Re: With properly implemented storage of passwords.....
Well, if they can force you to hand over the hashes, they can force you to divulge your salting practices, so salts probably won't help much in this case. A cryptographically secure hashing mechanism is your best bet to protect user passwords, in all cases. Salts protect against rainbow tables, not individual cracking attempts. (Though it's still a good idea to salt in a unique way, as this prevents someone from using a password hash leaked from another site to login to a user with the same email via bypassing the hashing mechanism.)
I'm more interested in why the NSA wants passwords in the first place, when they've proven they can get FISA warrants (which are almost never denied, or even examined thoroughly) to sap data up directly from inside any company's datacenter. To try to login to a user's accounts on a foreign site? Am I the only person who thinks that this behavior is more reminiscent of a criminal hacker ring, than a "Security" agency?
Sidenote: I just looked up the PA's 7th district on a map. It's shape is insane. Gerrymandering, anybody? I can count at least 4 spots where major sections of the district are connected by areas no longer than a city block.
Both Patrick Meehan (R PA, Dis7) and Allyson Schwartz (D PA, Dis 13) voted no :-/. My house is right on the border of those two districts, so I'm never sure which one of them is my rep, but I guess it doesn't matter much.
In regards to the using of private property for public use, they do offer to compensate the companies in question, so that's not likely a viable point of protest.
As to the quartering argument, the NSA will probably claim it is part of a "War on Crime". Their actions are actually prescribed by law. (Which is why this is so scary to most of us; it would be far easier to deal with rogue agents breaking laws, than a systemic corruption of civic liberties.)
The only reason a corporation exists is to find ways to make more money. Even when they're extremely successful at finding ways to make more money, it can never slake the need to make more money. Give them everything they ask for, and they will still want more, at the expense of anything and everything else. Because the only measure of a successful company is how much money it makes. It's not how many lives they save, how many good deeds they do, how much art or education they fund, how many hungry mouths they feed - those charitable deeds are only ploys to engage the public's trust and help them make more money.
This is why corporations need to be watched and regulated and why the government needs to be separated from their financial influence - because when it comes down to it, the only card they have to play is money. It's the only power they have.
I find this somewhat offensive and narrow-minded. There are an unfathomable number of reasons to start a business, and claiming that profit is the sole impetus for every person who ever started a business is just disingenuous.
You may or may not find this surprising, but there is no physical entity that is called a Corporation. A "Corporation" is just a pattern of organization that has legal recognition. They are comprised of people; good people, bad people, indifferent people, but always people.
As a co-founder of a (small) corporation, it always annoys me when people use the word "Corporations" in the singular, as though we're all just part of the same amalgamation, the same "enemy". It's either naive or manipulative, and I'm not sure which is worse.
Knowing firsthand the sheer amount of toil, hardship, and uncertainty that goes with starting your own business, I can certainly tell you that anyone who does so for the sole purpose of making money is either a fool or a masochist. The money is the means, not the end.
Of course, none of this is to say that there aren't those people out there running corporations who are after a quick buck, and don't mind using unscrupulous means to achieve that, but again, they are people; individual entities who are doing wrong, not the entirety of everyone who starts a business. People like that are fortunately in the minority (though of course the majority reported, for obvious reasons).
If you want to rail against individuals who act in the manner you describe, hell, lemme grab my pitchfork. But next time don't paint all "corporations" under that same brush because you think they're all alike.
Undoubtedly. Government is not simple. Hell, it shouldn't be. All other things being equal, a smaller government is better than a larger government.
Laissez-faire capitalism is applying a (good) broad idea to a very narrow implementation, often with horrible results. Just look at the Robber Barons.
Until we can eliminate (or at least seriously reduce) corruption, cronyism, and the corrosive influence of money in politics, any other "good faith" attempt to reform government would be an exercise in futility.
The US Government hasn't been "for the people" in a long time.
I'm not sure what the original political viewpoint of a "liberal" was, but I certainly know that any modern usages of political spectrums are horribly skewed. Aside from some differences of opinion on some "key" issues (which mostly just serve to divide the country, but that's another topic), it's rather hard to tell one party apart from the other in any significant way.
We need some serious retraction of government power. I truly believe that government which governs least, governs best. That is, if it isn't absolutely necessary for it to be done by the Federal government, it shouldn't be. Law enforcement comes to mind, such as in this article. (Not that there are no legitimate uses for government power, but every small increase needs to be researched, disclosed, vetted, voted, re-voted, and checked up on every 2 years. It should not have been this easy to gather such powers.)
It must really piss you off living in a democratic society, where the majority rules, when you are in the minority.
If the majority wants this kind of widespread and warrantless data snooping to be legal, then they can very well go ahead and pass a new amendment to the Constitution making it so. Until then, it is in clear violation of the 4th Amendment, and needs to stop.
Who says I accept fingerprinting? The fact that your fingerprints can be taken and entered into a database for being arrested galls me to no end. Being arrested is not the same as being convicted. I don't have a problem with fingerprint/DNA databases of convicted felons, but anyone can be arrested, despite not breaking any laws; if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, bear a resemblance to a criminal, match a profile, or just somehow manage to piss off a cop. Usually in these cases you're let go right away after a few questions, but not before they permanently add you into a criminal identification database. It's outrageous when you think about it.
If so, will this link the price of food to the price of gold? That would be weird (especially for those who proponent a gold-backed currency). Not sure if it would be good or bad, but definitely weird.
Of course, they probably don't use up all that much corn in the process, so it's a moot point.
All of what you said is absolutely true. You just missed one point. Why is this a bad thing?
Why do you need a "job"? To earn money? Why do you need money? To purchase things you need? Well, what if everything you need, all throughout the line of production, is produced quickly, cheaply, and in quantities surpassing demand? Is there need for money? Is there need for a "job"?
That utopian scenario is likely the end result of industrial automation (if we can figure out raw resource limitations, anyway). Granted, that won't happen for a long, long time, but until that point, we will always have jobs that need doing.
Ehh... By the time the singularity actually happens, I doubt there'll be any real distinction between "human" and "machine". This alarmist notion that ever more intelligent computers will replace humanity precludes the notion that if we can build a machine that's smarter than us, then we can certainly find a way to make ourselves smarter.
Thanks for being one of the few people who've reacted to this story with any sort of sense.
You're absolutely right, this was most likely a result of IRS agents trying to do their job (poorly), and not, as some espouse, a political conspiracy directed from the top.
That said, I'm personally outraged by this bias in the IRS, whatever its original intent. It's akin to racial profiling; though there may be a statistical correlation between the population and behavior (correlation, not causation, big difference), by no means does this make it acceptable to target said population in order to prevent the behavior, based on no other evidence.
Even if this isn't a conspiracy, the people responsible need to be fired. This sort of behavior is entirely unacceptable for any part of our government, and particularly for the IRS which is supposed to maintain political neutrality.