* Posts by btrower

671 posts • joined 9 Nov 2011

Page:

TRAGEDY STRIKES Vulture News Central but details remain scrambled

btrower
Silver badge

eggsecrable

Master Bait

0
0

Security SEE-SAW: $3 MEEELLION needed to fight a $100k hack

btrower
Silver badge

Do not know how yet, but...

That fact that attack is cheaper than defense is hardly news.

To have reasonable security against attackers you need advice from people you can trust, trustee services from different people you can trust, secure algorithms, secure key sizes, secure hardware, secure storage and internal communication, secure operating systems, secure devices, secure device drivers, secure software, secure external communication and storage, trustworthy users and secure premises.

We don't really have any of the above and all of them are necessary (but still not sufficient) to have a system reasonably resistant to attack.

I am not going to pretend putting the right things in place is easy, but they are doable. The fact that they are not being openly addressed shows me that people who understand don't care and people who care don't understand. Anyone with much understanding knows that all traffic and storage should be encrypted. It is not.

In many security discussions you see something along these lines:

We can verify this with the appropriate keys.

Unfortunately, that is costly.

Solution: Don't verify.

As the Treacherous Computing Asshats have discovered, it is very difficult to secure anything that must be decrypted and then used outside of a controlled environment, especially if part of your agenda is to cripple security otherwise.

As a collective of some 500 million plus people with a vested interest in making things genuinely secure, we can overcome the attack/defense disparity even if it is many orders of magnitude. Step one in getting there is to stop paying the attackers to secure our system.

0
0

The Pirate Bay SUNK: It vanishes after Swedish data center raid

btrower
Silver badge

Re: Disappointing

Re: " there is always a single point of failure regarding the domain name."

Yes, but that should not be the case. The very fact that the people who run DNS allow this to happen means they are not fit for purpose. A single entity should not be able to silence a site.

2
0

US Ass. Commerce Sec hits back at claims global DNS is DOOMED

btrower
Silver badge

Re: Dear God.... /\ What he said

Re: Y'all need to build a fully decentralized internet, at the IP and DNS level, pronto.

Is there any other way that we can possibly have a network we can trust?

0
0

Nothing illegal to see here: Tribunal says TEMPORA spying is OK

btrower
Silver badge

Re: btrower The gloves are off

Re: "Bullshit. It remains completely lawful as you have failed to show how it has breached any actual law."

It was established at Nuremberg that some rules of conduct transcend the explicit laws of a particular state. Invading the privacy of every person at once goes well beyond any reasonable norm. It directly conflicts with the letter of the most fundamental law in jurisdictions like the United States. It does not matter how many toadies you trot out bleating that it is OK. It is not OK and as far as I am concerned it is something that warrants eventual prosecution and punishment.

Apropos of eventual punishment:

"Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced." -- Judgment of the International Military Tribunal -- http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/judlawch.asp

The ultimate harm to be done by massive illegal searches without probable cause and the apparatus used to conduct them is enormous well beyond the injury to mankind done by a few despicable acts done under cover of a 'hot' war. We should be taking names and ultimately be holding the various perpetrators accountable.

0
1
btrower
Silver badge

Re: btrower The gloves are off

Re: btrower The gloves are off

Re: "But doesn't your right to security oblige the authorities to have the powers and means to ensure your security ... You can't have one without the other."

No. How is that even a question? It is as if you are saying it is necessary to shoot my dog in order to keep him safely in the yard. Completely invading my privacy in every way imaginable, putting me under constant surveillance, reading my mail, listening in on my phone conversations, constantly monitoring my whereabouts, spying on my friends and family and similar insane stunts are not reasonable or necessary to protect my privacy.

Re: "how are they using 'force' illegally, and how is their duty to protect the public not part of said covenant?"

Your slight misquote does not properly represent what I said. I said 'illegitimate use of force' because there is now some question as to whether or not laws passed in recent times are fundamentally legitimate. Plenty of laws have been passed and precedents set in the United States that do not pass muster against any reasonable reading of the Constitution. The coercive power of the state sits behind any provocative action it takes. Unless both warranted and necessary it is certainly illegitimate. Of course, in any rational system it is also illegal as a technical matter.

Here is a lovely story of a warrant-less entry that involves undeniable overt force which was, in fact, deemed illegal by the courts:

http://www.wnd.com/2014/11/swat-team-tasers-pepper-sprays-homeschoolers/

Glidden first demanded to be allowed into the home and was denied permission. So, according to the complaint, he pepper-sprayed Jason and then Laura.

“Glidden then turned to Jason, who was still standing, and shot him in the back with his Taser,” the complaint said.

When Laura closed the front door, Glidden continued triggering the Taser through the closed door.

Then White joined in.

“Together they forced open the door and found Laura and Jason lying on the floor,” HSLDA said.

They “slapped Laura, knocking her glasses off of her face,” they threatened to shoot the family dog, they threw a telephone across the room, called Laura a “liar,” handcuffed the parents and threatened to let Jason fall down, according to the complaint.

It all took place in front of the three children, ages about 13, 10 and 8, who were taken into state custody, where they remained for months.

0
1
btrower
Silver badge

Re: btrower The gloves are off

Re: "The article was written as a whole and ratified as such by the then nations of western Europe which rather suggests that its original meaning is unchanged from what they wanted."

That's may be the theory. Sadly, that is not the practice.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/votes/199257-cell-phone-freedom-bill-passes-house

"The last-minute change that was made in this bill… puts a real poison pill in this bill for consumer advocates such as myself," Polis said. "Many consumers won't be unlocking their phones themselves. There needs to be a market in unlocked phones."

0
1
btrower
Silver badge

Re: btrower The gloves are off

@Mike Flex

Re: "except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

The purpose of the article is clear enough to me. The fact that they tack on weasel words to the effect "it is except when it isn't" does not fly with me and it should not with you either. If they are going to give any real weight to the part you cite then they might as well just strike the article altogether because it would have no effect and *yes* you are correct, they did go with that part of the article. That tells me that:

1) The article needs to be rewritten to properly accomplish what was obviously its original explicit purpose and that means striking the part you find so endearing.

2) The people and organizations doing the interpretation need a clean sweep to install people with some sense.

Improperly formed specifics of legislation require repair and in the meantime should not be followed when they conflict with reason and the obvious spirit of the law.

1
1
btrower
Silver badge

Re: btrower The gloves are off

@Matt Bryant:

At its heart, the right to privacy is another aspect of the right to security of the person.

Our society and government are contingent upon covenants that we make among one another. Our current emerging police state is able, for now, to breach the covenant by the illegitimate use of force. However, that breach renders the covenant void and to the extent that the people operating the mechanism of state continue to act that way they act outside the law and should be ultimately be stopped and held accountable.

I did not miss the bit where an ill advised decision was made to pretend that such and such a breach was lawful. It remains unlawful in any meaningful sense. Yes, the UK in particular has absolutely horrendous legislation in place and a thoroughly corrupt administration. However, they may insist to a man that it is legitimate to execute innocents or do any other noxious and patently immoral, fundamentally wrong and ultimately illegal thing. That does not render it legitimate or legal. Some things are fundamentally beyond reason. No court decision can give them legitimacy.

The current U.K. law essentially reads in essence that the people are free from interference from the state except in the event the state deems interference desirable. It is just bad law and good men have no obligation to uphold such a law and a moral imperative to oppose such a thing.

