* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

If fast radio bursts really are revving up interstellar sailcraft, here's the maths

DougS Silver badge

Re: "accelerate nano craft to speeds up to 161 million km/h"

Well, I think its all silly, but you could always take the slow way to your destination with an automated ship that builds the laser array at the other end so you can start taking fast trips over there.

It would simply require a species with far far longer time horizons than humans. Either because they are effectively immortal, or their social structure is much more insect like than ours so they wouldn't consider resources to be wasted if their descendants won't benefit from them for a few hundred generations.

The gospel according to Blockchain, or is it the other way round?

DougS Silver badge

Can someone explain

How this is in principle any different from giving people a database of encrypted rows, and providing a way for them to get the key to unlock certain rows? This is probably a little simpler, and you can post the blockchain publicly, but they appear to be making claims about its security that they can't deliver on.

Sure, it sounds like this could prevent someone who gets hold of the blockchain from reading the data within, just like if they got hold of the encrypted DB. But once you've accessed the data and have it in plain text, if for instance it is a list of email addresses, you can do anything you like with them. There is nothing that can be done to the blockchain to revoke the access of someone who has abused their access, once they extract the plaintext it is no different in principle than mailing them a CD. If they can know you accessed those email addresses that's great (they'd only assume it with the CD) but that doesn't change anything.

Once again, blockchain is a solution looking for a problem. Though at least this time they're trying, it is better than the previous crap uses I've seen.

WikiLeaks promises to supply CIA's hacking tool code to vendors

DougS Silver badge

If he was unharmed after the Manning leak, I don't see why this changes anything. All Wikileaks did was post the information, someone else committed the crime to get hold of it.

Besides, notwithstanding Trump's previous praise of Wikileaks, due to the whole Russian thing - not to mention Roger Stone's deleted tweet about having been in contact with Assange during the campaign - he's got to worry that they might have something damaging on him locked away, with Assange having left instructions "release this in the event of my untimely demise, disappearance without a trace, or extradition to the US".

Someone who has a lot to lose from leaks probably doesn't want to risk a fight with a guy who makes a living dealing in leaks. Though Trump does defy the rule of not picking a fight with those who buy ink by the gallon, so who knows!

DougS Silver badge

Re: I can't help wonder...

Those people aren't going to change their minds, because they have such a fear of the bogeyman that they're willing to give up nearly any amount of personal liberty in exchange for a feeling of greater safety. The same thing that created the security theater known as the TSA, the Patriot Act, and is behind Trump's border wall.

Besides, the FBI will argue that these tools don't help them - once the phone is locked, the key needed to access much of the data is tucked away in the secure enclave (not on the San Bernadino shooter's 5c, but everything newer than that) No exploit can get at it, not unless an exploit is developed to attack the secure enclave which is highly unlikely, so getting Apple to give them a backdoor remains their only way in.

DougS Silver badge

Re: maybe the leak was INTENTIONAL?

It would be MUCH easier for them to simply report those holes through one or more of the established channels, via front companies if they don't want their role known. This release puts egg on their face and makes them look incompetent in managing their own information security, so I can hardly see how it benefits them.

Besides according to Apple and Google many of these holes have already been fixed, some quite a while ago. If you want stuff fixed, why include holes that have already been fixed?

DougS Silver badge

Those Android 4.x phones will never be patched

Who is he kidding? Google isn't likely to even develop patches for 4.x, they'll tell OEMs "if you want the fix make 7.x available".

MAC randomization: A massive failure that leaves iPhones, Android mobes open to tracking

DougS Silver badge

Re: MAC address changes are pointless because

Yes, once you actually make a decision to connect to an AP, it uses its real MAC address. The fake address is only used for packets that are sent out when not associated. So if you don't want your real MAC address leaking out, don't go connecting to random hotspots.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Off topic, but...

The only "gimmick" feature I wish Apple would add to the iPhone is a FLIR camera. It would be so handy, and while FLIR sensors are pretty pricey today, I'm sure they could drive the price down to under $10 merely by committing to ordering 100 million next year and 200 million a year after that.

Its something I could see getting integrated into a phone's image sensor (between the visible light CCD pixels) if there was demand, but it has too narrow of a market for anyone to commit to the huge order volumes that would be needed to make it cheap. Chicken and egg.

