's inexcusable behavior in matters of IT governance as Secretary of State, to the point of asserting her unfitness for any public responsibility position.

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tom dial
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It very well may be true that the Russian government tried to influence the presidential election outcome, and that they tried to influence it in favor of Trump. And he won. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

"Tried" doesn't cut it. Hillary, along with all of those who endorsed her, and all of those, quite a few of them professional Republicans, who went out of their way to trash Trump, tried to influence the election. And they all failed.

What is lacking, and will continue to be lacking given the state of Political Science, so called, is any evidence that the Russians (or whoever stole or leaked the emails to Wikileaks) actually succeeded in swaying the outcome. Hillary Clinton's evident deficiencies and baggage, her overbearing sense of entitlement and overconfidence, and her lackluster campaign are what did her in. The belief the Russians did it may comfort the Democrats during their two or more additional years in the wilderness without even a President to ease their pain with executive orders, but there is no need whatever to suppose that is true, nor is there any reason.

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Trump's 140 characters on F-35 wipes $2bn off Lockheed Martin

tom dial
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"One interesting facet to the whole sorry saga is in the timing of the tweet and subsequent share price drop..."

Lockheed dropped by$6.12 on Dec. 12 following Trump's tweet. It also dropped by $7.13 on Dec 8. After those "major" drops (and a small rise in the trading day between) it remains $16.83 above its recent low on Nov. 4, a few days before the election.

According to https://www.thestreet.com/quote/LMT.html, the LMT price was $248.50 at 08:20 (well below its Friday close at $259.53) and $248.64 at 08:26; It rose to $249.92 at 08:55 and dropped to a low of $245.52 at 10:08, after which it generally rose for the rest of the day and closed at 253.11. If there was insider trading, it did not happen at 08:20, and it probably did not happen on Monday.

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Russian hackers got Trump elected? Yeah, let's take a close look at that, says Obama

tom dial
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Re: Conflicts of interest

That is something for the Senators to inquire after during their advising and consenting. That, along with the question of whether any such business interests have been divested (as cabinet officers must do), and whether they were so substantial that even after divestiture the candidate is unworthy of consent. It might be argued that Republicans cannot be counted upon to ask the questions, but there are nearly as many Democrats (plus Bernie Sanders) who probably can.

Perhaps we should take a few deep breaths and let the process play out, as Trump seems to be acting fairly conventionally in most respects, although his choices offend quite a few, mostly of the progressive bent.

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tom dial
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Given the state of previous OPM information assurance practice and Archuleta's relatively brief tenure as director, her dismissal was a more or less standard example of punishing the innocent.

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tom dial
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Re: its *PRESUMPTIVE* president elect trump

An upvote for correctness as to US presidential election procedures. The popular vote, irrespective of who might have won a plurality. Abraham Lincoln was elected with a large electoral college majority, but only about 40% of the popular vote (it was a plurality, though). It is extremely unlikely that enough electors to change the outcome will vote against their pledges, and in many cases against their state law. The probability of that is effectively zero given that nearly all of those who vote for Trump (or Clinton) will do so fully in accord with their consciences.

The auditability, or lack of it, for electronic voting machines has practically nothing to do with whether or not they have a paper trail. Indeed, such a paper trail may only increase the ambiguity, since the laws may specify incompletely or ambiguously what is to be done if the tape from a machine differs from the contents of a memory card that records show came from the same machine. In practice, the cards (and if present, the tapes) are separated from the machine after completion of voting and passed from hand to hand several times before delivery to a central location for vote tabulation. There is an audit trail documenting the chain of custody, but it is not impossible that it could, by intent or more likely error, be damaged.

If the audit trail (and secure custody of all equipment) is complete, however, it is possible in principle to determine that the software in the machine that held the card (and printed the tape, if applicable) either were or were not in agreement. Not easy, and not cheap, but possible.

Auditing to determine whether only legally authorized people voted, however, is in many states impossible, by law or by federal court requirement and would be extremely difficult in the remainder.

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tom dial
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Re: "... let's take a closer look... "

I guessed the author correctly from the slant and heavy use of loaded words, but Greenwald makes valid points. It would be best to think of poorly supported anonymous reports from government sources - all governments - as essentially identical to the "fake news" about which the "true news" purveyors are working so diligently to whip up a moral panic.

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tom dial
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The FBI absence might be because the agency's mission is only weakly connected with collection and analysis of foreign intelligence. The foreign intelligence agencies, especially the CIA and even more the NSA are likely to have information that the FBI do not. Those who think the FBI raised the issue of Anthony Weiner's unauthorized possession of government email messages to bias the election against Clinton probably are mistaken, as are those who think it actually had a significant effect in either direction. By that time nearly everyone who cared will have reached a conclusion about how the email server issue spoke to Clinton's suitability for office and treated anything new on that as noise, just as they did with earlier reports of Trump's sexual abuse activities. We all were tired of it, all of it, before then.