Courts sometimes make mistakes; even very grave ones. A mistake by a court is still a mistake -- more tragic than normal, perhaps and harder to fix, but still a mistake.

This is *our* government and *our* society and there is not a whisper of a doubt that to the extent that we can make covenants with respect to *mandatory* rights the majority of informed observers insist that detailed unwarranted blanket surveillance is simply contrary to the deal we made.

Law enforcement and the legal system as it currently exists is becoming increasingly less of a solution and more of a problem. They have badly lost their way.

For law to have any legitimacy or meaning it has to fundamentally reflect the covenant we have mutually agreed to as a body politic. Constant surveillance of ourselves and our loved ones in our private lives, our correspondence and our relationships is not something we could have sensibly agreed to. I do not personally know anybody conversant with the issues who thinks for a minute we should be under constant intimate scrutiny by the state or anything else.

Below are some references to things that either form or inform the law in various jurisdictions. All the states involved here are signatories to the U.N. document and blanket surveillance is contrary to that agreement by any reasonable reading.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/page-15.html

8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

In Lawson Hunter et al. v. Southam Inc., the Supreme Court stated that a major purpose of the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure under section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was the protection of the privacy of the individual.

The case involved a constitutional challenge to a search conducted under the Combines Investigation Act. The Court concluded that to assess the constitutionality of a search, it must focus on the search's reasonableness or unreasonableness in terms of its impact on the individual and not simply on its rationality in furthering a valid government objective. Mr. Justice Dickson of the Supreme Court advanced in this case for the first time the precept of reasonable expectation of privacy as a standard against which government action should be scrutinized.

The United States Constitution

Amendment 4 Search and Seizure

http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am4.html

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

------

The Human Rights Act 1998 (the “Act”) incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights (the “Convention”) into UK law. Article 8(1) of the Convention provides that “everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.”

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/treaties/html/005.htm

Being resolved, as the governments of European countries which are like-minded and have a common heritage of political traditions, ideals, freedom and the rule of law, to take the first steps for the collective enforcement of certain of the rights stated in the Universal Declaration,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1 – Obligation to respect human rights

The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention.

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

7
1
btrower
Silver badge

The gloves are off

There is no rational theory whereby we have given these idiots permission to violate one of the very most basic of human rights.

The lot of them need to be swept out of any position where their deranged vision of what is reasonable can harm any of us.

I can't think of a way to do it yet, but as far as I am concerned, the entire body of people who do stuff like this should be on notice that their behavior is not without consequences. They think it is OK for people to be surveilled 24/7? Fine. Let *them* be surveilled 24/7 and let the public do the monitoring.

9
2

Kaspersky: That 2 years we took to warn you about Regin ? We had GOOD REASON

btrower
Silver badge

Re: How long is too long to have kept quiet?

@Jason Bloomberg:

Re: "some point at which it becomes reasonable to warn that something is afoot"

Something is afoot right now. You can take that to the bank. There are so many attack vectors it is impossible for a firm to entirely secure your system.

I am not a big fan of the AV vendors, but I think they have been more than upfront about the fact that you are in ongoing danger.

8
0

While the web stares at cat pics, the glue of the internet is being shifted from US govt control

btrower
Silver badge

No.

Same as the old boss as Graham Marsden said above.

Having anything headquartered in the United States that affects privacy is belligerently foolish. It has to be a non-starter.

Fool me once.

I am sure that there will be all manner of interesting critique here at the Reg.

Anybody presenting a 'trust me' architecture vulnerable to abuse by an incumbent or collusion by a small number is either incompetent or dishonest. From what I have seen it appears to be both.

I don't have a design but surely there is some way to build a more secure system on top of the existing infrastructure using a distributed trust architecture that cannot be hijacked again.

0
0

systemd row ends with Debian getting forked

btrower
Silver badge

Evil FlusterCluck

Both sides of this get me worried. Neither alternative is very good from what I can see. Forking away from Debian seems like a doomed move. However, the people forking say that systemd is creating all sorts of dependencies. You have to worry when the people blithely working on a system which is already a nightmare of dependencies are complaining about a change the brings in 'too many'. OMFG.

Maybe one of the people who became billionaires off of the ideas and hard work of other people could step in with funds to sort this out.

10
1

Blackout Saturday: Oracle website DIES after mammoth US shopping binge

btrower
Silver badge

Quibbling, but...

Should it not be 'titsup(TM)'? I am pretty sure somebody must own that 'IP' and it might well be Oracle.

2
0

High Court: You've made our SH*T list – corked pirate torrent sites double in a day

btrower
Silver badge

The people are voting...

Re: "It carefully targets sites whose sole purpose is to make money off the back of other people's content while paying nothing back into the legitimate economy."

A truly legitimate economy would not even *have* players like the MPAA and RIAA, let alone be sending them money for the right to access cultural artifacts already bought and paid for by somebody else.

File sharing services are people voting with their feet. If it is a small number, then it does less harm than the draconian measures being taken and we should let it go. If it is not a small number then the 'rights' regime is de-facto illegitimate. Either way, concerted state backed attacks on people sharing files is not legitimate by any measure. Those things are *grants* extended at the pleasure of the body politic and only then because of an expectation that they are net beneficial. Once we collectively decide not to extend those grants, that is the end of them.

At some point it is time to start taking names. People attempting to wrest our culture away from us and those aiding and abetting should be put on notice and ultimately be held responsible for the damage they do.

Our government's only legitimate reason to exist is to aid and protect and advance the interests of the people that make up the body politic. Similarly, corporations are legal fictions whose only legitimate purpose is to make a net positive contribution with a minimum of disruption.

Nobody should be going to jail or having their livelihood taken away for sharing a song or reading a journal article.

There have been a series of poisonous precedents set that pervert the sense of our constitutions. Were judges referring reasonably to the spirit and intent of the fundamental laws nothing like what is described in this article would happen. These things are at worst civil breaches and it is not up to the people (us) to pay the bills to press those cases.

9
1

EVIL US web giants shield TERRORISTS? Evil SPIES in net freedom CRUSH PLOT?

btrower
Silver badge

Faulty reasoning

Faulty reasoning leads to faulty analysis and unless cooler heads prevail, immoral overreaches.

If the apparently wayward companies being mentioned were to hypnotize or even poison all of their users it would stop all kinds of mayhem from happening. Facebook offing its billion odd users would measurably reduce all manner of crime statistic. That does not justify that action.

Do the police have the right to inspect people's communications and personal material without a warrant? No. No they do not. There is a reason for that. It is clearly a reason they do not understand.

The people in the UK government bleating endlessly about this should be relieved of duty until they become fully clued.

Companies like Facebook do not need any more excuses to spy on people.

22
2

Pity the poor Windows developer: The tools for desktop development are in disarray

btrower
Silver badge

Re: For me

Me too. Had MS stuck to their knitting and properly upgraded VS6 we would all be light-years ahead of where we are now. Practiced VB6 developers can bang off a non-trivial working application including installation routine and documentation in a day or two. Except for Delphi I don't know of any IDE that has come close to VB6. It is still by far the easiest to use.

VB6 as a language has some serious annoyances and conflating forms and applications is brain-damaged. However, none of its warts are show-stoppers and in a pinch you can always just call COM objects or C/Assembly DLLs if you need more function or better performance.