DougS Silver badge

Which is probably why Apple is using fake MAC addresses using all 48 bits, which the authors call them out for since that leaves them potentially using other people's MAC prefixes. But the chances of a collision in a 48 bit space with the legitimate owner of that 48 bit MAC (or with another "faked" 48 bit MAC from another iPhone) are so remote that it isn't even worth thinking about.

Even if such a collision with the legitimate owner occurred, it isn't going to have any lasting impact because it is only used for probing, and only once. Next time a new 48 bit MAC will be chosen.

DougS Silver badge

If you are turning off wifi, WHY IN THE WORLD have you not disabled automatically joining networks? I leave my wifi on all the time, but I have disabled that so I have never been asked to join some random network as I'm passing by.

DougS Silver badge

Re: MAC address changes are pointless because

OK, I see why my phone is going to have to broadcast SSIDs if I have it set to connect to a hidden one, but if Trump_Massage_Parlor was a public SSID, why would my phone be broadcasting that SSID trying to find it? Shouldn't it simply listen passively and if it sees an SSID it recognizes it tries to connect?

I don't care what's in the wifi spec, I hope Apple fixes this issue even if it breaks the wifi spec so long as it doesn't break wifi actually working. Otherwise even if you forgot all SSIDs except for home and work, the two (even just one, at home) would be enough to identify the majority of people.

A lot of people nowadays use those autogenerated SSIDs from their router that are unique, and if they set their own they usually come up with something a lot more original than the typical password, making them rather unique. I doubt many are using the SSID I use at home, but since it isn't hidden there's no reason it should EVER be broadcast by my phone. If it is, that is just stupid software that needs to be fixed, regardless of what the standards say they require.

DougS Silver badge

I don't understand their complaint about the iOS 10 information element

This is just something Apple has added that tells them it is an iOS 10 device, not something that uniquely identifies my specific phone, right?

Given that by now there are at least half a billion iOS 10 devices, I don't see it being a problem that someone can put me in a category with 7% of the world's population. Maybe it would be a problem in a poor country where iPhones are rare and people might use that information to target you for robbery (even if activation lock makes the phone worthless except as parts, they can assume you probably have cash / other valuables) but here in the US it narrows me down to like 40% of the population...

DougS Silver badge

Re: Just a thought...

To be fair, Google only cares about not making it harder for Google to track you. While they may be ambivalent about letting others track you, in the long run they'd probably be better off if ONLY they are able to track you. Then instead of stores being able to track shoppers around the place with their own system, they'd have to pay Google for that information!

DougS Silver badge

Re: MAC address changes are pointless because

So are you saying the phone actively sends out requests looking for SSIDs it knows about? Like if I had an SSID "DougSSID" at home and went to the mall with my wifi enabled, my phone is going to send out probes looking for "DougSSID", it is possible to make my phone send a list of the SSIDs it knows about? If so, that would rather defeat the point of MAC randomization. On the other hand, presumably that is possible to fix in software by making the phone no longer do that.

Vodafone gets less flexible on flexible working Ts&Cs for own staff

DougS Silver badge

Re: Shirking from home

You say "most companies have realized it matters more about what you deliver", but a month ago you would have listed IBM and Vodafone amongst those companies. Maybe this is the start of a trend, and those two are just at the forefront?

The problem I see is what about people who were hired on from day one as a remote worker, and don't live near an office or if they do the manager and teammates are dispersed widely. If you accepted a job knowing that the nearest site was hours away but didn't care as you'd rarely or never go there, it is a problem if you are now expected to show up there on a daily basis. Or even if it is just down the road, what's the point of going there if you will be sitting at a cubicle not interacting with anyone in person because you don't work with anyone near you, just alongside them? Is there going to be someone in the office whose job it is to check attendance and report back to everyone's manager? If not, how is your manager going to know you aren't working in the office if he works at a different location? I guess being the one who always tattled on classmates in grade school is the prerequisite for that job.

For all its flaws and callousness, at least IBM said they'd need to work at one of a few main sites, so presumably people will actually work alongside teammates and their actual manager will probably see them on a daily basis.

Get a GRIP! Robolution ain't happening until TOUCH is cracked

DougS Silver badge

There is plenty of low hanging fruit

That isn't actually fruit, for robots to pick up where a sense of touch doesn't matter. It doesn't matter for a box, or for something with a known size/shape (like a fast food burger, for instance)

That will encompass the replacement of a LOT of jobs before the robot overlords' cold dead hands come to take your job that currently needs warm live hands.

