* Posts by dan1980

2865 posts • joined 5 Aug 2013

Microsoft court victory prompts call for data-grabbing regime

dan1980
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"The fact they didn't suggests to me that it might not have been fully legal in the first place."

. . . or that this was a problem that didn't exist used as atest case to attempt to set a precedent which, if they were unsuccessful, would be a catalyst for exactly what they are doing trying to do now.

The point is that they insist that what they are doing and want to do is right so having a court tell them they are wrong only sees them claim the courts are now wrong and need to be, effectively, circumvented by new powers.

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dan1980
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"In short, we want it both ways. We want a legal regime that both bypasses and respects privacy barriers, as the situation demands."

The problem with that is in who gets to decide which situations 'demand' which course of action and how.

And that's always the problem with these types of heavy-handed grabs - it's always about the government wanting to be able to deny rights and ignore due process at will, with only their say so as justification.

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UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

dan1980
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@AC

There is another dimension to this, which is the rhetoric or blaming the overseas tech companies and thereby attempting to frame this as big, rich, multinational corporations fighting against the UK. They are trying to instill an 'us-vs-them' mentality, with the absurdity that 'us' is the UK people and the UK government and 'them' is the easily-hated power of 'big tech'.

In fact, the opposite is far closer to the truth - it's the government vs the people with the tech industry, taking a stance that is for the good of people.

Sure, most of these big tech companies are doing it for selfish reasons because they are worried about losing business but that's fine by me - that's how the free market is supposed to look: companies that offer services people want make a profit and prosper while those who don't lose money and fail.

The reason is, really, beside the point - in opposing the government, it's the tech companies taking a stance that protects the people overall and in the long term.

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FCC revised net neutrality rules reveal cable company control of process

dan1980
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"In some cases, it is embarrassingly transparent."

Well, it would be embarrassing for anyone with a sense of shame but, as has been proven time and again, politicians are not amongst that number.

Does this man* look like he has any shame:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBYWFAKl1bQ

No, politicians - the successful ones - are a special breed and are almost defined by their shamelessness.

* - Sure, he isn't part of the FCC but you get the point. Possibly.

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Republicans' net neutrality attack written by… you guessed it, the cable lobby

dan1980
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"But the fact that their own briefing documents are being written by a special interest group is extraordinary even for Washington, DC."

Really?

Haven't there been instances of entire bills being written by lobby groups?

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Proposed PATCH Act forces US snoops to quit hoarding code exploits

dan1980
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For any politicians (the world over) who oppose this - on the grounds that to enact this law would cripple law enforcement agencies and remove necessary tools - I would ask a simple question: what happens if software gets released WITHOUT any relevant, exploitable bugs?

Surely that is an aspiration, no?

If the US agencies RELY on software being buggy then does that mean they are useless without such (unwitting) external assistance?

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Virtual reality upstart UploadVR allegedly had in-house 'kink room,' drugs, rampant sexism

dan1980
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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Is there are a new sheriff in town?

Okay, yeah, there was some intolerant stuff but why remove that wonderful alt-right, arm-chair philosopher bingo board? (The one with Marxist rabbits and so forth.)

I figured someone was just using amanfrommars' world-famous Word Salad recipe.

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dan1980
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Re: Sour grapes

@Chairman of the Bored

You are correct - 'fighting fire with fire' can indeed curtail such behaviour.

BUT, no part of this is made okay by the victim not loudly, openly ridiculing the offenders. Their behaviour cannot be made blameless simply because it was not challenged and an employees right to respect shouldn't depend on their ability and/or willingness to hit back.

An employee does not need to somehow earn the right to work free of harassment and sexual advances.

I know that's not what you're saying - this comment is more an addendum to your own to point out something I feel is important to note: it is the COMPANY's RESPONSIBILITY to provide a harassment-free workplace, not the employee's responsibility to fight for it.

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dan1980
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Re: Sour grapes

@Adam 52

"Would anyone complain about being moved so that a husband and wife could have privacy?"

In what context?

If someone at work, whom I am friendly with - whom I see socially - invited me to a party at their house and a guest (whether my colleague or not) asked me to move to another room so that there could be some privacy for a bit of naked fun them so be it. If it made me feel uncomfortable that that was occurring or that it was the general mood of the party then I might leave.

But that was NOT the context. This was an official company event which employees were expected to attend. The event in question was described as 'mandatory', which means that it was an event at which the company is almost certainly legally responsible for the employees in attendance. If one of the employee at that party tripped and hurt themselves, the company would be responsible for costs and could even be sued. That might sound beside the point but it highlights that this situation was, by any relevant sense, a work event.

"You know what; I'm a pacifist so I don't work in the military, I'm a liberal so I don't work for Rupert Murdoch. If you're sexually repressed then don't work for a sexually liberal company."

The first part follows because the military's function is to project and use force - or the threat of force. The second part follows because Murdoch's companies - at least the TV and print organisations - function is to promote a partisan political view, to a partisan base, for profit.