I think VB6s big failing, ironically, is that it was so easy to use.

2
0

Telcos spaff $36bn on gobbling Uncle Sam's radio frequencies for beefier cell coverage

btrower
Silver badge

False economies here

So we own something, in this case something nominally worth $34 billion and even though we need it, we sell it to someone else and rent it back from them. Will the profit be magic or will we end up paying it in the end? Is it not worrisome that something that valuable was sold when clearly the people selling on our behalf had a very poor understanding of its value?

We know the telcos cheerily charge whatever the traffic will bear, slip in fees never agreed upon and manipulate bandwidth allocation to maximize profits at the *expense* of harming the network. They are now going to take a $34 billion dollar investment, add *just* enough funds to allow them to charge for the new real-estate they own and then they are going to charge us for this thing that, remember, we need. How much will that cost? Well, whatever they can get away with. It is a safe bet that it will be a lot more than the sum of $34 billion dollars and what they spend on equipment.

The telcos most important investment in this enterprise preceded the $34B and the $34B sealed the deal. From here on in, whatever use we get of that bandwidth it will not be what it should be and it will cost a bitter premium over what it should.

Some will say 'yes, but we got $34B'. We did not. The people who run the government and their cronies got the money. Considering their track record, it is a safe bet we would have been better off holding on to bandwidth.

What really bugs me is that this type of piecemeal allocation of bandwidth is blocking convergence and its attendant benefits. It is just making it more difficult to unravel the mess.

1
0

Sony Pictures in IT lock-down after alleged hacker hosing

btrower
Silver badge

Predictable and not going away

The ridiculous security infrastructure in place along with holes deliberately punched through by agencies like the NSA make this not just likely, but inevitable. Sony will not be the last to witness such a breach.

If you have not had a visible breach of any kind and you have a valuable network I would not be too smug that I had a secure system. I would be suspicious that you have already been penetrated if you have never seen any visible sign of a partial breech. The really dangerous malware seals up your system so other malware (or legitimate attempts to reclaim the system) cannot break its grip.

You are not going to see a zero day exploit on your system if it has already been used, your system captured and the weakness fixed by the intruder.

By their nature at least some zero-day exploits are very hard to anticipate. In most cases, your just hoping that you get notice and a fix before a breech because some other sucker took the hit.

Mortals attempting to keep complex heterogeneous systems secure don't have much of a chance against strong attacks.

Having said the above, a down and dirty way for medium to large companies to at least make net facing systems less attractive as targets is to just get someone who knows what they are doing to make sure that hardware firewalls seal the perimeter.

5
1

HALF A BILLION TERRORISTS: WhatsApp encrypts ALL its worldwide jabber

btrower
Silver badge

Welcome and useful

Before the naysayers jump in -- yes this will be vulnerable to certain types of attack -- NO that does not make this useless.

The very fact that many messages are suddenly travelling encrypted means dragnet surveillance is much more difficult.

Hopefully other companies will follow this lead.

If you think about it, one man's extremist is another man's dissident. We need at least some small avenues that allow civil disobedience if we have any hope of maintaining our rapidly shrinking freedom.

Two thumbs up for the donation. It is a nice counter-point to the donation to Harvard we heard about recently.

Finally, we should not let the fact that something is not sufficient deter us from putting in place things that are necessary. The perfect should not be the enemy of the good.

18
1

State Dept shuts off unclassified email after hack. Classified mail? That's CLASSIFIED

btrower
Silver badge

Re: Hack on US Government.....

Re: "Why must it always be THEIR bad guys...."

That information is classified.

0
0
btrower
Silver badge

Re: Post obligatory..

Thumbs up for you. I second that emotion.

0
0
btrower
Silver badge

More activity makes me cranky!

Things continue to get worse. It does not help that everyone is more concerned with finding and attacking weaknesses than they are with securing the system globally.

Reasonable security, well beyond what exists now, is *possible*, but sadly it does not seem probable. My own systems have taken a little collateral damage and frankly it is making me peevish.

0
0

What kind of generation doesn't stick it to the Man, but to Taylor Swift instead?

btrower
Silver badge

Re: market value (@btrower)

Re: "If you're a boomer (which I doubt)"

I am totally going to take that as a compliment. My generation really let the world down and your attitude of selfish entitlement is certainly much more aligned with the current boomer culture than mine is.

Re: "you don't speak for those millenial generation fuckwits"

No, I don't. They speak eloquently enough for themselves. I was defending them from my position as a 'boomer' (I am exactly at the center of the baby boom) because you seem to think voices from some other generational camps are somehow less worthy of consideration. Our ages do not help or hinder our arguments any more than our shoe size. You think it is important, not me.

Re: "But you certainly meet the requirements to be a fuckwit freetard"

That is a pretty ugly way to put it, but it is consistent with the nature of the rest of your arguments. I will also take that as a compliment since clearly you have decided that people interested in a world of free information and open-handed sharing are 'freetards'.

Attacking your opponent rather than their arguments is a desperately lame sophist trick. It indicates to more thoughtful people that you have nothing beyond antipathy toward those who disagree with you. Put more simply, you don't have an argument. You merely have a desire that you wish to force upon others by any means possible. Good luck with that. As I said in an earlier comment it is pretty clear that the Internet has voted 'with its feet'. Those votes, BTW, are attached to real people who may well rise up and finally put their demands into legislation. They are not, in case you missed it, voting for you.

Re: "Musicians, writers and artists deserve credit and payment for their work"

I think that everyone has a right to a place in the sun 'going in'. I don't make a special distinction for members of your union. You can expect objections from the rest of us as you continue to press for advantages none of the rest of us enjoy; particularly when those advantages come at such a horrendous cost. The mechanisms used to enforce your desires are the mechanisms of tyranny and all decent people have always opposed them.

I don't think you are as bad as you sound. I think that you honestly do not follow the argument properly because you have limited yourself to one narrow point of view, have characterized anybody who disagrees with your point of view as an enemy and you have a profound desire that a view that (you imagine) benefits you be correct.

Despite my optimistic assessment, you seem to pretty clearly be happy enough with pressing for advantage without respect to any collateral damage it may entail. It is not nice to cause gratuitous harm to others. It is, in my opinion, the very bottom of morality to create great harm to others to gain a small advantage for yourself.

Re: "If you want to give away your lifes work for free, go ahead but your altruism might get confused with stupidity."

I consider it a privilege to be able to give back. Most people are pretty good. They are happy with sharing, finding common ground and helping those less fortunate with no expectation of reward beyond the joy that comes with giving. They don't confuse basic human decency with stupidity. If you consider decent people 'suckers', I hardly care what you think about me.

Re: "Grow up, it's way past time"

I am pretty sure that greedy self-interest is more a sign of immaturity than concern about others and a desire to help. You would be better served, I think, if you spent less time worrying about who is making the argument and more about the argument itself.

"... or do you still live in your gramma's basement?"

My wife and kids and I live in a beautiful five-bedroom Victorian 'century home' that we own, thanks for asking. Most of the disastrously disenfranchised generation you disrespect so much likely have no reasonable hope of living in such a place. Unlike you, I do not consider myself better than others for living in my fine home. I consider myself lucky. You might want to go a little easy on the gratuitous insults to younger people since you will soon be dependent upon their good graces in your old age. They may well be living in their grandmother's basement due to the cruelly unfair circumstances we have left them with. I would not be prodding that particular bear if I were you. It might well fight back.