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tom dial
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Re: Computerized voting

The systems are auditable, with some difficulty, because of the necessity to establish that the software actually in use during the election was not able to misrecord voters' actions. While that is possible in principle under sufficiently controlled conditions, maintaining the controls uniformly across hundreds or thousands of voting places and an order of magnitude more machines and people is difficult and unlikely to be done perfectly. After that, it also is necessary to validate the software used to collect the votes, usually from removable memory cards, and to classify and total the votes for each candidate and issue. The only upside, if there is one, is that if all goes well the totals can be announced in time for the 10 PM news, a dubious benefit.

Hand counted paper ballots also have had issues, and without question there has been associated election fraud and a few stolen elections. In addition, they are technically fairly easy to audit, although traditional fraud techniques often included ballot spoilage that if done skillfully was hard to detect and correct. Auditing the activities of thousands of people over a 12 - 14 hour period has quite a few vulnerabilities, and paper ballot systems have had the counterpart of malfunctioning machines in the forms of ballot boxes that went missing or had broken seals.

Nothing is perfect, and election issues certainly are not limited to the US or to one political party.

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tom dial
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Re: Plausibility

Unlike some countries, the US extends the notion of personal liberty to include the liberty to decline to participate in elections. That is not a scandal.

If there is a scandal around denial of voting rights, it nearly entirely concerns denial of the right to those who have completed prison sentences and have not had full civil rights restored, not voter suppression, so called. Complaints about poor people of color being denied by reason of color is largely nonsense and perfectly understandable in terms of normal partisan activity. The Republicans writing the laws took "black" to be an accurate proxy for "Democratic voter" as, indeed, it is. No rational person thinks those laws would have escaped their initial committee assignments unscathed if as many as 25 or 30 per cent of the targeted voters had been believed to lean Republican. Aside from that, the voter suppression laws, so called, actually prevented very few from voting (although they unquestionably made registration and obtaining require ID more difficult for some) and in most places probably fell about evenly on both black and white citizens.

The real scandal is the quasi-institutionalization of the major parties and the political rigidity that has brought, to the point where major parties presented national candidates that a large majority of the electorate considered untrustworthy and unsuited for the office they sought.

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Latest loon for Trump's cabinet: Young-blood-loving, kidney-market advocate Jim O'Neill

tom dial
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Re: Your bias?

I think we are about to finish up a couple of terms with an introvert president, and there is plenty of evidence that it didn't work out all that well. The main rejected candidate in the immediate past election also seems to be more an introvert than an extrovert, suggesting that a large fraction of the population in a large part of the country might, for now, prefer an extrovert. For now. It remains to be seen whether it works out well or ill.

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tom dial
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Re: Your bias?

The basic physics and chemistry around the atmospheric contaminants may be well understood, but the quantitative effect may be less well understood and subject to doubt, at least as to the amount of change, both if nothing is done and in response to proposed corrective action. And although there is no room for doubt about the proposition that human activities contribute contaminants that tend to raise the average world temperature, there is some uncertainty about the importance of that compared to other sources, and there is considerable reason to question whether, when it comes down to the point where 2700 million people in China and India (and the 322 million in the US) will accept the costs associated with proposed reductions. I do not see the evidence that they will, and unlike physics and chemistry, which are hard, politics is really hard.

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tom dial
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Re: We have vays to make you

From a slightly different angle, the first paragraph seems like it might be an argument for autonomous, possibly unaccountable, agencies or ones subject only to political control by those in charge of the government. The latter seems to be what so many, here and elsewhere, worry about with the upcoming Trump administration.

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tom dial
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Re: Your bias?

There is a good to be made in favor of having the head of a government department skeptical, if not necessarily opposed, to the department's mission.

It is well known that over time government agencies tend to be staffed by employees having a bias toward the presumed agency mission and a clear incentive to extend its scope and authority. One fairly obvious current example is to be found in the number of agencies jostling for position in defining and establishing rules over "cybersecurity." Another is the recent attempt by the FCC to elbow its way onto the FTC turf in protecting personal privacy, while both of them attempt to increase government authority over at least the US part of the Internet.