The last part does not follow because, in this instance, the function of the company ("UploadVR") is to "[bring] virtual reality technology to the consumer masses".

If the company was involved in producing pornography or sex aids or running BDSM clubs or escort agencies then yes, someone who is 'sexually repressed' shouldn't apply. BUT EVEN THEN, those are businesses that have a responsibility to their employees and it is unacceptable for the owner of a porn studio to make overt sexual advances towards to, say, an accountant. That employee's job is to perform the standard functions of an accountant and no part of that role depends on the sexual attitudes or proclivities of the staff member.

The employee in question applied for and took a job at a VR startup.

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dan1980
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Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

@AC (the 'rabbit' one)'

Irrelevant.

Ignoring whether what you say has any merit or not (for my money, not) this is about behaviour in the here and now, by people living in the here and now, affecting people living in the here and now. To suggest that the women negatively impacted by this would be happier if society was restructured is not of much use.

In fact, it's worse. Much worse.

You are asserting what people should want, effectively saying that those of us who believe women and men are equal and can play equal roles in society are wrong. You are saying that women will be happier if they don't seek equality with men and, instead, let me be the ordained leaders and women the humble homemakers. You are saying that this reprehensible behaviour is the fault, not of those people, but of the problematic arrangement of the society they are forced to live in.

The people who engaged in this conduct did so in the society we have right now and, in that society, that conduct is unacceptable. WANTING to live in a backwards, patriarchal society is not an excuse for acting as though you are.

You're blaming the victim.

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dan1980
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Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

@AC

What. The. Fuck?

Everyone should 'buy in' to what, exactly? To sexism? To harassment? To actions and comments that have no place is a modern work place?

Office culture is one thing, and it can be important in the overall productivity of the company and enjoyment that comes from working there. Telling jokes, going out drinking after work, casual clothes - sure. But open sexism and harassment is not the type of culture anyone should ever be expect to 'buy in' too.

Honestly, This article reads like a parody from The Onion - that's how over the top this behaviour is. It's like a hyperbolic caricature of Silicon Valley start-ups.

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Australia considers joining laptops-on-planes ban

dan1980
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Re: Now showing

@Winkypop

Yes, I expected the down-votes.

I am all for being (highly) skeptical and anyone familiar with my posting on this site would know that I strongly favour freedom over security and am extremely critical of - as you rightly call it - "security theatre".

BUT, the simple truth is that there are threats to our safety and some of those threats require security responses to mitigate. The questions we have to ask are, first: how credible are the threats and, second: what measures are suitable to combat them.

As citizens, we should be skeptical and critical of alleged threats and proposed security responses but that doesn't mean that every such threat and response is false and merely 'security theatre'.

One thing I feed into the equation when I attempt to evaluate issues like this is how popular the move would be. In this instance, the new regulations are getting large amounts of negative coverage in the US and UK and they are - understandably - unpopular with passengers.

This is an unpopular move that will cause real disruptions so I feel that, if it is a distraction, it's a poorly chosen one.

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dan1980
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Re: Now showing

@Winkypop

While I agree with you that Malcolm is indeed in need of some news to distract the media, that doesn't necessarily mean that this is 'security theater'.

Real threats must be taken seriously and the recent fall-out in the US over Trump's reported disclosure of top secret information about these threats* shows that the intel upon which these bans are based is more than idle speculation.

To date, it is generally believed that laptop-based bombs would likely be found it they went through the more sophisticated screening procedures at major airports but one must ask the question: why now? When a laptop bomb has already been used over a year ago what has changed?

Given the penchant for knee-jerk 'doing something' reactions in the US and UK, I am inclined to believe that there really is a strong intel basis for the bans they have implemented as the delay between a proven attack and this response indicates that they didn't just jump as soon as there was a visible potential threat.

But that penchant for 'security theater' also means their credibility is lacking. But, again, the delay and targeted nature of the current bans for the US and UK makes me more inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. This time.

* - Even if that disclosure was warranted - Russians are, after all, also being targeted by IS terrorists.

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Oz MP flies crypto-kite, wants backdoors without backdoors

dan1980
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Of course you are correct.

But that is really my point - trying to prove they are wrong is impossible because they will ignore evidence or move the goal-posts or pretend that black is white and white is black.

That's why it's important to ask them, point-blank, what information would change their mind.

Of course, you'll probably get an evasion or an answer like: "we are open to all possibilities" or "well, I don't believe that is the case" and so on, but people (interviewers, etc...) really need to push the question: what testimony would convince you that the solution you are after doesn't exist?

In a way - not to start a war here - it's like those who say "where's the evidence" when it comes to man-made climate change. The problem is debating such folk is that they dismiss whatever evidence IS put forward, accepting only that which works for them. They, like these politicians, must be nailed down: tell us what would change your mind.

If the answer is 'nothing' then they should have the strength of their conviction and just bloody well say so.

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dan1980
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The question that needs to be asked of these politicians/law-enforcement bods is:

"If it was shown to be impossible to provide law enforcement access to defeat encryption without also rendering it vulnerable to malicious actors, would you drop your proposal?"

