* Posts by John Savard

1926 posts • joined 18 Sep 2007

Drama as boffins claim to reach the Holy Grail of superconductivity

John Savard
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Re: Even if this were true

Absolutely. But just because it won't work for power distribution - and given that it's a nanomaterial, the component metals will be a small part of the cost - maybe it will be useful in microchips, for example.

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John Savard
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Re: Undecided

No, you have to go to North Korea to find unicorns. Seriously.

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John Savard
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Re: @Milton ... Extraordinary claims—

I think the cost of putting up the wires once would be paid back by the savings eventually.

It's the cost of guarding them that is ongoing. After all, people are already tearing down wires just to steal the valuable copper in them.

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John Savard
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Puzzled

"Let them give up their greed of earning a billion dollars in patent" - if they actually do have room temperature superconductivity, of course they would have to secure patents before they could reveal details; that is perfectly normal and to be expected.

Of course, since there is reason to believe their data is faked - the duplicate noise - and now the use of a fake E-mail account to try and subdue criticism - there is reason to suspect they may not have it. But if so, why waste money applying for a patent?

I am, therefore, a bit puzzled by all this. While it's easy to jump to the conclusion that the discovery was faked, the events don't quite fit with any obvious motive. Could the experimenters be victims of a prankster aiming to destroy their reputations by tampering with their experiment, to make them think they had found this discovery, and then doing underhanded things so as to appear they are done on their behalf?

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Linux 4.18 arrives fashionably late while Zorin OS shines up its Windows

John Savard
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PlayOnLinux

All right. I'm confused here. The article mentioned PlayOnLinux as something that lets you run Windows programs on Linux that won't run on Wine.

But PlayOnLinux is a front-end for Wine.

Maybe it's because the programs will run, but they're hard to install without the help of a front-end program like PlayOnLinux, as might be implied by some of what I saw in the description on their site, but it's not really clear.

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The off-brand 'military-grade' x86 processors, in the library, with the root-granting 'backdoor'

John Savard
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Cluedo

And, oh, yes, I grasped what the mention of the library in the article was a reference to - although, living in North America, I know the game by Parker Brothers' name of Clue rather than Waddington's original name of Cluedo.

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John Savard
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Different Viewpoint

Since even when the feature is enabled in the BIOS, it can only be used from ring 0 code, it isn't a security flaw that enables entry into the system; it's just a feature that makes it a bit easier to do serious damage (or, more importantly, do it without getting caught) after one is in a position to do nearly everything anyways.

What bothers me is that this potentially useful feature, because it only allows the use of augmented instruction sets if all security features are turned off, is therefore nearly useless. So firstly it's a waste of silicon; secondly, given that it somewhat weakens security, it definitely shouldn't be there if it isn't there for any sensible reason.

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Space, the final Trump-tier: America to beam up $8bn for Space Force

John Savard
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Since the references to Starship Troopers are to the movie, not so much the original novel, I think they're appropriate. The movie presented the milieu as explicitly fascist; the novel, on the other hand, assumed democratic safeguards of a sort rather than a tyranny, but was genuinely presenting the idea that a kind of fascism might be a legitimate way for a nation to survive under suitably difficult circumstances.

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John Savard
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Re: News

In fairness to Mike Pence, the first Corona reconaissance satellites were launched only about a year after Explorer I, the first successful American satellite. So spy satellites definitely were among the first American satellites to do somtehing more than perform initial scientific measurements of outer space. Telstar wasn't until 1962.

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John Savard
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Re: Shhh! Keep it on the down-low

No! We need to shout it from the housetops! They've got to be stopped!

Otherwise, we'll find out the hard way that telephone sanitizers really do serve a useful purpose.

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John Savard
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News

"The first American satellites to orbit the Earth were on reconnaissance missions behind the Iron Curtain."

There were American spy satellites in orbit before Vanguard? Or is he thinking of the U-2 by any chance?

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Intel: Yeah, yeah, 10nm. It's on the todo list. Now, let's talk about AI...