It also is well known that regulating agencies like the EPA, FTC, and FCC, and others that hand out goodies like DOD, HEW, and HUD, come to be surrounded by client groups, which bring to bear a good deal of carefully tailored advocacy intended to channel the regulation in their preferred direction or bring them direct or indirect benefits from agency activities. Client/supplicant groups also are training grounds for future agency employees and employers of former agency employees. The laws and regulations intended to control such revolving door employment actions are not necessarily effective. I recall one instance in which a DOD agency IT director issued a directive that Oracle DBMS would be the agency standard. He retired a few months later and the following week began work as an executive at Oracle, but not in a division that dealt with DOD procurements. He was followed shortly after by his former deputy.

Competition within the government, properly managed by the President and Cabinet officers, might bring some of the benefits that it does in the private sector. Department or agency heads who are skeptical of or oppose the commonly understood organization mission and its implementation can contribute to that and might exert some control over excessive collaboration between agencies and their clients.

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My name's Jeff B and I'm here to say: Canada's getting an AWS region around the way

tom dial
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Re: Canada is part of Five Eyes

Perhaps. But there is no obvious reason that the possibility (or even probability) of changes to targeting procedures would have any effect on my claim. A number of populations or organizations are targeted, now, simply because they exist. There is no reason to wait for tomorrow.

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tom dial
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Re: Canada is part of Five Eyes

I can see no reason for a US or Canadian citizen (or legal resident, at least in the US) to be either more or less worried about either NSA or CSIS (or GCHQ, for that matter). Those who have a need for worry, or otherwise wish to do so, should do irrespective of where their AWS or other processing and storage is located.

The US government's ability to demand Canada-resident data may be changed some by the recent New York decision concerning a Microsoft email account in Ireland, but it is a good be that the US is, or soon will be, working with other governments to smooth procedures for exercising mutual legal assistance treaties that exist (I expect there is one between Canada and the US) and negotiate them to the extent possible where they do not exist. In view of the proximity of the US and Canada, it seems likely that the procedures are fairly well established in both directions.

There probably is not much of interest here except marketing.

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China and Russia aren't ready to go it alone on tech, but their threats are worryingly plausible

tom dial
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Re: Would you expect anything else?

But strike the word " military" in the first paragraph. Reliance on imports limits many other options as well.

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US election pollsters weren't (very) wrong – statistically speaking

tom dial
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Re: no votes for Trump counted in 3 weeks

Count the votes from 32 counties, perhaps?

That said, there is reason for considerable suspicion if, in fact, a significant number of voting districts have not yet reported results three weeks after the election. Nearly all absentee ballots, which most states require be mailed no later than election day, and ballots from deployed military personnel, should be in hand by a week or ten days after the election, and taking longer than a few days to count them should raise suspicion about the counting procedures.

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tom dial
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The electoral college was a derivative of the population crediting policy for the House of Representatives. The bias in the electoral college since then has been a result of the facts that every state is allocated two Senators and at least one Representative irrespective of its population.

Censuses beginning with the first, in 1790, counted women on the same basis as men, although only New Jersey allowed them to vote (until disallowing it in 1807). It is likely that neither race nor sex has been a significant issue in apportioning Representatives since the census of 1870 or perhaps 1880, well over a century ago. Who is allowed to vote, however, has been and remains a contentious issue from time to time.

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tom dial
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Re: Elector allocations

"Cooler heads" is pretty much what Hamilton argued in Federalist No. 68 in favor of indirect choice of the president using electors. Those wishing to describe the electors as "wealthier heads" are not far wrong, since the correlation of wealth and education was high then, just as it is now. That is slightly related to the imbalance between high and low population states in electoral college strength, but probably only weakly and perhaps coincidentally.

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tom dial
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Re: Mandatory Voting

The electoral college would be tough to change. If you are interested in seeing the electoral vote assigned somewhat proportionally, consider the methods of Nebraska and Maine, and take it up with your state legislature.

Note that if everyone had used the Nebraska/Maine procedures, Trump almost certainly would have won, although quite a lot more narrowly. That would have been a good thing, as it would be much harder to argue that he has a "mandate."

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tom dial
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Re: 1 person 1 vote - is not true

"Empty" states like Iowa (and Utah) have 6 electoral votes. The median states by electoral vote (Louisiana and Kentucky) have 8. Of the 24 states above median electoral vote (and population) Trump won in 14 (223 electoral votes) and Clinton won in 10 (183 electoral votes). In the states (and District of Columbia) at or below median in electoral votes, Trump won in 16 (83 electoral votes) and Clinton won in 11 (49 electoral votes).

While one person, one vote does not apply, it is fairly clear that Trump's support was both substantial and geographically widespread. This is even clearer if one examines the results by county, which show that Clinton's support was quite strongly coastal with a few spots in between.