If the answer is 'yes' then the follow-up question is:

"What evidence - what testimony - would you believe?"

In other words: what is the the criteria for proving you are wrong and changing your mind? Because that's the thing we need to get at with these people. If they can't tell us what information would convince them they are wrong then it's likely that they actually don't care and their position is immovable.

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Try not to scream: Ads are coming to Amazon's Alexa – and VR goggles

dan1980
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Re: Credibility gap

'Advertisers seem unable to see the difference between "we can" and " we should".'

I disagree. I believe advertisers are very cognizant of the difference; they just use rather different criteria for 'we should' than you might.

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Senate committee wants all drones registered

dan1980
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There is an issue that cheap, beginner-usable drones coupled with cheap, high-definition cameras and cheap, high-capacity storage.

It's just not really a big 'danger' - it's a potential invasion of privacy. That - to me - is the real problem with drones. Unsurprising then that the government doesn't address that.

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Microsoft is on the edge: Windows, Office? Naah. Let's talk about cloud, AI

dan1980
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'He mused about a software-based personal assistant to illustrate his point. "Your personal digital assistant, by definition, will be available on all your devices," he said, to make the case that the centralized computing model, client and server, has become outmoded. Data and devices are dispersed.'

With the disclaimer that I may be tripping up on semantics, how is that not also a 'client and server' model?

I mean, the personal assistant on your smart phone sure as hell won't be talking directly - as a 'peer' - to your computer or to your home 'hub'. No, each device will be talking back to the 'cloud', to the point where two devices you own, sat right beside each other and on the same logical network segment, may not be able to communicate with each other if the back-end cloud service is down.

Some services go even further, storing the configuration settings in on the (cloud) server, such that your client is just a pane of glass - an application that displays settings store elsewhere and allows you to update them - that's almost a terminal.

Think about a 'smart home' system of the type advertised so frequently in big box brochures. Many of those REQUIRE Internet connectivity for anything but the simplest of tasks. All the devices you own must send requests and commands and inputs to the cloud servers which are then relayed back to the output devices - you ask the server to perform actions on your behalf.

The fact that the back-end is huge and, potentially, geographically distributed really doesn't change the fact that, so far as the interaction and roles go, your devices are all 'clients' and the cloud system is the 'server'.

Or have I misunderstood?

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Productivity Commish changes mind on control over personal info

dan1980
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The way our government (and many others) view people is that we - all we do - are resources to serve the almighty Economy.

That's all that matters to them. If some self-interested industry group with easy access to our supposed representatives can put forward an assertion that removing privacy will yield some benefit to the great Economy then that is all the justification they need.

Privacy and rights are just not valuable to them because those notions don't benefit the economy and that is their one metric. And, as they place no value on our privacy, they have no qualms about exchanging it for even the flimsiest proposal. What's there to lose, right?

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Facebook is abusive. It's time to divorce it

dan1980
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@DropBear

"I'm still a realist - I do use Steam when I have no choice . . ."

But you do have a choice - don't support games that invade your privacy - whether directly or indirectly (through a 'client').

I mean no disrespect to you, because you are not unique in this and you are FULLY entitled to your choices, but it's precisely this attitude that has lead to the issue. If you use Steam at all then you are endorsing that behaviour and contributing to the environment in which it flourishes.

And that's your choice, and one you are welcome to make, but the consequences are apparent.

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dan1980
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Unhappy

The biggest problem (I believe) is not that Facebook monitors and monetises people; it's that those people don't seem to care.

That's a bigger problem because, were Facebook to be wiped from the Earth tomorrow, people would still be signing up for all manner of loyalty cards and downloading numerous 'apps' to perform even the simplest task.

This tacit acceptance (if not outright approval) of corporations collecting information and profiling people leads to this becoming the norm for everyone such that certain services become reliant on that acceptance to the point where those of us who do not agree to that collection and monetisation find ourselves on the outer.

One great example is Uber. A core part of their business model requires them to operate via smartphones in order to skirt the definition of a taxi (in many locations) but that use of an 'app' that tracks your comings and going - even when not using the service, apparently - brings with it an invasion of privacy. It also means that this is transport that cannot even be used by someone without a smartphone and all that goes with that.

But it's not just everyday folk, it's us techs and nerds as well. I was, previously, a gamer. I still am, but I find myself in a situation where PC gaming is nearly entirely closed off for me because I refuse to be tracked online. Unfortunately, nearly every game released on PC requires persistent or periodic monitoring of you and your computer through the likes of Steam or Origin or whatever garbage Ubisoft uses.

I refuse and so I don't game on my PC, but it's the broad willingness by the gaming public to trade away their privacy for convenience that has brought us to this point.

The world of services and products is rapidly becoming dependent on connectivity and acceptance of platforms that, whether justified or not, insist upon the destruction of your privacy as a term of service.

There is much that I know I miss out on due to my stance on this - I just wish more people were willing do this too, though it's really already too late. We let this happen and the clock won't get wound back, whether everyone leaves Facebook or not.

