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  • Apr 27th, 2016 @ 1:48pm

    Another way to read that last part

    "Confidential Information" means data that is protected from disclosure on a computer, computer program, computer system or computer network and that the computer, computer program, computer system or computer network does not transmit or disclose unless initiated by the owner of such computer, computer program, computer system or computer network.

    Another way of reading that is that if the computer transmits the data when someone other than the owner merely requests it, the data fails the bolded part of the paragraph and because of that is not considered "confidential information".

  • Apr 25th, 2016 @ 11:53am


    It's more physically intrusive, but it avoids revealing the data on the phone which is what the courts consider private.

  • Apr 15th, 2016 @ 8:30pm

    Re: Re:

    People like you are disgusting. What fucking fairy-tale land do you live in that makes you think that any government agency or a single member of that agency would not fuck you over sideways just because they might get caught? Just what makes you think that just because it is government that they have no reason to use their power to even screw with you as a joke?

    Did you think before ranting? You're maybe right about an individual IRS agent, but we aren't talking about individual IRS agents dealing with individual returns here. We're talking about an automated system handling a huge number of the simplest returns there are (the people who can file 1040EZ, basically). To do what you suggest involves not just one person but a joint effort between likely hundreds of developers, QA people and managers in the IT division who have no contact with taxpayers and no direct involvement in the actual processing of returns. If they targeted more than a small handful of taxpayers, it's virtually certain the systematic errors would be uncovered and an investigation begun by yet another group independent of the first. At that point even a single member of the first group (who doesn't even have to be involved in the deal themselves, just know about it) deciding to not endanger their career by lying and the whole scheme unravels. Maybe they wouldn't end up in jail, or even paying fines, but their careers would be over.

    And these are returns with no wiggle room in them. A complicated return from someone pulling in 6- and 7-digit sums from multiple companies of various sorts, with investments and all sorts of other exotic forms in their return, you can make plausible arguments before the judge for thousands of dollars in variation in the tax liability. That kind of return it's easy for an IRS agent to gouge a taxpayer. But a 1040EZ? The taxpayer or his tax preparer can nail down the tax liability to within a couple of dollars tops documented with paperwork whose numbers can't be argued with since they didn't originate with the taxpayer. They try to gouge the taxpayer, they lose the moment it gets appealed (and the appeal is trivial to do, you have to be brain-dead to screw up the form). They'll have pissed off their supervisor big-time, gross stupidity in public never looks good on your evaluation form plus the supervisor now has to actually do something about them because of said gross stupidity. And if your tax preparer's like the one I had, they'll end up personally paying every penny of your expenses plus hefty punitive damages plus a hefty fine. If they're lucky. If not, they'll wish they were just inventorying every single page of tax records the IRS has, all the way back to when it was formed, with no tools other than a Crayola crayon and a 3x5 index card. The one thing bureaucrats hate most is a subordinate who's stupid enough to get caught breaking the rules in so public a manner that it can't be swept under the rug.

    And all this for what? The chance to gain less than what they could gain in a month by jumping ship to the private sector? No, anybody stupid enough to try this wouldn't be able to get the code through the compiler let alone past the QA department.

  • Apr 15th, 2016 @ 2:44pm

    (untitled comment)

    The idea that the IRS would overcharge people is... well, in itself it's plausible. Whether through simple incompetence or malicious intent, we've seen enough out of government agencies to know it's not beyond the realm of possibility. But the IRS is providing all their figures to the taxpayer, who themselves have their own copies of the records and can do the math (or have it done for them) to double-check the IRS's calculations. The IRS might over-charge, but in no way would they get away with doing it on any scale at all without getting caught at it. Even the IRS knows this, it's exactly how they catch tax cheats. So why would they try in the first place, and how would they avoid being caught if they did try?

  • Apr 13th, 2016 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Or who don't get the exotic math well enough to catch the effects of a change, eg. the NSA's "tweaks" to the prime256v1, secp384r1 and secp521r1 curves for the elliptic-curve algorithms in OpenSSL.

  • Apr 13th, 2016 @ 10:16am


    How? To take OpenSSL as an example, by putting a competent developer in a position to contribute useful patches. After a couple of years his work'll pretty much be accepted as-is unless a bug points to his code. Then he can slip in non-obvious weaknesses at strategic points that make the channel vulnerable (at least to anyone with the NSA's resources).

    Why? Well, if you've compromised OpenSSL you pretty much have open access to all encrypted communications on the Web and in email. Almost everything that does SSL/TLS uses the OpenSSL library for it, and you know exactly what weakness was introduced and how to attack it.

    See also Reflections on Trusting Trust, Ken Thompson, 1984.

  • Apr 9th, 2016 @ 2:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, Northland Family Planning Clinics v. Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, 2012 didn't happen? Nor did 4 Navy SEALS v. Associated Press, 2005? Nor did Savage v. CAIR, 2009? All of those cases were cited in the article, and in all of them it was the side favoring copyright making the argument that you didn't need to explicitly copy to infringe and that even what we'd normally consider fair use required permission from the copyright holder.

    Yes, my position's anti-copyright, or at least anti-"copyright as interpreted by the copyright holders". But if it's bullcrap, you'd best look at where it's coming from because it's not mine, I'm simply citing actual statements and actions by the pro-copyright side as to how they want copyright to be interpreted. If it's bullcrap, it's pro-copyright bullcrap because that's who spewed it. I just pointed out the reeking pile they dumped.

  • Apr 8th, 2016 @ 9:47pm


    But if you discuss the policy statements of a politician you disagree with, aren't you in at least some way sharing his statements with the world without his express permission? That's where the copyright-extremist viewpoint leads us, to a world where it's illegal to discuss anything anyone else said or did without getting their permission first. It leads us to a world where you can't view a Web page without the creator's permission (because your browser doesn't display the Web page, it displays a copy of the Web page that it had made and downloaded).

