Not an Electronic Rodent’s Techdirt Profile

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  • May 27th, 2017 @ 3:52am

    Big helping of "Nope!"

    For biometrics generally, a good pin number is probably still your best bet. The tech may improve to the point of being the most effective option some day, but we're not there yet.

    There's a fundamental flaw in using biometrics for security that doesn't seem to get talked about as much as the breakability, and I can't see how it would ever be overcome (Except in part by the sensible current practice of using the biometric as part of security not the whole):

    The flaw is in the "trusted ID". E.g. for a credit card, the "trusted" part of the ID - the thing that makes it worth your money - is the 16-digit number on the front. If the number is compromised by fraud, it's rendered invalid, they issue you a new one and, "hey, presto!", trusted again.

    If your biometric is your security and it's compromised, how can it (i.e. you) ever be re-trusted? And if an "unbreakable" biometric security method is developed that seems to stand up comes along, well that just means it will be used for more and more secure and valuable things making it worth putting more money into trying to crack it until it inevitably is.

    Nope, think I'll stick with the PIN.

  • May 18th, 2017 @ 5:32am

    That works!

    What could possibly go wrong with a policy like this? I mean it's not like it's easy to pretend to be someone else on the internet or anything....

    Next up: BBC demands website visitors submit passport, driving license, statements from 3 witnesses and sworn affidavit from a judge as to your identity before being allowed to comment

  • May 16th, 2017 @ 7:14am

    Re:

    So you have 5 categories with 2 meaning people support neutrality overall, 1 neutral and 2 meaning people oppose net neutrality somehow. Because only the first category means full, unrestricted support they twist the poor lexicon and decide all the rest (including the middle, undecided/neutral category) means opposition.

    Yes, whereas in reality more people don't know a damn thing about in than the total of people in any way opposed to it. And even if you assumed all the "don't know"s would be against net neutrality if they did, then the total would still barely top what probably amounts to the people who broadly support it but don't think it affects them too much. Reality is that the people who strongly support net neutrality significantly outnumber the total of people who even faintly think it's a bad idea.

    As for the "light touch" nonsense; just look at those categories! If you're in favour, you have the option of "light touch" or "full-on price control". Who the hell thinks the Government should be in the business of directly setting prices or writing terms and conditions?? That's not how regulation works anyway. Talk about a huge middle-ground uncovered! Think that has to be one of the most dishonest questions I've ever seen on a survey.

  • May 10th, 2017 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Pai could get fired

    Just my own hope that Pai could end up without a job if it's found that he lied.

    Only if he were also in a position to investigate the executive branch...

  • May 10th, 2017 @ 10:09am

    well, close

    FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks

    Surely the "denial of service" is coming from the FCC? That's what all those people were trying to complain about, right?

  • May 3rd, 2017 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Democrats have already tried.

    That said, you make a fair point; being aware that both parties are involved in these sort of shenanigans is important. I concede that point.

    That sounds suspiciously like reasoned debate and therefore has no place in a political discussion! +1 internets to you, sir.

  • Mar 30th, 2017 @ 12:51am

    Re: Re: Sounds familiar

    Judges are expected to be experts in law, not computer technology, or biology, or urban planning, or any of a thousand other professional disciplines

    ...But if he were ruling on a case of theft, you'd want him to have a knowledge of the concept of property ownership first, right?

    "As you can see, judge, we clearly have the receipts for the car and the video footage of plaintiff breaking into the garage and driving away with the vehicle"

    "Yeah, but you weren't using it at the time, right? What did you need it for? Case dismissed!"

  • Mar 28th, 2017 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: This Was Going To Happen Sooner Or Later

    The question is who spills the most blood? The citizens or the police?

    That's even a question? From a very very quick-and-dirty look:

    42 US police officers killed in the line of duty in 2015

    Proper stats of citizens killed by police hard to find but according to the Bureau Of Justice Statistics: "From 2003 to 2009, a reported 4,813 persons died during or shortly after law enforcement personnel attempted to arrest or restrain them.". I make that an average of about 700 a year.

  • Mar 28th, 2017 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yet, these people will tell you that it's only by having that risk that you can be free.

    Yeah, noticed that too... I love guns and think the UK laws make little sense (since there's a lot knee-jerk laws from certain crimes), but the US situation looks kinda insane from the outside. Maybe the problem is this:

    "For reasons passing understanding [Americans] do not relate guns to gun-related crime"

    • President Andrew Shepherd (Aaron Sorkin)

  • Mar 27th, 2017 @ 7:08am

    Not just them

    You'll know the entire sector has actually learned some sort of lesson when the cost of traditional cable drops.

    Except, it's not just them that has to learn, is it?

    Cable executives say they can’t pass on savings since their programming costs are still rising faster than cable bill increases.

    The "this programme is worth $36gazillion because we say it is and, well, copyright" attitude of the major content producing companies would have to change too.

    Suspension of respiration pending outcome ill advised...

  • Mar 17th, 2017 @ 3:59pm

    Ummmm?

    The DHS head even suggested withholding this information would no longer be an option -- that demands for account passwords were on the way.

    Isn't sharing your password with anyone technically a violation of the terms of service of most social media sites? Meaning that anyone crossing the US border and complying with this is liable to have their account disabled? Wow, what a plan! "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free... and tell them to f*ck right off!"

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Certainly an impovement

    Is that before or after the recent decision to enforce a definitive split?