Sadly.

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KickassTorrents kicked out again, this time by Australia

dan1980
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Re: Oh my god

@Paul Crawford

Exactly. Like most people here, I am a tech and can get around much of this with little effort. But I don't think that tech people are the biggest problem for 'pirating' content. Tech people understand copyright and torrenting are aware of the legal cases - through sites like this. If we want do it, we know how and measures like this won't stop us.

There will always be people who want to access content illegally and will do what's needed to get it. I feel that the bigger problem is the broader public acceptance of accessing content this way and this is largely due to easy access. If you are not tech savvy and don't follow news like this and jump onto Google and search for some movie, you'll find a place to download it quickly and easily and for free.

I think DNS blocking is actually the right response because, as Paul says, it's low impact and avoids collateral damage while erecting barriers to complicate access for a large majority of people.

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iPhone lawyers literally compare Apples with Pears in trademark war

dan1980
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Part of this is also the need to actually defend your trademarks. As cited by several people above with the precedent of Raspberry and Blackberry, etc, it's clear that not trying to enforce your trademarks makes enforcing them later more difficult.

I suspect Apple didn't really expect to win and didn't care if it did - it just defended its trademark in order to keep its strength and to set a strong precedent for the future.

And, if you're an Apple lawyer* then it behooves you to defend that trademark to the very best of your ability.

Not that this isn't somewhat thuggish behaviour, just that it's not legally unwarranted.

* - I am reminded of Disaster Area 'research accountants'?

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eBay threatens to block Australians from using offshore sellers

dan1980
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Re: Netflix tax

Netflix et al should pay the tax. Charging tax on small imports is ridiculous. I don't but things online from overseas - at least almost never - so it wouldn't really affect me but it's just objectively a silly idea and, as the author rightly identifies, it's just to be seen to be doing something.

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Drupal sci-fi sex scandal deepens: Now devs spank Dries over Gor bloke's banishment

dan1980
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Re: It's interesting that some higly disturbed people...

@AC

You are conflating private sexual fantasies with active "sexual exploitation". In doing so, you are making two assumptions: first, that this person was actively engaging in practices as per the books, and second, that those practices amount to "sexual exploitation".

Exploitation of other human beings is bad and so if this person was actively exploiting others sexually, then that is problematic. But what evidence do you have that that is what was going on?

It seems to me that your views do not allow for someone to be in a submissive sexual role without them also being exploited. It's like the ridiculous Gail Dines who asserts that all porn - in and of itself - is violence against women. In her anti-porn world, she can't see how any woman could ever willingly be involved in pornography and enjoy it.

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Troll it your way: Burger King ad tries to hijack Google Home gadgets

dan1980
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Re: Computer Misuse Act?

Actually, I think this is a public service - just the Alexa dollhouse story.

People need to realise the inherent vulnerability of having devices in your home always listening for interesting words.

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Official science we knew all along: Facebook makes you sad :-(

dan1980
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@AC

"The greatest strength of the internet was removing all physical (and social) distance separating people who share the same interests."

Yes and no.

Yes, in that people who may otherwise have been pressured to conform to the current norms find strength in numbers, realising they are not alone.

No, in that that same effect can lead to people choosing to only associate (or at least strongly preference) those groups, neglecting the social interactions available to them in the 'real world'. It might be quaint thinking, but I believe that, to be a well-rounded person socially, you should be able to communicate with people on a range of different subjects and be able to find some common ground with most people. If all you do is communicate within the confines of a few niche interests then you are going to find that isolating.

Or not.

Having deep conversations about niche subjects with like-minded folk can be very rewarding (and sometimes infuriating!) but if that's all you do then it strikes me as not all that dissimilar to parents who home-school their children because they want to ensure their children aren't exposed to any contradictory ideas. In both cases, it's a deliberate shutting off of the rest of the world.

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dan1980
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The study suggests that interactions with your close friends, in person, make you happier than interactions with a much broader group of acquaintances semi-anonymously. But that comparison has far too many variables to be overly useful.

Talking with your close friends, you are likely to have common ground and you understand which of your friends like what and chose to talk with them about those areas of mutual interest, increasing the satisfaction of the response. Posting about some issue to everyone you know is unlikely to meet quite so favourable a response.

If I e-mail a niche joke or reference to a few friends who share my sense of humour and frame of reference, it's going to get a better reception from that targeted group than it would if it were broadcast to everyone I knew. I don't tell the same jokes to my partner as I do to one of my colleagues and indeed I tell different jokes and make different references with different colleagues. Some of those references will go over well with some friends.

I think the real problem is not that people are interacting on Facebook so much as the confusion of Facebook 'friends' and real friends. With your real, close friends, you aren't striving for approval and affection.

It's the difference between going to the pub with a couple of mates and going to a friend's wedding, where you know a few of the people really well, some of them by name and the rest by association, but wanting a similar level of approval from the latter group as from the former.