Re: "My mother didn't raise no fool, but yours did. Buying into the "education" trap for instance. "

Okay, so your (presumptive) lack of education was a choice. Fine. Not all of us think that education is a bad idea. Our educational system sucks, but even for an autodidact like me it is necessary for some things.

Re: "Learn how to DO SOMETHING and MAKE SOMETHING"

Not that it makes me particularly virtuous, but I can make almost anything. I spent years working in factories and I was formally trained to use just about every tool there is. I was trained in a commercial laboratory and although I am rusty I could manufacture just about any ordinary chemical compound with the right lab equipment. I suck at music, but I taught myself to play the piano and guitar a little bit. I make stuff for a living (software among other things) and I have done so for decades.

My capabilities and the privilege of using them to make a living has been a particular blessing. I was fortunate to be born into a time when these things were possible and to have been born with the advantages and abilities to make the best of it. The people that you so extravagantly disrespect have been in many ways cruelly disadvantaged and your pouring salt in their wounds is particularly ungracious.

You have already had more than most of the people who have ever lived, but apparently it is not enough for you. I have a feeling that you will never be content if you can't count your blessings already. Most of the people in the world would probably be glad to trade places with you.

Re: "inconsequential esoteric shit that does not matter"

It matters because people like you are lobbying to have the police arrest people's kids for sharing music. You, whether you understand it or not, are arguing in favor of an already out of control police state. You wish to make it against the law to read, see or listen to certain things that you decide are off limits. You want all of the benefits of society and more besides but you wish not to contribute. It is consequential only because you make it so.

Re: "Art History Masters degree"

You sort of weaken your point a little by deciding that one type of artistic endeavor is somehow unworthy. You live by the sword you die by the sword. If I were you I would not be too quick to create a rationale that could be so easily turned upon you.

Re: "Masters and Doctorate degrees are WORTHLESS"

Lots of people I know have all types of degrees and they make perfectly good use of them. My wife, as it happens, has a Doctorate. It is not nearly as trivial as you seem to think. She does work that is hugely appreciated and she sure would not be able to do it without the PhD. Maybe you are not satisfied with your degree or maybe you don't have one, I have no idea, but it does not sound like you really know what you are talking about here. It is time consuming, difficult and expensive to get a doctorate and it is an accomplishment worthy of respect.

Re: "Most people that educated can't paint their house or fix their computer or put in a furnace, they are HELPLESS FOOLS."

In my case, I built all my computers here. Does that count? I am going to go out on a limb here and say that a majority of people with doctorates could paint their house if they really had to. I don't know about putting in a furnace. Does that come up a lot? I would be willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of people are not able to compete with someone who puts in furnaces for a living and I think it is easily even money that this applies to you as well.

Re: You freetards think you can just steal the work of others and face no consequences. THAT's "entitlement".

Oy. You do not own the air or the view from a hill. You do not 'own' the world's ideas. We cannot 'steal' from you things you do not properly own. If you want to keep your dazzling creations a secret, be my guest. I am one of the people who is working hard to make it possible for you to keep your secrets private if that is your wish. The tools and ideas I will make freely available as open source and I would be pleased if others get some benefit from them.

This is over long and is really just 'for the record' for my own amusement, so I am not expecting it to be read or responded to. Of the things I did not address here, let me just say that I disagree with you.

Oh yea -- I apologize for my comment earlier about 'math'. It was not very gracious. For what it is worth, I got my degree as an adult student, so I do not disrespect people who did not get one. Most people are pretty horrible with numbers and I don't disrespect them. I sometimes get testy when people are attempting to push bad math and broken arguments as if it somehow is just a matter of opinion. It is not.

4
0
btrower
Silver badge

Re: market value

@dan1980:

That comic is exquisite. Thanks for the link.

1
0
btrower
Silver badge

I get it.

@David Lowery

I get it. Musicians are not *the* bad guys in this scenario. They exist in an industry echo chamber that has convinced them of something patently false. The fact that it *appears* to benefit you makes it that much harder to see the truth.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" -- Upton Sinclair

The tragedy is that it is not really your salary that depends on misunderstanding why copyrights are a bad thing. It is the salary of your overlords that depends upon these lies. Repudiating copyright could set you free of them.

I think that you should perhaps care a little bit for people other than yourselves. However, even if you only care about yourselves the copyright and patent regimes cause net harm to you. There is a very great world of information out there and software and devices that can hugely amplify its value. Most of it is not accessible to you and will remain inaccessible if you get the copyright regime you think you want.

If you get your way, you may well indeed get a larger slice of the pie. But it will be a smaller pie. You may get more than others, but you get less actual pie. For some, whose share is already pitifully small, that makes the difference between life and death. That is not a metaphor. People are starving to death as we have this conversation and at least some of them would not be if we had eliminated copyrights and patents that make food and life-saving medical care beyond their means. There is, in essence, a copyright on our pie recipe and a patent on the method for the best and largest pie and since we can't afford to buy them we get a lesser pie. The only reason we can't get to those is because people are blocking the way. For you, this means a little less pie. For people further down the line it means no pie at all. Most of the people blocking the way don't even benefit. You can't move them all, but you can at least get out of the way yourself. If enough follow your example, the way will be clear and all but a few of the very worst bullies will benefit. I have no sympathy for the few nasty ones that lose if we clear the way and neither should you.

Art unseen and unheard might just as well not exist. Copyright necessarily means that we pay people to stop art from being seen and heard. Electronic storage of music means the incremental cost of a copy is effectively zero. Without copyright, just about everything would be available to just about everyone. That would be a good thing (TM).

Even if you only look to your own self-interest, copyrights are probably net harmful. A richer world for everyone means a richer world for you too. You may not see the hidden costs you pay for copyrights and patents, but they are there and you pay them along with everybody else. Maybe if you are one of the tiny handful of 'lottery winner' popular musicians whose work is hugely popular you might be a net beneficiary of copyright, but at what cost? If you are rich from your royalties then you don't need the money. If you are not, you are just another person holding a ticket. Guess what? Only a tiny few get the big prizes and you are not very likely to be one of them. For all you know, the game is rigged and no ordinary participant has any chance of winning at all.

I make software. You make music. I think both have value. I don't begrudge you a living. Heck, if you are good enough and gigs pay so little, I am completely fine that we put in mechanisms to ensure you are OK and continue to practice your art. I just think that copyrights and patents are entirely the wrong mechanism. You should not be dependent upon creating artificial shortages, impairing people's education, limiting the art available to other artists and taking things away from people to make your living. This is not a 'zero-sum' game, despite what your masters have told you. Your prosperity does not have to depend upon impoverishing others. We can all prosper if we all work together.

