Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


About Uriel-238

Uriel-238’s Comments comment rss

  • May 27th, 2015 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re: Better digital vandalism than digital sabotage.

    Well, Goatse is about as close as one can get to Langford's BLIT, a universal visual brown note. Fortunately, we haven't discovered any killer pokes on the human being that can be delivered by image or audio file.

    My experience with hackers (which goes back into the 80s) is more that they're curious or mischievous than malicious, but some are. And the Stuxnet incident demonstrates that nations and ideological organizations will exploit such vulnerabilities to do damage if it is feasible to do so.

  • May 27th, 2015 @ 10:40am

    Talk about low bars.

    I can't imagine a standard of suckage lower than the TW / Comcast merger.

    But I haven't had coffee yet.

  • May 27th, 2015 @ 10:36am

    Better digital vandalism than digital sabotage.

    Stuxnet provided us a demonstration of the potential damage to which insecure net assets can lead. I'm glad that our first newsworthy attacks against critical internet security vulnerabilities resulted in public disgust rather than public casualties.

    Still, I expect this is just the first of many shots. This one was across the bow.

  • May 26th, 2015 @ 12:10pm

    Admissability of spying data

    Yeah, we're still debating what kinds of spying data is admissible in court.

    That is the whole point, for instance, of the FISC is to issue warrants (which they do in excess) on spying data that's already collected so that it may be used if necessary. That's why there are regulations about what kinds of cell-phone data (metadata but not conversations except by warrant) or emails (after 180 days or when held by a third party) are collected above board.

    Parallel reconstruction is there to reduce our dependence on any data which is obtained via secret or questionable ways, either to keep detection methods obscure (security through obscurity) or to prevent a method from being challenged as contrary to Forth-Amendment protections.

    I do have a public key (buried) that I've never used because no-one else does. But this a problem with implementation. I remember once wrestling with winsock software in order to get internet access, where now it's hard to get my devices to not sign on.

    I think we're approaching an era in which encryption will be as transparent to the user as our current HTTPS use. The notion of this era terrifies the FBI and law enforcement worldwide since they will actually have to deal with human privacy.

  • May 25th, 2015 @ 10:39am

    Maybe the CFZ will hold up in court.

    It'll be good to know. I'm in a CFZ on the west coast.

  • May 23rd, 2015 @ 12:11pm

    Rubber Lips

    Rubber lips were a protection from poisoned lipstick in Get Smart as well.

    Rubber lips were also used by the Joker in The Dark Knight Returns.

    It's the old rubber-lips-to-block-the-poison-lipstick trick.

  • May 23rd, 2015 @ 12:07pm

    Pressure from the NSA via biographical leverage

    OR...spying will return to the way it was during the cold war, where it's a thing you're not supposed to do (and spying data is inadmissible in court) but everyone does it anyway, and it's appropriately embarrassing when it's discovered.

    In the meantime, we proceed to encrypt internet communications end-to-end until they can spy all they want and still have nothing to process, and feed from big bads has to be run through number-crunchers the size of nuclear reactors before they have viable data to process.

  • May 23rd, 2015 @ 11:27am

    Left handed version?

    That's my problem too.


  • May 23rd, 2015 @ 11:06am

    When banana republics take foreign loans and spend it on huge penis statues...

    Or drop it in their Swiss bank accounts and move to Uruguay, or spend it all on Columbian pure and high-stakes Baccarat, we invoke a concept called Odious Debt recognizing that the people of the banana republic have been taken by a scamming dictator over whom they've had no control.

    It's one of the arguments about some of the US debt since penis statues (often in the form of questionable military campaigns) abound.

    Here is a situation in which the entire government is pushing to put secret law in place circumventing whatever checks and balances we have left, behaving contrary to the power-grabbing partisanship characteristic of Washington in order to hand tons more power to corporations.

    One might think we should question the vested interests in all the representatives, and the president.

    TPP has smelled odious from the beginning. It's already been leaked to include the SOPA regulations and Corporate Sovereignty. Its secrecy -- and the fact that the people still haven't been allowed to view it at all -- is highly conspicuous and suspect.

    We need to accept that we're about to lose all our remaining rights and become a corporate dictatorship. Or we need to stop this thing from moving forward by force.

    One or the other.

  • May 22nd, 2015 @ 11:42am

    I think this doesn't change my points, namely:

    ~ He could have been using the DVD as a poor choice of screen saver, namely, nothing was going on on his computer, might as well have it serve as a radio / tv.