John Savard
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I Wish Them Both Well

I want both AMD and Intel to do well, and bring us new and exciting products. Intel needs competition to keep it honest, and the sooner we can enjoy the benefits of their new 10nm process, and everybody else's 7nm process, the better.

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Tech billionaire Khosla loses battle over public beach again – and still grants no access

John Savard
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Technically, that's not corruption. Corruption is when you secretly take bribes. If you openly follow policies that favor big business, in hopes that they may make contributions to your campaign, that's just politics. Voters can always vote for the other fellow.

It is failing to act in the interests of the people in general. That, however, is properly left to the voters to punish because that is subjective. Maybe what's good for billionaires is good for the U.S.A..

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John Savard
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Re: @John Savard Boo Freakin' Hoo

Ah, although he has land locked public land, there is no specific path across his property that has been made a right of way to that land. I can see how that would make it complicated.

In some jurisdictions, rights of way are determined from common law, and so if a certain path across the property had been in use by the public since time immemorial, it would be a right of way without the need for a agovernment body to have created a right of way by legislative or administrative act.

Also, if a court has ordered him to allow access, that should settle it: either he does so, posthaste, or he will be found in contempt, which tends to lead to jail time.

The idea that one can have a legal obligation, and yet dilly-dally about fulfilling it without consequences seems strange. It should not matter how much money you have; no one is above the law.

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Click this link and you can get The Register banned in China

John Savard
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Re: Not the entirity of China...

When Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese control in 1997, statements publicly made at the time made it clear that "One Country, Two Systems" was limited to 50 years, and, more importantly, was not part of the essence of the agreement. Which means that if China should decide to impose its system on Hong Kong at some time in the future, Britain is not allowed by the terms of the relevant treaty to treat this as causus belli and take Hong Kong right back.

Of course, this is sadly understandable, since mainland China has got its hands on the Maxim gun, oops, sorry, nuclear weapons.

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John Savard
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"nobody said a word when the US blew their own buildings to get an excuse to embark in middle east invasions"

Perhaps because that didn't actually happen.

However, there's this enormous "9/11 Truth" movement, and many of its followers operate in the United States, where they have not become political prisoners.

Also, a phrase like "anti-Chinese tone"; since the People's Republic of China doesn't have a free press and free elections, of course any honest appraisal of that society will be... critical... as would be the case, for example, in a discussion of Germany under the rule of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, and for much the same reasons.

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John Savard
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"he emotionally abandoned the young boy, leaving him in a perpetual state of fury for the rest of his childhood and scarring him for the rest of his life"... really? For some reason, not even a hint of this appears in the Wikipedia article about Christopher Robin Milne. But there is also nothing about him supporting any unpopular political causes, so I can't explain that as a joke either.

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Boffins: Mixed-signal silicon can SCREAM your secrets to all

John Savard
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Not Unexpected

Oh, dear. But this shouldn't come as a surprise. Crypto gear used by governments, after all, has shielding between the parts that handle unenciphered data and the enciphered data that is to be sent out over the air. It's not possible to put different parts of the same chip in separate metal boxes.

Someone with a reciever and fancy gear within a few metres of you, though, isn't in most people's threat models, fortunately.

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Revealed in detail: World powers stuff spyware kit, how-to guides in dodgy nations' pockets

John Savard
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Missing name

What, Russia isn't doing it?

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It's 2018 so, of course, climate.news is sold to climate change deniers

John Savard
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Since they really have a fake.news domain, once it's sold, it probably will carry...

links to impeccably verified, accurate, and impartial news articles

from stories explaining why they are fake news.

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Up in arms! Arm kills off its anti-RISC-V smear site after own staff revolt

John Savard
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Re: It bears repeating: Building a CPU that runs C fast considered harmful.

A CPU "runs FORTRAN fast" if it runs the kind of machine code a FORTRAN compiler will typically emit fast, and in this sense it is perfectly legitimate to say that a CPU is designed to run C fast.