Repentant priest from Cuntis sorry he dressed as Hugh Hefner

DougS Silver badge

I wonder if the church would have been more or less upset

If instead of two hairy men dressed as women simulating sex acts with him, he had two beautiful women simulating sex acts with him.

'Nigerian princes' snatch billions from Western biz via fake email – Interpol

DougS Silver badge

IT outsourcing

Someone needs to set up IT outsourcing to soak up these jobless college graduates to keep them out of trouble. I wonder why the area has not been seen as viable for such investment. Too unstable? Poor internet connectivity? Surely with wages continually rising in the IT field in India, the major IT providers will need to start looking for greener pastures cheaper employees.

America's Marine Corp steamy selfies scandal, a Senate probe – and El Reg to the rescue

DougS Silver badge

Re: Can they still walk upright?

Better to give them a Girl With The Dragon Tattoo style tattoo on the chest to insure they never again reach the point where a woman sees their testicles and penis.

State surveillance boom sparked by fear-mongering political populists, says UN

DougS Silver badge

Ridiculous

Bush wasn't a fearmongering populist after 9/11. If he had been, he wouldn't have done all that warrantless wiretapping in secret, but in the open, and claimed it was necessary to keep us safe from the hordes of terrorists washing over our borders. Obama definitely wasn't a fearmongering populist (he was a populist, but a 'hope and change' populist not a "the criminal illegal aliens are going to rape your daughters" populist) and he doubled down on the warrantless wiretapping.

Now the US has a fearmongering populist in charge, and maybe he'll try to turn up the screws, but given his dislike for the intelligence services (probably because he knows they have access to all the secrets he's hiding in his tax returns and the dirt that the Russians have on him) he's loathe to increase their power.

FBI boss: 'Memories are not absolutely private in America'

DougS Silver badge

Re: OK - let's try....

He along with the fearmongering "terrorists and criminal illegal aliens are hiding behind every tree" wing of the republican party would say that the word "privacy" doesn't appear in the Constitution, while the phrase "bear arms" most certainly does.

DougS Silver badge

Re: This is the same Comey

It is very rare for a president to fire the head of the FBI. They are appointed for 10 year terms specifically to prevent them from being a political appointment like the Attorney General. Obviously it is too late to fire him now that the cat is out of the bag about the investigation into Russian influence in the election also encompassing Trump campaign/administration staff talking with Russians, and the potential for collusion that would almost certainly lead to impeachment also being looked at.

It would make him look extremely guilty if he fired Comey and tried to appoint someone new, likely insuring that a few republicans would go along with democrats in blocking such a nomination to prevent his appointee subverting the investigation - as well as pretty much guarantee an independent prosecutor would be appointed (which I think will probably happen anyway before long, as the deputy AG if/when confirmed can't be expected to conduct a fair investigation that includes his boss)

In the long run Trump is probably better off leaving Comey in place, as he can claim he's not getting a fair investigation because the guy running it was appointed by Obama. His supporters will eat that up.

Google to Chrome-plate our shops with creepy mood-sensing AI signs

DougS Silver badge

With data collection that goes to Google that you can't disable, no doubt

Why would Google do this if there isn't something in it for them, in the form of shoppers' personal information to feed their advertising monster?

They already know what people search for, where they go (if they have an Android) and so forth, so getting a foot in the door of the store can help them put together the final link in the chain of what people buy. So I'm guessing the price for this will be access to who is buying what. That makes their advertising much more valuable as Google will be able to tell which ads were more effective at converting to purchases in brick and mortar stores. They'll know that "single women under 30 with child under the age of two who searched for 'my baby has an earache' responded best to ad X" and put that up on the kiosk screen when she walks by.

I'm sure she won't be creeped out at all if the kiosk screen halfway down the aisle displays an ad for Just For Men as the middle aged guy with a few noticeable gray hairs ahead of her is passing it, then switches to advertising an infant earache remedy as she approaches...

Microsoft: Can't wait for ARM to power MOST of our cloud data centers! Take that, Intel! Ha! Ha!

DougS Silver badge

The press has widely misunderstood what Microsoft said

They did NOT say they were going with ARM for half their servers, they said half their servers were of a type that is amenable to using ARM. That's the difference between saying "I do half my grocery shopping at the Farmer's Market" and "I am able to buy half the items on my grocery list at the Farmer's Market".