    ~ Porn is more sensitive an issue in the workplace than it need be. Even if we come to the conclusion that it's inappropriate to the workplace for other reasons, our society's sexual hang-ups make it more so.

    ~ Employees who are not being utilized (e.g. are waiting in the pool for actual work) should not be expected to sit there and twiddle their thumbs. And sometimes they are.

    ~ Given the provision that they do not disturb anyone else (without them going out of their way to be disturbed, e.g. checking concealed computer screens for offensive material) whatever media they consume should have minimal restrictions.

    Given this porn-watching Baltimore Public Works employee, it's not made clear how his porn habits were discovered, only that we have a measure of how much porn he watched, and he was in his own office. And I agree in the current clime that it was a bad move on his part.

    I'm not clear if he was watching porn on standby or supposed to be engaging in some other work instead of recreating, or if he was doing menial work like collating or stuffing envelopes.

    Incidently, yes, the big blue-chip corporation I worked for in '88 had an a mostly paper-based filing system and my employment there was part of their efforts to modernize into the digital age. That specific project failed because my manager didn't know how to go about it, but I would be a part of that modernization process elsewhere in the company in the following years. But they employed bunches of people to literally shuffle paper around.

    I even spent an entire week as the guy who operated the industrial shredder. Because the company just moved through that many sensitive pages. Paper, paper, everywhere.

  • May 22nd, 2015 @ 2:15am

    Re: Re: That is feasible.

    My experiences were about 1988. No, the flight sims I installed weren't within company policy, but boss-keys were a standard feature at the time and some departments allowed games to be played during lunch or breaks.

    Also, I had my own closet / office, in which no-one walked in or out except me. I wasn't disturbing anyone, and with the exception of someone in HR printing my paycheck, few knew I even existed. (And yes, it was pretty cushy, if I was wiser enough to just keep my head down, but at the time I was young and desperate to be actually useful. Really.)

    I eventually did get disciplined for installing a game -- sorta. I installed Windows 3.0 and (for which there weren't any games yet, except the included applets like Klondike and Minesweeper) and a mouse. I got access to included graphics software which would allow me to do some work digitally that I had doing analog (with limited precision). My boss' boss mistook the GUI and the mouse as game paraphernalia and I got in trouble for it. (Six months later, Windows 3.0 would be installed on every computer in the building.) To be fair, I was far from the most exemplary employee at the time. But the reasons I was dressed down were a long shot away from the reasons I should have been dressed down.

    I agree with you that I think consideration of colleagues is important in the workplace. But that extends not just to videos you may watch but any media that might invade the space of others. Your coworkers may not like your choice of Gospel radio, let alone Wes Craven classics or Broadway show tunes. On the other hand, if you use headphones and your screen is unlikely to be viewed by wayward eyes, having something on the screen might be useful in keeping one's wits while they stuff envelopes. And then, yes, it's only prudishness, if not of employers themselves, then of a society that would scorn companies that allow employees to watch porn if they really wanted.

    Once upon a time, Elvis was NSFW. The Beatles were NSFW. And in one of the offices in which I worked, popular Gangsta Rap was the radio station of choice for everyone else in earshot. So my objections were voted down.

    In the meantime, Techdirt has reported on terrible policies that have become common (if not normal) in workplaces, such as that period when new employees would have to turn in their Facebook passwords or friend their bosses in case they said something objectionable on a social network. (I think in some states they're still allowed to do that.) In a prior industry of mine, worker abuse (e.g. 90-hour work weeks without overtime compensation) is not merely accepted, but anticipated and regarded by upper management as the price developers mployees pay for being in a creative field. It doesn't matter that it wreaks havoc on both the end product and the employees themselves, they just think it's good business.

    This is an age of seriously crap policies and seriously crap management of seriously crap companies. It's a product of there being a labor surplus and an average of eighteen months of job-hunting to find an underpaying job. So just because there's a policy in place somewhere (or everywhere!) doesn't make it a policy that is either ethical or sensical.

  • May 21st, 2015 @ 3:45pm

    A Moron

    ...has an IQ of 51 to 70 and is capable of simple, menial work.

  • May 21st, 2015 @ 3:40pm

    Re: In My Perfect World

    That's the problem.

    You get the labor force just the right amount of hungry and they'll suffer a lot of bullshit.

    The trick is keeping them the right amount of hungry. If they get too hungry then they burn down the edifices and erect guillotines, and you wind up trying to flee to England.

    And the funny thing is that tragedy-of-the-commons will always kill cartels and get the corporates / nobles to push the peasants too far.