Since these days hardly anyone thinks the design of the Burroughs B6500 was a good idea, we don't have too many computers that run Algol well but C not nearly as well.

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John Savard
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Not Shocked

I thought they were just legitimately pointing out the potential drawbacks of their competition, just as Intel has done in some of its advertising. After all, the consumer still makes the ultimate decision.

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I think I'm a clone now: Chinese AMD Epyc-like server chips appear in China. What gives?

John Savard
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Nothing stops me from building a system for myself around an X470 motherboard.

But many potential computer purchasers are less sophisticated, and will buy whatever happens to be conveniently available for them in a box on dealer shelves. So, if AMD's new Ryzen chips aren't there, this will reduce the benefits to AMD of that chip's improved performance.

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Who fancies a six-core, 32GB RAM, 4TB NVME ... convertible tablet?

John Savard
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Too much?

Although I was impressed favorably by Dell's earlier offering, something that converts to a tablet as well as being this powerful seems to be overpowered for its use case. Still, one never knows when a little extra versatility might not come in handy.

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Who fancies a six-core, 128GB RAM, 8TB NVMe … laptop?

John Savard
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Applause

I heartily approve of offering people the option of a more powerful laptop computer. Of course, most people won't need a Xeon instead of a conventional Core i7 in a laptop, but no doubt there are benefits.

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When Google's robots give your business the death sentence – who you gonna call?

John Savard
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I suggest they replace it with good old-fashioned cash registers. Or at least have those as a backup.

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Europe's scheme to build exascale capability on homegrown hardware is ludicrous fantasy

John Savard
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RISC-V?

Maybe someone in Europe could design a good RISC-V processor, and send the plans off to TSMC to build? That would give them some European hardware to use. So it's not totally impossible.

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The strife of Brian: Why doomed Intel boss's ex86 may not be the real reason for his hasty exit

John Savard
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Multiple Patterning?

If Intel is stumbling with 10nm, I would have blamed EUV, not multiple patterning, since the fab that was first to market with a 10 nm process - or was it 7 nm? - did so with an early iteration that had no EUV, only multiple patterning.

Ah, yes, I see I was thinking about the recent articles about how TSMC was shifting to volume production of 7nm earlier than expected - but their 7nm+, which will use EUV, is coming later.

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Mellanox flushes three directors at behest of activist investor

John Savard
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Peace in Our Time

I take it you have your doubts that this will be the end of this.

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This HTC U12+ review page is left intentionally blank

John Savard
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Right Choice

If they're going to fix this before it's shipped, any review would be misleading. You have warned us about the potential flaws. A review would only have tantalized us with its good points.

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PETA calls for fish friendly Swedish street signage

John Savard
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On Topic

As it happens, the village of Fishkill in New York is of no little significance in the computer industry, being the former location of a major IBM research campus.

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Stern Vint Cerf blasts techies for lackluster worldwide IPv6 adoption

John Savard
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South Korea?

I thought I had read somewhere that South Korea led the world in IPv6 adoption, being almost 100% IPv6, which would have put it ahead of both India and the United States. I must be mistaken.

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Ex-US pres Bill Clinton has written a cyber-attack pulp thriller. With James Patterson. Really

John Savard
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I presume he dyes his hair and combs it differently. Perhaps he also puts on a pair of glasses.

But for this and other similar considerations (isn't there a Navy SEAL he can trust?) it does sound like my disbelief won't be capable of being suspended far enough for this one.

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Uber 'does not exist any more' says Turkish president

John Savard
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Alternative

If the value of taxi licenses issued by the government has diminished, surely the government could issue refunds.

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Visa Europe fscks up Friday night with other GDPR: 'God Dammit, Payment Refused'

John Savard
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They Can Improve

Since it was possible for a hardware failure to cause an outage such as this, no doubt they will be upgrading their systems to provide better upgrade and failover. Plus, some improvement to the software so that charges won't be made to accounts if payments aren't made due to a failure would be advisable.