If we share, we increase net wealth. We don't need two hammers where one will do. Money that would have been spent had we not shared can be spent elsewhere. Instead of us each having a hammer and a bag of nails we can share a hammer and can each have two bags of nails. What if there is a third person who can afford nails but not a hammer? The hammer manufacturer insists that everyone must buy their own hammer. You may work for the manufacturer and get some benefit but for you to have that benefit everybody pays more than they should, more hammers are made than really needed, some people go entirely without and the social contract that causes others to buy an extra hammer from your company makes *everything* that you buy cost more and puts some things out of your reach. Even if you are the manufacturer this is not likely to be net positive when you tally up all the costs and benefits. However, even in the unlikely event this is net positive for you it comes at a cost the rest of us cannot and should not accept. The whole world is poorer to give you a tiny advantage at most. [I think I really 'nailed' that analogy. :)]

If everyone in the whole world had free access to the entirety of the world's art and knowledge we would end up with *more* art and knowledge, not less. Everything we made and used would be the best there is, not just the best whose taxes we could afford.

You have been sold a bill of goods by the people who really benefit from copyrights and patents. Don't be a sucker and an industry lackey. I am not your enemy. They are.

2
0
btrower
Silver badge

Re: market value

Re: "Fuck you too....little pissant, wet behind the ears, whiner. ... If you had any brains you would have done it too. ... don't even pay the musicians ... blah blah"

I got my first full-time job almost fifty years ago. I have been practicing my craft for just shy of forty years. The first decade or so was used to keep body and soul together as I put myself through school. I am still working for my living and expect to keep on doing so until I cannot. If I never worked again the net difference in value between what I was paid and what I produced would make me a net contributor indefinitely into the future. This would not even be a discussion if one of us was not whining and asking for special treatment and its not me. I am asking that you and your ilk take no more than your fair share of the pie. In return, I will continue to be a net contributor even though I have long since paid my dues. My work is in active use all over the world and I am happy to have made the contribution. Being able to practice my craft and make a modest living is reward enough.

You might gain some clarity of thought if you spent more time looking at the arguments themselves rather than attributing their entire meaning and merit to their provenance.

My work is governed by the copyright regime as well. I would abolish copyrights in a heartbeat. They provide no net benefit to me and they actively harm the rest of the society. I care about that.

I am all for musicians making a living while they practice their craft. I object to putting in place a mechanism that is net destructive of value in order to do so. We would be better off paying musicians to sit home and do nothing rather than take on the onerous burden of a copyright regime that prevents *most* of the people in the world from accessing *most* of their culture. At least if we did that we would not even be obliged to pay distributors and music industry moguls more than they need to live so *they* can *continue* to ply their trade as gatekeepers to things they actively contribute to destroying.

In your vision, we lock up most of the world's knowledge and cultural artifacts. We pay people to actively prevent others from accessing things. That is not just net destructive of value. It is monstrously and unconscionably net destructive of value. For people in the bottom half of incomes in the world, it entirely disbars them from education. A similar patent regime threatens to lock up the world's food supply. Heavens.

In your vision, the work of a tiny minority of artists affords them a grand living in perpetuity whilst impoverishing the majority of artists. Some musicians get a net benefit while the vast majority of the world, including musicians suffers a net loss. A significant number of our best and brightest are spending a good portion of their working lives paying off loans needed to buy their education. I spent a decade paying off student loans and that was back when school was a hell of a lot cheaper. An uncomfortable chunk of that was spent on books and the majority of that cost was due to the copyright regime -- and that was before the copyright regime went entirely insane.

Re: "If you had any brains you would have done it too."

To the extent there are any empirical facts to decide, you are simply wrong in your assumption. All of the material I have produced in the last couple of decades was either 'for hire' in an environment that allowed nothing else or when it was up to me it was open sourced. Unlike you, I do not equate basic decency with a lack of intelligence.

Re: "millenial generation misfits that can't get a job..."

I am a boomer and even I hate the boomer generation. They are the quintessential 'free lunch' generation -- so entitled they are unable to even recognize how entitled they are. Especially those who are in their sixties now, lots of them only had to graduate high school to get fast-tracked into management in a world where fat pensions were something of a norm. They entered a job market that had a shortage of labor. The people you are so quick to disrespect came into a marketplace where a Masters degree is pretty much required to have much of a chance and even then they have to start below the bottom in unpaid internships. When they finally do get paid work the lion's share of their disposable income goes to pay off crushing debt from student loans. Part of those loans, BTW, goes to pay off the copyright vampires that you support.

A distressing portion of my generation are entitled semi-literate thugs who spend what little of their time they actually 'work' getting in the way of people actually doing stuff. I don't care if the rest of us support them, but I find it distasteful that they wish to destroy most of the value in the world in the process of taking a grotesquely disproportionate share because, well, they are special and reality does not apply to them. If they were better at math they might appreciate just how unfair they are.

Re: "Almost none of your so called popular music is even written by the artist anymore. And they can't even sing, they use autotune and studio musicians."

Honestly, that is just willfully stupid. Who gives a fuck how people make things of beauty that amuse their fellows? Who are you to say that your obviously narrow parochial view of art is better than anyone else's? For my money, you demonstrate that your taste is likely worse than most.

Re:"All you twerps know is how to consume, you don't know how to produce anything, all you do know is how to whine endlessly and wait for the handouts that you think you must be entitled to."

OMFG!!! Are you kidding? This would not even be a conversation unless you were asking to be paid for work long since produced and paid for. It is you who is asking for the handout and you have the cheek to ask for a handout grand enough to support you for life. Worse, you are asking us to take the money away from the mouths of babes and worse still, your regime requires us to destroy most of what we have so that nobody gets to enjoy it. I am, evidently, one of the twerps you refer to and I seriously doubt that if you even live another century that you have much hope of producing as much as I have already behind me.

If you were better at arithmetic and had more experience actually working in recent years you would realize that the generation you are disrespecting is not just productive, they are significantly more productive than you ever were and they do that under crushing burdens in uncertain times in a world half gone to hell from injuries done by the boomers.

I honestly don't give a fuck if you and your kind never work again and we continue to support your sorry asses until you die of boredom. I *do* give a fuck that you won't just quietly live off the fat of the land but insist that we salt half the earth to increase the value of crops being grown on your behalf even when it means others starve to death.

Africa actually exists and the people there are real. Personally, I think we should be helping our fellows in the bottom half of the world, but at the very least we should get out of their way and let them read a few books and maybe listen to a little music.

1
0
btrower
Silver badge

Re: market value

What he said (Jonathan 29). Fuck em.

It is pretty clear that most of the Internet wants to vote with its feet to *not* subsidize the greedy fucks who want to set themselves up as gatekeepers for information.

All of existing content and the means to reproduce it rests on the work of millions of individuals and has been almost all entirely bought and paid for. The last idiot who sat down at a piano wants to capture the entirety of this value for themselves and they are willing to do this at a cost of putting cultural material, including educational material out of the reach of *most* people.

You want us to pay you for the rest of your life for work you already did and whose work-product was largely the work of others -- all of it already manufactured, in existence and paid for. You want me to endorse the rising police state, treacherous computing, the dismantling of national sovereignty via things like the TPP and criminalization of civil trespasses. You want me to endorse *increasing* the reach of things that have enabled copyright tolls to harass people's grandchildren?

Something approaching a hundred million devices contain open source code written by me. Billions of devices are running code written by other open source authors. Chances are pretty good that if you watch cable television your set top box will be running code written and donated by me. You are welcome.

If every single person and entity responsible for creating the myriad of devices and software that you use every day were to belly up to the trough like you are, it is a pretty safe bet that copyrights would be *net* negative for you.