Apple empties gas can, strikes match, burns bridge to hot-patch apps

DougS Silver badge

Re: Code injection.

Apple cares about end users because they've built their business on getting "sticky" customers. People who buy an iPhone, and want to buy another two years later, and another two more years later. People who buy an iPhone and decide to get a Macbook rather than a Dell for their next laptop, or an Apple TV rather than a Roku. Subscribe to Apple Music rather than Pandora.

You don't get those loyal customers by screwing them over, intentionally leaving them vulnerable to hacking or selling off their personal information. Of the Android OEMs, Samsung is the only one who is trying to build a similar loyalty amongst its customers, because they have a lot of other products to sell. i.e. if you like your GS8, maybe you will buy Samsung for your next TV or washing machine.

The rest of the crowd like HTC or whoever only care about selling you a phone today, and don't really give a damn about you after that. They aren't making any money selling phones as it is, so they will do the minimum possible after sale, i.e. a token Android update or two, and then you're left on your own. Google only cares about you so long as they can keep sucking up a constant stream of your personal information to feed their advertising juggernaut that is their only real source of income.

Uber blackballs 'Greyball' tool it used to deny rides to regulators

DougS Silver badge

Uber is cheaper, but I hope you know why

They lose 40% (can't remember the exact figure) on every ride. Deliberately, because they are trying to kill off the incumbent taxi business and prevent "ride share" competitors not also funded by billions of VC dollars from taking root. The long term plan is of course that when they have successfully killed off the taxi business, they'll raise their rates to whatever the market will bear.

If they've killed off taxis and successfully prevented competition like Lyft from gaining critical mass, there will be little or no competition, and they will be able to charge MORE than taxis did. That's the ultimate goal, or at least what they'll tell investors when they IPO because the VCs are probably getting tired of pouring money into subsidizing those losses.

They may never reach that long term goal though, as self driving cars may hit before then. Then they'll have to compete with well funded potential rivals like Google and Apple (via its Didi Chuxing investment, if they don't do a car) as well as rental car companies that transform their business before it dies, and probably the automakers themselves.

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a drone? Is it a car? It's both, crossed with Uber

DougS Silver badge

@Christian Berger - "don't have enough of that material on earth"

Don't have enough lithium? Seriously?? It makes up 0.0017% of the Earth's crust. That may not sound like much, but the thing about the Earth's crust is that there's rather a lot of it. 0.0017% is twice the abundance of lead and 9x the abundance of tin, and I've never heard anyone worry about running out of either.

I gather you've probably read some alarmist article that does math based on known "reserves" of lithium and yearly production, to see what happens if every car uses lithium batteries, we use them for home energy storage, etc. and says "OMG we only have a decade's worth!" Reserves beyond a few decades are meaningless, because if you have 50 years of known reserves of something, no one is going to pay to explore to find 50 more years of reserves.

The best information I could find said lithium production in 2014 was 36,000 metric tons. Compare with the amount of lithium dissolved in seawater, estimated at 230 billion tons. That's a tiny tiny fraction of the amount in the Earth's crust. I think we're fine. If demand goes up, people will spend money to look for more lithium, and they will find it, because its literally everywhere.

Oops! 185,000-plus Wi-Fi cameras on the web with insecure admin panels

DougS Silver badge

But why would that random TCP port be open to anyone, let alone the internet?

I suppose if you have unauthenticated public wifi AND these webcams on the same subnet you'd be vulnerable to people on your public wifi, but if you are dumb enough to do that, you deserve your fate.

I get it that insecure "IoT" devices like this are the plat du jour of security companies these days, but seriously, how worrisome are these attacks in a world where small networks hide behind NAT and big ones behind firewalls?

It would be a MUCH bigger problem if it was on port 80 or 443, since someone with a webcam might open up that port so they can see it remotely. Leave a backdoor on the standard HTTP or HTTPS port, and the problem is 1000x worse.

NASA's atom-chiller ready to fly to the ISS

DougS Silver badge

Re: Chilling tales!

Much more impressive than the Wolowitz Zero-Gravity Waste Disposal System, I must say! (Damn, where's the poop emoji when you need it?)

This easy one cloud trick is in DANGER. Why?