I suppose the question is - does interacting with a group of close friends on Facebook make you unhappy? I wouldn't think so.

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MyHealthRecord slammed in privacy uproar

dan1980
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@Halcin

"So it's the needs of a few being used to dictate the requirements for the majority."

No and yes.

First, there is no technical reason why you can't allow each person their own control over this. There's no reason why you can't allow people with such conditions to opt-in to allowing carte blanch on their medical history and keep the default more restrictive.

That said, there are bad reasons to do this - simplicity and increased (though forced) buy-in. The government WANT the most information included and the most information shared so giving people options is counterproductive to their aims.

There are really good reasons for having your medical history easily available to all who need it, but there are privacy concerns and security risks that go along with that. It should be up to the individual to decide if the trade-off is worth it.

No amount of benefit to some people is sufficient reason to treat everyone the same when there is no technical need to do so, because me protecting my own information does not negatively impact those people.

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dan1980
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"At issue is the system's default privacy setting, which is that any health professional treating an individual can access their whole health history."

Maybe that's what's at issue right now, but it's not the real issue. The real issue is that the government does not value the privacy of the citizens and it does not want to give them any control over their own information.

That's why this trial was changed from opt-in to opt-out. If it's opt-in then people are more likely to actually figure out what it's all about and only actually sign-up if they believe it to be in their best interests - weighing the pros and cons.

If you go ahead and sign everyone up without their express permission then you don't have to worry about the cons - you just spend your time spruiking the alleged pros.

They focus only on getting people on and getting the positive results so they can trumpet them and pat themselves on the back. They spend no time really caring about the negatives so it's inevitable that problems like this are almost built in to the system.

Opt-in essential means: if you're not sure, don't do it. If you don't understand the pros and cons and what it means for you, then it's better if you wait until you do. Sure, many people will simply ignore it but that's why you do a campaign for it and make it super-easy to opt-in. Show them the benefits and treat any concerns about the negatives honestly.

When it comes to measures that reduce privacy, it should always be opt-in.

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FCC kills plan to allow phone calls on planes – good idea or terrible?

dan1980
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Re: Ajit Pai: "Even a broken watch..."

To be honest, what I think is really needed - phones or no - is for the pilot and the attendants to include, as part of their standard announcements, the admonition to respect other passengers and keep their noise to a minimum, for the comfort of all.

Most people are fairly considerate and will be generally quiet and polite. A small percent just don't care about social conventions, even when they are pointed out and will be disruptive and just don't care whether it impacts others.

Still others are inconsiderate but can be easily shamed into doing the right thing - and these are exactly the people such announcements would target: those who rely on no one actually calling them out.

All it takes to noticeable improve the average comfort and enjoyment of flights for everyone is to have the flight staff request - and periodically remind - passengers to be quiet and considerate.

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dan1980
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Re: erm,

@InLog

I get what you're saying but can you really see no difference between personal mobile phones and handsets you use your credit card for - at eye-watering rates?

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dan1980
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"Ajit Pai, chair of US comms watchdog the FCC, has unilaterally decided that no one wants to make cellphone calls on planes."

Wrong. There are people who would love to make calls on planes. They are called douche bags and their defining characteristics are selfishness and a lack of consideration for the comfort of others.

How I hate them.

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BDSM sex rocks Drupal world: Top dev banished for sci-fi hanky-panky

dan1980
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@AC

"There's where the problem is - who gets to decide how someone ought to act?"

I believe that was part of Mill's point - something he call the "tyranny of the majority". In other words, Mill argued against the idea that an individual's rights and the limits on their practices should not be governed by the mere opinion of others.

To allow people to dictate what others may and may not do based on their own morals and mores alone is a form of tyranny and, as Mill identified, in some ways a more problematic form.

In Mill's reckoning, individuals should possess the liberty to act as they wish so far as those action do not harm others, but he was wise enough to realise that what constitutes 'harm' cannot simply be left up to individuals to decide, else the merest discomfort experienced by some person becomes cause for the restriction of freedom of some other.

The core thesis, In my opinion, is that the harm to an individual's liberty is a far greater harm than the discomfort of even the vast majority.

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dan1980
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Re: They believe women are by nature submissive

@Stevie

Indeed.

But then, by Drupal's reasoning, a woman into being a submissive also has an incompatible view of gender equality . . .

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dan1980
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@AC

"I enjoy the sort of activities The Donald [was] alleged to have engaged in, and worse."

What do you mean "worse". Those activities are not objectively bad to start with. They're not even that uncommon, in absolute terms.

I did read in a previous article here, many moons ago, that those activities are enjoyed by some 1% of the population. That may not sound like much but it means that if you enjoy that and step into a standard NY subway car on your way to work, chances are that there is another person - in that same car - who shares your preference.

Likewise many other preferences.

The idea that some sexual preference is "worse" than some other is exactly the problem - that there is a set of good, normal, decent and acceptable sexualities and that others are therefore 'bad' and unacceptable - in varying degrees.

