Re identifying owners - vehicles already have VIN numbers that are registered in the same DMV database as the license plate number. But VIN numbers are printed small and can't be seen at a distance (you can see them thru the windshield of a parked car).
Re stolen cars - how do you uniquely describe the mugger so the cops don't stop everyone in a red t-shirt with a baseball cap? Same answer.
I can't think of any argument for license plates on cars that doesn't equally apply to pedestrians.
If you think you should be required to wear a big sign with your SSN whenever you walk in public, then you'll think license plates are a good idea too.
We accept them now only because we're used to them.
Because extra spaces at the end of lines happen all the time naturally, in documents that don't have any hidden messages.
Variable width spaces in between words don't normally appear in ordinary documents. So their presence would be be a red flag that there may be a hidden message...which defeats the purpose of hiding it.
And I've got no idea which side is right or wrong here.
But Tim says:
There's more to a court battle than losing assets. There's a whole lot of intermediate bleeding that can be done, especially if the plaintiff is in a better financial position.
I don't see what Jones has to lose by fighting here. Assuming he represents himself, all he can lose is his time in court and his 7 chickens. If the justice system is just(*) and he's in the right, he'll win (despite having a fool for client & attorney). If he loses, he's out 7 chickens.
Am I missing something?
(*) Honestly, my impression is that courts are not as bad as many claim - outside a few horrible areas discussed a lot here. Most judges seem to make a real effort to deliver justice, when the law and precedent allows them to.
Given that there is no reasonable reason to do that (variable space widths, character spacing), that would defeat the purpose of steganography.
The whole idea is to hide the existence of the secret message - doing what you suggest would be an obvious flag that something funny is going on. You may as well just send a straight encrypted message if you're going to do that.
"though it does make Google look kind of silly for pretending it was really in the hardware business for a bit"
Google is still in the hardware business - they offer the Chromebook Pixel and the Chromecast, and will soon be selling Glass.
What Google got out of is the low margin handset business where their ownership of Motorola was a problem for Android (because nobody wants to have a competitor as a key supplier).
Buying - and selling - Motorola was all about Android. Now Google is no longer competing with Samsung, HTC, etc., which removes most of the motivation those companies had to drop Android. And during their tenure running Motorola, the got the Moto G out the door, which pushed Android into low-end handsets (displacing the small foothold Microsoft had there).
Yet they kept the patents, so they can still use them to defend (or, at least try to defend) Android against Microsoft and Apple's patent attacks.
It's a shame all this effort and attention goes on playing patent games instead of product development, but that's what they have to do to survive in today's legal environment.
Yes, it was misrouted to Alexandria, and a keyboard is an ideal place for a keylogger/keysniffer.
But there are plenty of legitimate (I mean non-government-connected) businesses and people there.
Most likely, this is nothing but a shipping mistake.
We shouldn't jump to conclusions on such thin evidence.
That said - it's worth further investigation. By all means, talk to Amazon and USPS and see what they say. And examine the keyboard carefully - looking for mechanical, electrical and RF anomalies. (Best to get an identical keyboard from another source for comparison.)
Probably you'll find nothing. If and only if you find evidence of tampering, THEN you have a smoking gun.
I want to send him something for Russian hookers and...Fanta or something. (I'd say beer, but it it seems he doesn't drink.) He should get some first-class girls who'll give him a good time for Christmas.
As a patriotic American, I feel Snowden has done my country a tremendous service (given us a shot at taking it back from the scum who run it now).
I feel bad for the guy, with all the crap being thrown his way, and being away from his family and girlfriend at Christmas. As a 1st class American hero, he deserves to have some fun. Indeed, he should live like a goddamned king.
So - where do I send the $$$? (Not just any old bitcoin address, please, but one verifiably Snowden's.)
But this whole Snowden thing has made me more skeptical than I used to be - I once actually thought the NSA was participating in crypto standards work to help keep American systems secure. (Stupid sucker, me.)
So - why don't you just kick OOTB off the site? Whether intentional or not, I think Blue helps make your points - by acting as an easily refuted caricature of the other side. It's not really fair to the other side (they do have arguments, even if I think on balance they're wrong).