Griffdog’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Sep 5th, 2019 @ 10:10am

    The Office of Silly Ubbreviations

    Isn't it about time for the Buckeyes to differentiate themselves from the real OSU, Oklahoma State University? If Ohio State is so proud of its "The," then they should be calling themselves TOSU.

  • Jul 15th, 2019 @ 9:04am

    I saw you looking at my girlfriend

    I'm sure that allowing employees to nominate pictures for the Keep Out database won't be abused by anyone.

  • Jul 15th, 2019 @ 9:03am

    Smile for your mugshot

    Why bother hooking it up to a facial recognition system? I would think that just having to show your face to a camera before the door unlocks would deter all but the latest Stupid Criminal of the Week contenders.

  • Jun 5th, 2019 @ 9:33am

    news summaries

    I get most of my "news" reading through a summary page, just seeing the headlines and the sentence or so of intro text. I rarely click through to the full article. Will sites need to track which headlines they showed me? If I don't sign in to the conglomeration service, how would they ever know how to contact me, lurking on the other side of my VPN?
    On the other hand, this is going to generate some very interesting "transparency" pages where some entity, outside of the control of the censorial country, collects the records of which articles have been targeted and provides fact-checking rebuttals.

  • Jun 13th, 2018 @ 2:19pm

    Re: IGetWhyButHowCanBeDifferent

    I understand your frustration with how sometimes the link you want is on page 9, or the frustration of a small publisher whose link to a story is on page 13. But that's not what's happening here.
    These are the big guys. They not only depend on Google to drive traffic to their sites, but they're already listed on the first page of results, and they craft their webpages and place ads on Google to make sure you see their link on the first page. Then they use the free Google Analytics to evaluate their own website and further optimize the structure. They place Google Ads on their sites, so that when Google directs people to their site, they'll make even more money when that same person clicks on the ad. These guys want a snippet tax because people actually see and click on their snippets. That hometown rag on page 13, it's simply not going to get enough click-through volume to make a snippet tax worthwhile.
    And if you think it reasonable that Google would pay a snippet tax to every entry on all 23 pages of results, then you're nuts. If that happens, they'd just list the top dozen results, and the small guy's result back on page 13 would never even appear.

  • Jun 13th, 2018 @ 1:21pm

    a butter analogy

    I think I'll create a listing of businesses that deal with butter; their phone numbers and addresses. Then I'll share it with everyone for free. If a butter producer or vendor wants to get noticed, he can pay me to make his listing bold, or he can pay more to insert an advertisement. To remind everyone that this listing is about butter, I'll print it on yellow paper and call it the Yellow Pages.
    Next year I'll make even more money by filing copyright violations on anyone who sends mail to these businesses.

  • Oct 2nd, 2017 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: "Sen. Richard Blumenthal's stunning[???] response"

    "Or, well, I suppose it is possible that the SESTA supporters would want that as well."

    Did you mean to address your comment to, "Orwell, I suppose it is possible that SESTA supporters would want that as well."

  • May 4th, 2017 @ 12:32pm

    Benefits for communications

    In these days of broadband communications, it’s hard to remember that there are still some very low data rate channels in use. Meteor burst, VLF, and others offer some unique propagation benefits, but at speeds that were already eclipsed by 1980’s era telephone modems. So, imagine that your communications set already has the voice parameters of the people you’re most likely to talk with. Now, by simply exchanging text at a low data rate, your comm gear can convert the words into realistic voices that actually sound like the people with whom you’re talking. Real-time conversations on channels that are running 75 bits per second, or less. Just add some encryption and authentication protocols, and Bob's your uncle.

    Hats off to science fiction author David Drake and his Hammer’s Slammers series, where hovercraft tank commanders use this approach to hold voice conversations via radio waves bounced off of the ionized trails left by the small meteors that constantly burn up in the atmosphere; a very robust but low data rate communications channel.