The only test of whether someone's sexual activity is acceptable is whether the participants are consensting*. Note that 'harm' is not a valid test as some people enjoy pain as part of their pleasure and, again, so long as it is consensual, we're all good.

* - And of age, but that is factored into the legal concept of consensus.

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dan1980
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Re: @ dan1980

@Pascal Monett

". . . one who is still supposed to be an example of moral rectitude . . ."

I agree - our leaders should indeed be beacons of morality. In a perfect world. BUT, I do not agree that a person's sexual preferences (within the confines of activities between consenting adults) should form any part of the judgement of someone's morals.

It's this unhealthy connection of sexuality and morality that holds so much progress back because the sentiment becomes one of distrust - anyone who has sexual preferences that deviate from some bullshit 'norm' can't be fully trusted. It's bigotry - these people aren't exactly like me so I can't trust that they'll act like me.

Part of it is religious, of course, but that doesn't explain the shame and ridicule poured out by, ostensibly, liberal comedians and commentators.

On the note of blackmail, if it turns out that (now) President Trump did engage in the alleged actions and is being blackmailed by Russia, then the American people (and not only them) are partly to blame. It's only leverage if the people judge each other negatively based on their private, sexual activities.

It's perverse - you can be manifestly unqualified, an inveterate liar, an unrepentant bigot and a dangerous narcissist but if you get a kick out of urination in a sexual setting then, well, that's just unacceptable and renders you unfit for public office.

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dan1980
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Re: Bah!

A question . . .

Given that BDSM generally involves (at least) two people - whether fantasy or in practice - surely it always involves a position of inequality so far as the roles are concerned.

That's the very MEANING of the word 'domination'.

So, what if one of the Drupal devs has a fetish for being a submissive? After all, that implies that someone else is dominant*.

If fantasising about being in a dominant sexual role over a woman clashes with ideas of gender equality, so to would fantasising about being in a submissive seuxal role, with a woman dominant.

What happens if a female dev is found to be a paid dominatrix?

I am concerning myself only with hetrosexual interactions here as obviously there is no gender inequality where both participants are the same gender, but that brings up another challenge to this idiocy. If we follow the argument further, Drupal's reasoning results in BDSM being unacceptable for hetrosexual people but acceptable for homosexual people.

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dan1980
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@wolfetone

Oh, there are prudes everywhere but, worse, there is a pervasive mockery of any sexual behaviour beyond some vague notion of 'normal' sex.

Sure, it's fun to make jokes at Donald Trump's expense but why are comedians making jokes about the reports that were published about his activities with Russian prostitutes? If he is harping on about the sanctity of marriage then by all means call out hypocrisy (should the report be proven) but what is happening is that an adult is being ridiculed for indulging in a particular kink with other consenting adults.

The particular (alleged) behaviour obviously lends itself to all manner of cheap puns so it becomes irresistible but such ridicule is utterly backwards, not to mention thoroughly hypocritical when voiced by those who ostensibly support the LBGT(etc..) community.

Indeed, some comedians have admitted that, while the report is unverified and this is all just unproven allegation, the subject is too funny not to use. They are saying that the act itself is worthy of ridicule.

What those comedians are doing is getting a cheap laugh by shaming someone's private sexual preferences.

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dan1980
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Re: he was fired for ...

"He was fired for allegedly subscribing - in his private life - to a fantasy promoting a system of beliefs outlined in a work of fiction . . ."

Well, I don't think he was 'fired' per se, but he is being pressured to leave. That said, based on the stated reason for applying that pressure, they've established a reason to ostracise someone for being Christian, or Muslim, or Hindu.

Actually, on Islam, if you are Muslim and subscribe to the idea that a woman's testimony is worth less than a man's, surely that is a view that would also be counter to the Drupal stance on 'gender equality'.

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'Sorry, I've forgotten my decryption password' is contempt of court, pal – US appeal judges

dan1980
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Re: Comparing real and virtual world

@hoola

There is indeed a concern with laws made for the physical world needing to cover the 'digital'/'virtual' world.

One pet peeve of mine is that the government is all-too-happy to use outdated laws designed for a purely physcial world to do things in the digital world that were never envisioned. Thus digital surveillance is so very broad because it can be, while physical surveillance was, of necessity, targeted.

And yet they (the politicians and the law agencies) will happily claim that what they are doing is no different to the physical equivalent, despite the vastly increased breadth and scope of what is now possible, once it moves to the digital world.

It's something of the same thing here and yet the government is trying to argue the exact opposite: that the quantity of data now able to the stored (and therefore hidden from the government) in a 'digital' safe* means that you can't compare that to its physical equivalent and therefore the same protections shouldn't apply.

But think what that increased quantity of information in the digital world includes - think of all the data you have that is protected (however weakly or strongly) by a password.

If you're an average person, it includes a vast amount of your personal communications for many years, in the form of e-mail history. Thus, with a single password, the government could get access to all that. Sure, in the physical world, a warrant would provide access to any letters you have in your house, but there is no way that you would have kept all your letters for years back. Thus, with a password, the government can access data it never would have been able to access were that data transmitted via a physical medium.