I think this is probably doable, so we won't be seeing problems like this agan.

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ZTE can't buy chips from America – but can still get sued for patent infringement in the US

John Savard
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Wait a Moment

ZTE had been doing business in Texas, and in the United States, in the past, selling smartphones which may have violated the patents in question, so why should its subsequent fate protect it from lawsuits?

Of course, it could simply ignore any settlement that isn't approved by courts of a jurisdiction in which it is still doing business, unless it has plans of returning to the United States someday.

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Don't read this, Oracle... It's the rise of the open-source data strategies

John Savard
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Another Competitor

The article didn't once mention a competitor of Oracle's that, not being open-source, ought to have shown up as more than a blip on Gartner. Doesn't IBM offer a database or two that still provide very stiff competition for Oracle?

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Leaked pics: Motorola to add 'unpatriotic' 5G to 4G phones with magnets

John Savard
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Unpatriotic?

In this case, I'm not sure the Chinese have it wrong. If the patents don't really cover the essential innovations needed for higher-speed broadband, so that it is possible to come up with alternative standards that are just as good, then the world should choose to go with open-source technology.

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Russia to Apple: Kill Telegram crypto-chat – or the App Store gets it

John Savard
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Lack of a World Government

Telegram should be able to pick up the phone, and call the police, if hackers are tampering with their software, in violation of its copyrights and license agreements.

And if it should happen that the Russian government is sponsoring this hacking, Putin should just find himself in the dock.

But right now we have anarchy; Putin has nuclear weapons, and thus is more powerful than any international agency enforcing software copyrights and laws against unauthorized access to computers. How is this situation going to be changed?

Basically, the desired condition is what existed before World War I: only the civilized democratic nations have any appreciable military force; so a civilized democratic nation like, say, Luxembourg, could carry out regime change against a non-democratic nation, like, say, China, without batting an eyelash.

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Trump’s new ZTE tweet trumps old ZTE tweets that trumped his first ZTE tweet

John Savard
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Winning?

Someone seems to have confused Donald Trump with Charlie Sheen, but maybe that's just my memory playing tricks on me.

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Brit Attorney General: Nation state cyber attack is an act of war

John Savard
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Truth

Just because the bad actors generally have nuclear weapons, and even if not, military action, which so often involves loss of human lives, is not warranted, it certainly is true that if a foreign government engages in acts that are injurious to the lives or property of people of a free country - it deserves to face consequences, at least in theory.

Given that the Trump presidency may end up taking the United States off-line, the United Kingdom really should be considering expanding its nuclear capability so that it can keep Russia and China at bay all by itself, perhaps with some help from the French. So don't be too hard on your politicians if they seem to have unwarranted visions of glory. The free people of the world may be depending on you to rise to the occasion.

Just don't pin your hopes on discovering a source of Pinot Grand Fenwick.

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Blood spilled from another US high school shooting has yet to dry – and video games are already being blamed

John Savard
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Re: Business leaders

Fewer people are being killed in Japan, so the Japanese legislation is saving lives.

Clearly, though, there is room for further improvement in Japan, particularly as it would be harder to argue in Japan that stricter gun legislation would penalize mostly innocent gun owners!

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John Savard
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Aside from guns

Well, we do now have a cause, and it's not video games: it's sexism. Or, more specifically, the idea on the part of some men that they have a right that women should yield to them.

I think that if politicians could resist the tactics of the NRA, the American people would be willing to restrict semi-automatic weapons, but I'm not sure that they would be willing to severely restrict handguns. (Actually, I suspect most Americans would happily vote for a law that banned black people from owning handguns, but the Supreme Court wouldn't let that one fly for a second. Maybe a law that banned handgun ownership for anyone with a criminal record - presumably they already have one, but it just would need to be expanded a bit, or given more effective enforcement.)

And Canada didn't have a gun violence problem before 1968, when legislation was brought in to classify handguns as restricted weapons - and to require secure storage of firearms. So we didn't have a gun violence problem before any gun control legislation was brought in that would have been applicable to this particular event.