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Exclusive: Team Trump's net neutrality guru talks to El Reg

tom dial
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Re: ...

Of the millions who registered their opinions with the FCC on the Net Neutrality question, a few tens of thousands probably had enough understanding of communication technology and economics to form their own opinions. Most of the rest were acting on the expressed opinions of various "experts" predicting assorted awful outcomes from allowing of "fast lanes" or free services.

The article, and the paper by Layton and Calderwood, concern economics and the thesis that Net Neutrality is not conducive to efficient network resource allocation, which in the end affects everyone who deploys, operates, or uses a network.

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tom dial
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Re: Trump appointments

I do not think Trump ever claimed to be a conservative, at least without backpedaling shortly after. Some of his positions and promises were aimed at those who claim to be conservative, but many or most have been creeping off stage since the election. He is no more a conservative than Hillary Clinton is a liberal (current usage assumed).

Obama's minions in the Congress further poisoned an already dirty well in various ways, and Obama lacked either the skill or the will to collaborate with the Republicans in Congress and sometimes even the Democrats. That left him the option of trying to expand executive branch reach by issuing orders and hoping the inevitable challenge would not be turned away by the courts. Donald Trump, come January 20 next, will be in position to cancel every one of them that he doesn't like. That may result in a worse outcome in some cases than if Obama had done nothing at all. The most obvious examples are DACA and DAPA, which by now will have produced a very convenient database of deportation candidates. Nonetheless, Trump will have Obama's example going forward in the event of a truculent Congress. And there is no plausible reason to think the next Congress, any more than the last forty or so, will do anything effective to limit him.

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tom dial
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Re: ...

"A large number of individuals - " nearly all of them essentially clueless about communication technology - supported net neutrality as well."

"Packet prioritization, bandwidth throttling and tirered pricing will not inherently create a more democratic Internet." Maybe, maybe not. It is not entirely clear that "democratic," normally associated with group decision making and choosing government officials, is meaningful in the context of network governance. While these many millions were, by and large, vehemently in favor of net neutrality, it is far from obvious that any of them has benefited from it, or will. But it is fairly clear that large operators, including Google, considered it beneficial to them, as defined by the marginal profit they expected to clear as a result. The Open Internet Order might best be understood as a result of successful rent seeking supported by a moral panic.

"Reality is much more subtle and nuanced than this. It's not black and white. Just many different shades of grey." Indeed it is.

It is meaningful, however, to discuss techniques for efficient allocation of limited resources and is quite plausible, if not certain, that requiring all services to receive identical treatment in a packet switched network lead to inefficiency. This may show up, for example, as overbuilding or congestion (or its temporary mitigation, throttling), or possibly both at different times and places.

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tom dial
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Re: This Google obsession is getting old

Yet Google provides direct utility to users, in the form of Internet indexing and search, that far exceeds that of any the alternatives or, indeed, all of them combined. As a result it earns piles of money for its shareholders. Any positive utility that the NSA and other government intelligence agencies provides is at best indirect and very difficult to define and measure.

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'Toyota dealer stole my wife's saucy snaps from phone, emailed them to a swingers website'

tom dial
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Re: Unless you're the FBI...

I don't claim to have read all the "Snowden" and Greenwald articles, but have read enough of them to know they do not speak much to the FBI, DEA, or even DHS.

Parallel construction, presumably intended to conceal intelligence sources and methods, is not by itself contrary to law as far as I am aware, any more than is concealing the identity of confidential informants who provide information to justify warrant issue. The NSA is permitted to refer to domestic law enforcement authorities information obtained by lawful (under US law) foreign intelligence surveillance. The articles that "revealed" these activities were unfortunately vague about the source of the information and the conditions under which it was obtained. They also did not make clear whether the authors did not know or knew and elected to leave it unmentioned.

Ultimately, the decision to issue a warrant rests with a judge who is at least nominally independent of the prosecutor and other law enforcement agents. They may rubber stamp the application, but it at least is a (possibly virtual) piece of paper that, in the US at least, can later be challenged in court if the warrant turns up information that leads to prosecution.

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tom dial
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Re: Alternatively

According to the report in the source, Dallas News, the pictures were sent by email from the phone, then deleted. The claim, further, is that by the grace of the God of Apps, one of the pastor's apps backed up the sent messages before their deletion, thus preserving the evidence. The only thing that points to three-saint-names, though is that the police are reported to have found that a person of similar name has an account on the swinger site.

At last report, Thomas has not been convicted, which would help the lawsuit, although it is not a requirement as the standard of proof in the civil suit is much less than required for a criminal conviction. For now, there is reason to withhold judgment in the matter.