That means that protection for your 'digital life' is potentially more important for your Fifth Amendment rights than is protection for (e.g.) a physical safe.

* - I.e. an encrypted hard drive.

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dan1980
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Re: so Desperation

@Meerkatjie

"What would be your solution be in this case that balances the right of the individual against the right of the public?"

This is the question that is used by everyone seeking to circumvent and weaken protections provided by the constitution. To be clear, I am not suggesting that is you position - I am simply pointing out that this question of 'balance' is the wedge that gets used.

The problem is that the protection of, say, the Fifth Amendment is a protection for the public against the government. It is an acknowledgment that the government has more power than the individuals it accuses of crimes.

You can talk about the individual vs the public but the public is made up of individuals, each of whom are afforded the same protection. Given that this is, as stated, a protection for the public against the government, you can't separate the rights of on person from the rights of all people.

When you talk about the rights of the individual vs the rights of the public, what you are really asking is whether the government should be allowed to strip the rights from some individual when they believe - or profess - that it benefits 'the public'. Once that it done, then NONE of the public have that right anymore because any single person may be stripped of it.

The Fifth Amendment is for the good of the public, it just sometimes doesn't feel that way. Just as the First Amendment is for the good of the public and yet it allows behaviour that many find objectionable.

Some protections are all-or-nothing because as soon as you allow wriggle room, the government tends to have the advantage and can perform all manner of contortions to justify what they want.

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dan1980
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"The poster seemed to be suggesting that anyone over 50 is less likely to have been exposed to IT technology . . ."

Without arguing this, it's not really the point in this case. If you can find a judge who doesn't understand what a password is, then I will show you a judge who is senile beyond the ability to perform the functions of their office.

It is well-enough established that a person can be compelled to produce a key to a safe but not a combination.

Many people have argued how this distinction should be applied in the digital world but one tack is to say that passwords shouldn't be protected by the Fifth amendment because they can't be compared to combinations of safes. The reasoning there is that there isn't a strong reason to compel someone to reveal the combination of a safe because the safe can, generally, be accessed with the assistance of locksmiths.

It's an open area of discussion and debate but I would suggest that, logically, the ability of Law Enforcement to access a safe means there's also no good reason to compel someone to produce the key either.

So why the difference? If both a key and a combination are conveniences for the Government surely production the them should be treated the same under the Fifth Amendment.

The reason they aren't can only be because of the nature of what is being demanded: a physical object vs the contents of someone's mind.

There are only two ways out here - either the entire contents of someones mind is covered by the Fifth Amendment or only some parts are.

To my point about the technical knowledge of the judge, it's worth noting that it doesn't matter if the combination lock on a safe is a multiple-dial lock, a single-dial lock or even a keypad and it doesn't matter if the safe door is locked by bolts on one side or all around and it doesn't matter what the bolts are made of or whether they are mechanically or electrically driven - or how hard the safe is to crack or how long that will take.

In other words, the specific safe construction and lock mechanism is irrelevant to the Fifth Amendment question of whether the combination for is protected or not.

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dan1980
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Re: Actual case aside

@Doctor Syntax

"A sworn statement by her would be evidence."

Indeed it would be, in exactly the same way as a sworn statement of an eye witness to an auto theft is evidence. Which is to say that the statement, if the witness is found to be compelling and trustworthy, will constitute equally-compelling evidence.

BUT, and this is the key thing, regardless of whether that evidence is sufficient to convict the defendant or not, it doesn't somehow provide justification to remove the defendant's Fifth Amendment rights.

The issue is whether the information held in one's head can be ordered to be divulged in order to be used against you, not whether it's likely that you are guilty. There is no threshold of evidence, past which your Fifth Amendment rights no longer apply.

The information is either protected under the Fifth Amendment or it isn't - if it isn't then it's Fourth Amendment time and it would be ridiculous to suggest that such a 'search' would be unreasonable, thus the information (the password) would have been fair game long ago.

If the information is protected under the Fifth Amendment then no circumstance or amount of evidence is sufficient to compel the disclosure of it.

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dan1980
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Re: Future Justice

"But there is evidence."

Certainly there is. And they have that evidence. So build your case on that. (Which they did.)

Let us completely ignore whether the defendant knows the password or not. In fact, let us assume that he does know it and is indeed refusing to hand over the information, as the court 'found'.

THIS IS INFORMATION IN HIS HEAD. His thoughts; his secrets; his ideas.

The government wants to force the accused to speak for the express purpose of using those words as evidence against him. They are saying he should be forced to testify against himself. The fact that the thoughts they want him to give voice to represent passwords is irrelevant - it is information he has in his brain that the government wants to force him provide so it can incriminate him.

The fact that they have evidence of some crimes does not allow them to force the defendant to testify against himself to prove other crimes or a greater extent of criminality.

Say you had someone charged with stealing a car and had evidence sufficient to secure that conviction but the government (as the prosecutor) strongly believed that this same person was responsible for several other thefts occurring around the same time. The defendant does not have to provide testimony that puts him at those additional crime scenes - he can invoke his Fifth Amendment rights to refuse to provide that information.