  • Jun 3rd, 2016 @ 10:55am

    and then they twist it against you

    So, Kim Dotcom provided a search tool to enable copyright owners to find pirated files and submit take-down requests. But the DOJ argues that the presence of the tool also aids people looking to pirate the same material. Therefore Kim must be liable for the copyright violations because he provided a tool that made file sharing easier. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Put up a warning on your website, and see if some non-Californian prosecutor doesn’t try to argue that since you’re aware of crime on your site you must be complicit in its commission. No warning? Then you're liable for not providing a warning.

    What do you mean, you didn't know there was a problem? Everyone knows that there are dangers on the Internet. Yes, that same Everyone that you need to provide the warning to.

  • Jan 15th, 2016 @ 9:45am

    A wink and a nod...

    Sure, maybe copyright prevented them from checking the Hacking Team archive. Or maybe not. Perhaps this is the researchers' way of avoiding a copyright lawsuit while still getting the message out, "Hey, y'all might want to look at that stuff. If I was allowed to look, that's sure the place I'd want to look. Yeah, right there in section 7.3. Just a guess."

  • Dec 2nd, 2015 @ 8:59am

    Next, we'll hear...

    Today, Germany announced a new program to welcome immigrants with items such as food baskets and Barbie dolls.

  • Dec 2nd, 2015 @ 8:56am

    Swatting Barbie

    I don't know how well Mattel is going to do at confirming the identity of the Barbie owners, but I suspect that guy in the apartment across the hall who plays loud music all the time and leaves his WIFI unsecured is gonna be really surprised when child services comes knocking.

  • Oct 14th, 2015 @ 9:18am

    ... and they have this...

    Let us not forget
    - The right to regularly use chemical weapons that would be illegal if used by the military, according to the Geneva Conventions.

  • Jul 27th, 2015 @ 9:48am

    sounds familiar

    Not that I would change a thing about Whitey Bulger's multiple life sentences, but I find more and more that I believe he's telling the truth that Government officials told him he would be immune to prosecution.

  • Jul 24th, 2015 @ 8:59am

    ... and they say Justice is blind!

    "I can't remember a time where I have been asked in all my years in the Congress to vote yes ahead of time on a bill we haven't seen, and there are no amendments" allowed."

    He can't remember a few weeks ago when they gave fast-track authorization to TPP, a huge trade policy that few congress critters have read and virtually none of their staffers were allowed to read?!?

  • May 20th, 2015 @ 12:11pm

    more for the goose...

    'Some may argue that this automated collection of license plates may be dragging some people under the "suspected criminals" umbrella that shouldn't really be there. That's likely true, but this is one of those inescapable outcomes of dragnet operations. They may also argue that turning over this information to the public may cause some of those listed to be subjected to harassment or put them in danger. Also, this may unfortunately be true as well.'

  • Mar 10th, 2015 @ 12:24pm

    Say what?

    Boggles my mind how they think $15 is a good price point when they offer just a fraction of the number of titles available via Netflix for about half that cost. And, Game of Thrones is simply NOT worth $180 per year. Yikes!

    I'd definitely recommend waiting for other providers to offer this at a hugely discounted rate.

  • Feb 6th, 2015 @ 12:02pm

    Re: It is perfectly possible to design strong crypto that allows govt access

    The approach of symmetrically encrypting the message once and then encrypting the key multiple times for multiple readers is technically feasible but totally impractical for use as a Golden Key.

    1. Why would you assume that you only need to include one Golden Key? If my email went from the US to the UK, wouldn't the GCHQ demand their own ability to read my mail? If I sent a message from the US to my US-citizen friend who happened to be on vacation in Japan, isn't Japan going to want a key? If the email was between two US citizens, maybe DHS and the FBI would someday need to read it, but who's going to stop the NSA from illegally reading my communication? They should have their own key, and my email system shouldn't apply it unless I'm sending the message to an international destination. How's it going to know that? Under current law, the IRS asserts that it doesn't even need a warrant to read emails stored for more than 18 months on an online server; do they get a key so that they can unlock the database of stored, encrypted emails once they're the right age? Where does it stop?