You want a free pass and have the rest of society pay you for the rest of your life because the work you do is somehow better than the work the rest of us do. I say that if you had food on the table while you had the luxury of pursuing your art, you have already been compensated well beyond what most of the people in the entire world will ever get. You want me to support a legal apparatus and repressive invasive laws that invade privacy, infringe fundamental liberties and bar people from education and access to their own culture so that you can pick and choose who among your seven *billion* fellows is worthy enough to access your ever so precious work? Here is my answer:

No.

If you disrespect your craft so much that you want to withhold your work, that is your right. Stop producing it or keep it private or whatever. Don't expect me to help you destroy billions of dollars of value so you can get a few thousand more than you deserve. I wish to remain a net contributor, thanks.

20
3

Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

btrower
Silver badge

Piling on...

Apple isn't here to make money. Apple is here to *take* money. Plus lock out competition. Plus claim 'ownership' of ideas built on the work of others or even obvious ones like: "let's polish this and round the corners".

The richest company in the world is not out to make money. If only I could accidentally accumulate 50 billion bucks.

36
0

PROFESSORS! PROFESSORS! PROFESSORS!

btrower
Silver badge

Thank *God* the Drought is over!

Good to know that the impecunious Harvard is finally getting a break. Oh wait -- give *me* a break!

"Harvard University’s largest-in-the-country endowment saw returns of 15.4 percent in the last year, and now stands at $36.4 billion. That’s a lot of money."

http://www.boston.com/business/news/2014/09/25/harvard-endowment-bigger-than-half-the-world-economies/UAOY9V4lg6fcjArrSyCgWJ/story.html

Maybe it's just me, but this just seems to me to be ever so slightly unfair.

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to." ― Dorothy Parker

5
0

We don't NEED NO STEENKIN' DRONE RULES, peers told

btrower
Silver badge

Re: "As for privacy, if you can be seen from a public place..."

Seriously? Putting a camera on a drone and flying it beside a sixth floor window is not consistent with old-style notions of 'public place'. Sure, if you are on a subway platform in your underwear you can't complain if people look, but if you are just getting out of the shower in a high-rise you should have a reasonable expectation that you are not at the mercy of voyeurs.

I am not saying that we should make flying toys illegal or putting cameras on flying toys illegal. What I am saying is that if your toy is streaming video to the Internet then you have a responsibility to make sure that it is not streaming pictures of my kids having a bath.

Privacy in this regard is quickly vanishing anyway, but until it does I am in no hurry to make life easier for peeping toms.

In case you missed a meeting, people are already filming up women's skirts in public and putting the videos up on the internet. You may not have an interest in invading people's privacy, but some people do and they don't need any more help from us. As a dad I take a dim view of people being careless with pictures of my kids.

5
0
btrower
Silver badge

@Hargrove:

Re: "Still, in theory, it seems we, the people should have some say on whether we want to be spied on from above."

We do have some say and we have said it and codified it in our constitutions. The answer is 'no'.

Our laws are clear enough to me, but obviously not to the people entrusted with enforcing them. I am no fan of additional legislation but in this case some explicit guidance is needed.

0
0

EU battles over 'anti-terrorist' passenger records slurper law

btrower
Silver badge

Shut it down.

The state exists at our pleasure. It has no legitimacy otherwise and should be opposed if it continues to exert authority beyond its mandate. This battle has already been fought and won and our rights were paid for with the blood of our forefathers.

The power of the state has a limit and that limit has long since been passed.

There *must* be some avenue whereby people who disagree with the government of the day can organize, protest and if need be make their wishes plain with civil disobedience. If no such avenues exist, then we exist in a tyranny which does not have legitimate authority over us. The representatives of the state break the covenant whereby they gained their power in the first place. A portion of our fundamental laws are designed precisely to ensure we are still able to regain control of our government.

Our fundamental liberties are not up for negotiation and never have been. Those liberties are (part of) the price the state pays for its right to exist at all. They are essential to the covenant we have all made with one another to allow the formation of a civil society. Without those rights, the covenant is broken and all bets are off.

These idiots continue to bring illegal, immoral and illegitimate pressure to bear in their attempts to dismantle the legitimate rule of law. They badly need re-educated and I think that stopping their funding and prosecuting and jailing some of the worst offenders is long overdue.

These continued attempts to undermine the legitimate rule of law indicate that the entirety of the establishment responsible have lost their way and badly misunderstand their relationship to the body politic. They are well beyond any envelope consistent with their legal mandate.

We already have fundamental laws in place that are specifically designed to prevent these types of assaults on society. It is time that we got people into our legislatures and law enforcement establishments that both understand the fundamental laws in place and are willing and able to protect and enforce them.

The requirement for probable cause prior to search and seizure is a constitutional matter and without both a change to the letter of the constitutions *and* ratification by the body politic, no one entity and certainly no one person has any right to ignore this requirement. It is the fundamental law in at least Canada and the United States. Crossing that line is unlawful. If the people in our law enforcement establishment are crossing that line themselves then they need to be relieved of their duties.

The people currently 'horse trading' our rights away are not fit for office. They profoundly misunderstand both the law and their mandate. They should be removed and replaced with people who understand their legitimate mission and are willing to fulfill it appropriately.

A small fraction of the population has mounted an assault on the liberties that our laws are designed to protect. They need to be stopped and our first steps should be to de-fund them, strip them of their power and remove them from their positions. Given how far this has gone, it seems to me that we will not be able to restore order without prosecuting and imprisoning some of the worst offenders.

These miscreants can pass any legislation they please. That does not necessarily make it lawful and being nominally/technically 'lawful' does not necessarily make it legitimate.

The governed at no point gave reasonably informed consent for the current state of affairs. Much of what is happening has no legitimacy at all.

At the end of the day, 'might makes right'. Our political boundaries were all essentially drawn under the force of arms driven largely by economic forces and nominally endorsed by bodies politic. Ultimately, both the legitimate authority and the power to exercise that authority reside inalienably with us. The current state apparatus exercises that power under our proxy, but it is implicit in the covenant that allows that proxy that it is withdrawn if it is abused. We still have the power, by virtue of our numbers, to enforce our will. The easiest way to put this right is to use the ballot box to reclaim the government and then simply shut down funding for offending departments.

11
0

GOD particle MAY NOT BE GOD particle: Scientists in shock claim

btrower
Silver badge

Science marches on then stubs its TOE

This is a head-scratcher. Who is one to believe? It's times like this that I wish I was just that wee bit smarter and better informed. Unfortunately, I am not that up on this stuff to be able to form a reasonable opinion one way or the other. It seemed to me that the announcement of the Higgs boson was pretty sure. They did say there was a chance it was a false-positive but that the chance was very small. Sigh. How big a team do we need and how much money do we need to spend to get closure here? From the sounds of it, these guys are suggesting 'a lot'.

The announcement itself is 'messy', but if their argument has merit, I guess it is sort of good news. That is, if it is not the Higgs then something at least a little novel has been discovered. It was really looking like we were on the verge and then we sort of stubbed our 'TOE'.

2
0

Got an iPhone or iPad? LOOK OUT for MASQUE-D INTRUDERS

btrower
Silver badge

Good excuse ...

... to jailbreak my phone. I am so late to this party...

0
0

Obama HURLS FCC under train, GUTPUNCHES ISPs in net neut battle

btrower
Silver badge

Fear...