DougS Silver badge

It is sad how little documentation most environments have

In my experience, a sizable majority have no useful documentation. Sure, your CMDB (one of them, since unfortunately in too many cases there is more than one!) may have a brief description like "Oracle DB server for application XXX" but that hardly helps. If you're lucky you'll have an entry for the database itself, which will hopefully extend to all the way up to the application, and tell what that application depends on to function and what else out there depends on this application to function.

Generally where you find something like this, it was done when the application was originally set up - the architect or implementation team had a clear view of how all the pieces fit together, so it was known. The problem is over time, new functionality gets added here and there, or pieces are swapped out for something else, and nothing gets updated, or at least not completely updated. So the information is not only incomplete, it is dangerously incorrect if you rely on it.

It is 10x worse in a bespoke environment, because eventually the people who really know it move on, at which point all hope of ever fully understanding it is lost even if they maintained perfect documentation until then. Updating documentation is the sort of job that never gets properly handed off, and management never knows/cares to insure it gets done when the guy doing it has moved on. It is more important to get tasks done that will impress upper management than to do the basic housekeeping that they don't know about.

The future of storage is ATOMIC: IBM boffins stash 1 bit on 1 atom

DougS Silver badge

Re: Sad times

Definitely less expensive to pay $10/month for Apple Music for the rest of your life to have access to those 35 million songs, even if "the rest of your life" lasted until the heat death of the universe.

Zero-days? Sexy, sure, but crap passwords and phishing are probably more pressing

DougS Silver badge

If that 5.7% number is correct

Not very many of them. At least of the 0 days we panic over that were discovered by security researchers themselves, rather than via reverse engineering it from forensic evidence of an attack.

It is interesting that some of the CIA's exploit library was purchased, rather than developed in house. I expect they do that because they want to 1) be able to protect themselves against others who purchase the same exploit and 2) using exploits that are already "in the wild" makes it more likely the victims will assume they've been compromised by black hat hackers, rather than the CIA. Consider how we quickly figured out who did the attacking when Stuxnet was found, versus if they had used some standard malware purchased on the dark net.

The exploits they develop in house are probably reserved for an attack that needs to have a long shelf life, because whatever is doing the attacking may not be possible to update later (i.e. if they compromised some hardware before it gets shipped to someone they want to spy on, to use as an attack platform to compromise other devices on its local network)

Oh my God, 911 is down. Quick, call… aaargh!

DougS Silver badge

I don't buy that NG911 would fix this

Even if it does, as a new system it will have all sorts of new problems. That flexibility to reroute 911 calls to other locations comes at a cost, that issues that one location experiences could potentially have a nationwide ripple effect. The "islands" of 911 we have now limit the problems to a single location or entity. This is like fixing the issues that led to the 2003 blackout by putting the entire nation on a single power grid...

What went up, Musk come down again: SpaceX to blast sat into orbit with used rocket

DougS Silver badge

Re: First ? Erm ...

Why does solid fuel versus liquid make it a "huge difference"?

The main difference IMHO is that the shuttle boosters were parachuted back to Earth, while SpaceX is landing theirs in a controlled manner.

Public IPv4 drought: Verizon Wireless to stop handing out static addys

DougS Silver badge

I wonder if I could sell my class C

I picked one up back in the 90s for the hell of it, and use the addresses in my home network instead of 192.168.x.x. It may not have any actual value due to the difficulty of routing an isolated /24, but who knows.

Rate this as five stars or we'll bombard you with pop-up ads

DougS Silver badge

Re: Kill the app market, complain that app developers find other means of making money.

Does Android run apps that you haven't run yourself? Yeah, I could see why that's worrying, but isn't the data collection built into Android itself?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Kill the app market, complain that app developers find other means of making money.

How do the unwanted apps harm you, other than taking up a little bit of storage?

I don't want all the apps on my iPhone, but I just stick the ones I don't care about on the last screen. With iOS 10 I got the ability to remove the built in Apple apps I don't want, but I haven't bothered. Supposedly it doesn't completely remove them, it only removes their data and private libraries, but Apple says that all their built in apps combined require only 150MB so you wouldn't save much anyway.

You save far more by deleting and reinstalling user data hogs like Facebook - it caches so much crap that after a few months it gets to around a gigabyte of user data and starts to slow down. Reinstalling it recovers ALL that wasted space. Facebook is far from the only third party app that wastes space caching data like that and presumably never clearing out old data, but most don't slow down the way Facebook does.