    It leads us to a world where you're free to have an opinion, you just can't say anything about what led you to form that opinion or to back it up with facts that you believe support it (because all of that involves someone else's speech).

  • Apr 8th, 2016 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Fun

    It's not that hard to get a license to run a brothel. Worlds easier than a gaming license. But by your statements, one would expect lots of illegal prostitution. I lived there, I worked jobs where if there was illegal prostitution I'd've seen a parade of it going by, I even knew several of the brothel owners and a lot of the working girls (through the local Appaloosa and quarter-horse clubs, archery shoots and such), and it simply isn't that common outside the Vegas, and to a lesser degree Reno, area. Even the ranch hands and miners I knew wouldn't trust any girl who wasn't working at one of the houses, just too much risk for not enough savings. Yes you're going to pay a couple hundred bucks minimum at the brothel, but in Vegas the going rate starts at twice that and goes up fast and Reno isn't any cheaper so even out in the sticks you aren't going to be able to find non-professional girls any cheaper than at the houses (if you can find any at all, if none of the degenerate reprobates I knew could find them I don't think anyone can).

  • Apr 8th, 2016 @ 7:30am

    Re: Fun

    Explain Nevada, then. The items you mention are only major problems in the 2 counties where prostitution is not legal (and they're much less of a problem in the Reno area than in Las Vegas). Seems like the problems aren't tied to prostitution so much as the criminalization of prostitution.

  • Apr 7th, 2016 @ 11:01am

    Legal threats

    Someone needs to remind the trolls of what a lawyer told me: the proper way to deliver a threat of litigation is by way of a process server delivering the summons to the target. Saves a lot of blustering and posturing.

  • Mar 26th, 2016 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re:

    I'd say open source is secure in that respect, because you can legally make a local copy so you aren't dependent on the repository or availability from an external source for your dependencies. That eliminates the problems entirely.

    Trademark law doesn't think it's special, as I noted it specifically allows for different people to own the same mark in different fields. It's trademark lawyers and trademark holders who think that having a mark gives you a monopoly over all uses of it everywhere for anything, and the courts humor them instead of tossing them out on their ear.

  • Mar 25th, 2016 @ 8:55pm

    (untitled comment)

    One thing to do would be to qualify package names like this with the identity of the owner. Java does this with classes, you're supposed to use your domain name (reversed) to qualify your package names so there can't be any conflicts with anyone else's packages. That'd handle the technical aspects of it.

    For the legal aspects, pound it through the skulls of the lawyers that trademark law allows for more than a single instance of a mark. That's why the whole categorization system for trademarks exists, not to mention individual countries having their own independent trademark systems. The phrasing should be along the lines of "It is your job to know this. If you ignore it, the least you can expect is a claim of malpractice against you and being held personally liable for the full legal costs of both the opposing party and your own client.". And the same for trademark holders, make it clear that while they may have a duty to investigate any potential infringement of their mark they don't have a duty to do anything about non-infringing uses and they do have a duty to not ignore relevant parts of trademark law when deciding whether there's infringement. Long and short, certain parties are acting like 5-year-olds involved in a playground squabble and an adult needs to grab them by the collar and tell them to play nice with others or they can sit inside and do homework during recess.

  • Mar 2nd, 2016 @ 9:52am

    Re: So why don't they go after the iCloud backups?

    Because the iCloud authentication isn't just a yes/no flag. It's a challenge/response system, and the servers can't respond properly to the challenge from the phone unless they know the actual password.

  • Feb 17th, 2016 @ 1:18am

    Re: What Apple Gives, Apple Can Take Away

    Up to a point. If I were designing it, I'd have set it up so that the firmware couldn't be updated until the phone was unlocked by entry of the passcode. That would help close many of the holes exploited to root phones in general, and as a side-effect would prevent what the FBI's trying to do. Normal firmware upgrades would be happening with the phone already unlocked so it wouldn't bother normal users, and a phone couldn't have it's firmware forcibly back-leveled to a version that was vulnerable to rooting or a modified recovery image installed.

  • Feb 1st, 2016 @ 6:20pm

    (untitled comment)

    Twitter underneath the interface can't be that complex. The two hard parts would seem to be the search function (given keywords, find relevant tweets or accounts to follow) and filtering out the spambots (I'd love to have a big enough unfiltered dataset to see how Bayesian filtering would work on it, and I wonder if just a delay between sign-up and activation (ie. you sign up today, your account will be approved and activated tomorrow) would be enough to discourage them).

  • Jan 28th, 2016 @ 11:55pm

    (untitled comment)

    Thought: apply an old solution. Force the state governments to fund 2 offices for prosecution and defense. An accused who cannot afford an attorney gets to pick which office will handle his defense, with the other office handling the prosecution (if the accused can afford his own attorney, the state can assign prosecution to whichever office they want). Any crossing-over between the offices during a case would result in a mandatory dismissal with prejudice of all charges. The problem should solve itself after that.

  • Jan 27th, 2016 @ 10:31am

    (untitled comment)

    More people need to remember a rule of thumb from the BBS days: leave replies in the drafts folder overnight, don't send them until you've had a chance the next day to edit them for sanity. That saved many people a whole lot of embarrassment over the years.

  • Jan 26th, 2016 @ 12:05pm

    (untitled comment)

    Two words, Mr. Rothenberg: Forbes malware.

  • Jan 21st, 2016 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Last sentence of the first quoted paragraph:

    "Walker received and executed a warrant to search the defendant's iPhone for the following:"

    That seems to point to the second paragraph coming from the warrant, not the affadavit.

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