I worry that the banner of 'Net Neutrality' is sufficiently vague and poorly informed that it will be used as the name of convenience for a regime that nobody wants -- universally crappy bandwidth.

Traffic prioritization is pretty much a necessity to support a reasonably efficient network. However, the incumbents, if not forced to treat packets the same will end up treating packets unfairly and using their leverage to gouge consumers.

I am aligned behind 'Net Neutrality' because it is the lesser of a variety of evils. However, I wish to hell we could get a sane and sensible conversation on the go about making things actually right.

6
11

Printing Bad: Meth found in laser printer cartridges

btrower
Silver badge

Same thing, with on big difference

Whether 'grey market' toner cartridges or black market meth, the costs are tiny and the margins insane. It is very tempting. The best way is to operate like the drug companies and major printer vendors. In the 'legitimate' market everybody gets a taste and business rolls on as usual. Instead of jail time, you get awards.

What gets you in trouble is cutting out the real crime lords who run major corporations and who have hijacked the government.

16
0

EU cyber-cop: Dark-net crooks think they're beyond reach (until now)

btrower
Silver badge

Ends do not justify the means

This is a battle between criminals on both sides. If you look into the injury to civil liberties necessary to do this, it is not worth it. In order to catch a few criminals and take down $1 million in ill-gotten gains, we have spent something on the order of $100 billion dollars or more (annually!) of taxpayer's money and sacrificed civil liberties that many people have literally given their lives to secure.

Tor is a pretty good idea unless you are attempting to use it to skate by the National Security State(s). Then, it is hopelessly inadequate as can be seen by the fact that it failed in its one task to maintain privacy.

If you drop bombs on everyone in a ten block radius in downtown NYC you will no doubt get a few nasty culprits who had it coming. You will no doubt save a few lives by knocking out people who would have gone on to murder. However, you do that at the unacceptable expense of murdering tens of thousands of innocents. It is like murdering prospective parents to achieve birth control. The goal is achieved, but not at a cost that makes any sense.

The current state of affairs fosters a corrupt criminal law enforcement establishment that is well out of control. It is systematically destroying the rule of law. It is, in essence, replacing a class of petty criminals who work outside the law, create murder and mayhem and steal millions of dollars from other criminals with a much more dangerous class of criminals who destroy the rule of law entirely, kidnap and torture people and steal trillions of dollars from you and me.

We can deal with the first type of criminals without destroying civil liberties. A few may get away, but we can keep the overall damage bearable. The second type of criminals represent a permanent threat to everything we hold dear. They are paving the road to slavery of a sort unbelievably cruel and impossible to escape.

The same security establishment crowing about this trivial bust has been instrumental in extraordinary rendition and torture and the methods used are essentially the same.

On the upside, these weasels have revealed themselves and maybe we can take names for later prosecution.

24
0

Europe's cyber security agency wants pick your infosec BRAINS

btrower
Silver badge

Kind of like it

The 'self-declared', though risky, might well bring in people who actually know what they are doing. The 'committee-ware' that keeps coming from credentialed pal reviewers is, as we know, beyond atrocious. They might actually be better off having a few people who are self-declared 'non-experts'. Now if they would only lift the restriction limiting it to Europeans...

0
0

Security products: Best of breed or create your own monster?

btrower
Silver badge

Good enough security

Unfortunately, the deeper you drill into the stack from silicon on up you realize that complete security is unfeasible. You are left adopting some sort of 'good enough' security and in many cases people take the off-ramp that says 'plausible deniability'.

It is like that old joke -- two guys are out camping when an angry bear shows up. One guy turns to start running and the other says "Are you crazy? You can't outrun a bear" to which the other replies "I don't have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you."

A strategy that I would favor would be to go with an integrated vendor for part of it to cover the 'plausible deniability' angle, a 'moat' of sorts comprised of various honey-pots and enough home-grown armor to make your system a less attractive target than others.

It really drives me nuts that we *could* have good security but we are fighting uphill against our own governments. That leaves us settling for 'good enough'.

The bad news is that real security is impossible. The good news is that 'good enough' security is not only possible, in some ways it is pretty easy.

0
0

If you're suing the UK govt, Brit spies will snoop on your briefs

btrower
Silver badge

Re: How can government lawyers accept this?

This is really an 'Alice In Wonderland' landscape we have. So much of what is going on is patently illegal that it is clear the system itself has just broken down.

Here in Canada, anyway, Lawyers are 'officers of the court' and have certain mandatory duties to the justice system. They are bound to uphold the law. The government lawyers in this case should all be disbarred and some at least should be facing jail time.

Some of what has happened in recent years is, in my opinion, so contrary to any fundamental sense of law and order that there should be no statute of limitations and no legal theory under which the perpetrators can escape paying for their misdeeds.

We have already established that some crimes transcend national laws and are not subject to statutes of limitation. These crimes injure the world's ability to administer justice and keep the peace. We don't see so much of the violence and torture in the first world, but the mechanisms that these criminals have put in place enable that violence and torture elsewhere. It is only a matter of time until it becomes plainly manifest at home.

Nobody should be beyond the reach of a natural justice. Heads of state that order murders abroad should be held accountable. Lawyers participating in this plainly illegal activity should be disbarred and prosecuted. People involved in perverting the justice system at home and abroad should be held accountable.

At the end of the day, it is all about wealth and power. Operationally, might makes right. As individuals we are at the mercy of the people who have hijacked the state apparatus. However, as a collective it is still us that holds the majority of the power and it is certainly us who hold the sovereign rights to that power.

Rather than escalate the carnage, we should gently shut it all down through the ballot box and finances. Laying off vast portions of the legal and paramilitary foot-soldiers that keep this nasty system in place is likely the most effective way to bring this sad chapter of history to a close. The worst offenders and ring-leaders should be prosecuted and jailed so they cannot cause any more mischief. Fellow travelers should be prosecuted and convicted if guilty so they are aware that what they did is entirely wrong and punishable. However, to bring things to a close I would be inclined to grant an amnesty to most, particularly those who are quick to lay down arms.

It is instructive to look at things like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmEHcOc0Sys -- at the end of the day, the people involved in suppressing civil liberties know they are on the wrong side. I would not underestimate the power of naming and shaming people in the middle ranks, such as the aforementioned lawyers.

6
0

Ex-NSA lawyer warns Google, Apple: IMPENETRABLE RIM ruined BlackBerry

btrower
Silver badge

The NSA culture ...

... entirely without a sense of shame. They have no apparent limit.

14
0

Wanna be Facebook? It just open-sourced some of its web server code. Now to find 1bn users...

btrower
Silver badge

Re: But..

It is written in C++ and I did not see anything that looked particularly heavyweight. Unless there is something unusual happening it should run fine on a raspberry pi. I think a big motivation behind someone doing a stand-alone like this is precisely to get rid of mountains of dependencies they don't need. Small footprint means better performance and arguably small amounts of increased percentage performance on facebook's massive infrastructure is more important than it is on a small device like the raspberry pi. Small savings are multiplied many times over on a huge system like that.

My attention is directed elsewhere but I may at some point pull that stuff down, compile and give it a whirl.