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tom dial
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Re: Unless you're the FBI...

The FBI does not have that right either. They, and other law enforcement officers may apply for warrants, as may their counterparts in many other countries. If the application is granted they have the right to conduct a search as the warrant specifies.

As for the article, it is not clear why the plaintiffs think they have a basis to seek not only compensation, but enrichment, from the dealer who employed the alleged perpetrator or, even more remote, from Toyota itself. The employee's act is said to be a criminal offense, and the agency's sales director has been charged. Dealership liability may depend on details like whether the accused had previous history of similar behavior and whether they knew of it, and if they did not, whether they had done reasonable (probably a jury question) pre-hire due diligence. Toyota's liability may be limited by their relationship to the dealer and details in the documents that govern the relationship. Toyota certainly will not want to set a precedent for future similar claims, but given their likely rarity might end up negotiating a settlement with sealed terms for some fraction of the amount demanded.

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Google proudly regards dented shovel as Flash lies supine on the floor

tom dial
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Now if others, like Comcast Xfinitiy would do likewise. A few months back, Comcast "upgraded" and "improved" Xfinity web applications, which never before had the "benefits" of Flash. Now they do, and now they will no longer run on Linux versions of Chrome and Firefox because the latest available version is too old. That includes the schedule display/channel select application and also the application needed to report a problem or file a service request.

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Investigatory Powers Act signed into UK law by Queen

tom dial
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I find it interesting that fairly straightforward and likely enough correct statements are so often downvoted and disputed.

The point was that if the police are interested in you, no matter the reason, using a VPN or TOR is unlikely to deter them or interfere significantly with their ability to pursue that interest. And it is not at all obvious that it will make it harder. Communication data surveillance is only one of their tools, and for in-country residents probably is one of the least important.

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tom dial
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Re: Commercial suicide

You want to send sensitive company data to any employees, securely, you can't.

=> PGP will protect the data. If sending the data is authorized, would the metadata matter?

You want to leave said data on an intranet with web access securely, oh look, you can't.

=> On an intranet with web access: Does the act really cover internal transmission? Surely you did not mean web access from the public Internet and securely in the same sentence.

You want to research a company with a view to a takeover, in private, hah some chance

=> For those of us lacking the knowledge and imagination, it would help to have a plausible scenario in which searching public sources would be a problem.

Even if I'm being overly paranoid, if companies haven't legged it because of brexit, they'll be leaving in droves if they can't rely on secure internet as a general principle.

=> As I understand it, the act has little to do with Internet security, but something, maybe a lot, to do with privacy of some kinds of information in some circumstances.

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tom dial
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Re: Could someone recommend a VPN?

If you live in a Five Eyes country, you probably would be more at risk using externally-based facilities (possibly including TOR). In the US, at least, legal protections are much stricter on (legal) residents than they are on those in other countries who are not US citizens. I have not seen anything detailed about it, but suspect that there are side agreements among Five Eyes governments to not target (or to be gentle about targeting) each other's citizens.

None of that would apply to external communication endpoints. The applicable legal protections might not be honored, but they might, and for the US, at least, there is some evidence that they are. Where they are, they might be effective, and that is better than the case where they do not exist at all.

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tom dial
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If you are of interest to a law enforcement agency, and if you use anonymizers or VPNs or encrypted messaging, that is likely to increase their interest and bring closer scrutiny. If they have a decently plausible justification, they may be able to obtain a warrant (or UK equivalent, if different) for access that is much more intrusive than metadata collection, and much more likely to succeed in obtaining information about your activities in connection with whatever caught their attention in the first place.

The short version: if the police are interested in you, they generally will find ways to investigate you.

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tom dial
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Re: Here's the full list...

It would be useful to have a brief description of the hoops through which one of these many agencies must jump before gaining access to the stored data. That, along with who can grant access, might be a deal more important than who can request and receive the data.

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Internet Archive preps Canadian safe haven to swerve Donald Trump

tom dial
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Re: The True North, Strong and Free

Many of the countries "not so friendly to the interests of the USA" also would not be so friendly to freedom of access to information. The US might present some issues surrounding privacy, but is hard to match for prickliness* about anything resembling press freedom, and that certainly would include the Internet Archive. The government, and litigation attorneys and clients, being what they are, moves to restrict access could be tied up in rule making and the courts longer than Trump will be President, even if he is reelected in 2020.

As an aside, it would be easier, legally, for the US intelligence community to collect IP address information from a service in Canada than from one in the US, although its use might be limited by treaties or side agreements to pretty much the same population in either case.

* Except, in the short term, by those upset by "fake news" on social media.

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