    Before; direct experience of dealing with Openreach and quite a number of different ISPs, which is not bang-up-to-date. I share the hope that the board split will help, but the cynic in me doubts it somewhat since the money will still come together at the top and I suspect money will end up talking as usual.

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 6:52am

    Certainly an impovement

    the important element is that the resulting basic network be a wholesale facility that any retail actor can use at a reasonable, fair cost.

    That sounds sort of like the situation here in the UK - BT Openreach, who own all the pre-existing and therefore the lion's share of last-mile delivery are forced by regulation to rent lines to any ISP/telecom at semi-"reasonable" rates or to allow co-lo installation of competitor's cabinets in their exchanges if they want to provide their own last-mile delivery. BT retail is at least theoretically a separate company and has to take lines from BT Openreach on basically the same pricing model as anyone else.

    Doesn't quite work and it might have been better if the infrastructure were directly publicly regulated instead of being privately owned, since the relationship between BT retail / Openreach is still a little too cosy to make it truly competitive... but at least the situation is way better than the US sounds - there are usually at least 4 ISPs to choose from even in most rural areas. (Though obviously fiber investment is kinda slow in the sticks)

  • Mar 11th, 2017 @ 5:35am

    Re:

    If you want companies to prioritize consumer privacy - and it will never top 'profits' as a company's number one priority - then you need to let them know (by not purchasing shit just because its shoveled in front of you) that its important to you.

    There's something to what you say, though I suspect in many cases it's lack of knowledge rather than apathy. Most people I mention this kind of stuff to are surprised to learn just how vulnerable or intrusive this stuff can be.

    Plus, it's not that simple - take "smart" TV's for example. Bought one a couple of years ago - big screen - in full knowledge of the abortion that is security and privacy on the things. Because I don't care? No, because my previous big screen died and you can't buy a NON-smart screen in this country now without paying double the price.

    So my choices are; don't have a TV, pay a fortune, or buy the thing and make sure it's never anything than a dumb screen. Guess which is the only practical option? Also, for bonus points, guess how much response I got from the company for pointing out the insane cost of a screen with less in it and why I wanted one?

  • Mar 11th, 2017 @ 4:57am

    Re: Re: And in response to the obvious question...

    Now, if we could find a way to punish those that feed trolls, even those who do so for fun.

    Straight in with the negative reinforcement? Sounds a bit heavy handed.

    I think that particular problem could be solved easily by choice. I.e. amend the comment engine so you can collapse a comment tree or sub-tree entirely to choose not to read it.

    The number of times I've given up on reading comments entirely because I can't be bothered to scroll past the 15 pages of Monty-Python-Style-Argument with a troll.... ("But this isn't an argument; it's just contradiction", "No it isn't!"). Just as people should have the choice what to post, it'd be nice to be able to skip entirely past what you choose not to read to get to what comes after.

  • Mar 9th, 2017 @ 6:49am

    Re:

    If we are lucky, some of these media giants that are in pure denial will become another Kodak.

    A good wish indeed, but rather less likely I imagine; Despite the similar reality denial, unlike Kodak the big media companies are more in a position to buy laws to prop up their version of reality and in the current administration, I imagine a "helpful suggestion" is all it'd take anyway. But I can hope I'm wrong...

  • Feb 24th, 2017 @ 2:44am

    Re: Low Level Background Disorder

    Are UK schools boring their students to death?

    Actually... yes. Increasingly, UK curricula seem to focus on rote-learning of methods of dubious validity and/or politically-correct-skewed drivel that often has little to do with the subject at hand (e.g. "Physics" that focuses about the importance of speed enforcement on roads without any of the maths behind it, or chemistry that talks about the need for recycling without discussing the chemistry or even amounts of energy involved).

    If I were at school now, I'd be bored to death by it and as a parent it's hard to keep telling my child how important it is to go to school and get an "education".

  • Feb 24th, 2017 @ 2:34am

    Re:

    What's missing from the Td article is how much of these bogus claims go against users, doing nothing more than providing videos (mostly under Fair Use).

    This is a good point - it'd be an interesting ancillary statistic to see how much of the 0.05% of valid URLs are actually anywhere close to valid copyright claims. I'm guessing that, even if you left in anything that even might be valid if you tilt your head and squint really hard, you'd struggle to rise above 0.025% valid notices.

  • Feb 23rd, 2017 @ 12:40pm

    Re:

    I don't think the point of the cameras would be to review footage and try to find petty crimes or misdemeanors to chase down, but rather to provide a better perspective of what happens during the most intense student and teacher interactions

    True, that would be the point and certainly the justification of introducing them. Once they're there, mission creep is virtually guaranteed. Put it this way; who, other than the "wrongdoers" (which everyone thinks is "someone else") would object when someone suggests the next thing you could use the footage for? The UK is already the most massively surveilled country on the planet and I can't see more improving things in any respect.

    Considering how much Techdirt pushes for police to have such cameras, it seems reasonable to think they may be useful in other situations.

    VERY different situations. Part of the point of putting body cameras on police is that you want both parties to modify their behaviour because it may be observed and evidenced. In a classroom, you want (within limits) free expression and exploration. You put teachers and students in the same situation of constant surveillance, you're going to negatively affect learning.

  • Feb 23rd, 2017 @ 11:17am

    Close..

    "It’s clear that Pai is serious about closing the digital divide between those who use cutting-edge communications services and those who do not."

    Well, from a certain angle that might even be true! After all, if you're only interested in the US, then eventually the lack of investment will make sure that no-one uses "cutting-edge communications". Divide problem solved!

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