I am still a little bit hopeful that facebook will turn into a good player. Their monstrous privacy invasion and erection of a walled garden was basically a necessary self-defense against encroachment by another player. They are large now and the dynamics of group forming networks makes them enormously powerful and qualitatively different from a smaller version of this type of network. However, I still see some vulnerabilities and given the value of maintaining their position (I write elsewhere about a facebook financial 'singularity') you can't fault them for playing things close.

To the extent that facebook has had the latitude to do good things without self-immolation they appear to have done so. Time will tell. My instinct is that these gigantic organisms are intrinsically evil, but this recent open handed release of code is a hopeful sign.

2
0
btrower
Silver badge

Very nice

Beyond the fact that it is an honorable thing to release the code as open source, from a quick review the code quality is better than the average open source stuff. In fact, though I quibble with multiple points of exit and maybe a bit too much verbosity in comments separating some lines of code, it is significantly cleaner and more mannerly than the vast majority of code I see out there.

Two very big thumbs up both for facebook fostering and freeing the code and the developers and contributors for producing an exemplary work product.

2
0

UN takeover of internet postponed indefinitely

btrower
Silver badge

Re: We do not need to trust these people and we should not trust them.

@Gordon_10

Re:tinfoilhattery

I hate to say it, but the deeper you look into this, the worse it gets. It is easy enough to get information from the Snowdon leaks. The $50,000,000,000+ enterprise of which the NSA is a charter member is so far beyond reason it sounds like fantasy. However, as fantastic as it all sounds, the evidence points to it being essentially true. There appears to be some vendor hyperbole, but anywhere I know enough to confirm or deny, the capabilities are essentially real and they are being used.

As huge as that budget is, I expect that the effective budget is larger still. Recent revelations about Gen. Keith Alexander show that at least some of the ill-gotten knowledge the NSA has obtained is worth real money. They can't seem to stop themselves from stealing anything else, why would they stop short of stealing money as well?

It is always good advice to follow the money.

We already know that these people have tampered with security to our detriment. If we can identify a weakness it is a safe bet that they can too and they freely admit that they are pledged to exploit any weaknesses they find.

I have no doubt that the infrastructure as we have it was initially designed with good intentions. However, the architecture dates back to a time when it was considered mannerly to host an open relay. It was, in essence, insecure specifically by design to make access and use as easy and flexible as possible. Those days are long gone, but there has been no real push to re-invent the network so that it is secure.

Recent weaknesses that have come to light in various things like OpenSSL stem at least partially from the fact that these things are grossly underfunded. They are essentially funded by the unpaid labor of part-time volunteers. OpenSSL is used all over the place to secure things. The government investment in ensuring it is sound is $0. Meantime, the government is spending literally billions of dollars investigating ways to defeat security everywhere. Is it really that big a stretch for you to imagine that the people directing billions of dollars of security funding who have allocated *all* of their security funding specifically to defeating such technology may well be pro-active in weakening security generally?

I have seen plenty of evidence that big players have spent money to defeat civilian security. I have seen very little evidence that they have spent money to improve it.

The state of mind of the various 'perps' is irrelevant. Operationally, they have been proactive in weakening civilian security and in keeping it weak. They have not been proactive in strengthening civilian security.

3
2
btrower
Silver badge

Re: We do not need to trust these people and we should not trust them.

Saying that IPv4's tiny address space and hence vulnerability to brute force scanning for open ports is not equivalent to saying IPv6 is secure. IPv6 suffers a variety of ills and although I think it is better than IPv4 its value proposition has not been sufficient to cause wide-spread adoption.

[Aside: We should have gone to a backward compatible extension to IPv4 rather than IPv6 and I think that is so much more of a compelling idea that we may yet see such a thing adopted in place of IPv6.]

A larger address space does not ensure that it is proof against various attacks. However, the smaller address space of IPv4 means it is directory vulnerable to brute force scanning. A company like Google has the resources to scan the entirety of the IPv4 address space. It may well have done so already.

0
2
btrower
Silver badge

We do not need to trust these people and we should not trust them.

There is no necessity for any group to have *control* of the conversations taking place on the world's communications networks. Nowhere is it more apparent how rotten and downright evil it is at the top than on the Internet where it is laid bare.

We are stuck in the tiny IPv4 address space so that it is more convenient for controlling psychos in entities like the NSA to locate and hack into systems.

We have a PKI web of trust whose root Certificate Authorities are among the *least* trustworthy of all the players on the Internet.

We endure SPAM because our security is woefully inadequate and it is inadequate by design to allow our overlords access and control.

We have a fractured ecosystem of cable, satellite, wireless, broadcast television and radio, etc, etc in order to maintain profits for rent-seekers who have captured regulatory control.

We have an infrastructure with encroachments like Treacherous Computing (TM, Patent Pending (C) All rights reserved). Few things promise to be more dangerous. Under the guise of providing needed security it renders effective security impossible.

We have, I am convinced, woefully limited bandwidth all over the world because it allows authorities to capture all traffic. If bandwidth were increased radically worldwide we would be able to keep a traffic level high enough at the edges of the network so that it would be in-feasible to capture, monitor and store all the world's traffic as is being essentially done by the NSA now.

We have encryption switched off by default. When it is switched on we have limited key sizes and deliberately weakened algorithms whose only conceivable purpose is to allow governments to illegally spy on its citizens.

DNS and routing are dysfunctional and insecure, essentially by design.

As a practical matter, https is broken. It does not work. Explaining how it *might* work if everybody did everything properly and root CAs could be trusted is not equivalent to suddenly making it work. It does not work.

We are rapidly getting into a situation where the effort required to throw off tyranny will be extreme and may well be ineffective.

3
3

You! AT&T! The only thing 'unlimited' about you is your CHEEK, growl feds

btrower
Silver badge

Make them pay up

Honestly, the most hated companies ever. Will anybody shed a tear for them? I won't.

8
0

'A motivated, funded, skilled hacker will always get in' – Schneier

btrower
Silver badge

Everybody wants a free lunch

Security is complicated. I don't know if you can never prevent a determined attacker, but it is certainly difficult in the extreme. It is effectively impossible for non-experts.

Our entire infrastructure militates against security. Technical people need to become more literate and the public needs to demand reasonable security. What we have now is not reasonable by any measure. We can't protect against the neighbors kids, let alone state sponsored crackers.

It is hard not to be paranoid when any person with even passing familiarity with our security situation knows it is beyond broken. There is simply no will to fix it.

Until everyone starts getting considerably more serious about security we will continue with ever more dangerous breaches. Are the techies on here not aware of how bad it is or are they just apathetic?

2
0

US Attorney Gen latest to roast Apple, Google mobe encryption

btrower
Silver badge

fallacy of false choice

People who want to spy on you are presenting a false choice that either you give them what they want or you accept child predators.

Maybe they are just poorly informed or maybe they are dishonest. It is probably a bit of both. In any case, it is perfectly possible to have saturation monitoring of people that is only available when there is a genuinely pressing need.

If they cared about the children they would be promoting a system that entirely protects the privacy of all of us and that had a trustworthy mechanism to allow legitimate access and entirely disallow illegitimate access.

Give the keys to a variety of authorities and make it so that a significant subset of key holders is required to gain access.

We already have clear evidence that state entities such as law enforcement and the judiciary simply cannot be trusted to make such decisions on their own. Until they have a better argument than 'trust me' I do not want to give them the power.

13
2

Page:

Forums