Kodi-pocalypse Now? Actually, it's not quite here yet

DougS Silver badge

The very idea of job creation is fungible

If I open a restaurant and hire 20 people, did I really create 20 jobs? A given area can only support so many restaurants at a given population/income level, so if my restaurant is successful a struggling restaurant down the street may shut its doors and 20 people will lose their jobs. I don't create any jobs by opening a restaurant, it is basically a zero sum shell game unless the population in the area is growing. And at any rate, if I choose not to open a restaurant in a growing area, someone else will see the opportunity for profit and do so, so those jobs would be destined to be created whether I took the initiative or not.

I'd argue the only true job creation is when new industries are invented. When iPhones and Androids started becoming prevalent, they replaced dumb phones and those pre-touch smartphones that only a tiny segment of the population used. There were no jobs created in say mobile phone manufacturing, because smartphone sales displaced dumb phone sales. However, they did create jobs in the app industry, since it was for all practical purposes non-existent before the App Store and Play Store came along. Many thousands of developers make a full time living writing smartphone apps, a job that did not exist a decade ago.

If self-driving cars come, that will be a new industry. It will take people to program them and those will be new jobs, so companies like Tesla or whoever starts selling them first will talk about all the jobs they are creating. Of course that technology will destroy many more jobs in the form of taxi/Uber drivers and truck drivers, so it won't really be job creation any more than my restaurant that put the one down the street out of business was.

Tesla 'API crashes' after update, angry rich bods complain

DougS Silver badge

Re: "reignited the Wi-Fi router" ?

No, the fire went out, that was the problem.

DougS Silver badge
Thumb Up

50% more buttock clenching

If an average person were dumb enough to invest his entire net worth into one of those electric hypercars like the Vanda Dendrobium that will undoubtedly sell for 7 digits, the buttock clenching during an update might reach the "turn coal into diamonds" threshold allowing him to afford a replacement if he bricked it.

Fraud detection system with 93% failure rate gets IT companies sued

DougS Silver badge

Re: 93% Failure rate was deemed 'acceptable'

Yes liberals screwed up the state, but conservatives screw up states just as readily when they get into power. i.e. this fiasco plus Flint's water situation.

I think we'd be a lot better off if both at national and state levels bills required 2/3 of each legislative body's support to be passed. That would force bipartisan cooperation and insure neither the nation nor individual states could suddenly swing from left to right or vice versa when one party gets power over house, senate and the presidency.

That's what led to bad ideas that the other side (rightly, IMHO) hated like Bush's tax cuts that killed the surplus and Obamacare that took a messed up health care system and made it even more messed up. Now the republicans are trying to replace Obamacare with something even worse that will blow up the deficit.

Neither party is grown up enough to be allowed to govern on their own, both of them prove that over and over again.

DougS Silver badge

Wow Michigan's state government is out of control

First they change Flint's water supply to save a pittance and poison their residents, now they are trying to save money by using a fraud detection system with tons of false positives and leaving it up to those who qualify for benefits to prove their innocence.

I'll bet they've streamlined corporate handouts to big business though, can't have the fat cats upset, right?

Windows Server ported to Qualcomm's ARM server chip. Repeat, Windows Server ported to ARM server chip

DougS Silver badge

u-boot

There are open source versions of u-boot, but that just pushes the problem down into hardware. How do you know you can trust Qualcomm's server chip?

You also must worry, can you trust the compiler you are using (i.e. Ken Thompson's Reflections on Trusting Trust) Someone built the GCC version you are using, and if you use it to recompile GCC from clean source, that's no guarantee the result isn't compromised.

If you are paranoid, ARM servers will not quiet your paranoia :)

Softbank tears off chunk of ARM, feeds it to hungry Saudis

DougS Silver badge

Maybe they think Surface sells a LOT more than it does...

Messaging app used by Trump aides 'riddled with security bugs'

DougS Silver badge

Re: Umm, hang on..

I think if there's something there, and the FBI is able to make its case even relying on classified data so they can't prove it to the satisfaction of Trump voters (not sure if anything could, he might have been right about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue...) the adults in the room like McCain and even spineless Ryan will fall into line and there would be enough of them along with unanimous democrat support to impeach/convict. That would have happened to Nixon, had he not resigned, but I don't think anyone believes Trump would resign - he'd just lock himself in the oval office, watch Fox News, and tweet in anger, blaming everyone but himself, as the roll call vote went against him.