Some restrictions on gun ownership in the U.S. are long overdue, but it has other social problems that will give it a higher crime rate than, oh, say Sweden, even if that happens. They have, after all, serious problems of inequality in income, exacerbated by racial inequality. Those aren't being addressed either. And people who aren't being sufficiently well protected by the police are going to want to have guns of their own. So it isn't just one problem.

Maybe after most black people move into the middle class, then work on gun control will be effective.

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IP freely? What a wind-up! If only Trevor Baylis had patent protections inventors enjoy today

John Savard
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It's certainly true that using a wind-up spring to hold energy, and turning rotational energy into electricity with a generator, were well-known in the art.

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John Savard
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Edwin Armstrong

Of course, the most famous and egregious case of this almost has to be Edwin Armstrong's patent on the superheterodyne radio.

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US prison telco accused of selling your phone's location to the cops

John Savard
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It's quite true that the quoted statement:

“Securus requires documentation and reasonably relies on the professionalism and integrity of our law enforcement customers and their counsel. Securus is neither a judge nor a district attorney, and the responsibility of ensuring the legal adequacy of supporting documentation lies with our law enforcement customers and their counsel.”

sounds pretty strange.

As a company that has access to confidential data, they are responsible for the privacy of everyone using the mobile telephone system. So one would think they would be responsible if they released this data without taking adequate precautions against improper release.

However, the law as it stands in the U.S. may not place an absolute onus on them, and voluntary cooperation with the police, without requiring a court order, is certainly not criminalized for data that a firm holds itself.

Functioning as a back door to data about users of other telephone providers, though, is an invitation to abuse, especially when a firm is known for being less questioning of requests from law enforcement sources than others.

Hopefully, the firm at least keeps careful records of every such request that it receives, so that any improper requests can be tracked by the relevant authorities? That would seem to be a minimal step to take in order to ensure that the responsibility does lie with the requestor and not them.

But even if no one at Securus is jailed for violating privacy, a possible consequence, if they're not complying with standards expected by other telephone carriers for the handling of the data to which they have access as a telephone carrier themselves... could be being unplugged from the telephone network, and thus losing their business. I mean, I presume they had to sign something to become a telephone carrier.

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Make masses carry their mobes, suggests wig in not-at-all-creepy speech

John Savard
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More Pertinent

More significant to me is not that one person has mused about a possible intrusion on our privacy in the future, but how this calls attention to how much of our privacy we're voluntarily giving up now.

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Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

John Savard
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We've had Programmer's File Editor and then later Notepad++, so I don't think the lackhas been too terrible...

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Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie, oi oi oi! Tech zillionaire Ray's backdoor crypto for the Feds is Clipper chip v2

John Savard
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Re: Why would Apple (or anyone else) want to be in the loop?

That seems to be the biggest unsolvable problem regarding any key escrow scheme.

But I can see one thing that could be done, which would not solve it 100% in theory, but which might be claimed to be "good enough" by those politicians and others who feel a key escrow scheme is necessary.

What if, instead of one "master key" which, if stolen, would allow hackers to read encryption with the same facility as law enforcement (but without needing warrants)... there were five of them?

So that when a police department gets a warrant to decrypt a cracked phone, they have to send the encrypted escrow key on a trip to five different government agencies to get back the key they need to read it? I can see it being believed that hackers wouldn't be able to simultaneously crack the security of, say, the Department of Justice, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and NIST, to get all five master keys. And without even one of those keys, the encryption would remain unbreakable.

That, of course, requires a commitment to erase all the other master keys when one of them is compromised, and give up the ability to read all the old phones, though, and that's probably the part that won't happen.

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Revenge pornography ban tramples free speech, law tossed out – where else but Texas!

John Savard
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Interesting Precedent

I suppose next all the laws against unauthorized disclosure of classified information, unauthorized disclosure of trade secrets, and copyright infringement, by the same logic, will be thrown out as being in violation of the First Amendment.

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