The fact that there is evidence he committed one crime does not mean the Fifth Amendment no longer applies because it applies to every charge - every crime. This is so you can't find someone guilty and then laden him/her up with bunches of other crimes.

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dan1980
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@Vector

Quite so. I am reminded of this amusing nugget:

http://imgur.com/SCVWSCF

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dan1980
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Re: so Desperation

As an side-note, the reason the laws and cases against flag burning are particularly relevant is that burning a flag is not harmful to anyone. Oh, you may hate it and it may make you feel angry but it doesn't harm you.

The flags in question are private property that have been purchased by the individual in question and, as such, destruction of which represents no damage of public property. It is also just a flag - pieces of died and sewn cotton* - and so has no worth except that of the ideas it stands for. Ideas. Not a person, not a building - just some ideas. No one's child is being kidnapped and abused - no one is being murdered or beaten. No one's house is being broken into or car stolen.

But yet this - this expression (and it is accepted as such by the government) that harms no one and constitutes no loss or damage of public property - is enough to prompt governments to try to circumvent the Constitution.

Oh, you had better believe that the government would like to be able to do that and that, if it was able to, it wouldn't stop at extreme cases. It wouldn't be just to 'protect the children'.

* - Burning a flag may be free expression of an idea but setting polyester on fire is plain stupid.

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dan1980
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Re: so Desperation

@AC

"The difference is that when such a sumbag's ext HDD is decrypted, they seemingly stand a good chance of being jailed. Whilst an honest ordinary upstanding member of society such as yourself wouldn't."

Irrelevant.

The defendant was being asked to testify against himself. I appreciate that the line between having to provide a key to a safe and having to provide a password to a hard drive appears fine but that is only when you approach it from the point of view of use, rather than source and format.

Ask yourself this - what if the police had access to a machine capable of reading information directly from someone's mind? It's a situation I've ranted on before but here it is particularly relevant. If such a device were to exist, should the police be able to employ it to force information from a defendant?

If you accept that a court should be able to force a defendant to turn over information in their mind, then it's hard to argue, logically, that a mind-reading device couldn't be used. After all, if the police are executing a legal warrant to search someone's house, no amount of refusal to let the police enter will stop them - they are allowed to use necessary force to execute that warrant.

Still, you might say that this is all okay with you because it would only be used on 'scumbags'. But who decides who is a 'scumbag' and who is an 'honest, ordinary, upstanding member of society'?

Sometimes it's hard to tell who gets to make that decision but, spoiler alert: it's not you. And it's certainly not me.

But let's say that it is decided that in certain cases, involving certain (alleged) crimes, the stakes are high enough to force people to reveal information contained in their mind that the authorities will then use as evidence against them.

Why not just force them to testify against themselves? After all, you've already admitted that it's okay to compel people to reveal information in their heads - information which is being sought for the express purpose of convicting that person.

What you then have is, effectively, a test on when the Fifth Amendment should and should not apply and who it should and should not apply to. Perhaps, even then, you are still defiantly sticking to your guns. But think of what that actually means . . .

It means that the Constitution - a document that expressly limits how the government may act and what laws it may make - can be ignored when the government wants.

In other words, it means that the government can make laws that restrict the constitution.

And make no mistake - the government would love to do this and we see it with First Amendment cases not infrequently. In such cases, the government makes a law that bans some type of behaviour - for example (and controversially) burning the flag. The courts then slap that down as unconstitutional.

In these cases, the government's line is not that the action isn't free expression of ideas, but that this particular idea should be considered especially problematic. The flaw in the government's arguments in these cases is that the First Amendment already contains exceptions and the proposed/enacted laws do not fall into those (narrow) spaces. Instead, the laws, effectively, try to add new exceptions to the constitution.

And that's just not how it works - the government of (e.g.) Texas, can't decided that the Constitution doesn't apply when it says it shouldn't.

This is the whole point of the Constitution - to set aside some laws and rights and protections and restrictions that cannot be easily overruled and ignored based on current political ideology or populist sentiment.

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In the land of Google, Holocaust denial, death threats – all fine. LGBT? Oh, no, that's sensitive

dan1980
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Re: They have a point

@Throatwarbler Mangrove

You can also have people in other countries looking up these things because, while they understand the concept (it's right there is the term), the actually phenomenon is foreign to them. Like in Australia.

I'm sure I have looked it up because, after hearing about it as a slur against someone, in order to brand them as bigots or conspiracy theorists (or both), the question has come to me: is that really a thing? Like a common enough thing to get some much coverage?

Sadly, it seems that it is but I didn't understand the extent of the issue until I searched on it.

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WWE star's swiped sex snaps survey spam snares selfie sickos

dan1980
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Despicable exploitation + despicable scamming doesn't exactly make for a great time for anyone but I'd like to hope that the stories of people getting stung while trying to view this material provides some small measure of . . . something.

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