While the congressional republicans are pretty solidly behind him now, that's because he's their president and their way of getting their legislative aims accomplished. Most of them didn't want him as the nominee, and would probably vote today to remove him and elevate Pence to president if they could do it via secret ballot. They are currently afraid to criticize him for fear of angering the voters who have supported Trump from day one. However, there are enough house and senate republicans in districts/states with fewer Trump supporters who wouldn't have to worry about losing their seat to their anger who can act, while they allow their colleagues who fear such reprisals to make hollow statements of support for Trump even as they cooperate behind closed doors to insure the vote goes against him.

In the long run, anyone with presidential aspirations down the road is not going to want to see the party torn apart, and it isn't like ousting Trump would hand power to Hillary. They'll get Pence, who many of them would have preferred in the first place if they had the choice. Personally I despise Pence for his holier-than-thou attitudes, but at least he's smart, sincere and most of all not batshit crazy like Trump, so I'd consider him a massive upgrade for the oval office. He would probably take office with record high approval ratings, simply for not being Trump.

Amazon relinquishes data from Echo that could have dropped eaves on a killing

DougS Silver badge

It is quite disturbing that Amazon has the ABILITY to satisfy this request

What purpose is served by keeping data Alexa hears longer than a minute? If they want to use it for other purposes like training speech recognition, it should be anonymized and filed away.

If law enforcement files a request, Amazon should be able to tell them "sorry, that data is wiped almost immediately after Alexa hears it, we don't have anything to give you". Sure, if he said "Alexa, order 10 gallons of bleach, one day delivery" or "Alexa, how do you remove blood soaked into the wood underlayment beneath carpet" there may be a textual record of those transactions (though I'd argue no consumer friendly purpose is served by keeping records of the latter, either)

Obviously he knows he didn't make any such requests, and to the extent it may have recorded ambient noise I guess he knows where Alexa is located versus whatever would have been overheard if a crime was committed, otherwise he wouldn't have approved the release.

The 140 gallons of water usage is a bit damning, but entirely circumstantial. The problem he has is that if they can prove their timeline then his story about filling the hot tub comes undone. He better have said something like "the only thing I can think of where I would have used that much water was filling my hot tub, but that was 12 hours earlier" so the prosecution can't claim to the jury he lied to the police about the water usage. I suspect that will be what gets him, not Alexa.

Sure, we could replace FTNN, says nbn™, if you let the unwired wait even longer for broadband

DougS Silver badge

Your line is probably impaired, 98% of the time it is due to bridge taps. When I was helping a friend who owned an ISP test DSL on dry pairs back in 1997, he brought an oscilloscope to my house and plugged it in at my NID. He saw evidence of a bridge tap, climbed the pole behind my house, snipped it and the impairment was gone. Good luck getting a telco employee to do that though, they probably can't even spell oscilloscope.

That CIA exploit list in full: The good, the bad, and the very ugly

DougS Silver badge

Re: Claim drain - "American people actually voted Trump into office"

I certainly have no love for Trump, but claiming "the American people voted in Clinton" because she won the popular vote is stupid. US elections don't work on popular vote, and for good reason. Everyone knew that going in, it isn't like someone changed the rules at the last second to help Trump.

DougS Silver badge

Signal / WhatsApp "good news"

The fact that they rely on compromising the phone to get at Signal / WhatsApp should not be read to imply those are secure. More that compromising the phone is so easy with the menu of exploits at their disposal that give them access more than just Signal / WhatsApp that there's no point in compromising just one app at a time even if they can.

Also, the NSA are the codebreakers that would attack those apps via a weakness in their protocol, not the CIA. If the NSA found such a weakness, they'd use it to hoover up communication from many users, not just a few targeted ones. And they likely wouldn't tell the CIA they had such a capability, the intelligence world is rife with turf wars, despite the attempt via the creation of the department of homeland security to get them all playing nice with each other.

Ohi-D'oh! US prison hands inmates' SSNs over to... an identity thief

DougS Silver badge

Re: And what is the average credit score for a convicted fellon?

Not all identity theft is about applying for credit in someone's name. If you were an illegal immigrant who wanted to use someone else's social security number to get a job, you couldn't do better than a prison inmate's number - you don't have to worry about him getting a job and raising red flags when there are W2s for full time jobs in two different states.

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