    2. Assume there's a single key that can decrypt every email message originating in the US. Every country and bad-ass gang of evil-doers is going to be trying like hell to guess or steal the US public-private key pair. The private key simply won't be private for long. (see point #6, below)

    3. Email is useful as an example, but the Government will want to access all communications, because it can't tell whether there's something nefarious happening until it reads the data. (Of course, the NSA just assumes that ALL encrypted messages are of interest.) So, every encrypted communications path will need to provide dozens of golden keys; HTTPS links, VPN channels, financial data links, EVERYTHING.

    4. So, now my email system needs to manage not only the public keys for my friends, but also an undefined number of Golden Keys from the various agencies and foreign governments that might potentially, some day have a legal right to read my mail. Ignoring the concern that I now need to extend my trust to many entities to protect their Golden Keys and their stored copies of my emails, who is going to verify that all of these Golden Keys I've received are actually owned by the agencies that are allowed to get copies of my mail? How hard will it be for a bad guy to issue his own key under the guise of a valid eavesdropper, or to hack a government web page and insert his own key instead of the government's key?

    6. How frequently will the Golden Keys roll over to a new key? The NSA recommendation for communications security of most classified links is to change the key daily. These Golden Keys are protecting so much data, they should probably be protected at least as high as Top Secret. So, now you need to reissue the government's public key(s) every day. But it's not good practice to store encrypted data when the encryption key has been superceded, so the data storage facility is going to want to decrypt everything as soon as it's intercepted and then maybe bulk encrypt it for long term storage. But heck, ya' might as well scan the info for trigger phrases as long as it's just sitting there in readable form, right? Anyone out there who trusts every government agency, foreign and domestic, to always ignore that temptation?

    7. Finally, why would any government invest in such a scheme when it would so easily be thwarted. While reducing the privacy of law-abiding citizens and increasing the risk of HUGE data breaches, this scheme doesn't offer any greater insight into the encrypted communications of people who choose not to use a product that sends a copy of the data to the Golden Key recepients.

    These points were framed against the straw man approach of using multiple public keys to share a symmetric key among multiple authorized (or potentially maybe someday authorized) recipients, but all of these issues would remain detractors of any approach that allows third-party access to encrypted communications.

  • Dec 19th, 2014 @ 11:30am

    data collection

    My cellphone invoice and usage records have much more information than necessary for the billing purposes. The plan offers unlimited voice, unlimited text messages, and a multi-gigabyte cap on the data usage.

    In the data category, I can view the time and quantity on my bill for my usage. That seems useful, and I can manually compare that with application usage records on my phone to see which application is hogging the bandwidth. No problems here.

    But for the voice and text categories, I can view the number for every call or message. I don't need this information, and frankly, I don't see why the wireless company needs it. Sure, capture the total talk time and the total number of messages, but I really don't care to ever see the connection information.

    The wireless company may state that they need certain data to accurately model their rate structures, but I suspect they could just as effectively set their rates using random samples of anonymized data plus the larger sets of conglomerate data. Surely they'd save money in several places, especially when printing and mailing my monthly bill (yeah, I'm a dinosaur who wants a paper bill, but I still don't need to be silly wasteful about getting a huge pile of papers that just gets immediately fed to the shredder).

    Further, the same logic applies to all the other data they seem to collect, such as which cell towers my phone pings and any other location data shared by my phone. It's not needed for billing me, and they could evaluate tower operations just fine without being able to trace every ping and call back to a specific phone. The irony is that if I ever wanted to view that data about my own devices, I'd probably need to submit more paperwork than they require from the cops.

    Already, the popularity is increasing among email services that offer increased privacy. When will I be able to pay a few bucks more (because, of course!) so that my phone company won't regularly store any more data than what is truly needed for billing purposes?

  • Mar 27th, 2014 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Something stinks

    I think we agree; names are not sufficient to indicate a match. Use Soundex, and you'll get too many false positives and piss off the proletariat (the current approach, I believe).
    My point was that any decent designer of the database would have used a unique identifier, such as the passport or student visa ID. You simply have to have one to travel across the US border. Why are we all going to the trouble and expense of getting passports (with RFIDs, no less), if the system is just going to ignore them in favor of whatever some airline call center operator typed on a flight ticket?

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