  • May 21st, 2015 @ 11:47am

    SWAT raid surge

    I suspect the communities won't respond well to a significant increase in SWAT raids, especially considering the palpable casualty count and collateral damage at our current rate.

    It might motivate the populace to actually do something.

  • May 21st, 2015 @ 11:35am

    "You lose any rights you don't assert."

    This is a problem, given most people are rarely in circumstances where they need to assert rights, hence the rights of people are not confirmed by regular testing, rather are only conspicuous when those rights are absent in circumstances that they should be there, and this is made public.

    The sensors by which we detect problems with our rights are passive, but that encourages law enforcement to hack the system to stealth rights violations so they continue to go undetected.

    Some thoughts for the next society, I guess.

  • May 21st, 2015 @ 11:30am

    (untitled comment)

    You know, Gwiz, you're absolutely right. Plea bargaining was legal (under qualified circumstances) after the Brady v. US ruling in 1970.

    I remember also in the news media during the 80s the notion that plea-bargaining was unethical and procedurally unacceptable. It was implied to be criminal for the prosecution and defense to even negotiate outside the court, even with people getting in trouble for trying. This idea was preponderant in the (Los-Angeles-based) television I consumed. So yeah, I, too, wonder where I got that from.

    In fictional media, plea-bargaining was regarded as a device of corrupted agents. A plea-bargain attempt pointed to a PA on the take just as much as secret police and preponderance of security cameras pointed to a dystopian police state.

    Some time in the 90s, plea-bargaining became not only acceptable, but the norm. Lampshaded thoroughly by Sorkin (albeit in military courts) in A Few Good Men. It's around the same time as when a handful of SWAT raids made it into the media as a new trend, given that they weren't hostage-barricade situations, and in one case, shot up a family.

  • May 21st, 2015 @ 10:57am

    I'm getting a lot of work out of my Rumsfeld paraphrase.

    You create a society with the people you have, not the people you wish you had.

    Whenever we decide to blame the people (or blame a demographic of the people) it just goes to show that no, the US Constitution wasn't enough. Human beings are not angels, and we don't have the capacity to always know our personal best interests, and vote for them (rather than values voting or defensive voting).

    There are many many ways our government could be improved that we already know but cannot change due to too much disenfranchisement. And then we have problems we know will eventually wreck the next iteration that our framers knew when they made this one. I think they hoped the system would stay intact long enough that we could fix it.

    People are people. You can demand rationality of a single person, but not of a voting bloc. Certainly not of a population. Non-point-source vigilance always becomes a tragedy of the commons.

  • May 21st, 2015 @ 10:36am

    That is feasible.

    Not a literal screen-saver that automatically runs, but knowing he wasn't going to be getting any input from the computer that would push past his DVD/media player, he puts it on while doing tedious hand-sorting of paper files.

    Having been tasked with the hand-sorting of paper files, I would have enjoyed some kind of media distraction (though yeah, not necessarily porn). That's the sort of shit-work that a manager assigns someone to let them know they're under-appreciated -- though in the era of paper files, it had to be done.

    Also, as a clerk buried deep in the bowels of a multi-national general contracting corporation, I was one of the the first computer-savvy clerics they had, for whom they had no tasks and would say Here's a computer. Do computer stuff.

    I gave them a list of computer stuff that might be useful and waited. And waited. And waited. After about the third day of zero tasks, I installed a flight sim.

    So to be fair, I suspect that this guy chose poorly his distracting media, but wasn't tasked with doing actual work. I personally don't think watching porn while on stand-by should be more odious than watching Gilligan's Island (or whatever these guys are watching) while on standby. But our society has some serious hang-ups about sex so Porn = NSFW.

  • May 21st, 2015 @ 9:55am

    They're playing the short game.

    They'd rather be dictators of a banana republic than upper managers in an utopian empire.

  • May 21st, 2015 @ 9:53am

    One good blitz would straighten us out.

    Keep Calm And Carry On was the phrase of an era, and a continuing meme because the Germans were bombing London and try to conduct your daily affairs in that mess.

    Compared to the Blitz, the occasional successful bombing of a subway or a plaza is a light drizzle, not even worthy of a raincoat.

    We get Doolittle raided (by which I mean 9/11) and OMGWTF it starts a mass panic from which we haven't recovered. Rather than saying well that was a jolly mess and carrying the fuck on.

    Imagine how demoralizing it must be to terrorist groups when they suicide bomb and nobody cares.

More comments from Uriel-238 >>